New Waterproof Camera – Fuji XP85

Fuji XP85

Over the Fourth of July weekend we went down to Florida to visit Laura’s sister Amy and her mother. Since we’ve been going down regularly to help out I’ve left a bit of paddling gear and our tandem kayak so that I can do the occasional escape.

I was on my way out for a quick paddle when my trusty Fujifilm Z33WP slipped out of my hand and hit Amy’s tile floor, point down. It cracked the corner of the casing. The camera still works, but it was no longer waterproof.

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Asada

Untitled

Laura says that I suffer from agoraphobia. While it’s true that I don’t particularly like crowds, it’s not necessarily the crowds that bother me. It’s large, unpredictable groups scrambling for a limited resource. That resource might be limited seating at a venue, but most often it’s food. For this reason I’ve never been a fan of Fall for Greenville.

Food trucks seem to fall into this same category. They seem to be wildly popular right now, especially as something of a novelty in our area. While some of them looked quite intriguing, with interesting menus, they also tend to attract the types of crowds I’d prefer to avoid.

Such was the case with Asada. When I heard that the Latin fusion food truck had opened a brick and mortar restaurant, I had to try it out. Continue reading “Asada”

So You’re Considering a GoPro

GoPro Hero 3 Black
GoPro Hero 3 Black

This morning I got a message from a friend considering a GoPro camera as a Christmas present. Since I’ve gotten that question several times, I decided to put together a blog post with what I’ve been telling folks who might be thinking about getting one, either for themselves or as a present.

I’ll state up front that I love my GoPro, but sometimes it’s a love-hate relationship. Even though I (and lots of other people) come up with different ways to use the camera, it’s a niche product, and you have to know its limitations. TL;DR version, I wouldn’t recommend it as your sole camera, but if you’re an active, creative photographer, you’ll find yourself using it in all sorts of ways you never imagined when you first got it. Continue reading “So You’re Considering a GoPro”

Lone Star Barbecue, Mercantile, and Ghost Town

Lone Star, South Carolina
Lone Star, South Carolina

We have a tradition of looking for a good barbecue place after our paddling trips. This was no different. Our target for this outing was Lone Star Barbecue and Mercantile. However, this was a two-fer – lots of good food and a chance to explore one of South Carolina’s ghost towns.

Lone Star, the Ghost Town

It started with a bit of miscommunication. The rest of the guys had never been to the town of Lone Star, and thought that the barbecue place was in the town proper. So, once we loaded up the boats, they set off, with me following, toward the town. What they found was the ghost town that I knew. All that is left of Lone Star is the old freight depot, moved from its original location, the large brick Masonic building, and two dilapidated stores. Across the tracks was a small convenience store that may or may not have been open. No barbecue anywhere in sight.

Lone Star Freight Depot
Lone Star

Continue reading “Lone Star Barbecue, Mercantile, and Ghost Town”

Skyfall

…or “Sean who??” I believe that James Bond is a Time Lord. That’s the only way to describe his regenerative abilities and ability to change appearance over the past 50 years of movies. In this latest movie, under interrogation Bond himself states that his hobby is “resurrection.” Be that as it may, in this 23 … Continue reading Skyfall

Oktoberfest at Haus Heidelberg

Haus Heidelberg Sign

Of all the ethnic holidays, I think I like Oktoberfest the best. It brings with it hints of cooler weather, fall colors, and one of my favorite cuisines – German food. However, fellow kayaker and chef Darren M. recently pointed out that authentic Oktoberfest has a very specific date range – two weeks running from late September through the first week of October. Any restaurants or festivals advertising Oktoberfest this late in the year (such as Walhalla this weekend, but I guess a fake Norse town can have a fake Bavarian celebration any time it wants) is doing so purely for advertising promotion. I guess it’s not that different from seeing Halloween ads all October, or promoting Christmas just as soon as the after school sales end. That being said, when my friend Keith Dover proposed heading up to Haus Heidelberg in Hendersonville to take advantage of their Oktoberfest specials, I jumped at the chance, cultural authenticity be damned.

I have long complained about the dearth of German restaurants in the area, especially with BMW and all the other German industry in town. But, I guess that number is increasing. Joining Haus Edelweiss and Schwaben Haus are Hans und Franz and The Bavarian Pretzel Factory. Even Strossner’s Bakery is now on the list of places offering German food. German restaurants seem to be more prevalent on up in the mountains, I guess hearkening back to the Alpine nature of Bavaria. Both The Black Forest in Ardin and Haus Heidelberg have been long-time staples of German food in our region. However, I don’t get up that way often enough to take advantage of them. This was the first time I’d been to Haus Heidelberg in ages.

The drive up early Wednesday evening was spectacular. The October sky was brilliantly lit with the setting sun, and the leaves are just shy of being at peak. Keith and I drove on up through Flat Rock, enjoying the ride. Continue reading “Oktoberfest at Haus Heidelberg”

America’s Pub and Grub

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I was looking for a new place to try for dinner, so I turned to Urbanspoon to see if there was someplace close to home I had overlooked. Since I’d had a large Italian meal last night, I was more in the mood for sandwiches or something lighter tonight. America’s Pub and Grub popped up, and had generally positive reviews, so I decided to give it a try.

The place had two things going for it. First, the word “pub” has good memories for me. Several years ago when we visited London the best food we found was in the pubs. Also, the reviews seemed to indicate that Cajun cuisine was available. This area is sorely lacking in authentic Cajun options, so I wanted to see what they might have. So, it was off to America’s Pub and Grub.

Background:

From what I could read online, the place has only been open for a year or so. This location has been problematic for restaurants. I still remember the incident at Benito’s Italian, which was located right next door. Guadalajara Mexican now occupies that space, but there are also two nightclubs in the area. I didn’t know what to expect.

Atmosphere:

The outside looks nice and invited. However, a sign on the door advertised a “hookah bar”, and also said that inside smoking was permitted after 9:00 pm. The lingering odor of smoke nearly had me turning around and walking out, but I headed on back in.

The interior has been done with urban black grey tones. It’s a small place, and a bar dominates one corner. Seating was a bit weird. There were a few tiny tables that would hardly accommodate one, much less a couple. The only other tables were in three alcoves that could easily seat six. I took one of the alcoves. These images are from their website… Continue reading “America’s Pub and Grub”

Campobello Italian Ristorante

NOTE: This restaurant has closed. It’s been awhile since I’ve done a restaurant review here. We’ve either been going to our regular joints or just eating at home. With Laura away for the week I decided to try a couple of new places. Tuesday evening I headed over to Campobello Italian Ristorante on Wade Hampton … Continue reading Campobello Italian Ristorante

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