Tag Archives: restaurant

Warwick wedding cup



Warwick wedding cup, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

There is a fairy tale legend surrounding the Warwick wedding cup. A man wanted to marry a princess, but was told by her father that he could not unless he invented a drinking cup out if which two people could drink simultaneously without spilling a drop. He made it in the shape of this woman. And they got married and lived happily ever after.

Scenes from South Beach

Β© Copyright 2012 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

IMG_6708My friend Debbie, who is a travel agent, was invited to a “Let’s Do Lunch” event by Norwegian Cruise Line. Her original partner in crime for this excursion decided to leave town for Thanksgiving week (young love had something to do with it!), so Debbie asked – did I want to ride shotgun? You bet I did! The trip involved staying overnight in Miami and and being aboard the Norwegian EPIC in the morning for a tour of the ship and lunch in one of their dining rooms. Since I’d never been to Miami before, I decided to take advantage of the opportunity. Are you ready for some fun? Let’s go!

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Our first order of business after fighting our way through Friday evening Miami traffic over to Miami Beach was to find a place to eat. We knew NOTHING about the area, beyond where our hotel was, and that the famed South Beach neighborhood was out there, somewhere. So we asked Siri (who lives in my iPhone) to send us to South Beach, and she did. As we were driving around, we saw this funky little street, all lit up like Christmas, with lots of sidewalk seating and pedestrian traffic.

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After driving around a bit more, we decided to head back to the funky little street, find some parking, and see what we could find for dinner in that area. The name of the street was Espanola Way, and it was even more delightful on foot than it had been from the car.

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The name of the restaurant on the corner sparked a memory; I’d read about Havana 1957 before, and I was certain it had been a good review. We stopped to look at the menu, and ended up being seated at a table inside. It was pleasantly dark and cool inside, with lots of ambient Cuban music wafting from… somewhere. Back in time, perhaps? I kept expecting “Ricky Ricardo” to step out of the shadows, crooning a tune. πŸ˜‰

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We’d arrived during “happy hour” and soon had a pair of mojitos on the table, along with a bucket of plantain chips. The menu was reasonably priced and not too complicated to make a decision. The servers were attentive. Drinkable water arrived at our table unbidden, served from a frosty-cold retro green bottle. The chef actually stopped by our table at one point to see how we were getting on. The food arrived super quick!

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My dinner was the house special: “a family traditional roasted chicken in our delicious (it was!) Cuban gravy, served with white rice, black beans, salad, and sweet plantains”. I ended up wishing my stomach was double the size, just so I could keep on eating!

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Here’s Debbie’s dinner: “shrimp sauteed in garlic, olive oil, and white wine. Served with white rice and sweet plantains.” She was just as pleased with her meal as I was with my own.

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After dinner, we rolled ourselves away from the table and out the door to take a stroll up Espanola Way. There are lots and lots of cafes and restaurants, in addition to shops and art.

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One of the jewels of Espanola Way is the Clay Hotel, which has a unique story in the history of South Beach. I can totally picture coming back here at some point and spending time at this hotel. It’s only a few blocks to walk to the beach from here, and fabulous cuisine is just steps from the door.

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When we got to the end of Espanola Way, I looked back to take in the scene. Yes, I will definitely be coming back this way, some day πŸ™‚

NEXT TIME: the hotel we actually DID stay in!


 

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Orlando Do-Over: Day 2, an evening out in Dowtown Disney


IMG_1247This is the SIXTH in a series of β€œdo-over” posts that are being created to make up for the mobile blogging errors that occurred during my last trip to Orlando.

It is a well-established fact amongst those who know me that I have excellent parking mojo. At least, they’ve heard me declare it often enough to believe it might be true πŸ˜‰ Parking mojo tends to be somewhat less potent in the parks, as the parking attendant CMs are empowered with mojo over-ride. But outside of the parks, my parking mojo pretty much prevails. Therefore, it was no surprise to me that when Joy, Al, and I proceeded from Disney’s Animal Kingdom to Downtown Disney, we found a spot very close to Planet Hollywood without too much searching, and proceeded to Pleasure Island without further delay.

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Our chosen venue for the evening: Raglan Road, an Irish pub and restaurant located on Pleasure Island. The place boasts Irish cuisine, music, dancing and beer; indeed, there are four bars! I was soon to discover that the beer makes more than just the obvious appearance on the menu. It’s used to make a glaze for some of the dishes which is incredibly sweet and addictive.

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The toe-tapping entertainment began pretty much without delay. Irish step dancers graced the center platform as well as the small stage where a group of acoustic musicians knocked it out of the park with every number. One of the dancers even engaged a small child from the audience, coaching her on the sidelines ahead of time and then bringing her up to the stage to have a go at entertaining the crowd. Of course, the crowd ate it up along with their dinner πŸ™‚

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Here’s some of that Guinness glaze I was talking about – well, had I not just about licked the bones clean, you might be able to see it better! The three of us decided to split the Appetiser D’Lirrah for Two. Knowing that restaurants over-serve everything, we figured it would be more than adequate for the three of us and we weren’t wrong. In addition to the ribs, there were also sausages, scallops and “Drunk Chicken”, made with whiskey. I actually could have added a salad to all of that and called it a night, but there was more food coming!.

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Ah, dinner – and the only disappointment of the evening. I decided to try something new – colcannon. It’s basically mashed potatoes with cabbage in it, but what I didn’t expect was half an ocean’s worth of salt. I can’t believe how much salt they put in it. I think there were little bits of bacon as well, which only exacerbated the problem. The fish, however, was delightful – Atlantic salmon, baked with a maple glaze. Wonderful!

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Here’s the band at Raglan Road. I believe their name is “Creel”. After a short break, they were at it again, full tilt. Although the language frustrates me – could it be any further from English? – I love, love, love Irish music, and the way you can trace a lot of American folk music directly back to its Irish roots. We had a lively discussion at the table concerning the origins of the banjo; I believed I remembered that it was based upon an African instrument and crossed the pond in a sort of reverse commute from America back to Ireland, but Al thought it was the other way around. Fortunately, the world has smartphones with data plans, and I was able to fire up Wikipedia to bolster my cause. Follow this link if you want to know who won that debate πŸ˜‰

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We soon found ourselves waddling out of Raglan Road completely stuffed and following the sound of a classical guitar as though we were rats tuning in to the Pied Piper. We found this fellow, an “international artist of the gypsy guitar”, tossing his instrument in the air like it was a pizza and not missing a note in the process. We were enthralled, wandering away with stars in our eyes when he took a break. Food coma + music coma = bliss πŸ™‚

We tried to get tickets for Characters In Flight after this, but the line was impossibly long and not moving at all, so we decided to call it a night. I drove Joy and Al back to their hotel and bid them goodbye; they flew back to Long Island aka Da Loverly Isle of Long, the very next morning.

NEXT TIME: A blue sky Disney day at EPCOT



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Dinner at the California Grill

Β© Copyright 2011 | http://MyMobileAdventures.com | CLICK any photo for a larger view

We had something of a mobile blogging technology fail yesterday, which prevented me from sending photos live from my phone. However, I was able to continue taking photos with my regular old camera, so I’ll share those now in one splendid post.

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We did a bunch of rides and attractions at a leisurely pace after lunch, including Pirates of the Caribbean, Haunted Mansion (previously pictured), Mickey’s Philharmagic, Snow White, Winnie The Pooh and Peter Pan’s Flight. Here’s Peter, looking rather scary – I hate when they do that to his eyebrows. I much prefer him to look like a normal, friendly boy.

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The flag in Magic Kingdom’s town square was at half-mast yesterday. I am wondering if this was for Steve Jobs, as a nod to his contribution to Pixar? As we passed through, they were preparing to have the flag ceremony, so we stopped. The Main Street Philharmonic played “America The Beautiful” and “The Star Spangled Banner”. We heard the voices of two or three little kids reciting the Pledge of Allegiance, and then more voices singing “God Bless America” as the flag was run the rest of the way up the pole and then run down again.

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After the flag ceremony was over, we left the park and walked down the “Mickey brick” path to the Contemporary Resort. As we passed by the monorail entrance on the park side, one monorail was leaving as another was entering, and it looked like they were racing. NOTE: I believe the blue one just left and is going to the park, while the red one is just pulling in for a stop inside the Contemporary, before proceeding to the Ticket and Transportation Center.

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We were taken up to the California Grill on the 14th floor pretty much right away. We sat at the bar for a while visiting with our favorite bartender, Ray from New Jersey. A drink he invented that we’ve been enjoying for years is now on the official menu – it’s called “the Ray-Ray” and I highly recommend it! So the adults had Ray-Rays and talked with him about salt water fishing and conservation and such matters, and the girls had virgin pina coladas. Very soon, our buzzer went off and we were called to our table.

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I thought this was funny – along with the bread, our server Gary (from Hawaii!) gave us a little dish of Goldfish crackers, “the snack that smiles back”. I love Goldfish but lately I have been avoiding such things with a vengeance. Still, a few couldn’t hurt, right? I snuck some, and I am hoping that if no one sees, that means there are no calories πŸ˜‰

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I decided to choose the vegetarian options for dinner, selecting the apple salad and the hand-made pasta with mushrooms. Both options were fabulous. The kids ordered the bison and they let me taste it. I was surprised that it was not gamey, and pretty much tasted like cow beef only without the fat.

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As dinner progressed, the Florida sky decided to rock a brilliant sunset. A half hour before this, I was wishing I hadn’t taken this particular seat because I needed sunglasses. Now, I was in heaven.

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Nieceling is celebrating her 15th birthday. Where has the time gone? While the kids were in the ladies room, changing into their Halloween costumes, our waiter brought out some birthday cake. I had a bite of this too – the fudgey layers are divine. Order the chocolate cake if you can’t decide what you want for dessert – you can’t go wrong with it!

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Now it’s time to say goodbye… while the rest of the family went off to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party, I took the monorail back to the TTC and came back to the hotel, where I fixed my phone issues (I hope!) and turned in early to prepare for logging some work time this morning. I’m checking out later on after I get my shower.

But I’ll be back for a few days in December.

See ya real soon!

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A Groupon for The Sanibel Cafe! #swfl

Follow the link below for a really good deal on a meal at the Sanibel Cafe.Β  Aside from the fact that the Cafe is operated by some dear friends of mine, you can also find good food and friendly service at a decent price all year round.Β  And I love the shell tables!Β  This is more than 50% off so don’t miss it – the offer expires sometime early on Saturday 06-18-2011

$7 for $15 Worth of Breakfast or Lunch CafΓ© Fare at Sanibel CafΓ© in Sanibel

Some photos I’ve taken of the Sanibel Cafe – enjoy πŸ™‚

Shell table – with a junonia in it!
Coffee at the Sanibel Cafe

Shrimp quiche:
Sanibel Cafe's shrimp quiche

Pina colada french toast – SO wicked-good!
Pina Colada French toast at the Sanibel Cafe - WOW

The always-attractive Sanibel Cafe Official Coffee Mug:
Brunch on Sanibel Island

$7 for $15 Worth of Breakfast or Lunch CafΓ© Fare at Sanibel CafΓ© in Sanibel

Review: by-the-slice pizza at EPCOT’s Via Napoli

Don’t do it. If I had any free hands, this would have gotten a big thumbs DOWN. However, it is raining on and off and no one has been by to squeegee the outdoor tables. Not wishing to put my plate down in a puddle, I took cover in that alcove near the stairs with the lady’s head on the bannister.

The "crust" – and I use that term loosely, since there isn’t anything remotely "crusty" about it – is bready, which is typical of Sicilian-style pizza. Neapolitan-style pizza does not seem to be available at the window. Since there’s nothing crispy going on anywhere on this thing, the "crust" is a FAIL. If you were expecting more than half a teaspoon of tomato sauce (I was), then you will be disappointed. The cheese at least is pretty fresh.

They are clearly making the take out window pizza on the cheap – VERY cheap. I won’t be doing this again unless someone – ok MANY someones tell me that it has improved.

FAIL

Via Napoli gets three thumbs up



Via Napoli gets three thumbs up, originally uploaded by Erin *~*~*.

We loved our meal. The crust of the pizza was limp except for the "handle" but the flavor was outstanding. We had the family salad first and then a large pizza – half was cheese and the other half a hodge-podge of eggplant, mushroom, artichoke and ham. With a pitcher of sangria, we are VERY happy for $21 each.

Dining room at Tommy Bahama, International Drive

The lighting is intimate, the ceiling high and stepped, and the doorways are wide and arched. Dark wood, tropical yet understated wallpaper and throw pillows on the benches in the booths finish things off nicely.

Sent from my Nokia N97

Mythos at Islands of Adventure

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

102920101779-Universal-IOA-Mythos-waterfall
The “Lost Continent” section of Universal’s Islands of Adventure theme park has taken a hit to make way for the new “Wizarding World of Harry Potter” section. Casualties include:

  • The Flying Unicorn, a kiddie roller coaster, which has now been re-themed as Flight of the Hippogriff
  • The Enchanted Oak, a counter service restaurant that had the best ribs I’ve ever tasted on this entire planet, seems to have morphed into The Three Broomsticks – still counter service but with a decidedly English countryside twist to the menu
  • “Fire and Ice”, the feet-dangling-Erin-terrorizing double roller coaster, as been re-themed to reflect the Dragon Challenge in the Triwizard Tournament, an event around which Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire was centered.

Still standing is the “Poseidon” themed section of the Lost Continent, including the award-winning Mythos restaurant. Inexplicably, I have always managed to miss dining at Mythos; one thing or another has prevented me from joining any of my friends and family there, thus far. So, if there is such a thing as a theme park “bucket list”, this would be on mine – lunch at Mythos. I have the feeling I’d better get to it sooner rather than later, before what remains of the Lost Continent becomes truly lost!



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The Sea Star Cafe at the Sanibel Inn

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com

IMG_4005-Sanibel-Sea-Star-CafeπŸ™‚ I went to dinner with some friends on Saturday night – they gave me the choice of venue, so I selected the newly-opened Sea Star Cafe on Sanibel Island. It’s located where Ellington’s used to be, at the Sanibel Inn. When we first arrived, it was after 6:00 PM and there weren’t any other cars in the parking lot. We thought perhaps it was an indicator that the restaurant was not being kindly received, but later on, our waitress reminded us that it’s off season and what few tourists do make it to the island in the summer want to be on the beach as long as there’s daylight. Sunset doesn’t really occur until after 8:00 PM – and the sunsets are amazing down here in the summer time, so I don’t blame those tourists one bit for delaying the dinner hour! There’s a sample menu posted here, but it doesn’t show the wine list or mixed drinks. If memory serves, I ordered a Sanibel Iced Tea, pictured at left, but I don’t remember what was in it – clearly, something that makes it look like a sunset! It was cold and fruity and delicious.

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ATMOSPHERE
I like the ambiance of the restaurant – exposed beams in a rotunda, lots of clean wood surfaces and just an airy feel to the place. The booths are very roomy too, but ours looked out over the garbage dumpster in the parking lot. Get one toward the back of the restaurant along the road if you want a better view.

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APPETIZER
I started my meal with the house salad and citrus vinaigrette on the side. The salad was fresh, the dressing was a little on the peppery side but overall good, and the bowl was a fail. You cannot tell from the photo, but the square salad bowl is sort of a wedge shape, with the bottom of the bowl being MUCH narrower than the opening at the top. Consequently, when you stab into your salad with your fork, lettuce and stuff erupts onto the table. Maybe if they filled the bowl a little less…??? Honestly, if I were the manager of the restaurant, I’d just ditch these bowls and get something a bit less adventurous.

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ENTREES aka THE GREAT LOBSTER TAIL FAIL
Gary and I both ordered the grilled lobster tail. You will notice it was sliced in half lengthwise. This probably worked well in getting a lot of contact with the grill, but it was a fail logistically in terms of trying to pry the meat out of the shell. At some point, you have to pick the meat out with your fingers or just miss out on half your lobster tail. And honestly, if I’d wanted to pick at something with my fingers, I would have ordered an entire lobster or a crab or something. The whole point of ordering just the tail is that you can eat it with your fork and keep your hands clean. We didn’t have extra napkins or wet naps on the table, so things got messy fast. I also have to mention that the lobster tasted like steak. Oh I liked it, but it suggests that fish and meat are cooked on the same grill here. If you are allergic to seafood, then you should probably specifically mention that to the staff here so they will cook your steak separately.

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Tootie ordered the shrimp basket and was overall pleased, I believe. I haven’t been over to her blog yet to see! I sampled one of her shrimp – it was a huge portion and they were pretty big shrimp, too. I love how the tail comes RIGHT off when you pull – A+ for that! Tootie said her fries were really good, too.

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DESSERT and SERVICE
No, there’s nothing floating in my coffee – it’s the reflection from the overhead light fixture. But it does look like I’ve got “clouds in my coffee, clouds in my coffee”, doesn’t it? πŸ˜‰ We did receive a fair amount of attention from the staff – probably there were two reasons for this. One, there weren’t a lot of people there so their attention was not divided much. Two, when patrons whip out cameras and start taking pictures of the food, chances are pretty good a review is on the horizon πŸ˜‰ Well, maybe they didn’t notice the photo-taking, not sure. We did let the manager know about the lobster tail fail and made him pinky-swear that he would never let the chef do that again! For our trouble, we received these humongous double portions of dessert! I had to ask for a box to take half of it home (which I demolished last night after dinner – the cheesecake is totally wicked good!).

OVERALL IMPRESSION
I really did like the atmosphere and the friendliness of the staff at the Sea Star Cafe. I would like to come back at some point in the future and see how they are maturing. Also noted – there’s a bar, and the place is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, which means this is a potential new stop on the Sunday Sanibel Bar Crawl. Well, we’ll see if we can get Gary to go back… πŸ˜‰

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An island tavern in a cavern

Β© Copyright 2008 Tink *~*~*
http://MyMobileAdventures.com
Click the photos to see if a larger version is available in Flickr

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McT’s Shrimp House and Tavern is a stop on the Sunday Sanibel Bar Crawl, especially when it’s very hot outside. The SSBC started in the mild weather as a pool bar crawl, but as the weather turned that year, it was obvious that we needed to seek asylum in places that were both shady and air conditioned. McT’s has traditionally been a final stop, but now that they are open for lunch, we’ve actually started there a few times.

06132010988-Sanibel-McTs-crabI enjoy the ambiance at McT’s. It starts with the outside decor – they’ve got a beached dingy with tall sea grasses growing out of holes it its bottom, a dolphin sculpture and a tropically-decorated Adirondack chair at the front door. Inside, it’s kind of like walking into an undersea cavern – cool and shady, the whimsical mood is set by fantasy-tinged paintings on the walls and the twinkling “stars” strung over the bar. There’s a big blue crab over the bar, too. I like the way the artist just painted the crab’s feet right on top of the air conditioning duct.

06132010987There are other things painted on the walls and ceiling, including a couple of mermaids. One of the mermaids is framed on the wall beside the door to the Tavern. I’m a sucker for blue and yellow together, so this is my favorite scene in the whole bar. In this photo, you can see a bit of glare on the lower left of the frame – that’s coming from the glass in the door. As I was taking this photo, one of the wait staff passed by and remarked that she believed the owner’s wife is the artist who creates these paintings, and that she’d just been in recently to freshen them up a bit.

06132010985-Sanibel-McTs-shrimpSo, how’s the food? you ask. McT’s serves home-made potato chips that would be pretty hard to beat. They are pretty much inhaled as soon as the basket hits the table. Here’s my McT’s lunch of choice – fresh Gulf shrimp, just grilled plain, on a bed of romaine with Caesar dressing on the side. There are all kinds of ways to prepare shrimp, but I like it just grilled because you can really taste how fresh it is that way. To wet the whistle – after all, this is supposed to be a bar crawl – we have a Yellowbird, the official fru-fru drink of the Sunday Sanibel Bar Crawlers and Militant Shellers Association (TM). This is a wonderful libation made from amaretto, rum and pineapple juice, usually garnished with a cherry and an orange slice. The orange slice is typically the first thing ingested.

Overall, I’d say we all enjoy our stops at McT’s, and I’m looking forward to more in the future. Now, if only they had a pool… πŸ˜‰

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My California Grill chocolate lava cake experience

Β© Copyright 2010 Tink *~*~*

http://MyMobileAdventures.com
Lava Cake from Flickr By BenSeeseIf you’re at all talented in the kitchen, then you MUST try to replicate this dessert recipe.

The first time I ever dined at the California Grill at Walt Disney World I was attending a conference at Disney’s Coronado Springs with some colleagues from work. I was desperate to have dinner in this restaurant while the lights were dimmed, the music swelled and the Fantasy in the Sky fireworks soared outside. I was ecstatic when I managed to snag a reservation at the last minute.

The California Gill is located at Disney’s Contemporary Resort, so after the conference sessions were over for the day, we drove over to check the place out at our leisure. Finally it was time for dinner! I don’t remember what my entree was, but you know it was good because, hey, this is the Cali Grill we’re talking about. I do know that I ordered this chocolate lava cake dessert – and it arrived swimming in a sea of warm peanut butter sauce.Β  I cut into it and it OOZED chocolate sauce – flowed just like lava, hence the name. Sopped up some of the peanut butter sauce and popped a piece in my mouth. Oh.Β  My.Β  GAWD!

Lava Cake From Shula

It’s good, but where’s the pool
of warm peanut butter sauce?

I made a few subsequent visits to the California Grill and always ordered the chocolate lava cake for dessert… until one night the server regretted to tell me that the California Grill had rotated it out of their menu in favor of some fresh, new dessert offerings. I was crushed and devastated. I’ve ocassionally tried ordering chocolate lava cake at other restaurants, but no one makes it the way the California Grill did, and no one thinks to set it into a warm, shallow pool of peanut butter sauce.

This is why I’m so thrilled to see it on the menu again for the Cali Grill’s anniversary! And now we have the recipe too – well, except for the peanut butter sauce. I’m going to have to extort that out of someone at the restaurant πŸ˜‰

If you like to bake, then why not give it a whirl and let me know how it went! According to the receipe, you’ll need some 3.5″ ramekins. You can even come to my house to make it πŸ˜‰ – I have an oven, and I’ll clean up!

Chocolate Lava Cake from the California Grill | TheDailyDisney.com from OrlandoSentinel.com.

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