Friday, September 30, 2011

Petite Sweet

In case you've been under the rock, Fridays should always be designated for macaron. After we got back into town, I can't wait to go check out Petite Sweet. I have been stalking them when I drive down on West Alabama.

How can you not like a place that's full of sweet things? And that place is nice and clean and awesome. They have listed what they have to offer on the window... and yes, they have macarons, mini cupcakes, frozen custard, cake balls, marshmallow, coffee, French Lemonade... too much goodness to name.
First of all, this is a macaron haven. This is the only place that I've seen to have the most macarons for sell at one place. They have so many flavors and plenty of them in their case, beautifully displayed, and plenty of them available. This is the only place that are willing to sell these precious cookies in a reasonable price and making them available.

They have your standard flavors: chocolate, vanilla, pistachio. They also have mocha, blueberry, pumpkins, peanut butter. And while some reviews out there were criticizing that their shapes are not uniformed. Personally, I think that is what gave them the personality and characteristics. It's telling me that it's not machine made, and it's made with love.

Not only that, I have to say for $1.75 a cookie, it really delivered quality. Instead of 'cheating' and just slap some jam or preserve on it, they really put the flavor in the shell and the buttercream which not only bring out the flavor, it lasted well in the case. Unlike Sweet in City Centre, whose shell was uniformed, but they put jam as the filling and did not put in a cold case to keep them together. So, they may do well with cupcakes and other pastries and they're willing to try out some exotic flavors in terms of the macarons fillings, I have them melt and move on me before.
So, what makes these macs so different? First of all, these are made by the aunt of the owner, Luke. Susan Molzan is not only the pastry chef for Ruggles with all these awards and awesome tasting desserts; she is also the fierce bakers behind Petite Sweet here. So yes, these macarons aren't uniformed in shape but the quality is unrival to the others out there.

I think alot of times people underestimate how difficult it is to make these cute little desserts. Not only do ingredients and techniques has to be just so, just to keep it together long enough to serve is no easy task. Macarons has to be kept cool until it's ready to serve. For a place like Sweet who uses jam and don't put it in the cold case in Texas, the heat melts off the jam and it doesn't get a chance to congeal and hold the shells together. In comparison to Petite Sweet which use buttercream which automatically already get more 'glue' sticking the shells together and chilling them in the cold case until you're ready to eat, you know it's kept fresh longer and nothing sticky on your hand when you handle them.

I can keep going, trust me. But don't take my word for it, go check it out yourself.

Petite Sweet
2700 W. Alabama (at Westheimer)
Houston, TX 77098

Thursday, September 29, 2011

Founaris Brothers - Penacola, FL

On the way home, we encountered some thunderstorms on the freeway, which make driving very unnerving, especially when we have such a long way to go. So the trusty Yelp came in handy again. Amazingly, there's a great option on Yelp. We picked Greek!

The place is kinda hidden on the side of the road. The building looks like a smaller version of Denny's. But you'll find the place is very much a mom and pop shop. Part of a small town where their push for people to relate to Greek is 'My Big Fat Greek Wedding'.
They are big on spaghetti and pizza. But I got their gyro bowl. It's essentially rice at the bottom, gyro meat and pita corner. The rice was good and lightly soaked in olive oil with little tomato. The meat was a tad dry, but it mixed well with rice.

For in the middle of nowhere, I think this is decent. The service is great, and that is definitely part of the small town thing. Unfortunately, because it's a small town, I think they felt like they have to make a lot of things to pleased the people of the town, which translate to suffer in quality

6911 Pensacola Boulevard
Pensacola, FL

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

Ragland Road - Disney, Orlando

For our last night, I wanted to check out Downtown Disney. We had gone there the first night to see Cirque. And since every park basically kept you busy till the time they close, weather is a firework show, parade, or parade plus firework plus water show. You just don't get the time to check out the rest the complex has to offer.

You really don't get a sense of how big the place is until you have to walk it. That is after you've been walking at all of the parks. At first, you only get the West side of it, and you saw a few restaurants. The Latin restaurant had 1hr45mins wait. Urm... nevermind. Wolfgang Puck Express is packed and their sit down has over 1hr wait. NEXT! We kept walking, and this girl handed me a map of the Downtown Disney, there's a bridge to go over Pleasure Island. I thought it was just a bunch of clubs since the music was pounding pretty heavily. Luckily, that is where we found food!
We ended up at Ragland Road, it had a 30mins wait and a gluten free menu. SOLD! The place is actually bigger than it looks. While you wait, there is an all-Irish Theme gift store. It definitely put the one in Disney and the one in Universal Studios to shame. They have so many Irish stuff, from T-shirts, to books, to family shields, to jam, to charms. Tons of stuff. They have a patio on one side, and a hole in the wall bar with outside seating on the other. For their express, it's called Cooke's of Dublin, which has your typical Fish and Chips.

Instead, we got a table and sat by the bar. Little did I know, they do accept the Disney Dining Plan, and they're very upfront about that. On top of that, it does include appetizer, entree and dessert. Alcoholic drinks are never included. That said, they also offer gluten free onion rings, and gluten free fish and chips. While we all know the fries are gluten free, but the batter they used for coating the fish or the onion rings are gf, that's pretty cool.

So, for appetizer, I had ordered the potato and leek soup (2nd photo). I had thought the soup would be thicker in body. But to my surprise it was light bodied and not as heavy as I had imagined it in my mind, which was closer to a baked potato soup.

For the entree, I had the Citrus Salmon salad for dinner. The salmon was nicely grilled and there are almond slices in the mix. The vinaigarette made a nice addition to the mixed greens. The entire dish is not too heavy.

For dessert, which we barely had room for, but since it comes with the plan, we felt obligated. We got the Dundon's Delight on the recommendation of the server. He knew we were eating gluten free, and recommended this and the sorbet. We ended up splitting the Delight. It's basically a pavlova, which is meringue broken, with raspberry sauce and vanilla ice cream. At first, we were like, what's the big deal w/ meringue; but then with the sauce mixed it was pretty flavorful. They must've put raspberry flavors in there. The ice cream was a good complement, but we were so stuffed that the thought of adding more was just unbearable, even though it was delicious.

The neat thing about this place is that they have a set stage for entertainment. They have a house band that places Irish music to make you feel like you're eating in Ireland. And in certain interval, they have 3 Irish Jig dancers come out to demo and dance for you. The best part is when they dance accompanied by the band. So cool. How's that for live entertainment.

Ragland Road
Downtown Disney - Florida

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

Yak & Yeti - Disney, Orlando

In Animal Kingdom, the food choices are definitely less than the other parks. There are more kids fare in the Dinosaur area and Discovery Island. The most recommended restaurant was the Tusker House, but they had buffet for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. For someone that have special dietary needs, that may not be a good idea.

We elected to go to Yak & Yeti especially when after the parade, it's on our way to Everest the ride. The decor of Yak & Yeti is very unique. They're very proud of the fact that most all of the artifacts you see in the restaurants are imported from anywhere from India to Mongolia. Even the stairwell which was made and imported from India. Not only that, you're welcome to roam around and take pictures.

The menu felt out of place. The decor from East Asia, I was half expecting cuisine from there. But, then most of the menu looked very Chinese food -centric. I got the sweet and sour chicken, and it really is not anything to write home about. It's not horrible, but it's not the best faux Chinese food I've ever had.

Again, they do cater to food allergies. The chef came out to talk to us about selections that they can make gluten free. We were thinking why don't they just have a separate gluten free menu. Then again, having the chef come to you does kick the customer service points a few notches.

Yak & Yeti Restaurant
inside Animal Kingdom
reservation is recommended but you can try your luck

Monday, September 26, 2011

La Cantina De San Angel - Disney, Orlando

Another thing the Disney dining plan (the middle one) includes is quick meals. These are basically non-sit down restaurant meal. Mainly fast food. There are plenty of food courts all around the parks, so you'll never starve or go thirsty.

We walked and walked, and ended up at Mexico. It's kinda silly consider that we have great Mexican food in Houston. So, to go to fake Mexico for taco seemed weird. We ended up at the cantina outside of the little boat ride. They have a very simple menu: tacos, empanada, nacho, and guacamole.

The little taco dish we got comes with corn chips and you can get salsa dip from the counter. Because of the dining plan, they want you to have dessert and a drink. While I'm all for keeping hydrated, dessert I can save for better offer down in France. But if you tell the cashier you want to skip, they don't know what to do, like they can't apply your plan to it. So, instead, I just gave it the person next to us.

La Cantina De San Angel
Mexico Pavilion in Epcot
Here's an unofficial menu

Friday, September 23, 2011

Mitsukoshi - Disney, Orlando

As we walked up to Japan of World Showcase in Epcot, you can only imagine our delight to have sushi. All these days on the road, hardly touched any sushi at all. So, needless to say, this was a welcomed sight.

The thing that caught my attention was that we're eating at Mitsukoshi. While it is definitely a well known department store in Tokyo. To me, I've always known it to be a department store in Hong Kong, which closed after being in HK for 25 years. It was a place I remembered going when I was a kid. They sold high end stuff, but there were great household items.
Here at World Showcase, I guess each of the store in the area doesn't belong to Disney. So they must've bid for the space. Mitsukoshi owns the gift store downstairs at the fake Emporer's Palace and upstairs they have a Teppanyaki restaurant, as well as Tokyo Dining restaurant, which was where we ended up.

As part of my meal plan, they entitle you an appetizer, an entree, a dessert and a drink. On a side menu, they also have a set prix fixe menu to choose from as well.

This (above picture) is the Ginza Bento. It comes with 2 small veggie dishes, a bowl of miso, small sampler of sushi, and a platter of tempura with ponsu sauce and rice. Honestly, this is alot of food for me even though I have quite the stomach, but alas, the bento won... I admit defeat.

Again, the manager came out and speak to us about the allergies choices. Japanese food was quite easy to eat for gluten free allergies, since quite a variety doesn't contain gluten, it was not as hard to do as other dishes, say Italian.

To end our meal, we ended pu with the Green Tea Pudding. Honestly, it's really a flan with a hint of green on it. I can hardly taste any green tea in the dish. And yes, that's the caramel layer on top. Like I said, it's like a flan.

What I do appreciate is that they have hired Japanese ex-pats to work there. So the service is excellent and supreme but their English is so-so. There were a bit of disconnect with certain server, but you may luck out and get someone who has great English skills. Either way, you get alot of smiles and your order is correct, that's all that I ask for.

Definitely go downstairs and check out their gigantic gift store. While majority of their items are authentic Japanese made, but you can get alot of them for a fraction of the cost outside of Disney. For instance, any of the Hello Kitty item, you can easily get at Sanrio store or online. Their Kimono might be hard to get elsewhere, but the green tea, chopsticks, weird snacks...etc, you can easily get it from your local Asian market. Spend your money on a limited edition of Mickey over spending it on stuff like that.

Japan, World Showcase Epcot
reservation is recommended, especially for the Teppanyaki portion, but you can always try your luck.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Kouzzina by Cat Cora - Disney, Orlando

So one of the amenities of staying onsite is that you have a few more choices than you would staying offsite and have to go find a place to go. We ended up at Kouzzina's by Cat Cora. Yes, Cat Cora, the Iron Chef.

Yes, the Dining Plan is accepted here, to which, for breakfast, you get: 2 drinks (coffee and juice) and entree and side. It's kinda weird that they offer that, because your main breakfast entree already includes a decent portion of side, so side on top of sides is alot of food.

What was so great about any sit-down restaurant at WDW is that if you have any allergies, don't feel like you're inconveniencing them, they are more than happy to oblige. When you walk in and put down your name for a table. They also ask if you have any food allergies.

So while they do not have a separate menu for your food allergies, they will get the chef from the back to come and talk to you. If the chef is not available, they will have the manager on duty to come and speak with you as well. Apparently, everyone in the food service of the resort has to go thru this course training about the different kinds of sensitivities, intolerance, and allergies. Then, they have to take a 65 question test, which if they missed one question, they have to re-do the entire test. So, don't ever feel like you have to work around their menu, they are more than happy to come and work around yours.
So, one the first day, we didn't know that is possible. So we ordered something simple. The American (first photo) where you have eggs, potatoes, and bacon. The second day (second photo), I had ordered the Spinach, Tomato, Feta, and Scrambled Eggs. The normal combo without the feta is just a normal breakfast combo, but having the feta it does add a kick with the cheese.

On the second day, David had order the Turkey hash with two eggs and arugula salad. The weird thing is that they had hidden the eggs inside the salad and you get the hash on the side, so your whole plate looks like there's only hash with salad. Since David wasn't a big salad person, we switched. So, the third day, I got what I got before, since I never really got to try it (see 3rd photo).

When the chef got word that David eats gluten free, she had whipped up some Mickey Mouse waffles. And since I thought that was cute, even though I'm not eating gluten free, they whipped up the Mickey waffles with fruit too. The syrup was light and mashed well with the fruit. I would probably add some creme fraiche.

Kouzzina by Cat Cora
at the Boardwalk Inn

walk-in for breakfast is welcome, but reservation for dinner is recommended.

See the breakfast menu here, they are open for dinner and they serve Mediterranean style.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

50's Prime-Time Diner - Disney, Orlando

If you ever get to go to WDW, make sure you spend enough time for each of the parks. The first day, we went to Hollywoods Studios. Some people kinda writes it off as a half day park. But honestly, between the lines and going thru the rides and shows you want to go, it does take the entire day.

If you do go to that park, you must go to Sci-Fi Dine-In theater, but the problem was that it was so dark that no photos were going to come out. But you must go there just to check it out. The other place you must check out is the 50's Prime Time Cafe.
Because of the Fantasmic show, which is a light, water, firework show only at DHS, it took us a long while before we can make it thru the crowd to the restaurant. Generally speaking, their rides and restaurants close when the park closes. But they will honor reservation 15-30 mins after your time. So, even though we were super late, and I can tell they were breaking down the place, they went ahead and honored our reservation. So I'm telling you it has it's benefits!

Anyway, the diner itself is cute and kitchy. In the waiting area, it has the 50s/60s furniture, light fixtures, and wall paper. Every corner you turn there's a TV. They play snip bits of TV shows from that era like Mickey Mouse Club or Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet. And one of the secret we were told by our server was that they are flat screen TVs fitted into one of the old units.

The food is really a diner's food with milkshake and cobbler to boot. I had the boneless pork loin. The pork was ok, but the mashed potato was super awesome that I definitely cleaned up. The specialty here, aside from the decor, the kitchy-ness, it's their servers. They all talk back at you, and you'll love it. If you tattle at each other, they'll call you out on that. If you don't eat your vegetable, they'll be sure to tell you that too. Tons of laugh.

50s Prime Time Cafe

inside Disney Hollywood Studios

reservations are highly recommended at least 48 hours ahead but they will take reservation 180 days ahead and they do not allow changes 2 hours prior to your reservation time.


Tuesday, September 20, 2011

House of Blues - Disney Downtown, Orlando

First night at WDW, we had tickets to go see Cirque. Since we were super late, not knowing how the Disney buses worked, we didn't get to have a good sit down dinner. After the show, we ended up at House of Blues. We were hungry and it was right there at the West End of Disney Downtown.

We had the creamy spinach dip, it had a very thick layer of cheese on top and while the cheese was good, it was too thick to cut a chip thru it. The dip comes with home made potato chips that is nice and thick for the dip, and it carried it well.
For the entree, we ordered the New York strip steak. It came with seasonal vegetable and onion rings. I love the onion rings because it was thinly sliced and crispy. The steak was nicely done and you can taste the grill.

Too bad it was way too late and the room is way too cold. The server was quick and friendly, and while I'm sure we weren't the last table there, you can tell they were ready to pack up. So, to get such great service and still get good food out of it. I'm all for that. Thumbs up!

House of Blues Orlando
1490 E. Buena Vista Dr.
Lake Buena Vista, FL 32830
Phone: (407) 934–BLUE (2583)

Monday, September 19, 2011

Big River Brewing Company - Disney, Orlando

Since Hurricane Irene passed thru the Eastern Seaboard, alot of the route from DC to Orlando was not available. Mainly our return train trip back to Orlando. Instead, we took on I-95 ourselves, good thing we had our car.

That driving trip, however, left very little to desire. Of course, the incentive at the end was well worth it. Welcome to eating at Disney World (here on known as WDW).

After a long drive, we were dying to find anything that serve food. If churros were around, I'd take that too. Luckily, at our hotel has alot of stuff going on at the boardwalk, so we went to the brewing company.

The place is smaller than it looks from the outside. They do honor the Disney Dining Plan here. (If you don't know about the plan, it's well worth it. We got a deal where we stay onsite and the plan is included. But if you were to go when it's not included, try to get on the plan anyway, it's well worth the price.) Anyway, they brew their own beer here at the brewing company. It's really a honest to goodness microbrew.

They offer flights if you don't know which one of their local brew to pick. It goes very well with their burger. While that's the item to get, I ended up with a salmon salad. It was freshly grilled and it was on top of a bed of ceasar salad. The dressing was done just right, and the salmon wasn't too over done.

Big River Brewing Company

on the Disney's Boardwalk at the Boardwalk Inn

reservation can be made: 407-827-2253

feel free to take your chance, it's not super busy.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Table Talk

Since we were in town, there's no baking, so no macaron Friday. BUT! There's more food from the road! So hop to it!

One of the 'usual' places we go to in Alexandria, VA is the Table Talk. The place is not particularly fantastic, but it's there and they serve breakfast till 2pm. You can tell this place is a hole in the wall with all the regulars. They have customers with their usual table, and when they sit down, the server already know what to bring for their drinks and their food. It's kinda nice.

I didn't have anything spectacular, it was just a Greek salad with gyro meat. (the meat they charge you extra for it). You can tell that it was a no effort easy peasy type salad. It has exactly what you see, lettuce, tomato, cucumber, feta cheese, onion. There's a small little side dip of the tzatziki sauce. I think I'm much rather the vinaigrette for a salad like that.

Table Talk
1623 Duke Street
Alexandria, VA 22314-3406
(703) 548-3989

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Kellari Taverna

When we first rolled into DC we were exhausted since we didn't have a decent night sleep on the train. By the time we wake up from our nap and get into town, not a whole lot were open. It was between lunch and happy hour, so kitchen doesn't exactly have freshly prepared anything.

We walked and walked and walked, and found Kellari. Figured: Greek, we can do that. Urm... this was not your normal Greek. As a matter of fact, this place can put a normal steak house to shame.

Aside from the awesome decor, you can see them putting the day's catch on display and they do have a scale sitting right there to weigh your prized dinner.
I ordered the eggplant with goat cheese on top with tomato sauce at the bottom (top photo). The combo was nice, the eggplant wasn't over done, there's some crisp to it, and with the tomato sauce plus goat cheese combo it was a nice. I will have that combo on anything if they're willing to cook it.

The other small dish was the calamari. It's not like the Italian style where it's fried. It was grilled with olive oil and a hint of lemon. It was not gamey or over empowering, I would say it's just right.

David got a lamb burger (not pictured), and that is only served at lunch, but seeing how no one was ordering food at the restaurant, the chef didn't mind getting one made for him. And what a great choice that was. The meat was nicely spiced and I would order that just by itself.

1700 K Street NW
Washington DC 20006

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

Haute Cuisine de Amtrak

So, for our vacation, we needed to be in DC for a dance event. David saw that there is an auto train from Orlando to DC, he wanted to try it...

Here's the thing, I totally have apprehension about the train. Trains here in the States is nothing like the ones in Europe. The ones in Europe is a main mode of transportation for the majority of the citizens. It's well maintained, no one wants to cut funding for them, and it's prompt and vastly used.

Here? When was the last time you heard of someone taking a train? Exactly!

For that expensive ticket to take your car, you and your stuff from point A to point B, it does come with great service. We got a roommette, so that comes with an attendent to do turn down for your bed. Let you know when time is for dinner, movies, or breakfast. (oh yes, that train ride is 17 hrs from Orlando to DC).

It does come with all the meals, which in reality is really just dinner and breakfast. Of course, there's a bar car, and you can get alcohol and snacks from them. But you can have all the water and tea for free.

The dinner included serves you a 3 course meal. It has either soup or salad, which is as standard as you can picture food being served on the move. The entree has a choice of meat, chicken, or fish. They also have kids version of the chicken and spaghetti.

The quality is exactly what you would think they'd be. It's not the quality you get on the planes even when they used to serve you full meals. (Even though they still do for international flights). The meat was hard to cut, and the veggies looks like it came from a can of Veg-all. The potato was the safest.

Our neighbor who we share a table with had the fish, and she basically scrapped off all of the top layer to eat what's underneath. And in case you're curious, it was a cod fish.

At the end of the meal, we got ice cream, one of the neighbor got the cheesecake. Hindsight, the cheesecake was a better choice. Even though we know that they didn't bake it on the train, at least that was well made. As opposed to the ice cream. Now, I know what you're thinking: ice cream? How can you go wrong with ice cream? Oh yes they can... it wasn't real ice cream, it wasn't a complaint about fat-free vs. the real thing. The texture and quality was all wrong. The chocolate sauce was the only saving grace.

After all that, I will say, the food leaves very little to be desired even though it is included in our ticket. If you sit in the coach class, you will have to pay for that yourself. At least they have regular burger, turkey burger and Di Giono Pizza in coach.

Even though the quality of food is horrible. The service was excellent. Our servers are always polite, remembered our order, and have to serve and remove dishes while the train is swaying. So don't forget to tip them. That part is not included in your ticket.

For more info on Amtrak:

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Three Broomsticks - Universal Islands of Adventure

Now, you know that I can't come all the way to Orlando and not go to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter. What kind of person do you think I'd be if I do make that pilgrimage. Plus, I'm sure my friends who are big fans of HP would've thought that I'm crazy going all the way there by car and not go to HP.

As a matter of fact, in the Islands of Adventure, we spent the most time in that corner of the park. By the looks of it, I'd say alot of people did too. There were 3 rides in that corner, the dragon challenge was too fast for me. The Flight of Huffogriff was more my speed. And then of course the main Hogsward castle ride, the Forbidden Journey.

Here's the trick to the rides. They have 3 lines. One is the main line, one is for their Express pass, and the 3rd one is for Single Rider. Meaning, you are riding the ride separate from your party. Frankly, we didn't care, we just want to ride. And once you sat down, you realized, being with your party or not, doesn't really matter because you're in your own compartment type seats, you know the other people are there, but you aren't talking to them thru the ride.

The first time we rode it, we were stuck in the middle, so it prompted us to go back for second. And hey, that's why they have single riders right? Right!
After all the riding and walking and stuff, we were tired and felt relief to find a/c. Again, August heat, bleh! And where would we have eaten if not at the Three Broomsticks. While it's more cafeteria style, it was also managed quite well. For instance, they put you in a line, say number 4 and you go to number 4 counter to pick up your food. Then a hostess will find you a seat. And they're very good about the no cheating system. I was very impressed.
One of the recommendations I was given was that I have to have the frozen Butterbeer. Unlike it's name, it has no alcohol content in it. It's like a very buttery cream soda but in a slushee mode. Wherever you walk, you'll see lines after a big Butterbeer cart. The other thing I didn't get to try was the Pumpkin Fizz. That sounded good too, but I was told the Butterbeer was a must!
What goes well with Butterbeer you asked? Why, Fish and Chips of course. I will have to say, the battered fried fish was nothing to write home about, but the tartar sauce they gave you more than make up for it. It was tasty and I can't quite place it, it's not tangy like normal tartar sauce that I'm used to. The fries weren't heavily salted but it's fried alright.

There's no other place to eat in that area. So this is pretty much it. I will say, if you don't care for what they have to offer, at least go in and check out the structure, they did it almost exactly how the movie had it. So it's something to see. In that area, you get a candy store and a bunch of drink carts, in terms of food. The rest are stores and I think aside from Zonko the gag gift store and the Honeyduke the candy store, there's a line to the other stores. So, remember to bring your patience with you.

Three Broomsticks
inside Universal Islands of Adventure

Three Broomsticks

Monday, September 12, 2011

Finnegan's - Universal Studios

So, our first park in Orlando was Universal Studios. After much walking in this August heat, we were lured by the cool a/c of Finnegan's. It's a neat little bar that totally done it up like a real Irish pub. They have Guinness and mix drinks. But it was too early for lunch. Instead, I had the Banger and Mash.
In case you're not well versed at British/Irish pub food, Bangers and Mash is really just sausage and mashed potatoes. They threw in some veggie which was a welcomed site. You don't get alot of decent veggies on the road.

The sausage was a hint of spice, you don't detect it until it goes down. The mash... well, it's mashed. I can see how well this go down with a pint. Alas, no drinking without eating first. The bar was lively with people, and they also have an in-house musician as well, to keep you entertained. After all, you're in the Universal Studios. Right when the in-house musician ends, is when the Blues Brothers arrive right across from the pub, so you can leap from one performance to another.

Inside Universal Studios Orlando

Friday, September 9, 2011

not really good mac

The other day, David went to show a friend how great Revival Market was, and he picked up another kind of macaron for me. As I mentioned before, their macs are provided by the Fluffbar. This is a sorghum something or another. The sad thing was, you take a bite and the entire thing crumbled. I can't even tell you what's inside... sad face. :(

p.s. wow, shortest post ever!

Thursday, September 8, 2011

Keke's - Orlando

So, here we are in Orlando, hungry, trying to find decent breakfast that's not part of fast food. So on to YELP we went. It's been a guide to a city you've never been to and wanted to make sure you get something decent. At any rate, Keke's is a great fine!

They mainly serve breakfast food. They are open till 2pm, the only days they're closed are Christmas and Thanksgiving. Their food was good. Not too oily, not offensive at all. It's definitely something you would make at home.

I ordered the mushroom omelet, you can tell that they used real eggs, and it's definitely authentic real food. It was nice and filling, not too much. It was just right. I had the ham and cheese, although I had seriously considered the Greek omelet. It came with a nice side of home fries, which from Yelpers review, that's the thing to get. The homefries were a tad oilier than I liked, but it did the job just fine.

Our server was super perky, and seriously, if you need someone to wake you up, you'd want someone friendly like her.

Keke's Breakfast
4192 Conroy Rd, Ste 100
Orlando, FL 32839

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Landry's Florida

It's nice to be on the road and find something you know and familiar with. We were at Pensacola area, and were hoping to try something local. Except, they had more than a 45 mins wait. As much as I'd like to experience the local flavors, I also was super hungry, and 45 mins was not going to be ok.

So, needless to say, it was nice to see Landry's at the foot of the bridge. The service, I will tell you is nothing like home. They didn't even bother to ask if you're a Signature Select member, which is Landry's big membership deal. While that's an obvious frequent diner deal, it was suppose to get you better seating should you forget to make a reservation and such.

Anyway, the food, however, was better than the ones back home. Not sure why. But, they offer sweet tea, which ironically, Texas doesn't offer that. But the tuna steak was good, and it came with this mixed rice. I, of course, needed some greens and ordered some asparagus. It wasn't too olive-oily, wasn't over cooked. It was good. Add the rice to the mix, the flavor was rich and sublime.

Our server was super friendly, but there were moments that felt like she was treating us like she would treat her kids. That's a tad much. Otherwise, everyone else was very blase' about having customers there. For not having full tops everywhere, the service was slow and there are times you can't find your server. That's very strange.

Landry's Seafood (FL)
905 East Gregory
Pensacola, FL 32501

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Emeril's Orlando

Here we are at Universal Studios Orlando. One of the things we have to scope out is food because D is on a low carb/paleo type of diet. That said, we knew that Emeril's is one of the places we want to try.

The restaurant is located inside CityWalk, where they have shops and restaurants as well as bars and clubs all located in one centralized area. The other thing is that it's also serve as a gateway between the two parks: Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures (home of the World of Harry Potter).
We were very greatful and surprise how accommodating the restaurant people were when we told them we were looking for gluten free option. Since I'm less picky than David, I can always go for salad or seafood, or seafood salad. Since he's more particular, that made making recommendation for our server a challenge. But he was more than happy to check with the kitchen or just ask about ingredients, but that is not before he flip thru the knowledge he had about the menu and making recommendations for us. That part was great.

I had the scallops with the white sweet potato. I can taste a hint of ginger inside, while that was a surprise, it wasn't as spicy as I thought, and mixed well with the sauce the scallop comes in. White sweet potato, remember that! Because it tasted awesome! Had to have a green vegetable, I ended up with the humongous asparagus, go figure.
We ended the meal with a creme brulee' it's my measuring stick for their pastry chef. It came with two little shortbread cookies, it's nice and dense. The brulee was free formed like a flan. We saw the pastry chef firing up the torch to give that nice glace on top. Not to mention you can taste the raspberry puree all nice and fresh.

Emeril's Orlando CityWalk
6000 Universal Blvd #702
Orlando, FL 32819
Reservations recommended, but if you are willing they do have chef's bar where you sit in front of the flatbread/oyster/salad chef.

Monday, September 5, 2011

Cracker Barrel - Louisiana

Our first stop of our trip was in Louisiana. We got out of Texas, and drove out far enough to Lafayette, LA. There are so many Cracker Barrel along I-10 that there are no shortage. The good thing about that is their menu is standardized, and you can expect to get the same thing whichever location you visit.

This was the brisket plate, which is sliced brisket on top of Texas Toast with steak fries with a side of cole slaw. I will say that the brisket is nice and moist, go super well with the barbecue sauce.

Another nice thing is that alot of places you go in the South, they offer sweet tea. Let's just say they're more prevalent than they are in Texas. I'm all over that.

Friday, September 2, 2011

bi-color macarons

Last time you saw the swirl macs, this time I want to show off the half and half macs. Actually, last time when we attempted it, we did it old school. That is we both squeeze the tiny bit of batter out at the same time to fill a circle. This time I did it the 'right' way.
By the 'right' way, I meant, after some research and found Macaron Fetish's method. All I have to say is that woman is a genius. She used several freezer bags to separate the batters (which of course are different colors) and pipe them together and take it to another level.
I know some turned out more of one color than the other, but over all, I think it got the idea across. I think if I applied equal pressure from both colors, it'll come out even. Either way, I think you'll get that little dip of one color because that's how most people pipe.

The other thing that was 'impressive' to me, is that these are 2 batters of different things. The pink is the normal batter of almond meal, but the green batter is pistachio meal. The weigh worked out great together. It baked out to a nice finish. Must make more!

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Sur La Table - Cake Pop Class

If you're ever a Bakeralla fan, then you're no stranger to cake pops. They're essentially cake, mixed with frosting, and then shaped into whatever, dipped in candy melt and viola!

Her book is pretty awesome, but not having done one ever, it's a little hard to understand how she shaped some of their stuff.
In come the class at Sur La Table. It was definitely fun to do. You do get your hands dirty, and of course, you get to eat your success too.

One of the improvement we've had for the class was that they could've let us crumble our own cake, or give us a recipe to make our own frosting. The entire process, they suggest you use everything store bought. While I'm all for taking short cuts, everything store bought was way too sweet. And, let me tell you, I've got a sweet tooth.

While ours is nowhere as cute as the samples in the books or on her website, but for a first-timer, it's impressive enough to pass them out at any shower or party.

Here's our trick to making the cake pops, less sweet (I know, crazy, right?): use regular cream cheese instead of using cream cheese frosting with vanilla flavor. Alot of your cake is already sugar filled, and since the book recommend you to use boxed cake mix, they already have flavor in them. And instead of using candy melts, while they are definitely easily assessible and they're cheap, use decent chocolate. You can definitely color white chocolate, but the texture will definitely be skewed.

A tip from class, I find it useful: if you do end up using candy melts and it's just too solid looking even after it's melted either via microwave or double boiler. Add some vegetable oil to soften things up to make it smooth.

I think that's our other issue, between the vegetable oil, the vanilla flavor cake, vanilla flavor cream cheese frosting, with vanilla candy melts. That's just alot of artificial sugar in one bite. So, while I'm all for it being cute, I was also hoping it tastes great. Here's to hoping.