Feb 28, 2022

A commoner dines at Dooky Chase’s Restaurant, New Orleans, La.

Some New Orleans restaurants are timeless due to their years of excellence serving up authentic, classic cuisine inspired by the area’s abundance of influences.  Others are timeless due to their reputation as historic landmarks that every food lover visiting the city should seek out.  But few, if any, can compare to Dooky Chase’s Restaurant for its combination of historical significance with classic Creole cooking.  It had long been on my own short list of “must try” places to eat in NOLA, and after going there, it will be an experience I won’t soon forget.  

Located on the corner of Orleans Avenue and Miro Street in New Orleans’ Tremé neighborhood, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant (or just Dooky Chase, as it has become commonly known) has been a prominent Black-owned family restaurant since 1941.  But what really makes it historically significant is its role in the 1960s Civil Rights Movement as place where community leaders could gather and discuss strategy in relative safety.  Frankly, Dooky Chase’s Restaurant was too popular to shut down. 

Feb 17, 2022

Settling into the Log Cabin, Grand Rapids, Mich.

When I used to travel for work, I was rarely fortunate enough to visit most locations during what would be considered the ideal travel season.  Case in point:  Grand Rapids, Mich. – a nice city with a lively craft beer culture and a must-visit if you happen to admire hometown hero and former president Gerald R. Ford.  But most outsiders wouldn’t book a trip in the middle of January. 

Nonetheless, January was when my work took me to Grand Rapids.  On my first night in town, I did actually try the closest brewery, which was OK, but I wound up talking with a local who was still obsessed with the aforementioned Mr. Ford (I was specifically told to not forget the “R” when using the full name) and how I just had to visit the presidential library downtown where he and his wife are buried.  I kindly listened, careful to avoid comparisons between hometown presidents (mine happens to be Abraham Lincoln), but drank quickly and decided to skip the brewpubs for the rest of the week.

The next night, I stuck to my tried-and-true strategy of how to really get to know a town and its people … find the nearest highly regarded dive bar.  After a little online searching, I settled on the Log Cabin

Feb 7, 2022

A romantic night by the Moonrise

I’ve often posted about my fondness for unique hotels – and boutique hotels – that make where you stay at least as fun as your chosen destination.  In St. Louis, Mo., there’s just such a place that only enhances any night exploring the West End neighborhood’s bars, restaurants and music venues – the Moonrise Hotel

Wedged between the Pageant concert hall and the Pin-Up Bowl on Delmar Boulevard, the Moonrise Hotel is perfectly located for visiting the West End’s Delmar Loop area.  And, as the only hotel within several blocks of the Delmar Loop, the Moonrise stands out not only for its location (the on-site parking is certainly another plus), but its visibility from the street. 

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...