The Barrel Room at Marksburg Castle

Wine was really important in the 15th Century. Fresh water supply was not always available and this was especially true if a castle was under siege. Each castle we visited had a large wine cellar. At Marksburg Castle it was on the ground floor near the stable. While these barrels are huge they aret not as large as the one in Heidelberg Castle which is thought to be the largest wine barrel in the world and almost impossible to photograph.

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The Barrel Room at Marksburg Castle

The Barrel Room at Marksburg Castle

Welcoming 2017

Social media is on fire with what a fucked up year 2016 was. We are coming to grips with the fact that not only has Facebook become the new obituary page of the cyber newspaper but that any time some one dies hundreds of people feel a need to eulogize. It seems like thousands of people died this year from Bowie to Debbie Reynolds, each week brings a new shock of loss.

Not only that but we elected a fascist as President and hate and racism seem to be driving society all over the world. Great Britain left Europe and the USA seems to want to join Russia and Korea as the new axis of evil. Yes 2016 was fucked but how did it treat your personally?

Not a bad year for us. We settled in to our new home in Pittsburgh and our daughter bought her first house outside Chicago. We made new friends and got reacquainted with old friends. We spent a month at the beach and a another month touring Europe and thank God we have our health. In any case I am sure 2017 will also be full of surprises. May you all stay healthy and happy and join me in a toast, fuck off 2016, thank God for another chance.

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Happy New Year!

Happy New Year!

Honey Can You Pick Up Some Cana?

I love going shopping in supermarkets in Mexico. It’s so similar and yet so different. You see different cuts of meat and different types of produce. Even the groceries are different and I have never seen so many different types of yogurt. I have never seen sugar cane available in a US Market, even in Florida. Maybe I just wasn’t looking.

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Cana

Cana

Yes Chicago Does Have a Chinatown!

We were in Berwyn Illinois this weekend to visit my daughter over Father’s Day weekend. They all decided to take me out for Father’s Day Dim Sum at a place called MingHin Cusine. I have enjoyed Dim Sum in many places including New York’s ChinaTown, Los Angeles,San Francisco but this place WAS the best.

The reason was they didn’t have the silly carts where the food is sometimes not real fresh. You order from a menu and they bring out each dish as it is done. Our local Pittsburgh restaurant, Sun Penang also does this but MingHin has a much bigger selection.. If you go, make a reservation like my brilliant daughter did,the wait was at least one hour.

I was also quite surprised at the size of the Chicago Chinatown which is easily as big as New York’s but not as grand as San Francisco. Here are some snaps from the area, I was too hungry to take food photos.

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Chicago's Chinatown

Chicago’s Chinatown

Time to Make theTacos

We sat having lunch at Tacos and Tequila on the Blue Dock in Cancun enjoying tostadas and beer. The taco bowl that contained the fresh made guacamole was amazingly fresh and then I noticed the reason why. She could make these without looking and was positioned right in the front of the restaurant so people walking by could observe her skill. She was quiet and focused as she looked at the tourists walking by and every 30 to 45 seconds made another fresh taco shell.

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Making Tacos

Making Tacos

Biddle’s Escape

Months ago someone told us to try a place for coffee and breakfast called Biddle’s Escape. Of course, it is on Biddle Street in Regent Square and for months we would walk by it and not go in because we usually do not carry cash or credit cards on our exercise walks. Today I took a $20 and we went in and had a great breakfast sandwich and coffee.

You would know it is a different sort of place even if you could not see the weirdness. People sing at you rather than talk to you but the place is a feast for the eyes. Not only that but they have so many different sort of coffees and teas it is tough to make a choice. The food choices are limited but quite good and reasonably priced. Definitely worth the trip.

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Biddles Escape

Biddles Escape

A Pittsburgh Original

The last time I ate in the Original Oyster House was 1977. It was a unique place and Pittsburgh’s oldest restaurant (1870). Back then it was a smoke filled place with great food and only Pittsburgh Beers on tap. I didn’t care about smoke then since I smoked and it was a fun place for lunch.

I had lunch there on Friday and the only thing that changed was a lack of smoke. Few things in life are that consistent. The food was the same excellent fare, the beer was still only Pittsburgh Beer, the same bar and still filled with characters. The barkeeps and servers were “Pittsburgh Friendly”.I love this city, it’s good to be home.

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The Original Oyster House

The Original Oyster House