Travel/Food Advice

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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Maybe Horraybeer is Charles Barkley! :)

From USA Today article:

Barkley called the Suns “trash.”

When Ernie Johnson pointed out that the team’s top 3 scorers were injured, Barkley said “They were no good when they had them.”

Barkley said the stadium has “stale popcorn” and the hot dogs have “hard buns” and “the soda is flat” and “the beer is flat.”

“The pretzels are hard as a rock and can break your dentures.”

“They got dirty seats,” but there is “plenty of parking.”

And the cheerleaders? “Oh, they ugly now.”

:)
We should get Charles Barkley on here to talk about Ohio State and Iowa.

Also about PSU, because he can be very effusive with praise.
 
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palmettolion

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May 22, 2014
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If in LA, spend a day in Manhattan/Hermosa. Walk the strand. Gum Tree for breakfast in Hermosa. Rock n Fish in Manhattan for dinner. Manhattan Beach Creamery a must.


I'll second Rock N Fish, also Manhattan Beach Post is pretty good too. If in Redondo Beach, The Standing Room is a great Korean burger joint.

I'll throw out The Wayfarer's Chapel in Palos Verdes as a unique destination point coming into LA
 

BrucePa

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Sep 23, 2001
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Coming in here late, but I love fish tacos, and the best fish tacos on this or any other planet can be found in San Diego. In La Jolla, the fish tacos and the ocean view at George's at the Cove. And get there near sunset and watch the sun set over the Pacific. Breathtaking.

And even though it's touristy, Old Town San Diego is worth the visit. Old Town Mexican Cafe and Los Lobos Bar and Grill are actually real Mexican food, not Americanized,
 

yekrut321

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Mar 31, 2016
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Portsmouth, OH
I am not from Cali nor ever visited. However, the very little I know about you, I would highly recommend going to Sequoia National Park and take a stroll up one of those trees with your tree stand. As reminder, please use a safety harness....I believe those trees maybe a little taller than the trees in PA!;) Please send before and after picture!
 

pawrestlersintn

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Jan 26, 2013
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I am not from Cali nor ever visited. However, the very little I know about you, I would highly recommend going to Sequoia National Park and take a stroll up one of those trees with your tree stand. As reminder, please use a safety harness....I believe those trees maybe a little taller than the trees in PA!;) Please send before and after picture!
1. My treestand doesn't reach around those trees.
2. My harness doesn't reach around those trees.
3. Sequoia is a long ways North of here.

But, thanks for the concern. 😅
 

pawrestlersintn

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Found The Presidio by accident: Check (For future travelers, this is worth a little walk around.)
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery: An immensely sobering check
Cabrillo National Monument: Check
Tide pools at high tide are just surf: Check
Driveby Torrey Pines: Check
Lunch at Lucha Libre: Check
 

nittinsc

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Aug 21, 2017
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Found The Presidio by accident: Check (For future travelers, this is worth a little walk around.)
Fort Rosecrans National Cemetery: An immensely sobering check
Cabrillo National Monument: Check
Tide pools at high tide are just surf: Check
Driveby Torrey Pines: Check
Lunch at Lucha Libre: Check
Did you get us all t-shirts from Luche Libre?
 

burnsie1983

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Nov 5, 2013
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Instead of starting a new thread, I'll ride on Pawrestler's coat tails. I'm spending a day in Chicago and a day in Madison/Milwaukee before the PSU/Wisconsin season opener in September. I'm seeing a Cubs game Thursday night but will have all day Thursday in Chicago before the game. I would welcome any and all recommendations for both towns, please.
 

APSPSUwrestlingfan

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Apr 3, 2021
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Instead of starting a new thread, I'll ride on Pawrestler's coat tails. I'm spending a day in Chicago and a day in Madison/Milwaukee before the PSU/Wisconsin season opener in September. I'm seeing a Cubs game Thursday night but will have all day Thursday in Chicago before the game. I would welcome any and all recommendations for both towns, please.
If you love beef, Fogo de Chao is a great Brazilian steak house in the near north area, just about 3 miles from the ball park. Here's a link: https://fogodechao.com/location/chicago/ Plan on at least an hour and a half. They have so many different cuts of beef, chicken, pork that you'll be tempted to sample most of them. I hold out for rare lamb chops and lots of filet along with some special cuts. The sides are are very good but keep room for the beef. In Milwaukee they have what may be the best prime rib anywhere. Wards House of Prime will sate any appetite. I'm a hearty eater, but my eyes glaze over at their wall of fame. The most recent record is 22.5 pounds in one sitting. The wine cellar is impressive and they have top shelf brands in the bar. The link: https://www.wardshouseofprime.com/

At either place prepare not to make weight for a couple of weeks unless you have a lot of room at heavyweight. Have a great time while visiting. If there is some other type of food you want, just post it and I'll check with friends. No shortage of seafood places, good German food in Milwaukee.....
 

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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Instead of starting a new thread, I'll ride on Pawrestler's coat tails. I'm spending a day in Chicago and a day in Madison/Milwaukee before the PSU/Wisconsin season opener in September. I'm seeing a Cubs game Thursday night but will have all day Thursday in Chicago before the game. I would welcome any and all recommendations for both towns, please.

Chicago:
Frontera Grill -- the restaurant that made Rick Bayless famous, and he has not coasted on his reputation. If you have to rearrange the rest of the day to eat there, do it. It's amazing.

If possible, go to Buddy Guy's Legends. Yes, THAT Buddy Guy, and he does occasionally drop in to play. He's in his 80s and still brings it. (Even if he doesn't appear, it's a great blues bar.)

Tourists go to Giordano's (Chicago-style pizza, near Willis Tower or on Navy Pier); Billy Goat Tavern (Belushi skit + greasy double-cheeseburgers, near Navy Pier); or the hot dog cart outside the Field Museum (seriously). There's also a good Russian restaurant a block from the Art Institute.

With only one day, do an architecture bus or boat tour, plus the Field Museum or Art Institute. Willis Tower is OK but you need to be there when it opens, or else wait and wait and wait. Navy Pier is an overrated tourist trap (though the museum at the end is pretty good if you're already there).

It sounds as though you're driving between Chicago and Milwaukee. The map says 90 minutes. It's more like 3.5 hrs -- Chicago traffic right there with NYC, DC, LA, and San Francisco. Waiting out traffic is yet another good reason to go to Buddy Guy's.

If you're flying in/out of the Chicago airports, be prepared for some horrific third-world driving patterns like driving the wrong way down busy streets (especially around Midway).

Illinois has very expensive toll roads, but uses the same EZ Pass as PA. Bring your transponder, just be sure to register your rental car on the EZ Pass website before hitting any toll roads.

Milwaukee:
- Safe House -- spy-themed bar. Really fun place, go for drinks, recommend eating elsewhere. Bonus: a block from the Bronze Fonz statue (!).
- Three Brothers -- Serbian. James Beard award winner. Bonus: building is on the National Register of Historic Places -- former Schlitz Brewery.

Do not miss the Harley Davidson Museum.

The Basilica is also worth a visit if time allows.

If you're just looking to kill time, drive from downtown along Lake Michigan, northbound, as far as you care to go. Milwaukee has a reputation as a gritty industrial town, but this is a pretty coastline.
 
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El-Jefe

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Best meal I’ve ever had was at Frontera Grill.
Definitely the best meal I've had in Chicago, and very far up the list ever. I've had Michelin Star meals that weren't nearly as good.

We have intentionally booked connections thru O'Hare to eat at Tortas Frontera there. It's a far cry from the original, still better than many non-airport restaurants.

(Note: eating at O'Hare Tortas Frontera is not an excuse to skip the original.)
 
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ClarkstonMark

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May 23, 2002
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Buddy Guys is a great rec. I still remember summer before senior year in 89 a bunch of us went out for the Blues Fest and Buddy Guys was so freaking awesome. And Buddy played . the bar wasn’t even full. Sweet Home Chicago.

Harley Museum is another great rec
 

burnsie1983

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Nov 5, 2013
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Chicago:
Frontera Grill -- the restaurant that made Rick Bayless famous, and he has not coasted on his reputation. If you have to rearrange the rest of the day to eat there, do it. It's amazing.

If possible, go to Buddy Guy's Legends. Yes, THAT Buddy Guy, and he does occasionally drop in to play. He's in his 80s and still brings it. (Even if he doesn't appear, it's a great blues bar.)

Tourists go to Giordano's (Chicago-style pizza, near Willis Tower or on Navy Pier); Billy Goat Tavern (Belushi skit + greasy double-cheeseburgers, near Navy Pier); or the hot dog cart outside the Field Museum (seriously). There's also a good Russian restaurant a block from the Art Institute.

With only one day, do an architecture bus or boat tour, plus the Field Museum or Art Institute. Willis Tower is OK but you need to be there when it opens, or else wait and wait and wait. Navy Pier is an overrated tourist trap (though the museum at the end is pretty good if you're already there).

It sounds as though you're driving between Chicago and Milwaukee. The map says 90 minutes. It's more like 3.5 hrs -- Chicago traffic right there with NYC, DC, LA, and San Francisco. Waiting out traffic is yet another good reason to go to Buddy Guy's.

If you're flying in/out of the Chicago airports, be prepared for some horrific third-world driving patterns like driving the wrong way down busy streets (especially around Midway).

Illinois has very expensive toll roads, but uses the same EZ Pass as PA. Bring your transponder, just be sure to register your rental car on the EZ Pass website before hitting any toll roads.

Milwaukee:
- Safe House -- spy-themed bar. Really fun place, go for drinks, recommend eating elsewhere. Bonus: a block from the Bronze Fonz statue (!).
- Three Brothers -- Serbian. James Beard award winner. Bonus: building is on the National Register of Historic Places -- former Schlitz Brewery.

Do not miss the Harley Davidson Museum.

The Basilica is also worth a visit if time allows.

If you're just looking to kill time, drive from downtown along Lake Michigan, northbound, as far as you care to go. Milwaukee has a reputation as a gritty industrial town, but this is a pretty coastline.
Thanks Jefe, had a feeling you'd have some great recommendations.
 

BrucePa

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Sep 23, 2001
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If you love beef, Fogo de Chao is a great Brazilian steak house in the near north area, just about 3 miles from the ball park. Here's a link: https://fogodechao.com/location/chicago/ Plan on at least an hour and a half. They have so many different cuts of beef, chicken, pork that you'll be tempted to sample most of them. I hold out for rare lamb chops and lots of filet along with some special cuts. The sides are are very good but keep room for the beef. In Milwaukee they have what may be the best prime rib anywhere. Wards House of Prime will sate any appetite. I'm a hearty eater, but my eyes glaze over at their wall of fame. The most recent record is 22.5 pounds in one sitting. The wine cellar is impressive and they have top shelf brands in the bar. The link: https://www.wardshouseofprime.com/

At either place prepare not to make weight for a couple of weeks unless you have a lot of room at heavyweight. Have a great time while visiting. If there is some other type of food you want, just post it and I'll check with friends. No shortage of seafood places, good German food in Milwaukee.....
Note for the board. Whenever someone is visiting one of the great eating cities in this country, please don't recommend they eat at a national chain restaurant.
 
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82bordeaux

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Note for the board. Whenever someone is visiting one of the great eating cities in this country, please don't recommend they eat at a national chain restaurant.
Me reading that restaurant recommendation...
giphy.gif
 

GantryZ

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Jul 12, 2013
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Not that anyone should be surprised but as a lifelong Chicagoan Jefe's picks are spot on. I don't know the restaurant scene very well but I have little doubt he's right about that too.

Navy Pier is the most overrated place in Chicago by a factor of infinity.
 

Wandering Spectator

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Dec 17, 2017
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www.wanderingspectator.com
Mike’s Taco Club in OB incredible tacos.
Kono’s in PB for a breakfast burrito.
Rent beach cruisers in MB and take the ride around Mission Bay. Stop for drinks or lunch along the way. Their Little Italy is great for a stroll and outdoor dining. Just avoid the tourist trap Filippi’s.
 
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Wandering Spectator

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Chandler, AZ
www.wanderingspectator.com
Instead of starting a new thread, I'll ride on Pawrestler's coat tails. I'm spending a day in Chicago and a day in Madison/Milwaukee before the PSU/Wisconsin season opener in September. I'm seeing a Cubs game Thursday night but will have all day Thursday in Chicago before the game. I would welcome any and all recommendations for both towns, please.
The Brewers are in town Thursday and the Taste of Madison is happening on the weekend.
 
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El-Jefe

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Not that anyone should be surprised but as a lifelong Chicagoan Jefe's picks are spot on. I don't know the restaurant scene very well but I have little doubt he's right about that too.

Navy Pier is the most overrated place in Chicago by a factor of infinity.
Flattery will get you everywhere.

Seriously though: travel food isn't complicated. Find something that city is known for, and/or you can't easily get at home. Find where the locals eat. Eat a block off the busiest streets. Avoid fads, cliches, and places that moralize about their food. Good food doesn't have to be expensive. Don't assume a celebrity chef still actively manages his restaurant.

That said, sometimes you're going to the theme restaurant and that's OK. Nobody should skip Aux Anciens Canadiens in Quebec City because the outside looks like a Mountie station.
 

CropDuster507

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Jul 13, 2015
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^I'll second the "local" and "can't get at home" ideas from above.

We were down at Southern Plains a couple weeks back... Asked the security workers where the best place to find local, non-chain barbecue near Wichita... I tell ya what, they dialed it in.
So, that's my new strategy. Ask blue collar locals.
 

BrucePa

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Going to 11
Almost all major localities have their own food blogs, where 'serious eaters' (I hate the term "foodies") catalog their experiences about the local food scene. These are good, maybe the best, places to find the gold nuggets of the food scene in any locale. Also, if the local newspaper has a food section, send an email to the food critic. You'd be surprised how many good tips I've received over the years from Pete Wells of the New York Times and Robert Sietsema of the L.A. Times. Yes, they do answer emails.
 
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El-Jefe

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Almost all major localities have their own food blogs, where 'serious eaters' (I hate the term "foodies") catalog their experiences about the local food scene. These are good, maybe the best, places to find the gold nuggets of the food scene in any locale. Also, if the local newspaper has a food section, send an email to the food critic. You'd be surprised how many good tips I've received over the years from Pete Wells of the New York Times and Robert Sietsema of the L.A. Times. Yes, they do answer emails.
There is one big hitch to the food critic idea: ONLY if the food critic works to keep his image unknown.

By that I mean: the Philadelphia Inquirer's food critic hides his face in his profile pic. His predecessor published her face. You can bet every restaurant in the city had her pic posted at reception, and catered to her accordingly.
 
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BrucePa

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There is one big hitch to the food critic idea: ONLY if the food critic works to keep his image unknown.

By that I mean: the Philadelphia Inquirer's food critic hides his face in his profile pic. His predecessor published her face. You can bet every restaurant in the city had her pic posted at reception, and catered to her accordingly.
That's been going back and forth for years. The food critic here in DC remains covered, but the argument against unanimity is that he or she collects information from many sources, sends trusted scouts out to check on restaurants, sometimes visits a restaurant in a disguise, sometimes checks on the quality of delivery and carryout under an assumed name, and so forth. There's not much a kitchen can do even if they detect a food critic coming in. No restaurant can send out for special ingredients or change the recipes for specials on a moment's notice.

But definitely stick to the web. Here in DC, use donrockwell.com, and you'll get 700 restaurants reliably covered, along with hundreds of restaurants across the country that rockwellians travel to. Each city has something similar -- but avoid Yelp or Tripadvisor.
 

El-Jefe

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That's been going back and forth for years. The food critic here in DC remains covered, but the argument against unanimity is that he or she collects information from many sources, sends trusted scouts out to check on restaurants, sometimes visits a restaurant in a disguise, sometimes checks on the quality of delivery and carryout under an assumed name, and so forth. There's not much a kitchen can do even if they detect a food critic coming in. No restaurant can send out for special ingredients or change the recipes for specials on a moment's notice.

But definitely stick to the web. Here in DC, use donrockwell.com, and you'll get 700 restaurants reliably covered, along with hundreds of restaurants across the country that rockwellians travel to. Each city has something similar -- but avoid Yelp or Tripadvisor.
When going to DC, I use Tyler Cowen's ethnic dining guide.

Cowen is an econ prof at George Mason who has traveled extensively, and given a lot of thought to what makes a good restaurant. His "Six Rules for Dining Out" makes a great general guideline for anywhere.
 

BrucePa

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When going to DC, I use Tyler Cowen's ethnic dining guide.

Cowen is an econ prof at George Mason who has traveled extensively, and given a lot of thought to what makes a good restaurant. His "Six Rules for Dining Out" makes a great general guideline for anywhere.
Tyler is a great guy. I highly recommend his observations on the ethnic cuisine in DC, but it's not the only cuisine in DC. Focus on the ethnic eateries and you'll miss the classic American fare of chefs like Eric Ziebold, Tom Power, Jon Krinn, Ris LaCoste, Tom Cunanan, Kwame Onwuachi, Cedric Maupilliere, Todd Gray, Fabio Trabocchi, and a handful of other world-class chefs. If someone is traveling to DC for a short trip, a meal from one of these chefs is an absolute must.

Tim Carmen is also a great DC food wrote, and his latest is the 25 best sandwiches in DC. I might not agree with every selection on this list, but if you come to DC and eat a few of these, you'll be eating a world class sandwich.

 

82bordeaux

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Chicago:
Frontera Grill -- the restaurant that made Rick Bayless famous, and he has not coasted on his reputation. If you have to rearrange the rest of the day to eat there, do it. It's amazing.
E-J,
Do yourself a favor and next time in Chicago, just feast on your memories of Frontera Grill. We were looking for a bite for lunch today and happened upon Rick Bayless' block. Frontera Grill was run down, dirty, and the waiters seemed disinterested. The food was on par with Chi Chi's 1980. If I was Rick Bayless, I would close the joint today. It is the worst meal I've had in Chicago in 25 years. Covid was not kind to Frontera Grill. I trust this was not the same restaurant you experienced. It was Hawkeyed.
On a brighter note, Joe's Imports and Piccolo Sogno were outstanding.
 

BrucePa

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E-J,
Do yourself a favor and next time in Chicago, just feast on your memories of Frontera Grill. We were looking for a bite for lunch today and happened upon Rick Bayless' block. Frontera Grill was run down, dirty, and the waiters seemed disinterested. The food was on par with Chi Chi's 1980. If I was Rick Bayless, I would close the joint today. It is the worst meal I've had in Chicago in 25 years. Covid was not kind to Frontera Grill. I trust this was not the same restaurant you experienced. It was Hawkeyed.
On a brighter note, Joe's Imports and Piccolo Sogno were outstanding.
Sad if true, but not unusual. When chefs like Bayless hit it big, they leave the kitchen and hit the road, opening new places, appearing on TV shows, and generally over-expanding. They almost become like chains, which is the kiss of death.
 

El-Jefe

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Jul 27, 2012
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E-J,
Do yourself a favor and next time in Chicago, just feast on your memories of Frontera Grill. We were looking for a bite for lunch today and happened upon Rick Bayless' block. Frontera Grill was run down, dirty, and the waiters seemed disinterested. The food was on par with Chi Chi's 1980. If I was Rick Bayless, I would close the joint today. It is the worst meal I've had in Chicago in 25 years. Covid was not kind to Frontera Grill. I trust this was not the same restaurant you experienced. It was Hawkeyed.
On a brighter note, Joe's Imports and Piccolo Sogno were outstanding.
That's really unfortunate.

I've seen a lot of stories of restaurants struggling to hire and maintain good staff recently, which can put a real crimp into the restaurant regardless of the owner's presence. I suspect it's this, if only because my visit had been long after Bayless had found his fame and fortune.

Or maybe he handed it off to his daughter, whose Mexican cooking skill (at least on the TV shows) appears to be reading the cue cards.
 

PD4thespawn

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Dec 27, 2016
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2 pages in and still no invite to get together for a beer. Pa might want to reconsider his kypsw gig.