Finally, after all of these years, and thanks to my good friend Garrett, I saw Metallica live. As one of the great rock bands in history, I knew my time was running out. Thankfully, Garrett had the foresight and genius to hook me up with some unbelievable tickets with backstage action to this show. We had a killer time. Not only that, but I spent a few days in Dallas and enjoyed my favorites: Torchy’s Tacos, Revolver Brewing, and The Rustic. Love Dallas.
Finally, finally took a trip to San Francisco to visit my brother and his partner David. What a fantastic experience.
Besides checking out the historic Castro & Mission districts, we took a specular day trip to Sausalito, and another full day up in wine country outside of Healdsburg. We got lost in Silicon Valley, walked by Zynga, Twitter, and the other tech hubs, and found some delicious San Francisco breweries to sample. A big trip!
We’ll start with The Castro. For the uninitiated, “The Castro” is the LGBTQ headquarters of San Francisco (which could be the LGBTQ headquarters of the United States), and I was proud to visit my brother and his partner’s beautiful home in the heart of it all. Besides enjoying some of the most delicious food around, I really enjoyed getting immersed in the culture. Between enjoying cocktails at the top bars in the area, going to a drag show, and everything in between, Ali and I had a wonderful time walking around this historic area. The Castro was one of the first places that a non-hetero individual could simply be themselves without being ridiculed or persecuted (this is where Harvey Milk stood his ground). You can tell the amount of pride (no pun intended) everyone in this area has for their home.
Outside of The Castro, Ali and I ventured around, finding beautiful street art, delicious coffee shops, and other sights. We stopped by the Painted Ladies, which were made famous by Full House. Went to museums, got lost in the Mission District, and all in all had a wonderful experience.
The Ferry Building is a food explosion, and I had some of the best pork buns of my life. We ferried over past Alcatraz to Sausalito, which may be the perfect little town. It’s rife with food, healthy people, and culture.
Last and best, we ventured out through the Russian River Valley to Sonoma and Healdsburg, where my sister and her husband are building their dream home on a spectacular property in the rolling vineyards of Sonoma. It was unbelievable. They really need to hurry it up so I can come be a farmer on their property, and that’s all I have to say about that.
I can see why San Francisco and the surrounding areas have the most absurd real estate prices in the country. It’s loaded on culture, food, activities, wine, and music. It’s the perfect place to live (if you’re a decamillionaire).
Had a quick weekend getaway to Nashville for the wife’s company, so took advantage by trying a few killer coffee shops and the towns most renowned BBQ. Was also able to reconnect with my old high school friend, Josh, who is an investment banker down there, and we had a killer lunch. Wish I had more then 72 hours in Nashville, but I do feel like I made my time worthwhile.
Finally, finally made it to Asheville. I’ve been hearing about the legend of Asheville’s awesomeness for quite some time now, and let me tell you – it didn’t disappoint.
Asheville is like this brewery, food, and hiking paradise, where people just get lost and love their lives. There isn’t really a hint of stress around here, rather, people just seem to be living an outdoors lifestyle with glorious beers and music in between.
This trip was certainly quick, as we hustled up there on a Friday and zipped home on a Sunday night. Was great to get Neo (my Golden) up there to check out the breweries with us, as he is a rowdy boy and brings joy wherever he goes.
Forgive me, but we did do a very touristy thing when we hiked to the type of Chimney Rock, though we thought it was absolutely worth the hike (and worth dealing with crazy crowds and their insane families). The view from atop Chimney Rock was stunning, there were beautiful waterfalls, and best of all? There is a BONUS BREWERY nearby.
We absolutely plan on dedicating more time to Asheville in the future, as there were nearly a dozen other places we would have loved to try.
• Chimney Rock really was worth it. Check out the glorious waterfall action.
Here are some photos for you:
Took 5 days this winter to visit Showshoe, the closest decent skiing to Ohio. Took the trip with my glorious friends from Texas, Garrett and Breana, and the rowdy Haery family from Columbus.
Anyway, of the 5 days there, we had one real day of skiing. Apparently the Gods didn’t feel like allowing us a solid ski trip, because we experienced more thunderstorms and rain throughout the trip than we did snow. As such, we experienced some degree of some serious Snowshoe cabin fever. I’d imagine we discovered every possible way to make a cocktail, every possible way to play Euchre, and every possible way to fall asleep.
All that being said, there was something special about being locked in a small cabin with some of my closest friends. We caught up in ways we haven’t in a long time, and we laughed more than we had in a long time. It was a glorious time.
Oh, and of course, the day we left it snowed nearly 2 feet (as you’ll see below).
Ah, the annual escape to Cabo San Lucas. I must escape the clutches of Ohio winter every January, lest I go insane, and my locale of choice for the past 6 years has been Cabo San Lucas. Why? It’s warm, it’s much like California, there are whales, and it is quiet.
I typically come down the Cabo with some of my family, and we always have a bacchanalia that would rival the ancient Romans.
Oh, and in case you didn’t know:
Now you know.
Another big happening here in Cabo was the engagement photos! I am presently engaged to Ali, the boss, as of December, and we decided to knock out our glorious engagement photos outside The Cape here in Cabo San Lucas with a local photographer. We were happy with the results.
Redheads are winning these days people, I keep telling you.
Anyways, here are a few excellent establishments you should check out when visiting Cabo San Lucas.
• Hacienda has the best pulpo (Octopus) in Cabo. Stop in for perfect guacamole and Margaritas. Stay for the view.
• Toro is high-end dining with a cool atmosphere. It is a must stop on every trip.
• There are two points of interest at The Cape, a stunningly modern hotel in Cabo. First, is The Rooftop, which for my money is the best rooftop bar in Cabo. Second, is the breakfast. The french toast is absurd, and the buffet may be the best around. Skip Manta, their ludicrously overpriced dinner restaurant (go to Hacienda again).
• Featured on Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives, this little taco spot is a local legend. Pick up Arrachera tacos for $2/each and some Coronas for a cheap, delicious lunch.
• The “Smallest Bar in the World” is the perfect place to stop when walking around downtown Cabo. If you don’t want the fuss of the party joints, just stop here with a friend to pick up a quick Modelo on the run.
Finally got back to the Outer Banks for my birthday. If you’ve known me for a while, you know that one of my favorite places on the planet is Cape Hatteras in the Outer Banks (North Carolina). There is something simple about this place, something that always reminds me that the best times are had when we’re not rushing around. No huge parties or nights on the town. Just friends, family, local seafood and rowdy times. No McDonald’s within 3 hours, no chain restaurants. No Applebee’s polluting my space.
Anyway, this trip was special as we trucked over a dozen friends and family to a huge, oceanfront house in Frisco, a small town in the thick of Cape Hatteras. From rare tuna and margarita parties, to taking the Jeep out to The Point of the Outer Banks, I’d say it was one of the most enjoyable trips of my life.
Amazing, no? I’ve travelled all over the world, at least to some degree, and I still can’t shake how much I just love this place that I travelled to as a kid. Funny how that works.
I have a long running list of places I’ve never visited, and at the very top of my list was Denver. I’ve had quite a few friends that left Ohio to move to Colorado yet I’d never been – so this was it. And let me say – I see why they rolled out.
If you’re even remotely an outdoors, craft beer, or active person, the Denver area will likely be the greatest trip you ever take – and you may not return. From hiking, to biking, to beer, to skiing, and more – this is the place to go for some glorious freedom. I truly enjoyed Estes Park, hiking Red Rocks, driving a Hummer through backwoods trails, and of course, enjoying The Great Divide Brewing Company. One week was absolutely not enough time to really experience all that Denver and Boulder have to offer, so I am truly looking forward to my return.
Hanging out at The Great Divide Brewery
Checking out Pike’s Peak
For this month’s trip we took a few days to Atlanta for Ali’s birthday (30!). First time really diving in to Ponce City Market, and it definitely delivered. The variety, quality, and deliciousness of the food here (former Sears & Roebuck building) is awesome, and you essentially have your pick of whatever food you may desire. With that said, my favorite meal was probably off-campus at Cooks & Soldiers, a delicious tapas spot with fantastic service.
Atlanta is easily one of my favorite non-beach cities, and it’s culture is really a melting pot. In these turbulent times, we came face to face with a variety of marches and protests – but they were all peaceful. Here’s hoping everyone can come together soon…the drama is unnecessary.
Anyway, here are the must-do’s from this trip.
Must-Do Coffee: Dancing Goats Coffee Bar
Must-Do Dinner: Cooks & Soliders
Must-Do Craft Beer: Terrapin Sound Czech
Must-Do Lunch: Botiwalla @ Ponce City Market
Took a quick trip to Boston this weekend for my good friend’s wedding, and of course no trip is complete to Boston without local coffee, and a lobster roll.
Thank the free world we were able to get to the Neptune’s line early enough to secure – according to Food Network – the best lobster roll in the world. It absolutely did not disappoint. While some purists may scoff at a warm lobster roll with drawn butter, I don’t care. I don’t trust people who don’t like warm butter on lobster, and frankly, I am not a mayo person.
This lobster roll ruined me, and now I expect greatness every single time.
Despite being completely full, I had to give the world-famous Mike’s Pastry a try afterwards. The cannoli are to die for, so Aaron and I watched a bunch of healthy people doing yoga while we ate our custard-filled glory.
Must-Do Coffee: Coffee Break Cafe (Quincy) – GLORIOUS ICED COFFEE.
Must-Do Lobster Roll: Neptune Oyster (North End)
Must-Do Pastry: Mike’s Pastry (North End)