Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Fabulous Finds: The Fiat 500 by Gucci

It’s no secret that my 2003 Ford Focus is on the last of its figurative little legs. 133,000 miles and counting, a crack in the wind shield, chipped paint, and a recent minor accident have all done their damage to my wee vehicle. Like many frustrated car owners before me, I've toyed with the idea of buying a new car. Perhaps one with automatic windows and locks! Heated seats! A quiet engine! Oh my!

But, when my friend Peter emailed me photos of the Fiat 500 by Gucci, I was immediately in amore.

Making its debut during New York's 2011 Fashion Week, this stylish little car is perfect for any diva with its trademark green and red Gucci accent stripes and two-tone leather interior. And girlfriends, this car comes with matching accessories!

As of tomorrow, I’ll be leaving on a jet plane for a business trip at this fabulous Orlando resort. Hope this post finds your week speeding by! 

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

New Restaurant Wednesday: Small Plates and Strong Drinks at Mojo Tapas Restaurant and Bar

Stessie and I at Mojo

As much as I love St. Louis and discovering new places and things to do, I also have a habit of staying in Soulard for week night dinner and drinks. But, when a place describes itself as “Sexy, Magic, Food” and THE BEST BOSS EVER* gives you a Groupon to said place, I knew I had to get myself to South Grand and Mojo Tapas Restaurant and Bar pronto!

St. Louis is made up of seventy-nine different neighborhoods with flavors and savors as diverse as the residents who reside within them. Mojo is located in the eclectic and ethnically rich neighborhood of Tower Grove South. Known for having a “flavor all its own,” Tower Grove South offers visitors a wide variety of culinary options from Afghani to Vietnamese to Lebanese and everything in between. Located just south of the sprawling Tower Grove Park, South Grand is home to a vibrant and active international community.

With its unpretentious and uncluttered interior, flowing water fixture and touches of red accents, Mojo fits right in with its South Grand neighbors. Once we perused the drink menu, we began our evening with two freshly squeezed Lemon Basil Mojitos and then studied our dinner menu. 

Chef Eric Erhard, formerly of Annie Gunn's and Boogaloo, brings to Mojo a contemporary selection of soups, salads, and tapas. We decided on the Shredded Chicken Tacos, Veal Meatballs, Spinach Feta Spanakopita, and Sautéed Garlic Chili Shrimp served over “Sexy” Grits. Everything we tried was flavorful and filling and down-right delicious.   

Need to put a little magic back into dinnertime? Get to Mojo Tapas pronto!

Friend Mojo on Facebook or view their menu and wine list on their website.

*And I’m not just saying that because she reads this blog. No, nu-uh.

Monday, February 20, 2012

Two Hearts, One Steakhouse and My First Guest Blogger!

As the self-proclaimed STLCityDiva, I like to think I know a lot about the best restaurants, the best rooftop bars and the best artisan pizza in St. Louis. But, even I can’t get to every happening spot in the city (but I try, dear readers, oh do I try.) When my co-worker, and fellow food lover, Brian offered to write a post about his experience at Sam's Steakhouse, I jumped at the chance.

A life-long St. Louisan, Brian graduated from St. Mary's High School and he and his wife Callie have been married for two years. They return to Sam’s Steakhouse time and again to experience the superb service, the Old World charm, and the award winning steaks. Sam’s Steakhouse is located just two blocks east of Grant's Farm and has been a staple of this South St. Louis neighborhood since 1991. Since then, Sam’s has been providing St. Louisans with the best steaks, seafood, and desserts.

Without further ado, I present to you STLCityDiva’s first guest blogger!

Linda, thanks for all or your great feedback and suggestions for all things great in our wonderful city of St. Louis! My wife and I just recently spent a wonderful Valentine’s Day dinner at Sam’s Steakhouse, located in South St. Louis County. Service was fast and the food was phenomenal! We love the quaint atmosphere and old-world charm. I highly recommend starting with the traditional Caesar Salad, followed by the 8 oz. Pepper Filet (with melted bleu cheese!), and for dessert you have to try the Crème Brulee. Just wanted to pass along this little gem to your followers - this is a must visit!"

Guest blogger Brian and his adorable wife Callie

After dinner, you’re going to need to run those calories off somehow. Brian is organizing the first St. Louis area 4.2 mile "Shadow Run" to benefit the Pat Tillman Foundation, created to honor the memory of Corporal Patrick Tillman who was killed in Afghanistan on April 22, 2004 while serving with the 2nd Ranger Battalion of the US Army. The Shadow Run will be held on Saturday, April 21 and proceeds from the Shadow Run directly support the Tillman Military Scholars program.

 View Sam’s menu on their website or friend them Facebook

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Be My Valentine

As a single gal about St. Louis, I like to think I have the men-folk beating down my door for dates (in a chivalrous way, of course, not like this.) When I’m not swatting eligible suitors away like flies (ahem), I like to ponder what lucky fella in Hollywood I would give away my first born just to meet go on a date to the Oscars with. 

So on this Valentine’s Day, I present to you my Top Five Men the STLCityDiva Would Date if Given the Chance (in list form, naturally):

Top 5 Eligible Suitors - The following singletons need no introduction or explanation. I'll let their photos do the talking:

1. George Clooney 

2. Alec Baldwin

3. Adam Levine

4. Bradley Cooper

5. Tim Tebow

Top 5 Childhood Crushes - When I was a wee Diva, I would have given all of my allowance money just to meet one of these young hunks:

1. Davy Jones - The lead singer of The Monkees was my first crush and as a first grader I stood among middle aged moms at the Fox Theatre to see him belt out classic Monkees hits such as “Daydream Believer” and “Last Train to Clarksville”.

2. Prince William - I first fell for the young prince when I was in high school. He was tall, cute, and second in line to the British throne. Only a year younger than me, “Wills” and I led vastly different lives, but I would have been a wanker if I didn’t like the chap!

3. JFK Jr. - In 1988, I was seven years old and JFK Jr. had just been voted People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive.” He had the pedigree, the education, and the Kennedy good looks, but for someone crowned “America’s Prince” he also seemed down to earth, funny, and approachable. It’s still unbelievable to me that we lost him, his wife Carolyn, and his sister-in-law Lauren Bessette in a plane crash nearly thirteen years ago.  

4. Andrew Keegan - Making his film debut in Camp Nowhere, Andrew first debuted on my pre-teen radar while watching ABC’s TGIF programming in the 1990’s. With his shoulder-length brown hair and California tan, he couldn't have been any more different than the Midwestern boys I knew. Co-starring in such 90’s hits as Full House and Step By Step, he put me in 7th Heaven.

5. Brad Renfro - With his smoldering brown eyes and innocent good looks, I first noticed the Knoxville, TN native when he played the role of Huckleberry Finn alongside another 90’s heartthrob Jonathon Taylor Thomas in the 1995 movie, Tom and Huck. Starring alongside Susan Sarandon and Tommy Lee Jones, his good looks captivated me again in The Client. But, the Hollywood lifestyle proved too much for young Brad and he was found dead of a drug overdose at the age of 25.

So tell me, who are your Top 5?

{All photos courtesy of Google}

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Learning How to Cook - From the Pro's on YouTube

As anyone who knows me can attest, my skills in the kitchen are…nil. It’s ironic that I, of all people, have a kitchen that is fit for a queen. Or at the very least, Rachael Ray. 

My kitchen - One of the few times it was actually used, for my birthday in 2011

When I first viewed my townhouse in Soulard four years ago, the kitchen should have stood out as amazing. But instead I was impressed by the exposed brick, the loft feel, and the fabulous location. The kitchen? Meh, it would do. My townhouse was built in the 1860’s and has undergone extensive restoration including adding a restaurant-grade Wolf range stove*, two stainless steel sinks, an eight foot long butcher block island, and a vintage Dr. Pepper sign. While I loved the look of my kitchen, I rarely ever used it. That, however, was about to change.

Despite my hesitation with cooking, I come from a long line of good cooks: My maternal grandmother could whip up fried chicken, stuffed peppers, and palatschinke. My sister, though a ridiculously picky eater, can cook almost anything from Polish sausage to our annual Thanksgiving turkey. My sister-in-law makes blueberry pie and chocolate chip cookies to die for. So dear readers, I knew I could do it. I knew if I tried to cook, I would probably really enjoy it. And if genes have anything to do with it, I might just be good at cooking, too.    

My paternal and maternal grandmothers cooking in the kitchen, ca. 1989

So, after a weekend of pure gluttony with drinks on Thursday here, followed by dinner here, and dinner and amazing dessert on Friday here, I was ready and in need of a little home cookin’. I knew I had four eggs, shredded cheese (Nacho Taco flavor, naturally) and Genoa salami in the fridge. Making an omelet out of those ingredients sounded easy enough. 

Having never made an omelet before (sad but true), I turned to the pro’s on YouTube for advice and guidance. After hours of endless entertainment (ok, minutes, I’m not that lame), I decided this guy would be my perfect cooking mentor. With his cute little hat, witty repartee, and background music, how could I go wrong?


I watched his video and proceeded into unknown territory. I cracked, I whipped, I stirred, and mixed. And wouldn’t you know, my first ever omelet turned out delicious. Maybe Julia Child was right, “The only real stumbling block is fear of failure. In cooking you've got to have a what-the-hell attitude.” 

Move over Emeril: My first ever omelet. Bam!

*St. Louis Fun Fact: Prior to finding a home in my townhouse, my Wolf range stove was used in Kresge's located in downtown St. Louis on the corner of 6th and Washington. In the late 1970's, Kresge's was renamed Kmart and in 2007 the company merged with Sears.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Arty Party at the Four Seasons St. Louis

Sylvia, Erin and I attend Arty Party

With the artist, Jeff Kapfer. Isn't he the cutest?
There are few things I love more than good art and a good party, so when the Four Seasons St. Louis announced that they were hosting the first in a series of "Arty Party's”, I knew we had to go. Held in the Presidential Suite, this month’s Arty Party showcased the work of local painter Jeff Kapfer. A St. Louis area native, Jeff has stayed close to home attending Wentzville High School, graduating with a BFA from Webster University and flexing his creative muscle as a graphic designer for Build-A-Bear WorkshopHis love of birds inspired him to create vibrant and colorful creations, many of which were on display throughout the suite. St. Louis is a town of friendly people and accessibility and that was obvious throughout the evening as Jeff mixed and mingled and introduced himself to the guests in attendance. You won’t find that in a stuffy SoHo gallery!

 Snow Bird and Bird Love. Credit: Jeff Kapfer

When my friends and I are heading out for a night on the town, my first suggestion is almost always, “Cielo!” With its chic and stylish interior, sophisticated Sky Terrace, and stunning views of the St. Louis skyline, it’s my choice for the ultimate experience in downtown wining and dining. Dinner can get a little pricey (it is the Four Seasons, after all), so if you don’t want to break the bank, sample their "Small Plates." My recommendations are the Cielo Bruschetta and the Crab Cakes or feast on their margherita pizza (my fave!). In need of a cocktail? Enjoy the view on the Sky Terrace while drinking the Dirty Diamond, voted “Best Martini” in the 2011 RFT “Best of St. Louis” edition.

All dressed up and celebrating my 30th birthday at Cielo (2011)

Wednesday, February 01, 2012

New Restaurant Wednesday: It's a Family Affair at twinOak Wood Fired Fare

Opened in June 2011 in Brentwood, twinOak Wood Fired Fare originally debuted under the moniker Taste Wood Fired Fare. Inspired by the twin brothers who would own and operate the restaurant and the wood oven that would provide their artisan pizzas, they officially changed the name and opened their doors as twinOak Wood Fired Fare on June 13th.

The co-owners and managing partners in charge of both the operations and the 8500 pound, custom built Renato oven are twin brothers Casey and Curt Friedrichs. Graduates of Lafayette High School, Casey and Curt left St. Louis for Florida State University where they learned from industry leaders at the Dedman School of Hospitality. After working for the Hillstone Restaurant Group in California and scouting locations in Dallas and Chicago, Curt and Casey decided to return home and introduce their hometown to the versatility of wood fired food. 

The custom built, 8500 pound Renato oven uses infrared heating and is digitally controlled for maximum efficiency. 

Voted “Best Pizza in Mid-County” in the Maplewood-Brentwood Patch “Food Fight” poll in early January, twinOak is best known for their specialty pizzas, but they also serve seafood, steaks, and salads and recently partnered with the Six Row Brewing Company to host a three-course dinner and beer pairing event. Besides their food, the interior of twinOak is classy and inviting without being stuffy and pretentious. 

Take my recommendation and order "The Classic" signature pizza or  the prosciutto and arugula specialty pizza (pictured above.) Delish!

Besides Curt and Casey, twinOak truly keeps it all in the family with their father, Kirkwood business owner Bill “Freddie” Friedrichs often seen working at the host stand and greeting patrons. St. Louisans can also watch Curt’s wife, meteorologist Bree Smith on KSDK as part of the First Alert Weather Team.  

Find out why they say “The Wood Makes it Good” during twinOak Time from 4:00pm – 6:00pm Tuesday through Friday, like their page on Facebook, and follow them on twitter.

Special thanks to Casey Friedrichs for sitting down to an interview and explaining twinOak’s business model and future plans.