Tuesday, July 21, 2015

Hope Plaza

Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza is one of the jewels in my everyday life.  I pass this enchanting place several times a year on the way to medical appointments.  I am always grateful to find this pond.  Doesn’t matter what the weather is like, this place always offers comfort, hope and peace to the people passing by.  It is part of BJC Institute of Health at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis.  Studies, Students, Medical Miracles and Advances are found inside the surrounding buildings. – When the new expansion was planned, this bit of art and natural wonder was created and placed right where all of us would discover it and be lifted in spirit.
 The summer resident ducks aren’t here today, but a sense of calm and people with smiles are always close.  In winter, the Pond is covered with a thick layer of ice and the walk way will have packed snow.  In fact, it doesn’t seem to matter what time of year, there is always stunning beauty in this place.
 Hope Plaza is dedicated to Ellen S. Clark, a well loved and respected woman who encouraged others to be their very best.  She inherited a rare condition that took her life.  She worked tirelessly to offer education and understanding about stem cell research.  Even after she’d left this life, her family made sure her work continued.

Ellen S. Clark and her husband worked with designers to offer this gorgeous memorial.  Two of the most recognized artists are Maya Lin, who designed the Vietnam Veterans Memorial and Andrew Gutterman of Michael Van Valkenburgh Associates Inc. of Boston.  There is an eighty foot diameter Infinity Pool, with water flowers in season, ice in its proper time, ducks when they decide to attend, trees and . . Hope.

 
“It’s designed to be a calm place of refuge in the midst of a bustling medical center,” said Hank S. Webber, an executive vice chancellor at Washington University.

 Ellen S. Clark Hope Plaza, 320 S, Euclid Avenue, St. Louis, MO 63110

 You don’t need to have an appointment to visit.  Get off metrolink at the Central West End, walk up the flight of stairs on the west end of the platform and turn right.  You’ll be satisfied with the side trip.

 Be Well

Friday, July 3, 2015

World Chess Hall of Fame

Chess is so much more than game at the World Chess Hall of Fame.


 I found this poster on a community bulletin board before I even arrived.  
It was a Sign of Great Things to come.
 Walking into the building I was greeted by the nicest people and learned there were two exhibits open for viewing on the first and second floors. On the third floor an event was being prepared for opening that evening.  The new exhibit is the one advertised on the poster.  It will be available for a few months.  We’ll definitely return to see it.

 The second floor was filled with amazing chess sets, some from the 1700’s.  There is also plenty of information about the Ivory used to create these masterpieces, and why we do not use Ivory any longer.  The exhibit is called ENCORE! Ivory Chess Treasures from the Jon Crumiller Collection”  We are allowed to photograph, but I sincerely doubt I could have done it any justice, so I encourage you to go look for yourself.  There are people to answer questions, everyone is Really Nice, the exhibit is free (although you can donate.)  If you aren’t able to visit in person, you can follow the link – HERE it is again.

   The World Chess Hall of Fame was moved from Miami to compliment the Chess Club and Scholastic Center of Saint Louis.

 You DO want to walk into the “Q Boutique,”  which is the niftiest gift shop I’ve seen in a long time.  I found the kid section AND a container of eraser chess pieces.  I adopted my favorite piece and went to the counter.  There was a gentleman with a clear, honest smile who gave me the gift of story about my first ever chess piece . . . YES, it is an eraser, yes it only cost a dollar . . . (Really, One Dollar, no tax, because the store is non-profit . . this organization serves our community and beyond, just sayin’)

Queen
 Turns out she is a Queen, the most powerful player in the game
she travels where she wants.

 The gentleman is Brian Flowers.  Trust me, you would like to meet him.  
If you can’t visit in person, you can still visit his shop.

World’s Largest Chess Piece – 14 ft high, 6ft wide at the base, Created by The Chess Club and Scholastic Center of St. Louis. Taller than a Giraffe. If it was on a chess board – one square would be 9ft X 9ft. wow
  Directly across the street is the Chess Club and Scholastic Center.  There are three floors. Downstairs there is a production room.  During my visit a tournament was taking place in Norway.  Members of this club were participating and the event was being broadcast live.

The Chess Club and Scholastic Center has an outreach program in hundreds of area schools,  summer camps, scouting programs and plenty more, (including classes, lectures, field trips . . )  There’s plenty of evidence Chess improves lives.

Upstairs is a room filled with photos of Chess Masters.  
It’s  place for Tournaments as well as classes.

upstairs  
That’s not the half of it!

 They have a Toddler Tuesday from 9 AM to10:30 AM all summer.
  (Color me over the moon about this.) 

 4657 Maryland Avenue, Saint Louis, MO. 63108

What’s YOUR Chess Story gonna be?


Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Piccione!

Phenomenal Pastries, Friendly People, is just the Beginning when treat yourself (and your friends) at Piccione!

Inside Piccione you’ll see Huge Glass cases filled with fresh
Italian Pastries with a 21st Century Attitude.
 
“Their chefs create recipes from scratch, in small batches,
using the best possible ingredients, you can really taste the difference.”

 Creations are light, and variations are offered
vegan, sugar free, gluten free
are some of the possibilities
every option tastes great.

 Okay, don’t take my word for all this,
here’s what other folk say:

 “How would you describe Piccione’s creations?
 Easy – Simply sublime sweets preped to perfection.” 
Richa T. (Yelp!)

  “I love the fact that Piccione offers an ala carte small plate option that won’t break the bank or your waistline (unless you order all of the menu…). I’m wary of making this post, because the crowds were minimal last Sunday when I went which meant for no line and a quiet, peaceful atmosphere to enjoy breakfast. But good is good, and I thought Piccione did a great job with their offerings and everyone should know about it.”
CaloriesSTL

“Hit the spot!. Waiting for a show at the pagent and spotted Piccione, owners mothers maiden name.
Let me see, I’ll take a cannoli, Baci, coconut macaroni and pecan butter and a coffee.
like it we’ll enough, I’ll take a pound of cookies to go!
STLFoodsnob

TripAdvisor Ranking #30 of 2609 restaurants in Saint Louis
Most Recent Traveler Reviews
Jun 23, 2015: “Phenomenal!!!!”

They ALSO offer soup, paninni (sandwiches,) Frittata (wonderful egg dishes)
and even home made chips.

Piccione is on the corner of Delmar and Skinker in University City.
You’ll easily spot the bright red awning with little bird tracks.
Get close enough and you’ll see through the windows
cannoli, cakes and cookies that seem to be inviting you inside.

It’s a locally owned shop named after Grace (“Nonna”) Viviano Piccione.

 Her last name, Piccione, means pigeon, pronounced Pa-CHO-nee.
The little pigeon logo you’ll see is in her memory.

 You may have heard that Delmar Blvd. is a little congested because preparations are being made to install the new trolley project.

That’s true, but don’t let that keep you from visiting.
There is parking in the area,
or you can ride public transit from any direction and reach Piccione.

 The Delmar Station for the “Red Train,” two and a half blocks east,
The Skinker Station for the “Blue Line” five blocks south,
and if that walk is uncomfortable, you can get off the train,
walk to the curb and catch #16 or #2 bus,
Both take you directly to Piccione.

There is also # 97 bus that tours the entire length of Delmar Blvd.
So, transportation is covered.

 On special days, like Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Easter,
they have fantastic Brunches, served community style.
Everyone sits at long tables where neighbor meets neighbor.
People try to smile and chew politely
trying to converse, nod their heads and request seconds at the same time.

If you arrive on a Thursday morning, you’ll see tables with paperwork spread out, colorful people working on laptops and calling out to one another. The Regional Arts Commission has discovered this place. Artistic meetings and interviews take place around muffins, coffee, or a special Piccione breakfast dish. The place is alive and with the up-and-comers in our region.

 When school is in session, there are half off specials and any given evening the place will be packed with the college crowd, purchasing bakery boxes of goodies to enhance study time.

Every weekend the pastry chef creates new flavors for cannoli.
These creations are available during weekend hours only.

 This summer Piccione is dedicating ten percent of bakery sales to a different charity each week.
They call the program
 Pastries with a Purpose.

Lately Piccione has started offering Tuesday Specials,
like half off cannoli from 7 to 9 PM.


 Piccione
6197 Delmar Blvd
St. Louis, MO 63112
(314) 932- 1355