This weekend I had a little taste of family. It was more satisfying than a generous slice of birthday cake, or a glass of my favorite red wine. It was the kind of lasting satisfaction that only comes from deep relationship. I traveled to St. Louis Missouri to visit my sister and brother in law and their little girl, Sarah. It’s been around 10 years since we’ve had any sort of normalcy in our relationship, as they lived in a whole other continent, so I’m savoring every chance I get to be with my sister and to get to be an aunt.
Over the weekend we feasted on Italian food, toured around a city so new to me, and best of all, we just got to be together. We laughed a lot, especially at my creative little niece, who always seemed to be doing something hilarious… dipping her dinosaurs in her cereal or building a pyramid of furniture on her bed when we weren’t looking.
I wasn’t in a hurry this trip. I loved exploring St. Louis but I look forward to more visits to uncover more. To describe the city simply, the word unpretentious comes to mind. We visited the local farmer’s market which sold ‘coon’ (as in raccoon) right next to choice steaks and also advertised biscuits and gravy and jello shots on the same sign. The market was filled with bright and fresh fruits and vegetables all sold at very reasonably prices.
We also visited ‘The Hill,’ which is what locals call the Italian district of town. We grabbed a delicious Italian deli sandwich and cannoli from a little cafe that couldn’t be more unassuming. Both the sandwich and the cannoli were the best of their kind, that I have ever tasted. Yes, I will be back! And before we left The Hill (by the way… there is no actual hill, St. Louis is mostly flat) we visited an Italian market and picked up all of the perfect ingredients to whip up a simply scrumptious Italian meal at home.
The city charmed me with its tall red brick homes, diverse crowds, and rich meats, but most of all I think enjoying a place has much to do with who you are with. St. Louis is now a second home to me, because this is where my family lives.
*For the birthday or celebration cake recipe from the top photo see this post It’s one of my favorite cakes to make for a special occasion!