All month I've been researching my next great escape, daydreaming about tropical environments, Tuscan vineyards and the sweltering heat of Indonesia. After much exploring, I located an olive farm in Italy that trades free room and board for a week of toiling in the fields picking olives. I was ready to book away, but the available dates coincided with my month-long Indo volunteer/learn-to-scuba-dive trip I planned for November. Bah!
Back to the drawing board, I thought, until a pal phoned with news that she was getting married next summer at her fiance's family's vineyard in Germany. Perfect timing! I could enjoy a beautiful wedding while picking grapes in a classic vineyard. Having planned my first trip of 2008, I decided to celebrate at Resi's Bierstube, a German tavern on Irving Park with a fantastic beer garden out back. If you're like me, you've driven past it a hundred times, never acknowledging its existence. What a shame. It makes for the perfect hideaway to plot future escapades, especially if you go early to catch prime patio seating.