Day II in the Lou! The weather has remained sunny, its not unbearably hot and we are ready to hit up St. Louis one more time! Did I mention how much I love St. Louis’ Victorian charm? Charming and historic Lafayette Square is like stepping back to the late 1880’s (and me without my parasol!) This neighborhood is truly a gem!Surrounded by lovingly restored “painted ladies” of the Late Victorian Era, boutiques and chic eateries, this area is somewhere you can literally spend an afternoon in and enjoy every minute of it. The park itself is a breathtaking urban oasis where you can run across the grass barefoot or stroll across a restored Victorian bridge. It’s basically like being in Meet me in St. Louis, sans Judy Garland.
Walking down the streets of the Lafayette Square neighborhood is like walking back in time. These lovely homes are reminders of when this section of St. Louis was the most tony neighborhood in the burgeoning city. This area would remain the most fashionable neighborhood in the city until the infamous tornado of 1896 that tore through the area, killing 255 people. The bougie folks fearing for their safety moved out and the area lost much of its glamour.
However, fast forward to the 1970’s when we see young urban professionals (also known as Yuppies) begining to return to the area, buying long neglected homes and starting the process of returning this gem of a neighborhood back to its former glory. Painstakingly restored and tended for, these homes are pricey AF, even by St. Louis standards and today the Lafayette neighborhood has reclaimed its claim to fame as one of the most bon ton hoods in the Lou.
All this fresh air and history has got me feeling tired. I think I need some sugar, caffeine and a mixture of the two in my life, and hey, it’s almost 11! I think a St. Louis-inspired elevenes is in order. Onto Park Avenue Coffee!
So, of course, I needed more GBC (Gooey Butter Cake for you bitches NOT in the know) in my life AND of course my go-to place is Park Avenue Coffee (their original location). This time I wanted to be a bit extra so I go the espresso GBC and it was AMAZING. With so many options for this diabetically delicious dessert, I could go to Park Avenue Coffee week after week and never get bored. I mean with SEVENTY THREE varieties to choose from, the sky is literally the limit….the sky and your ever-expanding waistline….. but that’s none of my business. Well I’m stuffed, time to pray away my gluttony at the very grand Cathedral Basilica of St. Louis.
I said we would be back to the basilica AND no sinners were burned while entering! This place is even more breathtaking inside, marble and mosaics, that’s how I would describe this beauty. When built in 1916 the basilica’s architect went a different route than the traditional gothic revival, Spanish Revival and Tudor that was all the rage when it came to ecclesial architecture.
This place is beautiful, you don’t even have to be religious to appreciate the grandeur of this building. It’s unique, ginormous, breathtaking and makes you feel like you’re an exotic location such as Istanbul and not in St. Louis’ Central West End neighborhood. I almost expected to see a Byzantine emperor walking around but no such luck. Okay, I had enough piety and soul searching, time to stroll the neighborhood and find somewhere to get a bite of lunch.
So it’s lunchtime and we needed somewhere to eat. Then while driving by we saw something pretty unique….a Nicaraguan restaurant? In St. Louis? I don’t think we even have one of those in Chicago so we had to venture into Fritanga and see what this Central American country had to offer our taste buds.
Taste buds totally exploded with pleasure. I got the amazingly tender higado de res encebollado (beef livers with onions for you uncultured bitches) along with yuca (As someone who is half Cuban, yuca rocks my world) and red beans and rice (gallo pinto) everything was delicious, everything was prepared with love and everything was on my plate was ONLY $11. If you love Latin American food you definately need to stop by, the food is superb and they have a large selection of Central American rums to try!
Lush life calls, and if you come to STL you really do need to stop to visit Anheuser- Busch, it’s local, it’s historic, and best of all….it’s FREE! So we put on your best “bro” façade on and headed to get some hoppy goodness in our lives.
The free tour is about an hour-long and it takes you around the brewery campus; where you can see where the beer is actually made, some of the exterior of many of the plant’s oldest buildings dating back from the late 1800’s and the tour’smost famous attraction; the stables for the famous Amheuser-Busch Budweiser Clydesdale. Yes, these horses live in a stable that’s fancier than my apartment; with stained glass windows, chandeliers and pens bigger than my living and dining room combined. Am I jelly? Just a bit, sadly no horses were on site when we visited but the stable is still a sight to see.
Cheers, bitches! We walked for a whopping hour so I earned this Bud Light. Does it rock my world? Not really, beer is not my thing. I tend to follow the mantra “Candy is dandy, but liquor does it quicker” so I will take a martini ANY DAY but to soak up some history AND get a free drink? Beer me! Interested in going on a free tour? Check out their site! (just make sure you are 21, or pretend to be)
Evening finally comes and we ended up in the suburbs in nondescript Hazelwood. Where do we end up eating after parading all around St. Louis? Well to prove I’m not THAT bougie, we ended up eating at the Denny’s next to our Motel 6 (plus we got 10% off the bill for being hotel guests) So bring on ALLLLLLLLLLLLLLL the diner food!
Carbs, on top of carbs, smothered in carbs, and also drizzled with carbs. That basically sums up this breakfast-for-dinner creation. Am I content? Hells to the yes! I will be getting major food coma within 20 minutes of polishing off this meal.
Now I haven’t been to a Denny’s in probably 20 years but I love me some white trash-inspired breakfast, so bring on the country fried steak! So yeah, with a belly filled with “stick to your rib” food I am getting pretty tired so I think bed is calling my name. Tomorrow we had back to Chicago (on the scenic route) so I’m bracing myself for a nine-hour car ride. Stay tuned and keep reading, bitches!
Love you like a love song,
-Ant and Jared