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In Foodie Files, Places To Eat, Travel on
October 15, 2014

Universal Studios, Day 2 – Florida

After spending a day at Disney and the day before that at Universal – it’s fair to say that Jazmine and I were beat. But we had two day passes to Universal and there was no way were going to let our last day of vacation go to waste.
 
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We woke up late (again) and rushed to make the shuttle bus. When we got to Universal, we knew right away that there was no way we could do another full day of walking around.

 

It was a Monday and I thought that since it was a week day the park would be less crowded. Well – I was wrong. It was even busier than when we visited on Saturday.
 
We went back to try and get on the new Harry Potter ride, but the wait time was about 3 hours. #NotAboutThatLife. There was no way I could stand on my feet for three hours for a ride. So we took it easy. We rode everything with a short line and revisited a lot of our favorites from our Saturday visit.
 
At one point we were walking around trying to figure out what to go to next and we passed a sign for the Horror Make Up Show. Our feet were tired and we said why not.
 
Let me tell you. This was one of the best.decisions.ever. Not only did I give my poor little feet a rest, but the show was hilarious! I didn’t bring my camera, so excuse the picture quality.
 
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I didn’t take too many pictures because I was getting glances from the other attendants, but it was so much fun. The hosts were hilarious. They showed us how a lot of the make up for many of the old horror films were made, how to make fake blood, and they gave me a ton of great Halloween ideas for the future. There was audience participation and it looked like so much fun I even considered seeing the show again so that she could pick me to come up on stage.
 
If you have the time – you should definitely stop to see this show. It was about an hour long, so it didn’t take too much out of the day. But it was an hour well spent.
 
We wandered through the park some more.
 
I found my future husband on the way!
 
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“Your love is one in a minion – it goes on, and on, and on.”
 
We shared a quick kiss before Jaz and I set off again – this time in search for lunch. We were ready to grub.
 
I didn’t write anything about lunch on our first day at Universal – that’s because the food we had was terrible. It was a quick service burger place and it was so busy. I’ll just attribute the bad food to that. Our expectations were really low for food at this point and we even considered leaving the park to go to Emril’s, which was located at City Walk right before the park entrance.
 
But we walked past a restaurant called Mythos on the Island of Adventure side and the wait time wasn’t long so we decided on that instead.
 
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Being in the restaurant felt like being inside of a coral reef.

 

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I ordered a Pina Colada to start.

 

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And we munched on some rosemary bread rolls. So. Delicious.

 

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I was trying to decided between ordering fish tacos and the Mythos burger as my entree. I’d already had a bad experience ordering burgers at Universal and I was skeptical – but my waiter Eric said that the Mythos burger was one of the most requested dishes, and it was his favorite. 
 
So the foodie in my said why not, and that just what I got.

 

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My burger came out and I was pleased, but underwhelmed by the fries. 
 
Eric fixed that right away and brought me fresh plate of piping hot parmesan fries.
 

 

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Are you drooling yet?
 
No?

 

How about now?

 

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Here’s the foodie break down: it was topped with a braised pulled pork, jalapeño jack cheese, a creamy cole slaw, tabasco onions, and smoked chili barbecue glaze. 
 
When I first read it, I was like “Ew, that sounds like too much.” I couldn’t figure out if the burger was going to be spicy or sweet. It was literally both. Sweet with a kick afterwards that makes you think twice. But not too spicy that you need to sip on some water in between bites.

 

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The burger was sooo delicious. Universal redeemed itself. Jazmine got the same thing and we were both oohing and ahh-ing throughout the entire meal. 
 
The perfect burger.
 
I’m drooling now.
 
The meal was so much better than the quick service crap we had on the first day and it was literally the same exact price, with the exception of a few extra dollars for tip!!! A great meal without having to cry as you pull out your wallet. 
 
The whole vibe of the restaurant was really cool. Our waiter was so nice. He was so willing to talk me through the menu items I wanted to choose from, and he didn’t rush me at all. He told us that he’d been working there for 8 years – so at this point he pretty much knew the menu by heart. Ask to sit in his section if he’s there when you stop by for a visit! 
 
After lunch it was back to our explorations. Mostly just more of the same rides we had already ridden.
 
Before the end of the day approached – we wanted to try the new Harry Potter Gringott’s ride one last time.
 
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To the Hogwarts Express!

 

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Our view of Hogwarts as we were leaving.
 
The main line was a 2 hour wait and we had exactly 2 hours before our shuttle bus came to pick us up. We were cutting it a little too close. So we hopped in the single riders line and waited for an hour and a half.
 
When we got on, I was filled with so much anticipation… Only to be severely disappointed. The ride had no action. No crazy drops, nothing. It was mostly graphics on the screen.
 
Some people loved it… but those some people were definitely not me (or Jazmine either… she hated it too.) I just feel like if I want to watch Harry Potter on a screen I would’ve watched the movie from my hotel room. I wanted action, drops, crazy things to pop out at me. 
 
Sadly our last hour and a half was wasted. Save your time when you visit – The Harry Potter Forbidden Journey ride is much, much better. Just go on it twice and pretend like you went to the Gringott’s one.
 
Finally, our time at Universal Studios had come to an end. And so did our vacation. It was almost time to get back to the real world. We raced across the park to make our shuttle bus on time.
 
 
One last quick stop! For all the haters and doubters out there….
 
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YES – I was tall enough to get on the rides.
 
In Boston, Foodie Files, Places To Eat on
July 31, 2014

Row 34, Boston

Family dinners are my favorite, especially when we go out to eat. We recently tried this place in the Seaport District called Row 34.
 

Our table wasn’t ready when we arrived, so we walked around for a bit. And I got to play tourist.
 

 

Despite having grown up around Boston, I’ve never really experienced the city. So this summer I’ve been taking every chance I can to play tourist. 
 

 

 
Recreate this look:
It didn’t take too long for us to be called back to the restaurant. As starving as we were, we hurried back as fast as we could.
 

 

The best way that I can describe being in Row 34 would be like being in a modern warehouse turned diner .
 
The decor and everything definitely had a modern feel. Sleek lines, lots of black, white, and grays.
 
 
But the kitchen was similar to a diner set up. The chef called out orders to the staff in the kitchen and passed them through just like the would if you were at a old school diner.

 

 

The coasters had cute little sayings on them.
 
We were seated right next to the wine fridge, so we got to check out all the labels before making our selections.
 
We sipped on some dranks and put in an appetizer of calamari (our family’s usual go to appetizer) and fried oysters.
 
My mom didn’t like the first beer she ordered. They were kind enough to let her sample some other flavors before she ordered another. 
 
BTW, they brew their own beers… Momma was craving a Sam Adams Summer and was so disappointed that they didn’t have it – but she forgot all about it by the time her second beer selection rolled around.

 

 Fried calamari, before it was devoured. 
 
Fried oysters, on a bed of french fries. 
This plate literally didn’t last two minutes at the table before it was gone.
 
 
We checked out the menus, but somehow we all ended up ordering the same thing.
Lobster rolls.
 

 

 

Since we’d devoured our appetizers within minutes of them arriving. We sat around moping until the food arrived. Look at all those hungry faces…
 
We didn’t have to wait too long….
 
Before we were presented with this:

 

 

Ethel’s Creamy Lobster Roll 

 

 

Warm Buttered Lobster Roll
 
Like I said, we all ordered lobster rolls.
 
My Dad and I got the classic Ethel’s Lobster Roll, while my Mom and my sister Maya went with the warm buttered lobster roll. 
 
If I had to pick a favorite, I would hands down pick the warm buttered lobster roll. I had a bite of my Mom’s and was begging her to switch with me. 
She didn’t.
 
That’s okay. As you can tell, I still enjoyed mine.
 
 
When dinner was over we went straight to dessert. My parents skipped out, but Maya and I ordered a fried peach pie to split.
 
 It arrived very quickly and came with a vanilla cream sauce.
 
 It was piping hot when we cut it open. It even sizzled when I poured the cream sauce on top!
 
Just look at how delicious that looks.  
 
Don’t believe me?
 Here’s your proof: I practically licked my plate clean.
Overall, dinner at Row 34 was yummy and a lot of fun, but a bit pricey. They call themselves the “workingman’s oyster bar” but let’s just say that if my parent’s didn’t pay for dinner, I would not be able to afford it myself (especially as a poor college student).
 
Honestly, you can find a lobster roll combo that’s just as good somewhere else like in Faneuil Hall in downtown Boston for much, much cheaper. So don’t order that unless you’ve got some extra cash burning a hole in your pocket. They do offer a dish called the Shellfish Tower that has an assortment of seafood (oysters, clams, etc) for around 80 bucks. If you go with a group and split the check it could definitely be worth it.
 
Visit the Row 34 website here
Be sure to let me know if you go for a visit, and what you think!
 
 
In Boston, Foodie Files, Places To Eat on
July 14, 2014

Rox Diner, Newton

So after my Dad’s birthday party my cousins Marley and Rachel slept over. It was just like old times. We woke up the next morning afternoon so worn out; the house and kitchen was a mess and we were exhausted… so we did what any reasonable person would do: went out in search for food.
 

Originally, I wanted to go to McKenna’s to get some granola french toast. But I guess they were closed for the 4th of July holiday weekend.
 
My cousin Rachel mentioned something about Rox Diner and I was desperate to eat anywhere that wasn’t iHop, so off we went.
 
When Rachel mentioned Rox Diner, she said that it was always busy and there was always a line down the block. Obviously that’s a good thing – that means the food is good. But sometimes if a restaurant is busy you feel rushed through your meal so that they can serve everyone else that’s waiting.
 
 
Thank the Lord when we got there it wasn’t crowded. At this point I was starving and ready to eat leftover birthday cake right out of the pan.
 
The first thing that I can tell you about Rox Diner is that its small. Like really small. The entire restaurant probably seats about 35 people. When we got there a booth opened up and we sat down famished and ready to eat.
 
The place is really simple. The decor was super cute; I would definitely decorate my own kitchen with some of the stuff they had in there. The atmosphere was very laid back – which is perfect for a lazy sunday.
 
 
 
First we ordered drinks. Orange juice and lemonade for the girls, and a mimosa for me. Then we got to looking at the menu.
 
 
 
 
 
 
We spend Brunch chatting about the party and gossiping about our family. Rachel just graduated high school and is heading off to college in a few months so we grilled her about that.
 
It was so great to catch up with my girls. I wish my sister Maya could’ve joined us – the whole crew would’ve been together again. But she’s been busy working away at her fancy internship. She has her final presentation coming up so we’ll probably go out to celebrate at least once before we all go our seperate ways in September.
 
Our food was out quickly! Which was awesome because we was already starved.
 
I ordered an omelette with bacon, cheese, onions, tomatoes and spinach. The combo comes with home fries and a side of buttered toast. 
 
I wasn’t too crazy about the home fries. But the omelette was to die for. Cooked to perfection. I’m drooling just thinking of it now. 
 
Rachel ordered the same combo, but chose just bacon and cheese for her omelette.
 
We both got sides of french toast.
 
Marley got a scrambled eggs with cheese combo. Hers came with bacon, sausage, home fries, buttered toast and pancakes.
 
Marley’s pancakes tasted exactly how her Mom makes them. They were sooo good.
 
 
Finally we’d cleared our plates and were all talked out. We were in a food coma and decided it was time to head back home.
 
We spent the rest of Sunday lounging on the couch, watching True Blood and eating leftover party food.
 
The prefect end to a perfect weekend.
 
 
In Foodie Files, Places To Eat on
June 24, 2014

Carl’s – The Cheesesteak Guys, Waltham

My co-worker got me addicted to Carl’s last summer. Since then I haven’t been able to stop going back. 
 
 

I don’t work the weekend shift often… but when I do, we always get Carl’s.
 
Carl’s Steak Subs, also known as Carl’s – The Cheesesteak Guys is a small sub shop conveniently located very close to my job in Waltham. They serve quesadillas, burritos, and (the best) steak and cheese subs I have ever had. They also have salads, but they’re not worth your time – let’s just say you don’t go to The Cheesesteak Guys and order a salad…
 
My love for Carl’s The Cheesesteak Guys Steak and Cheese subs is unconditional and eternal. It’s better than the Philly Steak and Cheese that I had that one time I visited Philadelphia. Yes, I went there.
 
My co-workers and I called in to place our orders and ran out of the office to go pick it up. We all ordered small subs. 1 small sub = 2 meals
 
I always joke that if you can finish a small sub in one sitting, you must have a tapeworm or a large appetite because to me, it’s completely impossible.
 
I ordered a steak and cheese with hots (hot peppers) and grilled onions, with lettuce, tomato and mayo on the side. (TIP: I order my extras on the side so that it doesn’t make my bread soggy when I re-heat my second serving.)
 
 
The first bite is always the best bite.
 
HALF of my small sub is almost equal to the length of my forearm!
Not only is the sub big, but they pile it high with toppings. They don’t skimp on anything there!
 
My co-worker Katelyn ordered a steak and cheese with grilled peppers and onions.
 
 
She placed her hand next to the sub for scale, as you can see they give you huge portions.
I begged her to take a picture of her first bite – she finally agreed. You can tell she enjoyed the sub so much, she didn’t even pay attention to the camera.
 
Inside the shop!
These’s only two complaints that I have about Carl’s: there’s no parking and there’s no seating. They don’t deliver so you have to drive over to pick up – this is a two person job: one person should sit in the car while the other runs in to pick up the order. The inside is so small you can’t sit and eat… it’s really only standing room for 3-4 people at most. If it’s nice outside, they have a few table there where you can sit out.
 
Despite this… Carl’s is so worth it. 
 
 
They’re also pretty inexpensive as well. The small sub will run you just under $9 and the large for just about $10. For something that you can get more than one meal out of – that’s pretty good in my book.
 

Try it for yourself! You can find them on 55 Prospect Street in Waltham, MA. I would recommend checking out their menu here and calling in your order ahead of time. 

 
In Boston, Foodie Files, Life, Places To Eat, Style on
May 25, 2014

Brunchin’ – McKenna’s Cafe

Last Sunday, my little sister and I went out to brunch at one of my favorite little restaurants.
McKenna’s Cafe.

Sunday I woke up feeling awful. It was a terrible allergy day for me (Thank you, Pollen Vortex), but it was also a beautiful day out and my only day off for the week and I didn’t want to waste it indoors. So Maya and I hopped into my car and headed out to brunch and to run errands together.
I first heard about McKenna’s Cafe from my friend Marlene last year. I’d probably never heard of it before because it’s in Dorchester and at the time I hadn’t really ventured much outside of my little ol’ town. But now, I’ve got the whip (my blue Honda!) and I’m free like a bird to go where the wind take me, baby!
McKenna’s Cafe is about a 20 minute drive from my house, but we ran into some traffic on the way there. No problem for us – we used that time to have an Ariana Grande jam session.
We got there a little after 12:30pm. We ended up having to wait about 15-20 minutes to be seated, but we occupied our time chatting and admiring the place.
We we’re so exited to be seated! Especially after watching everyone else getting their food from the sidelines. Since we were sitting so close to another group I didn’t wanna whip out my big, chunky DSLR and make our table-neighbors feel uncomfortable, so I stuck to taking pics from my iPhone.
Maya says she loves this picture of me because I look like a chipmunk.
I don’t care if it’s called Brunch… Breakfast is my favorite meal of the day and I will eat it anytime, anywhere. So when we finally ate at 1pm, that’s just what we ordered.
Our mouths were watering when the food came. I had to fight with Maya to get these pictures because we were so staving and ready to dig in!
We both settled on the Sydney Special. I got mine with two eggs over medium, bacon, and buttered whole wheat toast.
Maya got hers with scrambled eggs with cheese, and an english muffin.
Maya also got a side of french toast!
Granola Crusted French Toast topped with fresh strawberries
This. Right. Here. = Perfection.
I have to shout out my waitress Sarah for recommending this to me. It’s regular french toast crusted with a blend granola and cereal. Crunchy on the outside and soft and fluffy on the inside.
I’m pretty sure I died and went to heaven.
At the end of it, we were STUFFED!
I wouldn’t recommend McKenna’s for a group larger than 4 people, because seating is really tight. If waiting around is not your thing or you don’t feel like dining in.. they also offer take-out as well!
If you live in the area, you can run and grab some and head home to lounge and stuff your face in the privacy of your own home. Or if it’s a nice day out and you want to make an afternoon of it, you can grab takeout and have a picnic in one of the nearby parks. McConnell Park and Savin Hill Park are both less than a 10 minute drive from the restaurant!
I snuck a picture of the chalk artwork right.
We left at the speed of snails because we were so full from our delicious meal. If we didn’t have errands to run, I’m sure we would’ve stuck around to explore the area some more, but we had responsibilities to attend to….
Like taking outfit of the day pictures. These shots were taken at my cousin Belony’s house when we stopped by for a quick visit.
Details for Maya’s Outfit
Shoes: Charlotte Russe
Jewelry: Forever 21
Shorts + Shirt: TJMAXX
Sunnies: Issac Mizrhi
Lipstick: Ruby Woo by Mac
Details for my outfit:
Top: H&M
Shorts: Old Navy
Tan Strappy Sandals: ShoeDazzle
Necklace: Old Navy
Sunnies: Target
Tote: JustFab
Want to recreate Maya’s look?
Want to recreate my look?
We were so exhausted by the end of the day! But we definitely had lots of fun running around and spending time together. We even made banana bread when we got home! I’m gonna miss my little sissy when she leaves for college, but I’m glad to have the chance to make these awesome memories with her this summer before she goes.
If you’re feeling like having breakfast or lunch or brunch any day of the week, head over to McKenna’s at 109 Savin Hill Ave Dorchester, Ma 02125. Or you can call them for takeout at (617)-825-8218. You won’t regret it!
Thanks for reading.
♥♥♥
 
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