Travel

Congress Hall Hotel in Cape May Review

I have been going down to the jersey shore points for as long as I can remember. My family would always go into Wildwood Crest and stay, and always head over to Cape May for dinner. Now that I’m a parent we still keep those traditions but this time around we find ourselves staying in Cape May.  The beaches and the town is just so delightful and full of history.

One of the places that I have always wanted to stay and visit was Congress Hall.  If you know Cape May then you know that the big yellow building in town facing the ocean is that landmark.  The grounds are beautiful with its gorgeous gardens.  Last week we finally got that opportunity to stay at Congress Hall, and it exceeded all of my expectations.  It’s rich history and comfortable bedding are just some of the great aspects there.


Upon arrival we were greeted by a very friendly staff. We checked in and went to see what our room had to offer. It had 2 queen sized beds, 2 chairs for relaxing, a tv, bathroom with an antique tub and a modern standup shower (and let me tell you it was gorgeous).

After checking in we wanted to take the kids down to do some activities. The hotel offers so many fun family and kid activities. There is also a nice bar outside on the Veranda. After the activities we hit the pool and to my surprise there was a pool staff ready to find a comfortable lounging area for you. They give you fresh towels and set up the layout chair for you.

Afterwards we headed back to the room to wash up and get ready for dinner at the Rusty Nail, which I will do a separate review on for the restaurants we enjoyed.

We left the restaurant and walked back to the hotel on the beach. It was such a nice night that we decided to stay out on the patio which has plenty of rocking chairs to enjoy the scenery. The kids had a ball playing hide and go seek, and we also played the “corn hole” yard game and enjoyed a refreshing beer.


It really was a wonderful night. The next morning we had reservations at The Blue Pig Tavern. This restaurant was inside the hotel which was convenient. They also offer lunch and dinner. I’ll post the review on that with The Rusty Nail.

After breakfast we went to the beach for a while. The service that the Congress Hall offers on the beach was outstanding. They have chairs and umbrellas complementary for all guests. If you want something a little more private or intimate they have cabanas. You can also order food on the beach and have the waiters/waitresses bring it to you.

Our stay was amazing. I can’t wait to return and visit longer. I have always heard amazing things about Congress Hall and they are all true. I have had friends that have had weddings there which look like a dream. If you find yourself in New Jersey or need a place to stay, Congress Hall is a must.  Visit http://www.caperesorts.com/hotels/capemay/congresshall/ for more information.

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Travel

2017 Ford Flex

 

I think we have all seen those boxy cars on the road and wondered if they were comfortable and easy to drive.  Well I had the opportunity to try out the Ford Flex. I was skeptical about this car, but this is where the saying comes in “don’t judge a book by its cover.”  This car was fantastic. It felt like an SUV because of its roomie space and drove like a standard car. I have driven a lot of vehicles and I have to say this is by far one of the most comfortable cars to drive on a trip. The only problem I had was that it was an odd car to park, but that could be because I’m not used to the shape.  I think this is something that goes away after time. 

The Ford Flex was perfect for our little family. Especially when the kids didn’t want to sit next each other it had a 3rd row fitting up to 6 people. 
Safety: 
Standard safety features for all 2017 Ford Flex models include antilock brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, emergency telematics via a paired cellphone, and Ford’s MyKey system that monitors the vehicle and allows owners to set certain limitations and alerts for valets and teen drivers.
Optional inflatable second-row seat belts are available for all Flex trims. A blind-spot monitoring system with rear cross-traffic alert is available on the SEL and standard on the Limited. Paired with the Limited’s optional adaptive cruise control is a forward collision warning system that pre-charges the brakes for maximum responsiveness but does not brake automatically like some rival systems.
In crash testing conducted by the Institute for Highway Safety, the Flex earned the top score of Good in the moderate-overlap front-impact, side-impact, roof strength and head restraint (whiplash protection) tests. It received the second-best score of Acceptable in the small-overlap front-impact test.

Performance & MPG

The standard engine for all 2017 Ford Flex models is a 3.5-liter V6 that produces 287 horsepower and 254 pound-feet of torque. A six-speed automatic transmission sends power to the front wheels by default, but all-wheel drive is an option for SEL and Limited trims. Though EPA fuel economy estimates are not yet available for the 2017, we don’t expect them to change from last year. The 2016 Flex with this engine was estimated to return 19 mpg combined (16 city/23 highway) for the front-wheel-drive model and 18 mpg combined (16 city/22 highway) with all-wheel drive.

The Limited trim is eligible for the optional turbocharged 3.5-liter V6 that increases output to a heady 365 hp and 350 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive is standard with this engine, as are steering-wheel-mounted shift paddles. In Edmunds testing, an all-wheel-drive EcoBoost Flex Limited accelerated to 60 mph in 6.2 seconds, a quick performance for a mainstream three-row crossover. Fuel economy was downgraded slightly to 17 mpg combined (15 city/21 highway).

Properly equipped, the Flex can tow up to 4,500 pounds, regardless of engine choice. 

Visit Ford.com for more information

 

Travel

Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom Culinary Series

I remember as a child going to a lot of theme parks and carnivals during summer break.  My parents would pack food and we would get in the car and make some amazing memories.  I was excited when I got to partner up with Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom on this adventure.  My kids have never been to Dorney so this was bound to be a good time.  We decide to surprise the kids on the way there. 

Once I spilled the beans they kids were ecstatic.  Upon arrival we got our tickets and map.  My kids are 7 and 8.  My daughter has always loved roller coasters and thrill rides.  My son on the other hand has always been scared.  But that day it was different.  Out of nowhere he wanted to try something thrilling.  They are too small for the big roller coasters but Dorney Park has the perfect area for littler ones that are just as fun for them.  We headed to Planet Snoopy and our kids enjoyed every ride there.  My son even went on his first little roller coaster called Woodstock’s Express, which I have to say was a lot of fun and had a little thrill to it.  After that my son was set on going on everything.  The fear just like that went away.  It’s amazing how fast we as adults forget those moments as a child. The thrill of just enjoying the little things.  After going on a couple other rides throughout the park we decided to eat some food. 
New this summer, Dorney Park & Wildwater Kingdom is happy to host the Summer Culinary Series!  Served in their brand new Parkside Pavilion catering facility. They offer an all you can eat buffet with different food themes throughout July and August.  Here are the themes and prices for the remaining weeks, and also other foods throughout the park.

July 29-30 & August 5-6, 2017
Hawaiian Luau: Featuring a pig roast, pulled BBQ chicken and pork served with Hawaiian BBQ sauce. Includes Hawaiian chili meatballs, smoked corn, mango pineapple slaw and more.

August 12-13 & 19-20, 2017
Summer Clambake: Includes one clambake bag with clams, mussels, shrimp, corn, potatoes and sausage. Plus all you can eat hamburgers and hot dogs.

Season passholders only pay $12 per person for each of the Summer Culinary Series events. Plus if you already have an All-Season Dining Plan, you can trade one of your daily credits in for only $5! 

Regular guests pay $20 while kids and seniors are $5.00. 

A special combo admission ticket and Culinary Series meal ticket is $53.

The menu inside Parkside Pavilion is served from 5:30 to 8:00 pm each day of the event.

• Dorney Park will be providing guests with a number of new and unique dining experiences to enjoy this summer, including Papa Luigi – a new addition to our offerings for the 2017 season.  It will serve fresh dough pizza made with fresh toppings and Philly Cheesesteaks.  Other food offerings include:
o Smokehouse BBQ: Looking for a can’t-miss dining experience? Try Smokehouse Barbecue where you can find slow-smoked meats and traditional sides for the best BBQ dinner around!
o Burger Barn: Serving up the double cheeseburger, the Burger Barn will have you covered if you are looking for a juicy burger!
o Chicken Shack: Come for your chicken fixing! This location offers everything chicken! Serving chicken fingers, chicken & shrimp, grilled chicken sandwiches, boneless chicken wings, chicken caesar salad and beverages.
o Chickie’s & Pete’s: Home of the World Famous Crabfries®! Stop in and enjoy Crabfries® or an order of Crabby Sweets® while catching your favorite sports on TV.
o Monster Grille: Have a monster of an appetite? Then be sure to stop by the Monster Grille for a Philly style cheese steak.

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All and all we had an amazing time making memories that will last us a life time. For more information visit https://www.dorneypark.com/

DISCLOSURE: This is a partnership with Blog Meets Brand and Cedar Fair. Opinions are my own. 
A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

Monsoon Indian Restaurant

I have been on the hunt for a delicious Indian restaurant for the past 2 years.  I hadn’t had much luck, but recently that has changed.  When I was invited to Monsoon in Cherry Hill, NJ it more than met my expectations for fine cuisine.  The restaurant is located on the corner of a cute little shopping center. During the summer months they have outside seating on the patio, and inside the décor is contemporary with a little Indian flare.  They also offer a private room for parties or business meeting dining.

As we sat down and started to browse the menu, the options were endless with delicious choices.  The owner, Ray, was kind enough to chat with us about the different dishes.  I told him I loved spicy food, and he was quick to mention how authentic Indian food is not typically “spicy,” but flavorful with “spices.”  There are plenty of dishes that don’t have any heat at all, but will leave the taste buds wanting more.  Many people hesitate trying different foods because they don’t know this.
We didn’t know what to go for on the menu, so we left the options up to Ray and I’m so glad we did.   My kids also enjoyed the experience and had their very own favorites dishes.  They are 7 and 8 years old, so if they are trying it out and loving it, then you should too.  Below you will find a list of all the dishes we got to try.
Hands down this place has now become my go to place.  We will be returning soon.  If you are new to Indian food or love it, this is the place for you.  It will not disappoint.
Let’s start with the appetizers.
SAMOSA (These have always been a favorite of mine, they also make the dough in house fresh everyday. This is a plus in my book)

Crisp pastry stuffed with spiced peas and potatoes

EGGPLANT CHATT (This was the families absolute favorite dish, so delicious)
Eggplant wafers topped with spiced onions, tomatoes and a perfect blend of sauces.
SALMON RAITA ( I could have had this dish as a main dish, very flavorful)
Salmon with yogurt and mellow spices.
Moving on to the main courses.

LAMB ROGANJOSH (The lamb was seriously melting in my mouth and the spices were on point)

Lamb curry cooked with cardamom

BUTTER CHICKEN ( Ray suggested this dish for the kids and boy was he right the kids loved it)

Tandoori chicken simmered in a creamy tomato gravy

MALAI KOFTA (these marvelous clouds were packed with amazing flavor)

Vegetable dumplings stuffed with fresh basil and herbs

SAAG PANEER (if you love cream of spinach this side dish will take it to the next level. The creaminess and flavor was out of this world)

Cubes of paneer in an herb enriched creamed spinach

We also received some NAAN bread which I’ve only tried plain. But Monsoon kicks it up with different flavors. My daughter could have eaten the whole thing.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

ROSEMARY NAAN 

GARLIC NAAN 

ONION NAAN (this was my favorite)

KASHMIRI NAAN stuffed with dried fruits and nuts

And of course we can’t end an amazing meal with dessert. At this

point I was so stuffed, but I knew I wanted to try the desserts.

GULAB JAMUN (full of flavor, cardamom is so under used and I love how they incorporated it into this dessert)

Scrumptious deeper fried milk and flour drops soaked in a warm rose water syrup infused with cardamom seeds

ORANGE KULFI (The kids were

obsessed with this dessert. Perfect for the summer time)

A popular Indian style ice cream made with fresh oranges.

GAZAR HALWA (Carrot pudding but it also reminded me of a deconstructed carrot cake)

Made with milk and carrot sprinkled with nuts and sweet raisins

RASMALAI (This dessert was very delightful. If your not into something so sweet this is perfect)

Delicate sponge cheese patties, smothered in a pistachio, cardamom seeds and saffron cream

KHEER ( I grew up eating rice pudding but the flavors in this pudding were outstanding)

Made with rice and milk, flavored with cardamom, raisins, saffron, cashews, pistachios and almonds
My mouth is actually watering while I finish this post and share this experience with you. I also forgot to mention its a BYOB which is a plus. For more information visit http://monsoonindiancuisine.com/
Travel

2017 AMG C43 Cabriolet Mercedes Benz

 

Mercedes Benz has been on the top of my list of cars to try.  It met all of my expectations from the sleek exterior look to the stylish interior.  I have been reviewing different car brands now for a couple of years, and some brands I feel spend more time on making the exterior eye catching, but not focusing on the interior.  Mercedes Benz has exceeded on both. 

The 2017 C43 Cabriolet isn’t your typical sporty car.  It also has a luxury feel to it.  While I had the vehicle, the family and I took on a trip up to the mountains.  This is about a two hour drive from where we live.  Now mind you my kids are 7 and 8.  The backseat of the C43 had the perfect amount of space for a comfortable cruise.  The ride was absolutely smooth on those twists and turns up the mountain.  The C43 will do 0-60 in 4.6 seconds which is impressive.
Prior to the mountain venture, I headed into the city for a fantastic event with some great chefs and well known people.  As I pulled up to valet, heads turned to notice the convertible top returning to it’s closed position.  Another woman noticed and asked what model it was, because she was in the market for something sporty that exhibited class.  If you’re in the market for something like that, then this is the perfect vehicle. 
It is powered by a 3.0-liter V-6 twin-turbo engine that delivers 362 hp and 384 lb-ft of torque.  Top speed is electronically limited to 155 mph.  The C43 has five drive modes, and the AMG Ride Control sport suspension with adaptive variable damping offers three stages that can be selected via a button by the driver. All these features at the touch of your finger tips.  
Facts:
  • First-ever C-Class convertible
  • C300 and Mercedes-AMG C43 variants
  • Fabric, multi-layer, acoustic, power soft top
  • Standard AirScarf neck-warming system
  • Standard heat-reflective leather seats
  • Climate system adjusts to top position
Also here are some features:
Engine Auto Stop-Start Feature
Front And Rear Anti-Roll Bars
Rain Detecting Variable Intermittent Wipers w/Heated Jets And Reservoir
Chrome Grille
Power Convertible Top w/Lining, Glass Rear Window, Automatic Roll-Over Protection and Manual Wind Blocker
Radio: Audio 20 – Radio w/Single CD & Bluetooth -inc: two USB ports, Bluetooth technology for handsfree phone use and audio streaming and central controller w/7″ high-mounted tablet-style color display
8 Speakers
Heated Front Seats
Power Passenger Seat w/Memory -inc: adjustable thigh support
Collision Prevention Assist Plus Forward Collision
Blind Spot Assist Blind Spot Sensor
Back-Up Camera
Driver And Passenger Knee Airbag
These are just a few of the endless features the C43 has to offer. 
MPG is City 19 and highway 26. All in all I give the 2017 AMG C43 a 9.5 out of 10. For more information visit https://www.mbusa.com/mercedes/index
Checkout video below

Food!! · Travel

Sabbia on the Roof at Eataly NYC

If there’s one place you can call foodie heaven, it’s Eataly New York Flatiron.  It was my first time visiting, and I did not want to leave.  This place is huge, and has everything you want under one roof.  Speaking of roof, we enjoyed a delicious dinner on the rooftop Sabbia

I don’t even know where to start with this delicious restaurant.  Sabbia is a laid back dining experience that provides you with a summer feel. 
Sabbia is La Birreria’s summer pop-up concept, and transports one from the bustling streets of Flatiron, New York City to the Italian seaside. The rooftop is enclosed with clear glass that opens up on those beautiful summer days. 
As we arrived we were greeted with a very accommodating hostess.  The menu had so many amazing choices and the wine/cocktail/beer list was on point.  The hubby and I decided to order some red wine.  My kids don’t drink soda but that night we figured that they could have a treat and enjoy some Italian soda.  Our waiter Kevin was super friendly and gave us some recommendations on what to order. 
We started off with some SALUMI-FORMAGGI platter (cheese and salami), INSALATA D’ORZO E TONNATO (Orzo with Roasted Tomatoes, Capers, Grilled Onions, Artichoke & Preserved Tuna Based Sauce) and FRITTO MISTO ALLA LIGURE Assorted Fried Seafood Ligurian Style.  This was the perfect starter and I couldn’t stop eating it.  Even my kids were in on all the delicious cheeses and seafood. 
Main course was the perfect amount after enjoying all of the appetizers. I went with the POLPO ALLA PLANCHA S(eared Octopus with Chickpea, Almonds, Marinated Peppers & Taggiasca Olives), the hubby enjoyed some PESCE SPADA CON CIAMBOTTA (Grilled Sword fish with Braised Vegetables in a Tomato Broth) which he couldn’t stop raving about, and finally the kids both wanted steak so they had TAGLIATA DI MANZO (Grilled Wagyu Bohemian Steak with Arugula & Parmigiano Reggiano) and loved every bite. 
At this point we were feeling pretty satisfied, but of course you can’t finish a fantastic dinner and not have some dessert.  The kids both shared gelato and sorbetti flavors of Cioccolato and Limone, and the hubby and I shared a chocolate bunet, which was out of this world delicious. 
Overall my experience at Sabbia was amazing.  I’ll definitely be returning there the next time I’m in NYC.
Here are some of their upcoming events:
 

ROSEì ON THE ROOF | Thursday, May 25, 8-11 p.m.

Uncork summer with this all-access roseì event. The $95 General Admission tickets include an unlimited tasting of more than 30 featured roseì wines, dance floor with live DJ pumping the best summer beats, and unlimited access to beach-inspired Southern Italian bites. For $40 more, enjoy the VIP Package (limited availability) that includes everything in General Admission plus access to the event an hour early, a pink-themed swag bag for hitting the beach, and special one-time Wine Club access with three bottles of roseì curated by Eataly’s wine specialists. Tickets available at Eataly.com.

COCKTAIL TAKEOVERS | Monthly, After-hours

Monthly cocktail takeovers featuring partnerships with local cocktail bars showing off their mixed drinks. These speakeasy-type takeovers will be held after-hours monthly, with delicious food to match. Starting May 26.

PERONI CINEMA NIGHTS | Monthly at Midnight

Rooftop movie nights featuring housemade popcorn (think: Cacio e Pepe popcorn) and drinks. Starting in June.

 SABBIA will be open through October. The current hours are 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. daily. From May 15 onward, the hours will be MondaySunday 11:30 a.m.-midnight, and Sunday 11:30 a.m.-11 p.m. Reservations aren’t necessary but are available on Open Table.

About Eataly

Eataly is a bustling Italian marketplace featuring quality products from Italy’s many regions, alongside artisan creations from local producers. Guests are invited to “Eat, Shop, and Learn” about Italian culture and cuisine through the market, restaurants, cafeìs, guided tours, live demos, and classes.

 

Founded by Oscar Farinetti, Eataly opened its first location in Torino, Italy in 2007. Three years later, his son, Eataly U.S.A. CEO Nicola Farinetti brought the concept to the U.S. opening a flagship store in New York’s Flatiron neighborhood. With the help of their partners, Joe Bastianich, Lidia Bastianich, Mario Batali, Adam Saper, and Alex Saper, Eataly’s U.S. presence has grown to include a Chicago location, a second New York location in Lower Manhattan, and a Boston location.

 At Eataly, the saying goes, “We cook what we sell, and we sell what we cook.” The unique format of the store invites guests to taste authentic dishes in the restaurants, find the same ingredients in the marketplace, and then discover how to recreate the recipes at home. Dining options at Eataly range from breakfast to lunch, dinner and dessert, including casual take-away choices as well as more refined sit-down experiences. Skilled artisans are at Eataly 24 hours a day making fresh bread, mozzarella, pasta, gelato, and more, for Eataly’s restaurants and retail

Travel

2017 Mazda CX-9

The last 2 weeks have been insanely busy.  We traveled to New York City and had an amazing time.  Traveling with kids of course you always want comfort and space.  We were lucky enough to have the 2017 Mazda CX-9 for this trip.  It made two hours feel like half that amount of time.  Traveling in NYC can sometimes be a headache dealing with the traffic, but it wasn’t too bad this time around because we went on a Sunday and stayed overnight.  After NYC we came back to reality.
Heading to dance class with my daughter, and baseball with my son is only part of the back and forth we do on a weekly basis.  Having the CX-9 was great because of all the storage space for those dance and baseball bags.  Carpooling for my daughter and some of her dance friends worked out great too because the CX-9 has 3 rows of seating.  The sunroof was the perfect touch, since it was quite warm on a couple of those days.
Saying goodbye to the CX-9 was tough.  I’m such a fan of SUVs and had to go back to a mini van, which isn’t bad but the CX-9 provided us with that mini van accommodation and relaxing feel.
Some awesome features on the 2017 CX-9 include:
LED Headlights with auto off and auto height control
LED Daytime Running Lights
LED Combination taillights
Three-zone automatic climate control with pollen filter (which was great for my son who has allergies)
Front door courtesy lamps
Remote keyless illuminated entry system with “answer back” feature
Push Button Start
Front door pocket illumination
Tilt & telescopic steering column
12-volt power outlets (1 front/1 cargo area)
Rear window defogger with timer
7-passenger seating capacity
2nd-row seats with tilt and slide 3rd-row access
And so much more. Visit https://www.mazdausa.com/ for more information. 
A Platter of Thoughts · Food!! · Travel

Taste of the Nation NYC

New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry, the signature tasting event featuring NYC’s best chefs, sommeliers and mixologists, takes place Monday, April 24, on the East River Waterfront at the stunning 180 Maiden Lane. The evening is led by Honorary Chair Danny Meyer (Union Square Hospitality Group) along with Culinary Co-Chairs Anita Lo (Annisa) and Bryce Schuman (Betony), and Host Committee members Eli Sussman (Samesa), Chris Jaeckle (Uma Temakeria), William Elliot (Maison Premiere and Sauvage), Jack Logue (Betony), Flynn McGarry (Eureka) and Oskar Kostecki (Union Square Wines). United for a cause, these and other culinary tastemakers lend their talent and time to ensure a future where every child in this country gets the healthy food they need, every day. One hundred percent of proceeds from the event benefit No Kid Hungry’s work to end childhood hunger in America.

Taste of the Nation 2017 will feature more than 40 of the city’s most popular eateries, offering guests bite-size fare, craft cocktails and inventive desserts. Participating restaurants and bars include Lalito, Union Square Cafe, Atoboy, Massoni, Pig Bleecker, Dead Rabbit, Black Tail, Pig & Khao and Daily Provisions, among others (full list below).

 

This year, Taste of the Nation is introducing new special culinary programming such as The Candy Carnival featuring a colorful selection of local, handmade candies and cotton candy making from Brooklyn Floss. The event is also bringing back favorites from previous years such as The Donut Derby with creations from the city’s best donut shops and the always-popular Rosé Garden.

In support of No Kid Hungry, alt-rock chart topping band The Strumbellas will perform a special acoustic set during the event, presented by Citi.  Listen to their new single “Young & Wild” here.

Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry tickets start at $250. For additional information and to purchase tickets, please visit: https://ce.nokidhungry.org/events/nyc-taste-nation

Every Kid, Healthy Food, Every Day

One in six children in this country struggles with hunger, including 22% of children in New York. No Kid Hungry is ending childhood hunger in this nation by ensuring that kids start the day with a nutritious breakfast in the classroom, have access to the food they need in the summer, and families learn the skills they need to shop and cook on a budget. Since the campaign’s launch, No Kid Hungry and its partners have connected kids facing hunger to more than 500 million meals.

In 2016, New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry raised enough to help feed children in need more than one million healthy meals. Local beneficiaries include: City Harvest, Hunger Solutions NY, Food Bank for New York City and Hunger Free America.

New York City’s Taste of the Nation for No Kid Hungry is supported by national presenting sponsors Citi and Sysco®, national media sponsor Food Network, national sponsors OpenTable and The Glenlivet, and local sponsors Bazzini, Empire City Casino, Fenton Models, Lifeway, Loacker USA, Moishe’s Moving and Storage, Nobletree, Prosciutto di Parma, PTG, Shawmut Design and Construction, S. Pellegrino, Tito’s, TouchBistro, Virgil Kaine and Zwilling J.A. Henckles.

The best eateries in the New York City area will be represented at the event, including: 21 Greenpoint, A&E Supply Co., Acme, American Cut, Atoboy, Bay Kitchen Bar, Bessou, Blacktail, Cafe Clover, Cafe2 & Terrace5 at MoMA, Cienfuegos, CUT, Daily Provisions, Davio’s, Dead Rabbit, DOE Mobile Meals Truck, El Atoradero, Fifty, Finback Brewing, Freek’s Mill, Fresh Kills, Huertas, Karasu, Lalito, La New Yorkina, Le Compagnie, Le District, Maialino, Maison Premiere, Marta, Maialino, Massoni, Oddfellows Ice Cream, Pig & Khao, Pig Bleeker, Samesa, Talde Brooklyn, The Jones, The Vnyl, Union Square Cafe , Union Square Events, Up & Up,

Travel

2017 Hyundai Elantra

As I mentioned in my previous, post the family and I went away to the beautiful Kalahari.  This trip was about 2 hours from our house, and traveling with kids you want comfort in a vehicle.  I had the opportunity to take the 2017 Hyundai Elantra on the road for this trip. It’s a small compact car, but was actually comfortable. The passenger space in the back was small but comfortable and standard.  This car is perfect for a couple that is just starting out or maybe for a college graduate. 

Pros: 
  • Quiet, comfortable cabin, especially at highway speeds
  • Lots of available technology and safety features
  • Classy and thoughtfully laid-out interior design
Cons:
  • Underwhelming performance from base engine
  • Dual-clutch transmission feels clunky during slow-speed acceleration 
  • More steering effort required than in most cars in this class
  • Limited cabin space 

Luxury car technology

Elantra is the compact sedan with just about every popular luxury and technology feature. Available features include: Android Auto™, Apple CarPlay™, navigation system with 8-inch touchscreen with segment-first Clari-Fi™ Music Restoration Technology and rearview camera, plus Smart Cruise Control, just to name a few.

Safety is key, especially being a parent of 2 little ones. The Elantra has Seven airbags including a driver’s knee airbag. The list of advanced safety features is long and impressive, and includes available Blind Spot Detection and Automatic Emergency Braking with segment-first Pedestrian Detection—a feature not offered on most compact class sedans.

Thanks at Driveshop for providing me with the opportunity. Visit https://www.hyundaiusa.com/ for more information.  

Food!! · Travel

Kalahari Waterpark Resort

Last month my family and I got invited to the most amazing resort, Kalahari here in Pennsylvania. Kalahari Resorts and Conventions isn’t your typical resort – its authentically African theme is designed to bring families together, and that isn’t just a marketing ploy.  The spirit of Africa is reflected in every aspect of Kalahari – from the handpicked Rwandan coffee beans that are brewed on-property (if you love coffee you will enjoy this delicious cup), handcrafted artwork on the convention center walls, furniture placed in guest rooms, recorded music from the streets of Cape Town echoing in the resorts, and original crafts for guest souvenirs.  It’s all part of Kalahari’s commitment to bring guests a beyond-expectations experience.  Below you will find some great information.

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Kalahari Resort – Pocono Mountains

  • Guest rooms and suites: nearly 1,000 rooms including one-, two- and three and five bedroom suites that can accommodate up to 22 guests 
  • America’s Largest Indoor waterpark: 220,000 sq. ft. 
  • Outdoor pool, large sundeck for relaxing, indoor/outdoor whirlpools and swim-up bar
  • Family Entertainment Center: 40,000 square feet with dry activities such as mini-bowling, cutting-edge arcade games, a 5-D theater and black light mini golf. 
  • The Arena – premier free-roam virtual reality experience on the East Coast
  • Gorilla Grove Treetop Outdoor Aerial Adventure Park
  • On-site dining experiences: 
    • Double Cut Charcoal Grill Liquor Bar:  Kalahari’s signature steak house experience featuring: premium cuts of meat, craft cocktails, family style sides and more 
    • Sortino’s Italian Kitchen: A new-aged, red-sauced restaurant where old-school Italian cuisine meets the modern age. The menu will include: wood-fired pizza, Italian family dining, a large variety of wines and more. 
    • Marrakesh Market: Grab and go convenience e bazaar style shopping, unique gifts, authentic-African items and everyday needs
    • Brandberg:  A classic tavern with a modern twist, Brandberg is an oasis in the Kalahari – a refuge for adults, a welcoming environment for families, and a destination for anyone in search of a distinctive dining and drinking experience 
  • Amenities: full-service Spa Kalahari and Salon, 6,000 square-feet of unique retail shops, a fully equipped fitness center
  • Convention Center:  100,000 sq. ft. with 65,000 square feet of flexible meeting space
I was impressed with all the restaurant options that Kalahari had to offer. Every restaurant is family friendly. They also offer breakfast with the Kalahari characters, which is an all you can eat sit down breakfast. 
For dinner we went over to Double Cut Charcoal Grill/Liquor Bar. Transport into our contemporary steakhouse, featuring a menu with robust selections cooked over hot coals including steak, seafood, chops, chicken and vegetables. One quality many items share: the distinctive flavor imparted by Double Cut’s charcoal grill.

The décor is modern, but not pretentious. The ambiance is sophisticated and multisensory, yet comfortable. The staff is educated, but not showy. The uniforms are unique, but classically tasteful. Welcome to Double Cut. 

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We started off our dinner with some fantastic wine and black pepper calamari. Our waitress was super helpful bringing out the different cuts of meat that Double cut has to offer. I ordered filet mignon with jumbo shrimp scampi and garlic mashed potatoes (my mouth is actually watering, thinking about it). The hubby ordered a NY strip with madiera mushrooms and charred asparagus with hollandaise sauce. Kids enjoyed some pasta, one with butter sauce and one with marinara.  Finishing off dinner we enjoyed some aged bourbon and creme brûlée.  I would recommend Double Cut to any steak lover. 
In addition to the amazing décor and dining experiences, the entertainment level is fun for all ages.  We had a blast with the kids at their massive indoor water park, had fun at the large arcade where you can win prizes and play some fun games, and my husband even got to try a new Virtual Reality experience in their “Arena.”  You can read his review of that here: https://scryptcomics.wordpress.com/2017/03/21/a-whole-new-experience/.  There’s lots of fun for all ages, and I hope to return again soon.
Visit https://www.kalahariresorts.com/pennsylvania for more information and to book your next family getaway