Monthly Archives: January 2012

Raining in Houston

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Eating My Way Through NOLA

I just got back from 4 days in New Orleans with friends, and considering that most of our destinations were food-related, it seemed to make the most sense to do a food diary of the trip.

Saturday lunch: Mother’s Restaurant (as seen on Man Vs. Food). I had red beans and rice with anduoille sausage, smothered cabbage, and turnip greens. The floodgates of deliciousness officially opened.

Saturday dinner: drunken burgers at Yo Mama’s Bar & Grill in the French Quarter. It worked perfectly in soaking up some of the Big Ass Beers to Go swirling around in my belly.

Sunday brunch: Muriel’s Jackson Square Restaurant. The Bloody Mary was one of the best I’ve ever had. I tried turtle soup for the first time, and had more anduoille with my omelet and homefries.

Snacktime: Sucre for gelato and macaroons.

Sunday dinner: Desire Oyster Bar (at our hotel). Creole jambalaya and Abitas Jockamo IPA get the party started.

Monday lunch: Cochon Restaurant. Here we kicked it up a notch. I ordered a small plate of  braised pork cheeks with sauerkraut potato cakes, applesauce, and feta. I also shared Kurt’s fried alligator with chili garlic aiolo and rabbit with dumplings. Nothing like three different species hanging out in your stomach.

Cocktail time: We went on a tour of New Orleans Rum. Many samples and rum balls later, I am a rum-and-iced-tea convert.

Monday dinner: Jacques-Imo’s Cafe. Blackened mahi mahi with a pistacio sauce, rice and beans, and cabbage can do no wrong. Also, I can now say I’ve had alligator cheesecake (really more of a quiche but the former sounds awesomer).

Tuesday breakfast snack: Cafe Du Monde for beignets and coffee. Fun fact: they were filming a movie while we were there. Keep your eyes out in 2013 for Now You See Me, thought we had a brief fake-out when we noticed one of the production signs was mislabeled “Step Up 4.” (By the way, beignets kick regular donuts in the bunghole.)

Tuesday lunch: Royal House Oyster Bar. Last meal, booo! I had a classic muffaletta the size of my head and one last Bloody Mary in a go cup.

GOODBYE NEW ORLEANS!!! You were dope.

We landed in chilly Chicago Tuesday night, and the first thing I ate back on Illinois soil was a mother-effing Big Mac.

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Hipstamatic New Orleans

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Wisconsin Motorcycle Trip, July 2011

 

 

For the 4th of July weekend, we traveled through the state of Wisconsin by motorcycle.  Here’s our route.

Day 1:
New Glarus Hilltop Brewery
The brewery sits atop a tall hill, overlooking some gorgeous scenery. We sampled some local beers and sat outside admiring the view.

The Grumpy Troll, Mount Horeb
We’d been here once before on a bike trip; it is always worth stopping by.

Prairie Du Chien
We spent our first night on the road at a Best Western, and totally lucked out and ended up in the themed “Fur Trader Suite.” Very Twin Peaks-ian.

Day 2:
After a surprisingly hearty continental breakfast, we were back on the road headed to La Crosse. Part of our route included a particularly twisty road full of curves which at one point cut through high rocky bluffs, creating an awesome tunnel. I kept expecting Wario to ride up and throw a banana peel at us.

Kurt’s favorite sign spotted: “Welcome to Ontario, WI: Canoe Capital of The Kickapoo.”

La Crosse
After checking into our hotel and getting some lunch, we went out on another run, heading north of the city and swinging back down. The city was holding its annual RiverFest celebration, so we drank cheap beer and watched cover bands along the Mississippi River.

Day 3:
We took Hwy 33 towards Baraboo, one of my favorite stretches of the trip.  This road had the best farm-animal-watching by far; I saw tons of horses, newly shorn lambs, and even a miniature goat with a long white beard. I wanted to put tiny glasses on him and make him tell me a story.

My favorite sign spotted: “Welcome to Lido, WI: Home of Susie the Duck.”

Circus World Museum, Baraboo
We stopped here to see a small circus show and got to pet the elephant.

Madison
After checking into our hotel, we ate some surprisingly excellent Chinese food and drank New Glarus drafts into the night.

Day 4:
After one of the best breakfasts I’ve ever had at Monty’s Blue Plate Diner (egg, bacon, and spinach sandwich with goat cheese on jalapeno bread, everything I love in this world), we jumped on the highway and hightailed it home.

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Cold Weather Camping

It has become a new tradition to go camping the weekend before Thanksgiving to celebrate our friend Thomas’s birthday. We usually head to Kettle Moraine State Forest South in Wisconsin. As long as you bundle up enough, it’s a lot of fun to camp in cold weather. For one, you don’t have to worry about bugs AT ALL. Also, you don’t need to worry about filling your cooler with ice; your beer will stay nice and cold on its own.

The annual cold camping trip includes a huge birthday feast. Since daylight hours are limited, the cooking begins as soon as everyone wakes up on Saturday morning. As we drink Bloody Marys and New Glarus beer, we prepare food all day long using the campfire, a smoker, Coleman grills, and even a hibachi. This past trip’s menu included a bacon-wrapped turducken, sauerkraut with Nueske’s bacon, yams, vegetarian curry, cranberries, stuffing, potatoes, dinner rolls, and plenty of beer and Jameson to wash it all down.

With plenty of layers bundling us up, we stayed warm by the fire and toasty in our sleeping bags.

As the indicator on the smoker shows, it was an ideal weekend.

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Baltimore

the Harbor

I went to Baltimore for a business trip in October 2011. I took the photo above from my hotel room window. Having never been to Baltimore before, I envisioned it to be either like The Wire or a John Waters movie. Of course, it was neither.

Work trips always put in us in a nice part of town, and the waterfront was very picturesque. From the large window where I spent most of my meeting, I could see the harbor and the Baltimore Ravens stadium. One of our bus drivers told us that the entire waterfront area had only really been developed in the last 10 years (part of Stringer Bell’s investment portfolio, perhaps).

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Bonjour, Montréal

Last September, I spent 6 days in Montréal, Québec, for a work conference. It was my first time visiting the French Canadian province, and I was struck by how much more foreign it felt to me than anywhere else I had been in Canada. French was the default language, so I often found myself smiling politely and shaking my head when I could not understand what someone was saying to me.

Local Cusine sampled: poutine, French food, smoked meats


Arts/entertainment: I was lucky enough to be in town during an arts festival and saw Arcade Fire perform a free show to a large promenade packed with thousands of people. They are one of my favorite bands and I have seen them perform live many times, but it was especially exciting to hear them play to their hometown crowd.

Timing also worked out for me in that the Jean Paul Gaultier exhibit was on display at the Musée des Beaux-Arts (Montréal Museum of Fine Arts).

Old Montréal made me feel like I was in Europe, with its narrow cobblestone streets and cafés. I would recommend visiting, and if you do, have an icy cold Labatt Blue for me.

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Putting On My Traveling Pants

I occasionally travel for work and I love to go to new places each time I vacation. Between work and pleasure, I probably on get a plane to some far-off destination about 5 times a year. Also, my friends and I are outdoorsy people who camp several times annually as well. This blog will be my place to talk about places I’ve been to or would like to visit, and to share stories and pictures.

Here’s where I’ve been so far

So to kick it off, I thought I’d start with posting my travel wish list of all of the places I’d like to see someday. This list is constantly growing and includes places both accessible and remote. I’d have to win the lottery to hit of all of these, but it’s nice to dream about during a boring day at work.

My Travel Wish List

Let’s race each other around the world!
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