The warm up and cool down workshop was my final one of convention. After that I could finally relax. That meant only one thing: pool time!
We got there just in time to secure three lounge chairs before the rest of the convention attendees showed up. While we were waiting for Christina to join us, several people tried to ask for the lounge chair that we reserved for her.
The Peabody Orlando pool was really hoppin’ on Sunday night. That’s where almost everyone was, including Zumba celebrity Gina Grant. An impromptu Aqua Zumba session even broke out.
I would have preferred a less crowded pool, but I didn’t mind the Zumba music pumping and the people gyrating. My drink helped me chill out. LOL.
After laying around for a while, Brian and I decided that we didn’t want to leave to shower and get dressed for dinner so we ended up eating at the pool. The Peabody Orlando has a poolside restaurant called Coconuts. Prices are still on the pricy side as can be expected considering where we were, but at least they offered a bit more selection than Mallards.
We had the hummus and pita, which you can’t really go wrong with (we order it everywhere we go), and the $20 appetizer sampler. On the plus side, the hummus and pita at Coconuts is cheaper than the one they serve at B-Line Diner and you actually get more grilled pita chips.
Here’s the one they serve at B-Line that costs almost twice as much.
Here’s the hummus and pita platter served at Coconuts.
Had we known this ahead of time, we would have just ate dinner poolside at Coconuts the entire trip. Seriously. The drinks are universally expensive throughout the hotel premises, but the food prices at Coconuts were far more reasonable than anywhere else at the hotel.
Here’s a close up of the appetizer sampler which consisted of chorizo and corn arepas, chicken wings, coconut shrimp, chips and dip.
Yes, I realize that the coconut shrimp is almost the size of my head but you only get two of them. This appetizer would have cost only half as much if we were back home in Wichita. By Sunday I was actually ready to go home and put the breaks on all the spending. Whew. Thank heavens the Zumba instructor convention in Orlando only happens once a year or I would be completely bankrupt.
On a side note, I’m actually thinking of checking out the Zumba conference in LA next year. LOL. It’s only a couple of days instead of four so I’m hoping it will be less expensive. I am starting to save now though, just in case. I’m thinking it will still cost me quite a bit. However, I plan on going about it the smart way and rooming with another instructor on this next trip so that I can at least reduce the cost of lodging to half. Here’s to hoping I get a good deal on airfare. Until next time!
While Ching was in one of her classes I decided to go roam around outside the hotel and see if I could find a good place for lunch. I was really wanting to find some Cuban restaurant but there weren’t any close. I ended up going to a place called “The Pub”. I looked it up on Urbanspoon and it had high ratings so I figured why not.
Once I got in there it ended up being a really nice place. The bartender was really nice and helped me choose a really good beer. Luckily they bottle it and I can get it here in Wichita. Unlike the Sam Adams Brick Red that I really like that you can only get on tap and only in Boston Bars.
The beer the bartender suggested was really good. The only down side was I had not eaten in few hours and the Beer went right to my head. Luckily the food balanced me out for the walk back to the hotel.
I wish there was a Pub here in Wichita. I think it would make places like Fox and Hound step up their game.
The Crepe Factory is probably my favorite food stand at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). The crepe options are limited but they are good. Then again you can’t go wrong with crepes. You can put just about anything inside and it’ll turn out delicious. I don’t think the Crepe Factory is as good as the Crepe Cafe, the crepe place that we tried when we were in Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco. It is pretty good, though. If they’d given us enough time for lunch, I probably would have eaten there every single day. LOL.
Be prepared to spend some cash at the OCCC, though. The crepes cost $10-$12. There are no cheap lunches at the convention center. That’s for sure.
Brian had Korean tacos from another food stand the first time that I had the crepes. I’m sure they were good, but I bet they weren’t as good as my cordon bleu crepe.
The next time I had a hankering for a crepe, he decided to try it with me. He got an American, which is basically a breakfast crepe. I wanted to go for the gusto that time though, so I added tomatoes to my regular cordon bleu. I also ordered a banana + Nutella crepe for dessert. It’s my favorite kind of crepe. Yum!
I only had a limited time to get ready between my training session and the live concert so instead of going to Pointe Orlando to eat dinner, we ended up grabbing something at Mallards. The quality of the food and drinks was good, but there are significant downsides to Mallards. The biggest one being the limited selection. Since it’s a bar, they just have a handful of options. And, it’s “bar” food. It may be upscale bar food, but it’s still bar food.
The service was also terrible that night. I don’t know what was up with our server, but she was inattentive and unhelpful. She was almost borderline rude. Immediately after she delivered our food, she brought the check over. That’s one of my pet peeves because it makes me feel rushed. Plus, I wanted to order some other stuff. It was really annoying.
Besides that, their drinks are super expensive. Then again, that’s probably normal for Orlando. I’m so glad I live in Wichita where I can get a couple of drinks for $13. LOL.
I think we should have tried one of the other restaurants located inside the hotel instead (there are a few inside Peabody Orlando). If only I wasn’t in a hurry. I probably would have been better off going back to B-Line Diner or grabbing something from B-Line Express (the diner’s to-go counter).
Possibly the one thing that Mallards has going for it is the march of the ducks at 11 AM and 5 PM. So just go for the ducks. Don’t bother eating or drinking. LOL. Or, save yourself the trip and just watch Brian’s video.
Brian and I ended up eating at B-Line Diner on our first night in Orlando because it rained. I had my heart set on taking the trolley to Oceanaire Seafood Room at Pointe Orlando but we didn’t want to walk outside because of the torrential downpour. It rained while we were getting some supplies at Walgreens and, by the time we arrived back at our hotel, we were both drenched.
Anyway, B-Line is conveniently located on the first floor of our hotel so we wouldn’t have to go outside. It was a no brainer. We put some dry clothes on and off we went.
Brian and I both love hummus so we decided to start with that. It was topped with some sort of kalamata olives tapenade, which made it really salty. I like salty stuff so it appealed to me. Brian didn’t care much for it. He would have much rather preferred a tub of Sabra. LOL.
For dinner we just split a chicken sandwich. We didn’t want any leftovers as our room wasn’t equipped with a microwave. You could request one from housekeeping, but the Peabody charges $20 extra per day for use of the microwave so it wasn’t worth it. Anyway, back to the sandwich. It had all the fixins including apple slices and a huge chunk of avocado. It was actually pretty good.
Splitting the chicken sandwich was actually a good move on our part because we wanted to save room for dessert. The B-Line has an extensive dessert selection. However, since Brian and I were sharing dessert, we couldn’t go too crazy. We ordered a slice of their Oreo chocolate mousse cake.
It was just okay. It tasted like something that you could get anywhere. There really wasn’t anything special about it. The dessert was probably my least favorite part of the meal.
The food at B-Line is actually pretty good. The location is extremely convenient, specially if you are staying at the Peabody or have a conference nearby at the Orange County Convention Center. The diner is also open 24 hours a day, which is a huge plus. The only downside is that the prices are quite high. Then again, that’s typical of everything in this area of Orlando so, after considering all of the other options, B-Line is probably a bargain. I wouldn’t mind eating there again next time we’re at the Peabody.
I hate long layovers at the airport. I prefer to time it just right so I am ready to board the next plane as soon as I get off the previous one. Brian, on the other hand, is always paranoid that he will miss his connection so he likes long layovers. He makes our travel arrangements most of the time so I’m at his mercy.
What to do when life hands you lemons? Well, you make lemonade of course. So we used the long layovers to sample some of the airport food. First stop: Berghoff Cafe at Chicago O’Hare.
Out of all the restaurants in our terminal, Berghoff got the best reviews. We were there too early for lunch though, so I couldn’t get a reuben which is what everyone on FourSquare recommended.
We didn’t eat breakfast before we left Wichita so it worked out perfect actually. Brian had a breakfast wrap and coffee. I had an omelet with toast and jelly.
As with most airports restaurants, Berghoff uses cheap plastic utensils and my fork broke halfway through my breakfast meal. If anyone at Berghoff is reading, switch to Knorks please. Anyway, the breakfast wrap is pretty much an omelet wrapped in a tortilla. It’s cheaper and way easier to eat. No need to use the cheap forks. So if you go and get breakfast there, my advice is to get a breakfast wrap. You can even eat it as you’re running to your gate. LOL.
On the way home Brian gave me a four hour layover in Houston. Why? I have no idea. Houston is never as busy as Chicago or Atlanta. I was bored out of my mind. I decided to eat at the Chili’s despite the horrible reviews on FourSquare. Most of the negative reviews revolved around the slow service, which wasn’t really an issue for me as I had four hours to kill.
I had the appetizer sampler with the big bites, Southwest eggrolls, and spinach dip. The food was decent and the service wasn’t too bad. Everyone was correct about the slowness, though. Anyway, they let me charge my phone and hang out at the bar even after I finished my meal so I can’t complain. What I will complain about though, is my four-hour layover. Never again.
On Saturday, the 4,020th day of marriage (also known as our 11th wedding anniversary), we decided to have a low key dinner at Mike’s Wine Dive. I think the last documented time we were there was Brian’s birthday a couple of years ago, so it has been a while. For our anniversary dinner, we wanted to pick a great restaurant that we don’t normally go to. Mike’s made Wine Spectator a few years already and we hadn’t been in ages, so Mike’s definitely fit the bill.
We started with Andrea’s hummus platter and deviled eggs.
Don’t let the presentation fool you. Yes, it looks messy and unappealing but it is so darn delicious. I wish they’d serve them by the dozen. LOL.
Brian shared a carafe of sangria with me.
The sangria at Mike’s is delicious. If I was a “happy hour” kind of girl, I’d be at Mike’s every night after work just for the sangria. LOL.
It’s so good, even Brian likes it.
Normally I would get the lobster mac & cheese, but we didn’t want to go too crazy so we opted for a smaller meal — chicken piccata with mashed potatoes and seasonal vegetables. Brian doesn’t like capers, but I thought they went great with the email. Mashed potatoes could have used more flavor, but I like my food really salty so it’s probably just me. It was fine and I didn’t complain.
Much to my disappointment the chocolate bag has been discontinued. What they had instead are these lame chocolate bowls. Execution is similar but it’s just not the same. The chocolate bag was awesome. This was just okay. It was enough to satiate my sugar craving, though.
Our server Corina was nice. She even took our photo. I’m not posting it because it’s not very good. Not because of her, but because of me. I just wasn’t feeling pretty that day. I wore my hair straight, which I haven’t done in a couple of years, and it looked really flat. That, and I’ve been feeling fat lately. Eating out probably isn’t helping but, hey, how often do you get to celebrate an 11th wedding anniversary? Some people never get there.
Here’s how we’ve celebrated in previous years…
2005: Most of our third anniversary was spent at the Historic Campbell Castle. We stayed in The Royal Court, the inn’s best room, for two nights. There may or may not have been a sex tape as a result of this weekend. Just kidding! We also got a couples massage at Healing Waters, our then favorite spa.
2006: We celebrated by going to Harrah’s NKC. We both played in a poker tournament. Brian took second place and won $400+ dollars.
2007: This was a big one because it was our fifth wedding anniversary. We wanted to do something special, but we couldn’t celebrate in August because I was in grad school and I didn’t want to miss classes or be unprepared for the start of the semester. We ended up celebrating a month early. We spent seven days at an all-inclusive resort in Jamaica and met some really cool people. For our actual anniversary weekend, we went to the drive-in. It was my first time.
2009: Couples massage at Serenity, Midwest Rockfest, Tanganyika. Nothing major since we had our trip to the Philippines coming up and we were focused on that.
2010: Dinner at Bonefish and dancing at Suede. We celebrated early because we had Logan stay with us during our actual anniversary weekend. I think this was the catalyst for our Friday night salsa ritual. We also went to see the Rush Time Machine Tour last August.
2011: This was the most exciting wedding anniversary celebration ever. I got an ambulance ride to the ER following dinner. Follow the link for the full story.
2012: We celebrated our 10th wedding anniversary by closing on our house. Yup. We timed it so we actually signed papers on August 10. The real celebration happened in Kansas City a few days later, when we went to watch Journey perform — in the rain.
2013: This year we just had a low key dinner at Mike’s Wine Dive then went to see The Wolverine (great movie, by the way). The celebration continues later this week in Orlando. Of course, we celebrate our marriage everyday not just during our anniversary week. And that, my friends, is how you get to almost 15 years of being together.
Happy anniversary, baby!
I want every Saturday to be like last Saturday. I’m actually looking forward to this new Saturday routine. I basically get to do two hours of Zumba — my own class at Evergreen at 9:30 AM and then Pam’s class at Orchard at 11:30 AM. I wish that there was less time in between classes so I didn’t have to sit around and wait so long to do the next round. Maybe I could move my class back to 10:00 AM. The 9:30 AM schedule has been really nice, though. If I could start my day even earlier, I would. No one wants to Zumba with me at 8:00 AM, though.
Here’s a picture of Brian bonding with Juan. They watch Saturday morning cartoons together while I teach my Zumba class. LOL.
Here’s a photo of me and Pam before her class started. I look like a mess already, but I had a head start and no outfit change between Zumba sessions.
The best part about Orchard Recreation Center (besides Pam’s Zumba classes, of course) is that it’s located just around the corner from my favorite Thai takeout joint, Thai House. So guess what we had for lunch that day. I know. Sorry, John.
I just couldn’t help myself. My love for food is probably the main reason why I will never, ever get skinny. I want to seriously lose weight, but I don’t want to miss out on all my favorite foods either. Ay, caramba!
Our friend Jorge was in town the other day and invited us to have dinner with him, Sid, and Laura at P.F. Chang’s. It’s been a while since we’d seen Jorge and even longer since we’d been to P.F. Chang’s, specially since we don’t live in that side of town anymore. We had a wonderful leisurely dinner with the group. Here are some photos…
Chang’s chicken lettuce wraps are a must have item at P.F. Chang’s. It’s their signature appetizer, kind of like how bang bang shrimp is to Bonefish Grill.
We also had some crab wontons, which I love, and spring rolls.
Sid ordered the flaming red wontons, which I didn’t try because I don’t like spicy foods. Brian had some, though. He said they weren’t that spicy.
For our meal, Brian and I shared our usual — Mongolian beef with eggplant instead of scallions. I love the eggplant at P.F. Chang’s. So yummy!
Jorge had the quinoa “fried rice” which is a special summer item. He says it’s his current favorite. Laura ordered some more chicken lettuce wraps and Sid had noodles.
I wasn’t going to drink, but couldn’t help myself because everyone else was. I had the Long Island rum tea which tasted even better than it looked.
I think it has been about a year since we’ve been to P.F. Chang’s. I’d forgotten how good the food is. Though I noticed that the prices are much higher also. I guess that’s inflation for you.
Anyway, here’s a picture that I found from our last visit to P.F. Chang’s… The photo was taken on August 3, 2012 when I was almost 15 lbs lighter than I am now. Man, those were the days! I’m going to have to stay away from P.F. Chang’s even longer if I ever hope to drop back down to that weight/size again. LOL.
Brian and I finally got to try the Hopping Pita, it’s one of the newest food trucks in town. This one serves Lebanese fusion cuisine, or so the side of the truck says.
Brian had the chicken shawarma, which was pretty good but not quite as good as Bella Luna. I did appreciate the side of salad and hummus and crunchy pita chips that comes with each order. Both the salad and the hummus were very good; although I must agree with my friend Andrea — they really don’t give you enough chips.
I decided to be different and ordered the lamb and beef special.
It was good but, in hindsight, I think I should have stuck with the chicken. LOL.