Trying Peruvian Food for the First Time

Trying Peruvian Food for the First Time

 

My friend Brandy and I love to try new foods on our lunch dates.  We decided yesterday to hit up the new Peruvian shop downtown called El Cholito.  It was interesting.

For starters, the place wasn’t very busy…but it’s pretty new.  So word hasn’t spread yet, I guess.  We sat down and sadly they were out of a few items…but what we tried was tasty.

 

I sort of laughed at some of the items that are Peruvian cuisine – dishes including hot dogs and french fries as ingredients (like marinate meat and veggies cooked with fries)…and burgers topped with interesting ingredients like sweet potatoes.

Brandy got the Tallarines Verdes which was a steak and pesto pasta.  The pesto was different from Italian pesto.  And it came with some potatoes topped with chimichurri.  So good. (I’m lucky that Brandy lets me sample everything!)

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I got Peruvian fried rice that was called Arroz Chaufa. It had chicken, veggies, rice, and pieces of hot dog. The flavor was interesting – very herby and smoky and peppery.  Really good.

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So if you live in Fort Smith, go to 6th and Garrison and check it out.  It was tasty…and more people need to try it out!

 

Have you ever eaten Peruvian food?  Did you like it?


Bring on the Fall Scents!

Bring on the Fall Scents!

I know it is still technically “Summer.”  It will be until the first day of Fall on September 23 (I had to look it up…oh that’s closer than I thought!). However, I’m trying to rush Fall along.  I want a chill in the morning air, football games where I don’t sweat in the stands, and pumpkins. Oh how I want pumpkins.  And mums.

One way to usher in Fall was to get some fall scents for our home.  I was around town shopping at several stores and sniffing candles. Does anyone else feel ridiciulous taking HUGE inhales of candles in a store?  There should be a “try it on at home” service for candles so you can sniff away in the privacy of your own home.  Anyway…all of the candles I smelled were sort of gross.  I didn’t want those smells in my house.

So I went downtown to a place I knew took great care to put out quality inventory. I knew they would have yummy Fall candles.  I went to Creative Kitchen.  I love shopping there – great food, dip and soup mixes, fun housewares, and kitchen gadgets.  And sure enough, they had Fall candles galore.  It was so great, when I walked in and told the store lady I was looking for Fall candles, it seemed like the only thing that mattered in her universe at that time was finding me the ideal candle. Such great service.

Well, I bought a pumpkin vanilla candle (that smells amazing!), and she insisted that I take one of these wax melts to try and review.

So, I was given this wax melt…but all opinions expressed are totally my own.

Fall scented wax cubes from Creative Kitchen

This is a Swan Creek Candle Co. break apart wax “Drizzle Melt” in Roasted Espresso.

For starters, when I got it on my lunch break one day, I brought it back into the office (because I didn’t want it to melt in my car)…and you could smell it then!  Some of the guys in the office thought I had been to Starbucks because it was strong and smelled so authentic!

So I got home and compared it in size to my other brand wax melts…and it’s HUGE!

Bigger and stronger than the "other guys" at the same price! Find out about these drizzle melts - the best fall scented wax cubes I've found!

 

And as I broke apart one cube and put it in my warmer, it smelled AMAZING.  It’s strong, but not overpowering.  It does smell like coffee, but also has some vanilla, caramel, and sweetness to it.  Very welcoming.  I think because of the quality of the scents and the wax, it will last for a while before I need to switch out another cube.

These fall scented wax cubes were strong and only took one cube to fill my whole house!

I have really enjoyed having this scent in my home.  It’s a great Fall and Winter smell without being too predictable.  Just smells like you made yourself a yummy coffee drink, without the added caffeine! ha!

If you live in Fort Smith, head down to Creative Kitchen and get yourself one of these!  They are only $6, which is the same cost as the smaller, less effective “other guys.”  If you don’t live local, visit their website. I’m sure you could call and order one of these yourself.  And if you wanted another “flavor” the shop ladies would be happy to help pick one out for you, even over the phone.  They are just so helpful there.

I’m so glad my home smells like Fall now!  Now if only the mums would bloom…

 

What is your favorite Fall scent?

 


Weekend in New Orleans: Part 2

We were up not-so-early on Saturday.  But that was fine by me.  See….I usually suffer from FOMO.  What is FOMO?  Fear of Missing Out.  I wake up early on vacation with the urge to get up because there is something to do! There is something to see.  Something we are missing because we are here.  I rush through meals trying to get to the next thing.  But me and God have been having talks about my FOMO….and it was gone.  I had decided that wherever we were was the best place on the planet.  If that was in the hotel room eating pizza….so be it.  If that was sleeping in…great.
So we got up and had our “breakfast” by eating lunch at Mulate’s. 
 Mulate’s is one of my favorite spots in New Orleans.  I first went there when I was in 10th grade on a school trip.  It was sooo good then.  For dinner, it is usually packed, but you can get the same menu and not have to wait for lunch (but really, the dinner atmosphere is fun with the band…but we just wanted the food).
I had the Catfish Cecelia (which was stuffed with crab stuffing and blackened) and Tyler had the Catfish Mulate’s (blackened and topped with crawfish etoufee) and we both had sides of jambalaya. 
Y’all.  This meal was out of this world.  Everything was delish.  The veggies had a cajun seasoning on them, the twice baked potato was awesome…and the fish was to die for.  YUM!
We walked around NoLa after lunch.  We walked through the Riverwalk (which they are turning into an outlet mall…so lots of stores were closed), and then we went to the Aquarium of the Americas. 
SO much fun!

They had great exhibits!  An awesome stingray tank…
Seahorses (my favorites!)
And penguins!  We watched the penguin feeding which was so neat.
We had some beignets from Cafe Du Monde for a snack.  YUM!  Tyler wasn’t thrilled that I was taking his picture, but he loved the beignets.  He didn’t love the Cafe Au Lait (but I do!). 
For dinner that evening, we ate at Deanie’s.  The original location is in Metairie, but they put one down in the French Quarter.  It was AWESOME.  We started with broiled crawfish tails and honestly I filled up on those.
When they brought out our food, I only had like 10 bites before I was totally stuffed.  But it was AMAZING.  We took it to go (and had it for breakfast the next day!).
I had their crawfish sampler (fried tails, etoufee, crawfish dressing balls, and crawfish au gratin).  Everything was so good.  I’m dreaming of the au gratin still.
Tyler had the seafood platter (half size…I would hate to see the full!) and it had fried shrimp, catfish, oysters, crawfish dressing balls, and a softshell crab.  
He wasn’t a fan of the softshell crab…but everything else was great.

We went to Bourbon Street after dinner.  We aren’t big party people…but you have to go.  It was NUTS!  Lots of bars, half naked women hanging out in strip club doorways, live music, and more.  We walked down a few blocks, took a shot (we HAD to….it was Bourbon Street!), and then we left.  It just wasn’t much of our scene. (we had to take our picture in a parking garage because everything on Bourbon Street was too inappropriate. ha!)
On the way out, we did come across the start of carnival parade!  A Marine band and some ceremonial fun.  They threw beads and coins from the balcony and it was neat.
We came back to the hotel and crashed.  Fun day.

Weekend in New Orleans: Part 1

Our trip started late Thursday evening.  After I taught Zumba, I hopped in the gym showers, put on some pjs, and we hit the road. We drove about 6 hours (stopping only for Taco Bell and one gas stop!) getting to Vicksburg, MS about 2 a.m.  We stayed at a crummy hotel there, but we were only there for like 6 hours, so it wasn’t too bad (except they messed up my reservation and gave us a smoking room.  I felt like I spent the night in an ashtray…but for $50 a night I couldn’t complain too much). 
We hit the road the next morning and stopped at Cracker Barrel for breakfast.

I got a Diet Orange Cream soda for the road- my favorite!

We got to New Orleans around 1 and drove straight to the French Quarter.  We had lunch at Johnny’s Po Boys (recommended to us by some friends).  We had a GREAT meal!
I had a classic muffeletta (ham, salami, olive spread) 
and Tyler had a seafood muffeletta- which was basically a GIANT po-boy.  Po Boys are sandwiches, usually stuffed with fried seafood.  Well, his seafood muffeletta was just double the size of a po boy!  Stuffed with fried oysters, shrimp, and fish…it was SO good!
 We also got a dessert there in their ice cream shop up stairs.  I don’t remember what it was called…but it was heavenly.  Caramel, white chocolate, gooeyness.

We walked around a bit seeing Jackson Square and the French Quarter.  
In Jackson Square…

On the Riverfront

And in Jackson Square again enjoying the art.

We were pretty tired from driving all night (and getting crummy sleep in the ashtray hotel) and walking around so we came back to the room and rested.  We were going to go out for dinner, but OU was playing in the Cotton Bowl…and Tyler is a big OU fan.  So we decided to just order pizza and watch the game.  It was nice to rest a bit.

We had a great first afternoon in NoLa! And we got some rest so we could party all day long on Saturday! Part 2 coming tomorrow!