10 reasons you should go on Norwegian Cruise Line

Monday, September 17, 2018
Two weeks ago I had a last minute opportunity to go on my first NCL cruise on the Norwegian Sun. My friend Corey asked me to be her plus one and with a quick shift of scheduling (and a super cool boss), I was able to join her and her family on a last minute cruise.
I've been on over 20 cruises combined between Royal & Carnival but the NCL was a first for me. We went on a 5 night cruise out of Port Canaveral and went to Key West, Cuba and Great Stirrup Cay Bahamas.
The Norwegian Sun is one of their smaller vessels. It holds 1,936 passengers and 906 crew members. Half the crew to passengers meant amazing customer service and support on the ship. Although the ship was older, it was renovated and I personally liked the smaller ship as it didn't take hours to find your group.

Here are 10 reasons why you should book a Norwegian Cruise Line vacation!

Free at Sea
Prior to going on this cruise with Corey, I have always been very intrigued with the variety of free options cruisers get to choose from when booking a NCL. You can choose up to 5 free at sea offers (depending on your cabin type) which include: Free Unlimited Open Bar; Free Shore Excursions; Free Specialty Dining; Free Wifi Friends & Family Sale Free. This is fantastic for cruisers of all type. Personally, I would always select the Free Unlimited Open Bar and Free Specialty Dining as those two things are the packages I typically upgrade to. This method allows you to customize your vacation based on your personal preferences.


Freestyle Dining
I always select anytime dining when on a cruise. It allows you to pick and choose when you eat. However, you will likely end up waiting for a table. Not on NCL - all dining is anytime so you don't have the option to select pre-set early or late dining times. We ate nearly every meal in the dining room and I was shocked at how quickly we were sat and offered a glass of wine. Freestyle dining is the way to go!

Specialty Dining
The Norwegian Sun is one of their older and smaller vessels, yet I was pleased to find they had 7 different options for Norwegian Cruise Line specialty dining. The newer/larger ships have even more. We dined at the Moderno Churrascaria, which is a Brazilian Steakhouse. If you're familiar with Texas de Brazil, it was very similar but on a cruise ship. The salad bar was incredible and all meats were carved tableside by Pasadores. Like most Brazilian Steakhouses, it was unlimited. I highly recommend it. Other restaurants I was interested in but didn't have time to try was the high end Mexican restaurant, Los Lobos Cantina and Cagney's Steakhouse, who is known for their truffle fries.

Entertainment
NCL was voted for best entertainment at sea by Cruise Critic. We saw a few comedy shows which had the audience howling. Other cruise lines have Broadway productions, including Jersey Boys and Rock of Ages. You can even see a Cirque De Soleil show at sea! I'm not usually one to sit through a production on a cruise ship, but Broadway is a whole different story. We played Deal or No Deal twice and Bingo once. Some ships even have a murder mystery show!

Bars
The NCL Sun had a wide variety of bars, which were packed at all times (this is what happens when everyone gets the drink package!). We were likely to be found at either the Champagne bar (which was also the specialty martini bar) or the pool bar. Some of the ships feature Howl at the Moon, which was one of my favorite bars back in the day, along with a Fat Cat Jazz Bar. NCL is known for their Mojito's, which I will say were better than the ones we had in Cuba!

Fun & Games
Where do I start. I fit in perfect with Corey's family. They were all about playing the games on the cruise ship. From trivia to slot tournaments, we did it all. On NCL, you get a activities card, which is signed off by the entertainment team each time you participated (or won) a game. Points were tiered and and the end of the cruise, you turned your card in to trade it for a variety of merchandise. We became that family who were known on the ship for doing every single game. I laughed so hard, my abs hurt. As a "family" we won quite a few contests,  including the what's in your bag - which I tied for first place. I had to run around the pool deck, looking for random items. I was so out of my comfort zone and loved every minute of it. My prize was a t-shirt that said "Feel Free To Call Me Champ".

Ports of Call
Norwegian Cruise Line has a wide variety of sailings. Basically, if you want to visit a country, it is likely NCL will cruise there. From Asia to Cuba to Australia, they've got you covered. Four years ago when Gabe and I got married, we almost booked a NCL in Italy as part of our honeymoon. For our particular sailing, as mentioned, we visited Key West, Cuba and the Bahamas. I was very excited to visit Cuba. I will post about our experience soon but I will say this. I am happy I got to go to Cuba, but it wasn't what I imagined. Key West is always a fun port, and I introduced Corey and her family to my two favorite bars (White Tarpon & Irish Kevins). In the Bahamas, we stopped at NCL's huge private island, Great Stirrup Cay.

Private Islands
Speaking of Great Stirrup Cay - NCL has a ton of private islands. We visited the island on our last day. Like most cruise lines private islands, Great Stirrup Cay offered a variety of activities, bars and food. We tried out snorkeling and considered going SUP. Since everyone had unlimited drinks, the bars were free (however didn't have as many options as the ship). The island was huge, built to accommodate the newer / larger NCL ships. Being they're double the size of our ship, we had the island pretty much to ourselves. The food options a BBQ including a variety of salads, burgers, chicken, ribs, hot dogs and pizza. They offered vegetarian / vegan options upon request. There is also a brand new complimentary Abaco Taco bar which we tried out. Also, being this is a private island, the Casino did not have to shut down while we were docked. It was a slice of paradise and the perfect way to end our cruise. We did hear that Great Stirrup Cay now offers an excursion to go swimming with pigs. This launched the week after we returned home. This is an ultimate bucket list item of mine and I will be returning to go swimming with piggies.

Spacious Rooms
Corey and I shared a Family Balcony Stateroom which was 221 sq ft. It had a King bed that converted into two twins and a pull out sleeper sofa. The room would hold 4 people and had 2 sets of dressers, a mini fridge and a closet with storage shelves. I never once felt cramped. The balcony was spacious, but we sadly didn't spend too much time out there. You can see my video walk-thru.




Customer Service
I was very impressed with Customer Service on the Norwegian Sun. We had VIP Embarkation and Disembarkation, which allowed us to get private entry and exit on the ship. From the restaurant staff to the entertainment crew, everyone was above and beyond.

Overall, I was very impressed with NCL. I would absolutely go on another cruise with them. It was a great time, we laughed so hard that I didn't have to do any ab workout this month (I think they still hurt 2 weeks later). Have you ever been on an NCL cruise?

Dining with a View - Daytona Beach LandShark Bar and Grill - and a $50 gift card Giveaway

Wednesday, August 22, 2018
I never get the opportunity to write about my hometown and today I get to do just that! While visiting home a few weeks ago, I had a free afternoon and had a girls-day with my best friend Keri, spending the morning at the beach and lunch at the new LandShark Bar & Grill in Daytona Beach. It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I was excited to see all the new things happening in Daytona!
LandShark Daytona Beach
If you're familiar with Daytona Beach, LandShark Bar & Grill is located south of the International Speedway approach on A1A. They share a parking lot with another new restaurant and offer free valet parking.
LandShark Daytona
Upon walking in, my immediate thought was it's about time Daytona got something like this. A direct beachfront beach restaurant with a separate tiki bar, tons of outdoor games and an all around relaxed atmosphere.

LandShark Blender Cup
We grabbed a seat along the high top bar facing the ocean and I happened to know our server Melissa (who is awesome and you should ask for her). Running into old friends in Daytona typically happens. Keri and I are both margarita heads, and we were in land of Parrot heads, so of course we had to order a marg. Round one was a FLORIDAYS - Herradura® Reposado Tequila, Cointreau® Orange Liqueur, fresh lime and orange juices, agave nectar and pasteurized egg whites. You can take home the specialty super cute blender cup as shown in the picture for an additional charge as a souvenir. It was also double the size!
Beachside Hammocks!!!
Keri and I have been best friends for over 30 years....to the point I stopped counting because it shows our age. Over the years, we were always salt and pepper.... what I liked, she didn't and vice versa. As we got older, our styles started becoming one, and this happened after I moved away. Style turned to food preferences and we typically can share dishes at restaurants without a problem. We even have the same dietary issues.... how does that happen?
Chicken Wings at LandShark
We started off with wings and had our choice of Buffalo, Caribbean Jerk or Sweet Baby Ray's BBQ. While Keri and I have a lot of things in common, we are great wing sharers, she takes the flats and I take the drums. We got the Buffalo and it had a good amount of spice but not too hot.
Ahi Poke Bowl
When it came to entree's, I went with the AHI POKE BOWL - Ahi Tuna Poke, jasmine rice, mango coleslaw, cucumber, avocado, radish and green onions tossed in our house-made ponzu sauce. Topped with an aji amarillo drizzle, fresh cilantro and sesame seeds.
Street Tacos
Keri chose the mix and match Street Tacos. SHRIMP TACO: Fried shrimp tossed in a chili lime aioli, with shredded lettuce and sesame seeds served in a corn tortilla. FISH TACO: Blackened catch of the day wrapped in a corn tortilla and layered with bacon aioli, shredded lettuce and diced tomatoes.
I had a moment while sitting in LandShark, for the first time in 7+ years, I actually missed Daytona Beach. I miss my friends and family all the time and am fortunate that we only live 2 1/2 hours away. I spent the past few years living away wrinkling my nose up to my hometown. At the end of the day, Daytona is and always will be home for me and will always have my heart. I am excited for all the change the city is going through and lucky enough to see the progress when I visit. If you haven't been over to that side of state in the past year, it's worth a visit back.

LandShark provided us with a free meal and a giftcard giveaway. I was not required to write a blog post and as always, my opinions are my own. It's crazy to think, of all the years I've been blogging, this is my first ever sponsored post for Daytona Beach.

Creating custom household decor at Aerie Lane

Thursday, August 9, 2018
It's been a very long time since I've had a girls night out in Tampa so when the opportunity through Tampa Bay Bloggers to attend a DIY workshop at Aerie Lane, I jumped on it. Aerie Lane is a DIY studio which offers workshops where you can create custom household decor.
I met up with my friend Corey to get our craft on. When we arrived, I was very excited to see so many other friends from Tampa Bay Bloggers. It's been a while since I've seen many of these pretty faces! We were given options to choose from and I selected to make a Monogram Round Serving Tray. I decided to make my platter grey, red and black to match my kitchen. Here is the final product and I will walk you through the process of making it.
I am not crafty whatsoever. I was a little nervous about all the detail on this platter but the owners were very helpful throughout the night. I started off by painting my platter a light grey. I was very happy when I got home to see that I chose the right color to match my cabinets.
Next was time to adhere the stencil and paint a light coating of modge podge over the cut outs. Then it was time to start painting the design! It was so easy and a lot of fun.
After you remove the stencil, you could use tweezers to pull the spots that didn't pull off.
Here's a closeup of my final platter! I am really obsessed with it.
Corey decided to make a platter for her parents with a Halloween theme - she is blow drying her black painted platter below. Corey and I are both crazy Halloween fans! Now that she is living in Tampa, we will for sure be going to Howl-)-Scream this year together.
My friend Haley (who I haven't seen since the Key West Half Marathon) made a planter box that turned out so cute!
Everyone's projects turned out great! I was really impressed overall how easy it was to make these great custom projects.
Aside from Girls night out, you can do a variety of custom parties at Aerie Lane such as birthdays, bridal showers, and baby shower to name a few. You can bring in your own snacks and drinks. This was truly a wonderful night out and I am looking forward to going back! Here are a few of the things you can make at Aerie Lane.

Follow Aerie Lane

Thank you Aerie Lane for hosting a Girls Night Out event for the Tampa Bay Bloggers. As always, all opinions are my own.

2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Preview

Wednesday, August 1, 2018
My favorite time of year is right around the corner - Epcot Food and Wine Festival! This years festival will run from August 30th - November 12th and will have over 30 marketplaces with food, wine, beer and spirits.
Epcot Food and Wine Festival - ©Disney
Over the weekend, I had the opportunity to check out a media preview for the festival on behalf of #teamdroolius www.droolius.com. I am now more excited about this years festival!

There are over 30 marketplaces this year. including one all about Mimosas (Epcot heaven). Other new additions to 2018 include Character Dance Party, new Food & Beverage Pairings, Sunday Brunch with the Chef, a Junior Chef Kitchen, and more!

Speaking of Sunday Brunch with a Chef, this may be the most exciting thing I've heard about for Food and Wine Festival. Sunday brunch with the Chef has a large variety of different Chef's to brunch with, to the likes of Richard Blais, Iron Chef Masaharu Morimoto, Geoffrey Zakarian and Iron Chef Alex Guarnaschelli. My husband and I are both crazy food network fans and I am stalking the Disney site everyday to see if any availability opens for these brunches.

Here's a sneak peek of what you will find on the menu. A lot of favorites are returning this year, along with some new exciting dishes.  I've included photos of some of the dishes I got to try over the weekend. Wines that are in bold purple are a few I suggest giving a try. My favorite dish from the sneak peek was from the Flavors from Fire marketplace: Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake.

(GF) indicates Gluten/wheat-friendly
(KA) indicates Kid-approved (Dishes designed with kids in mind.)
(V) indicates Vegetarian
Select dishes featuring Melissa's Produce

Active Eats
Active Eats - Energy Bar Bites (these are Vegan)
Food:
Loaded Mac ‘n' Cheese with Nueske's® Pepper Bacon, Cheddar Cheese, Peppers and Green Onions (KA)
Spice-crusted Verlasso® Salmon with Warm Lentil Power Salad, Crushed Avocado and Sherry Vinegar (GF)
Active Eats Energy Bar Bites: a mixture of Chocolate, Nuts, Dried Fruit and Dates (V) (KA)
Beverages:
M.I.A. Beer Company HRD WTR Pineapple Coconut Hard Sparkling Water, Doral, FL
L’Ecole No. 41 Chenin Blanc Old Vines, Columbia Valley, WA
Evolution by Sokol Blosser Pinot Noir, Willamette Valley, OR

Africa
Food:
Berbere-style Beef Tenderloin Tips with Onions, Jalapeños, Tomato and Pap (GF)
Spicy Ethiopian Red Lentil Stew with Vegan Yogurt and Quinoa (V)
Beverages:
Cederberg Chenin Blanc
Jam Jar Sweet Shiraz
Groot Constantia Pinotage

The Almond Orchard hosted by Blue Diamond Almond Breeze® 
(All food items are made with Almond Breeze Almond Milk.)
Food:
Creamy Spinach and Artichoke Dip with Pulled Chicken, Toasted Blue Diamond Almonds and Parmesan Cheese served with Nut Thins® Crackers
Fire-roasted Tomato Hummus topped with Blue Diamond Lightly Salted Roasted Almonds and served with Blue Diamond Artisan Nut Thins® Multi-seeds Crackers
Banana Almond Soft-serve Sundae with Fresh Berries and Chocolate Almond Streusel (KA) (V)
Beverages:
Almond Breeze Strawberry Smoothie (Non-alcoholic) (KA)
Moët & Chandon Imperial Brut Champagne
Dom Pérignon Brut Champagne
Veuve Clicquot Ponsardin Brut Rosé Champagne

Australia
Food:
Grilled Sweet and Spicy Bush Berry Shrimp with Pineapple, Pepper, Onion and Snap Peas (GF)
Grilled Lamb Chop with Mint Pesto and Potato Crunchies (GF)
Lamington: Yellow Cake Dipped in Chocolate and Shredded Coconut (V)
Beverages:
Coopers Brewery Original Pale Ale
Hope Estate “Wollombi Brook” Semillon, Hunter Valley
Franklin Tate Estates Chardonnay, Margaret River
Yangarra Shiraz, McLaren Vale

Belgium
Food:
Beer-braised Beef served with Smoked Gouda Mashed Potatoes
Belgian Waffle with Warm Chocolate Ganache and Whipped Cream (V) (KA)
Belgian Waffle with Berry Compote and Whipped Cream (V) (KA)
Beverages:
Leffe Blonde Belgian Pale Ale (Flight)
St. Bernardus Witbier (Flight)
St. Bernardus Abt 12 (Flight)
Stella Artois Hard Cider
Chilled Coffee featuring Godiva Chocolate Liqueur

Brazil
Moqueca
Food:
Moqueca: Brazilian Seafood Stew featuring Scallops, Shrimp and White Fish with Coconut-lime Sauce and Steamed Rice
Crispy Pork Belly with Black Beans, Tomato and Onions (GF)
Pão de Queijo: Brazilian Cheese Bread (GF) (V) (KA)
Beverages:
M.I.A. Beer Company Barbossa Black Beer, Doral, FL
Casa Valduga Brut Rosé
Quinta do Crasto Duoro Red
Frozen Caipirinha featuring LeBlon Cachaça

Brewer's Collection
Beverages:
Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
Hacker-Pschorr Hefe Weisse Naturtrüb
Schöfferhofer Hefeweizen Pomegranate Beer

Canada
Food:
Canadian Cheddar Cheese and Bacon Soup served with a Pretzel Roll
Le Cellier Wild Mushroom Beef Filet Mignon with Truffle-Butter Sauce (GF)
Beverages:
Moosehead Radler: Lager infused with Grapefruit, Grape and Lemon Juices, New Brunswick
Château Des Charmes Equuleus Red Blend, St. David’s Bench
Château Des Charmes Vidal Icewine, Niagara-on-the-Lake

The Cheese Studio hosted by Boursin® Cheese
Maple  Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake
Food:
Braised Beef Stroganoff with Tiny Egg Noodles, Wild Mushroom and Boursin Garlic with Fine Herbs Cheese Sauce (KA)
Cheese Trio: Profiterole topped with Boursin Garlic and Fine Herbs Cheese and Orange Apricot Jam; Smoked Salmon
Pinwheel with Boursin Shallot and Chive Cheese and Everything Seasoning; Strawberry Macaron with Boursin Pepper Cheese
Maple Bourbon Boursin Cheesecake with Maple Bourbon Cream, Caramel and Pecan Crunch (V)
Beverages:
Florida Orange Groves Winery Sparkling Blueberry Wine, St. Petersburg, FL
La Crema Pinot Gris, Monterey
Domaine Saint André de Figuière Rosé, Côtes de Provence
Alta Vista Estate Malbec, Mendoza

China
Food:
Xi’an Pancake with Beef
Chicken Dumplings with Chinese Slaw (KA)
Beijing Roasted Duck Bao Bun with Hoisin Sauce
Black Pepper Shrimp with Garlic Noodles
Beverages:
Mango Bubble Tea with Assam Black Tea and Milk (Non-alcoholic)
Jasmine Draft Beer
Happy Peach: Peach Liqueur and Dark Rum
Kung Fu Punch: Vodka and Triple Sec
Byejoe Punch: Chinese Bai Jiu Spirit, Lychee, Coconut and Pineapple Juice
Honeydew Bai Jiu Cocktail: Chinese Bai Jiu Spirit and Honeydew Syrup

The Chocolate Stuido
Food:
Liquid Nitro Chocolate-Almond Truffle with Warm Whiskey-Caramel (GF) (KA)
Sweet Dark Chocolate Raspberry Tart with Whipped Cream (V)
Beverages:
Twinings® Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea and Chocolate Shake (Non-alcoholic) (KA)
Banfi Rosa Regale Sparkling Red, Piedmont
Daou Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles
Croft 10 Year Tawny
Twinings® Pumpkin Spice Chai Tea Frozen Cocktail with Caramel Vodka

Coastal Eats
Food:
Lump Crab Cake with Napa Cabbage Slaw and Avocado-lemongrass Cream
Baked Shrimp Scampi Dip with Sourdough Baguette
Seared Scallops with Roasted Corn, Butterbean Succotash and Chili-chipotle Butter Sauce
Beverages:
A to Z Wineworks Pinot Gris, Oregon
ROCO Gravel Road Pinot Noir, Oregon

Craft Drafts
Your choice of 2 distinctive Beer Flights
Beverages: Central 28 Beer Company Waff-Ale, DeBary, FL (Flight 1)
Bold City Brewing 1901 Roasted Red Ale, Jacksonville, FL (Flight 1)
Florida Beer Company Passport Triple Chocolate Milk Stout, Cape Canaveral, FL (Flight 1)
First Magnitude Brewing Co. Lemongrass Saison, Gainesville, FL (Flight 2)
JDub’s Brewing Company Honeydew Melon Kölsch, Sarasota, FL (Flight 2)
Shipyard Brewing Company Monkey Fist IPA, Clearwater, FL (Flight 2)

Earth Eats
The Steakhouse Blended Burger
Food:
The Steakhouse Blended Burger: Blended Beef and Wild Mushroom Slider with Brie Cheese Fondue, Arugula, Truffle and Blue Cheese Potato Chip on a Brioche Bun
The IMPOSSIBLE™ Burger Slider with Wasabi Cream and Spicy Asian Slaw on a Sesame Seed Bun (V)
Beverages:
Health-Ade Kombucha Pink Lady Apple
Health-Ade Kombucha Pomegranate
Health-Ade Kombucha Beet-Lime
Kombucha Flight

The Festival Center Wine Shop
Food:
Charcuterie Plate: Chefs Selection of Artisanal Meats and Accompaniments
La Bottega di BelGioioso® Cheese Plate: Crescenza-Stracchino®, CreamyGorg® Gorgonzola Dolce, and Artigiano® Vino Rosso Cheeses
Bloody Mary Seafood Cocktail: Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Olive Salad and Crisp Lettuce in a Bloody Mary Vinaigrette
Beverages: 
Fess Parker Riesling, Santa Barbara County (White Flight)
MacMurray Estate Vineyards Pinot Gris, Russian River Valley (White Flight)
Silverado Vineyards Sauvignon Blanc, Napa Valley (White Flight)
Silverado Vineyards Chardonnay, Carneros
Kurt Russell’s Gogi Wines “Goldie” Chardonnay, Santa Rita Hills
MacMurray Estate Vineyards Pinot Noir, Russian River Valley (Pinot Noir Flight)
Kurt Russell’s Gogi Wines “Birdie” Pinot Noir, Santa Rita Hills (Pinot Noir Flight)
Skywalker Vineyards Sommita Pinot Noir, Marin County (Pinot Noir Flight)
Silverado Vineyards Fantasia Sangiovese Blend, Napa Valley (Red Flight)
Chappellet Mountain Cuvée Bordeaux Blend, Napa Valley (Red Flight)
Fess Parker Rodney’s Vineyard Syrah, Santa Barbara County (Red Flight)
Frank Family Vineyards Cabernet Sauvignon, Napa Valley

Flavors from Fire
Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak
Chocolate Picante
Food:
Piggy Wings: Roasted Pork Wings with Korean BBQ Sauce and Sesame Seeds (KA)
Smoked Corned Beef with Warm Crispy Potatoes, Pickled Onions and Blonde Ale Beer Fondue featuring BelGioioso® Romano and American Grana Cheeses
Charred Chimichurri Skirt Steak on a Smoked Corn Cake with Pickled Vegetable Slaw and Cilantro Aïoli
Chocolate Picante: Dark Chocolate Mousse with Cayenne Pepper, Chili Powder and Mango
Beverages:
Orlando Brewery Smokin’ Blackwater Porter
Michael David Winery 7 Deadly Zins Zinfandel, Lodi
Swine Brine featuring Jim Beam Bourbon

France
Food:
Croissant aux Escargots: Escargot Croissant with Garlic and Parsley
Carbonade de Boeuf, Purée de Pommes de Terre: Beer-braised Beef with Bacon, Onion and Mashed Potatoes
Crème Brûlée à la Confiture de Framboises: Crème Brûlée with House-made Raspberry Jam (V) (GF) (KA)
Beverages:
La Passion Martini Slush: Vodka, Grey Goose Le Citron, Cranberry and Passion Fruit Juice
Chardonnay, Le Vieux Manoir
Cabernet Sauvignon, Village la Tourelle, Bordeaux
St-Germain Sparkling Kir: Sparkling Wine and St-Germain Elderflower Liqueur
Kronenbourg Blanc 1664 Pale Lager

Germany
Food:
Schinkennudeln: Pasta Gratin with Ham, Onions and Cheese (KA)
Roast Bratwurst in a Pretzel Roll (KA)
Apple Strudel with Vanilla Sauce (V) (KA)
Beverages:
Radeberger Zwickel Pilsner (Unfiltered)
Carl Graff Graacher Himmelreich Riesling Spätlese, Mosel (Flight)
J&H Selbach Bernkasteler Kurfürstlay Riesling Kabinett, Mosel (Flight)
Selbach-Oster Zeltinger Himmelreich Riesling Kabinett Halbtrocken, Mosel (Flight)
Villa Wolf Pinot Noir, Pfalz

Greece
Food:
Loaded Greek “Nachos”: Pita Chips, Meatless Sausage Crumbles and Vegan Tzatziki (V) (KA)
Taste of Greece: Chicken Souvlaki, Feta Cheese Dip with Warm Pita and Lamb Sausage with a Dill Tomato Ragu
Spanakopita: Greek Spinach Pie (V)
Bougatsa: Warm Phyllo Dough Strudel with Sweet Vanilla Custard, Lemon Honey Syrup and Cinnamon (V) (KA)
Beverages:
Domaine Skouras Moscofilero, Peloponnese (flight)
Domaine Sigalas Assyrtiko, Santorini (flight)
Argyros Atlantis Red Blend, Santorini (flight)

Hawaii 
Food:
Kalua Pork Slider with Sweet and Sour DOLE® Pineapple Chutney and Spicy Mayonnaise (KA)
Grilled Tuna Tataki with Seaweed Salad, Pickled Cucumbers and Wasabi Cream
Teriyaki-glazed SPAM® Hash with Potatoes, Peppers, Onions and Spicy Mayonnaise
Passion Fruit Cheesecake with Toasted Macadamia Nuts (V)
Beverages:
Maui Brewing Company Bikini Blonde Lager
Florida Orange Groves Sparkling Pineapple Wine, St. Petersburg, FL
Mai Tai with Sailor Jerry Spiced Rum and DOLE Pineapple Juice

Hops and Barley
New Brunswick Slider
Food:
New England Lobster Roll: Warm Lobster with Fresh Herb Mayonnaise and Griddled Roll
New Brunswick Slider: Slow-braised Beef Brisket “Pot Roast Style” with Horseradish Cream and Crispy Fried Onions on a Potato Roll with Pickled Vegetables on the side
Freshly Baked Carrot Cake and Cream Cheese Icing (V) (KA)
Beverages:
North Coast Bewing Co. Blue Star Wheat, Fort Bragg, CA (Flight)
3 Daughters Brewing A Wake Coffee Blonde Ale, St. Petersburg, FL (Flight)
Heavy Seas AmeriCannon APA, Baltimore, MD (Flight)
Angry Orchard Rosé Hard Cider, Walden, NY
Mer Soleil Reserve Chardonnay, Santa Lucia Highlands
Broadside Cabernet Sauvignon, Paso Robles

India
Food:
Warm Indian Bread with Pickled Garlic, Mango Salsa and Coriander Pesto Dips (V) (KA)
Madras Red Curry with Roasted Cauliflower, Baby Carrots, Chickpeas and Basmati Rice (V) (GF)
Korma Chicken with Cucumber Tomato Salad, Almonds, Cashews and Warm Naan Bread
Beverages:
Mango Lassi (Non-alcoholic) (KA)
Godfather Lager
Sula Chenin Blanc, Nashik
Sula Shiraz, Nashik
Mango Lassi with Sōmrus Indian Cream Liqueur

Ireland
Guinness Baileys Shake
Food:
Roasted Irish Sausage with Colcannon Potatoes and Onion Gravy
Warm Irish Cheddar Cheese and Stout Dip with Irish Brown Bread (V)
Warm Chocolate Pudding with Irish Cream Liqueur Custard
Beverages:
Guinness Foreign Extra Stout
Bunratty Meade Honey Wine
Guinness Baileys Shake

Islands of the Caribbean 
Jerk-spiced Chicken Lollipop
Food:
Ropa Vieja Empanada with Tomato Aïoli (KA)
Jerk-spiced Chicken Lollipop with Roasted Sweet Plantain Salad and Mango Chutney Yogurt
Quesito: Puff Pastry with Sweetened Cream Cheese and Guava Sauce (V) (KA)
Beverages:
Red Stripe Lager
Caribbean White Sangria
Frozen Mojito

Italy
Food:
Fritto Misto: Crispy Shrimp, Zucchini and Sweet Potatoes with a Spicy Sauce
Pollo Alla Cacciatora: Braised Chicken Thigh, Mushrooms, Tomatoes and Parmesan Polenta
Mezzi Rigatoni: Vodka Sauce, Crispy Pancetta and Parmesan Cheese (KA)
Cannoli: Cannoli filled with Sweet Ricotta, Chocolate and Candied Fruit (KA)
Beverages:
Moretti Lager
Moretti La Rossa Double Malt
Placido Pinot Grigio
Placido Chianti
Villa Sandi Prosecco
Montegrande Corbinello Spumante Dolce
Fior d’Arancio Montegrande Moscato
Frozen Margarita with Limoncello and Tequila

Japan
Food:
Teriyaki Chicken Bun: Steamed bun filled with Chicken, Vegetables and a Sweet Teriyaki Sauce (KA)
Beef Nigiri topped with Shrimp Sauce and Diced Pickled Jalapeños (GF)
Spicy Roll: Tuna and Salmon topped with Volcano Sauce
Beverages:
Kirin Ichiban Lager
Ozeki Rai Sake
Fuji Apple Cocktail: Sake, Peach Schnapps and Green Apple Syrup

Light Lab
RGB Beer Flight
Phosphorescent Phreeze (KA)
InfraRED (KA)
UltraVIOLET (KA)
Bleu Spectrum: Blanc de Bleu Cuvée Mousseux with Boba Pearls
Original Sin Dry Rosé Hard Cider, New York, NY (Cider Flight)
3 Daughters Brewing Blueberry Peppercorn Hard Cider, St. Petersburg, FL (Cider Flight)
Ciderboys Zen Berry Hard Cider, Stevens Point, WI (Cider Flight)
Playalinda Brewing Co. Red Cherry Tart, Titusville, FL (RGB Flight)
GrassLands Brewing Company Green Kiwi Blonde, Tallahassee, FL (RGB Flight)
M.I.A. Beer Company Blue-berry Golden Ale, Doral, FL (RGB Flight)
Cider Flight
RGB Flight

Mexico
Food:
Short Rib Tostada: Corn Tortilla topped with Short Ribs, Black Beans, Salsa Verde and Spring Onion
Shrimp Quesadilla: Corn Tortilla with Shrimp, Oaxaca Cheese and topped with Spicy Guajillo Sauce and Sesame Seeds
Coconut Rice Pudding served with Mango Coulis (GF) (V)
Beverages:
Cerveza Por Favor: Dos Equis Draft Beer with a hint of Almond
Mariachi Loco: Margarita with Libelula Tequila Joven, Mango Purée and Chamoy
Ay Caramba: Smoky Margarita with Gracias A Dios Mezcal, Lime Juice and Ancho Reyes Chile Liqueur
La Chancla: Red Wine Sangria mixed with Fruit Juice
El Padrino: Blackberry Mexican Punch with Velo Blanco Tequila

Morocco
Food:
Kefta Pocket: Seasoned Ground Beef in a Pita Pocket (KA)
Hummus Fries with Cucumber, Tomato, Onions and Tzatziki Sauce (V)
Chocolate Baklava: Rolled Phyllo Dough with Toasted Almonds and Dark Chocolate Sauce
Beverages:
Casa Pale Lager
Kasbah Prestige Red Wine
Mimosa Royale: Sparkling Wine and Orange Juice topped with Orange Liqueur
Red Organic Sangria

New Zeland
Food:
Steamed Green Lip Mussels with Garlic Butter and Toasted Breadcrumbs
Lamb Meatball with Spicy Tomato Chutney
Seared Venison Sausage with Kumara Purée and Wild Mushroom Marsala Sauce
Beverages:
Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc, Marlborough
Antmoore Wineworks MOKOblack Pinot Noir, Marlborough
Frozen Wine Cocktail featuring Kim Crawford Sauvignon Blanc

Shimmering Sips Mimosa Bar
Madras Mimosa with Cranberry Sparkling Wine and Orange Juice
Food:
Chocolate Croissant: Flaky Croissant stuffed with Chocolate
Almond Croissant: Flaky Croissant topped with Toasted Almonds
Jumbo Blueberry Muffin with Streusel Topping
Cheese Danish with Sweet Icing
Beverages:
Frozen Apple Pie (Non-alcoholic) (KA)
Tropical Mimosa with Sparkling Wine and Pomegranate, Orange and Grapefruit Juices
Key Lime Mimosa with Key Lime Sparkling Wine and Cranberry Juice
Blood Orange Mimosa with Sparkling Wine and Blood Orange Juice
Madras Mimosa with Cranberry Sparkling Wine and Orange Juice
Fromosa: Frozen Mimosa featuring White Claw Lime Hard Seltzer
Joffrey’s Cold Brew Coffee

Spain
Food: 
Charcuterie in a Cone with imported Spanish Meats, Cheeses and Olives with an Herb Vinaigrette
Spanish-style Paella with Chorizo and Roasted Chicken
Seafood Salad with Shrimp, Bay Scallops, Mussels, Extra Virgin Olive Oil, White Balsamic Vinegar and Smoked Paprika (GF)
Beverages:
Lagar de Bouza Albariño, Rías Baixas
Casa Castillo Monastrell, Jumilla
Espelt Garnacha Old Vines, Catalonia

Thailand
Food:
Marinated Chicken with Peanut Sauce and Stir-fried Vegetables (KA)
Seared Shrimp and Scallop Cake with Cold Noodle Salad
Red Hot Spicy Thai Curry Beef with Steamed Rice
Beverages:
Singha Lager
Maison Willm Gewürztraminer, Alsace

Wine & Dine Studio
Butternut Squash Ravioli
Food:
Seared Scallops, Truffled Celery Root Purée, Brussels Sprouts and Wild Mushrooms featuring Melissa’s Produce
Butternut Squash Ravioli with Brown Butter Vinaigrette, Parmesan Cheese and Pumpkin Seeds (V) (KA)
Trio of Artisan Cheese featuring La Bottega di BelGioioso® Cheeses (V)
La Bottega di BelGioioso Crescenza-Stracchino®
La Bottega di BelGioioso CreamyGorg® Gorgonzola Dolce
La Bottega di BelGioioso Artigiano® Vino Rosso
Artist Palette of Wine and Cheese
Trio of Artisan Cheese paired with Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rosé, Reata Chardonnay and Spellbound Petite Sirah
Beverages:
Reata Chardonnay, Sonoma Coast
Rainstorm Silver Linings Pinot Noir Rosé, Oregon
Spellbound Petite Sirah, California

2018 Epcot Food and Wine Festival Event Details

August 30 to November 12, 2018
Marketplaces are open daily during regular park hours
Epcot admission is required
Marketplace food and beverage samples require a separate purchase
Alcohol will only be served to Guests 21 and older
Availability for some marketplace offerings may be limited
Marketplaces subject to closure at any time
All menu items are subject to change without notice

Railay Beach Thailand

Wednesday, July 11, 2018
We stayed on Railay Beach during our trip to Thailand. I'll be honest by saying this was the one location I was most tentative about. It was where we booked our cheapest hotel and what we thought as the most complicating to get to. We prepaid for our rooms with no refund, or we likely would have ended up elsewhere. I actually considered losing the money we paid on the room - luckily for us, that wasn't the case.
Railay West Beach
Railay Beach is a large peninsula between the city of Krabi and Ao Nang in Thailand. It is accessible only by boat due to high limestone cliffs cutting off mainland access. We came from Phuket and could have taken a Ferry directly to Railay Beach, instead we went by car (big mistake, read about it here at the end of the post). Our van dropped off at the Ao Nang pier, where we purchased a ticket for a longtail boat to take us to Railay West. The cost for this is 100 baht a person but they will only leave the pier when you have 8 or more people in the boat. We didn't want to wait for four additional people and we were able to pay double.
Railay West Beach
The boat ride is short, about 10 minutes. Railay West does not have a pier so you will likely get wet getting out of the boat. Railay East has a pier and it is easy to walk from there to West. Not only did we get soaked, but our luggage also got wet. You can bring trash bags to keep your stuff from getting wet.
Railay West Walking Street
Once we arrived at Railay West, we snagged a few pictures of the sunset (amazing!) and walked through the walking street where the restaurants, bars and shops were located. Both Railay West and Railay East have a walking street but there are more things to do on West. Railay West has a beach, where Railay East has mangroves.
We stayed at Railay Phutawan Resort. Gabe and I paid $60 USD a night for a deluxe double room with sea view. It was a huge room with a stunning view over their infinity pool. The staff met us at the end of walking street to get our luggage. It is a uphill walk to the resort but we had no issues with it (except when it rained, the street flooded a bit).
Railay Phutawan Resort
Overall, I was very impressed with Railay Phutawan Resort and would recommend staying there. You can also send your clothes off to be washed for 60 baht per kilo. The food was decent and we enjoyed many frozen drinks by the pool. However beware - if you have a balcony room, the warning about monkeys breaking into rooms for the mini-bar are not a joke! We witnessed it (and luckily locked our doors)!
Railay has something for everyone. You can go rock climbing, cliff diving, kayaking, SUP, take a private longtail to the Krabi 4 Islands, visit Phi Phi islands and much more. It's very easy to rent any of the non-motorized watersports. There are vendors on the beach and they will negotiate pricing so be sure to ask!
Maya Bay, Phi Phi Islands
On our first day in Railay, we did an organized early bird Phi Phi Islands tour. It was magical and the top highlight of our entire trip.


Longtail Boat or Uber Eats?
On our second day in Railay, we took a longtail boat over to Ao Nang and had lunch. We planned on buying beer and wine while over there to bring back to Railay but unfortunately were there during the no sale of alcohol time frame (1pm-5pm). The prices for buy beer and wine in Railay are higher than the mainland (and the mainland had a much better selection). After we took the longtail back to Railay, we decided to go stand up paddle boarding. We went over to Phra Nang Beach which was on the other side of the Railay West cliff. Here you will find more vendors, but nothing like Railay West. They even had a longtail food truck! 
Phra Nang Cave
Phra Nang Beach has a cave (AKA Princess Cave) where fishermen, before going out to sea, have made offerings to the symbolic Phallus of Shiva (known as the Siwaleung or Palad Khik in Thai). The fishermen believed the cave is the home of a mythical sea princess and that their offerings will bring them success and protect from danger. Well......... that gift is a wooden carved - yeah those carvings are what is looks like.
Railay Beach
Our third day in Railay, we rented Kayaks for 2 hours. We easily could have had them for the whole day. We went back over to Phra Nang Beach and explored various cliffs and islands. It was very relaxing and we had a great time.
That night, we did the Railay Cooking Class. Each couple selected our own starters, side, main and desert. This was a neat experience and we all took home skills. The only negative I have on this night was that they allowed another group to jump in (after we pre-paid for our reservations the day before which was a requirement) - it was supposed to be reservation only and this caused our cooking lesson to last nearly 3 hours.
Railay Cooking Class
We learned to make the following dishes:
Tom Ka Gai (chicken coconut soup)
Som Tum (Green Papaya Salad)
Yum Woon Sen (Glass Noodle Salad)
Deep Fried Shrimp Dumplings
Massaman Curry
Pad See Ew
Mango with Coconut Sticky Rice
If I were to plan another trip to Thailand, I would surely allow for more nights in Railay. I loved the relaxed vyb to the island and it was magically beautiful. If you are planning a trip to Thailand, I strongly suggest spending a few nights here.

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