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Posts Tagged ‘Food’

Dear Kara,

Thanks for inviting me to Drag Queen Meat Bingo yesterday. It was one of many commitments I had for the day, but it was BY FAR the most fun.

I will be honest: I thought the “meat” part of the event was going to be the eye candy that one typically finds at drag events. Like Ru Paul’s Pit Crew.

But no, it was meat as in bacon, ribs, three chickens in a sack, etc.

Though it was slow to get going, the roof deck at Sasha’s Wine Bar was lovely. We were supposed to be able to see contestants in the Great Forest Park Balloon Race.

We saw two.

You don’t see one? Let me help.
Yes, it was underwhelming.

Bingo seemed to really pick up after Dieta Pepsi saw her old boss from the mortgage company where she used to work.

Odd for him, great for us.

Then you won a prize drawing.

The prizes? Hostess cupcakes and a Fireball shot.

As we were both committed to being sober, you had to get a designated chugger.

Look at this absolute legend.

The very next round was your round. Criss-cross applesauce = five pounds of pork steak.

Thank you for donating it to the cause: The family gathering at my house coming up in three weeks.

This platter of piggy barely fit in my freezer!

Add this run of yours to us winning Pajama Pawty trivia last week, and I’d say we are lucky together.

So thanks for inviting me. Looking forward to next time!

Love,
Your sister

*So does Arby’s.

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Dear Jennifer,

Thanks for visiting! You gave me an excuse to go to Grant’s Farm. I had heard about it, but never gone.

The main reason to go? CLYDESDALES.

There also are elk, deer, giant rabbits, goats, zebras, donkeys, peacocks, llamas, water buffalo and camels (seriously) to admire.

And as it is the Busch Family estate, two free samples of beer.

What’s not great is the tram system. I did not realize you had to take a tram from the parking lot to the main attraction area, then wait for a tram to take you back.

This would be a fine plan if the retirees in charge filled the trams each. They did not. You and I were both annoyed by the lengthy wait times in the broiling sun.

Anyway, I’m glad we went. I’m also glad we enjoyed the many other lovely things this city has to offer:

  • And, of course, the pizza at IMO’s Pizza

We hit some major St. Louis highlights.

And we even saw a rainbow.

It was such a fun weekend, but now I’m exhausted!

Next time, I promise we will squeeze in Broadway Oyster Bar.

Safe travels, and come back soon!

Love,
Beth

*Thanks, Randy.

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Dear Detroit Marriott at The Renaissance Center,

I attended my annual research conference in you this week. I am NOT a fan, and I will not be back (unless I have absolutely no choice).

How do I loathe thee? Let me count the ways:

  1. Your staff is not prepared for guests. The line was 10 deep for check-in, and you had one person actually working. Three other employees — one of whom looked like a manager — were at the other end of the counter chatting. Do their eyes work? Couldn’t they see the line?
  2. Your building is not prepared for guests. There are six elevators “servicing” floors 40-70. Only two appeared to be working. A gang of fellow conferencers and I waited 10 minutes Thursday night for an elevator to take us down.
  3. Your events staff is not prepared for guests. Two thousand people attended the last in-person AEJMC conference (Toronto, 2019). That is standard for this conference. Yet nothing was set up to handle this influx of people. Your staff selected large rooms for small events (e.g., the University of South Carolina alumni breakfast featured three tables for eight in a cavernous room) and wee rooms for major events. For example, the Broadcast and Mobile Journalism group awards ceremony and reception was in the tiniest conference room I’ve ever seen. No tables. For an event that featured food and drinks. Group leaders who got to the event early drug in tables and chairs for the 50 or so attendees. Way to go, Marriott!
  4. Your technology support is not prepared for guests. This conference is primarily for journalism/mass communications professors. You know: People who communicate. They have devices that need to be charged. Outlets were few and far between.
This is the ONLY OUTLET in the room!

The various other problems fellow attendees and I experienced had to do with The Renaissance Center in general. It is, generously, an atrium-focused maze of wasted space.

Circulation Ring = CIRCLES OF HELL
Trust me: You can’t get there from here
No, you don’t really want to sit and meet/eat/work do you?

There is a shocking lack of open restaurants. Again, conference of 2,000+ people (and AEJMC was one of at least three going on at once). Hotel with 70 floors of rooms. Yet, it was hard to find a place to eat. Literally (see maze above) and because so many were closed. Note: There was a VERY bougie seafood restaurant open, but who wants to pay $75 for shrimp?

Desperation signage
Starbucks: closed
Another Starbucks: closed
Food court: mostly closed
Oh look! The open Burger King that I thought was only the stuff of legend.

Then there is the location. You are on the Detroit River. So a riverwalk with shops and restaurants would make sense. Apparently, it only makes sense to me. I would not say the United States side has ample commerce. The Canada side (Windsor) looks promising.

The Renaissance Center provides a great view of our northern neighbor.

But once again, you can’t get there from here if you don’t have a car.

I realize that the pandemic took a toll on the hospitality industry. That said, people are traveling again. Conferences are back in person. Do better, or you won’t have guests to piss off anymore.

Sincerely,
Bonvoy Member on Floor 47

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COVID, Day 7 (Maybe? Could be Day 4 depending on when I displayed symptoms from ‘Rona and not the booster.)

Captain’s Log

I’m feeling fine, but still testing positive.

I’ve managed not to drink away my sorrows every day, but isolation is difficult for an extrovert.

I’m not an indoor cat.

And even my indoor cat has gone loopy.

His tongue is stuck.
He went to sleep with his mouth open.

I’m SO BORED.

I’m sick of TV. I’m tired of social media. I’ve had enough of lonely walks around the neighborhood.

I’ve even cleaned out the freezer.

That’s how bad it is.

But I’ve eaten well. That’s positive. Haven’t lost taste or smell.

I’ve been FaceTiming people because I need human contact. (Petra knows. She got a surprise.)

Maybe tomorrow I’ll test negative, and I can rejoin society. Carefully, of course.

The good news is that I don’t appear to have infected anyone else.

Small victories.

Sigh.

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Dear Goat Yoga Lisa:

Thanks for being my first non-family visitor to test out the guest room! I’m glad it was during the ramp-up to Mardi Gras, but sorry there was still snow and ice all over. (Especially sorry for the Missouri drivers and the shards of ice flying off their cars.)

Having you in town was a great excuse to visit the Gateway Arch — the iconic monument I hadn’t explored since moving here.

Tiny Terror that you are, we had to explore my neighborhood bar too.

And also my neighbor’s ice-cream shop.

And Taste of Soulard — my neighborhood’s neighbor.

I enjoyed meeting your cousin Claire!

That’s where we saw interesting people like this guy.

I wonder if he knows that portable Bluetooth speakers exist.

And a goat who is the GOAT.

And racing weiners.

I promise a more comfortable sleeper sofa the next time you visit. And that I will have become a regular, “Cheers” style at the local bar.

Love and kisses!

Your fren,
Beth

P.S. Thanks for the hostess gift. I wouldn’t call me “sweet” by any stretch of the imagination, but I appreciate it.

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Dear Fellow Blogger,

You said to me yesterday that I am “practically a foreign correspondent now.”

That resonated. I AM gathering information on a place that is new to me.

I’m trying to see and do as much as I can.

For example, I saw a billboard advertising tours of the Missouri State Penitentiary in Jefferson City.

Ghost tours.

Because of course they would offer ghost tours in October.

So I had to go.

Because of course I did.

I asked my mother if she wanted to go.

Me: I am booking a tour of the Missouri State Penitentiary Saturday night. Do you want to go?
Her: (long pause) No.

I have no trouble going places alone, so I called to make the booking.

Me: The website says there’s no availability on any weekend tour.
Lady on phone: We are sold out. When did you want to come?
Me: Saturday.
Her: How many?
Me: Just me.
Her: Just you?
Me: Just me.
Her: I can squeeze in one person.
Me: Great!
Her: 7, 8 or 9?
Me: A.M.?
Her (drily): P.M. It’s a ghost tour.
Me: Right.

So I went. It’s an hour and some change north of Rolla. Rural Missouri looks like rural Georgia.

Fifty feet from this sign, there was a dead deer in a ditch. Must not have been good eatin’.
What kind of fowl convention is this?

I got to Jefferson City early so I had time to look around.

Gov. Mike Parson’s place. He can walk to the Capitol building if he chooses. It’s a more modest place than Georgia Gov. Brian Kemp’s palace.
Lewis, Clark and the gang
Brisket, pulled pork, pit beans and jalapeño cheddar grits. Many animals were harmed in the making of this meal. I’m sorry.

At this point, you may be asking this:

But Beth, what about the ghost tour — the whole point of your trip?

Well, it deserves a whole post on its own.

Stay tuned.

Your Midwest correspondent,
Beth

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Dear Friends and Family,

All is well here in the heartland of America. I explored downtown Rolla on foot in about an hour last weekend. I made it to much of the rest of the town throughout the week.

Plenty to amuse me here.

I’ve found that people are super chatty. It goes way beyond the Southern hospitality that I know.

I had LONG conversations with a woman next to me at the nail salon (she is from Salem, has four kids, back issues, etc.), a guy in the beer aisle at Walmart (his mom cooks with beer) and a couple at the farmer’s market (she is surprised I know how to cook turnip greens and he runs their produce mailing list).

My haul from yesterday. Am I a Southern girl or what?

Really lovely people. True embodiment of the phrase “salt of the earth.”

I’ve been all over campus this week and now know my way around very well. Same thing: such nice people!

I’m not sure if I mentioned this, but my new employer is putting me up in university housing for two months so I can acclimate to the university and get to know people before I start spending all my time in St. Louis.

University housing = residence hall

(No, I didn’t bring my futon, neon beer sign and bookcase made with plywood and milk crates. 😉)

I’m on what appears to be the men’s floor. Though I have a private outside entrance, the interior door opens onto the hallway.

I share my bedroom wall with the guys next door: Paul, Conor and Owen. They had a particularly rowdy night Tuesday night. I have no idea what they were doing, but now to me they are collectively the Noisy Nerds.*

I live for the day I’m invited to a hall party. (You know I’m not kidding.)

Anyway, I’m still fine. A little bored at night after work, but fine. I’ll make friends. Find things to do. As I do. Don’t worry.

Love,
Beth

*Not a pejorative term. I too am a nerd about a variety of things. As you all know.

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Dear Rolla:

Though I was pained to leave my family, you have already helped me know I made the right decision.

I’m hanging out with you for a couple of months while I get acclimated to my new job and find a place to live in St. Louis.

Why was I entertained? In a word: camels.

I happened to arrive just in time for the annual Celebration of Nations parade and festival.

Camels in the parade
A camel moments before he sneezed on me
The Missouri S&T miner mascot riding a camel. (Photo courtesy of Missouri S&T)
Here’s a goofy alpaca just for kicks.

You know what else I loved?

“The World’s Finest Rolla German Band.” That’s their name. For real.
This goat
The farmers market
Lumpia and pancit from a Filipino food truck truck

After my last post, a number of friends said my decision is the right one as I’m always looking for new adventures. That’s true. And they said they look forward to me writing about them.

You’ve already given me plenty!

I’m going to be just fine.

Love,
Beth

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Dear Friends and Family,

As many of you know, I’ve been taking what I’ve termed “murder-prevention trips” during the pandemic. As I’ve mentioned, I’m an extrovert who likes to travel. The pandemic was hard for me for those reasons, as well as the fact that my children and I were all up on each other trying to work/study.

(First-world problems, I know. We did not have nearly the issues that many, many other people had. But this was my reality, and I’m acknowledging its difficulty.)

I’m not an indoor cat.

Look at what Dominic got me (on his own!) to commemorate my latest trip:

When he is good, he is very good indeed. (And when he is bad, he is horrid.)

Where did I go? England. Boris said I could.

Plus, my favorite band was playing their first gig in a billion years (i.e., 18 months).

I am such a huge Anglophile — constantly amused and/or impressed by the things I find. This jaunt was no exception.

An all-in-one station. You don’t even need to move your hands. Genius!
If it’s needless, why is it there?
Ew! No. That’s an assault on humanity.
I asked the waiter what this was on the saucer. He said, “Flake.” I said, “A flake of what?” It’s chocolate. We Americans don’t have that.
Brilliant!
I love that it’s a “Demand” button instead of the more polite “Call.”
I’ve never seen a toilet shaped like this.
Well, OF COURSE there will be nudity. It’s the UK and “naked” is in the title.

I’ve promised Gideon a birthday trip there in May, COVID willing. Maybe he’ll be as delighted as I am with the cultural differences.

Have a great week!
Beth

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Dear Plant Murderers:

You are complete bastards. I went out of town for TWO DAYS, and my beloved tomato plant went from this:

To this:

I didn’t even know why until I got close.

Hornworm.

I had never even heard of you. And then I had to Google how to get rid of you.

As per instructions, I plucked you off my plant and yeeted you into the sun. (Plucking was advised. Yeeting was not. Directions suggested killing you in soapy water.)

Look at this complete asshole. His name is Adolph.

I will be vigilant against your return, but I don’t know if my plant will rebound.

TWO DAYS!

I hate you all.

Sincerely,
Beth

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