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Everything posted by printersdevil78

  1. This looks awesome! The Disney ships have really taken a giant step forward since I sailed with them a decade ago. So was the Disneyland sandcastle smaller than all the others?
  2. At first, I thought that was a really fun retrospective video, and I was happy to see Busch Gardens putting so much effort into celebrating the 35th anniversary of the Loch Ness Monster. Imagine my disappointment when I found out it was just a three-minute-long commercial for the park's 2013 refillable cup.
  3. It’s springtime again, and that means it’s time to revive the roadfood thread. Enjoy! In April, I was sent to the Baltimore area for a morning-long work conference. Afterward, I contemplated going back to sample the ribs at Andy Nelson’s Southern Pit Barbecue, but then I remembered that when I posted my Andy Nelson’s report, Dave advised that it was The Corner Stable that actually had the best ribs in the Baltimore area. Since that’s just down the street from Andy Nelson’s (and lunch was on the office that day, assuming I turned in my receipt), I decided to give it a shot. I think the phrase that best describes the interior décor is “Dark with Christmas decorations… in April.” Though I didn’t particularly need an appetizer, I couldn’t not try the pulled pork fritters. They were OK, but I didn’t particularly care for the sauce they came with. And then it hit me: What if that was the same sauce they used on the ribs? Unfortunately, it was. I like sweet ribs, but these were just a little too sweet for me, and they had an aftertaste… I want to call it “vinegary,” but I’m not sure that’s exactly right… that I didn’t like. Of course, that doesn’t mean I didn’t finish the entire plate…. So in summation, I wouldn’t necessarily call these “Baltimore’s best ribs,” but apparently I’m in the minority. As this framed letter notes, the ribs are imported from Denmark, which I found a little strange, as well, but hey, pig meat is pig meat! For dessert, I drove a little further up the road, back to the Pennsylvania Dutch Market, to pick up some of those amazing doughnuts. This time, they also offered fried pies! The most unique flavor was called “snit,” a combination of apple butter, apple sauce and spices that apparently is quite popular on the Amish church dinner circuit. How could I not try one? It was… different. A little tart, but not bad. I’m excited to go back and try different flavors (apple, cherry, blueberry, strawberry, etc.) in the future. Speaking of pig meat, I once again attended the annual Pork in the Park in Salisbury, MD. It’s been covered in this thread a couple times already, and I didn’t really eat anything different there this year than I have in the past, so I won’t repeat the details. However, this year’s 10th annual event did feature one unique event that I thought may be of interest: a chicken wing eating contest with Joey Chestunt and Sonya “Black Widow” Thomas! That’s them in the center-ish. Unfortunately, I was busy running a beer tent on the other side of the pond from where the stage was, so this slightly blurry zoomed-in photo was the best I could manage. In early May, I surprised Kelly and Lauryn with a weekend trip to Niagara Falls. Kelly doesn’t have a passport, and taking Lauryn across international borders is… let’s just say not worth the hassle… so we were limited to the New York side. Which, as it turned out, was fine, especially since they were able to see all they wanted to see from the “Maid of the Mist” boat ride (and I’d already seen it years earlier, thanks to TPR). On the way, we stopped for dinner at Nick Tahou’s Hots in Rochester, NY. This is the inside. I thought the vintage candy machine against the back wall was really cool. Not pictured is the only other patron in the restaurant at the time walked in, a homeless lady sitting next to a garbage bag filled with all her worldly possessions, ranting into a cell phone. So what is this “garbage plate” thing, anyway? Well, it’s a layer of homefries, topped with a layer of macaroni salad, topped with a layer of Texas hot wieners, topped with a layer of onions, topped with a layer chili. I really liked it. Kelly took two bites and declared it the most disgusting thing I ever made her eat. Lauryn refused to touch it. Curious, I also tried a Rochester white hot with the works (i.e. mustard and onion). I liked it even better than the garbage plate! Unfortunately, Kelly declared this the unabashed low point of the trip. The clientele who walked up to the counter after us seemed to underscore that this was a “ghetto” hangout… until a very preppy high school softball team came in as we were leaving. Kelly said the bathroom “looked like a murder scene from ‘Friday the 13th’.” Lauryn refused to eat anything in the restaurant, including a candy bar from the machine. Obviously, they don’t know good roadfood when they see it. Fortunately, things went a lot better at our next stop, Parkside Candy in Buffalo, NY. The current location of this candy and ice cream shop opened in the 1930s, and nothing much has changed inside since then. A portion of the baseball movie “The Natural” was filmed here. The big draw at Parkside Candy is sponge candy, a confection not found much in the United States outside upstate New York region, but very popular elsewhere in the world. From the outside, it looks like an ordinary chocolate. The inside, however, reveals its unique filling. For those who aren’t familiar with sponge candy, it’s kind of like a square of super-hardened cotton candy enrobed in chocolate, and it more or less dissolves upon coming into contact with your tongue. If you’ve ever had a Cadbury Crunchie bar, that’s pretty much it (though the Parkside version didn’t really get stuck in my teeth the way Crunchie bars tend to). Coming up: more Niagara Falls-area restaurants and two kinds of fried crab meat.
  4. Big Mike, if you buy me a $7,000 trip to China, I promise I will never cheat on you!
  5. Wow, this was awesome! I tried every way I could think of to justify flying down to Orlando just for this daytrip, and I just couldn't make it work. Thanks for sharing so those of us on the "other side" could have a glimpse at what we missed!
  6. Wow, that was cool! Hard to believe the countdown clock is that big. Thanks, Robb!
  7. ^In that case, I have another treat for you! Long time readers of this thread might recognize this restaurant -- or at least the building that it's in. Fat Daddy's BBQ opened in 2012 in the structure vacated by La Placita, noted earlier on here as one of my favorite restaurants. As much as I still miss La Placita, I'm always game to try new barbecue restaurants. Unfortunately, this one opened just as I began my quest around this time last year to lose 100 pounds, and given the performance of other restaurants at this location, I feared I might not have the chance to sample its offerings. Well, earlier today, that year-long wait ended... and the food was well worth it! Enjoy this short (but tasty) report! With the exception of the addition of a bunch of flags and a new sign, this part of the building looks pretty much the same as it did when La Placita was here. This part doesn't! Like Gaston, Fat Daddy uses antlers in all of his decorating. But when the food's this good, the decor really doesn't matter. I'm not a huge fan of Carolina-style pulled pork (I prefer red sauce over the vinegar-based Carolina sauce), but I really liked Fat Daddy's version. The fries were hand cut and fresh, and the homemade peppery red sauce on the table was great, as well. The restaurant also makes its own lemonade, which struck the perfect balance between sweet and tart. I had two glasses, and the waitress was nice enough to offer a Styrofoam cup so I could take the remainder of the second with me to sip on the way home. I'm back on the diet train next week, once my week-long vacation from work ends, but hopefully I'll be able to make Fat Daddy's an occasional treat in the future... assuming it continues to avoid the curse that befell its predecessors and the doors remain open!
  8. ^Thanks, Joey! Glad to know you're enjoying it. The last time I checked in, I mentioned that I would soon be heading to the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area. Well, we did that... but plans changed quite a bit from the trip's inception, and instead of basing our adventure in Norfolk, as we originally had intended, we ended up in Williamburg to attend our first ever sci-fi convention! It was unique, to say the least, but we enjoyed it enough that Kelly has already decreed we will be attending again next year, and Lauryn has already instructed Kelly to begin creating a Renaissance zombie costume for her. (For what it's worth, Kelly is interested in exploring some sort of steampunk outfit. I, on the other hand, plan to stick with jeans and a sweatshirt.) That said, the convention took away some of the time I had set aside for visiting restaurants. Plus there were other setbacks. The restaurant I was looking forward to the most went out of business unexpectedly a week before our trip (after nearly 60 years of operation--it figures). And we had such a hard time finding parking for another eatery I had hoped to stop at on the way back that we just said "screw it" and went to IHOP instead. So all told, we ended up at exactly one Roadfood restaurant on our weekend trip, and that was an off-hours, between-meals stop I insisted upon. But it was good! Enjoy! First Roadfood of 2013: Doumar's Barbecue in Norfolk, VA. Of course he did. Guy didn't sign the wall at this place as he did the restaurants we visited in Maine, but he did autograph a poster for them. Doumar's has both traditional drive-in curb service and an indoor dining room. Given that temperatures were in the high 30s, we opted for indoor seating. Doumar's' claim to fame is that its founder also allegedly invented the ice cream cone at the 1904 World's Fair. Now, if you follow this thread regularly (like Joey), you may be wondering the same thing I did: How can Doumar's claim its founder invented the ice cream cone when E.B. Hobbs in Salem Willows, MA, claims its founders invented the ice cream cone? The answer is actually pretty simple (and spelled out on a brochure I picked up at Doumar's): There were three parties involved in inventing the ice cream cone: the Hobbs founders (who provided either the ice cream or the cone--that part's a little fuzzy), the guy who provided whichever component the Hobbs founders didn't, and Mr. Doumar, a souvenir paperweight vendor who came up with the idea of getting all these crazy kids together in the first place. At any rate, Mr. Doumar got out of the paperweight business, took the ice cream cone idea to Coney Island after the fair, invented this four-cone waffle press and then spent the rest of his life franchising Doumar's Ice Cream locations to family members throughout the East Coast. The Norfolk location, built in 1949 (but opened earlier, in a different building), is the last one left. With all that history, you would think we would have gotten ice cream cones... but alas, we were more interested in the shakes. My cherry, on the left, was OK (I also sampled a hand-mixed cherry soda, which was pretty horrible). Lauryn said her banana, on the right, was great; I'll take her word for it since I generally don't like banana-flavored foods. Kelly's orange freeze, on the other hand--orange juice with orange sherbet, topped with whipped cream and a cherry--was out of this world, and I'm definitely getting one for myself the next time we're at Doumar's (and there will be a next time). It also was the only one any of us could drink through a straw--for the most part, what Lauryn and I got were big glasses of soft-serve ice cream. Kelly and Lauryn both got cheeseburgers to go with their shakes. I tried a small bite of Kelly's--it was the best of the three cheeseburgers I sampled that weekend, but still just OK. The barbecue, on the other hand, was great! Not quite competition level, but still very, very good. And the slaw on top was just enough to accent the porkiness of the sandwich without getting in the way. I definitely plan on ordering this again. Thanks, Doumar's! We hope to see you again soon!
  9. Oh no! This is even worse than the time Walmart put the wrong kind of ponies on that Bronies shirt! Or something like that.
  10. ^Wow, it's depressing to think about what was (or could have been) lost there, but it's good to know work continues. Thanks for the update!
  11. Whether that comes to fruition or not, I don't know if it's such a bad idea. The "Jurassic Park" franchise is two decades old now. Even with the re-releases, etc., there are going to be a number of people down the line who may not be as familiar with the concept as those of us who grew up with the movie are. If Universal is making a large investment and intends for the Jurassic Park area to continue serving another 10-20 years, adding a dark ride to provide background on just what this place is (essentially a rehash of the plot of the first movie) would be a nice way to keep the theme relevant instead of just having guests wander into "Generic Dino Land," which is what Jurassic Park essentially becomes without some sort of backstory. Either way, it sounds better than the version of the Discovery Center that's there now.
  12. When I first read the headline for this story, I was totally expecting the guy to be Jeff Johnson, going for a new credit.
  13. Unfortunately, I didn't get to travel much during the holidays this year... but there's still plenty of Roadfood to be had! Six days before Christmas, I partook of my final Roadfood of the year, both on the same day and both in Salisbury, MD, within a few miles (one within walking distance) of my work. Enjoy! In the '50s and '60s, this building used to house the Polar Bar, a popular restaurant and high school/college hangout. Flash forward to the mid-2000s and DeVage's, a popular sub shop, bought it and moved out of its original strip mall location and into this standalone building. Why is that important? Because as part of the deal, DeVage's also acquired the locally famous Polar Bar doughnut recipe! Each year, I help distribute dozens of these doughnuts as part of a goodwill campaign. And they are good! Ready to see what's inside? Boom! My favorite flavor is peanut butter, followed closely by orange, cherry coconut and original glazed. They have over a dozen (maybe 18?) in all, and they're especially good early in the morning when they're fresh out of the fryer. But then, what doughnut isn't? That afternoon, after a long morning of doughnut deliveries (and some actual work, as well), I made the very short trip to Sage Diner for lunch. This is one of those places that was about 15 different restaurants over the course of five or six years when I was growing up. Finally, sometime when I was in high school, the Sage moved in, and it's been there ever since. There's a second location in Eastern Shore Virginia, as well. The reason for its longevity? It's good! This place has a menu approximately 692 pages long, and I've never had a bad meal here. On this particular day, I chose a ham and cheese omelet with home fries. More often, I opt for the "Businessman's Lunch" of an open-faced Reuben with fries, chicken noodle soup and a dish of rice pudding with cinnamon and whipped cream... all for about $8. My favorite thing at the Sage, however, is its sweet potato waffle. Yowza! Anyway, that's it for 2012! What's on the horizon for 2013? Well, if the weather holds out, we're talking about an upcoming weekend trip to the Virginia Beach/Hampton Roads area... where the possibilities are endless (or at least more than we could rationally take in over the course of two days). Until then!
  14. If I could choose only one, it would be the Steeplechase at Coney Island. If I could choose two, the other would be the Hydraulic Dive at Glen Echo Park in Maryland.
  15. My 2012 haul: --Early 1950s "Jolly Caterpillar" ride sign from Euclid Beach Park --Other random Euclid Beach stuff (tickets, T-shirts, photos, books, a catalog, a VHS documentary, etc., most of which I already had, but which came as a package with the sign--I will say that the photos, which were original 8X10s taken circa 1969, were especially cool) --Lots of vintage trading cards from the 1930s-1970s --"From Dreamer to Dreamfinder" autobiography by former Disney cast member Ron Schneider --"Epcot" vintage 1982 coffee table book about the making of the park, rare first edition (found at Goodwill, no less) --"Card Collectors Bulletin" book, 1960 edition with original dust jacket (in the vintage trading card hobby, this is a fairly big deal) --Trivial Pursuit "Bet You Know It" edition --"Life in the Analog Age" comic book set --Vintage DC comics from the 1970s --Portable power station/jump starter --Staple gun --Swimming trunks and a surf shirt in my new size (a none-too-subtle hint from Kelly that now that I'm over 100 pounds lighter, I'm running out of excuses not to go to the beach with her) --Travel steamer (for when I'm away at work conferences or traveling with Kelly for weddings and other formal affairs that require stuffing dress shirts into suitcases) --Lots of "odds and ends" collectibles, including Disney park memorabilia, World's Fair memorabilia and a vintage holiday matchbook --Lots of various foods, including Barnacles snack mix, a Hickory Farms gift pack, exotic cured sausages, German and Polish mustards, pickled watermelon rind, cookies and candy (Andes Cherry Jubilee, all-cherry Mike & Ikes, Pretzel M&Ms, Russell Stover marshmallow Santas, etc.) --Budweiser barbecue sauce set --Two ties --Gift cards to Olive Garden and Longhorn Steakhouse --$150 in cash and Visa gift cards Jolly, jolly, jolly!
  16. In the spirit of Christmas Eve, I thought I'd post some photos from a really cool event we attended Friday evening. Earlier this year, a local gentleman announced the formation of the Create1Dream Foundation and its signature fundraiser, the Decorating Delmarva Festival of Lights at the U.S. 13 Dragway in Delmar, DE. To be honest, it didn't really seem like anything I'd be interested in. There are roughly 8 bajillion places to do the drive-through-Christmas-lights thing within three hours of where we live; I've been to approximately all of them at some point in my lifetime, and they're all pretty much the same. So one day a couple weeks ago I was driving past the dragway on a different route home from work than I normally take so I could stop at a particular store along the way to pick up a Christmas present and I saw the flashing, spinning lights of... a Paratrooper? That got my attention! I looked into it a little more, and at $15 a carload, Kelly and I decided to round up her parents and make this our "drive-through Christmas lights" stop this year. I'm so glad we did. I expected the regular Christmas light display that everyone else has. Instead, it was more like a smaller, more low-key version of the European Christmas carnivals I've seen photos of elsewhere on TPR (minus the alcohol, Mrs. Claus reminded me, as I shared my observation with her while chatting in the Santa line). And it had a strong community component. The civic group I'm involved with had a chance to participate, and we turned it down. Next year, I'm strongly suggesting that we get involved. In the meantime, merry Christmas, TPR... and enjoy! After paying at the ticket booth and tuning our radio to the proper station, where a number of DJs from local commercial stations took turns acknowledging the sponsors and explaining how the event works, we were directed to take Exit 1 toward the first leg of the light display. Instead of the same rebar-PVC-and-C9-lights that everyone else has, Decorating Delmarva converted the area into a faux village run by Santa and his reindeer, complete with appropriate corresponding sponsors. A local garage, for example, sponsored Prancer's Garage, the Local Owner Restaurant Association sponsored Rudolph's Diner, Comcast (which produces a local education program) sponsored the North Pole Schoolhouse, etc. It was very innovative and refreshingly different. On the final legs of the "lights," local non-profit organizations like churches, schools and civic clubs were invited to create their own displays for the six-week event. At the end, patrons are asked to vote for the display they liked best in each category, and the winning non-profits receive cash donations. It was a great idea, and since some categories had only one entrant, it really offered a low-to-no-risk way for some groups to raise funds while promoting themselves in the community. Local businesses also were encouraged to set up displays. This one was pretty neat; the guy actually recreated his storefront in miniature. You could tell he put in a lot more effort than some of the others. After the lights, we were directed to a parking lot, where we could get out and explore the rest of the festival. We parked next to the monster truck school bus! Lauryn can almost fit in the tire! This was the Paratrooper that piqued my curiosity in the first place. It was the only ride in the carnival portion of the event that Lauryn didn't ride; she had a bad experience on one of these a couple years ago, unfortunately. Including the Paratrooper, the carnival consisted of only four rides, but for the size and scope of the event, that was plenty, and the kids there had a ball. Others included the train... ...bumper cars... ...and Boomer's Ball Park. Why do they call it a "ball park"? That's why! In case the unique-looking Dino on the side of the Boomer's setup didn't clue you in, they don't care much for copyright law in these parts.... Here's Lauryn with Geoff... er, I mean, "Jimmy" the giraffe. I tried to explain to her who Geoffrey the Giraffe was. It made me feel old. Piggy eats the trash! Kelly has crabs! (She totally asked me to take this picture and post it with that caption. I'm sure I'll get in trouble for it, anyway.) Disembodied elephant head says... "Stay in school!" They also had a couple of games, though they weren't drawing much attention. The guy at the fishbowl game had the right idea--he was offering to let kids play for free, and if they "won," their parents had to pay to make it count. Fortunately for us, Lauryn has the hand-eye coordination of a 2-year-old. He let her try 10 times, and the ping pong ball didn't even reach the array of fishbowls on eight of those throws. They had a few clever ways of acknowledging the sponsors, including these oversized Christmas cards. Major sponsors, of course, like this home builder, received much larger displays. In the "food court" section, they had fire pits for making s'mores. I guess when you have enough insurance to run a dragway, adding a rider to cover visitors standing within 12 inches of an open flame really isn't all that expensive, comparatively speaking. Either way, it was a neat idea. The rest of the "food court" consisted of trailers and food trucks run by the carnival and local vendors. Santa piggies! Um... yes, please! I got the hot chocolate, which was good. Kelly and Lauryn opted for the apple cider, which was even better. Pumpkin funnel cake? Holy crap! Santa got my letter! Unfortunately, the pumpkin funnel cake tasted more like warm Crisco ladled over cold Crisco, fried crunchy and topped with grease that was past its prime. It's the only time I can remember that the three of us didn't polish off an entire funnel cake in one sitting, and in this instance, we made it only about a third of the way through before tossing it out. The churros, which Lauryn was thrilled with (she calls them "Disneyland sticks"). weren't much better, in my opinion. The fried pickles, however, were very good, though I usually prefer the chips over the spears. Pictured, from left: Kelly, Lauryn and a Disneyland stick. The event wasn't crowded that night, though I had expected it to be packed the weekend before Christmas. I suspect the rain earlier that day that made the grounds rather muddy, along with temperatures that night that dropped into the 30s following two straight weeks of unseasonably warm weather, probably had something to do with it. Either way, the indoor, heated "Santa's Village" section provided a nice respite from the cold. Inside, local vendors as far as the eye could see! Some were selling things, but most were giving away samples or providing demonstrations. It reminded me of a state fair in some respects. Throughout the "village," they had entries in the event's coloring contest hung on the walls. Patrons were asked to vote on the one they liked best. The Santa line wasn't long, but Santa spent quality time with each child, so there was a slight wait. As noted earlier, Mrs. Claus was there, too. They had a photographer, but unlike 99 percent of these types of setups, he was just kind of there in case someone didn't have a camera. In fact, he didn't even take a picture unless he was asked. You could take all the photos you wanted with your own camera or phone, which was a really nice perk. Finally, we ended up at Santa's Entertainment Arena. This is the stage where live entertainment is provided. They had a local school chorus performing at some point that evening, but we didn't stick around for it. This was also the "Festival of Trees" area, where Christmas trees decorated by local middle school students (or, more likely, staff) were on display. Once again, visitors were asked to vote on the one they liked best, and the winning school received a prize or donation. I apologize for the less-than-stellar quality; unfortunately, my camera doesn't do well with miniature lights. And, of course, like any good themed attraction, you exit through the gift shop! But don't worry; we'll be back next year. Thanks for reading!
  17. ^Yeah, I was pleasantly surprised by Carthay. I'd heard it was supposed to be the Blue Bayou of DCA. While Blue Bayou has an amazing atmosphere, the couple times I've eaten there, I thought the food was just sort of "meh" and grossly overpriced, even by Disney standards. Carthay Circle, on the other hand, was priced just slightly above, say, Rancho del Zocalo, and it was some of the best food I had this year, theme park or otherwise. Plus it had an impressive atmosphere. Last part of the Disneyland Resort posted below. Enjoy! After lunch, it was time to head to the Jingle Jangle Jamboree at Big Thunder Ranch. The main (and only, really) reason we came here was that I wanted to see Billy Hill and the Hillbillies. But it turned out to be a really fun little area that (thankfully) people seemed fairly unaware of or uninterested in. Case in point: free (free!) games and coloring for kids, and characters walking around with absolutely no lines or glued-to-the-hip handlers. It was so laid back that Goofy actually walked over, grabbed a coloring page and sat down to color with the kids... and no one bothered him! It was like, "Hey, Goofy's here. That's cool. Can someone pass me the red crayon?" Of course, the reason the Jingle Jangle Jamboree is included in the food thread is... Mrs. Claus' Tasty Treats! We were still full from Rancho del Zocalo, so I didn't try any, but the Monte Cristo Bites on the menu were awfully tempting... ...and Country Bear approved! The neatest part of the Billy Hill and the Hillbillies show was when two of the Country Bears came out and joined them on stage for the finale. After the show they wandered around the area, and after a few photo requests, just like Goofy, no one really bothered them. Gomer waited in the food line with park guests, and it was like he was just another tourist from Idaho or something. I've been going to Disney parks for years, and I've never seen anything like it. Later in the afternoon, I crossed the final "must-do" Disneyland food stop off my list, the Bengal Barbecue in Adventureland. The menu is limited, but usually really good. Except this time it wasn't so much. The jalepeno cheese-filled pretzel was fine, but the Banyan beef skewer, I thought, tasted like chicken. I took it back to the counter and asked if maybe they had given me the wrong thing, but the woman assured me it was beef. I showed Kelly, and she said it *could* have been beef... she guessed. Either way, I loved the sauce just as much as I always have... I just wasn't too crazy about the mystery meat. Kelly wanted to stop at the candy shop on Main Street on our way across the street for our final visit to DCA. I usually don't pay too much attention to the theming in these shops, but as I waited for them to walk around, this old music machine really caught my eye. I visited a museum earlier this year that specialized in these types of machines and even had one that supposedly was formerly used at Disneyland. Kelly got into the holiday spirit with a Santa Mickey cupcake. Lauryn and I opted for chocolate-covered red velvet Mickey Mouse cake pops with marshmallow ears. I chose traditional... ...while she went for the Mickey-head sprinkles. Both were delicious. Over at DCA, I did some browsing along Hollywood Boulevard while waiting for Kelly and Lauryn to ride the Tower of Terror and came across this pretend candy store... ...and some of its "not for sale" confections. After their Tower of Terror ride, Lauryn didn't feel that great, and Kelly had been complaining all day that her feet hurt, so they decided they would just rest for awhile, then go back to the hotel and call it a vacation. I hit a few more DCA rides, then meandered over to the World of Disney at Downtown Disney... where I ran into Kelly and Lauryn! My plans were to do some gift shopping, then have dinner at the newly opened Earl of Sandwich, one of my favorite food stops in Orlando. Kelly and Lauryn said they would join me, but wanted me to scout it out first since it was at the other end of Downtown Disney and they didn't particularly want to walk if they didn't have to, especially in the rain. When I got there, the line was out the door and around the corner, and they were predicting about an hour wait. Pass! By the time I got back to their bench, the rain had stopped, and Kelly suggested going back into Disneyland and trying Cafe Orleans again since we had enjoyed it so much the night before. Only this time they were all booked up, so we ended up shoulder-to-shoulder with roughly 10,000 other guests next door at the French Market. Even though the food at the French Market is served cafeteria-style, we still had a 20- to 25-minute wait in line (which, like Earl of Sandwich's, snaked outside and around the building). Inside, decorations were themed to the nearby Haunted Mansion Holiday. According to Kelly, I kind of looked like this wreath by the time we found a table and sat down. We carried our trays around for 10 minutes--and asking Lauryn to carry anything for that long without spilling it is asking for a miracle to begin with--looking for an open table. Hardly anyone was eating--they were saving tables for people who had just joined the now-30-minute line. After getting verbally abused by a gentleman who claimed he had "dibs" on a table (to save for the next half hour before anyone else in his family showed up, of course) from which people were leaving, I found a nearby table that was being "saved," informed the "saver" that we would be eating there, and that was that. Turns out he wasn't even saving the table for that particular restaurant; he was holding it so his friends could join him and have a place to sit while waiting for their reservation to come due next door at Cafe Orleans! Long story short: I hate people. The at the French Market was, as I recalled from several years prior, good, but not great. I got shrimp pasta and an apple tart, but wasn't as hungry as I thought I was; I didn't come close to finishing either. I don't remember what Kelly and Lauryn had to eat for dinner, but they shared this coffin-shaped chocolate cake for dessert. Two interesting things happened at the conclusion of this meal. We saw another couple wandering around with trays just as we had been, so we invited them to join us since we had a couple seats free. They thanked us profusely and told us we were, by far, the nicest people they had met at Disneyland. As we were getting up, Kelly accidentally bumped the chair in back of her with the one she was sitting in. The lady sitting there yelled, "Watch it! You almost knocked me off my chair!" Kelly, having grown increasingly tired of what she dubbed the "California attitude" we encountered throughout much of the trip, apologized, then said to me, "Wow, if I had known all this time I could just hit them and get away with it, this vacation would have been a lot more fun!" After dinner and a train ride back to Main Street, Kelly and Lauryn really did leave to go back to the hotel to prepare for our 4:30 a.m. departure to the airport the next day. Meanwhile, I made my way back over to DCA and got in the 35-minute single rider line for Radiator Springs Racers (where I got rained on again and encountered some more of that lovely "California attitude"). Afterward, I took a few more food-related photos on Buena Vista Street, including the very nicely done Fiddler, Fifer and Practical Cafe. At the Julius Katz and Son store, I found this old-fashioned candy machine full of "Imagineered" candies. Almost all of these relate to Disney's earliest cartoons and "Alice" comedies. Graphically, this one was my favorite. If (when?) they get around to reproducing these boxes to actually sell with candy, I would buy this one. At the very least, I suspect each of these will eventually become pins and be sold as a limited-edition set for around $75. Because, you know, that's what Disney does. OK, notice above that I said "almost all" of the candies related to Disney's earliest production efforts? Not this one! I literally laughed out loud and absolutely had a smile on my face for the rest of the night when I noticed this particular faux candy box. A lot of people know a lot about Walt Disney, but this is a reference only the geekiest of Disney history geeks (like me) would get, and I couldn't believe they went to the trouble of including something this obscure that probably only .00000001 percent of park guests who even noticed it would understand. Walt and Roy Disney's father, Elias, didn't have anywhere near the financial success of his sons, but it wasn't for lack of trying. Unfortunately, he had a habit of investing in fly-by-night schemes and ideas in hopes of bettering his family's financial standing. One particularly bad investment was in the O-Zell Company, a Chicago-based producer of jams and jellies (with ill-fated intentions of expanding into carbonated beverages). He reportedly lost $16,000 on the deal. Still, it's part of the Disney family's history, and the Imagineers chose to immortalize this obscure little detail from a century ago in the form of this faux candy box. Anyway, I've said too much. Next up: the final Roadfood of 2012!
  18. Our first day (on this trip, anyway) at Disneyland. Enjoy! Lauryn was in a foul mood that morning, stopping to cry three times before we made it to the castle. Once in Fantasyland, I told her I bet I knew what would put her in a better mood and proposed a churro break. She informed me that churros looked disgusting, and she had no intention of eating one ever. So I got one for Kelly and one for myself, and Kelly suggested Lauryn try a bite of hers. As you can imagine, Lauryn immediately started begging us to buy her one of her own. The churro vendor laughed, said he saw that coming a mile away and handed us the third churro, which he had waiting. And as a postscript, we went to a winter carnival earlier this weekend, and Lauryn saw a sign for churros at one of the vendors' booths. She got very excited and started yelling, "Disneyland sticks! Disneyland sticks!" Long story longer, they weren't anywhere near as good as the real "Disneyland sticks." For lunch that day, we ate at Redd Rockett's Pizza Port in Tomorrowland, which serves one of my favorite dishes, chicken fusilli pasta. However, since I already have photos of RRPP from a previous vacation, I didn't bother to take any. So instead, please enjoy this picture of cabbage, also taken in Tomorrowland. It goes especially well with the Vas Peas served in Fantasyland. That evening took us to beautiful New Orleans Square, by far my favorite "land" at the original Disneyland. And Cafe Orleans is still my favorite restaurant at the original Disneyland (it had been my favorite restaurant at the resort, period, until our experience at the Carthay Circle the evening before). I was surprised at how quickly we were seated. We wouldn't be as lucky the next night. Lauryn ordered the pirate sipper, accompanied by her best impression of Captain Hook. I got my favorite Disneyland beverage, a mint julep. I told Kelly we would need to place two orders for the pommes frites, as I could eat one practically by myself. Again, until our meal at DCA the night before, this was my favorite dish at the Disneyland Resort. When they came out, Kelly took one look and said we had made a big mistake and should have just ordered one. By her third fry, she (jokingly) suggested perhaps we should have ordered three! At my suggestion, Kelly ordered the Monte Cristo. She loved it, but couldn't finish it all, so I ended up with the last piece. It was just right; I like the Monte Cristo, but the portion size here is always way too big for me (even when I weighed 100 pounds more than I do now). Besides the pommes frites (I didn't really eat a whole basket by myself, btw...), I got the French onion soup, which was good, but not great. After dinner, I took Kelly and Lauryn to one of my favorite spots at Disneyland, the quiet, serene, never-crowded (even when the park is filled to near capacity) Court of Angels... only to find that it had been turned into an outdoor merchandise location. I'm not one of those "Everything at Disneyland must be preserved exactly the way Walt left it forever!!!" nuts, but I'll admit I was a little disappointed. On the way out later that evening, we passed by the Jolly Holiday Bakery, which was new since the last time I had visited. We didn't eat there, but it looked fairly nice. During our morning churro stop the next day, the Abominable Snowman from the Matterhorn was turning the popcorn cylinder! For lunch, I had scheduled a stop at Rancho del Zocalo, a restaurant I had passed by many times, but never eaten at. The main reason I suggested it this time is because Kelly and Lauryn are Mexican food addicts... but any restaurant with Zorro on top of its entryway can't be too bad! I was really impressed by the interior. It really did resemble a quaint Spanish inn... with Coke products. Apparently, people live above where we eat. I hope today isn't garbage day.... Kelly really liked her citrus fire-grilled chicken, and I really, really liked the carne asada steak and red chile enchiladas! Lauryn was pleased with her tacos, and even the tortilla chips were surprisingly good. However, the best thing we got from this restaurant, as great as everything else was, was the tres leches cake! Kelly thought it was OK; I thought it was outstanding. "Om nom nom!" If you've never eaten at Rancho del Zocalo, there's one more thing you should know... its windows are a great place to get pictures of Big Thunder Mountain! Had I known then what I do now, I might have made a more concentrated effort to take a couple shots of Rainbow Ridge, as well... oh well. Up next... the thrilling conclusion of our meals at the Disneyland Resort!
  19. Wow, that sucks. That happened to me a few years ago. Hope you're feeling better. On another note, after seeing your original post, I ordered one of those Silver Dollar City books for my very own, used on Amazon. The description said both the book and cover were in excellent shape. And when I received them, sure enough they were. Had they been attached to each other, that would have been even better....
  20. My giftee has already posted that he/she doesn't plan to open his/her gift until Christmas, which is cool... I just hope they post photos once they do open it. My giftee last year never posted anything, which was slightly disappointing.
  21. ^Shhh! Stop telling them SFA doesn't suck! You're just going to make the lines longer for people like my family and me who actually enjoy the park for what it has become in the past few years. You're also wasting your time. Disney could buy SFA, revitalize the plans for Disney's America and turn it into one of the top 10 most visited parks in the world, and 90 percent of the posters you're trying to convince will still swear on their dead grandmother's false teeth that it's the worst park on Earth because, you know, it's SFA. Been there, done that.
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