Friday, September 30, 2011

Hope and Olive, Greenfield, MA

Another Delicious Meal at The Hope and Olive.  Tonight, we had:

Wandering Star Porter  3 1/2 stars...good, but not the best we've ever had!

Corn Cob fried with salt and dry Jack cheese.
This was so good.  Who doesn't love something fried with salt.  Oh so yummy!  4 1/2

Fresh Peach and Walnut Salad.
We were disappointed in the peaches which just didn't have the delicious sweetness of summer in them.  They lacked in flavor.  Otherwise, it would have been perfect.  So it only got 3 1/2

Tequila Lime Chicken
Ahhh.  Yum.  3.75

Korean Beef Rib.
This was awesome.  The meat was tender and flavorful.  The sauce was so good.   And it came with a kimchee side with a kick.  We gave it a 4 1/4.

We have to admit, we skipped dessert, though Paul had a coffee while I finished my wine.  The coffee is always good!  We like that!

Hope & Olive on Urbanspoon

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 12

At sea for the entire day today.  The seas were pretty rough so seasickness was an issue all day.  We still managed to have a ton of fun.  The schedule was packed with entertaining things.  Here's a sampling:

Played a ridiculously hard game of Foodie Trivia (lost)
I qualified Kari as the third place qualifier in a Slots Tournament.
Played Bingo (lost)
Qualified 3rd in a Blackjack Tournament
Played in a Poker Tournament (lost)
Played Golf (Chipping Contest) by the pool - almost won...
Had amazing food at dinner (had to leave before desert due to seasickness - the amazing view from the giant windows out the back of the ship lose their appeal during pitching seas.)

I had expected a miserable day due to the seas but it was still quite good.  I don't want anyone to be put off of cruising by the seasickness comments - it's very rare for this to happen and we had some bad luck.  Plus, the things that made the land portion so awesome occurred because we travelled late in the season, which increases the risk of iffy weather at sea - so it's a tradeoff.  I would do it again in a minute - and we haven't gotten to the worst weather stories...

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 11

Finally got underway, and the seas are ROUGH!  Despite 25 years in the Navy, I still get seasick.  If they would just submerge the ship to 400 feet, we would be fine.  The Casino opened, and the food I ate was delicious.  Some pictures I got while not lying in bed...

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 10

The trip has taken a turn for the interesting.  We are unable to get underway due to hurricane force winds in the Bay of Alaska, so we will be sitting in Seward for a couple of days.  The good news is that the food on the ship is AWESOME, the suite is spectacular and we have a nice lounge that has food most of the day.  The bad news is that the casino can't open!

Took a tour of the kitchen as well as an overall ship tour.  The kitchen tour was fascinating.  There is one crewmember for every two guests!  The dining staff is almost 100% Filipino and they have their own kitchen for their food.

The ship is smaller than a lot of cruise ships, only 1200 ish guests.

There's a monkey in our room!

Our veranda (photo doesn't do it justice!)

The deck around the ship.

The casino.  Friendliest dealers ever!

One of half a dozen bars...

The outdoor pool.

Lido deck with indoor pool and hot tubs.  Has a retractable roof.

One of the many exterior decks.

Living side of suite.

Sleeping side of suite.

View from suite over veranda.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 9

This was the best day so far!  We went on a cruise of the Kenai Peninsula from Seward, Alaska.  We saw killer whales, humpback whales, puffins, dolphins, seals, sea lions, a black bear and a calving glacier that was spectacular!

We reported to the cruise ship and learned that hurricane force winds are going to keep us from leaving for an extra day.  This is the second cruise we've taken that has been affected by weather.  If you're thinking of taking a trip with us, on land you will see the clearest and best views, at sea, the weather will change things (thought they are always still fun!)

I haven't figured out how to get pictures onto the internet from here, but I will eventually post pictures of all the wildlife.

On the subject of internet, I just dropped $100 for 250 minutes of internet to allow me to post from the cruise, so do me a favor and click an ad or two to help keep the wife from killing me!

Bald Eagles.  The boat pilot called them part of the WOW program - wildlife on welfare.  They've figured out it's a lot easier to wait for scraps from the fishing boats than it is to hunt.

Clouds on a shoreside mountain.

The sun finally comes out.

The big boy from a pod of Orca (Killer Whales.)

Two of the pod swimming away.

All four milling about so we can photograph them.

More milling...

A young one saying hello.

Sea Lions on a rock.

Dall's Porpoise swimming by underwater.  These guys are incredibly hard to get a picture of.


Best picture I got.  You try to get a better one!


Snow capped Alaskan mountain.

Aialik Glacier

Closeup of the glacier.  It was actively calving (breaking off into the sea.)  It sounded like thunder or giant cracking sounds.  Hard to get a picture or video of.

Seals hanging out near the glacier on ice.  I couldn't help wondering what would happen if a really large chunk fell off.

Seal stretching.

Glacier with the rocks behind it.

Ice field with seals.

Black bear foraging near the glacier.

Sea Otter sleeping in the middle of the fjord.

Humpback Whale diving.

Thar she blows!

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Alaska and Northwest Trip - Day 8

Today was breakfast, a scenic bus ride to Seward and then dinner.  Kari and I are getting sore throats, so we slept most of the trip and didn't do a whole lot.  Just a few pictures.  Internet is slow and painful, so I will blog about restaurants when we get home.