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Found 4 results

  1. This weekend marked my first attempt to return to my hometown, and in addition to visiting my mother and catching my last game at Busch Stadium, to seek out good restaurants rather than the old favorites in my West County neighborhood. I made a list of ten or twelve places culled from eG, Mouthfulsfood, www.saucecafe.com, the Riverfront Times and the Post Dispatch. We ended up at 1111 Mississippi in the Lafayette Square neighborhood and Modesto, a tapas place on the Hill. And I had a few surprises. My first suprise was finding the vibrant Lafayette Square neighborhood in an area that for all my memories was a little too close to the now demolished Darst-Webbe hi-rise housing projects on the Near South Side. 1111 Mississippi is a small renovated warehouse with a small bar, open kitchen and two levels of tables - a more casual area by the bar and a slightly more formal feel in the upper level. The food, especially the fish entrees we had - potato crusted grouper with feek fondue and flash fried trout with chile soy vinaigrette - were excellent. This kitchen appears to have a way with fish. I also especially liked the surprisingly zippy kick at the end from the fresh tasting heirloom tomato gazpacho. A bread pudding that ended up like an overdressed TGI Friday's brownie and a white chocolate torte with the texture and taste of cheesecake (are you sure that isn't actually cheesecake?) were disappointing. I wish I would have gone with my gut and ordered the very St. Louis slice of Gooey Butter Cake with a glass of milk that was on the menu. This is the type of neighborhood restaurant that every neighborhhod wants but most can't quite pull off. My second surprise is that a Spanish restaurant could survive and thrive amidst the red sauce, veal and Italian statuary on the Hill and the conservative dining habits of St. Louisans. 10 years ago this place could have never gotten off the ground, but this Saturday, they were full four years after opening. Like most any Tapas place, there were a few dishes that were better than others but only a tasteless trio of housemade sausages in an overpowering mango barbecue style sauce was a real loser. And my first experience with white Sangria was a pleasant one. This was every bit as good as Jaleo. Jaleo may have a deeper, more authentic menu, but for the basics Modesto did well. My third surprise is that I'm already trying to figure out how to get back to try some of the others from my list.
  2. Oh my, Yogi Berra, an all-time great catcher in the big leagues, and an all-American icon for his many quotes and advertisements that featured him. Seeing comments here referencing that .... really depressed me. Yogi is an iconic American sports star, a beloved character, and what hit hardest on a personal level, was that Yogi has lived most of his life since he got to the Yankees in a Northern NJ town, near where I grew up. There was a fair bit of news about Yogi in my neck of the woods, and all of it was positive and beloved. Yogi's achievements in baseball are legendary and formidable. He ranks with the best of the best. The Yog played in 14 World Series and was on the winning side 10 times!!! That could be a personal record that might not be beat. Yogi was part of Yankee dynasties that helped him get there, but his presence on those teams helped the Yankees win so often. Here are some astonishing nuggets: He led the Yankees in RBI's 7 years in a row through 1955. Those were teams with Joe Dimaggio and Mickey Mantle, He was league MVP 3 times, and received MVP votes 14 years in a row, tied for 2nd behind all time leader Hank Aaron. He was a great player and had tremendous longevity. Yogi caught the famous perfect game in the 1956 World Series. He was a great contact hitter, and a notorious bad ball hitter all the same, being able to connect at pitches above his head, and being capable of golfing a ball thrown at his feet. When you review the reams of detailed statistics about his career there is a column of detail about his annual baseball salary each year. Yogi maxed out at $65,000/year in his playing career. Today the highest paid catchers make around $12-17/million/year, which comes to more per game than he earned in his highest salaried year. Not withstanding the way sports salaries have escalated I doubt baseball's best catchers today could hold Yogi's jock. He was excellent at both offense and defense. He is amazingly beloved in the NY region and among Yankee fans. Growing up his sons were noted athletes, two of whom made it into professional baseball and the NFL. One of my closest friends played on a noted regional Legion baseball team against one of Yogi's sons. As a kid that is simply thrilling. For such a lifelong humble guy he has that "Brooks Robinson" combination of baseball stardom and entirely admirable personal qualities. I truly hope he sticks around for quite a few more years. Here's to you, Yogi. "It ain't over till its over!!"
  3. It is so much more fitting calling Chuck Berry the pivot from R&B to Rock-n-Roll than it is "Rock Around the Clock" - Berry lived his music, and wasn't just slapped together to take advantage of some new fad. There's nothing wrong with Bill Haley & His Comets per se, but ever since I began to think for myself, I've had an uneasy, "Columbus discovered America"-type of feeling about this song, reinforced after seeing "Blackboard Jungle." From chuckberry.com: "We are deeply saddened to announce that Chuck Berry - beloved husband, father, grandfather and great-grandfather passed away at his home today at the age of 90. Though his health had deteriorated recently, he spent his last days at home surrounded by the love of his family and friends. The Berry family asks that you respect their privacy during this difficult time." "15 Essential Chuck Berry Songs" by Alan Light on mobile.nytimes.com
  4. People justifiably remember Joe Garagiola as an amiable announcer, but he was also a respected major-league player, spending his entire nine-year career in the National League - in game 4 of the 1946 World Series (*), Garagiola went 4-5 with 3 RBI's. Garagiola coincidentally grew up across the street from Yogi Berra. How can you possibly not love someone who once said, "Not only was I not the best catcher in the Major Leagues, I wasn't even the best catcher on my street!" Likewise, on playing for four different teams in an eight-team league: "I felt like I was modeling uniforms for the National League." After a decent, but somewhat underachieving, major-league career (Garagiola was initially thought to be better than Berra,, but never fully recovered from a separated shoulder), Garagiola made his mark in broadcasting, being a full- or part-time announcer for close to 50 years, 30 of them with NBC. He is a member of the National Sportscasters and Sportswriters Association Hall of Fame. Garagiola was also often seen on both The Today Show as a panelist, and The Tonight Show as a guest host. I think it's fitting to include the article about Garagiola's passing from the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, which features a nice photo with Berra: "Catcher, Broadcaster, and Hill Icon Joe Garagiola Dies at 90" by Rick Hummel on stltoday.com More than anything else, my strongest memory of Joe Garagiola was that he just seemed like a nice guy. Thanks for your time here, Mr. Garagiola, and say hello to Mr. Berra from all of us. (*) In the 1946 World Series, the Cardinals defeated the Red Sox in game 7 by the score of 4-3 - this, after being down 3 games to 2. Garagiola went 4-5 in one game; Ted Williams went 5-25 in the entire Series. This intense World Series is perhaps best remembered for (and appropriately symbolized by) Enos Slaughter's "Mad Dash" to the plate from first base," which turned out to be the winning run (the 4th run) in game 7 (just as Abdul-Rauf was a pre-Curry, Slaughter was a pre-Rose, warts and all).
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