6:30 p.m. (CST) As we break through the winter storm clouds over St. Louis, I'm surprised that city lights aren't obscured by snow flurries. It must have been snowing most of the day. The city looks beautiful under its blanket of snow, and big white flakes speed past my window. Suddenly I feel a wave of appreciation for travel, a brief moment of smelling the roses. That quickly changes to concern about potential delays in leaving tomorrow. I can't afford to get snowed in.
But before my Road Warrior instincts totally kick in, I think of my family. I wish my girls were with me. They never get to see snow.
7:30 p.m. After Jose and I check in at the Marriott Pavilion Downtown, we decide to meet in the lobby at 8 p.m. for a late dinner. A concierge suggests Tony's, a restaurant that's only walking distance from the hotel.
I remind the concierge that Jose is from Miami and I am from Los Angeles, it's snowing outside, and his idea of walking distance may differ from ours. He laughs and says it's literally around the corner. Thank goodness I found my gloves.
8:00 p.m. Jose and I take the short but brisk walk to Tony's, where we get a great table. Our waiter is an older man named Eduardo who is originally from Mexico City, but has lived in St. Louis for 25 years now. We call him Don Eduardo (a title signifying great respect), and he is delighted that we speak Spanish. He recommends the osso bucco and the veal chop, and we don't argue. Nor are we disappointed.