Dear Bob, here are some photos of my life here on the campus of Concordia Seminary. I love kids, working with the grounds crew, swimming, playing with my dog friends, and especially my own family people.
Read a story from St. Louis' free food paper, Feast, this morning. It tells us radishes are in season. Well, maybe not. We've planted radishes at the seminary some time back and they are no where near ready or even formed. It's just been too cold. Better this story came out in May. Same with cool weather vegetables like lettuces and kale and other greens. But what is doing well and ready to pick and cut are chives and of all things, asparagus. We've been getting both for over a week now.
If you like ice cream, especially in the summer, you're in for a big price rise. This is due to a shortage of vanilla beans, a main ingredient in most ice creams. Most of our vanilla comes from Madagascar which has seen a poor harvest this year. And not just ice cream costs will be affected. Vanilla is also in most cakes and pastries, as well as perfumes! Perfumes! Who knew.
It's been a while since I put up a picture of Jake so here he is today, Good Friday, having a fast food lunch out with his parents and brother. It seems by this picture he doesn't get fast food milk shakes that often since his face is pure ecstasy.
A weird theft story and one in which I'd like to know the why. A St. Louis man is accused of stealing $13,000 worth of nuts from his employer. That's it for the story and no explanation at all. What do you do with than many nuts unless you know people who want them.
The Dogtown neighborhood in St. Louis is readying itself for the annual huge St. Patrick's Day parade and channel 5 put up this picture from Seamus McDaniel's famous restaurant this morning. Getting ready the message said. What I'd like to know is exactly what the Irish whiskey is being poured into. Is it eggnog? Or Creme de Mint? Or something else?
One interesting statistic in this story on where we eat out is "Restaurant visits by consumers in the year ending December 2015 rose by 700 million compared to 2010, almost returning to pre-recession levels." The economy getting better may be part of this trend, but the lower cost of gasoline plays a part as well according to a grocery story exec we talked to. When fuel doesn't take as much of our income, we tend to eat out more and when fuel is high, we cook more.
But the point of this story is that those of us who eat out these days are heading more and more to the chain restaurants as opposed to the owner owned. The chains are heavily into advertising special meal deals. Starbucks added 559 U.S. locations in fiscal year 2015. Both Taco Bell and Chipotle each added about 200 stores in 2015, and Dunkin’ Donuts increased its store count by 349.
McDonalds is about the only fast food company which has fewer locations. The number of independent eateries had shrunk by more than 7,100 last fall compared to a year earlier. Meanwhile, the total number of chain restaurants increased by more than 3,200. It looks to me from all this is that we're choosing fast food rather than real meal food when we go out.
I'm not sure exactly why a place like Wendy's, for instance, would have more business than say, Fazzi's in Collinsville or Zia's on The Hill except that Wendy's are everywhere and easy to get to. But for a good meal out, I'd much rather go to a real place with real food and a wait staff.
Our choices for eating out may also explain the new rise in independent eateries doing fast food done well. For example Fort Taco on Manchester, Steve's Hot Dogs in Tower Grove etc. They're doing well from what I can see.