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Monthly Archives: September 2009

Charleston Harbor and Fort Sumter

Besides eating ourselves silly while in Charleston, we spent much of the afternoon exploring and touring the harbor and Fort Sumter.  The weather could not have been better, wonderfully sunny, temperature around 80, with just a slight breeze.

fountain lane

The beautiful old buildings have been kept up and well taken care of.  The abundance of Palmetto trees make the streets and parks distinctly Charlestonian.

row of buildings

We happened upon a waterfront park with a great fountain, but as it had a list a mile long of rules for wading, and as a life guard wasn’t on duty, we decided not to risk it.

fountain close

no lifeguard

We drove over to Liberty Square, where the Harbor Cruise and Fort Sumter tour left from.  As we waited outside, we watched the sailboats and tour boats tool around the harbor in the sun.  The cruise took us along the shore of Charleston for about 20 minutes, and then headed out to Fort Sumter, at the mouth of the harbor where the Atlantic Ocean’s waters converge with the freshwater bay.

cruise to sumter

justin and mag

We had about an hour to explore the grounds of the Fort, as well as a museum on-site.  While the history of the Fort and its role in the Civil War is indeed interesting, the beautiful weather definitely added to this trip, allowing everyone to spread out over the property.

sumter

cannons

flags

sumter beach

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Posted by on September 30, 2009 in Julie, Kiawah Island, Travel

 

Day of Food in Charleston

Yesterday (Tuesday) we drove into Charleston (about 35-40 minutes from Kiawah).  We had two things on our agenda – to eat and to visit Fort Sumter.  The eating part ended up taking over the day.  Aunt Maggie, Justin and I decided to take in lunch at Slightly North of Broad (S.N.O.B) on East Bay Street, a highly reviewed restaurant we found online.

inside snob

We were definitely not disappointed.  We started our meal with a cup of red bean soup with freshly baked cornbread.

red bean soup

This soup surprised us a bit, as the consistency and taste was very much like the chili I make at home, only pureed.  It was garnished with a spoonful of fresh salsa, which added a bright and fresh dimension.  After much contemplation and discussion, we chose three lunch entrees, with an agreement to willingly share amongst ourselves.

southern medley

Justin ordered the Southern Medley.  Grilled chicken rested on grilled eggplant and zucchini, accompianed by goat cheese croquettes and a roasted tomato, with a bright basil pesto.  Each of the components were delicious, but a bite that included a bit of each skyrocketed this dish to extraordinary.  The result of the combination of textures and flavors was definitely more than the sum of its parts.

shrimp and grits

Maggie ordered the Southern Shrimp and Grits.  Large shrimp and a spicy sausage were smothered in a slightly spicy red tomato sauce, ladled over thick, cheesy stone-ground grits.  It was definitely a winner, and impossible to stop eating.

ham and cheese

I ordered one of the daily specials, a Grilled Ham and Cheese Sandwich, with chips.  While it may not sound very special, the ham was smoked in-house, the cheese was a beautifully melted Fontina, the bread was a freshly baked sourdough, and the chips were made to order.  This sandwich was by far the best ham and cheese I’ve ever eaten.  The ham was out-of-this-world good.  The chips were perfectly salted, thin and crisp.  Yum.

baked

We were officially stuffed and more than satisfied as we walked out of the restaurant.  But, lo and behold, we happened to park right next to Baked, a bakeshop that I have read about, and actually already own and love their cookbook.   We decided to walk around the streets and waterfront a bit before we shared dessert.  The treats at Baked are beautiful to look at, and the selection makes it difficult to choose just one item.  Justin chose a Grasshopper Bar that we all had contemplated.  Again, there was an agreement to share each of the items.  It was chocolately and minty, without being too heavy.  Bright and delicious, perfect for after a big meal.

grasshopper bar

Maggie chose a beautiful Citrus Coconut Cake.  The lemon flavor was fresh and strong, folded into a wonderfully light cake.  Maggie and Justin appreciated the texture and flavor of the coconut in this cake more than I did, but as coconut is not one of my favorite things, that was already expected.

citrus cake

I chose a slice of Aunt Sassy’s Pistachio Surprise Cake with a Honey Vanilla Buttercream.  Oh gosh, was it delicious.  Again, the cake was incredibly light and tender, with roughly chopped pistachios distributed throughout.  The frosting was wonderfully smooth and light, without being fluffy or too airy.  I was halfway through it when I was more than full, but there was no way it wasn’t going to be finished.

pistachio cake

A trip back here later in the week may be necessary.

We then passed the afternoon on a harbor cruise and tour of Fort Sumter.  The weather was beautiful and the tour was interesting, but I’ll post pictures of that in another post.  I’m highlighting the day’s food… focus!

We met up with John and Sarah for dinner at another restaurant we found online, 5 Loaves Cafe.  Specializing in locally grown and homemade ingredients, we found this little spot to be comfortable, and the food generous and comforting.  I choose a rich Garden Risotto, which was about 8 times too much food for my appetite.  The creamy risotto was loaded with fresh vegetables, including zucchini, eggplant, tomatoes, red onions and peppers, and arugula.  It was delicious, but I didn’t stand a chance of finishing it.

risotto

Justin ordered a Potato Gnocchi with Shrimp and Golden Raisins in a creamy Parmesan sauce.  This was amazing.  I admit, one of the reasons I couldn’t come close to finishing my dish was because I kept reaching over to Justin’s.  The gnocchi were tender and light, and the cream sauce was irresistible.

gnocci

And to finish off the day, a block or two down the road from 5 Loaves was a little bakeshop, called Sugar.  This shop is exactly what I have in mind for A Dash of Delicious.

sugar bakeshop

On display are a few glass cookie jars holding small batches of freshly baked cookies, and glass cake domes with freshly baked and beautifully decorated cupcakes.  They also make cakes and pies for special orders.  The owners even live right behind the shop in the same building!  It was fun to talk to one of the owners, to hear their experience renovating the space into a kitchen and shop.  We walked away with a  Butterscotch cookie and a White Chocolate Macademia Nut cookie.  Both were very tasty.

empty plates

I woke up this morning still full.   And ready to walk down to the beach!

 
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Posted by on September 30, 2009 in Food, Julie, Kiawah Island, Travel

 

Golf in fall

Yesterday my dad and I went golfing here in South Carolina.  The weather was perfect for golf.

DSC_0332

We played at the “Crooked Oaks” course on Seabrook Island, which is a private island next to the private island we are at (Kiawah).  It took awhile to find, and they gave me a hard time for not tucking my shirt in, but it was fun nonetheless (I untucked my shirt after we were away from the clubhouse – it’s a dumb restriction).

DSC_0336

We had no one in front of us and were able to get done in 3 hours.  Then it was back to the house where Maggie made spaghetti and we enjoyed a night of “The IT Crowd” on the XBox.

Action shot!

Action shot!

 
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Posted by on September 29, 2009 in Justin, Kiawah Island, Travel

 

Road Trip

Saturday morning we left our home early early early (for us) and started driving toward Kiawah Island, South Carolina, our destination for the week ahead.  We made a point to take photographs while on the road as we went through each new state.  Right away we noticed heavier-than-usual traffic, especially as we neared Madison.  It turns out the Badgers were playing Michigan in a football game that morning.  We stopped at a rest stop north of Madison, and we were definitely the only people in or around the area not wearing red and white, or had some sort of Bucky Badger paraphernalia attached to our car.

Wisconsin Pride - with decals.

Wisconsin Pride - with decals.

Illinois and Indiana tend to blend together in our minds and on our odometer.  We took I-39 south through Central Illinois to Bloomington, then turned East toward Indianapolis.  The giant wind turbines north of La Salle and the dam just before Indianapolis help set these states apart for me.  Those points help break up the mostly-flat fields of corn.

Wind Turbines of Central IL.

Wind Turbines of Central IL.

Dam minutes West of Indianapolis

Dam minutes West of Indianapolis

Next we drove into Kentucky by way of Louisville.  I always love seeing Louisville, especially though at night.  As it was around 4:30 in the afternoon as we passed it, nothing was really lit up and sparkling, but it is still a unique and interesting skyline.

Late Afternoon Louisville

Late Afternoon Louisville

Justin was also bound and determined to get a picture of a horse.  Right as he about gave up hope, we crested a hill and spotted this stately group right near the road.  With a whoop of joy, he had achieved his goal of getting the requisite Kentucky horse shot.

Work it, Horses!

Work it, Horses!

After a good night’s rest in Knoxville, Tennessee, we hit the road again bright and early.  While the skies were primarily plagued with clouds, the sun kept breaking through now and then.  The foothills and Great Smokey Mountains were definitely a beautiful sight, one that is hard to portray adequately with a photograph from inside the car.  But we were able to get a few pretty nice ones.

A Mix of Sun and Clouds

A Mix of Sun and Clouds

A Blue Mountains vista.

A Blue Mountains vista.

North Carolina passed by quickly, with many curves and steep grades through the mountains.  Plus a few tunnels.

Easier than going up 'n over!

Easier than going up 'n over!

Then, finally, we made it into South Carolina.  The sun succeeded in burning off the hazy clouds and shone brightly all the way to the Island.  Our favorite shots were taken as we got closer to the coast, of the marshes and roads outside of Charleston.

Marsh South of Charleston

Marsh South of Charleston

Bohicket Road is the only stretch of road with access to Kiawah Island.  It is lined by grand old oaks with Spanish Moss hanging down from its limbs.  It is such a beautiful and memorable entrance to the Island.

A picturesque welcome to Kiawah

A picturesque welcome to Kiawah

After unpacking our things at the house, we walked the few blocks along a path to the oceanfront.  Along the way Justin spotted a gigantic disgusting beautiful spider and her web.  I cannot underestimate how big this arachnid was.  This close-up shot was the scariest thing I’ve done in awhile.

Terrifying Beautiful

Terrifying Beautiful

These vibrant purple berries further down the path were definitely more enjoyable to photograph.  I didn’t edit this photo at all, the colors are just that bright.  Gorgeous.

Pops of Purple!

Pops of Purple!

And finally the ocean.  I never tire of this site.

Today's Favorite Moment.

Today's Favorite Moment.

Living near about as far from an ocean as you can get in Wisconsin makes me appreciate the sand and water of the Atlantic like nothing else.  After a couple days on the road, I’m looking forward to walking down to the beach as many times as humanly possible in the week ahead.  Preferably with a beach chair and a book in hand.

 
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Posted by on September 27, 2009 in Julie, Kiawah Island, Travel

 

Mini soda taste test

Julie and I were in the Appleton area picking up some doors for our apartment we are renovating, and we stopped for lunch at Atlanta Bread Company (one of our favorites).  World Market just happens to share a parking lot with the restaurant, so we stopped in to have a look around.  I ended up picking up some specialty sodas for a taste test.

The first was “Nu-Grape”.  This is a grape soda, with a really intense flavor.  It’s kind of a cross between Crush grape soda and sparkling grape juice.  This one will turn your mouth a nice deep purple color.  Highly recommended.

Nu-Grape

Nu-Grape

Next up was “Pig Iron Cola”.  I’ve had this before and was looking forward to having it again.  This is a great cola with a nice flavor.  Nothing bad to say about this one.

Pig Iron Cola - best of the bunch

Pig Iron Cola - best of the bunch

For lunch today I had “Zuberfizz Key Lime Cream Soda”.  This was kind of a bland soda – it really didn’t have much of a flavor other than “sweet”.  It also wasn’t as fizzy as I would like.  Not terrible, but not great either.

Key Lime Cream

Key Lime Cream

Tonight I was going to do some XBox gaming with Trav, and I decided to crack open my last one – “Coco Fizz Chocolate Soda”.  This one sounded interesting, but I had one sip and just about started gagging.  It was like a really thin, fizzy chocolate milk, but the chocolate flavor was really intense, and not in a good way.  Julie had a sip and almost started crying.  Stay away from this one, unless buying it as a gag for someone.

Choco, fizzy, nasty!

Choco, fizzy, nasty!

 
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Posted by on September 25, 2009 in Food, Justin

 

Bringing out the Crazy at Polito’s

Our favorite pizza place here in Stevens Point is, hands down, Polito’s Pizza, right on Main Street.  I guess their pizza would be close to a New York style pizza, with giant slices with a thin, but not crunchy-thin, crust.  

polito's pizza

They have a startling array of options for toppings, ranging from classic cheese or pepperoni to a Macaroni & Cheese or Loaded Potato Skin pizza.  They always have a variety of pizzas available to grab a single slice, but our favorite is to order a freshly made, piping-hot-out-of-the-oven pizza.  This evening we got our pizza fix and our fun fix by heading over to Polito’s with Jim, Jenn, Maureen, and Madie.  

crazy madie & maureen

Though I think Justin and the girls may have had just a tad too much caffeine in their soda.  There were silly vending machines with toys in them in the back of the shop, and Justin, Madie, and Maureen each got 50¢ to spend.  Justin spent his wisely, and in honor of his brother Trav (shout out!), by getting two sweet party mustaches.  He immediately affixed the hamster-colored ‘stache to his lip, and talked Madie into putting on the gray one.  While not originally thrilled with this plan, she went along with it and joined the silliness.  

fake mustaches

Crazy fun friends and crazy good pizza definitely make for a fun evening!

 
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Posted by on September 24, 2009 in Food, Friends, Julie

 

Brewers game

Outside of Miller Park

Outside of Miller Park

Julie and I went to a Brewers game last night.  We got there plenty early, since I hadn’t been to Miller Park before and wanted a chance to walk around.

Nice an empty, before the game

Nice and empty, before the game

Running with sausages

Running with sausages

Traffic wasn’t bad, even though they were playing the Cubs.  The game got underway and within the first 10 minutes, it was pretty clear we didn’t have a chance.  The Cubs scored 4 runs in the first inning and 3 in the second.  That leads to a fun game to watch though, since there is lots of action.  We also got waffle fries covered in nacho cheese, served in a mini helmet.  Overall a fun way to spend the afternoon, and we made it home by midnight.

Right before the game started.

Right before the game started.

During the game

During the game

 
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Posted by on September 22, 2009 in Justin