Day late, dollar short. Here’s where I wrap up the week that was. My weekend was a busy one. Friday was jam-packed with appointments. Later, I cooked an incredible from-the-garden dinner, and Andy and I finally bit the bullet and started watching Breaking Bad.
I could hardly keep my eyes open for another Breaking Bad episode, and we were up by 4:30 a.m. on Sunday to travel to Pocono Raceway, the Tricky Triangle, for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Go Bowling 400. My first NASCAR race, first Poconos experience — it was fun, but I have to admit the highlight was spying former Pittsburgh Steeler (and official badass) James Harrison hanging with his beautiful family. He was kind enough to allow me a photo — made my day.
With former Steeler James Harrison at the Pocono Raceway Go Bowling 400.
Chef Ben Beaver, who recently joined the 1500 team, shared some snacks for attendees to enjoy.
Keystone State Wine & Spirits brought Charbay hop whiskies to sample — plus the organic section of Cafe 1500′s cocktail menu features Keystone State products.
Not one to miss a good time, Merlot Mike was on-hand to share tastes from The Vineyard at Hershey‘s line. They, too, are featured on Cafe 1500′s cocktail menu. Like sweet? Check out the sangria with VaH’s Catawba.
The creativity and sense of community that makes up craft beer isn’t limited to just the brewers. With the expansion of the industry comes more opportunity for related business growth including everything from the hop farmers to the bottle cap necklace makers.
For our friend, Bart, it is no different. Bart Kaminski runs Kollision Media (and you may also recognize him as the official photographer for SaraBozich.com events) and recently expanded his graphic design company to include Hop Hedz Gear — apparel for the craft beer enthusiast.
Our photographer, Bart, with the SB.com girls.
I had the chance to chat with Bart recently about his transformation into a craft beer lover and his inevitable transition to craft beer business owner.
Bart, a self-proclaimed hop head, has been enjoying craft beer since he was young.
“I have been a beer lover ever since the tender age of 8 years old when my Uncle Porky gave me my first sip of Gennesee Cream Ale — unbeknownst to my parents at one of our family reunions. I was instantly in love with the nectar of the gods! My Grandpa owned a bar in West Philly while I was growing up and I can remember learning how to make a Manhattan at a very young age as well. I was bartending family reunions at by the age of 10,” Bart said.
It was so great to see so many smiling faces — new and familiar — last night at Happy Hour at Cafe 1500. Andy and I stuck around for dinner afterwards and had an incredible meal. Cheers to Chef Ben Beaver!
Trout entree at Cafe 1500.
We’ll have the full party wrap-up post by the weekend, of course.
This weekend, you’d think I’d do something low-key after all that travel. Well, sort of. Tonight the tables are turned, and I’ll be the one interviewed for an upcoming piece on craft beer for The Burg. I’ll also be checking the quickly turned around “new” Stock’s on Second, hopefully with full review on PennLive next week.
Tomorrow night, I’m guessing Andy and I will lay low, eat more vegetables from the garden and maybe catch a movie. (I want to see Zach Braff’s new flick! Have you seen it yet?)
Saturday night, I’ll be tweeting live from the Yards Beer Dinner at Dodge City Steakhouse — by the way, if you’re into these types of events, Dodge City is hosting a handful of them now through the fall, eventually leading up to a big anniversary party. Be sure you’re following them on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram to catch the details.
After that, we’re heading to a cocktail party — our friends won a guest bartender from Suba!
Trail running has been on my “to do” list for a while now.
But I was full of excuses. I don’t have the right shoes, where will I go, what if I get lost, what if I fall and no one finds my body for two weeks, what if it’s really hard, what if it’s more like hiking instead of running, what if I have to go to the bathroom, etc.
When I stumbled upon Messiah College’s The Big Dipper, a four-mile trail race, I knew this was my chance. There would be a marked course, other people and it was marketed toward beginner trail runners. Sold. I talked my long-suffering significant other into coming with me, rounded up a few friends, and last Saturday evening, we arrived at Messiah College, not sure what to expect.
The crowd of about 100 or so runners lined up on the grassy field. With a whistle blow, we were off, and Tim and I settled into a comfortable pace. We followed flags and caution tape as the route had many turns off the bat, and continued to do so for the remainder of the run, but that was part of the fun. I never knew where the next direction may take us. The first mile or so was mostly on grass or packed gravel. “See? I told you this was going to be more like a cross country course instead of a trail run,” Tim remarked to me.
Owners Sue and Al Pera are staples in the community (Watch my interview with Sue from What’s on Tap), so their base is local and loyal. Of course they’re known for great coffee and atmosphere, terrific breakfast and lunch foods — whether you’re eating in or on the go — plus delicious baked goods and even ice cream treats (my husband is obsessed with the espresso milkshake!).
And you probably know about the long-standing Cornerstone Culinary Kitchen, which consistently sells out its classes that range from grilling to gourmet.
The Cornerstone Coffeehouse also hosts live music every weekend and recently launched Open Mic Night on select Wednesdays each month.
Doug Morris performs the best of Bruce Springsteen at Cornerstone Coffeehouse.
Intimate and family friendly, Cornerstone hosts local musicians who perform a variety of styles, creating the perfect atmosphere for enjoying your after-dinner drinks — free of charge.
We’re back! Andy and I spent a great couple of days in the Windy City, eating and drinking our way through. And so ends my two-week vacation. Tomorrow I’m officially back to the grind.
Vacation lunch wine at The Purple Pig in Chicago.
Today we’ll probably just catch up on things around the house, hit the grocery story, that kind of thing, before the work week begins.
Hope to see you WEDNESDAY for HAPPY HOUR at Cafe 1500. We’ll be sampling Charbay hop whiskies, for one, so you’ll want to stop by for those in addition to great drink specials, snacks, live music and more (including FREE PARKING).