Monday, April 07, 2014

St. Louis Cardinals Opening Day 2014

"Skip work for opening day" is item number one on St. Louis Magazine's "101 Things Every St. Louisan Must Do". I didn't need much convincing for this one.

Opening Day is quite the event in St. Louis, and people go downtown to celebrate even if they don't have tickets to the game. Unfortunately it was pretty rainy on this particular day, so a lot of the extra stuff (concerts and so forth) that happens outside the stadium was muted.

I was worried about sitting in the rain for an entire baseball game, so I wore this doofy disposable poncho. It pretty much did its job.

There was some interesting pageantry before the game. First all of the shiny trophy hardware was brought out. I was initially confused because the Cardinals have won the World Series 11 times but there were only 4 trophies carried out. This is because the Commissioner's Trophy wasn't even a thing until 1967. Before then the winning team got a handful of wooden nickels. Fun fact!

Next a bunch of the greats from Cardinals' Christmas past were trotted out, each riding their own car around the field. The only two I recognized were Ozzie Smith and Tony La Russa. Ozzie got his own little highlight reel played on the jumbotron. I felt bad for the other players and for myself. It would have been awesome if they had all gotten their own little video. Then at least I would get to know who the heck all of them are, and I would get to see some awesome old timey Cards footage.

The field was wet so the little worker ants ran around and spread out dry dirt. Because the field was wet the Budweiser clydesdales didn't do their little parade around the field. I thought that was lame.

Luckily for us we are poor and had really bad seats. So bad, in fact, that were were under the awning that sits on top of the stadium. That kept the rain off of our heads quite nicely. Our tickets were really expensive and awful, so I struck back against the man by smuggling in booze. Take that man!

Ultimately I thought it was fun but not worth the crazy price we paid to attend. I'm glad I did it once!

Sunday, April 06, 2014

Hanging Out With the Pink Sisters

Our quest to complete St. Louis Magazine's "101 Things Every St. Louisan Must Do" continues. This time we headed to the north side to "listen to the Pink Sisters at Mount Grace Chapel".

Sister Act this place was not. Yes there was singing, but it was even more somber than the church norm. There was a bit of theater exhibited when a giant red curtain seemingly drew itself back to reveal a giant golden Eucharist holder cross thing.

So the full name of the place is Mount Grace Chapel of Perpetual Adoration. I didn't realize until afterwards that at least one of the nuns is in the chapel praying to the Eucharist 24 hours a day.

A large fence separated the pinkies from the rest. Was the fence to keep them in or us out? It's a mystery.

Saturday, April 05, 2014

Festivals, Festivals

This was one of those Saturdays where we started adventuring fairly early, and it was so jam packed full of awesome that by the end of the day it was hard to remember the beginning.

We started off at Washington University's 24th annual Pow Wow, which was an interesting little event. A gymnasium was full of costumed dancers bouncing around, some American Indian style food, and lots of people selling turquoise and moccasins and that type of crap. We poked our heads in, looked around, and the hit the road.

I would have tried the food, but the line was practically out the door.

We headed deep into the North Side to get some interesting food for lunch. While I was reading about the wondrous St. Paul sandwich that we had at a northern chop suey joint last month, I picked up the trail of another weird sandwich. The St. Paul was featured in the PBS documentary Sandwiches That You Will Like, and so was "pig ears and snouts" at the famous C & K Barbecue. Let's do it.

C & K Barbecue is located inside what was once a gas station, bring to mind my visit to Kansas City's lauded gas station bbq joint Oklahoma Joe's. The interior was similar to the chop suey place: like a bullet proof glass fortress. I guess robberies are a problem. Famous restaurants with god-awful interiors often have the best food, though, so I let it slide.

Lydia got some really excellent pulled pork sandwich, and I got a pig ear sandwich. I asked if they would put snouts and ears on the same slice of bread but the answer was negatory. Sissies. I had just assumed that the ears would be fried. Pretty much a handfull of grass from your front lawn would taste great if fried correctly so I didn't see much danger with the ears. But they weren't fried, they were boiled. They were like slimy mushroom caps. The ears still had the holes in them from where the pig's ear name tag once dangled. One bite of that business was enough. Lydia shared her pulled pork.

The final St. Louis sandwich challenge on the list: brain sandwich at Ferguson's Pub. I'll just tell Lydia we are going out to get ice cream.

The final leg of our festival trip was Missouri Tartan Day in St. Charles, Missouri. We met up with friends Zeke, Angela, and their countless children, Seago, and Margaret. The highlight of the day was the food. We dined on meat pies and haggis and chips and washed it down with Irn Bru.

I've always heard haggis is awful, but this was pretty great. I don't know if maybe this was a toned down version for American consumption, but I would definitely order it again.

Award for most awesome goes to the people who had a tractor motor set up to make ice cream.

Fiddler with cowboy hat and kilt? St. Charles says "yes please".

One unexpected part of the festival was a whole lane of tents that were devoted to and staffed by decedents of Scottish clans, complete with family tartan clothing. There were maps and books everywhere, and several were trying to sign up new converts. I don't think I've encountered another ethnic group that is as serious about their heritage. One little thing that I learned is that the "Mac" in Scottish names means "son of", referring to their clan. So "Macdonald" is the Anglicized version of "Son of Dòmhnall". It was a good day.