Still Eating in Florida – The ‘Islands of Adventure’ Adventure

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: June 2011



On with the rest of the journey!!!

June 1st we decided to go to Islands of Adventure. This was the purpose of my being. The main reason I wanted to go to Orlando. I admit it there is a 14yr old girl inside me that is OBSESSED with Harry Potter. Its ok. I have realized this and I welcome that immature, fantasy-loving, I-have-a-crush-on-Ron-Weasley side of me.

We went back to IHop for breakfast.

This time I had the build your own breakfast with just the STRAWBERRY pancakes. I know, what a rebel!

Brendan had the Mini breakfast that had eggs over easy, hashbrowns, toast and bacon. He ate one of my pancakes.

I have decided IHop is the best place for breakfast. Excellent food, reasonable prices and the wait staff was so friendly!


At the hotel the sun was shining, day looked beautiful however when we reached Universal (about a 10 minute drive away) the sky was a little overcast and looked slightly ominous. We decided it was no matter. It doesn’t rain for long in Orlando anyway….we will be FINE!



I could see the castle in the distance and I was getting soooooo excited! NOTHING was going to ruin this experience!


We walked around a bit. Took some photos, got on a few rides.

First stop was Marvel SuperHero Island.


Here we rode Stormforce Acceleration and Spiderman.


The Spiderman ride was awesome. We only waited about 10 minutes and it was completely worth it. Wished we could have gone on a second time.

We did a little comic book shopping and I bought a mini Spidey!

We then walked around Toon Lagoon. Took some silly pictures with some signs.



Came across Rip Saw Falls and thought it looked like fun. People were coming off the ride slightly damp but laughing so we decided to go on it.


Most of the line for this ride was inside so we walked through the indoor maze and in about 6 minutes came up to the logs we were to ride in. Still were excited…its a water coaster for Gods sake! Its going to be a blast!!!! As we were gliding along and came to the apex of the ride we came outside at the top and it was POURING!!! Raining so hard the rain was sideways. We were trapped. AND on a water ride. Before we even started the downward spiral into the pools of water and past the shooting spigots of water we were drenched to the bone . I was laughing so hard I couldn’t even speak. It was either laugh or cry. I couldn’t even open my eyes….not because the ride was scary but because the water was running down my face in rivers, the rain was slapping against my face so hard that I was afraid I would get an eye poked out.

By the time we reached the bottom my clothes were 20lbs heavier, plastered to my body and we were quite miserable. Went to the closest gift shop and spent $100 on new shorts and t-shirts for both of us. Unfortunately our shoes were still soaked. We wandered around the park…quickly through Jurassic Park and The Lost Continent…over to The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. We went to Olivanders first to get our wands (Yes. I have a wand!) and then to The Three Broomsticks for lunch.


I needed to try butterbeer. We each got the roasted chicken plate with a 1/4 chicken, roasted potatoes and an ear of corn.


The food was decent. Not great not bad. VERY expensive. For the 2 of us it was $27. At least the meal came with butterbeer. Butterbeer tastes like cream soda but with a frothy shot of rum and butter flavored foam on top. DELICIOUS!


We finished lunch and headed back out, hoping the rain had stopped. Boy oh boy were WE wrong. We ended up trapped under an archway for almost an hour. A voice came over the loud speaker advising everyone to take shelter because a severe thunder and lightning storm was directly overhead. I am TERRIFIED of thunder and lightning. I took this picture of The Hogwarts Express from where I was standing under the arch…you can see how hard it was raining. I have a video but can’t seem to get it to post.


At this point the day was a write off. The rides were closed, I was soaked (AGAIN!) and feeling quite dejected. We decided to head back to the hotel since it was only 1pm and try again later. The park tickets were good for the entire day until closing at 8pm.


The rain cleared up completely by 530pm so we headed back and were there by 6ish. We ran around from ride to ride to ride. Trying to get in as much as we could before closing and we managed to get ‘The Harry Potter Experience’ in twice. A-M-A-Z-ing! The day was saved! (Bonus: parking is only $3 after 6pm!)


On the way back to the hotel we realized we were starving so I told Brendan it was “his choice” for restaurants and like father like son, he chose ‘Hooters’. We had passed by ‘Hooters’ everyday and I had explained what type of restaurant it was. Everyday he jokingly said….”Lets eat there!” So just to embarrass him tonight I said “ok”.



He was hilarious in the restaurant. He wouldn’t even look at any of the young ladies working.


The food was again decent….nothing to rave over. Bren had the boneless wings that were on special and I had a Philly Cheesesteak sandwich. With the alcoholic drink (I SO NEEDED IT!) the bill only came to $19. Not too bad.


I have to admit that it was a disappointing day. I blame the weather for making ‘Islands of Adventure’ disappointing and I blame myself for our food choices of the day. IHop was the high point….the rest of the meals were only mediocre.

Hopefully next year or the year after we will get a “do-over”.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick


Eating my way through Central Florida days 2-3

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: June 2011


What a week….sorry I am a bit preoccupied at the moment with an upcoming pending labor dispute. As of midnight tonight I could be on strike at my “real” job. Wish me luck!

Luckily one still has to eat so the blogging WILL continue however on a shoelace budget (can’t afford the fancy shoeSTRINGS right now! lol) the posts may come down to how to boil pasta and heat up Ragu. 🙂

For now I will continue the chronicle of our awesome Florida trip and some more of the regional cuisine (LMAO) we got to experience.

Second full day in Orlando we decided it was time to hit a park and were off to Universal Studios. It was a typical sunny and gorgeous day…around 89 degrees. Perfect weather.


This was the first time to Universal for either of us and it was an experience we won’t soon forget.

I watch the Food Network A LOT (surprise surprise) and on an episode of ‘Kid in a Candy Store’ I was introduced to Dippin’ Dots. Not something we have around here. If you aren’t familiar, Dippin’ Dots is a company that has a unique vision of what ice cream should be. On their website you can read the entire history ( but in the simplest terms, Dippin’ Dots is ice cream that has been flash frozen in liquid nitrogen and it creates little encapsulated “dots” of creamy, crunchy ice cream.

I had researched before leaving home where I could try this creation when in Florida. I hadn’t yet made it to the store in downtown Orlando but as we were walking around the park, lo and behold, there were Dippin’ Dots stands. We couldn’t resist. Expensive? yes. Worth it? TOTALLY!


They did have limited choices at the stands in comparison to all the flavors I see listed on the website but we were both pleased with our selections. Brendan chose Cookie Dough (on the left) and I chose Banana Split (right). It was the most surprising and interesting way to have ice cream. I really enjoyed it and would have (should have) had it another time before leaving. The Banana Split was delicious but next time I would have Cookies and Cream. The gentleman serving us gave me a little sample when he heard where we were from and that we had never tried it before. It was SCRUMPTIOUS! He told me its the best seller and I can see why.

We wore ourselves out on all the rides (LOVE ‘The Mummy’ and ‘Spiderman’!!!!) and decided on an early supper at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. I had eaten there multiple times in Denver last August and really love that restaurant. Then again I am a self admitted shrimp freak. I have never met a shrimp I didn’t like. Not only that but they have a deadly ‘Louisiana Lemonade’ with Citron vodka that I crave and you get to keep the collector glass. I got a pint glass from them in Denver and it has become my favorite glass. I have OCD. :). I find a glass/plate/fork/whatever and I tend to stick with it. I know, I am strange. Anyway….I wanted a second glass. They have the Bubba Gump logo on it and then it has the name of the city underneath. I now want to visit as many Bubba Gumps as I can and get as many pint glasses as I can. That means I get to drink multiple ‘Louisiana Lemonades’! YAY!

I forgot to take a pic of my meal before eating but here is a pic showing how much I enjoyed it!


Along with my delicious beverage I had the “Run Across America” sampler. It had hot artichoke and Parmesan dip with homemade tortilla chips, shrimp cocktail, breaded shrimp, shrimp hushpuppies and spicy chicken bites. All for $14.99. I would order this again in a heartbeat (except with 2 LEMONADES!).

After Universal we just went back to the hotel and had some pool time, snackies and then off to bed.

Day 3 we hung around the hotel getting sun and swimming. Stepped out for lunch at ‘Steak N Shake’. Bren ordered chicken fingers and said they were crunchtastic. I got a cheeseburger and fries. The burger was amazing but the fries disappointing. Too thin.

The shakes….they were in a category of their own. Gourmet. I had chocolate and Brendan had Cookie Dough. I learned later that you can actually do half and half shakes. I wish I had known that earlier because they had a banana milkshake too and that would have been delish mixed with my chocolate one!


I was planning on eating at ‘Steak N Shake’ again but we ran out of time. Definitely a place I would recommend trying.

For supper this evening we were invited to dine at my friend Kellys house. I was so excited because I hadn’t seen Kelly since November and couldn’t wait to catch up. Her home is beautiful, her twin daughters are lovely and a true delight and MAMA KELLY can COOK! She made some yummy shrimp, marinated chicken, rice, beans and rolls. I enjoyed the meal so much I forgot to take a picture. Sorry.

Brendan did take a funny pic of the two of us! (hope you don’t mind I posted this Mama! If you do let me know and i’ll take it down)


As you can tell Kelly is so little and petite and cute that you just want to stick her in your pocket and take her home. I am an amazon, gigantaur next to her! I love her to pieces! Hope to get back to visit her in Orlando next year. Thanks for the dinner invite and you ARE a teeny little Martha Stewart! (And I just noticed the Scentsy warmer in the background! YAY Scentsy!!!!!!!!!!!!)

Thats it for days 2 and 3. Hope you enjoyed the recount!

love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up Chick




Eating my way through Central Florida, Day 1 (and 1/2)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: June 2011


Its been a little while since my last post, I know, I just returned from vacation in Orlando with my 14 year old son Brendan and felt the need to post a blog entry. However I am still not in the mood to cook…still in vacation mode.

I looked back on my photos from the trip and saw all the pictures I took of the restaurants and plates of food (I have a funny habit of taking pictures of my food….I have done this for quite some time…long before my blog). I decided that I would do a blog/mini review of some of the places I ate. I am from a small community outside a small city. Our restaurant choices are somewhat limited so when I have the chance to eat at some well known restaurant chains I get excited. We don’t have a TGI Fridays, Olive Garden, Cheesecake Factory, Chilis, Red Lobster, etc….So for all of you that get to eat at these places on a whim, I am envious….for those of you, like me, that rarely get the opportunity…this entry will be right up your alley.

I realized what a foodie (or pig! lol) I am on this trip. Not only because there are dozens of pictures of food on my camera when there should be more “family-type” activities but also because I found myself on a daily basis planning the meals and what restaurant I was going to eat at more than the activities of the day. I would wake up and decide where we were going for breakfast, lunch and supper. One of the saddest parts of this was that we had a beautiful, renovated, full kitchen at our disposal but all we really used was the fridge (to keep my booze cold!)

Its Mamas vacation too and Mama didn’t want to cook!

Upon arrival in Orlando I met up with a girl I work with, Michelle, and her lovely family. They suggested the first restaurant we wanted to try, ‘Smokey Bones’. Now if you don’t know me well you are probably unaware that I am a BBQ freak. I love everything grilled, smoked or slathered in BBQ sauce so this sounded like the place for me. I do not have a picture of this meal. Its probably better this way. It was pure carnage on a carnivorous level. There was sauce flying everywhere, rib bones piled on the counter, lip smacking going on….it was not a pretty sight.  But let me tell you….it was divine. I had the “Build-your-own-BBQ” platter with baby back ribs, pulled pork and smoked beef brisket (a side of garlic bread, baked beans and loaded baked potato). Brendan had the crispy Louisana chicken sandwich. He completely enjoyed his….mine was wAAAAAAAAAAy too much food (but I took leftovers home to put in that big ‘ol fridge). The ribs were great, pulled pork fantastic but I could have done without the brisket. Sides were awesome.

The next morning we hit IHOP. I had never been here either (BLASPHEMY!!!) and let me just say….the saying is that Disney World is the happiest place on earth? I think they meant IHOP is the happiest place on earth. WOW. Holy pancakes and syrup of every design imaginable. We ended up making multiple visits to this mecca of breakfast.

This particular day I had Strawberry Banana pancakes, scrambled eggs well done (here they call them “dry”), bacon and hashbrowns. Can I just state that I love the hashbrowns in the States. They are shredded potatoes that are glommed together and fried until golden. I am going to make these at home. YUM!!!

As you can tell I got a little excited and dug in before taking the picture. oops.

Brendan got the Holy Grail of meat omelets. There was so much meat in this thing he couldn’t even pray to Jesus to finish it. There was bacon, sausage and some type of pulled pork that made the darn thing weigh 5lbs. I think it was called ‘The Colorado Omelet’. If this is what they eat in Colorado then I think all cardiologists should move there because the amount of clogged arteries must be quite high. Thank goodness there was a green pepper or 2 in the omelet to make it healthier. He enjoyed it…well as much as he could fit in anyway.

We went shopping and ended up at The Florida Mall at lunch time. I was quite happy about this because my friend Kelly (who lives in Altamonte Springs, FL) suggested we try ‘Five Guys Burgers and Fries’ and there is one in that mall. Call it planned, call it destiny, whatever. Apparently President Obama loves their fries so I HAD to give them a try.

O. M. G.


The fries were great….a better version of Deluxe fries from around here. The burger….holy mother of God….A-Mazing. If you ever get the chance to eat at Five Guys….DO. Apparently the lovely front cash lady (who kept calling me Baby) thinks they are opening a franchise around here….in Alberta. I told here that wasn’t exactly near me…her answer “Oh Baby…its closer tho right?” I didn’t have the heart to tell her no.

For supper we went to Red Lobster. I was STOKED. Brendan not so much. He hates seafood. I assured him there were other things on the menu. I lied. Not on purpose but the only other time I have been at Red Lobster was in Hawaii and I know for certain they had steaks and stuff. Not in Orlando. We were able to get him a chicken alfredo, hold the alfredo and substitute marinara sauce. He enjoyed it…and 5 cheddar biscuits! I had the peppercorn steak and shrimp. YUM YUM!! I forgot to take a picture before devouring. I would recommend this choice…the steak was delicious and the shrimp to die for.

As typical of me I filled my purse full of biscuits before leaving. I had lots of room in the fridge for them and as I learned in Hawaii they make for a great breakfast.


love, peace and chicken grease,

-A Cooped Up chick

Nannys Apple Crisp (June update with PEACHES!)

Author: Cooped Up Chick  //  Category: Desserts, June 2011, May 2011


Many children ask for cake for their birthdays or these days its all about the DQ ice cream cakes…not me. As a child we were always asked what “special” meal did we want on the night of our birthday. Entree and dessert. My entree choice would vary year to year but never the dessert, I always wanted my Nanny J’s apple crisp. It was the best. Tart yet sweet, milky and creamy from the whipped cream….delicious.

Anytime I want some comfort food I have to include this dessert. Now it reminds me of my Nanny, who passed in 2001 and of the special relationship we had.

What you will need is:

6 apples (I like to mix sweet, Royal Gala or Cortland with McIntosh)

1 Tbsp lemon juice

3/4 cup brown sugar

3/4 cup all purpose flour

6 Tbsps butter or margarine, melted

1/4 tsp salt

3/4 tsp cinnamon


Start by peeling, coring and slicing your apples. Lay them in an 8×8 pan.


Take the lemon juice and squeeze on top of the apples. This will add just a little more tartness which is fabulous against the cinnamony sugar!


Next in a separate bowl combine the brown sugar, flour, salt and cinnamon.

Mix well.


Melt your butter in the microwave for 30-45 seconds and then pour into your bowl with the sugar mixture. Mix again but don’t worry about getting all the lumps out. Lumps are fine in this recipe.


Put the crumble mixture on top of the apples and bake in a preheated oven at 375 degrees for 30 minutes.


Let cool a bit before eating. Plus you don’t want all your whipped cream and/or ice cream to melt.


This is the epitome of comfort dessert for me. I hope you enjoy.


ps- Don’t you just LOVE my bright orange Fiestaware!!??


-A Cooped Up Chick



UPDATE June 2012:


I made this same recipe but substituted fresh, juicy peaches for the apples.

I love peaches and wanted to make SOMETHING with peaches in it and automatically thought of Nannys crisp recipe. I made very few changes.

I omitted the lemon juice because I did not want sour peaches.

Also I had read online a few Peach Crisp/Cobbler recipes and heard people had “soupy” issues with the peaches since they are super juicy. The remedy was to dust the peaches in a little flour and white sugar.


I used about 1 Tbsp of each.

Use the same recipe as above for the streusal topping.


Bake at 375 degrees for about 40 minutes or until the topping has browned. I usually turn the broiler on high for about 5 minutes at the end to get the topping nice and brown and caramelized.


Serve warm with whipped cream (or ice cream if you prefer!)

This was just as good as the apple crisp….BETTER if you want sweet instead of tart.