Thursday, June 4, 2009

How About Those Travels?

I just realized today that while the title of this blog includes the phrase "World Travels", that I rarely discuss the traveling aspect. Maybe just in passing, or more often, not at all.

This year already, I've been to Ogden UT, Norfolk VA, Richmond VA, West Point NY, Hunt Valley MD, Shenandoah NP (VA), and Las Vegas NV. All but one of those trips was for business, and most of those were two day trips (so no sightseeing, fabulous outings, or even great dinners). But the trip to Utah was a little different.

It was a business trip during the week. But, starting on Friday, a bunch of my co-workers, other friends, and even my wonderful husband rented a house outside of Heber City (I think there were 16 of us altogether). The purpose: SKI TRIP! Here's the awful truth - up to this point, I had never skied anywhere but New Jersey and Pennsylvania. I know, it's horrible. And worse yet, my own brother lives in Colorado and I have never visited him during ski season (and in Colorado, that's like 6 months of the year). Okay, so I was a powder virgin. But, whilst in Utah, we skied at The Canyons and then at Park City Resort. Oh, boy. Those slopes were MADE for me. I was perfectly happy to get off the lift onto a blue trail and just ski down for as long as it took. Rest stops were disguised as photo ops. No huge challenges, just good snow, beautiful views, and the best part: no lift lines! Sadly, now I am spoiled. But it was great!

My next business trip may involve a side trip to an amusement park known around the world for its roller coasters...

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

It Was Bound to Happen

Since I think of every meal as an opportunity to eat something great, there are plenty of chances to be disappointed! Depending on my expectations, the range of disappointment varies considerably. So, last night, wonderful husband and I decided to try a new "BBQ" place that had just opened up near our house. Texas Smoke BBQ, in Rockaway (Hibernia, really), features "Texas style" smoked meats. It is strictly takeout, nicely decorated, and obviously new. There was some confusion about what should be in each order, who was refilling the quickly depleting pulled pork, etc, but all very understandable for a new place. We only waited about 10 minutes, so it was pretty quick.

We ordered the meat platter, which includes pulled pork, brisket, chicken, and two ribs. It came with two sides, we chose baked beans and cole slaw. We also ordered a half rack of "St. Louis Cut" ribs, which came with one side. We chose potato salad for that one. Altogether, it was about $30, which was more than I expected, but not ridiculous. We also got to choose our own barbecue sauce from mild, spicy or hot. We got one of each. So, on to the important stuff - the food. The ribs were outstanding. Moist and smoky with a wonderful crusty exterior. I could have eaten a whole rack. The brisket was good, too. Not as moist, but very tasty and smoky. The chicken was okay, nothing really special. The pulled pork was not very good at all - it was greasy, and didn't have much flavor. This surprised me, because pork is pretty easy to do. The sauces were tasty. We agreed that the spicy was the best of the three - not too hot, with lots of flavor. What was really disappointing was the sides! Both the potato salad and the cole slaw were bland, colorless versions with nothing to recommend them. The beans were okay, but certainly didn't make up for the salads. And the servings were pretty small, I think she said 4 ounces each. I realize this is a BBQ joint, not a salad bar, but how hard is it to make (or buy) some decent cole slaw?

They have other stuff on the menu, like sandwiches, chili, and cornbread. If we go back (if they can stay in business), I would definitely get the ribs again, and I would like to try the chili. But I won't be in a big hurry to go back. There are lots of other places to try first! And after being spoiled by the BBQ down in Virginia, I know there's better BBQ out there! But, in case you want to try it, here's the info: Texas Smoke BBQ, 435 Green Pond Road, Rockaway NJ. Their website is, where you can find their menu and all the awards they've won. Enjoy!