Category Archives: Fun

Adventures in Atlanta

A few weeks ago I visited Atlanta for the first time and truly enjoyed my time there. I definitely felt that Southern charm and hospitality everywhere I went! I was able to do a little bit of everything, from visiting Underground Atlanta, trying real Southern cuisine, having fun at the World of Coca Cola, checking out the Martin Luther King, Jr. Center and exploring the Centennial Olympic Park.

Underground Atlanta

This is an underground mall / shopping area which opened in 1969 as a “city beneath the streets,” in the Five Points neighborhood of downtown Atlanta.

Atlanta_Underground Train

Mary Mac’s Tea Room

This restaurant has been around since 1945 and is well known. The restaurant has adorable windows on the outside with white trim and colorful flowers. The interior is also lovely with a spacious and homey dining room.

Atlanta_Mary Mac

Chicken Pot Pie: The chicken pot pie had crust on top, as well as plenty of sauce. The filling was pretty good with peas, carrots, and celery, but there definitely wasn’t enough chicken. While the vegetables and chicken were very tender, I thought the filling could have used more seasoning. The crust was yummy, but difficult to get off the sides of the dish.

Vegetable and Cheese Souffle: Amazing! Incredibly cheesy with plenty of tasty and fresh corn and zucchini, all cooked in a delicious crispiness.

Sweet Potato Souffle: Like a sweet potato mash and came with a good amount of melted marshmallow on top. It was absolutely delicious and had a dollop of cinnamon, a dash of nutmeg and sweet syrup.

Peach Cobbler: This dessert was very good, with a ton of golden sweet peaches, their juices and some crust on top. It tasted so good: refreshing and not too sweet.

World of Coca Cola

I had a fun time interacting with different exhibits… My favorites included hugging the Coca Cola polar bear, experiencing the 4D movie, Taste it room where there were 100 flavors of Coke from all over the world, Milestones of Refreshment and Pop Culture Gallery.

Atlanta_Coca cola collage

Atlanta_Coca Cola Bear

Atlanta_coca cola flavors

In the Taste It room, drinks are separated into continents and really interesting… Some of my favorites: Bibo Candy Pine-Nut from Africa which truly did taste like pineapple + coconut candy! and a Strawberry flavored one.

Martin Luther King, Jr. Center

“Established in 1968 by Mrs. Coretta Scott King, The Martin Luther King, Jr. Center for Nonviolent Social Change (“The King Center”) has been a global destination, resource center and community institution for over a quarter century.”

Atlanta_MLK grave

This is the memorial tomb of Martin Luther King, Jr and his wife, Coretta Scott King. It is onstructed of Georgia marble, a timeless acknowledgement of Kings’ southern roots.

Atlanta_MLK house

Standing at the birth place of Martin Luther King, Jr.

Atlanta_MLK me

Here I am standing in solidarity with all who have marched and fought for social change, in the past, present and future.

Busy Bee Cafe

This restaurant claims to have the best fried chicken in Atlanta. While I am not sure if that is the case, they do serve some pretty darn delicious fried chicken!

Atlanta_Busy Bee Cafe

Cornbread: We were given cornbread that came in little muffin-like pieces and they were piping warm and so good! There was honey butter but even without the butter, the cornbread was buttery and melted in your mouth.

Fried Chicken: Absolutely delicious and had extremely flavorful crispy skin. I loved the crunchiness of the skin and the chicken itself was tender, succulent, wonderful. It definitely was some of the best chicken I have ever had!

Fried Okra: Little adorable bites and incredibly well seasoned. Each bite was encased in a crunchy batter and the little okra inside was fresh and tasty.

Blackberry Cobbler: It was a mess of dark purple berry with crust and really yummy, sweet and delectable. I just wish there was more crust that came witih it because the combination of crust and blackberry was the best.

Centennial Olympic Park

This park is absolutely gorgeous, with tons of grassy area perfect for picnics, water fountains and waterfalls, cool rock formations, pretty and colorful flowers and various Olympic statues throughout.

Atlanta_Park waterfalls

Atlanta_Park flowers

Atlanta_Park entrance

It was wonderful trip and I’m glad I got to experience a bit of what Atlanta has to offer!

 

 

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Sightseeing in Seattle

I had the opportunity to visit one of my friends in Seattle during New Year’s Eve weekend and had an amazing time exploring the city. We opted to purchase the Seattle CityPASS, which gave us admission to the following 5 attractions and helped us save 47%.

  • Space Needle
  • Seattle Aquarium
  • Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour
  • Museum of Pop Culture (MoPop) OR Woodland Park Zoo
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass OR Pacific Science Center

Day One

Seattle Aquarium

First, my friend and I headed to the Pier and the Seattle Aquarium.

seattle-aquarium-me

One unique exhibit was the Underwater Dome, which is “an undersea dome with a 360º view into a mammoth 400,000-gallon tank filled with hundreds of Puget Sound fish,” such as salmon, lingcod, sharks, sturgeon and more!

I also liked the Pacific Coral Reef, which displayed gorgeous and colorful fish and coral in hues of pink, blue, orange and yellow.

seattle-aquarium-fish

The Marine Mammals exhibit was super cute and included playful sea otters, river otters, fur seals and harbor seals. Life on the Edge was really cool and gave us the chance to touch the sea life of Puget Sound tide pools… Everything from sea cucumbers, sea urchins, hermit crabs and sea stars!

seattle-aquarium-tide-pool
Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour  

After the aquarium was the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. It was lovely to see the different skyline and views of Seattle as the cruise boat traveled around the Puget Sound. Our tour guide was wonderful and shared a lot of interesting information about Puget Sound and about Seattle as a city. For example, even though stereotypically Seattle is thought to get a lot of rain, Seattle is not even in the top 5 cities in the U.S. that receives the most rainfall. However, Seattle is one of the top foggiest cities in the U.S.

seattle-harbor-cruise

Pike Place Market

I loved Pike Place Market, which is a public marketplace, kind of like a massive and bustling farmer’s market with all kinds of specialty items: “Within the nine-acre historic district you’ll discover dozens of farmers, a bustling crafts market, and more than 200 unique owner-operated shops. There are more than 80 restaurants to tempt you, from take-out counters specializing in donuts to fine dining establishments.” I had a great time sampling delicious fruit, jams, honey, chocolate pasta, vinegar, yogurt and much more!

seattle-pike-place-market

Gum Wall

The Gum Wall wasn’t on my list of things I needed to see, but since it was right near Pike Place Market, we passed through and it was an interesting array of different colored chewed up pieces of gum covering the brick walls.

seattle-gum-wall

Day Two

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass was one of my favorite attractions while visiting Seattle. This place features the work and designs of Dale Chihuly’s breathtaking blown glass masterpieces and is right near the Space Needle (in fact, there is an amazing view of the Space Needle in the outdoor garden area).

Chihuly Garden and Glass

Within this museum is the Persian Ceiling (one of my favorites) where the entire ceiling is covered with brightly colored and lit plant/flower-like designs. The entire room is lit up in white, pink, yellow, green and it is an amazing sight to behold! My friend was impressed by the lighting, while I marveled at the incredible artistry of the beautiful glass above me on the ceiling.

seattle-chihuly-persian-ceiling
After that, there is a room filled with huge yellow flat flowers; tall red, green, purple, blue reeds and a massive structure with hot pink bottom and yellow top reaching and curling in all directions. This led to the Ikebana and Float Boat (another favorite), which showed of two botas. One had multi-colored and different shaped balls in and around the boat, while the other had a hodgepodge of plant/flower-like and wavy lines in brilliant bright hues of the rainbow. This was made even more incredible with the stark black background.

Seattle Chihuly Boat.JPG

My absolute favorite part of the entire place was by far the Glasshouse, where there was an incredible display of orange, yellow and reddish flowers on the ceiling – All made of clear gorgeous glass, against the lights and high glass dome.

seattle-chihuly-glasshouseVenturing outside, there are lovely glass within the real garden. There were tall candle-like structures, huge balls, more twisty designs and I liked the part with a symphony of blue hues the best.

Kerry Park

In the evening, before heading to the Space Needle, we stopped by Kerry Park and got to see a spectacular view of the entire city of Seattle, with the Space Needle being front and center.

Space Needle

The Observation Deck at the Space Needle is 520 feet high and has a 360 degree panorama of Seattle and it is so beautiful to see all the lights of downtown Seattle. The view was truly breathtaking.

seattle-space-needle-night

Day Three

Space Needle

We decided to check out the Space Needle when it was light out so that we could experience the view in the daylight. Luckily, it was a clear day out so we were able to see everything, from the snow-topped mountain ranges, Elliot Bay, Puget Sound, the buildings and sights of downtown Seattle.

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seattle-space-needle-day_water

seattle-space-needle-day

Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)

The last stop was Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) which was awesome and fun. The current special exhibit is “Star Trek: Exploring New Worlds” and costs $5 to go through it.

seattle-mopop-star-trek

My favorite exhibit (no longer at the museum) was “World of WearableArt,” which featured mannequins sporting a pretty glittery pink gown in glass material, a red convertible, a Gothic church building and other equally unique outfits. I also really enjoyed the “Fantasy: Worlds of Myth and Magic” exhibit because it transported me to a different and magical world. There was memorabilia from The Wizard of Oz, The Princess Bride, Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, Game of Thrones and Chronicles of Narnia. Another exhibit of interest to me was the “Can’t Look Away: The Lure of Horror Film,” which includes “a laboratory-worthy wall of artifacts holds a plethora of film props that include the Nighthawk stake from Buffy the Vampire Slayer, the axe from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining, and the facehugger from the 1979 Alien.” We also checked out: “Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction,” “Indie Game Revolution,” and ones for Jimi Hendrix and Nirvana.

seattle-mopop-collage

I truly enjoyed experiencing what Seattle has to offer and found it to be a lovely and charming city with great character.

seattle-space-needle-w-lights

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Yelp’s Holiday Cruise 2016

This year’s Yelp Holiday Cruise aboard the Hornblower Infinity was off the hook amazing!

yhh_me
The Hornblower Infinity was a beautiful, spacious yacht with 3 levels. “Recently remodeled with a bold design, this vessel is the largest in the New York fleet and matches the uniqueness of New York.”

yhh_boat

Upon entering, my group of friends and I headed downstairs to the first floor, where all the savory food vendors were. After a bit of noshing on yummy savory bites, I headed up to the 2nd level for some sweet treats. There was also CandyTwisted Balloons, where they make balloon hats of your choice… They were gorgeous! On the third floor, where there was an oxygen bar, massage area, painting and a magician.

                   MY FAVORITE TREATS OF THE NIGHT

Between the Bread
They presented us with a scallop on top of a tortilla chip, which was delicious. I really enjoyed the pan seared scallop and the flavorful pesto sauce on top.

yhh_scallops
Otto’s Tacos
This pulled pork taco was quite large and chock full of wonderful tasting seasoning! The meat was juicy, tender and so yummy!

yhh_taco
City Cakes
I am a chocolate chip cookie girl (which I also tried of course), but one bite of the red velvet cake cookie and I was hooked… It was perfectly soft, had a mix of red velvet and white cream, just the right amount of sweetness and the definition of delicious. The chocolate chip cookie was also mouthwatering good.

yhh_red velvet
Tea & Milk
Cute bubble tea business. The folks making and serving the bubble tea were friendly and bubbly! I couldn’t decide between the regular black tea or the green jasmine tea so they let me try both! They were quite tasty, especially the jasmine tea. I liked the bit of cream they put on top and the tapioca balls were exactly the right texture and size.

yhh_bubble tea
Oficina Latina
This booth had both savory and sweet… Gorgonzola gnocchi with greens which were great and for dessert, I chose the chocolate and nutella which was absolutely delectable: Very rich, creamy, chocolate-y smooth and decadent!

yhh_gnocchi
Dough
Perfectly adorable mini donuts of quite a few different flavors. Each one moist and delightful, with sweet icing! Pictured below: Passionfruit and Chocolate.

yhh_doughnuts
One vendor I didn’t really care for was Chickpea, though I loved their beautiful, colorful, unique and creative presentation of flowers, along with the meats. Beyond that, I thought the naan, chicken and falafel were quite bland and dry. Another that didn’t meet my expectations was Coppelia’s chicken fried rice, especially since I love the restaurant Coppelia. It might have benefited from more seasoning and fresh ingredients.

yhh_chickpea
The dance floor was super fun, with great songs and lots of characters, such as Elmo, Unicorns, dinosaurs, entertainers in glittery bedazzled costumes, dancers in white with masks and so on. The boat docked around 9pm, but the DJ and Hornblower Cruises staff stuck around for an extra hour so we could continue having a blast and dance the night away!

yhh_skyline

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Holidays in California

I thoroughly enjoyed my time in California during the holiday time. From visiting the Aquarium, spending time at the beach, going shopping, hanging out downtown and at the Farmer’s Market, enjoying home cooked meals and time with family in my hometown in Monterey; to seeing friends in LA and relaxing at Miracle Springs Resort & Spa at Desert Hot Springs; to spending Christmas with family friends, stopping by the Chumash Casinos and checking out the charming town of Solvang (Danish Capital of America), it was a wonderful mini-vacation.

Christmas in Monterey, CA

I love the glittering, dazzling lights and decorations of the Portola Hotel lobby.

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This colorful and lovely Christmas tree is displayed in the middle of the Del Monte Shopping Center.

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Monterey Bay Aquarium in Monterey, CA

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Even though I have seen many of the exhibits already, I always feel a sense of wonder and magic while watching the brilliant sea life all around me. Also, I love seeing the new exhibits and activities that make the experience even more enjoyable.

Some of my favorite displays are the playful otters, cute penguins, beautiful jellyfish, brightly colored fish of hot pink/electric blue and yellow etc, mystical kelp forest, school of fish forming shapes together, formidable sharks, majestic sea turtles and the fact that the Aquarium is connected to the natural ocean front and there are outdoor areas throughout where you can witness the amazing views of the Monterey Bay/Pacific Ocean.

aquarium_me

Miracle Springs Resort & Spa in Desert Hot Springs, CA

Truly wonderful place with a beautiful lobby – Plush comfortable seats, nice Christmas tree and lights, huge windows that overlook the amazing landscaping, pools and hot tubs.

lobby
We headed to the pool and jacuzzis, which are all natural hot and cold springs. I started in one of the hot tubs which was quite warm and incredibly relaxing. It felt amazing to just soak in the hot tub and let the water and jets flow over me. After a bit I went to the biggest pool, where the temperature was cooler, but wasn’t cold by any means…It felt more lukewarm and big enough to swim back and forth, which I enjoyed. Later, we spent time in a smaller jacuzzi which was still pretty warm, but not as hot as the first one. Also, the jets were stronger in that one so it was great to feel that on my back, feet and was sort of like a massage. These hot tubs are the perfect place to unwind and take away any stress you might be feeling!

DHS

Christmas Time in Santa Rosa, CA

My mom and I joined a family friends in celebrating Christmas together, where I got to meet my friend’s adorable and sweet one year old son, Sebastian!

sebastian_me

We also had a delicious Christmas feast of two different types of prime rib, ham, stuffing, roasted potatoes, creamy mushroom dish and not pictured: Potato salad, medley of roasted vegetables, apple pie and homemade cookies!

xmas_feast
Chumash Casino Resort in Santa Inez, CA

We spent Christmas evening here since we were a few hours from home. I loved the Christmas tree in the lobby and the rooms were lovely and comfortable.

chumashlobby

Day at Solvang, CA (Danish Capital of America)

We had a nice time exploring and enjoying the cute and charming town of Solvang, in Santa Barbara County, soaking up the festive atmosphere.

solvang

At Solvang Restaurant, we had to order the famous aebleskiver, which is the traditional Danish pancake, in the shape of a ball, sitting in raspberry sauce and topped with powdered sugar. They were fluffy and doughy, though I thought the sauce was a bit too sweet and the aebleskivers themselves didn’t have a ton of flavor. But they were certainly presented beautifully.

solvang_dessert

Beaches in Monterey and Marina, CA

I also had the pleasure of spending time on the gorgeous, glorious beaches in Monterey County.

monterey_beaches

monterey_beaches2

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Afternoon Tea Time Experiences

In the past couple of weeks, I have had the pleasure of enjoying afternoon tea service at a couple of different places. These restaurants include Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II and Measure at Langham Place on Fifth Avenue.

Alice’s  Tea Cup had a really whimsical, fanciful, lovely and cute ambiance.

We decided on the Mad Hatter Tea Service, which is absolutely perfect for two people. It comes with two pots of tea, 3 scones, 3 little sandwiches, a dessert of our choice and cookies. And it’s a steal for around $30 per person, for a substantial amount of food. We ended up having to take quite a bit home for later!

alices_teaservice1

For the tea, I picked Chocolate Chai and my friend chose Christmas Tea because we wanted to try something festive. Too bad there wasn’t a Fall Blend or Pumpkin-Something option. The Chocolate Chai is black tea spiced with cinnamon, cardamom, ginger, clove, vanilla and sweetened with chocolate. It was lovely and rich, with a subtle flavor of chocolate. The Christmas Tea was a comforting blend of Indian black tea, hibiscus, raisins, rose hips, almonds, cinnamon and clove. I thought it tasted just okay, but I did enjoy it when it was mixed with the Chocolate Chai and milk.

alices_tea
The sandwiches we selected were curried chicken salad and ham with gruyere. The curried chicken salad had red onion, celery, granny smith apple and tomato slices on golden raisin semolina. This was really nice with a huge amount of seasoning. But I really enjoyed the black forest ham and gruyere, which came with whole grain mustard and mayonnaise on golden raisin semolina bread. I think I tasted more mayonnaise than mustard, which was  a win for me. Though simpler, it had purer flavors and unexpectedly, I think I may have liked it a bit more than the curried chicken salad sandwich.

alices_sandwiches

For the scones, we of course had to try the pumpkin spice (‘Tis the season!), chocolate caramel and ginger molasses (50 cents more for that one). We tried the pumpkin one, which had a robust pumpkin flavor, on the spot and it was wonderful, especially with the homemade clotted cream and raspberry jam. We also tried it with some whipped cream we had and that was deliciously indulgent. Later, I had the rest of the scones and I enjoyed the chocolate chips in the chocolate caramel one, but the glaze of caramel taste was not that strong. The ginger molasses was heavy on both ginger and sweet molasses flavor and quite good.

alices_scones

As for the dessert, we decided to order the chocolate mousse pudding, though I will have to come back for to try the mocha cake because I saw another table have it and it looked amazing! The chocolate mousse was certainly exquisite and delectable, with incredibly rich sweet milk chocolate and whipped cream. It was irresistibly creamy and smooth as silk.

alices_dessert

The service was great as well and I will definitely return, especially for that mocha cake and the s’mores dessert that I saw on the menu!

alices_me

For my second afternoon tea, I chose Measure, which is located within the first floor of Langham Place, a super swanky and gorgeous hotel on Fifth Avenue. The interior of Measure is elegance and sophistication personified with high ceilings, dark brown cushiony seats, lovely glass tables, pretty white accents.

measure_me

A friend and I came here for Modern Afternoon Tea (weekends between 2-5pm) and it was fairly empty, so we were able to sit wherever we liked. We chose to sit by the window, looking out at the hustle and bustle of New York City’s 5th Avenue street.

There were 3 loose leaf teas to select from: Earl Grey, Genmaicha and Mint. Just a note: If you don’t like the sound of any of those, they have 14 other types of tea (in tea bag form). I went for the classic, Earl Grey which was delightful with milk and the little cubes of brown sugar. My friend selected the Genmaicha, which is basically green tea with toasted rice. It had an sort of soothing, mild and earthy taste to it.

measure_table

Our food came out in a sort of bento box format and the presentation was absolutely exquisite. The 3 savory appetizers were on top and the 3 sweet treats were underneath. The hummus grougere came with vegetable pronvecale topping of colorful bell peppers. The hummus was good, with a creamy consistency and nice fresh taste. The king crab roll was adorable, with thousand island dressing and micro herbs on top, which looked a bit like caviar. I didn’t like micro herbs, but the rest of the roll was wonderful and I really enjoyed the ample amount of crab meat on it. My favorite of the savory delights was definitely the warm scotch egg, which had chopped pork and chorizo in the breading, as well as curry mayonnaise and lettuce on top. The breading was crispy, full of flavor and truly satisfying, especially accompanied by the well seasoned half cooked egg.

measure_savory

Then there were the desserts. There was a chocolate and passion fruit French macaron that was quite large (on the menu it’s labeled incorrectly as a “Macaroon,” which is the coconut pastry, not the French cookie). The outer shell was bright pink, one of my favorite colors, with a dusting of pink & purple and a drizzle of white sugar glaze. The center was filled with rich chocolate mousse, raspberries and some passion fruit cream. The chocolate and raspberries overpowered the flavor of the passion fruit, but it was delicious nonetheless. Then there was a cookies and cream profiterole, with a fancy chocolate piece on top, along with broken up bits of oreo cookie. The profiterole was wonderfully sweet and lusciously creamy. Last, was the cheese cake filled chocolate covered strawberry. I’m a sucker for chocolate covered strawberries, so this was a big hit for me and the cheese cake filling, mingled with the chocolate was perfectly delectable.

measure_dessert
After all that, there was still more to be had… Nutmeg and cinnamon scones, with homemade jam and clotted cream. The scones were piping warm and had a strong flavor of cinnamon and the clotted cream was an amazing addition to the already yummy, melt in your mouth crumbly scones.

measure_scones

This is a great place to come to enjoy a fancy afternoon tea, and at $35 per person, the pricing is not bad either!

The service was a little lackluster since the servers did not come by that often and we sometimes had to wait a bit to get their attention. However, when they did come around, they were attentive and polite.

measure_me1

While Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II had more substantial servings and was lower in price, Measure was more fancy with a more exquisite presentation and taste. However, I truly enjoyed both places for lovely tea afternoon experiences and would highly recommend both restaurants.

 

Alice’s Tea Cup Chapter II
156 E 64 St
New York, NY

Measure
400 5th Ave
New York, NY

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Yelp Elite Events: Tufino Pizzeria & Spa Castle

Last week, I attended two Yelp Queens Elite events. The first one was at Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana, where I thought we would only be served pizza and that I would get bored with the food. Oh, how wrong I was! The other event was at Spa Castle and it was already full with a few hundred person waiting list so I had pretty much resigned myself from ever getting to go. Luckily, Jando (the Yelp Queens Community Manager – get to know him, he’s awesome!) let me in and I had such an amazing, relaxing evening and you can read all about it below!

Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana is a small, but cute and cozy spot with great atmosphere in the heart of Astoria. I loved the huge windows that lead to the street. It gave the place nice lighting and feel.

tufino_meThe restaurant started us off with several amazing appetizers. First there were mini meatball sliders (one of my favorites) with grated parmesan cheese and basil on a brioche bun. The meat was warm, flavorful, juicy and the basil added to the already delicious sliders.

tufino_sliderThen there were mini capellini cakes with vodka sauce that was fried to perfection and extremely crispy. They tasted a little bit like potato. We also had fresh mozzarella, tomato and bread crumb on skewers, which were light and refreshing. Next came the warm farro (a type of grain) salad with wonderfully tasting pesto sauce. After that was another favorite of mine: Zucchini fries. They were hot and fresh out of the oven, with well seasoned breading and a light dusting of parmesan sauce.

tufino_zucchiniSoon after all those appetizers, the thin crust pizza started coming out. I tried most of the different types of pizza, starting with the Margherita, which was made out of organic tomato sauce, mozzarella, parmesan and basil. This was quite good but I preferred the other types of pizza that had toppings on them.

tufino_margheritaProsciutto e Arugula came with mozzarella, prosciutto, lemon juice and truffle oil with baby arugula and parmesan shavings on top. This was wonderful, with delightful tasting meat and all the other flavors came together nicely.

tufino_argula pizzaI also had the San Gennaro, which consists of mozzarella, Italian sausage, peppers, onions and parmesan. The sausage was savory and zesty.

tufino_sausage pizzaMy favorite pizza of the night, however, was Grape Expectations, which had red grapes, gorgonzola, Italian pork (which tasted like bacon) and house made honey. The grapes on the pizza was unique and unexpected, but worked really well and combined flawlessly with the gorgonzola, meat and honey. It was a mix of sweet and slightly savory, and completely mouthwateringly delicious!

tufino_grape pizzaThe service was great, though I would have liked some options for non alcoholic drinks, besides water. But the servers were really patient, friendly and allowed time for some of the Yelpers to take photos of the food, then making sure we all got what we wanted.

Then there was Spa Castle Night, which totally came at the perfect time because I needed to get my mind off of things and just totally chill & relax: CHILLAX!

It was my first time at Spa Castle and what a wonderful elite experience I had! We were given watch keys which were ingenious… They connected to our very own locker and were also scanned when we bought anything- We were allowed 2 free drinks. They also gave us uniforms to wear around the spa and a small towel. I would have liked a bigger towel, because I was in and out of the pools throughout the night.

First, I met some really awesome folks and we checked out the outdoor pools, which had a spraying area and also different massage water jets etc. There was also a nice bubbling jacuzzi. Then we checked out one of the pools inside which was right by the bar and had stools set up along side it. I don’t drink so I asked if the free drinks included any non alcoholic drinks. At first they said no, but then allowed me to order soda so that was really nice.

spacastle_meShortly after that, we headed to the upper floor to get some food. There was a lot of fried food which was tasty: Mozzarella sticks, chicken strips, french fries, fried chicken, shrimp tempura. The shrimp tempura and fried chicken were my favorites. Also salad and delicious fruits: Mango – extremely fresh and sweet; pineapple – sweet and juicy; grapes – wonderful and sweet. It was nice to have that since the fried food was so heavy.

spacastle_foodAfter that we headed back to the outdoor pool area and tried out one of the body massage areas which was AMAZING! It was great to feel the water jets on my back, legs etc. We also enjoyed the foot massage pool and our 2nd drink.

spacastle_poolThen I headed to Sauna Valley and I really liked the whole set up of it. There was a bridge, water flowing, and different colored lights flashing peacefully.

spacastle_saunasI got some friends to join me in trying out all the saunas. We started with the hottest ones first and my favorite was the Gold Sauna. It was a nice temperature, not too scorching and there was a bench to sit on. The most aesthetically pleasing was Jade Sauna which was a dome with gorgeous colors and stones, but at 180 degrees it was a little too warm for me.

spacastle_jadesauna
I also laid down in the infrared zone for a little bit. It was okay. I didn’t feel much of a difference after. I just laid out on the long chairs after and then headed back to the locker room. There was a nice area with a massage chair and comfy blue couches just for the girls there.

The one complaint I had about Spa Castle is that it was confusing to navigate and I didn’t even see/know about some of the amenities, such as the Ice Land, which would have probably been my favorite room of all since I LOVE ice! Thankfully, we received a free certificate for another visit, so I will definitely check it out when I come back.

Tufino Pizzeria Napoletana
36-08 Ditmars Blvd
Astoria, NY

Spa Castle
131-10 11th Ave
College Point, NY

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Bronycon 2015

A few weekends ago (August 7-9, 2015) I traveled to Baltimore, MD meeting up with friends to go to BronyCon, which is the largest convention for fans of My Little Pony: Friendship is Magic. For Bronycon, I dressed in purple and glitter (wearing a beautiful pale purple tulle skirt that my friend made for me), in the style of Twilight Sparkle. Here, I am pictured with the friendly Applejack!

bronycon_applejackThere were over hundred panels and activities at Bronycon this year. Some of panels were dedicated to the convention’s guests of honor, as well as panels from members of the fanbase on art, music, writing, video productions, and other community aspects. The convention also provided several activity rooms, such as for arts and crafts, video games, cosplay and card game tournaments.

The following were some of my favorite events:

Bronypalooza: A musical concert over two nights, featuring fan musicians, such as Jeff Burgess & the Bad Mares, SaxBrony, ElieMonty, Seventh Element, ArtAttack, Rhyme Flow, Eurobeat Brony and many more!

bronypaloozaCosplay/Costumes: I loved seeing all the gorgeous, flowing, handmade costumes throughout the conference. Below, I am pictured with Rainbow Dash and Fluttershy.

Bronycon_fluttershyGrand Galloping Gala: Lovely and lively dance party, from classical music to more energetic tunes.

Hooves Line is it Anyway?: A fun-filled hilarious ponified-version of “Whose Line is it Anyway?” by talented actors.

Marketplace: Over 200 vendors selling handmade art, along with selected retail vendors with licensed My Little Pony merchandise, such as the ever popular plushies and games.

bronycon_purple dressbronycon_kidsHere is some of the merchandise that I purchased: Luna bag, glittery soap and a gorgeous drawing of Princess Celestia.

bronycon_merchOpen Mic: An eclectic mix of My Little Pony related poetry, singing, skits.

Also, while walking around the Baltimore Convention Center, we came across some great photo ops with Furries!

bronycon_furriesbronycon_furryI also enjoyed the conference’s close proximity to Baltimore’s Inner Harbor, which my friends and I explored during the late afternoons and evenings, enjoying several delicious meals in the area.

bronycon_inner harborOverall, I had an amazingly fun adventure-filled weekend at Bronycon, and I am so happy I got to share this experience with awesome friends.

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