Growing-up in Minnesota, I took rhubarb for granted.
My folks weren’t really into it. Rhubarb was this mysterious, sour pink stalky plant we dared each other to eat as kids. Jake remembers dipping it into sugar. As a young adult, I remember catering an event where the people ate all of the other summer pies except the rhubarb. The rhubarb slices came back to the kitchen where we happily enjoyed them.
Like, 100° + and high humidity hot. Walking outside, breathing outside, sitting outside, it all hurts.
Of course my dog still wants to sunbathe.
The heat makes me feel hostile so I try to make jokes about it so that I don’t cry. When it’s 98°, I blast 98 Degrees from my car stereo. It’s really not that funny, but when I’m sitting in a molten hot car, there’s nothing funnier. I think the heat’s making me delirious.
Some days the weather is both hot and breezy. But instead of having a cooling effect, the wind makes you feel like you’re baking in a convection oven. Smoothies were never something that I craved. Now I think about them all of the time. They’re so cool and refreshing and not 100 degrees.
The warm welcome we received at Tropical Liqueurs curiously morphed into explicit instructions not to smoke weed on the patio. Then, with a wave of his hand, the gentleman sent us inside with a cheerful, “Have fun!”
We giggled as we heard him repeat this same greeting to everyone behind us. An establishment that has to work this rule into their greeting must have had quite the problem with people smoking weed on the patio.
Ever since I heard that Tropical Liqueurs opened a store in St. Louis’ Soulard neighborhood this past August, I wanted to go. Call it curiosity, or something. An entire bar whose offerings are composed of swirling slurpee machines filled with a rainbow of house-made alcoholic concoctions; what wasn’t there to be curious about?
Most know what raspberry lemonade and a Long Island Iced Tea taste like, but the names Tiger Paw, Silver Bullet and Voodoo Brew leave one with little clues.
The hilarious and sad thing about our first Tropical Liqueurs experience was ordering our Voodoo Brew while Hootie & The Blowfish’s “Hold My Hand” blasted over the sound system and finding ourselves the oldest folks hanging out on the patio.
Getting old is weird.
Voodoo Brew tastes like banana and bubblegum. We sipped and shivered outside in the cold until we could take it no more.
Tropical Liqueurs’ motto is, “Where it’s always 85 degrees and sunny” which seems to be the law of the land here. There’s really not much room to chill inside by the bar (no pun intended), so you probably need to take your drink and go. *Addition: There’s plenty of seating upstairs. Thanks @nancerdancer
The evening dipped into the 40’s, but this didn’t stop anyone from hanging out on the patio and balcony living like it was 85 degrees and sunny. Also, we couldn’t leave the patio. Not with our drink, anyway. The employee sitting at the back exit conveniently reminded people who forgot.
The next time we visit Tropical Liqueurs, we’re going to remember we can mix different flavors. A handy chart on the wall by the bar lists prices and each size’s approximate strength. For example small ($4) has 2-3 shots. We split a medium.
Just as you’re never too old for pita pizzas, Hootie, or french toast sticks, you’re also never too old to get a kick out of neon slushies.
With a little love, and some tenderness
We’ll walk upon the water
We’ll rise above this mess
Well, know I know there is a limit to my love of ranch dressing.
Everyone knows I like ranch dressing. I’ve often proclaimed the virtue of homemade ranch, also known as “good ranch” vs. the yucky shelf stable stuff. Ranch isn’t the greatest condiment ever, but I do think it’s a very, very good thing.
I always knew I liked ranch, but North Iowa deepened this fondness. In North Iowa, every restaurant seemed to serve ranch with fried food. Dinner outings with friends involved requests for sides of ranch and our table was usually littered with little dishes of the dressing by the end of a meal.
My friend @amycrea recently tweeted me a photo of a bottle of Lester’s Fixins Ranch Dressing soda that she found at Jim’s Apple Farm, home of Minnesota’s largest candy store located in Jordan, MN.The soda sounded repulsive and fascinating and I just had to try it. Read Amy’s Heavy Table article about Jim’s Apple Farm here.
I easily located Lester’s Fixens sodas at a store in the Delmar Loop called Rocket Fizz. There are Rocket Fizz franchises in many states around the country. Lester and his sweeter counterpart, Melba, are the fictional figureheads of two soda lines created by the Rocket Fizz company. While Lester offers freaky sodas in bacon, buffalo wing, and sweet corn, Melba sticks to flavors that come in pie like strawberries & cream, lemon meringue, and apple pie.
Rocket Fizz offers a wide variety of retro candies and sodas in every flavor imaginable. Some of the unusual sodas that caught my eye include a Ghost Busters Ectoplasm energy drink, Dr. Brown’s Cel-Ray, and Astropop-flavored line. Most bottles of soda cost $2.19 each. I added Lester’s Pumpkin Pie Soda to chase away the ranch flavor and reach that credit card minimum. I’m not sure how Lester and Melba divvied up the pie flavors but pumpkin is Lester’s territory.
First things first, let’s try the ranch soda.
The ranch soda has an off-white hue. At first sniff, the soda smelled inoffensively ranchy, but the second whiff knocked my head back with its metallic, buttermilk sour, onion-garlic powder scent.
My first and only sip tasted like the smell of powdered ranch dressing mix combined with simple syrup and a strong buttermilk note. I stifled a gag and reached for my glass of water. This soda tastes worse than Ron Burgundy’s tears; It tastes like his back sweat. Someone asked me what alcoholic beverage or liqueur I’d recommend mixing with ranch dressing soda and rubbing alcohol was the only substance that came to mind. You’re a sick man, Lester.
Moving on to Pumpkin Pie Soda. Just look at that color. It’s totally Hi-C.
I smelled pumpkin spice, but tasted more of a root beer-sarsaparilla flavor. It’s not something I’d go back for, but totally drinkable. Ranch dressing, yes. Ranch soda, no.
Not that you needed me to tell you that or anything.