Eggscellent B&B Breakfast and Amelia River Cruise {Amelia Island, FL}

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Welcome to our new blog friends from Vitamix! I’m currently blogging about my recent vacation to Florida, but I have some new recipes coming soon! In the meantime, here we go…just a couple posts left!

If you came here for more smoothie or Green Monster recipes, check out these:

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Though we wanted to spend the majority of our time relaxing, we wanted to do a couple touristy things while we were in Amelia Island. The boar tour was high on our list (in addition to the bus tour and carriage ride).

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{This is one of my favorite photos from the trip, and I snapped it on our boat tour. I love the way the old buildings contrast with the new boats and how with the masts reach into the bright blue sky}

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But first, we started the day with another delicious and filling breakfast at our B&B, Hoyt House. Hellooooo, sticky bun!

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I ordered what became my usual – the fried eggs with potatoes (this time with shredded potatoes and Canadian bacon).

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Hubby opted for the breakfast sandwich.

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We headed through downtown to the pier where the boat tours depart. We thought we were running late, but we just made it on time. We took the 10:30am Cumberland Island tour with Amelia River Cruises.

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See the pink birds? They’re not flamingos. They’re Roseate spoonbills, and apparently they aren’t often here on the island, so it was cool we got to see them.

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Dolphin sighting! We saw a few on our trip.

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{Our historian and presenter – she shared lots of interesting facts and stories on our trip}

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{Our captain – had a lot of info to share, too!}

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90′s kids, do you recognize this house? It’s Pippi Longstocking’s house! I was a big fan of her as a kid. I even dressed up as Pippi for Halloween one year!

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The white line in the water is where different bodies of water meet.

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One of the best parts of the boat tour – pets are allowed!

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{The famous wild horses}

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Bailey loved the boat tour.

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Do you see what I see on this boat? It’s a mini garden. Very smart!

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Bailey made friends with a little girl on the boat and showed off some tricks. What a ham!

I took a lot more photos, but there are only so many that fit well in a blog post. I tried to share the best ones! We had a great time on the boat tour and definitely recommend it if you’re ever visiting in Amelia Island. You’ll learn a lot, see some great scenery, and enjoy the fresh air as you cruise down the water.

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There was a restaurant right where our boat returned, so we went ahead and ate there – Brett’s Waterway Café.

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We wanted to enjoy some views of the water a bit longer.

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Hubby got the soup and salad.

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I ordered the grilled salmon, which came with green beans and a rice pilaf. I wanted something light (but not a salad), and this hit the spot. I ordered the sauce on the side and ended up not really needing it. The fish was flavorful enough on its own.

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And with lunch done, we headed back through downtown on the way to the B&B.

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You can check out some of my other Florida road trip posts here:

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Thanks for stopping by! Two posts left, and then we get to some new summer-themed recipes! Stay tuned!

Breakfast at Hoyt House, Lunch at Kelly’s Courtyard Café, & Dinner at David’s {Amelia Island, FL}

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We were really starting to settle into the laid-back atmosphere of Amelia Island by mid-trip. It was a welcome change from the fast-paced world we normally live in. We didn’t have to worry about traffic, or work…no phone conferences or Outlook meeting planners…just what shall we eat next? Want to go to the pool? How about the beach? Oh yeaaa…

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{fresh fruit cup}

We were really enjoying our breakfasts at the Hoyt House.

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Hubby tried the frittata of the day – a play on the classic caprese flavors.

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I went with the fried egg with potatoes and an English muffin. Simple but exactly what I wanted. They have a special machine/tool at the B&B to cook the eggs, and I really like the way they use it to cook fried eggs.

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After breakfast, we headed out to the front porch to relax. I worked on a blog posts while hubby did some reading.

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See the lizard?

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For lunch, we visited Kelly’s Courtyard Café.

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We took a seat near the fountain.

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We shared a couple things – the soup of the day…

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…hummus…

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…and the mahi mahi sandwich. Everything was tasty, but that fish sandwich was especially good. I loved the seasoning they put on the fish and the way they grilled it.

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After seeing most of the tables order it around us, we couldn’t resist trying a dessert that caught our eye – Granny Mutt’s blueberry squares – vanilla ice cream & warm blueberry compote. This dessert was sort of like a blueberry blondie, and it was wonderful. I’d love to try to re-create something like this at home since I can’t easily go out and order it.

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And let’s just jump straight to dinner, shall we? We decided to visit David’s Restaurant & Lounge for a special dinner. I guess we had a couple anniversary dinner celebrations on our trip.

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They had a modern menu for their wine list, all on an iPad.

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A small bite from the chef to start.

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The bread and dipping sauces were really good. We especially liked the green one, which appeared to be a mix of fresh herbs and olive oil.

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I’d heard the Stuffed Heirloom Tomato was great, so we decided to start with that.

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“Fresh Tomato stuffed with Marinated Fresh Mozzarella & Basil served with a Balsamic Drizzle”. It was served cold, making it a great summer appetizer. The outside tomato had a great, firm texture, and the mix of cheese and tomato in the center was very good.

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Crab Bisque – “Classic Creamy Bisque with Crab & Herb Oil.” This was mainly hubby’s, but I had a bite, and it was creamy and delicious.

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{Palate-cleansing sorbet}

The menu is creatively broken up by the four senses – Earth, Fire, Wind, and Water with a special fifth sense of some add-ons (scallops, lobster tails, etc.).

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We ordered the Petite Filet – “3oz Twin Medallions of Filet Mignon with a Red Wine Demi Glaze, Wild Mushroom Risotto and Seasonal Vegetables” and added a fifth sense option of scallops. I loved everything on the plate, from the crisp-tender vegetables to the creamy risotto to the tender filet and sweet scallop.

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We tried the Warm Apple and Cranberry Strudel with Vanilla Gelato for dessert, and it was a great decision. The flaky pastry was a nice wrapping for the thinly sliced apples and chewy bites of cranberries.

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And we got complimentary chocolate-covered strawberries for a second dessert, too!

We had a great and romantic dinner at David’s. The service was exceptional, and the food was fabulous. I’d definitely recommend you checking out this restaurant for a wonderful dinner experience.

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More post fun from our Florida trip here:

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Thanks for reading!

Pirate Museum and La Herencia Café {St. Augustine, FL}

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We really could spend a week or more exploring St. Augustine, but we probably should have stayed more than one night on this trip. Since we were only there one night, we decided to maximize our time by making a couple stops on our way out of town.

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We set out on foot through St. Augustine to visit a museum.

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A pirate museum!

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Our B&B had some coupons for admission.

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The museum was really cool. It was self-guided, so you could go at your own pace, and I liked all the interactive features they had. They also have an authentic pirate flag (above) – one of (I believe) three remaining. I think this would be a fun visit for anyone, but I bet kids would really go gaga in here.

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The museum was a recommendation from our innkeeper, Tim, and another benefit of staying at a B&B. They give you great tips to make the most of your visit!

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There were lizards and chameleons everywhere. Randomly enough, I used to catch these when I was a kid. I know, I’m weird.

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After checking out of the B&B, we had one more stop – lunch on America’s oldest street, Aviles Street.

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We decided to bring Bailey since there are four cafes there that have outdoor seating where pets are allowed.

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One of the restaurants wasn’t open for lunch, but La Herencia Café was our stop of choice.

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Unfortunately, it started raining on us while we were eating outside and the umbrella over the table wasn’t 100% waterproof. I opened my umbrella under the table top one as a workaround.

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Hubby got the La Herencia Cheese Steak, which he really enjoyed. The sandwich was hot and made with Cuban bread. Look at that melty cheese!

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I got the Ropa Vieja plate (it’s also available as a sandwich). This is a classic Cuban dish that sort of reminds me of Southern BBQ. Ropa Vieja is a bit like Southern pulled pork but it’s actually made with beef and instead of a tangy vinegar sauce or sweet tomato based sauce, it has a savory, tomato and vegetable-based sauce. My plate was served with white rice and beans and sweet plantains. Yum!

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And for my last photo from St. Augustine, one of my favorites. I snapped this photo as we were heading out of town. I found this shot on one of the tiny side streets leading away from Aviles Street. The turquoise on the weathered door caught my eye, and I knew I needed a photo to remember it.

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More posts from our Florida trip are a click away:

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Next time on the blog – Amelia Island, FL!

Food Blog Forum 2013 – Whole Foods Brunch & Toojay’s Lunch

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On Sunday, we had one last event for Food Blog Forum 2013 – the Farewell brunch, hosted by Whole Foods Orlando. Whole Foods really did a wonderful job creating a delicious menu of innovative small bites – from key lime shrimp to quinoa breakfast salad. We enjoyed the eats whilst catching up with our blog friends before we all had to take off to head back to Disney for more theme park fun, or to the airport or the road for home.

Catching up? Here are the previous posts from our Florida trip:

Here are some photos from the brunch…

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I absolutely loved this breakfast quinoa salad and will be trying to re-create it to share the recipe!

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{Muse Gelato}

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Here’s the full group shot from Food Blog Forum 2013 in Orlando, FL (photo credit Jennifer Holt). Thank you to the event organizers and presenters – you guys were fabulous, and I hope I can make it in 2014!

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Hubby and I went back to Disney, but not to visit the parks. We had to pick up Bailey! I’m not sure who was more excited to see the other – me or Bailey!

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I ran into one of my new blog buddies, Michelle, at the kennel.

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We swooped Bailey up and hit the road bound for St. Augustine. We took a slight detour in the northern part of Orlando to drive by one of my childhood homes. I barely recognized the thing. They removed the short basketball hoop that used to be in front and had done major renovations on the back side. It looked like they added a whole second story to back part of what was a one level home.

I tried looking for a non-chain restaurant for a quick lunch bite, which is always a challenge on the road, especially with a pet. While we were in the area, we stopped by Toojay’s Gourmet Deli (a chain, yes, but only in Florida), since they had outdoor seating where we could sit with Bailey.

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I got the chicken salad over mixed greens…

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…and hubby got toasted sandwich with french fries.

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We had a spectator at lunch, but luckily, he didn’t try stealing our food or anything.

And with lunch over, it was time for a short drive to St. Augustine where we planned to continue our Florida road trip!

Food Blog Forum 2013 – Disney Kid’s Cuisine {Orlando, FL}

The conference day breakfast may have been light, but Food Blog Forum and Disney had a real treat up their sleeves for our lunch – Disney Kid’s Cuisine! That’s right, we got to sample some of the best dishes off the kid menus from all around Disney World – from Epcot to the Animal Kingdom Lodge. Not only did they bring the kid-friendly food to us with various stations set up in one of the Grand Floridian conference rooms, but they brought the chefs, too!

By the way, if you’re catching up, you can check out my previous posts here:

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We gathered in the hallway, excitedly waiting for the doors to open. As soon as they did, we rushed into the conference room where we were given tasting plates with blinking decorations. I got a green tinker bell and headed to the left.

I decided to post the photos from lunch in the order they looked best for the post, rather than the order I ate the related food. I’ll explain along the way…

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I tried these baked Florida coast fish sticks after eating the cheese soup and macaroni and cheese, so at first, the flavors were lost on me. I think the saltiness of the cheesy dishes prior kept me from really tasting all the subtle flavors of this dish. Luckily, I was slowing down on my eating since I was also chatting with fellow food bloggers, so I ended up inadvertently taking my time with this one. As I slowed down, I really started tasting the fish and the breading, which were delicious together. This one may have been my favorite of the lunch, mostly because of the fish. I also enjoyed the crisp-tender seasonal vegetables, and I liked how they snuck carrots into the whole-grain rice pilaf.

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The fish stick dish was presented by the Flying Fish Cafe at Disney’s Boardwalk. Chef – Tim Keating, Manager – Stig Jacobsen.

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I’d like to say the mac and cheese was another favorite, and it was…but all the food was really so good, they were all favorites in different ways. And you can’t really go wrong with mac and cheese, can you? This mac and cheese was made with a white cheese sauce, which was a fun and tasty twist. I easily ate this one right up.

The mac and cheese came from Jiko – The Cooking Place at Disney’s Animal Kingdom Lodge. Chef: Jonathon O’Brien, Manager: Victoria Thompson.

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They also had pineapple-chocolate Mickey Mouse pops at this table, which made for a light early-dessert-bite.

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The cheddar cheese soup was one of the dishes I was looking forward to least, though I was determined to try each dish at lunch. In my head, I imagined it to be something like a big bowl of thick, orange cheese dip. In reality, this soup was light, creamy, and just fantastic. The soup was also a favorite with many of the food bloggers at my table. The toppings of pretzel croutons and (I believe) green onions added great texture.

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Le Cellier Steakhouse from Epcot presented the cheddar cheese soup. Chef: Jay Derby, Manager: Rick Decicco

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One of the lightest dishes was the oven-roasted Atlantic shrimp with brown basmati rice, green beans, and red grapes, which was a great combination of savory and sweet. I liked how this dish had a trio of my favorite meal components – a lean protein, a whole grain, and vegetables, plus a bonus of fresh fruit!

This shrimp dish was from Narcoosee’s at the Grand Floridian Resort & Spa. Chef: Noah Estabrook, Manager: Brian Ruppe

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The multigrain grilled cheese dippers with tomato soup sounded simple enough…so simple, in fact, that I didn’t think much about them as I was perusing the list of eats. Of course, I got a plate to sample, and the grilled cheese part was pretty good but the soup! Wow! The soup caught me off guard with how good it was. I mean, it was “just” tomato soup, ya know? But this was special tomato soup. My friend Aly told me the soup was really good, but I didn’t realize how good till I was slurping down my mini cup. As I blog, I find myself wondering if this recipe is available in one of the many Disney cookbooks out there. Does anyone know? Anywho, I also appreciated that this plate came with some fresh fruits and veggies – great for the kiddos and adults, alike.

The dippers and soup were presented by Whispering Canyon Café of Disney’s Wilderness Lodge. Chef: Philippe Cuenin, Manager: Allyson Schleider

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I’m a big pot pie fan, so I was looking forward to trying the turkey pot pie. Not only was this one lighter than most versions I’ve tried in the past, it was also free of (I believe) 7 allergens, including dairy and gluten. I liked how the cheese biscuit toppers were shaped to fit the theme of the restaurant.

The pot pie came from Cinderella’s Royal Table at the Magic Kingdom park. Chef: Charles Dolson, Manager: Kenny Myers

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The pork tenderloin with roasted potatoes, apple marmalade, and broccolini was another hit at my table. Broccolini is probably my current favorite vegetable, so I was really happy to see it on one of the plates at lunch. This dish seemed like a pretty sophisticated kid’s meal and one adults would also enjoy. Can we order off of the kid-menus? Seriously though, the pork was super tender, and I liked how the potatoes and vegetables weren’t over-cooked. I know I say that a lot, but crisp-tender, just-right-cooked vegetables are big with me. Brownie points!

Citricos from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa shared this dish. Chef: Phillip Ponticelli, Manager: Keith Gimbel

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The house-made meatballs with orecchiette pasta and marinara sauce was one of the last dishes I tried, so I asked some of my table mates about it before trying it myself. One said it tasted sort of like Chef Boyardee. I was intrigued, so I grabbed a small bowl to taste, myself. And you know what? It did taste sort of like Chef Boyardee…but much fresher and all-around better. I said it tasted “like my childhood.” This pasta dish is surely a favorite with the kiddos – pasta, meatballs, red sauce – what’s not to like?

You can find the meatballs and pasta at the Yachtsman Steakhouse at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resort. Chef: Daniel Sicilia, Manager: George Sachs

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I was pretty full by the time I made it through all the previous dishes, but after passing the dessert table a few times whilst grabbing the savory plates, I spotted a couple things I knew I couldn’t leave behind. The Mickey Mouse chocolate-bomb-looking dessert was one of them. This one had chocolate discs for Mickey ears and looked quite rich. The inside was actually light and fluffy and almost mousse-like. We guessed the center to be cookies and cream, but we’re not sure. It was delicious either way, and my full stomach appreciated the lightness of this treat.

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I’m actually not a big fan of cake pops, and I only had so much space left in my stomach, so I skipped this part of the dessert table even though it was interactive and looked like a fun dessert.

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But, you guys know I’m a cake-for-dessert kind of girl, so I hit up the cupcakes in search of “the one”.

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The turquoise in the frosting of this Monster’s Inc. cupcake caught my eye, but it looked like way too much frosting for me. Plus, it was also almost twice as big as a normal cupcake. My eyes said yes, but my stomach said no.

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I decided on this green monster eye cupcake – vanilla cake with vanilla frosting. It was SO good! The cake was moist and the frosting was a just-right buttercream. Yum! I would love to have another one of these to munch on while I edit this post.

The desserts were from Disney’s Grand Floridian Resort & Spa from pastry chef: Erich Herbitschek

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How fun was this lunch?! I can’t believe they were able to pull all those chefs and teams from around Disney World to share their kid cuisine with us food bloggers. It was definitely one of the highlights of my trip. Thank you, Disney, for sharing your kids-eats with us!

Next up – hubby and I head to Epcot for dinner and make a quick stop into the Magic Kingdom!

American Tobacco Historic District and Foster’s Market {Durham, NC}

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After our food truck stop and coffee break, we made our way to another outdoor adventure. Okay, we didn’t go zip lining or anything like that, but we did head over to the American Tobacco Historic District. The old American Tobacco Factory went through renovations to become an indoor-outdoor area for use for events, restaurants, businesses and general meandering. We did the latter, wandering through the green way, enjoying the water displays, and walking along brick wall after brick wall. The weather was perfect for being outside and just enjoying the day.

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One thought that crossed my mind while we were there was that I wished I had packed better outfits. The area would have been great for some outfit photos. Ahh…maybe next time?

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Since our previous eats were more of a snack than lunch, we headed over to Foster’s Market for some more food.

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We found a nice, sunny spot outside to wait with the dogs while we took turns ordering inside.

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And then, we moved to a picnic table to enjoy our meal – chicken salad over mixed greens for me. After the food truck eats and all the hot sun, I wanted something on the lighter side…and a giant glass of water. So refreshing!

Not too shabby for what seemed to me to be our first real spring day. We’re off to a great start. I’m looking forward to many more afternoons like this one!

Thanks for reading!

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