Honeymoon Day 10 – French Waitresses, Chowda, Maine, and the Unmistakable Foulness That Is Moose S**t

Yeah, we’re a little behind on recaps.  We know.  Montreal took about five years off of my life.  My body took an “L” from all walking and I think I brought a cold back.  I don’t think I was supposed to declare the common cold virus upon re-entering the country.  I’m not sure what tarif law that that would fall under, but it is what it is.  So, on to the recap.

Our last morning in Montreal got off to a slightly rocky start.  We decided to hit up Jarry Smoked Meats for breakfast, due to the $20 in Canadian money I still had left.  We walk up in there and seat ourselves.  As we’re perusing the menu, our waitress comes over and offers cafe’.  We say “No,” and she walks away confused like “You do not want cafe? You stupid Americans probably don’t speak Francaise.  Spit. Spit.”  When she comes back and starts speaking French, we ask if she speaks English. “I can a little bit, if I have to.” #spit  The look of disdain on her face needed no translation.  From that point on, she spoke minimally to us, while mumbling something in French as she walked by our table.  Fortunately, the meal was on point.  Sausage, ham, bacon, eggs, home fries, fruit, pancakes, french toast, and toast.  It was the perfect culinary sendoff, except for the French-Canadian spittle that I’m sure was dripping off the bacon.  I left her a tip less than 15%.  Spit on that!

The ride towards the border was interesting.  Unlike Vermont, the Canadian landscape is flat and boring.  It also, apparently, is filled to the brim with moose dung.  We passed by several pockets of extreme aromatic atrociousness.  Think of every cow pattie you’ve smelled…multiplied by 100.  We looked around and couldn’t spot any farms, so we just assumed it was an accumulation of moose manure.  Not only will these jabronis waltz into traffic and tear your car a new one, they’ll also drop bombs in the forest that straight up destroy your olfactory organs.  Moose are the most disrespectful animals since cats.

One quick thing about the border.  At the crossing we passed through, the border is demarcated by an invisible line that separates two houses.  Essentially, you can walk from a Canadian family’s back yard right into an American familiy’s front yard with ease.  There was actually a guy mowing the grass between the two houses.  He kept crossing back and forth across the border at will.  We were like, “OK, that’s secure.”  At any rate, we passed through the checkpoint without incident.

The drive through Vermont and New Hampshire was breathtaking.  We drove through Mount Washington National Park, and were awestruck and the majesty.  We both agreed that Vermont was the best part of the trip so far.  The scenery is something to behold.  I think Vermont will be on our permanent vacation rotation for the near future.  If you can swing it, you need to make it up there.  Hopefully, someone from the Vermont tourism board is reading this so we can get our cut.

The drive through Portland, ME was also pretty cool.  The scenery was straight out of an 80’s Spielberg movie.  It actually can double as the town of Amity from “Jaws.”  We were digging the vibe.  You know what else we dig? SEAFOOD!  After researching local eateries, we settled on Gilbert’s Chowder House.  All the reviews said it had the best chowder in the city.  They didn’t disappoint.

The spot would fit in perfectly on Diner’s, Drive Ins, and Dives.  And that’s a compliment.  So, we decide to order fried shrimp, seafood chowder in a bread bowl, and a lobster roll.  The shrimp came out in about five minutes.  They were some of the cleanest, freshest shrimp I’ve tasted.  As someone who’s grown up on the Georgia coast, that’s high praise.  Before we could finish our shrimp, the chowder and lobster roll.  Man, lemme tell you.  The chowder was creamy.  You could see and taste the chunks of potatoes, shrimp, clams, scallops , and lobster.  It was summarily destroyed, along with the bread bowl.  The lobster roll was everything it was cracked up to be.  Huge chunks of lobster, slathered in mayo, sitting in a buttered toasted bun.  I wanted to take about two or five home.  We drove out of our way to go to Portland for this meal, and it was worth every second.  SEAFOOD!!!

 

-Diallo

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Honeymoon Day 8 – Teddy Bears, Poutine, Montreal and The Sinking Suspicion Of Being Laughed At

The day started off with a bit of lethargy.  Still feeling the effects of overeating the night before, the Tysons decided to sleep in and imitate sloths for much of the morning.  Neither of us moved with any sort of alacrity, and you’ll never see two people move with such disregard to energy.  That being said, guess what we had for breakfast? Leftover pizza, leftover sausage macaroni and cheese, and shoofly pie.  What?  We didn’t want to take leftovers to Canada. Don’t judge us, though we probably are worthy of a side eye or two.  Nevertheless, we finally got our stuff together and checked out of the hotel around 10:55, the latest we’ve checked out so far.

Next stop on the mystical magical tour was the Vermont Teddy Bear Factory.  It was actually pretty fun.  We signed up for the tour, which was quite entertaining.  The tour guide took us through the entire process, and I have to admit that I wanted one afterwards.  The bears come in several different flavors, i.e colors, and you can get their clothes customized however you want.  If you run your bear over with a lawnmower, they’ll fix it or replace it for free.  How great is that?  And I can’t believe I’m waxing poetic about teddy bears.  Honeymoons mess with your brain, man.  For real.  Anyway, the place is mad cool.  The only slight drawback is the cost of the bears.  They are a tad pricey.  If you can swing it, cool.  If not, take a picture it’ll last longer.

After leaving teddy bear paradise, we hit I-89N and made our way to Oh Canada.  As we rode, Kaia read through the French translation book in a last ditch effort to ensure we didn’t look completely like ugly Americans upon arrival.  I can safely say that we still got a few warts and a couple of crooked noses.  C’est la vie.  [See what I did?]  Anyhoo, the ride through Vermont towards the border was majestic.  We didn’t even bother attempting to take pictures.  You gotta be there in person.  However, the funny part of the trip was the tension, anxiety, and nervousness we felt as we got closer to the border.  Would border control stop us?  Would they bring the dogs out?  Would they cavity search us, then strip search us?

Our fears were unfounded, it seems.  Although there was some slight tension as we pulled up to the guard.

Guard: And where are you from?

Me: Umm. Uh…United States.

Guard: Yeah, I know. Where from in the US?

Me: Umm, Atlanta?

For some reason, I thought they’d turn us around or shoot us if they didn’t like where we were from.  Hey man, I don’t know how gangsta they are in Canada.  I got nervous.  At any rate, we made it through without further incident. And as soon as we pulled off we realized that we were no longer in the States because the metric system hit us in the face.  The speed limit was 90…km/h.  What the?  Now I have to do math, while driving in a foreign country?  Thankfully my wife pointed out that the speedometer had km/h underneath the mp/h.  Like I said, I was a little nervous.

So we eventually get to our hotel and begin plotting dinner for the night.  Kaia has wanted to try poutine for the longest time, and we found a spot that received rave reviews for their poutine.  They are also purveyors of smoked meat, so yeah!  We looked out as Jarry Smoked Meat is just a frog’s jump from the hotel.  As we walked towards the entrance, all we heard was French.  Oh no.  The maitre’d  merely asked “Deux? and took us to our seat.  After a moment, the waitress came by, said something in French and gave us water.  The next time she comes to the table she starts speaking English.  We’re both like “How did you know?” Well we didn’t respond to her French the 1st time around, and I was wearing a Braves t-shirt and an Old Navy hat with a US flag on it.  I felt like such an American douchebag flaunting his American-ness in a foreign country.  Everyone in the restaurant probably went home and made fun of me.

Oh well, the food was awesome.  We started off with karnatzel sausage.  Think Slim Jim, but about two million times better.  It was a great starter for the meal to come.

We ordered poutine and Montreal style pizza with smoked meat.  The poutine was sublime.  Kaia figured they put cinnamon in the gravy, and boy did that make a difference.  The pizza was stupid.  I don’t know how they make their dough but I’m thinking they use brioche and french bread techniques.  The pizza was essentially deep dish but the crust was light, crunchy and flaky.  The meat was smoked to perfection.  It was the bomb dinner.  Even though we loved dinner, we learned our lesson and didn’t overeat.  See, no need for any further scorn or side eyes…

-Diallo

Honeymoon Day 7 – Vistas, Crostada, Vermont and The Striking Inability To Write A Recap With A Full Stomach

Whew!  What. A. Day.  This may have been the busiest day of the entire trip.  We started the day with a quick drive up to the King Arthur Baker’s Store.  This spot is the mecca of baking products.  They had all different kinds of flour, mixes, chocolates, sugars, utensils, appliances, and so on and so forth.  Kaia and I were like, “Damn, we could drop $5,000 in this mug.”  Nevertheless, our primary purpose wasn’t shopping it was to watch a live cooking demo.  The chef prepared a zucchini feta cheese crostada.

We picked up some tips on how to make a tender and flaky dough, and trust, those tips will be implemented when we get back home.  After the demo, the chef put the crostada in the oven for 20 minutes.  We had to taste it, so we stuck around…to do some shopping.  You’ll be glad to know that we only spent $22, when $100-150 could’ve been easily spent.  Go ahead, pat us on the back.  We’ll wait.  Anyway, the crostada was excellent.  I’m pretty sure I found a new friend.

As we made our way north through Vermont, we were awestruck by the ridiculous vistas we encountered.  The foliage, hills, mountains, and rock formations were damn cool.  I tried to take pictures, but they couldn’t do justice.  You won’t get a feel for the depth, the textures, hell even the air quality that you would if you were actually here.  Pretty awesome.

Anyway, next on the list was Morse Farm Sugarworks to check out some maple syrup.  You could tell they were the real deal because they were unlike any “maple syrup” I’d ever had from Wal-Mart.  One even tasted like maple liquor.  Yeah, I know.  Oh so tempting, yes?  We bought a more subtle variation, but if we ever come back I may have to put my paws on that maple liquor.

“We’re not done.  We’re not done. We’re not done. Check this out.”  The day was not over yet, not by a long shot.  Because we can be a tad eccentric, we decided to hit up Liberty Tea Company.  I was a little shaky about going there, because I wasn’t sure it would interesting enough.  I also thought planning a wedding could be a piece of cake.  So, yeah I can be a bit of a dumbass.  Turns out the tea shop was the dope.  They had about a thousand different flavors.  Basic, exotic combinations, isht I ain’t never seen nor heard of before.  The proprietor even had a “block of tea,” which is a huge block of caked tea that mongols used as currency a thousand years ago.  After sampling two hot and two cold teas, we finally made our purchases.  This was another shop we could’ve dropped over $100 in, but we limited ourselves to $22 again.  Yeah!

Ben & Jerry’s. True dat.  Next on the agenda was the famous ice cream factory.  We signed up for the tour, which admittedly had some filler, but was still entertaining.  We learned the history of the company, how their ice cream is made, and got to sample a new flavor that had not hit the stores yet – cheery malt.  I’m not usually a fan of malt, but the malt combined with cherry was right tasty.  (Think the flavor of a cherry Italian ice combined with the middle of a Whopper malt ball.)

We then decided to stand in line for a half hour to get some ice cream.  I went hard in the paint like Charles Oakley on a horse steroid bender.  I got two scoops of Triple Caramel Chunk and one scoop of 7 Layer coconut Bar in a large chocolate dipped cone waffle cone.  That’s so gangsta, prissy chicks don’t wanna mess with me.  Kaia went with a small cup of Late Night Snack.  It has chocolate covered chips and a stream of salted caramel, which actually works.

Our last stop was the Flavor Graveyard to pay respect to those fallen flavors that people stopped liking or never liked in the first place. I think I saw Kaia swipe a tear for Rainforest Crunch.

But wait! The day still wasn’t over because we had to eat dinner.  We found an Italian place called Lui Lui, which sowed the final seed of our destruction.  We started off with some bread and dipping sauce.  Apparently, too much bread and dipping sauce. Then a boat full of buffalo chicken dip with homemade potato chips made it’s way to our table.  We ran out of chips, so obviously we asked the waiter for more bread.  Then we received our entrees.  Kaia got the lobster ravioli, and I got a sausage, peppers, ricotta flatbread.

Halfway through the meal, we looked at each other and went “Uh oh.”  My stomach felt like I was carrying twin toddlers.  Kaia didn’t look to be in much better shape.  But that’s still not the end, because the waiter brought us a complimentary brownie sundae because we were on our honeymoon.  Seriously?!? The button on my jeans is about to fly off and take someone’s eye out and this dude is bringing free food.  Well, we couldn’t be rude so we eat the ice cream and pick at the brownie.

Walking back to the car was a bit of a struggle.  Walking from the car to the hotel was a bigger struggle.  Writing this recap was like running a freaking marathon with this guy on my back.  What a day.  And we still have another week to go.  Lawd’ a mercy…

Oui Oui

Sooo, we’re on our way to New Hampshire and we’re listening to a CD to help us speak French. We don’t have a freaking clue what these people are saying. We’re speaking phrases in a combination of broken English and broken French. The people in Montreal are going to LOVE us. To be continued…

-Diallo

Honeymoon Day 5 – Geese, Cupcakes, Westport and the Subtle Art of Negotiating a Small Fee

Today we were on a mission, a mission to find delectable sweets of some kind.  Initially, we decided to find a pie shop but we were persuaded to look for cupcakes.  Therefore we ventured into Westport today, on a cupcake hunt.  As has become somewhat of a daily trend, we promptly got lost. Asking locals for directions was like asking your dog what he thinks about tort reform.  We stopped at a Walgreens and Diallo asked some employees for diections, but none of them had even heard of the bakery we were looking for.  Awesome. We were stumped and, as usual, the GPS was no help. What do you do in a situation like this? You just keep driving until you find something interesting.

We wound up finding “interesting” along the banks of the Saugatuck River. It’s name is Crumbs. Imagine a display case with so many cupcakes that you look like Charlie Bucket with a single dollar bill in your hand. Decisions. When you think you’ve made up your mind, you quickly change it and stand there for another 5 minutes scratching your head. It was impossible to make a quick selection. Continue reading

Honeymoon Day 4 – Moscow Mules, Scallops, Connecticut and The Frustration Of Trapping Woodchucks

Every vacation needs a wind down day.  You can’t go full bore everyday for two weeks, or you’ll end up like a character from The Dark Crystal, devoid of life essence.  Yesterday was the day to chill a little and recharge the old batteries.  The day started off with one last trip to Katie’s Kitchen.  I got the bacon, egg, and cheese sandwich with home fries.  Kaia got…scrapple.  For those who don’t know what scrapple is, just click that link.  I sampled a piece, and to my surprise it wasn’t half bad.  I wouldn’t put it in my breakfast rotation, but it didn’t have me running for the hills either. (Kaia’s note: Hey, it was my first time ever trying scrapple too. It tastes like fried gravy. That’s not completely weird.)

Then we hit the road and headed towards New Jersey.  This drive was immensely more comfortable than the drive to Lancaster, although Kaia cussed out one or four motorists who were acting a donkey on the road.  The closer we got to Jersey, the more “Jersey” fell out of her mouth.  At any rate, the route we took lead us past my old office building in Princeton.  Can’t say I miss working there, but it was cool to see the old neighborhood.  The next stop was Piscataway, as chronicled earlier.  Apparently Piscataway used to be somewhat of a one horse town, so it was funny watching Kaia lose her isht as we encountered all the new establishments.  “We have an Olive Garden?!? What?!?”  Being from a small town myself, I could empathize. Continue reading

Honeymoon Day 3 – Goats, Peanut Butter Spread, Pennsylvania Dutch Country and the Art of Watching Where You Step

We started the day with the Amish Village tour.  (See picture gallery here.) It was so interesting to learn about what this community was really all about. The major difference between the Amish and “the rest of us” is that they do not let modern technology disrupt their family life. Electricity and all the gadgets that come with it are considered a distraction to family time. They would sooner retrofit their washing machine to run on propane gas or air compressors than risk their family unit. That’s pretty hardcore. It got me thinking about what family values really are about. So much that I had to google “family values” while D and I were eating dinner.

Afterward, we got ourselves lost in downtown Lancaster, where we stumbled upon the local chocolate factory Miesse Candies. They only make the chocolate covered honeycomb candy that I’ve been looking for since I was eight years old. I could have cried. Then I all but talked myself into a candymaking apprenticeship. It hurt to turn that down. I mean, steady paycheck and benefits, or play with candy all day for free? Continue reading

Horse and Carriage. We’re Gonna Rise To The Top

We hit up Amish country today and had a blast. A full recap is coming up later, but here’s a quick rundown: the Amish are cool, meadow tea is a problem, home brewed root beer is a PROBLEM, and horse and buggy carriages are small. There is no way I could fit my 6’3″ 270lb body in one of those. It could only end two ways: poorly and “Oh my God, where are the jaws of life?!?” I’m just saying…

Honeymoon Day 2 – Jamiroquai, GPS, Lancaster, and The Subtle Aromatic Differences Between Cheese and Cow Dung


Day 2!  Oh Day 2, why you treat me so bad?  I thought we’d be best buds for like 24 hours and stuff.  But you didn’t want friendship.  You turned up your nose and farted in our general direction.  So mean.  So very mean.

OK, so today wasn’t the greatest day ever.  It started off well enough.  We had awesome sandwiches and chocolate for breakfast and the outlook seemed bright…until we went outside.  It was raining.  On our honeymoon.  The temerity! As we made our way out of Raleigh, the sky opened up and dumped a lake’s worth of water on us.  We should have known we were in for it.

After that initial outburst finally calmed down a little, we cruised through the rest of North Carolina easy enough.  After leaving the hotel at 11:00, we figured we’d get to Lancaster, PA sometime between 5:00 and 6:00.  A couple hours into the ride, and we were still golden.  Then we hit I-95 in Virginia.  About 15 minutes later, we were members of the largest parking lot on the east coast.  Bumper to bumper. 2 mph. For about two hours.  Oh yeah, and it was still raining.  At this point we began to reconsider the whole road trip up the east coast.  “Isn’t two weeks at home just as good?”  Presciently, we were listening to Jamiroquai and this song came on.  Perfectly captured the moment. Continue reading

Honeymoon Day 1 – Tires, Bojangles, Raleigh, and The Infinite Complexities of Vinegar Sauce

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The Highlights
This trip got off to a most rousing start…it took us an hour just to get out of Atlanta. Nope, not the traffic. We decided to put some air in the tires, because we’re responsible adults. In a true display of technological awesomeness, this caused the car’s tire pressure sensor to wig out. It gave us Low Tire Pressure, Normal, Low Tire Pressure, and TPMS Service messages. Well, the only time it ever said “TMPS Service” before was when a tire blew. Grrrrrrreat…

We stopped at the first tire place we could find. Evidently, these “smart” tire sensors act up whenever the pressure in all 4 tires isn’t in balance. Big ups to the Goodyear on Satellite & Pleasant Hill in Duluth, GA. The saved the day and didn’t even charge us.

Other than the tire drama, the drive to Raleigh was pretty much uneventful. Uneventful meaning pretty boring. It was boring enough for us to invent a new game. For those who don’t know, Diallo’s best man Waldo loves him some Bojangles Chicken. Basically, Waldo’s obsession is such that when we think Bojangles we think Waldo. So the game we created is simple. If you see any Bojangles sign, you point at it and yell out “Waldo!” no matter what. Even if you’re mid-sentence in a heated discussion. Waldo! Continue reading