Traveling Mamas

Inspiring you to explore our world

  • One the aspects I love about cruising is that I don’t have to cook for days! On the Carnival Breeze, there’s a wide array of dining options to fit every craving and taste. Here’s the complete list of where to nosh while cruising on the Carnival Breeze cruise ship. These venues are in addition to reserved dining in the two main dining rooms on board and the no-added charge 24 hour room service.

    Shrimp cocktail served daily in main dining rooms on Carnival Breeze cruise

    Bonsai Sushi – This is Carnival’s first full-service sushi restaurant offering a variety of sushi, sashimi, and rolls along with bento boxes and even their own version of a sushi boat. Carnival makes the sushi experience accessible for those who haven’t had the chance to try it while at home, giving guests a ways to broaden their culinary experience. Check out our review of Bonsai Sushi on the Carnival Breeze.

    Shrimp tempura roll at Bonsai Sushi on Carnival Breeze cruise

    Fat Jimmy’s C-Side BBQ – Currently only offered on sea days, guests on the Carnival Breeze can enjoy authentic down-home BBQ. While everything on the menu is pretty darn tasty, the pulled pork sandwich has to be my favorite.

    Buffet at Fat Jimmy's C-Side BBQ on Carnival Breeze cruise

    Guy’s Burger Joint -This has to be one of the most popular dining venues that Carnival has introduced during their FunShip 2.0 initiative. I know it’s one of my favorites and its the first meal I had when stepping onto the Carnival Breeze for a quality control check. Yeah. It’s still as good as I remember from the Carnival Liberty. When Guy’s Burger Joint was first introduced, the daily number of burgers served was 400. Now on the Carnival Breeze, 1200-1500 burgers are served each day.

    BlueIguana Cantina – Most cruisers don’t realize they can get breakfast from this Lido Deck venue located near the Beach Pool. The freshly made tortillas can be prepared however you want, be it a burrito or a soft taco. I not only enjoyed a breakfast burrito one morning, but on another afternoon I sampled the fish tacos and chicken tacos. This venue is convenient and I love the salsa bar.

    Punchliner Comedy Brunch presented by George Lopez – On sea days, the Punchliner Comedy Brunch is a nice and luxurious alternative to the Marketplace Buffet breakfast. The menu is extensive and offers either a breakfast or lunch menu, depending upon your cravings at the time. There is also a Bloody Mary bar if you’d like an eye-opener to enjoy during the brief comic relief offered by the comics booked on the Carnival Breeze. I was pleasantly surprised to see cheesy grits on the breakfast menu — and the dish was delicious!

    Eggs Benedict at Punchliner Comedy Brunch by George Lopez on Carnival Breeze cruise

    Fahrenheit 555 Steakhouse – Carnival ships always have a nice steakhouse and the Carnival Breeze is no exception. The steaks are always consistent from ship to ship in the entire fleet and offers a romantic setting for a quiet high-end meal while on the ship. Fahrenheit 555 is a California inspired steak restaurant offering an extensive and top-notch wine list. There is a premium of $35 per person but does include a four course meal.

    Crab cake appetizer at Fahrenheit 555 steak house on Carnival Breeze cruise

    Cucina del Capitano – First introduced on the Carnival Magic, Cucina del Capitano brings an old Italian homestyle kitchen on board certain Carnival ships in the fleet. It pays homage to the heritage of Carnival’s captains, serving Italian cuisine and special dishes made from many of the captains’ family recipes. A fun aspect of this dining venue is the singing waiters and the Chianti cart. This is a premium restaurant with a $12 charge and the Chianti is $5 per glass ordered from the cart. It’s a very good value for family-style dining and the portions are enormous. Check out our review of Cucina del Capitano.

    Lido Marketplace -This is a casual, pool-side eatery and has international offerings from paninis to Indian Tandoori. If you are craving pizza, it can be found here. A Mongolian wok station is always ready to cook your choice of ingredients and almost everything else can be found at this buffet.

    Pizza from Lido Marketplace Pizza Pirate on the Carnival Breeze cruise (Beer tube from RedFrog Rum Bar)

    “The Comfort Kitchen” – This is a new venue located in the Lido Marketplace offering American-style “comfort food”.

    Ocean Plaza – This indoor/outdoor cafe serves cappucinoa, lattes and espressos, along with pastries and other sweets (for a charge). During morning hours, a light continental breakfast is offered (at no extra charge) at The Taste Bar, which is adjacent to the Ocean Plaza. In the evenings, cocktail service is available.

    RedFrog Pub – When one is at the RedFrog Pub, sometimes the munchies sneak up on you. For a very minimal charge, Caribbean-inspired fare can be found in this themed pub. It’s always a fun atmosphere with live music going on at various times. It has a British-West-Indies-meets-Key-West feel to it and is always a great place to chill.

    Serenity – This adult only retreat area used to only serve drinks at the bar, but on the Carnival Breeze salads, sandwiches, wraps and other light fare can be found for those relaxing in this area connected to Cloud 9 Spa.

    The Taste Bar – A new aspect of the FunShip 2.0 enhancements introduced on the Carnival Breeze is this complementary appetizer program located in the Ocean Plaza. Each evening, bite sized offerings inspired by different dining venues are available to guests during cocktail hour. There are also signature cocktail specials tied to the theme of the evening.

    Sea Dogs – Coming in November on the Carnival Breeze, guests can enjoy American hot dogs served from a hot dog-shaped cart located in the SportSquare outdoor recreation area. I’m confident this will be a hit with kids and adults alike.

    For more information on the Carnival Breeze or to book your next cruise, visit Carnival.com or contact your favorite travel agent.

    Carnival Cruise Lines hosted international media, including this outlet, on a media junket for editorial research.

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  • Picture yourself at Walt Disney World, pushing a stroller around, possibly on a multi-generational family trip, and you find nap time is quickly approaching – for everyone. You just want a little Me Time. There’s nothing wrong with that. Parents need to stay sane and take advantage of down time, or even treat themselves to a visit to the parks WITHOUT the kids. Family travel can get crazy, so why not
    ask a family member to watch the kids, giving you and your spouse a few moments of adult time.

    Did you know there are nearly 400 places to dine across Walt Disney World Resort? And that’s not counting the portable food carts. In all, more than 6,000 different food items are available. And chances are, if the restaurants aren’t in the Magic Kingdom, they just might have an adult beverages on the menu for you to enjoy. If wine is your poison of choice, then you’ll want to know that more than 600 sommeliers have been awarded the Court of Master Sommelier Introductory Certificate at Walt Disney World Resort, with more than 300 sommeliers currently in restaurants.

    With so many restaurants and dining choices, where should you go for that “special” drink? Here are just of few of our top choices for a cocktail, beer, or wine while at Walt Disney World.

    Epcot’s World Showcase 

    United Kingdom – The Rose and Crown Pub and Dining room brings visitors into Victorian England with its etched glass panels, dark mahogany bar and authentic dart board. If you are looking for hearty ale, this place offers specially designed ale warmer can heat your Guinness to 55 degrees, should that be your preference.

    Mexico – The pavilion features a festive and colorful celebration of the beauty and culture of Mexico that is fun for guests of all ages. “Gran Fiesta Tour Starring the Three Caballeros” is an excursion by tour boat through the vibrant, eye-filling sights and lively music of Mexico. If you’re interested in margaritas, you should check out ThemeParkMom’s review of inventive margaritas at La Hacienda de San Angel, a new restaurant in EPCOT.

    Japan – In the Matsu-no-ma Lounge, visitors see a majestic view of Future World across the lagoon while sampling sushi, Japanese pickled vegetables, tempura and exotic specialty drinks.

    Germany – Biergarten, an indoor German “courtyard” featuring a German Oktoberfest buffet. At lunch and dinner time, yodelers, dancers and other lederhosen-clad musicians perform an Oktoberfest dinner show. Guests are invited onstage to join in the musical fun. The wine shop nearby offers samples of Ice Wine for a few bucks. Definitely worth a try.

    French Champagne and Wine cart at EPCOT World ShowcaseFrance – Want a glass of vino but don’t want to wait in the long line inside the wine shop? Across from the front of France there is a wine cart serving Champagne, wines, and frozen blends.

    Want more? Check out our extensive list of wine, beer, and cocktails at Epcot’s World Showcase.

    Other Venues at Disney with Alcohol

    Victoria Falls at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge – Down a flight of stairs from the lobby, this mezzanine lounge serves wine and spirits imported from Africa, including Windhoek beer from Namibia and Imoya Brandy from South Africa. The specialty drink is a Victoria Falls Mist, with tangerine, melon and banana liqueurs. Animal Kingdom Lodge has the largest offering of South African wines anywhere in the US. Be sure to check out Jiko, The Cooking Place, too!

    The Wave at Disney’s Contemporary Resort – Trendy cocktails are served for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Start the day with a Pomegranate Splash (vodka, pomegranate liqueur, cranberry juice and soda water) or the Ultimate Bloody Mary (organic vodka, Bloody Mary mix and a dash of red chili sauce). The Pure-tini mixes organic vodka with organic mango and passion fruit liqueur. The Antioxidant Cocktail features wild berry vodka, black raspberry liqueur, açai juice with agave, lychee, aloe juice and freshly squeezed lemon juice.

    Tune-In Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, next door to 50’s Prime Time Cafe, looks like a family den from the ’50s, with black-and-white TVs and campy retro furniture. You can choose kitschy drinks from “Dad’s Liquor Cabinet” such as Uncle Tim’s Melon Margarita, Scooter’s Long Island Iced Tea or an Electric Lemonade. Beer and wine is offered, too. My personal favorite is a Magical Star. Check out this video of inside Tune-In Lounge at Disney’s Hollywood Studios, as part of our Cocktail Series.

    Dawa Bar adjacent to Tusker House Restaurant at Disney’s Animal Kingdom – Sit in the shade and sip a hard-to-find Tusker Beer from Africa or Safari Amber, brewed just for Disney’s Animal Kingdom and Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. South African wines are on the drink menu, too, along with cocktails like Lost on Safari with rum and fruit juices.

    Dawa Bar at Disney's Animal Kingdom Lodge

    Mizner’s at Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa – A live orchestra plays nostalgic Big Band sounds just outside the doors of this lounge tucked away on the second floor of the hotel. The lounge’s namesake is architect Addison Mizner, whose designs launched a “Florida Renaissance” in the 1920s, so the sophisticated drinks are apropos: champagnes, caipirinhas, mint juleps and cosmopolitans, along with nine vodkas, seven different single malt scotch whiskeys and after-dinner cognacs and ports.

    There are more than 50 lounges in Walt Disney World hotels and three theme parks (no alcohol in Magic Kingdom. Again I stress. No alcohol in Magic Kingdom), making this list just a sampling of the many great place for big kids like parents to have their own magic time at Walt Disney World. If there’s a place you’d like us to know about, be sure to leave a comment, helping our readers discover new places to sample adult beverages.

    If you find yourself wandering around looking for a place to buy alcohol at Disney, all you have to do is ask one of the friendly cast members, who can point you in the right direction.  Be sure to drink plenty of water while you’re in the parks also, as alcohol is dehydrating. Designate a driver or take advantage of Disney’s resort transportation. Cheers!

    All Disney venues selling alcohol have a limit of two beverages per sale per person to limit overindulgence on property. Remember, cocktails can be fun, but this is a family friendly destination and not a place to act inappropriate.

     

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  • I love visiting New Orleans, be it for just an evening or for a weekend getaway close to home. Recently my husband and I decided on a quick romantic trip, where instead of your typical dinner, we opted for our own version of a progressive dinner. We thought it would be fun, and we had no itinerary or agenda to follow. We just walked around the Quarter and stopped for a drink here or shared a dish there.

    The Starter

    We began our meal at Felix’s, which is across the street from ACME. We walked right past the shucker and took two seats at the bar, ordering a dozen raw oysters and two Abita Ambers. As we enjoyed these delicious Louisiana oysters, I would glance across the street at the very long line of tourists waiting to get into ACME. If only they knew that Felix’s was just as cool.

    Line at Acme Oyster House in New Orleans

    Louisiana oysters at Felix's Oyster House New Orleans

    The Entertainment

    We walked around the Quarter, stopping every now and then to be entertained by the bizarre sights that are New Orleans street performers. When we had enough of the strange, we were entertained by silly — the drunk tourists walking down Bourbon Street. If you are easily offended, or have children with you, stay off of Bourbon Street, especially at night.

    Street performer in New Orleans

    Strange street perfomer in the French Quarter New Orleans

    The Libations

    There are any number of places to enjoy a cocktail in New Orleans, but I’m a sucker for the history and atmosphere of Lafitte’s Blacksmith Shop. It’s not only the oldest bar in the US, but when you think about the pirates that used to hang out there, it makes the place cool, with a K-E-W-L. My favorite spot is the back corner near the piano.

    Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop, New Orleans, Louisiana - Oldest Bar in USA

    Candles at Lafitte's Blacksmith Shop in New Orleans

    The Munchies

    Walking around after having a few cocktails can bring on a bit of hunger. We decided it was time to be carnivores and stopped in at The Clover Grill for a cheeseburger and fries. You haven’t truly experienced Bourbon Street until you’ve been to the Clover Grill on a Friday night.

    Inside The Clover Grill on Bourbon Street in New Orleans, Louisiana

    Cheeseburger at Clover Grill in New Orleans

    Stogies

    We continued our walk around the Quarter until we came to a cigar shop. My husband likes a good cigar, so we stopped in before moving along.

    Cigar Shop in the French Quarter New Orleans

    The Secret Menu Item

    Risotto at Besh Steakhouse at Harrah's in New OrleansWe walked a good ways out of the Quarter and over towards The Riverwalk and Harrah’s Casino. We stopped in to put a few dollars in a slot machine before heading to the grand finale — Besh Steakhouse. I took a seat at the bar and ordered my favorite of all favorites, risotto. Besh Steakhouse serves the best risotto I’ve ever eaten in my life. It isn’t on the menu, but the bartender knew what I wanted.

    The one thing we skipped? The Lucky Dog cart.

    Lucky Dog cart in New Orleans

    It was a delightful evening filled with a few of my favorite places in New Orleans. Of course, there are many other places I like to eat, and have a cocktail, but as far as good evenings go, this one was tops.

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  • Eating heart healthy during the holiday season can be a challenge, whether you are at home or traveling. Restaurateur-winemaker Joe Bastianich has teamed up with a new program called Heart in the Kitchen, to develop low cholesterol recipes that taste fantastic and still fit into his healthy lifestyle. I was able to catch up with Joe and cardiovascular specialist Dr. Dan Wilson to get a few of their tips for eating healthy during the holidays and healthy snacks when on the road. Check out the video below:

    Direct link: http://bcove.me/gg2xmugg

    About Joe Bastianich: Restaurateur-winemaker Joe Bastianich, along with partners Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali, operates three wineries in Italy, as well as twenty two successful restaurants across the country, including Babbo and Del Posto in NYC, and Carnevino in Las Vegas. December of 2010 marked their first overseas venture with the opening of Pizzeria and Osteria Mozza in Singapore. Joe has co-authored two award winning books on Italian wine, and his third book, Grandi Vini, an opinionated tour of Italy’s 89 finest wines, was released in the fall of 2010 to much critical acclaim. He has received numerous accolades for his groundbreaking work in the field and in 2008 the James Beard Foundation honored him once again by presenting he and Mario with the much revered Outstanding Restaurateur Award. Joe is currently a judge on FOX’s reality TV hit, MasterChef, with Gordon Ramsay and Graham Elliot, where he shares his expertise in deciphering culinary talent from amongst thousands of amateur home cooks.  In the summer of 2010, Joe again partnered with Lidia Bastianich and Mario Batali, as well Italian retail pioneer Oscar Farinetti to bring Eataly, the largest artisanal food and wine market in the world, to New York. In addition to Joe’s passion for all things food and wine, he is an avid runner and triathlete, and is set to compete in the 2011 Ford Ironman World Championships.

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  • Like a good pot of gumbo, Louisiana is filled with all kinds of good things. Each part of the state offers a unique culture all its own, but the underlying theme of good food and family values is always there. During a visit to Southwest Louisiana, the group I was touring with was treated to a beautiful afternoon in an historic Lake Charles neighborhood, Margaret Place.

    Rose in Courtyard of home in Southwest Louisiana

    Our guide, Adley Cormier, led us through a lush courtyard on the side of a stately brick home, around a rose bushes, to a pool house in the rear of the home. Waiting with a sweet treat was Mr. Cormier’s wife and Senator Willie Mount. Senator Mount and Mrs. Cormier wanted to share a tradition children’s afternoon snack: Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pie served with ice cold milk.

    Southwest Louisiana Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pies

    My family has been in Louisiana for many generations, with roots in the Baton Rouge area and across the river from the capital city. I’d never tried this treat that is a tradition in the Southwest part of the state. It was a delicious surprise. The Cormiers and Senator Mount shared stories of the area and their love of where they live. It was a delightful afternoon learning about another area of my home state.

    The Lake Charles Convention and Visitors Bureau was kind enough to hunt down the recipe so that I could share it with you.

    Fried Sweet Dough Sweet Potato Pie Recipe:

    Crust

    2 eggs
    ¼ pound butter
    1 Cup sugar
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
    2 Cups flour

    Combine eggs, sugar, butter, and vanilla in a food processor. Pulse together until the ingredients are well-mixed. Sift the baking powder and the flour together and add this to the processor. Process the combined ingredients until they form a ball. Wrap dough in plastic and allow to rest, refrigerated for an hour. Roll into a circle, approximately 12 inches in diameter with a thickness of 1/8th-inch.

    Filling

    3 cups mashed sweet potatoes
    2 cups sugar
    3 eggs, lightly beaten
    1 can (5 ounces) evaporated milk
    1/4 cup butter, melted
    3 tablespoons all-purpose flour
    1 teaspoon vanilla extract
    Oil for deep-fat frying
    Confectioners’ sugar, optional

    In a large bowl, combine the seven filling ingredients; stir until smooth. Divide the dough into 25 portions. On a floured surface, roll each portion into a 5-in. circle. Spoon 2 tablespoons of filling on half of each circle. Moisten edges with water; fold dough over filling and press edges with a fork to seal. Prick tops with a fork 4-5 times.

    In a skillet, heat 1/2 in. of oil to 375°. Fry pies, a few at a time, for 1 minute on each side or until golden brown. Drain on paper towels. Dust with confectioners’ sugar if desired. Change oil during process as necessary. Store in the refrigerator.

    Special thanks to the Lake Charles CVB, the Cormiers, and Senator Mount for their part in this experience. To plan your visit to the area go online at VisitLakeCharles.org.

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