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Madison & New Glarus, Wi

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This past weekend Julie and I headed up to Madison, Wisconsin for the night. We’ve been to Madison for a football game before but never really ventured out and into the town. We managed to check out Vintage Brewing Co. on the way into town and then once we were downtown we set out for the Capital Tap Haus. From there we spent the better part of the evening working our way around State Street.

New Glarus Brewing
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On the way up we stopped at the New Glarus Brewing Co. in New Glarus, Wisconsin. We’ve had quite a few of their beers over the past couple of years. Their distribution is limited to Wisconsin but they are one of the top 20 largest American breweries. We were surprised by the scale of the facility. They have nearly all of their beers available for sale including a wide selection of their fruit beers. The taproom or tasting area was more limited but the expansive patio over looking farmlands was great.
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The setup was either a tasting glass with three refills or a 16oz pint glass with one fill. You could then get additional pours for $5. The patio area was huge with several faux ruined structures to walk about. There is also a self guided tour of the production facility where you basically walk a hallway that goes straight through the middle of the brewery with glass partitions on each side. The brewery store had nearly every beer they produce and a variety of ‘mix and match’ so we were able to get a little bit of everything we liked.
Side Note:
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Included in the tasting is a ticket for a free New Glarus beer in one of the many bars in town. I’ve never seen this done before but I think it’s a great way to get people to check out the town of New Glarus. We ended up at the Sportsman’s Bar & Grill and they actually had a better selection of New Glarus beers on draft than the brewery had for tasting.

Las Vegas 2014

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In the beginning of June I headed out to Las Vegas with Julie for a wedding at the Platinum Hotel which just so happens to be at the intersection where Tupac was gun downed.  We stayed at the Paris Hotel & Casino for three nights and then moved to the wedding location for our final night.

Stratosphere
View from the Stratosphere Level 107 LoungeView from the Stratosphere Level 107 Lounge
For a unique view of the city we stopped at the Stratosphere bar before heading to dinner. From the bar you get a 360 degree view of the city and you can get an appreciation for the scale of all the buildings in relation to one another.  Definitely worth a stop.

Golden Steer
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One of the things I really wanted to do on this trip was make it out to Golden Steer Steakhouse. It’s a little out of the way but was worth it, a completely different vibe than any other place we were at the whole trip. The Golden Steer has been around since 1958 which I assume for Las Vegas rates up there as one of the older establishments in the entire city. It’s an old school steakhouse, the place is dark, the food is great. We made reservations on Open Table but they weren’t really needed, the dining room we were in was half empty.

Solo
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A good portion of this trip I was on my own as Julie had wedding/bachelorette party obligations. Friday night I headed over to Blondies in the Planet Hollywood Casino to catch the Blackhawks – Kings game. It’s one of the few full-on sports bars that I came across. A ton of TVs, pitchers of beer, beer pong etc. They had the audio on for the game and there were probably an equal amount of Kings and Blackhawks fans.

After the game I wanted to make my way over to CraftSteak at the MGM Grand with as little outside walking as possible. I attempted to cut through the Miracle Mile Shops when I came across one of the Sin City Beer popup bars. I had the Sin City Light as I plotted how the hell to get out of this mall. After my beer I continued on walking for about 30 minutes before I came across the Sin City Beer popup again. I just walked in a complete circle. By this point I was getting worried that I wouldn’t make it to CraftSteak before they stopped serving. I managed to get out of the mall and then began the outside trek to the MGM Grand. The pedestrian walkways along the Strip become a nightmare as the sun goes down so it was a hot mess working my way down to the MGM Grand. When I finally got in I had to make my way through concert ticket lines and through the casino before getting to CraftSteak. I had an arugula salad and a ribeye that made the hassle worth it. The place was winding down but there were still a handful of people at the bar.
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On Sunday, the day of the wedding, I had my morning and afternoon to make my own way to the wedding hotel. On recommendation, I stopped by O’Sheas Casino at around 10:30am and took at seat at the bar. About 10 minutes later I notice the security guard and the bartender discussing bags vs. purses. Next thing I know the security guard is asking me to leave the casino because they have a ‘no bag policy’. I’m allowed to finish my beer but then I had to go. For the record there were about 4 other people in the casino at this point, all of which were employees. I’ve carried my messenger bag with me throughout the entire time in Las Vegas passing through at least six other casinos and never had a problem.

I move along and head over to the Venetian to check out the Public House which was a highly recommended craft beer bar. Public House has around twenty taps and more than two hundred bottles. Their list was all on an iPad which allowed you to check off beers or curate a list to order. For someone looking to kill an afternoon, like myself, this was great. The selection was West Coast heavy and a good amount of European stuff that I hadn’t heard of before and nearly all of the decent beer bars in town were familiar with Untappd.  As I tried to make my way out of the Venetian, I suddenly found myself in a hallway full of people in Domino’s uniforms (blue polos).

Las Vegas 51s
Las Vegas 51sDizzy Reed first pitchView from my seat
Saturday night we had made a point to check out the Mets minor league affiliate, the Las Vegas 51s, who play at Cashman Field. We rented a car for a couple of the days we were in town just to make getting around and moving hotels a little easier. This helped out a lot when going to the game as it was about a 25 minute ride from our hotel and I’m not sure we would have easily gotten a cab after the game. There was a decent crowd for the game and the temperature cooled down once the sun set. Dizzy Reed from Guns N’ Roses threw out the first pitch.

Side Notes:
New York-New York Hotel & Casino
* In summary:  Times Square + Mall of America = Las Vegas.

2014 Fish Fry Season: St. Andrew

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The 2014 Fish Fry Season got off to a great start this past Friday at St. Andrew Parish. Much like last year, the fish was provided by New England Seafood Co. which so far has been the best fish at any Chicago fish fry I’ve attended. In addition to the fish, there were Mac & Cheese baskets and Girl Scout cookies for sale.

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For $10 you got a basket of fries and a large portion of fried cod or a basket of Mac & Cheese. The crowd came and went throughout the evening but the food line wasn’t too long. All of the fish frying was done by a group of men drinking beer.

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The turn out was great, we had around 20 people in our group, taking over several tables. The beer selection was ample for a BYOB. To top things off, our tables were near a gaggle of about 20 children running around and throwing water bottles with reckless abandon.

Side Notes:
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* Stroller parking was a premium.