Category Archives: Review

Review: Rock Of Ages Blacklight Minigolf At The Mall Of America

There’s certainly no shortage of things to do at the Mall of America. Of course, there’s shopping, but there’s also lots of food and fun!

I’ve already reviewed Nickelodeon Universe and Sea Life Minnesota Aquarium so on a recent MOA trip I was looking for something new for my family to try when we wanted a break from shopping.

As luck would have it, there’s a new minigolf attraction now open on the 3rd floor of the Mall of America; Rock Of Ages Blacklight Minigolf.  It’s an 18 hole miniature golf course centered around the theme of rock music starting with the 50’s to current day.The artwork on the course was fun and vibrant and like a blast of my childhood.  There were boom boxes, cassette tapes, nods to video games and more.  The rock music playing throughout added to the party like atmosphere.

Going in I wondered if there would be a hole devoted to Minnesota Rock Icon Prince.  Sure enough, there was!

We arrived around Noon on a Sunday and got right in.  The course was fun to play!  A little challenging at times but not too difficult that it was frustrating…. although I will say hole 17 was my nemesis.My wife was the big winner in our foursome!  Who knew she was such a great mini golfer?  Both my daughters had a blast and look forward to going again.

It took us about an hour to complete the course which was the perfect break from our back-to-school shopping.  The music, black lights, artwork, and memories all made for one fun experience.  My family loved it and I’m guessing yours will too!

If you’re really a mini golf fan you should know there’s another MOA course you can play too;  Moose Mountain Adventure Golf.  We plan on trying that one out on our next trip to the Mall Of America.

Disclaimer: I was provided with free passes to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are mine.

Where’s your favorite place to play mini golf?

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Review: An American In Paris at Des Moines Performing Arts

When I got the press night invite from Des Moines Performing Arts to attend An American In Paris at the Civic Center I had a little bit of a dilemma; both my wife and my oldest daughter wanted to be my “plus one”.

Fortunately, I didn’t need to be a bad guy and choose because my daughter couldn’t make it since she had ballet class.  That meant my wife and I could have a weeknight, date night.

I didn’t know much about An American In Paris going into the show. There is a Gene Kelly movie with the same name. I knew that because my wife was hoping to watch it before we went. That didn’t happen but we do plan to have a family movie night and watch it soon.

The stage production of An American In Paris at the Civic Center in Des Moines was simply amazing.  I’d describe it as a ballet within a musical.  There was more dancing in it than any show I’ve seen before, and I have to say this Dance Dad really appreciated it.

If I had to guess I’d say it was two-thirds musical, one-third ballet.

The choreography and talent were fantastic.  The performers were strong dancers, singers, and actors.  I was amazed at the talent and how well-rounded they were.

The other thing that I found amazing is how for the production/technical aspects of the show were.  Technology is really starting to play a part in stage productions.  The use of screens and projections is allowing for effects that weren’t possible a few years ago.

The screens allowed for subtle details to the staging that really added to the show… a wispy cloud floating across the sky, the flicker of a light, or a splash of water… all gave the illusion of reality.

Speaking of illusions… there were a few set changes that I would describe as pure magic.  The way certain stage elements disappeared and the precision with which set pieces were moved around on stage was incredible.

If you’re a fan of love stories this is the show for you!  If you’re a fan of ballet this is the show for you!  If you’re a fan of live theater, in general, this is the show for you!

An American In Paris is part of the Willis Broadway Series on Des Moines Performing Arts’ main stage July 18, 2017, through July 23, 2017.  You can find more information here.***Disclaimer – I was provided with free press night tickets.  All opinions are my own.

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Tony Tries It: Watermelon With Taco Seasoning

It’s time for another entry in my Tony Tries It series… where I try something new and let you know what I think.  This time I’m trying a unique blend of flavors I would never have come up with on my own; watermelon, lime, and taco seasoning.

I first came across this combination from Jeni Eats, one of my favorite food bloggers.  Last summer she shared a picture of it on Instagram and I was intrigued.  My family wasn’t.  Even with their skepticism, I knew it was something I wanted to sample.

Trying it last Summer never worked out but when a local grocery store recently had watermelons for $1.88 each I knew it would be the perfect opportunity.

I bought two watermelons.  Mostly, because of the great deal… but partly because my youngest (the biggest fruit fan I know) was disturbed by the thought of me “ruining a perfectly good watermelon”.

She reluctantly agreed to the taste test with me… as did my oldest daughter.  My wife wanted no part in it.  I think she had flashbacks of our Jolly Rancher Soda taste test.

The ingredients for this Tony Tries It were easy to put together.  I sliced the watermelon saving back pieces from the center.  I’ve always found them to be the sweetest.  Next, I cut a lime into wedges and put some Hy-Vee taco seasoning into a custard cup.

We also put some fine sea salt into a custard cup since my oldest had read salt on watermelon really enhanced the sweetness of the fruit.

It was time to see what we all thought of watermelon with taco seasoning.  We each put a watermelon wedge on our plate, sprinkled it with lime juice, and then a few pinches of taco seasoning. Before taking that first bite we ceremoniously “clinked” them together and said “cheers”.

I’ll admit that the first bite was a little odd and confusing.  My brain was trying to process having this unique flavor and texture combination for the first time.

The second bite was a little better and by the third bite, I could understand why someone might enjoy eating their watermelon with lime and taco seasoning.  It wasn’t bad… but it was interesting.

My youngest daughter did not like it at all.  My oldest thought it was just “OK” but not better than plain watermelon.

We decided to move on to other watermelon flavor combinations. Next was plain sea salt and watermelon.  None of us really cared too much for that.

Then it was on to watermelon, sea salt, and lime.  The lime helped make it a little more enjoyable but it still wasn’t a favorite of any of us taste testers.  I’m wondering how it would be with a little tequila misted on top.  Could be like a watermelon margarita.  Might be worth trying some time. 😉

Our last flavor combination was fresh lime and watermelon.  This was pretty good.  The lime added a crisp, brightness to each bite.  It was my youngest’s favorite of any of the combinations we tried.

In the end, we all agreed that you really can’t get much better than a cold piece of plain sweet watermelon.  That said if I was ever at a party and watermelon with taco seasoning was being served, I wouldn’t turn it down.

What about you? Have you tried watermelon with taco seasoning? What flavor combinations do you enjoy that others might find odd?


You can read more in the Tony Tries It Series! Here are some other topics I’ve covered:

Fresh Face Mask

Shooting A Machine Gun

Skittles Art

Microwaving Sweet Corn



Cauliflower Crust Pizza

Reheating Pizza

Pizza Waffles

Tator Tot Waffles

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