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Edible Pop Art February 5, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Art & Photography, Food & Drink, Humor.

At Epcot’s International Festival of the Arts, we ran into some edible art at Pop Eats!

The sign advertised modern cuisine inspired by modern art . . . including Pop’T Art on miniature easels.

We opted for the Almond Frangipane Cake layered with Raspberry Jam and Callebaut Belgian Chocolate.

It was almost too pretty to eat.

Aah . . . that’s better!


Give Us This Day Our . . . Daily Bread January 23, 2018

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Travel & Leisure, Vegetarian Recipes.

Arriving in Miami proper, we decided to check out The Original Daily Bread Marketplace ~ a Middle Eastern restaurant established in 1975.

Getting to the restaurant (via the terminus of the Tamiami Trail) involved driving 130 B~U~S~Y city blocks ~ a time consuming proposition in the pre-rush hour rush.

The slow going traffic meant that we spied any number of restaurants that would have filled the bill and our bellies, including the Versailles Bakery.

We kept driving.

We’re glad we stuck to the plan.

The Daily Bread is half market and half restaurant with a bakery in the middle.

We ordered a Falafel platter with 3 sides ~ hummus, house salad, and rice pilaf ~ plus pita bread, a side of Spanakopita, and a bowl of Tahini for dipping.

We enjoyed it all, especially the falafel.

After finishing the platter, we took a quick tour of the market and then headed (with purpose!) to the bakery to end our meal on a sweet note.  Torn between the Traditional Baklava and the Greek Baklava, we opted to get both so we could do a side-by-side taste test ~> we liked the traditional the best.

From the Daily Bread, we drove south through Coral Gables and Coconut Grove to Mattheson Hammock Park on Old Cutler Road . . . where we got our first glimpse of the Miami skyline under some serious cloud cover.

The next morning, we woke to SUNNY skies.  Stay tuned.

Aah . . . that’s better!

Persistance Pays Off December 11, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Gratitude, Humor, Travel & Leisure.

Last week, during our last visit to the Magic Kingdom, we finally (after 3 failed attempts) had lunch at Be My Guest (from Beauty & the Beast fame) . . . without a reservation!

We had tried before with little success ~> the restaurant is booked six months in advance, so not many people get to enjoy lunch in the Beast’s castle . . . especially as “walk ins.”

We checked at the check-in kiosk at 1:30.  No cancellations.

And no getting past the armed guard.

The friendly hostess suggested we check back at 2:20.

We wandered around a bit, enjoying the holiday sites and sounds.

Including a quick visit to Gaston’s Tavern.

We returned to Be My Guest at 2:00.  No cancellations.

And still no way in.

The hostess suggested we check back in 15 minutes.  I said, “What if we just sit over there?  Will you call us over if you get a cancellation?”  She said sure.

The park was crowded, so we didn’t mind just sitting while watching throngs of people wander past.

Watching people is much better than being jostled by them.

After a few changes of the guard, BFF went up to make sure the folks on duty knew to call us over and he received a coveted rose ~> our admission ticket to lunch in the castle!

Without it, visitors never make it past the gargoyles and other guardians of the gate.


Our persistence paid off and lunch was good!  BFF had a delicious bowl of Onion Soup . . . with Pomme Frites for dipping.

I enjoyed an equally delicious Potato Leek Soup.

Before leaving the castle, we snapped more of the holiday decor . . .

Enjoyed the wall art . . .

Watched Beast take Belle for a spin around the ball room . . .

And I got special permission to sit in the master’s chair which, as it turned out, was Much Too Big for me!

Aah . . . that’s better!

Learning To Cuss December 9, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Joke.

 A 6-year-old and a 4-year-old are raking the yard.

Ryan, the 6-year-old, says, “You know what? I think it’s about time we started learning to cuss.  What do you think?”

Timothy, the 4-year-old, nods his head in approval.

Ryan continues, “When we go in for breakfast, I’m gonna say something with hell and you say something with ass.”

Timothy agrees with enthusiasm.

When their mother walks into the kitchen and asks Ryan what he wants for breakfast, he replies, “Aw, hell, Mom, I guess I’ll have some Cheerios.”


He flies out of his chair, tumbles across the kitchen floor, gets up, and runs upstairs to his room with his mother in hot pursuit.

His mom shuts Ryan in his room and says, “You can stay there until I say you can come out!”

She returns to the kitchen, looks at Timothy, and asks with a stern voice, “And what do YOU want for breakfast, young man?”

“I don’t know,” Timothy blubbers, “but you can bet your ass it won’t be Cheerios.”

Aah . . . that’s better!

Source:  E-mail from unknown author (sent by Joe M.)

Good News for C~H~E~E~S~E Lovers! December 7, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Vegetarian Recipes.

This post is dedicated to the Cheese Lover in YOU!

Eating cheese every day may be good for your heart . . . lowering the risk of heart disease.

And while you’re at it ~> enjoy some wine and chocolate!

Here’s what Dr. Allan Stewart, director of aortic surgery at Ichan School of Medicine at Mount Sinai Medical Center, who was not involved in the new analysis, had to say about the study:

“We’re always are searching for ways to minimize heart disease and reduce atherosclerosis,” he says. “It’s promising to find that something that actually tastes good—and pairs well with a nice glass of red wine—may offer some protection, as well.”

To read more:  Eating Cheese Every Day May Actually Be Good for You

Aah . . . that’s better!

Epcot Food & Wine Festival ~ 2017 November 29, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Music & Dance, Travel & Leisure.

We decided to head to Epcot for the last Friday of the International Food & Wine festival (which ran from August 31st through November 13th).

No . . . that’s not a figment of your imagination ~> it is Figment!

On arrival, we meandered from Future World to World Showcase, stopping at Kiosks to check out the menu offerings (and plan our snack attack).

When we reached France, we headed straight for Les Hailes Boulangerie-Patisserie.  Despite crowded kiosks outside, we sped through the line for Baguette & Pissaldiere ~ $8.  Our favorite treat at Epcot.

After stowing the rest of the baguette for later munching, we wandered through a French store, then headed to Morocco for Musique Aramenco ~ lively musicians accompanied by a belly dancer in full regalia.

This is a G-rated blog, so I didn’t snap a picture of her.  Instead, here’s the Moroccan marketplace where you can purchase your own belly dancing outfit.

When Musique Aramenco concluded their set, we retraced our steps to see Impressions of France ~ a lovely film with a beautiful and haunting soundtrack.  It’s a fun way to see the sights and sounds of France, from the castles of the Loire Valley to Versailles to the Eiffel Tower to the vineyards.  C’est bonne!

Time for dessert!  We decided on a Belgian Waffle with chocolate ganache and whipped cream from the Belgium kiosk ~ $4.  The soggy pastry base was underwhelming.  Most disappointing food of the day.

We headed to the United Kingdom via Morocco to catch Quickstep ~ a lively quartet playing acoustic music from Scotland, Ireland, and England.  Loved it.

After dancing with Quickstep, we needed to refuel.  We wandered next door to Canada for Cheese Soup with a Pretzel roll for dipping ~ $5.  YUM!

After supping on soup, we listened to Raffy ~ a high energy Canadian quartet.  We loved the sax!

On the way to China, via Morocco, we stopped again to listen to Morocco Musique and smiled as the belly dancer gave free dance lessons to a pre-schooler.

We had planned to watch the Jeweled Dragon Acrobats.  By the time we arrived, the area was Standing Room Only.  So we admired the gardens instead.

Time for another snack.  This time in India for Madras Red Curry (Cauliflower, Carrots, Chickpeas, and Basmati Rice) and Naan bread with 3 dippers (Coriander Pesto, Mango Salsa, and garlicky Pickled Garlic) ~ $9.50 for both.

Sorry . . . the dog ate my photo.

By this time, the air was getting chilly and the walkways were way too crowded, so we headed for The Seas with Nemo & Friends.

Crush escorted us inside . . .

While Bruce enjoyed swimming with the fishes outside . . .

After swimming the seven seas with Nemo and soaring through the air on Soarin’ (front & center for the first time!), we made one last stop at the Festival Center to see the Ghiardelli exhibit ~> The Chocolate Experience: From Bean to Bar.

On arrival, we each received a Ghiardelli Chocolate Square with Caramel.  Yes, please!  The exhibit included amazing chocolate sculptures featuring:

Beauty and the Beast . . .

Moana’s sidekicks . . .

Wreck It Ralph . . .

And the stars of Born in China . . .

Aah . . . that’s delicious!

Two Heads Are Better Than One November 21, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Animals, Food & Drink, Humor, Travel & Leisure.

A few weeks ago, we took advantage of FREE admission to the St. Pete Museum of History.

Our favorite exhibit ~> Signs of the Times.

We enjoyed wandering around the colorful memorabilia . . .

Signs, signs, everywhere there’s signs . . .

We watched a funny video which included surprising (and silly) signs from around the world including this sign (in English) from Russia . . .

No drugs or nuclear weapons allowed inside the restrooms.

The exhibit also included toy wagons and fire trucks . . .

In an adjacent room, we saw a 2-headed calf born in 1925.  Two heads.  Two tails.  Six legs.  The stuffed calf, which lived for 6 weeks, has resided at museum for 90 years.

The calf finally got a name this year ~> Half ‘n’ Half.  Other names considered – Topsy Turvy, Moo Two Gai Pan, and Double Stuffed.

A more recent acquisition, a 2-headed chicken born in 1930 near Tampa, lived for 8 months before heading to the taxidermist for stuffing . . .

After touring the museum, we enjoyed lunch at Moon Under Water, a British Pub, opting against any chicken or beef items on the menu . . .

I got Chana Masala (spicy chickpeas) with Naan bread and sampled 2 curries with basmati rice.  Delicious!

BFF opted for Fish & Chips . . .

His lunch cost more than the advertised lunch special at the museum . . .

After lunch, we walked around the waterfront and then took the Trolley back to the car . . .

It felt good to sit down . . .

Another option along the waterfront is to have a Lunch Date with a borrowed bike . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

Leftover Halloween Eye Candy November 15, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Home & Garden, Humor.

During a pre-Halloween visit to the mall, we enjoyed Halloween treats . . .

Holiday Eye Candy in assorted wrappers . . .

Great gaping ghoulish grins . . .

And anemic models . . .

Sporting toothy smiles that only a dentist would love . . .

At Cauldron & Brooms, we made our big (albeit little) purchase for the day ~> the perfect candy cauldron for my witch . . .

Aah . . . that’s better!

I realize we are a full 2 weeks post-Halloween . . . but if we have to listen to political ads in August and maneuver around Christmas store decor in October, why not enjoy leftover Halloween Eye Candy mid-November?

Give My Regards To Broadway November 7, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Books & Movies, Food & Drink, Writing & Writers.

A few weeks before high school graduation, our English teacher, Ms. Thomas, took us to New York City on May 21st to see The Belle of Amherst, a one-woman play by William Luce:

Based on the life of poet Emily Dickinson from 1830 to 1886, and set in her Amherst, Massachusetts home, the 1976 play makes use of her work, diaries, and letters to recollect her encounters with the significant people in her life – family, close friends, and acquaintances. It balances the agony of her seclusion with the brief bright moments when she was able to experience some joy.

After one preview, the original Broadway production, directed by Charles Nelson Reilly and starring Julie Harris, opened on April 28, 1976 at the Longacre Theatre, where it ran for 116 performances. The Wall Street Journal reviewer wrote “With her technical ability and her emotional range, Miss Harris can convey profound inner turmoil at the same time that she displays irrepressible gaiety of spirit.” (Wikipedia)

I don’t remember much about the play, but here it is in its entirety . . . the original performance from 1976 with Julie Harris as lead:

What I do remember is eating dinner at Mama Leone’s before the show.

I remember sitting at the table awed at the size of the servings.  As wide as it was tall, the lasagna was enough to satisfy 4 diners . . . especially if, like me, they’d been happily inhaling slices of crusty Italian bread accompanied by fresh mozzarella and cured olives as an antipasto.


Aah . . . that’s better!

Bon Appetit! November 1, 2017

Posted by nrhatch in Food & Drink, Humor, Travel & Leisure.

During my senior year in High School, our French teacher had a brilliant idea . . .

To maintain our interest and keep attendance high in the months leading up to graduation, she had us take turns cooking for the class on Fridays.

Over the course of the semester, we enjoyed:

Croque Monsieurs et Mesdames
Potatoes Dauphinese
Quiche Lorraine & Salad Nicoise

And . . . Cheese Fondue

We sampled soups, casseroles, and coquilles:

Onion Soup . . . but, of course!
Potato Soup
Potato & Cheese Casserole

Poule au Pot
Macaroni au gratin
Les Fruit de la Mer au gratin
Coquilles St. Jacques

A cheese tasting . . . mais oui!

We also enjoyed delicious desserts:

Walnut Cake and Cafe au Lait
Apple Tartine
Cream Puffs

Chocolate fondue
Chocolate Eclairs
Chocolate Mousse
Chocolate Crepes . . . c’est magnifique!

Cheese, butter, and chocolate ~> Brilliant!

Bon Appetit!