St Louis: Bar Italia (4/5 stars)

Bar Italia is absolutly wonderful. My suggestion is to walk in, order an espresso martini and tell the waiter to “serve you whatever the special is tonight!” You can’t go wrong…I promise.

I recently took three colleagues to the restuarant and each were more than impressed with their meal. I even convinced them to try their calamari salad…rave reviews!

A moment with Tony LaRussa

I had the opportunity to talk to St. Louis Cardinals baseball manager, Tony LaRussa, on Friday. I presented him with a copy of the photo of the 1899 St Louis Baseball team which my great-grandfather owned from 1898-1917. The team included three hall of famers including, most notably, Cy Young.

I walked in the front door of Busch Stadium at 4pm on the first day of a three day series with the New York Yankees and asked to speak to Tony LaRussa’s secretary. I showed the 13″ by 17″ photo and his secretary escorted me down onto the field where the Cardinals were taking batting practice (yes, I tried to time that one and it worked). Tony was doing TV interviews but after 20 minutes of waiting (Larry Walker, Scott Roland and several others batted while I waited) Tony came over.

I presented him the photo and he was extremely grateful. He asked several times if he could do anything for me in return and I kept saying, “it is just an honor to present this to you.” Finally the third time he asked I told him I had two small boys at home, he wrote down their names and ages.

When Ben (my six-year old) found out what had transpired he said, “DAD! You mean the Cardinals coach asked you if there was ANYTHING he could do for you? And you didn’t ask him if Pujols could come over to our house for dinner?”

What was I thinking!?!

Chicago: Harry Carey's Restaurant (4/5 stars)

I had to travel to Chicago for the day. SuperCom ended at 3pm and my flight wasn’t until 8:25 that evening. I strolled down the Magnificent Mile (bought some golf-shorts at Eddie Baur’s), went to see the OmniMax presentation “The Mystery of the Nile,” and then it was time to eat.

When in Chicago, you have to go by the Harry Carey’ Restaurant. Everyone in sports knows the name Harry Carey. But his restaurant is absolutely fabulous: packed with great history, wonderful photos, and the wonderful food.

Fried Calamari
Wedge Salad
Pan-Crusted Beef Tenderloins over garlic mashed potatoes
Tiramisu & Cappuccino

The calamari was as fresh as if being on the coast. Served with a very nice cocktail sauce, but also included was a plate with lemon wedges and a bottle of Tabasco. Excellent.

Iceberg lettuce, tomatoes and blue cheese with a thin blue cheese dressing. Often blue cheese dressing is too thick, but this was perfect and a very refreshing salad.

I should have ordered a steak from the tray they bring to your table, I will do that next time for sure. But I usually like to try the chef’s special when at a restaurant for the first time. My choice was very good and I enjoyed it thoroughly, a side of pasta noodles in a red sauce is included with each meal…not sure why because the flavor was lacking.

The tiramisu was good, but I didn’t taste enough rum. Tops in the category of tiramisu are still:
1. LaRusso’s in St Louis
2. Brian’s home in Poplar Bluff

The total experience is worth it. The wait-staff is very friendly and full of charm. The food deserved a strong 3+ stars, but All-in-all with the atmosphere, it’s a solid four.