Thursday, December 10, 2009

Planning for the bean...

In an effort to evaluate cost-saving measures, potentially avoid any BPA traces in canned foods and truly explore the nature of one our favorite foods I decided to try out homemade refried beans. I bought a huge bag of pinto beans from WholeFoods for ~$2.00. I soaked them in a bowl of water overnight, drained them, and then boiled them for 2 hours with some water, garlic, bay leaves and kosher salt. Once the beans were tender I drained them and kept the bean stock. In order to "re-fry" the beans I placed the beans in a pot and added some oil and heated them up while smashing them. I also added some bean stock back to the pot to smoothen them out. Concerning the preservation of bean stock -- I read recently about ways to multipurpose cooking elements like re-using cooking waters for various purposes -- including pasta water, water used for boiling veggies and the like -- and incorporating the water into recipes instead of plain water. The seasoned water is a natural thickener and flavor enhancer. So with no further ado I present my bean stock:

strained bean stock with hints of garlic and bay leaves in stock container from Penzey's

Betty was grossed out by the two unappealing jars of stock that were in the fridge but I was excited to use them in some future recipe.

The refried beans turned out pretty good. They were a little bland -- but i do have a bad habit of not adding too much salt to my food. What I noticed most was the texture of the beans. Definitely more substance and hence filling which was a good thing. So most our meals that week consisted of classic CK staples including...

bean burritos with trader joe's whole wheat wrappers, shredded ched, lazily chopped onions and the retun of the el yucateco paso doble

surprise remix. same burritos as before but with cilantro.

nachos. i know big surprise. diced jalapenos to boot.

So...Beans...and I used them for bean burritos and nachos which is a good portion of what we typically eat...but what about the yucky looking bean stock?

Well I decided to make jambalaya and utilized the remaining pinto beans and my bean stock along with the following:
  • ground turkey from Trader Joes
  • potatoes
  • zuccini
  • squash
  • onions
  • bay leaves
  • chili con carne powder from Penzey's
  • chipotle salsa from Trader Joes
  • andouille sausage from Trader Joes
  • corn

jambalaya. boom.

For plating I decided to cook up some grits that I purchased when Betty and I were down in Louisville earlier this year and added a fried egg on top for kicks.

CK's extreme jambalaya. boom.

The jambalaya was the jam. The grits absorbed and inherited the smoky flavor of the jambalaya and were surprisingly smooth and creamy. The sausage and veggies provided additional texture which made each bite very hearty. The tang of the egg yolk took each lucky bite to the moon. I've cooked jambalaya twice this year. That's twice more than I ever have before and am looking for ways to remix this dish.

So the bean has come full circle for CK. I am aware of the health concerns of purchasing canned foods as previously mentioned for BPA concerns and sodium concerns -- but I do have trouble resisting canned refried beans for the convenience factor since we eat them often. There are healthier brands that have less sodium and are organic but those also cost twice-to-three-times as much. This cooking experience has been fun and revealing. It definitely takes more time to make beans from scratch -- but you get more beans for your buck for sure and of course you get the bean stock as an added enhancer for other meals. In the end it's all about planning. Planning for the bean...and that is something this bear will just have to do...Plan for the bean. Be the Bean. Eat the bean.

There are three things I have learned never to discuss with people: religion, politics and the Great Pumpy.

Betty and I decided to carve a pumpkin despite the fact that Halloween had come and gone. We wanted to name our pumpkin pumpy cause that's a cool name. Betty took the lead since I hadn't carved a pumpkin since I was in kin-bear-garten.

Betty drawing up potential faces for pumpy. Her fur sure looks strange.

Betty opening up pumpy's head. I didn't know she was gonna kill him!

Pumpy's seeds. We toasted these with oil, salt and pepper and they were delicious.

Pumpy has a face...

Pumpy all done.

Pumpy sleeping.

Making pumpy was a lot of fun and I got to learn more about pumpkins along the way. I sure hope pumpy rises out of the chateau again next year flying through the air bringing toys to all the bears of the world!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

cholesterolking lives...

Don't count Betty and me out just yet!

this is a scary picture of pumpy the pumpkin.

see he's not that scary with the lights on.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Charlotte, North Bear-alina...this one's for you...this one's for us us...

Betty and I took a last minute trip to Hilton Head last month and stopped in to visit some fam and friends in Charlotte, NC on the way. We had some good eats and the highlight of the trip was getting some quality time with our friends and family whom we don't get to visit with often. We kicked off opening night at a Mexican restaurant which of course I was eager to try. Our friend took us to Azteca. I must admit the location of the restaurant was slightly seedy as it was connected to a hotel but there was a warm vibe in the air which included a Mariachi band and folks who would stop by your table and make fresh guacamole.

chips & salsa w/ an interesting cabbage salad/salsa/slaw?

$8 guacamole made fresh in front of you

carnitas de puerca aka pork tacos.

sopapilla-esque dessert with fruit topping

Overall I was pleased with the meal, the vibe and the great conversation during dinner. There was perhaps slightly a bit of ADD in the air with all the music and action happening in the restaurant but it was fun none-the-less. The chips and salsa were standard. The cabbage dip was intriguing though not my favorite. I asked for hot sauce and hot salsa and was underwhelmed with both options that were brought out. The $8 guac tasted more like $5.75 guac but was still decent. The highlight of my meal was my carnitas taco dinner. The pork was extremely delicious and cooked tender topped with my favorite veggie red onions. Does it really get any better than this? I thoroughly enjoyed my tacos. Dessert was very delicious and a palette cleanser to change up everything we had been eating all evening.

The next morning I noted there was a Bojangles nearby our friend's place so I had to let Betty experience the guilty fried indulgence that is Bojangles.

biscuits & gravy to the left to the left & a spicy chicken biscuit with taters to the right to the right...

The biscuits and gravy were sinfully delicious. I really need to find a recipe for biscuits and gravy because I really love and crave them. I know Bojangles is fast food -- but their biscuit and gravy gives all the other dine-in joints up north a run for their money. The chicken biscuit was very good too. The potato wedges were a'ight but not anything too exciting. We also ordered a blue berry biscuit from them which was excessively rich and buttery but also delicious. It was fun to share this Southern fast food tradition with Betty though you really only need to eat Bojangles once every 2-3 years.

Betty and her bear-friend went to get their paws done at the bear-lon so I decided to stop by and visit my aunt and uncle. I was treated to some fantastic-ly fresh and tasty Indian food.

my aunt's Indian falafel

These were great. The meal was a take on Greek falafel but consisted of chick peas and lentils in the batter. The balls were rolled, deep fried and then served with a pita with some very tasty cilantro cream chutney. Talking to my aunt about how she made the Indian falafel made me want to revisit the process of deep frying foods. Betty got me a fry daddy when we still lived in the Short North but I was always scared to use it.

Up next was my aunt's golgappa a true Indian delicacy:

golgappa covered with seasoned yogurt, tamarind chutney, cilantro and chick peas

When I ate this yummy dish I couldn't help but reflect on how my tastebuds have evolved since I was a bitty bear. I never liked this dish as a cub -- i think mostly because the sweet and sourness confused me -- but now being somewhat older my taste buds have matured or something and this dish hit the spot. For those not familiar with golgappa -- it is essentially deep-fried mini crispy bread shells topped with chick peas, onions and usually a mix of yogurt and sweet-and-spicy chutneys.

In the evening Betty and I visited my cousin and her husband in the heart of downtown Charlotte. My cousin prepared for us an organic vegetarian Mexican dish of chili verde enchiladas. Not pictured were some tasty appetizers of guacamole and a cheesy bean dip.

chili verde vegetable enchilada stack

The enchiladas were fresh, simple and pretty tasty. A little light on the spice for my tastes but all in all a good meal. During dinner Betty and I had great discussion with my cousin and her hubs about the China Study, the challenges of maintaining an organic lifestyle and bear-ituality. Good times indeed.

The next day we caught up with more fam and hit up Big Daddy's Burger Bar which is a burger joint that prides itself on grass-fed hormone free burgers. Since I was down in the South I figured I should try their Classic Southern Burger:

Classic Southern Burger: burger topped with chili, American cheese, relish, mustard and slaw along & french fries fried in duck fat.

This burger was fresh and tasty but a bit of a mess. I suppose you get what you order right? The duck fat fries were good but I couldn't really distinguish the taste of the duck fat from the usual french fry preparation except for the fact they tasted firmer and were a little on the salty side. No worries because this place specialized in soft serve for dessert which was the perfect way to end the meal.

ultra sweet-soft serve with sprinkles

I forgot to take a picture of our last home cooked meal with my cousins and aunt but it was a delicious meal of cholay and dal. Betty and I had a lot of fun in Charlotte. I was impressed with all the yummy home cooked meals my family shared with us and really the best part was getting to visit with everyone and seeing our family and friends. I was happy to learn of similar cooking and diet interests with my cousins -- and hopefully next time we visit I'll get to share with them some of my ck freestylings in the kitchen. Word is bear-log!

Wednesday, October 7, 2009

the best taco-sense is a good b-fense...Mexican style tacos in the house

During my 2 month hiatus of not blogging -- I was still busy in the kitchen with the thoughts of Mexican style tacos on my mind. My trip to Los Potosinos definitely impacted my taste palette and since then I can't get enough of corn tortillas, onions, cilantro and limes with any assortment of meats or legumes. The bear-fense aka b-fense wishes to present the following evidence of such obsession with all things Mexican style.

Exhibit 1: Mexican style tacos with ground turkey & homemade black bean salsa with the El Yucataco pasa doble bringing up the rear

This meal was delicious though unfortunately we were short of limes -- so I soaked the onions in vinegar to emulate the acidic clean taste of missing limes. Despite it's deliciousness I think I prefer non-ground meats in my tacos. There's more substance and diversity of texture. See Exhibit 2:

Exhibit 2: Mexican style tacos with grilled chicken with guacamole salad and Traders Joes Chimichurri rice with the El Yucataco pasa doble bringing up the rear again...

Holy bear-ito. These tacos were on-point. I grilled the chicken on the stove with this Buckeye Rub that I got from Hill's market -- and it gave the chicken a fantastical smokey sweet flavor that really enhanced the taco. Though not pictured we had fresh squeezed lime juice. This meal was replete -- the true gem was the improvisational guacamole salad that I free styled after noticing how Los Potosinos and most other taco reviews revealed that radishes were common with your taco truck experience. This was also my first time making guacamole since Betty makes one that will blow your paws off. The guacamole salad consisted of:
  • 3 avocados
  • juice from 1.5 limes
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 jalapenos diced with membrane removed
  • defrosted frozen organic corn from WholeFoods
  • a bunch of radishes sliced chunky
  • some diced tomatoes
  • diced onions
  • splash of El Yucateco green sauce
For the guac -- I placed everything in a covered bowl and shaked it up like a polaroid picture to let the ingredients combine naturally at first -- then went through with a fork and did some slight smashing. The guac has become a mainstay at our cave these days and Betty finally realized the true unleashed flavor of Mexican style tacos.

Exhibit 3: Mexican style tacos with grilled mahi mahi + radishes and said Trader Joes Chimichurri sauce

You thought I was kiddin'...nope. I kept remixing these tacos I tell you. Exhibit 3 brought out the fish in all of us. I know humans stereotype bears to eat only salmon -- but this bear likes to get his fish on with mahi mahi. I grilled up some mahi mahi -- frozen from WholeFoods -- with seasoned salt, lemon and then splashed it with some vinegar. Then topped it with all the usual fixins but also added diced radishes. This was my first time EVER cooking with fish and it seemed too easy. Ultimately this meal was simply outstanding.

For our final exhibit -- Betty and I decided to hit up La Casita for only our second time as I was craving some authentic Mexican food. After having success at Cazuelas and Don Patron 3 I was amped to see how La Casita fared with their taco offerings. I ordered their taco platter that came with beans and rice.

Exhibit 4A: from La Casita: Mexican style taco trifecta featuring: carnitas, pastor and chorizo

Exibit 4B: refried beans and Mexican rice from La Casita

Well...go figure my taco bear-ble was busted at La Casita. I had a bite of the first taco which was a carnitas taco and it was very tasty though a bit fatty for my tastes. I then had the pastor taco which was greasy and showed no semblance of the sweet tasting pork I had learned to savor. The same greasiness also showed up again when I ate the chorizo sausage. No real smoky kick -just salty greasy strangeness. The highlight of this meal was the beans and rice and I suppose the first taco. This is the first time that I would say I did not like the food at a Mexican restaurant. I felt a little queazy in the post-meal discussion with Betty thinking about the fattiness and greasiness of the meats. Her meal was so so as well. She had a chicken dish with a tangy sour cream sauce. Perhaps this meal was a sign telling us that we are long overdue to hit up El Vaquero? Who knows.

What the b-fense has hoped to show and offer up today is that
  1. I love Mexican style tacos which generally utilize corn tortillas sometimes 2 for the base then topped with some form of protein, diced onions, cilantro and a lime wedge.
  2. They are pretty easy to make at home using a variety of different proteins.
  3. Don't be afraid of radishes. They taste very good in guacamole and on top of fish tacos.
  4. Similar to the Dew's Pizza post -- while restaurants & taco trucks can serve up tasty authentic tacos -- sometimes there's no taco like home-made...which is why I say the best taco-sense is a good b-fense...
  5. Word is bear-log.

Spagio's = weaksauce...well sorta. - Spagios

Betty and I were craving some yummy lobster bisque so we decided to stop off at Spagio's and this time order some real dinners instead of the pizzas that we had last time. For those who didn't read our first trip there -- Betty and I declared Spagios to have a truly wonderful lobster bisque soup that was pretty much bonkers. Their pizzas were very tasty as well but this visit we wanted to put their menu to the test and decided to order some entrees as well. I did not document our lobster bisque soups this time -- but rest assured...they were what we thought they were...certified yums-in-my-tums.

from their menu: Grilled Diver Scallops - Diver Scallops wrapped in Applewood smoked bacon and perched atop a flour tortilla with avocado-tomato salad, freshly squeezed lime juice and fresh herbs $28

from their menu: 8 oz Choice Beef Tenderloin served with Aged Gouda potato soufflé , haricots verts with shallots and bacon $25

After a great experience with the soup we were eager to try our dinner entrees...unfortunately...they did not deliver. The scallops were cooked well but had a somewhat bland taste not mention that I failed to grasp the concept of the flour tortilla. It was like I ate an expensive bland scallop tostada. The tastes did not jell together for me especially for as much as this meal cost. They say everything tastes better with bacon -- but it was work to finish the meal. Just say no to this entree. Betty had the beef tenderloin and it failed to deliver as well. The sides were slightly tastier then wedding food and the beef tenderloin -- though strong in taste was underwhelming. I had a bite to confirm the inevitable weaksauce edict. The kicker was the bill. The food was way to pricey for the lack of execution and taste-euphoria. Betty and I decided in the future we will stick to Spagio's lobster bisque, bread, appetizers and pizza and pass on their dinner entrees which just don't make the cut hence...Spagio's=weaksauce...well sorta -- because we'd still go back there -- this in contrast to Deepwood.

bear-eakfast of champions vs. 2.0 and 3.0: remix my mornings

As you probably know by now Betty and I like to do up breakfast on the weekends. I've started a new breakfast series called the bear-eakfast of champions (BOC) for the excessively hearty and delicious concoctions that I whip up. It all started with version 1.0. With out further delay ladies, gentlemen and fellow bear-ethren BOC 2.0 and BOC 2.0:

BOC 2.0: two slices of toasted Brownberry Health Nut bread topped with 2 eggs over medium with a layer of shredded WholeFoods salsa jack in between, a tomato, red onion, jalapeno relish, 3 slices of crispy bacon and breakfast potatoes seasoned with cajun seasoning topped with previously mentioned salsa jack and onions

BOC 3.0: ck remix on huevos rancheros meets chilaquiles: seasoned black beans with corn topped with pan grilled zuccini, squash and red onions, topped with jalapeno jack cheese, 2 eggs over medium all then topped with a scoop of sour cream and said tomato relish from BOC 2.0, accompanied with fried tortillas for dipping and of course el yucateco pasa doble to boot.

Both meals were fantastically delicious -- and no I didn't eat them both in one day. The only question is what should the next breakfast of champions feature? Holla' at me with your favorite hearty breakfast recipes because you know I'm game. Word is bear-log.

there's no pizza like home-ade...Dew's Pizza

2 months later... cholesterolking re-engages! it was like a torbear-nado picked me up and took me away from Kansas Columbus...but I've returned and I sure have a back-log of posting to do...and so we begin:
Now for my unreaders--formerly my readers -- you know that my favorite pizza joints include Adriaticos, Hound Dogs and Surly Girl's. I also used to make some homemade pizzas from a variety of ingredients that included bagels, pitas, flatbreads and the like -- but really I have moved on from making pizza at home -- and in all honesty -- the pies were not really homemade because the crusts were not made from scratch... (Pause.)

Enter columbusyogurt's culinary skills what I will refer to as Dew's Pizza not to be confused with Dewey's pizza...:

homemade dough, olive oil + herbs, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, red onions, perfectly crisped bacon and TLC from columbusyogurt

said pizza from above baked to perfection

said pizza from above plated...

baked homemade dough, fresh tomatoes, mozzarella, basil and TLC from columbusyogurt

said pizza from above plated.

Have you stopped salivating? I sure haven't. This pizza was some of the best tasting, freshest tasting pizza that I've ever had in my bear-life. You know it gets the CK-signature yums-in-my-tums approval. Posting this reminds me that I need to wrangle the ingredients of the crust from Mr. Columbusyogurt (CY)...but with that being said -- homemade crust an amazing pizza does not CY prepared the pizza there was a TLC element that comes only with prior pizza construction experience. CY formerly of Figlio's at one point in his career has detailed pizza blueprint knowledge that was very apparent in this culinary masterpiece. Everything about this pizza was fresh. There was no bottled/canned sauces or veggies. CY used only olive oil and herbs as the sauce on the first pie and only fresh tomatoes and possibly olive oil on the second pie. The mozzarella was fresh instead of store bought pre-shredded blends -- though I still profess my love for the quattro-formaggio from Trader Joes. The careful preparation of ingredients and the personification of calmness and coolness in the kitchen all translated into the amazing taste of this pie. At this time -- I should give praise to Mrs. CY for prepping the crust as well while CY was at work.

I will definitely have to consider revisiting home-made pizza goodness at the Chateau because as we all know...there's truly no pizza like home-ade...there's no pizza like home-made...doubly true if you are a Dew.


Wednesday, August 19, 2009

the great shrimp boil comes to the Chateau!

For those that read this blog you may already know this -- but contrary to popular belief - bears do eat other things besides fish and that includes shrimp. As a matter of fact Betty and I have been on a big peel-and-eat-shrimp kick. I decided to try a shrimp boil in the fashion of classic New England and Southern Low Country dishes.

boiling water with sea salt, old bay seasoning, fresh squeezed lemon juice, whole lemons, potatoes, onions, and shrimp

I started the boil with the potatoes and onions for about 6 minutes, then added the corn for another 5 minutes and then added the shrimp -- which was frozen uncooked shrimp from Whole Foods -- for 3 minutes.

drained shrimp boil with half of lemon

Wasn't sure what to expect from this meal because it seemed too easy. Just heat some water, add some spices and then boil -- but it really was just that easy. Everything tasted delicious. The potatoes and onions were slightly overcooked as was the shrimp but no worries. I also whipped up a mayo-sriracha-old-bay-seasoning sauce to go with everything and Betty and I devoured our food. Can't wait to try this again with a slightly tweaked boiling time game plan.

bear-eakfast of champions vs. 1.0: prescription for pancakes

I decided to try out a recipe for pancakes that did not seem too complicated from our folks at This is a big thing for a bear who is all about culinary improvisation rather than prescription: :

Good Old Fashioned Pancakes
  • 1 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 tablespoon white sugar
  • 1 1/4 cups milk
  • 1 egg
  • 3 tablespoons butter, melted

unflattering picture of homemade blue berry pancakes, crispy bacon, one egg over medium and breakfast potatoes with cheese and onions

The pancakes were very easy to prep and bear oh bear did they taste soooo good. I suppose with as much butter in them as the recipe prescribed I could do no wrong -- but this was truly the breakfast of champions. Perhaps I could get used to this whole recipe thing...the link for the pancakes are below:

the return of the 2-flip: middle eastern 2-flip chicken

Back to the kitchen for some 2-flip chicken. Recall 2-flip chicken got it's name cause you only need to flip it twice to cook it. This time i marinated the chicken in turmeric and lemon juice and then topped it with the heatwave seasoning. I also made some lemon rice with bhasmati rice, fresh lemon juice and rind and chicken stock. Grilled up some zuccini, squash and onions as a side. Also made season some greek yogurt with cucumbers, onions and spices. Smacked some Trader Joes hummus in the middle crowned with a pita chip. Very fresh and tasty meal. I flip you not.

turmeric lemon chicken with lemon rice, grilled zuccini and squash, yogurt and hummus

and then a gyro salad comes along...with the taste to carry on...Jimmy V's Grill & Pub

Betty and I decided to stop in at Jimmy V's Grill & Pub to grab a bite to eat after spending the afternoon venturing out and looking at real estate. I ordered the gyro salad while Betty got the cheeseburger

gyro salad with gyro meat, pitas, olive, lettuce, tomatoes, cucumbers, onions & feta

The salad was tasty, refreshing and gargantuan. I got to get my gyro fix with all the seeming lightness and nutrition of a salad. I would like to take a moment to note that thin cut gyro meat is a rarity in Columbus these days. If anyone knows of a place that slices and serves thin cut gyro meat holla atcha' bear.

cheeseburger with American cheese and fries

Betty reported that her cheeseburger was classically delicious. I had a bite and agreed.

This was probably our fourth time going to Jimmy V's and I must say that every visit has been consistently fresh and tasty. Definitely worth checking out if you're interested in bar food with Greek flare.

eating exhibition volume 1..The Ohio State Bear at the fair...

Betty and I ventured out to the Ohio State fair to meet up with some dear friends. I was excited because this was my first time going to the fair and I was excited to see, smell and eat all the foods that I had heard about over the years. It's safe to say that I made up for all the years that I had not been to the fair and truly put on an eating exhibition.

fried cheese stick and fair fries...

When we entered the fair I was ready to eat and we started with whatever was in close proximity - in this case a fried cheese stick and french fries. The fried cheese stick was decent. Was more batter-y in the manner of a corn dog but can you really go wrong with fried cheese? The french fries were yummy as well.

cinnamon-sugar dusted fresh fried baby donuts

I had read about the above donuts from columbusfoodie's blog and decided we had to try them based on the glowing reviews. These were one of my favorite foods that we tried that day. Freshly fried donuts topped with cinnamon and sugar. The donuts were warm and soft and melted in your mouth when you ate them. Not like any donut I've ever eaten -- sinfully delicious.

fair pep pizza

Yep still going strong -- i just had to try fair pizza. The slice was lukewarm but still had a pretty standard taste that was better than your average pizza joint. Simple tomato sauce, simple cheese and plain pep not bad -- though perhaps not really necessary on the consumption list of everything I ate that day.

strawberry and mint chip ice cream from the dairy barn...

Up next was trying out the ice cream at the dairy barn where they have the famous butter cow. We ordered ice cream -- and I thought perhaps the ice cream was made fresh that day when we ordered but later saw a sign for Velvet ice cream -- so maybe it wasn't fresh. Either way I was underwhelmed with it. Part of the reason for my apathy towards it was that we decided to be frugal and have our scoops in one cup which saved us ~$2.50 rather than ordering separate cups. I had the mint chip and Betty had the strawberry which didn't really blend well together. The ice cream reminded me of ice cream from back in the day. Simple yet ultra creamy -- but beyond that- nothing remarkable. I suppose that works for most folks but I think Jeni's and Graeter's have me spoiled and have my taste palette expecting more with action packed flavors and unique ingredients.

chicken and noodles

thanksgiving dinner

Yep. Still going. The above picture looks like something you might get from a lunch cafeteria -- which having grown up on Indian food -- I admit I always had a curiosity for cafeteria food. That being said I really enjoyed my chicken and noodles and Betty's Thanksgiving dinner. The only complaint being the styrofoam plate and bowl -- and that they ran out of cranberry sauce.

caramel topped apple dumpling with scoop of vanilla and cinnamon ice cream

Last food purchase of the day I promise. Closed the food-filled day at the fair with an apple dumpling. Definitely saved the best for last. This originally just came with vanilla ice cream but I thought it'd be good to mix it up with a scoop of cinnamon. Very tasty. The apple betty was piping hot and the ice cream with it was tremendous. I loved it.

I had a great time at the Ohio State fair catching up with dear friends, learning more about Ohio's wonderful wildlife and livestock and eating way too much food. We hope that this year will start a tradition of us going every year with our friends.