Friday, February 6, 2009

296 Miles

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.

Oscar sleeps in the truck
Oscar the Guard Dog
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! 

Moving Champagne
Mike toasting

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.

Chavas Dining Room

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.  

Mike and Matt at Hammerstones

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.


Anonymous said...

welcome to town!! Hammerstones can be a blast. Be sure to check out Johnny's and McGurks when you get a chance

Anonymous said...

I am missing that sweet, sweet Boulevard already. Be back in two weeks for some more.

That blues band was awesome, too. I remember the kid on drums was the son of the singer.

Unknown said...

I used to live at 10th and Russell, loved every place you're talking about, even the places I haven't been to! Don't know if Mike and Min's and Molly's are still around. During summer get produce from the market, drink beer outside, walk home tipsy and happy, watch young adults play baseball in Pontiac Park. Jealous!
I live in Atlanta now, man, do I miss Soulard!!!!

Jim Barnthouse said...

@Shadrach- I'm not sure but I think Mike and Min's may be Chavas now. At least it looks like it from an old map I found. I'm so looking forward to Spring! At least you're warm in Hotlanta.