Monday, August 24, 2015

The Best Bars & Lounges at Heathrow Airport

Passing through an airport can be an extremely stressful part of traveling, an issue that a myriad of airline and airport operators attempt to counteract with sleeping capsules, yoga lounges, and kid-free zones. San Jose International, LAX and Miami Airport even have therapy dogs to de-stress passengers, but sometimes all you airport that supplies a wide variety of bars is London Heathrow.

The UK’s busiest airport continues to impress in all areas, from the delectable options for food and beverages to the convenient and ever expanding parking services that Parking4Less offers visitors -- long and short stay parking at all 5 terminals, all of which ensure a relaxing and hassle-free journey. If you’re traveling through Heathrow any time soon and in need of time to unwind during your time in the airport, here is a list of recommended pubs and lounges.

London’s Pride by Fuller’s, Terminal 2
Just last year, the centuries-old brewer opened a gastropub in Heathrow to offer passengers premium ciders as well as local provenance food to supply them with something slightly different from the typical airport restaurant experience. They even have a Terminal 2 lager called Wingman.

The Flying Chariot (Wetherspoon), Terminal 3
The Flying Chariot celebrates all things Heathrow with designs inspired by the airport’s rich history, boasting its own ‘control tower’ observation deck that overlooks the runway. In addition to the Windsor & Eton Brewery craft beers, the pub also serves organic ciders, artisan gins, and an extensive selection of exquisite dishes.

Fortnum & Mason Champagne Bar, Terminal 5
Open from 5:30 am until the last departing flight, Fortnum & Mason Champagne Bar is a classy establishment with a beautiful island bar serving a diverse range of bubbly, along with cocktails, spirits and non-alcoholic beverages. Travelers may wish to pair their drinks with crumpets, caviar or other snacks from the menu.

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Saturday, August 8, 2015

Milwaukee Summerfest Finale

I had a full schedule for my final day in Milwaukee and had a new friend to share it with.

It turned out Roberta, who I had met the previous day, and I had a lot in common, including our desire to check out some of the highlights of Milwaukee for the first time.

Roberta picked me up at the Hilton Milwaukee and we took a scenic drive to Lake Park Bistro. It was a quaint restaurant with a view and we both new immediately we’d love the French brunch.

We started with the pastry assortment. It was tough not to finish the Croissants, Banana Chocolate Chip Bread, and Blueberry Scones, but I wanted to save room for the rest of the food.

We shared a wonderful beet salad, which had feta cheese, fennel, and pistachios in a red wine vinaigrette.

For a main course, Roberta loved the Crab Eggs Benedict and I was satisfied with my Vegetarian Omelet, though I couldn’t understand why a vegetarian omelet was topped with two thick slices of bacon.

Both dishes at the Lake Park Bistro were served with Dauphinoise Potatoes. They were excellent, but too rich to eat a lot of.

We were too full to order dessert. The waitress still brought us some refreshing fresh fruit sherbets to finish our meal with.

After brunch we went to the Pabst Mansion for a tour. The former home of Captain Frederick Pabst, founder of Pabst Brewing, and his family is a must-see in Milwaukee.

The mansion has been preserved and restored by a local historic preservation group, who took it over in 1975 after it had been sold to the Archdiocese of Milwaukee and used as a home for their priests.

The tour is quite complete and includes history of the items as well as the family who originally built it. It’s also safe to say it’s the only historical mansion you can buy a PBR cap in!

When the tour was over, we were off to the Harley-Davidson Museum

I confess that I am not a huge motorcycle fan and expected to be in and out quickly, but we found it very interesting with tons to see.

I had never been on a motorcycle in my life. A family friend had been severely injured when I was a kid and I just never had the desire, but it was kind of fun sitting on one that I knew wasn’t going anywhere.

Roberta also enjoyed trying out a few bikes before finding one that was just right.

We ended up spending a few hours learning about the history of yet another Milwaukee family who had become known throughout the world, the Davidsons.

I took some time to head back to my room at the Hilton a bit before Roberta picked me up and dropped me at Summerfest. We said goodbye, knowing we would meet again.

Before I even got inside, there were vendors with food, drinks, and other items. 

I stopped to sample some Cupcake Vineyards wine. I liked their Riesling and Pinot Grigio.

When I was at Summerfest on Friday night, my friend Lisa and I arrived just before the Doobie Brothers concert so I didn’t have a lot of time to explore. We had also just eaten a big meal so food was not on my mind.

This all changed when I arrived on Sunday evening with $40 in food gift certificates from the Milwaukee Convention & Visitors Bureau and an appetite.

I had mixed feelings on the Solo Pizza Cone. Thanks to gravity, the sauce had dropped to the bottom and it was a bit dry on top.  

I heard great things about their Mac & Cheese cone, though.

I enjoyed the King and I Thai Egg Roll, a bargain at $1.75, as were the Potato Chips on a Stick.

The Chicken in a Waffle Cone with maple and cole slaw was delicious, as was the

I finished my food tasting with an amazing dish of Brownie Cascade from Wisconsin’s Chocolate Shoppe Ice Cream. It was chocolate ice cream with pieces of brownies, caramel cups, and fudge.

Despite the fact that I didn’t finish anything I ate, I was stuffed and the only thing I wanted next was an iced tea (I always get half sweet, half unsweetened), but there were plenty of other eating and drinking options at Summerfest.

Lots of Wisconsin beers had tents selling their products, including Water Street Brewery and Lakefront Brewery.

I also walked around and checked out some of the different stages at Summerfest between food venues. There were 11 stages, each with a different band. It was so wonderfully put together that you didn’t hear any of the music interfering with anything else that was on.

The bands ranged from country to rock, without a little pop and hip hop thrown in.

It was nice to see all the families enjoying the activities, or just picnics along the lake.

I met up with friend and fellow travel writer, KristineHansen and her husband. We had a glass of Yellow Tail Pinot Grigio – it was, after all, mostly a beer festival -- to celebrate the reunion.

We had fun catching up, but they had tickets to the Neil Young concert in the Amphitheater and had to head there.

I had planned on sticking around to see Kansas and Smash Mouth, but decided to head back to the Hilton instead. It had been a long, but wonderful, first trip to Milwaukee – a place I definitely plan on returning to.