Monthly Archives: July 2012

The Riverwalk Grill – Gladwin, MI

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Here is one place where I ate healthy on this vacation!

At this point in our trip, I had been eating more of the foods I shouldn’t and less of the foods I should. Read: fried foods vs. vegetables. And guess what happened? I started to crave a salad.

The Riverwalk Grill is one of the nicest places in Gladwin, Michigan, but also one of the more expensive. The newer building. Riverwalk Place, was built with the restaurant overlooking the Cedar River and trail. While there are a few {definitely more upscale} shops inside, I believe the top floors were originally meant to house condos. My understanding is that some, if not all, have been converted into hotel rooms and suites. The complex is now advertised to out-of-towers as a luxury oasis to getaway, luring them with spa and golf packages for girlfriends and couples.

Riverwalk Place – Gladwin, Michigan

We started going to the Riverwalk Grill when it opened… maybe 5 years or so back? Since then, the menu has been overhauled several times. I don’t mean a change here or there, I’m talking an overhaul. While it could be their way of changing things up to keep things fresh, I think it’s more likely that they have to re-evaluate what sells, what doesn’t and what they can do to be more profitable in this small town. Still, I do remember a mushroom pasta a few years back that I haven’t seen on the menu since. *Sigh* {Maybe that’s for my own good.}

Over the years, we’ve experienced some inconsistent service. We tend to be pretty decent tippers, so service is a priority for us. And because we do dine out a lot, we know what excellent service looks like.

In general, the service here seems to be… well… apathetic at best. While we have had decent service from a few bartenders and servers from time to time, this is generally speaking. There just seems to be no sense of urgency or willingness to make the overall experience enjoyable. When you are going to one of the more upscale places that boasts luxury in a small, economically-challenged town, wouldn’t service be the #1 priority? What is luxury without service, after all?

This year, we noticed a very professionally dressed member of the management team. Rob commented on our first visit of the trip that he couldn’t believe that he was wearing a long-sleeved, button-down shirt with a tie in such hot weather. In fact, on our next stop back later that week, Rob even made small talk with him about the weather. The manager stated that because it was so hot the day before, he closed the outdoor patio area. I can totally understand why. It was the week of the 4th of July when we had that crazy heat. {Uh, we still kind of are, aren’t we?}

I guess not being able to sit out on the patio made a customer totally upset. So much that he said that he would just get his order to go and take it home.

No, you are not going to do that,” The manager said.

Of course, I’m not sure exactly what transpired here… if the customer whined, pouted or threw a fit, but I’m sure there were was some back and forth. Finally, the customer conceded:

“Well, can I just eat inside by the bar here, then?”

Well, only if you are nice…” said the Manager.

WHAT?

And this is what the manager told us that he said! I couldn’t even respond. Instead, I let Rob finish with his small talk. All the while, I was thinking:

1) Completely unprofessional. No matter what a customer says, you shouldn’t say something like that. You aren’t in a tavern! This is one of the most upscale places in Gladwin! Granted, I didn’t see how the customer was acting, but there is a tactful way to handle a situation like this.

2) AND… You shouldn’t go and tell your other customers! It felt completely awkward and again, unprofessional.

In sum, service needs improvement.

As for the food…

Since the menu changes often, right now, the item on the menu you must try at the Riverwalk is:

PRETZEL BURGER $8.99
½ lb. Burger with Smoked Bacon, American Cheese and Over Easy Fried Egg on a toasted Pretzel Roll.

Okay, so there is nothing healthy about this meal, but Rob and I split one. And it was just enough food when we did that. And completely indulgent. But then again, I pretty much love anything with a runny egg. 😉 But the menu really had me at pretzel roll. We first discovered burgers on pretzel rolls when visiting Milwaukee. Our friends Amy and Jason recommended a restaurant that served them this way. I have to say, while the meat was under-seasoned at that restaurant, the pretzel roll stole the show. And I forever became converted.

If you have never had a burger on a pretzel roll, this is something to put on your list of things that I Must. Do. Now. Period.

But, Carrie, I thought you said you ate healthy at this place on your vacation?

Why, yes, I did. On the next visit, when I was craving a salad, I ordered:

RIVERWALK CHICKEN SALAD $7.99
Grilled Chicken, Dried Cherries, Granny Smith Apples and Swiss Cheese over Mixed Greens tossed with Lemon Poppy Seed dressing.

This salad hit the spot! It was just what I needed that day. The chicken breast was tender and juicy. Why can’t I ever make them that way?! And while I did like Mr. M.’s Chicken Salad a wee bit better, I would order this one again. However, despite that description above, the salad really is little more than greens with a chicken breast. The other items are sparse and the salad itself rather small {at least the lunch portion one was}. And you know how I am about quality over quantity. So it really means something when I think a portion is on the small side. Still, I didn’t go home hungry.

On the other hand, we highly recommend that you do not order:

APPLEWOOD BLT $7.99
Smoked Bacon with Crisp Lettuce, Tomato and Mayo on Whole Wheat Bread.

Rob was highly disappointed in this. YOU can make a better BLT than this one. In fact, now that I think about it, why would I order a BLT at a restaurant anyway? {Unless it’s a specialty one with interesting ingredients or altered in some way, of course.} They are too easy to make at home.

Other items ordered by our party on other occasions this trip:

  • CHICKEN QUESADILLA $7.99 – Grilled Chicken, Fire Roasted Vegetables and Cheddar Jack Cheese in a Flour Tortilla. Served with Salsa and Sour Cream: Meh. Not much cheese for this Wisconsin girl. Or filling for that matter. I must have been spoiled or tainted by other quesadillas.
  • TURKEY & SWISS $8.99 – Smoked Turkey Breast, Swiss Cheese & Honey Dijon Mustard on a toasted Pretzel Roll: While I’m not one much for deli meat, Rob’s mom was highly impressed by the amount of turkey that came on this sandwich. And on a pretzel roll. Sold.

And lastly, one of the things I love about traveling to Michigan is trying the local beer. You can pretty much expect Bell’s Oberon, an American Pale Wheat Ale, on tap anywhere in the summer. It’s often garnished with an orange slice and is simple, yet quite refreshing.

However, the beer I must have whenever I find it on tap in Michigan is:

Sam Adams Cherry Wheat

This is because I never find it on tap anywhere else! I’ve never seen it in Minnesota. Okay, recently, I’ve seen it in bottles in the store, but it’s just not the same as getting it fresh, on tap, with a maraschino cherry or two floating at the bottom. And while it’s most certainly not a Michigan brew, it’s an excellent summer quaffer. Need I say more?

Pretzel Roll: yay or nay? Why?

Have you found a must-have beverage when visiting a particular destination?

Cheers~
Carrie

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Sparkling Beaujolais… & Giveaway Winners!

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I do get the majority of my wine from The Traveling Vineyard. These boutique wines can’t be found in stores and are often 25-50% less than wines of the same quality. I’ve been spoiled; so it’s hard to find something as good at the same price point. {Plus, I’m helpin’ out the little guy. Love those small vineyards!} However, when a local wine shop had a sale on Sparkling Beaujolais, I had to jump on it. I just love me some bubbly and I didn’t know that Sparkling Beaujolais even existed!

First, a little lesson…

Let’s pronounce it correctly: BO-ZHO-LAY. It surprises me every time I hear someone talking about  BOO-jolais. Really? You would pronounce beau that way? C’mon, you know that word. If you pronounce beau like beau and not boo, you’ve got it. Congratulations! You are no longer drinking BOO-jolais! {Sorry, just a little pet peeve of mine.}

Beaujolais is a light, fruity red wine produced in the Beaujolais region of France. It is a made from the Gamay grape. Beaujolais Nouveau is released every November and should generally be consumed within six months to a year. They are meant to be drunk young and are simple, easy-drinking wines.

However, there are Beaujolais wines produced with depth and character. These wines can even benefit from some time in the bottle. However, that is not what we’re talking about here. Not at all. I knew that the Sparkling Beaujolais I purchased would be a simple, easy-drinking, quaffing wine, but with that bit of bubbly that I love so much…

Mommessin Gamay Fizz – a sparkling Beaujolais

I expected the wine to be pink, even though it’s made with red grapes. I don’t know why I was expecting a rosé. Maybe because Gamay is a thin-skinned grape? Maybe because many true Champagnes are made partially with Pinot Noir, also a thin-skinned grape.

But look at that gorgeous red deep purple color!

Because I like my bubbly with spicy food {the effervescence cleanses the palate with each sip}, we paired it with a Cajun sausage pasta that I made. {Yes, I do cook, not just eat out!}

Sparkling Beaujolais with Cajun Sausage Pasta

But the pairing didn’t work. The wine tasted like bubbly grape juice.

I know. Wine is made from grapes.

However, wine does not taste like grape juice. You know, the sweet concord stuff? Yes, that is what this tasted like.

Disappointment.

I know that at only 9% alcohol, I shouldn’t have expected much {most wines are between 11 – 15%}.

Still, The Traveling Vineyard‘s Fissata is only 5.5% alcohol and tastes much better.

Fissata Italian “red” Bubbly {darker than a rosé, but not as red as the Sparkling Beaujolais}

While I prefer drier wines, the Fissata is sweet, so I don’t drink it very often. However, I’ve always appreciated it for what it is. And it does nottaste like sparkling grape juice. It’s got character. I’d much rather offer the Fissata to guests. {It doesn’t hurt that it has such a cute label, either!} Unfortunately, the Fissata is unavailable until this fall. Luckily, I still have a bottle on hand for any sweet wine-drinking friends who may pop in…

Furthermore, I tweeted about the Sparkling Beaujolais the night that I opened it. My cousin tweeted back: “French Lambrusco?” Honestly, it’s been so long since I’ve had Lambrusco, that I can’t really compare. Actually, I think the Sparkling Beaujolais was much sweeter than Lambrusco, but also much more bubbly. Think Grape Juice + Sprite. Hey, I could make that myself. Better yet, I’d make Sangria instead.

What wine have you had that surprised you? (Good or Bad?)

And don’t worry. I didn’t forget! Lastly, the winners of the Wine Accessory Package Giveaway are:

Corkscrew, Set of 3 Acrylic Pourers, Stainless Steel Foil Cutter, and Crystal Cleansing Cloth

Mer and Kat!

Ladies, email me with your shipping information at Uncommon Wine at yahoo.  Thanks to all those who participated in the giveaway!

Cheers~
Carrie

Mr M.’s Pizza & Lounge – Gladwin, MI

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If you aren’t from Michigan or don’t intend on traveling there anytime soon, please stay with me!

You just may learn a thing or two about travel and dining. Or you may be inspired to create a dish…

Our Michigan trip each year tends to be an inexpensive one. Everything seems to be so much cheaper there. For me, it’s been this way since I started traveling there in 2004. The state’s economy wasn’t doing well even before the nation’s economy tanked. For this reason, I’ve always had trouble when I’ve heard Minnesotans complain about the economy. While it’s not to say that there aren’t people struggling in our neck of the woods, the impact is more widespread in Michigan. And while Rob and I have known that Gladwin County is one of the poorest in the state, we learned this year that all but two counties in Michigan are considered below the poverty line.

When we visit family and friends in Michigan, we try to stimulate the economy as much as possible. And since we love to dine out, it’s our way to do so. In the small town of Gladwin {population just under 3000}, we’ve seen restaurants come and go. I think it’s difficult for restaurants to make it when there aren’t many people with the disposable income to support them. Still, one of Rob’s parents’ favorites and one we frequent every year is Mr. M.’s Pizza & Lounge.

I apologize that I did not take any photos at this restaurant on this trip. Sometimes, I just get caught up on vacation. However, I went online to look for a menu, but Mr. M’s doesn’t have a website other than their Facebook Page. And since Mr. M’s menu is absolutely huge, I spent about an hour in search of it online hoping to find it someplace else. I was not successful. It makes me wish even more that I had taken pictures of not only the food we enjoyed, but also the menu!

Décor

This place is in need of a makeover. The décor is not only dated, but worn. And the bar side of the establishment still reeks of smoke although smoking was banned in Michigan restaurants in 2010. If you’ve ever watched Restaurant: Impossible with Robert Irvine on the Food Network, Mr M.’s seems like a good candidate for an overhaul. However, I’m not sure how feasible this would be for the owners. While the prices of the food are pretty low, I can’t imagine an increase would be a great idea in this community. Perhaps it’s just not a priority right now.

And while Robert Irvine would also frown upon the overwhelming number of menu items, somehow Mr. M.’s makes it work.

Included on the menu are:

  • Pizzas – many different styles with a wide variety of topping options
  • Burgers and Sandwiches
  • Burritos and Nachos
  • Salads
  • Fried Fish and Chicken meals
  • And much more than I can even remember… {I seem to recall calzones and hoagies, for example, but I can’t be quoted on that!}

And here are some of the items we enjoyed:

Pizza

  • You can’t go wrong here. The pizza is excellent.
  • Don’t expect gourmet ingredients, but you can order one of their creations or build your own.
  • The mini pizzas are the perfect size for one person. {If I’m being calorie-conscious, I can even eat half and bring the rest home without feeling hungry.} They remind me of the Book-it Personal Pan pizzas we’d get from Pizza Hut as a kid for reading books. Remember those?
  • However, all of the other pizzas {even a small} are HUGE! So consider that when placing your order.
  • While one of my favorite pizza combos is sausage and mushroom, I opt for sausage and fresh tomatoes here. The mushrooms at Mr. M.’s are canned. Blech. There’s no way I’m eating rubber mushrooms.

Sidebar: I once asked for fresh mushrooms on a pizza at a local pizza place here in Minnesota. The server said to me: “We most certainly can do that for you!” When the pizza came out, she was so proud. “Here you go! I made sure that they didn’t put the mushrooms on until after the pizza was cooked!” By fresh mushrooms, she thought I meant raw, uncooked mushrooms. Tee hee. I didn’t have the heart to explain to her what I meant. From now on I just asked if they use canned mushrooms. 😉

Chicken Salad

  • If you’re looking for something a little healthier, try the chicken salad. I’m not sure if there is a specific name for this salad because I didn’t write it down, expecting I’d find it online later.
  • In addition, since I have no notes nor photos, I can’t even tell you all the ingredients in this salad! I do know that there was a juicy chicken breast that made me so happy! To my recollection, I believe there were greens, dried cherries or some other fruit, a little cheese, tomatoes, and poppyseed dressing perhaps? It’s sad when I know that I loved this dish, but can’t even remember what was all in it.
  • I can vouch that this is the best salad I’ve had in Gladwin. {Note to self next time I am looking for a salad or something healthy when we’re in Gladwin!}

Other Items

There are too many items on this menu to try everything and I know we have in years prior. However, we stuck to the pizzas and my salad this time around. Rob’s mom suggested that we split a plate of fried green beans with a side of ranch dressing as an appetizer one night. Great alternative to your typical bar food!

And while alcohol is served at this establishment, it’s not a great place for beer or drinks. Why? Your best choice for a “unique” beer on tap would be LaBatt’s Blue. Yep. In addition, Rob ordered gin and tonics on a couple of occasions. Each time, they were weak and took quite a while to come to the table.

But this place isn’t about the drinks. It’s good, casual food at incredible prices. It’s a perfect place to bring your kids or a group of people!

Where have been your favorite inexpensive eat-in food joints?

Cheers~
Carrie

The Bachelor Farmer – Minneapolis

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Before I get into The Bachelor Farmer…

Don’t forget, today is the last day to enter my First Ever Giveaway! Two lucky people will win a Traveling Vineyard Wine Lovers Accessory Package.

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is click here and comment with one of the following:

  • An unusual place you keep a corkscrew.
  • Someplace you’ve needed a corkscrew and were without one.
  • Your favorite wine tip.

~

The Bachelor Farmer

When my friend Jared and I took a Risotto Cooking Class at Local D’Lish in May, we decided to meet for a drink and an appetizer beforehand. Normally, the food that is cooked is served in the cooking classes we’ve attended. However, the reminder email we received the week before confused us. They suggested other restaurants to “make a night of it”, but also encouraged bringing containers for leftovers. Going out for a drink and an app sounded like a safe bet and a great way to try some place new.

We agreed on The Bachelor Farmer. It was just around the corner, in walking distance of our class, so there was no need to park twice downtown. In addition, while I hadn’t heard from anyone personally who’d been there yet, it was a newer restaurant that I’d been hearing a lot of in print.

I love the concept of this place. From their website:

“The Bachelor Farmer serves fresh and simple food that honors Minnesota’s Nordic heritage.  Paul Berglund and his team source the best ingredients available, which often means buying from local farmers and purveyors.  We use organic products whenever possible and also grow our own herbs and vegetables on our rooftop farm, which is the first of its kind in Minneapolis.”

You know that I love a place that focuses on fresh, local, high quality ingredients. Because of this, the menu will change with seasons as well as with what’s available. Here were our appetizer choices:

Appetizers – May 2012

The wine selection was unique, with many French and German options. We tried a few different wines by the glass.

We were served some fresh local radishes and cracker bread with butter and salt to whet our palates:

Sidenote: Radishes were definitely in season. In our Risotto Class, we were served sliced ones tossed with olive oil and salt with beautiful purple chive flowers:

I never thought to toss radishes with olive oil! I definitely have to remember this! And those beautiful chive flowers tasted lovely.

Back to The Bachelor Farmer:

Our appetizer: Morel mushrooms, pheasant egg, toasted pain de mie, thyme

Delectable.

After dining, you receive your bill in this great little moleskin notebook, where you can leave your own comments:

This is most definitely a place I’d like to come back to and try a full meal. However, you have to be pretty open minded. The food is more on the unusual side of the foodie spectrum. I did notice that they have a 3-course Sunday Supper for roughly $30. It changes weekly and is posted to their web page each Saturday:

“Sunday Supper is a set three-course menu consisting of a soup, salad or toast to start, followed by a family-style entrée, and then a dessert. While the entrées are often intended for two or more to share, they are also available in individual portions and a vegetarian option is always available.”

What is the most unusual food or meal you’ve tried?

What did you think about it?

Cheers~

Carries

Northern Espresso – Gladwin, MI {Closed}

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If you don’t live in Michigan or don’t intend to travel there anytime soon, please stick with me on this post! You never know what you’ll find. Also, don’t forget my Wine Lovers Accessory Package Giveaway! Enter to win before Monday, July 16th by 11:59pm CST.

But for now, let’s talk coffee!

I never liked coffee until a trip to France changed my mind. {Before that, it just seemed liked dirty hot water to me.} It’s when I tried espresso for the first time that I changed my mind. Sure, you could say that it was all about the ambiance. There’s nothing like having un café in a café in France, right? However, this new-to-me, oh-so-tiny beverage had a punch and packed flavor. {And you know how I feel about that, right? The blog is titled Season It Already! for a reason.} While I don’t drink straight espresso on a regular basis, to this day, I still can’t drink weak coffee. Why bother if it’s not strong!?

Therefore, the first time we discovered that the small town of Gladwin, Michigan, had a coffee shop called Northern Espresso, we were more than delighted. It’s a haven for a real coffee fix while visiting family there!

You can get all of your typical espresso drinks here as well as Italian Sodas, biscotti and a few other fresh-made baked goods. It’s a cute little place:

Northern Espresso (Source)

We liked going there for the free Wi-Fi to get a little work done while we’re in town. On our first visit a few years ago, we had no idea how a place like this could make it in such a small town. However, it is still going strong! In fact, so strong that on our visit this year, it was difficult to find a seat. We were able to sit at the high-top bar facing the window and found that we actually liked it even better than a table. {Note to self for next time!}

However, because of the increase in traffic in this small place, it has become very loud. Some locals were having a discussion at a table and they were so loud that I couldn’t even concentrate on what I was doing. They were talking with staff behind the counter while seated across the coffee shop, too. Sometimes they had to yell over the espresso machine. I don’t know about you, but when I’m in a coffee shop, I want to be able to meet someone to chat; but I also want to be able to read or play online without much distraction either. I couldn’t find this happy medium this time around. 😦 Of course, it’s not their fault. Perhaps it’s just the size of the place or maybe the acoustics in the room?

I may try to find another more quiet place with Wi-Fi next time in Gladwin when I want to get some work done; however, I’ll still be going to get my caffeine fix at Northern Espresso! Small, medium and large regular coffees were just $1.00, $1.25 and $1.50 respectively. You’re not going to find prices like that at a coffee shop anywhere in the Twin Cities. Espresso-based drinks are more than reasonable as well.

We are delighted that Gladwin has a true coffee shop with such a friendly staff and hope that it continues to thrive. Thanks, Northern Espresso!

What is your favorite coffee-based drink?

Don’t like coffee? Then, do you have a morning beverage of choice?

What I’ve Learned from Blogging

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I came late to the blogging party.

I didn’t start to really read blogs until I came across a weight loss one while searching for kohlrabi recipes one day. That started a chain of events that led to Season It Already! 

I discovered that I could learn from and be inspired by others looking to improve their health. Before that kohlrabi recipe search, I didn’t know that this outlet was even available to me! I didn’t realize that healthy living blogs existed.

And what these bloggers were writing about had nothing to do with new gimmicks, quick-fixes or perfection. Their words reflected real life. They illustrated real struggles by real people with real feelings. Sometimes the bloggers succeeded in finding solutions. Sometimes they failed. But they always got back up. And isn’t that what life is really about? Perseverance.

I found that because of their realness, I can relate to what is said online in the blogosphere more than I can relate to any highly researched how-to book. And who would have thought that other people’s real words would inspire me and give me more motivation than I’ve ever had before?!

Still, when I decided to start my own blog, I didn’t have the intention to write one about weight loss. Instead, my husband and I wanted to account for all of restaurants we were trying with a whole slew of Groupons we had accumulated. You see, we often eat out and forget if we liked something. If it’s been a while since our last visit, a dish’s name may look familiar and we can’t remember if it’s because:

  1. We tried it and loved it.
  2. We tried it and weren’t a fan.
  3. We wanted to try it next time.

I know, I know. If we totally loved something, we shouldn’t forget it right? But we aren’t getting any younger. This blog would document our experience for us, saving us money and calories. That way, we didn’t spend either on something we didn’t enjoy. It would also give insight to other Twin Cities residents or travelers on where to dine and what to expect. We often look for reviews on restaurants before we dine out. {My husband found one of our favorite restaurants that way!} It’s our way of giving back.

In addition, I wanted to share my love of wine with the world. While there are so many wine blogs out there, I knew I didn’t want to make it my entire focus. But I did want to incorporate it somehow. And since food and wine go hand in hand, it was only natural.

Still, while I already had a sense of the the wealth of knowledge I gained from reading blogs, I really had no idea how much writing one would benefit me. So here’s a list:

  1. Reflection – Because I’m often thinking about what to put next in my blog, I reflect more often on my day. I really hone in on what I’m experiencing and I try to put things in perspective. Whether or not I end up blogging about it, this introspection has helped me learn a lot more about myself.
  2. Positivity – Blogging has helped me see things in a more positive light. While I do share struggles and negative experiences on this blog from time to time, I’ve learned how to frame things differently. This helps me work through internal struggles. When I’m feeling down, trying to find the positive lifts me up thinking how I will have to describe it to someone else. Think of those friends on Facebook who are always posting something negative. Who wants to read that?! Instead, I try to find a positive angle or determine what positive results can come from something difficult.
  3. Gratitude – When I’m feeling the bouts of negativity, I try to think of as many things as possible for which I’m grateful. I may write a list of 100 or say 100 things out loud to myself in my car. Similarly, it’s wonderful how thankful I feel after writing a blog post on a passionate topic.
  4. Accountability – Blogging holds me accountable. Or rather, it helps me hold myself accountable. I make a statement of something I will do publicly and I know I must follow thorugh!
  5. Enjoying the Moment To me, this always sounded cliché. Then, the day that I was searching for kohlrabi recipes, I found the Escape from Obesity blog. The blog had a section entitled Habit-A-Week Challenge. I loved this idea of making small changes and I planned to follow the challenge to have something to focus on each week in order to make lasting changes. That was until I got to Week 5: Slow Down. As a busy person, this was something that was very hard for me to do. Even when I have time, I’m in the habit of inhaling my food and not being very mindful. Lyn indicated that one way to do this was to stop and give a moment of thankfulness. Then, she suggested taking time to really look at and smell the food. I always thought I did this to some extent, but it wasn’t until I started blogging that I realized that I never had. For my blog, I began taking pictures of  meals – mostly meals when dining out, but sometimes when eating at home, too. Before digging in, I now stop to take pictures of our food. I’m forced to pause, really look at it and give it some attention. It’s amazing what trying to capture a photo of what you’re eating will do! Hint: It will slow you down and make the experience more meaningful.

Over the coming weeks, I’ll be giving our Restaurant Impressions of places where we dined while on vacation in Michigan visiting family and friends. I’ll intersperse these with local Twin Cities Restaurant Impressions and other healthy living and Wine Wednesday posts. If you aren’t from Michigan or don’t intend on traveling there, please stay with me on these posts anyway! You might learn a thing or two that you hadn’t expected.

From these Michigan Restaurant Impressions, you may take away:

  • Tips on healthy eating while dining out or on vacation.
  • Inspiration for creating your own dish.
  • Your own sense of gratitude.

Gratitude and perseverance – those are the real lessons in blogging.

What’s one important thing you’ve learned from the blogosphere?

Name one thing you are grateful for today.

Cheers~
Carrie

Have Corkscrew, Will Travel – First Giveway!

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While I was on vacation, I realized that I needed to share with you something that I do when I travel:

I keep something blue in my luggage… Can you see it?

It’s a corkscrew!

This corkscrew stays in that pocket in my suitcase. I do not remove it upon return from vacation. Why? I never know when I’ll need a corkscrew on vacation! This way, I don’t ever have to remember to pack it. A little tip from me to you.

Of course, this is in my suitcase that I check when I’m flying. You don’t want to carry a corkscrew in your carry-on bag. It will most likely be confiscated at security.

Really, you never know where you’ll end up without a corkscrew:

  • At a friend’s or family member’s house. Seriously, some people don’t own them.
  • Camping.
  • At a hotel.

For this reason, I’ve had Wine Tasting guests state that they actually keep a spare corkscrew in their purse or glove compartment. Brilliant!

The lesson here is:

You can never have too many corkscrews.

So today I’m doing my first ever giveaway!

Two lucky people will win this Traveling Vineyard Wine Accessory Package:

Wine Accessory Package – perfect for gift giving!

This package has everything for the wine lover:

  • Double hinged corkscrew
  • Set of three acrylic wine pourers
  • stainless steel foil cutter
  • Crystal cleansing cloth – perfect for those pesky water spots!

Wine Lovers Accessory Package contents 

The Wine Lovers Accessory Package is also available for purchase on my website or at a Wine Tasting event. Hosts can receive up to 50% off the Wine Lovers Accessory Package!

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is comment on this post with one of the following:

  • An unusual place you keep a corkscrew.
  • Someplace you’ve needed a corkscrew and were without one.
  • Your favorite wine tip.

The giveaway will be open until Monday 7/16/12 11:59pm CST. The winners will be announced on the next Wine Wednesday: 7/18/12. Good luck!

Cheers~

Carrie