Roasting Over Hot Chicken in Nashville

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“The path to paradise begins in hell.”--Dante Alighieri “I’ll take the hot,” I casually reply to the woman behind the counter. She stares back at me with a look of wonderment meets stupidity. “Have you been here before?” she asks. I quickly assure her that I can handle a little heat. In fact, I don’t mind spicy food. My husband  smartly asks for his chicken to merely be in the medium range. I, on the other hand, am no chicken. As we passed through Nashville on our way to Louisville that day, I realized lunchtime would be set perfectly in Music City. After a little searching, I discovered Continue Reading

The Gas Station Queue for Kansas City Barbecue

Pulled Pork Kansas City

A man nudges me aside to pay for his cigarettes. A woman plows through to pay for her full tank. Shelves are stocked with snack foods and sugary drinks. I’m waiting in line at a gas station, but this ordinary setting is not quite normal. An abnormal amount of barbecue sauce is up for sale and roughly a 100 of us are just standing in a makeshift line snaking around the store. The woman in front of me jokes, “Is this the line to pay for gas?” Her predictable line isn’t funny to a grumbling stomach. I smile through my hunger and resolve to wait as I would for a Michelin starred restaurant. It Continue Reading

A Colorado Ghost Town Survivor: Silver, Spooks and St. Elmo

St Elmo

It always seems to take longer going to a place than coming away from it. Roughly three hours from Denver, we made the turn west in between two mountain peaks. Stuck between a rock and hard place, we continue up a road that turns from pavement to rock to dirt. With each twist and turn, we question whether we have missed the very place we seek. When you set out in search of a ghost town, it isn’t surprising to wonder if it has vanished from the road.   After nearly turning around, we finally receive affirmation that the ghost town is still up ahead. St. Elmo sits in Chaffee County, close to Continue Reading

Oklahoma Wishes You Were Here

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It is my favorite time of day heading south from the Oklahoma Panhandle, the western most part of the state that looks just like its name describes, the handle of a pan. The sun is beginning to take on its most magical light, the light that dances across the land and makes any stretch look appealing. I left for Oklahoma at perhaps the worst time to do so, during tornado season. A week prior, the widest tornado in the history of the United States roared through these now very peaceful lands.   Largely forgotten from any traveler’s itinerary, Oklahoma fascinates me with its survivor mentality. Continue Reading

Chicago, Illinois Wishes You Were Here

Chicago's Waterways by way of a Water Taxi

It’s lunchtime on Chicago’s Friday afternoon. I’m at Al’s Beef with those in business suits, laptop computers and hardhats. In any other big city environment, one might feel out of place and drenched in attitude. However, it’s hard to have much attitude when you are standing two feet from your meal, bottom out and elbows resting on the counter. Like deep dish pizza, Italian beef sandwiches are a Chicago tradition. I join the over 70 years of Italian beef making history at Al’s Beef. Al Ferreri, his sister and brother-in-law started an Italian beef stand back in 1938. During the Depression, Continue Reading

Chicago’s Playground: Jumping into the Canvas at Millennium Park

Cloud Gate

Little ants clamor about a singular bean. They scurry toward their meal, only pausing a brief moment to take in such a feast before going in for the kill. As they get closer, the ants devour the bean. These ants are mostly tourists looking to capture what is probably Chicago’s most popular sculpture. They leave behind traces any crime scene investigator would appreciate. Thousands of fingerprints decorate a 110 ton silver drop in the heart of the city. I am one of those ants, standing in front of the famous Chicago "Bean", less commonly known by its official name of Cloud Gate.   Cloud Gate Continue Reading

Wrigley Field Wishes You Were Here

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I’m sitting in front of a group of twenty-somethings at Wrigley Field. Margarita after margarita, beer after beer, they don’t seem to care what is happening on the field before them. They stand and cheer when they notice the masses are standing and cheering for the home team, the Chicago Cubs. Being oblivious to the game is commonplace at Wrigley Field. The fans pack in to watch the game or merely to just be in the middle of Chicago history, each and every home game. Built in 1914, Wrigley Field is the second oldest ballpark in the Major Leagues. In every regard, it is similar to ancient ruins Continue Reading