There is something about a February evening in St. Louis that demands fish and chips. Yeah, this is America, and here in the States we call chips "fries," but come on! A cold, damp twilight spent hunkered over a basket of crispy battered fish chunks and 'taters, with an adult beverage close at hand? That's livin'. Add some friends, a bigger basket of fish and chips, and a few more beverages -- that's heaven.
But how big of a basket do you need? World record-size, maybe? The folks at the Schlafly Tap Room (2100 Locust Street; 314-241-2337) think that perhaps, yes, that is the proper size. They're shooting for the largest-recorded single serving (in Missouri, at least) on Saturday evening, as part of their Cod & Cask Festival. In fact, for two days (Friday, February 11, from 5 p.m. to midnight and Saturday, February 12, from noon to midnight), the Tap Room is ground zero for fish-and-chips bliss.
But you don't have to enjoy the fish in just its pub-style format. Icelandic chef Völundur Völundarson flies out to oversee the festivities, and he's bringing a big bag of cod recipes that may surprise you but shall marry well with the cask-conditioned ales Schlafly has brewed up for the festival. These ales, incidentally, are hand-pumped to the bar and served at "cellar temperature," like they should be.
Admission to the Cod & Cask Festival is free, but you have to buy food and drink. But why else would you be going if you weren't going to eat and drink? Wear a codpiece if you like (we do, but purely for comfort reasons), but there's no discount for donning one. That unique sense of security a codpiece grants will be reward enough. -- Paul Friswold
Mother said using your sleeve to blow your nose was improper -- no doubt a notion originated in the olden days by ladies sporting high-collared bodices, balloon sleeves and hoop skirts -- but tell that to Victoria Gray. Gray, who is the head of the St. Louis Tea Guild, has designed a line of Victorian/Edwardian clothing created from old-fashioned handkerchiefs and table linens. The attire is on display at the Lemp Mansion's Café de Menil (3322 DeMenil Place; 1:30 p.m.). Tickets are $25, and they get you a tour of the haunted house, a tea luncheon and Gray's Victorian fashion show. Call 314-771-5828 for your reservation. -- R.L. Nave
Ugh, Valentine's Day. If you are sans sweetie, the sappy vibe is enough to make you bake a cookie cake that says "Bite Me." And unless you and your luvah find super-crowded restaurants totally hot, even the avec-sweetie V-Day can be a bummer. So how about skipping the manufactured romance and reflecting on something truly meaningful: a person's right to love whomever they choose? PROMO (For the Personal Rights of Missourians) hosts its tenth annual Words of Love celebration from 1 to 4 p.m. at the City Museum (701 North 14th Street). Enjoy brunch, a silent auction and performances; all proceeds from your $50 ticket ($35 for students) help PROMO continue its mission of advocating for LGBT equality. Call 314-862-4900 for your required reservation. -- Brooke Foster
America watches The Apprentice each week to see if the dozing cat atop Donald Trump's head falls off and to see the blonde on his left dole out curt, no-nonsense evaluations of each candidate. Carolyn Kepcher (the blonde in question, pictured) appears at the eighteenth annual St. Louis Women's Show at America's Center (Broadway and Washington Avenue) at 5 p.m., where she (hopefully) relays humorous behind-the-scene anecdotes and possibly pantsuit fashion tips. She also addresses feminine issues such as the woman's role in corporate America, overcoming stereotypes and not snickering at your boss' hair (maybe not). Tickets are $6.50 to $8.50; call 314-241-1888 or visit www.stlouiswomensshow.com for more information. -- Jedidiah Ayres