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Our 2017 Road Trip, Part 34: Tour of Little Italy

Vaccaro's pastries!

Who needs artisan donuts when you can have bona fide Italian pastry?

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

Every year since 1999 my wife Anne and I have taken a trip to a different part of the United States and visited attractions, wonders, and events we didn’t have back home in Indianapolis. From 1999 to 2003 we did so as best friends; from 2004 to the present, as husband and wife. For 2017 our ultimate destination of choice was the city of Baltimore, Maryland. You might remember it from such TV shows as Homicide: Life on the Street and The Wire, not exactly the most enticing showcases to lure in prospective tourists. Though folks who know me best know I’m one of those guys who won’t shut up about The Wire, a Baltimore walkabout was Anne’s idea. Setting aside my fandom, as a major history buff she was first to remind skeptics who made worried faces at us for this plan that Maryland was one of the original thirteen American colonies and, urban decay notwithstanding, remains packed with notable history and architecture from ye olde Founding Father times. In the course of our research we were surprised to discover Baltimore also has an entire designated tourist-trap section covered with things to do. And if we just so happened to run across former filming locations without getting shot, happy bonus…

Throughout our stay in Baltimore, nearly all our paths to and from the Inner Harbor took us through the heart of their very own Little Italy. We’ve walked near Manhattan’s version a few times on our 2011 and 2016 vacations, but were hobbled both times by a third companion who is among the six people nationwide that dislike Italian cuisine. Also, Manhattan’s is only a couple of blocks long and adjacent to Chinatown, so its restaurants are too easy to bypass in favor of the dozens of other nearby options. This time in Baltimore, it was just the two of us — no excuses and almost no barriers.

Baltimore’s Little Italy comprises several streets and blocks, encompassing both the African American History Museum and the Flag House to the west, and ending with its southeast corner a convenient block away from our hotel. When we weren’t stopping inside it, we were still walking through it here and there for frequent glimpses at an eminent immigrant neighborhood whose origins date back to the mid-1800s.

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Wizard World Chicago 2017 Photos, Part 4 of 5: Objects of Affection

Throne Anne!

We don’t watch Game of Thrones, but I trust Anne has nailed the intended mood.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time once more! This weekend my wife and I made another journey up to Wizard World Chicago in scenic Rosemont, IL, where we found much enjoyment and new purchases alongside peers and aficionados of comics and genre entertainment. Friday night left us near death by the end of our day, after a few miles’ worth of walking up and down the aisles and hallways, with breaks to go stand in lines of varying lengths and value. We’re the Goldens. It’s who we are and what we do.

In this penultimate gallery: a look at some of the nifty items around the show floor, whether for sale or for posing with. The merchandise! The snacks! The movie vehicle replicas! The Iron Throne!

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Indiana State Fair 2017 Photos #2: Our Year in Food

Deep Fried BBQ Bacon!

Deep Fried BBQ Bacon: because not all State Fair cuisine needs to be complex.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover:

It’s that time again! The Indiana State Fair is an annual celebration of Hoosier pride, farming, food, and 4-H, with amusement park rides, cooking demos, concerts by musicians that other people love, and farm animals competing for cash prizes and herd bragging rights. My wife Anne and I attend each year as a date-day to seek new forms of creativity and imagination within a local context. Usually we’re all about the food.

…and so we were, for as long as we had room to fit in more food. My biggest regret is that we aren’t athletic enough to have needed eight thousand calories a day and therefore couldn’t try all of this year’s new “Taste of the Fair” dishes offered by various vendors around the fairgrounds. Heck, we weren’t even done trying all of 2016’s new dishes.

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Superman Celebration 2017 Photos, Part 3 of 4: Festival Food!

Jumbo Corn Dog!

Behold a jumbo corn dog so weighty, you could fend off a Sith Lord with it.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: on June 9th and 10th my wife Anne and I attended the 39th annual Superman Celebration in Metropolis, IL, a grand bash in honor of the Man of Steel in particular and all the super-heroes who owe their existence and livelihoods to him in general.

We’ve been to Metropolis six times and developed a deep appreciation for one of the most integral aspects of the Celebration: concession stands! Lots of local vendors convene on the scene to bring their culinary A-game, much of it sinfully delectable and almost none of it good for you. Most fans burn off the extra calories walking up and down Market Street all weekend or standing in lines for hours. At the very least they need fuel sources to replenish what they’re sweating off by the gallon in those high summertime temps.

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Birthday 45: The Food So Far

Jack's Donuts!

Partial sampling of the flavors and gargantuan portions at Jack’s Donuts.

It’s that time again! This week I turned 45 without entering true Midlife Crisis mode yet, and with only modest physical damage reminding me of the ravages of time. The knee I sprained in Elkhart two months ago has healed and regained more than half its flexibility back. My chronic back pain has left me alone of late. My poor sleeping habits have been slightly less out of control most of this week. The recurring heartburn that’s begun haunting me this year has subsided so far this month. The worst thing going for me at the moment is the giant eyelid pimple that greeted me in the mirror this morning and irritated me most of the day. And you can tell I’m getting old because here’s a short entry about food but the first thing on my mind is all my aches and pains.

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Indy Food Trucks Turn the Whole World on with a Smile (Part 6 in a series)

Gigi's Cupcakes!

Got sugar? Gigi’s Cupcakes has some waiting for you.

Previously on Midlife Crisis Crossover: when MCC launched five years ago, one of our recurring habits was keeping tabs on the Indianapolis food truck experience whenever those mighty mobile merchants rocked my world and my lunchtime. (Past entries were here, here, here, here, and here, though a few of the older trucks are sadly no longer with us.) They’re not in my path as often as I’d like, but we see enough of them from time to time that the occasional gallery is warranted as our way of thanking these eminent entrepreneurs for outstanding achievement in the field of edible excellence.

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