The last time we went to St. Louis, Tim and I were young and in love, just a few days from the night we’d sat on a bench in downtown Glen Ellyn, the Metra train sailing by, and I’d uttered the words I’d been waiting months to say (which those of you who’ve read the ebook will remember in detail). After he’d left Chicago, Tim got a random gig delivering gear for some musicians, sending him to St. Louis for a night the following weekend, and, when he told me this on the phone, I immediately Googled the distance between Chicago and Nashville, exclaimed, “I want to come meet you!” and our trip was born. (In those few days between seeing each other, I also went and chopped off ten inches of my hair to send to Locks for Love, a decision that, at the time, felt so drastic and permanent, I still reach to the back of my neck to feel my hair when I think about it. I never could have imagined a time two years later when I’d return, married, with hair as long and heavy as it once had been. Life lesson: hair grows! time heals! thank God!)
Anyway, that short trip two Julys ago was such magic, such away-from-it-all bliss, that I always think of St. Louis as a city of good things. That’s one of the many reasons we were so glad to take a lightning-fast trip there this past Saturday and Sunday, to see our dear friends Joanna and Brad.
We met these two lovebirds at Cafe Osage, a stunning garden-meets-artisan-shop-meets-cafe we found on the Slow Foods St. Louis website, which is very helpful and I wish there were one for every city, I really do. Sitting outside in gorgeous 70-degree weather surrounded by thriving plants and pumpkins (and, OK, real talk, bees), we ate Moroccan chicken salads and roasted vegetable gratins over conversation about health and work and surgeries and ozone injections—you know, the usual.
We first met Brad and Joanna in person last summer, after months of blog friendship (me and Joanna) and then nutrition dialogue (Tim and Brad), when they came to spend a few days of vacation in Nashville. Since then, they’ve come to our wedding and talked to us on the phone and, earlier this year when things looked pretty bleak, been a voice of truth and love and encouragement that helped pull us through. Joanna, through her easy conversation, deep way of thinking and incredibly quick wit, has become one of my favorite people on earth, someone who not only tells you what you need to hear but also does it with the experience of someone who has walked through dark days and with a graciousness that makes you want to listen.
After lunch, we picked up Brad’s grandma (aka the youngest almost-84-year-old I have ever met, ever) who was our hostess for the night, and shopped a farmer’s market, walked by the arch and wandered through random historical exhibits in the museum at the bottom of the arch.
They made us minestrone with homemade beef broth and, Sunday morning, a vegetable-egg scramble, while we talked with Grandma about her getting married at 17 (!) and how she loved the ten years of retirement she got to spend with her late husband before he died. We looked at photos of Brad in eighth grade and flipped through the album of their wedding Grandma keeps on her coffee table.
And, back at home today, remembering the weekend and the years of friendship that came before it, there are so many things I could say about these two and how their lives have blessed ours: how Sunday morning, walking into Grandma’s church, I listened to Joanna talking and realized this woman who is so much like me has absolutely none of my cynicism, not a drop; that she is the Joanna you’ll see mentioned in the ebook acknowledgements page for not only reading the book draft but thoroughly providing feedback on it; that, spending time with them, even when it involves ten hours of driving, leaves us coming away feeling refreshed; how much we love being around a married couple that enjoys each other and talks kindly to each other; or maybe just that we really love these two and feel so blessed to know them and to get to walk through good and hard times, even from a few states away, together—
people we never would have known without blogging,
just like we never would have known each other,
and how thinking about that fills our hearts with thanks.
Places we visited in St. Louis:
- Cafe Osage / Bowood Farms || 4605 Olive Street, St. Louis, MO || M-Sat 7-10:30, 11-2 and Sun 9-2
- Soulard Farmers Market || 730 Carroll Street, St. Louis, MO || W-Th 8-5, Fri 7-5, Sat 7-5:30
- The Arch (which you can ride to the top of for $10!) || Museum of Westward Expansion
Cheesy Scrambled Eggs & Sourdough Toast*
There’s nothing revolutionary about making scrambled eggs, but scrambled has always been my favorite way to have eggs—even more than fried or poached or in a quiche. And while this quick, cheesy version is different from the vegetable-stuffed eggs Brad and Joanna made us for breakfast Sunday, it’s no less comforting than scrambled eggs have always been to me.
*The toasted sourdough, which I MADE FROM SCRATCH (!!), comes from following the exact directions Rachel Rose gives over at The Braumeister’s Wife. I’ve declared her a genius.
1 teaspoon coconut oil
1/4 cup milk
1 teaspoon pesto
Salt and pepper
Pecorino cheese, grated on top
Warm coconut oil in a large stainless steel skillet on the stove until the pain is coated and hot. Meanwhile, using a fork, beat two eggs, milk and pesto in with a small bowl. Pour egg mixture into pan and let cook, scrambling it all up with your fork once or twice as it solidifies. Sprinkle salt and pepper on top. Remove to a plate when it’s the consistency you like. Grate fresh Pecorino cheese all over the top, as much as you like. Serve with toasted sourdough topped with butter and honey.