beer

A Weekend In Historic St Charles Illinois (pictorial)

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I love this town. Over the years I’ve been there many times. For business, wrestling tournaments/ teaching martial arts seminars and dance comps with my daughter. This was the first time we have just gone to chill and write about it. We will be back again and again.

From the cool native history along the Fox River that runs right through downtown to the many Underground railroad sites, there is a wealth historic sites to see. The Baker Hotel is anther great one and gorgeous. I plan to stay there next trip and write about it( a few pics of it here). Shops, pubs and fine dining all can be found in the gorgeous downtown. Old buildings, redone buildings and the classic Arcada Theater (caught Stephen Pearcy from Ratt live while we were there. Great place and got to hang out with one of my HS wrestling training partners .Sometimes our travels give us a chance to catch up). All this with beautiful Fox River roaring in view.

This trip we stayed at the Hilton Garden in that we have stayed at many times. Always great. Cool modern art look in the lobby. Decent pool and fitness and nice rooms. Nice quiet location and always a good experience. It has great conference space and great service. Nice quiet seating areas to relax, read and check your messages on wifi. We will go again(and again). Next time the Baker though just because we write about travel lol.

Take a look at the pictorial and see for yourself( a saddle shop right downtown!)

Spending Time At Nashville Palace (Legendary)

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Over the years I’ve hear a bit about this place. Some friends of mine have played here. It is known as the place Randy Travis got his start(plus washed dishes). That doesn’t even cover it. Live music all day and I mean really good live music.

It has a cool bar in the front with a small stage and dance floor. In the back is a LARGE stage and dance floor where they have bigger events. The front area is where I spent my time. Classic Nashville country cool. Pictures and posters from legends that have been there and all sorts of memorabilia. I’ll let the pictures speak in a moment (i’m not a great writer, just an old fighter lol). You can’t help but love the place. And it has great food.

We stayed across the road from it recently at Gaylord Opryland. Sandy had a healthcare leadership conference there and I was training fighters in the area(huge surprise). As I wandered in my downtime I decided to stop and have a beer (or more) and check the place out. I knew I had to take Sandy back for dinner. The bartenders showed me around and told me all about it. I was hooked! My plan was set and knew we were going back that night. Only a few people there in the afternoon yet a great musician on stage and great staff.

When we went back for dinner it got even better. More great music. Great and well priced drinks and awesome food. We both had the chicken on biscuits( I had the Nashville hot version). Sooo good. A really cool classic idea and well done. Also very cheap. I’ll let the pictures speak here for a bit. Talk after the jump.

This place gets my highest reference. Cool, classic and tasty. Just go here if you are in Nashville and give it a shot. Nothing but a good time!!

NashvillePalace

A Trip To Pizzeria Antica (review of a cool destination here)

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We had eaten here shortly after it first opened but I didn’t have time to take pics and think about writing on it.  First, it’s a true cool destination location restaurant. Our downtown area has become quite hip, and is often referred to as micro urban. I should say that it’s close to where I live but I’m 15 min away in a tiny town. Champaign has about 100k people which is still small to many folks. My town has less than 8k lol. So I often refer to Champaign places as home to me.
  OK on to the fun stuff. First, if straight dominoes, papa John’s etc is the only thing you like, don’t go!  I love all pizza but this is wood fired gourmet rustic. Great locally sourced meats and cheese’s plus produce. Lots of olive oil and charred edges on the crust. Very good, and the place is a true experience. It’s in an old publishing building and very industrial looking. I love that!  You can stand and Look at the specially made ovens which came from Naples Italy. Heck you can see the woodpile!!
   A few pictures and then we will talk about the meal after the jump. Enjoy.

To start of I had a great Morreti Rossa and my wife had the house Chianti. We ordered the cheese plate for a nice start. Great local area cheese’s that were fantastic as well as olives/sweety drops jam and bread. It was very good. Not too heavy or much but classically excellent. Artisan local cheese can’t be beat for an experience.

    For the main we had the pizza pomodorini. Fresh mozzarella and fresh cherry tomatoes plus prosciutto Di parma/parmagianno reggianno and fresh arugula. Excellent. Fresh and nice charcoal edges. Again if this isn’t your thing it isn’t your place. Give it a try though. I’m a Giordano’s and Filippo guy but I love this stuff as well!
  

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It was a great meal in a very cool place. Made for a nice and different experience in our area. The only downside was service this time. I never complain about that but she disappeared!  Dropped off the pizza and never saw her again. We really wanted more drinks (especially me!). Gone. We have fun wherever we go and laughed about it but it wasn’t great. Nobody seemed happy to be there. I hope it was a one off as I really like the place and will return, but that needs work. We travel often, eat everywhere and pay well as a general rule. This was off.
   Again, it’s a great place and we had a wonderful time. Check it out if you’re in the area. If you’d like to be part of our sponsor/ad/ ambassador program email us. From inexpensive links to features or social ads/spokesperson work. Hit tompkinscontent@gmail.com today. Also follow @combatsportlife on Twitter.
   Today’s sponsor is the awesome Westbrook Stables. Get a great riding and training experience in a Western family oriented environment!  https://m.facebook.com/westbrookstable/

A link to today’s restaurant
http://anticachampaign.com/

A Quick Review Of Island Wing Co In Destin Florida

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I usually stick to local dives and hang outs when on a beach vacation, but sometimes something catches my attention. I love wings!  My daughter loves wings even more than I do. Driving along 98 in Destin headed to another area, she spotted Island Wing in a strip mall type area. Not always a bad thing but on beach vacation not always my usual haunt at the beach. It’s a chain but only a few of them and all at Beach locations.
  

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First and possibly most importantly, they have a huge and varied draft beer list. For me this is vital. I know nobody but me cares but it is a sign of a great place!  Second, it’s got a very cool island vibe to it for a place in a strip mall and its very clean.
     The menu is solid leaning obviously toward wings but also chicken sandwiches and burgers. Great sauces and condiments as well as sides. I was in the mood for a sandwich instead of wings so I had the one in the picture. Very good and just spicy enough without being crazy for a normal dinner. I’ll let you look at the menu from the link to see the sauces and make your own decisions after the picture set. I had the sweet çaribbean chicken with an add of jerk sauce. My wife had the honey bourbon wing and my daughter had the Thai chili wings. Great stuff on each. A good amount and very good quality. The price was good as well for a vacation destination in a nice building.
   The service was very good with an attentive young man taking care of us. The added sauce on my sandwich made the right combination of sweet and hot paired with a nice Kona Brewing draught. Can’t beat that. Take a look at the crestvof the pics and then hit the link after the jump.

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Twitter
f you’re in Destin Florida or in Gulf shores check this place out but was right up my alley in food and environment. Plus Draught Beer!!!!  Tell the we sent you!  Check out the link and if you want to be featured here contact us at tompkinscontent@gmail.com . Also follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on Twitter
http://www.islandwing.com/

A Cool Shopping Experience At Destin Commons( Thoughts &travel Pics)

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  As I’ve mentioned in other articles I enjoy finding unusual shopping places. I know it doesn’t fit my fighter image, but hey I promote and market. It’s like a business field trip. Plus there are always coffee houses and a place to grab a drink.
   Our first day in Destin was a bit chilly for the beach so my wife and daughter thought a shopping trip was in order. I spotted Destin Commons on our way in to town. It looked cool and with checking out. As it turns out it was very cool. Besides having a great line of stores and restaurants it was visually appealing and fun to walk around. A cool fountain area in the center that looked like old Florida and had a beignet cart. That is just plain awesome. Check out a few pictures here and will talk a bit more after the jump.

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  There are all kinds of stores ranging from well known clothing and shoes stores to places like Books A Million. Places like Wet Seal and Sephora to the unusual like the Shark Shop ( products from the show Shark Tank). You’ll also find cool vacation location stores like Bass Pro( yesssss!) Pepper Palace and Maui Nix.
    

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It’s a cool place to wander around, have a bite or a cocktail and relax. Did I mention there is a World of Beer there??!! Incredible place. It is entirely possible I stopped in for a bit. Zoe’s is also great for wraps and bowls. There were a number of places from casual or fast to date night. Take your pic.

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If you are in Destin Florida and have some time away from the beach, this is a fun stop. Give Destin Commons a look. If you want us to feature you on the blog or do a review then email tompkinscontent@gmail.com  . Also full socialad campaigns and marketing plans.  
   Check out today’s links.
http://www.destincommons.com/
http://www.pepperpalace.com/
http://worldofbeer.com/

A Quick Review Of Mama Sherry’s Pizza and Wings in Destin Florida ( great meal great price)

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   So something that has become a tradition in our family trips is finding a place for pizza and wings. We all love pizza and hit that up wherever we are, but Beach locations require a pizza and wings place. Why??  First because it’s awesome!! Second,  because we spent years travelling for fights and tournaments plus dance comps for my daughter. Now fights and rodeo with my adult children. Along the way at a dance national in Daytona, we found a great pizza and wings place after finally getting back to the beach late in the evening. After all day at the comp we just wanted to hang out. Pizza and wings ( beer and wine for mom and dad) on the beach at midnight hit the spot. The fact that it was a great deal made it better. Thus a tradition began  

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We are fortunate to travel all over and have luxurious travel experiences. Still, my favorite is find that great, quaint place with a great deal on this kind of food. Frankly, it’s how I got here. My loves won’t change!!!! So on this recent trip to Destin we found Mama Sherry’s. In between the high end strip malls with chains and along the road to the marina, this oasis of family vacation fun can be found. You have to either be a local, know it’s there ( because you subscribe to this awesome blog) or know how to search these places out. That said, it is on the main drag on 98 although easy to miss.
      I’ll make this quick and to the point, then I’ll get to the pictures( what you want!!!). We had the hand tossed pizza with pepperoni. A classic without pretense. It was great. We had an appetizer of fried pickles ( my daughter’s fave from bluegrass nationals karate tourney waaay back). Excellent!! We also had wings with a honey habanero glaze. Perfect!  This isn’t molecular gastronomy. This is classic people food. Enjoy it for what it vis. I love both, but this is my world!!!! I had a couple of Mama’s Irish Red ( a private label made by Bud, think Killian’s). Big beers and cheap!! My wife had a couple bof house red wines. Again cheap!  See a theme?? Eat well, have fun, keep some money. OK so next are the pictures. Check out the food and drinks but also the place. Fancy? Nope. Awesome? Oh yeahhhh. If you don’t like this kind of thing you probably aren’t interested in what goes on here. Lighten up, I’ve been around the world and this is great. Check the pics and see how much after the jump.

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Twitter. o all that food and alcohol that was delicious, plus old school Florida ambiance. Less than $50 with tip ( and I tip really well). It more than fed three people ( with lots of leftovers ). Easily feed a family for that or less. Finding budget eats at the beach with a family is something I will always want to show you. I’m always going to be a guy who grew up in a Midwest farm town!!!
   Enjoy. Go there and tell them we sent you. If you want your place reviewed or a link here hit us up. From social care on twitter/fb to full campaigns or just getting us to stop by we want to talk to you. Affordable for any business, email tompkinscontent@gmail.com. follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on Twitter

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Today’s link! Get yours here !
http://www.mamasherryspizzawingsandthings.com/aboutus.htm

Pictures and Thoughts About The Beach In Destin To Florida ( the first of many lol).

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Hope I will do more in depth writing about it the area, I wanted to send us into this rainy Midwestern weekend with some nice beach pictures. I will say that the stretch of beach I was on and others I saw in Destin are some of the most beautiful I have seen. Truly anywhere ( and I’ve been many places!!!!). Gorgeous water, clean sand.

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In this picture series I’ll mix it up a bit. Form bright, sunny and clear to the night I walked it in a huge storm( have I mentioned I used to get hit in the head for a living??!!). Just a few pics today but I want you to see the beauty there. Maybe get ideas, get motivated or pumped up. As a coach that’s my job. As a world traveler  it’s kind of my job too. Just enjoy the pictures, get lifted up and ready. After the jump I’ll talk just a bit about the area. Also if you’re ready to push yourself or your business to the stage, I’ll post my info there as well. Love to work with you!!!!

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The area I was mostly in was truly the cleanest and most quiet stretch I’ve been on. Some of the other strips in town were also perfectly clean but a bit more rowdy. Toward Whale Tails restaurant is open Beach and gets lively. Clean but lively. It was spring break of course, but keep this in mind when making reservations. Whatever your taste is lol
     If you’re ready to step up and build, contact us. If you’re looking for personal coaching and getting better in the ring I will work with you. What you might not know is that I also run a media company. Get a social media campaign, full marketing program or just a vision consultation. Between 20 years on Wall Street, global travel for fights and a love of helping create,vive got you covered. Very affordable at every level. Quit putting things off. Change your life today and join me on the beach ! Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com as well as follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on twitter

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A Quick Review Of Quick Bite At Surf Hut In Destin Florida (Pictures)

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   While my reviews are never super long or wordy, this one is shorter than normal. Not because it was bad, but because we at there after getting out of the car from along trip. We pulled in to Embassy Suites, unloaded and walked across the street to  Surf Hut. Usually I spend time getting lots of photos of the place and our food but not this time. We were tired and the girls didn’t want to work with me right then lol.

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   It’s a great location. Right on the beach and facing Gulf Drive. This makes it not cheap. It isn’t high end expensive, just pricy for coastal casual. It’s worth it. The food is good, the service is great and the location awesome. I’ll give you an idea of prices in a minute( not terrible, just not cheap). It has a great deck in the back and a bit if private beach with games. A nice covered porch on the front, classic keys look for dining.
    My wife and I both had the special, six gulf shrimp with fries and slaw for $13.99. It was good and not way out on price( higher than most areas though).  My daughter had a cheeseburger and fries also 13.99. It was good, but obviously for just a regular burger that’s slightly high. Let me just say, all well with it. The location sells it and the food is good. I just want you to know what you’re looking at.
     It was great overall and I definitely recommend it. If you’re in Destin, give it a shot. A nice relaxing time. Take a look at these pictures and enjoy.

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Hope the pictures help( took the night shot from the beach another time). Again, it was a quick meal so a quick post!  Sometimes that’s the best though!
   If you need help promoting your business or you want to be reviewed, contact us. All kinds of services and advertising/ marketing available. Inexpensive and casual. Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on twitter.
   Check out today’s links
https://surfhutdestin.html
http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/embassy-suites-by-hilton-destin-miramar-beach-DSIESES/index.html
graytonbeer.com

Embassy Suites in Destin Florida ( From a Fighter Who Has Been Around The World)

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I have to say that I’ve lost count of how many times and how many places I’ve stayed in an Embassy Suites. I know the first time was in the late 80s when I was young man. I was doing a kickboxing seminar in St Louis after fighting there a few weeks before. They booked me in to an Embassy in Laclede’s Landing. I was hooked!  Yes like any hotel chain there are ups and downs but for the most part I never worry when a company or dojo book one for me.

So recently my wife, on a whim booked a week in Destin Florida at one for spring break. I was already going to be in the area for a day to do a private coaching session for a fighter, so my wife decided to make a trip of it with our youngest ( my 20 year old daughter ) as we won’t have many left with her at home. Embassy suites it was then.

I like to do my reviews of a hotel or resort as a rolling conversation, but with a core. The general, the meat and the area but mostly pictures!  It gives you an idea of what its really like and as an old fighter, it’s simple!

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So here is the general. Embassy suites is known for three things. Being all suites, having a breakfast buffet with some great cooked to order items and it’s evening happy hour. The evening reception is snacks and free drinks for two hours. Wine, beer and simple mixed drinks. It is a huge draw!  Always served in a gorgeous atrium. This one happened to be under construction during our trip. They used one of their many nice meeting rooms for it, not great but they did a good job. The work was finished our last night so we go a good look and some pics( more later).
The room was very nice. Always good space. Clean and well designed. It has a good luxury feel at a less than luxury price. I always like them, and this location was no exception. Beach locations are hard to stay ahead of cleaning and maintenance but they did well here. I’ll let some room pictures speak for me.

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It’s not in the top of luxe places we stay, but for family trips for many folks it is great. I’ve been all over and we are spoiled, yet this place didn’t disappoint us.

You get private access to strip of beach. It’s a quick walk across the street and it’s gorgeous. You have numbered access through a gate. All places along this strip are like that but keeps things quiet and subdued. Upside is its clean and no drunken stripper battles ( OK upside at my age lol). Downside is that you don’t have the cool cheap Beach food stands right there. If that’s you’re thing for Beach vacation, this isn’t your place. The beach is stunning, but I’ll cover that in other pieces.

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Location wise it’s great for some things, not others. It’s a distance from some big things, harbor walk etc and clubs. If you want to party, arrange transportation or stay elsewhere. For the most part that isn’t who would be here. Harbor walk is great ( upcoming piece) but the party part is different. We stayed here and went there several times. It is very close to Destin Commons which is a cool shopping center with great views( another coming picture review. It’s also close to Silver Sands Premium Outlets if that’s your thing. They are both on 98 and within a couple of miles. Heck I walked up by Silver Sands one night. Ok full disclosure, we all got hungry late and there had been a bit of drinking. Solution, walk to Whataburger and bring food back. Easy walk, and not a bad area. I might not be a good judge as I get hit in the head often!
You can walk along scenic gulf drive, as the hotel sits on it. From Beach rental homes, gorgeous private complete es to kitschy shops it’s a cool place to walk. I’m going to post a few of that ( expect an article just on that street) along with the atrium and other amenities. Catch the final after the jump.

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A quick summation.  If you are want to yell and party naked on the beach, this isn’t you ( I’ll probably hit you ). If you need perfect luxe this isn’t you ( been to that place but still like this). Enjoy it. Enjoy the  area. Enjoy your family.
If you want your place promoted or reviewed, contact us. Want a cheap link or ad with us? Hit us up. Full creative social campaign? Got it!  Motivation for your company?  Personal coaching or private sessions for fighting?  Email tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife & @tompkinscontent on twitter. Extremely affordable, unbelievable as to how cheap ( except the fight sessions, those are expensive ♥). If I’m a few dollars and up.
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Links and PR from today
http://embassysuites3.hilton.com/en/hotels/florida/embassy-suites-by-hilton-destin-miramar-beach-DSIESES/index.html
http://m.premiumoutlets.com/default.aspx?id=1348
http://www.destincommons.com/
http://whataburger.com/

Who Thought Fremont Street On Halloween Was A Good Idea??!! (In pics and words )

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So last fall my wife had an upcoming conference (medical industry ) that was going to be in Vegas, so I booked a few training sessions with fighters I hadn’t had a chance to work to with. Of course I all booked some PR and advertising work for that week since I was going to be there.  Neither my wife or I thought anything about the dates we would be there. So Halloween in Vegas didn’t dawn on us.  What really didn’t dawn on us was when some friends with us said “let’s go to Fremont Street ” on Halloween night!  We were staying at The Wynn on the strip , so a short cab ride later and we were there!  The cab ride was cool as well. The driver was Thai so we had a great conversation about Muay Thai and Thai culture. No matter what I’m a fighter and trainer at heart and my conversations will end up there. Plus its always nice to hear about the culture and country from a native. They enjoy talking you as well. Martial arts crosses boundaries, but I digress lol. Back to poor decision making. I might have failed to mention that one of our friends wanted to go in costume, we did not. So above you’ll see a picture of my wife(sensei Sandy to Team Transcend fans) and I on either side of Avatar!  Took this at the Wynn just before we headed out, mostly in case they needed our picture for a milk carton! Fremont Street is very cool, if always a bit goofy and strange. Add thousands of crazy drunks in costume on a night and I felt like I was going to end up on an episode of CSI !!! Seriously though it is a cool area. It’s old Vegas meets some new tech with cool street beer vending carts. If you go to Vegas often or just like the old Golden Nugget style history you should go. Check it out at
http://vegasexperience.com/  And now I’ll start the adventure pictures. It was actually safe and fun but very strange for us Midwest folks.  Take a look.

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All The Travel Gear You Need For Less

So as you can see it was a blast. Strange,visually stunning yet overloaded, but a blast. Did I mention strange. OK at least for a Midwestern Muay Thai fighter/trainer and his hospital department manager bride it was strange. Tons of fun though!
For sponsorship, marketing or training information contact tompkinscontent@gmail.com and follow @combatsportlife and @tompkinscontent on twitter