Monday, November 21, 2011

Giovanni's On the Hill

I will be the first one to tell you, I love anything fancy. Say what you will, but I enjoy getting dressed up, great atmosphere and wonderful food. When my fiance told me that he wanted to take me a nice dinner at a fancy, well known, Italian restaurant for our anniversary, I didn't hesitate.

The last time we went to The Hill, we did not have a great experience. My fiance wasn't wearing a jacket and we were not allowed inside. This time, we would be prepared. He wore dress pants, dress shirt, nice shoes and a jacket. I wore a dress, and we were both looking pretty snazzy. When we looked at Giovanni's website, I was very impressed. President Ronald Reagan, President George Bush and Oprah Winfrey have all visited and have pasta dishes named after them! We decided that we needed reservations.

We made reservations for 6:30 on a Friday night. When we walked inside it was very quiet and had many tables open still. I felt a little silly that we had made reservations. I then thought about our 6:30 reservation. What was I thinking? That's way too early for the distinguished set! Oh well, at least we will get great service, and I won't be ready to eat my hand by the time we're seated.

We were seated in the dimly lit back room and greeted by a handsome looking, middle aged man with an Italian server's attitude, but an indistinguishable accent. We started with water, which probably made him think, "oh great, I got the cheap youngsters". I was just trying to be healthy, and I was really thirsty! I looked to my right and there was a couple wearing jeans. That's fine, I thought, just being casual. Then I looked to my left and saw a disheveled looking twenty something with a hoody and tennis shoes. This is it, all formalities have officially left the country. Although we didn't have to get dressed up after all, I was glad that we did. In a way, it marked the occasion.

I decided on the Pappardelle alla Bella Oprah. How could anything associated with Oprah be bad right? On my strong recommendation, my finance went with the Bucatini all'Amatriciana. Both were good, but mine was definitely the winner and if I went again I might order the same thing. The Bucatini all'Amatriciana tasted a bit too normal, like a standard spaghetti. I always grade a restaurant on their bread, and the bread here was very good, and served with olive oil.

I was a little shocked at how rudely the staff spoke to each other, loud enough for customers to hear. It made me a little uncomfortable. That was the only thing I disliked about Giovanni's. I highly recommend it and I hope to go back some day.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Duck Room, Blueberry Hill

I wasn't quite sure what to expect when I agreed to go the Duck Room one night after a St. Louis Blues hockey game. All I knew going in was that it is in the basement of Blueberry Hill restaurant on Delmar.

Walking down the narrow stairs into the basement, is like walking into another era. The low ceilings and brick and wood decor, make you feel like you're at one of the Beatles first performances at the Cavern club in Liverpool. What a great, intimate venue! So intimate that the majority of the audience, most of whom were over 40, felt comfortable enough to get up and dance. Naturally, we made our way to the tiny, crowded, dance floor as well. Concerts in the Duck Room are not for spectators, which is good since there aren't enough chairs for everyone to sit anyway. If you must have a seat, you need to get there pretty early. If it's a very popular show, e.g. Chuck Berry (the original duck walker himself), an hour ahead of show time is still not early enough.

The sound in The Duck Room has been perfected. It is neither too soft nor too loud. You can sing along without hearing yourself but your ears won't be ringing on your way home.

After my first experience at the Duck Room was so great I had to go back. I have since been to the Duck Room two more times, and had two enjoyable experiences. I highly recommend this place!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

City Diner (North Grand)

City Diner at the Fox on Urbanspoon
After seeing a show at The Fox Theatre, there is another spectacle to watch right next door. The City Diner, located right next to The Fox Theatre, is the perfect people watching venue. That's without even going inside! With its all glass walls, the diner likens a fascinating store window display when the sun goes down. After walking by the Diner for years, wanting to venture inside, I finally got the chance to see what it's all about.

The decor in the City Diner is a bit confusing. At first the colors, clean lines, and the light fixtures would suggest a modern theme. At the same time, the booths, star burst patterns, and geometric shapes are circa 1950's. There might be some parallels there, but when you throw in lava lamps that's when I'm stumped on the theme.

Admittedly I am a breakfast food junkie, so extra points were awarded when I saw the all day breakfast menu. My crew ordered the trio grilled cheese with fries, chicken strips with fries, the garden burger, and I had the Greek omelet. There was a fuss made over the grilled cheese, "oh it's the best!", and the fries. I didn't hear much about the chicken strips or garden burger so I will say they must not have been spectacular. My omelet was very good. It had spinach and feta and it came with a side of hash browns and toast.

The service we received left more to be desired. Our server was not friendly and our order took a very long time. To be fair, this was during the lunch rush. All in all, I think I will return to City Diner. Maybe for a late snack after a show at The Fox, or maybe just for some pancakes at midnight.

Monday, June 21, 2010

First Day of Summer

Hey remember when I used to write a blog? Yeah, I know it's been a while. Things have been crazy busy lately. There are never enough hours in a day. Work, workout, read, sleep, repeat. Honestly I don't know how some women work full time, have a family and a house to take care of and maintain their sanity. I only have myself to worry about, and I can't seem to get anything accomplished!

These hot days are flying by and I can't believe it's the first day of summer already. Wasn't it just summer of '09 a month ago? Summer has been alright so far, although not quite what I imagined. I tend to be an eternal optimist, so expectations can get a little too high at times.

I really like my job at Family Hospice. For the first time in my life I feel like I have a "grown up" job. I'm starting to really connect with the youth at my church, and I love spending time with them.

Although I hate to be bored, sometimes I let myself get too busy and there isn't a chance to let my mind wander. That's bad because it leaves no time for creativity, or reflection. At the same time, it's good because it leaves no time for TOO MUCH reflection and the often accompanying gloomy feelings. I need to work on that, or I'll never be able to sit still :)

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Dangling Modifier

At times I can feel pretty low. It usually happens when I'm alone. When life slows down, if only for a day or two, and my mind starts to wander. I hate that I allow it to happen, and I'm a firm believer that we have power over our thoughts. I also think that we have to choose to be happy, even when our circumstances don't encourage it. Although I believe all these things, I sometimes embrace my misery. As I write this, I am doing just that.

I should write an anonymous blog so that I could write about all of my true thoughts and feelings, and people could read it and think, "Ahh I'm not the only one. What a relief". As apposed to when readers know you and they might read something and think, "Wow, that Kristina's an odd duck". They probably think that anyway, and I don't mind. It's our oddities that make us unique :)

The thing that's frustrating is that I try to fix things on my own. I learn a valuable lesson, and I know that God is the only answer. I vow to change my ways, and then I drift right back to where I started some how. I'm like a person walking around in the dark, who keeps bumping into the same things over and over and over again. I get mad at myself, but I don't change. I have formed some really ugly habits, and they continue to repeat themselves.

Mainly, I think I feel down when I think about blocked goals. The way I have imagined and do imagine my life to be. The disappointments and harsh reality checks. Aspirations that I do not know how to begin to achieve. Feelings of wasted time, and poor choices don't really help the matter either. Is this all normal? Am I the only one? Sorry to be a downer, this is what happens when I'm too introspective haha.

Monday, May 03, 2010

Back to your regularly scheduled programming

Now back to reading the Bible in a year (with some brief side notes I'm sure). I'm now 1/3 of the way through the entire thing!

I read Psalms 103:1-22 tonight as part of my daily reading. It is one of the most uplifting sections of Psalms I've read since January. "Praise the Lord, O my soul, and forget not all his benefits-who forgives all your sins and heals all your diseases, who redeems your life from the pit and crowns you with love and compassion, who satisfies your desires with good things so that your youth is renewed like the eagle's." WOW, and as if that's not enough, "He does not treat us as our sins deserve or repay us according to our iniquities". No Karma or "What goes around comes around" to worry about when you're one of Gods children. Of course I'm not saying that bad things do not still happen, that would be foolish.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

He didn't bring us out this far to take us back again

Things were going so great in our family. A new baby is on the way, we all get a long and are pretty tight knit, and best of all, everyone was healthy again. For those of you who don't know, last January, my Dad was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma. He was given a clean bill of health by June. The last few monthly checkups were great. He was almost 100% of what he was before the cancer.

Last Friday my Dad had to go in for a few tests because they saw a "shadow" during his monthly checkup. Monday when I got home, we were eating dinner and I nonchalantly asked, "Oh did you get a good report today?" "Nope, it's back and I need four treatments", my Dad said almost as casually as I had asked. Instantly the mood at the table changed and things were awkward. I didn't want to ask anymore questions yet. I was shocked.

Last night my Dad and I looked at his C-T Scan on my computer. Today my parents went to to Barnes Jewish Hospital to pass along that CD with his information on it, and have a four hour meeting with a specialist. Probably not how my Mom wanted to spend her birthday. The Dr.s are extremely hopeful, and are wanting to try a different, and stronger procedure than last time.

All that I ask of anyone reading this is that you don't speak anything negative about it. We are all praying, some are fasting, and we believe that he will be healed. He is most likely starting treatments this Monday. If you get a chance, please keep him in your prayers.

God Says: So shall My word be that goes forth out of My mouth:it shall not return to Me void [without producing any effect, useless],but it shall accomplish that which I please and purpose,and it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.
-Isaiah 55:10-11

That means that each of the Words in the Bible will do what it says. It actually has the power to produce results that we can see here in the physical realm!

God also says: I am alert and active, watching over My word to perform it.
- Jeremiah 1:12

Believe and receive!