Friday, September 9, 2011

More Exploring St. Louis

Hola darlings!  I finally got Isis stirring around noon when I went in with alarm bells and a fresh cup of black coffee, strong the way she likes.  LOL!  Poor 'Sis!

I mercilessly badgered her until she finally got ready and we left the uncleaned suite about 1:30 p.m. or so - far too late to do any of the things we'd planned the night before, but definitely well-rested.  Wouldn't you know it, we round the corner on Maryland Avenue and I show 'Sis the fountain near Bissinger's, famous for its chocolates, desserts and apertif-wines.  Sis sits down at the edge of the fountain and is looking through something or other when I snap a photo, and then another when she looks up.  Beautiful pictures! Then the fountain goes off and she jumps up and runs toward me.  Then she wants to take my photo in front of the fountain.  Disaster strikes in the form of a recalcitrant fountain that refuses to behave decently.  It douses me once with water; twice; three times.  I found myself 30 seconds later in jeans that look like I'd peed in my pants, and felt like it too.  Damn!

Meanwhile, it starts raining again so, not only am I sopped from the fountain, my frizzy hair (reacted to all the humidity from the rain) is now hanging down in my eyes and I can't see a thing, but is otherwise plastered on the sides of my face.  I look hideous.  To Bissiger's, WE'RE GOING IN HERE, 'SIS.  PERIOD.

And so, we went...

Bless my soul, besides the two clerks behind the counter we were the only souls in the place.  I gesture 'Sis toward the counter displays of mouth-watering chocolates.  That's all I had to do...

I had read about Bissiger's online before arrriving here under "Things to do while you're in St. Louis blah blah....  As I noticed the shop yesterday, right around the corner from the hotel entrance/exit we've been using, it was a no brainer that we would stop in sometime during our stay. 


We stayed for two hours - but not eating and drinking the entire time -- more to tell about that.  Although let me tell you, darlings, the very nice young lady who whipped up 'Sis's hot chocolate made a mini-cup of hot chocolate for me anyway, even though I had not ordered anything but was looking intently at all of the various exotic chocolates for sale.  You can spend an hour just looking at all of the deliciousness on display at Bissiger's, trying to decide what to buy.  It's exhausting work, but someone has to do it.  The nice clerk acutely deduced that I needed a chocolate fix but was not ready for a massive dose - and she acted accordingly.  I predict that young lady will someday run Bissiger's - or be President of the US.  I ultimately purchased some chocolates for a couple of friends where I work, after having sampled one -- it was something like chocolate apple hot pepper salt heaven, or something like that.  I have NEVER tasted anything like it. That chocolate had an after-taste impossible to describe, but absolutely incredible (in a good way).  Let me tell you, the recipients of these small boxes of chocolates will be kissing my stinky feet for the next 10 years for those chocolates, they are that good!

The other clerk at the counter, a young man, was very knowledgeable about the chocolates and the various recipes and history associated with them, and he and 'Sis happily yattered on about the origins of chocolate from the Mayan civilization.  I noshed on a sample of the chocolate apple hot pepper salt heaven and was absolutely entranced when the young man told me that I could order as many or as few pieces of that chocolate, or any other, in the store, and have them gift-boxed.  SOLD!  I never bothered to inquire how much it might cost, those two clerks made entering Bissiger's such a delightfull experience I would have paid a lot just to accomodate them.  I gave the male clerk a nice tip in my purchase.  He was so knowledgeable and not condescending, I asked a few questions about the wines on display and he knew about them, too. 

'Sis and I believe in tipping.  We're both minimum 20 percenters.  Most servers and clerks work very hard for minimum wages and they can and often do take a lot of abuse.  Just because people have to work for a living doesn't mean they can be treated like dirt!  The Bible rightly says that a worker is worthy of his (or her) hire, and we act accordingly.  And it is such a pleasure to engage in intelligent and enlightening conversation with people uniquely knowledgeable about the products they are selling or in the case of servers, serving in a restaurant.  They know the restaurant they work in.  We have noticed that, unfortunately, tipping does not seem to be a common practice amongst some of our fellow chessites here at the hotel.  Disappointing...what can possibly be an excuse for being a cheapskate?

But - back to Bissiger's!  As we were finishing up, another woman came into view at the counter where we were nattering away with the clerks and because 'Sis and I weren't making any effort to be private in our conversation - we were talking about the chess doings we'd come to St. Louis to be part of - the lady said oh, are you here for... and we said yes... and that is how we met producer Lynn Hamrick.

See the next post about our meeting Lynn!

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