“Mischief Managed”

Hey everyone, I’m back from vacation and back in the blogosphere! Before we catch up though, I’d just like to thank you guys for reading my blog! This is actually my 50th blog post and I don’t know if I would’ve stuck with this if it wasn’t for all your support. So thank you again. 🙂

My vacation was really great. I got back Monday night, but it was utterly exhausting so it’s taken me awhile to get back to my daily routine. You know how it is after a trip. My friend Daniela and I took a train from Ft. Lauderdale up to Orlando, where we stayed with our friend Brittany, who’s a student at the University of Central Florida. I hadn’t been to Central Florida in a couple years (which is a long time for a Floridian!) so it was great going back. I let my inner-tourist out, especially during our trips to Downtown Disney and the beach.

Sunday was the main event. As some of you may have already guessed from this post’s title, our trip to Orlando wouldn’t have been complete without a visit to the Wizarding World of Harry Potter, a new section at the Islands of Adventure theme park. And it was an absolute blast! It may have been over-crowded and as hot as the surface of the sun (read: heat index of 104° F) but it was so worth it. The rides and the food were great, and all the detailed attention put into the park really show. It was like walking right onto the movie set- maybe even better!

Below are a few of my snapshots from the trip:

First sighting of Hogsmeade!
Hogwarts Express
Entrance to Hogwarts Castle
Because Harry Potter obviously took place in a tropical climate.
Foreboding British Clouds
The Three Broomsticks
Butterbeer!
The Castle at Dusk

If you’re going to be in Central Florida anytime soon, I definitely recommend stopping by Islands of Adventures and seeing the new Harry Potter attractions. I tend to favor Disney when it comes to theme parks, just because I feel a stronger connection to the stories and characters behind the rides, but this just blew me away. Have any of you guys been to the park? And what has everyone been up to? I’d love to catch up with my readers!

~ Sarah

 

Food Glorious Food

FOOD

My summer vacation will be over in less than five weeks. As much as I’m looking forward to going back to New York, I’m dreading leaving the comforts of home. My friends, my family, and, yes, the food!

For you to understand why I love food from home, first we need to discuss food at school. I’m sure you’ve heard horror stories about cafeteria food- I’m here to tell you those stories are true. Sure, meal plans are really exciting at the beginning, because you can eat whatever you want and (usually) when you want. But then you realize that the offerings are really the same things over and over again, and everything is too greasy and salty. It comes to the point when you look forward to the days they’re serving tortellini or chicken burritos, whatever dishes tend to be most edible.

Sodexo- Bane of My Existence

Luckily, I do go to school in New York City, so there is relief when my friends and me venture outside the gates. From pizzerias to Chinese and Mediterranean restaurants, New York has a lot to offer, food-wise. And yet, it’s not enough for my appetite. The problem comes down to this: I have yet to find the perfect Latin restaurant. It needs to be a) delicious, b) cheap, and c) accessible.

I know what you’re thinking, that it shouldn’t be that hard to find a Latin place in a city known for representing all cultures. I’m telling you, I’ve been unsuccessful. Many restaurants are very fashionable and outside of my affordable budget. The more hole-in-the-wall places, which are probably the best, are found in Queens and Brooklyn. That’s a bit of a trek from the northwest Bronx. So yeah, it’s been unsuccessful so far. As it turns out, some of my hometown friends have also felt deprived of Latin food once they left the state. Sad.

The point of all this rambling is that while I was at school, I really started to miss food from home. Not just my mom’s cooking, but the plentiful Latin American cuisine found all over South Florida. I started craving foods I didn’t even know I liked, like lentils. I went from eating rice about five times a week (even more often during summer) to about once a week, and it was never yellow rice.

It turns out that food is really important to me. That’s why I’ve eaten a lot since I’ve been home. Don’t even get me started on Colombian candy either. Below are some of my own snapshots of some great meals. (WARNING: Do not continue if already hungry.)

Cuban bread, rice, beans, and plantains
Black Beans and Ropa Vieja (Shredded Beef)
Arroz con Leche (Rice Pudding)
Biscocho Negro (Cake)

I’ve also started helping cook, something I never did before. Actually, my mom is making some natilla and hojuelas as I write this, but you get my point.

Granted, not actually Latin food, but homemade chicken fried rice beats takeout any day.
Mashed Potatoes
Toasted Bread
Chicken

And now I’m hungry again. Here’s to gaining the Freshman 15 after freshman year. ¡Buen provecho!

~ Sarah