Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Brady Street Images

In a recent post we wrote about Dave's day-trip to Milwaukee to take the Brady Street Food Tour. He went with his aunt, whom also takes a lot of pictures. Here's a photo tour of Brady Street mostly from her point-of-view:

A "Polish Flat": a house where the basement is added later by jacking up the original house. Named for the Polish immigrants that built them in this area.
Sidewalks are decorated all along Brady Street.

Friday, September 26, 2014

Milwaukee Food Tour: Brady Street

Dave's aunt visited us from New Jersey recently. She's visited before and lived in Chicago for a few months out of school so she was familiar with Illinois and the city. She had never been to Milwaukee. Dave thought that touring Milwaukee would be better traffic-wise on a Friday afternoon vs. the hassles of getting into Chicago from our house. Her stipulation was to find an activity Dave hadn't experienced yet. After some searching online he picked the Milwaukee Food Tour of Brady Street.

From milwaukeefoodtours.com:

Brady Street was like a mini Lincoln Park (in Chicago). There were trendy shops, eateries, and a few newer places filled with craft beer and pub fare. The touring area was about 1.5 miles away from the main downtown tourist area of Third/Water Streets and very easy to get to by car. Dave's aunt was surprised how little traffic there was in the downtown area.
The tour material sent us to meet the group and guide at Zaffiro's Pizza. Our guide Damien, a retired journalist, met us outside and led us to our group's table where two other women were sitting. We were it today. After intros we were given a brief overview of the area, history of pizza, and Zaffiro's cultural reference as one of the city's longest standing pizzerias. We shared a large thin crust pizza. We're used to thin in Chicago, but this was cracker-thin (but very good).

Next up was Cempazuchi's, a vibrantly decorated Mexican restaurant. As we strolled over in the slight drizzle Damien pointed out some of the architecture and history of several buildings we passed. In Cempazuchi's we had very traditional (non Tex-Mex) sauce and chips plus a tinga taco: Ground pork and chicken simmered with peppers, onions, and cilantro on a soft corn tortilla. This was the best item we had of the day. Really simple and fresh. We had time to get drinks (not included in the price) so Dave tried a Mexican craft brew and his aunt a margarita.

Damien was like, "drink up folks....." so the four of us downed our beverages and moved onto Sciortino's Bakery. Simple story here is a guy used to buy bread everyday and his three kids worked there during school. When the owner was ready to sell he offered first crack to the kids and they (or their family) have owned it since. We had canolis here, it it all just happened so fast we didn't take a picture. Dave doesn't like canolis but this one was different since the filling didn't have that usual cheese taste.

Halfway there....

The next stop was at Glorioso Brothers Grocery: an Italian Market that's been in the same family since it opened after World War II. It recently moved from it's original location to a modern building across the street. You can buy almost everything you need here to make the perfect Italian feast. They also carry beer and wine at decent prices. Here we sampled salamis, prosciutto, and olives on napkins. Not the most well thought out stop of the tour for the food, but the history was there.

We walked a bit to get to our next stop, which was Brocach Milwaukee. Along the way we learned about Polish flats (houses raised to build a lower level addition vs. adding a top floor), Milwaukee's tannery history, and the city's cream colored local clay bricks. Brocach is your stereotypical million dollar remake of an Irish Pub. It's done really well, but when you walk in you see the formula at work. Here we had corn beefed sliders and fries. The thought of having to taste corned beef gives Dave the fits. However this was good: pretzel roll, not-so-salty meat, cheese, and onions. It all worked well. A beer would have been great, but it seemed like we were all ready running longer than anticipated.

Our final stop was Wolski's Tavern. Apparently this a a Milwaukee institution. We learned about how the bar has been in the same family for over 100 years and how the building used to be on Brady Street (now on Pulaski Street). On the outside it looked updated, but the inside still had that dank 100 year old bar charm we love so much. Food offering here was a local beer from LakeFront Brewing. We spent some time talking to one of the owners about the bar and some of the fixtures. You could tell he was proud to own a Milwaukee landmark.

Our total time on the tour was 3 hours. Damien directed us to our car's location and left us to. Enjoy Wolski's as long as we wanted.

The tour was definitely worth it. It was fun to see things off-the-beaten-path of Milwaukee's downtown and lakefront. At $45/pp (plus tip) it was a reasonable value. Dave and his aunt both said they would take another tour from Milwaukee Food Tours.


Saturday, September 20, 2014

2014 Disneyland Half Marathon Race Report and Video

While in Disneyland a few weeks ago we participated in a few runDisney races. Dave participated in the 10K and Holly participated in the Dumbo Double Dare - which is a combination of the 10K day 1 and a half marathon day 2. Here is the report for the Half Marathon with video.

Holly's Half Marathon Report

It was time for me to start day 2 of the Dumbo Double Dare Challenge with the half marathon. I ran the Disneyland Half in 2010 and was looking forward to seeing the course again. It was nice to sleep in until until 4:00 am and make it to the corral with plenty of time to spare. Dave opted to sleep-in this morning and not catch the start line action.

I was pretty tired from all the park touring we had been doing and the 10k from the day before. I was just hoping to have some fun and finish under 3 hours.This time I would be running with my good friend Stan.

The national anthem was much better this morning and we even had a few fireworks.

We started off and we were in California Adventure before we knew it. They had the Green Army Men and Lightning and Tow Mater out in Cars Land. I love the World of Color lighted fountains in this park.

Then it was on to Disneyland. We ran up Main Street and as Stan said to me. "This never gets old". I agree. while I am taking a break from Disney races after this one, running up Main Street in either park is the best part! At the end of Main Street we saw the Three Caballeros and then we ran by Darth Vader in Tomorrowland. After a quick run through the tiny castle I expected a princess photo opp. I was surprised there were no princesses waiting for us. They did have a few villains out by Small World, but we didn’t stop for any characters in the parks. I was feeling good and didn’t want to stop. We saw Dave when we left Disneyland and Stan grabbed a big sip of his coffee.

Now for the boring part. The course goes through Industrial parks. Disney does do a good job of trying to liven it up. They bring in marching bands, hula dancers, Mexican dancers and, a new part for me, tons of classic and custom cars. They went on for at least a mile. It really broke up the race.

After that we approached Angels Stadium. This is honestly my favorite part (besides Main Street). You get to run under the tunnel and come out on to the field and run around. They bring in a TON of boy and girl scouts and they are cheering for you like you are a pro ball player. It is amazing.

After the Stadium, it’s back through the streets of Anaheim with a bunch of bands to cheer us on. We were having fun and I was feeling good, but starting to get tired. Our pace was good and I was pleasantly surprised. Eventually we made it back to Downtown Disney and the finish line was in sight. We got a cheer from Dave and waved to race announcer Rudy once again. Finished up in 2:39, which is a Disney PR for me. I was happy to get my Dumbo Doubble Dare medal and another Coast to Coast medal. It was a fun race. Thanks for being my running buddy Stan! And of course thanks Dave for race chasing.

Dave's Comments

I slept in. I showered and sat around the room doing Facebook waiting for the "I started" text. A text came in telling me they were in Disneyland (no signal at the actual start). Shoot! I hauled it over to the 4 mile mark and didn't have too long to wait to see Holly and Stan, then the rest of the crew. I walked back to Disneyland Hotel, got coffee and a chocolate croissant, wrote a blog post, then moved to the finish line. I met Holly and Stan after their finish in the runner's village and used my sherpa powers to carry post-race snacks and drinks.

Here's a short video from the race.


Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Disneyland 2014 10K Report and Video

While in Disneyland a few weeks ago we participated in a few runDisney races. Dave participated in the 10K and Holly participated in the Dumbo Double Dare - which is a combination of the 10K day 1 and the half marathon day 2. This also earned her another Coast to Coast Medal.  Here is the report for the 10K with video.

Dave's 10K Report
In some cases Disneyland's smallness can be a benefit and this is certainly true on runDisney event days. Guest staying on property have a pretty easy time getting from their resorts to the race start lines near the Disneyland Hotel (getting back to your hotel is a much harder task). We were able to get up at 4:00am for a 5:30 start time and make it to the start area with lots of time to spare.

The 10K was themed to the movie Lilo and Stitch so the tropical/Hawaiian theme was a given. What we all forgot about was that the Elvis theme also comes with Stitch. Our National Anthem send off was performed by an Elvis impersonator really overacting the role. Points for trying.....

Holly and I decided we'd do the race together and we wouldn't just stroll it like we normally do for a short runDisney race. I'd walk and Holly would run/walk and we'd maintain a decent pace. We've never really done this together before and we figured out why. I don't do a run/walk and find it unnatural. I also don't talk and pretty much prefer to zone out while exercising. This really doesn't make me a good race partner. Plus my sweat rate and need to stay under a certain heart rate adds to Holly's stress. At one point in Fantasyland we were that couple having a disagreement on course. Lessons learned for next time.

The first two miles of the course were off Disney property. We went by some hotels and through the Convention Center. We entered California Adventure through the back door by Cars Land (Mater and Lightning were out) and rounded over to Paradise Pier, through Condor Flats, up through the Hollywood area and then out a back way to the Esplanade (area between the two parks).

We crossed into Disneyland under the train tracks and made our way up Main Street towards Tomorrowland. Holly was expecting to see Darth Vader or Buzz Lightyear this morning for a character photo stop.   Not this morning.... We rounded over to Fantasyland and found Cops and Robbers Chip and Dale hanging out with an Elvis impersonator - think Jailhouse Rock. We spent some time backstage before heading back into ToonTown to go to Fantasyland and through the castle.

In Frontierland/New Orleans Square Stitch in an Elvis outfit and a random Hawaiian lady were available for photos. We waited at least ten minutes in this line. After we snapped the photo we headed towards Critter Country and backstage again. We exited Disneyland near the ticket gates and finished the race moving through Downtown Dinsey. We both got shout outs from our race announcer friend Rudy.
Overall the course was pretty good. The boring portions were over with early while it was still dark. A lot of time was spent backstage, which in my opinion is one of the reasons you'd do a runDisney race. The character stops were limited - which is something Holly wasn't happy about. We believe the rationale is they wanted to open the parks on time and having a lot of characters would cause runners to linger longer than desired. There were plenty of chances to take pictures along the course of rides and buildings.

Here's some video from the 10K.  We had audio issues with the camera so some of the comments are very fuzzy.  As we enter into Disneyland we are commenting on how someone liked our new matching shirts, but how we hated them because they were hot and they just stuck to us in the rare California humidity.

Monday, September 8, 2014

Some More Disneyland Photos

Love Mater's Junkyard Jamboree
First time for riding rides in A Bug's Land. Holly claimed "Only Disney can take the fun out of bumper cars".
Holly spent Sunday putting stupid hats on Dave
We always miss the fire truck. This was Holly's last ditch effort at a photo with it.
Carthay Circle Chicken Ravioli
Shhhh..... There's a beer counter at the Wine Country Trattoria.

We were able to text our ride photo to ourselves as part of a test. And yes we are with the people behind us.

Next time we see Stan will be in Tulsa.
Disneyland Hotel Memorabilia Case

Naples (owned by same folks that own Via Napoli) has a BBQ Chicken Pizza.

Love the selections at The Uva Bar in Downtown Disney
One of Dave's favorites was broken
We loved The Cove Bar

We're with them.
Bye tiny castle