Monday, January 9, 2017

New Year's in Wisconsin Part 2 - Quick Trips - Comet Cafe

Part two of our quick trip to Wisconsin. See part one here.

When we arrived in Appleton, WI Romeo (our guest dog) quickly made himself at home. He loves a good adventure, meeting new people, playing with our friends' cat, going on long walks in a new neighborhood, and rolling in the snowbanks.
Sweet Romeo immediately at home.
Brian and Erin have two daughters. One is a a year older than Josie and one is a couple years younger so our youngest two loves to play with them. Parker likes to hang with the adults. We have a fair amount of relaxation and playing on the wii.
Romeo is so excited to sit on Rob's lap, he is almost falling off.
Brian bought soy whipped cream for the kids to use in a fun, but messy game of Pie Face. Brian and Erin aren't veg, but they have always been so vegan friendly and thoughtful!
Dema after he ate some of the soy whipped cream off his face.
I love that our friends love to play games and play outside. The kids always have a great time together!
Norah with soy whipped cream on her face. Josie and Maya never got pie faced.
My kids loved having a cat around to cuddle! Neli got so much attention! Romeo and Neli also played together a lot. It must have been so quiet for her after we left.
Their cat, Neli, and Josie.
Parker and Neli snuggling.
We haven't had much snow at all and when we do get snow, there aren't a lot of great places to go sledding. Our friends have a pretty good sledding spot just a few blocks from their house. The kids had some extra energy early New Year's eve and asked to go to the sledding hill so the kids got some night sledding in and I almost froze watching them. I also found out that taking pictures of night sledding with my phone is pretty tough. I did get several flights on "stairs" in on my Fitbit going up and down the icy/snowing stairs off to the left in this picture. It kept me warm.
Josie has the white hat on and she walking on ice getting back up the hill.
New Year's Eve with our friends would not be the same without some Just Dance on the wii. All three of my kiddos love Just Dance and we don't have this at home so it is a treat.
The girls dancing and Romeo hanging out under the Christmas tree.
Brian made a bunch of vegan snacks for New Year's Eve and this one was Dema's favorite. This is the vegan caramel turtles before we cut them into squares. I bet Dema ate more than anyone else.
Vegan turtles.
We were all pretty tired and not sure if we could make it until midnight so we kept ourselves going with different games.
Brian, Maya, Parker, and Rob playing Jenga.
We did all make it until midnight! Brian, Erin, and I made it all the way until 2am, but the rest of the house went to bed well before that.
Norah, Rob, Dema, Josie, May, Parker, Erin, and Brian all at midnight. Happy New Year!
Romeo at midnight. He was so excited to come out of his crate, where he had been sleeping, to join in the celebration. 
 The next day we went sledding again. The sun felt much better, but it was still pretty cold and icy.
Dema "skiing" down the hill without skis.
Josie intentionally doing the splits in the snow.
Josie posing for pictures.
Dema, Maya, Josie, and Norah all on the same sled! 
We left Appleton after sledding and stopped in Milwaukee again. This time we went to Comet Cafe. What a find! Rob really wants to live part-time (really he would love to live full-time) on a sailboat. We've discussed different ways of making his dream a reality. One way is having a sailboat on Lake Michigan in Chicago. There is a much shorter sailing season than if we had a boat on one of the coasts, but it is more doable in the short term. When Rob walked Romeo while we ordered food, he found a great trail close to the restaurant and he could see Lake Michigan from the trail. The kids aren't super into the idea of cruising life on a sailboat, but we talked later about how we could ride the train to Chicago, eat at Chicago Diner then take a day trip on the sailboat to Milwaukee and eat at Comet Cafe and suddenly cruising life was sounding a lot better. Nothing like appealing to their stomachs!
Part of the Comet Cafe menu. They had several things already named "vegan", but then even more options with the rabbit logo which could be made vegan.
Comet Cafe has a bit of a hipster bar feel, which really appeals to our hipster teen, Parker. Definitely, vegan and family friendly (at least at the time we were there...dinner time). The waitstaff was wonderful even on an insanely busy New Years Day. The food was so much better than normal bar fare! Everyone was very friendly. My only critique would be their bathrooms...only one seemed to be working and it wasn't the cleanest, but that is coming from a family of five traveling...we probably wouldn't have used the bathroom if we lived there and just came in for dinner.
Dema with his Big Rig and fries. The Big Rig is vegan riblets, BBQ sauce, tomatoes, lettuce, and onion on an Italian roll.
Josie and I ordered the vegan salisbury steak. This steak is a hazelnut crusted herb cutlet with mushroom gravy and chive-mashed potatoes with the vegetable of the day.  This was so good, I can't wait to go back again. The steak was wonderfully seasoned and not to tough, the potatoes were just like homemade and the gravy was savory, but not too salty. You can't ever go wrong with brussel sprouts.
Vegan salisbury steak. Yum!
Josie absolutely loved brussel sprouts so she was so excited to have roasted brussel sprouts as the veggie of the day. She took some of her steak and potatoes to go since it was a huge portion, but I was able to savor all of my meal since I hadn't eaten anything all day.
Josie so happy with her brussel sprouts!
The steak came with a soup or salad option and I went with the salad and I wanted to take a bottle of the ginger dressing home with me, it was that good! Since I told Rob about the side salad when he came in to eat after his shift with Romeo, he ordered the Vegetable Heaven Salad. They describe this salad as mixed greens, marinated tofu, roasted red peppers, shaved carrots, scallions, tomatoes, and toasted almonds with a side of ginger dressing. This salad was exactly what the doctor ordered after Rob's day of snacking on New Year's Eve stuff. He still had a few more hours to drive so he didn't want to be weighed down by a heavy meal, but he was satisfied without being stuffed.
Rob's Vegetable Heaven Salad.
The was parking right outside the cafe so it was a great place to stop with a canine passenger, the people were friendly and competent, the food was great, and the kids bought a vegan red velvet cupcake to split when they got home. We'll definitely be back!
I love all the bike parking at Comet Cafe too!
I hope all of you are having a good start to 2017 and are trying to find the kindness and happiness as we go into the next four years. One of the things that really made me happy as I walked Romeo around our friends' neighborhood in Appleton, the yard signs which read "No matter where you are from, we are glad you are our neighbor." in Arabic, Spanish, and English. So nice to see in a "red state".

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