40 for 40 Series: My Favorite Places

Welcome to my birthday week and the first of my final 2 posts of this 40 for 40 series. This has been a fun exercise for me and I appreciate you coming back to read my rambles.

Now, I’ve lived all over this great country over the last 40 years and been to 43 of the 50 states. Radio has sent me on a journey that I could not have imagined and I’m really thankful for everything it has given me. I’ve met some wonderful friends, many that are still in my life today, and the things I’ve experienced will stay with me for the rest of my life.

I don’t know if you are like my family, but a lot of people in my bloodline haven’t lived very far from where they were born. That’s not a insult or a rip on them, it’s just my life has been different and I want to share with you about some really cool places that I’ve had the chance to find. Maybe you’ve been to some of these places but maybe you haven’t.

I’m listing them 1 to 40 but unlike the previous two posts, I’m not ranking these places. They all are unique and cool in their own way and I love going to them. Only rule I made for myself is that they must still be around today. If they went out of business or closed, I didn’t use them.

40. Newbury Street in Boston 

Yes, this is very touristy. Yes, it’s very expensive to shop here but this is the street that I used to walk up and down in high school shopping for music … when we actually had to shop from music in-person. All those stores are gone now but the memories, coffee shops, restaurants, and stores are still there. If you go to Boston, you gotta hit this up for at least a few hours.  

39. Centro in Des Moines, Iowa

My favorite restaurant in Des Moines. If you are ever there, it’s right downtown and a great mix of an upscale casual meeting spot with a menu to please any foodie. 

38. The Dubliner in Omaha, Nebraska 

This is my favorite bar in Omaha. I spent many nights and many St. Patrick’s Days drinking in this place. Irish Car Bombs are a must here.  

37. Oklahoma Joe’s in Kansas City, Missouri 

It’s a BBQ joint inside of a gas station. It’s famous but it’s for good reason. Burnt ends here are amazing. 

36. Century Link Center in Omaha 

I spent more hours inside this building than any other during my career. Creighton basketball, USA Swim Trials and tons and tons of concerts. I have so many amazing memories that were made inside this gorgeous building. 

35. Power and Light District in Kansas City 

This is the best place to party in Kansas City and a crazy place to watch a sporting event. It’s one of the most unique places in the country for its design, establishments and support from the community. 

34. Blue Sushi in the Old Market of Omaha

It’s weird to have a sushi place in the middle of the country be on this list but its where I really got into sushi. It was 2 blocks from my apartment in the Old Market in Omaha and I ate there so many times, including one with my wife back before we were married. 

33. Honey Salt in Las Vegas

Ok – here’s a little lesson for those who come to Vegas a lot: Get off the strip. This place has an awesome menu and a really cool, relaxed vibe. It’s a perfect place for a date or a calm dinner. We eat here about once a month. 

32. North Shore of Oahu, Hawaii 

I’ve been to Hawaii twice. The first time, I never really left the area around Waikiki Beach, the hotel or the arena. The second time I went, I was able to go check out the most stunning beach I’ve ever seen. The waves are crazy big. The sand is so soft and water is crystal clear. 

31. Red Rock Canyon National Park in Las Vegas, Nevada

This is in my backyard … literally. It’s only half a mile from my house in Vegas and we have spent nearly every weekend this spring hiking and exploring it. If you come to Vegas and like the outdoors – you have to either drive it or hike. It’s so pretty. 

30. Rudy’s Country Store and BBQ in Richmond, Texas

I learned of this place from a Rolling Stone interview with Dwight Howard of all things. It was his favorite BBQ joint in Houston and he wasn’t lying. It’s really, really good. I went there a ton more than Killen’s … even though Killen’s is better. It was just closer to my house and less busy. 

29. Town Square in Sugar Land, Texas 

This is where we spent most of our time when we lived in Sugar Land. It has tons of shopping, places to eat, and events for people to enjoy. 

28. Houston Zoo in Houston, Texas

Some will argue that there are better zoos than this one but this is our favorite one we’ve been to as a family. 

27. The Palazzo in Las Vegas, Nevada

It’s the place I do my radio show so yes, I’m biased. However, I’ve walked around so many resorts, casinos, and hotels here in Vegas and I think The Palazzo/Venetian plus The Canal Shoppes are tough to beat. It has everything you expect from Las Vegas. 

26. Top Golf in Vegas and Houston 

Golf, drinking, gambling (Vegas only), competition with bar food. This is an idea that every guy should have come up but didn’t. Really entertaining place to hang out. 

27. Fenway Park in Boston

It’s responsible for everything I love about sports.  

26. Bryant-Denny Stadium in Tuscaloosa, Alabama  

Home to Alabama Football and the one football stadium I’ve spent the most time. I went to 5 years of every Alabama home game and 4 years of every Alabama home and road game. Was my favorite assignment outside of hosting my own show. 

25.  Cafe Du Mond in New Orleans, Louisiana

My wife and I ate here nearly every day on our honeymoon. So freaking good for breakfast or post-drinking. 

24. Portland Lobster Company in Portland, Maine

My Aunt and Uncle own this best place to get a lobster in Portland. If you are going to Maine, do not miss eating outside on the deck with a beer and lobster. It doesn’t get more New England than this. 

23. True Blue Golf Course in Charleston, South Carolina

I played this course with my good friend who is a golf pro in Florida and Massachusetts. I love South Carolina golf when it’s near the water and this course had some of the most beautiful plants and wildlife. 

22. Black Jack’s Crossing Golf Course in Terlingua, Texas 

The only way to get to this golf course is to fly by charter jet. It’s on the Rio Grande River and you can literally drive a golf ball into Mexico if you hit the ball the wrong way. It’s one of the most challenging courses I’ve ever played but it’s really worth your time if you have the chance. You stay on-property in nice rooms and it’s all about golf and having fun. 

21. Roosters in Decatur, Alabama 

This is a tiny chicken joint in a small Alabama town that supported the hell of out the station I worked for in Huntsville. They had us out there time and time again and gave me some of the best fried chicken I’ve ever had.  

20. Cracker Barrel in any state in the country

Best breakfast in the country from a chain restaurant. I’ve eaten at one of these in at least 10 states. Every road trip I’ve taken over the last 10 years has included a stop at one of these. 

19. La Buvette Wine in Omaha, NE

It’s tiny wine bar that was less than 100 yards from my apartment in Omaha. It’s in the Old Market district and you can sit outside and drink some great wine during the warm months. I would go here and read or prep for my show or just hang out with friends. Really unique place. 

18. East Des Moines in DSM

If you ever wonder why Barrack Obama did so well in Iowa all you have to do is go to East Des Moines. As liberal as liberal gets and I loved this part of DSM while I lived there. 

17. Sundeckers in St. Louis, Missouri 

This was the bar that Creighton fans took over every year in STL. It was so much fun to go to St. Louis and be around friends all weekend as the Jays normally played until Sunday and the Championship Game of the Tournament. 

16. Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse in Boston, New Orleans etc

I’ve eaten at a Ruth’s Chris is so many different markets but it’s special to me because it’s where my wife and I went to dinner after we got engaged. We ate at the original location in New Orleans on our honeymoon and have gone to others as well. Heated plates is the way to go! 

15. Dreamland BBQ in Tuscaloosa, Alabama 

Best BBQ I’ve ever had. Period. Hands down. Best BBQ sauce ever and something I order from time-to-time to be delivered to me wherever I am living. One of my first dates with my wife was a Dreamland delivery to Lowell, Mass. 

14. The NCAA Tournament 

I’ve covered the Big Dance in multiple locations during my career. I’ve had the pleasure of seeing the event in New Orleans, Atlanta, Greensboro, Raleigh, Omaha and more. It’s the best thing we do as a sports country and it ends tonight with Gonzaga vs. UNC. 

13. Omaha Prime in Omaha, Nebraska 

If you are in The Big O, go see my man Mo. He owns the best steakhouse in the best steak market in America. Tell him I sent you and he will take care you.

12. Cambridge, Mass

There are too many places here for me to list them all but I’ve made so many memories in this part of town. I got my eyebrow pierced here in college. I met bands on the street here. I’ve gone to concerts. I’ve eaten some of the best meals of my life here. Plus it was the home to the best record stores in Boston for many years. 

11. Super Burrito in Everett, MA

This is a hole-in-the-wall joint about 20 minutes outside of Boston but they serve the best burrito I’ve ever had. I could eat it every day. So damn good. 

10. New Orleans, Louisiana

There are few places in the world that brings together so many of the awesome things I like to do. There is a vibe in the city that is unlike any other in America. It doesn’t really feel like America to be honest. It’s a treasure that we are lucky to enjoy. 

9. Landsdowne Street in Boston

The street behind Fenway Park is special to me. It’s where my love of sports and music combined and it’s where I grew up in a lot of ways. A lot of the clubs I grew up going to are gone now but the street is still there. I’ve even hosted shows from WEEI’s studio looking out on Landsdowne. 

8. Canebreak Golf Course in Athen, Alabama

My first talk job was at a radio station that was located basically across the street from this course. In the days of being a single guy without a lot of friends in Alabama, I would play this course for free a few times a week by myself. I worked out a lot of personal problems on this course as I worked on my golf game and it will always be one of my favorite courses. 

7. Nashville, Tennessee 

Huntsville was only an hour to the south of Nashville, so I spent a lot of time there for a variety of reasons. I often flew home from their because it was the closest place to get a direct flight to Boston. I also covered the Titans a few times a year. It’s a place where you can hear music on every street corner. 2nd Avenue and Opryland are some of my top spots to hit up. 

6. Dismal River Golf Club in Mullen, Nebraska

I was invited to play this course before it opened to the public. It was designed by Jack Nickalaus and I had the pleasure of interviewing him at the grand opening of the course. We played the course the next day but the real treat was walking 18 with Jack as he described why he designed the course the way he had. It’s one tough track though. Bring lots of balls. 

5. Rose and Crown Pub in Omaha, Nebraska

I’ve never had a “Norm” moment like on the show Cheers, but if I ever did, it would be at this wonderful dive bar in Omaha. The owner is a friend and a great guy and he has one of the wildest places to drink in the country. My friends have worked there and performed there and I would will always go there when I’m in the Big O. 

4. Playland Park in Rye, New York

The movie “Big” had a famous scene shot on the boardwalk of this park but I started going there as a very young kid as my aunt and uncle took us there every summer. The roller coaster there was wooden and made you feel like you were going to die while riding on it. It was epic. 

3. Hoboken, New Jersey

My cousin lived there for many years and my good friend from college lives there now. It’s a town with more bars in one square mile than anywhere else in the country. It’s got such amazing charm and New York is right across the river. 

2. Las Vegas, Nevada

This is our new home and we couldn’t be happier living here. Vegas offers so much more than what you find on the Strip. While I work there every weeknight, getting away from the tourists will really open your eyes. As the Raiders and Golden Knights start play over the next few years, Vegas will officially become to best city I have ever worked in full-time. 

1. Drink in Boston

My favorite bar in Boston is where you must go to try one of their signature cocktails from their mixologists. This is the first place I had ever heard the term used 5 years ago. If you are adventurous, have them make you something that you want. This place is where my wife and I had our 2nd date and we go back there nearly every time we are home. 

Finally coming tomorrow: 40 Bucket List items