When you walk through the doors of Vicia in the Cortex District in the Central West End you feel like you are instantly transported to some place much cooler. Don't get me wrong. you all KNOW I'm obsessed with St. Louis, and for those of us that know, we're well aware our food scene can rival that of many major metropolitan cities, but lots of people still underestimate us. We're the David of the story (as in verses Goliath...).
Well they shouldn't. And they definitely shouldn't after they eat at Vicia. I'm splitting this into two posts (at this writing I still haven't yet been for dinner) because the lunch service verse dinner service has a different vibe. Lunch is counter service and meant to get the busy tech folks of the Cortex District (and everyone else coming to dine at the most anticipated restaurant of the year) in and out quick. I went to one of the pop-ups hosted by husband and wife duo behind Vicia so I was excited to see it all in action once they opened. Tara Gallina is the general manager, while her husband and St. Louis native, Michael Gallina is the master mind behind the incredible food coming out of the open kitchen. And let me just say, you could not ask for a nicer couple, every time I've been to a pop-up or the restaurant, they have both been beyond gracious and you can tell they have a passion for what they do. Some people could easily be intimidated by their concept of "vegetable-forward" cuisine, but they (as well as the rest of the wonderful staff) will walk you through everything.
The food is simple, yet stunningly creative. A simple carrot soup is illuminated with a multitude of flavors, each dish bursting with surprises in texture and taste. On the lunch menu you can pick two or three of the five items on the menu. It rotates with ingredients, and let me be the first to say, do not be overwhelmed by the idea of a more vegetable-centric menu. I am a burger girl through and through but the way Vicia treats and handles vegetables is an art. But for your meat fill. do not miss the sandwich on focaccia bread made in-house, topped with salami, mustard and a spicy touch of arugula.
To end an already delicious meal, do not miss the pastries. More specifically, do not miss the chocolate chip cookie. The perfect ratio of crunchy outside, with a soft and almost gooey inside, sprinkled with the perfect amount of sea salt Its truly heaven in dessert form.
The space is as equally stunning as the food, simple yet elegant. There's a patio with a huge wood-fired grill that I can't wait to spend many summer nights on sipping cocktails. This is a restaurant that many could say wouldn't do well in the ole' Midwest, it's too froofroo (sp?), not enough meat, blah blah blah. But let me tell you, from the looks of the crowds, this place is a hit and I can't wait for everyone to see the cool factor they are adding to the neighborhood.
Have you been to Vicia? I'd love to hear what you had! And what you thought! Let me know in the comments.
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 write these posts on what is the start to my weekend, but because of the historic flooding in the St. Louis area, I will be working extra this week. Everyone is putting in long hours this week, everyone at the station, but more importantly, all the first responders and emergency officials are working to keep everyone safe from the floods. Its easy to find myself complaining of exhaustion and the long rain-filled days, but then I think about all the people who are fighting to keep their homes and businesses safe and I find myself shutting my mouth real quick. And even during the tough weeks, there's so much beauty and good around us. From the stunning field of wild flowers I stumbled upon the other day, to the amazing spirit of the volunteers, to the just how amazing coffee has tasted this week. I'm looking forward to savoring my one day off tomorrow, celebrating Cinco de Mayo and seeing friends and family who are in town this weekend. I hope everyone gets to enjoy some much needed sunshine this week.
On the first day of college orientation I met two girls that would become my best friends. Sometimes I pinch myself because I feel so lucky to have found two girls that just get me. The sad part is though we all live hundreds of miles apart. That's why our annual girl's trip is so vital. This year we chose Lake Tahoe!
I had zero idea of what to expect of Lake Tahoe in April. We sort of just chose it on a whim, and let me tell you, BEST DECISION EVER. I've been fortunate to travel to some pretty incredible places in my life, but Lake Tahoe was honestly one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. Because of the insanely wet winter California is having we got to experience all of the snow in Tahoe, which made our stay in our little cabin AirBNB all the more perfect.
If you're planning a trip to Tahoe there a few things to know before you decide where to stay. The lake is straddled by Nevada and California on either side. There is North Tahoe which is in California and is about a 45 minute drive from Reno airport (about two and a half hours from Sacramento). This is the more quaint part of the lake. We stayed in Carnelian Bay. It's close to Sqaw Valley and North Star ski resorts and lots of great bars and restaurants. South Tahoe is known as the more party side of the lake. That's where all the casinos are located. We never made it down there because we were going for a more chill trip.
We stayed in the most adorable Air BnB cabin. It was the guest house for Suzanne and Stuart and while it doesn't have a view of the lake, the cabin could not have been any cozier. And our hosts were so wonderful! They even offered to cook us a home-cooked meal . With a hot tub out back, it was the perfect place for our weekend girls trip.
Once we got settled in to our cabin on Thursday, we went to Garwoods for happy hour. It was the restaurant recommended by nearly every person I talked to and they are known for their strong tropical drinks. Now I don't know about you but I can't think of any better way to watch the snow falling that with a pink drink with an umbrella. We got the infamous 'Wet Woody,' a strong and tasty frozen cocktail made with rum. There are tons of variations, all with names that will make you blush. Go for happy hour! We ate an early dinner there as well. And ended the night (an early one since we had traveled all day), with a glass of wine at Uncorked, a wine bar down the road.
Our trip was in mid-April, right around when normally the ski resorts are closing up for the season but because of the wet winter some of the resorts say they will be open for skiing until mid-summer! I am by no means a skier, but since we were in Tahoe, I felt I had to give it a go! We decided on Squaw Valley because it was near our Air BnB (we were initially planning on going to Heavenly). Squaw Valley is one of the biggest ski areas in the country and the site of the 1960's Winter Olympics. It was stunning. There were tons of slopes for beginners (like me!) and a lot of intermediate ones that I worked my up to. But pay attention to the signs and grab a trail map! Otherwise you might end up on a Black Diamond (also like me...I survived, but spent a lot of time in the snow). The weather couldn't have been more perfect, not a cloud in the ski and temperatures in the mid-40s. We skied all day, taking breaks for a cold beer at the bar. There are a lot of bars and restaurants in the resort area as well, plus shopping!
FUN FACT! If you fly in through Reno, you can ski for FREE the day of your flight. You just need to show your boarding pass at the concierge at the airport.
After a long day on the slopes, we hit up the hot tub at our cabin and headed for burgers and beers at Bridgetender.
A bit bruised and battered from the slopes, we headed out to breakfast for some much needed sustenance and Bloody Mary's! We went to Log Cabin for breakfast in Kings Beach. Everything is pretty close together along this part of the north side of the Lake but you definitely need a car to get around. After breakfast we went on a fantastic hike. Eagle Rock is a dormant volcano and only about a 20 minute hike up to the top. However, we were dealing with four feet of snow so it definitely took longer. But worth every second! The views from the top were incredible. You can see the entire lake, plus the mountains. We spend a long time taking pictures and playing in the snow. It's steep in parts so make sure you wear good shoes. There's not much in ways of a sign, so to get to it, park along West Lake Boulevard. It's just across from Idylwild Way. In the snow, there's not much in terms of a trail, but it's a popular spot so you're bound to run into other hikers if you're confused, just start heading up and you'll find your way!
The great part of Lake Tahoe is how accessible it is for others in California! Not so much for St. Louis girls like me... But our friend from San Francisco came up for the day and my boyfriend who's working in Fresno right now joined us as well! Saturday afternoon we headed up to North Star Resort for the day. Its another great ski resort but we were ready to just relax. We went to the Ritz for afternoon cocktails. If you're heading to Tahoe and are looking to splurge, the Ritz at the North Star is definitely worth it. It was stunning. The weather was gorgeous again, sunny and nearly 50 degrees, so we sat outside and watched the skiers.
For our last night, we wanted to go to a bit nicer of a dinner and got lucky with getting a table at Christy Hill in Tahoe City. There was a bit of a wait, so we walked down to the dock by the lake and watched the sun set. Christy Hill is beautiful California cuisine with an incredible view of the lake. A bottle of wine with my favorite people and a plate of incredible hamachi crudo, and I was a happy girl.
One thing I love about my friend Julianne is her spontaneity. We had a rough plan for our trip, but we were playing a lot of it by ear. On our way up to North Star resort, Julianne spotted a sign for snowmobiling. She got on the phone and found they had open spots for Sunday. I was a little hesitant, I've never been on a snowmobile, but I said yes. BEST decision ever. We fueled up with breakfast at Fire Sign Cafe and headed to the meet up spot. I have no idea what the place was called but it was right off of 267. We rode in pairs, and the guides were wonderful. They walked us through everything, and then took us on a two-hour ride. We got to go down these beautiful and serene trails. There was a frozen lake that we got to let loose and use like a track. I was a nervous wreck, so I let Matt drive ours for the most part. We then took them up the mountain for another incredible view of the lake. That's a view that would never get old to me. It was easily one of the most fun things I've done in a while, and worth every penny.
We wrapped up our trip at a cute coffee shop, Java Hut. Chatting about our weekend, and looking over photos with a delicious mocha was the perfect way to spend the last hour with my best friends.
Overall Lake Tahoe was such an incredible trip. It was the perfect place for a long weekend getaway. I cannot wait to visit again in the summer time and do all of the fun lake activities!
A week that kicks off with an epic brunch spread is always destined to be a good one. I was invited to attend a brunch event with several other of my favorite local bloggers and Instagramers on Sunday and we had such a wonderful time talking about St. Louis and the food scene here, lots of laughs and new friends, it really set the mood for the week. (More on the brunch at the Four Seasons coming soon!)
Of course after stuffing myself with brunch I vowed I would eat healthier and at home the rest of the week....but life is simply too short and there is too much good food in St. Louis for that! I tried a few new places (Zza Pizza, Stacked Burger, and the new Kaldi's in the CityGarden) and don't regret my choices one bit!
But on a non-food related note, I also loved getting to work in the yard some this week. It's exhausting but I love seeing the flowers bloom and I can't wait to host BBQs in the backyard! And the other thing that had me all kinds of excited this week was the premiere of The Handmaid's Tale on Hulu. Has anyone watched it? I am SO hooked. I loved the book and the show is definitely doing it justice and going beyond. I love that they are expanding it with a back story, giving you an idea of how we ended up in this awful dystopian world. Its awesome but terrifying.
Despite some serious wet weather this weekend, I'm looking forward to hanging out with Matt, watching some Blues playoff hockey and eating another delicious brunch, this time at my friend Macy's coffee shop, COMA! Have a great weekend all! And stay dry!
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!
The flowers are blooming, the patios are open and spring has officially sprung in St. Louis. You know I love a good list, so here's a look at the things I plan on checking off my bucket list this spring.
1. Take an outdoor yoga class
2. Road trip to Ava, IL to Scratch Brewery
3. Host a BBQ in our backyard
4. Picnic at the new Arch grounds
5. Pick strawberries at Eckerts
6. Make homemade jam with strawberries
7. Cocktails on a new outdoor patio
8. Volunteer at a community garden
9. Plant seeds
10. Eat lunch in City Garden
Soon enough it will be summer, but there is something distinctly special about these spring days. Whether it's napping with the windows open as a spring storm rolls through or taking Ellie to a farmer's market, I plan to take in each moment and not wish for summer to get here quicker. Working on living in the moment more, and hey, the moments on this list are looking pretty good! What are you planning on crossing off your spring bucket list?
Another Election Day in the books. St. Louis had a historic night on Tuesday, electing the first female mayor in our city's history. But some would say that news was overshadowed by the vote to NOT publicly fund a soccer stadium. It was a heated debate, one honestly no one could predict until the votes were cast. And trust me, lots of people asked me what I thought would happen. I had no idea. But we know now, the people did not want to use city funds for soccer. Or at least the 30 percent of voters that came out to the polls.
I was shocked when someone asked me about my "I Voted" sticker, asking what election was going on. As a reporter obviously I'm a little more in tune with what's going on but I'm always surprised when I hear people don't know about an election. We've been talking about it for ages and there are billboards every where (plus my mail box has been filled with nothing but political mailers!).
But that's on us as the media to make sure more people know next time, I'm always asking people who they consume news, I know many don't watch it on TV, so is it Facebook, is it an app, Twitter?
We need to know so we can get people the information that impacts their every day life. Another story I did this week was about big changes to a major roadway. County leaders are looking to take it from five lanes to three, that's going to affect a lot of people! And the county wants to hear from people, but how do we make sure all those people KNOW their opinion matters? That's the million dollar question. But this story was one that generated a lot of opinions.
I wanted to start off talking to a local business and that led me to Federhofer's Bakery in Affton. I LOVE discovery new businesses when out reporting. Especially businesses where I can eat donuts. The bakery was in support of the changes, but others were not. We talked to homeowners who are worried about traffic. I talked to both if them for 10 minutes or so, plus the man in charge of the project. That makes it a challenge to fit all the different sides into a minute and a half story. But that's my job! And I wouldn't change it. :)
Have questions about reporting? Fire away in the comments below! I'd love to give you more insight into my day.
So how is it already April? This year is flying by. I’m taking a look at my goals for the year and the one I am definitely nailing is traveling more. One of my goals was to travel to several new cities this year and I’m finally getting around to posting about my first one - Miami!
Our long weekend trip to Miami was Matt and my anniversary/Christmas gift to each other. Technically it wasn’t a “new” city since I went when I was a kid. But since the only thing I remember about that trip was buying a white corduroy blazer from AX Exchange (yes take a moment and let that image sink in), I feel like this was a first time trip. Plus Matt used to live there so it was so excited to get to see a part of his old life.
We flew into Fort Lauderdale because we flew on Southwest. So we picked up our rental car and drove to Miami. First stop was getting lunch and cocktails. We had lunch at Suviche in Wynwood for fresh ceviche and mojitos. The rain cleared up just in time for our afternoon. We walked around Wynwood, which is my kind of neighborhood. Its the former warehouse district so its still very industrial but its been transformed with incredible murals and new boutiques, bars and galleries. We hit up two breweries - Concrete Beach and Wynwood Brewery. Because the rain was on and off, we hung around and played games at Wynwood Brewery which had a solid shelf of board games.
We checked into our hotel in downtown Brickell. We stayed at the Aloft Brickell which we really enjoyed, the location was perfect for us since we weren't doing too much on South Beach. Just wish the weather had cooperated more for some pool time!
We did head to South Beach for pre-dinner drinks at a really cool bar called the Broken Shaker. Its in a hostel/hotel with a gorgeous pool setting. Dinner was back downtown at Mignonette. We sat at the raw bar and had oysters and some incredible seafood. Following dinner we headed over to a great cocktail bar down the street, Corner Bar.
We woke up and head straight for coffee. I had read about Panther Coffee and it was delicious. There are a couple of locations around the city but we went to the one in Wynwood. We got an empanada and croissant to share for breakfast. Then we hit the streets. The weather was one our side so we wanted to take in all of the murals in Wynwood. It was early enough in the morning that it felt like we had the streets to ourselves to admire all the cool artwork. We also popped over the actual Wynwood Walls, which is a curated space in between several buildings with of course a trendy juicery inside.
For lunch, it was time for tacos. We went to Coyo. It was packed, so we grabbed our tacos (shrimp, chicken, asada), guac and churros, and headed to stand in the sun. We followed lunch with another brewery - J Wakefield Brewery. This was probably my favorite. They have a lot of sours, with fruit accents. Really tasty IPAs that were perfect for sipping all afternoon. Favorites were Stush, a berlinner weisse and Mango and Cash, a double IPA.
For dinner on Saturday we headed into the Design District for Michael’s Genuine. Michael’s Genuine is one of those rare restaurants. It’s been around 10 years and is still attracting great reviews for its seasonal and local dishes, plus huge crowds.
We aren’t big club people so we headed to some bars in Wynwood for a little dancing. Gramps was a really cool spot with an outdoor patio and dance area. I just wish it was a little warmer and we could have enjoyed it more. Here we had our favorite cocktail of the weekend, the Rosemary’s Baby, gin, lemon and Earl Grey simple syrup with a piece of rosemary that they lit on fire giving it a smoky taste.
Beach Day! We headed to South Beach to get our fill of the ocean, unfortunately the wind was not our friend and we were whipped to death by the sand. The water in February was also a little too chilly given the temperatures. Once we couldn’t take the wind any longer we headed to Ocean Drive to check out the shops. It was packed with not only people but pretty much every store you could want. We caught the sun setting over the harbor at Monty’s South Beach over a plate of oysters.
For dinner we met up with friends at Cake Thai. We shared a bunch of dishes which were all incredible, but the service was lacking unfortunately, as several of our dishes were forgotten or took forever to come out. The restaurant is fairly new so hopefully they will get that hammered out because that yellow curry dish would have me coming back again and again.
After dinner we walked over to The Wynwood Yard, a really good spot with live music, a bar and food trucks in a permanent outdoor space. We had shaved ice cream, which was melt in your mouth good.
On our last day in town we needed to check to more food musts off our list - pastries from Zak the Baker and a cubano sandwich. Zak the Baker is located in Wynwood (told you it was gong to be my favorite neighborhood). They have their bakery and then down the street they have a kosher deli. Honestly breakfast at the delli looked incredible, but my heart was set on pastries. Matt and I went all our and split four different items - croissant, chocolate croissant, an incredible babka and a cinnamon roll. Guys, this place was beyond good. I desperately wanted to try their bread, but our stomachs could take no more. Next time!
We spent the rest of the morning lounging by the pool at Aloft, soaking up a few rays of sunshine before they darted behind the clouds. We hit the road to head to the airport, but not without stopping for a Cubano. We asked several locals for the best spot - there were mixed opinions of course but we settled on Enriqueta’s Sandwich Shop. When you walk in at lunch and it’s packed with locals, you know you’ve picked right. We sat up at the counter at the simple, no fuss eatery and placed our orders. For me - chicken soup, with the most delicious broth, giant chunks of giant and big slices of veggies. I could have been satisfied with just that. But I had a Cubano coming. I’m no expert in Cubanos but for me it was everything I wanted, the perfect ratio of pickles, mustard, ham, pork, and Swiss. After our morning of eating, I felt like I could fall right into a food coma, so we grabbed a cortadito for the road. The strong Cuban coffee drink of half espresso and half milk. The milk isn’t frothy like a cappuccino, but dense, think more cafe con leche.
Our trip was the perfect amount of relaxation and exploration, and like almost all my vacations focused on eating and drinking my way through a new city. For me, I think the best way to explore a new city or culture is through their food. I’d love to hear your favorite spots because we have another trip to Miami planned this winter for a wedding!
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.