From St. Louis to Chicago

by Julie on July 11, 2012

in Family,Food,Travel

{Sidenote: Want to see my plan of action to being my healthy me again? Check out my guest post on Becca’s blog today! I’d love to see what you think!}

Hi pals!

Guess who is back in Cleveland? This girl! I have not had a “lazy” summer day since school was out and I’m looking forward to those.

Let’s recap my trip, shall we? I last left you when I arrived back from Florida. On Sunday, I said goodbye to Todd since we was going to be gone for two weeks (he comes back Sunday – yay!). I had a day to do laundry, pack again, and we were on the road bright and early on Monday morning.

I don’t think I’ll ever get tired of this view… when we were little and driving to St. Louis, we always started to look for the Arch about 2 hours out. We were ecstatic the moment the spotted it! As an adult, it’s still a treat.

We immediately dropped our bags off at my grandparents house and headed straight to my grandpa. It’s really hard not being close to him, especially for my mom. From her early 20′s (when she met my dad), she has lived 8-10 hours from her parents. We made trips at least twice a year and on top of that, planned joint family vacations that served as great experiences for all of us. My mom stayed in contact with her parents on a minimum weekly basis (usually more. During the past few years, those phone calls increased to daily calls with both my grandma and my grandpa. Now, with my grandma gone, she continues to call my grandpa every day and they talk for about an hour. That’s a lot of time and dedication to her parents but it’s driven only by love. Her relationship with her parents continues to be an example for my sisters and I (who also talk almost daily).

My grandpa is a pretty cute vet, don’t ya think?! :-) As his hat indicates, he served on the U.S.S. Buckley D.E. 51.

In St. Louis, every day began the same. I went and picked up coffee and then we picked up my grandpa. We went through countless paperwork and items in the house and even did some gardening!

We had a few things on our fun evening agenda. One of those things was visiting Ted Drewes.

So… here’s a funny story. Ted Drewes is known for their concretes, which are a lot like Dairy Queen Blizzards. When they hand you your concrete, they turn it upside down first to prove to you that it won’t fall out of the cup and is therefore concrete-like. As I’m sure you’re aware, last week, the heat temperatures were ridiculous. Also, as I’m sure you’re aware, I can be rather gullible and make stupid decisions (I can think of at least 5 people right now who are nodding their heads).

When I got my mint chocolate chip concrete, the woman turned it upside down and life was good. We paid, and walked the very short distance back to the car. I sat down in the passenger seat and being the oh-s0-idiot that I can be, I turned my concrete upside down trying to get a picture for my blog.


It spilled everywhere. All down my legs. On the floor. Luckily, it all fell on me and not really around my mom’s car – so that was a simple cleanup. I was a hot and sticky mess and felt like a 10 year old. To add to the kid-like experience, my mom went back to the store (while her ice cream was melting in the car), explained what happened, and got another one for free. I guess the guy behind her laughed at my predicament and said, “Thanks for the laugh, I needed to hear that!”

Ugh. It was embarrassing and now a story that will haunt me for the rest of my life. How is it that I’ve been to Ted Drewes at least 30 times in my life and I decide to do this went I’m 27?! Why didn’t I attempt this when I was younger? Ugh. The world will never know.

On another night, we went to Lou Boccardi’s on The Hill.

My grandpa and I shared their St. Louis style pizza (half veggie and half sausage) and it was incredible. I love this restaurant so much and it was my grandparents favorite place to go together. Lilly, the owner (her father was Lou), came out to say hi to my grandpa and even gave us some complimentary desserts! So nice!

The next night (I think – they are all running together!), we went to Favazza‘s, which is another restaurant on The Hill! The last time I was there was on my 26th birthday in 2010. When I was looking at the menu, I remembered how much I loved whatever I ordered their before. Luckily, I could go back in my blog and see that I ordered the tortellini which I ordered again. It was good, but not as good as I remembered it. My mom out-ordered me by getting the special which had sun dried tomatoes, scallops, and spinach. The sauce was to die for! If this is available next time I’m there, I hope to look back at this post and order that instead of the tortellini ;-)

We also had an early celebration for my grandpa’s 92nd birthday which is in September. They gave him a yummy pie. The service was exceptional!

After Favazza’s, we said our goodbyes to my grandpa and headed back to the house to pack up the car. Once finished with the car, we went for snow cones at Murray’s Shaved Ice. It’s a seasonal little joint that will always be embedded in my childhood memories of visiting St. Louis in the summertime. They’ve switched owners numerous times, but the product always tastes the same. Amazing shaved ice that’s perfect for the summer heat. (No, I did not flip it upside down to take a picture ;-)). I ordered lemon-lime and my mom ordered orange. Yum!

The next morning, we were off to Chicago to visit Valerie! We requested a low-key Friday and Val definitely delivered. Giordanos pizza + wine + a random dance party in the family room was perfect.

The next day, I woke up and realized I drank way too much wine. I knew Saturday would be a tiny bit of a struggle for me, but I pushed through anyways. We went to The Field Museum and walked through a few exhibits (the extreme mammals one was super interesting!). Then, we came back and I napped while my mom and Val had some quality time to themselves. Best. nap. ever.

Once I woke up, we talked some more and then took our time getting ready for the evening.

We contemplated on where to go for a late dinner and Val recommended Chez Moi which was within walking distance. Despite the pricey menu, we decided to go for it. We were hungry and other places were very busy!

Once we walked in the restaurant, I noticed how relaxing the atmosphere was. Even better, we were seated immediately and our waitress was very nice and outgoing. My mom and sister ordered a cosmo. She offered to put some berry infused vodka in the drinks. I wasn’t planning on drinking, but when she said that I ordered one too.

The cosmos tasted amazing and we each ordered two throughout the night!

The menu was short and diverse. I wasn’t too hungry, so I went with the french onion soup and the roasted pear salad. French onion soup is a favorite of mine and I order it constantly. It was very tasty!

The pear salad was only so-so. For $8.50, I was expecting a fresh pear and not one from the can. I bet I could recreate this salad at home for much cheaper and I wouldn’t be paying $8.50 or even $2. Meh. At least I got some fresh greens in my stomach!

My mom ordered the trout. I’ve never been a huge seafood person, but I can appreciate a good fresh fish. One thing I can’t stand is when a fish smells or tastes “fishy.” The trout’s presentation was lovely, but it smelled and tasted fishy – almost like it was going to go bad. My mom only ate about half of her portion and I had a bite. This was surprising because, again, it was a $22 dish and we were in a nice French restaurant.

Would I recommend Chez Moi for dinner? No. Would I recommend it for drinks and French Onion soup? Yes but other than that, save your money.

The next day was Sunday, and we slept in a little which turned out to be a bad decision since we were driving home that day. As we did last year, we went to Nookies. I again ordered their fresh orange juice (mmmmm).

My mom and I (again) split their seasonal special. Nothing has changed and this brunch place remains top-notch in my book! It looks like it will be an annual tradition.

It was so nice visiting Valerie for the weekend! I love my little sissykins.

My mom and I drove back to Ohio right after brunch. We hit some traffic on the turnpike, but other than that it was an uneventful trip. We just wanted to get back to Ohio!

Our welcoming committee (Violet doesn’t look too thrilled! haha):

Now, here I am, about to head to the Ohio Blogging Association’s July event at the Playhouse Square. I am looking forward to seeing my friends.

Soon, I’m going to share with you my big adult decision that I made earlier this week. :-)


Pin It

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Renee July 11, 2012 at 4:46 pm

What a great read! Your story about Ted Drewes was delightful! Did you know that it’s a St. Louis tradition to visit with your bridal party on your wedding day? I think they might even give free concretes to brides in their dresses. Anyway, given that tradition, holding a concrete upside down could be MUCH worse than what you experienced! :)


Julie July 12, 2012 at 12:50 pm

Haha! I didn’t know about this tradition! Thanks for letting me know – you’re right, it could have been MUCH worse!


Nidhi July 11, 2012 at 10:42 pm

Missed you! Your grandpa is ULTRA cute.
Nidhi´s last [type] ..Map Notebook


Crystal @EatDrinkCleveland July 12, 2012 at 8:30 am

I had to re-read this again this morning b/c I enjoyed it so much – what a great weekend! I think your Grandpa should move HERE so we can all hang out – he’s a cutie pie! And I love how you went from “not drinking” to TWO cocktails :)
Crystal @EatDrinkCleveland´s last [type] ..Wordless Wednesday – Hot Dogs


Jessica B. July 12, 2012 at 8:56 am

big adult decision??? Don’t say moving! Not allowed!
Jessica B.´s last [type] ..Fondue And A Giveaway For YOU!


Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge

Previous post:

Next post: