Dilly Cafe Wine and Gourmet

The village of Mariemont, on Cincinnati's east side, is one of the lovely Robin's and my favorite spots for date night. Of course, we love the Mariemont Theater (it shows many movies that never make it to other venues, perhaps like tonight's Anna Karenina; I've posted about it here and here). But we also like to walk around the square and sample the area's many delights. Tonight we discovered Dilly Cafe, just a block west of the theater, right on Wooster Road/Route 50.

It is obviously a popular spot, and has a small stage for entertainment; the musicians were starting to set up as we ate, but we didn't stay long enough to hear them.

But we enjoyed a fine meal. Each of us ordered a salad. Mine was the shrimp-and-asparagus on a bed of field greens, with onions, cherry tomatoes, toasted pine nuts, and feta cheese. Robin enjoyed the Mariemont Strand, a salad of field greens, granny smith apples, roasted red peppers, toasted pecans, goat cheese, and a light curry vinaigrette dressing. Excellent.

Oh, and as advertised, Dilly's offers an ample selection of wines. We didn't imbibe, but were impressed, nonetheless.

The service was attentive but not intrusive, and we were served, ate, and paid in under an hour.

Dilly's is located at 6818 Wooster Pike (right next to Starbucks) on Mariemont Square. They are open Monday-Thursday 11am - 9pm, Friday and Saturday 11am - 10:30pm, and Sunday 4pm - 9pm. I highly recommend it.

Sleeping Bear Dunes

This travel photo doesn't show much of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Lakeshore, where it was taken. But it is one of my all-time favorites, nonetheless. It's my grandson, Miles, enjoying the sand of the massive dunes on our May/June 2011 visit.

Roosters Debut

The lovely Robin and I didn't plan on eating at Roosters in Springdale (north of Cincinnati) tonight. We'd never done so before.

But plans change. There's a first time for everything. Insert cliche here.

We had great service from Dawn, who took extra time to give us inside info that guided our choices. The wings, salad, sauces, and onion feathers appetizer were great. And the prices reasonable. A fine beginning to a great date.

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A Walk in the Woods

It's an awesome day for a walk here in west central Kentucky.

Temperatures in the mid-60s and as sunny as can be, so the lovely Robin and I set out after lunch on an hour-long walk.

So much beauty, PLUS some nice scenery, too--trees and path and pond and hayfield.

God speaks to me in the sunshine and leaf fall, in the whispering wind and shimmering surface of the water. And in the companionship of the lovely Robin, my best friend, boon companion, and retreat partner.

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The Abbey of Gethsemani, Trappist, KY

The Abbey of Gethsemani is a 164-year-old Trappist monastery in the hills of Kentucky, south of Bardstown (which is south of Louisville). It is known chiefly for having been Thomas Merton's monastery, but I have known it for thirteen or fourteen years as the site of my annual (sometimes twice a year) prayer retreat. This year I am spending these four days of silent meditation and prayer in the company of my wife, the lovely Robin.

The monks here maintain silence, except in the seven-times-daily fixed-hour prayer times, and guests are asked to do likewise. By entering into their rhythms and observing the Rule of St. Benedict I have learned so much about prayer, and carried that wisdom into my daily life, to great benefit.

The rooms are Spartan but comfortable. The meals are simple (and mostly vegetarian) but adequate. But here, at least once a year, I reorient my life and jump start my prayer life. I pray and plan and prioritize. I slow down and simplify. I rest and recharge. I always gain fresh insights and inspiration, both for the big picture of my life and loves and for specific projects or challenges I may be facing.

Gethsemani is thus a special place to me. In addition to the beauty of the church and the grounds, the hospitality of the monks, and the exceptional monk-made cheese and bourbon fudge (which they sell to support their ministry), it is a Peniel to my soul, a place where God meets me, and wrestles with me, and I with him.

(You can learn more about the Abbey of Gethsemani via their website, www.monks.org)

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Machu Picchu

Here's another of my favorite travel photos:

It looks like a postcard, doesn't it? I took this photo on my 2009 trip to Machu Picchu, Peru, with the lovely Robin.

Low Bob's

Spotted yesterday in Russells Point, Ohio. Maybe it's called Low Bob's because their prices are low. Or maybe to distinguish this establishment from High Bob's, down the street, that is rumored to sell wacky tobacky.

Woody's Diner

The lovely Robin and I arrived in Russells Point, Ohio, this evening for a brief visit with our friends Bill and Lorraine Riley in advance of my preaching engagement at Bill's church in the morning.

Soon after our arrival, Bill and Lorraine hosted us for dinner at Woody's Diner, a new restaurant in the area.

The OSU Buckeyes were spanking Illinois on the screens in the bar as we took our seats in a corner booth.

Bill ordered the massive onion rings for us to share. Robin LOVES onion rings.

The special tonight was prime rib--I didn't need to hear any more. I had it with sides of tossed salad and green beans.

Robin had the chicken with salad and green beans.

Great service, great food, great conversation.

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Indian Lake

It's a lovely evening on Indian Lake, where the lovely Robin and I are visiting with our friends Bill and Lorraine Riley. Bill drove us around a bit this evening on the various islands that dot the area.

It's a cool evening, but fishermen were out along the shoreline. Quiet, scenic, serene.

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