Last Supper Club of the Year

Appetizer: Asiago-Artichoke-Turkey Spread. Um, yeah, we sort of ate all the spread before we were able to take a picture of it. That good!

Entree: Huevos Rancheros. An excellent Mexican dish. Kate orders this all the time whenever we go to a Mexican restaurant and now I know why. Very delicious, next time, I’ll try it with black beans instead.

Side Dish: Pommes Anna. Beautiful presentation and enjoyable to eat. Went very well with the entree.

Dessert: Butter Rum Pound Cake. The non-drinker picks an alcoholic dessert. It was a very moist pound cake, not too much of a rum taste. The rum was strong in the glaze, though. But with or without the glaze, it was a good dessert and very easy to make.

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Ride I-64

As any St. Louisan knows, Highway 40 (aka I-64 — they are really pushing the interstate designation since this project used a lot of federal money) has been closed since the first of the year between Highways 270 and 170 as part of a two year plan to redo the entire highway from 270 to Kingshighway Blvd. While the freakout that the local “news” organizations frothed up didn’t actually occur, the traffic was a little bit worse and a bunch of people were inconvenienced this year. Next year, they are closing the second half, which will affect us more, and will probably send another round of panic stories in the Post-Disgrace and the like, but in the end, the highway will be much improved.

The reason I am so sure of the great improvement is because today, Jen, Katie, Yao, and I got an up close and personal view of the newly completed portion of I-64. As a fundraiser for The St. Louis Regional Bicycle Federation, we were given the opportunity to ride our bikes on the new highway before it opens tomorrow. Miraculously, the weather cooperated (at least as well as can be expected in St. Louis in December) and we had a great time.

We entered the highway at Ballas Road, the westernmost part of the new highway, and rode towards the city on the westbound lanes (the eastbound lanes were reserved for people walking, people with dogs, people with Segways, etc), stopping over Lindbergh Boulevard for the picture you see above. There, we ran into Katie’s parents, who were there with friends on the other side of the highway. After a quick break and a chance to take in the awesome new interchanges (yes, the scary tight cloverleaf at Lindbergh is gone, replaced by a nice single point interchange), we continued on eastward. I took this video going down the hill, thanks to Monika and her awesome birthday gift of a camera tripod with bendable legs that I used to make a handlebar cam.

As we continued eastward, the official biking area ended at McKnight, but we wanted to go further and there was no one to stop us so hey, why not?

We made it all the way to the interchange between I-170 and I-64, and we were able to go out on the new flyover ramps to get a great view of the area:

As we slowly headed back, we took the time to enjoy the sites and see a part of St. Louis that you are normally flying past at high rates of speed. It was truly an awesome experience and we hope to repeat it next year when the second part of the highway opens.

Click here for all the pictures.

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2nd Annual Gingerbread House-Making Party

Welcome to Sweetville, USA. Come, I’ll show you around this candied goodness and hopefully you decide to stay a while. It’ll be a real treat!

Strolling down Main Street, we first come upon Amanda’s Sweetville Tavern, the local hangout for the residents. Not only does the Tavern serve such wonderful food, there are some drink specials that are known around the tri-state area, including the Candy Cane Drop Shot, the Wintry Mix and the Flaming Reindeer. It’s THE place that people go to get frosted.

A little further down the street, we have the Sweetville Post Office. Now, this is no ordinary post office with ordinary postal workers. When you drop your letter off at the mailbox, you are actually handing it to a red ninja (they are excellent in the art of disguise). Then your mail will be be delivered, swiftly and stealthily, faster than you can say, “candied throwing star.”

Of course, in the center of town, you will find the Sweetville First Church of Icing, the glue that keeps Sweetville together. The exquisite stained glass dates back to the Jolly Rancher period, a time of turmoil and toothaches. The nativity scene was generously donated by Mr. and Mrs. Gummy Bear, who’s family founded Sweetville. It is a place of worship and town functions, from meetings to cupcake parties.

Sitting on the outskirts of town is the Sweetville Railyard, home to the Sour Rainbow Road Express. This train is the only way in and out of Sweetville and is always punctual, nothing will stop it from getting to the station on time, even cows on its peppermint tracks. Off to the side, some homeless Gummies are living in a graham cracker box, just waiting until the next shipment of marshmallows to come in. Luckily, they are on the outside of town and no one sees them so they don’t tarnish the sugar-coated shininess of Sweetville.

Now, let’s take a walk and meet some of the residents so you can get the flavor of the town.

Say hello to Monika and her quaint cottage. When she first moved into town, she had a bit of trouble constructing her home. The contractor’s icing failed when her home crumbled into pieces. Fortunately, she hired another contractor who analyzed her dire situation and time constraints and suggested a new building material that was slowly being introduced in the gingerbread-house building: hot glue. Apparently, this concoction worked and now you can often see her sitting outside her door, offering anyone a cup of hot chocolate or fresh baked cookies.

Next door, you have Beth’s charming home. As you can see, she is a lover of chocolate-covered mushrooms. Now, in small quantities, they are very healthy for you but in high doses, they are highly addictive. When consumed in large quantities, one can experience a sugar rush which causes extreme hyperness, the jitters and running around outside naked. Very powerful stuff. Her home is always such a joy when lit up in lights. Clark Griswold is her uncle and every year he comes to help her put them up for the holiday season.

Finally, we have the resident artist, Kate, who’s retreat is up on Big Rock Candy Mountain. The candied rocks decorating the outside of her home were found down by Chocolate Syrup River, a popular destination in the summer. She often opens her home to anyone who is interested in finding a place to work on their art. It is peaceful up there, especially in the winter when it often snows coconut flakes to the point where you can’t even eat enough of it to leave your house.

There you have it, a little tour of our saccharine town. If your sweet tooth can handle it, we would love to have you!

For the rest of the pictures, click here.