Zia’s on the Hill

April 7, 2008 at 1:22 pm | Posted in restaurant, Review, Zach Haugen | Comments Off on Zia’s on the Hill
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Normally restaurant reviews are something I don’t normally do.  I feel compelled to though for the restaurant that I went to Friday night.

Although I’ve called St. Louis home for two years I had never experienced the Hill and the things it has to offer.  I never knew that there was an area of St. Louis that had so much red, white, and green.  The place of chosen interest for our evening was a restaurant known as Zia’s, a restaurant that has been around since 1984.

Zia’s is an Italian restaurant that tries to make you feel like honored guests instead of customers.  The entire night we were promptly attended to by a very polite server, although he forgot to bring butter when he served us bread.  What caught me was the aroma I got when I first sat down; it was as if I was in a house and I could smell our dinner already cooking.  The air was tantalizing with the smell of different pastas, which was very good, and the Cannelloni that I had was fantastic.  

Pasta is a food I don’t dabble in often, and it was fun to try something new. Unfortunately I felt like the food wasn’t adequate enough quantity wise to justify its cost.  The bill total was actually pretty decent for a nice meal for two, only about twenty-five dollars.  I just expect to get more when I pay more. Still my experience at Zia’s was a positive one and if you are in the mood for some great Italian, or a fun new place to take that significant other, then I definitely suggest giving Zia’s a try.  Being at Zia’s will feel like being right at home.


dollar rolls

March 25, 2008 at 2:22 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst, Photo Essay | 4 Comments
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For almost the price of a single gallon of gasoline, you can feed your friends and family with a package of so-called Dollar Rolls. It’s “fresh baked goodness”, filled with nutritional yeast and flour. As photographed at Schnuck’s Supermarket in South Hampton, in Saint Louis.

Cod piece

February 7, 2008 at 12:53 am | Posted in Concert, Matthew Hurst | 3 Comments
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Within the last week my friend described Cod as the least desirable, most tasteless of all catch fish after seeing it on the menu of a local restaurant.  And considering that it’s the most likely fish you’ll see battered in beer and deep fried, that reputation would seem well deserved.  I’d like to be proved wrong.

Just such an opportunity to be proven wrong has presented itself within this same week, as the Schlafly Tap Room presents their Cod & Cask festival.  “You’ll believe in cod once you’ve enjoyed the talents of Icelandic Chef Hakon Oervarsson, who is flying in for the occasion,” promise the fine PR staff from the Saint Louis Brewery.  But in order to compliment an event that their would be understandable doubt in the power of this exceedingly affordable catch, Schlafly is offering Real Ale that is carbonated in the cask, hand pumped at the bar, and will be served at cellular temperature to compliment the fish and chips. 

And should the Icelandic experience alone not be authentic enough, award-winning musician Petur Ben and his band will be performing his unique sound straight outta Reykjavík.  They’ll be joined by local favorites Walkie Talkie USA on Friday night, and on Satuday night by Gentleman Auction House.  It’ll all take place from 5-12pm on Friday-Saturday February 8th and 9th, with Petur Ben (of “White Tiger” fame) playing a solo set this Thursday February 7th around 8pm.

So besides rethinking the least considered fish on the plate, we’re sure the servings of Icelandic flavor ought to catch your attention as they had ours.  Something is indeed fishy about Cod’s reputation (to say nothing about Iceland’s use of geothermal energy), so bring a friend this weekend and an open mind (or at least an open growler).

pick of the litter

October 16, 2007 at 2:03 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst, Photo Essay | 3 Comments
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It’s no secret that local bloggers love that epitome of all that is seasonal in the neighborhood: the farmer’s market. Everyone is glad when their community can put together a farmer’s market that connects us to the land and to our neighbors, so it’s ironic that so many of our suburban friends who live closer to farms are often disconected from such venues. One such historic farmer’s market is Rombach Farm in Chesterfield Valley, which is most famous for offering everyone a chance to pick their own pumpkin from their patch every fall.

Seen here is Highway 61 contributor Lauren Reid, admiring the harvest season’s produce first hand. It’s part of a set of photos taken from our trip to find the perfect pumpkin from the 50+ acre pumpkin patch and the ensuing harvest revelry on a property that stood at flood plain level before Chesterfield Valley was just a sprawling shopping development.

Rombach Farms was a pretty big part of my childhood in semi-rural Glencoe (now Wildwood), with a summer farmers market within closer reach than Dierbergs. It was a trade off my family made of convience for the country, and I can still remember the year Rombachs was out of reach below the floodplain of 1993. Now their are rumors circulating that this might be the last year the market is open, just when such venues are needed in the supply chain of sustainable living. And while I cannot substantiate such rumors, any year has always been worth the extra trip back to the pumpkin patch this fall.

Chilly meal served hot

October 9, 2007 at 12:27 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst | 1 Comment
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bowl of veggie chiliSure it’s been unseasonably warm lately (which taunts those of us who have to spend time inside, in front of a computer), but that didn’t stop residents from around the Saint Louis area from cooking up a batch of chili to show-off at the annual Chili Cook-Off last weekend.  Of course some of us were working on a little matter called midterms this weekend and couldn’t make it out. 

To say nothing of those like me, who love chili but remain vegetarians in a world full of meaty competition chilis.  So although I grew up appreciating the complex taste of ground beef or steak tips stewing in the chili, it certainly couldn’t compel me to try other’ chili and probably shouldn’t offer my own.  But for the adventurous (or just those who eat out of season), I hope it’s not too late to offer my own vegetarian chili recipe:

You’ll need the following ingredients:  A can of mild chili beans, a can of diced or stewed tomatoes (drained), 1/2 yellow onion (diced), 1/4 green pepper, Fantastic World Foods Vegetarian Chili mix, and a spring or two of cilantro as desired.

Instructions:  Follow the instructions on the chili box (since it will help give the texture of a meaty stewed chili), and add the freshly chopped ingredients alongside the beans and tomatoes as directed.  For an extra kick to this stew-like chili, consider adding minced garlic as desired and your favorite hot sauce to desired hotness.  Consider stewing the mix on low an additional 15 minutes beyond what’s recommended for an ideal mix of flavors.  It’ll get you through midterms and will serve at least 5-6.

Taco-Flavored Kisses

September 19, 2007 at 12:44 am | Posted in Matthew Hurst, Rants | 4 Comments

Saint Louis is urban oasis, filled with the trappings of city living, including street vendors.  We have Hot Dog stands and Ice Cream trucks. But what about Taco Trucks?

After listening to a story about the Taco Truck culture of scenic Oakland today, I have to wonder where in our auto-centric city exists these mobile meal machines?  I see our working Mexican-American population everyday, am an active patron of any number of wonderful mexican cuisine restaurants in town, and yet I yearn for the roving bean burrito.  Growing up in semi-rural Missouri I’ve only recently grown accustomed to meals on wheels urban culture (to say nothing of the drive-thru), so you’d think in a car centric town like this might have such a nomadic behemoth bevy of cheap, delicious food. Even New Orleans has received an influx of nature’s sandwiches delivered to the places people work  as of late.

How long must we live without the trappings of a multi-cultural environment invade our neighborhoods?  Yes, I love the almighty taco, nature’s own encasing of all that is delectable (or just vegetarian friendly).  Maybe they haven’t arrived in my neighborhood just yet.  Then again, I hear Ice Cream trucks rove South Broadway at night


August 28, 2007 at 5:00 pm | Posted in blogs, Gabe Bullard, Matthew Hurst, Photo Essay, summer | Comments Off on Afterparty

For those of you who couldn’t make it out to our Blog Party last Friday, our condolences.  We thought it’d be nice to let in on our fun with this slideshow, of which individual pictures can be inspected on a FlickR photoset.  If you have any pictures from the event yourself, might we suggest using the appropriate Flickr tag or at least adding it to the event page on Facebook?

Although I must admit that attendance was lower than expected, the blog party was a definite success.  On what turned into one of the busiest social nights of the year, we finagled just enough friends and well-wishers to eat through a couple pizzas.  Thanks everyone.

Since we first announced the Blog Party we’ve generated quite a bit of interest (or at least conversations) on the Meetup (remember those) ideas.  And we agree: a blog party should be more like a block party, celebrating the neighborhood with our neighbors.  Consider this the alpha preview, and any potential follow-up a beta release.

Unlimited Crown Candy Ice Cream for Under $6.50

August 11, 2007 at 9:43 pm | Posted in Gabe Bullard | 4 Comments
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While at Crown Candy with some friends, I noticed a strange pattern with the prices for ice cream.

One pint of ice cream cost four dollars.
One quart (two pints) of ice cream cost five dollars
One half gallon (two quarts) of ice cream cost five dollars and fifty cents.

So, as the amount of ice cream doubled, the increase in price halved.

It could be represented by this equation, where y is the amount of ice cream and x is the increase in price:


That’s kind of simple, but for this instance, it’ll work. See, if you wanted twice as much ice cream, the increase, x, would be 1/2.

Using this rough math, we can try to find the limit of x as y approaches infinity (how much will the price go up as you got closer to ordering an infinite amount of ice cream).

The result?

Lim(x) y–>infinity = 0

So while the increase will never become zero, it will get infinitely closer to zero as the amount of ice cream you want gets infinitely. So, theoretically, a little more than $6 should get you all the ice cream in Crown Candy.

Note: They won’t really give you unlimited ice cream, no matter how mathematically sound your argument is.

But, if somehow the good folks at Crown Candy agree to stick to their formula, they will probably insist on you ordering a finite amount of ice cream. To figure out the exact price, use an exponential decay equation. The first person to do that correctly and tell me the theoretical price of 25 pints of ice cream will get one free pint of Crown Candy ice cream.

Don’t forget to show your work.

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