cruise food

last month i went on a 5 day cruise with my friend, dave. i couldn’t figure out how to post my photos, so i decided to start with posting my dinner food photos. just dinner over the course of 5 days. the rest of the photos will be posted soon, but for now, i keep gravitating towards looking at my food photos….because obviously, i love food!!! we ate dinner in the dining restaurant every night and i took photos of everything i ate. it started with one starter, one entree, and one dessert, then turned into 2 starters, 2 entrees, and 2 desserts. hey, i couldn’t help it-might as well eat it while i can!

more on the cruise and its details later. but for now, time to get hungry.

 

duck.

duck.

 

pot roast.

pot roast.

 

molten chocolate cake and i always had butter pecan ice cream with all my desserts.

molten chocolate cake and i always had butter pecan ice cream with all my desserts.

 

alligator!

alligator!

 

shrimp cocktail.

shrimp cocktail.

 

now that's a piece of meat.

now that’s a piece of meat.

 

some damn good banana cake.

some damn good banana cake.

 

shrimp. with a fantastic marinated cucumber side dish.

shrimp. with a fantastic marinated cucumber side dish.

 

salmon.

salmon.

 

pork tenderloin.

pork tenderloin.

 

coconut cake.

coconut cake.

 

tiramisu, even though i don't like tiramisu.

tiramisu, even though i don’t like tiramisu.

 

lobster bisque.

lobster bisque.

 

frog legs.

frog legs.

 

chateaubriand.

chateaubriand.

 

fish and shrimp.

fish and shrimp.

 

coffee pie? i forgot already. but i'm sure it's a coffee pie.

coffee pie? i forgot already. but i’m sure it’s a coffee pie.

 

tomato mozzarella salad. obviously.

tomato mozzarella salad. obviously.

 

mahi mahi.

mahi mahi.

 

baked alaskan.

baked alaskan.

 

chocolate cake.

chocolate cake.

 

i can’t believe this is the first post i’ve made since the year started. there has been a lot going on since my last post and i have a lot of catching up to do. my instagram is much more up to date than anything else, so follow me and find out what’s been going on!

 

xoxo,

sierralei

happy terrific two

today is my 2 year anniversary of blogging. 

first of all, i want to say thank you for reading my blog. and all of its randomness. 

i have enjoyed meeting as many of you as i can (via blog comments, emails, facebook, instagram, etc…). i have enjoyed reading your blogs. i have enjoyed trying your recipes and experiencing your life through your stories. i have enjoyed reading about ingredients i don’t even like, and have not “enjoyed” reading about your dating woes and disasters. but you are all fantastic writers, and that’s what keeps me reading. 

there’s nothing sophisticated or themed about my blog. it’s just a bunch of random experiences that i want to share. 

and with that said, stay tuned for more random experiences that i will still be sharing!

may you all have a fantastic week. =)

xoxo,

sierra lei

 

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random photos from saipan…august 27-september 28…

august 27, date of arrival. meet cupcake. she was given to me by my friend, tiffany, to keep me company during my stay here on saipan. here, she is sitting next to the first book of the worst trilogy ever made. #bigpurchaseregret

 

august 28. one of my favorite drinks on island.

 

august 28. my mom fried this fish for me for dinner, served with breadfruit. i totally threw it up half an hour later. i felt so bad. it was good but i guess my stomach was still being picky from all the nerves i had before leaving texas. i had trouble eating back then…

 

august 30. while on saipan, i would never suggest getting a steak for dinner. i stick to what the location is known for, and that’s raw fish and island food. i hope that prime rib i had the night before i left texas is enough to hold me over for a year…

 

august 31. it’s a road. by the beach. conveniently called BEACH ROAD.

 

august 31. cupcake and my BFF, 2 ball, hanging out at a japanese restaurant.

 

september 3. first time seeing dragon fruit at my dad’s rotary club meeting.

 

september 3. holy #@$%!!! a case of soda! on SALE!

 

september 5. look at those ships!!

 

september 6. a nicer photo of beach road.

 

september 7. represent.

 

september 7. i stalked a cupcakery called sweet escape one night…

 

september 8. the spa.

 

september 10. cupcakes from sweet escape. peanut butter chocolate chip was obviously my favorite.

 

september 11. my dad’s rotary club celebrated the september birthdays. look at that cake!

 

september 11. my dad blowing out the “candle.”

 

september 12. my dad and i at a ribbon cutting event for the expansion of one of the elementary schools.

 

september 24. got to tour the USS Cowpens, the cruiser. the USS McCampbell is the destroyer next to it.

 

september 28. the MMA fight.

 

that is all for now. or at least for this blog.

enjoy!

xoxo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

the taste of dallas 2012

i had been waiting for the taste of dallas for 2 months.

two.

i have been going to the taste of addison for a few years now. i love it. food vendors, crafts, games, rides, music, all rolled into one weekend out of the year. well, i heard of the taste of dallas back in may, when the taste of addison was going on…and i thought, “hmm…wouldn’t it be BIGGER?” so i researched it, and it sure enough was. it was double to triple the size of taste of addison…and it was going to be held at fair park, which is where the annual state fair of texas is held. for anyone who isn’t familiar with the state fair of texas, it happens to be the biggest state fair in the US. open for a one month period, it attracts over 3 million visitors per year. it’s 80 acres of insane fun and lots of walking.

for your visual pleasure, here is a map of the state fair of texas…and i’ve pretty much walked EVERYWHERE:

anyways, i obviously wasn’t expecting the taste of dallas to be THIS BIG. i mean, i WISH it was, but it was actually held around the automobile building and the centenniel building, which are the two long buildings on each side of the esplanade (the strip of water on the left of the map). the funny thing is that i didn’t even expect anything to be indoors, but i was very glad it was, because i’m sure it was well over 100 degrees yesterday. when i’m having fun i don’t really care if it’s 120 degrees. nothing is going to stop me from eating food.

i went to the taste of dallas with my friends, jennifer and duncan. none of us have been to it before, so it was VERY exciting that we all got to experience it together for the first time. the following pictures i will be posting will have a description or introduction to them because i don’t think those “photo caption” sections will be enough for me to explain my thoughts on each vendor…

so here we go…

on friday, i posted a facebook status about the taste of dallas selling ORANGE MIMOSA and GRAPE SANGRIA winesicles. i even mentioned that i wanted to try them. i don’t drink, i hate wine, and i just can’t take the taste of alcohol, period…but winesicles? they just sound cool! it happened to be the first booth we saw. and duncan had to try an orange mimosa popsicle.

he enjoyed it. and it looked promising.

we couldn’t figure out where the food was because the area was huge, so we went into the automobile building. inside was the wine and spirits event (you basically stand in the longest line ever to show your ID to a guy before you taste a ton of booze in a closed off section), some dallas observer show that required a $20 entrance fee (supposedly you got to taste test foods and vendors in a closed off section, no ID required), some cooking shows open to the public, and a ton of taste-testing vendors that sold anything from fudge to bbq sauces to dips and candy. and doggy treats.

duncan’s first choice of purchase was the chocolate covered bacon.

i didn’t get to try it but i knew that i would have enjoyed it if the bacon was almost burnt. if it was crunchy and dipped in bacon…AND FRESH…it would have tasted great. i like my bacon almost burnt. i even request it like that when i eat out and order it. it wasn’t the best thing duncan tried, but at least he tried it! i like the bacon chocolate from neiman marcus. if you haven’t tried it, do so. i think it’s about $6 a bar and it’s delicious.

we passed a booth of artwork and i wanted the first thing i spotted. a piece with a cardboard robot. it was adorable.

it’s the piece on the top left. i fell in love with it. it was the only picture i took of it, and when we came back around a few hours later, it had been purchased for $80 (“what a steal!” one of the guys said). the artists of this booth are having an art gallery at the end of the month. i will be attending it with my friends. we have our flyers as reminders.

my first purchase was at sugar box. i was about to walk by it until i saw “FRENCH MACARONS.” i have never had a macaron. i have a friend, melina, who posts macaron pictures like crazy on her facebook. that’s how i got interested in them. and then i started reading blogs about them. mostly blogs about having disasters trying to make macarons, which then made me scared to attempt them. but i’ve never even seen macarons in a bakery here in dallas, so i HAD to try them. duncan and i chose pistachio and jennifer had a salted caramel.

okay. a few thoughts. first of all, i’m a little picky with my baked goods. i like to have them how they are normally served. these macarons, along with the cake balls and the mini cupcakes, were stored in a fridge before being served…they’re not normally served out of a fridge in a bakery. so that was already a strike against it. second of all, pistachio is such a tricky flavor and i shouldn’t have had it as my first choice. my sister makes a pistachio cake that’s to die for. every time she makes it, i eat it for breakfast, lunch, and dinner…until it is gone. this pistachio macaron tasted like…i don’t know…sugar. BUT….in the bakery’s defense, this was the taste of dallas…and they weren’t in their kitchen…and i know that this pistachio macaron would taste a thousand times better in their bakery than from a booth, so as my first time having one, i am pleased…and yes, i will be visiting the actually bakery to try their fresh ones. =) of course i got their business card! they have 2 locations in dallas.

remember the dallas observer event that had a $20 admission which i mentioned earlier on? well, we were walking out of the building and i spotted CAKES……………………..

stay tuned.

going back outside, we stopped by the beverage express, where duncan and jennifer grabbed their beverages before we started the real food walk.

here is a view of the booths outside, near the esplanade:

our first booth stop was at the taste of cuba. duncan had never tried fried plantains before. my favorite ones are from the el salvadorian chain of restaurants called glorias. their bananas are sweet and whatever batter they fry them in is awesome because it leaves some crispy, sweet shells around the bananas. back home in saipan, our fried bananas are called MADOYA. they taste almost exactly just like these fried plantains except the bananas are different. they’re both good. i’m not sure how duncan liked these plantains, but to me they were ON POINT. i stole one.

my first food booth was the steak kabob booth. all i read was “winner of…” and i went right to it. if it wins an award or is the first of something or if it’s known for something, i’ll have to try it. at first i didn’t want to try it because i didn’t want the veggies on my kabob stick…but then jennifer pointed out that it was just a stick of meat and i was so there. it was awesome. and the kabobs came right off the grill-i wish all things were THAT FRESH.

my next stop was the cake ball company. the cake ball company has only one location in dallas. i have never heard of them but i always have to try every cake ball that comes my way, so i got their “one of each” bag, which had a margarita lime, red velvet, and brownie cake ball. duncan and jennifer both wanted the margarita lime and i wanted the red velvet, so we each took a bite of something and passed it on. i think we were all looking forward to trying the margarita lime the most…and i think we were all equally disappointed in the flavor the most out of all of them. the cake ball was sprinkled with what has to be sea salt and DANG, was it POTENT. i mean, it was the FIRST thing you tasted when you bit into the cake ball. pure salt. i don’t even know if the cake ball would have been good if the salt wasn’t on it, it was that powerful. the brownie cake ball was just a standard chocolate cake ball…or a fudgy one. it was good for what it was. but the red velvet. yes. that was my favorite. now, red velvet is one of the LEAST favorite of my cake flavors. i mean, red cocoa cake? there’s nothing amazing about that. but there are so many different variations of the flavor, some way more amazing than others. and the funny thing is that of all red velvet flavors i enjoy, they’re mostly in cake balls and cheesecakes. besides, based on the bazillion blogs i’ve read lately, red velvet is so last year. blue velvet is in!

as we reached the end of one part of the strip, we found another winesicle booth…so it was time to try the grape sangria winesicle. i have never had sangria before, but i love grape popsicles…well…i love anything that is grape flavored..

…and i hated the winesicle. big surprise. i loved the popsicle idea and i loved the grape flavor…but it tasted like i chugged a few gulps of wine. so duncan got a grape sangria winesicle and got to compare it to the orange sangria that he had earlier. he said he liked the grape more.

as we were hanging out in the shade and finishing up the winesicles, we noticed dogs everywhere…..which brought us to the centenniel building. i took a picture of the pink sign because that’s my last name. haha. inside the centenniel building was not anything i expected. there were dogs everywhere for the first section, and then there were kids rides and inflated bounce houses and slides and even a rock climbing wall. my nephew would have had a ball in there! and it’s a dang good thing we walked further down because at the end was THE SWEET FACTORY!

so here we have an amazing 9 layered topsy turvy cake made of sweets. i think i gain 1,000 calories every time i look at the picture. and then on the sign i notice it is a “home of…” so obviously i bought a “sweet potato thang.”

it was delicious. i guess i could describe it as a sweet potato square with some crust made out of amazingness. it actually looked like there was a layer in between the sweet potato and the crust, but who cares, it was just more yumminess. i loved it. as far as the bakery name, absolutely edible, i’m not sure. absolutely edible cakes. who’d want a cake that wasn’t? i don’t get it.

a bakery called sugar and frosting had 2 display cakes:

when we got out of the centenniel building, WE FOUND THE FOOD TRUCKSSSSSSSSSSS!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

the dallas food trucks were what i was looking forward to visiting at the taste of dallas. i have heard many good things about them and i have never been able to try them when they are in the arts district downtown. there is a website that lists which trucks are available at the food truck court during the week and of course they are not available on the weekends. i was looking for a korean bbq truck and i found it.

ssahm bbq, pretty much the only truck i wanted to go to. i didn’t even look at the cup cakin’ truck. it didn’t matter anymore. jennifer and i wanted the kimchee fries but i let her get it and i got a korean beef taco. duncan got a beef taco and a chicken taco. i just wanted to TRY IT. and boy, were we in for something. KIMCHEE FRIES. who would have thought that the kimchee fries would be the best thing in the taste of dallas. or one of the best things i have tried this year. as i was ordering the tacos, the guy noticed me taking a picture of their taste of dallas menu.

him: “why don’t you take a picture of the real menu off on the side?”

me: “um, because it’s covered up with the taste of dallas menu.”

him: “dangit.” *reaches under him, grabs a menu, hands it to me*

me: “thanks!….*takes a picture*…………….can i have this?”

him: “of course!”

sweet.

after all the food samples and desserts and meats and this korean goodness, we were stuffed. STUFFED…so we kinda hung out for a bit until i saw……..the statue of liberty.

and more pictures before i jump to another major part of the day….

that strawberry lemonade yogurt was amazing and perfect to finish off our foodathon. we didn’t even put any toppings on it, it was perfect the way it was. i want more. right now.

so…..because it was hot out, we did a small walk-through back inside the automobile building, the first building we walked through. we noticed that the dallas observer section was emptied out…..EXCEPT FOR THE CAKES. jennifer kept telling me to ask if i could go in and take pictures of the cakes but she ended up asking a security guard. one of the cakes looked familiar, but i could only see a little portion of it…….and i was right. when the security guard KINDLY let us come in to take pictures of the cakes, it was THE CAKE GUYS!!!!!!! back in march, i attended a wedding cake competition and got to taste test cakes. in my blog, i tasted cakes, the cake guys were one of the competitors…and FIRST PLACE WINNERS…of the night. in fact, their winning cake was present!

behold…..more cakes from THE CAKE GUYS……

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

amazing cakes, once again. i love the cake guys. i told one of my friends to get her november wedding cake from them and she is. awesome!

 

and that was my sweet ending to the taste of dallas. i took 200 pictures, but if i posted all the pictures i want to, i’d never sleep tonight. it’s already 3:30 a.m. and i’m tired as heck.

the taste of dallas was awesome. i’m glad i could take that off my list of “things to do for the first time in 2012.” i had a BLAST with jennifer and duncan. i hope they did, too. the only thing i regret is not eating more kimchee fries. i don’t think that would have been possible unless i would have stayed there for another 2 hours. i would have, but there was actually a birthday party going on at my house and i couldn’t miss it. i have to post those pictures another day because there are enough in this blog alone.

on our way out, we took more pictures.

 

 

 

hope y’all had a fun weekend!

xoxo,

sierra lei

MARIO BROS. CUPCAKES

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Here’s to another night of cutting fondant with an exacto knife. Buttercream icing was the choice of icing. I tried elevating the cupcakes to make them look like a screen shot but I’m running late for The Taste of Dallas, so I threw this together. The flowers were my favorite, but most time consuming. The Mario and Luigi are collectible dolls because I wasn’t going to take on the headache of making them with fondant. It was a really tight week this week with work and everything. How did I do?

xoxo,
sierra lei

i tasted cakes…

i got sick eating cakes last night. and i loved it.

last night was the 3rd annual platinum wedding cake competition held in dallas, texas. eight bakeries were chosen to compete for “best taste” and “best in show.” the former was chosen by a panel of judges and the latter was chosen by the crowd.

first of all, i really hope i get to attend more of these events. heck, i’ll even attend an elementary school’s cupcake competition if they had one. anything to eat pastries for free! there were also free appetizers and an open bar!  i don’t drink so i sipped on some coca cola classic.

as far as the cakes went…they were all beautiful. gorgeous. now, the flavors…some were a total HIT and some were a complete (dry) MISS. if there is something i absolutely can’t stand, it’s dry cake.

before each cake, i will introduce the bakery and flavor of the cake…and what my taste buds thought of each one.

contestant #1, OPULENT CAKES

Orange Grand Marnier Cake. delicious, and i loved the icing, whatever it was. i had the chance to taste their cake last year at the dallas bridal show i attended in october…they had a 4-layered slice sample that had a different flavor for each layer. might i say that i went nuts. it was one of the most amazing slices of wedding cake i have ever tasted. and i know that wedding cakes don’t usually come with 4-layered slices…but each of those flavors were just amazing. so i was excited that i got to taste test their cake again…and pleased that it was just as delicious. as far as the design goes, i thought it was gorgeous. if you stood in the far back of the room, away from the cakes, your eyes would most likely catch this cake first because of the pop of color. i posted some pictures of some of the cakes that opulent cakes did for the dallas bridal show in october, and if you want to see them, click here to be directed to that blog. i wore a dress made out of PAPER that day! it was fun!

contestant #2, THE CAKE GUYS

White Cake with White Chocolate Mousse and Raspberry Fruit Filling. mmmm, delicious…that raspberry was amazing, that icing was amazing…mmmm….and just to let y’all know, the cake was on a generator that spun it around so you could see the cake from front to back, because it was so highly ornate! i also posted a picture of what the cake looked like as i was putting it in my belly. standing in front of the cake is chef chad fitzgerald of the cake guys, who is on TLC’s Next Great Baker. this cake…or shall i say “cake dress”….DUH, TOOK FIRST PLACE FOR BEST IN SHOW! as they did last year, too…i asked chef chad how long it took to decorate the cake and it took about 14 hours non-stop. amazing! each fondant “flower” with the feathers were applied individually to the bottom part of the cake. craziness!!!

contestant #3, FROSTED PINK CAKE COMPANY

White and Black Cake with Vanilla Buttercream and Raspberry Filling with Chocolate Butter Cream Frosting. unfortunately, i don’t remember how this cake tasted…hm. i feel bad, but then again, in a competition that requires you to stand out, i think it should be important to come out with a flavor that makes a statement. as far as the design goes, i love a white on white presentation, but i could have done without about a quarter or a third of the flowers. my co-worker said that they should have added an extra tier and i agree. this cake was definitely the shortest and smallest out of all the competitors. then again…it was the shortest, smallest, and plainest out of all the competitors. but it was still cute.

contestant #4, SUGAR BEE SWEETS

Vanilla Cake with Honey Banana Jam and Cream Cheese Filling. what a DELICIOUS cake!!!! what a very unexpected burst of flavor! talk about a party in my mouth!!! as far as the design, i loved how clean the cake looked. i also enjoyed how it was the only cake i noticed that i thought of using for other occasions-think of a gentleman having his 50th birthday party. it was very simple, yet very elegant. this design took 3rd place for BEST IN SHOW. 

contestant #5, DELICIOUS CAKES

Vanilla Cake with a mix of Buttercream and Cream Cheese topping, then Raspberry Mouse over Raspberry Liquor Cake with Butter Sauce. umm…there was A LOT going on with this cake flavor…it was an overload of icing. it felt as if i ate a tub of buttercream icing. i looked at the open bar and thought, “i really could use a gallon of water right now to wash this down…” as far as the design goes, i loved the colors of the cake. i thought this was the “busiest” looking cake out of all of them. i didn’t like the tiers that had the covered pearls, especially the bottom tier. it looked unfinished. i loved how “spring” the cake looked, though. 

contestant #6, LEGACY CAKES

White Chocolate Cake with a White Chocolate Ganache and Chambord Buttercream. yummy cake, the white chocolate ganache was on point. i was really enjoying all the white chocolates! it’s not too overwhelming as a flavor. the design was absolutely gorgeous. i especially loved the fondant gathered tiers. in case you don’t notice, this is an 8-tier cake. the base is also a tier! the piping on the gray tiers were just amazing. i don’t know how these chefs do it. i just don’t know. this design took 2nd place for BEST IN SHOW.

contestant #7, CAKE CAROUSEL

Amaretto Cake with Lemon Mousse Filling. this cake was divine. i was very, very upset that chef kelli duffy did not take a win for flavor this evening, i thought this cake flavor was so light and refreshing, definitely something i would have loved to have a HUGE piece of after any type of dinner because it’s not heavy. the cake texture was perfect and the lemon mousse filling was delicious that if i had to eat them separately, i would have really enjoyed each alone. did i mention i was upset that they didn’t take a spot for best flavor? ugh…i loved the design of the cake. i love how clean it looks and how simple it is. the pop of color was pretty and the tiniest details on the cake were flawless.

contestant #8, ESSENCE CAKERY

Cassata Cake with French Mousseline, Raspberry Jam and Cream Cheese Frosting. umm…my co-worker said it best…”it’s like i’m eating cornbread.”  it definitely was the most unusual cake texture out of all the cakes i tasted, but i’m not sure if that was in a good way or in a bad way. i googled “cassata” and based on what i read, i didn’t get that from the cake i had. in fact, i didn’t eat the entire piece. it just didn’t do anything for me, unfortunately. as far as the design went, i loved the blue, quilted tiers. i loved how the design faded into a nice, smooth fondant. i think if the columns were removed, i would have enjoyed the cake design more.

i had a blast tasting all these cakes. i have a blast anywhere there is food, really. haha! but they are usually never pastries! i thought the designs were all very gorgeous, and i commend anyone who does cake because i don’t know if i’d have the patience to do it. i don’t know if i’d be able to work with fondant in large pieces, and i don’t even have a big kitchen to work in, so that would frustrate me. the night was definitely inspiring as far as design and flavor went.

what a yummy night!

xoxo