Category Archives: Travel


After two days in Amsterdam we boarded yet another plane –  this time to London Heathrow followed by one more to Edinburgh, Scotland.
amThere, we rented a car with the steering wheel on the right side, pulled out of the parking lot, screamed quite a bit at the oncoming traffic until we swerved back over to the left side of the road, and relaxed just in time to arrive at our bed and breakfast for the night.
am16All of that city driving on the wrong side of the road was stressful. We needed to relax. We hailed a cab and were shuttled over to BrewDog.
am18Every booth was full and the bar was lined with thirsty revelers.
am15We grabbed a flight.
am17Every beer they offered, plus a small sip of Dog B – an imperial stout that comes in at 15.1%ABV.
am19Dinner was the charcuterie plate since they were unfortunately out of pizza dough. No brewery tours were taken, but we all loved the atmosphere of the tasting room, and the beer was blissful and powerful. We strolled back to the B&B through the chilly rain and fell asleep to the creaking sounds of the radiator.
am42French press coffee for breakfast. Have you ever tried oatcakes? They’re like really thin horse treats. I don’t recommend them…
am14After breakfast we screamed our way down the road to visit the Edinburgh Castle.
am20The grand entrance full of people taking selfies.
am23The house on the right is an actual residence. Nothing like waking up to tourists peering in your windows!
am21The beautiful view looking out over the defense walls.
am24The front of the grand hall. We got to see the actual crown jewels and Stone of Destiny. No pictures were allowed of those, unfortunately.
am25Dead puppies, dead puppies, dead puppies aren’t much fun. (Pet cemetery).
am22After a few hours and large soy mochas, we hopped back in the car to head over to our final destination: Oban.
am1We passed by too many castles and fortresses to count.
am2The roads in Scotland are narrow and windy with no shoulders and a speed limit of 60mph. The view was beautiful when I was able to tear my eyes away from the windshield.
am3We pulled over for a breather and for lunch at a little standalone building on the side of the road.
am4The Golden Larches.
am6Quaint and cozy inside. It was wonderful to warm up and escape the rain that was yet again falling outside. Who would’ve thought: rain in Scotland.
am5Toasties! After having one in Amsterdam, I had to get another.
am7Tuna melt with crisps. Simple and delicious.
am8Beautiful restaurant, friendly owners and delicious food. That’s all you need.
am9We weaved through the canyons, past train bridges and dozens of lochs.
am26We arrived at the adorable Dalrannoch Farm bed and breakfast run by the sweet Irene and her husband Fred. Not a bad view.
am27We unpacked our things and drove up the road a few miles to the Creagan Inn for dinner.
am28Baked goat cheese salad with walnuts and balsamic drizzle. No haggis or blood pudding was consumed on this trip.
am29And some local brews.
am30My shower at the B&B was a disco party. Awesome.
am10We went to downtown Oban the next day.
Oban DistilleryWe visited the Oban Distillery and grabbed a few bottles to take home with us as gifts. Gifts for us AND gifts for others.
am11For lunch we went to Ee-Usk – a seafoodery overlooking the harbor. Fyne Ales for lunchbeer – everything we tried on this trip was sessionable except for BrewDog. We were even warned by one of the waitresses that “this beer is quite strong. It’s about 5.4%”. Hehe, Europeans are so cute.
am12And fish ‘n chips for foods. The pouring rain and icy winds continued, but with the wonderful brews and hot air, we didn’t mind.
am31Eggs at the grocery store. Outside of the US and Canada, very few countries refrigerate their eggs. These were sitting in the aisle next to the bread.
Seal ColonyWe worked our way up the coast a little and arrived at the Dunollie Castle – ruins located right down the road from the town. The sun finally broke through.
am13The son of the current clan chief still resides at the house built on the lands back in 1745.
Castle1Inside the ruins.
Castle2The stairs leading up to the third level were blocked off for safety reasons.
Castle ViewOne of few walls remaining.
Castle View 2Yet another beautiful view.
Castle View 3
Oban ViewThe next day, we drove farther up the coast to visit Loch Ness and Nessie.
Loch NessBreathtaking. Between the drive and the views, I was out of oxygen.
am40A castle tower peeking through the eucalyptus trees.
am39We had lunch at the Boathouse Restaurant.
am32No sign of Nessie. Perhaps next time.
Island CastleOn the way back to the farm, we were met with another stunning view of yet another castle. This one is on the island in the middle of the bay, and apparently you can walk to it during low tide.
am44Our final dinner in Oban was spent at The Glue Pot – tough steak and onion rings accompanied by McEwan’s Export Scottish Ale and a glass of single malt Miltonduff. We drove back to Edinburgh the next morning to prepare for our flights home the following day.
am35One final European hurrah – Cask and Barrel Southside in downtown Edinburgh. Eight casks and eight taps.
am33So many beautiful beer engines!
am34So pretty!
am37I got a Deuchars IPA on cask. Silky smooth and cellar temperature.
am38Followed by a Dark Munro.
am36This was possibly my favorite beverage place of all. We curled up in the corner and spent the afternoon people watching while slowly savoring our beers.

And so sums up my trip to Europe! Stay tuned for some new recipes coming up next week! Prost!


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The Heineken Experience

The Disneyland of Amsterdam. The Heineken Experience is basically a 90 minute marketing ploy, and they do it so well.
AMAfter we hopped off of the canal boat, we walked down the street and into two separate Heineken offices that were so fancy we thought they were the museum, until we finally found our way into the true location.
AM2After you weave down the long hallway, past a digital bar with a digital bartender explaining a little of the history, you get to see some of the original artifacts from the beginnings of the brewery.
AM3And then it gets weird. I heard a creaking sound and a booming voice and looked up. In the style of Disney, a video of and actor portraying Gerard Adriaan Heineken began playing, talking down on us as if we were in a fermentor.
AM4The do-it-yourself tour continues through the museum with information boards about the history…
AM5Old flip top bottles…
AM6The original brewniforms…
AM8The evolution of coasters…
AM9And then you emerge into the former brewery where you can look into the mash tuns, lauter tuns and boil kettles and watch an informative video about what occurs in each one.
Screen shot 2013-09-24 at 7.10.44 AMThey also give you samples of wort. Yup, tastes like sugar water. We skipped the section where they explain the ingredients of beer and continued upward.
AM10I was wondering why the brewery smelled like a farm! The stables right outside house the Heineken branded Shire horses. Immediately after is the 3D ride where you “become the beer”. You stand on a platform, hold tight to the bar in front of you and are shaken as they mill, mash, boil, ferment, bottle and pasteurize you. Basically, the platform shakes, shifts and bounces while they alternate between squirting water on you, turn on heaters above and release “fermentation” bubbles. Not the most exciting “ride”, but entertaining nonetheless.
AM11Then it was time to learn how to taste beer. According to the Heineken crew, the head of the beer is there solely for the purpose of  “protecting the beer”, and they cut the head with a “beer foam skimmer” to help retain it… Interesting theory…
AM12We looked at the color, took a quick sniff, raised our glasses and sipped.
AM13“How does it taste?” Asks crew member #15. “Sweet! Refreshing! Bitter!” Yells the crowd.
AM14After the tasting session, we sat in a miniature movie theatre and watched some of the commercials they created for the different sports and movies Heineken has promoted. These were truly impressive and entertaining: each was like a mini-adventure movie that went on for three minutes.
AM15More large playrooms awaited, full of flashy branding.
AM16They had a DJ booth where you could spin your own mixes…
AM17A “club room” to feature their new stainless steel bottles…
AM18Regular lighting…
AM19And black lights!
AM20A screen that follows your movements in flashes and swirls of light…
AM21A pouring game where you can test your skills…
AM23Creepy claymation from a movie they made on the history of the brewery…
AM24And the bar! At the entrance they gave us wristbands with three tokens on them. Two for beer and one for a free bottle opener.
AM25Since we’d begun the tour half an hour after they opened, we were able to snag a booth and avoid the massive crowds we saw piled up as we left.
am29So yes, it’s a big marketing trip from a mass-production brewery, but I still had a wonderful time and enjoyed every aspect, especially being able to try the beer from the source. I’m a beer nerd, not a beer snob.

Except for that whole “beer foam solely protects the beer” thing where they didn’t mention the importance of the head holding the aroma. I’m a little snobby about that.


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I’m back in the states and slowly overcoming jet lag with the help of trips to local breweries and Lord of the Rings marathons! I can’t wait to start living here once I’m out of the land of half-awake, but until then, I’ll keep recapping my trip and reliving the awesomeness.
am20We left Germany bright and early and hopped on a plane to Oslo, Norway.
am22No Final Destination issues on this plane either, thank goodness.
am21We had a two hour layover at the airport, so I grabbed a “build it yourself” bowl from the salad bar and a local beer before jumping right back on another plane to head down to Amsterdam. Kind of a crazy detour, but it saved a ton of monies that we were able to put to good use on more food and brews. Very important in my book.
am23After settling in at our below mediocre hotel in central Amsterdam, we walked next door to Dante for a few more local beers…
am24And the best burger of my life. I’m omitting the picture I took on my cell phone because it looks like zombie carnage and is unsuitable for all viewers, but man, was it amazing.
amThe next morning my travel buddy and I hopped onto a hop on hop off canal tour. Seriously, I’m obsessed with these! The first stop was the Anne Frank house.
am3We got there half an hour before they opened and beat the massive crowds that soon began forming a line around the building.
am1They don’t allow pictures of anything inside, but you really don’t need a camera to remember every room. The building winds around the back through mazes of steep, creaky staircases until you come to the bookshelf that hid the families in hiding. After stepping through there are a handful of rooms, completely empty after the Nazis had arrested those in hiding and stripped the house of all the furniture. We walked through the dark bedrooms, bedroom/kitchen, staircases, bathroom and the room Anne Frank lived in that still has the posters plastered on the wall that she’d taken from magazines and decorated with. The final stop is the room with the ladder leading up to the attic – the one place she could see the outside world during her two years in hiding. They don’t allow anyone to climb up, but there’s a mirror placed at an angle at the top so you can see out the small window and get a glimpse of that same view she had.
am2This is the entrance to the original house. The museum entrance next door winds through the side, keeping the original entry staircase preserved in time.
am4If you’re in Amsterdam, this should be on the top of your list to see.
am5We hopped onto the canal boat to continue the tour of the city.
am6Try to catch all of the tours and boats as early as you can. We enjoyed a nice quiet ride until around 1pm when the lines started getting a little crazy.
am9The Seven Bridges of Reguliersgracht.
Screen shot 2013-09-22 at 7.28.36 AMUnfortunately we didn’t get to see these lit up at night, but it’s still a beautiful sight.
am10Bridge crossing.
am11Koninklijk Theater.
am12Amstel Hotel.
am13We hopped off for the Heineken Experience for about an hour and a half. That recap will come in the next blog. Far too many pictures to post here!
am17Afterwards we needed some absorption foods. We found it at a small cafe right off the canal.
am16Old and creaky and full of locals, just the way I like it!
am18I got the Hawaiian Toasty – Ham, cheese and pineapple pressed between two slices of bread and toasted until crispy and warm. Similar to a panini without all the butter, so it’s healthy? Yeah, let’s go with that.
am19We headed back to the canal to wait for our ride home and enjoyed some people watching of a wedding – heart shaped wreath included.
am14The De Gooyer Windmill – one of the last remaining in Amsterdam. It’s now a private residence and sits above the Brouwerij ‘t IJ. We hopped off to check it out, but unfortunately it was closed. We found a restaurant right next door that happened to serve their brews!
am28This was one of my favorite food places around. Cozy and warm inside with a new age soundtrack softly playing, friendly bartender, candlelight dancing around inside as the rain streamed down the windows and good food.
am27…and a nice beer list.
am29I got the Brouwerij ‘t IJ India Pale Ale – wonderfully hoppy American style IPA coming in at 7%ABV.
am30And split the Brouwerij ‘t IJ Wit with travel buddy.
am26Travel buddy also enjoyed a beautiful soy latte, topped with cookies. When the rain turned from a deluge back into a downpour, we raced through to wait for our next hop-on back to the hotel.
Amsterdam ChurchUp next – the Heineken Experience!


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Nonsolovino, München

Our final night in München, we revisited a spot we’d found on our happy hour tour a few nights prior.
AM9Nonsolovino is a quaint little restaurant on a side street, full of happy locals who are regulars there, and run by Carmelo Bongiovanni, a friendly Italian who is on a first name basis with all of his customers and came to have a jovial discussion with us our first night in. We enjoyed the fine wines and conversation so much, we had to return for the food.
AM6The inside is cozy and softly lit, with an extensive wine menu and a simple food menu.
AM5I don’t know wines and will be the first to admit it. I asked our waiter’s recommendation from the list of reds.
AM8This was a winner. Rich and oaky, full of dry tannins and a hint of what I thought to be bourbon. I was a happy girl.
AM10I perused the menu and was prepared to order the gnocchi before they brought in the specials board. Farfalle mit Lads u.Rucola… or something like that. It means farfalle pasta with salmon and deliciousness… or something like that.
AM7 We relaxed, sipped wine and enjoyed the idle chatter of the patrons around us while we patiently awaited our meals. Germany is made for long, relaxed meals. All of Europe is made for long, relaxed meals. If you leave before two hours, you’re rushing. Sit back, relax, take another sip of wine and breathe. And please, phones and technology must be left at home.
AM11My dish – droolworthy. Al dente pasta with fresh arugula, juicy burst tomatoes and delicate pieces of salmon, enveloped in a warm coat of fragrantly herbed olive oil.
AM12Travel buddy #1 – Tender filet of beef with a red wine sauce studded with mushrooms on top of scalloped potatoes.
AM13Travel buddy #2 – Pasta with fresh veggies and rabbit. I’d never had rabbit before, but it seems to me like a slightly chewier combination of chicken and pork. All of the plates were scraped clean.

We lounged for another hour chatting with Carmelo and enjoying the ambiance of the place and topped it off with a glass of limoncello courtesy of our gracious host.
AM14If I’m ever lucky enough to return to München, I will be back here for my first meal in the country. A huge thanks to the entire crew at Nonsolovino for their kindness, delicious foods and brilliant wine selection!

Metzstraße 15, 81667 Munich, Germany

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Hop-On Hop-Off

With my ankle being a bit of a bummer thanks to a running injury, my travel buddy and I decided that our new favorite thing to do is hop-on hop-off bus tours. Picture heavy post, comin’ at ya!

München, Germany
AM2The most important sights first – Löwenbräu Brewery, which I just found out is owned by Anheuser-Busch InBev. Wah. Ah well, I still enjoy it (although my favorite beer we’ve had here so far has been Andechs by miles!).
AM3Boil kettles and mash tuns across the street.
AM4Nymphemburg Palace. We decided to stay on the bus here since we’d snagged the front seats at the top, plus my ankle was still acting up.
AM5And glad we did! It started raining immediately. We stayed inside the warm, cozy bus while the throngs of people who had just hopped-off started running towards the palace.
AM6Olympiapark in Munich.
AM7BMW Museum (closed on Mondays for anyone interested in going).
AM9At this point of the ride, some of the descriptions of the sights were lost in translation.
AM10We hopped off here to grab some lunch.
AM14The Glockenspiel Cafe is located on the 7th floor in the building directly across from the clock.
AM15First things first, lunchbeer! Hofbräu Original Helles.
AM17Balsamic lentils with some kind of amazing creme foam.
AM18Gnocchi with sundried tomato and pumpkin seed pesto, garlic and fresh parmesan for me. Painfully delicious.
AM16The gorgeous view of the Glockenspiel. We were lucky enough to grab seats at the window after one couple left.
AM19Just a port-a-potty swinging over the streets.
AM1We jumped back on and passed through the Viktualienmarkt – a HUGE farmers market with over 300 types of cheese, crates of fresh fruits and vegetables, wines, truffles and biergartens everywhere.
PalaceOne last look at the Nymphemburg Palace.
Munchen‘Twas an amazing day!

Salzburg, Austria
Yesterday, we had plans to check out Salzburg, Austria. We took the bullet train southeast and an hour and 45 minutes later, pulled into the main station.
AM26Mozart’s place of birth! Conveniently located above a chain grocery store.
AM27Fish sammiches with the skin on. Eek.
AM25St. Blaise Church at the end of the street. The street was packed, so we looked for a way to get some space and room to breathe.
AM20We took the Mönchsberg Lift to the top of one of the mountains that houses the Museum der Moderne and were blessed with this view.
AM23Breathtaking views of the Salzach River.
AM22As well as the busy city.
AM24After taking a ridiculous amount of pictures, we took the lift back down and head out to find the yellow hop-on hop-off bus of Salzburg.
AM28My throbbing ankle was please beyond belief once we were picked up. Here’s a view of the Museum der Moderne we’d just retreated from.
AM29The Horse Bath statue.
AM30Driving into the tunnel leading to the outskirts of the city.
AM31A view of the Hohensalzburg Fortress.
FortressHohensalzburg Fortress from the Museum der Moderne.
SalzburgAnd a farewell to the beautiful city.

We jumped back on the bullet train and enjoyed the rivulets of rain streaming down the windows as the gentle rocking lulled me to sleep.

Tomorrey we’re off to Amsterdam! There may be a hop-on hop-off canal tour planned. Any recommendations for places to go/avoid?


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Andechs Monastery

I’ve been sleeping through the nights and waking up at 7:15am (or earlier) every morning here! Even with this as the case, yesterday was rough for me and I ended up dozing on the train. Here’s a quick photo post so I can get out the door for our hop-on hop-off bus tour!
am11First official day pre-breakfast-breakfast – double espresso macchiato (followed by three more…eek), with fruit and some kind of fried cheese thingy.
am15We went to Cafe Am Marienplatz under the Rathaus-Glockenspiel for official breakfast.
AM12Weisswurst and weissbier!
am17Definitely in the top five breakfasts of my life, as unappetizing as that white sausage may look.
am14They serve the weisswurst in a pot of hot water alongside a large pretzel and mustard. It’s up to the consumer to take the sausage out, peel off the casing and consume it greedily by hand. In the countryside, many people simply suck the meat straight out of the casing. How’s that for a pretty mental image? Yay, Germany!
am16We caught the 10am clock striking which consisted of a huge crowd, lots of bells and music and rotating figurines.
AM18After wandering Marienplatz for a few hours, we found Der Pschorr and decided to grab lunchbeer.
AM20Fried goat cheese wrapped in puff pastry dough on top of arugula with balsamic reduction.
AM19Hacker-Pschorr Edelhell pulled from a wooden barrel. We were surrounded by packed tables in the biergarten which was lovely, and also overwhelmed by cigarette smoke. Not so lovely. One of the casualties I’ll need to overlook.
AM21Evenings have been spent at the hotel with free foods and Maisel’s Weisse, followed by a local Irish pub…
am9Molly Malone’s. I was warned not to go to any Irish pubs here, but I actually quite like this one. Their veggie curry with chips has been a welcome finale to two evenings.
am10Spaten Münchner Hell.
AMYesterday we took a train over to Herrsching followed by a taxi up (I’m currently wearing an ankle stabilizing boot thanks to a running injury, and was unable to hike up the 3km) to the Andechs Monastery to check it out.
am2I was a genius and brought my telephoto lens, so all my pictures had to be taken from far, far away.
am1The clock tower.
am5The inside of the church. Absolutely breathtaking.
am4Replica of the monastery.
AM22Das bier! We wanted to try a few, so between the three of us: two Doppelbock Dunkels, one Weissbier Hell and an Apfelweisse. I loved them all, but the Weissbier Hell was so wonderfully musty with the perfect banana aroma. Possibly the best Weissbier I’ve ever had. Happy sigh.
am7We walked around a bit and enjoyed the view, but were unable to find the brewery among the throngs of people. Recommendation: Don’t go there on a weekend! While the crowds were fun in the biergarten and everyone was full of songs and joy, it was a bit overwhelming.
am8We did end up walking (with me limping) down the 3km trail to get back to the train station and were rewarded with beautiful forests and charming little houses the entire way down.
COUNTRYOff to the bus tour! Happy Monday, all!

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Ich bin in München

Holy crap. Made it through two flights with zero sleep and just passed the 25.5 hours awake mark. I’m drunk on no sleep and jet lag. And I still have another 6 hours to stay awake which will involve a visit to the local Irish pub. Please forgive me for any nonsense in this post.
AMLast night I went to the Verboten Sisterhood meeting for about an hour before having to bail out to take Barleywhine to my bro and sis-in-law who are being very kind and taking care of the little guy for the next two weeks and a few days.
AM1This morning (or yesterday morning now…) we boarded a flight from Denver to Washington Dulles and had to sprint through the airport to make our connection.
AM2If you’re following me on Twitter or Facebook, you’ve been getting these updates which will have to cease for the most part until I’m back in the states thanks to pricey LTE charges. I’m updating from hotel Wi-Fi when I get the chance.
AM3I’m a weirdo and always check the tray table latch to make sure it’s not in the vein of Final Destination. Although, if the latch was loose, I have no idea what I would actually do…
AM4Surprisingly edible airplane food! Beef teriyaki with rice, salad, roll and a brownie. I ate everything but the rice. No need for filler here.
AM5I had some red wine in the hopes that it would make me tired and able to sleep for the eight hour flight that we had to enjoy after our first three hour flight. Instead I watched two movies (Kings of Summer – wonderfully written and acted and one of my new favorite feel-good movies, and The East – also wonderfully written and acted and Brit Marling is a powerhouse of a do-it-yourself actress), as well as a few episodes of New Girl which were mindless and lovely.
AM6The first stamp in my passport! Prior to today, I’ve never been anywhere overseas. Not even Hawaii. Mexico was visited when I was a kid to help build a hospital, but that’s the extent of my out-of-the-states experiences.

First order of business after brushing my teeth and changing clothes?
AM7Look up local biergartens. I found Zum Augustiner and after getting lost twice, managed to find the place right in the middle of Karlsplatz.
AM8My first sip of an actual Munich Dunkel! I might be asleep in this picture. This was exactly at our 24 hour mark.
AM9I decided to pair the dunkel with potato salad – tart vinegar and creamy potatoes rounded out with a little roastiness from the beer and a crisp ending. Pairing is exactly what was going through my head at this point. Yeah, let’s go with that.

Now I’m completely drunk on lack of sleep and need to blast some loud music and find a way to stay awake until 21:00. I’m also trying to figure out how many stone I weigh using the scale in the bathroom and how many degrees it is outside attempting to convert Celsius to Fahrenheit.

Oh yes, I almost forgot. Good morning to you all!


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Back to Boston

I got to take an extended vacation thanks to the holiday week. I gotta tell you, post vacation blues SUCK. Back to reminisce on the good times.
am36First things first – had to swing by the Chive to grab a beer with the guys and the Berries, and watch Elliot play the didgeridoo.
am35Legit Australian-style. Then  we caught a red eye out with hardly any sleep. Yay.
AMGreeted with a local and patriotic brew.
AM1Along with a delicious, piping hot bowl of chowda. Only bad thing about this picture? It was about 90 degrees with about 90% humidity. Still delicious.
AM2Dinner was swordfish, caught that morning by a local fisherman, along with freshly roasted asparagus and potatoes.
AM3And chardonnay. Gotta have the chardonnay on a hot night.
AM4I was a member of the clean plate club. My first time having swordfish – I’m ruined. Never again will I be able to enjoy frozen fish.
AM9On the 4th of July, we woke up bright and early and grabbed a shady spot on the street to enjoy the local parade. It was even hotter out than the day we arrived.
AM5AM7AM6Military veterans getting their due recognition. They even had a car with some WWII vets drive through.
AM8Aaand mermaids and clowns…. With bubbles nonetheless…
AM10We took Commander Matt’s parental units’ boat out every day we were there. I enjoyed the sun. It enjoyed me.
am34It enjoyed me a little too much. I spent the rest of the trip coating myself with aloe and cool, wet towels. Lesson learned – the sun is, indeed, evil.
AM11Erasing that painful memory with another beautiful view of the yacht club.
am33I got to go sailing for the first time ever! Matt’s uncle owns a Hobie Cat that we power-boated out to and took around the bay. I didn’t die. I consider that a win.
am32Afterwards we refueled with fried clam bellies – something my parental unit told me was a must on the east coast.
AM12We also refueled with Uncle Dave’s famous fish tacos he grilled up at his house.
AM13I hate coleslaw. This coleslaw made me a convert. Pardon my drool.
am31The next day was a ride out to Martha’s Vineyard. In case you didn’t know, there is no vineyard. I was thoroughly confused.
AM14The Black Dog is THE place to go in Martha’s Vineyard. We waited almost two hours for a table and took advantage of the time to stroll through the town.
AM15Mad Martha’s is also incredibly well-known. Matt and his family used to frequent there when they lived in MA.
AM16Mother-son love.
AM18FINALLY the wait was up!
AM17Hash ‘n eggs with a gigantic bottomless coffee. Drool again.
AM19And that evening it was time for even more food. The family brought over fresh clams which they steamed with beer, onions, celery and hot dogs.
AM23I ate one. One and done…
AM24Not a joint. Clam neck – in case of any confusion.
am21Clam pie – butter, clams, more butter, bread crumbs, butter, butter and bacon!
AM25And then it was time for the massacre.
AM26Twenty lobstas.
AM27Twenty gigantic lobstas.
AM28I couldn’t even finish my one – these things were out of control.
AM22Luckily I had some guidance – very  helpful after the painful attempt I made last time.
AM29The sun was thankfully setting and a cool breeze was flowing through the yard. We all sat lazily with beer in hand until it was time to go watch some of the best fireworks I’d ever seen being fired from a barge about 100 yards off the beach. Pictures omitted because I was enjoying myself and pictures of fireworks are hard ‘n stuff.
am20AM30Of course nothing went to waste – lobsta rolls the next day before we packed up and flew back!

Yet another amazing trip out east. Thank you to all of our wonderful hosts! I had an amazing time. Again.

Now to kick some post vacay blues butt.


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Samuel Adams Training

I’m back from a wonderful three days in Boston! Two coworkers and I were flown out to Boston by my company for training at the Samuel Adams brewery. This’ll be a picture-heavy post – lots of phone pics as well since I didn’t feel like hefting my big camera bag along the miles of walking.
am15We flew out on JetBlue. Only four hours and ten minutes out with tons of leg space – at least in comparison to United and American! Plus a personal TV screen on each seat. Win! We dropped our bags at the hotel and set out for a walk in the freezing rain.
AM16jm Curley is a newer place across the street from Stoddard’s Fine Foods and Ale. We grabbed a beer to warm up and perused the menu. The new seasonal special – housemade donut fried in bacon fat with strawberry-rhubarb filling, basil crystals and a foie gras glaze. You read that right. I couldn’t not.
AM17Holy geez.
am20Yes. I can say without hesitation that this is one of the top three things I’ve ever consumed in my entire life. Ever.
am19Next up was Union Oyster House, and we were lucky enough to score seats at the bar!
am18I consumed my first oyster! After very low expectations (my imagination went from dry-heaving to salt water sneezes to other horrible things), I was pleasantly surprised – sweet and tender without a freaky texture! I don’t think I’ll eat another one, but I’m glad I tried it.
am21They had quite a full lobster tank which included this eleven pound beast. I didn’t consume him.
am22We were sent by the bartender to a locals’ favorite, Durty Nelly’s, which was full of big brand beers plus a Samuel Adams. We continued along the way, going to a place and asking the bartender where his/her favorite place was and continuing in this manner.
am23After a few jumps, we enjoyed a freezing cold stroll for about half a mile before hailing a taxi to take us the rest of the way back to the hotel.
amThe next morning we were in the lobby at 7am (4am California time) and took the subway down to Samuel Adams Brewery.
am1Study supplies were stacked on the tables…
am2and a group of seventeen total (me being the only female) slowly tried to jar ourselves awake.
am4Breakfast was brought in by Max’s Deli Cafe – delicious every single morning!
am5We had ten hours of intense lectures interjected with mini-tours of the brewery.
am8Our instructor and Certified Cicerone, Ken Smith. He has an insane amount of energy – far too much for me when it was 4am my time, but once the coffee started working, I thoroughly enjoyed him and his exciting speeches and lectures.
am9Head Brewer Dean!
am11Looking out from the brew system. At lunch I snuck over and Dean was kind enough to let me watch the transfer and sparging of the mash.
am10am29I also got to try the first wort from next years Utopias he was brewing this day! Nothing like a hot cup of sugar water to wake you up in the mornings!
am28During the sparge Dean was able to give a quick tour of the place.
am31We walked into the barrel room and were bombarded by the wonderful scent of spirits that emanated from the racks of barrels.
am33These 68bbl fermenters used to be in the main brewery but have recently been moved into the new building they recently obtained after their neighbors closed business.
am48Another lovely view as I creepered around the place.
am12The whirlpool tank – after initial whirlpool in the boil kettle, the wort is transferred here and whirled again to get rid of as much trub as possible before filtering.
am24Lunch was delivered again by Max’s – roasted salmon, shrimp skewers and fancy salad and grilled veggies.
am6They brought plenty of dessert options which were greedily consumed by the class I was with, and then by the brewers Dean and Bob.
am7I also got a sneak peak at the 26.2 Pale Wheat that Sam Adams is releasing on April 15th for the marathon! Sweet, smooth and crisp – perfect for rehydration after running a marathon.
am26After ten hours of sitting, we were released and headed over to Stoddard’s Fine Food and Ale.
am25No casks were available, so I stuck with a local porter. We ended the night a little earlier than the previous one… We’d learned our lesson after each having a small headache for the majority of the day…

The next day we met in the lobby again at 7am, but class was cut short after about an hour when poor Ken wasn’t feeling well. We set out to explore the city. And by city, I mean foods and pubs in the city.
am30I walked towards the water and found Granary Tavern. After sipping a Saison from the local brewery Pretty Things, the boys met up with me and we each ordered a gigantic, lovely, delicious, more adjectives lobsta roll. Tender and succulent with housemade dill mayo, wrapped in a warm cushion of a frankfurter roll. Happy sigh.
am34Every bartender we’d come across had told us that Mr. Dooley’s had the best pint of Guinness in the city. I don’t like Guinness, but I felt like I had to order one when we got here. Maybe it’s the gas blend, maybe it’s the Irish people pouring the pints, but this was the most delicious Guinness I’ve ever had! It had much more flavor than I remember – chocolate, charcoal and vanilla cream.
am35Our next stop at The Green Dragon had a Chiver! We got a slightly drunken history lesson and some good pictures with him. We had a beer dinner scheduled that night, so we headed back to the hotel to relax for an hour before piling into a taxi and heading over to Post 390 where the dinner was being hosted.
am40Oh boy.
am41Smokey salmon over wilted mixed greens, potatoes and a pickled quail egg paired with Sam Adams Noble Pils. I had about half of this, minus the egg, before I decided I should probably go slowly with the extensive menu.
am42Pork and apple croquette in a cauliflower and cheese soup paired with Sam Adams Boston Lager. Again, I had to stop halfway through.
am43Char grilled duck in a white bean cassoulette paired with Sam Adams Double Bock.
am45Some kind of a chocolate custard with rich ganache and meringue on top. Honestly though, this was the highlight of the entire meal:
am44UTOPIAS! I’ve never had the chance to try this before – 29%ABV, extreme flavors of Bourbon with a high sweetness and hints of oak, smoke and vanilla. I could’ve sipped a few ounces of this over the entire night and been content.
am46Utopias 10th Anniversary bottle. I wants it. I wants it so much.

Our final day consisted of a six hour class with beer and cheese pairings and tastings.
am47Ta-daaaaah! We got shipped off to the airport and flew back to Los Angeles on a long 6.5 hour flight.

Can I be a professional student of beer for a living?


Filed under brewery, Travel

Desert Center

After we’d perused the abandoned school, Commander Matt and I were prepared to continue right back to the highway. The one thing that was nagging my mind were those random decapitated palm trees that brought me here in the first place. Just down the road from the school, through the dead and silent town, we found the cabins.
amAbout six or seven small cabins rest in the desert dust. One has already been burned to the ground, no doubt thanks to vandals.
am1The insides are completely destroyed with paint falling off the walls and furniture thrown everywhere.
am3am2am4Old yellowing newspapers and calendars were strewn all across the back bedroom floor.
am6This was the home of Carl Moser: born September 28, 1892 and died November 1, 1976.
abcAll of his final payments still hang on the wall.
am9An old pop top Bud can.
am10The next house was in the same condition.
am11AM12That might be a little expired…
AM17These cans expired in 2009. I never thought I’d see an expired canned food.
AM13AM14Different trash and toys from all different decades. Some of these houses look like they’ve become a dumpster for the few remaining locals.
AM15am24Almost mint condition. It hurt to leave this behind.
AM16Slightly creepy and ominous. It fit the feel of the entire town.
am18Jeff Ragsdale, the son of “Desert Steve” Ragsdale, had trophies and certificates all across the floors in what I assume was the Ragsdale home.
am19am20This seemed to be the trophy house. Old memoirs that you’d think would want to be saved have been left here to rot.
am23am21You can see the decapitated palm trees that originally pulled me in.
am25After exploring and documenting every crevice, we returned to the highway and sped back to California and to population.


Filed under Abandoned buildings, Adventures, Travel