Saturday, July 27, 2013

Race Day 2

The second day of racing was another beautiful one. My Dad had another great race and passed three other cyclists during the 5K. Although he didn't place in the top eight (which is who they award prizes to), he was going 28.9mph (another personal best!). I think my dad was really happy with the experience and plans on working towards qualifying for the 2015 Games.
After the two races, my dad could relax a little more, so we headed to the Cleveland Botanical Gardens. It was a beautiful afternoon to walk around the gardens. My dad loves to garden and I think he likes to get new ideas for his own backyard. It was a medium-sized garden with some beautiful water lilies (upper left), a couple of turtles (upper right), a butterfly garden (bottom right), and other pretty flowers, like this ornamental lily (lower left).
After going to a movie, we headed to a celebratory dinner, because as you know (if you've read more than one of my blog entries) food is my favorite way to celebrate and explore cities properly. I had done a little research prior to the trip and selected DANTE for the occasion. We sat on a cute outdoor patio, had a great waitress and enjoyed an amazing meal. The restaurant is known for their 5-course meals and you can pick from traditional, vegetarian, vegan, gluten-free or whim (which is what I had - the chef just decides what to make when the next course is ready so it's different for everyone).
My meal consisted of: 1 - tuna tartar with a crispy potato, pea coulis, and a poached egg; 2 - lobster spring rolls with baby asparagus; 3 - diver scallops on a white bean and hummus bed; 4 - salmon on a squash puree with roasted veggies; 5 - lemon blueberry palate-cleansing sorbet; 6 - AMAZING, peanut banana cheesecake with a peanut butter sauce, chocolate covered pretzel cluster, brûléed bananas, sea salt caramels and rocky road ice cream. It was fantastic and I would highly recommend a stop on your next trip to Cleveland.

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Race Day 1

After a few delays, I finally made it into Cleveland last night to cheer on my dad today in his first race of the National Senior Games. He started with the 10K time trial, which was held in a beautiful park on a river. The temperature hovered in the 60s all day, it was beautiful. My dad had a great first day of racing and placed 33rd out of 44 in his age group. He also clocked his fastest average speed to date (23.4mph), not to bad for just turning 60! It was awesome to see the competitors going strong into their 90s!
After waiting on times to be announced, lunch, and a nap (I needed one too), my dad and I headed to the Senior Games Beach Party at Lake Erie. It was a fun time that included a bonfire (pictured with my dad), a steel drum band, a photo booth, and food trucks for dinner. We had some tacos and french fries. The highlight* of the evening was watching the mascot for the Games walk around in his air-filled suit. It's not funny to describe here, but let's just say he was having some trouble getting around. Here's to hoping tomorrow is just as good!
*The highlight of the day was not when a woman asked me, near a food truck, if I was competing. Um, no, you have to be at least 50 for that. A good reminder to wear sunscreen more I guess.

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Recaps

So, as promised, here was our last meal in Nashville at the amazing City House:

We had movie popcorn (not pictured), two amazing pizzas (the cheesy mayo, tomato was to die for and the potato, kale, pecorino was delicious), and the caramel ice cream sandwiches (which were too good to miss).

In other recap news, my good friend Twila and her husband, Jason (who also happens to be Brian's best friend since elementary school), have selected Tahoe as their ski vacation destination, following their win on Tuesday. Thanks again to everyone who entered!

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Starting an adventure...

...by choosing a winner!


Thanks for entering and playing along. I have some thoughts about what just happened but I don't want to give anything away in case you haven't watched. So, check back in soon to hear more about the 'choose your own adventure' weekend!

Sunday, July 7, 2013

Nashville Weekend

We awoke to another rainy day, so we adjusted our plans accordingly. We headed to breakfast at another of Nashville's Best Coffee Shops, Ugly Mugs, which I had been to on my last trip to Nashville, two years ago. Afterwards, we saw Much Ado About Nothing at the Belcourt - I liked the theater more than the movie, but I'm not a big Shakespeare fan, so don't take my review to heart. We explored some Nashville suburbs, took a nap, and headed to dinner at Etch.

YUM! Unfortunately the lighting doesn't really do the food justice, but this place was awesome! I had the Beets & Berries salad, the Katafi Pastry (which was primarily spaghetti squash), and we shared the Chocolate Hazelnut Crunch (the goat cheese caramel glaze was to die for). Brian enjoyed a George Dickel Rye, as well.
We headed to The Printers Alley for some live blues and walked down Broadway for some good ole country music later on. The next morning, we awoke to sun and renewed vigor to stand in line for breakfast at the Pancake Pantry. It was totally worth the hour in line.

I decided on the sweet potato pancakes which were so perfect, they didn't even need syrup, and some hashbrowns that were dangerously delicious. I practically had to roll myself out the door! Brian enjoyed the blueberry pancakes with some sausage.
The afternoon was spent walking around downtown having coffee at CREMA (not my favorite but I did have my mocha iced), looking at the city from the pedestrian bridge over the river, and hat shopping at Goorin Brothers. I bought a great summer, straw fedora - I think the hatbox was just as fun to buy!
Tonight is our last night in Nashville and we're having dinner at City House, I'll share photos if it's good. Thanks for checking out our weekend and don't forget, tonight is the last chance for you to enter to win the 404th Post Blog Contest!

Saturday, July 6, 2013

Nearby Nashville

We woke up to another rainy day, can't remember the last time I had a rainy vacation (if ever). We tried, again, to go to the Pancake Pantry but there was a huge line out the door. You know I love pancakes, but I'm not going to wait in an hour-long line just for a table. We're going to try again on Sunday.

We opted for Fido, which is rumored to be Taylor Swift's favorite breakfast spot. It was yummy and the wait was much more manageable.
After a little relaxing at the hotel, we drove about an hour and a half to Tullahoma, TN to take a tour of the George Dickel whisky distillery. (Their sipping whisky is so good, they decided they would spell it the Scottish way without the 'e'.) Since you weren't allowed to take photos, I don't have much to share, but it was a fun 45-minute walk through a small, local-run distillery. We didn't get to taste any on the tour but we're going to try to find some before we leave TN.
We got a recommendation for a place to eat on our way back to Nashville from the tour guide and that landed us in Bell Buckle, TN - a small but charming town right outside of Chattanooga, home of Moon Pies and RC Cola. I always love a piece of lemon meringue pie after a good diner grilled cheese and Brian enjoyed a Moon Pie sundae.
After we got back from the TN hills, we headed out to Cheekwood Art & Gardens to see Bruce Munro's Night Lights exhibit. We got there a little before sunset so we could see things during the day and then we walked around again after we ate dinner at the Pineapple Room on the property. The best thing, besides the exhibit, was that it stopped raining while we were there. When we left, it started raining again so we called it a night.

Friday, July 5, 2013

The 4th in Nashville

I'm excited to be on my first official vacation since school ended. Unfortunately the first 36 hours in Nashville included nonstop rain. However, that didn't stop us from having some fun and eating our way around. A few highlights from the trip so far:

From the top: Puddles were everywhere at Riverfront Park where we saw Keb Mo (awesome) and The Band Perry (not great live); my black bean burger (with lime crema fresca) and me enjoying a strawberry ginger phosphate at The Pharmacy; Brian's reaction to me asking if he wanted to take off his shoes and wade in the puddles with me (that's his 'I don't think so' face); my first catfish po' boy with hush puppies at the Back Alley Diner (dinner on July 3rd - in case you wondered how I fit in so many meals); breakfast at The Frothy Monkey - and seriously, the nicest staff I've ever experienced anywhere.
In addition to packing in a lot of food and drinks, we also made our way to the Anthropologie Accessories store (which is one of two in the world) at the Mall at Green Hills, read in the hotel bar (we're staying at Hotel Indigo which is perfect for walking downtown), and listened to live music at The Big Bang (best dueling piano bar) and The Stage (which was so packed that we left after the first song). In all, it was a great day, even in spite of the rain. Tomorrow looks brighter and we'll be off to our next adventure. Thanks for checking in!

Monday, July 1, 2013

404th Post - It's Finally Here Contest

As promised, the next contest is here and it's a 'choose your own adventure'! You have a choice between the following and you need to include which one you'd like with your name in the comments below to enter:

Choice A) The State I've Never Been Before Weekend (must be female to select this choice)
Choice A Details: You and I will go on an adventure to one of three remaining U.S. states that I haven't been to yet - Wyoming, Alaska or North Dakota - and have an adventure. Since it will just be you and me, let's keep this choice to ladies only (but, yes, Dad, you can pick this one too).

Choice B) Couples Ski/Snowboard Weekend
Choice B Details: My dude friends gave me some crap about the 'ladies only' contest, so here's your chance guys - this choice includes joining Brian and I for a ski/snowboard weekend this winter.

Details and instructions to enter:
  1. You can enter from now until Sunday, July 7th at midnight
  2. To enter, you need to leave a comment with your first and last name and the letter of the adventure you are choosing.
  3. One entry per person and must live in the U.S..
  4. With each choice, your travel and lodging expenses will be covered. For Choice B, we'll spring for the lift tickets and rentals as well. Meals and spending money will be covered by you.
  5. You need to be able to travel in the next 12 months.
  6. As always, you don't need to know me to win, but we will be going on an adventure together, so make sure you're cool with that.
  7. Once the winner is selected at random and announced on Tuesday, July 9th, you will have more choices to make from there!
  8. Good luck!