Spectacularly bland…Hudson Yards–

KABOOMY!  We are checking out the new mall/shopping/office/apartment complex on the west side of Manhattan here in beautiful New York Citaaaaay called Hudson Yards, and it is not doing much for us at all.

The whole thing reminds us of a shiny Asian mall in Hong Kong or Ho Chi Minh City or Taipei or Beijing, etc.  Lots of tall glass-enclosed buildings where people can work and sleep and park their money. . .lots of standard shopping fare inside the mall building–nothing exciting at all, really.

Lots of folks are agog over the Escher-like shiny stairway-to-nowhere thing sitting in the center of the pedestrian mall. . .see our obligatory photos above. . .come here and see it once. . .then move on with your life because you will never want to visit it again.

This complex is located between 31st and 34th Streets right on the Hudson River. . .well, not really right on the Hudson River because the West Side Highway is between us and the river…and the Hudson River walkway/parkway is also between us and the river.  So you can see the Hudson River out there…you can also see New Jersey across the water…but the Hudson Yards complex itself feels disconnected from nature and the surrounding environment.  Strange.  This is the first structure that I have ever visited in Manhattan in over 30 years of living here that makes me feel like I am not in New York.  Hmmmm…not good, methinks.  Or maybe real good for the next generation of New Yorkers…we shall see.

Come and visit this thing, and you decide. . .would love to hear what you think.

So, here’s to progress. . .upward and onward, biatches!

It’s lovely out there.

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#1 gobble spot…Chicago–

MMM!  Girl & The Goat is still ROCKIN’ IT…let’s see what’s goin’ on once again.

Our routine at G&TG is to arrive early–between 4:30 and 5:00–to snag a walk-in table before the masses roll in. . .we eat, drink, enjoy, and are on our way out by 6:30 or so.  We do this because reservations are difficult to find online and if we arrive later then the place is jam-packed, and we will not be able to get in.  EVERYONE wants to eat here because the food is FABULOUS!

During this visit we inhale the wood-grilled broccoli, deep-fried duck tongues, goat liver mousse, Arctic char in a tasty citrus sauce, pig’s face, and the slow-roasted then deep-fried pork shank. . .and all of this stuff is extremely delicious–really really good.  We wash the whole pile of grub down with a bottle of Etna bianco–perfect!

Dessert is three scoops of blood orange sorbet covered with sugary candied lemons. . .wonderful, just wonderful.

G&TG is totally worth altering your normal feeding patterns for. . .do whatever you can to eat here. . .you will love it–I gar-on-taaaayy!

Stay on the prowl cuz…

…it’s lovely out there.

Presidential eating place…Chicago–

BOOM!  Here we are gobbling lots of diner goodness at one of Obama’s favorite hangouts in the Hyde Park section of Chicago: Valois Restaurant…let’s check it out and see what’s what.

Valois is a diner/cafeteria that serves up extremely tasty grub at extremely reasonable prices…with breakfast served fast and all day. . .mmm, aaaah!

We grab our trays and immediately the head dude in charge asks for our order…we tell him eggs over easy, sausages, bacon, hashbrowns, brown gravy on the side, and KAPOWY everything is ready in about one minute–amazing!

Next we order toast and English muffin…mugs of coffee…then we pay–the whole shebang is $19.40.  Full-on breakfast for two…less than 20 bucks…niiiiice!

We sit down and eat. . .our dining companions in the large and comfortable eating space include brown, yellow, white, green, purple, and other peoples of every color you can think of. . .totally diverse clientele eating and chatting and laughing and enjoying–if only this could happen everywhere and everyplace with everyone, if only.

Please make your way down to Valois Restaurant in the Hyde Park section of Chicago on 53rd Street the next time you are in town. . .have a meal here, feel the good vibes, and spread the good vibes when you leave.  You will love it here–I gar-ron-taaaayy!

It’s lovely out there.

Full of wonder…Chicago–

BAM!  We hit the ground running when we arrive in Chicago. . .always so much to do and sooooo little time.

The bloodys at Soho House are tasty and delectable. . .the streets of Hyde Park are crisp and clean. . .the alleyways in the West Loop are full of hidden drinking places like the Booze Box–mmmm, Booze Box, lots of interesting beverages and mouthwatering snacks…find this place near the corner of Green and Randolph Streets–you will be happy you did. . .mmmm, aaaah!

Sending you lots of uplifting vibes from here, there, and everywhere in Chi-town. . .feel them. . .they will have you smiling all day every day.

It’s lovely out there.

Chicagoland St. Patty’s Day–

AYE!  The river is green, and the meat is delectable here in Chicago for St. Patty’s Day…mmmm, aaaah!

Gibson’s is a fabulous steakhouse–you gotta eat here before you move on–make a plan NOW.

During our recent visit we inhale a “Chicago Cut” rib-eye, a ten-ounce filet mignon, creamed spinach, and hashbrowns–everything totally delectable!…and all washed down with big icy martinis and a tasty bottle of Cabernet…cheers!

The best part of dining at Gibson’s might just be the service…the entire staff here is helpful and extremely switched-on. . .makes the whole experience fabulous when folks take pride in making everyone feel relaxed and welcomed.

Thank you to everyone at Gibson’s on North Rush Street. . .and happy St. Patty’s Day to all of you–jaaaa!!

It’s lovely out there.

La Crosse satisfies–

BOOM!  It’s cold outside, yet The Charmant Restaurant in La Crosse, Wisconsin keeps servin’ up satisfying grub for us. . .mmmm, aaaaahh!

For this din-din we are gobbling the scallops with lots of tasty root-veggies and greens, the bouillabaisse with a soothing saffron broth, and a fun little lemon tart for dessert.  We wash the whole meal down with a white wine from Bordeaux–HUH?–and it is actually drinkable and delectable…jaaaa!

Winter is nearly over up here in the northern hemisphere…it is…really…I can feel it.  Warmer temps are right around the corner…nevertheless, it is good to know that whatever the temperature is outside the folks here at The Charmant in La Crosse have us covered for tasty grub served up with skill and flair.

Come on out to La Crosse the next time you find yourself toolin’ around in the midwest region of the U.S. of A.. . .stop in at The Charmant for a meal…better yet, stay the night and enjoy a cozy room with views of the Mississippi River…and you will be satisfied beyond all expectations–I gar-ron-taaaayy!

To see more amazing images from around planet Earth simply click on a location of your choice in the category menu on the ‘About’ page of this blog. . .do it. . .you can go just about anywhere you like right here, right NOW.

It’s lovely out there.

JT in the Quad Cities–

BAM!  Our ongoing tour of the great midwest of the U.S. of A. continues here in Moline, Illinois…the occasion: James Taylor is playing a concert at a venue called the TaxSlayer Center–mmm, aaaah!  Let’s check things out and see what’s what.

Moline is part of an area called the Quad Cities located on the Mississippi River about 60 miles south of Dubuque, Iowa.  Funny thing about the Quad Cities: there are five cities that comprise the whole area–Moline, East Moline, and Rock Island on the Illinois side of the river, and Davenport and Bettendorf over in Iowa.  Apparently the powers-that-be tried to push calling this area the Quint Cities, but this did not catch on–Quad Cities sounds better–HUH?–and this is the name that sticks today.

The Quad Cities–all five of them–are located at the confluence of the Rock River and the Mississippi River. . .this area was settled in the 18th/19th centuries and after many battles with the Indians, who were eventually moved to reservations, and eventually the Quads became a thriving area of commerce and manufacturing.  For example, John Deere, the tractor guy, is from this area and his John Deere Industries are based here today. . .multiple colleges are here…food processing plants…municipal workers…and the Rock Island Arsenal (a military base) is the biggest employer with nearly eight thousand workers.

According to Wikipedia there are nearly four hundred thousand people living in the Quads–we see lots of people out and about doing this and that…things appear to be thriving here. . .though there are also pockets of houses in what some might call challenging-looking areas–we don’t know what is happening in these pockets, but we can imagine a bit of a struggle happening here as well. . .same as most places on the planet.

Nevertheless, there are enough folks here interested in a James Taylor concert over at the TaxSlayer Center.  This stadium has 12,000 seats…about 10,000 of them are filled with JT fans…we are happy to be here…lovely stadium, built in 1993 it now hosts lots of concerts and sporting events to keep folks entertained.  JT seems happy to be here…he puts on a good show for us…he has Bonnie Raitt opening for him–veddy niiiiice!

We are staying in a hotel called ‘Element by Westin’…it is new, clean, organized, and located right across the street from the TaxSlayer Center.  We check in, we walk over to 5th Avenue in the heart of Moline for beverages and snacks at a joint called the Bier Stube. . .we walk back to the TaxSlayer…pop in for the show…pop out and back across the street to our hotel–totally good-to-go.

So, Moline, thank you for being nice to us and for making our lives so easy to catch our buddy James singin’ his hits. . .the only thing that would make this better is to eliminate the February freezing rain next time.  Ah well, we are picky buggers, I know…do what you can.

Pop on down to the Quad Cities some time. . .you might find something to like just like us.

It’s lovely out there.