You’re Shrimply The Best

Fall is just the best time of year! Leaves, bonfires, warm apple cider … I could go on and on. It’s also this time of year that our friend Jacob has his annual Shrimp Boil.

You remember Jacob (see Cioppino in the Garden) – wine connoisseur, foodie, dog dad to Libby, and works part time at our favorite place. He’s also a great host and loves to entertain. We are so lucky to know him!

For this shindig, Jacob served pulled pork, homemade vegetable soup, and of course the shrimp boil (with sausage, potatoes, and corn).

This pulled pork – OMG! It was so good! I had a little, and when I turned around it was gone! Here is Jacob’s recipe for Pulled Pork:

I used Salt/Pepper, Black Magic from Spiceology, and Garlic Powder as the rub, let that sit for 60 minutes. I mixed 1/3 cup of berry jam, 3 tablespoons of balsamic vinegar, 2-3 tablespoons of water, and two tablespoons honey mustard as a glaze.

Put into an oven preheated to 275 for about 40 to 45 minutes per pound. Internal temp of the pork shoulder should be 185. Let it rest for 15 minutes at room temp then start shredding the pork.

So good!

Here is Jacob’s go-to recipe for shrimp boils – great for a crowd!

The vegetable soup was amazing as usual, and Jacob shared his recipe with me:

Jacob’s Veggie Soup

6 cups of chopped veggies (cut to about an inch)
Caramelize 2 medium Onions
1 tablespoon of chopped garlic
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 tablespoon balsamic vinegar
2 cups red wine
2 cans of crushed fire roasted tomatoes
1 can of chopped fire roasted tomatoes
1 cup of lentils or quinoa (I used French lentils)
1 cup of chopped corn (I used one bag of frozen corn)
8 cups of vegetable stock

Caramelize the onions then add the garlic.

Chop the vegetables, toss them in oil, salt/pepper, herbs d’province, and roast them on 375 for 30-45 minutes.

Put the tomato paste and balsamic vinegar in the onions and stir to incorporate. Add the vegetable stock and wine to the onions/garlic and cook the lentils till almost finished. Then add the tomatoes, frozen corn, and roasted veggies.

I used 1 tablespoon of the Oh, Canada seasoning from Robert’s Seafood (Spiceology) and 1 tablespoon of Braggs Aminos.

Simmer for 20 minutes…then ready to serve.


Guests brought side dishes and appetizers … and I kind of messed up. I have a lot of phyllo dough left over from Cookbook Club (see Movin’ to the Country, Gonna Eat a Lot of Peaches) and my plan was to make some Spanakopita Bites. Two problems – I thought I had a mini-muffin pan and I don’t, and secondly, I forgot to get the phyllo dough out of the freezer in time to make these. So …. on to Plan B since I didn’t want to go empty handed to the party.

I found a recipe (Spinach Feta Dip with Lemon and Oregano) on Pinterest that pretty much used all of the ingredients I had purchased for the Spanakopita Bites, minus the phyllo dough. I will admit, it wasn’t too bad! I served it with pita chips, but I think you could even warm this up and serve it over pasta.

Another successful party for Jacob! Great times, great friends, and great food! It was “Shrimply The Best”!

I Like Big Buttes (in Sedona) and I Cannot Lie

Being flexible during the pandemic is really important – you should always have a Plan B and Plan C if Plan A goes awry. Our Plan A was to go to Belize for a week – but 30 days out from our trip Belize goes on the “Do Not Travel” list from the CDC and State Department for high COVID numbers. UGHHHHHH! What to do? It was easy to decide to postpone our trip to Belize, but we still wanted to go someplace fun. So we got together with our travel buddies Jamie and Karen and came up with a plan – go see one of our favorite musicians, Frank Turner, then fly out to Arizona and travel to Sedona.

You really need to check out Frank Turner if you have not heard of him – he is just amazing! In concert it was just him and one of his bandmates, Matt Nasir, playing for a couple of hours. They were very funny and loose, and the audience really connected with them. We saw them at Delmar Hall in St. Louis, which is a great venue! Check it out!

On to Sedona! We flew into Phoenix – easy peasy – then went to get a rental car. I feel like I need to mention this next part as a PSA for those renting cars right now – sign up for any program that allows you to go directly to your car and not the counter – seriously. Jamie and Karen were able to go directly to their car (they’re smart) while Tim and I stood in line for two hours (not smart).

When we arrived in Sedona it was already dark, so I had no idea of the majestic beauty we were traveling through. We stayed at the Poco Diablo Resort right outside Sedona – great location, close to the town of Sedona and hiking trails/scenic routes. It was a Monday, and a lot of places were closed, but we found a great little pizza place called Sedona Pizza Company and had a bite to eat and some wine. Travel days are always so exhausting.

The next morning Tim and Jamie got up and hiked the Cathedral Rock Trail. According to Tim, it was a lot more challenging than the “moderate” rating listed. When they returned we drove the Red Rock Scenic Byway. I don’t think I would ever get tired of this view!

Afternoons are made for relaxing, and I don’t know a better to relax than with a glass of wine 🙂 We headed to Vino Di Sedona, a place that had come highly recommended by several of our wine store peeps. Wes Schemmer, the owner of the wine bar, used to live in the Chicago area and worked for a wine distributor whose territory included Springfield. He’s got a great place in Sedona and we loved it! You can buy a glass, flight, bottle, drink it there or take away, food, cocktails, beer, you name it! They also have music every night and a really sweet patio. Tim and I loved it so much we went there twice during the trip!

After wine we headed up to Airport Mesa to Mesa Grill to eat dinner and watch the sunset. Gorgeous views and great food! The shrimp and grits were especially good – the pork belly was yummy.

Our next day consisted of more rocks, more wine, and more food – of course! Karen and I even did a little hike 🙂

We went to the Art of Wine for some pre-dinner drinks and snacks. Very cute place close to everything in Uptown Sedona. Our server Ruben did a great job helping us pick out our wine.

For dinner we went to the The Cowboy Club, a restaurant that back-in-the-day hosted several of Hollywood’s greatest Western movie stars. The food and drink was really good!

Finished the night off with Orin Swift’s 8 Years in the Desert – it seemed like a very appropriate wine for the area!

Sadly, Jamie and Karen left the next day to go back home. Tim and I did a drive through Oak Creek Canyon – it was just beautiful! Unfortunately no pictures since I was the driver 😦 Trust me, it was amazing!

After the drive we went back to Vino Di Sedona – of course! We really loved this place, and was introduced to some delicious Arizona wines.

Our last day – boooooo! A “must see” site in Sedona is the Chapel of the Holy Cross. But if you don’t get there early (like right when they open), you will have trouble finding a place to park, and it will be overrun with people. We tried to go there late morning on the previous day (Thursday), and I almost had a panic attack with the amount of people and cars that were there. Different story on Friday – the gates open at 9:00 a.m., and we were there by 9:01 a.m. No problem!

The chapel is located at one of the vortexes in Sedona – and I think I felt a spiritual cleansing and calmness while I was there, but I am sure I did not the day before with the tons of people of and cars. Anyhoo, I highly recommend going. The view from the chapel is unbelievable!

So on to Arizona Wine Country! Yes, you heard me right – Arizona has great wines! Our friends Nancy and Zach recently returned from a trip to Arizona, and when she told me Arizona wines were legit, I was skeptical. But after having a couple of these wines during the week, Tim and I ventured to the Verde Valley Wine Trail.

The wineries we visited are only about a 30 minute drive from Sedona on easy roads. We started at Page Spring Cellars, and Caden was our server. She was really awesome, and talked to us about each wine as she was pouring. This winery grows their own grapes, and if they need extra they get them from Mexico. Caden also explained that they made Rhone-style wines, which is probably my favorite style at the moment. We really enjoyed our time here 🙂

Less than half a mile up the road is Oak Creek Vineyards & Winery – another great place to visit! We were very lucky that the weather was great and not hot, and were able to sit outside on their patio. We did not eat here but their charcuterie plate looked awesome!

The last winery we visited was Javelina Leap Winery – you could literally see this winery from Oak Creek Vineyards. We had a nice glass of wine there and listened to some music – a wonderful way to spend the day 🙂

Exciting things are on the horizon for Arizona wines – we learned while taking to everyone at these wineries that Arizona is on track to be the next AVA – which is great news! Don’t be afraid to buy an Arizona wine – you’ll be happy you did 🙂

I had one last thing to do before getting on the plane and heading home – we had lunch with Tish, an old friend/co-worker who had relocated to the Phoenix area and is loving life! So good to see her and reconnect! I would also recommend eating at the Perfect Pear Bistro – it’s close to the airport and the food is amazing. Check it out if you are in Phoenix!

I’m not saying goodbye to Sedona, I’m saying “See you later!” Here’s to Plan B’s <clink, clink> May our Plan A’s work out as well!

Please Pass the Jello Salad

Doing a 1950s-themed cocktail party has long been on Nancy’s list. And since Laura was the host and had the Betty Crocker Picture Cookbook, it seemed like the perfect time to do it!

Instead of a main entree, we decided to make several appetizers, a couple of salads, and dessert.

But first, the cocktail – we went old school with a Tom Collins. Very refreshing and easy to make, a perfect drink for anytime! There is also an interesting back story to the Tom Collins cocktail if you are in to that kind of thing.

Dee is still off alcohol, but she found an interesting non-alcoholic wine from Gruvi that she can enjoy in the mean time. It tastes so much like real wine that she almost didn’t believe there was no alcohol!

I was in charge of the salads, and of course one of them had to be a molded Jello salad. The first thing I think of when I think 50’s Dinner Party is a molded salad LOL … and there were many to choose from! I chose to make the Perfection Salad, which according to the cookbook is a “Molded version of an old church supper favorite from the Gay Nineties”. It was comprised of lemon Jello, salt, cabbage, celery, pimientos, and sweet pickles. The cookbook suggested serving it with a dressing of mayonnaise and tomatoes (I added some red wine vinegar and salt and pepper). Hmmmm ….

The consensus – it wasn’t too bad! Something like a palate cleanser … even so, I will not be making it again! LOL

My second salad was called Star Salad. From the cookbook – “Alternate wedges of lettuce and tomato in effective star design on large round chop plate. Garnish of lacy watercress or crispy endive.” I served it with Western Dressing, a favorite salad dressing of mine from way back when. It couldn’t have been easier!

So on to the appetizers! Dee volunteered to bring Shrimp Cocktail (from Robert’s Seafood – they have the best shrimp and cocktail sauce!) as well as the Cheese – Olive – Anchovy Spread with Ritz Crackers (of course!). Can’t go wrong here!

Nancy brought the Savory Mushroom Canapés and Peanut Butter and Bacon Canapés. Confession – we picked these out for her. They really liked their toasted bread in the 50’s! Oh, and mayonnaise! Anyway, these were both tasty options.

Laura made the Hot Cheese Puffs and Hot Crabmeat Puffs, and Miniature Pigs in Blankets. More toasted bread and mayo! And who doesn’t love a pig in a blanket??

For dessert Laura made Chocolate Frosted Brownies – all I can say is yum!

So, 1950’s Cocktail Party – Check! Please, no more Jello Salads 🙂

Guess who saw The Rolling Stones in St. Louis!

The Lincoln to Mackinaw Valley Vineyard Trail

We got a little later start on our trip than I intended due to my doctor’s appointment going a little longer – which I am not complaining about! Our plan was to head north and eat lunch in Lincoln, then head up to the Mackinaw Valley Vineyard.

Now where to eat lunch … the only place I knew about in Lincoln only serves dinner, so I went to one of my fountains of information – my mother! I knew she would know, and she did! Funny thing is that Sharon was also doing her research, and they both came up with the same place – The Blue Dog Inn.

I cannot say enough good things about The Blue Dog Inn – with the first thing being so obvious – they love dogs! There are dog pictures and paintings all over the walls – I love it!

The second thing I love about this place is the history – the lady working that day told me the building used to be part of (or maybe just next door to) a hotel that burned down several years ago. Gangsters (think Al Capone) from Chicago and St. Louis would meet at the hotel in Lincoln since it was out of the way plus in-between the two cities, and play cards and drink in the building where The Blue Dog Inn is today. So, when you are there, you are walking on the exact floors that Al Capone or Bugsy Moran may have walked on. Pretty cool!

And the third thing I love is of course the food and service – nothing fancy but really good food! And of course the service was great! We will definitely be coming back 🙂

I like ketchup on pretty much everything!

So onward to Mackinaw Valley Vineyard! Sharon and I had decided on our last road trip that we wanted to take more local roads and less interstates to and from our destinations. It is a much more relaxing way to travel – kick back (unless you’re the driver LOL) and enjoy the scenery and conversation.

Randy may or may not have been asleep 🙂

I had heard a lot about Mackinaw Valley Vineyard over the years, and I really couldn’t believe I had never been there. My first impression when we pulled in was that it was very organized, and had many spots for people to congregate with friends and family. The grounds are very beautiful and well maintained, with a pond as a backdrop for pictures and lazing around with a glass of wine. They host lots of weddings and usually have a band or some other event on the weekends.

We were greeted by Carly, who we found out later is the owner’s daughter and a winemaker herself! She described all of the wines to us, and gave us some helpful hints about tasting. Tim and I (and Randy and Sharon) each shared tastings of six of the wines. We all like dry wines the best. Our overall favorite was Alexander’s Conquest, which happened to be an Off Dry wine – and Carly does a good job explaining the difference between dry and off-dry wines. Regardless, Alexander’s Conquest was the winner to us, and also a 2021 Double Gold Medal Winner at the Illinois State Fair.

When we finally left, we realized we would be going through Lincoln again around dinner time – and if you are in Lincoln at dinner time you really need to try Guzzardo’s Italian Villa. It is a BYOB place, and conveniently there is a craft beer and wine shop called Spirited Republic located at the entrance to Guzzardo’s. Basically you go to Spirited Republic (located on the square), pick out your wine or have a pre-dinner craft beer, leave through the back, and voila – there is Guzzardo’s!

We were very hungry, so we ordered two appetizers and the each of us got an entree – seriously, this was enough food to feed eight or more people! I think next time we will share an entree, thought it was nice to have leftovers for a couple of meals.

Another fun day out – I think I will keep this retirement gig! Until next time!

Milwaukee’s Best (Wine Bar That Is)

We headed north for our first real musical outing since 2019 – it’s really hard to believe! One of my favorite bands was playing at Summerfest in Milwaukee, and since the venue was requiring either a vaccination or a negative COVID test to get in, we thought “why not”!

Milwaukee is one of my favorite places to go … it’s only about a 4 1/2 hour drive from Springfield, the weather is normally cooler in the summer (which to me is better), and the people are really friendly. Plus I may have found my “home away from home” wine bar.

We found Vino Third Ward a couple of years ago during one of our treks to Milwaukee – it was either Irish Fest or German Fest (two festivals that are also super fun). If you are staying downtown you can walk to there, and it is close to the Summerfest grounds so it is a logical stop (in my mind anyway) on the way to the festival.

What I really love about Vino Third Ward is it reminds me almost exactly of my favorite wine place in Springfield – It’s All About Wine. They sell wine by the glass/bottle to either drink on premise or take away. Vino Third Ward also serves cheese and Italian sausage to nibble on.

They have their regular crew that shows up every Saturday as well (sound familiar??) Everybody knows everybody, and even if you are not a so-called “regular” you get drawn into the conversations.

After two visits on this trip we felt like regulars, and will definitely make sure we go there when we visit Milwaukee 🙂

Oh and The Struts really rocked it!

Hidden (When They Say Hidden, They’re Not Kiddin’) Lake and Copper Dock Wineries

Some days girls just wanna have fun … and that’s the kind of day Sharon and I had when we decided to drive south of Springfield and venture to Hidden Lake and Cooper Dock Wineries.

First of all, it was a beautiful day – really gorgeous! All of the heat and humidity, as well as the unlimited rain, just seemed to leave the area once September arrived.

So on the road we go! We decided to go to Hidden Lake Winery in Aviston first since on a map it looked like it was the furthest away, and we could jog over to Copper Dock before heading home. Hidden Lake Winery is a little over 100 miles from Springfield, and we had a plan to get there by lunchtime. Take I-55 South to Exit 33 (IL Route 4) and go towards Lebanon. After you get to Lebanon, turn towards Trenton (which by the way has a very cute ice cream shop called Dairy King). After this you will definitely want to use your GPS if you are not familiar with the area (like us). Turn on to Wesclin Road, then turn on to Wellen Road, wind around a bit, then you will find the Hidden Lake Winery!

It was a really beautiful drive, and could lead to a discussion about the differences between a highway, 2-lane road, hard road, black top, gravel road, lane, etc. Just sayin’ …

There is so much to like about this winery – beautiful grounds with lots of seating. We shared the chicken bacon ranch flatbread and a small charcuterie plate which was plenty for the two of us. They also have cabins for rent – I see a future road trip here again!

On to Copper Dock! It is located in Pocahontas (home to Gretchen Wilson) and will take you about a half an hour to get there from Hidden Lake Winery. Another beautiful, very peaceful, setting on a lake with lots of outdoor seating. They also serve food here, which is something we will have to try on our next visit.

We had a table right next to the lake – I could see the little fish from where I was sitting, and very scraggly looking turtle scared me LOL! He must have been looking for food.

We decided to stay off of the interstate highway and instead took the long way home – which is much better in my opinion if you have the time.

We went through Old Ripley, believe it or not, which led to a conversation about how towns and villages were named. Sharon and I are both familiar with a village named Ripley located in Brown County, so was Old Ripley originally just called Ripley? And then this new village unknowingly also decides to call itself Ripley, so the oldest of the villages just becomes Old Ripley? Why is there not a New Ripley? Maybe there is …

We realized we were going to go through Hillsboro, so naturally we had to stop at Cozy Cafe for egg rolls. I was introduced to these delicacies by my friends who own the wine store – they (or their family members) would bring them to the wine store, and I would be lucky if I could get one. Seriously, these are the best! I had actually never been to Cozy Cafe, so another first for me on this trip.

Lots of corn ready for harvest on the drive back … to me it is a beautiful site.

I would say Girls Day Out was a success – Cheers until next time!

Let There Be Brunch

Few things get me as excited as a good brunch – usually something sweet, something savory, and of course day drinking! Nancy was the hostess for this shindig, and nobody loves brunch more than her 🙂

Every good brunch needs a good drink (or two), so Nancy set up both a Mimosa and a Bloody Mary bar. Can’t go wrong here!

On to the food! Robert’s Seafood is the best place for seafood in town. It’s a cute little specialty grocery store, and I love it! Nancy got some smoked salmon there, as well as a very addictive dip called Mango Crab Chutney.

Nancy also made a delicious Peach Tomato Caprese salad. This salad screams summer! It’s peak peach and tomato season here in Illinois, and this was of course delicious.

I had been wanting Nancy to host a brunch so I could bring Ina Garten’s Cranberry Orange Scones. These are so delicious and easy to make – I have made a few other scones and in my opinion these really are the best.

No brunch is complete without a quiche or some sort of egg dish. Nancy served Zucchini Quiche with Basil – another great choice since we have zucchini in abundance.

Add some grilled sausage, a cheese tray, some fruit, bread, and shrimp, and there you go – Brunch!

Even dogs enjoy brunch 🙂

Our after-brunch entertainment was reading the Hillsboro Journal – nothing better than local news with insight from the Hillsboro natives! We learned many things, including a man’s love for junking 🙂

An egg-cellent time was had by all!

Movin’ to the Country, Gonna Eat a Lot of Peaches (and other Good Stuff)

I love this time of year – peak Farmer’s Market season – tomatoes, zucchini, and especially peaches. And when I think of peaches, I can’t help but think of this song by The Presidents of the Unites States 🙂

We wanted to choose a cookbook that would highlight local ingredients from the farmer’s market, and chose Emeril Legasse’s Farm to Fork. There are so many good recipes in this cookbook!

We started off with a Watermelon Limeade with Tequila as our cocktail. Very refreshing, and highly recommended by everyone (even without the tequila)!

Dee was in charge of the appetizer and made the Tomato, Zucchini, and Leek Galette. Oh. My. Goodness. This was so delicious, and looks pretty easy to make! According to Dee, the hardest part was chopping the vegetables, which can actually be therapeutic in my opinion. And you can’t beat puff pastry as the crust – just roll it out!

Laura was in charge of the salad and made Beet Salad with Cheese Crisps and Walnut Dressing. Even if you don’t like beets you would like this salad – tastes good and is good for you! And, as Laura discovered, there is a difference between sherry vinegar and sherry – you don’t want to confuse the two ingredients or you will end up with something that does not taste very good. Luckily she tasted the dressing before tossing the salad (always a good idea to take a taste of your food before serving to guests).

We served The Ripper from Booker Vineyards with the salad – the grenache really complemented the earthiness from the beets. Yum!

Nancy was the hostess and made the entree – Herb-Crusted Cod with Tomato Tapenade served with Rosemary Roasted Fingerling Potatoes. She had everything prepared ahead of time, and was able to cook the fish quickly after we finished our salads. I need more fish in my diet, and this is something I will definitely be making in the future. So good and fresh! And the potatoes were perfect!

We drank a chardonnay from Whitcraft Winery with the fish – it was delicious! Even if you don’t think you like chardonnay you will like this wine – I kept asking Nancy “are you sure this is a chardonnay?” So good!

Finally, the dessert – and the inspiration for this post’s title. I made Ricotta Napoleons with Fresh Peaches – and the peaches really were the star! This is peak time for them in Illinois – they are so sweet and juicy and just perfect! Also, this dessert can be made ahead of time, and then assembled right before serving, which makes it a good choice for a dinner party. The recipe calls for fresh berries, but you can substitute whatever fruit is fresh and in season. This was my first time working with phyllo dough, and I guess I really didn’t understand how thin the layers were, or how much I needed to buy. Since I was doubling the recipe I bought four packages of phyllo dough, and now I have 3 1/2 packages left – oh well, I’ll just need to make something else!

And you’re welcome for the earworm!

Drinkin’ With (Abe) Lincoln in Menard County

Petersburg and the surrounding area has always been one of my favorite places to visit. It is a short drive (around 30 minutes) from Springfield, and is the home to New Salem, where Abraham Lincoln lived as a young man. It is definitely worth checking out! There are several things to do in Petersburg and the surrounding area, and I am only going to touch on the things we did on this date. There will definitely be a future blog post about more fun stuff to do in Petersburg.

We arrived in Petersburg in time for lunch and decided to go to The Corner Cafe. This nice little restaurant is nothing fancy, but they serve really good food with lots of things to choose from. If you can’t find something on the menu to eat, then you must not be hungry!

After lunch we decided to go to Hill Prairie Winery in Oakford, which is only about 15 minutes away from Petersburg. Since it was a Thursday, they were not very busy, just another table besides us. On the weekends they have usually have bands, so plan accordingly! It’s a good idea to bring your own lawn chairs. We shared a bottle of wine and solved all of the world’s problems.

Decisions, Decisions

Next stop was back in Petersburg to a new wine bar called 1st and 3rd Boutique and Wine Bar – this a really cute place to go shopping plus get your drink on! They have a small selection of wine you can purchase to take home or drink there. We chose to drink there and enjoyed sitting in the upstairs part of their shop.

Final stop was at West of Wise Winery, which is located about 10 minutes south of Petersburg on Route 123. I believe this is actually still considered Petersburg (or at least I always consider it Petersburg). It is small winery with a large area to kick back and enjoy some of their locally made vino. Again, since it was a Thursday, there weren’t very many people, but we did see the group of ladies who were at Hill Prairie Winery – I wonder if they were doing the same thing we were? We enjoyed a bottle and chatted about how much we loved being retired 🙂

Fun and pretty drive out in the country, but still close to Springfield. A great way to spend the afternoon!

Illinois Amish Country (and a Stop at a Winery)

We decided to go east and travel to Arthur, home to the largest and oldest Amish community in Illinois. Arthur is about an hour and a half from Springfield, and we wanted to get there for lunch.

If you are eating lunch in Arthur, and a first time visitor, you really need to go to Yoder’s Kitchen – just for the experience. They have a buffet, which I normally don’t like, but there were some tasty items (like the fried chicken!). You can also order off of the menu. There was some peanut butter on the table that was out of this world! Very sweet tasting so you wouldn’t want to eat a lot of it, but I would imagine it would be great on ice cream or pancakes. It is a large building that can seat a lot of people, so even if you have to wait it won’t take long for a table to open up.

After Yoder’s we decided to go to a few stores looking for Amish goods. As we found out, most of the stores carry items made by the Amish in Ohio and then shipped here. Next time I go to Arthur I plan to do more research so I can find where the local farmers are selling their items.

We ended up at Beachy’s, which is the main reason I wanted to go to Arthur in the first place. My friend Tracie has been talking about Beachy’s for years, and it was on my list of things I had to do. I didn’t know what to expect … Beachy’s is a huge warehouse-like store full of bulk goods, with a focus on the Amish community. If you are looking for obscure ingredients, you will probably find it here! I was overwhelmed and definitely under prepared for this store – next time we go I will have a list!

Before we departed from Arthur, I wanted to stop by a local butcher shop. Laura texted me to try Das Schlacht Haus, and I am so glad we found it! This butcher shop is actually located outside of Arthur on a farm. It is small inside, with about four stand-up freezers full of meat. I purchased a couple of New York Strip steaks and some bacon, and Sharon got a couple of ribeye steaks. We all agreed – the meat is so good! Worthy of another trip to Arthur!

We headed out of Arthur towards Pana to go to Arpeggio Winery. This took us about an hour, winding through the countryside.

Arpeggio Winery is definitely worth visiting – the owners converted a 100-year old barn into a beautiful venue. It is really stunning! They have music most Sundays, and are only about an hour away from Springfield.

Definitely going to hit up these spots again in the future!