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 😀

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Wing’n It!

T-fal ActifryOn the heels of the last post about the superproduct! T-fal Actifry, I figured I may as well have a little write up about the last thing we cooked in there… which was wings! Delicious, glorious wings…

L procured a couple of pounds from a farm in our area and as usual, is really persistent about us enjoying them as soon as possible (he really digs wings… so do I) After some fridge defrosting, we cook them in the oven for a bit first, so the Actifry doesn’t have to run forever.  This was a batch of fairly small wings, so about 20 mins or so in the oven at 300 works just fine. After removing, it is important to pat them dry before putting them into the Actifry “belladrome”, since you want them to crisp, not steam! But for goodness sakes, don’t SQUEEZE them when drying! The reason for that should be obvious… same reason you don’t squash your burger patties with a spatula when you cook them. Just say no to removing all flavourful cooking juices from your meats… m’kay?

I spooned a few scrapes of coconut oil around and about the soggy looking, circular assembly of chicken, closed the lid, and let em go for around half an hour, with no intervention required from me.

Time’s up! The lid opens to the crispy, golden brown bounty.  Into the bowl they go, and are then liberally coated with our favourite topping (as noted in previous post for Shagwell’s wings) roasted red pepper, with a touch of cayenne as well, to make it of the spicy persuasion.

The quantity was decidedly light in proportion to our appetites and enjoyment of the Actifry’s magic. It was all over so quickly in a whirlwind of gnashing and crunching. We debated, and decided that 3 times this amount would have been sufficient.

If you own one of these nifty devices and have some interesting, successful concoctions to share, please send them our way! We are happy to have more reasons to keep extracting value out of this pricey, but useful little gadget.

K&L 😀

Shagwells for the Win(gs)!

Shagwells on the RidgeRestaurant wings, while a steady go-to in the superfoodies world, have been an infrequent guest of late. We just don’t seem to make the effort much anymore, as a certain element does not fit in well healthwise with our way of eating.  Surprisingly, it is not the delicious, crispy wing creating, deep fried process itself, or the chicken skin etc. that is our problem point, but the type of oil used to cook said deliciousness. No preaching, we just avoid most processed oils. However, we also like to stay flexible and on the social/public grid in terms of food and health, so we eat less than optimal things from time to time… and this was a time!

Back to one of our most favourite wing haunts: Shagwells on the Ridge! Now long ago, I told L that every where in town claims to possess the “Region’s Best Wings!” and if you aren’t from around here, you might believe this the first time you read such a proud claim, blasted from a hole in the wall’s billboard, and maybe the second time?? But now we notice this faux stamp of culinary success at all sorts of places… heck, they can’t all be true! Which brings us back to Shagwells. No claims of such there that I am aware of, but L awarded his own proclamation of “Best Wings!” in any geographic region, on this very day.

For this reason, we do not usually stray from the pull of the wing basket on our visits, and on Wednesdays they are half price, which is great, but we still have no problem paying full price since they’re well worth it. Good size, crispy, crunchy, not greasy, and a large selection of sauces and/or dry seasonings, they really can’t be beat. Our hearts and tastebuds are solemnly committed to the spicy red pepper dry seasoning, with a side of hot sauce.

We used to order a cider with them (miss you Strongbow), but now we have pretty much switched to wine, and they have a perfect, standard sauvignon blanc, and the good grace not to skimp on the pour.

Of non-food note, they play country music in this here establishment, and L and I enjoyed guessing whether the songs would have a truck, car, beer, whiskey, and/or women in them, and we also noticed that every one in a country song seems to be going somewhere… or somewhere else.

Wouldn’t be fair not to also mention the great service, and though it was less than busy this time, we have been many times in the past where our drink choices and wing preferences were always remembered, always a nice touch.

Head on out to the ridge if you are in need of some fantastic, yet under celebrated, well kept secret wings.

K&L 😀
Shagwells on the Ridge on Urbanspoon

Wing Wing… Hello?

Server Lori at Buffalo Wild WingsWelcome to the first post trip… post! We are HUGE wing fans and take every opportunity to talk about them, find them, order them, cook them, eat them… you get the point. It turns out that the first, and currently only, franchise of the American chain Buffalo Wild Wings opened in our area.  I promised L that I would wait and we would go there together for the inaugural visit.  But I didn’t wait :-/. L took the news like a (disappointed) champ.  Liking my first visit very much, he and I went the other day when the wings were on special for 55 cents each.  We sat in the bar area and I remarked how great a venue this place would be to watch a sporting event. Very wide open and TVs surrounding the place. We were then greeted by Lori (hope I’m spelling that right!) with whom we had funny and interesting discussions on many topics throughout our visit. She ALMOST made me forget that they don’t carry Strongbow… yet! If you are visiting definitely sit in her area if you want great service and a laugh.

L enjoying Buffalo Wild Wings

We ordered 10 wings each (they are delicious, crispy and NOT breaded thank goodness, but are not jumbo as noted on some other review sites that I have viewed), but no fries etc., we told Lori we are on a diet! I’m not sure why, but I think she rolled her eyes and laughed! Wings arrived, and were hot and crispy, we got our sauces (jerk and hot) on the side and all was exactly as we love it. I also learned that you can specify all flatties or all drummies if you have a serious preference (I like flatties and L likes drummies so it usually works out great for us). The jerk sauce was good, but it had a bit of sweetness to it that I have not had in a jerk sauce before.  The hot sauce was hot, with nice buttery tone to it. It was all so very good that we had to order 10 more each… we tried to go with 5 each , but we were persuaded to get 10, since they are fine with taking discount wings home! But those extra wings didn’t stand a chance (did I mention that we are on a diet for our getaway down south in the not too distant future???) . Side fact, they have a great, inexpensive lunch menu as well with pulled pork sliders, cheeseburger sliders, etc. and the dinner menu looked great too.

We also had a chat with the manager and he said that in August, a new Buffalo Wild Wings will be opening in Guelph. I’m sure if our experience was any indication, they will be very welcome all over Canada! Looking forward to a return visit… to try the salads of course!

K&L 😀
Buffalo Wild Wings on Urbanspoon