Wednesday, June 28, 2006

Black Forest is open

Watch the video

There is a new Mexican Restaurant and bar called El Lenador that just opened on 3126 Cherokee yesterday. Yes, they have beer. Yay beer!

The video is from my phone. My apologies for the shaky camera, I was just so excited to be in an old German immigrant restaurant now occupied by new immigrants. I love the USA!

It is in the old Black Forest on Cherokee just east of Compton near the old Thurmers. They have kept the same decor, a painted scene of the Rhine Valley, drop ceiling, beautiful wood bar with a carved wood arch, a little stage and a ton of seating. The place is like a nice restaurant in the mid 70s. They have only been open two days. It was quite amusing. The little kids of the owners were running around. We were only the second table when we arrived. Then there was another party of five people and the boys would run to the back and say "there are five more people who came in!!" It was pretty fun. And the food- damn good. That Cherokee Mexican style with fresh fresh fresh salsas, chips, guac, corn tortillas, cheese, chorizo. And cheap cheap I might add. Now that this is in a legit looking joint with booze(well beer)!! My heavens, you can take a real date out on Cherokee. Amazing. My grandmother hates going to restaurants that don't serve scotch. She says "lets go to a real restaurant next time." Hopefully they will start serving the stiff stuff soon.

The building itself is huge, with huge seemingly unnecessary looking parking lot and what appears to be a large second floor for perhaps a banquet hall. The first floor has a tiny little stage for a band and there is a nice room on the side that is a bar. Nice. The service is still in the beginning stages, but the kids came up to see if we wanted refills in between their indoor footraces.

God bless America.

Monday, June 26, 2006

Interesting site and comments

I am back in town and in the thick of it. Much fun to be back. I got plenty of pix and video to edit and post, but that will come in time. I got to catch up on a few things first which includes picking up multiple friges, dealing with shit filled toilets(the gym got busted into again) and dealing with just a million little tasks. It is great to be home. I feel so needed and necessary. Ha. I am quite lucky.

Real quick:

I am keeping a tradition of history alive for the river city.

I was doing some liesurely research reading and then some more research and reading and found this great list. There is a website on the geneology of Saint Louis and they have a directory from this town in 1821 that a man named John Paxton published. It was an interesting point in this city for it was starting to get a balanced and growing econonmy. The list is actually quite readable. The number of people is not really that big. It is probably just the size of a personal large address book. A small town. I have a hard time of thinking of it like that, but reading this gives relativity. I notice there are about 57 large saloons(grocery) and about another dozen tavern keepers. I am proud to be a part of this lineage. Funny how many businesses there and what kind. Gunsmiths, coachmakers, drugstores, sign painters, cabinetmakers, boatmakers, watchmakers and just some names of people. There is a college (you know the one that was founded in 1818) a brewery that did not serve any AB products and plenty of lawyers. Not many NSOs or professional bloggers. What an interesting place this has been.

I do notice that the brewer in town was named Matthew Murphey. Hmmmm. Another tradition?

Thursday, June 22, 2006

My DC highlight

Okay, I admitted to Gwen that I often listen to the podcast extra for Washington Week.

She is a very, very cool, smart, personable, friendly and affable woman. She is the real deal. I watched the News Hour from the control room. It was quite amusing. The staff is all really sharp over at the News Hour. I was very impressed with how they run the show. Very professional.

It is really odd that I was able to set up this tour. They don't give out tours. I went to DC to visit several very good friends. I am lucky to have such good friends in DC. That is why I am here. And I am lucky that one of my very good friends, Eleni and her husband Brian have worked at the News Hour. Brian still works there. He is a senior deputy producer and arranged the tour. Funny, I went to Eleni's prom way back in HS. We have kept in touch over the years and have hung out every time she is in town. It has been great seeing everyone. I think I may make DC a regular vacation stop. I head back on Friday. I can write much about this, but I have been quite busy. I plan on putting together some more interesting videos.

Sunday, June 18, 2006


Watch the video

Here is a lil' movie of my first day and a half of my visit to DC. I have hit it pretty hard so far.

When I first jumped on the plane a familiar face tugged at my shirt. Yup, I am not the only Mister Smith to go to Washington. State Senate hopeful Jeff Smith was on his way to DC to view a documentary about his run for Congress and a fundraiser. He was flying with his girlfriend Liz.

After I got off the plane, I needed to get my shoes shined. The man, Raymond, used a hair dryer on my shoes. "It opens up the pores."

Indeed it did.

Then I picked up some legalized explosives at a little stand on our way in to the District for our assault on the safehouse. I needed to say hello properly, so I threw a string of firecrackers over the fence in a rush attack.

I then went and got my haircut by a guy who was talking to someone in Kingston. I could not understand a word he said. It wasn't the accent, it was a pure mumble. I was then fresh headed for the day and headed out to take on D.C. with my new shoe shine and haircut.

Jeff Smith had invited me to a get together at some fancy house in Dupont. It was a funny deal. A whole documentary on his run for Congress. They had a full set up there in this very nice townhouse. Odd how you can't really go anywhere without seeing someone.

We drove around and got a feel for the character with an impromptu streetfight on the simmering sidewalks of D.C.. I liked it how the passing lady gave a wide berth to the rowdy crew without a second glance. Just like it happens everyday.

The next morning I went to the Florida Street Grill to get some good country soul cooking. I really liked the cheese grits. The best I had since Jason Stamp made some a couple years back. We then rolled out to the markets and hit the D.C. Market in the blazing sun. I picked up some great records and a new lid. The music was great. There was a little parking lot attendant booth where a DJ had set up a rig to play music to the entire outdoor market. It was wonderful music. It sort of reminded me of a spin by Doctor Jeff with the sound effects and style.

The next day we went to the Raven in the El Salvadorean neighborhood to get a sip and after a few we walked out and enjoyed some free Cuban street music. Now this is something we could really use on Cherokee on the weekends. Oh the vibrancy of D.C.!

I just got back from Baltimore and have a boatload of more pix/video etc.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Why I am destined to run a joint on Cherokee

A couple weeks back I rolled late on Cherokee, about 9pm or so. It was the last day of school for most of the city schools and was a beautiful night. The kids were out.

I ordered a chorizo quesadilla from Daniel, the kid that works at the taco shack at California and Cherokee called El Vellasano. Daniel goes to school across the street from the Royale. He is doing well.

I sat out on the patio and watched the street scene. Things looked good.

I decide to get ice cream from Daniel and take a walk down Cherokee to see how things look at this time of night. I got a mamay flavored ice cream and walked east past the big ol' grocery store El Torito and down to take a look at my favorite graffiti now faded. As I walked across the next intersection I hear my name shouted out. I look over and I see a crew of six kids walking down the street.

It is Lorenzo, his brother LeMarco, Jeremy and some friends. These kids used to box for the Panda. They were lookin' mighty tough this evening. I started to laugh. It was funny to see these kids from the northside, down on the southside. I started to talk to them. They all had just gotten out of school that day.

Watch the video

The video is of this crew that was rollin' late at night out eating ice cream at El Vellasano.

This pic is of LeMarco's new grill. Here is a pic of his old grill. His old one was made of foil. The new one is a fancy one he put over his bottom row.

And this was how I knew I was finally destined. As I sat back with my crew eating ice cream, the Don "The Pride of the Southside" Beasely walks down Cherokee with his girlfriend Catlin. Don had also boxed for me. He now works for me. He does door, barbacks, cooks and occasionaly my driver. He does a little bit of everything. Don sat and chatted with the kids. He boxed at the same time as these kids for the PAC.

And this was a random night on Cherokee.

The video and pictures were taken from my treo phone.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006


Watch the video
Here is another test for the video blog.

Mad props again to Bill Streeter of Lofistl. Please comment. Let me know how this looks, if it downloads etc.

Monday, June 12, 2006


My chum Eileen(happy birthday) went down to Cabin Inn to play her weekly gig. They shut down tonight. No more. According to Eileen people showed up to work and were told to go home by Bob Cassily.


Time moves on.

Saturday, June 10, 2006


I took a drive last week. I drove across the Eads, through East STL all the way to downtown Belleville and back to Fairmount City. I went to a taqueria/grocery called La Tierres (I am sure I have this way wrong). It is a nice joint.

I hadn't had a Budweiser since I was in Pine Lawn at Geno's, so I decided for a cold one with my meal. It was rather refreshing. It reminded me of the ballgame. Be sure to order the chorizo if you ever go to this joint.

Car Wash

Another shot from the car wash. Those are the newish houses by the old South City Sears.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Free Loosies

As seen on the wall inside the Custom Auto Care on Grand near Chippewa.

I think they are calling it the South Grand something now. I am thinking of getting my windows tinted in the Caprice.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Rollin' Strapped, Giant Babies and Wetting Pants

A very good friend of mine came into the Royale on Friday. It was a busy night. I gave him a nod and he gave me a quick hand motion to talk to him. He informed me that there were some kids throwing rocks at cars in the neighborhood. He said they were right around the corner on the infamous Gurney Avenue.

It was a bit busy, but this was something I had to address. We immediately rolled out toward the garage to get there though the alley.

Just prior to my friend's entrance through the back door of the Royale, I was shooting my crew with a squirt gun. I was weilding a small squirt gun at the staff. Joe especially did not like this. I had squirted just about every coworker with the gun. I was in a particularly postal mood that evening.

As my friend and I entered the garage I raised my armed hand in the air and told my friend, "This sounds like serious stuff, that is why I am rollin' strapped tonight."

We laugh as we enter the alley. I put the gun in my pocket. It was a pocket squirt gun. Very handy when taking care of business.

We round the corner of Gurney and we see two kids chasing each other around a car. At first I thought they were adults. They were big. Then I looked at their faces. They looked like babies. Then I thought they were really young. Then I looked at their behavior. They were that age.

They were in early high school age. They were chasing each other around some sort of late model jeep like vehicle. I haven't been staying on top of the new car models like I used to.

The boys were trying to throw a newspaper at each other. I almost started laughing at these two giant baby looking kids throw a newspaper at each other around a car. These were some big kids, I bet each were every bit of 165 and pushing an easy 180. I think of people in terms of weight far too much. Old habit from wrestling.

"That is them" he quietly says to me.

My friend begins to trail me as I walk up to the jeep contraption.

They boys begin to calm as I walk up, but they don't stop. One of the giant babies is still holding the paper in his hand still cocked and ready to throw but are waiting to see what I am doing.

"Gentlemen, I am a bit confused."

They look at each other then look at me. Then they look at my friend.

"I am trying to figure out what is going on. I heard from one of my customers that somebody was throwing rocks. You don't know anything about this do you?"

They stare at me blankly. The kids still have relatively excited looks on their faces for just moments before they were having fun throwing newspapers at each other. But they were starting to look confused.

"You know how it can be. I hear about something going on and I have to come check it out. You know how people can be. I heard the rocks were hitting cars.

Can you believe that? You know how people can get about their cars. They can go crazy on someone. Especially nice cars. I am sure you guys know about owning nice cars."

They both nod. The slimmer of the duo begins to warm up and responds softly "Yeah, we know. Our parents have nice cars."

I couldn't tell if he was joking or serious, but it was funny either way. They both began to smile then look at me.

"Yeah you should know, and people with nice cars can go crazy on people when someone messes with their cars. You know someone with a car who might go crazy don't you? If you know who was throwing rocks out here, you might want to let them know that. It is not that cool."

"There were some other kids throwing rocks."

I smile. That is a great line. I used it once or twice myself when I was a giant baby.

"Huh. Well can you convey that message along to those kids."

They stare at me blankly. The giant babies are so good at that. That blank look. It is much better than a hostile look.

"Who are you?"

"I own the business around the corner."

"That tavern? I know where that is."

"That restaurant. It is a nice place. Be sure to stop by. And be sure to tell those kids to stop throwing rocks."

As I walk away my friend and I laughed. The kids walked away no longer throwing newspapers, rocks or anything. And I was a little too proud of my petty street justice.

I reached into my pocket and pulled out the water gun. I go to squirt my friend and notice there is no ammo. It is out of water. I then look down at my pants. The gun leaked out all over my crotch. It looked as if I had peed myself. I felt a bit of embarrassment for just a second and laughed. Then I felt a wave of serious social fear. I realized it must have looked as if I had peed myself as I was scolding these giant babies. Now that is really embarrassing/funny. I am now legendary among the neighborhood kids for reasons I would not like to be legendary. The pants wetting crazy scolding business owner.

Next postings about not breaking rules despite being given the full encouragement of the authorities at my favorite brewpub, electric shock collars and why I know that it is destined that I run a joint on Cherokee.

Saturday, June 03, 2006

New development and other notes

The Vintage "Rehaberdashery" is reopening on Morganford just south of Arsenal near Wyoming. They have a cute grafitti style preview sign on front.

Three chickens were placed in my courtyard by an undetermined party earlier this morning. This small trio of capons pecked around the afternoon until there were some takers. Burt took some photos. I hope to post them soon. It was quite amusing. I really need to remember to pull out my video camera.

I have posts to do with kids throwing rocks, me rolling strapped with a water pistol keeping peace in the neighborhood and seeing my crew rolling on both sides of Cherokee.