Hands down, the best thing about the 2018 International Food Blogger Conference I attended in New Orleans last month was the food. Between small bites from restaurants and samples from producers, I got a taste for some of New Orleans' best local flavors. Here are my favorites.
First things first: the Quad Cities are actually made up of five cities. On the Iowa side of the Mississippi, there's Davenport and Bettendorf; across the river in Illinois, there's Rock Island, Moline, and East Moline. Each city has its own unique character, but they share a focus on the Mississippi River thanks to numerous bridges, riverside parks and trails, and the Channel Cat water taxi route.
One of my long-standing blog traditions is my annual summer recap post. In past years, that's taken the form of a list. But 2018 has been a different sort of summer, and this is a different sort of recap.
The biggest contradiction of my life is that I'm a city girl who needs the woods. I love the dining options, entertainment, and energy of a big city, but I also need solitary time in green space to feel balanced. Cedar Falls, Iowa is basically my ideal destination. The compact downtown features dozens of shops and restaurants, but there are also miles and miles of wooded trails and a state park within walking distance.
Mason City, Iowa feels like a small Midwestern city straight out of central casting. In a way, it is—The Music Man composer Meredith Willson grew up in Mason City and modeled River City after the town. Frank Lloyd Wright, who focused his early career on developing a uniquely American style of architecture...