You Gonna Eat All That?

A fork in one hand, a pen in the other.

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Location: Virginia, United States

(Biscuit Girl)

Friday, November 30, 2007

Mexican Riviera Cruise: departure port - San Diego

By Jim (Biscuit Boy)
We flew out of National Airport Friday evening, getting a late start around 5:45. I still had the tail-end of a cold, but felt decent enough to travel. The flight out on Midwest Airlines was uneventful, and reasonably comfortable given that both of our flights were all business class seats. If I had a smidge more knee room I would have been happy, but it seemed like the seat pitch was the same as coach seats.

We arrived in San Diego around 9:15 PM local, or 12:15 Eastern time. Barbara had booked our room through Priceline, and we expected to get the crummiest room available. Wrong. Instead, they had upgraded us to a suite. Complimentary. So, in addition to the suite on the ship, and the comfortable airline seats, a suite in the hotel. Sweet. We dropped off our luggage, and immediately headed out to the Gaslamp for dinner.

Barbara had printed us a list of late-night restaurants in the area for dinner. We had decided to try the Spanish tapas place, but we couldn't find it. Instead, we went to Royal Thai Cuisine. When we walked by, I noticed the people eating outside had food that looked and smelled good, so after we couldn't find Café Sevilla, we walked back over there. Their drunken noodles were spicy and tasty, and Barbara's cashew chicken was good, nearly as good as our favorite place at home.

I think we finally got back to the hotel around 11 PM local time, and hit the bed. Or tried to. I started coughing, and wasn't able to lie down without breaking into coughing fits. Ick. Fortunately, we had the suite, so I went in the living room and laid half-propped up on the sofa while Barbara slept.

Saturday, I got up at 7 and headed up to a drugstore to get Nyquil and cough drops. I took a brief nap while Barbara got a massage and then we took the trolley up to the Seaport Village. After a late breakfast there, we walked along the San Diego boardwalk, past the USS Midway museum, the cruise ship terminal (Holland America's Ryndam and Oosterdam were in port), and then did some sightseeing riding the Trolley around. This is a sculpture on the boardwalk called "Osprey".

For dinner, we went out again in search of
Café Sevilla, and finally found it. We were seated immediately, and we had some tapas. The Spanish tortilla, an egg, potato, and asparagus tart, was excellent. Garlic shrimp and fried calamari were both very good.

After all that, I wanted some beef. We got the Beef Brocheta (Flat Iron Steak with Mushrooms and Onions). This was a beautiful presentation, with the skewer of beef hanging down from a wrought-iron rack brought to the table. Wow. It was excellent. We wolfed this down. Our waiter was surprised how quickly it disappeared, but it was just so good.

We crashed out early, and slept well.

Sunday morning I got up early. Barbara had told me about a fishing pier she had heard about behind the convention center, so I walked over it (lots of stairs bordered by birds of paradise plants) to the Embarcadero Park and Marina.
It was a beautiful morning for a walk, and I walked all the way around it, stopping to find out what was biting there at the pier (Pretty slow that morning, usually catch sand bass and mackerel). After that, I walked all the way up to the Seaport Village, then back down to the hotel.
I thought the fountain was pretty cool. Barbara and I got our luggage together and dropped it at the front desk, then took a cab up to Balboa Park. It's a very old park, with the land first set aside in 1868. We first went through the Japanese Friendship Garden (Bonsai and Koi Ponds) and then headed up to the Botanical Building, built in 1915 and one of the most photographed sites in the park. Inside they had a large exhibit of orchids which were spectacular in their variety and color. A smaller exhibit showed an assortment of chiles, including red ones, yellow ones, and black ones.
We didn't have time to do the art museum or the zoo this trip, but maybe next time. After some walking around, we finally caught a cab and headed back to get our bags and get on the ship. (Next post - Departure, Sea Day, and Cabo San Lucas)

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Wednesday, November 28, 2007

Daring Baker's November Challenge - potato bread

(by Biscuit Boy)
Barbara is out of commission right now due to a serious pinched nerve in her neck. I'll be posting for her on our vacation over the next couple of weeks, and hopefully she'll be back after that. In the meantime, here is a picture of her potato bread done as part of the Daring Baker's group.

She also made potato rolls as well. They weren't as photogenic as the bread, but they were just as tasty. We shared these with our friend Beth, who pronounced them delicious. It was also good toasted, and slathered with mustard for a ham sandwich.
For recipe and other information, check the Daring Bakers Blogroll.

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Wednesday, November 21, 2007

Hola Amigos!

Cabo San Lucas

We are back from our Mexican Riviera cruise on Dawn Princess and our ports of call (Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan and Puerto Vallarta). We had a great time, met some great people, ate a lot of food and drank a lot of beer. We're still in the process of getting pictures cropped and resized and ready to share by the end of the week. And of course there are food pictures including meals we had while in port at some local restaurants.

Check back in a few days to see the first installment of the cruise review and pictures. For now, here are a few pictures to hold you over.
El Arco - Cabo San Lucas.
This was the view from our cabin as we arrived in port.

The view of Mazatlan from El Faro Lighthouse

One of the many statues along the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta.
This one is called Neptune and Nereid.

Dawn Princess in Puerto Vallarta

Friday, November 09, 2007

And the winner is.....

Remember the vanilla bean give-away I wrote about 2 posts ago? Well Jaden announced the winners and guess who was among them? Your's truly! Schweet!

And to find this out on the day we leave for our cruise too. What a way to start a vacation. I think I scared Sophie when I found out. I let out a whoop forgetting that she was asleep at my feet. Poor girl jumped up and gave me a dirty look. A quick belly rub and the promise of a dog treat appeased the little princess.

I've promised Jaden that I'd post about all the yummy things I will make with my vanilla bean booty. So stay tuned.

Wednesday, November 07, 2007

Apple Pie

Another quick post before we leave on vacation. Somewhere on the pool deck of the Dawn Princess awaits a deck chair and a fru-fru drink with my name on it.

A few weeks ago the Egg Man had apples on his truck when he stopped by. I bought a couple of pounds with apple pie in mind. Jim loved it but I wasn't as thrilled. I only had golden delicious and I felt the pie was missing that bite you get when you use granny smiths. Regardless, after a week, it was all gone.

Apple Pie

6 or 7 large apples

1/2 cup sugar

1/4 tsp. nutmeg
1/2 tsp. cinnamon

2 tbsp. flour

4 tbsp. chilled butter, cut into small chunks

juice from 1/2 a lemon

2 Pie crusts (I use premade pie shells)

Preheat the oven to 350. Place a cookie sheet in the oven to heat.
Peel and slice the apples. Place in a large bowl with the sugar, nutmeg, cinnamon, flour, and lemon juice. Toss well to coat all the apples. Add the apple mixture to the pie crust. Place butter chunks all over the filling. Lay the top crust over the filling. Pinch both crusts together and cut off excess. Cut four slits into the crust to let the steam evaporate. Bake pie on the heated cookie sheet for 1 hour. Chill before serving.

Sunday, November 04, 2007

Free Vanilla Beans!

Yes, free...if you head over to Steamy Kitchen and enter the vanilla bean contest she's doing this month.

And who amongst us doesn't love the intoxicating smell of vanilla! I love putting a vanilla bean into a canister of sugar then using the sugar for cookies of cakes. Plus using the bean when making creme brulee (one of my favorite desserts) really pushes it into a whole new level of flavor goodness.

How do you use vanilla beans? That's what Jaden over at Steamy Kitchen wants to know when you enter her vanilla bean go.....what are you waiting for?

Saturday, November 03, 2007

Pork Tenderloin with Mushroom gravy

Yea, I know......I've been MIA again. But I'm back for a few quick posts before we head on vacation. Where, you ask? We're going on a cruise to the Mexican Riviera next week. AND I CAN'T WAIT!!!!

But back to the food. We fixed a pork tenderloin last week with some oven roasted potatoes. It was good, real good. I trimmed the tenderloin then cut a bunch of little slits in it. Next I slivered some garlic and put that into the slits. Then I rolled the whole thing in some crushed rosemary, salt and pepper and popped into the baking dish surrounded by the potatoes. I cooked it at 375 for about 40 -45 minutes (or until the potatoes were done). Along with the meal, a fresh homemade French Baguette. (sorry I didn't take pictures but will next time)

Dessert was apple pie. That's the next post.