Hopdoddy burgers in Austin, TX… just like Flip and YEAH! in the ATL

hopdoddy burger joint with the Communications Mgr for the Austin Visitors Bureau

hopdoddy burger shop tshirt pic

hopdoddy burger shop - starring the burger

Austin TX is definitely the place to be if experiencing unique and GOOD food is part of your weekend excursion requirements.  So many restaurants with so little time!  One place that I would recommend is Hopdoddy Burger Bar on the famous S Congress Ave.  I was able to eat with Steve Alberts, Communications Manager, Austin Convention & Visitors Bureau.  Steve and the Bureau are available to answer visitor questions about Austin and the various things to do.

So what is Hopdoddy?  According to the menu, “it is the perfect union of beer and burgers”  ”hop” refers to locally crafted beer and “doddy” is the nickname given to the native cows of Aberdeen.  The should have called it “oh-golly” because the burgers are mmm mmm good, and the atmosphere was on and poppin’!  Think Flip Burger or YEAH! Burger in the ATL, but with an Austin twist.

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Chicago’s Hot Doug’s is the best thing to happen to a hot dog

Chicago's Hot Doug's Menu

Chicago's Hot Doug's Menu

I had many great suggestions for where to grab lunch today, but it wouldn’t be a trip to Chicago without trying the city’s culinary namesake, the Chicago-style hot dog.

Hot Doug’s sits on an unassuming neighborhood corner, and it would be easy to miss except for the long line of people wrapped around the building shivering in the cold all for a taste of Hot Doug’s sausage.

The decor borders the hip and tacky. A glass display case pays homage to the hot dog in the form of a hot dog-shaped phone, silk necktie, and an impressive collection of Oscar Mayer whistles. Hanging from the ceiling is a small disco ball that compliments the music being piped in from the same era.

Doug himself is at the helm taking orders and barking them to his staff. The first thing you notice about Doug is that this guy LOVES his establishment, and is completely in his element.

A cooler next to the register is stocked with the soft drink, TAB. My cousin Justin couldn’t resist …

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Fort McHenry’s Video Presentation Finale

The Fort McHenry Museum has a video presentation, which is full of over-the-top elements.  Most of the movie is a dramatic recreation of the Battle of Baltimore and of Key’s moment of inspiration for “The Star Spangled Anthem.”  It even has special lighting effects in the viewing area during battle scenes!

Nothing compares, though, to the epic finale.  Check it out:

Ft McHenry Finale

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Fort McHenry is Full of American Historical Goodness

Fort McHenry sign

Fort McHenry in Baltimore is the sight of the Battle of Baltimore in the War of 1812.  We remember it best as Francis Scott Key’s inspriation for the national anthem, “The Star Spangled Banner.”  Fort McHenry’s museum is full of really cool interactive exhibits about the battle, the war, and the song.  There are different touchscreen kiosks that are exceptionally informative and you can really learn a lot about this piece of American History.  I like me some history now and again, so I found all this stuff more fascinating than I thought I would.

So, here are my top 5 tidbits that I didn’t know about the “Star Spangled Banner,” Francis Scott Key, and the War of 1812 that I learned at Fort McHenry:

5.  Francis Scott Key knew that the phrase “the land of the free” was hypocritical because of slavery and put it in the anthem to emphasize freedom, but he owned slaves and spoke out against Abolitionists.

4.  The War of 1812 was really convoluted and had a number of causes.  A lot …

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Whole Foods in Austin, TX – Here’s where it all began!

Whole Foods Flagship Store – Austin, TX \”Checking it out… It\’s huge!

Are you like me?  The grocery store isn’t my favorite place to go.  However, there’s something about Whole Foods that gets me just a little excited.  Yep yep… I’m man enough to admit it.  Well, I’ve hit the motherload!  Whole Foods originated in Austin, and I was able to experience it 1st hand.  Here are some pics and a video to bring my experience to you.Whole Foods Flagship Location - Austin, TXWhole Foods Flagship Store_Restaurant Area Austin, TX

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Ran into an old Atlanta friend in Chicago

Feelin' Peachy

Feelin' Peachy

I was feeling just peachy today after I ran into some old friends from Atlanta while I was walking along “Magnificent Mile” in Chicago.  She was handing out special scratch-off discounts on Southwest Airlines, and will be wandering throughout Chicago today.  Can’t miss this crew!

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Coo-Coo for Cupcakes in Denver

166991_10100219872690387_22610017_43436303_1020235253_nAfter I finish hanging out with a giant peach in an undisclosed location, I plan to head to the Denver Art Museum. Although I am excited about viewing the most comprehensive body of objects from the African continent in the Rocky mountain region, and Garry Winogrand’s Women are Beautiful exhibit, I can’t seem to suppress the urge to hunt down Denver’s best cupcake! Everyone who knows me knows that I think being blessed with the perfect cream cheese icing is just cause to Tebow (as you can see).

Locals are telling me to consider Bliss, Gigi’s, The Big Fat Cupcake, and The Denver Cupcake Truck. If you’re a fellow lover of fatty, sugary things, and you know where to go in Denver, please feel free to share your recommendations!

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Bfast at Magnolia Cafe in Austin,TX – “Slap yo mama” good!

Bfast at Magnolia Cafe in Austin, TX – \”Slap yo mama\” good!Breakfast Anyone?  I’m at Magnolia CAFE.  The Flying Biscuit meets Mary Mac

First, thanks to all of your suggestions on where I should visit on my full day in Austin.  I already know that one day just isn’t enough time to spend in such a unique gem of a city!  Just imagine if you had to experience Atlanta in such a short time?  Good thing that SWA now flies here.  I am definitely adding it to my list of cities to come to for quick and affordable getaways.

As I mentioned, I am a foodie.  Well… I lucked up on a recco to come to Magnolia Cafe on the corner of Congress and Johanna.  Off the bat, I notice that the preference in eggs is  poached.  The locals tell me that they are to die for along with the eggs benedict.  Not my fav, but luckily everything is good on the menu so I opted for the egg soft taco (the Tex-Mex influence is every present and really good) and the gingerbread pancake with fresh bananas baked in. …

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10 Unique Facts About Denver


Thanks to Deborah Park, Associate Director of Communications at the Denver Convention & Visitor’s Bureau, I’m learning some interesting facts about what makes Denver unique. Keep reading to see why you must visit soon!

The weather is great! Denver has 300 days of annual sunshine and receives only 14 inches of precipitation a year—about the same as Los Angeles.

Metro Denver collects more for the arts on a per capita basis than any other city. The seven-county Denver metro area has a self-imposed 10th of a cent sales tax for the arts that raises more than $40 million a year, which is distributed to 300 arts organizations and facilities. Denver has currently added art museums including the Denver Art Museum’s astonishing new Hamilton Building, designed by world famous architect Daniel Libeskind, and the new Museum of Contemporary Art designed by David Adjaye.

The Denver Performing Arts Complex is huge! Literally. The complex, which is the second largest in the country, covers …

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An Imagined Conversation Between Chazz Palminteri and Me about Chazz: A Bronx Original

ChazzMe:  Hi Chazz!  Thanks for having me at your restaurant here in Baltimore, Chazz: A Bronx Original.

Chazz:  You’re welcome.  You’re very welcome…

Me:  Chazz, I have to admit, what you’re saying is very nice, but for some reason, the way you are saying that makes me think you might want to beat me up.

Chazz:  No, I’m very sincere.  I just have a naturally intimidating voice.

Me: Oh!  My bad then!

Chazz:  That’s right, your bad…

Me: :/ (this is how my face looked at that imagined moment)

Chazz:  I KID!!!

Me: HAHAHAHA!… But seriously, what set’s Chazz: A Bronx Original apart from other Italian restaurants?  I mean, I have to admit, I was a bit skeptical about this place when I first heard about it.

Chazz:  Skeptical, huh?  Well, we are one of the few coal-oven pizza restaurants around.  Our pizzas cook in around 90 seconds from the intense heat so that the flavors of the ingredients still have a freshness about them.  Also, this is no kitshy place.  We bring the goods with high …

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