I Heart Milwaukee

Brady Street, originally uploaded by random letters.

So much to love about this city! The sun was shining, the leaves were changing and I was stuck indoors most of the time. I did have a little time to go for a morning walk along the lake, eat some Kopps custard and Sharzad falafel, and drink some Lakefront Beer.

When I posted this, I forgot to mention that we had a delicious meal from Amaranth Bakery & Cafe at 3329 W. Lisbon. Anyone from Milwaukee knows this is not exactly a thriving area of the city, and the owners wanted to start a business in order to offer healthy, affordable food in the neighborhood. They offer homemade bread, soup and salads in a cozy, comfortable space. Keep it up Amaranth!

Oh, the one place I didn't get to visit is the Northern Chocolate Co. Best chocolate in the U.S. - I have not doubt. And I can't help but love the owner. Next time . . .



Greenbluff is a lovely area on a bluff (surprise!) just outside Spokane, with all sorts of orchards and farms. I headed up to Greenbluff this weekend with my mom* and my sister to visit our favorite apple orchard and visit some of the wineries that have sprung up in the last few years.

Mountain Dome Winery
Hands down, my favorite winery was the family-run Mountain Dome Winery, where they also make Grande Ronde label wines. We arrived about five minutes after the tasting room had closed. When I stuck my head in the door to ask if they wouldn't mind giving us a couple tastes, the owners were just pouring a Saturday evening glass. But they welcomed us in, made sure we tried all the best wines, and even gave us a tour and tutorial in winemaking.

Mountain Dome specializes in sparkling wines, and every one we tried was absolutely delicious. I bought the non-vintage Brut (pictured) and my mom bought the Cuvee Forte. I also bought the Grande Ronde Cellar Red, which they said pairs well with Italian and Thai food.

Oh, and it's set on top of a lovely hill overlooking the Spokane Valley.

Walters Fruit Ranch
What's not to love? An apple orchard in the fall, complete with a tractor ride, fresh pie and cider, and caramel apples. Sign me up! I'm not sure, but I think this orchard is also family-run. We went a little crazy: apples, apple cider, apple butter, caramel apple and pumpkin pie. I hope I can go back next year and actually pick the apples myself. We just didn't have time this year.

Townshend Cellar
Another good one! Their table red, white and rose were all winners (and they come in cute bottles!). I bought the pink, fruite Rose Table Wine to bring to a girls night sometime.

All the details on Greenbluff can be found on their Web site. Anyone up for pumpkin picking?

*It was my mom's birthday!

Water Bottle

I've been looking for the right aluminum water bottle ever since the whole, "Don't drink out of plastic bottles! You'll get cancer!" story came out. (I still use a BPA-free bottle at work, but I wanted a smaller metal bottle that would be handy to carry around and travel with.) I looked at REI, but most of the bottles were way too expensive and the ones that cost less made a terrible nails-on-chalkboard sound when I unscrewed the cap.

And then, at the Starbucks in my office building, I found it! It's cute. It's the right size. It wasn't too expensive. Perfect.

Too early?

It's a little early to decorate for Halloween, but I don't care! I've got this little cup out right now and I'll put the rest of my decorations up this weekend.

The cup and candy are from Fred Meyer.