Almost universally great food at Universal Orlando

2016 was a very busy year.  A long (but flying by), busy, grinding year for both of us, although unusually draining for me at work.  Consequently, when the date for the plane tickets to Florida that we’d purchased way back at the beginning of the year was finally approaching, I decided we should splurge on a few days at Universal Orlando.  We’ve never been and I wanted to see the Wizarding World of Harry Potter stuff they’ve added.univ00 Continue reading

Worth getting Hooked?

On a slow, indecisive weeknight we decided to pop into Galleria 7 for dinner for probably the 2nd time.  We both had the fish and chips from Hooked Seafood, which offers a variety of fresh seafood, fish tacos, and the ability to create your own dish on a corn tortilla, greens, or a roll.  For $11 the fresh fish and chips seemed like it was worth trying. Continue reading

4 stamps in your Lay’s Passport to Flavor

There may be a new Oreo flavor every month, but Lay’s is trying to keep up by releasing new flavors in bunches (when they’re not releasing old flavors and calling them ‘new’).  Newly out are four globe trotting flavors called Lay’s Passport to Flavor.  Walmart in Clifton Park is fully stocked up with both full sized bags of every flavor:072516-01and also the variety mix of small bags (a much better choice if you’re not sure, but want to taste them…of course you have to buy a bunch of bags of barbecue, sour cream & onion, and plain with them, but still a decent deal, these bags are a good size to accompany a sandwich or something):072516-02I got the mix and tried them all, so let’s get to it. Continue reading

Barest basics of baking

I consider myself to be an above average home baker.  Actually, no, I consider myself to be a fair home baker, but from the feedback others give me, I guess I’m above average.  At least ‘modern’ average.  Compared to our grandmothers I’m just fooling around, probably.

What continually strikes me the most, and if you bake from scratch yourself you’ve probably experienced the same, is whenever I share something with friends, coworkers, etc. they’re usually blown away.  People now are so used to blah supermarket baked goods, brownies from boxes, and mass produced cakes from Costco or BJs, that something baked from scratch is amazing to them.  Heck, I made Rice Krispie Treats, RICE KRISPIE TREATS for crying out loud, and people were telling me they were the best they’d ever had!  That’s crazy to me.  Just pay attention and make them well, people!  I know, I know, half the battle is just making the time and paying attention to your craft.  With a barking dog and three screaming kids, it’s not that easy, I guess.

I think many people are just afraid to try baking from scratch.  Yeast is frightening.  Maybe they tried and failed in the past, producing something unevenly cooked and disappointing after spending a lot of time on it, plus the cost of the ingredients.  Compared to a box of Ghirardelli brownie mix that’s simple and ‘pretty good’, why bother?  Well, if you’re ready to bother, maybe you’d like some of the simplest, ‘entry level’ tips that might help.  It’s just some of the things I try to do based on a lot of reading, mistakes I hear other people make, and trial and error.  (Note: I’ve only ever used an electric oven, I can’t comment on whether gas would be much different.) Continue reading