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Taste the USA

Taste the USA

Did you know many of us choose our holiday destination on food.  I wanted to enjoy A taste the USA. When we chose to go to America it was for various reasons mainly its somewhere we had all wanted to go. Once booked I started to take an interest in the cuisines available in San Francisco, it was a variety of taste-bud exploding foods, such as Clam Chowder, food vans, so much so they have a huge area where the vans meet everyday and you can walk round, decide and just chill, sadly we didn’t get to any of them so I have tried to re-create something we didn’t get to try and a few we did.

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I was unable to purchase clams here not even in tins so changed my menu slightly but its still something I wanted to try and never got the chance to.

My taste the USA night Menu

Cioppino Fish Stew (recipe below)
Fry Chicken with ranch dip (ranch recipe below)
Chicken Pot Pie with lumpy mash (as requested by little man)
Pulled Pork sandwich
New York Cheesecake

I will not be going to give you the recipes for all as most can be found on my other blog cakesphotoslife. today is the Cioppino and the homemade ranch dip

Cioppino ingredients

Cioppino Fish Stew
Original recipe from Foodnetwork (I have highlighted alternatives)

  • 1/4 cup olive oil
    1/4 cup butter
    1 rib celery, chopped
    1 onion, diced
    1 can crushed tomatoes (28-oz)
    2 cups clam juice or fish stock
    2 cups white wine
    4 cloves crushed garlic
    1 lemon, juiced
    1 teaspoon Worcestershire sauce
    1 bay leaf
    1 teaspoons dried basil
    1 teaspoon dried oregano
    1/2 teaspoon red pepper flakes, or to taste
    1/2 teaspoon salt
    1 Dungeness crab (about 2-lbs), cracked and cleaned, or 1-lb frozen crabmeat thawed (Tinned crabmeat)
    2 pounds halibut fillet, cut into 1-in slices (cod fillets)
    24 large prawns, peeled and de-veined (Cray fish tails, I don’t like prawns)
    12 mussels (I couldn’t get fresh so bought a prepared with garlic and white wine sauce)
    1/2 bunch Italian parsley, chopped

cioppino stew


In a large pot, on medium-low heat, melt the butter with the olive oil and saute the celery and onions until soft, about 10 minutes. Add all the rest of the ingredients except the seafood and fresh parsley. Simmer on low, uncovered, for one hour.  Add a splash of water if the sauce gets to thick. Furthermore taste for salt and add as mush as needed.
Add the crab, shrimp, and halibut, and simmer covered another five minutes. Add the mussels, cover the pot and simmer for 3 minutes more, or until the mussels open. Finally turn off the heat, and stir in the Italian parsley.

Homemade Ranch Dip Ingredients

  • 1/2 – 3/4 cup well-shaken buttermilk
    2-3 tablespoons sour cream
    1-2 tablespoons mayonnaise
    1 teaspoon mixed herbs
    1 clove garlic, finely chopped
    1/2 teaspoon dijon mustard
    a dash of balsamic vinegar


Finally place all ingredients into a jar and shake well, if you don’t think you have shaken enough, shake some more. (my neighbours probably laughed at me dancing around the kitchen shaking a jar of dip)

This recipe was originally found on Cakesphotoslife and has been replaced on here.

Alcatraz everyone must Visit

Alcatraz everyone must Visit

Alcatraz everyone must Visit. Everyone has heard of Alcatraz, you may have even seen the films and whatever documentary’s have been on about it, well I can tell you it is

  • Awesome
  • Eerie
  • Mysterious
  • Dark

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Such a lot of emotions running through the body and mind, whist walking round the grounds, inside the Penitentiary itself then thought provoking on the boat home.

In the beautiful grounds, where flowers blossom, a garden grows and the old stone work eroding, it was hard to imagine that nothing but good was in the area.



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Enter the Penitentiary and all those feelings change, its cold, eerie and when listening to the tour in your personal headsets, hearing the reality of what happened, when I say reality I mean that, screams and the prison guards from days gone by recounting their time served there. You see the outside world from a tiny window, a bustling city within arms reach yet it cant be reached, you cant just get up and walk, even the guards and their families couldn’t do that, they had to wait for a ferry to collect them and take them the 1 1/2miles across the bay.

Alcatraz 2Alcatraz 1 B&W

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On the ferry back you think back, discuss with the family what you saw and heard. The crimes they committed did they really need to be in a place like that?. In England things happen that are a lot worse yet they have the right to freedom, a TV, they don’t have the right to escape but if they try, they don’t have the water between them, the risk of drowning if they try to escape, in addition to the risk of being shot. Little man Loved this, he loves history and it certainly entertained him.



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If you ever get to San Fransisco I suggest you pre-book this tour before leaving especially if time is limited for you and your family, it is worth every penny.

For further information check out Alcatraz Tours (prices correct as of published date)

Duration Day Tours

  • Approximately 2 ½ Hours


  • Daily Available up to 90 days ahead.

Adult Price: $41.00
Children: $28.50
Seniors: $39.25

Duration Evening Tours

Adult Price:$48.00
Children: $32.00
Seniors: $45.25


Disclaimer: we paid for all flights, hotels, excursions and food during our holiday. I am sharing our experience because I wish to.

This post was first seen on Cakesphotoslife

Calacademy a place to visit


Calacademy, is the California Academy of Sciences based in the Golden Gate Park, San Francisco, it is easily accessible and an amazing day out for young and Old.

We got our tickets within our City Pass booklet but if you were to pay the cost is. Ordering a City Pass is a wonderful way to get around.

Pricing (correct at time of publishing)

  • Adult $34.95
  • Senior (ages 65 and over) $29.95
  • Student $29.95
  • Youth (ages 12-17) $29.95
  • Child (ages 4-11) $24.95
  • Ages 3 and under FREE

What can you do?

  • Enter the Earthquake (Husbands favourite)
  • Planetarium
  • Aquarium
  • Rain forests of the world (my personal favourite)
  • Science in Action (little mans favourite)
  • plus so much more

We arrived for opening, there was a small queue but once inside it seemed spacious enough to not realise how many were actually in the building, until lunch. The queue for a meal or drink was rather large. Our advice is do not plan for anything that day as there is so much to see and do inside. Afterwards take a walk around the park, hire a bike and cycle it, we hired what we thought was a distant memory from our childhood, a 4 wheeled 2 steering bike…it was so much fun (but hard work even on the smallest of hills).


To Enter the Morrisons Planetarium you need to get a ticket and they will inform you of the time to arrive. As it is such a popular event. Little mans ultimate Favourite was the hands on chance to do some science, making a meteorite.

Hope you enjoy the photos of the day


Calacademy 1

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Calacademy 3

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Finally we would give this venue a massive 9.5/10 the loss of .5 was due to the queues for drinks and food hall only.

Disclaimer: All activities done during our time in San Francisco were paid for by us including flights, hotel and insurance

This post was originally found on Cakesphotoslife, it has been updated accordingly by the TNC Team