Strange Donuts- St. Louis, Missouri

We have been coming to Strange Donuts for years! Well 4 years since that’s how long we’ve lived in St. Louis, but we just love their donuts more than any other donut place in the area!

We used to go to their Maplewood location all the time because it was close to campus when we lived on campus for two years. This year since we live in Florissant, we opted to visit the Kirkwood location following choir rehearsal at church the Saturday before Easter. The Kirkwood location is much smaller but still has those fantastic donuts. It was fun to visit before a holiday because on top of their normal strange creations, they also had some Easter themed creations.

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My donuts are at the top of the picture. I got a Bart’s which is butterfinger and chocolate frosting. We both got dirt cake which is pretty self-explanatory with the chocolate frosting and oreos on a chocolate donut and of courase garnished with a gummy worm. Andrew also opted to try one of their Easter creations that included the Peep topping. He said it was the heaviest donut he’s ever eaten but still gave it a big thumbs up!

I love Strange Donuts, but you just never know what your options will be when you walk in the door since they changed menu options frequently and also sell our quickly. I got the last Bart’s of the day! That being said, you’ll have much better luck going later on a week day and having things left than going on a Saturday morning like we did.

The nice thing about Strange Donuts is that they also offer some gluten free options. Sure you are limited to one or two options, but at least they have something!

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Nathaniel Reid Bakery- St. Louis, Missouri

Early in the year, I’d heard announcers discussing their favorite bakeries while listening to the radio. One of the ladies swore by Nathaniel Reid Bakery. I hadn’t heard of it prior to that but a quick web search told me this was a place to check out. I’d been wanting to try French macarons for a few months, and they had several flavors listed on their site.

When we drove to the bakery a few days before Easter, I was not prepared for the line of people we would meet inside. Several people were picking up special orders for the holiday. Others were simply picking up a sandwich for brunch. Everything smelled wonderful and looked amazing, but we were there on a mission for two little macarons.

This had lots to choose from that day, but most were fruit flavored, which is not my thing when it comes to dessert. I’d seen online that they had a chocolate macaron, but that was no where to be seen in the display case that day. We had to settle for one that was vanilla on one side and chocolate on the other with a chocolate ganache in the middle. I have no idea what the actual flavor was called and it’s not on their website for me to find now that I’m writing.

As soon as we reached the counter displays we were able to tell a girl what we wanted. She bagged it up, but then we still had to make our way through the line to get to the cashier. We probably spent 20 minutes in line for those two macarons, and the cashier thanked us for being so patient while we waiting for such a small order.

We took our macarons home for dessert to have with our lunch. I have to say that they were quite delightful! The top of mine did get a little smushed during the journey home, so the picture isn’t the best!

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Mississippi Bucket List- Hills Region

Here is the final installment in the Mississippi Bucket List series. Our next Bucket List state will feature Tennessee.

Como

  • Home Place Pastures: This is your chance to visit a working hog farm.

Corinth

  • Borroum’s Drugstore and Soda Fountain: This is the state’s oldest operating drug store and soda fountain.

Grenada

  • Chakchiuma Swamp: Great place for hiking and viewing wetland wildlife.

Holly Spring

  • Phillips Grocery: This place is said to have one of the “world’s best burgers.”

Horn Lake

  • Circle G Ranch: This was where Elvis took his honeymoon.

Iuka/Tishomingo

  • Tishomingo State Park: This park has a swinging bridge popular among tourist.
  • Mineral Springs Park: A place to check out famous drinking water which one a prize at the 1902 World’s Fair.
  • Woodall Mountain: This is the highest point in Mississippi and would make a fun climb.

Nesbit

  • Nesbit Blueberry Plantation: I love blueberries, so would love to visit this place. However, that can only be done in the summer.

Tupelo

  • Elvis Presley Birthplace and Museum: A great place to see where Elvis grew up.
  • Tupelo Hardware Company: This is where Elvis’ mom bought his first guitar.
  • Natchez Trace Parkway Visitor Center: This is one that will give me another stamp in my National Park Passport Book.

All ideas taken from the Mississippi 2018 Travel Guide.

 

Pappy’s Smokehouse- St. Louis, Missouri

Ever since we moved to St. Louis, Andrew’s relatives have been suggesting we try Pappy’s Smokehouse. Finally, over spring break, we gave it a go. Boy! We probably should have tried it sooner, but I’m sure our pocketbooks are much happier that we waited! This has been my favorite barbecue we’ve found in the city!

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As you can see, Pappy’s is the type of place where you order at the counter and then your food is delivered to your table. You may also notice the small white board to the side where they will list anything that is sold out for the day. Since we went during lunch, nothing was sold out at that point, but given how busy and long the line was when we were there for a late lunch, it’s easy to see how they may sell out during the day. We both ordered brisket platters which come with two sides, and while the fried corn on the cob sounded like an interesting choice, I opted to upgrade my two sides to just one baked potato.

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Pappy’s has 4 different sauces in bottles out on their tables, Pappy’s original, Carolina Vinegar, Jane’s Sweet Sauce, and a spicy Hoodoo Sauce. Normally I’m a spicy person, but this time around, Pappy’s Original Sauce was my favorite.

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As you wait for your food to arrive, you can take in all the menus that have been signed by famous visitors.

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Finally our heaping baskets of food arrive. My potato was huge and the serving of brisket was also quite large and also comes served on a piece of toast. The brisket was the tastiest I’ve ever had but I wound up eating more potato than brisket while we were there only because I knew the brisket would be far easier to reheat at home than the potato would be. And I was right, the brisket did make for a wonderful lunch the following day as well! I just made sure to douse it with my favorite sauce before putting it into my to-go boxes. They have those boxes readily available for you to grab on your own since they don’t come back to your table after bringing the food to you since you’ve already paid when you ordered at the counter.

If you are looking for barbecue in St. Louis, there are many options, but in my opinion, this is your best bet!

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Mississippi Bucket List- Delta Region

Phew! Things have been a bit of a whirlwind after learning that we will be moving to South Dakota this summer following Andrew’s Call Day placement ceremony at the end of April. We’ve finally made all our moving plans and now are spending a month on the road visiting family before heading back to St. Louis to back up our belongings and move north in the middle of July. I will do my best to stay more active on this blog even through all those transitions, but no promises!

Here’s the 4th of 5 installments in the Mississippi Bucket List Regions.

Belzoni

  • Catfish Museum: This is apparently the Catfish Capitol of the World which makes it worth the stop as is. It also claims to be home to the World’s Largest Catfish, which is interesting since we thought we had recently visited that in Whapeton, ND.

Clarksdale

  • Delta Blues Museum: Great place to get some history on Blues in this area.

Cleveland

  • Grammy Museum Mississippi: This is the first Grammy museum to be built outside of the Los Angeles area.

Greenville

  • Greenville Cypress Preserve Trust: This sounds like a fun place to visit to see the natural beauty of the area.

Greenwood

  • Self Guided Driving Tour of “The Help”: I loved both the book and movie so I think this would be really fun!

Indianola

  • B.B. King Museum: Museum dedicated to the King of the Blues.

Leland

  • Birthplace of Kermit the Frog Museum: Doesn’t need much explanation. I love the Muppets!

Rolling Fork

  • Onward Store: This store was where Teddy Bears made their debut.

Tunica

  • Tunica Riverpark and Museum: Provides a nice walk along the river and gives a brief history of the area.
  • Gateway to the Blues Museum: Gives a nice overview of the Blues genre.

All ideas were pulled from both the 2017 and 2018 Mississippi Travel Guides.

Cardinals Museum ~ St. Louis, Missouri

When we purchased tickets to the Busch Stadium Tour, our tickets also included admission into the Cardinals Museum. As much as I enjoyed the stadium tour, I didn’t figure I’d be that interested in what the museum would have as the only time I really enjoy baseball is if I’m at the game in person. I can’t stand watching on TV and rarely keep track of how the team is doing until it gets close to the World Series. (However, I have been more interested in tracking the team since taking the tour.) But boy was I impressed with the museum! You don’t want to skip this if you are a Cardinals fan, and even if you aren’t, keep reading for the unique opportunity they give you in this museum.

To get to the museum, you can go in the side door of Ballpark Village (Fox Sports Midwest buiding, as of right now it’s the only building, but they are in the process of expanding Ballpark Village). There is a small store when you walk in, but you want to go to up the stairs to the left. Once you reach the second level, you will enter the museum area. Someone will stamp your tickets showing that you’ve used your entry.

The museum is laid out in a timeline fashion following the history of the 3 stadiums the Cardinals have used here in the city. It was really cool to see the models of each stadium. While in the second stadium area, we had the unique opportunity of seeing the World Baseball Classic Trophy. Not being a huge baseball follower, I did not understand how significant it was to have the trophy there while we visited until I read about World Baseball in that part of the museum. The U.S. won the trophy for the first time in the most recent World Baseball Classic and the trophy is making it’s rounds from museum to museum for the public to view. It’s kind of a big deal.

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As if seeing this special trophy wasn’t enough….as we made our way into the newest Busch stadium area, a museum worker sat off to the side and asked if we wanted to hold World Series rings. I stopped dead in my tracks, looking around for some sign that told me there would me some extra cost for me agreeing to do so….nope! Seriously this moment alone was worth the 18 bucks we paid to do the tour and museum! How many people get to say they held a World Series ring?

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But if that’s not enough for you…you can also hold a bat that’s been used from one of your favorite players. The day we were there they had 6 different bats to choose from. I chose one from current fan favorite Yadier Molina, while Andrew opted to hold the great Stan Musial’s bat.

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Our days were seriously made by both of those opportunities and we still talk about them weeks later! We’ve been bragging up the museum to anyone who mentions the Cardinals. It’s definitely a memory we will carry with us for a lifetime!

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Busch Stadium Tour ~ St. Louis, Missouri

A few months ago, I posted about our trip to Busch Stadium for a Cardinals game last summer. You can view that post here. We’ve been to several games over our three years living here, but had never taken the behind the scenes tour. Seeing as how today is the day we discover where we will be moving to over the summer, we knew this was something we wanted to get in before we possibly move away. Ah the joys of being a soon to be pastor’s wife!

We booked tickets for our stadium tour about a week ahead of time. (I was keeping an eye on the weather forecast, as tours go rain or shine.) You can also buy the tickets the day off on location, but you run the risk that the tour may be sold out. It’s best to go on the tour in the off season to guarantee that you see everything, but tours are offered all year round. While we were there they were keeping the grass warm and growing as opening day was fast approaching.

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After meeting by the Stan Musiel statue, the tour heads into the stadium where you get a quick look at the field before going up an escalator to your first stop, The Champions Club. Anyone can buy tickets to this area. Food and drinks are available to anyone in this section and you can alternate between sitting outside in regular baseball park seats or situate yourself at one of the many tables inside and watch the game from the TV’s scattered around the Club. While you’re up there you can also check out all the World series trophies.

The next stop on the tour brought us to the Redbird Club. This space tends to be used by season ticket holders and has an all-inclusive bar and buffet. The decor is fun as it is covered with someone’s collection of old baseball cards painted onto the wall. Again you have the option to either sit outside in the cushioned seats to watch the game, or come inside to cool down from the St. Louis heat.

Our next stop was just a short walk away, the Radio Broadcast Booth.

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Finally we made our way down to the dugout via the Cardinals Club. This club looks like a fancy restaurants and food is provided by some of the top chefs in the area. They also have live piano music playing while you dine. The seats used by the Cardinals Clubbers are the green seats right behind home plate. Typically these seats are all held by large businesses, but sometimes these groups sell the seats for cheaper. I didn’t take any pictures of the Club as we just did a quick walk through.

Finally we reached the moment we all were waiting for. Walking onto the Cardinal’s ball field and spending time in the dugout.

We got to spend quite a bit of time out on the field, which was very fun. They gave us plenty of time to take photographs wherever we wanted in the dugout.

I highly recommend taking the Busch Stadium tour even if you aren’t a Cardinals fan. It gives you a great history of the team and how they have evolved over the years. It made me appreciate my team even more.

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