Jumping back to last Friday night, to right after we left Pat and Joanie at the Science Center, Anne and I drove to the Central West End for dinner. We went to Central Table Food Hall, a trendy new restaurant on Euclid, near the parkway. The place is a bit of a mash-up. The kitchen is in sight, so it must be right. The kitchen is also dived by function and its various sections are scattered around the dining room. There are separate food prep teams that run a sushi bar and a separate raw bar, wine bar, hearth, grill, deli, coffee shop and a market. It is less a food hall and more a food mall. For lunch Central Table does function more like a mall’s food court, with patrons wandering from one kitchen to the next. No mall’s food court would ever serve Spanish octopi though. For dinner it functions as a sit-down restaurant. Our waiter was Justin, who I knew from Starbucks and who also remembered my first name. We shared a plate of oysters, ordered al à carte, each named for their individual fishery and a calzone. Anne liked the tableware’s knife. The blade and the handle are twisted 90°. This allows the knife’s blade to sit face up on the tablecloth. She commented on her fascination with it to another waiter, who said, “Yea, but they’re hard to clean.” The food was good, if a bit pricy. I definitely plan on returning for lunch.
Saturday was a bit of a washout. We didn’t get going soon enough to get a bike ride in. Instead, we drove to the Missouri Botanical Gardens. We still have a big gash in our front yard from last fall’s sewer work. We went to the garden’s Kemper Home Garden Center for some advice on what to plant. We are thinking shrubbery; my vote is for high bush blueberry. I didn’t help my case by repeatedly quoting Monty Python, “Bring me some shrubbery” or “Neit, Neit!” The thunderstorms eventually rolled in and we ducked into the Climatron for cover. Where better to avoid a rainstorm than in an indoor rainforest? After the garden, we went to South Grand for a late lunch. We landed at a new to us Thai place. It was rather ho-hum. The most interesting aspect of lunch was a traffic accident that occurred outside on the street. We had a window seat and our Prius was parked right outside the window. During lunch a car stopped in the middle of the street, almost blocking in our car. The driver got out and kept looking at his car and talking on his cell phone. I thought that he had stalled in the rain. It wasn’t until all the fire and rescue arrived that we realized the fact that a multi-car accident had occurred almost outside our window.
Today we launched earlier and the rains held off later. We biked to the park and at the History Museum turned north. We took the relatively new Ruth Porter bicycle trail, which is the newest section of the Saint Vincent Greenway. This greenway when complete will run from the park to downtown Ferguson. When completed I will be able to bike commute 80% of the way to work via bike path. Not willing to wait for the completion of the missing trail section we ventured across surface streets and hooked-up with its northern portion. We were doing fine until we hit the portion of the trail that runs through UMSL. The campus was closed for the Gypsy Caravan, don’t ask, it’s a Saint Louis thing. There was the stereotypical one inept security guard at the school’s entrance. We could have easily sneaked by him, but Anne had to go up to him and ask if the campus closed signs applied to bicyclists too. Never ask for permission, always ask for forgiveness. So, we turned around. Instead of lunch at the Ferguson Brewery, we ate at Fitz’s in the Loop. We both ordered root beer floats and would have been fine with just them, if we had stopped there. Instead, we piled on with pulled pork nachos. In hindsight, I have to ask, what were we thinking, pulled pork and nachos? We left most of it on the plate. We left feeling bloated and decided to do a turn in the park to ‘work it off’. After a turn, we stopped off at the African Arts Festival and then headed home.