Vacation Over; The Countdown Commences

By the time you folks out are reading this, there will only be four days left of my tenure at the Daily Globe. And this final week of work comes on the heels of a week-long vacation.

Why would I bother to take vacation now, knowing that my time was so short at the DG?

Because Hubby Bryan and I had scheduled those days off well before I made the decision to depart, and it’s the only week-long stretch available to him for the rest of the summer. It was now or never..

So we packed our bags, loaded up the Jeep and headed east toward one of our favorite destinations — Wisconsin. The land of beer, cheese, sausage and rolling hills always seems to beckon, so it was a wise destination in a year when we didn’t want to stray too very far from home.

In the span of a week, we visited a number of notable Wisconsin spots: Madison, Lake Geneva, Milwaukee, the Dells and LaCrosse. First stop was Madison — well, just outside of Madison, actually, where former Worthingtonians Kevin and Kami Lease now reside. Unbeknownst to us, it was Kevin’s birthday, and we celebrated the occasion with delicious food and lots of laughter.

At Lake Geneva — a resort area that draws summer residents and visitors from Chicago and the surrounding area —  we stayed at The Inns of Geneva National, perched in the middle of three premier golf courses; and visited an amazing winery called Studio Winery that not only features delicious wines but is also an artist’s studio and recording studio. The highlight of the trip was an almost three-hour tour on the USS Walworth — the boat that daily delivers mail to residents all around Lake Geneva. It is a one-of-a-kind experience, and you will read more about it on Saturday’s Faces & Places page. Alas, Lake Geneva Brewing Company’s hours did not coincide with our own availability this time around — but that gives us a reason to go back.

Onward to Milwaukee, where we made a repeat stop to see the progress at the Best Place at the Historic Pabst Brewery. This building is part of the former Pabst Brewery complex — I think it is 28 buildings in all — which is slowly being repurposed and renovated. The last time we were here was shortly after it opened, and the upper floor that was then in shambles is now a functioning event space. We also took a quick look at the nearby Brewhouse Inn & Suites, another of the restored structures, but weren’t brave enough to venture up to the second floor to see the original copper kettles in which the Pabst products were brewed.

We chose a different downtown Milwaukee hotel for our night’s stay. Just a block away was the riverside park that hosts a weekly band concert — on this particular night a band that specialized in Billy Joel’s repertoire. It was a lovely place to enjoy the rest of our evening among a crowd of mostly locals.

The rest of our journey was relaxing and relatively uneventful, with stops in the Wisconsin Dells and La Crosse as we headed back west.

And now here I am once again, at my desk, but with the clock ticking down on my Daily Globe career. Thanks to a vacationing co-worker, I will write one more blog before my departure, in Friday’s edition. In the meantime, here’s a tasty salad recipe that we devoured during our stay with Kevin and Kami Lease. They credit it to another former Worthingtonian, Kevin Doehring, with whom they recently reconnected.

Smoky Chipotle Coleslaw

½ cup mayonnaise

½ cup light sour cream

3 tablespoons white wine vinegar

1 tablespoon molasses

1½ teaspoons honey (or agave syrup or sugar)

1 small chipotle pepper, minced, plus 1 teaspoon adobo sauce from the can (more or less to taste)

¼ teaspoon ground cumin

1 teaspoon kosher salt

4 cups packed green cabbage, shredded

2 cups red cabbage, shredded

7 green onions, sliced thin

1 cup cilantro, divided (or parsley or both to make 1 cup)

For dressing, combine mayonnaise, sour cream, vinegar, molasses, honey, chipotle, cumin and salt.

In a large bowl, toss the cabbage, green onion and ¾ cup cilantro or parsley.

Pour the dressing over the salad, toss well and chill at least 30 minutes or up to four hours.

Before serving, taste and add more salt if desired. Scatter remaining ¼ cup cilantro or parsley over top.

Doug and Kathy are the hosts for wine tasting at The Studio Winery -- which combines a winery, art studio and recording studio under one roof -- in Lake Geneva, Wis.
Doug and Kathy are the hosts for wine tasting at The Studio Winery — which combines a winery, art studio and recording studio under one roof — in Lake Geneva, Wis.