#20 – You know what Ben Franklin said…

…”Beer is proof that God loves us and wants us to be happy.”  Amen.  I like beer, especially craft brews and drinking the local beers of wherever I happen to be.  Alaska has some good ones! But, lucky for me, I don’t have to travel that far to get some tasty brew.  I can even ride my bike to two of my faves!

Biking on the towpath to Lambertville, NJ and the River Horse Brewing Complany.

This pretty path leads to fun towns with good restaurants and BEER!  We call it the “tow path.”

River Horse Brewing Company is in Lambertville, NJ, right on the bank of the Delaware River,  just a short distance from this biking trail.  I went with a few friends back in the fall when they had just released their “Hipp-o-Lantern” Pumpkin Ale. They’re into the hippos there.  River Horse = hippo.  At the brewery they usually have 3 or 4 beers on tap, one or two seasonal beers and then some of their standards, like maybe the “Hop-A-Lot-Amus” Double IPA.   For a buck or two you get 4 tastings.  I’ve been here twice and both times I was wishing that I could order a whole pint or bottle but they only do the samples.  It’s probably better that way because some of these brews are pretty potent.  They also give tours of the brewery but I’ve never done that.

We liked the Pumpkin Ale!

We like pumpkin ale!

If you did want a whole glass of beer, which we did, you could walk back out to town and across the bridge that spans the Delaware River and connects New Jersey and Pennsylvania.  Just up the hill on the PA side you’ll find Triumph Brewing Company.  Triumph has locations here in New Hope and also in Princeton and Philly.  My standard here is their Honey Blonde which is pretty light and easy to drink. Jenna, up there, goes for the Amber Ale. I like to try their seasonals too.  My fave seasonal is their Raspberry Wheat.  Can’t wait for summer time to pick up a growler of that!  Triumph is a brewery and also a restaurant with some pretty good food.  So when my girls and I went for some brew we filled our tummies too.  And look what happened…

See that yellow tomato?

See that yellow tomato?

I ate it!

I ate it!

I was not into it.  I was more concerned with the setting sun, because next thing we knew the bike trail looked like this and the ride home was a lil dicey…

Where's my head lamp when I need it???

Where’s my head lamp when I need it???

A few weeks later we went to The Vault.  It’s a new brewery in Yardley, PA.  These guys renovated an old bank and turned it into a fun brew pub. It looks pretty cool inside and definitely feels like an old, fancy bank with tiled floors and bars and, well, vaults.  They serve pizza and tapas and play jazz music.  Sometimes they have live performances.  I’m not super into jazz music but I really liked the beer! We got the flights so we could try out a few…

That one on the left is sweet potato ale!  I was a little skeptical but it was good!

That one on the left is sweet potato ale! I was a little skeptical but it was good like cinnamon and nutmeg and fall! Yum!

Which beer next?

#29 – Love Apples and the Big Apple

I have a “love-apple” on my Christmas tree this year!  Do you know what a “love-apple” is?  Neither did I.  But one day, in mid-December, I came home from work and found a little package waiting on the porch for me.  A fun surprise!  Here’s what was inside…

It's a love apple!

It’s a tomato!  Also known as a “love apple.”  The tag says so.

Well, I love the ornament and my friend for sending it to me, but the cute nickname does not help me love tomatoes any more.  I’m still trying them and I still think they’re mostly gross.  Especially the raw ones.  Here’s how I felt about a plate of bruschetta at a work party …

Not feelin’ it.

You know what does help, though?  Vodka.  See here…

Smiling! Sometimes vodka helps.

That was the first time I drank a whole bloody mary.  I’ve had a few sips of other people’s before but I usually stopped there and said, “I don’t like tomatoes!” This time, though, I powered through a few gulps and then (maybe the booze kicked in) but I liked it! I really liked it!  And it definitely was the bar-goers’ drink of choice at this brunchtime.  I think I want to make my own some day.

You know what else I want to do?  (This is the “Big Apple” part.)  I want to visit the Statue of Liberty.  I’ve seen it from afar but I’ve never gotten up close and personal with the lady.  I really want to get all up in her head.  Sad thing though.  Liberty Island, where the lady lives, was badly damaged during Hurricane Sandy and is closed for now. The National Park people say that they will work to repair and re-open the site as soon as possible but they haven’t promised or even hinted at a date when that might happen.  I had been thinking about adding this to my list before the storm even hit because they had just re-opened the crown this fall. I’m not sure if this one can actually happen, but I think I’ll add it to the list anyway, in a positive thinking kind of way, and if it’s not open in time for the b-day, then I’ll do something else New York-ish or patriotic.  So, #29 is Visit the Statue of Liberty…

PS – She’s on my tree too!


#1 – Passport for Dinner (plus #’s 10 & 13)

When do most people get their passports?  Probably before they’re 34, right? Probably because they’re going on a big trip…maybe to Europe, backpacking, or to some tropical island or maybe a cruise to lots of different places.  Well, I just got mine this summer and I promptly put it to goooood use…I went to Canada!  For dinner.  Nope, not to Niagara Falls, not Montreal.  Not for the weekend or even overnight.  To Frelighsburg.  For dinner. 4 or 5 hours, tops.  You do know where Frelighsburg is, don’t you?  Don’t worry.  I didn’t either/still don’t really.  What I do know is that it’s pretty close to my friend, MC’s lake house in Vermont and dinner in Canada was just one part of a super fun girls’ week on the lake this summer!

Last summer, I was the party pooper because, when dinner in Canada was suggested, I was the only one without her passport.  MC thought maybe we could just tell the border patrol officers that we’d be back real quick and they’d let me go without the passport, but I didn’t think that would work.  We briefly considered the hiding under a blanket in the trunk option but that may or may not have ended with getting arrested, so we nixed that idea too.  The only option was to apply for the passport and wait it out til this year.  So I did and after a little birth certificate confusion got straightened out, I was really happy when my passport finally came in the mail.  And I was even happier when we got to Vermont and I could put it to use! After we crossed the border, we went to a cute little bistro called 2 Clochers. (What does that mean?) We sat outside on their deck which was shaded by lots of trees and overlooked a little stream.  The menu was in French. (4 years of French in high school didn’t get me too far.) But it was tr`es bien(very good)!  Here’s how it went:

One mile to go!

I forgot to sign it. Then the officer asks MC, “So where you going tonight?” And she responds, “Canada.” Yep. There’s pretty much no other option at this point! She probably was not that impressed with or amused by us, but she did give us a good restaurant tip!

Oh yeah, Frelighsburg is in Quebec.

Checking out my first stamp. You have to ask for the stamp when you cross the border here. They don’t just automatically do it. Mine was the only passport out of 4 that she did. I needed a stamp to remember my first use!

#13 – I ordered something with tomatoes!!…

…I was not impressed. With the tomatoes! Once removed, the sandwich was pretty tasty!

Canadian beer > Canadian tomatoes

#10 – I got a lot of peaceful paddles in my kayak. See that mountain in the background? That’s Canada!

I wonder where I’ll take my passport next????

#13 – I Did It Again! and again.

This was not part of the plan.  Tomato eating, that is.  Look right up at the top of the page.  It says, “Tomatoes NOT included!”  Seriously, I only named the blog 35tomatoes so that I could connect it to something about myself other than my list. I thought I would be leaving room for the blog to evolve beyond this year of the list.  And I only added “eat 35 tomatoes” to the list so that I could connect the blog title to the list.  I meant it as a joke. And I used the strikethrough font!  Which means it is strikken from the record.  Which means I don’t have to do it!  (Strikken is so a word!)

Maybe all of that only makes sense in my mind or maybe people just like seeing their friends squirm a little, because, as I mentioned before, and as continues to happen, I am being strongly urged by a few of my “friends” to actually buck up and eat the dang things.  At one point someone even started their own list of tomato dishes for me to taste!  Sadly, that got lost on a broken phone.  Oh, darn.

But, if you could just not tell my friends, I’ll admit that I haven’t been minding it too, too much.  There has only been one truly bad, gag-inducing experience.  And there was one that I actually LIKED!  The rest were either things that I already didn’t mind, like salsa, were covered up by other ingredients (basil and balsamic? Yum!) or were just ok.  It’s not like I’m craving them or anything but maybe, by the end of this year, I might be allowing a few more of them onto my plates…

It’s blurry because I was shaking my head “NO!” It was a tomato slice that I took off of my sandwich. It was gross and yucky and mushy! BLECH! No, thank you!

I don’t really mind salsa, but this is a much bigger, chunkier, tomato-y-er, scoop than I would ordinarily take. Thanks, kid.

Sideways thumb? Or thumbs up? It wasn’t that bad.

That tomato was on my delicious turkey burger from the Dogfish Head restaurant in DE and I will admit that it looked like it might taste good. Nice and red.  But after my previous gross out with a sliced one from a sandwich, I let my assistant take it. It’s good to have a cute and adventurous assistant!

I snagged this one from my assistant’s mama’s pizza. And boy was I surprised! It was GOOD! It was sweet! Maybe a plum tomato, maybe stewed then a little roasted. I went back for bigger pieces!

I saw this at the library today. Have I mentioned that I live in the “Garden State”? People claim we grow the best tomatoes in the land! I guess I should try a little harder to enjoy them. For my state.

#13 – Tomatoes!

So, I’ve been away from my computer for a bit just lovin up this summer!  (Oh my gosh, I love summer!)   But, I did think it necessary to let you know that this has happened…TWICE!…TOMATO EATING!  I’m not super thrilled about it but, I’m getting some peer pressure and it seems to be entertaining for some of my pals, and, well, the news seems to be that they’re good for ya soooo… maaayyybeee… I don’t know…Are you a tomato fan?

Getting ready to eat a fork-full of pico de gallo. Unsure at first but the tomato flavor gets kind of masked.

A little sniff before chomping on a cherry tomato…


Not as terrible as I thought but…

Additions and Revision

Ugh.  Work has had me busy this past week, so I didn’t get to do anything fun from my list.  Wait. I did start a new book.  It’s good.  I’ll tell you about it later.  I had other fun though.  There were parties and bike rides.  I held a peeing turtle.  Well, the pee part wasn’t that fun, but who doesn’t love turtles?  Anyway, I’ve had this list on my mind. I’ve been scheming up a few additions and I have one revision here too. I’ve decided that if I put it on the list, I’m going to try my very best to make it happen.  I can revise by adding, but not deleting.  I am soooo looking forward to my upcoming vacation time and summer fun.  Here’s a bit of what I might be up to…      Continue reading

#13 – No Tomato

If you know me, you know that I do not like tomatoes.  Specifically, it’s raw tomatoes that I have a problem with.  You will never, not ever,  catch me eating tomatoes in my salad or on a sandwich.  At a restaurant, I always place my order with “hold the tomatoes.”  It’s one thing about me.

Tomato (Tamatar)

Tomato (Tamatar) (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I really wanted to name the blog “notomatoes.”  But, alas, that is taken.  Of course, it is.

Because tomatoes are gross and lots of people hate them.

I just wanted to clarify.  I won’t be posting tomato recipes, or planting tomato plants or saying nice things about tomatoes.  Just so you know.

I probably will be reading this book.  And you should too!