Send it to me in my “ask” - maybe I can hook up some friends (since it seems that I can’t do anything else at the moment)…
I know it’s been a while since I started the food diary of my vacation, and I’m sure most of you have lost interest by now, but I do want to finish it because this was such a really good food experience. Yes, I know I’m not a dog, and should not reward myself with food. This wasn’t a reward, but this was a really good anniversary dinner.
Last year, my husband and I had the good fortune of being able to go to San Francisco for our anniversary. On the actual night of our anniversary, we were able to go to Jardiniere, the restaurant of Top Chef Masters Traci Des Jardins. It was an amazing meal, with a wine pairing for every course, and when we left, we had spent over $300 for dinner for 2.
Fast forward a year — we didn’t have the money to do a fancy trip again, but we have wonderful friends and we were able to go to Universal for the weekend on a shoestring. To make matters even better, Orlando has something new called “Magical Dining Deals” in September where fine dining restaurants offer a fixed price menus of $30/person. So we decided to try Emeril’s new restaurant, the Tchoup Chop.
We arrived a little early in order to avoid the rain that had plagued our travels the night before.
This picture really doesn’t do it justice. There is a flat water feature in the middle of the restaurant that runs about 20 feet. Everything is paneled in beautiful wood. And we were able to sit at the chef’s bar and watch all the action.
First, they brought out something that wasn’t part of the menu - something called Shrimp Chips - yes, they really look like styroform. But they really tasted great and the sauce that was served with them was to-die-for.
All of the servers and all of the chefs made a point of coming over and telling us how happy they were that we were celebrating our anniversary. It was really cool. The next course was our appetizers. My husband had crispy shrimp, and I had chicken spring rolls
Yes, we both ate at least half before I remembered to take a picture. :)
Then the main course - I had the short ribs, which were so tender and juicy. It was absolutely amazing.
My husband had fried trout — oh ya, it was amazing too
Although our dinners were so fantastic, neither one of us could finish, especially knowing that we still had dessert to go. We did not know what we would end up with, as it was a Chef Selection. Somehow though, they must have sensed what would do me in, because they bring out this:
Two perfectly sized pieces of flour-less chocolate cake, with cappuccino ice cream on the side. Oh, and a chocolate stick for presentation sake. Holy cow.
All for $60…..
Oh, and they brought champagne with dessert!
If you get a chance to come to Orlando, I highly recommend this wonderful restaurant. I really wasn’t a huge fan of Emeril’s in City Walk, but this was so much better. They truly took the time to make our anniversary so memorable and special.
Thank you Tchoup Chop - you are the best
So last night around 9PM our air conditioning died (or so we thought). It just kept getting hotter and hotter in the house and when I felt the air coming from the vents it was warm. Uggh. It was too late to call the repair guy, so we went to bed naked and miserable. It was hot and I was sticky all night and didn’t sleep worth a damn.
Got up, eventually got dressed and called the repair guy. He suggested after some questioning that we check the breaker box. Low and behold, the a/c breaker had tripped. We cycled it, and wa-la, all was right with the world again.
But in the chaos, I forgot my lunch. I didn’t even realize it until about 2:00 when I realized that I was starving and I didn’t have anything in the fridge at work. So I was bemoaning how miserable I was to one of my co-workers when she mentioned that she had one of the little Lunchables (from Oscar Meyer) left from her lunch and I was welcome to it. It was the small one, with just turkey, cheese and crackers, so I said, “What the hell, how bad could it be?”
I devoured it. Afterwards, I did my due diligence and turned the packaging over to get the values so I could enter it in WW. The first thing I see?
19 grams of FAT
I look further…
27 grams of Carbohydrate
Pretty much it didn’t get any better after that. In addition to those two wonderful stats, for this TURKEY, CHEESE AND CRACKER little thing, there was a list of about
There was more crap and processed junk in this thing than I ever remember seeing. And we used to eat these things ALL THE TIME!
So, I guess I’m learning. I really wouldn’t have done anything differently today - I needed to eat something, but the fact that I was floored by what I saw afterwards is a positive sign, IMO. :)
I’m going to be totally honest here - this was not a “stick to your points even on vacation” day. But overall, this day was filled with fantastic food, small victories and the best damn margarita I’ve ever had.
Again - the search for breakfast. Since we didn’t have to be over to Universal at the crack of dawn, I stopped at the little hotel shop in search of some yogurt. I saw someone eating some on the boat a couple of days before and the craving set in. What I found when I got there was a truly miserable selection of either Dannon Fruit on the Bottom or Yoplait blended. As I am a huge fan of Fage Greek Yogurt with the fruit on the side, I decided the closest was the Dannon. Uggh. I didn’t realize how really crappy regular yogurt would taste after eating Greek yogurt. But, ah well, it was something in my stomach.
Again, off to the rides, including the new “The Simpson’s” ride (which was really very good), Men In Black (my favorite) and The Mummy, which I rode alone because my husband is a total whimp (love you honey!).
It was getting to be about 1:30 by then and we had made a date to visit THE BEST SERVER AT MARGARITAVILLE. First, THE BEST BARTENDER AT MARGARITAVILLE made me the most fantastic margarita. Damn, I could sit there and drink those all day. Instead, I decided that we better order some food. :)
The above it what was left of my lunch. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING! Well, except a few croutons. I had a French Dip burger, which was a perfectly cooked hamburger topped with Gruyere cheese, served on a sub roll with a side on onion broth/au jus for dipping. I was so yummy that I ate ever single bite. Instead of either french fries or onion rings, I opted for a side salad. Small victory # 2
Tomorrow, I’ll post about dinner. Stay tuned, because it was… (running out of superlatives…)
Saturday was probably the worst day for staying on plan, but it did have some surprising highlights of somewhat healthy eating.
We got up early and headed over to Harry Potter. One of the things that I realized I missed the most while I was away from the house was breakfast. This was certainly a surprise to this former non-breakfast eater. I was starving by the time we got to the park, and the only thing open was this little pastry shop just inside the gates. I really thought I was in serious trouble, because I’ve been here before. They serve all sorts of wonderful croissants, cookies, cakes… you name it. Guess what I had? Pineapple :) Yes, a big cup of cubed fresh pineapple. It was delicious. I left there feeling really good about myself.
Florida in September can either be the start of really beautiful, almost fall-like weather, or it can be a miserable, humid, “I swear to God the sun has moved closer to the Earth” late summer. This weekend, it was the latter. While the temperatures weren’t extremely high (low 90’s), the humidity was honestly the worst that I’ve ever felt it. If you walked 50 feet, sweat would literally be rolling down your back. So, we did a lot of walking, drank a TON of water, and hit the things that we really liked. By the time lunch came around, we were near Spiderman and we found the closest place to eat. My choices were a hamburger, chicken sandwich or chicken tenders. I opted for the chicken tenders, and YES, I ate the fries. They were glorious!
In the afternoon, we went back to the hotel, went to the pool, drank more, and then went for our anniversary dinner at The Latin Quarter’s new Brazilian steakhouse. If you have ever been to one of these style restaurants, then you know that they usually have a good salad bar, followed by meat, meat and more meat (carved at your table by a hunky guy). What’s not to love?
For dessert, we opted for what was described to us as a caramel cheesecake, but it actually turned out to be more like a custard pie instead of cheesecake. It had meringue on the top and the overall affect was too sweet for me. Two of us sharing, and this is what we had left when we finished. OH, but the MEAT WAS AWESOME!!
When we got back to the hotel room, this is what was waiting for us. This picture does not do justice to how pretty this was. I’ve eaten my fair share of chocolate covered strawberries in my life, but these were really, really, good. The white chocolate was perfect for the fall strawberries.
BTW - I’m pretty sure that the “Happy Anniversary” sign is also made of chocolate, and I believe I put it in my computer bag several days ago. Probably should find it so that I do not have a shit load of ants all over my house…
Let’s be honest. I didn’t log my food all weekend, because I wouldn’t have any flippin’ clue as to how to figure out the points on this stuff. And of course, I spent a certain amount of points on alcohol. :) So, there were a couple of things that I thought were really amazing and that I thought it would be ok to share in case you have the opportunity to try them.
For the most part, I actually stayed pretty well on the plan. This was Friday’s dinner at Bubba Gump’s. Our server was awesome and she was trying to stump us with relatively hard Forest Gump trivia. I actually had to text shout outs a couple of times, and trust me when I say - I know this movie!
was Tilapia a top spinach and garlic mashed potatoes. The sauce was a lobster bisque concoction that was really superb. In the past, I would have gone fried shrimp all the way, with probably scampi as a side dish. So, for me, this was progress. OH, and even more amazing - I actually left a good portion of it on my plate.
I’ve missed you so much!
Just a quick hello to everyone to let you know that I’m still alive and I’m enjoying my vacation. We’ve done a ton of walking, (and I’m amazed now how I can move more quickly), and we’ve also had some really great food. I’ve been taking pictures along the way and I’ll get caught up on posting tomorrow.
One of the coolest things, my bathing suit looks/fits better. I’m not spilling out all over the place :)
This is going to be a wonderful weekend!!!!!
Sunday Friday Weigh-In
Last Week: 255.4
Friday 9/23/11: 252.0
Total Loss to Date: 28 LBS :)
I’VE REACHED MY FIRST GOAL WEIGHT!!
I have managed to shave off 10% of myself. After the last few weeks of sort of lower than stellar movements of the scale, this was a huge victory.
I weighed in early because we are going away for the weekend and I won’t be around my scale until Monday afternoon. Unfortunately, WW won’t seem to allow me to enter my weigh in until Sunday, so I’m only sharing the great news with all of you!
10% - Damn, that’s cool
enjoying TV and computer time before we leave tomorrow for fun :) Any questions from anyone?