Friday, October 19, 2007

Chi-Town

Made it back to Chicago Land on Tuesday after a nice drive from Coralville. Tomtom set to avoid highways which gave us a much nicer scenery. Wild dear, halloween decorations, family run restaurants.... just the way we like it.
Friday we spend shopping a little more.

Saturday, off to Chicago for the Apple store and a dinner at Topolobampo. Reservations were made three months in advance because this place is always packed. We had lunch before in the less formal part of the restaurant, the Frontera Grill which was fabulous.
Well the dinner was one to put in our top 10! Gourmet Mexican food with suprising twists in taste and presentation. As a starting food blogger I found it a little emberrassing to take pictures here so no pictures to go with this dinner.
We started with a Mezcal Martini, nice and smokey . I had crab apples filled with goats cheese and pecans, micro greens and a chile sauce as a starter, Maine lobster with ancho chiles and squash as a main and the most surprising was the desert, a 2 chocolate torte with pumpkin seed and black olives! The olives gave it a salty taste which made it very different. Oaxacan hot chocolate and chocolates finished it all. The service was perfect and not too much in your face.


Sunday, we had to go back home but not after a visit to Billy Goat's Tavern. This place is located in "the belly" of Chicago. If you're on North Michican Avenue in front of the Wrigley Building you will find stairs going down, there's another layer of roads here and this is also were Billy Goat's is located. Go here to eat their famous Cheezborger or better get a triple one with bacon :-) This is one of those places that you will miss if you are just wandering around as a tourist, but the burgers are the best and the atmosphere even better!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

Dodge City

Yesterday we left from Pagosa Springs, Colorado and drove through the mountains to Lamar, Colorado, yes it's a big state :-) Beautiful ride through the Rocky Mountains, 2 passes over 10.000 feet, great views and smooth roads with hardly any traffic what more do you want?
Today we continued our trip and reached Dodge City, Kansas by lunch time. Wyatt Earp was the marshal here and they erected a nice statue in his honor.

We had lunch at Casey's Cowtown Steakhouse. Casey the owner was very friendly and helpful, the Steaks were absolutely fabulous. We love these independently owned restaurants that have way more character than the chains.

Before we reached our destination for today, Emporia, Kansas, we passed through Mullinville were we ran into M.T. Liggett's Political Sculptures. People who know us, know that we have a weak spot for kitschy stuff like this so we had to take a few pictures before we head on.

Mesa Verde National Park

On our way back to Chicago we passed by Mesa Verde National Park, I recalled that it was the place where people in the past build houses in the mountain and I recalled right. This park took us the better part of the day, it was worth it! Great if you are not really on a schedule and can make time for something special like this.

We saw the dwellings, could even walk around in them, saw some wildlife, deer and wild turkey, and we had a very nice lunch, Navajo flatbread with chili. The lunch was terrific even though it looks like (and probably is) fast food and I can recommend the restaurant in the park.

Sunday, October 7, 2007

Bryce Canyon and Monument Valley

Yesterday we visited Bryce Canyon, this time we were impressed! Incredible what mother nature created here. For the first time during our trip it was cloudy, which added a nice effect on the rocks. The colors changed every time a cloud passed by.
Tip of the day, when you enter the park drive all the way to the end and on the way back pull out for the views, all the pull outs are on that side of the road so this way you don't have to cross the road all the time.
Hoodoo's in Bryce Canyon

Today we visited Monument Valley and again we were impressed, we've seen most of the States but Utah has the most spectacular landscape, probably also because it looks so alien. Monument Valley isn't a National Park, but is run by the Navajo Indian tribe, you can drive through it with your own car or take a ride with them.

Zion National Park


From Las Vegas we drove on to Zion National Park, to be honest we weren't impressed, sure it's a nice canyon, but after all the other beautiful things we have seen so far this was a little bit disappointing.
After Zion we went in to the direction of Bryce Canyon and we drove through Red Canyon which was a lot more impressive than Zion.

Viva Las Vegas


Vegas was great! We stayed at the Planet Hollywood Resorts and Casino which was fabulous. Beautiful room on the 29th floor, nice casino, great restaurants. Their buffet "the Spice Market" won the best buffet award for 2007 and we agreed with the judges! Nice prime rib, king crab legs, sole filet rolls stuffed with crab meat etc. There is a Asian, Mexican, American, sea food, Middle Eastern, salad and desert section. The desserts were also great, too bad you can only eat so much.

We also visited Ka, the Cirque du Soleil show, at the MGM Grand. What a show! Great that there is so much money in Vegas that a group as Cirque du Soleil gets every chance to build a show like that, a theatre that is build for the show, a show with mind boggling effects and fantastic performers!
I will certainly see this show again next time I'm in Vegas.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Arches National Park

Park Avenue

No Vegas today, we passed by Arches National Park which was on our list and decided to visit this park first. It was beautiful and worthwhile the small detour. The rock formations have incredible shapes and are enormous.

the Delicate Arch

After the park we drove on to Green River where we had filet mignons at Ray's Tavern, they were bacon wrapped and grilled to perfection, the milk shakes were also very nice here.


250 more miles to Vegas, reservations are made for the Planet Hollywood Resort and Casino right in the middle of the Strip. We also have tickets for Wednesday for Cirque du Soleil's Ka show at the MGM Grand. No idea if I'll be bloging from Vegas since you have to pay for your internet access there. If I don't have access I'll report when we 're leaving Las Vegas on Friday.