Red Wing, MN 55066
Ahhh, fall is in the air...
For the past couple of Novembers, we have been making a trip out to Rapid City, South Dakota, to see one my favorite people from my college, Kevin. Kevin works in an amazing local art gallery (complete with a John Mayer sighting) and is himself a fabulous artist. Last fall, his work was chosen for the label for the Pumpkin Bog wine bottle. (See, amazing). Aside from watching my father make wine, I am no expert on this, BUT I do seem think that cold climates tend to mix their grapes with other local fruits and end up with a sweeter product as they often need to add more sugar and make fruits such as rhubarb and cherry more palatable. Or consider the grapes for ice-style wine which has become popular as a sweet dessert which do well growing in the Midwest and the colder regions of Europe. As it goes, I like a hot-weather grape. Some of my favorite wines are from the Temecula Valley in California. And just made out of grapes. I get a little scared when I'm reading the back of a wine bottle and think that I accidentally wandered into the Bath and Bodyworks fruit-scented hand lotion section. So I was a but skeptical when we drove out to Prairie Berry Winery in the Black Hills to see Kevin's handiwork last year. That changed quickly. First of all, the day before it had snow. All the atmospheric aesthetics were there. So, it was a gorgeous sunny day with just a bit of chill in the air to keep the snow pristine. The Winery itself has not only a tasting area, but a Euro-deli with appetizers, sandwiches and pizza. Sadly we did not eat there, but I was able to pick up a variety of the jams, honeys and mulling spices that they also make. That particular day that we were there they had a string quartet playing. I mean, life really doesn’t get better when you have all of that going. And, I am happy to announce, they had an awesome red wine. Phat Hogg Red. A light (but not too light) Corot Noir/Pinot Noir dry red wine. Just grapes and just fantastic. Like I said, I'm not good at describing the aromatics of the wine, or comparing it to chocolate or describing it's oaky flavor. To me, it just has a damn good flavor. And I must know a little bit, because the wine won a silver medal from the San Francisco Chronicle Wine Competition. So please, if you are heading out to Rapid City, bring me back the Phat Hogg Red. And make time for lunch there.
Prairie Berry Winery (Since 1876!)
23837 Hwy 385 Hill City, SD 57745
What I learned on my Vacation:
I hate starting things, love to finish
Europeans are superhuman
You can diet when you get home
I went to Yosemite for my vacation. And I hiked up to the top of these falls. Yep, from the bottom of that gorge.
And I hated it. I thought in true Lisa fashion, maybe I can break a bone and get airlifted out of here. But no such luck. But I did it, and it was awesome. Sorta like when I go running. I hate it.I don't want to do it. But I'm always glad I did.
Now, about the Europeans. I don't know how they do it. Every time I see them at a National Park I feel like I've stumbled upon a fashion shoot. They must be strolling in the Alps every weekend. They can hike up a steep vertical ascent in a bikini, wearing flip-flops, (I kid you not - one girl was in bare feet) and carry a minimal amount of water while I felt like I was going to hack up a lung. (So not kidding). I must take pictures. I however, look like a 75-year-old with my sun hat, CamelBak, and my 310 Skill GT Zamberlan hiking boots stopping every 10 feet or so to catch my breath. (Sorry no picture). I did not, continue the hike up here to Half Dome. 2,000 feet at a plus-5000 ft. altitude kicked my heinie. I would have been whining on the walk from the parking lot to the trail. (Incidentally I did go to the Sequoia Grove which had its own quiet beauty).
Half Dome,Yosemite National Park
Fallen Monarch, Mariposa Grove, Yosemite National Park
This is soo interesting. This sequoia tree fell over 300 years ago. It's said that these sequoias don't die. They just fall over.
This tree, the Grizzly Bear is estimated to be between 1900-2400 years old. Crazy, huh?
But the only way to get in to shape to someday do Half Dome or something like it is to move. Keep moving when you think you can't. It really became mind over matter for me. Just when I thought my heart would pound out of my chest and I wished for a Life Alert button to hit I got up and climbed some more. And I made it to the top of the falls. Plus, it comes with multiple payoffs. One, I come back slimmer after vacation. And I indulge. Food never ever tastes so good than in the outdoors. Steaming hot percolated coffee after a night of sleeping under the stars. Bacon. Dinty Moore Beef Stew. Even the dehydrated Breakfast Skillet tastes like it came from Wolfgang Puck or Charlie Trotter. You can tell me your idea of camping is a four-star hotel, but let me tell you this, you will never, ever appreciate that hot shower in your fancy hotel unless you have at some point showered off five days of grime that comes a 2,000 foot vertical ascent or a day of river canyoneering and sleeping in a tent and checking your bad self in a foggy mirror at the campsite's public bathroom. Anything else is just a shower you could be having at home. And if you are hiking every day, you can eat as much as you like. That's the final bit of wisdom I learned. You do not, or should not diet while on vacation. Just move around a bit.
By far the easiest poultry recipe you will make that people will think you slaved over. Ten Ingredients.
Six of which fall into the herbs and spices categories. Out of The Best of Byerly's Volume II. Pair it with the Parnesan
Rosemary Focaccia. I promise you won't be disappointed.
A Minnesota native returns after 13 years away discovering a whole new food landscape.