There’s just something about having a beer in one hand and something grilled in the other that is quintessentially summer. So when we (Rhon and I) were at Whole Foods a few weeks ago and noticed that they were holding a Summer Beerfest last night, we decided to go. It would’ve been nice to share it with a group, but since we found out last minute, everyone already had plans. Oh, well… more beer for us! LOL
We didn’t quite know what to expect, but we were caught up in the initial rush of people at the event start, so we just followed their lead. There was a $5 fee for the event and this covered all the beer and food samples. There were 15 or so different samples ranging from microbrews to imports – no PBR swill here.
I’m happy to say that I’d never tried any of the brews present, so my tastebuds really got a workout. I stayed away from the IPAs – I’ve never been a bitter beer fan, so I knew I wouldn’t like them. But otherwise, I did try at least a sip of the rest of the lot.
My favorites were (in order):
- Sea Dog Brewing Co. Apricot Wheat – I wasn’t sure what to expect from this, as fruity beer generally isn’t a fave with me, but I really liked this one. It really tasted like biting into a fresh juicy peach, with no bitter beer aftertaste. This would be a great beer to swig ice cold on a hot summer day. Oh wait… I just did that yesterday. LOL But seriously, if you like the taste of apricots, you’ll really dig this beer.
- Orlando Brewing Organic Red Ale – I’d been wanting to visit this local brewery/bar but just haven’t made it over there yet. So I was excited to see them represented here for sampling. Then I learned they were serving Red Ale from a keg no less — magic words! Paired with the grilled burger, it was heavenly. Reminded me of my much beloved Leinie Red from WI… which is really high praise if you knew how much I love that beer.
- Brooklyn Local 2 - A dark Belgian-style ale, this brew went really well with WF’s all-beef grilled franks. It had a subtle chocolate flavor with a hint of honey/caramel.
I didn’t realize that Whole Foods was serving actual grill items so we had eaten a bit before, but far be it from me to not sample some of the grill offerings in the name of journalism. Rhon liked the bbq ribs more than I did, but I really liked the franks and burgers – what can I say. I’m such a grill purist. LOL I also nibbled from the cheese and chocolate bar.
The evening was well worth the $5. Unfortunately, as we were trying to leave, my car decided to act up and not start. After 2 hrs, AAA finally came and told us it was either the fuel pump or filter. I’ll have to have it towed over to Tuffy on Monday. In the meantime he did get it running so I could get home.
In the words of Rosanne Rosannadanna, “…it’s always something…”
Saturday, Rhon and I were out running errands and I spotted a 7/11 gas station. “Free slurpee day!!” I remembered, so I had Rhon pull over. We grabbed our free samples and then headed over to Whole Foods to pick up a few staples. En route, we passed another 7/11 across the street from WF, but it was on the wrong side of the road.
Pulling into the Whole Foods lot, I saw we were there in time for the weekly farmer’s market, which IMHO, was rather lackluster.
I mean the vendors there were cool – there was some really pretty medieval-style jewelry and a guy selling fresh honey in several flavors I’d never even heard of (we tried every flavor and ended up buying some Tupelo Honey).
But there were maybe 15 vendors overall. It took us all of ten minutes to walk the whole market area in the parking lot.
Realizing the heat was starting to trigger some of my illness symptoms, we headed inside to the AC-confines of the store. Then I realized it was free sample day, so we took some time to cool off by trying just about every sample. In doing so, I spotted that the WF-brand cheese puffs were 2-4-1, so I splurged because the only thing better than the WF cheese puffs is when 1 bag is free. LOL And I don’t feel so guilty since it’s more natural than Cheetos, not to mention waaaayyyy less sodium (only 150mg per 2 cups of the puffs).
I also sampled some blue potato salad from the hot bar in the fresh prepared section of the store. I’d never eated a blue potato before – tasted less starchy in texture. Wasn’t a fan of the vinegrette they put in the salad, though. Too much lemon.
We left Whole Foods and this time the 7/11 was on the right side of the street, so we stopped in for another sample – and to be fair, we each tried different flavors. Ok, so that’s stretching the rules a bit for the promotion, but nowhere on the signs did it say one per person.
Then as we were driving to another place to do another errand, we passed a third 7/11, and decided to make it kind of a game. If we passed a 7/11, we had to stop and get a sample and review it. But it had to be a different flavor each time.
All in all, we passed seven 7/11′s, but one of them had decided not to participate, so we technically only had six samples. And that one was really rude about it.
Here are my ratings from favorite to least:
- 1] Fanta Blue Raspberry – had to go with the classic. The blue tongue was just a bonus.
- 2] Fanta Pina Colada – would be even better with some vanilla rum in it, but the slurpee machines don’t serve it that way for some reason…
- 3] Blue Mountain Dew – kinda like if MD mated with the Fanta Blue Raspberry, but the citrus of the MD clashed just a little too much with the raspberry.
- 4] Strawberry-Pineapple-Lime – tart and refreshing, but I was confused because it was blue in one store, but pink in another.
- 5] Crystal Light Apple Mango – you could definitely tell the two flavors were in there, but it was way too sweet, which you wouldn’t think from a sugar-free flavor. In fact, I couldn’t even finish it because it was so sweet.
- 6] Fanta Watermelon – icky icky icky. That’s all I’ll say about it. I ended up tossing half of it.
Two more things I should note… first, it was the first time I’d had any caffeine in almost five weeks and we probably should have had something more substantial in our stomachs than the WF samples (all those chemicals do not a happy tummy make LOL). But otherwise, it was actually a fun and low cost way to spend the hot afternoon.
What can I say,…sometimes you just have to make your own entertainment.
This weekend, Rhon was going through some boxes in the outside closet and ran across some of my old clothes. And by old, I mean stuff I wore in the 80s. It was one of those boxes where everything in it was just so tied to memories that I couldn’t bear to part with it.
One of the highlights of the box was my denim jacket from the late 80s. Back then, the look was ripped up, acid wash denim jacket with matching jeans. Well, the floodgate of memories just came rushing back as I gazed upon the jacket and the strongest one was of my gramma.
See, when I first got it, I loved wearing that jacket so much that it began to develop rips and frayed edges. No biggie to me – I just kept wearing it. But my gramma took one look at it and was horrified.
“No lady ever wears ripped clothing,” she said to me.
Well, one morning when I was sleeping late at her house, she snuck into my room and took the jacket. I woke up to find that she had patched up the jacket by covering all the rips in a flowered fabric. The fabric ran across the front of the jacket, the underside of the collar, across the back shoulder area, and along the cuffs on both arms.
Now it was my turn to be horrified. How was I gonna hang out in the hard rock bars in a jacket with flowers on it…pastel flowers, nonetheless?
But wanting to make gramma happy – after all, I knew she just did it out of love – I decided to hell with it. I never was a huge fashion plate anyways. So I wore the jacket, and to my surprise, it was a huge hit. I wore it to the clubs. I wore it to all the hard rock/metal shows I covered as a writer.
I wore it so much, that on the rare nights I didn’t wear it, people would ask me where the jacket was. It became a part of my identity for most of the late 80s and early 90s. And every time I wore it, it made me think of gramma.
I kept wearing it until it basically just fell apart. You can’t tell in the photo, but all of the button holes are frayed to the point of not even being there. All of the pockets have huge holes in them and every hem is torn apart.
I kept the jacket though, and seeing it again after almost five years…I just felt like it was full of my gramma’s love for me. So I carefully folded it and put it back it the box after taking the photo. This is one item of my past I don’t think I’ll ever be able to get rid of.
Momma sewed the rags together
Sewin every piece with love
She made my coat of many colors
That I was so proud of
As she sewed, she told a story
From the bible, she had read
About a coat of many colors
Joseph wore and then she said
Perhaps this coat will bring you
Good luck and happiness
And I just couldnt wait to wear it
And momma blessed it with a kiss.
- “Coat of Many Colors”/Dolly Parton
Even with my hospital stay earlier this month, I’ve managed to post a lot this month. Of course it helps when I can’t leave the apartment since the heat makes my symptoms worse.
But if you missed anything I posted this month, here’s a listing for your reading pleasure:
Suite101 (both travel and non-travel):
- Statue of Liberty to Reopen on July 4 2009: American Icon Now Accepting Reservations for Access to Crown
- The Hollywood Walk of Fame in California: Follow Stars for Free along Hollywood Blvd
- AirTran Adds New Routes, Inflight WiFi: Discount U.S. Airline Expands Service Offerings
- 2010 Hollywood Walk of Fame Recipients Announced: A Listing of Celebrities Nominated to Receive a Star in 2010
- Music Icon Michael Jackson Passes Away: The King of Pop Dies of Cardiac Arrest at 50
- Actress Farrah Fawcett Passes Away: Original Charlie’s Angel Loses Cancer Battle
Uptake Lodging Blog:
- SpringHill Suites O’Hare in Chicago, Illinois
- Holiday Inn to Open Walt Disney World Property
- Wyndham O’Hare in Rosemont, IL
- Mayflower Motel in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- MGM Grand to Open Egyptian Resort
- Wintergreen Resort in Lake Delton, Wisconsin
- Comfort Inn in Wisconsin Dells, Wisconsin
- Disney’s All-Star Movies Resort in Orlando, Florida
- Red Lion Hotel Anaheim California Opens
- Palms Las Vegas Offers New Barbie Suite
- Hotel Indigo Opens Toronto Airport Location
Why Go Las Vegas:
- Lance Burton Renews Contract with Monte Carlo
- Vegas Parties for Fourth of July 2009 Weekend
- Fourth of July Fireworks and Special Events
- MGM Grand Restaurants Summer 2009 Tasting Menu Deal
- Vegas Photo of the Week: Boardwalk Hotel and Casino
- Is Lance Burton Leaving the Monte Carlo?
- First Look: Barbie Suite at The Palms
No photos published on Flickr this month – didn’t really take anything new except for some hospital pix of my lumbar puncture healing and such. Not really stuff to share. LOL
It has been a bit difficult writing this month. Whatever is impairing my nervous system and my motor skills also makes me feel like I have a wad of cotton in my head. I also seem to black out randomly while I’m sitting on the couch typing.
Thanks again to everyone who takes the time to read my writings and articles. I really do appreciate the support and feedback!