Saturday, May 14, 2011

Simple Texas Chipotle Slaw

This is a vinegar-based cole slaw with a bit of a kick. It's incredibly easy to make, and the only key is to allow enough time for the flavors to develop (a simple matter of leaving it in the fridge for ~4 hours).  Here are the ingredients:

1 medium head of green cabbage, shredded
¼ medium head of red cabbage, shredded
2 jalapenos, finely diced
4 shredded carrots
½ cup sugar
½ cup white vinegar
¼ cup oil (canola is good)
2 chipotles chopped with adobo sauce
Salt and pepper to taste

The amount of cabbage is obviously sort of approximate, but is roughly 10 cups all together. Simply combine everything and mix really well. Then give it 4 hours in the fridge. The result is a bright, sweet and spicy slaw that we all really enjoyed. The freshness and coolness of the slaw play really well with the heartiness of the beans for the record.

Friday, May 13, 2011

Kimonos - Swan Resort at Walt Disney World Resorts

Restaurant Info:

We're always craving for sushi since it's so tough to get fresh fish in the middle of NY state. After another long day at Universal Studios (and a delicious meal at Emeril's) we were starving, and we found Kimonos in a coupon book that was given to us by Siddharth's SFB conference (you can also get these if you're a AAA member).

This restaurant is inside the Swan Resort, a Disney Resort that is on Lake Buena Vista. The decor is a sort of modern Japanese with wooden paneled walls, bamboos bordering the ceiling, and kimonos (who would have guessed!) decorating the walls and tatami doors overhanging the bar. It was more of a lounge than a restaurant because most of the tables were pretty low and the chairs were more like love seats and single couches rather than dinner chairs. The sushi bar was small with just about 4 seats. The drinks bar was considerably bigger, and the main attention getter is the karaoke stage (perhaps a bit of an unfortunate addition). Kids are allowed to sing but are not allowed in the lounge past 11pm. When we went, several people had the courage to sing country and pop tunes.

Tuesday, May 10, 2011

The Fountain at Disney's Dolphin Resort Hotel - Orlando, FL

Restaurant info:
The Fountain

When you want simple and tasty fast food but without the long lines and pushing customers, The Fountain is a great place for a nice sit-down fast food restaurant with kids and those who like to dine alone. This restaurant makes all the service counter fast food restaurants at theme parks look like high school cafeteria food. 

We found this restaurant while walking through the Dolphin Resort Hotel after dinner and noticing their extensive milk shake menu. The Fountain was a very family-friendly, 1950's diner-like restaurant with modern furniture and specialized in sandwiches and simple desserts like malt milkshakes and pies. The atmosphere brings you back to your favorite old diner with bright bar stools at the counter, booths in the back, the sound of a heavy ice cream maker and a juke box playing last years hits. It was a great atmosphere to enjoy your comfort food at your own pace without feeling the pressure of other customers wanting a seat. We ate here for lunch after walking the Disney's Boardwalk, hungry.

Monday, May 9, 2011

Emeril's at Orlando, FL - City Walk at Universal Studios

Restaurant Info:
Emeril's at Orlando, FL

Siddharth and I are fans of Emeril and were quite excited to see his restaurant at Universal Studios. We had just finished walking half of Universal Studios and the 12pm sun was almost unbearable. Although Universal Studios had a few interesting themed eateries and fast food restaurants, we decided to splurge on a real gourmet meal at City Walk, another portion of the theme park that was free.

Orlando, Florida

I absolutely love to travel and vacation in warm places when my permanent residency is under a curse of a bitter cold. Living in Ithaca for nearly 6 years and experiencing temperatures between 20 degrees F and 30 degrees for half the year can be deemed miserable. (Ok, that's an exaggeration, but seriously it feels that long when the sun disappears most of the time).

Thus, Siddharth and I decided to vacation some place warm for the spring. Siddharth and I had our first vacation in April 2011 in beautiful Orlando for 5 days, 6 nights in 90 degree weather. After suffering through Ithaca's rollercoaster ride of extreme weather days, this sounded like paradise! It just so happened that Siddharth was attending a conference in Orlando and I opted to join him to be his (unofficial) tour guide. He wasn't as fortunate to enjoy the many Disney theme parks like I did as a child (I've been there 6 times since the age of 2).

Because of the many Disney parks and resorts inhabiting in this city, Orlando became known as a city for families of all ages. If you ever visit this city for the first time, you will be bombarded by families big and small, American and foreign, young and old. But over the decades, Orlando has transformed its city (and its theme parks) so that everyone of all ages and every marital status to enjoy the city.

We both decided to skip most of the Disney theme parks except Epcot and spend our time at Seaworld and Universal Studios. We felt that we would be too overwhelmed with the screaming kids in line for childish rides at Magic Kingdom. Seaworld appealed to us a great deal because of our love of aquariums and cute sea creatures like penguins, sea lions and best of all, dolphins. Universal Studios, on the other hand, sounded more exciting with thrilling rides and The Magical World of Harry Potter.

But besides visiting the many attractions within the parks and resorts, we also enjoyed the many eateries as well. Everyday we would flip through the pages of our coupon book that advertised the many restaurants surrounding the Disney area and decide on what particular cuisine we were in the mood for. Looking back now, I don't think there was a single restaurant or meal we did not like. Here, we want to share with you some of the sites in Orlando we enjoyed in addition to all the meals and restaurants we want to go back.

The Fountain
Todd English's Bluezoo (coming soon)
Emeril Lagasse's Emeril at Universal Studios
Donna Scala's La Luce
Thani Thai

Bongo's (coming soon)

Sunday, May 8, 2011

Montreal Steak with Caramelized Shallots and Horseradish Mushroom Cream Sauce (Bring on the sun in Ithaca!)

This past weekend in Ithaca was a great one for Trish and I. First of all, Friday was Cornell's famous slope day, which meant that work was demoted to second priority and the day was all about fun! Secondly, my good friend, college roommate, and fellow lover of food Jon was in town for his first visit to Ithaca. Lastly (and perhaps least likely!), the weather cooperated, and we enjoyed beautiful sun all three days (Trish and I are currently basking in it as we update the blog!). On Saturday night, after already having taken Jon to some of Ithaca's restaurant offerings, we decided to do a home cooked meal. Since the weather was pleasant, we decided to break out the grill (charcoal), and buy some beautiful steaks and fresh vegetables to throw on the flame.


Restaurant Info:
344 Elmira Road
Ithaca, NY 14850-5104
(607) 277-3600

We went to Garcia's with our friend, Jon, who was visiting from Chicago on a Sunday, right at noon when they first open. Already, there were 3 parties seated before us. Mexican food (especially in upstate NY) can be a hit or miss, in our opinion. Some restaurants serve food that could easily be mistaken for Taco Bell styled-fast food with really simple dishes like tortilla chips in a bowl sprinkled with shredded cheddar. Yuck. Luckily there is Garcia's in Ithaca that offers authentic Mexican food at a very affordable price. It's too bad that a lot of Cornellians don't venture down Rt. 13 to discover this Ithacan gem. For sure, true Ithaca locals know that this is the a place where you can get great service, great food and atmosphere at a very affordable price.