Hanging out with Annie's family

Why harro, Alex and Betty!

These two are Annie's parents!  Remember Annie?  She's the German shepherd puppy I visited a couple times, and I received little bite marks from her :P  Actually, now I'm a little scared of her biting, because one of them looks like it's going to scar, so I'm waiting until she finishes teething to go back and visit her @_@''

Rwar! *

Annie's so cute :3 *

* these pictures are from Jeff!

Anyhow, we all went to an Ethiopian restaurant on the Loop!  It was a first time for all of us, and other than the unique way of eating that I read about online and how Chris read on Wikipedia that Ethiopian food can by spicy, I don't think any of us really knew what to expect :)

Oooh, I caught the epitome of the other three boys!:  Chris being goofy up top, Jeff busy taking picture of food with his phone, and Richard face palming.  Excellent :3

Yayy, fooood!

Selam Ethiopian Restaurant is located on a side street connecting to the Loop.  So actually, I had wanted to try this place for a while, but every time I walked on the Loop I could never find it!  It's kind of tucked away and hidden in a corner, so keep your eyes out if you want to stop by for a meal ^^b

The interior is simple, and the staff is very casual.  There were no utensils placed on the table before we went, and none were provided when the food came out.  Why?  Correct etiquette!  Most of the food is wat, or stew-like foods.  Such as vegetable stews, lentil stews, and meat stews.  The wat was served with little scrolls of bread (literally!  We had to unscroll them XD) called injera.  To eat, we tore bits of the spongy flatbread and used them to pick up the stew.  Chris noticed that the injera had a slight sour taste, and I guess it makes sense, since the bread has little pockets of air like sourdough bread!

Vegetarian combination plate

The six of us ordered three things off the menu: the vegetarian combo, the meat combo, and the.. lamb?  The plates are massive, and everything was spiced very well.  I like the aromatic stews and vegetables that were only slightly spicy but very flavorful ^^b!  The stew was placed on top of a big piece of injera, and we ended up eating it, haha!  Richard actually rolled up the plate injera with the wat inside and made a huge burrito!  It kept falling apart though, so it was fun to watch!

The boys really liked the meat dish with the flavorful beef and lamb.  I also liked it, but since the veggie plate was in front of me, I enjoyed that one a lot more!  ;)  Mmmm.. sooo gooooood!

Although Selam was relatively empty when we arrived around 7pm, more than half the room was filled when we left around 9pm.  There was one patron who ordered to go, but I wonder how the food is packed into the box.  The wat makes the injera soggy after a while, so the injera is probably packed on the side :O *random thoughts*

My first experience with Ethiopian cuisine was awesome!  Afterwards, we were all super full and groaning, even though there was still food left on the plate.  Divided among us, dinner was only $7 each (including tip)!  I had great food and great company :3  Apparently Leo likes the Ethiopian restaurant in Central West End better than Selam, but I already thought Selam gave me a fantastic introduction to this new food ^^b  

... So apparently Selam is closing down! If you're feeling adventurous or want to enjoy a hearty dinner before they shut their doors for good, wander around the Loop and check out Selam!~ :D

Selam Ethiopian Restaurant
549 Rosedale Ave
St. Louis, MO 63112


Saturday was a morning at the St. Louis Zoo!  The St. Louis Zoo was opening its long-awaited sea lion exhibition :)  When they brought it up, I waved the idea away, but after going online and looking at the website, I wanted to see the sea lions! :D

Wheee, so graceful in the water ^____^  *happy sigh*

It was my second time at the zoo!  The first time I shivered my butt off with Book, because I wanted to see the penguins running around the zoo during winter time.  This time I was sweating my head off with Annie's family.  Oooh whee, hot, hot, hot!  It was in the 100F's, silly St. Louis weather, somehow you're hotter than Texas D:

Jeff and Richard leading the way

Betty and Alex equipped with pro photo stuff! :D

Both of them have DSLRs, and they sound very professional when discussing camera shots.  I'm taking photography this semester, so hopefully I will learn the terms and understand what they're saying.  Annnd I want to improve my photo quality!!  (especially ones of food, mwahahaha)

Speaking of food, I called my parents yesterday, and my dad told me I should major in "restaurants."  :P  If there was a major or minor in "food," I would totally go for it ^^  Actually, that's one of the reasons I'm taking Nutrition this coming semester too!  I get to learn what happens to food after it goes down my stomach.  How cool is that? :D

Richard as our goofy navigator

Sea lion show ticket!

We bought tickets for the first showing... and what's even cooler is that it's the new sea lion show's first showing... EVER!  ... in history!  Yay!  *pumped*

While we waited for the show, we took a look at the nearby exhibit.  The water looked so refreshing and crystalline, that I wanted to be in the tank with the sea lions zooming around.  Aww... they're so fast!

Then there was this tunnel thing we walked through with a bunch of other people.  The beginning was cavernous, but later we entered a glass-encased tunnel!


Can you see the glass?

Sea lions zooming around with everyone taking pictures

Super pretty ^^
Ehh, them too ;)


Reaching their arms towards the apex, Richard and Jeff said they could touch the ceiling, so apparently the tunnel wasn't that tall.  On the other hand, Alex, Betty, and I couldn't touch it, so it seemed like the tunnel was just a huge bubble! :)

We still had a bit of time before the show, so we ambled around the zoo for a little bit.  There were tons of people at the zoo, so it seemed very lively! 

Prairie dog

Sun bears

... humans? :P


Camera battle!

I liked their little home-- it's the hole in the rocks!

This puffin kept lifting himself out of the water :)

Massive grizzly that kept walking in circles

Finally-- show time!  We nabbed seats in the outdoor auditorium, and a we sang along with the music while we waited for the sea lion show to start.  (Actually, no, more like Alex and I were killing everyone's ears while we tried to sing to "Animal" by Neon Trees :P

Full house!

Cooling off the stage and audience

Okie, time for mass dump of pictures!  There were two parts of the show.  The first introduced Dixie and Niki, two female pups of two years.  The second starred Robbie, an eleven year old male sea lion.  All of them were super cute!  The girls were naughty and liked to goof around, while the guy enjoyed being the audience and performed like a boss :)

Robbie is 450 lbs and massive!

Wheee, down the slide!

Into the audience!

About to leap~

Teaching everyone how to recycle, haha~

Yay!  We went back home after that.  It's nice, because the zoo is free, so you don't feel compelled to run around until you die of heat stroke to get your money's worth :)  I really enjoyed my first sea show, because I've never bean to Sea World or anything like that :D


Guess where we are?~~

Ah ha!  The Brasserie by Niche.

With its fancy interiors and dining tables

and silly guests.  :P  Blurry Alex, Betty, and Chris

Annnnnd Jeff

We were waiting for Richard and Lisa, who was coming back to St. Louis from an internship in Boston to visit home and Richard.  :)  That's why we went out to eat!  While we were waiting, our waiter, Alex, placed warm bread rolls directly onto the paper-covered tables.  I thought that was so cool!  Chris demolished six of them before Richard and Lisa even arrived and continued to polish off a few more during dinner XD  The bread was really delicious; the insides were doughy and soft, and the butter on the side complemented the crusty parts very well ^^

Attempted artsy shot

Our entrees came out all around the same time, and the plates were served hot.  Mmmm, everything looked yummy!  

Trout & Almonds with green beans-- trout was cooked very well and nicely salted!

Boeuf Bourguignon (Beef Burgundy, a type of stew made with wine)

Roasted Chicken with mushrooms and bread

And now a round of applause for the woooorst food picture taken of the night:

Walleye Quenelle with mushroom, prawn, and lobster sauce

Haha, which is sad, because that's *my* dish!  I already cut a bit off before remembering to take a picture, and I didn't realize that all my pictures were blurred :(  Oh well!  I don't know why it's called a "walleye," but a quenelle is a French dumpling that's named for being egg-shaped.  It can be a mix of creamed meat (like seafood in this case?) that's bound together with breadcrumbs and/or egg.  How do I know this?  ... Wikipedia~ :P

The quenelle was delicious!  Chris and I had the same dish, and he agreed that it was really good, although the portions looked tiny (they were quite filling).  The sauce was lobster-flavored, although I don't think there was any lobster inside the dumplings.  The prawns and mushrooms were really yummy.  Mmmm...  I love trying new foods and especially love when they turn out delish :D

Both Betty and Lisa got the chicken, which Betty got last time and thought was extremely flavorful.  Richard got the steak and fries, but I forgot to take a picture of that!  Everyone was really satisfied with their meals :D  

I actually planned to eat dinner and then run off to watch Spiderman with Josh, Daniel, Book, Sean, and Anna, but dinner took a while, so I'll end up seeing it with the Annie crew!  From the other group, I heard that it's only O.K., but I'm still up for watching Spiderman, especially since I got the ticket for free from eating Kellogg's cereal with the promotion!  :P

Walking in Central West End at night felt so much cooler than the scalding heat of the day, and it was quite pretty too!  We squished into Alex's car, while Richard took Lisa home.  I'm glad we got to try the Brasserie, as it's one of the better known / highly rated restaurants in St. Louis!  ^_^b

The Brasserie by Niche
4580 Laclede Avenue
St. Louis, MO 63108