Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The Wizarding World of Harry Potter (more vacation stuffs)

Yes, I am a Harry Potter fan... but not so much of a fan that I'm enraged that I did not get my Pottermore welcome email yet (I'm just a little bit disappointed). But all that aside, The Wizard World of Harry Potter was ridiculously amazing. When I first heard that we would be visiting Islands of Adventure while in Florida, I knew that TWWoHP was the first place I wanted to visit...
What can I say about it? Words do little to describe the atmosphere. They played HP music as you walked through Hogsmeade, and Hogwarts Castle (which was a ride) was beautifully crafted... so much so that it only felt like we waited 30minutes (and not 1hour and 20minutes) to enjoy the ride. The Hogwarts express was very majestic, and I just wanted to hop on and have it take me away to wizarding school :P

What I found hilarious was how they revamped the old unicorn ride to make it the "Flight of the Hippogriff" and the Dueling Dragons ride was redesigned to be the "Dragon Challenge" between the Chinese Fireball and a Hungarian Horntail... oh Universal Studios, way to use existing rides to save money on having to build new Harry Potter themed ones.

One of the things I knew I had to try while at TWWoHP was the Butterbeer. I've come across so many recipes for it online that I really wanted to try the real thing before I ever attempted to make my own. I bought it at the Three Broomsticks, and chose the frozen one of the cold. It was amazing! Sort of like a slightly fizzy, caramel, ginger ale-y slushy with a creamy foam on top... the description makes it sound awful I know, but it was heavenly (and just typing about it is making me want one right now!)

And of course no trip to TWWoHP is complete without buying some sweets. I have terrible sweet-tooth and that coupled with my love for Harry Potter meant that of course I would have to buy a chocolate frog (even though they were $10!!!). I really bought it for the wizard card that was inside and then when I opened it and found Helga Hufflepuff I was rather disappointed and started eating the solid hunk of frog-shaped chocolate because I really wanted Godric Gryffindor. Somehow my sister convinced my dad to buy her one too... but she got Rowena Ravenclaw :( Anywho... I'll leave you to drool over pictures of sweets :P If I have time I'll probably finish up my vacation-related posts with some pictures of the cruise!!

Friday, August 26, 2011

Wow... it's been far too long.

I'm awful, I know... things have just been happening and I haven't had the time to bake or cook anything new as of late. It's just been the same old, same old stuff I've been whipping up... I guess that's the trouble with living on your own. The whole "loving to cook for others" drive just isn't there T^T. And no, it's not a pity party so don't feel bad for me :P Good things have been happening!

I recently returned from a 2 week trip to Florida, which included a cruise from Miami to Key West and then to Cozumel, and let me tell you... it was a BLAST!

Florida's weather was decent (and since my family had been there before, we knew what to expect) and by decent, I mean that it was the same as always... hot, humid and with the expected thunder-shower every afternoon. We spent one day park-hopping between the Magic Kingdom and Disney's Hollywood Studios... enjoyed the Tower of Terror (as always) and the Rocking Rollercoaster, and a lot of other great shows. Food was pretty much your standard theme-park grub, nothing out of this world except for this Banana pudding I bought from the Main Street Bakery... it was perfect. Not too sweet, not too dry or sticky and it had a nice crunchy crystallized sugar-layer on the top as well as powdered sugar.

Banana Bread-pudding

Chili-dog from Casey's Corner in Disney's Magic Kingdom

We rounded out the day by having dinner at Steak 'n Shake, because they're supposedly well known for their steak-burgers and milk-shakes. The burgers were okay (there's very little that can be done to a beef burger to make it "outstanding")... but their variety of milk-shake flavors was impressive. We tried the cookie dough milk-shake, which was more of a crushed-cookie shake... and didn't actually have real pieces of cookie dough (which disappointed me). But it tasted good, and had a nice consistency (not triple-thick like a McD's shake, but nice a smooth).

Cookie Dough Milk-shake

Mac & Cheese Pizza!? ... only in the US of A :P

I don't know if I (or anyone) could survive living off of the foods that are served in the touristy area of Florida... everything's so grande in size and everything is covered in cheese O_O.

The following day involved a lot of outlet shopping (and a lot of money spending), finished off with a "buffet" of pizza at Cici's. I don't recommend the buffet, as their "salad bar" looked more like a bowl of lettuce with 6 options for garnish and 3 options for dressing... and while their pizza is good, there's really only so much pizza you can eat before you feel gross. However, if you're just order a pizza then Cici's is pretty good.

The following day we visited The Wizarding World of Harry Potter!!! More to come...