Or something close to that. It's amazing how far away St Louis seems from Chicago until you look at the map.
I stared at Google Maps for a few minutes before I went to bed making sure I wasn't missing something. I'm an avid fan of planning so even with only two weeks notice I was fairly sure everything was accounted for. I even slept! That's how I knew it was fine. With any hint that I might be forgetting something I'll be awake all night.
Mike, Oscar and I rolled off my parent's couches at 6 AM and within 15 minutes were pulling out of the driveway. The drive was fairly uneventful. I drove the truck, Mike drove my car and Oscar slept and stood guard when I was filling up the tank around Effingham.
Not one thing stolen while I was inside
We finally pulled up to the Smile Lofts around 1 to find there there was no great place to park the truck on the street. There was one SUV blocking the perfect spot right in front. I took a leap of faith and assumed it could be my new neighbor's car so I knocked on his door. Sure enough it was his and not only did he move his truck but, hey, I made my first friend! FYI, his name is Matt and he plays a mean Blues guitar.
The moving guys arrived early and knocked out the entire truck in an hour. I highly recommend hiring dudes to do that for you. It wasn't expensive and it made the day much less tiring.
And that was it... I was moved. All I had to do was unpack and get living. Relocation toast!
Mike was kind enough to surprise me with some bubbly to celebrate. Pictures are proof of this awesome gesture.
Anyway, I certainly wasn't unpacking the first day I got there so Mike and I decided to go out to eat and start knocking back a few. Enter Chavas.
They are know for their fresh fruit frozen Margaritas apparently but I did not partake. I'm a traditional Marg man. On the rocks - no salt, thank you. I'd argue that what Chavas Mexican should be known for is it's awesome salsa! First of all it's a perfect consistency - Not too watery, and not too chunky. But it's the flavor that's the difference maker. A nice smoked Chipotle flavor. It would be easy to smother anything in that stuff. By the way, they do offer it jarred. We asked.
For the meal I had the Quesadilla and thought it more than adequate. Presentation was well thought out and the chicken was cooked perfectly. The guac was only average for me but if it's freshly made the results will likely vary. Overall it was a great place for dinner and I would recommend trying it. The truly awesome part is that it's only a block away from the apartment. Needless to say I've been back often.
To finish out the night my new neighbor Matt asked Mike and I if we wanted to go down to Hammerstone's for some Blues. This excursion is notable for a few things I will write about in the future, the major one being that this was the first time I enjoyed a glass of Boulevard Wheat.
It was also notable for it being my first time seeing live music so close to my home. Hammerstones's is, again, only a block away. There was a two dollar cover charge which was no big deal for not only being a relatively small price to pay, but because the band was great. I unfortunately do not remember the name of the band. The beer was just too damn good.
I went to bed that night the newest member of the Soulard neighborhood. And I slept well. I guess this is where the real journey begins. Wow, that is lame.