Filling in Some Gaps

Best NYC soda, beverages, Christmas, Disney, New York City, NYC, NYC Restaurants, soda, Thanksgiving, Uncategorized

So…before we get to New Year’s, I thought I’d fill you in on a few gaps I’ve left you with!

So after Disney, we got a short break and then Thanksgiving!  We wanted to host – it would just be 3 guests – but please remember that we still haven’t finished unpacking from our move – don’t have our plates and glasses – have a miniscule sized kitchen – and barely have any places to sit in our shoebox apartment…still…with the help of a bus ride to Boston Market I think we did a good job 🙂

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I can’t say enough about how amazing Boston Market  is to provide holiday service – they really are the experts.  I swear it tasted better than anything I could have whipped up.  We stuck with canned soda in fridge for this feast – but I’ll tell you that Boston Market does sell fountain Coke products in case you were wondering.

Of course I took the kids to Macy’s Santa Land to see the real Santa Claus.  I mean, if he’s the one in the nationally broadcasted Thanksgiving Day Parade, then he MUST be the real one!

Part of Santa's Sleigh
Part of Santa’s Sleigh

 

Our tree was trimmed:

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Santa brought me the perfect gifts, combining my love of soda and Disney 🙂  (and yes, my family did get me the necklace I talked about here!)

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(You can get these bottles on sale for $3 now here.)

Our Holiday celebrations were full of family, friends, love and laughter.  Just wanted to share some of my joy!  Apparently so did Coca Cola – enjoy 🙂

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Date Night Reflections

Best NYC soda, beverages, mom, New York City, NYC, NYC Restaurants, soda, soda fountain, Uncategorized

Last post of 2015! I can’t believe this year has come and gone. Truthfully, the past 5 years have been a bit of a jam packed blur for me. In the past 5 years I’ve had 6 surgeries, 2 pregnancies which resulted in 3 wonderful children and we’ve moved apartments twice.  So the fact that my husband and I have had 2 date nights this month was truly a gift and made me reflect on all that’s happened.

I first want to give a shout out to my cousin (and NYC Soda Girl Fan) who is home from college and not only babysat for us – allowing us the opportunity for these date nights – but also for my first gift as NYC Soda Girl!  THANK YOU!

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The first dinner we went to was a last minute OpenTable.com  find: Aleo.

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We arrived and saw many actual open tables, which I guess is why it was one of the only restaurants available for a “day of” reservation. We soon learned why.  I’ll of course start with the Diet Coke…not quite sure it was Diet Coke, I even questioned the waitress as to what brand of soda it was – she said it was Diet Coke.  I raised my eyebrow and asked “Are you sure?” She told me it just tastes different because it comes from a fountain.  I had to hold in the laughter…as if “I” wouldn’t know what fountain soda tastes like…and yes, it does taste different from a can – in that it breathes new life into the soda – it doesn’t turn it into a different god-awful beverage.  Clearly didn’t ask for a refill.  I had the Caprese appetizer, which was bland. Then for my entrée, I tried the chicken parmigiana which wasn’t much better.

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Besides the food being so-so, I realized what bothered me most about both dishes is that there were dry flakes on top of everything. It was as if before every dish went out, they opened up a McCormick’s Seasoning bottle and shook on dry nasty flakes. They literally stuck to my tongue at some points!  Oh well, I was just happy to have some time out with my husband, so the dining experience (complete with a server who was always missing) didn’t bother me that night – although we will not be going back!

The 2nd night out we tried a restaurant we had “won” a gift card to at a school fundraising auction.  I say “won” because it means we were top bidder and basically paid the amount of the gift card – but still.  Anyway, the restaurant is called White Street and when you walk in it has a cool vibe – almost like it’s from another time in history – hard to explain, but I’ll link to it at the end so you can check out their photo gallery.  We were seated immediately and from the first second the service was top notch.  The server was knowledgable, prompt and courteous…management stopped by to check on us…and supporting staff was always on hand to refill a glass or clear things away promptly. They all did it in a way that wasn’t in your face, but available when needed – I love that!

The gift card amount was a little more than what we would usually spend at dinner, so we took a few chances and tried some “adventurous” things.  They have a mixologist there, so I tried a cocktail called “Rothstein” it had black bottle scotch, lustau px sherry, valrhona caraibe chocolate and whipped cream – now you all know I only picked it because it had chocolate in it…but I couldn’t drink it.

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I tried a few sips, hoping to take a liking to it, but it felt like thin mud going down.  Our server noticed I wasn’t drinking it and took it off the bill without our asking – so nice.  I did have a nice glass of white wine and 2 Diet Cokes. The soda came in glass bottles with a cup of ice. They were a solid, standard soda experience – no complaints.

I will remind everyone before going further, that I do not have the most adventurous palate. Having said that, my husband and I decided that this menu has inventive and bold flavors.  We can’t say anything was bad – somethings just may have been too interesting for us, lol.

I started with the pumpkin soup which contained apple cider and nutmeg.  All I tasted was applesauce, which I don’t care for. My husband agreed about the taste, but he didn’t mind it and finished the soup for me.  He had the short rib tacos which were plated nicely and that he enjoyed.  For my entrée I had the gnocchi which came with butternut squash, sage brown butter and ricotta salata – I LOVED IT! I devoured the whole thing. We shared an ice cream sundae (with dark chocolate cake, salt caramel & white chocolate crunch) and loved that too! (Note that we asked for just vanilla ice cream – I believe a chocolate mint flavor was offered as well.)

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Very happy to have had another night out AND to have found a new restaurant to enjoy.

Wishing you all a very HAPPY NEW YEAR! Looking forward to all that’s to come in 2016!

NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Aleo

7 West 20th St., NYC

“fountain Diet Coke”

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White Street

221 West Broadway, NYC

glass bottle Diet Coke

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The Most Magical Place on Earth

beverages, Birthday, Disney, Dream Come True, food allergies, mom, NYC, soda, Uncategorized

I teased about it awhile back – but now I’m here to share the story of our most magical trip!

Back in November (before all the sickness and holidays kicked in and I disappeared) I had been preparing for my youngest daughter’s 2nd birthday.  My daughter and I actually share the same birthday – she is the best birthday buddy!  We had a sweet little party at a local venue. They provided kiddie entertainment (art, music and of course bubbles) and kid food, and I provided the adult beverages.  Of course I learned earlier in the fall that seltzer was necessary, so I brought a bottle, which before I would have never thought of doing!

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We had a great time – but the real fun was actually set to begin just a few minutes AFTER the party.

As I’ve mentioned before, I love Disney.  We actually have a trip planned (in my mind, lol) for a few years from now to visit Walt Disney World Resort when it’s Christmas time.  I’ve always wanted to see Disney decked out in all its holiday glory! A few months back I learned that part of that beautiful Christmas splendor, “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights” would be showcased for the last time this year, and I was sincerely saddened that I would have never seen them.  I tried to just let it go, but a few weeks before our birthday I couldn’t shake the need to see them, so I explained to my dear dear husband how badly I wanted to go (mind you, 1. He HATES going to Disney, 2. We’ve already gone this year & 3. We already have a trip booked for the spring)- and he finally relented and agreed to make my dream come true and go for my birthday!!

We didn’t tell the kids about this trip! As soon as we returned home from my daughter’s party, I started to open my birthday “presents” which wound up being our packed luggage and Disney themed gifts and we surprised them that we were leaving THAT minute!  They didn’t quite understand…they thought we were talking about our Spring trip that they knew about…my son was confused about why I was being given his packed clothes as a gift…it didn’t exactly go as planned…but as soon as we started rushing them saying “Quick put on your shoes we’re going to the airport right now – come on! Come on!” They started to get giddy!

We flew into Orlando and arrived at Disney around 10pm- crazy late for us.  Since we only booked the trip 3 weeks before going this was the most UN-planned I’ve ever been for touring Disney, and it led to a few nice surprises!  We stayed at Disney’s Coronado Springs Resort, which I never would have considered before and was pleasantly surprised. The grounds were beautiful, the food was more than fair and the transportation to the parks was fantastic.  The grounds are rather spread out, but we were happily housed in the Cabana section of the resort right near the featured pool and a bus stop, so it was perfect!  We went straight to our room and went to sleep so we could wake up early and start our surprise adventure!

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We woke up early! 5:45AM- crazy, I know, but I like to get to the Magic Kingdom before it opens at 8AM to see the welcome show and to try to get in as many rides as possible before the crowds show up.  We got up, dressed, ate breakfast and got on the bus!

I know many people can’t relate to this – but I hope there will be a few of you that do…when you enter the Magic Kingdom and round the Town Square and step on to Main Street and see Cinderella’s Castle in the distance, something very special – yes, I’ll say it: magical – comes over you. You are transported to another time and place and in that moment all is well with the whole world.  This trip was especially magical for me and as we reached the end of the beautifully Christmassy decorated Main Street and started walking up the castle ramp I started to tear up with happiness. This trip, more than most, was truly a dream come true. To be able to surprise my kids with a trip like this and see something I’ve always dreamed of, but never knew if I actually would – was just so so special.  I just felt so thankful that we were able to make this trip together as a family.

I could go on and on and on about every tiny detail, which I originally planned to do, but I’ll stick with 3 main things…the lights…a special dinner moment…and of course the soda!

I’ll start in reverse with the soda – and praise above, Disney serves Coke products!  When you stay at a Disney Resort you have the option to buy a refillable mug (can’t refill at the parks, just the resorts) for around $16.  The mug has a chip on it that will activate the soda fountain and is good for your length of stay. You can also buy individual drinks if you don’t want a mug, so you need to decide for yourself what makes the most financial sense to you. I, of course, even thought we would only be there 2 full days, opted for the mug – and I made the most of it!  Whether at the Pepper Market food court or by the featured pool, each soda really was fresh and crisp – no complaints from me.  At the parks I drank either 20oz bottles which were available at snack carts for purchase or fountain sodas at both counter service and full service restaurants.  All were top notch, chilled perfectly and met all expectations. (You can see some examples of the refillable mugs here.)

Next I’ll tell you about another pleasant surprise that came from my last minute planning.  Normally when you plan to stay at a Disney World resort you can make all of your dining reservations 180 days before your arrival, so as you can imagine the pickings were slim when we booked our trip on such short notice.  I settled on an 8:15pm dinner one night – WAAAAAY past my kids’ bedtime – for Minnie’s Holiday Dine at Hollywood & Vine at Disney’s Hollywood Studios.  My 4 year olds and I watched the 7pm Fantasmic show  (Dad and baby headed back to hotel to rest) and then went to dinner.  My daughter and I enjoyed a delicious buffet and my son was treated like a VIP guest!  Chef Angel came to our table to discuss his food allergies and then went back to the kitchen and prepared a scrumptious and safe allergy free meal for my boy.  I tried a little myself and I will tell you – I would pay anything to have someone prepare me such a healthy and tasty dinner! We were one of the last tables seated that night and so by the end of the meal we were basically one of the only parties left. Chef Angel came back out and chatted with us for a while, and I got to hear about his grandson and family. When you are at Disney World it’s amazing how time after time you feel such personal moments – like you’re home – in such a huge place.

(Yes, I have this shirt. You can too..just click on picture and get redirected to amazon.)

Finally we packed up our things and started to head out – that’s when another magical moment happened.  As we walked towards the door, we saw Daisy Duck hand what looked like a smart phone to a Cast Member (Disney’s term for all staff) and motion that she wanted this person to take her picture.  The restaurant had maybe 10 people left in it, and the Cast Member started to take her picture in front of a Christmas tree.  A moment later Donald Duck ran over and started posing, then Mickey and Minnie came…well, Donald didn’t want to lose the spotlight and started photobombing Mickey & Minnie’s pictures.  I am not doing the experience justice here – because we were rolling on the floor laughing.  It was as if we got a special secret glimpse into Daisy, Donald, Mickey & Minnie’s real life after work. I will never forget it!

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OK- So here’s where I’ll just show you the whole reason for the trip. The stunningly breathtaking, magical, surreal “The Osborne Family Spectacle of Dancing Lights”. The lights are set to holiday music and snow falls from above as you walk down the Streets of America in Hollywood Studios.  Again, I am not doing them justice – but I will say it was worth a last minute 2 day trip to Orlando and I will never forget it for as long as I live.  Please enjoy the photos!

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NYC Soda Girl’s Rating

Disney World

Florida

Diet Coke – all shapes and sizes

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Freestyle Take 2!

Best NYC soda, beverages, mom, New York City, NYC, soda, soda fountain, Uncategorized

So my Coca Cola Freestyle App buzzed me again!  This time it was with a Star Wars mix called “Desert Scavenger”. While I have to admit I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a Star Wars movie, I thought maybe I’d give it try as my 2nd Freestyle attempt. Then I saw it was Coke Zero with both orange and vanilla mixed in…that reminded me too much of the Boo Brew I tried back in October which I really didn’t like.  I did want to try the Freestyle machine again, as I felt it defeated me last time, so back to Walgreens I went!

I started the soda mixing process and when I saw this screen on the machine, I opened up the Coca Cola Freestyle App on my phone and selected “Connect”. Then I used my phone to scan the QR code on the bottom right hand corner of the machine’s screen.

 

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And what do you know?!…the mixes I had saved on my phone magically appeared on the soda machine!  I selected a mix called “Hoppin’ On One Foot” which is 50%  Vanilla flavored Root Beer and 50% cherry flavored Diet Coke.  I put some ice in the cup and pressed the push button…no worrying about percentages this time and…

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Viola!  The mix came out no problem!….

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…except for the fact that I hated it. First and second sip both left me with a powdery Necco Wafer taste in my mouth…remember these:

 

 

 

I was so bummed to not like it, which is why I gave it a second sip – but I honestly could feel a filmy coating on my tongue and it was so gross!  Not to say I didn’t like Necco wafers growing up – I did, especially the chocolate ones, but this soda was just not for me.  After my sips I looked back up at the screen and saw this:

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Do I dare give them a try?  We shall see!

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Too Early?

Best NYC soda, beverages, holiday shopping, mom, soda, soda fountain, Uncategorized

My kids are 4, 4 & 2(as of this weekend)…starting to look at ideas for Christmas presents.

IDK – just stumbled upon this…what do you think?

Too Early?

Lol 🙂

#SodaGirlsAndBoyInTraining

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