HI and HI Again

SeaBKsteakAnother long overdue post! So overdue in fact, that we have visited twice now, and I will in fact be heavily referencing the original visit, since I wasn’t able to get to all of the things that I wanted to revisit on round 2. And where is this place that I speak of? Aruba of course, and the Holiday Inn Resort more specifically.

Originally, we did some recon last March/April to check out the “updated” Holiday Inn, and to give an all inclusive a try, with the hopes of maybe bringing all the kiddos with us in the fall. It went so well, that we booked a trip for the seven of us for the fall, right from the hotel room via Skype.

Since this is a food blog, I’ll leave the long hotel description to our TripAdvisor post, and focus on the food/beverage situation.

Where to start! Well, drinks were plentiful, as creative as could be if requested, and more than strong enough.  Banana daquiris and sangria were always great treats, and they always had plenty of Pino Grigio on hand for me, vodka and sodas for L. I was particularly fond of their sangria recipe, as it had lots of bits of fruit, a nice taste of cinnamon, and not too sweet.

The food was more than satisfactory, delicious on the whole in fact, but lets be honest, not gourmet, nor did we need or expect it to be.

Here’s the 411:

Corals Buffet Breakfast: Plentiful, lots of variety, with the highlight being little arepas, as well as shredded beef, which made appearances at most of our AM adventures.

Corals Buffet Dinner: Standard fare, good for families and kids, and they had Bitterballen! Dutch treat of scalding lava meat/gravy balls. *for goodness sakes wait till the damn things cool down before biting!*

Oceanside Bar: Spent quite a few afternoons there, delicious Greek salad with sooooft pita and tasty dressing (this was not on the menu on our fall trip), overly heavy, greasy fish and chips, wings, which I liked, but L wasn’t as keen on, they remind me of the Fried Chicken TV Dinner! Giant chocolate chip cookies, that were okay, but not quite worth the calories/sugar coma, hot dogs and quesadillas also very delicious. Gyro which we tried in the fall: Superb!

Seabreeze Restaurant: Great for lunch or dinner, wonderful open wall restaurant, fantastic service, enjoyed the salmon, steaks, fried chicken, the Aruban Cuban sandwich and many other dishes, all presented beautifully and no real gongs on anything… oops except the tuna tartare, which just had a little too much sesame oil on it. And the desserts! Wow, we don’t usually indulge, but… coconut creme brulee, cheesecake, pineapple carpaccio with ice cream, and who could forget the key lime pie.  Just amazing, and don’t forget to add a delicious espresso to round out the flavours. Special mention to Eddy, he goes above and beyond and we were grateful for his extra assistance when we needed it.

And now the unexpected best for last: Pizza Now! A service at the Seabreeze and Oceanside Bar where you can get a million pizzas (okay, not that many, but L did try to hit that number) brought to you whenever you wanted! Oh the joy of the thin, crispy, hot crust, topped with either a standard assembly from the menu, or design your own. I cannot do the taste of these things justice here. The brilliant bonus for us was the fact that they have big bowls of chili flakes on request, and the spicy deliciousness of this was almost too much to bear. They haunted us from spring until our recent revisit weeks ago, where L recreated the million pizza munch.

So, although the food scene outside the resorts in Aruba is delicious and exciting as we have detailed in a previous post, the Holiday Inn with the all inclusive option proved to be quite rewarding too, and doesn’t stop you from venturing out to your favourite offsite treats for a couple of nights.

Those pizzas aren’t going to eat themselves (though they would if they could!), get to the HI Aruba as soon as you can!

K&L 😀

Advertisements

The place so nice they named it twice! twice!

Burgers & Burgers ArubaHave to get a new post up now to push the previous post out of the top spot, since it has some negativity in it… and it’s been up long enough…be gone! (one post below lol)

Onto one of my favourite things to write about (mostly… I’m looking at you vanishing Snacky’s): Aruba food times!!! On one more sad note, our beloved Rembrandt Dutch restaurant, discovered the previous year, was now under “new management” which definitely did NOT mean “better” management.  So off we harrumphed, into the night, hungry and looking for somewhere to land. We wandered a bit, out of good ideas, new ideas etc… and eventually wound up at a place that we had checked out many times, and always bypassed for some reason. Not because there was anything really wrong with it, it just seemed to be very standard and unexciting.  It sure looked a lot better to us after a couple of growling trips up and down the main strip. What place is this you ask, that finally earned our resigned stamp of: oh I can’t walk another step, let’s just eat here! approval…? As I said, it’s named twice, and even named so in two ways… first way: Dushi Bagel and Burgers & Burgers, and therefore you guessed the second way: Burgers & Burgers.  Hmmm, not sure Burgers & Burgers is the most scintillating name, but dammit, you know what you’re getting… unless you’re there for the bagels, then you know they will be Dushi bagels.  (Dushi is a word in the Papiamento language of Aruba)

Anyway, in we went, and it was clean and elevated from the street a bit, and for some reason they had an Oktoberfest thing going on (guess because it was October, I’m smart like that). Not terribly busy, and luckily that was reflected in the attentive service we received.

An awesome vodka and soda for L and a wine for me were quickly shuttled to the table.  We looked around and got an idea of how this food show was going to go, so L ordered a big double burger with cheese, and some gorgeous (don’t care if they come from a freezer) steak cut fries, and I got an Argentinean burger that came with a side of chimichurri and coleslaw.  The atmosphere slightly removed from the street, but with a full entertaining view, was quite perfect and relaxing as we waited for food to arrive. And it did 🙂 with the fun metal martini (or sundae perhaps?) shaped fry presenter, and big cutting boards with our lovely burgers perched on top. Did they look like prefab patties? Yep! Did we really care? Uh… no.  Did we remember to ask for a big squirt bottle of mayo like we had spotted at another table for our fries ? YES!

(Pictures first of course, now….) Dig in! It was exactly what we needed and expected. Standard goodness, nothing fancy, just good, reasonably priced food, and a really comfortable atmosphere that we would recommend if you just want a decent place to get some good food, hang out, and take in the street traffic… and also consume an entire bottle of mayo on your fries with no side eyes from your server 😀

K&L 😀

superproducts! Swiss Chalet Dipping Sauce

Swiss Chalet Dipping SauceTime again for a superproducts! post. These tend to appear after I look at something I’ve used A LOT and realize how damn good it really is.  This is exactly what happened this time.  We love Swiss Chalet Dipping Sauce, which used to only be procured and consumed with the chicken from the same place. Now we can have it any time, in only minutes, and it tastes EXACTLY the same. The packaged version has even been improved since it came out (I think), it seems to mix with the water much better.

I actually used it in a bit of an unconventional way the other day though, and that’s what made me really take note of it’s awesomeness.  I was searching for some new flavour to throw into hamburgers, so I poured a whole package into the meat, after some hemming and hawing about how it might blend/taste. I did not tell L that this was the mystery ingredient. I wanted to see if he noticed anything different from our usual array of great, but typical combinations. Now for me, knowing what I was enjoying, I really could taste the essence of the sauce flavour… and it was GOOD! L asked unprompted what I had put in the meat, and when I told him he would never guess… and then told him what it was, he certainly agreed that he would have never pegged it, but really liked it too.  We will use it again for sure in burgers, but will keep using it in it’s intended form as well. Grab a handy pre cooked chicken from your grocery store and whip up some of this sauce and enjoy it yourself. If you have other ways you’ve used this superproduct, let us know!

Clickety Click – Burger Trick

Baldwin Street BurgerYou clicked and we made burgers magically disappear! We hit another 1000 clicks a few weeks ago and you guessed it: (did you???): it was a special burger foodie reward 🙂 . Had been hunting a Baldwin Street Burger experience for awhile now, ever since a coworker made me aware of the existence of some fantastic burger products in our vicinity. Finally, a day when a burger feast would be suitable presented itself, and off L went with Little K to pick up the works.

The online menu was studied and the firm selection was a French Onion burger for L and I to share (double patty of course!), and a Ceasar burger for the kiddo.  Fries were also a solid choice, unpoutined though, since we had recently performed some delicious poutiney evaluations, as you can read in a previous post. Beyond that, my only other request was a milkshake… vanilla… but ONLY if they were homemade.

I sat at home waiting… anxiously… hungrily… with only one note during that time telling me that yes, they were in fact homemade milkshakes! Woo hoo! Haven’t had one of those in a verrrrry long time. And anticipation grew.  Finally the door opened and in walked pristine white bags with little black stickers with little white cow logos on them… I guess L and kiddo were there too??? I was a little too hyper focused to notice.

So out came the loot.  Burgers and fries (with curry ketchup), shakes and what?? deep fried pickles and onion rings. We all dove in and wow! what an overload of fantastic! The burger tastes like french onion soup… on a burger. That’s the only way to describe it. The ceasar (as in salad) burger was great too. Also can’t say enough about the quality of the patty and the fact that there was still pink inside instead of the usual cooked to death greyness that is the norm around here. Fries? Great, thin cut, lots of them and they hit the spot.  Milkshake was top notch and tasted like I remembered, and expected, if it is in fact homemade: ice creamy, thick enough etc. The surprise though was the 3$ order of deep fried pickles. Bigger breading, well cooked, lots of crunch and how can you beat the price? Onion rings had the same breading and were delicious too.

Since you don’t need to wait for a thousand clicks like we did, I highly recommend you go to Whitby (Brooklin) asap, and stop in at Baldwin Street Burger for a very mooooooooooooving experience!

K&L 😀
Baldwin Street Burger on Urbanspoon

Connecticut… you’re out of order!

blackduck2012Totally out of order! Because we have to go waaaaay back to October 2012 for the goods on this post, despite already writing up the new years festivities. So…we had designs on revisiting friends and food down Connecticut way again, as we had the summer before (see posts Connecticut Connections and Hangover Town: Table for 2 ), but the summer got away from us and October ended up being the last month in the calendar that we were willing to make the drive before the risk of snow was in the mix.

Plans fell into place and we set out on the road early on a Friday morning, late October. The travel was long, but without issue and we got to try subs from a place called Jreck Subs, recommended by some contractors in Home Depot just after we crossed the boarder and thought there may be a Subway in there like there are in Canada. Now let me just say that in the states on the highway, there is a Subway about every mile it seems, so no problem finding our old familiar friend, but why not try something different. We thought they were saying “Direct Subs” so it’s lucky we actually found the right place! Italian subs on jalapeno sub bun… very delicious and different.

After many hours of driving, including locating a wine store near our destination to procure important supplies, we arrived at the hotel.  A quick beverage and freshening up and off we went to visit friends and critters. We got an awesome welcome from all! Then off to haunt the Black Duck again… this time I remember the food, but forgot to memorialize it with pictures.  All I can say is make sure you have their blue cheese dip, never had one as good as theirs anywhere! Great food and company and some late night visiting.  Turns out I’m allergic to something at the new place our friends moved to, but it was so warm that we could actually sit on the porch, which was the only way I would have been able to stay.

*Unfortunately, about a week later the Duck was almost under water due to Hurricane Sandy, and our friends were without power for quite a few days. They of course got through it with their usual sense of humour and if you can’t change it, just get on with it attitude!

Back to hotel… LATE! But up at okay time. Found a squash court/fitness centre to enjoy so we spent some time there “detoxifying”… I mean working out. We then decided we were too hungry, and it was too late to go back and get ready to go for lunch, so we went straight to the Valencia Luncheria, the delicious home of arepas and guasacaca sauce noted in our hangover post. And it wasn’t there!!! Is this another Snacky’s??? Nope, the arrow said it was just down the street and bigger and better than ever. And now licenced! Woo hoo! Batidos and sangria please! Along with all the other favourites from last year.

Later on, we had another visit where we were introduced to one of our now favourite cheeses: bellavitano balsamic vinegar , try it! Then we tried to go to  Wilson’s BBQ featured on Diners Drive Ins and Dives, but they were closing. So we found a pizza place, oddly named World’s John’s Best Pizza, and ordered a large so we could have some for breakfast, but ate the whole thing… it was that good.

The next morning found us at Super Duper Weenie for our second visit before hitting the road for home.  We had a Chicago dog again, tried a Californian dog, and had some of their fresh cut fries.  Very tasty, but not the level of deliciousness of our experience the year before, when we wolfed our first Chicago dog in the jeep. A good base however for the long trip ahead.

Made it back to the great white north safe and sound. Very much enjoyed Connecticut 2012! Should we get an unexpected urge to drive about 20 hours in the span of a couple of days, we would go back there for sure! Hopefully the Duck is dry!

K&L 😀
Black Duck Cafe on Urbanspoon

Wasted Days and Wasted Nights

Bill's Saloon Night VegasIt wouldn’t be a Vegas trip I suppose without one day lost to the night before.  The night before being a wild time at Bill’s Saloon… where there was karaoke, wine, gambling, and lots of entertaining people to talk to.  So, not sure when we got back to the room, but it was early, or was it late? Anyway, the result of that was a day that I did not see vertical until about 6 PM , and since it was our last full night, I was determined to get up and go out.  What we ate that day would ordinarily be a punishment of sorts, but when you’re feeling the pain, you get the food that’s needed: greasy, delicious, fried love from the food court downstairs, which consisted of a Chicago dog, some giant, overcooked, doughnut sized onion rings, crinkle cut fries that must have come straight from the bag, and the shiniest, fat laden cheeseburger, complete with a cooked egg on top.  L was nice enough to model with the food as I was definitely not camera ready! And like Popeye and his spinach, after I ate as much as I could, I was up! Next stop: Trevi.

K&L 😀

World’s Healthiest Food????

kimchi burgersWe now interrupt our Las Vegas scheduled program to bring you a word from our kitchen! Thought it would be an interesting break to throw one of our favourite recipes in here, so while I was pondering what to call the post, I came across an article (not unlike the millions of others listing the “healthiest” things you can eat) stating that kimchi is one of the “healthiest foods in the world!!!” .  And who among us doesn’t want to eat healthier… or at least pretend to try to.  That being said, what we usually add the kimchi to pretty much negates the benefit of eating it… so we will just call this dish a wash health wise and say it’s delicious…and that’s reason enough to make this for yourself.

Now you should be saying “what exactly am I making?”  Well, you can make the kimchi if you are so inclined… oh now you are saying what IS kimchi?! Basically it’s a Korean dish, of fermented napa cabbage, and it’s spicy! Here is a link to a recipe with step by step pictures if you are adventurous, or if you are lucky, you will have a Korean restaurant nearby where you can just pick up a container to go.  I have made it myself once in the past, and it was good, but it really is more convenient to just buy it already made once you have had the experience of creating your own.

And onto what we usually do with it when we get it home: kimchi burgers!! As I said, it’s not the most healthy preparation, so it is a great treat when we do have it.  First get some texas toast white bread, butter the outsides and put Cheez Whiz on the inside, like you are making a grill cheese sandwich, then cook it… like a grill cheese sandwich 😀 While you are cooking this part, cook some hamburger patties, I use lean ground beef and throw in some minced ginger and garlic from jars, some soy sauce and maybe some cayenne pepper or red chili flakes for heat, this would be where you would season to your own taste. I like to be heavy handed with the seasonings, then form into patties, again, to the size you like.

When everything is cooked, pull apart the sandwich and place your patty in it, throw some kimchi on top of the meat and sometimes I put a tomato slice on too. Then eat the buttery, crunchy, meaty, tangy goodness!!! Oh and feel healthier because of that kimchi 😉

K&L 😀

kimchi burgerkimchi burgerwemakekimchi

We couldn’t bypass the Heart Attack Grill!

Nurse Brianna Heart Attack GrillFinally, here is our post about the heavily anticipated visit to the Heart Attack Grill. We wanted to get there fairly early into the trip so that we wouldn’t run out of time and miss it, so we set out by cab to Fremont Street, located in the older area of Vegas (cab cost close to $30, would have been smarter to have figured out public transit!)

There it was in front of us! The huge entrance, the massive scale out front, broadcasting your weight to everyone if you dared to step up! (of course L did… and he wants it noted that he had heavy things in his pockets).  It would also verify the weight of anyone claiming to be over 350 lbs, who then gets to eat for free.

On to the inside, where we were immediately given our hospital gowns before entering.  Comfortable and lets be honest, keeps your clothes food free! I have no idea why anyone would put up a fuss about putting one on, if you are going to a theme restaurant, be willing to play along! We were seated, and noted that it was quite spacious, with lots of TVs playing great music and music videos (if you like music from the 70s, 80s, etc… which we do!), and very bright and basic. Brianna, our nurse for the visit, came to take our order: had to have a vanilla butterfat vodka milkshake and a glass of wine for backup, as well as 2 single bypass burgers and one order of fries cooked in lard of course.  She was engaging, informative, and accommodating of our requests for pictures etc., oh and a great server too!

Our drinks arrived, the shake was fantastic! Very rich and lots of flavour including being able to taste the vodka through all that frozen goodness. Love the old style metal blender shake container that it was served in as well. Might I add that the glass of wine was large, no skimping on the portions! The food followed very quickly after.  The burgers were some of the most slippery, greasy, delicious burgers we have had outside of what we make at home (not many restaurant burgers win against ours).  The bun was wide, the picture on the menu doesn’t do it justice and the patty was a good size and it included 5 pieces of bacon.  Standard toppings round it out. We were incredibly pleased with the taste.  The fries I found, as I have read in other reviews, to be a bit limp, but L was still loving them, much more than I was.  I’ll call the fries a draw. Also during our visit, we got to see how the nurses treat birthday boys, which was to put them over a chair and hit them with a very large wooden paddle, as hard as they could, about 3 times.  You could hear the bat crack throughout the restaurant with every smack, this is definitely not just for show, these girls mean business!

We left about 1/3 of the shake, it was more than enough for us to share, the wine of course was completely consumed. Also left unfinished was half a burger for each of us.  We had to make the call: go all the way and stuff ourselves silly, or quit while we still felt good and have the rest to enjoy later… we took option 2. So off we went with our future snack in hand. L weighed himself on the way out… a 2 pound increase, seems like we had enough to eat! It was a fun time, with basic, but tasty food and some interesting things to see and hear.  I would recommend a visit there, but only if you have a sense of humour and you aren’t expecting the place to be something it doesn’t claim to be.  And grab a 5XL souvenir shirt before you go as well, it costs the same as the other sizes available, but will be more comfortable to wear in case you decide to tackle bigger portions than we did!

K&L 😀
Heart Attack Grill on Urbanspoon

Aruba and the return to superfoodies updates!

Oh what a long break from superfoodies this has been! Not a break from superfoodie-ing, just the writing about it! So where to start.  The trip to Aruba in October seems like the place to pick up…KLBugaloe
We set off on our vacation with a list of places in mind, some old, some new, some of course that we found along the way.
For brevity, I will try and briefly recap the foodie highlights: We arrived on Saturday and it was getting close to dinner time, so our first selection, preplanned, was the Taj Mahal, where I had been before. A very few cosmetic changes, but same as it was years ago. Can I remember exactly what was consumed? NO! 😀 But safe to say the usual faves: peas pulao rice, paratha (my favourite Indian bread and now L’s too), chicken dishes, a beef curry and always red wine.  Always a good meal, no complaints, would recommend.The Bugaloe Bar and Grill, right on the beach outside our hotel, affectionately called “the pier” by L and I, and also the place where L wanted to propose, but friendly people who wanted us to take their pic interrupted his surprise, and he had to nervously wait to do it another time. We spent most nights there having a late night cocktail (usually wine for me, and for L, sangria) and a few mornings sharing a gorgeous crab sandwich and some banana daquiris for “breakfast”. What a life!Aruba Daquiris
Aruba Crab Sandwich
Aruba Snackys
We did eventually switch to Snacky’s. A little mini hut on the sidewalk where we would share an empanada, an arepas, and a banana batidos for breakfast for the second half of the week.

Aruba PapillonAruba PapillonOther notables were Papillon, with Raymond our excellent waiter and one of the most incredible tasting lobster bisques I have EVER had!

The Driftwood, the must go to place whenever you ask a resident where you should eat. I swear someone is paying them to say it, BUT, the food is worth it. L had delicious, fresh crab and is now hooked on the stuff.  Also loved the little fishy forks and knives.Aruba Driftwood

Smokey Joes, where we had the Big Joe, billed as Aruba’s largest burger and we have to say, we were pleasantly surprised by the truth in advertising, as you can see for yourself!

Aruba Smokey JoesAruba Smokey Joes

Iguana Joes in town had the most delicious sangria on the whole island, roughly served from a large plastic container that probably previously contained mustard or something! Funny, odd, and tasty enough to down 2 each.

We also found ourselves at Burger King one late night where we encountered a selection that seems unique to the Aruba location, or maybe just not North American: the curiously and unappetizingly named “cheese disc”! It could be added to your burger and it is a burger sized wheel of cheese, battered and fried. Delicious… I bet it isn’t good for you though, and maybe not even an actual dairy product, who knows, but I’d still recommend you get it if you happen to see it in a Burger King near you! It gave L the courage to propose in the hotel room, after we stuffed ourselves with the BK loot 😀 oh, and I said YES of course! How romantic haha! But it WAS perfect.

Last, but certainly not least, is the Amazonia, authentic Brazilian Steakhouse, Churrascaria, with skilled gauchos and spectacular waiters… or as L and I call it: paradise. It also includes a massive salad bar (that name doesn’t do it justice, it’s huge and has many items besides salads of every flavour,  such as soups, some meat dishes etc.)  We went twice, first on L’s birthday, which was a Monday, so a bit quieter and the meat selection is slightly less, but the service spectacular as always, and once again at the end of the trip,on a weekend night, when they have some extra meat selections, and a more lively atmosphere. The idea is you get a little green/red uh, thingie? indicator? on your table. When you turn green side up, you are swarmed with gauchos bearing long spears of meats, ready to carve for you as you grab the slices with your little set of tongs.  Then turn it to red and enjoy your selections… and then green again for the next round etc… you get the idea.  It’s fantastic!

So that about sums up the trip, and we can’t wait to go back for some old and new adventures in the sun… and by that time, we will officially be Mr. and Mrs. superfoodies!
But of course check in for more regular updates now!

K&L 😀

This is NOT a diet site!

*Even though L and I are on diets for the upcoming Aruba trip!*

We have been at the workout, cut back on food game, since returning from the Triple D adventure… and the weight hasn’t budged much, so we have embarked on Atkins since Monday. We follow it fairly well, but still include a vodka/soda cocktail or glass of wine or two. Here was the inaugural dinner of the day: fresh ground lamb burger from my favourite local butcher shop, loaded with Moroccan spice mix from Epicure and fresh garlic, topped with tomato, onion, tzatziki, fresh, crumbly blue cheese and for fun, sprinkled with a bit of ground beef crumble.  What a delicious way to go! We have both lost 4 pounds each so far, and have continued to eat well and workout. Full speed ahead, Cajun blackened salmon for dinner tonight. Try the recipe in the link for yourself!

K&L 😀