Category: Places Seen

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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

How

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

How

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.

Las Vegas Bug

Las Vegas BugLas Vegas Bug

The Las Vegas Bug, it’s a real thing, it grips to your soul and will not let go. A place that isn’t just bright lights and gambling.

It is more of the unique, the wild, the different, a place full of contrasts, shows and fun.

Fancy flying down Fremont Street on a bed? (not literally but you go down on your stomach). A helicopter flight to see the strip at night?.

Hotels

Each Hotel is different, hence has something to offer from the others. The only theme that runs through the place is the casinos and the bright again each trying to outdo the other.

A Gondola ride at the Venetian,  the thrill of a roller coaster through the New York New York. The amazing Fountains outside the Bellagio. From the modern to the Old the lights, the diamanté and the sculptures, there is no place on earth like Las Vegas. Walking through the Cosmopolitan with it dazzling curtains of diamante and striking pink colour to the Shopping in the Ceaser’s Palace with it unique escalator.

In the two trips I have taken, I haven’t seen inside each hotel yet due to time.

Depending who was to come with me again depends on which I stay in, (Money allowing).

  • If I went with a bunch of friends – The MGM. The place to go for Irish trash cans (cocktails).
  • If I were to go with husband again – The Cosmopolitan. Its simplicity is yet stunning and as the name suggests very Cosmopolitan, A view of the fountains please.
  • If daughter came with me – New York New York. It would feel like we had visited 2 cities in one trip. Unless she could sleep in Victoria’s Secrets, then she would be happier.
  • Finally with little man – Excalibur. What Child doesn’t like dragons? the whole place is designed for children or young at heart, it even has a place for kids to enjoy a ‘gamble’.

These are my recommendations from what I have seen from going in to the hotels. I have only stayed in the Circus Circus and Luxor but as previously mentioned all are unique and if I could I would stay in each and every one for different reasons.

Booking travel

Our First trip, I visited our local Virgin Travel Shop. I didn’t care where we went, just had a date in mind. The lady went through lots of choices, prices, dates and flight duration. We eventually chose Las Vegas and for less than £1100 my daughter and were booked to go 21 days later. Flying with United airlines. Whilst there the east were having extreme weather conditions and in light of that and our flights schedule, we visited Virgin. The staff were busy on the phones, not only did they help us but went out the way to ensure we were reassured about the journey home.

Second was different, I was Lucky enough to win the trip so all bookings were done via Endless UK and Ireland therefore it wasn’t in my hands but what a trip. Direct flights with Virgin Atlantic, 3 nights at the Luxor Hotel. In addition to that show tickets  to see JLo Live at the Axis Theatre.

Ultimately there are many choices of agents you can use, from big companies who sort it all for you, to sorting out flights and accommodation separate. Its easy in Vegas to get from the airport, book a limo in advance with sites such as Viator or jump a taxi (between $20 and $40 depending where you go). Daughter and I shared a cab with another couple as a result that helped the cost.

As a result I intend to go back, with daughter who will be 21 by then and can celebrate and enjoy it differently and with the boys to see it via a child’s eye.

Finally don’t forget to sign up to any loyalty card schemes.

 

 

 

 

 

The beautiful Gozo

Gozo

Grab a coffee, sit back and close your eyes!

Actually please don’t close your eyes as then you can’t read about the beautiful Gozo.

Arriving via the ferry from Malta you are instantly taken back, while knowing and seeing this beautiful country is steeped in tradition just from first sight. The beautiful limestone houses with charming doorways, some old with flecks of paint and little rusty handles, all as a result add to the charm of this tiny island.

Relax in a country filled with tradition, friendly people, beautiful countryside and rugged coastline. Visit the stunning Azure window or the Ta’ Pina Sanctuary. Enjoy a walk along the coast or hire a bike and cycle round the quaint little villages. Villages bustling with locals watching the world go by or being part of the cottage industries within the small communities.

You can see more about this little gem here . With a selection of accommodation, places to visit and lots more helpful advice.

Visiting Gozo can be as adventurous as you want or completely relaxing, it’s what you want to make of it but you won’t be disappointed.

Finally before we go, remember whilst to support the cottage industries such as Gozo glass, the lace makers and those who weave therefore buying these wares. These unique items help the communities keep to the traditional causing people to return.

Gozo

Finally A lovely Maltese Proverb

BEWSA MINGHAJR TAGHNIQA DONNHA WARDA MINGHAJR FWIEHA.
A kiss without a hug is like a flower without fragrance.

Photo Scavenger Hunt in Las Vegas

Photo Scavenger Hunt in Las Vegas

My husband and I are off to the bright lights of Vegas very soon, thanks to Endless UK and Ireland. I recently won (yes some competitions on Facebook are real) a 3 night break. Included in it are  tickets to see JLo’s ‘All I Have’ concert and a VIP dinner. As it is my husbands first time visiting and our first time out of the country together with no children in tow I thought it would be fun to have a little game, A Photo Scavenger hunt. I googled and asked friends for ideas but most google searches were for bachelorette/bachelor parties and didn’t seem appropriate. So for all those couples who want some fun on their next trip to Vegas have a look and enjoy.

Rules are simple

  • the first to get all images wins.
  • no repeats from either party. (ie the first to spot the showgirl gets the photo)
  • The winner gets a gift. (we are having a $20 limit on the prize)

I’m printing these off, putting one behind the other and laminating it to make it easier, they don’t get all ripped or screwed up.

Scavenger hunt clues

Scavenger hunt clues

So who will come out the winner? follow the hashtag #AnAEndlessLV to see. When we return there will be a follow up post to show you the winner and the prize they got, if you are going somewhere different why not set yourself a photo scavenger hunt, even the husband is showing signs of enthusiasm now 😉

The day we met a Princess

The day we met a Princess

Ok we didn’t meet her but we stood and admired her, we walked and took in the wonder of the Pacific Princess from afar….well the closest we could get, my son making comments such as

‘She’s beautiful’
‘She has a great rear end’
‘Can we go on and get a balcony so we can wave to people’

I’m totally convinced he isn’t bothered as to which ship we get on but he has a list of places he wants to see and I’m even more sure that involves more than one cruise. Although he has mentioned the Emerald a few times and if you Watched ‘The Cruise’ Mummy would love to meet a few of the staff from it, they looked liked so much fun and having great staff always makes a holiday better, and I had an absolute nightmare for 5 weeks running trying to get him to go to bed whilst it was on.

About Princess Cruises

The Pacific Princess is one of the Fleets smallest vessels allowing for just 680 passengers on board. I am sure that size in numbers doesn’t take away from the standards that Princess Cruises and its customers expect at all times.

You can view which Ships and the destinations of Princess Cruises here and #ComebackNew

When you are cruising there is always so much going on choices for dining, entertainment and relaxation. Do not to forget the opportunities to visit new places with excursions. Top of our list is Belize. I would like to see what my husband saw whilst he served there and take him back to a place he enjoyed.

Mr Box was very happy to see her also but very sad when his master plan didn’t work 😉

Pacific princess

Finally Watch her leaving Malta (please watch to the end)

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Thank you for popping by.

Tomales Bay Oyster Farm, California images #7

Tomales Bay Oyster Farm

Tomales Bay Oyster Farm

After cycling all morning from Rohnert Park in the heat hitting the Pacific Highway 1 along the way, this is an unusual place to stop but beautiful also, we were shown how to Shuck our own oysters, watch the men bring them in from the beds and sort them out, we ate raw ones with a chilli hit and also barbecued them, a great lunchtime stop.

Coulteville, California Images #5

Coulteville

Coulterville, California

Coulteville, a small town just outside of Yosemite heading East to San Francisco, it has a great little cafe to allow you to cool down after a very hot morning. If your looking for typical old style communites this is one place to visit, look for another on the blog soon.