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Dollywood

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Another trip to the wonderful Dollywood.  This was a true whirl wind tour.  We arrived in Tennessee at 10:30 am on Saturday (via Chicago) and then drove to Pigeon Forge, generic stopping at a few thrift stores along the way.  Our first night we found Old Smokey Moonshine and after a nice dinner, symptoms we had a moonshine tasting.  That’s all I need to say.  Next morning was Dollywood!  Thankfully the weather was on our side and during the day we hit one of our usual spots, here the Grist Mill for some giant cinnamon loaf, did some pre scouting for souvenirs and in between we hit the roller coasters.  We had planned on actually eating a real meal, but as the day went on it was all about the snacks, like a giant corn dog big enough for two.   By night time  anything  that stands still is covered in lights.  There’s even a Christmas themed light show.  After riding the roller coasters multiple times(Wild Eagle our favorite), a special Christmas show with a hologram Dolly as the ghost of Christmas past, and a few other attractions we hadn’t seen before, it was time to get our shopping on.  As usual it was a mad dash before the park closed, and as usual we still didn’t see it all!  On Monday morning with our Dollywood hangovers, we managed to  make it to quite a few thrift stores.  Not all were gems, but then again, we only made it through half our list and as far as Knoxville. With our bags overflowing from souvenirs and thrift store finds, we flew back home dreaming, and a little spinning, thanks to the multiple cocktails our wonderful stewardess bestowed upon us, of our next Dollywood trip.

Fall Camping

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Our first fall camping trip got off to a slow start, cure we accidentally boarded the wrong train! But luckily it was a happy accident. By the time we made it to Tuxedo and Harrimon Park the slight rain that was plaguing us all morning had stopped. We bought our final supplies and headed to the trail, visit this arriving just in time to collect firewood, make camp and start dinner before sunset. Steak, baked potatoes and cilantro pesto corn were the evening meal and a lovely moon to gaze at. Later with the fire and moon in full force we just sat back and took it all in, before heading of to sleep.

The next day we awoke to a beautiful misty fog rolling over the hills and exposing Lake Skenonto in all its fall foliage beauty. The birds sang hello while we made coffee and breakfast. The sky cleared up and it was a glorious fall day to be in the woods. So naturally we pulled out the ukuleles and serenaded the animals with our songs. After some more quiet time it was time to head back to the city. So we packed up, said goodbye to our animal friends and headed for the train and Chinese food. This may have been our first fall camping trip but it won’t be our last.

 

Oh Canada

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When Jason’s Mum came to NYC for a visit we wanted to take her some where different. She’s been to Washington, viagra D.C., and Provincetown, so we had to think of somewhere new. Jason came up with Montreal. It’s just far enough for a quick weekend getaway. To maximize our time together and in Montreal we took the train up and flew back.

The train was a wonderful way to spend the day together. We probably packed way too much food(oops!), but the scenery was just breath taking and we relaxed our way into our weekend. With a recommendation from a friend we stayed at the Chateau De Argoat Hotel. It is perfectly situated near everything and a block and a half from the nearest subway and the bus depot that you can take to the airport.

Once we were all settled we headed out for dinner. You think with all the food we had on the train we wouldn’t be hungry. Wrong! We decided to keep it simple and went to a delicatessen called The Main and had smoked meat and poutine(fries with gravy and cheese curds). Perfect for weary travelers.

The next day we headed for old Montreal and soaked in the history. Walked along the canal where all kinds of new construction is happening . It reminded us of what is happening to Brooklyn back home. We even got Jason’s mum on a bike! After a very valiant effort, we let her off the hook and we walked for rest of our journey. Which included finding an oasis beer garden/indoor beach volleyball club. It was nice to sit relax some more and watch a little bit of sport. We finally made it to our destination the Atwater open market. Unfortunately we were a little late and only managed to procure some fromage, crackers and olives for our efforts. But all was not lost. That just made dinner all the better! We ended up at Cafe Cherrier, not your typical cafe. I had pistachio encrusted salmon, Jason had steak and his mum had veal ravioli. Amazing! So far Montreal is winning in all categories, architecture, historic sights, weather and food!

The next day was Mothers Day and Jason planned a nice dinner, but we changed our minds and made it a brunch date instead. We were so glad we did. Le Pegase did not disappoint. They had a special pre fix menu for Mother’s Day brunch and luckily for us we had three choices for the appetizers and main course. So we all got to try a little of everyone’s meal. To say it was amazing is an understatement. We left floating on air with very satisfied full bellies.

After our heavenly experience we wandered around and made our way to Mount Royal to see the tam tams, aka, a drum circle. Also to climb to the top and see the view of the city. It was another beautiful day and everyone was out just lapping up the sun and music. After a little rest we headed to our final destination, the top of Mount Royal. We lazed around on the lawn chairs took in the scenic view, walked over to the very large cross and then made our descent back down and to our hotel for the night.

Sadly our last day was a short one. We just took it easy, had a picnic at La Fountaine Park, played our ukuleles and soaked in the sun. We then hoped on the bus, checked ourselves through airport security and flew home. Another adventure down and many more to come!

Blossom’s In Bloom

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It was time to make our annual trip to D.C. for the blossom festival and it did not disappoint. We took the Bolt Bus as usual and stayed in our hostel that we like. One day we might stay in a hotel, viagra order but the hostel is in a central location and the price is great.

After we unloaded our gear we headed out for a quick drink. We normally don’t go out on the first night, rx we’re usually too tired and want to get an early start. But this year there was only one exhibit that we really wanted to see, so we figured we had a long week, lets get out and have fun. Well fun found us. We stopped at a local bar we go to sometimes and this night they were having a Robyn themed night. After 3 drag performances and a few Absolut drink specials we made our way back to our beds that were waiting for us.

The next day we hopped on bikes and made it to the festival to see the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It was a glorious day. The sun was out and it was nice and warm. We rode and walked around the basin taking in all the amazing trees and colors. We stopped to get some refreshments but the line was long and we had our exhibit to see. So we high tailed it out of there and went to the Hirshhorn Museum. They had a great exhibit on disasters throughout history. We did wonder if the Smithsonian planned such an exhibit of destruction while life was blooming outside it’s very walls.

After the exhibit we went to The Garden Cafe, in the National Gallery of Art. One of our favorite places to sit, relax and enjoy a meal. We strolled around and saw the amazing photography of Garry Winogrand and the Civic Pride: Group Portraits from Amsterdam, that are considered a rarity at that time. We made another wonderful pit stop at one of the atriums before heading out to see more works of art.

 

 

After a little more running around, it was about time to go back to the hostel and freshen up for our evening plans. As usual I didn’t know what they were. Well, they always involve a play or a concert or a musical. This time much to my delight and genuine surprise it was the final show of Neil Finn’s American tour. We were lucky and got some great seats and were treated to some rare songs that he usually doesn’t play.

We tried to eat before the show but we were running a little late. After a few failed attempts I finally secured some chili cheese fries from Ben’s Chili Bowl, but unfortunately I was too late and we were ushered into the theater and our food disposed of. But our saving grace was Oohh’s and Aahh’s Soul Food. Amazing roast chicken and mac n’ cheese. Can’t wait to go back and try more.

Our final day was mostly spent cruising around looking at blossoms. We stopped for a quick libation and headed to our new find. The peninsula across for the main blossom festival. Talk about night and day! The festival is nice and there are many more blossoms to look at, but what we found was just as beautiful. The peninsula is lined with blossoms and even has picnic area’s with tables and BBQ’s. It was a great bike ride and discovery. Next year it’s all about a picnic at the other side of the festival.

We had just a few more small exhibits to see but our hot dog and beer on the mall lawn was our next destination and it did not disappoint. It’s always nice to take a moment, sit and watch everyone enjoying there day, while we enjoy ours. The Portrait Gallery was our last destination, an exhibition on dance in American history from ballet to movies and music. Then it was off to collect our belongings, with a quick stop at Full Kee to get dinner for the long bus ride home. As we sat comfortably in our seats, or as comfortable one can get, we settled into our movie and dinner, already planing next years adventure.

Spring/Winter camping?!

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Our first camping trip of the season was amazing and cold!

The day started out fine, pills a little cloudy but not too bad. We hit the subway, no rx then train to Tuxedo, grabbed the last of the supplies and hit the trail. We made it to camp with plenty of time to gather wood, pitch the tent, get water and start our fire. It was a lazy afternoon. Well as lazy as that can be. We took our time and enjoyed the spring day. We did notice along the way that there was still snow in random spots and when we arrived at our usual camp site, the lake was still frozen in parts. Jason dubbed this trip, winter camping! We were still delighted, the sun had come out and we just lapping up the quiet and slow pace we were settling into.

 

 

With our fire in full swing and whiskey in our cups we started dinner. We kept it simple. Dry rubbed ribs, steak, asparagus and baked potatoes. One of the best things about camping is you can wrap everything in foil, chuck it in the fire and leg it go. Of course we love cooking a more elaborate meal, but our first outing we wanted to keep it as simple as possible. After dinner we put more wood on the fire and watched the sunset. So far so good, right? Then the sun went down and the wind and cold went up! We usually hangout by the fire for a while but not that night. We headed into the tent and watched a movie I had downloaded. All snuggled up with hot water bottles, snacks and our movie we settled in for the night.

The next morning was bright and sunny. The wind was still whipping around a little and we thought we might have to take the early train home. But thankfully it went away and a beautiful spring day took over. We made breakfast, eggs, potatoes and bacon, and just relaxed. By lunch time we were sufficiently hungry and found our leftover ribs and butter were missing. These were to be added to our egg drop ramen soup. We couldn’t find them anywhere. After a little more searching, I found the empty foil I had wrapped the butter in, and a fork! Jason had heard something in the night like an animal walking through our camp but thought nothing of it. There are deer, geese, hawks, ducks and we usually camp next to a beaver and his dam. I guess one of them got hungry in the night!

We still enjoyed our lunch, finished our movie and made our way back to civilization. It’s always a bitter sweet walk. As we get closer to the train station you realize it’s almost over. But our reward for making this trip and back in one piece is Chinese food across the street from the platform. With our delicious snack in our bellies we drink our travel beer on the train and make the long ride home. Already dreaming of our next camping adventure.

Oktoberfest!!!

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Oktoberfest begins our wilderness camping season.  It’s a short season but hopefully we can get in a few more before the snow falls.  It’s a three day hike across Harriman State Park and ends at Bear Mountain where a polka band, medical steins of beer, decease pierogi’s, dosage bratwurst with sauerkraut and stuffed cabbage await us.   Did I mention people dancing in traditional lederhosen outfits???  Yes that too!!!

We start by taking the train from Hoboken New Jersey and head north to Tuxedo Park, where we get our final supplies or anything we forgot.  Each day is a full day of hiking, so there is no time for dilly dallying.   Our daily goal is to get to a shelter before someone else.  Unfortunately you can’t reserve them. The first day is the most grueling but the shelter has an amazing view of the sunset just up the rock hill, and a fireplace where we cook.  This night we will have caveman ribs and potatoes.  Dry rubbed ribs in foil and thrown straight into the fire along with the rest.  I have also brought along pudding cups for desert as they need no refrigeration.  Of course everything is frozen and thaws as each day progresses –  including the cucumbers I juiced for our after-dinner cocktails.  Jason also had a surprise that made the whole trip and future trips glamorous (well to us it was!).  Hot water bottles! No more cold tent for us!!!

The Second day is one of the longest and takes us through the famed lemon squeezer(you can see why).  It is a very long day with a short stop for lunch.  The shelter that is mid way to our next destination is empty  and even has lovely art work. We chose to go a little further and stop near a creek to get some water and eat there.  We walk along the Long Path and pass through a small portion of the West Point Military School property. We call this passing through enemy lines!   After that comes Hippo Rock, which means we are just moments away from our last resting spot.  A shelter with two fireplaces!  Very deluxe especially when it gets to be night and its cold!  I have had to defend this place so others can’t/wont join us.  I will always fight to have this space to ourselves, it is the best spot and the view is breathtaking.  We will be having chili for dinner, a box of Merlot to drink and more pudding for desert.  Yum!

On the last day we make our final breakfast of eggs and bacon, then it’s time to head off to Oktoberfest! We walk along some famous paths that were used during he revolutionary wars (1777 and 1779) and another part of West Point.  Stop for lunch at Turkey Hill Lake and follow the Popolopen Creek till we make it to Bear Mountain Lodge next to Hessian Lake and Oktoberfest!!!  Once there will will eat, drink, listen to music and enjoy our fellow revelers.  The older couple are there every year and are total hams!  We love them and enjoy their wonderful party spirits.  It is a short visit as we need to catch the last bus back to the city.  But with full bellies and a little light headed from the steins of beer we slowly drift back to our home in Brooklyn Heights satisfied and dreaming of next years adventure.

 

Dry Rub:

Salt

Pepper

Garlic Powder

Dry Basil leaves

Smoked Paprika

Ancho Chile Powder

Cayenne Pepper

 

 

Final Beach Camping Weekend!!!

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Summer  beach camping has ended.  Our last big blow out was Labor Day weekend.   We made staples like Spam Musabi’s, doctor hot dogs and macaroni salad, cheapest eggs and bacon.  But what camping weekend would be complete without some new menu items?!  We added Spicy Teriyaki Ribs with mashed potato’s and chicken mole with rice and black beans. Well the beans didn’t quite make it cause the tab on the can broke and we couldn’t open it!  But we did take the left over ribs and add them to our Ramen for lunch on Sunday.  I also juiced some cucumbers and ginger to add to our cocktail’s.  My favorite mixer this season.

We did try to continue the faux sports pictures but I forgot the volleyball so we had to settle for a found tennis ball. Not the same thing.  But the high fashion did return. Complete with runway walk editorial photo shoots.

No beach  day or camping weekend would be complete with out our trusty axe’s.  With our Halloween show coming up in October we figured what better time to practice then sitting on a beach for 4 days?  Granted that is what beach ukulele camp is for!!!! Next is wilderness camping!!!!   Can’t wait!

Back in the Saddle Again.

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Flo

 

It’s been a while since I’ve been in the food industry.  I had forgotten how it can be.  Intense, more about Exciting, exhausting all at the same time.  My next career step was to continue in the opposite direction, which was a corner office working  M-F.  I am not opposed to that or have totally given up on it.  Of course my idea of an office job be would be working for a food magazine or food channel.   But have found myself standing behind a counter making coffee and selling pies.   Which will eventually lead to running a food truck.   This is where the real challenge comes in.  I have bar backed, tended bar, waited tables and bussed them as well.  I have worked the gamut of fast food.  The worst is the drive thru window.  It takes nerves of steal to put up with the people that come through there.  Maybe that’s why fast food is really for the young who can bounce back after 20 irate customers in a row.    Thankfully the service I am now providing has a pleasant clientele.  It’s not fast food, although it is fast.  The pies are flash frozen and delivered to us and we cook them and serve them.  The coffee is espresso based.  Which means I get to make you a nice cappuccino or flat white.   This is for the person who wants to stop say hi, have a conversation and not just grab and go.  Of course some people are happy to not stay and talk, which is also fine, but we are not McDonald’s, you don’t get it in 30 seconds.  To me this is key.  It will be interesting to see how this translate to a pie truck.  I suspect it will be faster pace then the shop and our clientele wont hang around for too long.  Most will be going to work, getting lunch or possible late night snack.  All of this is good.   In a way it will be like Bartending again.  But instead of cocktails it will be coffee and pies.  Not a bad gig to have.  So the next time your craving coffee and pie, I will gladly serve you.  I sound just like Flo from Alice!  But don’t expect me to tell you to  “kiss my grits!” Unless you want me to!

Fishes

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Jason had a friend over for bbq the other night and we had a small sea food fest.  We started out with mussels.  I steamed them with a semi sweet dark beer we crafted, order added some pickled ginger, a few sweet pickled pearl onions that we canned a couple winters ago and a little pickle juice to cut the sweetness.  They were amazing!  But the real show stopper was the Branzino (striped bass) and Sea Bass that they bought.  Whole fish, gutted and deboned of course.  Well not totally deboned as that is very hard to do.  We salted and peppered the cavity then put whole sprigs of rosemary and lemon slices, wrapped them up in foil and grilled them for about 12 minutes on each side.   The result was a very aromatic, moist, flaky delicious fish.   The perfume of the rosemary was light, and the lemons kept the fish from drying out – and of course the citrus aspect.  Now most people wouldn’t use such an aromatic herb, and usually I wouldn’t either.   It was one of those happy accidents.  We were going to use thyme, but we accidentally bought the wrong herb.  Oops!  We were all glad we did since there was barely any fish left over for lunch the next day.  Of course now I am craving fish with thyme and lemon.  Guess that means another bbq!!

Cabaret in Exile

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Last Sunday we had a very intimate cabaret on the beach.  It was (us) Sonic Uke, ambulance Uke Goldberg and Gio from The War Ponies.  We all met at Riis Beach and after a few beers, illness some Popeye’s Chicken and a dip in the ocean we started the Cabaret.  We even had a couple captive audiences, a few Radical Faeries and later a dear friend of the cabaret, Mary.  We sang our usual set and added a couple new songs including our ode to Riis, a.k.a., “Cha Cha Beach” titled By The Sea.  Ted & Gio played with us as well as a song or two of their own.  Gio even tried to teach us  Meatloaf’s “I Would Do Anything For Love”.   Although he was right, for us to learn all 9 minutes of the song would take more then a couple lessons on the beach.  By this time Uke Goldberg had left us to perform on Fire Island.  But we still had a blast.  Sadly the day came to an end and the rest of us packed it in and went home.  But, we managed to capture some of it on film.

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