Friday, August 27, 2010


Caribbean, Cuban, and Creole food plus swings for chairs...
what's not to love?

We found Boogaloo the same way that we seem to find all new restaurants lately - through Groupons.  It is described as a Cuban, Carribean, and Creole flavored restaurant.  After browsing the menu online, it definitely looked like a must try.  I have to say that the food was delicious and flavorful.  There aren't a lot of restaurants in St. Louis that use a lot of spice in their dishes. 

By far the most interesting and intriquing part of the restaurant is that some of the seating wasn't chairs.  It was swings hung from the ceiling!  Unfortunately, there were no swings available when we arrived and we were forced to sit at a boring table and chairs.

One complaint that Tony did have is that they tried to make it like a night club.  Granted, we didn't arrive until almost 9pm on a Saturday night.  Very dark lighting and loud music gave it that feel.  Tony even had to use the flashlight app on his phone to read his menu!

The restaurant was also beautifully decorated.  The light fixtures were absolutely gorgeous and I loved how they used the same tin tiles that are on the ceiling on the bottom half of the wall.  My favorite part was the wall paper used above the chair rail.  It had a leather like texture and feel to it.

Tony started off with the gumbo.  While the taste itself was great, there was no rice!  Who doesn't serve gumbo over a bed of rice?!?

For his dinner, Tony  chose a Cuban disha called ropa veija.  It's a cuban braised flank steak on a bed of Cuban rice.  He loved the taste of it, but was surprised to learn that the rice had a coconut flavor to it.  I wasn't a fan of the rice, but I don't like coconuts.

I had the plantain encrusted tilapia with sweet potato-andouille hash and topped with a orange scallion remoulade.  The tilapia itself was one of one of the best that I've ever had.  I loved the crispiness of the crust.  Also, I was interpreting sweet potato-andouille hash to be a mixture of sausage and sweet potatoes.  I figured that I could just pick out the andouille since I don't like sausage.  Unfortunately, it just referred to the way that the sausage was cooked and it was all andouille sausage.  I also wasn't a fan of the remoulade.  The taste was fine, but it completely overpowered the tiliapia which I really enjoyed.  Next time, I'd order it with the sauce
 on the side.

Monday, August 23, 2010


Sqwires is located on Park Ave in the Lafayette Square area of St. Louis. We frequent this area often, but had never dined here before. Thanks to a $25 gift card from (cost? $2!), we decided to try it out for the first time. I'm disappointed that we hadn't been before considering that it's less than 5 minutes from our house and the food was pretty impressive.

Located in the former Western Wire Factory, Sqwires is a beautiful renovation of an old Victorian building.  The factory once housed the American Bed Factory.  While perserving elements of the 19th century, they also added in a handcrafted steel fireplace along with the red leather banquette along the back wall.  We sat in the corner seat that you can see at the end of the banquette.

The name was chosen to be a combination of Lafayette Square Park and Western Wire.

My favorite part of the decor?  The hanging pendant lights above each table on the banquette.  They had taken glass bottles and vases and removed the bottoms to string an electrical wire through it.  A light bulb was added at the top along with an old glass light fixture.  I loved the eccentric element and thought that it fit in perfectly with the mix of old and modern elements of the building.

Another interesting thing of note were the tables themselves.  I'm not exactly sure what the tops were made of, but it looked like cardboard.  You could even feel the grooves in the texture if ran your hangs along it.

While renovating the building, they also restored the overhead factory pulley system and the industiral ceiling fans. 

This came out darker than I had hoped, but it lets you see how each of the windows was tastefully decorated.  The curtains were a dark red silk with little white roses adorning them.

I loved the touch of assorted pillows scattered along the banquette.

Sqwires is another St. Louis restaurant that prides itself on using local foods, free range chickens, etc. 

We started off with the bruschetta.  I have to admit that I wasn't a huge fan of it.  For starters, it was HUGE.  Not the typical bite size pieces that you see.  Also, it had a slice of ham on each one.  Who puts ham on bruschetta?

For dinner, I enjoyed the beef brisket sandwich with homemade potato chips and cole slaw.  It came highly recommended from our waiter and did not disappoint.  It's served on bread from a bakery on The Hill.  The brisket had a fantastic flavor and I absolutely loved the bread that it was served on.  I could have just eaten a loaf of it and been happy!

Tony had a steak that he proclaimed was delicious.  High praise from him since he's not a huge fan of many of the foods here in St. Louis!

Sunday, August 22, 2010


We've lived in St. Louis close to eighteen months now and it has been over a year since we last ate at Cravings.  It's still the best food that we've had in St. Louis.  Best known for its desserts, Cravings has been serving the St. Louis region for over twenty-five years.  The owner/chef was trained in Ireland and strives to combine the best of American tastes with European influences.  Cravings has also been recognized on a national level for its outstanding food.  

In 2006, USA Today ranked it as One of the 10 Best Places to have Desserts in the USA

St. Louis' only Martha Stewart approved caterer

Tim Brennan is the only two time American James Beard Award Winner (1993 and 1995)

Frequent Recipient of "Best Dessert" in St. Louis awards

Neither of us thought to take a picture of it, but we started off with a plate of focaccia.  After I removed the caramelized onions, it was quite good.  

Tony's entree came with a choice of soup or salad.  He decided to get the soup of the day which was a beet soup.  I loved the hot pink color, but it was hard to get used to the texture of a cold soup.  

Tony dined on the savory pork tenderloin which came encrusted in herb bread crumbs and sauteed with rosemary butter.  It was served with mashed potatoes.  Tony was appreciative of both the serving size and the taste.  Our return to Cravings definitely did not disappoint!

I had the special of the day which was beef short ribs served over mashed potatoes and summer vegetables such as squash and zucchini.  I didn't even need to chew it was so tender!  

It's a sin to go to Cravings and not order a dessert.  Tony had the apple galette which has been named the best dessert in St. Louis multiple times.  It combines an apple pie and an apple tart with caramel, vanilla ice cream, and whipped cream.  I am not a fan of pie in general, but even I had a hard time giving Tony his plate back after tasting this delicious dish.  Tony and I both agreed that it was the best part of the meal. 

I, Christy Lynn Sevier, am a chocoholic.  See, I can admit it!  Of course I went for the chocolate offering on the dessert menu.  It was a turtle cheese cake brownie.  A chocolate brownie with cheesecake, caramel, pecans, and a fudge frosting.  While good, it paled in comparison to the apple galette.

Vatican Splendors

This is actually the back of the museum and is part of the expansion that happened in 2000.  The Missouri History Museum is located in the heart of Forest Park and is home to permanent exhibits that focus on Lindbergh, the Louisiana Purchase, and the 1904 St. Louis World's Fair.

 As with most special exhibits, we were not able to photograph anything once inside.

Vatican Splendors is a special exhibit that only has three planned stops in the United States.  Since St. Louis is affectionately nicknamed Little Vatican, this is its first stop.  The exhibit takes the visitor on a 2000 year journey through the history of Vatican art from extraordinary artists such as Michelangelo and Bermini.  It is comprised of nearly 200 pieces, many of which have never been allowed outside of Rome or the Vatican.

It's definitely worth seeing, but the Papal exhibit at HMNS a few years ago spoiled Tony and I.   This was nowhere near as impressive or extravagant as that one.

The beautiful Grand Hall greets visitors as they first enter the museum.
The main attraction of Grand Hall is the Spirit of St. Louis sister plane that was used in the 1957 movie, The Spirit of St. Louis, starring Jimmy Stewart.  The plane was actually built by the same manufacturer a year after the original and later modified to match the Spirit's exact dimensions.  Oral histories claim that both Stewart and Lindbergh flew this plane.  It was moved from its display at Lambert-St. Louis International Airport to the museum in 2000.

After walking through the exhibit, we decided to have lunch at Bixby's in the museum.  Bixbyy's is named after a leading St. Louis cultural philanthropist, William K. Bixby.  He once served as the Missouri Historical Society president from 1907-1913, as vice president from 1914 to 1924, and as president again from 1925 to 1930.

Bixby's strongly believes in supporting the balance between nature and man in all food and has a commitment to sustainable food practices.  These principles guide them to use ingredients which are local, seasonal, and sustainable.

We were fortunate enough to walk in when a window table was open.  The restaurant boasts an entire wall of floor to ceiling windows with a great view of Forest Park.  

Tony enjoyed the Bixby's Midwest Chuck Burger which was topped with prairie breeze white cheddar, carmelized onions, Mount Pleasant Winery Port demi-glace and served on a grilled English muffin with grilled steak fries and house-made pickles.

I enjoyed the Grilled Chicken on Companion 'John Dough' with locally grown tomatoes and romaine, fontina, ailoi, and seasoned gaufrette chips.  While all of the food was quite tasty, the pickles were by far my favorite.  A sweet butter pickle that reminded me of my Grandma's house.

As good as the food was, it was easily topped by the outstanding service.

No visit to a museum would be complete without a trip to the museum gift shop.  Since one of the large permanent exhibits housed here focuses on the Louisiana Purchase, I love that they chose to name the gift shop after it!

After several failed attempts, we finally made it to the Missouri History Museum to see the Vatican Splendors exhibit!  This was our first time visiting the History Museum, but we didn't have enough time to see the special exhibit as well as the permanent exhibits.  Once the temperatures drop, we'll have time to visit the museum again.

Sunday, August 15, 2010


I had a limited time in Denver, but this was the view from my hotel.

Saturday, August 7, 2010


A trip home to Sulphur just would not be the same without a trip to
Jo's Party House for cupcakes. 

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Houston, There's a Problem

I've been away for too long.  It's no secret that Houston is one of my favorite cities.  Even though I'm only here until tomorrow morning, I'm thrilled that I am able to visit just for the day.

Meet Gram and Pa.  We are staying at the Embassy Suites Galleria which is best known for the swans living in their lobby area.

Off to The Woodlands for the Send Off.  Tomorrow, I will be in Sulphur!

Greetings from the Big D

The Summer Send Offs for SLU are in full swing and my
first stop was Dallas!

View from the Dallas Renaissance Hotel

The event was hosted by two SLU alums at the Glen Eagle Country Club
View out to the golf course

Dining area for the reception

Main centerpiece for the first reception area.
Entry hallway

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Another Trip to Poptions

Yesterday, we retuned to Poptions to use our last Groupon before it expired.  We selected three additional flavors to try - ranch, kettlemelt crunch, and peanut butter crush.  The kettlemelt crunch is probably my favorite of the five flavors that we've tried.

Ranch - regular popcorn topped with ranch flavoring

Kettlemelt Crunch - Kettlecorn popcorn, pretzels, and M&M's covered in chocolate

Peanut Butter Crush - Crushed Reese's pieces, pretzels, peanut butter mixed with butter popcorn and then topped with milk chocolate

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Hope Floats in Forest Park

While we were on our way to the History Museum, we were distracted by several homemade boats and a sign that said "Hope Floats" Cardboard Boat Races.  How could you not stop?  We decided to forego our Vatican Splendor exhibit plans and stop to watch the races!

We quickly learned that this was the first annual cardboard boat race sponsored by Wings of Hope which is the oldest and largest volunteer Humanitarian aviation-based charity in the world.  From its headquarters here in St. Louis, the charity organizes and maintains over 3,000 volunteers at 153 bases in 43 countries.  Their mission is provide children and family members of low-income patients with free air travel to hospitals across the world.

The race took place in a man-made lake area filled with fountains at the base of Art Hill.  Art Hill is best known for its sledding options during the winter months.

We walked around and took pictures of several of the boats prior to the races began.  There were 3 categories - under 12, 12-17, and 17+

The pirate boat that you see in this photo had some difficulties with entering the boat.  The sails made them too top heavy and they kept flipping.  Ripping the sails off made for a quick fix and they easily caught up with their competition.

Definitely one of the best designed boats.  The group involved with the Banana Boat even had matching yellow t-shirts printed for the event.

The USS Grandma won the award for Most Unsinkable.  It may have taken them forever and a day to get there, but they crossed the finish line!

Can you tell which boat engineering students designed?  This was by far the best design in the competition.  They even printed out pictures of the instrumentation panels to attach inside to make it look as realistic as possible.  It was impressive.

It did have some issues with being top heavy and swayed pretty badly until the racers got it under control.  They were able to come back and win their heat, but finished outside of the Top 3 in overall time.

The poor Engineered Lubricant boat.  His pontoon boat concept was good in theory, but I forget how many times he flipped trying to get on it.  Finally, he just hopped on and kneeled between the 'pontoons' and paddled!  It actually worked pretty well!

The other side of the Hope 4 The Best boat said But Prepare 4 the Worst.  It was cute!  They ended up finishing in second place in overall time.   We did learn that if we ever build a cardboard boat, it will definitely be a canoe shape.  Both of the canoe shaped boats performed very well.

Another one of the really well designed boats.  It actually performed quite well.  We were excited when they paired it and the Banana Boat up to race each other.  The two stayed neck and neck for most of the race and even rammed each other a few times during the turn around the second fountain!

This boat was all pink and adorable.  I forget the exact name, but it was the princess something.  They even hung a crown over the back of the boat and both racers wore tiaras.  They also creamed the little boy that they raced against in their heat.

You can see the little rescue boat trailing along.  He stayed close when the boats were struggling.  I was actually surprised by how well the boats stayed together.  I was expecting to see many more designigrate in the water, but most held together well.  Only one really fell completely apart and it was right at the end of the race.  Not to fear, we did see several people end up in the water as many racers had issues with successfully enterting their boats at the start of the race!

The little purple race car was cute!

This was easily one of the most entertaining races.  The boat was initially designed to fit two people - a guy and a girl.  After flipping over several times at the starting line, the girl gave up.  Undeterred, the guy tried a new approach.  He took off running and just dove into the boat.  It was a good effort, but the boat still dumped him.  That's okay.  He just climbed on top and rode the boat upside down.  As you can imagine, he was nowhere near the winning time!

Finally time for the sea plane to race!

In closing, if you are driving by and see a cardboard boat race about to begin - STOP AND WATCH!