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di Olivas

Shopping Local: A Valentine’s Gift Guide

After a bitterly-cold & grey January and equally bleak start to February, Valentine’s Day presents an opportunity to slough off the weather and warm your heart—and those of the ones you love—with a card or gift from a neighborhood business. Does anyone tire of hearing I love you?

ARTful Valentine gifts from CWE-based Kristen Kempton, FINK (fashion+art):

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

From left:  Valentine paper, “perfectly imperfect,” hand-printed on recycled paper, $15. Hand-printed, hand-made, one-of-a-kind Valentine tees, $150 to $165. Pick-up is free, use coupon code STL at checkout, shipping available too.

Kristen Kempton, FINK (fashion+art). Visit website for info, or pillboxproductions@gmail.com.

Crafty finds at Bowood Farms:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

From left: Meri Meri pink garland on wooden spool, 15′ for $22; 12 fancy party sticks, $12; star garland, $12; Milagros hearts (in clear cup), $4, all Valentine cards, $5. Lower right: 12 heart-shaped cake toppers or swizzle sticks; “I Like You” stickers, 10 sheets for $8; xoxo stickers, 6 sheets for $6.  Middle: “Be Mine” heart-shaped purse, $14. In cabinet from left: Package of 3 party favors, includes tattoos & confetti, with room to add your own treats, $14; “lips” garland, $14. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

Stop by Bowood Farms Flower Bar on February 14, where you can create your own hand-tied Valentine’s bouquet, $30. Click here for details.

Bowood Farms, 4501 Olive Street, (314) 454-6868.

 Share libations from The Vino Gallery:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

From left: For Valentine’s Day, proprietor Alex Head chose a great, juicy Mariella Román, a red blend of Zinfandel, Petit Sirah & Barbera, $23; a dry, “little bit sweet” 2016 Robert Weil Weingut Reisling, $24; and from the Champagne region, Cuvee des 2 Soeurs, a well-made grower champagne, $45.

The Vino Gallery, 4701 McPherson Ave., (314) 932-5665.

De-LOVEly deliciousness from Jeni’s, below.

jeni’s, 389 N. Euclid.

More deliciousness from Handcrafted by Bissinger’s:

From left: 28-piece Valentine’s Classic Collection, $46; Right: 2-tiered Bissinger’s Ballet Ballotin, 47 pieces for $68.

Handcrafted by Bissinger’s, 32 Maryland Plaza, (314) 367-7750.

From di Olivas: Valentine’s dinner for two (or more)

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

 

di Olivas proprietor Robert Pallenja has been singing the praises of a new Busiate pasta from Italy, $8.99, each time I have stopped in his shop. He featured the pasta in a bacon, mushroom and cream dish he demonstrated recently at cooking class in the shop’s kitchen. Another dish on the menu that evening was linguini with shrimp. lemon zest, and basil. You can substitute the Garlic & Basil Pasta, $7.99 above for linguini, and you might check out the Orecchiette $8.99, while you’re there.

Both recipes can be found here.

di Olivas, 115 B N. Euclid, (314) 367-OILS

Pet LOVERS selections from Treats Unleashed. Woof, woof!

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms  From left: All-natural Terrier Truffles, 4 for $9.99, and personalized heart-shaped cookies, $5.99. 10% of sales donated to Rescue.

Treats Unleashed, 22 N. Euclid, (314) 889-0966

For young book LOVERS:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

Join Storytime’s Cliff at Left Bank Books tomorrow morning at 10:30 for a special Valentine’s Celebrity event with St. Louisan Amy Sklansky, author of Sweet Hearts, $8.99. There will be cookies and crafts too.

Among the other Valentine’s selections are Valensteins by Ethan Long, $16.99, Love from Peter Rabbit, $8.99, Here Comes Valentine Cat by Deborah Underwood, $16.99, and What the World Needs Now is Love by Burt Bacharach & Hal David, illustrated by Mary Kate McDevitt, $9.99. Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

For young adults, the staff at LBB hearts:  Romona Blue by Julie Murphy, $17.99, “a love triangle unlike any you’ve ever read…the movie Chasing Amy but so much better”; Tash hearts Tolstoy by Kathryn Ormsbee, $18.99, “absolutely delightful, funny, smart and made my heart fuller”; This is Not a Love Letter by Kim Purcell, $17.99, “engrossing tense tale about love, loss & survival”; Meet Cute, $17.99, “ridiculously cute short stories by all of your favorite authors.”

Left Bank Books, 399 N. Euclid, (314) 367-6731.

LOVE hydrating beauty products from Cassie’s:

Nicki's Central West End Guide Art & Architecture Books, Dance, Music, Theater CWE Pets Shop News  Treats Unleashed The Vino Gallery lululemon Left Bank Books Kristen Kempton jeni's iheartfink Handcrafted by Bissinger's di Olivas Central West End Cassie's Candle Fusion Studio Bowood Farms

Crabtree & Evelyn Rose Water & Pink Peppercorn hydrating body wash, $22, soap, $10, and hand therapy, $24.

Cassie’s, 316 N. Euclid, (314) 454-1010.

“Let us define Valentines,” lululemon’s Valentine’s campaign:

 

The lightweight “define” jacket comes in teal shadow, left, redwood, right, and black (not shown), $128.  Matching “wunder under” 7/8 tights “fit like a second skin,” $98.

lululemon, 26 Maryland Plaza, (314) 454-6857.

Celebrate Valentine’s at Candle Fusion Studio, 4742 McPherson Ave., tomorrow and again Wednesday, February 14 from 6 to 9. Couples are invited for an evening of hands-on creativity and adventure, $55 for two. Click here for more info. Reservations are recommended, (314) 250-2272.

Happy Valentine’s Day everyone.

It’s what’s inside that counts/Holiday Shopping Guide Part I

My plan was to get my annual holiday gift guide published a couple of weeks before Christmas. What happened to December? Instead, here is Part I of last minute suggestions for everyone on your gift list.

Shopping local has become the mantra of all seasons, even more so for this, the merriest of all. So, please heed the call and support our neighborhood retailers. Ours is a symbiotic relationship. we need them while they need us—even more.

This year I’m combining photos of holiday shop windows spruced up for the annual Window Walk, along with some gifts you’ll find inside. And I hope you will ignore the glare from the shop windows below, for no matter what time of day I snap them, it’s always there.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

The Vino Gallery:  Windows designed by Enchanting Embellishments’ Michael Shreves.

When I stopped in The Vino Gallery this week, I was met with shipping boxes galore stacked near the entry awaiting the arrival of FedEx.  While continuing to check off his fulfillment list for online wine sales (the gift business has mushroomed this year), proprietor Alex Head pulled some celebratory suggestions from the shelves.

From left: Central Coast (CA) Fableist Pinot Noir, described as having a nice, rich fruit-forward flavor, $23. Moët & Chandon Champagne, $45, comes with a zippered insulated jacket to prolong the chill. Include a holiday wine stopper, $10, to prolong the gratitude.

The Vino Gallery, 4701 McPherson Ave, (314) 932-5665. Mon. 4 to 6-ish, Tues.-Thurs. 1 to 9, Fri.-Sat. 1 to 10, Closed Sun.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

The Candle Fusion Studio: Windows designed by Yours by Design.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

At The Candle Fusion Studio, which just celebrated its 1st anniversary, you’ll find a “relax and unwind” gift basket that includes 8-ounce bottles of lavender cinnamon goats milk & honey body lotion and liquid hand soap, a jar of natural brown sugar scrub, lilac & lavender spa salts, and a 4-pack of soy-wax candles in olive blossom, bergamot, verbena & clothesline (yep!), $70. Each candle burns for 15 hours.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

Top photo: Holiday Cheer candles packed in 8-ounce mason jars are scented in a seasonal blend of cranberry, balsam, fir and brown sugar, $16.

Bottom photo: Candle Fusion just introduced 8-ounce bottles of goats milk & honey hand soap, and lavender cinnamon or mango mint lotion, as shown in gift basket above. Can be purchased separately, $15.

The Candle Fusion Studio, 4742 McPherson Ave., Tues.-Thurs. 11 to 7, Fri. & Sat. 11 to 8, Closed Xmas Eve.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

Centro Modern Furnishings

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

From top left: Field Design’s Outline Half-Round Drawing Tool, $50, Fort Standard Standing Bowl, $84, Field Design’s Magnifier, $140, Fort Standard’s Crest Bottle Opener, $48, Fort Standard’s Fire Kit, $98. Areaware Table Tiles Coaster Set, $18, and EXTO+2 Power Cord by Conway Electric to replace the unsightly power strip, $55.

Centro Modern Furnishings, 4727 McPherson Ave., (314) 454-0111.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

East + WestNicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

Top photo: Carhartt’s “Work in Progress” line of brushed cotton shirts, $108.

Bottom photo: from left, Designed by LA-based husband & wife team, Rogue Territory’s specialty denim jacket is $325. A waxed canvas Field Jacket is $330, and Lineal’s Supply Jacket is $365.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

CWE-based Sarah Doriani’s holiday cards, $5 each.

East+West, 387 N. Euclid, Mon. to Sat. 11 to 7, Sun. 12 to 5, Open Xmas Eve: 10 t0 4.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

The Silver Lady:  Window designed by Retail Design Group St. Louis Chapter.Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

From left, dramatic silver earrings, $129, stunning satin cuff, $338, and satin “x” ring, $160.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

From top left: Artisan Somers’ sculptural jewelry includes Mobier teardrops, $300, Sarah bracelet, $685, and a Merilee necklace, $425.

The Silver Lady, 4736 McPherson Ave., (314) 367-7587, Weds. – Fri. 12 to 6, Sat. 11 to 6, Sun. 11 to 4.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

di OlivasNicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

di Olivas, an oil and vinegar emporium located at 115B N. Euclid across from Whole Foods, stocks plenty of gift ideas for food lovers, i.e., almost everyone.

While on one of his frequent trips to Tuscany, proprietor Robert Palleja discovered artist Peter Nika’s hand-made wooden cutting boards and fish-shaped pasta measuring tool (1 to 4 servings), $19.99 each. Top, Cascina Marchesa Pesto Alla Genovese, $8.99, Boat Street French Plum Pickles (I taste-tested these and they’re a winner). Serve with brie, chicken sandwiches, paté, etc., $9.99. Morelli organic red chilli pasta, $7.99.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

The proprietor sings the praises of his recent import, Cortono Olio Nuovo, with its fresh cut grass taste and peppery finish, 200 ml $19.95 to $47.95 for 750 ml bottle.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Services Shop News  The Vino Gallery The Silver Lady The Candle Fusion Studio Sarah Doriani East + West di Olivas Centro Modern Furnishings Alex Head

And for an extravagant gift, di Olivas carries Reserva Tartufo truffle balsamic, $75.

di Olivas, 115B N. Euclid, Mon.- Thurs. 11 to 8, Fri. & Sat. 11 to 9, Sun. 11 to 6.

Part II to follow.

Di Olivas opens in the CWE

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Earlier this week Robert Palleja, proprietor of Di Olivas, an Olive Oil and Balsamic Vinegar Tasting Emporium, opened his third location in the St. Louis area at 115 N. Euclid. His other shops are located in West County Center and on Historic Main Street in St. Charles. Palleja had been looking for a storefront in the CWE for a couple of years and early last November, after returning from an olive oil harvest in Cortona, Italy, he settled on an 1800 s.f. location next to Subway and across from Whole Foods.

The shop is stunning and a fabulous addition to the retail mix of the neighborhood. The photo above shows from left, sales associate Melanie Corwin, proprietor Robert Palleja in white shirt, and far right, store manager Codey Shaffer.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Di Olivas stocks approximately 2 dozen extra-virgin olive oils from Italy, Spain, Greece, Sicily, Portugal, Argentina and Australia. I learned that olives are harvested in October & November in the Northern Hemisphere, and in March and April in the Southern Hemisphere.

“Conventional wisdom is that well-made, well-stored olive oil with good chemistry can be used for anything you want, ” Palleja said. “Inferior oils cannot stand up to heat, so always buy the best olive oil you can afford.” Olive oils start at $13.99 for 200 ml up to $37.99 and more for a 750 ml bottle.

When I looked at the array of choices, I quickly became a bit overwhelmed. Happily, I found manager Codey Shaffer to be tremendously helpful and settled on the Olio Nuovo from Tuscany. It has a wonderful buttery flavor that’s really delicious.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

There is also a selection of nut oils – avocado, sesame, walnut and almond – that range from $13.99 to $14.99 for 200 ml.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Another section of the shop is devoted to balsamic vinegars. There are approximately 2 dozen to sample, $13.99 to $37.99. I tried a delicious, syrupy 25 Star Premium Balsamic Vinegar, $15.99 for 200 ml, made by a 3rd generation Italian family who started production in 1889. Other vinegar flavors include Red Raspberry, California Fig, Double-Dark Chocolate, and Amaretto. Di Olivas carries 3 honey balsamic vinegars from Washington State as well.

Bottles can be returned clean and dry for a discount on your next purchase.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

An interesting selection of jams and mustards are $6 to $9.

Nicki's Central West End Guide Food and Drink Shop News  St. Louis Robert Palleja MO di Olivas Central West End

Left: An “a fusti,” a ceramic container for olive oil, hand-thrown by a craftsman in Deruta, Italy is exclusive to Di Olivas, $249.99.  Bottom left: Private label pasta sauces, including “the best sauce in the history of pizza sauce,” according to manager Codey Shaffer (he got the recipe from The Brick Oven when he was a chef there). The sauces range from $4.99 to $6.99. Right: There is also an assortment of kitchen gadgets, such as cheese graters, at the front of the shop.

I was delighted to learn that Palleja plans to build out a kitchen area at the back of the shop where Di Olivas will host cooking classes. A Grand Opening is planned for the weekend of March 4 and 5. Look for live food demonstrations, olive oil and vinegar give-aways and discounts on purchases over $30.

Di Olivas, 115 N. Euclid, Mon. thru Thurs. 10 to 7, Fri. & Sat. 10 to 8 and Sun. 11 to 6, (314) 367-OILS.