When my son was 3 years old, he decided that he wanted to ride a dirt bike like his daddy. Imagine your surprise as a woman who grew up on the beach to hear a small child say, “I ride my bike!” Such determination and knowing at such a young age. And, so he did. Continue reading
Last week, I told my followers on Yelp how my visit to Miller’s Ale House in Hollywood, Florida. It wasn’t good at all and included me telling the restaurant the definition of blackened in culinary terms. Shouldn’t the one paid to cook know that blackened does not mean burned grill marks if they offer it on the menu?
Let’s skip forward to the reason you’re here. I went back as promised to try the Wednesday Lobster Dinner special. At a cost of $10.95 plus the purchase of a drink, diners get a 1 1/4 pound lobster and one side. Just in case you are wondering why I went back if the first time was so bad, I can tell you this:
Traverse City? As in Michigan? Yep! I really didn’t have any preconceived notions of what Michigan was like except for the fact that when I hear an inland state and the word “beach” in the same sentence, I have my doubts. Forgive me but I grew up in Florida. On the beach. What ever it is, I am excited as I am with every new opportunity to see a new place.
The airport is quaint. Just large enough without being too big and overwhelming and not so small that there’s nothing to keep you occupied if there’s time before your flight. New and more modern than some of the larger metropolitan airports with beautiful rustic stonework facing the building. The theme is obviously cherries and those little red treats carry on through out the city.
Our hotel, The Park Place, is located downtown and only a couple blocks from the water. Taking in the sites, we see a barbeque restaurant that claims it’s the best kept secret. Now why would you want your restaurant to be a secret unless it’s bad? Traverse City perhaps, but not a restaurant. I didn’t go back to check it out!
Now that I write this, I am disappointing at the fact that I just realized I forgot to head up to the area of the hotel where you can look out over the water. Before my headache got too bad though, I was able to head out and take in some of the sites. After stepping in to something a little more fit for a stroll on the beach and a bit of shopping, I head out.
I have to admit that although there were no rolling waves crashing down the view was amazing. Clear turquoise waters that went on for miles, boats dotting the scene just off shore. Quite a few people were in the water so I take a step down into the shaded sand that feels so good on my now bare feet. I took a few more steps into the unshaded stand and can barely control a scream of pain by the scalding hot sand until I reach the water and it’s just the opposite. Slightly below hypothermia, people are playing in the water and standing on boards that look vaguely like surfboards as if it was just another day at the beach. The fact that I could see my feet and there was no seaweed was not enough for me to go any further in. I certainly didn’t have enough beer for that. Speaking of beer…
The pang of hunger after missing lunch was catching up to me so we dried off and headed back a block to E. Front Street to find a place to eat. Definitely not short on options, a place called Macinaw Brewing Company caught my eye with the little boy sitting in the window with his family. With a kid in tow, I look for these things and this place is perfect for all ages. Step in side and you’ll definitely catch the scent of their smoker, a massive piece of equipment just on the other side of the hostess stand. Take your pick of tables by the window with tall or low, a seat at the bar or a bit quieter location at a table in the back. The wait staff is quick witted, friendly and very knowledgeable about the drinks and fare. I half kidding asked if they had a sampler beer tray and yes, of course they do. Small thin glasses that look the size of triple shot glasses hold each of the beers that they offer all sitting on a laminated map that describes each one. What I learned is that I don’t like the “hoppier” ones. Too bitter for me. Some were bitter on the middle of my tongue and others bitter on the back. That, I will have to research later. One particular beer that looked like a Guinness, turned out to be amazing. Chocolate and coffee? In a beer? Amazing! Another one that I liked was a light pale ale. Clean crisp but with a nice sweet flavor and a smooth finish. Two total opposites that were both a refreshing treat at the end of the day. I only wish that they had the cherry beer that they usually have for cherry season. Unfortunately, the waitress told us that they had a great warm up and then a freeze so they lost most of the cherries! Very sad for a city that is known for the treats.
To top of the night, we ordered a Reuben sandwich that was like nothing either of us had ever had. Smoked pastrami chunks instead of thin listless slices topped with hearty Swiss cheese and a good helping of sauerkraut packed on to some fresh baked toasted rye. Ok, so I have no idea if it was fresh baked bread. It’s just that the whole thing was so damn good that I got carried away! It’s not a sandwich for the meek so takers beware. This one’s for the hungry!
Back at The Park Place hotel, my son and I were met by a very large perfectly heated pool, hot tub and a dry sauna! The hotel offers a full spa area with a small yet well equipped gym. I can’t imagine it with a lot of people there but with just one or two, it’s the best I’ve seen in a while. Maybe next time. There was a bed calling my name! Traverse City is definitely a great city that is not well known enough. Maybe it’s better that way so that I am guaranteed a seat. *snicker*
Standing below staring up at the most beautiful backdrop of glistening snow against the red layers of rock rising before me, I think how wonderful it would be to get a better view. This of course, the Colorado Monument, is a bit more for the advanced hiker and not for someone who can break an ankle looking at it wrong. So, I settle for a walk on a trail that sits just behind the new development that I now call home. I have been watching the giant boulders that appear to be suspended high in the air daring those who live below. Beautiful wonders of the land that call for me to come and see for myself. So, I finally decide that todays the day.
After lunch at my sons school, I headed across the street to find my way through the neighborhood that seems so incredibly lucky to have these wondrous pieces of Earth sitting practically in their back yard. Closer and closer and trail itself appears as I had hoped it to be, flat and easy.
Like a little girl on a new adventure, I happily walk with a skip in my step up higher and higher to get to the actual trail. I veer off of it slightly to climb higher towards the top and touch with my own two hands the beasts that have been staring back at me for days now. It’s as amazing as I imagined with some of the rocks surpassing me in size. Soft and powdery at times with colors of orange and red some parts sharing their surface with green moss.
Across from Dean & Deluca’s in the Uptown area of Charlotte, North Carolina, stands a beautiful tree behind a clear glass window. Behind that, a cafeteria style row offering food being served by what look more like chefs than your typical elementary school lady. A common mistake is that the decor leads to a Japanese fare, which is quickly rectified once I enter the restaurant and observe the Carrara marble everywhere. A typical European building supply, Vapiano’s, owned by Heir Lars Kruse from Germany, explodes with elegance.
Greeted first by Angele, who explains how the process works, we had not planned to dine there that evening and yet her kindness and enthusiasm about the establishment (only 3 months young) made us want to stay. Solid wood floors and tables offer both single chairs topped with camel colored leather and long benches on the opposite side. And, the tree. There are actually two of them and each one is circled by chairs in the same camel hue. On the other side of the dining area, lots of brilliant red in cushion topped chairs and benches with red tables and red chandeliers to complete the look hanging above other areas of the restaurant.
One of my favorite parts is the pasta room. An entire room, although small, is dedicated to making fresh dough for pasta and pizza each day. Even the walls are lined with the Carrara marble that I spoke of earlier. Unfortunately, the pasta making was done for the day so I have to let my imagination and experience lead the rest of the visual way.
First things first. Each guest is given a key card, like you would receive at a hotel that serves as your running tab for whatever you wish to partake in during your visit. From pizza to pasta, salad and sandwich to beers both local and from abroad, wines and cocktails finishing off with a classic Italian desert, you just need to swipe.
For a short time, pizzas between 4 and 7 pm are a very generous $5! Walk around through the ropes to the white jacketed person on duty to place your order. Swipe. He hands me a pager and we sit and wait enjoying a glass of wine from the bar. I was pleased to see a simple and inexpensive Pinot Grigio from the La Fiera region of Venezio, Italy! We return as the pager buzzes across the table to pick up the pizza with plates and silverware on silver trays. Here I do feel a little Ikea like except a bit more upscale and it’s actually quite fun.
The Cappricciosa pizza, lined with thinly sliced ham, mozzarella cheese, fresh mushrooms, black olives and artichoke hearts placed as if made by individual slices upon a thin european style crust. Delicate flavor, perfectly baked to a crispy flaky finish balanced will with just enough toppings, not to allow the pizza to sag in distress from being overloaded. The vegetables were fresh and artichokes soft and tender, the ham flavorful and not too salty. Freshly grated parmesan cheese, mixed with dried oregano and olive oil was a nice treat for the crust after the main toppings were gone.
After your meal is finished and it’s time to head out, simply hand your card to the hostess and “check out your tab”. The only thing that I could think of that could be a problem is that if you don’t pay attention, it could be really easy to spend yourself into a very large hole. “Just swipe” here…. That could happen anywhere though and this is a lot of fun so I do recommend this as a fun night out. Hot date?
Hello there travelers! Right now, I am sitting in the middle of the Denver airport watching the bustling crowds stir around me. Perfectly audible names are being called out from above and shops are everywhere. Unlike Cincinnati, sigh, the departures board is absolutely filled with name of cities around the country and world! NINE screens to be exact.
Around the world people of all ages choose a different choice of transportation. Wether it’s for exercise, to save money or to save the environment, riding a bicycle for fun, to work and to school is becoming more popular and I do believe it’s here to stay. Continue reading
My latest cupcake adventures brought me to Philadelphia. Yes, I tried the cheese steak prior to finding this great bakery and it was good. I am definitely more of a sweets kind of gal than a steak and potato one though. Walking around the city, looking for a place to get my husbands hair cut of all things, I notice a bakery across the street. The Swiss Haus Bakery, located on 35 South 19th Street in Philadelphia’s City Center (West Side), beckoned us from behind the glass window. I had to wonder if I would be disappointed like in San Francisco with a dry crumb and overly sweet icing.