Yellowstone Microbrews

As I mentioned earlier this week, Shaun and I spent the last week traveling through Wyoming and Montana on a Yellowstone Park adventure with the Humiston side of the family. Breathtaking views, wildlife at every turn, and whitewater rafting dominated our week in Yellowstone, and if you have the means, I highly recommend making the trip.

But when you're distracted by views like this...

and this...

well let's just say that food isn't exactly at the forefront of one's mind...even for me. I know, how can that even be possible? But let's just say that there were a lot of car snacks.

It was, however, the land of the microbrews. Whether lagers or pale ales, the great states of Wyoming and Montana were not without their locally brewed favorites. One of our favorites was Moose Drool Brown Ale. Since I'm immediately wooed by a quirky name and had made it my mission to see this elusive animal during the trip, this was a must try and became one of our favorites of the week.

On our first night in Jackson Hole, Wyoming, we dined at the Million Dollar Cowboy Bar, serving up burgers and beer. With a bison and elk burger in our tummies, we also sampled the local brew, appropriately deemed Million Dollar Cowboy Bar Beer.

And since I just had to be different, I ordered the Snake River Pale Ale, named for the local Snake River. While I always enjoy a taste test, I also realized that pale ales are just not for me as their spiciness overpowers the simple beer flavor.

Once we got into Gardiner, Montana, we picked up a Grand Teton Blonde Ale. And yes, that is a naked lady on the label. But it was the first organic beer I've ever tried!

And how could I pass up a lunchtime regional brew like Rainier, mountain freshly brewed and on special for a mere $1.

All of this is not to say that I didn't indulge in some local fare, just a little bit. With barbecue grub at every turn, could you blame me? My favorite dinner consisted of tender beef brisket, sweet potato fries and sweet baked beans. It was enough to do a body good...and sleepy.

Aside from microbrews, barbecue and some car snacks including cashews, granola bars and craisins, the food was plentiful but took a back seat. In addition to the amazing natural views, we were constantly being followed around by furry creatures like this...

and this...

Seeing them roam free was enough to make even a major carnivore like myself contemplate vegetarianism.

So there you have it. A little round up of our favorite microbrews in and around Yellowstone Park as well as some gratuitous footage from the trip since, hey, it's some pretty decent eye candy, isn't it? And speaking of gratuitous, check out this last one of Shaun and me by the Yellowstone River in Montana.

Not too shabby, huh? But what I really want to know is, have you traveled this summer? Have you sampled the local eats? It's always my mission to get a feel for what the locals frequently dine on!

*For some more microbrew fun, check out my Antigua roundup!

World Cup Fare

I don't know about you, but I spent Saturday cheering on the USA, wearing one of Shaun's many USA jerseys, and eating enough buffalo wing dip to feed a family of five (more on that later). Though it was a sad turn of events, it got me thinking about World Cup 2006, when Shaun and I somehow scored first round tickets through the crazy FIFA lottery system and trekked over to Germany for our first Euro vacation.

With tickets to 2 of the 3 first round games, we made the plan to do a 3 city tour, spanning Germany and France. The trip began in Cologne, Germany. With fan fare unlike any I've other seen, there wasn't a whole lot to do in Cologne aside from walk the pop-up street fairs in honor of the World Cup and park ourselves at outdoor cafes for hours on end, watching games, drinking Kolsch (the official brew of Cologne) and eating wiener schnitzel and frites until our stomachs begged us to cease. Yeah, it was pretty great.

In a land where it's cheaper to buy a pint of beer than a glass of water, we sampled all of the local goods. From gelato with bits of ice cream cone mixed into it...To neverending bratwurst...

Even though it was years before The Avid Appetite was born, it's pretty clear that Shaun and I were destined to be world-seasoned food fans, don't you think? Anyhow, at the first US game in Gelsenkirchen, we encountered that fan fare enough to top any Subway Series game to boot. Fans draped themselves in American flags, sang American songs, and drank in the streets for hours on end (and in the blazing heat no less).

And we partook in the fun...

With days between games, we made our way to Paris for a few days and then circled back to Kaiserslautern, Germany for the tailend of the trip. Since our friend Geoff, along with his wife Blaire, was stationed at the US Army base there, we had our own personal guide to the town. Somehow, the nights turned back to food at an outdoor cafe (where I sampled bona fide moldy cheese) followed by beer and Jagermeister sampling through the town's street fair. With dark beer served by the meter and Jager at every turn, here's a peak at what happens when you mix the two after many many hours...don't try this at home...

Yep, Shaun ended up riding a metal pony in the middle of the town fountain. Anyhow, while I'll continue my depression over the US loss to Ghana in 2010, it's pretty fab to relive our German adventure of '06 and reminisce over our first major trip together in a real once-in-a-lifetime experience. Plus, ya gotta love a land that encourages train breakfasts consisting of bread, nutella and beer.

So there you have it - a peak at our World Cup adventure of '06. How are you feeling after Saturday's game?

A Weekend in Antigua: Sampling the Local Goods

As I mentioned earlier this week, Shaun and I took a little vacation over the weekend. It snowed uncontrollably in the New York/New Jersey area and we barely made it out on Thursday morning. I have to tell you...after a long, seemingly never ending, bitterly cold winter (which is still going on, by the by), there's really nothing quite like swimming and sailing in aqua blue water, sipping mixed drinks all day and laying on the beach reading Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential (see? even when I'm not writing, I still have food on the brain and I just can't seem to get enough of that guy).

Though a gorgeous island in the Caribbean with lots to offer scenery-wise, as evidenced above, Antigua did not have many local eats. One of the stand out foods of the trip was a delicately fried conch fritter. White conch meat mixed with stuffing and fried, the fritter was served up with a light tartar sauce. Bellisimo.
Despite the abundance (or lack there of for that matter) of local fare, one of our must-do activities when traveling anywhere, inside or outside the US is to test out the local brew. Since Shaun and I have traveled to quite a few places in Europe and in the Caribbean, and sampling  (and subsequently smuggling for souvenir purposes) a bottle o'beer in each destination has become something of a tradition. After all, just as street food says so much about one's culture, so does the beer. Whether a cold Kolsch at an outdoor cafe in Cologne, Germany, circa 2006...
a mug of Staropramen to warm up on a rainy day in Prague in the Czech Republic...
or 40 oz bottle of Saku to pass the time on the overnight cruise between Sweden and Estonia...
I think local brews are a point of pride for many locales. In Antigua, the local beer is Wadadli. Hardly able to be kept cold in the extreme island temps, Wadadli follows in the Dutch tradition of Heineken and Amstel. A fine and somewhat tasty brew for a hot day, but not sure that it would be my go-to on a regular night in the Jerz.
Local fare aside, it was a fantastic vacation, filled with relaxation, rum slushies, and ok...maybe more than a little Wadadli. But when you end your day with this, it doesn't really get much better.So what about you? Are you a beer drinker? Do you sample local brews from place to place? And more importantly, did you take any vacations this winter to get out of the extremely frigid temps we've been having over the last months?๏ปฟ And while you were there, sample anything worth noting?