One of the things I love about St. Louis is how many great weekend getaways are within a quick drive. You can get to Chicago or Louisville or Nashville in just a short drive. Or you can stick closer and explore the beauty of Missouri. Biking to wine country along the Katy Trail has been a bucket list item for me for ages. And fall is the best time to do it!
Missouri has several different spots to explore wine country. You can take a drive down to St. Genevieve or hop on the train to Herman, we opted to get a little workout in without wine drinking and ride part of the Katy Trail to Augusta. The Katy Trail stretches 240 miles across Missouri and is a beautiful way to see the Show-Me state. We decided to take it easy since we planned on spending several hours at the wineries. (Wine + biking can lead to some cuts and scrapes FYI). So here is our advice for the perfect day trip to the wineries.
We started in Defiance which is just about 40 minutes from St. Louis. We brought our bikes but there's a great place - Katy Bike Rental - where you can rent bikes, pick up gear or chat up the helpful employees about your trip. Our route from Defiance to Augusta was about 8 miles, a little under 45 minute one way. The trail is beautiful. The crunch of the leaves under your wheels, the views of the Missouri River and fields. Its the perfect way to take in the beauty of the area. Plus the trail is flat and easy to ride. On the way to Augusta, there's a winery a few miles in - Sugar Creek Winery. You can stop there, but decided to keep going.
Along the route is also Klondike Park. It's a gorgeous park with hiking, biking and fishing. We stopped to take in the views of the river and grab a drink of water. The park is for another visit. We finally turned the corner and spotted the sign welcoming us to Augusta. Our booties were ready to hop off our bikes and ready for wine.
Our first stop was Augusta Winery. Heads up, the town is HILLY. So if you are biking, be prepared to hoof it, or hop off your bike and walk up the hills. For $5 at Augusta, we got a tasting of five wines. I am not a fan of sweet wine which for the longest time made me think I couldn't drink Missouri wine because so many of them are very very sweet. But there are a lot of great dry options. We tried some white and some red, my favorite red was the Norton, a full bodied red with berry notes. But given we were still a bit toasty from the bike ride, we opted to get a full glass of the Chardonel. It was crisp and light and perfect for sipping on the outdoor patio.
Next stop, we headed up another very steep hill to Holy Grail Winery. It's housed in an adorable little shed like building with a shaded garden area. This was by far the most hospitable stop - mainly because it wasn't crowded. The husband and wife team who own the winery walk us through their wines and their background. They even offered us some of their homemade sausage and venison to try. We sampled all reds, some heavy, some light, ended with a raspberry chocolate port. They were all delicious. Plus they sell chocolates that they import from Ireland. The smell inside the shop was intoxicating. We loved the Pinot Noir and purchased a bottle. The tasting was 5 wines for $5, but that charge is waved if you purchase a bottle. Across the street were a couple of darling antique shops.
Third stop was Mount Pleasant Winery. This is the biggest and most popular winery in Augusta and was packed on a Saturday afternoon. There as a wedding, a party and a live band, so the lines were a bit long, plus the tasting room was a bit crowded so I didn't feel we got a good description of the wines we were trying. We loved the Brut Imperial, a dry sparkling wine. After our tasting ($10 for 4, you get to keep the glass) we purchased a bottle of the Brut and headed to the patio. There's a restaurant onsite and we purchased a cheese and sausage plate and listened to the live band. It was a fun crowd on a beautiful day.
Our final stop was Augusta Brew Haus. Located on a hill overlooking the Katy Trail, they too had live music. We got a flight, sampling the blonde, IPA, Oktoberfest and Hefeweizen. The beers were tasty but we could tell if we had anymore we wouldn't be able to make that 8 mile ride back. We got back on our bikes and hit the trail. The ride back was quicker than the ride there, I think because we were pedaling quickly to get it over with. The soreness had set in and the wine only helped so much.
Back in Defiance if you're ready to keep drinking there are several other spots, including the Yellow Farmhouse Vineyard and Winery and Chandler Hill. Overall it's the perfect spot to spend a day that feels like a mini-vacation. Check out the little video we made of the day! I'd love to know, what's your favorite Missouri winery?
Today marks Day 11 of protests in St. Louis. Unless you really have been living under a rock, you’re aware that our city is once again under the spotlight after a white police officer killed a black man and was found not guilty. It’s been a tiring week for many – for those beyond frustrated with a legal system they do not feel will bring justice, for police officers working 12 hour shifts and for those of us in the newsroom who are doing are best to bring the most accurate coverage of everything happening on the streets of St. Louis.
The majority of the protests in our city have been peaceful. Disruptive, but peaceful. But some nights have turned violent. Windows have been shattered, officers have been hit with bricks, our crews have been threatened at gun point, spit on and called every name in the book. But we are committed to being on the ground, showing the viewer what’s happening.
Many people have said “just stop covering the protest, they’ll go away.” Well sorry to break it to you but that is simply not true. Whether our local news cameras are recording or not, someone is. Livestreamers, citizen journalists and anyone with a phone will continue to record what’s going on. But we as professional journalists believe we need to document and record and work to provide context. You may not agree with what you’re seeing on the TV – whether it’s police allowing protesters in the street or maybe you don’t like how police are wearing riot gear – but that doesn’t mean it’s not happening. And I believe we as journalists owe it to our community to bring them information.
Sometimes that information changes, and in breaking news situations things are happening fast. We do our best to only state facts, what we personally witness or what we are given from officials. But officials get it wrong too. I’ve had more hate emails, tweets and nasty Facebook comments than I can count. And they’re coming from “both sides.” Which in my opinion usually means I’m telling it down the middle... But I’ve also had strangers stop me at the grocery store, at the park, and on the street to thank me, and my coworkers for bringing them the coverage. Again they may not agree with it all, but those kind words, and their concerns for our safety mean a whole lot.
So thank you to the viewers, to those following along on Twitter, and for my mom’s friends who text her about my live shots. We do this for you. And I’ll end on this: Instead of typing something mean or hateful on Facebook, or making a judgment, try to make conversation instead. Real conversation. Ask a protester why they’re out there. Ask a police officer why they serve despite a tense climate. You just might learn something.
Here’s a look at some of my coverage throughout the last week of protest.
How in the world is it Labor Day weekend already? I swear we were just opening the pool on Memorial Day weekend. Wasn't it just my birthday? I have such mixed feelings about fall. While I love the cooling temperatures and the chance to throw on a cozy sweater, I really really love summer. And fall means winter is on its way...just not ready.
Good news is there are so many fun things planned this weekend to distract me!
I have always loved theme parties. From summer camp to college, I was always down to dress up for a party. By the end of college I had collected a serious costume box. But as you get older it seems costume parties just don't seem to happen as often. I for one think that needs to change. Thankfully I got the chance to dress up over the weekend thanks to the Pat Connolly Tavern. My friend Kate invited me to the VIP party to celebrate the Dogtown institution's 75th anniversary. The Irish bar has been a classic spot in the area since the 40s, so what better way to celebrate their birthday than with a 40's bash?
I was so impressed with all the fun costumes, I wish I had gone all out because hello! How often do you get to wear a hat? But I donned my circle skirt, red lip and tried my best at a 40's inspired up-do (spoiler alert, it did not come out like the YouTube video). Classic cars outside made for the perfect Instagram background and live music made us feel like we were right in the middle of the Notebook. But the best part was trying all their classic cocktails. With all the great cocktail bars in St. Louis, Pat's isn't one I often think of, but that all changed the moment I tried their Ward 24. Jameson, real grenadine, lemon and orange juice create the perfect boozy yet refreshing drink for summer. Of course you can never go wrong with a classic Manhatten. So if you missed the party don't fret, head on down to Pat's one night for a cocktail, and maybe don a hat for old time's sake.
Well it's been a while since my last #ToDoInTheLou post but I'm bringing it back! There are just too many fun events always going on around our city and so often people ask me what fun things I'm getting into. So here is a look at just a handful of things happening this weekend and where you will likely see me out and about!
Yoga at Eckerts: Does anything say summer more clearly than Eckert's peaches? Take advantage of what will be a gorgeous weekend with yoga outside at Eckerts. Yoga Buzz is putting on one of their fun outdoor yoga sessions and you get a bag of the most perfect peaches included in your ticket. Plus custard! Can't go wrong. Saturday 7/29 9am
The Pat Connolly Tavern 75th Birthday: I can't wait to done my 40's best and rock my old Hollywood waves Saturday night. The party is sold out but the after-party (kicking off at 11:00!) is open to the public. Pat's opened in 1942 and is one of the oldest operating bars in St. Louis, come celebrate the Dogtown favorite with classic cocktails and live music! Saturday 7/29 11pm Info here.
STL Women's Pop Up Shop: What better way to get some shopping in while also supporting some badass St. Louis makers? Check out the pop up shop featuring more than two dozen local boss babes. From Red Lettered Goods adorable prints to the gorgeous candles from Twinkle Brews, this is a pop-up I definitely don't want to miss. Saturday 7/29 10am-3pm at Lemon Gem in the Grove.
Beer Brunch at Vista Ramen: I've been wanting to check out the brunch at Vista Ramen for a while now and this weekend they are doing a beer brunch in collaboration with Hop Shop. Its just one of the many events kicking off St Louis Craft Beer Week and sounds like a delicious way to spend your Sunday! 7/30 10am Info and menu here.
Nudo House Opening; Speaking of ramen!! The long anticipated Nudo House STL is finally opening their doors in Creve Coeur. There's very little that will take me out to West County in terms of food but Qui Tran's ramen definitely will. Their menu was just posted to their Facebook page and besides for the ramen, everything looks amazing. I'm sure it will be packed this weekend but for a taste of those noodles, I'm willing to wait. Info on hours here.
Happy Weekend-ing friends! I'd love to hear about what events you're heading to this weekend!
Is Tuesday too early to start dreaming about Sunday brunch?
Yeah I don't think so either. You all know I have an ongoing list of restaurants I want to try and I swear every time I check one off another gets added! Turn recently opened in the .ZACK building in Midtown. .ZACK is a multi-purpose event space, there's also a new cocktail lounge, Sophie's Artist Lounge and Cocktail Lounge, that opened that I want to check out! The coolest thing about Turn is that it's record themed. The chef and owner used to be a DJ and the walls are decorated with records and there's a solid playlist of music streaming throughout the restaurant.
The cocktails were tasty and there were some unique breakfast offerings. We started with the paloma and mimosa to drink. Fresh squeezed juices take the cocktails up a notch. And of course I've never been able to pass up a biscuit and Turn offers a whole flight of them. The lemon-lavender biscuit was my favorite, with honey and seasonal jams.
The dill hollandaise on the L.E.O was a nice twist on the traditional eggs benedict. My boyfriend got the arepa which was the perfect savory breakfast, spicy chorizo with a yummy chili verde. There was an attention to detail on every dish that I appreciated and would expect from the chef who used to work at Cafe Osage (another brunch spot favorite!). The great thing is that this is another spot that now serves brunch during the week! They're open Tuesday-Sunday. But if you're out for Sunday brunch and you feel like continuing your day in Midtown, I suggest walking over to Urban Chestnut's beer garden for a complete Sunday Funday! Is it the weekend yet?
Mother's Day is right around the corner and if you haven't bought mom a present yet, don't fret! Luckily, there are so many cute local shops with the bunch of adorable stuff mom will love. (Hey, my mom, stop reading now, k thanks).
I feel terrible that I will be out of town this Mother's Day. I'm heading to New York to see my sister but I will definitely be making it up to mom. For the last two years my present to my mom has been to weed and plant the vegetable garden at her house. I've threatened to not do it this year because she is not the best gardener and if I don't come by weekly she will let it get out of hand. I mean we're talking zucchinis that grow to the size of my calf...BUT she said she definitely wants it again this year so that's my plan. Bowood Farms of course is where it's at when it comes to plants in St. Louis. They've got an incredible selection and are so helpful if you have questions on what to grow. But if you don't want to spend hours planting a garden, (my arms already hurt thinking about the work...) here's my list of other great gift ideas! All local to St. Louis.
-picks for mom-
1. I am obsessed with these prints from Red Lettered Prints featuring local chefs, this one is the buttermilk biscuit recipe from Yolklore. Shop here.
2. Lemon Gem in The Grove is perfect for creating little gifts, everything from kitchen gadgets to mini cook books, featuring your mom's favorite ingredient. Check out their Instagram here.
3. My mom and I love to take cooking classes together. I'm more of an activities gift-giver than a material one, and a bread baking class at Companion's Teaching Kitchen would be a great way to spend quality time together. Find their calendar of classes here.
4. You can't go wrong with a cute kitchen towel from Urban Matter. I bought my mom the cardinal one for Christmas. Check out their Instagram for hours here.
5. Again on the line of activities, tickets to the Muny are another great way to gift your mom some quality time together. We will definitely be seeing The Little Mermaid this summer. Find tickets here.
6. Mother's Day brunch is almost a given. And if you're looking for the perfect brunch with a view, check out Cielo at the Four Seasons. From fresh made donuts to an epic raw bar, mom will be happy. Reservations here.
7. My mom loves her Birch Box (a beauty subscription box), and I'm obsessed with the St. Louis version. Bit-O-Local features all St. Louis made products delivered right to your door. Order here.
8. If your mom is anything like mom, she can't start her day with out coffee. With the cute mugs from Arch Apparel she can drink her coffee while showcasing her love for St. Louis. Shop here.
9. You of course can't go wrong with jewelry for mom. But why not get her something unique like these gorgeous stone earrings from Union Studio. Check out their Instagram here.
For other local gift ideas, check out my shopping guides to the Central West End and Cherokee Street.
Usually I am the one asking the questions during an interview, so it always feels weird when the roles are reversed. But it was a treat to sit down for an interview with one of my neighbors, Nicki who writes a fantastic blog about life in the Central West End. We met for coffee and conversation at Silo Coffee + Goods in the TechArtista building in the CWE. I've met Nicki several times at different events throughout the last year, but this was a great way to get to know her as she got to know me.
We talked about everything from my typical day (spoiler, there is no typical day) to my views on growth in St. Louis to my favorite parts about living in the city. Its always fun to talk about my job to people because a lot of people have a very different idea of what I do as a TV reporter (spoiler, its not glamorous, no one is doing my hair and make-up). So its nice to let people know what actually goes into making a story appear on the 10:00 news every night.
Here's a little preview, and a question I get asked all the time - do I ever want to be an anchor?
Do you aspire to become an anchor one day?
“I’m happy in the field. The favorite part of my day is getting out and meeting people and sharing news with others. There is also the adrenaline rush of covering breaking news that I would really miss.
Head on over to Nicki's blog and read the full interview. While you're there, check out some of her other great posts about our wonderful neighborhood!
This has been a whirlwind of a week. Coming back from vacation is always tough and top that with a full schedule of work and volunteer commitments and it was a doozy. I am so excited to relax this weekend and spend time with my loved ones. A great friend and co-worker is getting married and my boyfriend will be back in town for the first time in two weeks
After a lot of tragedy in the news this week, from the murders in Fresno to a random murder of two workers here in St. Louis, it's making me want to take each day and live it to the fullest, giving hugs to my loved ones and taking a moment to appreciate the blessings of every day. I hope you do the same! Have a wonderful weekend!
Let's talk breakfast my friends. I love breakfast...when someone else is making it. I know they say it's the most important meal of the day but during the week I am more about grabbing some oatmeal with apples or a scrambled egg. I would rather just have some coffee and wait until lunch. But if someone else is making me breakfast well then I could make an argument that it's my favorite meal.
St. Louis has a ton of weekend brunch spots. Every neighborhood has a great place for eggs and Bloody Mary's for Sunday mornings. Some with hour long waits that are worth every minute. But today we're talking breakfast, not brunch. Because of my schedule, I am off on Fridays and a lot of times I'm ready for someone else to make me some delicious potatoes and bacon for the start of my weekend. But I've found there are not as many options for weekday breakfast. Enter, Egg.
Egg, located in Benton Park, opened last October. It originated as a brunch pop-up in Spare No Rib and then expanded to it's own concept. I went about a month ago and fell in love. They have a fantastic eclectic menu. It's short but the menu items each pack a punch. You could call it fusion. There's tex-mex elements and then there's a chakchouka, a traditionally Tunisian dish with eggs sauteed in a tomato sauce. I've yet to try it but definitely on my next visit.
You must try their take on eggs benedict. I went with the spinach and avocado, but there's also one with smoked pork belly that harks back to their original start as a barbaque restaurant (Spare No Rib moved to it's own location near Cherokee Street). Instead of your usual English muffin, the perfectly poached egg perches on top of a slightly sweet biscuit. It surprises your taste buds and veers away from the traditional brunch staple in the most perfect way.
The hashes are also fantastic. They pack a lot in that little bowl. Lots of veggies, spices and the potatoes have that perfect crispness. The El Cerdo hash with carnitas, corn and jalapenos packed a lot of heat! It's all perfect hangover food for weekend brunch but the portions also aren't insane that if you go for a week day breakfast you don't feel like you immediately need to go home for a nap.
But if you are looking to indulge during your week day...or you're visiting on the weekend, their Bloody Mary is not to be missed. They make their own pepper-infused vodka and homemade mix. Its the perfect amount of heat, just like a lot of their dishes. Fresh squeezed orange juice tops a generous pour of sparkling wine for their mimosas.
Egg is opened Tuesday through Sunday. Where are your favorite weekday breakfast spots?
Welcome to my blog! Here you'll find a behind the scenes look at the day-to-day life of a TV news reporter. I have a love for food, traveling and all things St. Louis. This is a place for me to write a bit more about my passions.