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I started with the Warsteiner Pilsner. I’m not a big beer drinker, but this was pretty awesome.
We were given a complimentary German coleslaw with cottage cheese and saltines. Sounds weird but it tastes DEVINE.
An accordion player walked through the restaurant taking requests.
The main room is huge and loud. But it looked really fun. We sat in the older section of the restaurant in booths.
The old part of the restaurant was pretty adorable.
I ordered a wurst sampler appetizer with sauerkraut–forgetting my meal came with an appetizer. I only ate 1/3 and saved the rest for another night.
Then my meal appetizer came–liver pate with chopped onions which I scooped onto saltines–soooo yummie!
Then a nice house salad.
My dinner was all inclusive and included pie. Coconut Cream pie. Perfect ending to the meal.
What’s your favorite ethnic food? Mine is Austrian, but German is a close second.
The potato pancake with apple sauce and sour cream. The highlight of my Sunday.
Lunch fried tofu appetizer at the Pad Thai Noodle Lounge on 8th Ave.
Chrysler Building from Midtown on way to Yama.
Yama’s for sushi.
Fried green tea ice cream.
Wall Street X-Mas tree.
Grand Central Station.
I’ve been jonesing for different foods that I used to have access to in NY. I don’t know why, but suddenly I can’t bear to eat Italian again.
Luckily S is a willing participant in my food experiments. This week it was Gobi Mongolian Grill.
I like the idea of selecting the ingredients and having the cook stir fry them up. It sounded fun. And it was.
The price is lovely. $17 for all you can eat salad bar, grill, and dessert.
The salad bar has every ingredient you could possible add to a salad and about 6 possible dressings. I went for the ginger one.
Two other bars are for the veggies and meats and noodles for grilling. The meats are frozen circles and take up a lot of plate space.
My advice? Start with the noodles and veggies and add the meats and sauce last. And even if you pile your plate high, it cooks up smaller, so don’t feel bad for heaping things on your plate.
You can also take a different approach and do small portions and sample different sauces and combination.
Either way, you bring your plate to the center of the restaurant to a giant circular slab of metal where it’s cooked before your eyes.
And do save room for dessert. There is a nice little make your own sundae bar. I opted for the green tea ice cream.
The service here was top notch. Even though it’s buffet style, our glasses of water were always refilled and our plates were quickly cleared. The servers were very helpful when we had questions. As we walked in they all greeted us and as we left they wished us a good night.
It was a lovely experience.
I’ll definitely be back again.
While at the SCBWI Conference in LA, we were in walking distance of the Century City Westfield Mall. We saw the Pink Taco restaurant and were intrigued. Kat and I promised to check it out before we left LA.
On our last night in the city, we got a roomy corner booth and dug into some of the tastiest Mexican food I’ve had since leaving San Diego in 2004. I had to have my guacamole and chips and margarita. So worth the calories. The chips were warm and crispy with the right amount of salt. The salsas rocked!
The restaurant is super fun inside. Reminds me of a festival of quirkiness.
But the carne asada. Dear Lord the carne asada. I’d been craving it the entire two weeks I’d been in California. It was Fan-Freaking-Tastic!
For dessert, Kat and I split churros with chocolate and caramel dipping sauce. So decadent.
This was what our booth looked like. We sunk into those cushions and didn’t move for almost 2 hours.
And as is typical of LA, our waiter was smoking hot. And flirted with us just enough to add to the dining experience.
Such a wonderful way to wrap up a conference!
J and I booked a tour of Hendry Ranch Wines because it was ranked #1 on TripAdvisor for activities in Napa. It had some of the best reviews ever. We decided this was our winery tour and tasting place. The cost was $40 each but they spent 2.5-3 hours with us. It exceeded all expectations and put all other winery tours and tastings to shame.
The Hendry Ranch winery had been family owned since 1939 and is composed of 114 vineyard acres stretched over 47 vineyard blocks. It’s a picturesque spot in Napa and the perfect tour and tasting for someone who wants to learn more about the wine making and wine tasting process.
Our tour group consisted of 14 people plus our guide, Mr. Hendry, who was the actual owner of the winery. He took two hours out of his day to talk to us about his vineyard. He regaled us with interesting tidbits about how closeness to a creek can affect a vine’s grape production and the taste of the grape. He confided how some of his experiments yielded cool things and others were a lesson learned. Through it all, he has a curious spirit that pushes his vineyard to be better and better.
He took us inside the building where the wine making occurs.
And down into the cellar where wines are barreled and aged.
These are the containers where the wine is made. The grapes are poured in from the floor above.
The vineyard dog stopped by to say hello to us and then patiently waited for a staff member to take him back out to the vineyards.
Here’s a look at the 47 vineyard blocks. We had this in front of us at the tasting. Pictures were not allowed during the tasting to ensure that we focused on the tasting. Listening, learning, and being present in the moment.
This is the fabulous space where we had our tasting. The owner spent almost an hour teaching us about his wines. I learned that many reds taste bitter to me because I have a tannin sensitivity. It’s also why I love lots of cream and splenda in my coffee.
This is the first time I really savored wine. It was a wonderful experience. I appreciated Mr. Hendry’s frankness about wines. He explained that everyone’s palette is different. So what is delicious to you might not be to me. Award-winning wines may not please your palette, but that’s okay because wine drinking should be tailored to the individual.
I enjoyed most of his wines, which is very rare for me. I found out I have a liking for pinot noir and zinfandels (which are both reds). I don’t need sweet but I require wetness to enjoy a wine. Nothing worse to me than having the feeling that someone just suctioned all the moisture out of my mouth.
The tasting included 10 wines. I ended up purchasing six bottles and sending them home. Two for Dad and four for me. The staff were extremely efficient in the purchasing process. Made it a joy to spend money there. I’ll definitely be ordering more of his wines in the future.
There are certain foods that are forever linked with my best friend’s beach house: oatmeal chocolate chip cookies, peanut butter kiss cookies, pasta, and Tostitos with a Hint of Lime.
So many summers were spent snacking on those delicious foods. For me, Tostitos with a Hint of Lime are the ultimate beach memory.
They are salty, sweet, tangy, bitter all at once. A carnival for my taste buds.
I bought a bag and risked ruining the memories by eating them inland.
And it happened. They weren’t unputdownable. They tasted okay but nothing like how they taste at the beach house.
So I tried to figure out what was wrong.
It couldn’t just be the magic of Ant’s beach house. Or could it?
Actually, it was a trick of the taste buds.
We always eat something sweet–like Ant’s mom’s cookies before we dive into the Tostitos with a Hint of Lime.
So I experimented by eating chocolate chips and then eating the Tostitos with a Hint of Lime Chips.
For some reason my taste buds have to have a hit of sweet first in order to appreciate the limey goodness of the Tostitos.
Still, I think I might keep them for beach time. It’s such a perfect beach food. And I don’t want to be gorging on them when inland since I spend most of my time inland.
In search of a breakfast place on my birthday, I tripped over Bluebell Cafe on 3rd ave near 22 nd st. Close to Lyric Diner.
I resigned myself to a so-so breakfast at Lyric, but the birthday gods saw fit to toss Bluebell Cafe in my path.
Thank you birthday gods!
The minute you walk in you experience country living in a city setting. The music is country or old school earthy folksy rock. Immediately returning you to a slower time.
The restaurant reminds me of an old aunt’s living room. Their are kitschy knick knacks on the walls, but they don’t over whelm the place. The tables have hand painted blue bells on them and rattan woven place mats. Reminds me of a dining room in a Connecticut ranch.
The ambience cannot be beat. Best birthday breakfast setting. But it gets better.
The servers are pure down home friendly and helpful. They welcome you with their smiles and their attitude freeness. Adored the vibe in the place. So UN-New York.
When I order my coffee, I asked for half a cup so I could add lots of milk. The server smiled and brought me my own creamer.
They offer refills on the coffee too.
I went with the Bluebell Breakfast for $9. Two scrambled eggs, home fries, buttermilk biscuit, bacon, and fresh fruit.
Everything was freshly made and a delight to the tastbuds. This is the kinda breakfast you tel your grandkids about. It’s that tasty. The fruit included cantaloupe, pineapple, and grapes. The perfect ending to a perfect breakfast.
I’ll definitely be heading back there.
Best NYC breakfast ever.
Here’s a sampling of the delish foods from my week in the city so far….Indian, Mexican, Chinese.
Linds, John and I went to Amici’s Italian Grill in Middletown last week. One of my best CT dinners to date.
We started with drinks. I had my standard rum and diet coke. Linds got the Almond Joy Martini. It’s her favorite.
We also shared the stuffed mushrooms, which were so good I forgot to take a picture. 4 ginormous mushroom caps stuffed with yumminess.
The bread btw is like garlic bread and you smear the cooked garlic clove on it.
For entrees, Linds got the spaghetti bolognese:
I had a bite. It was meaty and delicious.
I got the caprino chicken
and John got this veal dish that is inpronouncible.
John’s veal and pepper dish was a hearty masterpiece. The veal was tender and tasty.
For dessert, I got the special but they ran out of blondie and made it with chocolate brownie. Think moisty chewy brownie. So delish. I even let Linds and John have a taste.
This is one of Linds and Jonh’s favorite restaurants in CT. I’m so glad they shared it with me. I definitely want to go back again!
Didn’t roll out of bed until 11ish. For some reason I wake up more tired than I fell asleep feeling. We hit The Orchid for breakfast. Thai omelette and toast and coffee for me.OL has his yogurt thingy. It’s a frou frou breakfast so they always deliver it to me.
It’s overcast with thick white cloud coverage. We go to room to wait it out. I blog and OL reads. Around 1ish the maid demands to clean our room. We say 1hr. Then it’s decision time. It is agreed that we want to have a last beach day even if the weather isn’t cooperating.
We wanted to go to Nai Harn beach because it looked so clean and so nice yesterday. We tuk-tuk there. It’s pretty deserted although the rain has stopped. Still its super cloudy and windy. So the waves are rougher than usual and there is no swimming area.
But people still venture into the water. Fuck it. So do we. They cant all be stupid, right? Ol asks aren’t we doing it because they are?
The sand is courser and darker gold here. The water is still crystal green-blue. Even on a cloudy day.
The sand tends to drop off quickly and you have to be careful. Basically areas that look like cappuccino are Safest. It means there are sand bars and the sand is close to the surface. If it’s sparkling green blue be afraid. That shit is deep.
The sand is also unstable in the gullies between the sand bars and you can’t get a footing. Even in three feet of water. And it suddenly becomes five feet.
We stuck to where groups were. I turned to OL and said, “I always feel safer when dad’s around. Doesn’t have to be mine. Any dad will do.”
I also told him that if it comes down to me or him drowning, I’ll drown him and use him as a flotation device back to the beach. JK!
We had a ball wading in the water. OL complained that my breasts kept splashing him. It was the ocean waves rolling up my body. Though it did make a big splash.
We tried to build a castle but once again we got bogged down in the moat building. Or the ocean destroying our moat. The look of disgust on my face made OL laugh.
He suggests returning to the water for more waves and wading.
We had a late lunch at Food Mama an outdoor restaurant facing the ocean. Stunning. Even with some light rain. A daring bird stole some of OL’s chicken right off his plate as it was being served.
The rice came shaped like a star.
I had chicken in oyster sauce and rice. He had the garlic and pepper chicken. We both had coconut water served inside the coconut. And they gave us a platter of free fruit in season. Longan, rambutan, mangosteen, pineapple, and watermelon.
We kept our money in a ziplock bag in OL’s swim trunks’ secret zipper pocket. However, when we went to pay, the money was wet.
Best lunch ever in Phuket. This was how I envisioned Thailand.
After lunch, we ventured back into the water for more wading in the waves. OL again complained about how my breasts splashing him. This set off a splashing battle of sorts.
Neither of us really wants to blind the other and I’ve got contacts in. So it’s a silly playful thing.
We watched two couples compete over who is more lovey dovey. Each lifting their girlfriend into the waves.
woman with garish red lipstick in bikini freaks me out. How does she keep the lipstick on in the water?
Sun sets early down here. Starts getting sunsetty around 5:30. Twilightish. Peach and lavender skies.
OL and I talk about my future while two dogs come around and one goes to bed under OL’s chair. OL is supportive of the writing thing, but I’m starting to doubt that goal. Maybe achieving the dream of my Asia trip means it’s time to reassess other dreams and goals. Figure out what makes me happy.
The sky darkens and we realize it’s time to conduct a tuk-tuk search. We go back where our tuk-tuk dropped us off yesterday but the tuk-tuk stands are empty. In fact, the entire area looks closed for the season.
So we go back to where we ate lunch and wander. Finally, OL asks the massage ladies where we can get a tuk-tuk. They say there are none, but they have taxis. We walk to the taxi stand which had a tuk-tuk style bus sitting there. He agrees to take us back to the hotel for 400baht.
After two quick showers, we go to the massage place for a Thai and a coconut oil massage. The best massages ever.
We emerged punch drunk and sillified. Get two minor downpours as we search for book mark man. Not around, we head to the Orchid for dinner.
Again i must remind OL to remove his shoes before putting his monzard paws inside the laundry place.
At the Orchid, OL gets pork in peanut sauce. I get the prawns with glass noodles in a hot pot.
Big mistake. They serve the prawns with their legs and heads still on. I cant deal with deshelling them. Look ripping anything’s legs off seems barbaric. I can’t do it. I couldn’t even look at them without getting the gag reflex.
OL remains completely calm. Asking what I want to do. I say I can’t eat this. I secretly want to run of the restaurant rather than deal with confrontation and language barriers.
Finally, I ask for the menu to order something else. They are all perplexed by my actions. When the beef in oyster sauce comes I ask them to remove the prawn dish. It makes me feel ill.
We drink our coconut water and then finish with the bananas in warm coconut milk.
Best desert at the Orchid.