Obviously, I have Thanksgiving on my mind!
We found a great little bagel shop last weekend called Brooklyn Water Bagels. Not only did they have good breakfast sandwiches, it was educational as well. The idea appears that they start by purifying the water that is used in the process of making the bagels. You can watch the entire process of making the bagels through the windows – from water purification, to mixing, all the way to baking. One thing that I didn’t realize before was that they boil the bagels in water before they go in the oven. It appears that they use the purified water to make their coffee as well. The restaurant had a great feel to it, with old black and white sitcoms playing on the mounted flatscreen. Others seem to have caught on as there were several people in line. It was a chilly day so seating was limited.
Everyone is was very nice and willing to take the time to explain the process to us. The lady behind the register was very helpful & patient as we made our selections. You can get your bagels to go and they will give you a freezer bag to keep them fresh. A great experience that I’m sure we will try to re-create in the future.
The ADVENT season was a great time to be with my family and friends this year. My wife and I have tried very hard over the years to have Christmas traditions of our own. It’s something that I think has been especially important for her and at the same time hasn’t come easy. When you think of traditions it conjures up images of Norman Rockwell paintings. It’s a trap that I have fallen into many times over the years and as a parent can leave you feeling defeated. I can remember times when the kids were little and trying to put up the tree. Decorations, Christmas music, hot cocoa – you get the picture. Well reality; about a ten minute attention span intervened by a sugar rush. I’m not going to lie – it was tough with two little boys. I think the best we were able to do in the way of traditions in those days was going to the tree farm to cut down the tree. We would hike around looking for the perfect tree, have the Clark Griswold like angelic illuminated moment when it was found, and a ceremonial “Timmmmmbeeeeerrrrrr”.
This year, we took another run at the ADVENT calendar. Every day in December there was a different activity to do as a family. Some days we coordinated the fun with some other families so we could do things together. Some of the highlights this year:
Purchase a Christmas album
Work on a puzzle together.
Play Texas Hold’em at the Odell farm
Christmas party around the fire pit in the back yard
Christmas cookie exchange
Ginger bread house decorating contest
Line dancing at the Odell farm
See A Christmas Carol play (my personal favorite)
Christmas gift shopping as a family
One night stay-cation (Gaylord Palms)
We stayed very busy this year with something to do every day, but it was well worth it in relationship and in tradition making. We even broke a tradition (I had a hard time with that) this year and opened our gifts on Christmas eve. The teenagers slept in on Christmas morning and we did stockings when they woke up. It worked out great! After the stocking my wife shared some things she had learned from her devotions this month, and we all prayed as a family. What a sweet way to celebrate the birth of Jesus. Afterwards, Christmas morning Eggs Benedict breakfast.
So yes, even when it seems the boys are all grown up traditions can be made. You have to just keep trying and just keep loving. Merry Christmas!
We had a good time last night with friends carving pumpkins. I appreciate so much how my friend Pilar works to create events like this and therefore memories. The food is always central to the festivities as well. It’s really is a blessing. Continue reading
You heard right – I went to the Festival of Bacon in Orlando with my son and some of our friends yesterday. The atmosphere was electric, as in griddle, over the famed pork belly. Let me say that having grown up on a hog farm and hearing my dad spin this into a patriotic experience by referencing the animal as “The Great American Hog” – I’ve had my share of bacon. Continue reading
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Last Friday night we met our friends at another local University of Central Florida student favorite the Lazy Moon Pizza. We took our resident college student along as the preverbal guide. If college students love pizza then what better way to improve on that then serving up giant slices (20″ & 30″ pies) of this higher education staple? Continue reading
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My wife and I took our oldest son to Burger 21 today after church today. He’s been feeling a little left out of the food blogging experience. Since he is a new UCF Knight this fall, I decided we should see what this restaurant has to offer the college students.
The burgers were very juicy with a lot of flavor. I ordered the Black and Blue angus burger, my son the Tex-Mex Haystack burger, and my wife got chicken at the burger restaurant with the Buffalo Chicken with a lettuce wrap. Everyone felt their selections lived up to their expectations. We had the an order of their Cheese & Ale Fries to split among all of us. For drinks I tried the Boylan Black Cherry soda made with cane sugar. I wasn’t completely impressed with the soda, but I also sampled the shakes that they had ordered – the Chocolate Malted Milk Ball shake & the Strawberry shake. The shakes were very good and would be worth stopping in just for one of them. They offer several different sauces at their sauce bar for either your burger or fries.
The restaurant has a feel almost like you are at an IKEA store. There’s plenty of space even though there were quite a few people there for lunch. They do a play on the letter B wherever you look. B kind, B Shaken (shake bar), B Saucy (sauce bar), and for the bathroom B a Man.
I try to keep my blogs about local restaurants to those that areindependently owned but in this case I made an exception. After all it’s my blog so it’s my rules. I’m glad I broke my own rules today and tried Burger 21. I’m sure that we will go again, and the next time I will order my own shake.
Update from 12/20/2013
My Family and I stopped by the other night for some pizza and dessert before seeing A Christmas Carol just down the street at the Downtown Theatre. The dinner experience was really nice. The chef was interactive with the tables. He made recommendations for desserts which he personally brought to the table. We all sampled the creations and all thought they were DELICIOUS! He was definitely on his game that night. While the first experience left me feeling as though there was much unrealized potential, this visit surpassed my expectations.
Original Post 8/17/2013
Our ventures out today took us to Wolfies Pizzamia restaurant on North Orange Ave. in Orlando. While there was just one other couple dining there, the food was really quite good. The restaurant is under the same ownership as The White Wolf Cafe which is only a half a block away. While I have never eaten at the Cafe it has been there since 1991 and if the crowd is an indicator they have a good thing going there.
Back to the Pizza. The concept is that everything is as local, fresh, and organic as possible. They make their own dough, sausage, pasta, and most cheeses right there. Our waitress who was very nice said she got to watch them make some cheese the other day and thought the process was pretty awesome.
We had the Meatball App to start out, which was very good. We followed that up with the Specialty Pizze’ the Burano Mozz which is topped with prosciutto, Rochet salad, and goat cheese. The crust of the pizza was perfect and the toppings really gave it all a great flavor.
The decor has kind of an old world feel to it with music playing across the audio system from the 60’s to today. Over all it’s another good local restaurant to make your way to that’s off the beaten path.
My wife really seems to be getting in to me writing about independent food finds. I just can’t figure out why. Lately the ladies in her circle of friends have been chatting up a local Oviedo bake shop – DeAzúcar Bake Shop.
DeAzúcar [day ah-thoo’-car] is spanish for sweet. The place has a very simple yet charming decor. When you walk in the pastries certainly make a great focal point. There were two very nice girls that took our order and gave us a little bit of background behind this great little find. They were happy to share with me that the owner had once owned a bakery in Texas over twenty years ago, and that since moving to Oviedo way back then she has always wanted to open another bakery. Fortunately for us she has taken the leap of opening up the business this past January.
My wife enjoyed a Café Con Laché that was made from espresso beans roasted locally in Clermont Florida. It was really crafted well and had a nice strong (but not bitter) taste. The young ladies suggested that I try one of the owners favorites the Almond Tart. I also had my eye on the Coconut Cake Bar. I ordered both and we sat there sampling each with much enjoyment. We even brought home a couple of the Maple Bacon Cinnamon Rolls for our boys to try out. They were a great hit.
It’s a great little find in Oviedo and I certainly hope that others find their way to DeAzúcar to try out some of the really good looking selections on the menu.
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