Thursday, July 10, 2014

Scratch Birthday Dinner

We celebrated my sister's birthday while we were in Orlando at Scratch, a tapas-style restaurant in Winter Park.  It is somewhat new (8 months old I believe).  We walked in just after 7 and had a short wait for one of the few tables.  We cozied up to the bar and stared at A.C. Slater while we sipped on some Cava.


Our server recommended two dishes per person. We still needed some time to think, but wanted to get started with a couple things. I guess "getting started" is the wrong term since they took forever to get to us.  First were the fries (not pictured)... perfectly crispy but soft in the middle.  But, they needed salt badly!  Then we dug into the salmon and tuna tartar duo.  The melt in your mouth tartars were perfect with the crisp blue potato chips. 


We were running out of Cava, so we ordered  a bottle of the O.P.P. Pinot Noir.  Great choice!  This Willamette Valley wine was so yum.  As you can tell by my adjective mastery, I'm a master sommelier.


Our bubble soon burst again, tons of menu items were already 86'ed!  BOOO!  Three things we really wanted to order, the Broccoli & Cheddar, Short Rib and Roasted Figs were out due to their popularity.  Apparently they just started opening on Sundays and are trying to get the ordering down.  In our desperation we got the Bread & Butter.  Four tiny pieces of bread with two huge pieces of butter.  One butter was roasted garlic and one was strawberry.  Good bread, yes.... good butter, yes.  But 4 little slices.  Booo!  They must have been running low? 


Then we had the Loup de Mer, a grilled sea bass with a beer blanc sauce.  It was flaky and flavorful with slightly crisp skin. The sauce was ahhhmazing!  I could drink the sauce.  I ate it so quickly I forgot to take a photo.

Next up was the highlight of the night, the Pork Belly Adobo.  The fattiness of the pork was perfect with the lime, fresh carrots and thinly shaved onion.  We were so happy that we ordered two of them!


The last thing we ordered was the Veal Breast Confit.  It could have been really great, but only parts of it were.  One bite was juicy and tender... another was dry and tough.  Luckily there was another slurpable sauce, Romesco, to cover up some of the dryness.


Our server brought over a complimentary dessert for my sis's bday, the Dark Chocolate Torte!  So glad that we could finish off an a high note!  It was decadent and chocolatey.  The sea salt really set it off.  But of course, we also had cake at home...shhh don't tell!


Our experience at Scratch was full of highs and lows.  But the highs were really high.  I would love to go back next time I'm in Orlando, and hopefully they would have worked out some of the kinks.  I think this restaurant has potential to be one of the best places to eat in O-town.


Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Flying Solo

I'm back from a great long weekend visiting my family in Orlando.  My sis flew in from Denver and I flew in from Toronto to see my mom and aunt for the long July 4th weekend.  It was the first time I had been away from Wyatt for more than one night, I sure missed my little munchie man!  But it sure was nice traveling without a baby.  When I arrived at the airport, I went to this cool little place. Apropos,  where you can order from iPads (and browse the web too).... but dang that was a pricey breakfast!


The burrito came out in about 10 minutes and man was it tiny!  It was more like a taco wrap than burrito.  Luckily it tasted delicious.  I was pleasantly surprised after my initial disappointment.




I had a layover in Chicago and walked by Garrett popcorn.  I could not pass up Chicago Mix!  I got a bag to go to share with the family.  It was SO hard not to dig into it during my flight.



But right before my flight left, hunger crept in and luckily there was a Jamba Juice.  I got my favorite smoothie, the Strawberry Surfrider.  I craved that smoothie constantly when I was preggo.



I had a task to do when I landed, make my sister's birthday cake.  She had a special request which I was more than happy to fulfill.  Yes, it's bad for you cake mix and frosting, but it's only once a year.  Plus, all my attempts to make cake from scratch were less than stellar... always so dry!



Then I expertly decorated with Reese's Pieces ;)



After cake decorating was shopping, I walked away with a few things from the Milennia Mall.  We were going to eat lunch at Panera, but I saw they had a Chick-fil-a and I NEEDED it!  It had been a loooong time since I indulged in this fast food awesomeness.  It was just as wonderful as I remembered.



What else do you eat after junk food?  Even more junk food!  It was cake time... and for the first time ever, my mom did not have candles!  Oh, except one, a cinnamon apple votive that my sister had to hold, haha.



We needed a nice walk after all that, so the next morning we walked almost 5 miles in the Florida heat, blech.  Of course the sis and I had to take a photo in front of our old high school.



That night we went to celebrate my sister's birthday at Scratch, a newer tapas-style restaurant in Winter Park.  Full review tomorrow!




Tuesday, June 24, 2014

14 Month Old Fun

There are lots of things that Wyatt likes to do... for about 10 minutes at a time. This kid sure has a short attention span, but I assume this is all normal?  I'm lucky to get the chance to be a stay at home mom, so we can discover lots of new things together.  One of his newer loves is fish.  Or as he says.... issssshhh!! When we make the trip to go to Vaughan Mills, I always make sure to go through Bass Pro Shops.  It's the best free aquarium around.



Something Wyatt does many times a day is go through his drawer.  We childproofed all the the other ones he could get to, and left this big bottom one open.  There are a bunch of random things in there, toys and (safe) kitchen tools he has highjacked from us.  The kid loves measuring cups!



He loves going for walks/runs in the stroller.  Yay!  He's usually very calm, except for the occasional yell of "BUS!".  I try to take our daily walk when the school busses go by so he can have some fun pointing them out.



After our almost daily tour of the neighborhood, we hit up the park.  We are so lucky to have one only 1 block away!  He gets right out of the stroller and starts throwing mulch.  I'm pretty sure the park will be missing all of it by the end of the summer.



He also started to have a desire to climb stairs.  Yikes!  We need to get a gate asap.



He finally started liking his stuffed animals!  One of his faves is Curious George.  Wyatt loves having his little buddy in the swing with him.



Wyatt loves to read!  As you can see is is already reading Spanish, what a genius.



He loves to look for birds, "buhds".  So glad we have a nice area for his high chair that he can stare outside and point them out.



Wyatt loves to be in the shopping cart... as long as its moving.  When I stop for too long, the screams begin.  I didn't know a person so tiny could be so loud.



Now that it's summer we can spend much more time outside!  He loves to run around with his bat...



.... and play in the sprinkler.



It's so fun seeing all the little things that make him happy.  Can't wait for all the new discoveries to come :)

Tuesday, June 17, 2014

Father's Day Feasting

I hope everyone had an awesome Father's Day!  We sure did...and had some amazing home cooked food in the process.  First up on the menu, Bacon Egg Boats.  When I was reading Tiff's blog, Love, Sweat & Beers, I knew I had to make it for the hubby for breakfast.  He is a bacon and egg lover for sure.


These babies did not disappoint!  It was a perfect ratio of all the ingredients.  I will be making these again soon.  The recipe was easy and delicious!



We ran some errands and hunger slowly crept back in.  It was a beautiful day out, so Jay grilled up some chicken for tacos.



We also made some homemade salsa and guacamole.  Oh, and you can't forget the cheese.  I love good ol cheddar.  I might be somewhat of a cheese addict.



The tacos hit the spot!  I wish there was better Mexican food near our house.  But Mexican restaurants in the Toronto suburbs are few and far between.



Between all these meals, Jay was hard at work, installing ceiling fans and fixing our glider (one of the arms snapped off, boo!).  It's what he told me he wanted to do for Father's day, I swear!  Jay and Wyatt also had plenty of fun together :)



Last but not least was our amazing dinner.  One of Jay's favorite foods is a nice steak.  Jay put a couple Ribeyes on the cast iron skillet and I sautéed some spinach for a side dish.  It was a great meal to cap off a great day... and I did not even have room for dessert.

Thursday, June 12, 2014

Bring on the Smoke

While Mom was visiting, I wanted to show her around some of the neighborhoods in Toronto.  While we were walking around The Beach, our tummies were rumbling.  It was perfect timing when we walked right by Hogtown Smoke...the smell beckoned us and we walked right in for lunch.  We got a perfect spot by the window so Wyatt could watch the cars go by.


We both wanted to devour the whole menu, but decided to order sandwiches since it would be "less food", ha!  While we were waiting for our meals, I eyed up the sauces on the table.  First their signature sauces, Hogmother (milder) and Father (spicier).  I personally didn't find that much of a difference in the heat level.  Both were tangy, well spiced, and a little sweet.  The father just being a little higher on the heat scale.



The two I didn't try were the Mango Habanero (way spicy!) and the Black & Blueberry (sweet).  I'll have to check those out next time!



Huge plates of food were coming our way, and I couldn't wait to take a bite.  My meal was the Brisket Sandwich. Their signature meat was served on a nice fluffy bun.  The 18-hour smoked brisket was smoky, succulent and fell apart as I was picking some for Wyatt.  My non-meat loving son (shocker I know!) even liked it.  One of the sides I chose were fries.  Look at that gigantic mound of fried taters!  My only wish was that the fries were crispier.



My other side was the chili.  It was a couple dollars more as an upgrade, but worth it!  It was pork and brisket chili goodness topped with cheese and sour cream.  The picture doesn't do it justice.



My mom got the Pulled Pork Sandwich with sweet potato fries and vinegar slaw.  The pork was tender and delicious.



After eating almost all my sandwich and maybe getting through 1/3 of my sides, I knew it was time to throw in the towel.  My stomach couldn't handle any more food!  Luckily we walked a couple miles afterwards. Maybe I burned off a few bites of chili?  I can't wait to bring the hubby to Hogtown Smoke, he sure loves his meat!

What is your favorite barbecue meal?