Archive for December, 2010
Shannon checking out Chichén Itzá in Mexico.
I occasionally update new photos (and old ones that I scan) on my Flickr account. In doing so, I get to revisit a lot of photos I’ve taken while travelling. Each Friday, I plan on posting a photo that I think is interesting. Maybe you’ll think so, too.
Previous Man v. Food locations I’ve been to:
- Hot N Juicy Crawfish in Las Vegas, Nevada
- The NASCAR Cafe in Las Vegas, Nevada
- Shula’s Steak House in Miami, Florida
- Gladys Knight And Ron Winans’ Chicken And Waffles in Atlanta, Georgia
- The Jack-N-Grill in Denver, Colorado
- The Buckhorn Exhange in Denver, Colorado
- The Vortex in Atlanta, Georgia
So during my visits to Dinosaur World a couple of weeks ago, Shannon and I decided to grab dinner at another Man v. Food location since Sarasota was right down the road. I’ve lived in Florida for a solid couple of decades, but this was my first time to that part of the state. I have to say – now I see what all the fuss is about. Sarasota was gorgeous.
The location for the evening’s fun with food: The Old Salty Dog.
On the episode of Man v. Food, Adam Richman ate something that (by description) invokes both hunger and chest pains by thinking about it: a fried hot dog.
Thanks to the fame of appearing on Man v. Food, the restaurant now includes the fried hot dog as it appeared on the episode:
I ordered the dog – minus the grilled mushrooms. (Read: NOT a fan of mushrooms.) Deep fried + hot dog + cheese + bacon + onions + sauerkraut =
Does that look good to you? If not, then you wouldn’t like it. If it looks like something you’d like to try and eat… THEN KNOW IT WAS AWESOME. The fried coating on the hot dog gave it a really substantial change to the normal hot dog consistency and taste. Slightly crunchy outside around juicy meaty goodness. Slap on all the fat fatty cheese and bacon and junk food heaven.
The food was great; the location was even better. The Old Salty Dog has that classic Florida feeling as a waterfront establishment without the high prices. It’s the kind of place that you could kill hours of time by sitting there with some friends, looking at the water and enjoying a couple of beers.
It’s cool in a laid back sort of way.
…and yes, I finished the entire hot dog.
Let’s just cut to the tradition part, shall we? From now on, my birthday will be celebrated by visiting some random tourist attraction in Florida. Places already in discussion for 2011′s festivities:
Feel free to reply with other suggestions!
This year was a treat of GIANT proportions. My friends and I went to Dinosaur World for my birthday.
So what is there to see at Dinosaur World? Robot gorillas and cheetahs existing in a prehistoric world among the likes of Tyrannosaurus Rex and his buddies in a strange paradox situation.
No… wait – that’s not Dinosaur World. That’s why Beast Wars SUCKS.
Dinosaur World is a massive collection of life size dinosaur replicas dating back a number of years. Part of the fun of walking through the park is gaging the age of the statues based on whether or not they dragged their tails (as was once believed.) The place is fairly immersive with the tall trees and lush plant life along the path. To add to it, I played the Jurassic Park theme on my cell phone while we walked around.
Should you ever decide to retrace our steps along the Dinosaur World path, here are two things you should seek out:
THE WAVING BUSH
Fun was had, zaniness ensued, and plants were haunted. Good times.
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
James Franco is one of my favorite human beings. What, you ask, does that have to do with this book? Allow me to explain…
James Franco is an actor who has been public about not just being an actor. After finishing some television and film, he took the time to go back to college (read: Columbia University!) and work on a masters degree. When choosing his roles, he doesn’t shy away from jumping from blockbuster films to doing a gig on a television soap opera.
I like people who step out of their “normal” lives and try to be more than they are. Jimmy Buffett is one of those types of people. He has a merchandise and restaurant empire build on his musical talent that convey (and effectively sell) a certain state of mind. He’s enjoyed a ton of success for stepping outside his proverbial box.
I respect Jimmy’s attempts at writing, but Swine Not? is the weakest of his publications. It’s a cute short story that somehow got blown into a full time novel. You can feel Buffett pulling from every direction for more words and asides to keep the narrative going in this story about a pig living in New York City. It is based on (according to the jacket) a true story.
This book doesn’t necessarily suck – but it really didn’t need to be more than 100 pages long. Now if you’ll excuse me, I need to go listen to my copy of Fruitcakes.
In case you missed it, read this post about my epic adventure walking in (and out) of the Grand Canyon.
My legs still hurt when I look at the post.
The Grand Canyon defies words. As glorious as it looks in photographs, textbooks and PC desktop wallpapers around the world, nothing can effectively convey how spectacular that place is unless you see it in person.
It honestly and truly took my breath away the first time I looked into it.
I’ve seen a lot of amazing things in my life: pyramids, monuments, skyscrapers, mountains, oceans, and dozens of majestic sites in between. None of them compare to the size and scope of the Grand Canyon. Being so close to it, you get overwhelmed with the feeling of how small you (as a human) really are compared to the entire planet. Epic. Majestic. Grand. The place is everything everyone who went before you told you about and much much more.
When we made the decision to go, I knew that this would probably be a once in a lifetime trip – so I opted to make sure I did it right. The closest you can stay to the southern rim of the canyon is a place called the El Tovar. The El Tovar opened its doors in 1905 (over 100 years ago!) and has housed the likes of Albert Einstein and Teddy Roosevelt. How close is it? About twenty feet away. Check it out:
(Click here to see the larger version. That’s Shannon on the far right.)
Not one for just idly watching from the sidelines, I decided that we should trek down into the canyon to see it up close. We walked out of our hotel room at 6:30 AM to watch the sunrise over the canyon and, with latte in hand, we started the walk down the trail. It was 18°F and it had snowed the night before so OF COURSE I was wearing shorts. Along our way to the entrance of the trail, we ran into this:
Up until that moment, all of the elk we ran into were docile and just ignored the passing humans. This one, though, was not in the mood to put up with anything from anyone and would make noise and charge at you if you walked by on the trail. SO, I took that picture and we snuck around by entering and exiting the resort behind us. The photo doesn’t do justice to the fact that those things are HUGE.
So we walked six miles into the Grand Canyon by way of the Bright Angel Trial. I continued to get cell phone signal all the way in and, as a result, I managed to score a check in on Foursquare at the end of the trail at Plateau Point. (Kudos to Sprint and my Samsung Galaxy S Epic 4G phone for pulling it off!)
Here we are looking around at the bottom:
It could babble on here for hours about it being a whole different world, connecting with nature, the peacefulness of you feel… or I could just tell you to do it yourself. No amount of grammatic gymnastics on my part will ever do the experience justice. This photo, though, is one of my favorite ones from the trip that kind of captures the “feel” of being there.
After the moment of Zen in the canyon, we started the hike back. Then I saw this:
(No, I didn’t see a red arrow; I added that to the photo.) I saw how far we had to walk back. The arrow is pointing to the small speck that was our resort – a six mile walk away. Refer to the post I mentioned at the beginning of this one for details after that.
THE EL TOVAR
The El Tovar is expensive and it sells out fairly quickly; if you ever plan on staying, make reservations months in advance. The money you pay for staying, though, isn’t for amenities or comfort. The rooms are small and, while they have been kept up well, they show their age. Every penny paid is the price for ambiance and location.
The place is as much an old museum as it is a hotel. We loved it. The lobby, aside from the addition of modern furniture, is almost identical to they way it was in 1905. After a cold evening in the canyon, nothing tops sipping hot chocolate next to the fireplace. It was all so, well, grand.
My only complaint was the food. The restaurant in the El Tovar is the top notch/reservations only class of eatery. This is great except when you’re lying half dead in your hotel room jonesing for room service. Room service to me means a burger of chicken fingers (neither of which are available there) – not roast duck. If you have kids, the El Tovar is DEFINITELY not the resort to stay at.
The mornings are just as amazing. This was the view outside our window:
You just don’t get much more “back to nature” than that.
Thus endeth the Vegas Vacation posts!
2. Lethal Weapon – Nothing says Merry Christmas like buying your tree from a psychotic pre-complete meltdown Mel Gibson. Oh… and pre-crazy Gary Busey too!
So what is the greatest Christmas movie EVAH?! Find out on Joey Snackpants’ blog!!!
4. A Muppet Family Christmas – Crisis on Multiple Earths: The Muppet Saga! Proving that Sesame Street, The Muppets and Fraggle Rock all exist in the same universe.