Happy Labor Day! Even though summer doesn't officially end until Sept. 22, this weekend is generally considered to be the last hurrah. On Memorial Day, I posted my bucket list for summer. Now, it is time to review and see how much of that list I checked off since May.
SUMMER 2013 BUCKET LIST REVIEW (completed items highlighted in red)
I had a great summer, even if I didn't do everything on my bucket list. What's on the horizon for September and beyond? You'll just have to keep reading the PNM MEDIA blog, "Like" PNM Media on Facebook, and "Follow" on Twitter, Instagram & Google + to find out!
How was your summer? Did you make it through your bucket list? Let me know in the comments below!
In 2011, I started a tradition with two of my best friends from college. Every August, we all get together for the weekend in Columbia, Mo. to attend a wonderful event called Boone Dwaddle. It's a summer extension of the annual True/False Film Festival, another one of our traditions, which takes places in February. The Boone Dwaddle consists of a leisurely 16-mile bike ride on the Katy Trail from Columbia to Les Bourgeois Vineyards & Winery in Rocheport, Mo. Along the way, there are a number of "trailside surprises," such as snacks and performances. Upon arrival to the winery, you are treated to a buffet-style local foods picnic, live music and a documentary film screening. All of this takes place on a gorgeous blufftop overlooking the Missouri River. I must admit that my friends and I have never actually done the bike ride portion of Boone Dwaddle. Each year, we briefly consider it, and then opt out in favor of the shuttle bus. The event organizers hinted that they might add canoeing as a form of transportation next year, in which case, we will definitely participate.
Boone Dwaddle was on Saturday, but we kicked off the festivities early on Friday evening. I drove to Columbia, and met my friends at our accommodations, The Gathering Place Bed & Breakfast. We stay here for every Boone Dwaddle and most of the time for True/False. Besides the beautiful guest rooms, impeccable customer service and mouthwatering breakfasts, it is also within walking distance of downtown. I would live there full-time if I could! For dinner, we went downtown to Pizza Tree, an eatery that specializes in creative pizza styles made from fresh, local ingredients. We started the meal with an order of fried dough sticks that were served with chile oil for dipping. The appetizer was perfectly crispy and light, and we wasted no time devouring them. Our entree was the Banh Mi pizza, which is inspired by the popular Vietnamese sandwich of the same name. It consists of pizza cheese, sriracha braised pork belly, kimchi, chile aioli and cilantro. This filling combination is delicious and easily the prettiest pizza you have ever seen. We ended the night with frozen cocktails at Tropical Liqueurs before going back to the B&B.
Saturday morning started with breakfast at the B&B. I had fresh fruit, scrambled eggs with spinach, mushroom and feta cheese, hickory-smoked bacon, roasted red potatoes, and toast with the smoothest, creamiest butter I've ever tasted. In fact, the butter was so good that I asked for more toast just so that I could have more of the butter. After breakfast, we headed downtown. We did some shopping at Maude Vintage and New Beginning Consignment Clothing before having lunch at CJ's, a well-known spot for Buffalo wings. Next, we ventured over to Bleu Restaurant & Wine Bar. The innovative menu, stylish atmosphere and spacious outdoor patio makes Bleu one of our favorite places to dine in Columbia. On this visit, it was all about desserts. I ordered the triple chocolate mousse bomb. The mousse is made from locally produced Patric Chocolate. It is covered in a ganache shell and served on top of a chocolate cookie. It is a decadent treat, but unfortunately, I couldn't finish it because of its richness. You need a serious sweet tooth to conquer the whole thing. My friend ordered the mango creme brulee, which was divine. I'm a connoisseur of creme brulee, so I was excited to try it in a different flavor. It comes topped with fresh fruit and lavender short bread cookies on the side.
At 5:30 p.m. we boarded the Boone Dwaddle shuttle bus for the 20 minute trip to Les Bourgeois. Our first stop was the registration table where we were given our passes for dinner and two beverages. Joshua Smith, Les Bourgeois' executive chef, presented a large spread of wholesome cuisine that included items such as Uprise Bakery baguettes topped with shaved Missouri Legacy Beef prime rib, arugula, and Norton vincotto braised onions; vegetarian lasagna with Pierpont Farms swiss chard; chickpeas and smoked paprika besciamella; and house made Chaurice sausage and red bean "chili" over rice. With so much to choose from, even a small sample of each was enough to completely fill my plate. The evening proceeded with a concert by the bluegrass band Yes Ma'am from New Orleans. I became a fan of theirs when they performed at this year's True/False, so I was happy to get another chance to see them live. When the sun went down there was a short, but spectacular, fireworks show, and then a screening of the film Lunarcy!. The director, Simon Ennis, and the main subject of the film, Christopher Carson, were both there to do a Q&A session after the screening. The movie is about a group of people who center their lives around finding a way to live on the moon. I found the film to be heartwarming and encouraging with its message of following your dreams no matter how crazy the world might think they are.
Sunday began with another fabulous breakfast at the B&B. The main course was Belgian waffles with whipped cream and blueberries. I also had fresh fruit, hickory-smoked bacon and eggs over easy. After breakfast, we checked out of the inn and decided to spend the rest of the morning at the North Village Arts District Farmers & Artisan Market. There were several vendors selling fresh produce, flowers, jewelry, clothing, artwork and other wares. I wasn't very hungry after our big breakfast, but I couldn't resist trying the truffle pizza at the Playing With Fire Wood Fired Pizza food truck. The yummy pie is made up of mozzarella, Pecorino, garlic, herb and truffle oil. The day was extremely hot, so we cooled down inside at The Root Cellar Grocery, where we picked up some refreshing Fresh Beet Gourmet Ice Pops, and at the Artlandish Gallery catacombs. One of the highlights of the market, was a performance by a very talented singer named Benjamin Joseph who entertained the crowd with his guitar and rock-soul vocals. We delayed heading home because we didn't want to stop listening to him play. He was that great.
From being in the company of friends who I adore, to indulging in two days of food, film, music and art, Boone Dwaddle weekend 2013 couldn't have been better. This is a tradition that I look forward to continuing for many years to come.
Posted by Porcshe N. Moran
My review of Dhafer's Mediterranean Steakhouse is featured in the "Show-Me Flavor" section of the August 2013 issue of Missouri Life magazine. Back in March, I traveled to southeast Missouri to visit Dhafer's, and wrote a blog post about my experience at the restaurant and checking out some of the sights in that region of the state.
Read my review of Dhafer's Mediterranean Steakhouse here.
Read my "24 Hours in Southeast Missouri" blog post here.
Hello! I am Porcshe N. Moran. I have over 10 years of combined experience in journalism, communications and strategic marketing. My specialty is producing travel/lifestyle, business and healthcare content.