Tag Archive | review

My love affair with Old Main Catering food

It seems that I have a foodie love affair with Old Main Catering. I have at least one blog post each year extolling the great food experiences. I have not had a mediocre experience yet. There is always different gourmet food being offered when OMC caters an event.

Over the summer, I attended several events that Old Main catered and I had to share pictures of my favorites from these events.

In the collage, here are the standouts.

Top left – Teriyaki wings. The flavor was tangy and a little sweet. These were probably the best teriyaki wings I have tasted. Most the time teriyaki can be too sweet and overly salty. With OMC, the balance of savory and sweet left my taste buds wanting more. It was messy to eat, but no one was complaining because it was so delicious.

Bottom left – Fruit water. I liked the presentation and the bright colors of the fruit. Who needs soda when you can have something that is so much more refreshing! Plus, I felt healthy drinking it.

Middle – Banana cream tarts. I have to dissect the dessert for you to fully understand how awesomely good this was. The pie shell was thick, buttery, sweet, flakey, and crumbled in your mouth. It was the perfect pie crust. The banana cream was thick, not too sweet, and had bits of banana in it. The whipped cream on top tasted like REAL whipped heavy cream with a hint of vanilla. And the caramel drizzle was super sweet but there was just enough to compliment all the other flavors without overpowering them. This is what dreams are made of. Sigh….

Top right – Smoked salmon tart. The same pie shell crust for this is as what was used in the banana cream tarts. In this instance, the sweetness of the crust seemed to be intensified in comparison to the savory smoked salmon quiche filling. I was not sure if I would like this because I never had smoked salmon in this way before. Although hesitant, I still tried it because I believe you cannot say you don’t like something if you have not tried it. In this case, I loved it! I ended my dinner by eating two of these tarts. The herbs and smoked salmon came together well.

Bottom right – Tiny apple pie. It was cute and delicious. Wonderful combination! I like bite size confections with hints of spice and fruit and flaky crust.

Bottom right – Key lime pie in chocolate shell. I have mentioned the key lime in chocolate shell before.

The chefs consistently produce creative bite-sized dishes that excite and delight my taste buds. At every event, I was sad that I could not eat more. I know that makes me sound like a little piggy, but OMC food is so good that it is worth a little gluttony.

Excuse me while I look for OMC’s next catered event…

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Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D

I do not really have a bucket list, per se. I have things that I have always wanted to do. And for me, I have always wanted to go to a Cirque du Soleil show. I have went to Vegas numerous times and each time I told myself, “This time, I am going”. But then I see how much the tickets cost and I chicken out. So when my friend told me about a 3D movie that was like a Cirque du Soleil performance, I jumped at the chance.

Movie : Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away 3D
Date : Sunday, December 23, 2012
Time : 7:00pm

The premise of the story was a young girl goes to the circus. While watching an acrobatic performer, he falls after losing concentration because he was looking at her. Instead of hitting the ground he goes into another world. She jumps in after him (to save him ?). Once in the fantasy world, she tries to navigate and search for her acrobat. They seem to have had an attraction from the intense gaze the shared. So while she is looking for him, he is trying to figure out how to get back to the real world as well. There are characters for many of the Cirque du Soleil shows that highlight the fact that their surroundings are indeed fanciful and mystical. There is a lot of jumping around, amazing body contortions, but very, very little dialogue. I had to infer a lot considering the fact that no one was talking and much of the communication consisted of hand gestures. They were like very sprightly, nimble mimes.

Leaving the theater, I was confused. I did not feel that overwhelming sense of “Wow that was so awesome”. It was okay. It made me realize that I think that I hyped up Cirque du Soleil too much in my head. Paired with the fact that tickets to the show are usually very expensive, I thought it would be touch my soul in some way.

Yes, I am glad it was in 3D because the characters seemed to pop off of the screen as if I was in the front row. Yes, the dancing was great. But how many contorted humans into pretzels does it take for it to lose it appeal? For me, the answer is 6.

I was like, “Yea yea. I get it. All of you can touch your ears with your toes. Do something else now. I am no longer entertained.”

I thought the same thing for the multiple somersaults and cartwheels. They were performing the same dance moves with no dialogue. I don’t know what else I was expecting, but after 20 minutes, it dawned on me that there was close to an hour to go and I was not as enthralled with the show as I thought I would be.

Maybe I am too cynical. Maybe I spend too much time on the internet to appreciate the beauty of the dance. I am truly puzzled with myself. I should have been amazed with it all. I still think that Cirque du Soleil is something that people should experience at least once just to see it.

Am I buying the Cirque du Soleil: Worlds Away DVD when it comes out? No.

I am not so sure anymore that I will dream of going to a live Cirque du Soleil show. That being said, I will probably go if someone else wants to go and the tickets were reasonably priced.

Iberostar Rivera Maya, Mexico

Last October, the hubby and I went to all-inclusive Iberostar Hotels & Resorts (hotel Tucán) in Riviera Maya. We flew into Cancun and took a shuttle ride for about an 30-45minutes to get to the resort. I have been to resorts before in Cancun, but it was my first time at this location.

Accommodations & Staff
I like how the resort embraced the natural environment instead of totally clearing the land, cutting down the trees and displacing the native wildlife. The resort looks like is situated in a jungle, full of lush plants and exotic animals (including howler monkeys) scampering all over the place. There were also water areas with turtles, ducks, swans, and iguanas.

The resort rooms were very spacious and comfortable. The bed was firm, but fine for me because I don’t like my bed to be too soft. In the bathroom, there was a large bottle of water use when brushing our teeth. It is understandable that in Mexico, you do not drink the tap water. The mini bar in the room was fully stocked every day, just the way I like it. I did not have to ask for anything because it seemed that they provided it before I had a chance to realize I needed it.

All of the staff, from the front desk personnel to the bartenders and maids were very friendly. They were helpful as well. I loved their willing attitude to help make my stay pleasant.

Activities
I was going to make the best of my visit and do as many activities as I could. I took a tennis lesson, did archery, did air rifle shooting, went to the spa, played pool, danced at the techno club and danced to salsa music band. I had to chase down the tennis pro for the tennis lesson. When I got to the tennis courts per the time on the activities schedule, he was not there. But when he finally showed up 5 minutes later, I was almost about to leave. I participated in the archery and air rifle shooting tournaments. I did not win in either activity. My aim is so bad.

When I went to the spa, that was the most relaxing part of my trip. I lounged in the Jacuzzi, sat in the sauna, took and shower and then got a full body massage. I was feeling stress free. It was worth every penny (spa treatments were extra cost).

The onsite night life was okay. I was surprised that there were not more people out at night. Maybe people went to clubs in town, but I did not want to chance that. Being in a different country in a touristy location puts a target on you increasing your chances of being robbed by some nefarious individual. I rather remain in the comforts of the closed gates of the resort.

When I danced at the techno club, there were not that many people there. At times, it was just my friends and me on the dance floor. Considering we were the only ones dancing, you would think that the DJ would have played the music WE wanted to hear. At one point, we were locking in a battle of wills. We refused to dance until he played what we wanted. We won, of course. In contrast, the salsa music band played all the music we wanted and we graced the dance floor with our presence.

The only things that I wanted to do but did not get a chance: a non-motorized water activity and karaoke. I did not realize that non-motorized water activity counter closed at 3pm since their hours were not posted anywhere that I could tell. The last day, I got there 2:30 and they guy told me that I could kayak but I had to be back by 3 since was the time they closed. I told him never mind. I did not want to try to rush and do it just to be able to say that I did it. I missed karaoke also because I did not they were only to going to offer that activity one night a week. I think they should have offered it more than once a week.

Food & Beverages
All inclusive resort means all drinks are included all the time. Great for me! Yes, the margaritas, pina coladas, daiquiris, and tequila shots were free flowing. But bottle water was just as necessary. Before venturing out to shop, I made sure I had one or two bottles of water from the front desk to carry with me. That saved me from having to buy water while I was out. Plus it was so hot, we needed plenty of fluids. No one wants to go on vacation and pass out from dehydration.

The only minor complaint that I have was with the buffet food. Some of the buffet food was not the quality I would have expected. Yes, there was plenty of food at the buffets, but some looked stale, reheated, or old. I think the challenge for a buffet restaurant is that they have to have enough food to satisfy the guests and at the same time, only put out what will be eaten during that time period. Since the resort is catering to people from all over the world, they are also trying to put out food that is familiar to their guests. I think they should have stuck to just cooking Mexican food since that is what they know best. The best food I had from the buffet were the typical native dishes.

Eating at the different "fancy restaurants" required a reservation. That took some planning on our part since the reservation needed to be done early. We at a Caribbean themed restaurant, Japanese steakhouse, and American steakhouse. The food quality was better than having buffet food all the time. In that aspect, it was worth the effort to make the reservation. I think the best meal I had was the pork chops at the American steakhouse (top right picture). They were perfectly seasoned and cooked well so that they were not dry.

Overall, I had a good time at the resort. The accommodations were great. There were plenty of activities to keep me occupied. The food at times left something to be desired, but it was filling and I did not get sick off of any of it. So that is a plus. I would go to another Iberostar location and I would recommend Iberostar (this resort in particular) to others.

How would beauty change you?


Beauty (The Beauty Series)

Scale of 1 – 5: ♥ ♥ ♥

Has ever been something that you wanted and you thought if you had it all your troubles would be over? What would you do if someone offered it to you? How deep is your desire?

Eve thought that if she lost weight, she would be pretty. And if she was pretty, all her troubles would be over. She would have friends that she wanted, the boy that she wanted, the life that she deserves.

Through a twist of fate, she has the body she always wanted. She is skinny.

But nothing ever comes without a price.

What is her price? As long as she stays the person she is, keeps her personality the same, she is able to stay skinny. It would seem to be a simple thing: stay a good person and stay slim.

And then we find out what low she is willing to go just to grasp the life of person she thinks that she wants to be. And as her problems snowball, her body begins to gain weight. As Eve spirals out of control, she has to make definite decisions about what should be important in her life.

  • What leads to true happiness?
  • What good is a friend if he or she is fake?
  • What good is a friend if they do not have your best interests in mind?

Beauty (The Beauty Series) was the worst case scenario for someone who has a chance at something they desired their whole life. It seems that every possible bad decision, Eve made it. All the while she was trying to justify why it was okay. She believed that she could beat the system as if her actions had no consequences.

Beauty (The Beauty Series) was interesting in a very dark way. It could almost be seen as a cautionary tale. In Eve’s case, her desire was weight-loss, but I think that “weight loss” could be a metaphor for any item that you desire with your whole being and you’re willing to sacrifice your life for that.

Some things we feel are worth the sacrifice, but we end up losing more of ourselves in the pursuit of that goal. So, was it worth it?

***warning: this book contains drug abuse, rape, and other disturbing acts

Nomad dosa – food truck Austin TX

If you are like me, you probably never had a dosa before. It is best described as an Indian crepe.
I was in Austin for dinner and I did not know what I wanted to eat. After driving around, I knew that I wanted something light because I did not feel like eating too much. I decided on the food truck Nomad Dosa.

I ordered crispy dosa Kerala Kokonut (butternut squash, zucchini, carrots, eggplant, cauliflower, avocado). I chose basmati rice and sambar lentil soup as my side items. The lentil soup was good. Usually I don’t like eating beans, but if they are pureed into a smooth milkshake-like consistency, it is palatable.

By accident, I ended up eating a purely vegetarian meal. It was so tasty that it was not until afterwards that I realized, "Hey I did not eat any meat." From the picture of the food, you can see that once I began to eat , the filling is not the most appealing looking food. Trust me when I say it tasted better than it looked. It was just what I needed too- something light, but filling. The feeling of fullness made me start to wonder if I should try to go vegetarian for the health benefits, but then I thought about bacon and nixed that. Mmmmm bacon. But I digress.

Overall, this is a dish that will appeal to meat eaters and vegetarians alike. It has enough depth that you won’t miss the meat. Like most Indian food, it was full of spicy (not heat) flavors that stayed with me after I finished my meal. I had to brush my teeth and rinse with mouthwash to regain feeling in my taste buds.