Sauce on the Side, St. Louis

Friday, August 22, 2014

Chloe's a professional "selfie taker"

We had our bikes with us to ride
the fantastic Mississippi River Trail
but it rained non-stop! 

We took in two great Cardinal games while there
Since the trip to Italy, Chloe and I
have loved Nutella and this restaurant
had a banana and Nutella calzone...
it was perfection :)

The delicious Sauce on the Side, downtown St. Louis
Thursday, August 7, 2014

I was excited that Urbanspoon sent us to Sauce on the Side for lunch in St. Louis.  We went up  for a Cardinals game and to ride bikes on the Mississippi River Trail with Chloe two weeks ago.  It is a great, new restaurant just blocks from Busch Stadium.

We thought they'd have pasta or something non-pizza for Chloe to eat but it is a calzone restaurant and let me just say it was darn good.

It's a modern restaurant where you order first at the counter then get your drinks and grab a table.  They were nice to describe the calzones and recommended that for Chloe she order The Fold.  It's a smaller calzone with mozzarella and you can add your own fillings with sauce on the side, of course.  She added pepperoni and loved it.  I was thrilled because since she had a thin and crispy pizza in Verona on our first day in Italy, she's been off pizza ever since.

Jackie, on the other hand, ordered up the Meet me in St. Louie.  It was filled with pepperoni, Italian sausage, ricotta, provel, marscapone and ricotta.  The calzones are really big enough for two but Jackie wiped his out in no time.  I ordered the Puttanesca filled with roasted pulled chicken, onions, capers, roasted red peppers, minced garlic, feta, mozzarella and ricotta.  Darn it, it was good...that crispy, light dough was baked to perfection.  I couldn't even get close to finishing half of it.  For dessert, we ordered the Nutella and Banana Calzone and it was really awesome.

According to their website, Sauce on the Side was brought to life by three friends who worked in the restaurant industry and wanted to open a fast, casual restaurant.  They don't own a freezer, now that's something.  Everything is local and fresh.  The place is filled with local flyers from bands and community events and the tables in the restaurant were made by the owners.

If you're ever in downtown St. Louis, you must have lunch at Sauce on the Side.  It's just blocks from Busch Stadium and remember to consider sharing your calzone.  They're open for lunch and dinner serving wine and beer.

Stresa, Italy

The view from the rooftop of the Hotel La Palma

Chloe in front of our hotel

That's a huge peacock
July 6-7, 2014

We took the bus from Greve, Chianti to Milan then took the train to Stresa.  Stresa is 45 minutes north of the Milan airport and has a population of 5,000.  It is a popular tourist destination for its countryside, architectural gems and mild climate.  It sits on Italy's second largest lake, Lake Maggiore.  The Borromean Islands are incredible and we got to tour two of the three islands via water taxi.

Once we got off the train in Stresa, we loved being independent from the car.  We were back in our comfort zone which is public transportation.  We got to Stresa in the afternoon on Saturday and they were having a country festival downtown it was really cool.  The restaurants were playing Johnny Cash and other country songs, the place was packed.  We checked into the awesome Hotel la Palma first then and headed downtown to the festival for lunch.  The clean streets of Stresa were neat, they were lined with boutiques and great restaurants.  The next day we took the water taxi to see the Borromean Islands.  Here's a description from Wikipedia:
The Borromean Islands (It. Isole Borromee) are a group of three small islands and two islets in the Italian part of Lago Maggiore, located in the western arm of the lake, between Verbania to the north and Stresa to the south. Together totalling just 50 acres (20 hectares) in area, they are a major local tourist attraction for their picturesque setting.
Their name derives from the Borromeo family, which started acquiring them in the early 16th century (Isola Madre) and still owns the majority of them (Isola Madre, Bella, San Giovanni) today.
  1. Isola Bella, named for Isabella, countess Borromeo, was originally a largely barren rock; after first improvements and buildings, opened by count Carlo III between 1629 and 1652, his son Vitaliano the 6th built an attractive summer palace, bringing in vast quantities of soil in order to build up a system of ten terraces for the garden. The unfinished building displays paintings byLombard artists and Flemish tapestries.
  2. Isola Madre, the largest of the three, is also noted for its gardens, which are maintained from about 1823 in an English style. Its palace, though uninhabited, is splendidly furnished with 16th- to 19th-century Italian masterpieces and paintings.
  3. Isola dei Pescatori or Isola Superiore is now the only inhabited island in the archipelago. It has a fishing village, which in 1971 had a population of 208.
  4. Isolino di San Giovanni is located just off Pallanza (today part of Verbania) to the north.
  5. The tiny uninhabited rock of Malghera, with an area of only 200 square meters, lies between Isola Bella and Isola dei Pescatori and offers bushy vegetation and a small beach. [1]

We went to Bella and Madre Islands and it was really something.  These last two days in Italy were perfect.  A great end to a great 17 day trip.  Way to go Jackie and Chloe, a backpack for each of us, tickets already printed for trains and museums, reservations made and seeing the Sellaronda Bike Day, mass at the Vatican in St. Peter's Square, the Colossuem, St. Mark's Square in Venice, St. Francis of Assissi, the famous opera in Verona, the Alps Di Suisse (the largest meadow in the alps), Borromean Islands, Palio Trials in Siena, Florence and learning how to make gnocci and pasta in Greve, Chianti was a blast.  Whew, it was a fantastic trip!
The Country Festival Poster

I loved the streets downtown Stresa

The view directly across from our hotel

The water was cool Chloe reported


A nice couple from Scotland took this photo of us on the
largest of three islands, Madre

On the way to the islands

Inside the mansion on Madre Island

Here's the Locarno Treaty signed by Mussolini 

The views were amazing!

You probably know peacocks love to show off,
there were probably 5 of the white fellas, here
he calls loudly and I got Chloe's reaction :)

They strutted their stuff with big crowds

The garden was something

It was a great trip to Italy, Ricardo gets the triple gold
star for doing so much planning!!  We had train and museum
tickets, got to see 3/4 of Italy and no one got sick or lost :)

Florence, Italy

Thursday, August 21, 2014

This is Il Duoma di Firenze...Cathedral of
Florence and absolutely beautiful church
 July 2, 2014

We took the bus after much discussion to Florence.  It was good to get out of the house in Chianti.  One "downer" about Tuscany is you can't get anywhere on foot.  We'd been all over on foot with a backpack so having to load up 5-6 people into a car to get to the bus station took patience.  I thought everyone did great though.  The house we rented was on a hillside and if you know me at all, you know I've suffered from motion sickness all my life and the first day riding with Pepaw, Kara's father, I wasn't sure I'd make it all the way to town to just go to the grocery store.  So everyone was really nice to let me have the a/c on in the front seat.  Our day trip to Florence was a lot of fun, it was about an hour bus ride from Greve.  :)
They were saying Gelato (we counted about
25 servings over the trip for Chloe)

The doors of the cathedral are bronze
and show the Madonna and child.  

We went by a Rick Steves' recommendation
to Vini for lunch in Florence, it was outstanding

The Uffizi Gallery was really awesome, of course
here's Michelangelo's David.  It once was in the
entrance of the city's town hall Palazzo Vecchio
then moved to the museum for protection.
It took 4 days to move it half a mile

One of many gelatos consumed on the trip

Inside the Uffizi Gallery

David was constantly surrounded by tourists

Palio Trials, Siena, Italy

Monday, August 18, 2014

This is the square in Siena.  While waiting for the trials, we
played bocce ball

The Palio Trials go back to 1590.  The piazza is very small.
The horses have to go around three times...several fall
off...I'll describe its history from wikipedia
Monday, July 1, 2014

Jackie, AKA Ricardo Steves, researched Tuscany for the week we were there and had the Palio Trials on the agenda.  We were all so excited to see the horse trial.  The trial was a preparation for the city's big race every July 2.  Ten neighborhoods in Siena have riders competing for the bragging rights of winning the Palio.  We drove an hour to Siena, had lunch, toured the Siena Cathedral and watched the trial.  It was the best time.  We all enjoyed it.  Here's a description of what the Palio is...

From wikipedia:  The Palio di Siena (known locally simply as Il Palio) is a horse race that is held twice each year, on July 2 and August 16, in Siena, Italy. Ten horses and riders, bareback and dressed in the appropriate colours, represent ten of the seventeen contrade, or city wards. The Palio held on July 2 is named Palio di Provenzano, in honour of the Madonna of Provenzano, who has a church in Siena. The Palio held on August 16 is named Palio dell'Assunta, in honour of theAssumption of Mary.
pageant, the Corteo Storico, precedes the race, which attracts visitors and spectators from around the world.
The race itself, in which the jockeys ride bareback, circles the Piazza del Campo, on which a thick layer of dirt has been laid, three times and usually lasts no more than 90 seconds. It is common for a few of the jockeys to be thrown off their horses while making the treacherous turns in the piazza, and indeed, it is usual to see unmounted horses finishing the race without their jockeys.
A great shot

After the trial

I'm excited that I got this shot in front of the cathedral in
Siena...I love this photo and I love Whit in it....That was his
attitude until he got to the beach in Cinque de Terre

The crowd at the trials..

The only group shot of all of, Stella, Jackie, Chloe
Kara, August, Whit, Martin, Harmon, Jeanie, Polly and Bob

That marble was amazing at the Siena Cathedral

After the trial

Chloe :)

I can't believe I got this shot!

Ferncliff Summer Camp, Little Rock

Audrey and Chloe at pick up :)
July 21-26, 2014

You all know I had camp scheduled for the third year.  I want Chloe to be able to meet new people, get out of her comfort zone and stay at college when she goes.  Thankfully through lots of prayers this summer, she finally had the best week of camp ever.  I didn't get any of the letters I've gotten the last two years about "come get me, I can't eat the kit kat you sent me because I cry myself to sleep".  I think cousin Audrey played a big role in that and the fact that she is now an 8th grader.  Ferncliff is our church's camp in Little Rock.  The girls learned songs (that she still sings), met new people, had constant bible stories and had so many funny stories about camp.  I'm glad they both had a good time.  It was Audrey's first time to be at camp and away from her mom for 2 weeks, she did great with only one day of home sickness.  Go Audrey! And I'm proud that Chloe really loved camp this year, go Chloe! :)

The stories from camp at dinner that night were hilarious...
I was laughing non stop at these two...
The Monday after camp Chloe and Audrey were group
leaders at our church's bible school, they loved it :)

We took them to Dickey-Stevens
ballpark to a minor league baseball
game in Little Rock after camp

Audrey stayed a week with us and helped put up 8 quarts of
dill pickles while with us...

I think we've put up 36 total quarts this year of dill pickles.
Chloe and I put up 12 quarts the day after we got back from
Italy because they were waiting on us and you know I cannot
not we are putting up jalopenos which means my
garden and yard are suffering...
We took Whit and the dogs with us to Village Creek when
we got back and had a's Biscuit shaking it off

Whit and Chloe swam with the dogs in the lake and
did a lot of fetch with the frisbee

While we were there the park ranger came over and taught
everyone swimming about drowning and how to save
someone in trouble.  I thought it was a great program

Selfie from camp

They had a blast

I'm going to give them the selfie gold star

A view of their room