It’s Movie Season Shrimp Rolls & Moscow Mules

Movie season was one of my favorite traditions that I was happy to also say a complete goodbye to this year. It’s not that I didn’t love and don’t love going to the movies. I absolutely adore it, it was just the routine and way I was doing it for six summers was starting to feel stale.

Also it’s a pandemic and movie theaters are closed ya dope.

Anyway, last Thursday I settled in to watch The Old Guard and decided to make an approximation of what I’d have eaten before seeing the movie if it had been released in theaters and I’d met up with Kristi and Aless before.

That meant, basic sea food, fries and a simple vodka cocktails.

Shrimp Rolls

1/2 lb Easy Peal Shrimp

1 Cup Vegetable Broth

1 Tbl Mayonaise

1/4 Cup Cole Slaw Mix

Salt, Pepper & Old Bay to Taste

Brioche Hot Dog Roll

1 table spoon butter

Garlic Powder to Taste

Heat the broth to steam the shrimp, I use the instant pot steam setting for 3 minutes, but you can also boil the broth and steam for about 5.

Place the shrimp in the ice bucket to cool down and then peel.

Chop the shrimp into smaller pieces and combine with mayo, slaw mix and spices.

Melt the butter with the garlic and brush onto the roll, toast in toaster oven to medium.

Place shrimp salad on the toasted bun.

Enjoy!

Moscow Mule

1 Shot Vodka

Juice of 1 Lime

1 can or Bottle Ginger Beer

Take a large glass (or a copper mug if you’ve got one, I do not own one…oddly enough) and fill with ice.

Squeeze lime directly into the glass

Add Vodka

Add Ginger beer

The fries on this plate where frozen and baked in the toaster oven for 30 mintues.

Story Time

I mentioned back in Marvel and Margaritas that after we outgrew Lucy’s, Aless and I moved our movie night hangs to PJ Clark’s at Lincoln Center. When Kristi started joining us it made even more sense for us to stay there, Aless heading uptown, Kristi back to Connecticut and me to Jersey.

It shifted the way we ordered too. Seafood sandwiches, and steaks and vodka cocktails replaced the margaritas and tacos and tortas. I actually usually get a martini, and the Moscow Mule is Aless’s go to. But I wasn’t quite feeling up to the martini, which I’m still struggling with (I CANNOT get my vermouth balanced. I’m getting better.)

So on Thursday, I settled in to watch The Old Guard with this very nostalgic meal, and missed my friends but managed to feel normal for a little while, which was nice.

Reenie’s I’m Drunk In My House Disco Fries and Chocolate Milkshake

If you’re anything like me, social distancing has lead to a couple of nights where you drank too much and you had to throw together drunk food because the places you get it from are closed. Hence, I had to teach myself my favorite late night diner food:

DISCO FRIES

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Disco Fries are on any half decent tri-state area diner menu. They are the Jersey approximation of Poutine, French Fries, drenched in gravy and topped with mozzarella cheese. (Proper poutine is steak fries and cheese curds)

I started eating Disco Fries before I even started drinking when I was 15. (I didn’t really start party drinking beyond a snuck beer with my cousins until I was 17).

ANYWAY it wasn’t until alcohol that I learned how good they are with a chocolate milkshake, hence this relationship.

Fries

I don’t make my own french fries because I’m not insane, also this recipe was meant for when I’m drunk alone in my house, so frying is a no-no. I keep frozen fries in my freezer AT ALL TIMES.

I toss them in oil (Olive or Vegetable, whatever you’ve got around) and black pepper and kosher salt. Then I stick them in a toaster oven for 45 minutes. About 1 table spoon of oil and two shakes of salt per cup of fries will do you.

Cheese

Much like the fries, I have store brand shredded mozzarella in my freezer at all times (also taco cheese). Use as much as you’d like for this recipe, I use about a quarter cup. 

Gravy

The real key. 

Do you keep stock or broth in your pantry? If you don’t this whole recipe will do you no good. I keep beef stock, chicken broth and veggie broth around all the time. If you don’t, and you do keep bouillon around you can take another few minutes to MAKE some broth. The point is, you need about 2/3 a cup of stock or broth, and then 1.5 Tablespoons of flour.

Bring the stock or broth to a boil, then add the flour and whisk until it thickens.

Combine

Once the fries are brown, transfer them to an oven safe bowl. Pour the gravy over the fries and then add the cheese on top. Set the toaster oven to broil, and then stick the bowl in for 5 minutes. 

Chocolate Shake

Do you not know how to make a shake? Two scoops of ice cream, a quarter cup of whatever milk, into a blender and blend until smooth. If you don’t have a chocolate based ice cream, add either syrup or cocoa powder and you get chocolate. Or do whatever flavor you want. I’m not your mom.

Story

There’s no specific story here. If I’m out with friends and we hit a diner, this is what I order. I got drunk at home and am feeling sad and hungry a couple of times so I figured out how to make it. If you want to REALLY replicate the experience you require an older Greek man winking at you as you order and at least one friend who is belligerently drunk and arguing with you about something pointless. (Or if you’re alone in your house, just put Legends of Tomorrow on, it mirrors that dynamic. It is the diner food of Superhero TV) (Also I might sometimes be that friend. I will neither confirm nor deny)

Happy Fourth of July everyone. Our founders set some lofty principles for us to live up to that they themselves did not even live up to. Let’s do better and get closer. Sign a petition, join a protest, donate to an anti racist charity today! 

REENIE’S RAINY SATURDAY I’VE BEEN DRINKING SINCE 11 AM PANDEMIC RAMEN!

Introducing “Fangirl Recipes” In Which I Publish What I’ve Been Eating these days.

I’m working on learning how to write recipes in an entertaining and useful fashion. I’m not a great cook, but I’ve come really far from three years ago when I could basically only make Ortega tacos and a halfway decent Chicken Parmesan.

I do know I hate a whole story BEFORE a receipe so I’ll get the recipe in and THEN there’ll be the story at the bottom:

Recipe Assumes It Is a Lazy weekend. Hence the title. (Also maybe you’re social distancing and working from home, as I currently am, so you can make it whenever)

Ramen

For Egg:

1 Egg – Room Temp
1 Cup Water
1/2 Cup Soy Sauce
1/4 Rice Vinegar
1 Tablespoon Hoisin Sauce
Ground Ginger, Garlic Powder, Kosher Salt and Onion Powder to taste

For Protein (I used Shrimp):

1/2 lb Protein
Same marinade as egg
1/2 Shallot 
1 clove garlic
1/2 inch ginger
Olive Oil 

For Broth & Noodles

1 Package Dried Ramen (Any flavor, I used chicken)
1/2 Bell Pepper
1/2 Carrot
1/2 Shallot
1 Clove Garlic
1/2 inch ginger grated
2 Cups Chicken Stock (Veggie or Seafood would probably also work)
1 Tablespoon Sriracha Sauce
1/2 Tablespoon Brown Sugar
1 lime, juiced

Ramen Egg:

Soft boil egg for 6.5 minutes

After peeling sit in marinade of soy sauce, rice vinegar, Hoisin sauce, ground ginger, garlic & onion powder, until you’re ready to eat. (If you have Sake people recommend throwing that in as well, I don’t keep Sake in the house, and I wanted to create this recipe with just stuff I had around)

Protein

Pick a protein, I went with shrimp this time, but I’ll probably try with chicken and tofu at others, and use the same marinade as the egg, let sit for about an hour

When you’re ready to eat pull out pepper, carrot, shallot, ginger, garlic 

In a frying pan Sauté half shallot, half inch of ginger and one clove garlic in olive oil for about 1 minute before adding shrimp sauté for a minute or so and cover to keep warm

Broth And Noodles

In a medium sauce pan sauté veggies, other half of shallot another half inch of ginger and a clove of garlic for about 5 minutes.

Add 2 cups of chicken stock, Ramen flavor Packet, 1/2 tbls of brown sugar, 1 tbls of sriracha sauce and the juice of 1 lime to sauce pan, bring to boil and add noodles.

Once noodles are cooked add shrimp and aromatics from frying pan to broth and noodles. 

Transfer to whatever bowl you’re eating out of. Slice egg in half and place on top of bowl. 

Slurp the noodles down with chopsticks, picking your protein out at it hits. Drink the bottom of the broth. It will have been sitting for about a half hour by then and be absolute heaven.

OK, so here’s the obligatory, Food Blog Recipe Story.

Like I said, I hate nothing more than having to scroll to get to the recipe through the story, but also, I wanted to write one and they can be useful for figuring out if the recipe is right for you. (I once avoided disaster when looking for a bolognese recipe by reading the story and seeing the blogger recommended putting the sauce over zoodles or steamed veggies. YES I AM GOING TO WASTE A SAUCE THAT TAKES ALL DAY TO MAKE AND HAS SOME OF THE MOST INDULGENT SHIT ON THE PLANET IN IT ON STEAMED FUCKING VEGGIES. I kept searching and found another)

Anyway, Saturday was really gross, so my initial plan of order a pastry and coffee someplace downtown, pick it up and walk around went down the tubes, so I instead decide to approximate some restaurant food and watch romantic comedies all day, and made breakfast tacos. (That recipe coming soon too!) And then, after two couch bound, still in my nightgown mimosas, remembered a conversation with my friend Jon a few weeks ago where we discussed missing Ramen. 

Not instant ramen, the kind you ate out of the microwave in college, but real, bowl as big as your head, packed with spice and umami and veggies and meat ramen, usually eaten after waiting for a table at least 20 minutes in a restaurant not much bigger than my apartment.

We also both miss bars with live music and karaoke and vowed to do all three in one night as soon as we’re allowed. (I’m holding you to this one Jon!)

So, I read a few Pinterest recipes to get the gist of the order I should do things. I really didn’t know whether to cook the protein and veggies separately (protein yes, veggies no), what to use to add spice to the broth. (Next time I might scale back on the Sriracha. It was HOT.) And specifically how to do the egg. 

Every version of the egg marinade called for Sake, but I didn’t have any so I skipped it. It was still delicious. 

But my general plan of “eat brunch at 11 and then eat whenever I got hungry” was a little iterrupted by the inaugaral meeting of The Nerd Girl Book Club (You’ll hear about them tomorrow) and also I drank all of the Cava I was using for Mimosas and switched to Rose. 

Hence the name of the recipe. By the time I was actually cooking (except the eggs) I was good and sauced.

Also, I maybe put too much Sricacha in the broth, because I had to go grab a sleeve of crackers to cool my mouth down. But otherwise I was thrilled with the whole dish. Or bowl in this case. I’m going to try it with both chicken and tofu instead of just shrimp but the shrimp was EXACTLY the right amount of protein. 

Also, I cooked and ate this ramen while watching Notting Hill and Four Weddings And A Funeral which are great movies for cooking to, if you’re wondering. 

60 Books in 2019 #58: Soysauce For Beginners by Kirsten Chen

Reading about Asian families and food have both become pet topics for me in the past few years, so obviously Soy Sauce For Beginners was a no brainer.

It’s a fun book, which my love for Crazy Rich Asians primed me for. Gretchen Lin grew up in her family’s soy sauce factory in Singapore but followed her mother’s plan to move to move to the States and pursue academia instead. This lead to a marriage that has recently fallen apart, and a feeling of disconnection and frustration.

So Gretchen comes home and starts to work for the family bussiness. She brings a college friend in too, she forms a rivalry with a cousin, she has a bad for her no strings attached relationship, she meditates on her parents’ marriage, it’s happiness and unhappiness, she revitalizes the business.

It’s a good book, quick, easy to read and lovely. Not much to analyze, it’s straightforward fun and breezy. I’d read more about this world if Chen wrote more, or another world she felt like inventing.

Up next is The Memoir Club by Laura Kalpakian, because that’s the kind of reading club I’d want to be in.

California Here We Come Part 1: Heaven Is A City Much Like San Francisco

Hey everyone! So I’m nearly a month back from my trip to Northern California, my first time on the west coast, and just an absolutely transformative experience, and full of learning and family bonding etc.

So, I figured, let’s write about it!

The trip started on February 22, when I left work at lunch time and headed to Newark Airport for my first cross country flight. I’ve flown to Vegas, but I had a Layover then, so I was nervous about the length. It wound up not being bad at all. I didn’t sleep, but I watched Bohemian Rhapsody and A Few Good Men, so that was pretty cool.

After I arrived, I grabbed my bags and hopped in an Uber to the Sheraton at Fisherman’s Warf, where Mom, Mary, Dad and I were staying. The hotel was nice, a chain in a tourist area, so a little bland, but nice, clean, the room was big and the breakfast buffet was sufficient the next morning.

The only thing I didn’t totally love about San Francisco is that the town shuts down relatively early. Even the wharf, most restaurants shut their kitchens at nine. (Even in the tourist no mans land of  Midtown Manhattan you can get a burger at midnight!) Since I didn’t even LAND until 8, this was a struggle, but we wound up at The Tonga Room, a tiki bar in the basemant of the Fairmont Hotel.

It was the kind of “secret touristy” kind of thing that I’ve always loved, plus I’ll always take Asian fusion food and a rum drink.

We had a great time, and I lost my phone, but I was exhausted and figured that I’d be able to get it back. I’d recommend the Tonga Room for sure. It’s a big place, and there’s live music, so it was pretty great. Also it was nice to see the Fairmount. I have a certain soft spot for big old hotels. (Can’t imagine why!)

In the morning, we had plans to take the Love Bus tour, but first I had to retrieve my phone, so Dad and I grabbed an Uber over to the Fairmount to get it. That was quick, and easy and we had a chatty fun Uber driver.

BY the time we were back at the Sheraton, Mary and Mom were having breakfast, but we still had a bunch of time before our plan for the day, so we mostly just sat around the hotel room, before wandering down to the corner of fisherman’s wharf, where we would be picking up The Love Tour.

Dad found the tour online, basically a painted VW bus picks you up and you get driven around different San Francisco neighborhoods and taken to a few really good photo spots.

I very much enjoyed the tour and it seems like everywhere in that city has the most amazing view you’ve ever seen.

After the tour we went to lunch. I wish I remembered the name of the restaurant, because it was great. My dad found it. (Dad was in the driver’s seat of this whole trip, which was hard for me, normally the trip planner. Really hard.)

After lunch we gathered our things at the hotel and got on a ferry to Napa County. There was a bar on the ferry, so Mary and I obviously befriended the bar tender which was great, because it got us to the top pours on our wine! (YAY!)

The ferry went from Fisherman’s Wharf to Vallejo, and our house was in Fairfield. We got an uber, (SO MUCH UBER this trip!) and got to the house. After unpacking, another Uber took us to a shopping center where we ate a Thai restaurant and then bought snacks and stuff at Safeway. I got a pumpkin curry that was delicious but waayyyy too spicy for me. Well, just the curry and chicken were, when I actually got a bite of the pumpkin it cut the spice perfectly, but there wasn’t a lot of actual pumpkin pieces in it.

We were all completely wiped at this point, jet lag being what it is, and being on our feet most of the day. So we basically just went back to the house and crashed. Just, completely passed out.

Next up, we start our day drinking, light eating journey through wine country. It’s amazing.

Time To Get Personal: Body stuff (AGAIN)

I’ve written in the past about my body image issues and how they’re kind of difficult for me to navigate and my since puberty and kind of before even weight and fitness yo-yo-ing has been tough for me.

I had a major keeping control of my body victory last year when I ran my half marathon. I was so proud of myself. The problem was I didn’t sustain it. This was for very good reasons. (They were only OK reasons) but I quickly found, that with my depression and comfort eating, the [redacted] (numbers aren’t the point for anyone who isn’t me and my doctor) pounds I lost came rushing back, along with [redacted] more.

I was officially the heaviest I’d been in my life, wearing a clothing size I swore I never would, and generally unhappy about the food habits I’d developed. This was for both health and financial reasons. I’d become a “takeout every night” person, which is both BAD FOR YOU and EXPENSIVE.

I was frustrated, and as the cloud of depression lifted, I realized that I needed to get back on the horse. I didn’t want to go back to the “training for a big race and on Weight Watchers” days, but changes needed to happen.

I put my fit bit back on, I began paying close attention to what food I was putting in my body. (And cooking! So much cooking!) And suddenly I found something had changed in me.

I didn’t like sitting around and not moving, it made me anxious. I was craving fresh raw veggies as I walked in the door rather than starch and fat. I was saying “oh no thank you,” when servers asked if I wanted to see a desert menu. And it wasn’t even a struggle, I just really for the most part wasn’t interested in whatever brownie with a scoop of vanilla ice cream was up for grabs.

When something was too sweet I bristled at it, starting to prefer salty and savory flavors, that mixed well with veggies and chicken.

What was happening to me?

Well, I guess I’m getting more healthy. This is good, for the most part but also kind of odd. Even just this past Monday, when after a weekend at the shore, I knew it would be a takeout night, mostly because my apartment was actually 100 degrees due to four days of shut up with no AC, I decided to order some fresh healthy sushi rather than pizza. (I did wind up with pizza last night, again, because too hot to cook…)

I have a clear goal in mind. Mary and Joe are engaged (YAY!) and I’ve decided that I’m not going to have to pay the extra $50 for a plus size bridesmaid dress, as I’ve had to each other time I was a bridesmaid. Granted, these dresses run small and consider double digits a plus size, but it’s a completely achievable goal, based on how I’ve been doing lately.

But mostly I’m just really psyched that I’ve turned a corner in my habits. It’s been a long road to get here, and I still treat myself occasionally, but this is a big deal.

I’ve got a year to go and a good amount of road to travel but it doesn’t feel impossible. YAY!

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/18/2017: “See You Real (Like REAL REAL) Soon!”

Monday morning I woke up and decided that rather than go to the park, I’d head over to Disney Springs and do a little shopping. Tom was on a much earlier Magical Express than I so we parted ways.

First I stopped by the food quart, as I’d realized it had been three days and I hadn’t eaten anything shaped like Mickey! The SHAME! So I got a Mickey Waffle and some bacon, and also some grits, (because I’d spent three days south of DC and hadn’t had grits.) It was way too much food. But all quite good.


I hopped on the boat to Disney Springs. It was only 10 AM so most stuff wasn’t open yet, but I did some shopping, was hoping to get a wine slushy, but Amorette’s wasn’t opening until noon, so that was a non starter. (My ME was at 1:30, AND I had a work call at 12:30, so I couldn’t swing that.)

I hopped on a boat to Saratoga Springs, to get my Saratoga Springs Ornament (In November I’m going to try to get over to Animal Kingdom Lodge one afternoon…and obviously I’ll get a POP one while we’re staying there.) So I’m halfway to my plan being finished.

Then I had to boat back to Disney Springs, then back to Port Orleans, just in time to grab my bags hop on the bus. HOORAY!

Seriously, it was much better than running back and forth to a park that morning. The work call was much easier tucked into a corner of the Saratoga Springs lobby than anywhere else. (I’m not going to lie, if I’d been in a park, it would have been AK, and I’d have likely settled at Nomad Lounge. While not have a Night Monkey probably made the call better and more productive, it sure was a bummer for me.)

Then it was back on the bus and to the airport. My flight wound up delayed (OMG!) but at least I wasn’t stuck all night, just a few hours, and while a margarita and some Mexican food filled that time (plus finally finally finishing The Stand) 

So, next week we’ll talk about the hotel and go through favorites. And this time next month I’ll be back in Disney! YAY!

Disney Cousin Fall Trip 9/17/2017 Part 1: “Brunch!”

Ah, waking up with a hangover in Disney. I’ve done it every trip I’ve taken since Juli and my trip 2 years ago.

This time, while Tom got ready, I trekked down to the food court again, returning with Biscuits and Bacon, and we quietly, but with great speed, found our way to the bus to head to Hollywood Studios.

The plan was to ride the 4 rides there and then head to Epcot for our brilliantly planned Brunch reservation at Spice Road Table.  We did succeed in that.

First we hit Rockin Roller Coaster, which is always a good time.

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It was Walk On (Thanks Extra Magic Hour!)  and rather than jump right over to Tower of Terror (I learned, from the stomach issues of the past) we headed to Toy Story, which again, we walked on to. Next we backtracked to Tower of Terror, which was showing an 85 minute wait time.

The cast member at the front said it was likely to be closer to 40, so we shrugged and headed in to wait in line.

I want to make it absolutely clear that I actually looked at the clock every step of the way. From entering under the gate to watching the video in the library, it was 10 minutes. From exiting the library to entering our elevator, it was 10 minutes. We waited 20 minutes for a ride that was marked with an 85 minute wait time. (I told you this would be a theme.)

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Tom is saying something profound, I’m sure…

Tower of Terror was great, it always is. After that we headed right over to Star Tours, where again, the wait was brief, but I love that queue so I’d wait, like a maximum of 40 minutes for that ride.

Tom nearly got sick so, we opted to skip Muppets, because seriously, nausea + 3-D is rarely a good combo, and we headed to the Launch Bay. The lines for the meets were a little bit on the long side, so we opted to head to Epcot, since Frozen Ever After was showing a 40 minute wait.

At nearly 10:30 AM.

YES REALLY!

We skipped off to the boat and rode over to Epcot, happily discussing our strategy (Tom feeling much better) and wound our way over to Norway, to get in line for Frozen, now showing 35 minutes. (At 11:15! Prime World Showcase arrival time. I was flummoxed). I set a timer, because I was curious. The Ever After line is a good one, once you get inside, full of things to look at and nice music and AC, but we didn’t even have to walk through Kristoff’s Ice House, and only wound around the town square once, and we only caught a glimpse of Oaken, before boarding our boat to the Mountain 15 minutes after getting on line.

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I’m still smiling huge because the line was so short!

I’ve ridden it with a Fastpass and had the line take longer than 15 minutes. I declared after our trip to see the whole gang, (and Tom’s agreement that Sven is a most impressive Animatronic) that I would ALWAYS come this time of year now, Hurricane Season Be Damned, because OMG 15 minutes? We were now late for our reservation, though I doubted it would be a problem, and we headed straight on over to Morocco.

Spice Road Table is on my “favorite restaurants in Disney World” for a reason, you guys. It’s a lovely place, small but not claustrophobic, interesting but accessible food, and never crowded. This was the first time I ate inside the restaurant, which was very different, and the first time I at there during the sunlight.

Tom helped himself to Lamb Sliders, and I went for a combination of hummus fries (BESSTTT) and Rosemary Brie Fondue. Both were excellent, and drinking a Pomegranate Mimosa made it officially Brunch.  (It’s not brunch without champagne drinks!) Post food and ooohing over the view, we headed to the front to get our bus for afternoon nap.

This nap was even more necessesary than the previous, and also featured football watching. I went and grabbed a soda at one point, and I ate the rest of the biscuits, because if I don’t eat every hour or so I get cranky, and also they were there.

The final thing I did during this break, was run down to the store and pick up a Christmas ornament. See, I have my own apartment now, which means that for the first time in my life, I will have my OWN Christmas tree, which means, I need stuff to put on it.

Because I am who I am, I know that there will be a healthy amount of Disney representation on that tree, just generally, but I wanted something to specifically remember the oddness of this year and the four trips that went into it. I came up with the idea of getting an ornament from each resort I stayed in, which can become my tradition, even AFTER this crazy Disney year ends, when I stay in different resorts. (My dad is determined to return, and we’re likely to stay either on the Boardwalk or on the Monorail loop then…) So, I grabbed the Riverside ornament this time. (I also got a Saratoga Springs one, but that’s for the report on Monday of this trip!)

Once all of that was settled in, we headed down to get on our Magic Kingdom bus, for our last park excursion of the trip, and some Halloween time fun! (WEEE!)

Stay tuned for more on that!

Disney Cousin Fall Trip: 9/16/2017 Part 2: “Well, that was worth it!”

I’m a big fan of the 2 hour afternoon hotel break on a Disney trip. It’s not something we ever did growing up, because we weren’t rope droppers, so there was less need for it, and we always went in November when it’s not quite so hot.

But now that I’ve gone during hotter times of the year with a “get to the park early & then stay late” touring style, I love my post lunch hotel room time. Time to regroup, have a cool drink, lay down and maybe nap is absolutely necessary now, ESPECIALLY if you’re doing more than 1 park in a day. Which we were!

So, after our Animal Kingdom adventure, we enjoyed about an hour and a half in our room, and then did some shopping.

Tom was looking for a very specific pin, legendarily the only piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise in the parks. And there it was, right in Fulton’s General Store, the gift shop at Riverside.

Hooray!

We then boarded our Epcot bus, and off we flew to indulge in plenty of food and wine. (Actually it wound up being mostly beer…)

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First, of course, we stopped by Soarin’, which is such a delightful ride. I’m always happy, everytime I ride it. We had a fastpass, so we pretty much walked right on. After Soarin’ we hit the Festival center, where I claimed my free annual pass food and wine stuff (Button with Remi on it, and a button that say AP.) And did some more shopping and general gawking.

Then we hit Spaceship Earth, which I adore and always will. I am curious how it might transform again, with Seimens pulling out their sponsorship, but who knows if it will at all. I just know that it’s the best.

After that we began questing around the World for snacks and drinks. We didn’t stop for munchables or potable at every country (skipped: Norway, Japan & Morocco), but we did a decent job. Specifically, when Tom raised an eyebrow at waiting 20 minutes at La Cava, I implored him to trust me, and lo and behold “Well, that was worth it!” became the theme of the evening.

Then for Norway, we explored a bit while we drank our Margaritas, moving quickly to China, where we watched the acrobats and I got pot stickers. Then we moved on to Germany where we got beer, and Tom got a Brat. We settled in by the water and enjoyed, and then headed in to shop a little in the Christmas store specifically. I considered purchasing a Pickle ornament. (This is an important tradition…I’m like a sliver German, and it’s a thing? I guess? I dunno, but I know that my tree will need a pickle.) I reconsidered and we went to Italy.

Since I am constitutionally incapable of not going to Tutto Gusto when in Italy, we stopped there. (Also, our dinner reservation wasn’t until 8:40, it was about 5, we needed an in between). Sparkly wines and refreshing small plates held us over, and we were on to America. I went for a Sam Adams Octoberfest, and Tom went for a Yuengling. Then came Japan, and rather than grab Saki, we nursed our beers and walked through the department store, where the epic discussion of lack of merch began.

Tom found another piece of Kingdom Hearts merchandise, you see, and then we looked at the Myazaki stuff, and he declared “THIS IS RIDICULOUS! No Face has more representation in the park than actual Disney characters in this game!” (He then made it clear that this is not to take away from how awesome No Face, is.) We explored the rest of the store, talking about other favorites that are weirdly not in the parks (Wall-E? Why no Wall-E?) before heading to Morocco, where again, just exploring happened.

It is important to note that by this time, we had a good buzz on. I pointed Spice Road Table out and explained that if I hadn’t managed the Pub reservation, that would have been where we were eating.

“Can we eat there anyway?” Tom asked. I shrugged and said it would make for good brunch, and popped into My Disney Experience and made us an 11:30 AM reservation. We thought this was the greatest plan of all time.

Then France, where I began babbling in drunken Franglais, and I think Tom was done with me. (Bless him) While in France I helped myself to some Boeuf Bourgenioun and A Kir Royale, while Tom had a glass of Cabernet.

Once we crossed the channel, Tom had some cheese dip at the Ireland booth, I hopped to Canada quickly and grabbed a bowl of the cheddar cheese soup. (YUMMMM!!!)

Then we checked in to Rose & Crown, I mentioned that I was hoping for a patio table. The hostess smiled and nodded, and we headed into the pub, where I tried my new favorite drink ever, The Snakebite. It’s half Strongbow, half Harp. It’s delicious, and I think I had three of them.

We were seated at an AMAZING table outside, and our waiter (Kevin? I think?) immediately brought us more drinks, and gave great recommendations.

Now, I love Illuminations, I’ve enjoyed meals and watching it from LA Hacienda De San Angel and Spice Road Table.

But I’m converted. If you’re going to sit and watch the show, it has to be from Rose and Crown. WOW, the view is spectacular. The food’s not bad either. I had a shepherd’s pie that did the trick, even if it didn’t blow me away.

After the fireworks we walked out to the Boardwalk and right into Jellyrolls.

Ah, Jellyrolls. There’s never a bad moment in that place. The cover is annoying, but the music and crowd are always great and it’s the cheapest beer on property. Hooray! There was a lot of dancing, laughing, singing along to 80’s music, and a surprisingly poignant conversation about how gay men of our generation don’t need Cher as an advocate anymore. (Though she should still be loved and celebrated, because she’s awesome.)

A car ride home and a few drunken watches of the electric headboard later, we passed out.

To be continued!

Dapper Day Trip: Hotel & Favorites

So this is the last post about my Dapper Day trip, and I figured I’d go into deeper detail about some of my favorite things on the trip, and talk about Animal Kingdom Lodge.

Animal Kingdom Lodge


I was really excited to stay here, and when it looked like it was going to be a solo trip, I persisted mainly because the deal I got. (Thanks to Lauren over at DVC Rental store, who has made these last two trips so great) I knew that Animal Kingdom Lodge was beautiful based on the night that Juli and I spent there on our trip, and I was really excited to stay there, and seriously, with the rented points, the whole thing cost me $750. That’s less than I paid when I stayed at the Swan the same time last year. I loved the Swan, and would definitely recommend it to people, especially if you’re looking to be in Epcot a bunch and you’re on a last minute trip.


But if you’ve got some time to plan…I don’t think I can more highly recommend staying at Animal Kingdom Lodge, particularly if you want to do the points rental thing. I’ve found most of the times I’ve gone for a quote that AKL is available and the room I was in was huge. And there’s nothing wrong with a little bit of extra space, right?



I was very worried about the bus service, given the trials that we’d had at Saratoga Springs (A resort that I otherwise recommend heartily.) I was super nervous that I’d find myself late to everything and unnecesarily stressed again.

Not the case, except for the first bus to Magic Kingdom, all of them arrived in a timely fashion, and while compared to say, the Boardwalk area or Monorail resorts, yes, AKL is “out of the way,” but it truly took less than 20 minutes to get to the park every morning.

Favorites:

Restaurant:

I was ready to hand this over to Tutto Gusto, which was so exactly what I needed in it’s moment, but then Homecomin’ happened. Maybe it was the timing, but I can’t get over how good that Fried Chicken was.

Ride:

I mean, favorites are favorites, right? Tower of Terror and Haunted Mansion obviously make the list, but Soarin’ really stands out as a favorite this time around. Especially the new film, which has some really remarkable scenes (I particularly liked the Taj Mahal!).

Character Meet:

I hinted at this but Tiana came up the winner this time. We had a lot of fun. There was a dance party. So, you know, winner!

Drinky Drink:

This is a tough call, because, nothing stood out to me the way the Moroccorita or the Blood Orange Margarita did in past trips but despite there being less than usual, there was some damn fine drinkin on this trip. From the Mojito to the Iced Tea Lemonade Moonshine concotion, I didn’t make any missteps, but in the end, I think I have to go with the spiked milkshake I got at Tune In Lounge. Spiked with both Vodka and Bailey’s, it was creamy, refreshing and tipsy making. Plus, the bartender there was really nice.

So that’s the Dapper Day trip!!! I had an amazing time.

Next trip is a quick weekend in September which is going to be mostly Pandora focused! I’ll be staying at Port Orleans: French Quarter, and it looks like I’m going to be joined by some super fun people, which might make it morph a little bit, but for now, it’s going to be 2 days, including a Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party,

I’m also full in the the planning stage for the FALL Dapper Day, which I’ll be attending with Juli and Dom. For more about that, check out Juli’s awesome (and detailed) post about our plans so far!

See you real soon Disney Folk! We’re diving full tilt into Movie Season now. (Just in the next two weeks I’m planning to see King Arthur: Legend of The Sword, Alien: Covenant, Pirates Of The Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales, and a little indie, I like barely care about, called WONDER WOMAN!!!!)