Archive for the ‘Tastes’ Category

Hit the trail but definitely take good food!

It has been a bit since I have been inspired/had the time to write a post, but when Sierra Trading Post asked me to write a post about food, I knew I could find my writing groove 😉 Let’s face it, I love food and am always up for a good chat about food on the trail!

My history with food and backpacking started out with canned soup and granola bars. By the time my sister and I started backpacking together, it shifted to packets of tuna and chicken with crackers and energy bars. By the end of a three day trip, both Renee and I would swear off tuna for weeks!

Our food for three days in Yosemite in 2009

Our food for three days in Yosemite in 2009

Luckily, my love of food has driven me to spend a bit more time and money when prepping for food for the trail. Over the past year and a half, Brian (my fiancé and adventure partner) and I have tried numerous backpacker meals and also discovered that ramen noodles with summer sausage and cheddar cheese can be the perfect meal when starving on the side of a mountain.

In all of my backpacking, the best prepared meals and desserts that I have had were from Backpacker’s Pantry. We have unsuccessfully tried other brands only to be disappointed by lack of taste when starving after a long day of snowshoeing or hiking. Our absolute favorite pre-packaged meal to date: Backpacker’s Pantry’s Pad Thai. Not only did this meal fill us up, but it was warm (which was important on the mountainside during a cold March afternoon, with a snow storm approaching), easy to make, and so very delicious!

I have to say that while the Pad Thai was great, it is not the best meal that I have had while backpacking. That title falls to a meal of steak, mashed potatoes, and red wine that Brian made for me (using a stick & knife because we forgot our sporks) in May of this year.

My man has some mad camp cook skills!

My man has some mad camp cook skills!

Since we weren’t camping in grizzly country, we were able to be a bit more relaxed about food on this trip. Brian put together a marinade in a Ziploc bag at home, and we soaked a steak in it for several hours in one of our packs while we hiked and fished. That steak, cooked over our small MSR stove, might very well be the best steak I have ever eaten! We made instant mashed potatoes and had taken in some Stack Wine. As we sat in the rain that turned to snow and back to rain again, we savored every bite and sip.

For me, food can make or break your time on the trail. Join the #trailtime conversation with Sierra Trading Post and a bunch of rad peeps on Twitter this (& every) Thursday at 4pm MDT. As you might guess, this week we will be talking food 🙂



OR Show, a successful summit, and self-toasts

I swear I might just be one of the luckiest people in this world.  This past weekend was a prime example of how lucky I am to have amazing people in my life that I get to have unforgettable experiences with.  It was another weekend in Salt Lake City, which in and of itself would be great, but pair that with an outstanding Outdoor Retailer (OR) Show,  meeting online friends in person for the first time, and seeing some of my dearest friends in the world and you have yourself a weekend for the books!

Having been invited to be a part of Columbia Sportswear’s #OmniTen crew this summer (i.e. Big news and awesome adventures ahead), I was also offered the chance to head back to another OR show.  After the amazing time I had at last summer’s show, I jumped at the opportunity to once again be part of what I like to call Christmas for outdoors/outside loving adults.

After a long 7 ½ hour drive (thanks a lot construction by Thermopolis, Wy), I met up with some new and old friends; I was immediately immersed into the perfect chaos that is the OR Show through the beauty that was Columbia Sportswear’s booth.  After a quick round of new gear for them, I set out to hit up booths with free happy hour drinks with Erika (The Active Explorer) and Eva from American Backcountry Tees.

Eva (left) & Erika (right) enjoy some OR show perks

Eva (left) & Erika (right) enjoy some OR show perks

That night, past and present #OmniTen peeps (& a couple of #OmniFriends/OmniOutlaws) were treated to what seemed like a never ended smorgasbord of delightful sushi, all courtesy of Columbia.  Even with full stomachs, it surely wasn’t time to call it quits on one of the nights during OR, so we hit up a Mexican restaurant, which promptly turned into a club around 9pm.  Because that is normal right?  An abundance of interesting hair (bump-its in full affect!), shorter-than-any-skirt-I-have-ever-seen skirts, and sideways stares by the “club’s” security told us we weren’t in Kansas (or Cody, Wyo) anymore!  Self-toast anyone?

Scott from Columbia Sportswear was less than impressed with the "Hotter than Hell" sauce

Scott from Columbia Sportswear was less than impressed with the “Hotter than Hell” sauce

Friday was intially open for me other than two appointments.  That quickly changed as I became part of a 5 person media group who shifted from booth to booth to conquer the show together.  Through a blur of appointments, as well as chance encounters, I spent the day checking out the 2014 line for companies like Swiftwick, Suunto, Evolv, Propet, and Edelrid to name a few.  To say that I felt undeserving of all the attention given to me would be an understatement, but I soaked it in like a good social media sponge 😉 

I had a great time catching up with Jacalyn Gross creator/founder/desinger/all-around awesome woman from URSportswear, and of course we couldn’t pass up the opportunity to share some #URTribe love with peeps.

A little URSporwear love w/founder Jacalyn (photo courtesy of URSportswear)

A little URSporwear love w/founder Jacalyn (photo courtesy of URSportswear)

While the entire day of Friday was a blur, I was really looking forward to the initial #Hikerchat meetup that night.  **If you don’t know what #HikerChat is, it is a group of hiking individuals who talk about a wide array of things from gear to trips to outdoors tips every Friday at 10am (Mountain Time that is).**

I already knew, or had at least met, most of the people when we headed to dinner but was stoked to meet Polly from ClimbOn as I had already met her partner in crime, Will.  The dinner was a great chance to talk and plot our hiking adventure the following day.  The feast of pasta was brought to us by one of my absolute favorite companies, Teton Sports.  Their social media guru/tent and backpack designer extraordinaire, Shawn, set up the entire dinner and was the one responsible for teaming with several companies for the next day’s #HikerChat hike.

Saturday morning came early as we all loaded up on free goodies like the Teton Sports Summit 1500, Goal Zero Nomad 7 Solar Panel and Switch 8 Recharger, Good2Go protein bars.  Most of us donned our #HikerChat tees courtesy of American Backcountry Tees, and we were off to Alta Ski Area for our hike.

#Hikerchat crew mid-hike (Courtesy of Teton Sports)

#Hikerchat crew mid-hike (Courtesy of Teton Sports)

To say that the hike up to Catherine’s Lake and to the summit of Sunset Peak was breathtaking would never do it justice.  The hike ended up being somewhere between 7-8 miles roundtrip because we had to add on some additional uphill, road-hiking thanks to lack of parking at the trailhead.  Not to be deterred, we set out to enjoy the sites and each other’s company.  It is amazing the conversations that can come up when on the side of a mountain…I will let you just guess what they might have included! 

Some of the wonderful women of #Hikerchat

Some of the wonderful women of #Hikerchat

Check out this great video of our hike from Paul (The Outdoor Adventure):

While ever OR show is different for each attendee, I think I get more out of the personal connections than I even do out of seeing the cool new gear that is coming down the pipe next year.  Some of these connections have become friendships that are some of the closest I have.  Even though we may see each other in person once, twice or perhaps a few more times each year, I know that they are there for me every single day (even if just online).  I am thankful for a great weekend with spectacular views and even better friends 🙂

The top of Sunset Peak (courtesy of Teton Sports)

The top of Sunset Peak (courtesy of Teton Sports)

I was missing home and after a 7 hour drive back I returned to enormous hugs and handmade clay flowers from my favorite little people.  My welcome home was topped off by a homemade lunch and beautiful flowers 🙂  Thank you for making it a perfect end to an already great weekend, Brian!

My beautiful flowers

My beautiful flowers

For great gear reviews from the OR show, check out upcoming post from the below individuals (& many, many more awesome people!)

Heather (Just a Colorado Gal)

Erika (The Active Explorer)

Paul (The Outdoor Adventure)

Joshua (experience.via.imagination)

Eileen (rockgrrl)

Happy St. Patrick’s Day

I hope you have a wonderful St. Patrick’s Day. Renee and I will thoroughly enjoy it for you all here in Dublin, Ireland 😉



~Love, the Salzmann girls 🙂

Big city days

I like to push myself and test my limits.  Normally this means physically pushing myself through outdoor adventures, but every once in a while I test other limits.  For example, as you likely know, I am most at ease in nature, so spending a long weekend in the downtown of a big city (Denver) can also take me out of my normal comfort zone. 

This is pretty much my normal look (outdoorsy).

Every day me :)

Every day me 🙂

However, I recently met up with my sister and a friend for a long weekend in Denver, so I got a bit gussied up and even wore….wait for it….MAKEUP!  Seriously, I couldn’t remember the last time I wore it (likely the last time my sister helped me with it at some point because I seem to be inept at girlie things like that!).

Yes, I am wearing makeup (thanks Nee)

Yes, I am wearing makeup (thanks Nee)

All kidding aside, I had a fabulous time getting to see my sister and our friend Heather for a few days.  This was extra special because my sister is currently stationed in Germany, so our time together these days is limited.  Being three hardworking professional women, we decided to treat ourselves and stay at the Ritz-Carlton in downtown Denver.  This place was super swanky but the staff was so super nice and accommodating (even when I requested some foam pillows so I didn’t mess up my neck).

I make friends everywhere

I make friends everywhere

We spent some time (& money) at the Denver REI; I came away with a sweet new snowboarding helmet (thanks Mom & Dad!) and a super sweet birthday present from my sister, the sunglasses I have been dreaming of for months (Native Eyewear Silencers). 

so purdy...the helmet that is

so purdy…the helmet that is

Naturally, it was then time for some beer….hey we are all WI girls, so what do you expect?!  We headed down the road from REI to try some brews at the Denver Beer Co.  We got a sampler which included the normal suspects (a wheat, a pale, and IPA) as well as a few tasty surprises in a cider, graham cracker porter (soooo yummy!!) and a mead of sorts.  With its big front porch and garage door front, this joint seemed to be a favorite to locals, and we quickly became fans of it as well.

Look how happy we are and no beer consumed yet :)

Look how happy we are and no beer consumed yet 🙂

After a day of shopping, some more adult beverages, and sightseeing, we finally found a place for dinner (it was a Saturday night, so most places had hour plus waits, ugh!).  We stumbled upon a great little Italian café named Mangiamo Pronto. My sister and I shared some subpar pesto bruschetta (It was served on regular toast; I mean come on it is an Italian café who bakes their own bread…give me a baguette!) and some tasty chicken pasta with pine nuts and creamy pest. 

May not be the most visually appealing, but it was tasty

May not be the most visually appealing, but it was tasty

Then, drumroll please, I had my first taste of gelato (yes, ever); it was delicious creamy caramel sea salt flavored goodness.



Day two was more shop browsing before Heather had to head back to CA, wine tasting at Cru Wine Bar, a tasty beer sampler from Wynkoop Brewing Company, and an early birthday dinner at the super fancy (especially by my terms!) Ocean Prime .  The entire meal was fantastic but the dessert really took the cake (pun definitely intended!).  Renee and I shared this beauty of baking perfection.   

Tower of carrot cake

Tower of carrot cake

So while I will remain a nature loving, country girl to my core, a trip to the city from time to time is alright in my book 😉

A great weekend with my best friend!

A great weekend with my best friend!

2 dogs + 2 people = Fun in SD

Chances are that if you have ever met me, you know that I am close with my family and that at 32 I still enjoy spending time with/taking trips with my parents.  I had the chance to do just that over the recent Labor Day weekend.

My mom and I decided to meet in Rapid City for a few days of fun and hiking with the dogs (Sydney and Fia, my sister’s dog which my parents are keeping while my sis is stationed overseas).  The last time I actually stopped in the Black Hills and didn’t just drive through them on the way to another destination was in 1992 during my family’s first big road trip vacation (I think we did like 12 states in 10 days or something close to that).

Hmm, I think I remember seeing these guys before….

Anyway…my mom and I met up in the parking lot of our hotel.  We got there about 10 minutes apart which is pretty amazing timing considering she was driving 10 hours and I was driving 5 ½.  The dogs went berserk at the joy of being reunited (they hadn’t seen each other since Christmas).

After a low-key rest of the day we were raring to go on our first adventure.  We decided to hit up Harney Peak first thing in the morning as it would be getting up into the 90s later in the day (and we had no desire to injure our dogs!).  There are two trails taking you from the gorgeous Sylvan Lake area in Custer State Park through the Black Elk Wilderness of the Black Hills National Forest; we decide to take Trail #4.

At an elevation of 7,242ft, this granite peak is the highest point in the state.  With an elevation gain of 1,100ft, it was a fun hike for all four of us…until we got to the very top where there is a tower.  It was at this point that Fia (my sister’s dog) freaked out because of the metal grated stairs.

Fia was so scared that she almost dove over the side!

Luckily, my mom had already made this hike and summit before, so Syd and I left them behind and ran our way up to the top before scrambling out on some rocks 🙂

Syd & I at the summit of Harney Peak

The four of us coming down from the summit

As luck would have it, that day was actually Fia’s birthday (as decided by my sister when she adopted her).  While driving through the beauty that is Custer State Park, we treated the pups to birthday knock-off Twinkies, which couldn’t have been more fitting (family joke 😉 ).

After leaving the completely tuckered pups at the hotel, my mom and I headed for the bustling area that is downtown Rapid City (I kid of course).  We decide to go eat at Firehouse Brewing.  After a tasty beer sampling, we opted on a dunkle and a red for mom and I respectively.  Figuring we burned a gazillion calories that day, we decided to order a huge plate of nachos to share as our supper.

Nachos so good I forgot to take a picture before diving in

With day #1 of the trip in the books it was time to hit the hay to rest up for day #2!

Pupusas, Beer, & a Falcon!!!!

What do all of the three things in the title have to do with one another you ask? My second day in Asheville, NC would be the answer! That is right folks, I got to hold a Peregrine Falcon!!!  Ok let me back up here…

The day started off a bit overcast, and I was once again hungry (shocking, I know!).  We went to breakfast at this awesome Greek/American dinner called The Mediterranean Restaurant, or as the locals call it, The Med.  There is a reason that this places looks and feels like the quintessential local dinner; it is.  Opened in 1969, The Med has the same owners dishing up phenomenal food for surprisingly low prices.  Be careful though because this gem is only open for breakfast and lunch; also it isn’t open at all on Sundays!

The Med made my tummy happy!

After a meal of biscuits with sausage gravy, eggs, toast, cheese grits, and homefries (don’t be fooled though because they called them “hashbrowns”), we were stuffed to the gills and ready to hit the town, gimpy style.  But first, to answer the question burning in your mind right now, no I didn’t eat all of the food alone; Steve ate half of it!

Next we strolled across the street to check out Tops for Shoes, which is such a huge, multilevel store that it takes up most of a city block.  I have really wanted to get myself some Keen sport sandals for a long time, so I tried on a few pairs.  I discovered the pair that were meant for my feet, Keen Venice H2!  Sadly, the steep price of $95 kept those beauties in the store and out of my closet 😦

Not to be put off by expensive prices, we headed to Mast General Store in downtown Asheville.  Now, if you have read my previous posts, you might know that I fell in love with this store last summer in Henderson, NC (, so I was giddy with excitement!

Just me being crazy with a random metal pig in the park

Apparently Steve has a thing for pig’s ears????

I have to admit that I did treat myself to my first pair of Keen’s during this trip, but they will become vitally important come winter in Cody.  They were having a sale on sample size shoes, which happen to be size 7, and wouldn’t ya know, I wear size 7 for winter boots!  Let’s just say that I just these beautiful Betty Boots by Keen for a steal; that is right they were less than my last pair of on sale Asics running shoes from Kohl’s!

Ok so back to what you have all been waiting for, I held a falcon!  How cool?!

Zelda the Peregrine Falcon

See, I wasn’t making it up 🙂  Please check out the below video (I am holding a falcon, people!!) to find out about some great work that Peter Kipp and the Quest Foundation are doing.

After the amazing falcon encounter, we enjoyed the River Arts District with all of its quirky and interesting studios of blown glass, pottery, and a heap of other cool artistic pieces.  We arrived at Wedge Brewing Company for a few tasty brews and yet another first for my time in Asheville, my first tamale!  While I have had an amazing dish that my mom makes called tamale pie, I have never had a legit tamale.  This one was extra unique because it was from a food truck; not just any ordinary food truck but from Ceci’s Culinary Tour.  The tamales and pupusas were delish!


Of course I had to watch the Derby that evening after picking my winning horses on vital information such as how cool the name was and what number/color combo the horse and jockey would be wearing 😉 We made our way from one brewery to the next and watched the race at the Asheville Brewing Company with a sampling of five of their brews.  Shockingly, my favorite was the Jalapeño beer!  As someone who is not a fan of even the slightest hint of heat in my food or beverages, I loved this beer because it had the Jalapeño taste with absolutely no heat.

In my “happy place”

Our tour of Asheville was topped off with a cool experience that evening.  It was Cinco de Mayo, so we figured finding a place to eat might be a bit hard; plus, we were actually beered-out (I know, unthinkable…).  We decided to head to a French restaurant.  Of course as soon as we got to Bouchon’s, it was packed with a long wait.  We struck up a conversation with a local gal who told us about the treasure hiding next door; Creperie Bouchon was just what the doctor ordered with a large outdoor patio under the stars (& the supermoon) and a live three-piece band paired perfectly with a tasty cheese plate and French wine.

Tastiness to finish the day…I love cheese

This was a great way to finish my time in a city I never knew I would love, Asheville, NC.

Glorious Beer in Beautiful Asheville Makes a Gal Happy!

I am not completely sure how I have lived in Athens, GA for going on two years and just finally made it up to Asheville, NC this weekend!  I really wish I had gotten the chance to discover this amazingly cool town earlier in my time here.

With my current less than stellar ankle/foot situation, hiking was out and climbing was not an option.  Getting around town on crutches or hobbling a few feet without them would have to be enough of an adventure for me!  Steve and I headed north on a beautiful drive taking us through one gorgeous view after another.

Just beautiful!

After my post on Chattanooga (read it here: You Need to Visit the ‘Noog) , we had the great fortune of hooking up with Kirsten from Highland Brewing Company in an attempt to get their spring seasonal, Little Hump, into our local stores.  Kirsten was such a help with that and even offered to set us up on a private tour of the brewery when we headed to Asheville!  Umm, yeah how exactly do you say no to that?!  Well, I didn’t 😉

Following our arrival in this funky little town, we (read that as “I”) hobbled our way to the Lexington Avenue Brewery where we had some tasty, perfectly sized lunches before making our way to the highlight of the day, our private tour!

Strawberry & almond arugula salad w/ pimento cheese BLT on toast
Gazpacho w/ a meatball slider

Once we figured out how to get to the somewhat secluded  Highland Brewing Company (we used GPS, and I still managed to get us lost!), we met up with Steve who is the head of sales and merchandise.  He took us through an extensive tour and to places normal tours don’t necessarily get to go/see (inside the bottling line and where they keep the just for fun beer experiments).  After filling our glasses with tasty selections, we walked through the brewery, tasted barley at multiple malted levels (they came from WI!), and learned more about the brewing process than I had ever known (& I have been on my share of brewery tours).

Eating barley…this one was pretty good!

Steve giving us some of the “experiment” beer. Notice the nail in his hand, the beer is coming out the nail hole!

As luck would have it, Highland Brewing Company was tapping their summer seasonal, Razor Wit, the day of our tour!  After an amazing, not to mention super tasty tour, we enjoyed this newly released brew on their porch and got some local insight into food options.

I was starving and if you know me at all, that means I can start to get cranky if I don’t eat soon 😉  We headed to a place that looked good and was right downtown, Pack’s Tavern.  With tons of North Carolina brews on tap, and a yummy looking menu I was initially happy.  Sadly that sorta changed.  First, I ordered a beer that was just too darn fruity for my taste (my bad because it did have blueberry in the name); next our waitress seemed to not be having the best day, at least I am going to give her the benefit of the doubt and hope that is what it was.  We ordered an appetizer of dips and chips as well as a Monte Cristo to split.  With a disgusted look on her face our waitress’ response was “You know that’s deep-fried, right?” The appetizer and sandwich were brought out at the exact same time and one of the dips was so cooled (a queso dip) that it was near impossible to “dip” a chip into it.  The sandwich (my first Monte Cristo ever!) was luckily very tasty; however, I don’t think I would go back there as there are so many other great places to eat in Asheville.

All in all the first day in Asheville was a beautiful, sunny day with some great food and beer (and some not so great).  Thanks to Kirsten and Steve at  Highland Brewing Company for making the day awesome 🙂  Just wait until you see what I got to do on the second day in Asheville!!!!!

Happy me!