I was in 7th grade when I started reading the series. I didn’t even really understand the book, I just remember the illustrating on the front of the book and how the boy with glasses was so weird looking. Yes, I am talking about my first experience with the Harry Potter series. I like to say my older sister and I are big fans of the books but Kylie our younger sister was the one there in line at 6 p.m. for the midnight showings of all the movies, the one who reread all of them at least three times and the one that got to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter first. Kara and I are fans but not like Kylie, she will brave any line to get to Harry like the line at the movies and the line at the park during spring break (If that’s not dedication then I don’t know what is). As less diehard fans Kara and I waited until a random weekend in October, hoping for cooler weather and shorter lines.
We boarded our flight with real, paid for tickets. Yes, you heard correctly I bought my first tickets ever and got on a plane with no worries. I had to do it. I couldn’t risk not making it back to work. Now onto the fun part though, The Wizarding World of Harry Potter.
We were visiting my grandma as well so we flew into Fort Myers. We got up bright and early and drove the three hours to Orlando with hopes that we missed the lines. We were a little behind schedule so when we got to the parking lot and saw all the people we literally ran through Adventure Island ignoring the awkward stares because children are not running and we being adults were; then we were there. It was 80 degrees and since we were running I had started to sweat but when I walked into Hogsmeade I was tingling as if I was actually there in winter like they had it set up. The best way to describe the feeling for me is Christmas morning when you are a child, times a million.
They have the music playing and the buildings are so incredible. We immediately went to the ride in the castle, which was brilliant. Little tip- wait in the regualar long line at least once , you spend part of your wait in the castle where you see a bunch of the rooms and halls set up but if you want to go on the ride again go in the single line. The wait is maybe 15 minutes versus the hour and half for the other line. We did that after having butter beer and pumpkin juice, something I don’t suggest. We both felt a little queasy. On that same note make sure you don’t miss the butter beer. The butter beer and pumpkin juice are DELICIOUS! The beer tastes like cream soda with a sweet creamy foam on top and the pumpkin juice reminded me of apple cider with an extra sweet/spiced flavor, so fresh and light.
It took everything in me to not get a wand; I was completely caught up in the magical world. Kara brought me back down to the real world and pointed out that I would never have a use for this but still, it’s a WAND. My favorite part was when they were ushering people through lines shouting “muggles this way, muggles stay in line.” This is the only way I am okay with someone calling me a muggle.
I may not have gotten my wand but I did get a chocolate frog; a pretty good substitution if you ask me, it came with a wizarding card! I’m an official collector now. Don’t worry- I ate him before he used his one good jump!
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Lets just say a couple of muggles were allowed into Hogsmeade!
Can you imagine a world where you can eat fried cookie dough and wash it down with fried kool aid? Or fried butter and fried autumn pie are options for dessert? Well brace yourself because this world exists. What I have just described is the Texas State Fair. I am used to going to many a fairs in my day being that I was in … cough… 4-H… cough. So I’ve tasted the typical fried foods such as the elephant ear and the even crazy out there fried pickle, but the Texas State Fair leaves little to the fried food imagination.
First thing to say about this fair is it is such a big deal that my company let us out early to attend. Gitty with excitement I packed up early and headed to the fair. We walked into the fair and it seemed pretty typical with rides but it was bigger and better. It wasn’t the normal dirt ground, horse barn fair I’m familiar with, the grounds were cement with cool buildings that had tile murals on them. You can’t go in without noticing the infamous Big Tex. Kinda creepy and you may start to get weary of this fair but then you’ll see the Fletchers stand where you can find legendary corn dogs and any fear you have will melt away. The corn dog is sweet and savory all in one bite. Add some zing from the mustard, a must in my opinion, and you’ve reached perfection! At this point you’ve been swept off your feet to fairy fried food land.
After walking through the park, reading a few of the menus I felt as if I should be walking around sipping on a cup of pepto-bismol. We tried fried Oreo, snickers and cookie dough. The Oreos were very light if you can believe it; these were my favorite of those three. We also had deep fried Frito pie and buffalo chicken in a flapjack, the winner of the best taste award and the minute you take a bite of it you know why. They start with a strip of buffalo chicken, coat with flapjack batter, roll in jalapeño bread crumbs, fry and serve on a skewer with syrup as a dipping sauce. Seriously amazing spicy, sweet and juicy all at the same time. This is reason enough to go to the state fair but then we found the greatest thing yet, fried butter. When I was paying for my fried butter I felt Julia Child smiling down upon me. Half the reason to buy fried butter is to figure out what the heck it is. After trying it, my assumption is that it is a frozen cube of butter dipped in batter then deep-fried. You have the choices of savory garlic powder or sugar and cinnamon; I chose the sweet one. You bite in and it is doughy, then pure rich savoryness of the butter. You have to be careful though because sometimes you can get a bigger chunk of butter and when my sister took a bite melted butter poured out all over her face. But mine tasted exactly how fried butter should.
So I guess things are bigger in Texas and dare I say better?
Photos courtesy of John Tagle
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I’m leaving you with one thought to build the suspense about the next post…Fried Butter!
It’s fall which means pumpkin season has arrived. By now I expect everyone has had more than a few pumpkin spice lattés and if you are like me you are on the pumpkin prowl. Anything that has pumpkin in the title, recipe, or looks orange I’m making or trying. I love and adore pumpkins. I have to get my pumpkin fix around this time of year. I was sitting around looking for recipes thinking to myself what is something I’ve never made with pumpkins? Then I remembered this very traumatic incident that happened when I was at breakfast a couple years ago in New York. My sister, friend Sam and myself were at an adorable tiny breakfast place in Greenwich Village (I can’t remember the name; I’ll tweet it if I remember). I am skimming the menu and see that they have pumpkin whoopie pies. It took everything in me not to whoop with joy but I kept it to myself. If it hadn’t been breakfast I was ordering which is without a doubt my most favorite meal of the day I would have skipped ahead and order the dessert first but I waited. Tip for the day; if you know you will be actually upset if you don’t get to try something at a restaurant order it right away to avoid them selling out.
I almost ruined breakfast for myself by being so excited for that whoopie pie. Any who, I’m guessing you have figured out where this story is heading by now; yes they ran out. I was devastated, no that is an understatement this was a catastrophe. Did I forget to mention I’m a bit dramatic sometimes? I must have suppressed the horror from my memory because I haven’t really thought about it for a while till last week when I found the most perfect beyond perfect pumpkin whoopie pie recipe.
This was my first time making whoopie pie but it was a piece of cake, pun intended. It was a simple batter and filling recipe. I bought the whoopie pie pans but it is not necessary, you can easily just form a ball on a baking sheet. But keep in mind the way it looks on the sheet is how it will look once it is baked so make sure to smooth it out on top if you want a clean look. You bake them for 12 minutes than let them cool and frost. Staying with tradition you must have enough frosting that it is visible between the two cakes but not oozing out when you bite in. I am not joking when I say this is the best dessert recipe I have ever made. The cakes are so moist and the frosting literally tastes like clouds. Try this recipe now and then make it for Thanksgiving and maybe even once more in between! Seriously they are that good!
Whoopie pie was given their name back in the day when Amish women would make them for their husbands’ and childrens’ lunches. When they would find these treats in their lunches they would shout out “Whoopie.” So don’t be shy bite in and let everyone hear you shout. Go ahead and try not to but these are just too good to keep quiet!
Pumpkin Whoopie Pie and filling recipe
Photo’s by John Tagle
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One of the perks of having flying benefits as a pilots daughter is being able to fly anywhere in America for free. Like you’ve read in previous post it does have its flaws but this one time it didn’t have any. I’ve always wanted to fly somewhere just to have dinner like you see in the movies and this August I was able to do just that. I flew into Washington DC to have my “fly in for dinner trip” and it wasn’t for just any dinner but dinner for restaurant week !
My benefits have always been great but recently when one of my best friends became a flight attendant they got better. So we were both able to finally fly somewhere just for dinner and to us there is no greater reason to fly anywhere. We luckily had a good friend who we’ve really wanted to visit in DC so we tossed the idea around with him and the pieces fell into place.
Now when Becky and I go on our trips we like to forget that we are college grads with college grad salaries, which is actually a negative income, but anyways we like to go big. I guess it was a good thing then that this trip was only a dinner trip. We enjoyed a lovely happy hour at the P.O.V Roof Terrace of the W Hotel, which is Obama’s neighbor. As we sipped on our drinks we enjoyed views of the White House, Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and more. Here I enjoyed one of my favorite cocktails a dirty martini with a splash of bloody Mary mix. They didn’t have it on the menu but they didn’t’ have any problem making it so go ahead and ask for it if you ever go! Then we dined on a lovely fixed price meal at The Prime Rib. This included a Caesar salad, prime rib, mashed potatoes, creamed spinach and a dessert of creme brulee! The meal was everything we had wanted and more. We left full and satisfied Finished the night with champagne and was on the 9 a.m. flight out the next day. This is my version of dining and dashing.
-P.O.V. Roof Terrace Bar-
-The Prime Rib-
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