Friday, June 30, 2017

Midwest Crystal Fest

Ben has the uncanny knack of finding the most obscure events, and I'm glad he does because how in the world would I ever know about the Midwest Crystal Fest?

The small festival was held in Pleasant Ridge Park in Fairview Heights, IL which is about 20 miles east from St. Louis. Anticipating there would be a crazy amount of people, Ben and I set out earlier in the day to avoid the crowds. We got there around 11:00 am, pleasantly surprised that we got decent parking and that not a lot of folks were up and about just yet. That gave us the chance to take our time perusing the stalls, touching almost every single crystal that caught our eyes. And a lot of sparklies caught our eyes for sure. 

There were booths that offered palm and tarot readings, and shops that offered massage and therapy. There was a stall that even broke rocks for you to reveal the crystals inside!

An hour in, we satiated our rumbling stomachs with a lot of brown food, that is, fried treats. There was only one food stall up at that point, so we really didn't have much of a choice, but all their offerings were vegetarian and reasonably priced. 

We went home empty-handed, not because we didn't want to take home loads of pretty rocks, but because we've been trying very hard to streamline our purchases, especially in the decor and trinket departments. Nonetheless, we had a lovely time meeting people and checking out the crystal scene!

Wednesday, June 28, 2017

Russell's on Macklind

Macklind is one of the neighborhoods Ben and I considered living in once we decided to find a home in St. Louis. Almost all the buildings and homes in this area a brick and closely laid out next to each other. There are a lot of great businesses in the area, which would have made it easy for us to walk to dinner or to grab a drink. There was also this wonder: Russell's on Macklind. 

I don't remember exactly how we ended up eating at Russell's, but I am going to hazard a guess that it involved the fact that they offer a plethora of baked goods. And Ben always has his baked goods radar on. Nonetheless, whenever we're craving fresh and healthy food and cake, we usually end up eating here. 

This visit was no different-- we usually come for lunch and each order a combo, choosing from their salad, sandwich, and soup options. My strawberry salad was particularly tasty that day and was a refreshing starter to the coconut cake that Ben and I split. He had a small brownie afterwards, and we may have taken home a few other treats to save for later. We can't help it-- their pastries are amazing!

Monday, June 26, 2017

Food Truck Friday at Tower Grove: Summer 2017 edition

Sometimes I miss living near Tower Grove Park. 

When we first moved to St. Louis, we lucked out and found a small (but great!) apartment across the street from Tower Grove Park. It was awesome having such easy access to that city gem, especially during the warmer months for Food Truck Fridays at the park! Living close to the park meant not having to worry about parking or having too much to drink because we could literally walk a few steps to get home. 

We haven't been to a Food Truck Friday event in a couple of years, but on this temperate weekend, Ben and I zoomed to Tower Grove right after work, found a parking spot away from the crowds, and leisurely perused our food options. Even though we got there before 5:00, the band was already playing away, picnickers were already set up under the shade, sipping their drinks, and the lines to the trucks were getting long. 

We brought a picnic blanket this time (yay, planning!) and assembled our snacks at once so we could people watch as we ate. We split a fried chicken taco, empanadas, and a bowl of (yummy!) bulgogi between the two of us while we watched microdramas develop and waved at lots of dogs. For dessert, we split a doughnut from Vincent Van Doughnut (but of course!) while we retreated to a quieter part of the park, away from the masses, listening to the band play away. 

Friday, June 23, 2017

Filipino Food on Grand

Ahhh South Grand, how we love you. You've got the beautiful Tower Grove Park to walk, run, and laze about in. And when one gets the munchies, you've got what seems to be an endless selection of restaurants. 

It was a gorgeous, temperate afternoon when Ben and I decided to visit Guerrilla Street Food so I could satisfy my craving for lumpia (fried spring rolls filled with meat and veggies) and rice. I don't get Filipino food cravings often, but when I do I like to order the Kamayan Feast, which comes out in a tray covered with banana leaves. For $25 we got 5 dishes and 3 appetizers and a massive serving of rice. The whole idea of kamayan is to eat with one's hands, and I totally would have if I wasn't so conscious of how much rice I was eating!

The assortment of food that we got was great: we got noodles, a couple of coconut-stewed items (one was veggie and one had meat in it), adobo (which is a Filipino staple), lumpia, sisig tacos, and a couple of skewers-- so there definitely was a wide swath of flavors and textures to choose from. We decided to eat outside which only added to our enjoyment! 

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Lazy Flatbread

Summers in St. Louis are hot. So hot that I often don't like cooking at all. The idea of it being super humid and me standing in front of a hot stove is totally not appealing. So most of the time, our homecooked summer meals are hasty ideas made with simple ingredients, mostly hobbled together at the very last minute from what we found at the farmers' market. In other words, our summer meals are lazy. 

This meal is a great example of what I'm talking about. It's kinda like a pizza/ flatbread, except the base is really just a toasted slice of whole wheat bread topped with pesto, goat cheese, bacon ends, mushrooms, and butternut squash. I mean, we literally just put everything we bought from the market on top of bread and prayed it would taste good. And it did! 

Monday, June 19, 2017

Tower Grove Farmers' Market

One thing Ben and I love about the Midwest is its abundant and acessible produce, and when the temps rise, the farmers' markets in the area burst with fresh, colorful fruits and veggies. We also love that we can get local meat and wares at the same place! Our favorite farmers' market in the St. Louis area is the Tower Grove Farmers' Market which happens every Saturday from around April to November at Tower Grove Park.

Ben and I like to get there really early (like, right when they open!) to avoid crowds and get a decent parking spot. We got there a little too early this time, so we walked around the park a bit, basking in the glorious sunshine and not-yet-too-humid morning. 

Our haul this week includes mushrooms and green basil pesto from Ozark Forest Mushrooms, goat cheese from Baetje Farms, and a whole grain loaf from Mr. Meowski's Sourdough. I was super excited to get some (crazy sweet!) blueberries and some beautiful squash blossoms too! I plan on sharing with you how we cook the produce we get, so keep checking for new posts!

Friday, June 16, 2017

We Like Fancy Ice Cream

It's hard to turn down an ice cream invite. And Ben and I love inviting each other to ice cream dates. We'd heard about Ice's Plain and Fancy for a while now, but never had the chance to venture to the Shaw neighborhood to grab a cone until now!

Ice's boasts a  flash-churned method where they use liquid nitrogen to quickly make their ice cream. Ben and I each got a cone (because we always eat with out eyes) and watched in amazement as our ice cream was made right in front of us! Cones in hand, we headed out to their patio of big blue umbrellas and people-watched while we enjoyed each bite of crazy rich, decadent ice cream. 

Our order:
Cookies and Cream-  very creamy and had great distribution of crushed cookies. Bonus garnish cookie!
Peanut Butter Chocolate - insanely rich and peanut-y ice cream with large chunks of chocolate. Super indulgent.

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