Monday, June 23, 2014

Spa, Fun and Dining in St. Louis

Day two in St. Louis for Mom and I was my favorite kind of day – starting at the spa.

We were at the Four Seasons St. Louis in a beautiful suite overlooking the Gateway Arch. The first day was filled with exploring and we had a great time.

We enjoyed a light yogurt parfait breakfast before heading down to the spa. The atmosphere was quite relaxing and I took advantage of the relaxation room, steam room and sauna before my treatment.

It was a heavenly hot stone massage for me, while Mom chose to get a lymphatic massage, which she said was wonderful thanks to a well-trained masseuse.

Mary from the Enjoy St. Louis Convention and Visitors Bureau picked us up soon after we were done to continue our tour of the city. She told us about the Downtown Trolley, which circulates that area and the City Museum, and the other trolleys that will take you to various attractions in the city at little cost. She also told us that the city was breaking ground on a new trolley system for next year.

Our itinerary for the day took us to Forest Park, the largest park in St. Louis and twice the size of Central Park in New York. Within this 1,100 acre complex – which was the entrance to the 1904 World’s Fair -- you can find the Missouri History Museum, the St. Louis Zoo, the Art Museum, the Science Center, and the Planetarium. And, most of these are free of admission.

We decided to check out the St. Louis History Museum and started off with lunch in the Bixby Restaurant there. We had a window table with beautiful views of the park. It came with terrific food, including an excellent Hummus Platter, Asparagus Bisque, Crab Cakes, Mont Cristo Sandwich, and Chocolate Tart, which the three of us shared.

While I enjoyed the entire museum, the highlights were two special exhibits. The first was in the Lindbergh Gallery and featured the Spirit of St. Louis and the Lindbergh story.

The other special exhibition at the Art Museum was made to order for me to explore – American Spirits The Rise and Fall of Prohibition.

It was quite extensive and something that I recommend everyone to go see before it closes August 17, 2014.

We had planned on going to the Botanical Gardens next, but the weather was not cooperating. Instead we took a driving tour through the rest of Forest Park, where we saw the golf courses, the Art Museum (the only original building left from the World’s Fair), the Paddle Boats on the lake, and The Muny, the world’s largest outdoor theater.

We then drove by some other St. Louis highlights: Washington University; the Pageant entertainment venue; the original π Pizzeria, a favorite of President Obama’s; Blueberry Hill, where Chuck Barry still performs; and the St. Louis Walk of Fame, in honor of the many celebrities who came from the city, that includes Yogi Berra, Betty Grable, Vincent Price, and Buddy Epstein.

Mary dropped us back at the Four Seasons Hotel for a short while to change for dinner. We were then off to the River City Casino for our reservation at 1904 Steakhouse. The restaurant was impressive at the start with antiques, stained glass, and beautiful accents, yet it was still very comfortable.

Despite the fact that the menu was filled with lots of seafood, I found plenty of choices to eat while my mom and Mary feasted on Lobster Macaroni & Cheese and an out-of-this-world Oscar Filet Trio with shrimp, scallop, or crab on each steak, topped with asparagus and a béarnaise sauce!

I had the Baked Onion Soup, which was a little salty for my taste, but full of flavor. I followed it with the Colorado Lamb Rack, accompanied by goat cheese potatoes au gratin, and an order of crispy Brussels sprouts.

I wish I had saved room for the delicious dessert, which I couldn’t finish. It was a chocolate cake filled with delicate cream and caramel that I could only liken to the world’s greatest Ring Ding!

We thanked Mary for the hospitality of St. Louis tourism and headed up to the room for the night. The trip was continued the next day with finally visiting my St. Louis cousins, whom I hadn’t seen in decades. We reminisced about our visits to Grant Park as kids. I’m looking forward to getting back to St. Louis soon. 

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