Friday, September 26, 2008

New Mexico. And Aliens.

Back in good ole 2001, when I was a sophomore in high school, I was the typical student, looking into colleges, figuring out where I wanted to go and all that jazz. Being completely sick of Iowa, I was looking into the College of Santa Fe. Arty and far from the Corn State.

Lets just say that within hours of landing, my mom and I knew that this wasn't really the school for me. But that is a whole other story. So with three full days left in New Mexico, what else could we do but travel the state? We decided that a trip to Roswell was a must. As well as the artist community of Taos, including the Native American Pueblo there.

We started off with Taos, wandering the shops in the Pueblo. It was gorgeous. Just how people can use nature, but still live well is fascinating. As well as the fact that they still cook as their ancestors did. We tried this baked dough with sugar. Basically, an ancient version of the fried dough.

There is an artist community close by this pueblo, that is just ridiculous. Its an entire town filled completely by career artists, inspired by the nature surrounding them, and the Indian culture everywhere. I am sure that if everything wasn't at prices sky high, my mother would have bought entire stores worth.

Next stop. Roswell, New Mexico. Home of Alien Crazies. We didn't get started until super late, so we were still quite aways away from Roswell when it got dark. And even after living in Iowa, I have never experienced pitch black like that. We drove the highway, not seeing any other cars literally for hours. It was scary. More than scary. Knowing that there were miles and miles and MILES of desert in all directions, worried about running out of gas. The worst part was passing the probably ten mile long fence right along the side of the road that was littered with signs about being government property and any tresspassers would be shot immediately. Oh yeah, nothing secretive goin on there...

But we did finally make it. And the next day we tourist' it up. People in Roswell are as into the whole alien theory as you would think that they are, if not more. Its filled with crazies. We went to the UFO museum, which was rather interesting. And really reminded me of the museum that they work at in the show Roswell. Plus we ate some lunch at the Crash Down Diner, dont eat there. Its not exactly hygenic looking. The Walmart was greet with paintings of aliens on it. All of the light poles in town had alien heads as light bulbs.
It was definately an experience. A much much better one than having spent three days at the loony College of Santa Fe. Leaving Roswell, we made sure that we wouldn't be driving in the dark. I don't think either of our sanities could take that more than once in a lifetime.

New Mexico is definitely an oddball place. From city to city. But even so, its filled with places of entertainment and adventure!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Purple Mountains Majesty

I love Colorado. Plain and simple. Ever since I can remember, my family has gone to Colorado more often than any other destination, with exception of Disney. And every time, it is exactly what we need.

Something about the mountain fresh air, the cool crispness in the morning, that continues on into the day. The smell of trees. Or even just the simple fact that every day has no plan other than waking up and doing anything we feel like.

We almost always stay at Copper Mountain Resort.
A full on lodge with absolute everything on its grounds that you could ever imagine or want. Its gorgeous, its posh, and its close to all the towns that we love to go to. Vail, for the shopping. Breckenridge for the BBQ and the Alpine Slides. Denver for some Rockies baseball. And all of the mountain trails and scenic routes that you could ever desire.

When I was little, we would do a lot more scenic driving. We would wake up, and eat powdered sugar donuts on the porch. Mom would pack us sack lunches and we would head up the mountains, having a picnic by whatever stream was prettiest. I wasn't one for hours and hours of nature, so mom packed boxes of Boxcar Children and Babysitters Club books. I could have one a day, so I wouldn't go through them too fast.

Now a days, there's a lot more going through towns, exploring, a lot more eating at interesting looking restaurants, and a lot more relaxing. Us kids don't have to be constantly moving anymore, and just sitting and chilling, is a-ok by all. There's walking trails, shops, ski lifts, pools, spas, and everything all within the lodge, so its not like we are ever stuck.

One thing that we never miss though, is those Breckenridge Alpine Slides. You buy your tickets, and in line you get to head up the ski lifts. Ski lifts are terrifying. If you are ever on one with me, you must sit perfectly still. I am pretty much fine as long as they dont rock. But as soon as it starts rocking, Im done, even when it just passes the big pole things. I had a experience once where I couldnt get on in time, and it basically left without me all the way on. They caught me, but it was BAD. I also feel like the cars are just going to tear off at anypoint. ANYWAY. Up the 5 minute ski lifts, and then you grab your plastic sled off the back of the lift and carry it a ways before you get on the slide, and then you slide down the side of the mountain on the sled. You control your own speed and it tilts and swerves all the way down. Then you do it all over again. Its amazing. Fun for everyone.

Colorado is one of my favorite places. Cities have everything, and yet are minutes away from being lost in the middle of nowhere. Best of both worlds. Clean air, great smell, endless sky. Its too bad Colorado isn't everywhere.

Friday, September 5, 2008

I like to Boston.

Recently, I have had a few people ask me about traveling to Boston. What to do, where to go, what to eat, that sort of touristy mish mash. So today, I have decided to start a "Best of Boston" schtick. And since Tim and I are such major foodies, I am going to start with the Best of Boston: Food Edition. So next time you guys are in Boston, eat your heart out!

Best Deli: Michaels Deli, Brookline

This place can seat about 15 people, of the hundreds that flood through its doors every lunch. They PACK the meat between two slices of the freshest bread you will ever taste. And a chicken mango salad sandwich to die for.

Best Pizza (TIE): NYP and Upper Crust, Downtown

Pizza that does not exist in the midwest. Doughy, thin crust, tomato chunky sauce with not much spice. Something worth traveling for.

Best Cupcakes: Party Favors, Brookline

Seriously, everyone that has eaten a Party Favors cupcake, has never forgotten it. Not too sweet cupcake, with two inches of perfect creamy frosting in bright colors and ridiculously talented creations topping the sugar wonder.

Best Italian: Mother Anna's, North End

My first experience of gnocchi. And no experience since has lived up to this Italian yummy-ness. Also, the sangria is the perfect mix of fruitness and drunkeness.

Best Mexican: Sunset Cantina, near BU

Not only do they have what seems like millions of tequillas. Not only can you have the largest margarita ever. They have the largest piece of cake I have seen. Chocolate, coffee, vanilla, ice cream and cake mixture. Huge! Plus red bean rice (who knew that something so bland could be so yummy?) and also, a blackened chicken quesadilla that I still long for.

Best Breakfast Brunch: Fire + Ice, Downtown

Sunday mornings only. Ginormous grill. Add what you want to your own pancakes, french toast, omelets, or hash browns. MIne was a plate sized pancake that had bananas, rasberries, strawberries, blueberries, and chocolate chips. Oh yes, be jealous. And go there for breakfast!

Best Hot Dog (TIE): Spike's Junkyard Dogs or Cheers, Downtown

Both places have killer dogs. Spike's has huge buns four times the size of the dog, and great cheese fries. Cheers is more atmosphere, but the Fenway special is a must get.

Best Barbecue: Village Smokehouse, Brookline

I would walk on glass for this pulled pork sandwich. Cooked all day in a homemade BBQ. No wait. The mashed potatoes are creamy and soft and fluffy. This is a smokehouse that ranks up with Kansas City barbecue, if not better.

Best Grocery Deli: Johnny's, Brookline

So technically its a grocery store, but their deli counter will make sandwiches to order. The bread is unique and squishy, while the "sub sauce" belongs on every sandwich I ever consume. Great quality of turkey too.

Best Bakery: Mike's Pastries, North End

I dont think this place is ever not packed to the doors, but service is super fast, and they have the selection beyond all selections. From lobster tails (a creme puff thing), strawberry shortcake, tons of cheesecakes, at least 50 kinds of cookies, ice creams, marzipans, pies, cakes, and the only cannolis I have ever liked. Worth fighting the crowds.

Best Bar Food: Whiskey's, Downtown

If people need to quench their thirst, but still need to eat, Whiskeys has great barbecue and burgers. Best coleslaw in town too.

Best Seafood: Barking Crab, Near the Harbor

Lobster rolls = heaven. If you can't make it to Cape Cod, this place is like bringing the Cape to the city. Rocks on the tables to crack the shells, served in buckets with plastic utensils, but somehow still classy and delicious.

Best Thai: Chili Duck, Downtown

Rad Na noodles with chicken. And Thai Iced tea. Perfectly spiced, perfect combination of vegetables, amazing noodles. The dish I miss the most. And the tea has coconut milk mixed into it. It looks carrot orange, but it sweet and refreshing.

And somehow, I didn't gain 400 pounds while living there. How, I have NO idea. :)

Thursday, September 4, 2008

Quick thought.

I've been working on this Toyota commercial the past few days, and been talking a lot with some guys on the crew. They lead the life that way back in the day, I wanted to lead. They work on blockbuster movies, hit television shows, and million dollar commercials. They all love their life, most are married and have settled lives. Except, it seems they are never around to actual use them. One of the men figured that he had been traveling at least six full months out of the last twelve months. I just, I have come to the realization that I will not be able to do that. We aren't just talking them traveling a few hours away for a week or two. This crew just got done with the sequel to Borat, in many many different countries, and this commercial alone is taking them 7 weeks across the entire country, with a super tight schedule. I like a little more settled-ness than that. Yeah, its cool to be in Jerusalem one week, Rome the next, and Dallas the next, but I like coming home to my tivo and grilled dinner too much. I like going out and playing pool on the weekends, and not sitting in airports and trying to find a place to eat in a random city with people I'm being paid to be with.

Random, and not very eloquent, but I thought it should be said.