Daily life with Allison and Ray via iphone photos.IMG_5110IMG_4796IMG_5109IMG_5111
It’s been a while since I’ve posted an instalife! We took a trip to Epcot (which  you’ve seen on the blog) and traveled to Nashville to see our friend Jason get married! We’re prepping for the Thanksgiving and Christmas season and trying not to lose too much sleep. Can you believe how fast the time has flown by?

Epcot’s 2015 Food and Wine Review

Last week I posted a few snapshot from our recent trip to Epcot for the Food and Wine festival. You can read all about the festival on the Disney website and see the full event menu on the Disney Food Blog. Today Ray, Brie, and I are sharing our full review of all the food and drinks we tried!

IMG_4953Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies
Allison – This was interesting. I wasn’t sure about the mint pesto at first, but it was my favorite part!
Brie – Weird and good. The lamb chop was delicious. The mint pesto was interesting, but worked really well with the lamb, and the potato crunchies added good texture and saltiness. I’d get it again.
Ray  – I really enjoy lamb chops, so I knew I’d want to try this. I wasn’t sold on the idea of mint pesto, but I was trying to go into it with an open mind. This was after all one of the dishes we had later in the day, and we had much stranger things than mint pesto already. The lamb chop was cooked perfectly and tasted so good. The mint pesto was creamy and mild, and really added a lot to the flavor of the chop. The potato crunches are really the thing that were really like a cherry on top. That little bit of crunch just pushed this over the edge to being a really enjoyable dish.

IMG_4960 Potato and Leek Waffle with Braised Beef and Smoked Gouda Cream
A – Eh, pretty disappointing. I was expecting great things from this dish and it just turned out mediocre. I will say that the portion size seemed to be larger than most of the other dishes served at the festival.
B – If I hadn’t seen a picture of this dish before we went, I would have been disappointed. It kinda looked like a big gravy slop, and that’s what it tasted like. There wasn’t much meat, but I liked the couple pieces that I got. The waffle was fine, the gravy was good, the carrots were good. I couldn’t really taste the gouda cream at all though.
R – When I hear Gouda cream, I get pretty excited. I love Gouda and felt like the description of this dish sounded delicious. Unfortunately the Gouda cream was almost un-noticeable. If it had been left off I wouldn’t have been able to tell. The leek and potato waffle was crunchy and pretty good. It did seem a little more salty than I expected, but worked out when paired with the gravy. The meat was pretty good, but there just really wasn’t much of that either. All in all it was an okay dish, but I feel like it could have been executed much better.

Canada:IMG_4945“Le Cellier” Wild Mushroom Filet Mignon with Truffle Butter Sauce
A – Completely worth it. Even the mushrooms were delicious and I typically don’t like mushrooms. TRY THIS!
B – I only tasted a small bite of this, and it was pretty good.
R – This was one of the best dishes we had. The steak was cooked so perfectly. The butter sauce was great and the mushrooms were seasoned perfectly and paired with the filet so well. I would have had a second and third.

China:IMG_4946Happy Peach with Peach Liqueur and Dark Rum:
A – I only had a slip, but it was refreshing and really cold (which we needed).
B – Really good and refreshing. We tried this at a point in the day when we were all sweltering and tired, and this drink was a great pick-me-up.
R – This was a kind of sweet drink, but it was about 2pm and blazing hot. We were all about to die, and I like rum… So I stood in line and got this because it was cold. I honestly think this may have saved our lives. It was very refreshing.

Farm Fresh:IMG_4955 IMG_4768Hard Cider Flight
A – I guess I’m a hard cider fan now? The elderberry cider was my favorite and now that I’m home I NEED it. Ray immediately broke the pumpkin cider cup, so I had to risk my white shirt to drink it.
B – One of our best decisions. There was pumpkin cider, raspberry cider, elderberry cider, and dry pear cider. All were good, but the dry pear cider was definitely my favorite. I’ve been wanting it ever since.
R – I’m the only one who wasn’t wild about the cider flight. It was all pretty good, and surprisingly I didn’t hate the pumpkin cider. But I didn’t really have a favorite. I can take or leave a cider.

IMG_4760Florida Orange Groves Key Limen Wine
A – Too sweet, but not terrible.
B – Good. Sweet.
R – I thought this tasted exactly like what key lime wine should taste like. It was pretty good, but I don’t know if I’d drink a bottle of it.

Assorted Pastries from Les Halles Boulangerie-Patisserie
A – The last time Ray and I went to Epcot we skipped France and I have no idea why. I wanted to make sure we experienced it this time. I walked into the bakery expecting to get a macaron, but realized I needed chocolate and ended up getting a chocolate croissant. It was delicious and it saved my life. Even though this list is super long and looks like we gorged ourselves all day, we actually only had a small bite or two of each item. Well, I ate almost this whole croissant and it was exactly what I needed.
B – I ordered a beignet with chocolate hazelnut spread inside. It was delicious. I almost wished the Nutella-like stuff wasn’t in it, because the actual beignet was so good. This bakery stop was also one of our best decisions. Absolutely everything sold here looked wonderful.
R – I got a chocolate mousse with crunchies on top. This was so good. It was a great break to get out of the sun for a little bit and I think the sugar helped get me going and ready to brave the crowds again.

Riesling Flight
A – Good. Tiny.
B – Really good. Glad we got this.
R – Rieslings are pretty good. But I like lots of wines.

Kalua pork slider with Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise
A – Ooooooh! This was good.
B – I really liked this and would absolutely get it again. The pork was flavorful and moist, pineapple chutney was good (but really it was just crushed up pineapple), and mine had a lot of the spicy mayo on it. This is in my top 5 fave foods we had.
R –   I think I was the least impressed by this. I didn’t get any of the spicey  mayo in my bites and I wish I had. The pork was pretty good. I’d probably try this again, but it wasn’t life changing.

Tuna Poke with Seaweed Salad and Lotus Root Chips
A – Surprisingly fresh with a great texture. Definitely get this if you’re a sushi person.
B – Nice and fresh. Not bad at all, but I wouldn’t get it again. We’d just watched the Top Chef season 2 finale, which was in Hawaii, and they talked about tuna poke for like an entire episode. So it was fun to try it.
R – This was surprisingly fresh and good. It is raw tuna though, and early in the day I could only have so much of that. It was also very salty. Not too salty, but it did seem pretty salty.

Pineapple Wine
A – Gross
B – Not into it.
R – I didn’t hate it. It really just tasted like pineapple wine. It was sweet.

Mai Tai  
A – Ugh. I just can’t get behind pineapple juice.
B – Bad.
R –  I’ve really been into Mai tais this summer… This is one of the worst I’ve had. Save your $7 and I’ll make you a great one.

Ireland:IMG_4959Lobster and Seafood Fisherman’s Pie
A – I only had the tiniest bite, but I didn’t love it. The mashed potato topping tasted fake!! I just don’t care about non-sweet pies! 
B – I also only had a tiny bite. It was fine. I’m never into mashed potatoes as a top crust.
R – This was really good, but it was hotter than lava. I burned my tongue pretty bad on it. But the taste was pretty good. It was like a shepherd’s pie with a seafood bisque under the potato. I enjoyed it.

IMG_4763Bunratty Meade Honey Wine
A – Best drink of the festival!!! Two thumbs up!
B – This was good. I thought I would hate it, because I hate fake honey flavor, but I didn’t!!!
R – I loved this. I’m going to have to find some of this for me.

Spicy Hand Roll: Tuna + Salmon with Kazan Volcano Sauce
A – A good roll and a good size. Honestly, you could probably get something comparable at a nice sushi restaurant anywhere… but I’d still probably get it again.
B – Just a good sushi roll. The volcano sauce was good and spicy.
R – missed out on this one

Mexico:IMG_4767Blood Orange Margaritas at La Cava del Tequila
A – I only got water while in Mexico, but I’ve had this margarita before. It’s pretty good, but not worth the line wait. It’s best to get to this bar when they open (12:00pm) because the crowd can get pretty wild.
B – Ehh, I was disappointed. It wasn’t a bad margarita, but it was expensive and a very long, slow line. I will say that it was stronger than it tasted, though.
R – See, this is a little expensive, and if you don’t go there and wait for them to open you have to stand in a line for 30min+ but it’s the best bang for your buck. They don’t skimp here. The two margaritas I’ve tried (blood orange and avocado) have been great!

Kefta Pocket
A – I think I had a bite of this, but I don’t remember. So, I guess it wasn’t memorable?
B – This was basically a meatball in a pita. A little dry, but good.
R – This was a pita type thing with a meatball in it. Here is the problem I have with any gyro or pita type sandwich… they have a ton of lettuce at the top/opening and then the meet is at the bottom. It’s hard to get a good bite of everything. Everything in it was pretty good, but I don’t know if i’d visit this dish again

Harissa Chicken Roll
A – On the real, this tasted like a southwest egg roll and I loved it. I could have eaten the whole thing in one bite! Unfortunately, it was about the size of my index finger and all 3 of us wanted a try.
B – The second I read this description, I knew I needed it and would love it. And I was correct. This chicken roll was delicious! I have no idea why we only got one.
R – I only had a bite of this, but it was good and spicy, like spices and spicy. I liked it a lot. I would have skipped pita meatball for this again.

A – Ray drank it all!!!
B – Good?
R – Typical sangria, but it was nice and refreshing since it was pretty hot.

Patagonia:IMG_4958Beef Empanada
A – This was good, but I would skip it next time. This empanada can be found at any semi-ethnic restaurant. I don’t think we finished it.
B – Just your typical empanada. Good, but no need to get it again.
R – I like an empanada and hoped this would be the empanada to end all empanadas… but it wasn’t. It was fine, but i’d skip it if given the oppertunity again

IMG_4956Grilled Beef Skewer with Chimichurri Sauce
A – I only had one tiny bite. I loved the chimichurri sauce, but the meat wasn’t my favorite.
B – This was pretty good. I kinda wish I had gotten my own. The chimichurri sauce was real good.
R – The meat is a little tough, but still good and the sauce was amazing. I’d say this is worth a try, just know and be prepared for the meat to not be super tender.

Refreshment Port:
IMG_4761Croissant Doughnut
A – A+!! This isn’t exclusive to the Food and Wine Festival. You can purchase a cronut any old day at Epcot… and you should!
B – Guys. This cronut is just to DIE for. It’s one of the most delicious things I’ve eaten in my life. We got three in total… and like, they’re pretty big.
R – These are okay. I mean they aren’t exclusive to food and wine and you can get them at other places. I haven’t had a ton of cronuts but I’d assume this one was about as good as any

IMG_4762Dole Whip Soft Serve with Coconut Rum
A – Dole Whip is always good, but especially with rum.
B – I only had a tiny taste of this, but it was really good. I was kinda over the taste of pineapple by the time we got this, but normally I would’ve been super into it.
R – Dole whip is awesome. Rum is awesome. I do wish it had been just normal rum or spiced rum with the dole whip though

Scotland:IMG_4755Fresh Potato Pancake with Smoked Salmon and Herb Sour Cream
A – This was something I was really looking forward to. It was good, but not great. The herb sour cream and the salmon went really well together, but the pancake was rubbery. Who wants a rubber pancake? NOT ME!!
B – I was disappointed in this number. I expected it to be awesome, but it was just kinda boring.
R – Herb sour cream is just a basic thing. The salmon seemed more raw than smoked. honestly I’ve thought this whole time that it was shaved raw salmon until i read the description just now to write this. So, for raw salmon it was good. For smoked salmon, I’m unimpressed because it tasted raw. The potato pancake was, unfortunately, forgettable to me.

IMG_4756Seared Sea Scallop with Spinach-Cheddar Gratin and Crispy Bacon
A – My favorite dish of the day! Every element to this dish is fantastic! DO NOT SKIP! Also, maybe get your own. Splitting one scallop three ways is just kind of sad. All I can think about is how to recreate this dish.
B – This was my number one food (besides that cronut). If for some awful reason you can only get one food at the Food and Wine Fest, this is the one you need. I’ve been dreaming about it for days.
R – Spinach cheddar gratin was okay. the scallop was great though. I think this is the first time I’ve had a real scallop though, so my thoughts on scallops have changed severely

IMG_4757Whiskey-soaked Cake with Lemon Cream and Toasted Oats
A – This was really good without being overly sweet. Kind of tiny for 3 people to get a really good taste.
B – Oh, this was really good too. It had like a raspberry sauce on the bottom and was a pretty generous portion. I would get it again.
R – I don’t remember anything about this.

IMG_4758Scotch Flight
A – Eh, I’m not a scotch girl.
B – Poison!!!! I’ve never hated three liquors more.
R – Okay, i would just buy the 18 year instead of the flight here. Unless you’ve never had the pleasure of tasting the difference between several different years of scotch. it can be pretty fun. I like scotch though.

Sustainable Chew:
IMG_4957Pork Spareribs with Red Wine, Fennel, and Cheesy Mascarpone Grits
A – I  DIDN’T GET ANY!!!! Ray ate it all!! :(
B – I didn’t get to try this, sadly. See my saga below.
R – I got these and the panna cotta’s and then waited around forever for the two girls. (see Brie’s saga below) I was trying to save some of it for everyone to try, but time was just ticking away and grits are only good for so long. So, I ate all of this myself. Even after waiting a long while, everything was delicious. This was an afterthought, i only went to the sustainable chew to get these panna cotta things, and ended up seeing this and deciding i would try it. Guys, it was good. i know this isn’t one of the countries, but don’t pass this up.

IMG_4954Vanilla Panna Cotta with Figs and Pistachio Brittle
A – SO DISAPPOINTING!!! This sounded so delicious, but the texture was just totally off. I was waiting in anticipation to try it and couldn’t even finish two bites. The geletin and panna cotta mixed into a weird curdled-like texture. The “brittle” was just chopped pistachios. It was so bad!! See Brie’s sad saga below.
B – Whew, guys. I was CERTAIN that this would be my number one dish. I was sure of it. I love figs and pistachios and vanilla, so how it could it not be to die for? In fact, Allison and I needed it (and another cronut… Shhhh!) so badly that we had to ignore painful blisters and a bathroom emergency to get it!!! We’d gone through the entire World Showcase and realized we hadn’t been to the Sustainable Chew. We found it on the map, and it wasn’t far from where we were (or from the cronut place, which we’d already decided we had to go back to). There was a ride in a different area of the park that we wanted to go on again before it closed, so the three of us divided and conquered to be as quick as possible. I went to get cronuts, they went to find the panna cotta and spareribs and a bathroom. I was suffering from two gigantic blisters on the bottoms of my feet, so walking was painful. That blood orange margarita had also kicked in, and we’d just finished that hard cider flight and key lime wine. So… I was a little fuzzy. Basically, we all got separated and couldn’t find each other for a very long time. We were finally all back together with the cronuts and panna cotta (Ray had eaten the spareribs and cheesy grits), too late to go on The Land, but worth it because we had the cronuts and panna cotta. Except it wasn’t really worth it, because the panna cotta was awful. Too gelatinous and separated, a weird taste… just really not good at all. Granted, we ate it like 30 minutes after it was ordered. Still, my biggest disappointment of the day.
R -After waiting an hour, I didn’t think this would be very good. Who knows if it would have been good fresh… it was mostly a texture issue.

And that was our day!
Things to know:
– Going to Food and Wine with 3-5 is great because you can split the food, try lots of different things, and not spend $200.
– Most of the food portions are pretty small, but this is how you’re able to buy delicious filet mignon for $7.
– The drink portions are also really small, but they don’t skimp on the alcohol!
– The lines can get really long, but in our experience they moved quickly (except Japan, those slow pokes).

Have you been to Food and Wine? What was your favorite dish? What looks best to you?

October 2015 Favorites

October has flown by! We’ve had plans every weekend of October and it looks like it will stay that way through November and December. Here are a few of my favorites from October:
1 2
– Apple Cider – It’s apple cider season and I couldn’t be happier about it. My inlaws just brought us some apple cider from their recent trip to North Carolina. I can’t wait to try it!
– Popcorn (with a few reese’s pieces on top) – We watched the first hour of Scream this month, and I had to have popcorn. We don’t have a microwave, and sometimes cleaning the popcorn maker seems like torture, so we usually buy jiffy pop (a la Scream).
– Pears – It’s pear season and I can’t get enough of them!
– Not Your Mother’s Clean Freak dry shampoo – Historically, I’ve had bad luck with dry shampoo. This is my first time trying Not Your Mother’s and so far, so good!
– Sally Hansen’s Diamond basecoat – I finally bought another one of these a few weeks ago. For the past several months I’ve been using up basecoats that I don’t really love and don’t really work well. I’m finally back to my tried and true!
– Size Matters by Essie – A fall essential!
– Peppermint Essential Oil – I’ve had a few headaches this month and I’ve used peppermint oil on the back of my neck and my temples to aid in alleviating pain. Ray has also used it under his nose to help with his nighttime stuffiness.
– Lemon Essential Oil – I’ve been using lemon oil to clean and to freshen my sink. Not to mention, it smells amazing!
*Not Pictured*
– My birthday – I turned 30 in October. 3-0. Thanks to all my friends and family who celebrated with me!
– Epcot’s Food and Wine Festival – I don’t want to say too much, as full post on the festival is coming Wednesday. Just know it was awesome and I loved it!
Scream Queens – Guys… just trust me. Best new show of the season!

“What fresh hell is this?”

Birthday Epcot Trip

epcotIMG_4596Last Saturday Ray, Brie, and I woke up obnoxiously early to drive down to Orlando and enjoy Epcot’s Food and Wine festival. We checked into our Hotel by 8:00am and made it to the park by 9am at opening. We rode rides in the morning, and enjoyed lots of delicious food and drinks in the afternoon. Here are a few snapshots from the day!IMG_4747IMG_4739IMG_4741IMG_4621IMG_4748IMG_4740IMG_4688It was such a great trip! I love Epcot! In the next few day we’ll be posting a full review of all the food and drinks we tried- so be on the lookout for that!

3 things I need for being 30

In 3 days I will be 30. The big 3-0!! I’m a little sad because I don’t want wrinkles, but I’m mostly happy to be older and wiser. Here are 3 items I need to purchase for my 30 year old self and why:
(there are far too many 3’s in the post. sorry, kind of)qooden watch 1. Jord Cora Koa & Rose Gold watch – On the real, I haven’t worn a watch consistently since I was working at summer camps. My summer camp watches were plastic, costs around $10, and were usually broken by the end of the summer. I think it’s time, being an almost-thirty-year-old lady, to have a nice watch. I love the rose gold + wood combo. As my wedding band is also made of wood, I think it they’ll look nice together. black-and-white-polka-dot-twin-sheets-1024x3642. 600 thread count polka dot sheets – Good soft sheets are important, and not just once you reach 30. I believe every adult should have at least one pair of good sheets. I love these because polka dots are (still) my jam!raw opal 3. Raw Opal Ring – Can I tell you a sort of sad story? When Ray I got engaged he gave me a vintage opal ring. I love it with all my heart. The opal was a little “dusty” which made it unique. Then one day, a few years ago, the opal fell out and was gone forever. Ray had the stone replaced, but the ring just wasn’t the same. Even though that special ring is no longer the same, it made me fall in love with opals. Also, apparently it’s my birthstone!! I’ve had my eye on these raw opal rings for a while! Aren’t they fun?

Well, that’s it. I’m sure there are more things I need like anti-aging cream and orthopedic shoes, but maybe those can wait a few more years. We’ll see…