Charleston, NC. The must have breakfast
experience in the South: GRITS. The best place
for grits in Charleston, NC is the
Hominy Grill [**,$$]. It's been
raved about in the New York Times so many times that we are not telling you
anything new. But we confirmed that this is the place to experience a
Sunday brunch when a conference brought us to Charleston in 1996. And
if you are not in Charleston on Sunday, well any other meal is great too.
Ask for outdoor seating. (1996)
Chicago, IL. The
annual Sears tower
Go Vertical (***)
(103 story stair "race") is a great way to experience stair
climbing and was the main reason for our 2005 visit to windy
Chicago. The best time was 13
but most climbers finish in 30-50 minutes and it's not as hard as it sounds -
and lots of fun. The second and third goals of the visit were
Chicago's famed pizza and blues. There are plenty of both
and here are the ones we recommend: deep dish pizza at Lou Malnati's,
on N Wells St., downtown, 312-828-9800. The very very deep dish stuffed pizza
at Geordano's (**), 1/2 block from the Sears tower.
Didn't get much sleep before the 9 AM race start due to late night Blues at
the very friendly Blue Chicago
(**) which runs two stages a couple of blocks apart on Clark St.
(downtown). One very modest cover charge lets let us in at both
Sante Fe, NM. the Tesuque Village
Market (in Tesugue, about 5 miles N of Santa Fe on I25) was soooo....
good that we dined there two out of three days. It's New Mexico /
Southwest. The establishment also prides itself in well done
Margaritas and other tequilas, and its desert menu. Go for the outdoor
patio seating. Not recommended: a certain restaurant in Chimayo (about
7 miles into the hills from I25) that is raved about in many guidebooks.
Do the Tequgue Village Market instead.
For shopping: We found a nice alternative to the famous Santa Fe boutiques and art
galleries on the "High Road" to Taos. One with exceptional quality and
fair price is the Ojo Sarco Pottery studio (**) at Ojo Sacro .
best are trails the "alpine meadows" in the high altitude national forest.
For example: "East Fork Trail 137" along the Jemez river
are several trailhead for this trail. Not all are equal in hiking
experience. Enter the one at Las Conchas, about 20 miles W of Los
Alamos on route NM 4. Proceed West from this point. You can make
it a nice one hour hike - or longer. And while you are in Los Alamos
check out these contrasting viewpoints of the Atomic Bomb: The Los
Alamos Historical Museum (not to be confused with the Bradbury Science
Museum two blocks away) - telling the story of day-to-day civilian life in
Los Alamos while "the bomb" was being invented in secrecy behind the fence.
The Black Hole (on the town outskirt) - a "junk yard" collection of atomic
age memorabilia (which are for sale) with a strong anti-bomb message. (2005)
Parkers [*,$$] is quite simply
the best place for Sunday Brunch if you like pancakes and maple syrup and
happen to be near Nashua, NH. (It's not terribly far from Boston and
well worth the drive.)
Thanks to our cousin
Ken Winograd for introducing us to
Parkers. (Visited in 2000 after seeing
the Verdi opera Il Trovatore at Manchester.)
Dallas Sonny Bryan's (***,$)
smokehouse has expanded to several neighborhood locations all over Dallas
and surroundings but the original at 2202 Inwood Rd (take Inwood exit on
I35S) is the one for an "historical" experience. We were greeted by a
friendly order taker at the door. After we picked up our orders we
seated on school desk-benches around the perimeter of the "dining room" (if
you can call it that). On the wall are photos of the famous who
preceded us. The hours are limited at this location. Sign on
entrance says closing is 4 pm or whenever they run out of food.
(The other locations are open longer.) No reservation needed but we
called 214-357-7120 ahead to make sure there were still ribs, sausages, etc.
left for us. (Visited 2005 after a business conference.)