Mar 29, 2020

Answering the call of the Green Parrot Bar, Key West, Fla.

Few spots on earth will put me in my happy place faster than a trip to the Green Parrot Bar in Key West, Fla.  That said, I must admit I’m grossly under-qualified to blog about this place compared to several of my friends who frequent the Conch Republic much more often than me.  So, forgive me if I omit something or fail to touch on any important points, but feel free to share your Green Parrot stories.

Nonetheless, no trip to Key West would feel right to me without making at least one stop at the Green Parrot.   It’s like vacationing in New Orleans and not going to Pat O’Brien’s.  You just don’t do it. 

So, let’s get into why the Green Parrot Bar is such a Key West institution. 

Mar 23, 2020

A commoner dines at the Southport Raw Bar, Ft. Lauderdale, Fla.

Traditionally, when I thought of Ft. Lauderdale, Fla., two things came to mind:  spring break and cruise ships.  Frankly, I didn’t do spring break in college, and I had never gone on a cruise before November 2018, so I never considered Ft. Lauderdale as much of a destination of its own.  Nonetheless, once Punky and I knew we’d have a one-night layover in Ft. Lauderdale prior to our cruise’s departure, we intended to make the most of it.      

We checked in to our hotel by mid-day and, restless souls that we are, soon set off wandering the area looking for a late lunch.  Fortunately for us, a little research and a good nose led us to …

the Southport Raw Bar.  Located on Cordova Road, barely a block north of a busy stretch of the famous Fla. Hwy A1A, Southport Raw Bar seemingly had everything I would want and expect from a South Florida raw bar and restaurant.  And with a history going back to the 1970s, they’ve had plenty of time and experience (and a little “dive-y” feel around the edges) to become a Ft. Lauderdale institution attracting locals and tourists alike. 

Mar 19, 2020

A brief dive into the Caribou Tavern, Madison, Wis.

Madison, Wis. is well known for being a tavern town.  Every neighborhood has not just one, but several dive bars the locals consider their second home – a place where they can unwind, grab a bite to eat and hang out with their bar family for a while. 

I’ve visited quite a few local dives during my work trips to Madison, but there was something about the Caribou Tavern that intrigued me greatly, yet kept me from visiting.  Maybe it was the disadvantage of only driving past it at night.  Maybe it wasn’t as convenient to travel to as other dive bars I’d discovered. 

Finally, on my last business trip to Madison, I stopped in for a couple of drinks, and I’m glad I did.  My takeaway:  For several reasons, the Caribou Tavern may just be the best example of your prototypical Wisconsin dive bar I’ve found in Madison.   

Mar 9, 2020

A commoner dines at Buraka, Madison, Wis.

No matter where my travels take me as a commoner, I always like to discover cuisines from different cultures I’ve never tried before, even if that cuisine doesn’t necessarily seem to be a natural fit for where I’m visiting.  For instance, who thinks of Ethiopian food when they visit Madison, Wis.?  Well, once I read about Buraka, I did, and I’m glad I tried it. 

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...