I have been to visit the Atlanta area a number of times, the first time about 45 years ago. When I visited then, I came with a friend and neither one of us knew anyone here so we went to typical tourist places. Dinner at a recommended restaurant and shopping downtown. Now I have family and friends living in the area which allows me to come here more often. So I have their input about unique or the current fun place to see. This was my first visit back in about a year and we had free time to explore so I set out for a new adventure.
This visit, I discovered a great new place. The is a shopping area, not a shopping mall, called Ponce City Market. It is located in a converted Sears, Roebuck building. The building originally opened in 1926 and re-opened in its new form in 2014. The day we visited it was jam-packed with people everywhere.
There are great shops and restaurants, tons of parking, a wonderful industrial vibe throughout and entertainment at various times. Throughout a nod to the original use of the building by Sears.
The general experience in this place is much like Underground Atlanta was many years ago. The day was wonderful in every aspect and I look forward to making this a regular stop on my visits here in the future. Once again a chance for good food and great shopping in a new atmosphere.
About a year ago, I started writing this blog. Today I went back and reread my first one. I am surprised that I still like and feel the same as what I wrote then. It’s like a 5-year-old child who feels that every day they are getting taller or smarter and it is visible to others. I know I have changed in many ways, can’t you all see it? HA. Other than the fact I dyed my hair (again a new color) and lost a couple of pounds, it’s not even visible to me. But I have changed.
I have accomplished a couple of bucket list items I was never sure were going to happen. Some of them were on my bucket list before I knew what a bucket list was. Thanks to that movie for making the term OK to use even with old people like me. We don’t automatically fear it or think that when an item is crossed off the list the end is near.
I hope that my writing and photographing some of my adventures will encourage some others to step out of the box. Embrace the unknown, learn new things, try different food, listen to new music and open your heart to enjoy all of those things.
I have decided to extend my time of blogging, because I am enjoying it. I will continue on this site, the name and the direction will change, but not yet.
My travel partners had a spring break, so we could take off for a few days. We wanted to take a longer trip and the winner is Hawaii. The choice was Honolulu because it was a direct flight, it has a lot to see in a small area, it has public transportation and we could fill a couple of wish/bucket list items.
The edge of Diamond Head from Waikiki Beach, if this is a dream please don’t wake me up, let me just pretend.
What a great place for a photo op, or backdrop for a wedding or just inhale the fragrance of the beautiful floral canopy.
A most amazing tree with blue lights on it at night. This thing was huge!
Sun going down the first evening. This place is way more magical than I ever thought and I have been to a few tropical islands with palm trees. It is also way more expensive than I ever imagined. Would I go back, in a heartbeat, as soon as my bank account recovers from the shock. After 2 days here, I was talking about moving as I have heard many others do.
More to follow in the next few days, we did a lot in a short stay. Mahalo.
This is a weekly photo challenge.
Last summer I spent in Anchorage Alaska and had some incredible experiences. One of the wonderful things I was able to do was attend the Alaska State Fair. This is well known for it’s gigantic food. Due to the long summer days of 20 plus hours of daylight and sunshine, things grow extraordinarily large here. So I would like to share a few with you.
Due to the fact that many of the oversized vegetables are on display for about 2 weeks, they are no longer edible. So the Fair donates the food to a wild animal rescue organization and I will include that as well.
Since my heart and soul always seems to come back to quilts, I will include one as well, but please don’t eat the food theme quilt.
About once a year I make split pea soup. After the Thanksgiving and Christmas holidays I can usually count on a ham bone leftover in the freezer and off we go. Today with more family around I pulled out the bones to make a pot of soup.
I think the first time I made it I followed a recipe, this was probably about 40 years ago. I was amazed the first time I tried the soup that I even liked it, since peas are one of the few vegies I don’t like. But it has been a part of my diet ever since.
I do have a couple of son-in-laws that like the soup and request it when ever possible. Todays version has onion, carrot, celery and green pepper added to the ham and split peas. I use whatever broth available and today it was vegetable and chicken that I had on hand.
It’s funny how this soup has generated much debate. Is there a difference in the flavor if you use different colored peas? I have only ever used green. Do you add lentil’s to this soup? I keep them separate and like them both. Are the vegies chunky or pureed? Most of the time I like the little pieces of carrot or celery, but occasionally I do use the immersion blender and make it smooth. Sour cream or not? I have added a dollop of sour cream in each bowl for about the last 15 years, occasionally a touch of dill as well. The variations go on and on.
I am ready now. All I want to do is eat a bowl.
Part of the reason for going to downtown Chicago now is for the temporary Christmas Market. For those who have never experienced it, it’s a little like being in Germany before Christmas.
A group of carts or caravans are located in a central or shopping location for several weeks before Christmas. Each one has different items for sale. Some have food and drinks. Other areas may have music playing from a local band. Some markets have small carnival type rides a merry-go-round or a Ferris wheel for children.
In this area people come to hear the music, to eat the food and maybe to purchase an item or two. The market in downtown Chicago is set amid the high rises in a pretty open plaza. It certainly has much of the feel of its European counterpart. Many of the venders are from Germany and many have German articles for sale.
One of the fun traditions that was used here as well as in Europe is the option of a cup. Some of the vendors offer hot as well as cold drinks and you can purchase cup along with your drink. Great for hot chocolate or mulled wine.
This has been a huge success for the city of Chicago and even on a bitter cold day people are here. For those who work nearby it is a nice change for a lunch break. Good for the German community here as well as the city.
Downtown Chicago has already become very festive, lights are up, windows are decorated and people are starting to get in the mood. Many people in the Chicago area have traditions that involve going downtown. Marshall Fields was the largest store that had windows decorated each year to tell a story. Many years the animation in the windows was truly spectacular and you rushed to go from window to window to see the story. Also in the same store the restaurant everyone went to was the Walnut Room for lunch with the children either before or after they saw Santa and to see the 3 story tall Christmas Tree.
The store has now been taken over by Macy’s, but much of the appearance of the store is the same. The tree is up and the windows are decorated and animated and it is still a destination for many families.
The animation now is not only the figures moving in the window, but the digital photos used in the displays change.
The tree still looks spectacular.
One window this year is dedicated to the World Series winning Cubs with a logo in the Ferris wheel that is turning in the window.
It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas.
I know, I am not from the south. I have lived in the south a couple of times and have traveled a fair amount in the Southern States, and have eaten southern cooking, but am still considered a Yankee. I liked fried green tomatoes before most of this travel ever happened.
Living in the south my tomato plants would have been completely burned up by now with the blazing heat. In the north, thanks to mild temperatures now, I just went out and picked off the best looking green tomatoes. My daughter tells me her plants have been producing all summer and they are not yet ready to stop. Just waiting for that frost to kill them.
I love the movie and book as well, and thank you Fannie Flagg for all your contributions to the world. I knew her first as a comedienne and have been thrilled with her books over the years.
I am a bit simplistic in my preference for the fried tomato recipe and this past week introduced a couple more people to my bandwagon. I am hanging out waiting for the World Series games to end before I get back to travel. I cooked them one evening for my daughter and son-in law.
My favorite recipe uses flour only as the coating, not cornmeal or crackers as some do, and I fry them in butter, not oil. Mine is not the healthiest recipe, but over the years I have served these to many friends who like them. Yes, I have tasted the others, and keep going back to my favorite. Let me know if you want my recipe. I guess I am trying to make them a national dish, one plate at a time.
For not being a bread eater, I have 3 loaves of various sourdough bread in the freezer. A local bakery makes cornbread sourdough and I have regular sourdough as well as rye sourdough. There is something truly delicious about each version named and I can’t wait to try others. I first discovered sourdough when I lived in San Francisco and developed an addiction for it.
Sourdough was used by Egyptians in 1500 BC, has been widely used throughout Europe. A bakery in San Francisco discovered a unique culture which created a flavor that the miners loved. Sourdough bread is made from a starter that needs to be replenished. The gold rush in Alaska brought sourdough starter here.
A sourdough is also a nickname given to someone who spent an entire winter above the Arctic Circle and it refers to their keeping the starter warm by keeping it close to their body. Some of that sourdough starter is said to still be in use today. The older the starter it generates a tang which is what makes it much more of a prized possession.
There are numerous recipes available for starter, or put the word out and certainly someone has starter that needs to be shared. I have never been successful at keeping and using the starter to make my own, it requires more attention than I can give. I do agree with the premise that sourdough is a magical food.
This fair has food and rides and animals and crafts and performances just like most fairs everywhere. The location is beautiful, with mountains in the background and it has room for wide walkways and paths between everything.
Many state fairs have all the smaller fairs all over the state leading up to the BIG one, so the prize cattle or jams from everywhere compete against the best of the best the state has to offer. This is not like that. Maybe because of geography or simply distance this is the only chance to shine. There are communities here that can only be reached by air or water and not very practical to fly the prize pony out. Also many of the communities are fairly small in numbers and would not be able to offer the same level of competition. All in all if you have an opportunity this is a very good fair to attend.
In the huge variety of items entered in various categories, you know you are in Alaska. The products used and the themes in the photos and drawings and paintings seem to represent this state beautifully. The natural beauty of Alaska becomes apparent very quickly. I feel very lucky to have had an opportunity to see first hand the giant vegetables that I have heard about for years.
For the food, animals, entertainment and location, I for one am very glad I had a chance to attend.