Aug 29, 2016

Dining close to the source at Boss Oyster, Apalachicola, Fla.

If you love seafood -- especially oysters -- as much as I do, then you probably feel that the fresher the better, and from what I’ve seen it would be hard to find any fresher entree choices than those at Boss Oyster in Apalachicola, Fla.

Nestled in the armpit of the gulf on the Florida panhandle, Apalachicola has long been one of my favorite small towns in the United States, but I never really had an opportunity to stop there prior to our honeymoon road trip last spring.  Somehow, I convinced Punky that this quaint, quiet harbor town on Apalachicola Bay -- famous for its gulf oysters -- was worth taking the long way from Walt Disney World to Pensacola Beach.  We were rewarded with one of the most memorable dining experiences of our entire trip.

Boss Oyster is a waterfront restaurant located, appropriately enough, on Water Street not far from Apalachicola’s downtown strip along U.S. Highway 98.  It’s one of several dining options on Water Street, but you’re not likely to miss the sign or the building.  

Aug 23, 2016

Going prehistoric at the T-Rex Cafe

After a couple of long days on the road, Punky and I continued our honeymoon road trip with a few days of family fun, reuniting with The Kiddo and her grandparents at Walt Disney World’s Port Orleans Resort.  I was reluctant to blog about our time at Disney because, quite frankly, what perspective could I add that hasn’t already been given by someone else.  But I had to make an exception for where we had dinner reservations on the first night we were there -- the T-Rex Cafe in Disney Springs.

Among all things Disney in the Orlando area, Disney Springs doesn’t require an admission.  It does, however, require patience to wade your way through the masses of people who flock to this Disney-fied complex of restaurants, bars, shops and entertainment venues.  

T-Rex just happens to reside in the middle of all of this.  That said, there’s practically no way you’re going to pass it without noticing it.

Aug 18, 2016

Meandering through Montgomery (and landing in the Aviator Bar)

After our midday detour through Lynchburg, Tenn., Punky and I continued our honeymoon road trip with a night in Montgomery, the state capital of Alabama.  We chose Montgomery for no particular reason (we actually stayed in a nice but nondescript Courtyard Inn on the northern outskirts of the city) except for the fact that it was a convenient stopping point on our way to Walt Disney World.  Our decision was rewarded, however, once we decided to  explore our surroundings.

Our agenda-less meandering through downtown Montgomery and to some of its historic sites proved once again that the journey is sometimes as interesting as the destination.   And it wasn’t hard to navigate, either.  We took the first exit off of Interstate 65, and in just a few blocks we were in the heart of downtown.  

If you’re directionally challenged, the layout of downtown Montgomery might throw you at first.  The streets appear to run diagonally compared to rest of the city, with Water Street along the Alabama River serving as its northernmost boundary.  The streets are lined with an abundance of historic brick buildings, many of which have been re-purposed to accommodate shopping, dining and sightseeing.  Commerce Street, which is extra-wide with diagonal parking on both sides, seemed to serve as downtown’s main artery -- at least that’s where we saw the most activity on the Saturday evening we visited.  We took some mental notes for future dining and drinking, spun around Court Square Fountain at the end of Commerce and headed uphill toward the capitol building.  

Aug 16, 2016

Booze before barbecue in Lynchburg, Tenn.

What’s the most fitting way for a newly married commoner and his wife to celebrate their honeymoon?  A classic road trip, of course, which is exactly what Punky and I did over the course of 10 days last March.  And perhaps the best part of any road trip is unplanned.  So, with time to spare between stops in Nashville, Tenn., and Montgomery, Ala., we decided to pay a visit to our good friend Jack Daniel in Lynchburg.

Even the most casual drinker is likely familiar with Jack Daniel’s Old No. 7 Black Label Tennessee Whiskey -- Jack for short.  And Lynchburg, in the ironically “dry” Moore County deep in the hills and hollows of south central Tennessee, is Jack Daniel’s home.  Still, the county’s largest employer is beloved by its residents and helps keep a steady tourist economy coming through the area.

In fact, the welcome center was already bustling with activity when we arrived before 10 a.m.  

Aug 4, 2016

An earnest look at Tex Tubb’s Taco Place, Madison, Wis.

Madison, Wis., may have been just about the last place I expected to find true-to-its-roots Tex-Mex food, but fortunately I discovered Tex Tubb’s Taco Place, another gem that shines not far from the city’s funky Williamson Street neighborhood.

Located near the triangulation of Atwood Avenue and Winnebago Street (it’s an odd intersection that kind of defies logic), Tex Tubb’s smallish yet bright storefront stands out.  And seeing as how I love authentic street-style tacos and classically prepared margaritas, I took a chance one night that I might be able to find both there.

It turns out my instincts were on point.

Here's a bartender who looks like he knows what he's doing.

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...