2011...Here I Come

I'd say this year was pretty much a 50/50 split of what I wished had happened. I can honestly say I enjoyed January-July much more than August-December. I was with spending time with family, friends, loving life, and making big plans.

As of today, I've lived here in Florida for 142 days. I know that this experience was different than anything I've ever done and ever will do. That does not mean I had the time of my life here or would wish it on anyone. I'm happy I did this internship. I learned a lot while I was here about myself, work, living alone, etc. That being said, I can't wait to go home and never come back to Florida to live here ever again. Vacation? Yes please. Living here permanently? Hell no.

In her blog, my friend Lauren talks about how our hometown isn't a good fit for her and it makes sense. She and a small town in New Jersey make no sense when put together. That girl belongs in a big city along with lots of people with big plans. Honestly, where we come from doesn't have too much of that. I respect her for that and I agree.

Lauren - if you think Jersey is bad, never come to Central Florida. This place is more boring and small minded than any place I've ever lived. So many people just seem to be so okay with just living life in this one place for their whole life and never changing. It makes me crazy. I'm counting the days to go home and see my friends. I want this year to make up for everything I feel like I missed out on this year while I spent this much time in Florida. So this is my goal.

I don't believe in New Year's resolutions. I feel like people rarely stick to them and it's not hard to see why. At least for me, it's way too difficult to say something cliche like "This year, I'm going to blah blah blah" whatever, and stick to it. Let's be honest. Life gets in the way and you start to slip on your resolution. I feel like most people don't make it longer than a couple of months.

One year (now bear with me, I forget if this was a New Year's resolution or just a change I wanted to make in general..it's the same concept) I tried to stop saying "like" so much in the wrong context. You know..."I was talking to her and I was like 'no way!' and she was like 'yep. better believe it.'" I even recruited my friends to remind me when I had misspoken and guess what? It still didn't work out.

So this year, I'm more motivated than ever to do a New Year's resolution my way. The concept is a combination of a bucket list, the '101 things to do before you graduate' list that I hang in my dorm room every year, and inspiration from my friend Hana's blog. Basically what I'm going to do is make a list of things I want to accomplish in 2011. Some will be serious, some will be fun, but basically what I want to accomplish is to enjoy 2011 as much as I possibly can and make sure I can look back on it a year from today and think that I made the most of my time.

I'm going to be reaching out to my friends & family in the next couple days to formulate my list and then I'll put it up here once I have a least a couple solid ideas.

So here goes nothing. 2011, here I come.

2011 list (so far):
1. read a book i would normally have no interest in
2. make a craft that uses more than paper, glue, and 20 minutes
3. volunteer more
4. learn spanish
5. learn guitar
6. eat at at least 3 restuarants featured on diners, drive ins, and dives
7. live by this mantra
8. finish a 1,000 piece jigsaw puzzle with friends. (i know i already started this one and i'm just now adding it...i don't care. still a goal)


Food & Wine Festival :)

It's been a good couple of weeks since I last updated. I've been working and exploring a little bit more. The 15th Annual Food & Wine Festival began in October and it's still going strong. Here's a video I found on the Disney Parks Blog that tells a little bit about the festival:

It's really a cool place to try foods from around the world and not spend big bucks while doing it. So far at the festival, I've tried foods from...

Puerto Rico. This is the Medianoche Sandwich. From what I understand, it's the Puerto Rican equivalent of a hoagie. The bread is what makes it a medianoche sandwich, not the ingredients inside. That changes along with whoever makes the sandwich. All I know is that it was delicious. Next time I go back, I might get another one.

In PR I also tried that Asopao De Pollo (chicken soup with rice), which I have to admit, I really disliked. After consulting with Gerardo, I found out that the olives that were in this soup are not always there, and that I should probably give it another chance when made properly.

Next, I tried that Flavors of Africa platter from South Africa. It included some bread, various sauces that originated in the region, as well as salad. I thought everything on here was delicious, especially the green sauce. Unfortunately they do not give much of a description past the title, so I have no idea what was it in. I'll have to look it up. Overall though, I would recommend stopping at South Africa.

In Greece I tried the Spanakopita. I already knew I liked spanakopita thanks to the Harvest Diner, but was craving it, so I got it here as well. Of course, it was very good, but oddly enough, I think I might prefer the diner version more.

I went to South Korea and tried the Lettuce Wraps with Roast Pork and Kimchi Slaw (as seen in the video above!). By description (and frankly, by looks as well) this is something I never really thought I would like. I tried it anyway, and so far, it's ended up being one of my favorite dishes at the festival!

This next dish may have been my favorite one of all. It's called Tuna Sensation and you can find it in Japan. The ingredients are simply tuna, avacado, and soy sauce. ABSOLUTELY DELICIOUS.

Next I stopped by Austailia for the Seared Barramundi with Blistered Cherry Tomatoes, Arugula, and Lemon Oil. I had never had barramundi before and was a bit nervous, but it was great (as was the arugula salad with tomatoes)!

My next stop was Belgium (a country that is new to the F&W Festival this year!), where I tried the Steamed Mussels with Roasted Garlic Cream. They were good, but nothing to rave too much about. The bread was a bit hard and I thought there was way too much sauce on the mussels, but that's just my opinion.

Next was quite possibly the best dessert I've had in Disney World so far (but then again, I have to to try the Zebra Domes from my restaurant, which are rumored to be the best dessert in the world basically). I've gotten it twice at the Food & Wine Festival so far: once with Gerardo, and once a couple days after when I couldn't resist while walking by the Ireland stand. It's a Warm Chocolate Lava Cake with Baileys Irish Cream Ganache. How could it be anything but fabulous?! Just thinking about it makes me want to catch a bus to EPCOT right now to get another one.

My next stop at the festival was the New Zealand stand. I got the Seared Sea Scallop with Vegetable Slaw and Lemon Oil. The scallop itself was fabulous, I just wish I could've had more of that and less of the vegetable slaw it was served with! Don't get me wrong, those were great as well, they just pale in comparison to the scallop itself.

Next stop? Canada of course! Sue suggested this one to me, even though I was a bit skeptical. Naturally, she was right and it was so good! It's a Chicken Chipotle Sausage with Sweet Corn Polenta! I cut up the sausage and mixed it with the polenta. The spicy/sweet dynamic was fabulous. I would definitely buy this again.

In Morocco I tried the Falafel Pita Pocket. It was a nice snack, but I probably wouldn't go back to get this. It was pretty average. I'm glad I tried it, but I think I could get a better pita pocket somewhere else. All of the ingredients in the pocket besides the falafel itself were kind of bland. Not a letdown, but nothing entirely special either.

Then in Germany I tried the Spatzle Gratin with Ham and Cheese. This was delicious. It probably helped that by the time I tried this food, it was getting a little cooler outside and the warmth made this dish that much better. It was kind of like a comfort food even though I'd never tried it before. Very odd, I know, but it was very good!

For dessert, I had to go to France and try the Creme Brulee au Chocolate au Lait. How could this be anything but amazing?

Taco de Chilorio from Mexico

Kielbasa and Potato Pierogies with Caramelized Onions and Sour Cream from Poland

Xinjiang Barbecue Chicken Stick from China

And of course, a Cannolo Al Cioccolato aka Chocolate Cannoli from Italy!

Countries/Dishes tried, but not pictured:
Roasted Corn and Cheese Empanada from Argentina
Dessert Trio from Desserts & Champagne

Countries I didn't have the chance to try
Charcuterie and Cheese
Hops & Barley
United States