Thursday, March 24, 2016

switching a syrup [sap]

here in maine, they love their maple syrup; and when i say love... i mean they LOVE it.  it's on the same level as bbq in kansas city, deep dish pizza in chicago or bacon...well...wherever men are found. it's serious business here in the northeast. being a mid-westerner raised on "log cabin" maple syrup all my life, i couldn't comprehend the obsession over this coveted condiment.

side note: i've heard if they catch you buying "log cabin" at the grocery store in maine, they take you out back and beat you with a stick.

the other day i read an article in the local paper on maple syrup etiquette, discussing the fact you should always be sure your guests receive the "good stuff" and how restaurants will actually charge you if you'd like more than the given amount.  naturally this piqued my interest and i had to check this syrup situation out.  as luck would have it, a few farms were going to have an early "maple weekend" on saturday; which is a whole day of celebrating this sugary sap! the next day, my fiancee and i drove an hour outside of portland to hilltop boilers to see what all the fuss was about.

i'll be honest i was overwhelmed. it was a syrup sensory overload.  within seconds we had been given samples of maple fudge as well as ice cream with hot maple syrup on it!  inhaling the treats we took a tour of the "sugar house," where i discovered it took 40 gallons of liquid sap to get one gallon of pure maine maple syrup. at the end of the tour they had maple whoopee pie samples; two glorious new england traditions in one amazing treat.

i ended up leaving the farm with three different bottles of maple syrup and a maple whoopie pie the size of my face.  i had been seduced by the smooth sweetness of this sappy siren known as pure maine maple syrup.  if that whole experience hadn't been enough to do me in, the next day we made pancakes.  i'd like to say i used the syrup sparingly, but the truth is, i was basically doing maple syrup shots with a pancake glass.

well done maine, i get it now.

Tuesday, March 22, 2016

i [hate] goodbyes

i wrote my last blog post a week before i left wichita for maine...and things got a little crazy.....

the post was shared, retweeted and forwarded on to so many people i lost track.  i say "lost track" because it was well above the 35 people who normally read my blog; mostly friends and family.  thank you to everyone who shared my post or commented.  as a person leaving his hometown for a city he's never set foot in before, it meant a lot.  after 10 years of writing about my adventures in wichita, i had written the most personal post ever...and it must of hit a nerve.  i can't thank you enough if you were one of those who took time to read it.

the post was shared so much i heard from old high school teachers, college professors, business owners, city dentist...and several strangers whose only connection was wichita. the post eventually came across the paths of two people, who let me say goodbye to wichita in ways i could have never imagined and i'd like to thank them.

first of all, carrie rangers, a reporter for the wichita eagle.  not only did she chat with me and write a wonderful article, she also made short video of me talking about how great wichita is.  if it looks as though i'm getting misty eyed in the video, it's only because i had just finished chopping onions. thank you carrie for the wonderful article and video. you can see her work here.

next, i'd like to thank tony and alt 107.3 who let me guest dj the sunday night before i left.  not only did he let me play some of my favorite songs on my favorite wichita station, we also reminisced about wichita in 30-45 second segments.  tony might also go down as the last friend i made in wichita before i left.  a great guy doing his best to promote this wonderful town. 

below was my playlist for the night:

alabama shakes - don't wanna fight
cake - love you madly
the white stripes - seven nation army
the black keys - your touch
the la's - there she goes
beck - loser
leon bridges - better man
pixies - here comes your man
nirvana - smells like teen spirit
counting crows - mr. jones

both of them gave me an incredibly large platform to say goodbye to my hometown, which is a gift i won't ever forget.

lastly i'd like to thank my friends and family.  you all are the crazy cast of characters that made wichita so hard to leave and who i'm missing as i write this post.  i was lucky enough to surround myself with wonderfully talented people who all want to make wichita a great place, and that's what i'm missing most....

well....that and the chicken fried steak-n-eggs at the beacon.  holy cow! i had no idea a good chicken fried steak would be so hard to find here on the east coast!