Dec 21, 2014

A stroll through the Soulard Market

Considering how often I visit Saint Louis and its historic Soulard neighborhood, I’m almost ashamed to admit that I waited until my birthday last month to make my first visit to the historic Soulard Farmers Market.

The Soulard Farmers Market is considered one of the oldest of its kind in the United States, dating back more than two centuries and pre-dating New Orleans’ arguably more famous French Market by a few years.  As often as I travel to New Orleans, I try to make a point to visit the French Market on every trip.  So, I was very pleased to finally tour Saint Louis’ Soulard Market which, by my comparison, seems more true to the spirit of the traditional open-air farmers markets in almost every sense.    

For starters, the Soulard Market seems to have a much greater number of vendors selling meat and produce – both locally grown and from around the world.  Even though we arrived early afternoon on a Saturday and the pickings were getting slim, we still saw many great finds and bargains. 

Dec 1, 2014

Mamma mia! – A birthday lunch at Zia’s, St. Louis

I recently completed somewhat of a whirlwind trip to Saint Louis to celebrate my birthday where the focus was going to be on checking out the Soulard area and a little nightlife (and day drinking, as it turned out) in the neighborhood, with a final stop at one of my favorite places in the STL – Broadway Oyster Bar.  But I’m getting a couple of blog posts ahead of myself.  That’s because my previous trip to Saint Louis and its historic Hill neighborhood last summer left such an impression on me that I was determined to go back.  So, we started the celebration with lunch at one of the Hill’s more well-known restaurants – Zia's. 

One reason why Zia's is regionally famous and synonymous with the Hill’s Italian restaurant scene is because you can find their house dressing and pasta sauces on most grocery store shelves where I live in Central Illinois.  Therefore, although Zia's is probably one of the newer kids on the Hill (founded in 1986), it has earned a solid reputation even with those who have never been to the restaurant.

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...