Category Archives: Food

Oktoberfest in Hermann, MO

hermannhof

Yesterday Andrew and spent the day in Hermann, Missouri, which is just under an hour and a half west of St. Louis. Some of our close friends from college visit there every year with their family during Oktoberfest, which takes place all throughout the month of October, so they invited us to come along.

Hermann is best known for its multiple wineries, and during Oktoberfest they have all kinds of extra food, drinks, and dancing. Andrew and I had never visited before, but it sounded like it would be a lot of fun and a good way to see some friends we don’t see very often. Hermann is also conveniently right in the middle between us and our friends, so no one as to drive particularly far.

We left early in the morning, packed with some snacks to munch on throughout the day, and arrived about 10:30am. We were early enough that they weren’t terribly busy, and we greeted our friends and their family.

For $20 a person, we could buy a trolley ticket which would stop at each of the wineries on a continuous loop. So we bought our tickets and headed to the first winery, Adam Puchta. There was a $5 cover charge, but this included the music and wine tasting. Of the four we visited, this one was one of the smaller ones, and it was somewhere in the middle of my favorites.

We started with the wine tastings which included six different wines, three red and three white. I wasn’t a big fan of the red wines since they were dry and not very sweet. I liked the white wines a lot more; one even tasted faintly of pineapple. From just those first six wine samples, I was already feeling a bit of a buzz.

From there, our friends bought a couple bottles of the white wine to share and Andrew bought one of the frozen slushy wines (anything frozen is immediately my favorite!) for us to share. We found a picnic table and broke out all of the snacks.  Andrew and I brought an assortment of crackers and cheese; when we went to the grocery store the night before I wasn’t quite sure which would go best with wine, so I just bought everything. :P We brought Gouda, Gruyere, Brie, Babybel, and then sharp and mild Cheddars. We favored the Gouda the best, but they were all very good!

snacks

Our friends also brought strawberries, grapes, cheese dip and chips, and then their own cheese and crackers. I also brought a cheese board that we got as a gift for our wedding. We hadn’t used it before but I thought that this would be the perfect time to use it! It came with four different knives that you could use to cut and spread the cheese. It really came in handy!

We stayed at Adam Puchta’s for about an hour and a half before we hopped on the trolley to the next winery: Stone Hill Winery. We skipped the tasting at this winery because it was more expensive and came with a tour and there were just too many people. I would like to come back another time and do a tour, but it would have to be a lot less busy! This winery was a bit more fun because they had a dance floor, and while I don’t particularly dance, it was so much fun watching out friends and their parents dance. Stone Hill also offered a frozen slushy wine, so I bought another one of those. I even got to take home a souvenir wine glass with it!

Stone Hill

We also stayed here about an hour and a half before moving to the third winery: Hermannhof.

Hermannhof was my least favorite of the four wineries. I think I would have enjoyed it a lot more if it wouldn’t have been Oktoberfest because it was just way too crowded. The tables were really close together and it was in a kind of confined area. There was a lot more dancing and music here than at the others, but there was just too many people. We did another of the samplings and tried a couple of the reds and one white. One of the reds was strawberry flavored and one was raspberry, but we didn’t care for either of those. The white was called Germantown, which I think was their best-seller. I preferred it over the reds but it’s not something that I would order in the future.

The last winery was one of my favorites. Oak Glenn was situated higher on a hill and had the most spectacular view. While the other wineries were cute and quaint, this one really boasted the best view. I’m not sure if this winery was so busy because of the time we came or because it was just popular, but it didn’t feel too crowded despite all of the people there.

Oak Glenn Winery

My friend suggested I try the sangria here as it was one of his favorites, so we got in line. Right before it was our turn, two ladies cut in front of us, and Andrew being very frank and outspoken said, “Sure, go ahead and cut in front of us!” I was embarrassed, but the lady was very friendly, though a little bit drunk.

“Oh, I’m sorry!” She apologized. “My friend used to work here! Did you come for the sangria? Let me buy your drinks!” So she bought our $8 sangrias for us and our friend! And they were so good, but man did I feel the kick later. I can’t remember specifically which wine we bought later, but I remember liking it the most of the ones we tried that day. We wanted to buy some of the sangria, but they didn’t sell it bottled which was a shame.

The only downside of Oak Glenn was that you weren’t allowed to bring in any outside food or drink. Despite that we still had a really good time and ended up staying until they closed at 6pm. After that, we headed to a local bar that our friends said had some really good pizza. At this point in the night is where all of my drinks really started to catch up to me, but I remember the pizza being really good and a very loud rendition of “Family Tradition” by Hank Williams Jr.

I think afterwards we were intending to finish the night at a beer garden, but our friend’s mom went into a club so we all followed. I’m not much of a dancer, but we had so much fun there! Then I got tired all of a sudden so Andrew and I went outside to wait for everyone else. Even though it was only about 8pm, we had had a long day and I was pretty ready to head home. Andrew had sobered up by then, so we hugged everyone and said our goodbyes.

I think this weekend was so much fun because of who we spent it with. Our friends and their family are like a second family to us so it’s always extra fun since we don’t get to see each other as often was we would like. I’m hoping that we can make this an annual tradition and do it again next year!

(New) Kansas City Adventures

It’s sad to think that Andrew and I will be leaving Kansas City in just a few short months. It will be bittersweet to graduate and move home; we’ve made a lot of friends here and have grown to love this city. So, we want to do as much as we can in the last couple of months before we move back to St. Louis.

One of the placed I have always wanted to visit is the downtown central branch of the Kansas City Library. Andrew suggested going between classes yesterday; it was a bit gray out but it wasn’t supposed to rain and it wasn’t too cold, so we decided to go. While visiting a library sounds boring, the downtown library is very unique. The south side of the parking garage features the spines of classic novels that are as tall as the garage itself, so it looks like a gigantic bookshelf!

Right Book Shelf
The east side of the bookshelf.
Left Book Shelf
The west side of the bookshelf.

It was hard to take a good picture of all of the books in one shot because the streets are so narrow, so crossing the street didn’t help much.

Me standing next to Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.
Me standing next to Fahrenheit 451, by Ray Bradbury.

The inside of the library is just as amazing. From 1906 to 1999, the building was actually a bank. They remodeled it and turned it into the library. It has such a classy feel inside with marble floors and beautiful architecture. Their children section is so cute, too, with large pages of famous quotes from various books framing the entrance.

Children's Area

We wandered around for a while, just exploring. I couldn’t get over how huge the library was. They have just rows and rows of books, as well as conference rooms and tons of computers. If I lived a bit closer, I could find myself spending a lot of time here. They have a grand reading room, with tons of tables and lamps in a large room, where you can study or look through books. It reminded me of something from a movie! I didn’t take a picture though because there was a sign that asked to turn your phones off and put them away. I had to tell Andrew not to talk through that room because he cannot whisper to save his life. :D

Downstairs in the basement, the library is currently turning one of the old bank safes into a movie theater. It was open, and looked finished to me, but apparently they aren’t having any showings yet.

Bank Vault turned Movie Theater

It was a great afternoon “mini-date,” and I can’t believe it’s somewhere I’ve not been before. I’ve lived in Kansas City for three and a half years and I’m just now going to this awesome place with books! :P

Later, we had friends over for dinner. We ordered pizza from a local pizza place called Minsky’s that we hadn’t tried before. I’ve been compiling a list of restaurants as well to try before we leave, and this was on the list. Numerous friends have recommended it — including the ones we had over! — so we gave it a go.

By the time I remembered to take a picture of the pizza, we ate it all. :P
By the time I remembered to take a picture of the pizza, we ate it all. :P

The price wasn’t too expensive; we paid about $40 for two large pizzas and an order of bread sticks. We normally just order from Domino’s or Papa Johns because it’s cheap, but it was very good. Andrew and I couldn’t say we liked it more or less than other pizza places, so we probably wouldn’t order their regularly. However, they have a huge menu, so I would like to try some other things besides their pizza in the future!