Giving in to Hemptation

For the first time, Tijuana Flats is introducing limited-time menu items! And guess what they are made from… HEMP tortillas! My daughters couldn’t believe it. “They’re cooking with pot?” they asked. Well, hemp seed to be exact. “I guess the theme of the place is kind of good for stoners with the munchies,” my 17 year old stated about the look and feel of Tijuana Flats. She goes there with her boyfriend frequently for lunch dates.

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My husband and I got to try the new Hemp items 2 days before they hit the menu at a special media event.

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Monique from Tijuana flats marketing started out the night filling us in on the company and the history behind the limited menu items over their Trio – corn chips served with separate cups of salsa, guac and queso dips. And I also enjoyed a sangria with crushed ice – Carlo Rossi slushy Sangria, and we had beer and Woodbridge Chardonnay to choose from as well. I don’t think they’re adding wine to the menu – I think that was a special treat for us!

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Tijuana Flats started 20 yrs ago. The concept came from Brian Wheeler who was a student at UCF at the time. Camp Fitch joined soon thereafter. “Fitch came out of two retirements when he took on his current post as CEO and co-owner of Maitland-based Tijuana Flats Burrito Co., a Tex-Mex restaurant chain.” says this Biz Journal interview. Tijuana Flats #102 opens today in Gastonia.

Monique  introduced the PR people, servers, cooks, management, and most importantly the earth goddess Rachel, their tree hugging culinary chef.

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servers

Chef Rachel

Chef Rachel

Cooks

Cooks

My lovely date :)

My lovely date :)

Tijuana Flats had a contest, and all GMs sent in their ideas for hemp burrito flavors. Rachel’s idea was the Tree Hugger, one of the 3 chosen final menu items, and she was thrilled to introduce us to it. But first things first…

After crunching on the Trio, we were served an appetizer: atom bombs.

atombombsA lightly fried tortilla gets stuffed with cream cheese, shredded cheese, fresh jalapenos, Smack My Sweet Ass and Call Me Sally sauce, and sour cream. There were 6 pieces on our plate, each about the size of a standard egg roll. This retails for $4.49. The jalapenos were too much kick for Brian. “I don’t hold my peppers well,” he said. I loved the cheesy, gooiness of this. It’s not unlike a quesadilla, and you want to enjoy it quickly, while it’s hot and melty!

Next we were introduced to the three burritos made with hemp seed tortillas, high in protein and Omega-3s. Here’s a quick view of what’s in them if you don’t have time to finish reading:

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The first was the pie roller, their answer to a Strombolli. It was a pizza burrito filled with pepperoni, fajita peppers, onions, mushrooms, red sauce and mozzarella cheese. Then it gets toasted and topped with red sauce, pepperoni and their power light cheese.

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The pepperoni on the inside is sauteed with the peppers, onions and mushrooms, so all the flavors blend and everything is soft. With some sauce inside and more on top, this was a wet burrito with lots of flavor! I never had a pizza themed burrito before, and I liked the marriage of the 2 fun snacks!

Brian isn’t much for peppers for mushrooms, but he had a bite on the end that was “all pepperoni, and it’s awesome!” I told Chef Rachel that Brian doesn’t really like veggies very much. I asked if he’d be able to order this without mushrooms and peppers. She said patrons can ask to remove ingredients but not combine ingredients from other menu items with the hemp menu items. I went back to Tijuana Flats 7/16/14 and they told me they could not make this item without the peppers because they were all “premade”. “I could pick the peppers out of one for you,” a manager said. Eww, no thanks!

Next came the Tree Hugger burrito from Rachel, our chef. This vegetarian hemp burrito is stuffed with roasted poblano peppers, mushrooms, onions, scallions, cilantro cream cheese, crunched-up tortilla chips, cheese, and a drizzle of queso.

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I learned two things while eating this yummy entree:

1) Rachel left the pablano skins on. I always peel mine. She said you don’t have to.

2) I got a few bites of plain hemp tortilla and I really noticed a flavor difference! I liked the kick in the hemp tortilla as compared to a plain flour tortilla. I’m guessing they use a blend of spices and it’s not just the hemp offering the flavor, but either way it was TASTY and I tried to get a few more plain bites around the edges.

Chicken and waffles is picking up down south as a fun treat, and Tijuana Flats wanted a tortilla that played with the same flavors. They now introduce the Sweet Hemptation!

sweethempThis delectable treat was a hemp tortilla filled with little balls of crispy fried chicken, and chunks of sweet chopped up churros, cinnamon sugar, maple syrup, queso, cheese – but then they added bacon and onions. You have the sweet, the savory, the fatty and the cinnamon – and it is just full of fun! I only wonder, could the churro bites be softer? Their crunch was a lot harder than expected.

For dessert we were served Banana Empanadas:
Two hand-held packages of fried doughy goodness stuffed with bananas, cinnamon, sugar, and topped with powdered sugar. Served with a side of caramel sauce. Yum, yum, yum. We brought some home to the kids.

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Monique came around and asked what our favorite hemp burrito flavor was. I told her the Sweet Hemptation was great, but I’d never order it because of the food-guilt factor. I’d order a tree hugger though! I would possibly split the pie roller.

I was also lucky enough to win a jar of hot sauce while we were there!

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We all got goodies like pens, koozies, kitchy glasses & mustaches, cups and $10 gift cards.

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Really the only down side was our location. We were at their St Pete Roosevelt location, and we sat outside which looks pretty with lights strung and a pond with fountain within view, but I got eaten up by no-see-ums. The chairs are woven so they can nip you all over, and I have been itching for a whole week! Do yourself a favor and sit inside.

Tijuana Flats has a motto: When you come to Tijuana Flats, something inside will offend you, but it won’t be the food.

You’ll see “bad words” in the names of some of the sauces on their hot sauce bar, and some oddball art on the walls in a comic-meets-skater-style.

Remember, Hemptation menu items are only available for a limited time (thru early Sept.). Give in to hemptation while their hot!

My husband and I were treated to a free meal and take-away prizes. The opinions are my own. Everything was super yum.

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Currently, July 2014

Current Book – In June I read “Into the Forest: A Novel” by Jean Hegland because I heard Ellen Page was going to make a movie out of it with Evan Rachel Wood. I give it a B. Maybe a B-. Very “Flowers in the Attic”. I was hoping for more. It did make me want to start my garden soon, though. I also finished reading “Banking on Burlesque“, which was like Pop Rocks for my brain. It’s written by a woman who was a banker in the UK and on the side for fun was occasionally a burlesque dancer, about a woman who was a banker in the UK and on the side for fun was occasionally a burlesque dancer. It’s fluff, but she expands to much on the work scenes and work drama than she needs to. You might want to just eat the Pop Rocks instead.

Current Shame-Inducing, Guilty Pleasure – apparently it’s still sugar because my clothes are getting tight. I’m getting it under control starting yesterday!! Had quite a power yoga class this morning – phew!

Current Drink – water

Current Favorite Blog – http://dadscribe.com. Because I think I O.D.’ed on mom blogs for a couple years, why not try reading a dad blog?

Current Song – Pharrell Williams – Happy (I still like to start my work day with the Official Music Video)

Current Wish-List – A housekeeper. And to find the manicure gift card that I misplaced when I moved.

Current Needs – I’m content right now…

Current Triumph – Started my new job in my new office with fun people, a great attitude, and support from my family and friends.

Current Indulgence – Lots of time with my daughters… except right now as I’m typing instead of watching “Full House” reruns with them.

Current Outfit – Ed Hardy jammies and new leopard print slippers that I got SO ON SALE at Bealls!

Current Banes of My Existence – I dreamed twice recently about fighting with DD2 and slapping her :(   I don’t slap! Also, I had to lay concrete with my husband a few weekends ago and I know another slab is coming soon! Wheelbarrows and I don’t do well together.

Current Excitement – My cute new purse that I bought with birthday money from my mom. It’s polka-dotted on the inside :)

Current Mood – excited to learn a few new techie tricks with this new job!

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Ready for Roux?

In the past, I have sung the praises of meals at Datz. Owners Suzanne and Roger Perry know what they are doing! With food, drink, business… and they’ve expanded their enterprise to include Dough for (mainly) desserts, Dazzle for catering, and the soon-to-open Roux, for a taste of NOLA right here in Tampa. (NOLA = New Orleans, Louisiana)

But that’s not all they handle… Roux is not even open yet and already has almost 10,000 likes on Facebook. How? Their social media company, Chat. (Notice the Chat logo looks just like the Datz & Dazzle logos.)

Last week I was lucky enough to be invited along with fellow Tampa Bay Bloggers to a Roux tasting. I had followed their progress with the new space online for months, and was thrilled to get a sneak peek! I was hoping for gumbo, something made with cornmeal, and a fun dessert.

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When I entered the Roux space I loved the blend of reclaimed brick, vintage gas lighting (some repurposed to be electric) and graceful wrought iron details. They plan to complete the experience with “dark-wood accents and sumptuous fabrics.” Personally, I love the tiled ceiling. (Is it copper?)

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Roux promises to be a casual, friendly spot for a quick NOLA-style lunch: muffuletta, gumbo, po’ boys – honoring the Cajun and Creole flavors of Louisiana with a modern twist and local flair.

Then at night, Roux will be more of a white linen scene, which is what we had for our special evening.

Our tasting kicked off with a bar serving specialty NOLA potent potables. For those who like light and sweet, there was the French 75: gin, lemon juice, simple syrup and champagne. The champagne was the dominant taste with a bit of lemonade flavor.

drinkssaz-useThe more daring drinker can enjoy the Sazerac – the oldest known American cocktail with roots in New Orleans before the Civil War. The blend of absinthe, rye, creole bitters and sugar is served neat with a twist. (I think I had 3 sips, but I am a lightweight and wanted to remember the fine details of my meal.)

We were seated to an awaiting salad of smoked shitake mushrooms over bitter greens with satsuma (mandarin orange flavor) vinaigrette. The mushrooms were meaty and flavorful, while the salty dressing paired perfectly with the sweet sauteed onions. I tried to get a few bites that had a little bit of each taste in them.

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I could have enjoyed the whole salad and a fun dessert and called it a night, but I knew we had more yet to come and saved tummy space.

springrollsOur next course was Vietnamese smoked duck spring rolls with mayhaw gastrique. Suzanne came to our table and gave a brief NOLA foodie histoire. Cajun culture moved in from the country to slowly become part of mainstay NOLA culture and blended with the already-present creole. That was before I was born… Then in the ’90s, similarly, Vietnamese culture and food began blending in. Suzanne calls NOLA restaurants “schizophrenic” for this reason. (During the months following Hurricane Katrina, the Vietnamese American community in New Orleans was among the first to return to the city.)

Thus, Vietnamese duck spring rolls make sense at Roux. They didn’t skimp in the duck (which I love!) and they had a great crispy, crunch to the outer wrapper. I didn’t try the sauce because our server said Mayhaw is related to squash, and I can’t eat eggplant or zucchini, so the risk scared me away.

Our next dish was divine: Cajun duck and andouille sausage gumbo with wild pecan rice and duck cracklings. True gumbo, the official dish of LA, combines cuisine of West African, French, Spanish German and Choctaw cultures. The blend of flavors in the gumbo at Roux was such that I couldn’t pick out or guess anything in particular. It just blended in deliciousness. Again, we had chunks of duck, and halved slices of andouille in a dirty gravy with some heat.

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Don’t worry nut allergy peeps – pecan rice doesn’t even have any nuts in it. Sometimes it is rice with bran left in so it tastes like pecans without having pecans in it, but when it’s done right it’s a a hybrid variety of Della rice with a distinctive aroma similar to popcorn and a flavor that provides a rich nutty taste. And, surprise, it’s indigenous to Louisiana. “I don’t even like rice and this is good!” was Alice’s testament to the yumminess.

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We were then treated to jumbo lump crab beignets with house-made creole cream cheese and saffron remoulade. Golf-ball sized crab balls were lightly and served on a plate drizzled with remoulade.

Up close you can see the beignets batter fluffiness

Up close you can see the beignet batter fluffiness

Don’t let the color fool you, this is no thousand-island dressing crap. Up until now, creole cream cheese could only be found in Louisiana, but Roux brings it to Tampa. Here it is flavored with saffron to create a condiment you won’t want to stop dipping in.

The next course stunned a few of us – New Orleans’ famous head-on BBQ shrimp with grilled french bread. Now I’ve peeled a shrimp, but we needed a lesson from Suzanne on how to eat these shrimp. But not Alice! “I just got 100% on this in my science dissection class. Just grab it by the cephalothorax and pull up.” She took care of 3-4 shrimp for herself and one for me (I did another one just to feel brave for a moment).

Can't take these 2 anywhere...

Can’t take these 2 anywhere…

Basically you rip the head off then the tail, then dip the shrimp in the sauce. the shrimp were easily 5″ long, and the staff was apologizing that they were not larger. “The prawns coming later will be even bigger!” we were assured.

The next course was my favorite: sauteed red snapper in Maker’s Mark pecan brown butter and sweet potato hash. The hash was diced sweet potato with onions and peppers. The snapper on top was crispy and sprinkled with great flavor. The Maker’s Mark pecan brown butter left a buttery flavor on everything.

snapper

Our eyes grew wide as the colossal wild prawns stuffed with shrimp & crab came our way. They were indeed colossal! About the length of Alice’s forearm, and she’s 5’7″. Katie named hers Al.

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The head of each prawn was resting atop what I thought might be a crab cake. Alice took a bite. “I think it’s potato.” I didn’t buy that. I took a bite just as Suzanne came over to tell us it was a grits and Creole cream cheese cake. The grits were white and dotted with creamy goodness. I didn’t dig into my prawn and eat it all – the way some friends of mine surely would, but I certainly enjoyed the center, already cut open and overflowing with finely chopped shrimp and crab. The sauce on the plate was red and chunky and delicious. Our server thought it was tomatillo.

Our tummies got a break momentarily as Roger Perry told us more about the restaurant and what they have planned.

“We’re all excited about the menu!” he emphasized for the group. “And the wood-burning grill for wood steaks and chops.” They are even bringing down a NOLA expert to educate everyone on char grilled oysters.

flightsong

Along with our meal(s), we had been drinking Brancott Estate Flight Song Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand, with hints of pink grapefruit and passionfruit that I tasted immediately. (Their website has a cute, chalkboard feel. You should click!) But for dessert we were treated to cafe au lait made from Community chickory coffee. Community is the largest family-owned retail coffee brand in the U.S. “Experience a little bit of Louisiana in every cup,” they say.

Dessert was torched baked Alaska made with creole cream cheese ice cream. I’ve never had baked Alaska, but knew it existed since 1982 from the movie “Annie”. I remember once thinking that I didn’t even know what it really was, and Googled it, so I was prepared for something with apples… but not this! A dense wafer base topped with creole cream cheese ice cream surrounding a dollop of apple cinnamon goodness. Then the server torched the topping at our table, browning the cloud of white fluff on top. It was fun and yum, and left a sugary scent of s’mores over the table.

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Little did we diners know, that back in the kitchen Roux was experiencing the WORST. Earlier that day, the gas went out and the whole night they were cooking on butane burners and small fryers. “The kitchen looks like we’re camping!” Suzanne said. Katie laughed and said, “If the food were like this every time I went camping, I’d camp more often.” Seriously, except for perhaps the extra crisp on the edges of the snapper or odd consistency of the sweet potatoes, we never would have known anything was going on in the kitchen! We had gourmet course after course prepared on camping stoves and we were still wowed! That’s how great this team is!

When Roux opens, I could totally see myself sipping at the bar, Toula’s, with my husband. The bar will be made of Carrara marble, like antique French Quarter bars. “We hope to have a sexy absinthe room in back,” an employee said that night. “And a tasting space for Dazzle, our catering arm.”

Dazzled we were! Who knew this hole in Tampa Bay cuisine existed? Now that I have the taste of NOLA on my pallet, I’ll certainly be back for more!

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Barbara’s Online Jambash

One of my closest friends from high school got married, and at her wedding I met one of her closest friends from college, Barbara. She lives in NY, and when I went to NY a few years ago we met up for a yoga class and dinner. After that we stayed Facebook friends, and use profile posts to catch up on each other’s lives.

Recently Barbara invited me to her Online Jambash. I had no idea what the heck that was. It turns out, Barbara was recently introduced to Jamberry nails, and was sharing them through an online party. Like — back in the day when people had Avon or Mary Kay parties and got friends together to buy stuff in their living rooms, and earned hostess gifts… But this was online. I didn’t even have to bring a dip!

Barbara let me and my 2 teenage daughters try Jamberries for free in exchange for telling all of you about them. First I’ll fill you in on our “nail stories”.

I have fairly strong nails that I keep short. I like to match my fingers and toes, and never have time for professional mani-pedis. If I catch a half hour on a weekend to myself, or want to reward myself after doing something I don’t want to do – like scrubbing the shower – I’ll use “me time” to do my nails. When my polish is 3 weeks old and chipping like crazy and look like a Jackson Pollock experiment, you know I’ve been buried :(

Sadly, my nails look like this too often

Sadly, my nails look like this too often

but Barb's look like this!

but Barb’s look like this!!! Lucky…

So when Barbara told me Jamberries can be applied at home with just a hair dryer and no special products AND last TWO weeks, I was skeptical but eager to try. And because prom was lurking around the corner, my girls wanted to try them too…

Some Jamberries are simple, or solid color, so you can just have the lasting affect of the wrap on your nails to help strengthen your nails and keeping them looking nice for weeks. Others are so detailed, you’d never be able to make such pretty designs with regular polish!

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Inspired by what was hot this spring

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My favorite mice!

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Understanding the different finishes…

First we got all of our tools ready and gathered around the dining room table.

IMG_20140412_153907Then we followed the included instructions step by step. You don’t have to work with a partner. I did my own hands alone. But it’s easier if you are really sloppy with your non-dominant hand.

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clean with an alcohol wipe & push back cuticles

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peel off nail wrap and warm with a hair dryer for 5 seconds before applying

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apply firm pressure all the way to the edges.

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Trim the top with scissors or nail clippers. Apply heat again from hair dryer to be sure they are bonded to your nail

IMG_20140412_155429Alice did navy and white Jamberry stripes on her index fingers and red regular nail polish on her other nails to test what would last longer.

On my nails I had a patterned Jamberry on my left index and ring finger and right index finger, and solid purple nail polish on all my other fingers.

IMG_20140412_164431 IMG_20140412_164528Wendy went with the coral/mint green trend. She had a mint green with white polka dot Jamberry on each ring finger and coral polish on her other nails.

IMG_20140412_195438Everyone loved the fun patterns on our nails! We got lots of questions and compliments.

Wendy Day 4

Wendy Day 4

My nails day 8

My nails day 8 – the Jamberry was perfect but my plain purple polish was starting to get yucky

Wendy's after 10 days, ready to remove

Wendy’s after 10 days. She was able to remove the Jamberry in one piece, but look at the terribly chipped polish by then!

So basically, these were easy to apply, lasted exactly two weeks, and come in tons of mix-and-match colors and patterns.

Wouldn’t you love cute nail colors that last 2 weeks while keeping your natural nails strong, with no silly equipment needed and no cancerous lights on your hands adding wrinkles and spots?!?! To see all the colors and styles, or buy 3 Jamberry nail wraps and get the 4th free, check out Barb’s site here.

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Push Away the Screen – My birthday

Things are about to shift in our household. I start a full time out-of-the-house job on June 30. That means I have to take vacation time when I want time away for the first time in about 10 yrs. My older daughter starts senior year of high school so she will be working on essays, scholarships, standardized tests, etc. And my younger daughter is learning to drive.

No matter how big she gets, she's still mini-me!

No matter how big she gets, she’s still mini-me!

Brian decided it was time for a family vacation before any of that kicks in – and within 2 days of mentioning it to us at dinner he had the whole thing planned. One night we were talking about where we might want to have dinner near Disney, and the next day he had an itinerary ready, down to a Fast Pass for the new Seven Dwarfs Mine Train ride.

We decided to go back to the Caribe Royale, where we stayed last Sept. We liked their pool with slide and waterfall, food, poolside cabana and room amenities (the pool bar even has the same friendly bartender). We also learned that they now have “dive in movies” – family-friendly movies out by the pool at night (“Madagascar 3″ and the new-to-DVD “Frozen” while we were there) and they have their own award-winning pastry chef who makes all the sinful goodies on property.

Smoothies by the pool after getting wisdom teeth out - PERFECT!

Smoothies by the pool after getting wisdom teeth out – PERFECT!

Here’s how you can take advantage of this Hot Spot all summer:

Summer Splash Package

  • Valid for travel June 1 – September 30, 2014
  • Rates start at $129 per night, plus tax for one bedroom suites
  • Breakfast buffet for two people daily in Tropicale
  • Daily high-speed internet
  • Guaranteed 1pm late check out
  • DOUBLE Stash Points (must be a Stash Rewards member)
  • 25% off every 3rd night
  • Terms: Package and rates are subject to availability. Blackout dates may apply. Package is available for suites and villas, but villas may be sold out over certain dates. In order to receive Stash points you must be a Stash member.

We had a 2-room suite this time. The room we walked in to from the hall had a pull-out sofa bed, desk, fridge, microwave, mini-bar, tables and chairs. The 2nd room had the bathroom with sink outside (which we like so 2 can do hair and makeup while the 3rd showers), and 2 queen size beds.

Once they learned it was my birthday, we came back to our room to find a decorate-your-own-cookies platter with chocolate chip cookies, frosting and mini M&Ms. :)

Milk & Cookies for all!

Milk & Cookies for all!

For the first time, we ate at Sanaa at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Village. It’s not at the theme park or the main lodge, but if you bus to the main lodge you can stroll the path to get there. It is Indian and African food at its best, and most of the meals are you-pick-two so you can try a variety of flavors. For the 4 of us with 4 desserts (we never do that!) and drinks for Brian, it was about $130, which is our typical expenditure for 4 “adults” at a Disney restaurant, only this one was over-the-top delicious! 

The restaurant opens at 5pm, and our reservation was for 5:30, but we arrived at 4:30 so we could watch animals out back and shop without feeling rushed. Grazing zebras, giraffes, and other fuzzy friends were just a few feet away, and tortoises were visible through a window by the restaurant as well.

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Seen in gift shop - a book made from Poop.

Seen in gift shop – a book made from Poop.

At 5pm, a short drumming show announced the start of meal time, and at 5:20 we put our names in with the hostess. We were seated quickly, and our server, Ken, was funny and gave great recommendations.

We started our meal with 3 flavors of Naan bread and 3 dips to spread on top. Alice, who had just had her wisdom teeth out and only wanted mushy foods, ordered Potato and Pea Samosas and Chana Tikki – chickpea patties. I think she had soup too. Brian had Butter Chicken and Spicy Durban Shrimp with basmati rice, and Wendy had lamb and the kids dessert of Peanut Butter Mousse and Eggless Chocolate Cake. I had Paneer Tikka, Chana Masala and basmati rice. Everything was superb!

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My birthday dessert

My birthday dessert

After Sanaa we went to La Nouba, the Cirque du Soleil show that is based at Downtown Disney. Brian and I had seen it years ago when it first opened, but we are Cirque freaks and really wanted the girls to see it. Although we were in the 2nd to last row of the audience to save some $$, there’s really not a bad seat in the house. We loved strolling the south hall and stairwell, looking at the wall of framed clown photos! What a way to spend a birthday!!

For the first time in 17 years we decided to return to the Living Seas restaurant at EPCOT. We thought the girls would get a kick out of the HUGE aquarium inside. The menu there, however, was unimaginative and none of us left feeling like it was anything special – for the same price tag as Sanaa without desserts. So not worth it.

That weekend at Disney was also Gay Days and Star Wars weekends. The lines were LONG, and we were thankful that Brian made our fast passes online in advance. We also spent mornings in poolside-cabanas reading and splashing, and hit the theme parks later in the day when younger children might have already melted and gone home.

A friend let us know that The Studios might be too full on Sunday to enjoy, so we went on Saturday. For the first time, Alice and Wendy were old enough to volunteer for the show before the Backlot Tour ride. They starred in the 1pm showing of “Harbor Attack”, and we got plenty of photos and videos. It was another throwback to our honeymoon, when Brian and I were in the Indiana Jones Stunt Spectacular.

Harbor Attack Extras

Harbor Attack Extras

We also took a little break in the A/C in the back of the studios where you can take a drawing class, and we all drew Winnie the Pooh. Then Alice beat me at Toy Story Mania.

Pooh bear drawing class

Pooh bear drawing class

blogtoystorymaniaWe rode Tower of Terror and Rockin’ Roller Coaster – thankful that Alice’s sore mouth wasn’t bothered during the fast-paced Aerosmith ride. We also saw Boba Fett, Darth Vader, Sand People and many other Star Wars characters wandering even though it was not our intention. Added bonus!

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I was teaching him to say “Selfie”

We also brought a game for the hotel room, so we could come back and shower, eat sugar, and play a family game before bed.

Once, while in line for The Pirates of the Caribbean, we were talking to the young man running the ride, and he said he had never seen any of the Johnny Depp Pirate movies! I was shocked!

Sunday was out last day in Orlando. We checked out of the Caribe Royale and headed back to EPCOT, where we met up with our friend Grayson to graise our way around the World Showcase countries and munch on whatever we wanted.

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Grayson has a Disney pass too, so we could play all day!

I split a delicious avocado margarita with Brain in Mexico, had an egg roll in China, got perfume samples and rode the Maelstrom in Norway, shopped in Germany and Japan (Kiki comics!), had apple pie in America, got slushies for the kids in Morocco, shared fish & chips in Great Britain, listened to Off Kilter in Canada, got photos with Pooh and Tigger and rode Test Track. I think we headed for home at 3:30pm.

blogpoohhug blogpoohfriendsWe’ve been to Disney a zillion times. It seems to me that there’s been a huge shift in the last 2 years where fast passes and restaurant reservations are much more of a requirement to avoid 90 minutes lines than ever before. But we have lots of tips and tricks if you are planning a vacation there. And if you don’t need to rely on Disney bus service the whole time, check out the Caribe Royale, especially if you have a large group or want a full kitchen and laundry. Their suite options are wonderful! Enjoy your stay!

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