What is the Wandering Sister Rating?

1 Wandering Sister = Enter at your own risk, you've been warned.
2 Wandering Sisters = How hungry are you? This place has it's down side.
3 Wandering Sisters = Pretty good place to go, but not for everyone.
4 Wandering Sisters =  Good food. Good service. You won't go wrong.
5 Wandering Sisters = Considering there's only 4 of us... This rating will speak for itself!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Put Mustard on it and Eat It"

We have a saying at our house. "Put mustard on it and eat it." It's a saying that means, you can do anything, you just have to find a way to make yourself happy with it. Like when you were a kid and you didn't want to eat the weird looking vegis on your plate. I know the Wino would "Put cheese on it, and eat it". But it just doesn't have the same ring to it.
I personally like the mustard quote because, well, just like balsamic, everything is better with mustard. The Wino does not agree with me... But I know there are other mustard fans out there.
Since we recently made the long trek back to Phoenix, we had to empty out the refridgerator in Mass. Many mustards were sacrifice in the relocation.
At this moment, I have recovered 7 varieties, but the one I purchased from Trader Joe's today is worth mentioning. It is their brand, Aoili Garlic Mustard Sauce. It resembles the spicy mustard that you would find at an Oriental restaurant, but without the kick. The garlic flavor is present, but subtle, so you won't have to worry about offending people.
I was starving by the time I hit the Trader Joes, so when I reached the house, I immediately opened the jar of mustard to taste it with the Edamame chips I was munching on. I had a hard time putting it away. The mustard does indeed make a fantastic sauce or dip. Not to mention there are only 40 calories per serving. HA... sorry, that's MY serving. A normal serving is 10 little tiny calories. So, if you had self control, you'd be good.

I have some pork chops in the refridgerator that have implied their desire to be wrapped in my delightful mustard. hmmmm.... what's for dinner?

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Ready, Set, DIET!

I finally got on the scale this morning and discovered that I was one pound past my comfort zone.
Imagine my shock! After all, I didn't eat the skin of those hot wings last night. It had to have been the pineapple on the pizza, it was just over kill. So, I was forced to make an exception to my regular Monday, Wednesday and Friday workout schedule and I headed to the gym on a Thursday to work off all that pineapple fat.
This extra pound of lovin' will never due and I am not one to typically have the patience to wait for a few extra minutes at the gym to help me get back to shape. So, I have informed my husband that it is officially time for the diet to begin. He smiled in sarcasm as we said in unison, "It's time for the Rabbit Food." This is my husbands affectionate term for the delicious, but healthy meals that I make when 'we' diet.
I have a balanced diet. I eat whatever I want, in moderation, and when the scale leans toward the dark side... it's time for the 'rabbit food' until I am back in the safe zone.
I've dealt with the fact that my weight will fluctuate. I realize that no matter what I do, once a month, I am a bloated lard ass, no matter what I do or eat, so why not enjoy food and life... taking weight issues as they arise. Well, the scale has 'a-rised' so it's time.

I don't see these times as the torture that some of 'us' see it. Quite the contrary. This means a challenge. I learn how to make all my favorite things, keeping the calorie count as low as possible.
Ready, set, Diet.....

Saturday, August 22, 2009

What's for lunch?

Today I went to the store to collect the short ribs for my dinner tonight. As I chatted on the phone with my sister, she mentioned "Tostadas". Mmmmm. My mouth started watering and the brain wheels started turning.
So, I cruised around the store collecting the ingredients for my tostada lunch.

Finally, an excuse to use the griddle on my panini press!
I spritzed a roasted garlic, olive oil on the hot griddle and put the white corn tortillas, smothered in refried beans and cheese on to start cooking.

While that heated, I chopped green onions, cilantro and tomatoes.
When the everything was done, I place all the vegis on top, put a dollop of daisy and some tomatillos sauce over the top and sprinkled it with a little lime.
SUCH a yummy lunch. I hope I inspire someone else. I'm passing the inspiration. Go!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Macaroni, Slightly Paula Deen Style

Do you remember a certain Savannah, Georgia trip? Well, if you missed out, it was a very LONG day that was supposed end in dinner at the Lady and Son's restaurant, but instead, ended in dinner with "Wanda" at the Cracker Barrel. A mistake that will never be forgotten.
With that in mind, I was watching the food network yesterday, trying to maintain my dignity as drool ran down my chin, when Mrs. Paula Deen made a macaroni and cheese in a crock pot.
In a crock pot?
Well, I had to see what that was about.
Of course, I never copy or repeat a recipe exactly, so my macaroni has been slightly modified from the original, to save calories. (She says with a giggle, laughing at the idea of a low calorie macaroni. Hahaha)

The first step was to heat the 2 1/2 cups of cheddar cheese (I used a vermont white chedder... my preference), with half a stick of butter. Well, I cut that down to a quarter stick and BAM, it's practically diet food!
You then transfer this mixture into the crock pot. Mixing in a 1/2 a cup of sour cream ( I used lite, since this is a low cal meal), 1 cup of milk (which I split, whipping cream and milk. I felt bad about all those calories I was taking out), then 1/2 tsp ground mustard, 1/2 tsp salt and 1/2 tsp of pepper. Mix these ingredients together and add 1 bag of cooked elbow noodles.

When I tasted this, to ensure quality of course, the macaroni was sensational! Honestly the best I have ever had! However, whoever told Paula that mac and cheese could go into the crock pot should be fired from her staff immediately.

The first part of the process should begin 5 minutes prior to serving this delicious, creamy mac and cheese, and should NOT be cooked for any extended period. The flavor remains, but the creamy texture goes away. Which is what I suspected as I added the sour cream, but I did it anyways, trusting in Paula's decision.

If you're craving macaroni, I highly recommend Mrs. Paula Deens' recipe, but skip the extended cook time... sour cream and cheese don't deserve that kind of treatment. ;)

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

What Happened to the Diva Mom?

Wow... so much for the previously mentioned goal of putting my nifty little tools to the test.
I have discovered, in the midst of dealing with 3 children and a husband... the crock pot is my favorite tool.
Don't get me wrong the bullet gets used. I blend and chop, dice and grind many things with it, but not enough to blog about it.
The panini press gets used, but mostly for grilling asparagus and peppers and such. Oh yes, it's very handy for that. Nothing like a fresh $0.12 anaheim chili thrown into a meal after being grilled real quick on the press. Much better than canned.
Ok, there might have been a few things to blog about.

Here's the truth. As some of you know... (I say 'some', assuming there is more than 1, being The Wino, reading this thing) I moved from Massachusetts a few months ago. I now live in Hell. Wait, there's another word for it... Oh yes, Arizona! Indian for "Hell".
I'm not a fan.
Hey, being a fan would be handy in this heat.

ANYWAYS.... I have been in low spirits these last 2 months. Blogging has not been the priority of my day. The small people keep me preoccupied and the rest of the time is spent doing 'busy work'... or plugging my ears, closing my eyes and saying "Na Na Na Na Na Na!"

My point.... Yes, I had one... Finally, I found something to pull me out of my funk. (Well, we'll all cross our fingers anyways.)
I discovered MonaVie. You may or may not have heard about it. It is an Acai Berry juice that you drink every day to improve your health.
Well, living in Hell has cause a level of stress that is wreaking havoc on me. So, I needed this stuff! The best part about it is, I can actually make money as well. Anyone that knows me knows that if I like something, I tell everyone I know about it. So, might as well earn some money and make us all healthy and happy to be living in this God foresaken place. (Yes, occasionally, the MonaVie may have to have Vodka in it for that to work.)
So, we're taking a little detour. I'm hoping that a few weeks from now, you're going to hear me raving about Hell and how much I love it here. Ok, Acai berry probably isn't THAT magical. BUT, Oprah swears by it, so... lets just see, shall we.
In the mean time, if you would like to try some for yourself, you can get some on my website.
I would LOVE to do this WITH someone. Please post your comments with me.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Chicken Tomatillo Enchilladas

Now, I know that my goal was quick, easy and healthy... but considering it was early in the day, quick and easy wasn't my most important goal... but Healthy, I got!
I've been dying to make fresh corn tortillas. So, I decided to use the skillet plates of my panini press and make some beautiful and healthy tortillas.
After throwing away a few bowls of crumbly dough, that I over watered to the point of mush... I decided to read the directions on the back of the bag, which I hadn't realized were there until I started cursing directly
to the bag.

After a few attempts at flattening the little dough balls, I discovered that a rolling pin and wax paper was the best method. The looks of my sad little tortilla blobs make it obvious that a tortilla press will be my next kitchen toy.

After my tortilla mess was cleaned up. (NOT being the quick and easy part of this meal) I proceeded to grill some vegis that I pulled from my refrigerator.
Like most of my meals, I did not start off knowing what I was creating. I knew that it would somehow involve my homemade tortillas, along with the tomatillos, green chillies and chicken.
So, I grilled the chillies, a yellow pepper and my tomatillos, threw them into my bullet and turned it into a sauce. I then blended cilantro, half a jalapeno (cause there are children eating it) and some green onions and threw that mixture into my crock pot with the rest. At this point it smells FANTASTIC! (I cook with my nose, so we'll find out how it tastes later.)

At this point, I just want to use my cute little individual baking dishes, so ENCHILADAS it is!
After about 6 hours of marinating in a crock pot, the chicken and tomatillo mix was ready.
I layered the homemade tortilla blobs, chicken mix and cheese, baked and created the PERFECT Enchilada.
I garnished my perfect enchilada with some light sour cream and some salsa verde.
I highly recommend you try this. And, let me know how it works for you... maybe you'll have better luck with your tortilla blobs. However, beauty aside, the flavors were EXCELLENT!

Home Cooking Made Easy?

I'm feeling inspired. Well, technically, I'm feeling over stressed and over fed. So, inspiration was kind of forced upon me. I had a 'chat' with my scale, and dirty words were shared... I need to get on track!
I have purchased a few handy new tools that claim to make fantastic healthy meals, quick and easy.
So, I am going to put these tools to the test. Are they really as fabulous as they claim?

My Panini Press has a removable griddle and grill plates, so I should be able to do a lot with that.

After watching an infomercial for the Magic Bullet,
not only did I feel that we NEEDED one, but my husband was fairly excited about all the tasty meals they created on the tv and agreed we needed one as well.

School starts on Monday, so on top of all the millions of things I have to squeeze into a day, now I have to get up early and train myself to go to bed early.
As you know I'm used to eating out, so getting back into the kitchen shouldn't be painful. I am looking for healthy, easy meals that take no time to clean up.
Stop snickering... I have my new toys that claim they can do it... So lets see...

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Chevy's Fresh Mex

Last night I was craving something spicy and flavorful. Chevy's was an obvious choice! We have missed their fresh ingredients and roasted salsa, and we were all excited to be going there after our year in Massachusetts.
The atmosphere in Chevy's is very festive and casual. Patio lights criss cross through the restaurant and the whole place has a very festive and authentic vibe.
The tortillas are made fresh daily, with the flour tortillas being made right in the dining room.

I love the fresh and flavorful options they have on their menu. Anything involving asparagus or artichokes promises to be good, and they have several vegetarian options that involve these delightful vegetables. (Not that I'm a vegitarian, but some vegis are worth it.)

My mouth watered as I browsed through all the delightfully tasty options, and snacked on the fresh roasted vegetable salsa. Finally, my eyes came across that magic word... "Artichoke" I was very pleased to see that it was also used in the same description as the words "Mushrooms, sun dried tomatoes, jack cheese, roasted pablano peppers and spicy habenero pesto sauce"
Chevy's KNOWS how to combine ingredients!

The combination of these ingredients was MAGIC! An indescribable combination of flavors that no one should miss!

I drooled over the desert menu that sat displayed on our table, but since I had forced all those light and crispy chips down before my meal, I felt certain I could pass on desert. My guests did not fill up on chips, clearly, so the Flan was ordered.
Now, I will be honest, I have never had flan. It always appealed to me, but I felt certain I didn't "need" it. After having this Flan, however, I am addicted!
I apologize for not having a better picture, I didn't expect that much flavor in such a simple little desert. As I proceeded to overfill my poor stomach, I decided that everyone should taste the Flan at Chevy's. Order your doggy bag with your meal and save half for later. Save room for desert!

How the Best got even Better!

Well, if you've been following the sisters, you may have noticed a slight decrease in our activity. Not to make excuses, but have you been in Phoenix during the summer? The human brain has a melting point, and it's been touch and go for a while.
As some of you may know, I recently moved back to the Phoenix area from beautiful Massachusetts and have been searching for a home. My quest for a peice of MA in this lovely town has been exhausting. Apparently nobody has thought to build that yet. What's up with that?
I have had very little time to blog lately, but that is about to change. The house search is taking a break, time to focus on the food! :)

Everyone knows that a few of the wandering sisters are regulars at the Pita Jungle. For non Mexican food, that's as good as it gets!
Pita Jungle has been mentioned on the wandering sisters site before and for good reason! It's worth mentioning every time one of us goes there, but we try to keep limits, so that we don't bore you.
However, during my last visit, I recieved a surprise that may have increased my families visits, and I think it should increase yours as well.
For the first time, Pita Jungle now offers a kids menu!
I know... you may be thinking... "yeah, so?" But wait... these are not just your typical kids meals. You will not find a simple assortment of fried options on this menu. Your child, for $4.95, recieves a protein, a vegitable, fruit, a grain and a beverage. Yeah... I don't think my kids eat this healthy at my house!
Now, if you're not eating from the kids menu, I would also like to stress that Pita Jungles Garlic dip makes all your house hunting worries go away... or whatever worries you may have. If you order it with the chicken, it's practically a meal by itself. A heavenly delicious meal... makes my mouth water just thinking about it.

Of course you know, my meal doesn't just stop there, I can not justify going to Pita Jungle without having a little of their greek salad. It's like an addiction... only it's healthy.

Now, if you haven't gone to Pita Jungle yet... for SHAME! Run to your nearest location immediately! You won't go wrong with any item on the menu, and now your kids can eat healthy as well, for a good price.

Sunday, June 14, 2009

Skipping Ahead, to PF Changs we go!

Enough stalling already! Somewhere in Florida, possibly in Walt Disney World, my brain went into overload and all blogging was lost. But I'm in recovery and it's time to get back to work. I've tried to organized my folder filled with pictures of delicious plates of food, but in the mean time, many many meals have passed us by, unreviewed! I know, it's just not right!

So on we go, skipping past the Organic taco shop in Miami, the Voodoo BBQ in New Orleans and hesitantly passing by the unforgettable Chuy's in Houston (not the same as west coast Chuy's).

The dish that will renew my blogging is at PF Changs, specifically the one located in the heart of Tempe, AZ. For those of you who are not aware, PF Changs is the more sophisticated version of Pei Wei, a favorite in our family. With reasonable prices, great atmosphere and nutritious, low calorie food... both of these restaurants rank very high on my list.

This visit in particular was more than about the food though. We were celebrating the reunion of some very special people in our lives. PF Changs provided the perfect atmosphere for this occasion. The restaurant itself is beautiful inside and with tall windows facing Mill Ave it provides a great appeal for any size party.

Our meal started with several well placed plates of the chicken lettuce wraps. I say "well placed" mostly because I was sitting next to 3 people who think anything wrapped in lettuce is too healthy for their taste... so more for me! Deliciously sweet and tangy minced chicken is layered on top of light, crisp rice noodles and then served with a separate plate of crisp, chilled iceberg lettuce. The combination is light, but full of flavor. This dish is one of my favorites at Pei Wei, and it was even better at PF Changs due to the delicious sauce that they served and mixed to your liking at the table.

For our meal, we decided to do Family Style. That means someone is elected to order all the right dishes (or hung if he fails) and the plates are passed around for everyone to share. For those of you who know me, know that I am all about tasting many things at one sitting. How great is that? That being said, I took one bite of the Candied Walnut Shrimp and my brain refused to accept anything else. I tasted several other dishes, but I can not for the life of me remember what they were.
These delightful little shrimps were very lightly fried and covered in a creamy, sweet and tangy sauce with candied walnuts and garnished with balls of honeydew melons. This combination created the perfect meal for a summer evening in Phoenix. The shrimp was warm, but the melon was cool and refreshing. With a measly 412 calories per serving, this was definitely a dish worth going for.

PF Changs is a semi formal environment with reasonable prices. Meals range from $8-$24, with every meal being made with the freshest and healthiest ingredients. Whether you're having a night out with your significant other, or your having a reunion of 12 of your closest friends and family, PF Changs is the perfect place to go.
If you visit the location in Tempe, AZ, don't fret about the parking, they will also validate your parking ticket.

Thursday, May 21, 2009

The Cracker Barrel Restaurant

Normally, I offer people reviews and advice on the food at an establishment. This time, I think I'll skip that part. Anyone who is going to the Cracker Barrel either knows the food... or I will go out on a limb and say that you'll enjoy it. It's down home cooking at reasonable prices. I would love to see more to their menu, but they're a big enough chain that I won't bother with that. 
The biggest issue here is the location. This location to be more specific. 
After spending the day in the pouring rain. We were looking forward to dinner at Lady and Son's, the restaurant of the Food Network Queen, Paula Deen. We still had over an hour left to wait, so we decided to check out a local antique shop. Unfortunately when we left the store, the rain started to come down, hard. Being cold, soaked and still having an hour to wait to check in, I said screw it, I really wasn't THAT big of a fan. 
Our search for dinner began on the ride back to our camper. We drove around town as our navigation tried to convince us to turn around at each street. We were in search of a good home cooked BBQ, true to Southern style. I could go into a whole rant on not finding a mom and pop BBQ restaurant in a town like Savanna, but I'll skip that to save on time. 
So, after our 30 mile detour, we ended up 2 miles from our camp, at the Cracker Barrel Family Restaurant. Laughing at the irony of us ending up at the place we intentionally passed up 45 minutes prior, we decided that obviously this was as good as we were going to get as far as a BBQ was concerned. I had hoped for something a little less commercial, but this would have to do. 
We sat down, relieved that we had found a comfortable country environment, sure that our meal would be excellent. What we didn't expect, was Wanda. 
Wanda is very confused as to why she is wandering around this Cracker Barrel. She was obviously let go from her previous job as a Walmart greeter, for being unqualified, and now she wanders around this establishment trying to shoo people away. 
We discussed leaving after our first few encounters with The Wanda, but decided that we were too hungry to go through another 30 mile tour of the city.  Wanda hovered over us as we were pressed to make our final decisions. Obviously she was late for a hot date. 
The food of course was fabulous, the portion and presentation was less than I expected, but we were happy and full when we finished. 
Wanda of course was on top of everything. How one finds a way to be rude at every step of a meal, when there are so many other customers to give the same delightful service to, I have no idea. As we left, I considered doing something that no one with waitressing background considers... I actually considered leaving behind a shinny penny that my daughter found in her pocket. But, alas, Wanda lucked out.
When we left, we were full and satisfied, but unfortunately for Store #52 in Savanna, GA, they still had to spend the evening with dear Wanda. Good luck guys.

If you're going to be in Savanna, and you NEED Cracker Barrel... Just make sure you're not seated in Wanda's section.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009


Yes, the Zensation salad is back at Zaxby's!
An Oriental salad with fried chicken, won tons, honey lime vinaigrette and a vegetable egg roll
If you still have a pulse, you may not have ever heard of this salad, or possibly Zaxby's for that matter. We thoroughly enjoyed the chicken strips, the Texas toast and the spicy fried mushrooms...mmm. But I am afraid that regular visits to Zaxby's might be the end of us. 

The dining area is attractive, clean and very pleasant to be in. The food is served hot and in better portion sizes than I expected. 
We were very unhappy with the fact that they charge you for the sauces. If you are not a fan of their special sauce, you have to pay extra to get a small container of BBQ or Honey Mustard. Things like that in these economic times are just petty. The Zaxby's chain really should reconsider this policy.

This is definitely a restaurant run by high schoolers, so the staff's friendliness was very mixed. 
Good luck all, and enjoy... but keep it limited, we want you back here to check out more fabulous places we visit.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Beef O'Brady's - Pawney Island, SC

What can I say about Beef O'Brady's?  We came to this restaurant by accident, but it ended up being the best experience of our entire trip. At Beef O'Brady's Family Sports Pub, you are welcomed by a warm and friendly staff and a clean and fun environment. The smells from the kitchen will have your mouth watering from the moment you open the door. Seeing as how I was stranded with no obvious time of release, I watch mouthwatering plate after mouthwatering plate pass me by. From the Philly Cheese Steak sandwich to the Fish and Chips, I was assured that whatever my choice, lunch at this establishment promised to be worth the wait.
I waited, out of the cold, for my husband to purchase the needed parts for our trailer. Alas, no luck, we were looking at actually spending the next 24 hours in this parking lot. 
I glanced around at the plates on tables around me and thought... "Okay! Lets eat!" If you have to be stranded for a while, this is the parking lot to do it in. 
I looked over the menu, thinking that I had a minimum of 2 meals here. Now, if you know me, you know that I typically look over a menu as if I have to narrow it down to only one. Well, this time, I lucked out. :)
I had my 2 meals all picked out. Later, I would discover that those efficient boys over at Advanced Auto had different plans for my dinner. 
I was torn between the Frisco Patty Melt, a delicious beef patty with swiss and american cheese, lettuce, tomato, crunchy onions and special sauce on a grilled sourdough bread. I KNOW!  You see why it was in my top 2 right?
Since I had 2 meals, my ultimate choice for lunch was the Baja Shrimp Wrap. Bite sized shrimp, fried to perfection and tossed in a special Beef O'Brady's sauce with coleslaw and tomatoes in a grilled flour tortilla. Yep, and now you know how I made my selection. Just the thought of my lunch makes my mouth water. 

I highly recomend that you locate a Beef O'Brady's near you. However, if at all possible, visit the Pawley Island's location at 
10337 Ocean HWY #17
Pawley Island, SC 29585

Monday, May 18, 2009

Southern Hospitality at it's Finest

As if the Carolinas weren't leaving enough of an impression, we thought we'd add one more lasting memory before we left. We decided before leaving, we would stop off in Charleston for the night. I informed Todd that if we left in time, we could make it to the camp, go see Fort Sumter, have dinner on Restaurant Row, and be good to head out to Savannah the next morning. Obviously, "Planning" does not work in our favor. Being a family that normally operates best, "winging it", we should have thought better of this whole, "running on time" thing we had going this morning. We were only on the road all of 10 minutes, engrosed in our Angels and Demons book on CD, when the truck behind us started honking frantically, trying to get our attention. I saw the man pointing at the the side of our fifth wheel and I tried to follow his pointing to see what all the fuss was about. I saw nothing out of the ordinary. No doors flapping open, no fat cats holding on to the railing with fur flapping in the wind... what was the big deal?We pulled over into the Advanced Auto Parts parking lot (good luck, I'd say). Smoke came flowing out of the tire on the passenger side of the trailer... usually not a good thing. Upon closer inspection, it appeared that something inside the center cap had exploded, leaving smoke and melted plastic all over the tire rim. Being very limited in my knoweledge of the workings of axles, I can only say that bearings and oil should not explode while driving. Apparently, we were too heavy (the trailer, not me).  For those of you who recall the Quakertown incident may remember that I am not in any way comfortable with my husband using a little jack to lift 10,000 lbs, and then crawl underneath. I'm even less comfortable with him doing this on a slope that doesn't work in his favor. But apparently, the memories of playing in the mud in Quakertown left him wanting to play with grease in Pawley's Island, SC.There will be humor in this adventure, some day. There may be many vodka tonics before the humor really shines through, but I'm sure some day we will look back and laugh at our moment of misfortune. 
The one thing in all of this that will stand out over anything else is the people that we have encountered during this adventure. The guys at the Advance Auto Parts were the kindest, most generest individuals I have ever met! I have been to many auto parts stores. (I used to run parts for UTI, an automotive school in AZ) Typically when they don't have a part, they don't have a part. Well, the guys at this location were not willing to accept this. When they found that they did not have the part, they first called every store outside of their ownership to find it. When that failed, they proceeded to search their inventory by hand for other parts that might work. When that failed, the owner then drove to 3 unrelated marine parts stores, finally searching the inventory of the last store, by hand. I have never heard of this kind of customer service, anywhere! 
Seeing as how it has been 6 hours... and counting... We have also had the fortune of meeting the delightful people at Beef O'Brady's, a great Family Sports Pub, right across the parking lot of the Advance Auto Parts, located behind the Waffle House. 
After having parts of our trailer litterally explode, the Pub obviously appealed to me more than the Waffle House when selecting where to have lunch. 
I definately chose correctly! This Family Pub is very attractive and clean. The food was delicious and the staff was caring and courteous. We imposed on their establishment for hours, bringing with us 2 very bored young children. Throughout the day, they continued to refill our drinks and bring us snacks, sympathising for our situation. (They will have their own blog, stay tuned.)

As we entered North Carolina, from Virginia, my spirits were down. I did not want to leave my beloved New England. However the people here in Pawleys Island, South Carolina have restored my spirits. If my adventure has a chance of introducing me to more people like them, I look forward to what lies ahead. 

Many thanks to the crew at Advance Auto Parts and the staff at Beef O'Brady Family Pub!
I suggest you pay them a visit when you're in town.

10337 Ocean HWY #17
Pawley Island, SC 29585

Sunday, May 17, 2009

A Day at the Beach

I awoke this morning with a short person announcing, “Mom. Wake up. It’s 9-8-7. Time to go to the beach.” Boy, how time gets away from you. I had no idea I had slept in so late.

We spent a few hours on the beach, soaking in the rays that periodically snuck through the clouds.  When the rain started to fall, we decided to go in for lunch and a nap. (Well, some of us napped, others impatiently tapped their toes.)

Finally, as the rain had ceased, we decided that we should go back out to enjoy the rest of the day on the beach.

My eight year old promptly planted herself within the tide line and proceeded to dig a hole, searching for ancient shells of species never seen before. (Glad to know that the museum of natural history had some effect.) Being within the tide line, the hole became increasingly difficult to maintain. The dig was beginning to take on the urgency of a fire fighter fighting a great inferno. Even the 3 year old saw that this was not worth continuing, so he rallied me for an invigorating game of ‘Ready Set Go’, in the waves. I remember once playing this game with my father in the waves, but when I played, I was the Jumper. This game started off, completely unruly. Jumps were random, making it impossible to not fall over. I had to inform him of the proper rules to this ocean game.

The point is to avoid the hit of the waives, or the foam that it produces. And since the point is not to pull moms arms out of her shoulder sockets, there has to be some sort of warning prior to jumps. So, we set the pace as “Ready, Set, Go…” jump. In reality, I would say, “Ready, Set, Go”, and he would continue to jump at his own pace.

Back at the dig… With water filling the whole periodically, the eight year old was increasingly frustrated. Not one to accept defeat, she decided to go with the flow and build “another ocean”.

After a good 30 minutes straight of ‘Ready, Set, Go’, the game never loosing its excitement, we had to call it due to rain.

All in all Myrtle Beach has been quite the success. Maybe some day, we’ll be able to come back, maybe even without the rain. (And that’s the last time you’ll ever hear me say that about rain.)

Life is tough

Its hard work, but someone had to do it. How else would you know about the fabulous Myrtle beach, if I were not here telling you about it? I will just have to suck it up and do my job... as I sit in a well selected spot on the beach. 

It's sand, water (at a comfortable temperature, I might ad) and very little sun at this moment.
Yes, life is good, and I am told that there are some sand crabs in need of my inspection. Tata for now!

Friday, May 15, 2009

Ben and Jerry's and the Elusive Candy Bar

Beware! Apparently, somewhere out there is a candy bar called the 7 layer Coconut bar.   
Lift your jaw off the floor and I will continue.... 
Ben and Jerry's went and made an ice cream sundae out of this candy bar. Oh, but they did. I will not be reviewing this. I know you may be shocked, because you're probably thinking, why would I not review such a thing.  Well, I'll tell you. It's a combination of icecream, coconut, chocolate, walnuts, whip cream and whatever other coconut delights live in this alleged candy bar... the combination of such ingredients do not deserve to be insulted by a "Review". These flavors have already embedded themselves onto your tongue, and you will no doubt be looking for Pina Colada mix or an almond joy in your pantry shortly. So, I will leave you with just this brief warning. If you find a Ben and Jerry's, walk quickly. This is not doubt, NOT a "lite" snack and will leave you with coconut dreams for who knows how long.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

Colonial Williamsburg, VA

Colonial Williamsburg is  a beautiful city in possibly the most beautiful state in our country. Yes, I know I said this about Pennsylvania, and I don't want to take that back, but WOW, Virginia! (I'm still reserving the right to use this statement again. I've been warned to save judgment for the Carolinas)
We woke up this morning, not really knowing what we were going to do in Williamsburg. We only knew that there was a 301 acre living pre-revolution town waiting for us 3 miles down the road from camp. (This is approximately 2.99 miles further than the railroad tracks... no, I'm not exaggerating.)
So, off we went, to join the colonist of the 17th century. 
As we left, there was a small pause in Todds pulse as I reviewed the price list for attractions. Poor baby, so spoiled by all those free attractions in DC. We decided to tour the city a little before we settled on an option. 
We walked around town, going in and out of shops, tasting delicious samples of cheeses, peanuts and ham. We stopped and listened and towns people interacted in the streets. We admired the Clydesdale's as the periodically marched down the cobble streets. We even had lunch in one of the local pubs. I can only tell you for certain that if we had another day to see everything, and possibly some shoes that were previously broken in, we would have purchased the passes for the city. Running about $55 for adults and $20 for children, it was evident that they would have been well worth the cost. 
Sites that we were unable to get an inside included the Governors mansion, the capitol and many, many shops and homes where towns people acted out duties and events of "real life". Through the windows, you can see wood workers actively building in their shops, women baking in the kitchen and townsfolk holding petitions in the capital.
The buildings are beautifully restored, the costumes are well done. Not at all a cheep look.  The towns folk really immerse themselves into their characters. 
This would be a great place to spend a few days, soaking in the history and life style and then retiring to the beaches of Virginia. 

Information Overload

Well, I am now sitting in my "Cabin", which is what I have instinctively been calling my little house on wheels, in Williamsburg, VA. This location possibly has the slowest WiFi on the planet and try as I might, we are not going to be reminiscing photos of Washington DC during this post... it's just not going to happen. 
However, if I keep going (not posting because of the picture issue), I may explode, and nobody needs that. This is new upholstery in my cabin. 

There is only 2 things that you need to know about visiting Washington DC. First of all, book 5-7 days, at least. We were there 5 days and we had to decide to move on without seeing at least 2-4 days worth of stuff. 
The second thing is, everything is free! Yes, Free. You pay for hotel and food, but nothing more if you don't want to. Tours are available, but seeing it on foot is certainly reasonable. 
I have been to museums and zoos before. I have never been oooed or ahhhed and I have always left thinking... "Well, at least it was good exercise for that $50."
The museums that are located in Washington DC are nothing like the museums you've visited. I don't care if you have been ooed and ahhed somewhere else... believe me, these museums will knock your socks off! And, they'll do it for free!   "I KNOW!!!" (a little Craig Ferguson reference)
Between museums, there are monuments and historical buildings to keep you busy. You can walk along the waters and green landscape, soaking in the enormous historical buildings lining this amazing town for days without getting bored. The sites that you see will leave you breathless, I promise.  Speaking of breathless... As promised, by the time you reach the Lincoln monument... you will be breathless... in every sense of the word. Go ahead, eat whatever you want while you're in Washington, it will be impossible to hold on to any of those calories! (I really could have used a few monuments to walk up today)

I can not stress enough how much we loved our stay in Washington DC. If you ever have the opportunity to visit our capitol, do it, this was an experience we will never forget!

Monday, May 11, 2009

Washington DC Update

Just so that you're aware, we are pausing for a brief intermission. Washington is quite exhausting and thinking and typing at the end of the day are impossible. 

Sunday, May 10, 2009

Moshulu, The Floating Restaurant

I’m sure this is not the last time I will say this on this trip, but Philadelphia is the most incredible city I have seen so far in my life. Now, as I write this, I am about to plan my trip to Washington D.C, so I would like to reserve the right to take it back and re-designate that title.

We stayed in a little town in New Jersey, about 15 miles outside Philadelphia. When we arrived, work was swarming into our email’s, so we decided to take it easy for the evening.

The next day, as we finally headed into town, we decided to tour the outskirt, industrial area of the Philadelphia harbor, going in circles… by “we”, I mean, my psychotic navigation thought we should really soak in the sites of the industrial park.

So, we decided to ignore the retarded little unit and accidentally stumbled upon a very cool old ship in the harbor. As Todd commented on wanting to see it, I noticed that it said restaurant and Bar on the side. “Well…. Hello.”  So, we stopped for lunch aboard the Moshulu. This ship has an amazing history, which you can read about Here, but you would never know about it, just on a visit alone. This ship is missing one major thing… Information. While we were there, we speculated about it being a cruise ship or a grand “Yatch” for the well off of the 19th century. Not knowing it’s age or history, we could only imagine. With a little investigation, we found that this ship is the oldest 4 mast sail boat still afloat today. At one time, it carried coal, copper ore and coke, and in it’s hay day, it won the great grain race of 1939. It has changed hands from country to country since its creation in 1904. The interior is in the design of a luxury liner, which was done in a remodel in 1994, after a fire damaged it in 1989.

The menu at the Moshulu is not by any means extensive, but it’s also not unreasonably priced. You will be able to enjoy fresh salads, wraps and meat entrees during the lunch hours for around $8-$20 (at dinner, you are asked to check your arm and leg at the coat check). We were very pleased with this, considering the atmosphere we were enjoying. We expected to pay much more for less food in this type of place.  

Prior to receiving our food, they brought out a plate with sliced French bread and cute little balls of butter, sprinkled with chives. I wouldn’t have thought to do this, but it was quite tasty.

I ordered the Roasted Vegetable Wrap, which included spinach, peppers, oven dried tomatos, onions and fried eggplant with a basil aoli, and served with Satur Farm Greens and a Green Goddess dressing.  Now, I don’t know what the deal is lately, but if I don’t get a decent salad soon, I’m going to scream. I’m not sure what makes a green goddess dressing, but I wasn’t willing to eat enough to find out. The wrap was more than enough food and made up for the weeds on the side. I almost had the wrap sans fried eggplant, but this would have been a mistake. The combination was excellent. 

Todd, is on a mission to find the perfect burger, so he ordered the ½ lb. Pirme Steak Burger. (Two words that when combined, are sure to be excellent.) This was a ½ lb of quality beef covered in 2 types of cheddar, caramelized onions and a chipotle aioli sauce. I thought the flavor was excellent. Todd was not convinced it was the perfect burger… so the quest continues.

Moshulu… I give you a 4 Wandering Sisters. Even if you’re only looking for a place to just have a cocktail, the atmosphere on this boat is too good to pass up. The food was great, the presentation is excellent, the experience is exceptional…

2 changes would have made this trip a 5…

First, if there was some history of this amazing ship, whether it’s posted or simply explained by the staff.

Second, salad dressings should not be green… unless there’s a lot of blue cheese. Throw some balsamic on there for heaven sake!



Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Hollywood Cafe and Sports Bar

Located at Rt 45 and Elm Ave in Woodbury Heights, NJ, this vintage diner SCREAMS "SEE ME!"
There is no way to not see this place, but if you're heading West on Rt 45, you may never get back to it. Apparently New Jersey is adamantly again turns. Every intersection we came to had big signs stating "No Turns". Six miles down the road we decided we would be rebels and do an illegal turn so that we could get back to this brightly lit, red, Hollywood Diner. 
There are 2 areas to this diner. One being your typical 60's diner setting, the other being a very charming vintage, eclectic sports bar. We chose to sit in the high ceilinged, flat screen filled sports bar area. 
Feeling festive sitting there, I decided to order a draft beer. I asked the waitress if there were any specials going on. She said, "No, not tonight." I thought that was odd since upon entering, you're swarmed by signs everywhere stating all kinds of specials on every night you could imagine. But apparently we had bad timing. I decided to just go with a Samuel Adams Summer ale. Of course, as we were leaving, I saw a hard to miss sign, (from that angle anyways) stating that every Wednesday is $1 Bud and Bud Light Drafts.  Gee, that seems like that would have qualified as a special that night. Not that I was feenin' for a Bud light... but hey, for $1, would have gone in that direction.
I took a few extra minutes to look over the menu, there were quite a few things that appealed to me. When a menu uses such words as "fresh zucchini, asparagus, artichokes and spinach" my taste buds start watering. My eyes wandered over several appealing little entrees, most costing $12-$16, however, prices did range from $6-$25. My husband suggested a wrap that was right up my alley, for around $8, it had chicken and asparagus and all kinds of yummy in it. I almost did it, but I said, "no, I want 'Dinner'." So, I settled on a Fresh Breast of Chicken Balsamico...  Yes, chicken breast, fresh mixed vegetables and a Balsamic red wine sauce. mmmm! My meal came with a side salad and a vegitable (which includes rice and pasta at this establishment... not the vegi's I'm used to, but hey, what the hell?) I went with the Greek salad, which was quite impressive looking. 
The flavor was a little bland and after almost breaking my teeth on the seeded olive, there were a few foul words... Why on earth do restaurants put seeded olives on your salad? Is it really too much to ask for your food to be edible from the get go? This goes for all you restaurant owner out there... just a thought... they do sell pitted kalamata's.
Within minutes, my dinner arrived. Now, I'm not one to complain about fresh vegi's... but why specify "mixed vegi's" and then only throw a few tomato's and LOTS of spinach into the pan, especially when you clearly have all those other vegetables at your disposal? Hey, I'm a fan of almost ALL vegi's, but I was expecting more than this. To ad to my disappointment, it was also a very bland sauce. The only way to get bland out of a balsamic and red wine combo.... wait, how do you make that bland? Clearly they worked very hard at down playing the flavor of this dish.

The atmosphere in this diner is great, I give it a definite A+ for that. Also, if you're suffering from a cold and you're having trouble tasting, you'll never know the difference in good food and this food.
I was a little confused by the Foot Locker uniforms though. I get that it's a sports bar and all, but it is mostly a retro diner, so the uniforms were just off.

Depending on why you're going, and how well your sinuses are working, I give it a 2-3 Wandering Sisters. The atmosphere definitely boosts this reviewers opinion of this one, but the food makes it hard to recommend.

The Old State Capitold building of Connecticut

The Old State Capital building was built in 1872-1879, opening in 1878. This beautiful structure is set in the picturesque Busnell Park, which alone is quite the site. The cost was $2.5 Million to build, made from granite, marble and slate. The Dome is 24k gold leaf. Can you just image your state saying, “Hey, we’re going to need to raise the taxes, just a tad, so that we can erect this solid stone castle for us to meet in every month.” Oh, I’m sure that would go over well.

Well, it may never happen in this day and age, but I’m sure glad it happened in the 19th century. Visiting places like this is my favorite part of this trip.

We were unfortunately late for tours, getting more than we expected from the Mark Twain house. As we arrived, we were informed that the self guided tour pamphlet was available and we could continue on our own. As we walked through the West Atrium, we came into the Hall of Flags. This was the most amazing site of old flags you could ever imagine. Some of the first American flags, so warn that only portions of them remained. I certainly know of a wandering sister who would spend hours in this room alone. We did not have the luxury of time, after all we had mud to play in, in Pennsylvania.

Richard, a security guard at the old state capital build was very helpful during our brief self guided tour. He told me where to go to see all of the high points before we left. If it weren’t for him, I would never have seen the Charter Oak Chair that resides in the State Chamber. History tells that in 1662, King Charles II gave Connecticut a charter, granting it a Colony.  In 1687, the kings’ successor, King James II wished to take back this charter. The governor was said to have hidden the document inside a great white oak tree, which was then known as The Charter Oak tree. 150 years later, this tree was blown down in a terrible storm, and was carved into the chair that the Lieutenant Governor presides in today. The actual Charter is on display across the street in the State library/Museum/Supreme Court building.  I wish I had had time to go see that.

I am going to let the pictures speak for themselves. This building was amazing. If you’re in the area, go check it out. 

Search for Recipes and Reviews within The Wandering Sisters Site