Lots of events going on this fall weekend in St. Louis! I made it Downtown both Saturday and Sunday for the Taste of St. Louis and then the Cardinal game Sunday afternoon. The weather was absolutely beautiful and thousands of people showed up both days. Quite a few people made there way to The Taste before and after the baseball game. There was also a 3PM Rams game and many people stopped in before that. The Taste of St. Louis is a great 3 day event (Fri – Sun) that takes place at Soldier’s Memorial each Fall. Soldier’s Memorial is located directly north of the Scottrade Center at 14th and Market. Restaurant Row is the main attraction at The Taste of St. Louis and it features 45 restaurants from around the St. Louis area. Each restaurant has a menu of 3-4 items that generally cost between $2-$7. No need to buy tickets, which is nice. Each booth accepts cash. There are also vendors from many major companies there doing demonstrations and giveaways. There were booths from Charter, Cadillac, Marlboro and many other companies there all 3 days.

As far as the menu goes it was extremely varied and had pretty much any kind of cuisine you can imagine including Cajun/Creole, Italian, Bar Food, Thai, Dessert and many, many more. For me, the star of the show were the Kobe Beef sliders from Oceano in Clayton. I highly recommend them! I also sampled the Shrimp and Andoullie Mac & Cheese from McCormick and Schmick’s. Also the Chorizo Quesadilla from Tortilleria was excellent. Its great event to hit with the family or a couple of friends. Get a wide variety of things and everyone takes a couple bites. Also wanted to recognize the Benton Park Neighborhood Association and Soulard Restoration Group for having their beer tents at the Taste all weekend. Benton Park was there selling Schlafly products and SRG was there selling Anhueser Busch products. These beer tents are fundraisers for the events beautification projects so many St. Lousians enjoy so please patronize them! Everybody loves Mardi Gras, Concerts in the Park, 5k’s, and bike races and we need to continue to ensure our neighborhoods are great places to host these events.

Click Here for the full menu from Taste of St. Louis 2011

The new Peabody Opera House was also open for free tours all weekend in conjunction with the Taste so I stopped in on Saturday. The restoration is absolutely beautiful and the venue is very intimate. I can’t wait catch a concert there. It reminds me of an old theater in Manhattan on Broadway that I’ve seen some concerts in called The Beacon. Its slightly smaller than the Fox and certainly bigger than the Pageant. It may help to attract events that won’t fit well into the other venues in town giving us a greater variety. Hopefully it will also attract some acts that typically skip St. Louis and go straight from KC to Chicago or vice versa. The lobby and the staircase upon entry are extremely ornate and impressive. They lead you directly up the staircase to the theater entrance. The tour then lead you down the aisle and up to the stage. They led the line up onto the stage from stage right and each person on the tour got to walk across the stage and look out into the rows of seats and up into the balcony. The theater itself is ornate with lots of restored plaster casting, paint, and beautiful woodwork. The lighting inside the jumped out at me and there was large dome light in the center of the theater that changed colors throughout the tour. The tour then lead off the stage and out the right hand side of the theater. You then walked down a hallway and with several rooms off to your left hand side. One of the rooms off the hallway is an event space that is available for weddings, parties, fundraisers etc. Like the rest of the theater the restored plaster and woodwork in the event space was really impressive. Then the tour leads you back up another set of steps and out to the stone steps coming in off Market leading you straight back into Soldier’s Memorial and the Taste. Its a totally different venue and level of finish but I can still feel the connection that this has to the old Kiel Auditorium. I went there with my family for nearly every SLU Basketball home game during the mid and late 80’s until they moved to the Arena in the early 90’s. I can still remember the ramps that lead up to the seats from the street level just like the staircase in the Peabody. The lines in the new Peabody are subtley similar to its old sister building, Kiel Auditorium, and it will take many people back to old times.

Taste and pro sports were not the only things going on over the weekend. Grand Center hosted Dancing in the Street over the weekend as well and it has quite a reputation as a great event. Still looking forward to more festivals in the coming weeks!