Hello everyone, We have a great news to share with you all. We have got a new addition in our family. Welcome VEDA…Our little warrior !! Read our story here.
Last week we took five day trip across Michigan state (which we will talk about in our upcoming posts) and luckily got the opportunity to witness 2016 Labor Day Truck Parade in our last stop Holland, Michigan. This parade wasn’t part of our itinerary, but while going through the upcoming events calendar on Holland’s official website, we found it really fascinating.
Holland & Zeeland community have a special way to honor their local service providers and labor force by organizing a Truck parade. The parade starts from Zeeland around 9:15 a.m. towards Holland ending up at Civic Center in Holland followed by free ice cream & snacks for everyone.
We reached Civic Center around 9:30 a.m. where people had gathered in large number with family and friends across the street, anxiously waiting for the trucks. The parade started with Holland Police Cops, followed by 72 trucks ranging from Road services to Digital service providers finalizing with Holland and Zeeland fire trucks, closing up with Zeeland Police Cops.
After the Parade got over, people gathered around Civic Center parking to have a closer look around the fascinating trucks. Kids got goodies & this year there were Frisbee for all.
- Try to be there by 9:00 a.m. if you want to grab a special spot, although you can get the view even if you reach just before the parade.
- You can bring along your chair which most people brought to enjoy the wait time and great Parade afterwards.
- Bring earplugs for kids as it can get loud.
- Ice-creams and snacks are free.
Swept away by 2011 Tsunami in Japan, this Harley Davidson bike along-with other articles in a container drift across the Pacific ocean. Finally, it was spotted after more than an year, 4000 miles away on a beach of Graham Island in British Columbia, Canada.
The bike origin was unveiled by its Japanese number plate which it carried along for the long time. Although Harley Davidson offered to restore and return the bike to the owner but he requested to preserve the bike in same condition as a memorial to the victims of Tsunami. Currently this bike is under display at Harley Davidson Museum, Milwaukee since Oct, 2012.
On our recent visit to Bensalem, a small town near Philadelphia we came across Spice Rack after reading a lot of immensely positive reviews in Yelp. Located on Knights Road, this is a small restaurant with limited seating mainly dealing in take-out.
Let’s talk about “Food”
The menu is quite extensive so it took us a while to decide what to start with. This time we opted for only Vegetarian dishes and ordered Bhelpuri, Dahi Chaat and Papdi Chaat for appetizer.
After a bit long wait we got served with these delish snacks. From the first bite I got hooked on Bhelpuri, a tangy, garlicky and fully flavored one with authentic Indian spices. It was the most delicious chaat I ever had till now in USA.
Dahi Chaat one of my all time favorites didn’t disappointed me as well. Crisp puri exotically garnished with sev and coriander were so inviting that we finished all of them in a blink. Papdi Chaat took me back in streets of Delhi, the taste was equally good to what we use to have back home.
As we got fully confident on flavors we visited Spice Rack again to try some more items from the menu.
We ordered Paneer Pakora, Mutter Paneer, Garlic Naan and ended up with Gajar ka halwa. Sadly, Paneer pakora really disappointed us, they were not as savory as they look, on the other hand Mutter Paneer was zesty, typical North Indian style.
I am a die-hard fan of garlic naan and after a long while I had one of the best at Spice Rack, crispy and light with loads of garlic. Uhh, this place has awakened desi foodie inside me.
The only thing in which this place lags behind is service, it’s slow. It can take a while to place an order and longer to get it on your table.
Overall, this place reminded us street food of Delhi. Spice Rack really surprised us with strong flavors, a small joint delivering the true taste of Indian Cuisine.
City of Chicago is mainly known for its food delicacy and diversity. As a first timer every foodie craves for Chicago Style Pizza and we were no different. In our short span in Chicago suburbs we picked up some notable Chicago eats & can conclude that this city is definitely a lot more than just pizza bites.
Over the period the immigrants have brought taste and colors to Chicago and have developed Chicago style dishes out of them, while keeping the original base.
Here is our food guide of Chicago for first timers & foodies:
Indulge your senses in Chicago style famous “Garrett Mix”, cheese and caramel flavoured popcorn. Since 1949 this franchise has been famous for it’s high quality and taste. Maybe Garret popcorn’s are now available globally, but it will always be “Chicago’s tradition”. So next time while wandering around the streets in Chicago grab some Garrett mix for sure.
Where to eat– Magnificent Mile, Navy Pier, O’Hare International Airport, E Madison St, Chicago.
From Two brothers to Goose Island, IPAs to Half Acre , Chicago has a lot of local craft breweries, portraying Chicagoan’s true love for beer.
In 1833 with Chicago becoming a town, it also got its first brewing company and as of today there are many local micro-brewing companies offering tours and beer tasting. Every year in month of March, the city holds beer tasting festival with more than 60 participating brands.
Where to try: Two Brothers Brewing Company, Lagunitas Brewing Company, Goose Island Brewery, Emmett’s Brewing(suburbs), Rock Bottom Brewery.
Gyros may not have been invented in Chicago but over the time Chicagoans have shown this is one of their most popular and favorite food. With Kronos as the biggest supplier of Gyro cones and many Greek restaurants offering these in abundance, Gyros doesn’t deserve a chance to be missed. For Greek food lover Halsted street, Greektown Chicago is the place to be. With many Greek restaurants in vicinity this place is best suited to taste the best gyros.
Where to eat: Central Gyros, Zeus Gyros, The Parthenon
Chicago Style Pizza
Our favorite Chicago Style Pizza is highly acclaimed for its enormous amount of cheese and thick crust. Most people would contradict on the thick crust but believe it, whether it’s stuffed one or the classic deep dish there is no escape once you get the first bite. Though you would be full with just a slice or two, but this is one which you have to taste before you die.
Where to eat: Giordano’s, Gino’s, Unos, Lou Malnati’s.
Chicago Style Hot Dog
Chicago’s most authentic fast food “Chicago-style hot dog” should be on your top list. This classic dish includes beef sausage served on a poppy seed bun with white onions, sport pepper, tomatoes, dill pickle and the very essential yellow mustard. Don’t leave the city without tasting Chicago’s hot dog .
Tip: Don’t ask for the ketchup with Hot Dog in Chicago as they believe it goes with mustard only. Sellers don’t even carry ketchup.
Where to eat: Portillo’s, Superdawg, Gene & Jude’s.
Thanks to Zomato Meet, Kavita got her chance to be familiar with this remarkable Greek Dish and that too at the place where it got originated “The Parthenon” in Greektown, Chicago. Read it here- My First Zomato Meet At The Parthenon,Chicago
Today Saganaki has many variations as with shrimp and mussels, but the original one has cheese fried in buttered shallow pan along with brandy, which is flamed at table with a shout of ‘Opa’, ending up with fresh lemon juice.
Where to eat: None other than “The Parthenon”, Greektown.
The famous city of California, San Diego has picturesque landscape, vast coast line, water sports and marine life. San Diego’s Zoo, Sea world and Downtown are major destinations attracting tourists throughout the year. But as we always look for less crowded and not so popular tourist spots, so we tried to explore some offbeat features this city has to offer on our two day trip.
San Diego Skyline view from Centennial park
A perfect place to get the best view of San Diego downtown. Take a break from the hustle and bustle of the city and spend few hours of calmness in Centennial park overlooking San Diego skyline.
Drive on San Diego-Coronado Bridge
Don’t miss the chance to drive on San Diego- Coronado bridge, a 2.1 miles long 5 lane bridge is part of State route 75. As Coronado Island is a Naval base, it took a while to join Coronado to mainland via bridge. Finally in 1969, this bridge was opened for public,being 200 feet tall it allows naval base ships to pass underneath with no hassle.
Stroll on Coronado Beach
Coronado Beach, most beautiful white sand beach is mainly known for surfing. Driving down the San Diego-Coronado bridge, a few blocks to the left, we got the view of radiant beach. This beach is along the Ocean Boulevard with free parking on road, restrooms and shower facilities on beach. Best time to visit the Coronado beach is early morning.
Have a look at the majestic bungalows in Coronado
On one side of Ocean blvd is spectacular white sand beach and on other is a fine range of mansions and bungalows. Some of them are incredible piece of artwork while some depicts the lavish lifestyles, a few of these are also haunted.
Hiking at Torrey Pines
Located 15 miles away from downtown San Diego, Torrey Pines State Reserve is famous trekking and hiking destination offering various trails in this state reserve with a wide geographical range.
Stop and watch the Majestic Sunset
San Diego offers many places to experience breathtaking sunset. Wide coastline and cliffs of San Diego makes it a photographer’s paradise for capturing stunning sunset. La Jolla Cove and Torrey Pines State Reserve are the best places to experience sunset across the ocean shore.
Sea Lions at La jolla Cove
Not to miss “Fish Tacos”
As a coastline area San Diego’s restaurants offers profusion of sea food. If you are foodie like us, must try the specialty of San Diego…Fish Tacos, a deep fried white fish on tortilla with some fresh lettuce, salsa and avocado along with slice of lime. Not to mention, San Diego has the best Mexican restaurants mainly in Old Town.
What’s on your list, if you visit San Diego?
La Jolla Cove is the most picturesque place we have ever visited. As a cove this is a small circular bay, providing protected area to colourful marine life. Beautifully surrounded by the cliffs, it’s widely famous for snorkeling, scuba diving, surfing and many more activities. But this cove is much more besides these, here are some free things to do in La Jolla Cove:
Spend the day looking at spectacular blue water and waves – We enjoyed our whole day watching ocean tides on rocks and cliffs of the cove. Daytime can be enjoyed next to ocean water, but as the day progresses tides rise to upper rocks and gushing water push you back to the higher grounds.
Spot coastal birds in abundance : La Jolla Cove is home for many birds like Brown Pelicans, Heermann’s Gulls & most commonly spotted ones are Western Gulls. Western Gulls are the big size white gulls from West Coast with yellow foot and can be seen in bunches hovering all around the cove.
Looking Sea Lions laying on the rocks: Of all the beautiful landscapes and sights around La Jolla Cove, the one which we loved the most was spotting poser Sea Lions. They are very commonly sighted around cove relaxing in sun. Usually they are lazy, harmless and habitual of people wandering around, so one can get really close which most of the public actually does. It’s quite disheartening that instead of leaving them alone people continuously disturb them & choose to take selfies.
Windup your day relishing the vivid sunset- The day came to end with witnessing the most amazing sunset. We spend a good amount of time admiring the sun getting down across the ocean end with vibrant shades all across the sky.
- Park your car on Coast Blvd or in Ace Parking(public parking) at Prospect Street.
- The place smells a lot but you don’t feel it much after a while.
- There are also other activities like Snorkeling, Biking & Kayaking.
- Must visit Birch Aquarium at Scripps Institution, a 10 min drive from the Cove.
While visiting San Diego we came across Torrey Pines State Reserve, a 15 miles drive from the city, it’s a 2000 acres state park running across the coast.
Offering spectacular beach, cliffs, flora & fauna, trails in abundance & rare torrey pines, this place is a bliss for nature lovers. It has been listed under National Natural Landmark and California State Parks for preserving “Torrey Pines” an endangered species of pines.
Why to visit Torrey Pines State Reserve:
Hiking Trails : Having 8 trails including Broken Hill Trail, Beach Trail, High Point Trail & many more this reserve attracts hikers throughout the year. Beach Trail, Guy Fleming & Razor Point Trail are considered as most famous among visitors. The Beach Trail, 3/4 miles stepped stretch takes you to the Torrey Pine State Beach.
Glider Port: Apart from hiking, this place also welcomes gliding enthusiasts for paragliding, tandem gliding and hang gliding. Perfectly positioned on the cliff above Black Beach, it’s an ideal way to get stunning view of the ocean, state reserve and La Jolla.
Captivating Rock Formation: The most striking feature at reserve are the rock formations. This natural habitat is mostly rocky and has sedimentary rocks all over, mainly prone to erosion. That’s why fascinating formations have build along the trails over the vast expanse of time.
Photographer’s Paradise: Even without an adventurous spirit, still you can enjoy the picturesque landscape or stroll around the park. One can spent a whole day either on the beach or sitting on the cliffs overlooking ocean.
- Easiest way to reach Torrey Pine is by car.
- Being a natural reserve, food and drinks are not allowed except on the beach.
- Wear comfortable shoes for trekking, as trails are steep at points.
- Reserve remains open from 7:15 AM to sunset, all around the year.
If you follow us on Instagram & Facebook, you must be aware of our trip to San Diego, CA couple of weeks back. From Mexico border to Downtown and bay to beach, San Diego will thrill you in every aspect. We will cover the others later on, this one is all about our affair with San Diego’s food. Yes, after enjoying St Louis and Chicago‘s, food delicacies we added San Diego in our list.
You can see the influence of Mexico in food, culture & language of San Diego. While Mexico in proximity brings in the flavors of Mexican cuisine, easy access to ocean adds prominence of seafood in the city. On our short span we had some amazing Authentic Mexican food and not to mention the very famous Fish Tacos.
San Diego’s Fish Tacos : Thanks to Ralph Rubios who introduced this delightful dish to Americans. He got inspired by Fish tacos on his visit to San Felipe, Baja California(Mexico ) & after that opened a restaurant in San Diego, CA.
We tried our hands on San Diego’s specialty Fish Tacos/Tacos de pescado: Made out of deep fried battered white fish, served with with lettuce or cabbage, pica de gallo(salsa) and avocado, on a corn tortilla with lime on the side.
We tried fish tacos at Los Dos Pedros near La Jolla Blvd & Fish Mart, San Ysidro & fell in love with one served in Los Dos Pedros, highly recommended for it’s crispy fish. You can’t stop just at one, it’s that delicious.
What Else We Had:
At Taco El Guero- Located at Dairy Mart Rd, San Ysidro, this restaurant is quite popular among the locals for their tacos and Carne Asada Fries. We had Tacos El Vapor, steamed corned tortilla filled with any type of meat. Bean Tostada with Cheese Enchiladas, a combination of Tortilla with beans and enchiladas served with rice.
At Fish Mart- A convenient place to enjoy Margaritas with complimentary fish soup and tortillas. Next to Taco El Guero (doesn’t have fish tacos in menu), this restaurant serves fresh seafood and fish tacos. We ordered Mango Margarita,combination of mango slush, alcohol and spices on the rim which was totally palatable. Fish Soup came up surprisingly really well.
At Los Dos Pedros: Near La Jolla Blvd, we had a really appetizing lunch here. There is limited seating space as it’s mainly a takeout joint. Tacos to combos, everything on the menu is cheap and portions are good. We had Chicken Taco combo and Fish Taco Combo, served with beans and rice. As mentioned earlier, their Fish Tacos are too good & worth dying for !!
- Try out local food joints, they are affordable and authentic.
- Most local joints don’t accept cards, so keep cash handy.
- For best Mexican must visit Old Town, San Diego.
- The language can be a barrier while going through the menu at some restaurants(especially near the border).
So, what’s in your food list for San Diego?
It’s almost an year since we landed in USA and tried to savor the best of every city we visited. On our trip to Madison, the capital of Wisconsin we planned our visit to Wollersheim Winery beautifully located across the Wisconsin River.
A 30 miles drive from Wisconsin State Capitol to Prairie Du Sac, then a steep walk uphill and you will be standing on the grounds of historic Wollersheim Winery.
History of Wollersheim Winery: This journey started way back in 1840’s with Hungarian Agoston Haraszthy planting vines in slopes of the region. Unfortunately the European vines couldn’t survive the harsh winters of Wisconsin, so he left for California and later on became the founder of Wine industry.
Afterwards Peter Kehl took over the place and converted it into an American vineyard. But it was not before 1972 , when Robert and Joann Wollersheim took over the property and Wollersheim Winery came into existence. From there on there have been many additions and changes. Now this legacy is in hands of Philippe Coquard & Julie, daughter of Wollersheim’s, spread across 27 acres vineyards of French-American Hybrid grapes.
Winery Tour: We took the winery tour which includes a short movie clip about winery’s history, walk around the building & a glance into fermentation room through window, followed by visit to cellars aging in basement which were the highlight of the tour. This guided tour ended in tasting room.
Wine Tour Cost -5 $ each person
After the winery tour do checkout the Historic Wine Cave, originally created by Agoston Haraszthy for wine cellars, which has been restored in 2013. Now it’s a museum showcasing history and artifacts of winery.
Wine Tasting: While Featured wines are complimentary (included in the tour price), additional wines sampler are available for minimum charges. After a few sampler of the their signature wines Domaine du Sac & Port Wine, followed by Pinot Noir & White Riesling , we took a bottle of Prairie Sunburst Red to have a sip outside in sun on a cold windy day.
Domaine Du Sac, a dry red one aged in French & American oak barrel is an estate grown wine along with Port Wine which on contrary is mild one with sweetness.
With an amendment in state law in 2009, Wollersheim Winery bloomed by restarting its distillery in 2015 featuring Gin and Brandy.
Best time to visit: Wollersheim Winery remains open throughout the year, but summers are perfect to appreciate the vineyards with glass of wine and famous Wisconsin cheese.
Timings: Daily 10am to 5pm year around.
On your next visit to Madison, take a drive to this National Historic Site, also accessible from Milwaukee which is located 100 miles away.
After taking an enjoyable ride with Untapped tour we headed for Harley Davidson Museum, a 130,000 sq ft building complex on the banks of Menomonee river.
Known for its power-packed engines and booming sound, Harley Davidson started as a journey of 4 like minded people (William S. Harley and Arthur, Walter, William A. Davidson) back in 1903.
Tickets : We bought the tickets along with Untapped tour and got it for 12$ each (saved 8$), you can buy it from museum also.
The museum got opened for public in year 2008, having 450 motorcycles and Harley Davidson Motor Company’s 110 year history artifacts. The museum has two floors, each displaying the history and archives from Harley Davidson Motorcycles. The museum comprises of The Engine Room,The Clubs and Competition gallery, The Motorcycle Gallery , Tank Wall, The Custom Culture gallery & The Experience Gallery.
Engine Room: After entering the gallery experience the 1940’s Knucklehead Engine dismantled into multiple parts in the Engine Room. This is an exquisite experience for die hard Harley fans, interacting with motor and sounds of engine. Do not miss the orange wall displaying the evolvement of Harley Davidson’s engines from the very first to the latest.
The Motorcycle Gallery- Moving through the gallery on upper floor there is a chain of motorcycles depicting the glorious first 50 years. Each of this model is an important segment of the history, serving with postal department and US military, Harley has emerged out as top class motorcycle.
Tank Wall- Be ready to get amazed with 100 designs of Harley Davidson tanks custom-made since 1903 on a single wall.
The Custom Culture Gallery: This section is dedicated to customized bikes featuring impact of Harley Davidson worldwide, like 13 foot long engine of ‘King Kong’, replica of Captain America and Easy rider bike and many more.
The Clubs and Competition gallery: Since its launch Harley Davidson has been part of many events and tournaments. This section is devoted to those golden moments and the recognition’s of vintage bikes with replica of racing tracks along with photographs and copy of articles to portray the glorious past.
The Experience Gallery: At last before you leave, experience the ride on Harley Davidson and get clicked. The gallery has a wide variety of bikes from the classic ones to the new.
Apart from the museum the premises also have” The shop” (featuring souvenirs, clothing, accessories and collectibles) and a restaurant.
Planning a visit Milwaukee? Make a stop here, you definitely don’t wanna miss this.