Friday, March 28, 2014

Picasso's Coffee - Saint Charles, MO

There are a handful of places to get coffee while strolling the streets of St. Charles, Missouri; but none will deliver as good a cup as Picasso's.

End of review.

OK. Not really.

Coffee-wise. The house coffee is fine. The brew bar is better. Don't be afraid to ask about character and notes of the varietals available.

Espresso-wise. I'm a purist. I like a quad-shot 16 oz. latte. Just enough espresso to give it some kick and to deliver a full-flavored drink. If you are going with a sweet-syrup-laced drink you are welcome to dial-back to the standard 2-shots with a 16 oz. drink.

If you're dropping by late afternoon/evening you've got options for you to get your favorite coffee drink while a friend enjoys an adult beverage (varieties of wine and beer change up on a regular basis).

Picasso's does feature live music and events several nights a week. They also feature a rotating roster of artists on the walls.

Price-wise. They are in check with most other coffeehouses (and Starbucks). Expect to spend $3 for a decent cup o coffee and $5 for a latte. Breakfast and lunch options run $6-10.

Picasso's Coffee is located at 101 North Main Street in Historic St. Charles.

Friday, March 7, 2014

Budweiser Brewery Tours


St. Louis is known for baseball and beer..Cardinals and Clydesdales...lots of brews, but especially Budweiser. Even if you're not a fan of the flagship beer, you will be a fan of the tours you get at the Budweiser Soulard facility. I have done both the standard FREE tour and the BREWMASTER ($25) tour - and enjoyed both for different reasons. On a standard tour you a in there with 25-30 other people. You get a lot of history and insight; you get to view stuff from behind the glass; and you get some free beer at the end of the tour. The brewmaster tour varies some based on the questions you ask and your tour guide. When I did the brewmaster tour it was just my dad and I and we had opportunities to go down into the hops room, visit the control room and talk to engineers, and go down on the bottling line. They loaded us up with free gifts and we closed our our visit with a tasting in a private room with leather sofas and our own server. I'm itching now to go to beer school ($10) just to see what all's involved. There is a nice museum and beer garden at the Soulard facility that are open to the public at all times. It's insightful for children as well as there is a lot of history at this location...plus you get a chance to see the Clydesdales that are housed on-site. Kids get unlimited soda at the end. [Note: Be sure to skip across the highway to Gus' Pretzels while you're down there. The Soulard market is also near by.] More info on brewery tours at: http://www.budweisertours.com

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

St. Louis Artist Eric Nichols

Eric Nichols is one of those artists who is hard to classify. He's certainly an artists to be reckoned with across several mediums: watercolor, mixed media, sculpture, ceramics. His style is futuristic feeling, yet drawing inspiration from very organic sources.  Eric's is actively exhibiting his work at various Saint Louis area galleries. He's also been landing shows in Chicago and on the West Coast.

Check out more of his work online at: http://backwards-e.com/

Monday, October 17, 2011

Breakfast is Good at Allin's (Saint Charles, MO)

I found myself at Allin's again this weekend enjoying a large plate of eggs, hash browns, toast and coffee. Allin's is tucked out of the way, yet easy to access off I70(First Capitol near the Lindenwood campus). This is a cosy little joint where the photos of local patrons fill the walls. Most of the patrons live nearby. Great food and conversation draw them in. Homemade and made to order. While there are plenty of chain breakfast options nearby (Denny's, IHOP, Waffle House, Bob Evans, Cracker Barrel), Allin's Diner you get a one of a kind local dining experience. Next time you're going to be in St. Charles stop in for a cup of coffee (the good stuff) and a stack of pancakes. I can only speak to breakfast as I have not had the opportunity to enjoy lunch. Word is it is equally delightful. They are typically closed for dinner.

Friday, October 14, 2011

Not So Incredible...But Still Fun

Our first visit to America's Incredible Pizza Company was on New Year's Eve 2006 in Springfield, MO. It was a fun diversion for the kids then...as it was for the kids today when we visited their location in St. Peters. A couple things to note if you are considering taking your kids (and you probably don't want to go if you don't have kids). First off, lower your expectations. You're not going for the food. If you go in with low expectations then you might be pleasantly surprised by the pizza and buffet fare. Go early, in fact I'd recommend going between 3-4 PM so you can take advantage of the lunch pricing. Also would recommend Fridays where you get an additional $10 in game credit for every $20 spent. We fed 10 people and $60 worth of game credits for our 4 kids for a total bill of around $100. Not bad. Our expectations were low. We had the place to ourselves. The kids had a blast riding go karts, manning the bumper cars and sampling the other games. All walked away with prizes from tickets won. And the adults had a good time as well. So to recap. The pizza's not incredible (if you want that hit Dewey's or Pi). The games are good and more diverse than say Chuck E Cheese. This doesn't have to break the bank (go early and take advantage of special food and game offers). You can have fun. However, if you stop by and the parking lot is packed...just drive away and come back another day.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Coffee Anyone?

Where I grab coffee in this city depends on how much time I have, how much money I've got in my wallet, and how out of the way I want to go to guarantee a good cup.

If I'm in St. Charles (home) it is usually a quad shot latte at Picasso's.

I try to avoid Crooked Tree's overcooked coffee.

Saint Charles Coffeehouse is good, but out of my way.
Same with Cappuccinos in O'Fallon (MO).

If I'm in the loop I grab a large cup of black goodness at Meshuggah's.

In Lafayette Square I'll go to Park Avenue.

In Benton Park it's the Mud House or Foam.

Soulard Coffee Garden is good.

I like Foundation Grounds on Manchester, but am rarely over that way.

Coffee Kartel is alright (in the Central West End).
Kayak's is alright (near Wash U. and Forest Park).

I'm not a huge Kaldi's fan (I've been to the Kirkwood and Chesterfield locations).
Nor am I a fan of BreadCos coffee.
[But will drink both if that's the only option.]

I am ok with Peet's...but there's just the Lumiere location.

Starbucks is a safe (if I must) default.
I actually thought the Starbucks in Webster was pretty nice...lots of space...lots of local flare.

There's a host of others I have yet to try.
Recommendations welcome.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Benton Park Cafe (Benton Park Neighborhood, Saint Louis)


The intersection of Lemp and Arsenal serves as a gateway to Benton Park and the Cherokee neighborhoods. It also is the intersection where you'll find Gus's Pretzels and Benton Park Café.

You'll find fresh-brewed coffee and breakfast served all day: overstuffed omelets, sweet pancakes, loaded burritos and scrumptious breakfast pizzas. And if you need a little spike in the coffee to warm you on a winters day, that’s available for you. Lunch and dinner fare are excellent as well.

If you come in on a regular basis you’ll get to know Jeremy, John, Jess, Eddy and the rest of staff. If frequent the Benton Park area you may find a neighbor or co-worker or local artist occupying a nearby stool or table.

The front dining room is dotted with photography, coffee carafes, and an array of cozy tables. The back dining room is a bit more homey with lights and trim. The kitchen is there too.

Thursday nights get a little loud as crowds gather to test their trivial wit and imbibe in a local brews: Budweiser (you can see the brewery out the front windows) and Schlafly (brewed not too far away).

Benton Park Café offers great breakfasts to start your morning; a convenient place to meet a friend for lunch and a homey space to gather with friends and family over dinner, drinks and appetizers.

Benton Park Café. 1900 Arsenal Street. Saint Louis.
314-771-7200
www.BentonParkCafe.com