I'm not an everyday blogger... If I have something to say...this is where I will say it. You will also find links to my specialized blogs.

Live your life in such a way that when your feet hit the floor in the morning, Satan shudders and says... 'Oh shit....she's awake!!'

""Life should NOT be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, body thoroughly used up, totally worn out and screaming "WOO HOO what a ride!""
— Unknown

Friday, September 16, 2011

Vacation 201109–Day 1

Have I mentioned how much I love NYC? Probably not yet this month!

We left the car with our friends Bruce and Ellen in Princeton NJ and caught the NJT train into the city. NOTE: Even the last express train of the morning is crowded…at least on a beautiful Friday. This trip we are staying at the Marriott Courtyard Bryant Park (40th St. and 6th Ave). This is going to be a good location…convenient to the subway, fairly easy cab access, and the Bryant Park Fall Festival is going on.

So we arrive starving and I haven’t thought too hard about where to eat. Fortunately, Croton Tavern is right next door to the hotel. This turned out to be a great surprise. I ordered a Ferrari-Carano Fume Blanc and we started in on lunch of Thai Coconut Chicken soup, Noir Rare Tuna in citrus marinade, Mussels and Chorizo in white wine broth. Thanks to our servers recommendation, we ended with the Chocolate Obsession – think chocolate, espresso, more chocolate, caramel with a side of espresso ice cream.

After that we needed to walk so we headed down the street to the International Center of Photography. All three current exhibits are definitely worth the visit. The current exhibits are: Remembering 9/11; Harper’s Bazaar: A Decade of Style; and Signs of Life: Photographs by Peter Sekaer. The surprise for me was how much I enjoyed the Harper’s exhibit…this is about so much more than fashion and style. And my favorite part of the 9/11 exhibit was the little room in the back where they had a collection of photographs that had been submitted and printed on paper.

2011-09-16_18-22-20_507Our good friend John Germroth arrived later in the afternoon so we met him for a cocktail at Croton Tavern – well, it’s handy! Then we headed off to see a little of Burnt Sugar the Akestra Chamber free at Bryant Park. Then it was off to Empellon.

I stumbled upon this restaurant because of an article in Food Arts magazine – a trade magazine that my friend Nik shared with me because the same article included Anne Kearney of Dayton’s Rue Dumaine. Now, I wouldn’t normally seek out a mexican restaurant on vacation but this is a not-to-be-missed restaurant. I asked for a cocktail to start that “didn’t contain brown liquor – "yes, tequila is okay” and wasn’t too sweet. Our waiter pointed me to the Por Que No? A cocktaill made with silver, cilantro, serrano, and pineapple juice. So good I had two which was okay except that as we left the restaurant I couldn’t feel my lips. This is a great place to share items. We started with the Red and Green Chorizo Queso followed by the Smoked Plantains with Crema Sopes. Our tacos were the Skirt Steak with Mojo de Ajo (olive oil, lime juice, toasted garlic) and the special Chanterelle Mushroom Taco (tequila and other stuff I don’t remember). I was too full to even entertain dessert…okay, the 2nd Por Que No could have been dessert.

And, of course, a little walking after dinner.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

And we are off…on Vacation 201109

As I was leaving meeting with my boss, he indicated surprise that we were driving to NYC instead of flying. One primary reason is that I’m tired of giving control of my time to the airlines. Too frequently the flights have been delayed or cancelled…making travel 2 to 3 times longer than originally planned The second more compelling reason to drive is what you find along the way.

We left Dayton Wednesday night about an hour later than planned. John didn’t get out of work when expected and had to take groceries to his mom. It was a beautiful evening. Because we left later than expected, we knew we weren’t going to get close to Pittsburgh in time to have dinner at a decent hour. So John set off in search (via his cellphone) of a place for dinner along our route. Our primary restaurant locator is OpenTable. While OpenTable is great if you know what City you want, it is not as great for locating places along the route you are traveling. We’ve become a fan of YELP. Check out the map, move the map, then search for restaurants in that area. Then you can check out the reviews.

2011-09-14_19-09-04_983And that is how we ended up at Muddy Misers Cool River Café in Zanesville OH. Do not be discouraged because it looks like a biker bar but definitely ask to be seated on the patio. They had a nice Carr Cabernet and we shared the Walleye Rubin and the onion rings. Definitely not small portions. Lots of other things on the menu looked good as well so this won’t be our last stop at Muddy’s. One other thing about Muddy’s is that as you head out to the highway, go east and you will get to drive on the World Famous Zanesville “Y” Bridge.

2011-09-15_08-12-53_161We spent the night in Uniontown PA because so that we could visit Kentuck Knob the next day. Kentuck Knob is a Frank Lloyd Wright home near Fallingwater that has recently been opened to the public. We reserved spots for the 8:30am tour and it turned out to be a private tour. Besides the beauty of the house and FLW’s ability to fit a home with its natural surroundings, my favorite part was the original owners. Mr. and Mrs. Hagan (think Hagan-Daz) brought some common sense to Wright’s design. And when they realized that he would never visit the home, they made some very practical adjustments without losing site of Wright’s design. Unfortunately, it was a cold rainy morning so we didn’t get to spend much time on the grounds which are also spectacular including over 30 sculptures around the property.

After Kentuck Knob, we headed to a little place that we had found on our last trip through the Pennsylvania Turnpike – Out of the Fire Café in Donegal, PA. We each had soup – Mushroom for me and Tomato for John. They had large chunks of vegetables and were delicious. We shared the citrus house-cured smoked salmon sandwich. Definitely worth a visit. If you are coming for dinner, it is BYO wine.

And we would have missed all of this had we flown.