Macushla Brewing, Glenview, IL

Glenview, IL is the town our family raised all 7 of us in. In most years, when we come back for holidays, we like to check out new haunts and see what's shakin'. And thanks to the boon that is the craft brewing industry in almost every city in the US, I think I could do a brewery crawl just in Glenview (ok, at least a bar crawl with breweries included). 

Now, throw in a high-school classmate opening his own brewery adjacent to his families' famous burger joint (Hackney's on Lake St) and you have a real reason for most of the family to head out and "get a taste", literally.

I was, I don't know, shocked maybe to see how much work had been done to refurbish and old laundry building and set this brewery up for success. Walking up left us wondering if it was the right place as it was simply too fancy to be a brewery next to a stately Hackney's location. But it was the place. 

They have 32 seats inside and about double that when the weather's nice on a large patio (with garage doors opening to whole place up). 

Head inside and gander at the big chalkboard beer menu, grab a Hackney's menu from the waiter-on-call and sit down for a spell. Time for some brews.

Beer selection was diverse and solid, and many have a family story behind the names, just ask. Everyone seemed to get a beer they liked or tried a few (or more, gulp!). Food was classic Hackney's which happened to be perfect fare on this night. Service was very attentive, but I guess I have to say I know the owners. For being so new and well-appointed (surfaces, woods, decor, lighting), it keeps a casual feeling and the formality level you'd expect for a brewery. They also had many different groups coming in and out during our visit. Young families with children were eating dinner (early) when we arrived, then a normal dinner crowd, then later on it looked like the wives of Glenview let all their husbands out of the house... 'cause the bar was packed with 40-something dudes drinking beer.

Inside looking out to the patio...

Even little touches like this in the men's room make it pretty "lived in" for only being open a short while. This is the name of the owner, but I don't think this is his rookie card.

If you find yourself in Glenview, IL, I HIGHLY suggest you stop here. I'll be back, no doubt.


Hip Surgery #2, Hinsdale, IL

[squeamish people be warned - one graphic incision pic]

#2 is a fitting moniker for this round, or any round, of hip surgery. It's poop. I mean, it's not much fun to recover from it, but then again, hopefully once fully healed, it's all good. Crossing the fingers, but not the legs as that would be too much for the hip.

I went into Hinsdale Hospital in early November to get the cutting and bone-shaping completed (that's a fun thing). The staff in this place was very, very good, IMO. Everyone coming in to prep me for surgery was on top of it. To be clear, there were a lot of them, like 9 people, including OT and a Chaplin! I could have done without the 3/4 leg shave, but such is life (and I have great legs, dammit!).

It's mostly interesting for me to go through the process in the hospital, so I don't tend to get nervous or weirded out. I keep the mood light and the staff laughing, so I get their best service. For example, whenever a staff member said, "I'll be right back", I started replying, "I'll just stay here." (lying in a bed with only a gown on). Almost all of them laughed, but it seemed a bit like low-hanging comedy fruit to me.

They started my visit by swabbing the inside of each nostril with some chemical to help prevent infections, then a full body sponge bath with some kind of pre-soaked chemical cloth. And it was just me doing it to myself, - boo, no fun. Not even the sister would help. Midway through prep, the surgeon (Dr. Domb) come into the pre-surgery cubby and sign the correct leg for operation. Phew!

Once you're knocked out, there's not much to it. You wake up pretty out of it in a post-surgical area and they help you "come around". Then, for this surgery, they plop you in a wheelchair and you get to leave the hospital. You happen to have a big "diaper" on the surgical site, that can't be removed for 72 hours. No showers either, folks. It's a pretty odd deal, but underneath the bandage was simply packing gauze that stacks-up under, seemingly to keep the bandages up off the incisions and provide something to soak up any liquids 9eeeewwww).

You know it's the correct leg because the bandage is on the one with the signature - huzzah! I only wound up with three relatively small incisions (from 3/4" to maybe 1-1/4"). Take a look for yourself...

And that's after the Steristrips were taken off 14 days "post-surgery" (they love using fancy doctor words). See, the hair's growing back... but MAN do I hate band-aid residue.

It's going to take a good few months to have it be back to normal, but thanks to Dr. Domb and Hinsdale Hospital, I think it's got a great chance of coming out very well.

Special thanks to my sister who was my hospital "chaperone" AND the family in Geneva that fed me well and helped me rest for three days after. Never a dull moment. I mean, look at this grub!!!

My very own Acai bowl. We would have had to share that with two other siblings back in the day.

 Waffles in bed? Yes please!!!

Look at that "Thanksgiving" sammy! And their own homemade pumpkin bars. Cha-ching!


Marigold Kitchen, Madison, WI

So, you know brunch is a pretty awesome part of the weekend, right? And you NEED to have a solid, go-to brunch spot where you live. Well, I think I've found mine in Madison. It's not exactly close to home, but not really far either. It's downtown, off the Capitol Square, a little out of the way, but also centrally located if any out-of-towners care to take in a Capitol tour after brunch or walk all the way down State Street. So, I probably won't walk to this place, but it's a short drive or ride away and a good location, imo.

Not only that, but once you're inside (or seated outside), this place brings it. To be clear, they're only open for breakfast and lunch, so they don't get distracted by dinner malarkey. This is also not a full wait-staffed set-up - rather, you place your order at the counter, receive a number for your table, then go hunt for a spot to sit. They bring your selections out to you as they're made. I think it's a fine system for brunch and seems to fit this place well. I've sat at a table and at the bar, with really no trouble getting a seat. It is busy on the weekends, and by no means a secret spot, but I think they do well at getting people in and out, in my experience.

They have a varied, American brunch menu, with some hearty, South-Central WI staples and offerings for the experimental college crowd too. They have great pastries & coffee drinks available, so sit down, grab a paper, sip on something -  don't rush the meal, take your time.

There's no question that it's a bustling place on the weekend, but isn't that part of the fun of brunch on the weekend? See some oddballs, eat some good food, have a drink at breakfast (they have that too).

This visit was in the fall, so they had some great fall decor and Pumpkin Pancakes on the menu. I can't say no to these, so I didn't this time. I did get a short-stack though (2 instead of 5), and a side order of a local breakfast sausage (which was very good).

To be clear, those a hearty Pumpkin Pancakes with Whipped Cinnamon Butter and local maple syrup on the side (soon to be on-my-pancakes).

When you're in town, we'll go, you'll love it. 


Stubby's Bowling Alley, Waterloo, WI

Thanks to a work event, I got to see firsthand that cool little bowling alleys still exist in America. I fondly recall memories from childhood of walking into a bar (and pretty quickly) into the back of the establishment, which had 8 beautiful bowling lanes snuck inside.

Stubby's is a lot like that place. Just 6 lanes inside, with a bar on the left. Balls seemed to have become fancier (finger-tip type abound) and the shoes were fine if you got a new pair... so-so if you got an old pair (like me). They were all dolled-up for Halloween and you couldn't miss it. Otherwise, I'd say this is a pretty no-frills kind of place, where people definitely go for the bowling.

Finally, the beers & pizzas came fast & furious, just like I like 'em. I'm pretty sure we tried all the pizza options - "Deluxe" was good, but the clear winner was "The Porker". Just give me all the meats, with bacon, please (last pic).


Dane County Fire Chiefs Association, Fire Truck Parade, Madison, WI

Did you know the week in October with the 9th in it is usually reserved for National Fire Prevention Week? Well, to kick it all off, the fire departments in the Madison area get together on the Capitol square to show off their trucks and meet the public. It was a really cool thing to notice from above (while outside on Capitol tour) and then walk down and see up close.

Everyone was really friendly and kids and adults alike could sit in some of the trucks and check out the equipment. They had 26 vehicles from 23 area cities in attendance and it took up about 1.5 blocks of the Square.

Awesome event for anyone and everyone that's easily impressed by the commitment and service of our nation's fire personnel.


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