A vagabond’s delight – surprises at the grocery store


By Saimi Rote Bergmann

Whenever we hit a new town, we immediately check out three things: the library, a locally owned restaurant, and a grocery store.  While at those three places, we ask residents what else to see while we’re in town. It’s a formula that has worked for us many times.

In the south, grocery store shelves reflect the growing community of Hispanics – much to my delight. I love trying unfamiliar products.

For instance, in Ohio, my exposure to Goya products was primarily thisIMG_20151025_170604034

Turns out Goya is a HUGE company, founded back in 1936 by Spanish immigrants.IMG_20151025_170614667

They currently produce more than 2,000 products!IMG_20151025_170616710

Including coffee and this nonalcoholic beer.IMG_20151025_170928043


Best cheeseburger I’ve had in years – cook says it’s all how you stack it


While camping in Augusta, Georgia, we went for a walk and ended up on a dead end street. There, we stumbled onto the Finish Line Cafe. We thought any business that could survive on a DEAD END STREET must have something to offer, so we stopped for lunch.

The “cafe” turned out to be more bar than eatery, but undaunted, we slid onto barstools and asked Chante, the pretty half-Hawaiian bartender, “What’s good to eat?” Without hesitating, she said “My cheeseburgers.” Two fellows at the bar nodded in agreement. Sold.

One bite and I turned to my husband and saw the same awe-struck look I knew was on my face.

The first step to a great burger is great beef, and the grilled onion slice instead of raw was inspired, but Chante believes the architecture of the burger plays a role as well. She talked about how the mustard has to touch the pickles and the mayo has to touch the lettuce and there was more but I was so entranced with my burger that I missed it.  IMG_20151105_134140173


Turns out the how-to-stack discussion is all over foodie sites and blogs. Everyone says the lettuce should not touch the burger or it will get warm and wilt, but that is where the agreement ends. Check out discussions here at Beyond Meat,  and here at Chowhound and here.

What do you think? Do you stack willy nilly? Or are you militant  about what goes where?  Share please.

IMG_20151104_151108482P.S. We were supposed to leave Augusta the next morning  but we killed time until we could go back to the Finish Line for another cheeseburger. We worried it wouldn’t live up to our mental hype, but it was even better the second time around.

Three’s Company in the shower


Normally I prefer to shower alone. So my first instinct was to shriek, then demand these voyeurs leave.

IMG_20151110_133759802Need a closer look?





All together now – Eeeeek.  I know, but then I got to thinking, there are NO mosquitoes in this campground shower, and I’ve been battling the bloodsuckers all week.


OK, good work guys. You can stay. But could you please close your eyes or turn your heads? A girl needs her privacy.

The Bristol Car Wash


by Mark Bergmann

ESPN is not open for public tours, but lucky us, we had a connection. Thanks Toni Collins (former student) for arranging a tour of ESPN headquarters in Bristol, Connecticut.

I felt like I was walking on a college campus because of the many buildings and beautifully landscaped grounds. Hard to believe it all started here in a single trailer.

In the course of a workday, ESPN anchors and reporters run from radio studios to TV studios to digital studios. When an athlete or other celebrity arrives on campus, they go through the same show-to-show runaround, dubbed by Bob Ley “The Bristol Car Wash.” I am sure during Connecticut winters they are grateful that buildings are connected by interior walkways. IMG_9219


I have been in several studios, but I have never seen a TV studio as massive as the one housing flagship show, Sports Center. There are video monitors everywhere….even in the floor.IMG_9234

One humongous video monitor moves out from the wall to center studio on a track.IMG_9240

IMG_9243 IMG_9241
Until the year-old digital building was built, Sports Center had to share studio space with other shows. Now Sports Center and NFL Live have their own studios in the digital building pictured behind Toni (ESPN Anchor and Mount alum) and meIMG_9262.

In the digital building, one wall is covered with notable sayings from ESPN personalities. IMG_9216 IMG_9208


The tour ended with a laugh at these video panels where you can watch the hysterical ESPN promos.IMG_9255