BlackRock Steakhouse (Springfield, VT)

At one point last summer, my friend Geoff declared “I’m craving a good steak”. Well, aside from Jesse’s Steakhouse in Hanover, NH, the general Upper Valley region doesn’t have a lot of steakhouses. But in the interest of getting out and about, and trying a few other places, this drew our attention to the other major “Steak House” in the Upper Valley: BlackRock Steakhouse in Springfield, VT.

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Blind Lion (Rapid City, SD)

Our last evening in Rapid City, after a nice walk through town and visiting Lost Cabin Brewery, we decided to check out Blind Lion, one of Rapid City’s cocktail bars and dinner spots. Blind Lion is a speakeasy, one of those hidden bars without signage that have become quite popular in recent years (I particularly enjoyed a 2017 trip to Kansas City where we visited two great speakeasies: Manifesto and Tikicat, both of which have, unfortunately, closed). And, more importantly to Offbeat Eats, Blind Lion also also offers a dinner menu, so we set off for the west end of Main Street to find the establishment.

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Bokujō Ramen (Rapid City, SD)

After completing our hike of the northern section of the Centennial Trail, culminating in a hike up the very scenic Bear Butte, we headed back to Rapid City. While most of our group was departing immediately, we decided to linger another two days, relaxing and checking out some of the local sights. First up was a repeat trip to Tally’s Silver Spoon for another righteous breaking (“After the doing, there is the un-doing”) and settling back into the Hotel Alex Johnson. After some light exploration, including a visit to the excellent Museum of Geology at the nearby South Dakota School of Mines & Technology, we decided it was time for lunch, checking out a place fellow diners at Tally’s had told us about: Bokujō Ramen.

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Fitpacking

Those that have seen my reviews of Tally’s Silver Spoon, Windigo Store, or Angry Trout Cafe have seen that in the last few years, I’ve done a handful of backpacking trips with Fitpacking, a New England-based backpacking group focusing on “weight loss backpacking”. While most everyone I know will agree that while I’m certainly not very overweight, I could stand to lose a few pounds, but more than few people that know my outdoor experience have asked, “Why is Rich, an experienced and able backpacker, using an guide service like Fitpacking when you could just do everything yourself?”

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Puerto Vallarta (Rapid City, SD)

After meeting my fellow hikers for our Fitpacking trip along the Centennial Trail, it was time for a big dinner to fuel us up for our trip. The group settled on Puerto Vallarta, a Mexican restaurant located on the north edge of town, on Lacrosse Rd just north of I-90.

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Tally’s Silver Spoon (Rapid City, SD)

As mentioned in our previous review of Vertex Sky Bar, both before and after our Centennial Trail backpacking trip, we stayed in downtown Rapid City at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson. Looking at the various options for breakfast, a simple look out the hotel window showed us that there was a very popular breakfast spot right across the street: Tally’s Silver Spoon. Even at 8am they had a healthy backlog of diners waiting out front for breakfast, so we decided to check it out.

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Vertex Sky Bar (Rapid City, SD)

After a week of recovery back in New Hampshire, we found ourselves quickly heading out again to Rapid City, SD, to rendezvous with friends from Fitpacking for a hike along South Dakota’s Centennial trail. We were hiking the northern third of the trail, from Nemo SD to Bear Butte. Before we rendezvoused with our hiker colleagues, we spent a night at the historic Hotel Alex Johnson downtown. Built by its namesake Alex Johnson, a railroad baron with the Chicago and Northwestern Railroad, it’s an interesting old grand hotel, and supposedly haunted by multiple ghosts. While we didn’t encounter any such hauntings on either of our visits (we stayed there after our trip as well), staying at the hotel has another nice perk: access to the Vertex Sky Bar, their rooftop bar.

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Airport Craft Brewers (JNB Airport, Johannesburg, South Africa)

One of the downsides of our frequent travel at Offbeat Eats is that international travel means spending a lot of time in airports, which often aren’t exactly focal points of good cuisine, and usually “expensive” and “mediocre” are the order of the day. But every once in a while I find a refreshing exception to this, and that was definitely the case for our return trip through OR Tambo International Airport on our return to the United States. After checking in to our flight, we had a few hours to kill, and wandered down to the south end of Terminal B, where we found Airport Craft Brewers.

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Marble (Rosebank, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Both on our outbound trip and returning trip, we tried to get reservations at Marble, which is considered one of the best restaurants in South Africa, and were not able to secure at table. On our last evening in South Africa, however, we got lucky and I managed to secure a 7pm reservation, so we found ourselves heading out to the Keyes Art Mile, a part of Johannesburg’s Rosebank neighbor known as a newer restaurant and gallery district.

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Hogshead (Illovo, Johannesburg, South Africa)

Soon enough, we found ourselves heading back to the King Shaka International Airport in Durban, and onward to Johannesburg, back at the very pleasant Hyde Park Guest House. After getting settled in and unpacked, and relaxing with a nice glass of Pinotage, we decided it would be good to head out for a nice light supper. Looking at the various options walking distance from the guest house, including quite a cluster of restaurants on Oxford Road in Illovo (side note: our tendency to actually walk to places vs. taking an Uber seemed to shock our hosts a bit; while Johannesburg is not exactly a low-crime area, Hyde Park is rather secure, well-lit, and well-policed), we decided to check out Hogshead, a local beer and burger bar.

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