Tuesday, July 11, 2006

So Many Things to Say

Oh my, the past few days have been very, very busy. I'll start with....

Thursday Evening
After arriving home from work (on a side-note, I had an interview Thursday morning...maybe something will come of it), I was greeted by Porkchop, Soozi, and Keetah, of course. And a birthday card from my parents. And 3 birthday cards addressed to other people! Until she checked the names, Porkchop thought I was so popular.

Soozi stayed while I opened a present from Keetah (our cat, if you don't know), which turned out to be 3 yummy dark chocolate bars! Yay! After Soozi left, Porkchop decided I should go ahead and open the rest of presents. My goodies included: a nice leather and silk passport wallet; the latest Camera Obscura CD and some additional CO items; Kung Fu Hustle on DVD (love that movie for some reason); some personalized Walt Disney World pins (yeah, you probably know I abhor WDW, but Porkchop loves it, and I recently agreed to go with her this year, so she's outfitting me); a lot (as in auction lot) of vintage state plates (yay! our kitchen will look stunning with the additional plates); and an unofficial gift certificate for the Little Birds Etsy shop (maybe you've read my previous post about how difficult it is to snag an item - we'll have to be persistent and quick). Oh, I also received a caricature of Dwight from NBC's The Office, and the greatest little card that Porkchop airbrushed at work.


After present-opening, Porkchop and I hurried around to pick up my parents and get to Terrene. I wish I had time to write a full-on review, but I don't, so here's the skinny:

Small Plates I highly recommend the tofu on a stick - although the tofu was fried, it was surprisingly light. The accompanying cashew dipping sauce was the best thing ever - I could have drunk it. We also had sauteed shrimp with falafel and something else - it was good, but not as good as the tofu.

Large Plates I can only speak for my dish here, which was the porkchop accompanied by brandied bing cherries, a melting blue cheese (can't remember the name), and an almond quinoa pilaf. The chop was good, and I liked the combination of cherries and cheese, but the quinoa really stole the show. Plus, after having the tofu on a stick, I wished I had ordered a tofu main dish. Porkchop (the person) and I agreed that the large plates were underwhelming. Good, but not great.

Desserts Terrene has its own pastry chef, and you can tell. Porkchop and I shared the marscapone flan, which was topped with a caramel sauce and served with mango. You know that a dessert must be outstanding if Porkchop talks about it later; since she reminisced about the flan while brushing her teeth that night, you know it was yum, yum, yum. My parents had ice cream for dessert: five assorted scoops of strawberry poppyseed, chocolate walnut, and tahitian vanilla. Also very good. We also had a bonus third dessert: some sort of blueberry crumble or cobbler (but I'm sure the description used neither of those two words). All of our desserts were on the house because we waited 20 minutes for them. This brings us to...

Service Totally blew. I know my dad can be annoying with his constant requests for more coffee, but come on. You can't ignore a table for a half hour chunk of time. And you should really have someone who checks everyone's water regularly. Porkchop and I had to ask twice (once a reminder request) for water. Not cool. Also, and now I'm being nitpicky, our server tried to act super pretentious while reciting the specials, but kept on flubbing the lines. If you're going to put on attitude, make sure you can carry it.

The End Result We'd definitely go back to Terrene for dessert and a drink, but not a full-on dinner.

Porkchop had to work on Friday, as did I. So, my parents got to rest during the day (they're older and my mom can get really tired). That evening, we ate at Pestalozzi Place (no website). Yum! I totally prefer Pestalozzi Place to Terrene - super reasonable prices, yummy food, and terrific service.

My parents and I shared a small dish of butternut squash ravioli topped with a mole sauce and pumpkin seeds. The mole sauce used a nice bittersweet cocoa that went perfectly with the ravioli. There were so many things on the menu that I wanted to try, but I wasn't very hungry, so I went with the open-face egg, tomato, and shrimp sandwich surrounded by a dill sauce. Yum. My mom had a stuffed chicken breast that was wonderfully moist and tender and cheesy.

For dessert, we shared the chocolate volcano cake, which was topped with a red wine sauce and served with espresso ice cream. My dad suggested the dessert, and I was skeptical at first because I'm not a big chocolate cake fan. Fortunately, it was a flourless chocolate cake, so it was like eating partially cooked brownie batter. Yum! And the ice cream had very nice espresso notes in it.

I can't wait to go back to Pestalozzi Place. I know some reviews have complained about the service, but I found no fault with it.

After dinner, I drove my parents around the city, showing them the arch, Soulard, and all the mansions around Compton Heights.

Saturday was a killer day - full of fun activities, but very exhausting. We started with a tour of the Fox Theatre, which my parents enjoyed immensely. The only bad thing was that we didn't get to hear the Mighty Wurlitzer because of set up for that night's concert. We only got to hear the lobby organ, but it was fun enough.

After the nearly two hour tour, we stopped at Nadoz Cafe for a light lunch. My dad and I ordered the same crepe - one with turkey, apple chutney, and dried cranberries. We all shared two tarts: one fruit and one dark chocolate. Nadoz is a great place to know about, as there aren't many restaurants on that part of Grand. Service wasn't so great, but I don't expect much from a primarily counter-service place. And, after all, all the food was quite good.

After lunch, we stopped by the Cathedral Basilica to see the 83,000 square feet of mosaics. Unfortunately, a wedding was taking place, so we only got to see a very small portion of the mosaics. We did, however, see the chair that the previous Pope used during his visit to St. Louis in 1999. We also some other random Catholic things in the mosaic museum.

Next, we pushed on to the History Museum to see the traveling Ben Franklin exhibit. I totally hadn't planned on this stop, but my parents were excited to hear that the exhibit was currently in St. Louis. Porkchop and I had thought about going, but we were put off by the $12 admission to the exhibit. Now, thanks to my parents, I'm a member of the museum. The $55 dollar membership included 4 tickets to the exhibit and a nice looking book about St. Louis sports. Porkchop is excited about the book, and now she has a ticket to the exhibit (I can buy another one for half off).

For Saturday dinner, my parents and I just went to Mangia. My salmon in a coconut curry sauce was delicious, but for some reason, the visit wasn't as great as when I went before. Maybe because I'd been to a lot of other restaurants in a short amount of time. Also, my dad kept complaining about the silverware because it was so cheap and thin.

Sunday Morning
After our full Saturday, my mom wasn't feeling too hot. They came over, and Porkchop and I brought back bagels and pastries from St. Louis Bread. After a quick breakfast and some visiting, they had to leave. Even though we didn't make it to the botanical garden, there's always next time.

Sunday Afternoon
With our afternoon free, Porkchop and I met her younger brother and his family at the St. Louis Zoo. The zoo here is free and very well done. In addition to the usual monkey, bird, and insect houses, it also has a penguin house! Yay, penguins! Also, yay for freezing temperatures! The zoo was hot and crowded, and we were there for 6 hours. Oh, the exhaustion!

Once we arrived at the zoo, I realized that I should have brought a hat with me - my scalp was burning after just a few minutes! So, I had to be one of those people and buy a hat at the zoo. Porkchop bought one, too, to keep me company. However, while I had to buy a boring, functional hat, Porkchop purchased a little kid hat, which she wore in a dashing manner. See the picture below.

After a brief respite after the zoo, Porkchop and I went to her brother's hotel room for more visiting, sitting by the pool to watch the kids swim, and things of that nature.

Came much too quickly. I somehow dragged through the day, which seemed to be the longest ever at the time, but today is proving stiff competition.

Other Things
I found two events that I want to attend later in July: the Ditty Bops and a slow food event, both of which will take place at the Mad Art Gallery. I suspect Porkchop works these nights. Anyone else want to go??

The latest Knitty is out! Yay! I see some classy hard warmers to make! Also, Yarn Boy has a fun little hat pattern for hairless people. If I still shaved my head, I'd definitely make it.

That's all for now. Have a good day!


Anonymous said...

Hi CB,

Glad you had a happy birthday.

It is sooo hard to get to see the Basilica because there is always something going on there. Last summer, my parents finally got to see it, but we had to wait until an enormous Confirmation presided by the Bishop ended. I was glad they got to see it because we had missed it twice because of weddings and they are devout Catholics. They loved it and I love it every time. Have you been on Yelp.com? You can add your reviews there for all to see. Kinda neat, kinda like friendster for reviews.

s00zi said...

A woman i work with co-owns that gallery.

You love me.

You really love me.

Porkchop said...

I look sharp in that hat.