Tony and I joke that we never buy much in the way of souvenirs on our vacations, but we always come home with groceries. It's true. When I visited Rome, I may have bought a t-shirt or two for family members, but the majority of the precious extra space in my suitcase was reserved for limoncello, balsamic vinegar, and olive oil.
Our trip to St. Louis was no different. While shopping in Old St. Charles, a couple of shops caught our attention. The first was Olde Town Spice Shoppe, crammed wall-to-wall with every spice you can think of, plus other goodies like teas, coffees, and hot sauces.
Tony picked out a couple of hot sauces and a spicy-sweet raspberry chipotle sauce that is perfect for drizzling over cream cheese and eating with crackers.
I bought some pumpkin spice tea (with all the rain we've been getting this summer, might as well pretend it's fall) and some Cafe Du Monde coffee. I'd been wanting to sample this chicory coffee, made in New Orleans, but until now I'd never seen the decaf version. So it was a nice find for this caffeine-free mama.
I also loaded up on spices, of course. The Caribbean jerk seasoning and buffalo wing seasoning should be excellent on tofu or tempeh. I also picked up some nacho cheese popcorn seasoning for Jackson, the popcorn lover of the family, and maple syrup powder, just because it intrigued me. You mix it with water. It was much cheaper than buying real maple syrup. We'll see how the flavor and consistency compare. Finally, a mole sauce spice blend for our next enchilada dinner, and a greens seasoning blend that I'll try on some sauteed kale or collards.
And history repeated itself, as I once again returned home with souvenirs of Italian olive oil and balsamic. So what if I bought them in Missouri -- they're still Italian, haha! Our friend Carla took us to a unique shop called Di Olivas that sells nothing but olive oil and vinegars, all infused with different flavors. And you can sample all of them in the store. That was fun!
Check out all of the balsamic vinegar flavors! It was so hard to choose just one to purchase, but I went with the dark chocolate balsamic. Carla says it is incredible on strawberries -- can't wait to try it. There were also a number of infused olive oils. The garlic-scented was my favorite. The basil was a close second -- I may have to mail order it.
We did do a bit of non-food-related sightseeing in St. Louis, but not much. It was 105 degrees all weekend while we were there, so most of our tourism consisted of driving around and pointing at things from the relative comfort of our air-conditioned car. The rest of the time, we just hung out at Rick and Carla's house or went swimming at our hotel.
I spotted this sign outside a Carl's Jr. Hmm...
I'll leave you for today with some shots of Olivia being a goofball in the hotel room. When she grins big, you can see her pointy teeth. I love my little vampire.
Since her potty training is going well and she has little need anymore for diapers in the traditional sense, she found a new use for them -- post-shower head wrap. Such a fashionista.
Tomorrow -- more food souvenirs. Yes, more.