Ted Drewes frozen custard

Jamie Springer/KMOX

BRENNAN: 10 Days Spent Showing Off St. Louis

Sometimes, I think I sit around too much - that was not the case this time.

Charlie Brennan
November 28, 2018 - 5:02 pm

Just got back from 10 busy days in St. Louis -- but away from KMOX.  Sometimes, I think I sit around too much.  That was not the case this time.

I enjoyed narrating Prokofiev’s Peter and the Wolf for the St. Louis Philharmonic at Logan University’s beautiful Purser Auditorium on Nov. 16.  Conductor Robert Hart Baker was patient when I jumped in a little too quickly one or two times.  Overall, this orchestra, founded in 1860(!), sounds great. Their Dec. 7 Christmas Pops Concert should be outstanding.  I was also very impressed with the beautiful Purser Hall and I am embarrassed to say this was my first visit. 

The next night, Bob Costas was honored for spearheading 30 years of Cardinal Glennon Hospital fundraisers.  There were no dry eyes at the Ritz Carlton when Bob recounted stories of his many interactions with young Cardinal Glennon patients, some of whom never made it to adulthood.  When Costas was interviewed onstage by 11-year-old Kennedy Burger, he was as affable, funny and kid-friendly as the legendary Art Linkletter.  And wow—Ms. Burger had as much poise as her celebrated interviewee!

Costas, by the way, was on my show for two hours two weeks ago and is expected back on Jan. 21.

My cousin Bob Mayer and his wife Kathy visited from Cleveland, and we had a great dinner at Peel Wood Fired Pizza in Clayton.  The pizza is very good and the service is fast.

Afterward, it was off to Tilles Park for the Winter Wonderland.  Full disclosure:  I lived in Brentwood across from Tilles Park from 1991 to 2001, and during that period I probably saw the lights more often than everyone but the park employees.  The current display far exceeds anything I saw back then.  I can’t imagine how many people assembled this year’s display, but it had to be an army…that started in June!  It is eye candy on steroids.  By the way, I’d like to thank Spike, the horse who pulled our carriage around the displays.  Note:  you can walk through the park’s lights on most Mondays in December.  I think going by foot is the best way to experience Winter Wonderland because you can hear the music better and the walking experience is slower and lasts longer.  Get more details at the park’s website.

My car then took us to Ted Drewes (I could not control it) and my relatives enjoyed their Brennan Blend concretes (Abaco Mocha (coffee and chocolate) and Hazelnuts blended together then topped with caramel). The hazelnuts are from Oregon via Cleveland. Nobody asked for refunds. 

The next morning we headed downtown and parked on 13th Street and an extremely hospitable meter maid from St. Louis Treasurer Tisharua Jones’s office happily gave us parking meter instructions.  I should have written down her name as she was a GREAT ambassador for St. Louis. 

We enjoyed breakfast the next day at Chris’s Pancakes at the Docket, located on the first floor of the SLU Law School at Tucker and Pine.  Delicious, inexpensive food at very reasonable prices.  Excellent service, too.  And, if you slip and fall, some third-year student will take your case.  Just kidding.

Bob and Kathy joined me for their first visit to the Gateway Arch.  Yes, the camera came out numerous times.  Admission is free and, with Bob’s America the Beautiful Senior Pass, we each paid $10 for a tram ride to the top (saving $9 collectively).   As I said in a recent column, the renovated museum takes some time to see because it contains a lot of history.  Bob and Kathy are big fans of the American artist Charles Marion Russell, and were very enthused to see his exhibit.  My favorite: The museum explains how France, Spain and the United States alternated ownership of St. Louis between 1764 and 1804.

We did visit the Old Cathedral, the only piece of private property on the Arch grounds and the only property not to change hands since St. Louis was founded in 1764.  Because a Mass was being celebrated, we just admired the church from behind the last pew.  Little known fact: The Basilica of St. Louis, King of France (as it is officially known) was attacked by an anti-immigrant mob in 1854. 

After the Gateway Arch, we split a slice of gooey butter cake at Kaldi’s in the City Garden between Chestnut and Market Streets.  When in Rome…

We were then off to Cahokia Mounds in Collinsville although, since it was Monday, the visitor’s center was closed.  Nonetheless, we climbed the 100-foot Monk’s Mound, read the plaques and got a pretty decent overview of Mississippian life between 900 and 1300.  (Those Monks: they lived on the mound—which they did not build—for a mere three years and somehow got the naming rights).

Our car, again beyond my control, took us to Gus’ Pretzels on Arsenal.  Bob and I split a bratwurst pretzel and Kathy ate a pretzel on the way to the New Cathedral.

You never know what visitors will really enjoy.  But Bob kept saying, “Oh my God! Oh my God!” when we walked inside the New Cathedral on Lindell.  He was so exuberant I thought he actually saw God!  I am not sure what exactly impressed them—probably the mosaics—but the Clevelanders were completely blown away by this church, which they now consider the best in this country. 

More next week.