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Pedro'sThis past weekend, we're wandering around Dumbo — that neighborhood that takes place between and beneath the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges and seems comprised almost entirely of organic food marts and upscale designer baby clothes boutiques.

I was in the mood for a hot dog and beer, which is only a healthy meal when compared to my previous idea of a meal of ultra-rich chocolate. But there were surprisingly few hot dog vendors about the place, and in stark contrast to my own neighborhood, no guys wandering around offering to sell you a Corona for a buck fifty. However, while walking up Jay Street, I suddenly caught a whiff of…is that…is that taco? Yes it is. And suddenly all I wanted was tacos and beer. Luckily, Pedro's Spanish American Restaurant and Bar was waiting on the corner of Jay and Front Street (73 Jay St., between Front and Water) to give me exactly what I wanted.

Read the rest of: "Pedro's Spanish American Restaurant
Las Ramblas SignI have not, traditionally, gone out and done very much on St. Patrick's Day. For a while, this was because I stopped drinking (oh, so many days wasted on sobriety). And for a while, this was because I was going through a cranky phase and didn't want to combat drunken masses crammed shoulder-to-shoulder in a New York pub. These are no longer concerns for me. As for temperance, I have returned to my Scotch-Irish roots. And as for drunken crowds crammed into pubs, I have discovered that I actually enjoy the convivial revelry of such a gathering.

So in the year 2007, I decided it was time to go out and have fun on St. Patty's Day, even if my Irish ancestors were Protestants. England shipped my Scottish ancestors to the Americas as slaves, and I still rooted for them during the world Cup, so I'm over things, even if others are still fighting over Cromwell.

But somehow, I ended up celebrating the first half of St. Patty's sitting in tapas bar Las Ramblas. Nothing says Ireland quite like tapas and white berry pomegranate sangria...

Read the rest of: "St. Patty's Spanish Style: Las Ramblas Tapas Bar
The Mutter Museum, nestled inside a perfectly noble looking old academic building, is a gloriously jumbled collection of medical specimens exhibiting the dizzying number of horrible things that can go wrong with the human body...

Read the rest of: "Mutter Museum, Philadelphia
The American Dime Museum
Posted by Keith in Baltimore on 17/Mar/2007
Dime MuseumWe were in the greater Baltimore area to visit the American Dime Museum, an example of and homage to the old dime museums and sideshow displays that were a staple of traveling carnivals and circuses during the late 19th and early 20th century.

For a mere dime, dupes and rubes could file through a museum of the strange and curious and marvel at everything from a two-headed calf to a mermaid from Fiji...

Read the rest of: "The American Dime Museum
Drifting Through Brooklyn
Posted by Keith in New York on 21/Nov/2006
Brooklyn KayakWhen you look at a list of the world's top paddling spots, it's unlikely that you'll find Brooklyn, New York. And it's even less likely that you'll find the Gowanus Canal, a narrow sliver of water that cuts its way from Gowanus Bay through the industrial zones of Red Hook, South Brooklyn, and Park Slope. It's not exactly what you might call scenic, at least not in the traditional sense of the word. It's lined by crumbling warehouses, generating plants, shadowy factories, Coast Guard fuel depots, and even a Home Depot. It meanders beneath the Gowanus Expressway, one of the busiest highways in New York City, and has been referred to as the most polluted waterway in America. A slick, rainbow film of oil and other chemicals gives the water in the canal a colorful, shimmering candy coating that would be beautiful at sunset if it didn't smell like cold metal and gunpowder and leave a disturbing acrid taste in the air. Visibility in the water is almost zero, and any trip across it is highlighted by an overpowering fear that you might get some on you. And yet still, people put paddle to battery-scented water and get both a unique view of New York and a first-hand understanding of how a neighborhood and an ecosystem can flourish, die, and then struggle to be reborn...

Read the rest of: "Drifting Through Brooklyn
The Blue Ridge Parkway After spending days lounging around in the sun and surfing on deserted beaches of North Carolina's Outer Banks (OBX if you're nasty), it was time for a change. Luckily, NC is a state that allows you to go from one extreme to the other pretty easily, so long as you manage, unlike me, not to get lost in Dismal Swamp. From the flat expanses of the Outer Banks, and without only a brief pit stop dedicated to the aforementioned getting lost (extended somewhat by the fact that I got caught in the middle of a massive frog migration, which is weird enough on its own and made a whole lot weirder by the fact that this is actually the second time I've been halted in my vehicle by a massive frog migration), I shot due west and straight into the heart of the Blue Ridge Mountains to meet up with an old friend and put a feather in my knit cap by hiking the tallest mountain east of the Mississippi: 6,648 foot tall Mount Mitchell.

It was also a grand chance to make one of the most beautiful drives in all of the Americas: the Blue Ridge Parkway in autumn...

Read the rest of: "Mount Mitchell and the Blue Ridge Parkway
Off-roadThe breeze is coming in warm and soft off the rolling waves, and I'm midway into a caffeine and lack of sleep haze that won't send me crashing for several hours yet, listening to the wheels grind slowly over hungry piles of sand criss-crossed with footprints and tire tracks.

It's sunny, warm, I haven't worn a shirt or shoes for days, and there must be ten pounds of sand that I've managed to track into the Jeep since I started this little adventure. Since putting rubber to the asphalt and sand of Highway 12, I've eaten nothing but boil-in-a-bag grub from Backpackers Pantry. Drank nothing but water, rum, and Red Bull, often all in one sitting...

Read the rest of: "The October Session: North Carolina's Outer Banks in Autumn
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