Friday, August 29, 2014

STL250 Cakeway to the West, Part 10!

Welcome to Cake Friday, which will be happening for the next 16 weeks or so! Which means the question is, what do I do for Cake Friday in 2015? Leave a comment with your suggestions!

AKC Museum of the Dog
 More on this soon!
Babler State Park
Broadway Oyster Bar
Kirkwood Train Station
Not from CC&G, but we did a wedding photo shoot at the train station!
Madison County Courthouse
Manchester City Hall
Missouri History Museum
Rockwoods Reservation
Home of the Maple Syrup Festival in February! 
Soulard Market

Follow my progress on the STL250 Cakes tab at the top of the page. Links to relevant blogs are included with each cake photo!

Thursday, August 28, 2014

My Summer Staycation: The Cheshire Inn

We staycationed at our favorite St Louis hotel (again) last weekend! I'm sure a lot of people still remember the old Cheshire, known for it's fantasy suites, but I never had the pleasure. *winkwinknudgenudge* We stayed at the Cheshire a couple years ago on a whim, and it was one of the most relaxing weekends ever, so now it's kind of a special occasion spot for us. I've been itching to update these photos pretty much ever since I posted the first blog about it. I regret that Nikon Coolpix every single day.

In my last post about The Cheshire, I called it "nerd classy" and I am sticking to that. It's a charming boutique hotel designed as a British inn, and the rooms are all named after authors and you will find one or more of the author's books in the room. It's a delightful touch that always makes me wish that I was staying there for more than one day, especially during pool season.

I'm inclined to say that the best time to stay at The Cheshire is when the weather is nice and you can get food & beverages from Fox & Hounds out at the pool. But then on the other hand you have tea service all day, a fireplace in the lobby, and the possibility of a fireplace in your suite, and BOOKS. So, stay here any time of year.

I had every intention of reading the "room book" at the pool this time, though I had downloaded a copy of Treasure Island to my Nook instead of literally bringing the room book to the pool. Instead I got sucked into Mrs Astor Regrets, which is really just as appropriate for a decadent weekend of lounging.

This visit was kiiiind of a do-over of our last visit. See what happened was, we booked the Treasure Island Suite for the night of our wedding reception. Then it rained, and traffic was horrible, our car service was waiting for us when we got to the hotel, and I dropped my dress in a puddle because the valet was backed up. Then AFTER the reception, we spent a little too much time at Fox & Hounds, if you know what I'm saying. The next morning was unpleasant. Needless to say, we didn't take full advantage of the suite.

This time, we were sure to appreciate every amenity. I have to give Francis credit for this one, because this was our anniversary celebration, and he booked the Romance package with champagne and chocolate covered strawberries and most importantly, late check out.

I had noted in my previous review that we only had one robe and one bottle of water in the junior suite we stayed in a couple years ago. This time, two robes and two bottles of water, but no mini fridge, which was odd. This is a huge suite though, so it's possible we just couldn't find it.

Not pictured: This suite actually comes with a model ship in a glass case. This is the only novelty suite I have stayed in at The Cheshire but I'm just convinced that none of the others are as impeccably detailed. Also, my previous review said that I would stay in a poolside room the next time. I am happy to report that while Treasure Island doesn't open directly to the pool, it is about 10 steps from the patio door.

The Cheshire is more of a complex these days, as the hotel has the pub Fox & Hounds, and then another building with The Restaurant, Basso, and The Market. We have dined at The Restaurant a few times (the most recent time was absolutely flawless) and Fox & Hounds (which also covers poolside service), so this time we tried Basso, which is a gastropub under The Restaurant. We tried the fried brocolini, caimari, Emo Band pizza, and a small order of the pasta that was on special. One of my favorite things about Restaurant and Basso are the cocktail menus. Try the "Mai"ke "Tai"son Punch (say it out loud).  The food and service at Basso were excellent, but I always feel like being seated at the bar or a bistro table for dinner is punishment, and most of the restaurant is bar or bistro table seating.

The best part of staying at a hotel in your own town? You don't have to spend the next day traveling. We spent the morning at the pool and went home. Brilliant! So if you live in St Louis or are visiting, definitely check out The Cheshire!

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Annapolis: Chick and Ruth's Delly

If you're going to be stuck on the east coast for a month, you should find a chance to get something fresh from the ocean, especially if you're a Midwesterner like myself. Annapolis is rife with fantastic restaurants, and I managed to get into Chick and Ruth's Delly before the dinner rush hit.

It couldn't be a world class restaurant without insane food challenges. Chick and Ruth's has four food challenges you can try. 

If you're not into crab cakes, there are plenty of other menu options. From burgers to world famous rubens, you'll find something you like.

Their extensive menu is available all day, and they named most of their sandwiches after former and current Maryland state legislators and judges. After all, the restaurant is located just down the street from the Maryland State House, and is a favorite lunch spot for the politicians.

But I'll say as someone who isn't huge on seafood, these crab cakes were fantastic. I imagine this is what it's like all up and down the east coast.

Can't get to the Deli to try for yourself? Lucky for you, they deliver all over!

Chick and Ruth's Delly is open Monday through Thursday 6:30am-11:30pm and Friday and Saturday from 6:30am to 12:30pm. Get there before the rush, otherwise you'll find yourself waiting for upwards of an hour.

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

STL250 Cakeway to the West: Part 9

I was actually set to post a different "batch" of cakes today, and then I was alerted to a newspaper story in which a gentleman was quoted as saying he would not be able to photograph all 250 cakes because one is in Ferguson. All I'm going to say about that is that I took the picture of the Ferguson Depot cake at sunset last week.

Centene Corporation
Concordia Seminary
Edward Jones South Campus
Famous Footwear/Brown Shoe
Ferguson Depot
Gateway Harley Davidson
Lodge at Des Peres
Shaw Park
St Louis County Courthouse
Tower Grove Park
And that puts me at 92 documented cakes! Follow my progress on the STL250 Cakes tab at the top of the page!

Monday, August 18, 2014

Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary

Things are still tense in St Louis this week, so I promised more fuzzy animals for Monday morning. Francis and I went to visit the tigers (and lion!) at Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary a couple weeks ago. I DESPERATELY want to spend the night at their bed & breakfast, and thought about sitting on these photos until we had the opportunity to do so, but the world needs more fuzzies right now.

This is Izzy (above, top), of Fizzy Izzy Root Beer fame. Oh, you didn't know about Fizzy Izzy Root Beer? Well, now you do, and you can collect the caps and then turn them in at the Tiger Sanctuary for great tiger merchandise and even tour passes! In the St Louis area, you can buy Fizzy Izzy at Straubs, Friar Tucks, and Randalls.

 Big cats are solitary creatures and tend to live alone, but Thor and Gracie (above) are sisters who were rescued together and have lived together all their lives. Sometimes when they are separated for a little "me time" (everyone needs some me time), they will call out to each other.

Suvarna is the latest rescue to come to the sanctuary, and had actually just got to meet the public for the first time the day before we arrived. It's hard to tell from these close up pictures, but there are several different types of enclosures built into the ridge, and the cats are rotated every day for a change of scenery. For the time being, Suvarna stays in the same enclosure, and is enjoying his pool and patio.

We happened to arrive just in time for an enrichment tour, which meant that our guide put together some goodie bags to toss into the enclosures. A paper mache ball or paper bag is colored by the kids on the tour, and then it's filled with meats and scented with things the cats like. Some like spices, some like cologne. No lie, they spray the bags with cologne!

Here's Alexis the lion with her treasure. Before Alexis came to the sanctuary, she had never even touched the ground, and she still to this day has never seen another lion. She seems happy here. It is noted that she has several favorite toys, and does NOT share them.

OK one more cute picture just for good measure. Here's Izzy enjoying his pool.

Crown Ridge Tiger Sanctuary and Tiger Ridge Lodge is located at 19620 Crown Ridge in Ste Genevieve, MO. Check the website for various tour options and hours of operation. Also nearby is Crown Valley Winery and Crown Valley Brewery & Distillery. Make a day of it in beautiful Ste Genevieve!

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

St Louis Zoo - Cute Animals Bonus Edition!

I have been working on an idea for a post about the St Louis Zoo for YEARS - maybe architecture, maybe trivia, I can't seem to decide. In the end, it was decide for me: what St Louis needs now is pictures of cute animals. Some of these are from yesterday, some are photos Francis took last year for a future Zoo architecture post, and a couple are pictures from a couple years ago when I was just starting to tease out this idea, which is why you will see penguins when Penguin & Puffin Coast is currently closed for renovations. Enjoy, and share with a friend who needs some cute animals today!

The St Louis Zoo was recently named #3 Zoo in the United States and #4 Zoo in the world by TripAdvisor, and it's FREE. Go play today!