189 Market

189 Market

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Foodie Friday: Chocolate Pudding Cake | Disney Insider

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This Chocolate Pudding Cake is on the menu Walt Disney World’s California Grill, where they serve a fancy version adorned with Nutella, silky ganache, mint whipped cream, and house-made mini marshmallows and chocolate meringue kisses.

 Makes 1 (9-inch) cake:

12 ounces bittersweet chocolate, roughly chopped

1/2 cup water

2/3 cup sugar, divided

2 sticks unsalted butter, at room temperature, cut into small pieces

5 large eggs

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Spray a 9-inch round cake pan with nonstick spray with flour; set aside.
  2. Combine water and 1/3 cup sugar in a heavy saucepan over high heat, stirring until sugar melts. Bring to a boil, and cook 2 minutes. Remove saucepan from heat; slowly add chocolate, stirring until completely melted. Stir in butter, a few pieces at a time, until completely melted.
  3. Combine eggs and remaining 1/3 cup sugar in a medium bowl; beat with an electric mixer until pale yellow and very frothy.
  4. Slowly stream chocolate-butter mixture into egg mixture, stirring until smooth and satiny.
  5. Pour batter into prepared pan. Place cake pan inside of a larger roasting pan; pour hot water around cake pan until water reaches halfway up sides of cake pan. Carefully transfer pans to oven.
  6. Bake 28 to 30 minutes until just firm.
  7. Remove cake pan from roasting pan and let cool 30 minutes. Carefully invert cake onto a large plate before serving, or serve directly from pan.

 

Cook’s note: Cake can be served with mint-flavored marshmallows, chocolate meringue kisses, a spread of Nutella, or mint whipped cream.

Filed under waltdisneyworld recipe foodie friday disney chocolate chocoholic cake baking food dessert

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Wedding Venue of the Week | River Market Event Place - Kansas City, MO

River Market Event Place is a chic, modern venue located in the River District of Kansas City, MO. The versatility of the 4,000 sq. ft. floor plan and it’s unique features allows you to apply a creative vision to your event or simply use the minimalist charm alone for an elegant setting. 

Rental Rates range from:  $2,000 -$4,000

*Check with venue for current pricing

This venue is perfect for:  minimalist, loft style, industrial themed weddings. 

Filed under river market kansas city MO wedding venue reception ceremony bride weddingvenueoftheweek

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Travel Tuesday: How To Choose a Cruise Ship Cabin: What You Need to Know | Cruise Critic


disney-cruise-line-cabinChoosing a cruise ship cabin can be fun and challenging at the same time, and not just a little bit frustrating on occasion. Before booking your cabin, ask yourselves these questions:

Do you tend to get seasick?

Do you prefer to nest peaceably on your balcony rather than hangin’ with the crowd around the pool area?

Conversely, is your idea of a stateroom simply a place to flop into bed at 1 a.m. — no fancy notions necessary?

And do you, like me, tend to go just a little bit crazy if your bed faces aft when you know you’re moving forward?

Despite the fact that some cruise lines present as many as 20 or more “categories” per ship, it’s helpful to remember that there are essentially only four types of cabins on any cruise vessel:

Inside: no window, in an inside corridor

Outside: window or porthole with a view to the outside

Balcony: includes a verandah that allows you to step outside without going up to a public deck

Suite: a larger cabin, often with separate living and sleeping areas, and a wide variety of extra amenities and perks

It’s the permutations (size, location, amenities and price, for example) of the four basic cabin types that can make choosing difficult, so we are providing a guide to help you make the selection that is best for you. Note: Staterooms designed for physically challenged guests can fall into any of the above categories and will not be separated out.

Location, Location, Location

The “real estate” that your stateroom occupies, no matter the type, can either make you seasick or keep you up all night with noise — or it can lull you like a baby and provide exquisite views of your surroundings. That’s why doing your homework is important.

 Stability: If you tend to get seasick, cabin location is really important. It’s a question of engineering, really. The lower and more central you are in a ship, the less roll and sway you will feel. Even if you choose a balconied stateroom, choose the lowest level and the most midship one you can find.

 Distance: Some cruise travelers prefer their cabins to be near to (or far away from) specific areas of the ship. Sun-worshippers might prefer an upper-deck location close to the pools and sun decks, while partiers might want easy access to midship entertainment hubs. Travelers with mobility concerns may choose a stateroom close to a bank of elevators.

cruise-ship-aft-balconies Noise: For some reason, most cruise lines assign their highest level of cabins to the highest decks, usually just below the Lido Deck (most likely because if you have a window or balcony, you have a more sweeping vista). Still, it’s the Lido Deck that often causes the most noise problems, so if you don’t want to hear scraping chairs at the crack of dawn or yee-hawing pool parties until the wee hours, go down a level. In fact, when it comes to noise, the best bet is to select a cabin that is both above and below other cabins. Other pitfalls include service areas adjacent to or above your stateroom; show lounges or bars adjacent to, above or below your stateroom; and self-service launderettes across from your cabin. Other cabins that can be problematic are those that are low and aft (because of their proximity to engine noise, vibration and anchor) or low and forward (bow thrusters).

 For Your Viewing Pleasure: When aft balconied staterooms first became available in the late 1990’s, they were disdained by most for at least a year. And then, with the help of Cruise Critic’s member boards and other communications outlets, cruisers discussed their experiences, and the aft balconied cabins became the most prized standard balconied cabins afloat. Why? Because they can make you feel as though you are at the end of the world, offering 180-degree views over the stern’s wake. (Read about the multitude of "aft" lovers here.) And, the balconies are almost always at least 50 percent bigger than standard balconies located along the sides of the ship. There are a few drawbacks to this location, none of which serve to deter those who love these cabins. They are at the very back and therefore are far away from a lot of activities. In addition, they are almost always “stepped out,” allowing not only those in cabins above yours to see down into your balcony, but those looking over the rail from the Lido and other public decks at the aft as well.

Some standard rooms and many suites are located at the aft “corners” of a ship, with balconies that curve up the sides. Take one of those, and you can see where you’re going and where you’ve been at the same time!

Front-facing balconied cabins are almost always suites.

There are some passengers who love, and swear by, cabins located on the promenade deck, but you’ll mostly find these on older ships. Holland America's Statendam-class ships have outside cabins that face the promenade deck and offer the advantage of easy access to fresh air without paying for a balcony. The line has been transforming many of these originally outside cabins into “lanai” cabins — with back doors that lead directly from the cabin onto the promenade. The two biggest drawbacks of promenade-deck staterooms are that they tend to be dark because of the wide overhang above the deck, and anyone can see into them when the lights are on. Close those drapes!

Other viewing pitfalls include balconied cabins under the Lido overhang, which limits visibility; cabins above or adjacent to the lifeboats; and forward balconied cabins located close to the bridge wing.

If the amount of view you get relative to the amount of money you spend is important to you, look for “secret porthole” insides, or “obstructed view” outsides. The secret porthole cabins are those sold as inside cabins that actually have windows with obstructed views and the obstructed (or fully obstructed) cabins are sold as outsides but often at the price of an inside. And look into the interior-view cabins, like the atrium views that look out onto the interior promenades and parks on manyRoyal Caribbean ships (including the Voyager, Freedom and Oasis classes). These are typically sold at a price that falls somewhere between the insides and outsides.

Finally, take a good look at your cruise itinerary before selecting your cabin, specifically if you are choosing an outside or balcony. On a roundtrip Caribbean cruise or a transatlantic crossing, for example, the side of the ship you are on doesn’t really matter. If, on the other hand, you are doing a southbound Alaska cruise, or a trip from Barcelona to Rome, you might want to consider choosing a cabin on the side of the ship that faces the land. Sometimes the views can be breathtaking and you won’t get those views from the cabins that face out to the open sea.

Norwegian-Jewel-Garden-VillaSize Does Matter

In this age of mega-ships, cabins now come in all shapes and sizes. In addition to the typical boxy inside and outside cabins, you can find expansive suites, duplexes and lofts. Balconies also range in size from small affairs barely able to squeeze in two chairs and a drinks table to huge wraparound decks with outdoor dining tables and hot tubs.

On many ships, standard inside and outside cabins are usually the same size — the difference being that one has a porthole or picture window to let in natural light. Balcony cabins can also be the same size as standard insides and outsides, with the addition of the outdoor space on the verandah; sometimes the interior space is larger. With mini-suites on up, you get bigger and bigger indoor and outdoor spaces.

For many travelers, the decision on what size cabin to get is directly related to price. Who wouldn’t go for the huge suite if price were no obstacle? Yet it can be tricky to decide whether a balcony is worth the upgrade from a standard outside or just which suite to choose. Here are a few size-related considerations to take into account. 

 Outdoor Space: Do you need a balcony? Cruise travelers who spend all their time in the public areas — sun decks, lounges, restaurants — or on shore may be perfectly happy with standard-size cabins and no private outdoor space. Those who love to avoid the crowds and lounge quietly on their own verandahs or have private room-service meals outdoors will surely want balconies. Don’t forget to take your itinerary into account; on a chilly-weather cruise, you may not be spending too much time outside, so depending on how much space and light you need, a balcony may not be worth the splurge.

 Unique Layouts: Pay attention to the unique cabin setups on your ship, as they’re not all created equal. Disney's four cruise ships, for example, have large standard staterooms designed to accommodate families. Even inside cabins may have a sleeping section that can be curtained off from the living area and a split bath system (one bathroom has the shower/tub and sink, another a toilet and sink). Carnival is also known for having larger-than-average standard cabins, whileSilverseaRegent Seven Seas Cruises and Seabourn ships feature all-suite accommodations.Norwegian Epic cabins sport the “new wave” design, with curvy walls and bathrooms with the showers and toilets; sink are located in the main cabins. As mentioned earlier, cabins at the very fore and aft and corners of a ship often have different layouts than the cookie-cutter cabins that run the length of the ship.

 Family: Since cruising has become a popular family vacation, more and more new ships have built “family accommodations” into the actual design. These are often suites, each with a separate room for the kids — sometimes a small alcove with bunk beds, sometimes an entire adjoining cabin. Families and groups can also take advantage of regular staterooms with third or fourth berths found in pullout sofas or pull-down bunkbeds. If you’re going to squeeze your whole troupe into one cabin, make sure the space is big enough to accommodate the lot of you … and all your belongings.

 Solo Cabins: Very few ships actually have cabins dedicated to solo travelers. These will have sleeping space for one and can be quite small. The studio cabins on Norwegian Epic are the most famous example of this: the 100-square-foot staterooms each contain a full-size bed, nifty lighting effects and a large round window that looks out into the corridor. If you’re a solo traveler, you’ll want to price out the cost of a solo cabin (usually somewhat higher than the double-occupancy rate of a similarly sized stateroom) compared to the cost of paying the single supplement (as much as double the regular rate) for a standard cabin. And book early, as solo cabins sell out quickly.

 Suites: When it comes to choosing suite accommodations, it’s best to figure out how much space you really need, what amenities are important to you and what you can afford to spend. Suites on most ships are often the first category to sell out, partly because there are fewer of them, and partly because they often offer extremely good value. For this reason, it’s important to decide early what kind of suite you’d like.

If you absolutely need the most expansive space available, for about $30,000 per week you can take advantage of Norwegian Cruise Line's 5,000-square-foot, three-bedroom Garden Villa suites. These each feature a private sauna and hot tub, a kitchen and butlers, and a private elevator entrance. 

Don’t need to go that far? A mini-suite is often just a bigger version of a standard balcony cabin, sometimes with more delineation between the living and sleeping areas. Other suites may come with dining areas, wet bars, deluxe bathrooms, walk-in closets, multiple levels and even pianos.

Love Those Amenities

It used to be that the bigger the cabin, the more amenities you received. While that is true to some extent, with the advent of spa cabins, concierge-level cabins and even special single cabins, you don’t always have to book the most expensive suite to get some extra perks. How do you want to be pampered on your vacation? Here are some extras you may want to sign up for. 

butler-service-cruise-ship Concierge Service: A concierge can take care of all those annoying practical matters you need to tend to on a cruise: making dinner and spa reservations, booking shore excursions, making requests of the purser’s office. Their services come with many suites, and on some ships they’re part of an exclusive concierge lounge where suite guests and high-level past passengers can snack, drink and relax in private. Concierge-level cabins may also come with in-cabins amenities like welcome drinks, fruit baskets or afternoon canapes.


 Butlers: Having a personal butler can be a wonderfully pampering experience, and some cruise lines include the butler service as part of your fare when you select a suite or “concierge level” cabin. But, look carefully at the difference in the cruise fare, and decide if it’s really worth it. Beyond that, look at the services that are offered — some cruise line butlers really do provide extra value. For instance, on Crystal, ours was able to bring us room service from hard-to-get-into alternative restaurants, refill our mini-bar to personal specifications and serve in-cabin meals course-by-course. Butlers can also unpack and repack your bags, draw rose petal baths and assist you in preparing in-suite cocktail parties.

 Spa CabinsCosta started the spa cabin trend, but many mainstream lines quickly followed suit. The concept is simple: spa aficionados pay more for cabins decked out in Asian-inspired Zen decor that come with extra amenities, ranging from fancy showerheads and bath products to fluffy bathrobes, yoga mats and healthier room service menus. Spa cabin residents are granted free access to spa restaurants (like Celebrity's Blu or Costa's Ristorante Samsara), thalassotherapy pools and thermal suites, and may get free, discounted or priority spa treatments and fitness classes. And you don't have to book a huge suite necessarily — on Holland America, several inside cabins were designated as spa cabins with all the associated perks.

 Ship Within a Ship: MSC Cruises' Yacht Club and Norwegian's Haven are examples of ship-within-a-ship complexes. Book one of the affiliated cabins, and you'll get access to exclusive areas, including private pools, whirlpools, fitness centers, sun decks, restaurants and lounges. Norwegian Epic's studio cabins, tiny inside affairs, also gain you access to a special lounge reserved just for solo travelers. 

 Other Amenities: Do you have to have a whirlpool bathtub or a walk-in closet? Will you be entertaining and, thus, in need of a dining table that can seat six or eight? Do you want benefits like priority embarkation and disembarkation, priority tender embarkation and priority dinner reservations? Do you want to be pampered with extra-plush linens and bathrobes, fancy bath products and in-suite coffee and booze? You can find those amenities and more in most of the upper-level suites.

The Price Is Right

Only you know your vacation budget, but figuring out the best way to spend it can be tricky. Here’s our primer on the most important things to know about cruise pricing. For more tricks of the trade on getting that cruise steal, see our Budget for Your Cruise page.

travel-calendar When to Book: Selecting your cruise and putting down a deposit early guarantees that you will be on the cruise you want and in the cabin or cabin type that you want. The best rule of thumb is that if you find an itinerary you like on a ship you like at a time that you can travel and at an acceptable price, get the cabin you desire and go for it. In some instances, if the prices for cabins in your category go down, you can access the savings, but it requires some research and contact with either the travel agent you used to book your cruise or the cruise line itself. Book the cruise as if you don’t expect a rebate, and if you do manage to get one, consider it a huge bonus.

You can get good deals by waiting until the last minute to book. However, this approach is best for those who can be flexible with their travel plans, meaning you don’t care which cabin you’re in, you’re not picky about ship or departure date, and you’re only traveling two to a cabin.

 Upgrades: From time to time, a cruise line has a ship in which a certain category of cabin has sold out or is in an “oversell” situation, meaning that more cabins have been sold in that category than actually exist. The cruise line can hardly downgrade someone who has paid for their cruise, so they select certain passengers — at random, we have been assured — and upgrade them to whatever has more availability. That’s where a guarantee category can be a good deal; as for the random selection, it’s just the luck of the draw, or a visit from “the upgrade fairy,” that can make certain people very happy indeed. Note that these upgrades aren’t always free; sometimes you’re offered the upgrade for an extra fee, but one that’s less than the normal difference in fares between the two cabin categories.

 Guarantee: A “guarantee" cabin selection is one in which you pay for the cabin category you are willing to take, but you allow the cruise line to select the cabin for you. You are guaranteed to get accommodated in at least the category you have selected; you will never get a lower category. But, by choosing a guarantee, you have an excellent chance of being upgraded to a slightly higher category, usually within the same cabin type (inside to inside, outside to outside, verandah to verandah, etc.). Beyond that, while it does happen, it’s rare to be upgraded to a higher cabin type. Trust me: taking the lowest category inside on a guarantee will not result in your being given a deluxe verandah suite. It just won’t happen. But … you might get very lucky and end up with an outside cabin and a lovely big window.

On the other hand, you might not only end up in the category you paid for, you might get a cabin in a location that you just never would have chosen for yourself; at that point, you can’t complain about it, either.

Look at it this way: a guarantee category cabin is for gamblers. If you’re feeling lucky and you know what the downside might be, and you can accept that, a guarantee can be a really good deal. If, on the other hand, you’d be miserable getting that cabin all the way at the very front of the ship at the lowest level, or that inside that just happens to be next to the crew quarters or the engine room, you’d be better off just choosing your cabin at the outset.

Filed under TravelTuesday travel planning trip cabin cruising Cruise Ship destination travel cruise

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THE SECRETS TO FRESH FLOWERS FOR YOUR WEDDING CAKE | Colin Cowie Weddings

Decorating your wedding cake with real flowers can offer an understated and chic alternative that brings a modern touch to the grand finale.

Beautiful and delicate edible flowers crafted from pliable sugary gum paste dough are fabulous to behold, but expensive. Real flowers, on the other hand, are less expensive to decorate with and can trim your wedding budget, while still looking luxurious. But they do come with some limitations. If you love the look or need to shave costs and are considering using fresh flowers on your wedding cake, here are the facts you need to consider.

KNOW WHAT’S EDIBLE

There are some blooms that are safe to adorn your cake with. Nasturtium, a type of watercress, is the edible kind. The Amazon Jewel and Whirlybird blossoms come in an array of cheery red, orange and yellow. If you’re looking for blooms in a different palette consider pansies, roses or marigolds.

Unlike sugar flowers, some real blooms can be beautiful, but deadly if ingested. “Don’t use flowers that have a poisonous trace like lily of the valley, daffodils or even calla lilies,” advises Liz Shim, owner of New York City-based Eat Cake Be Merry. Beware of oleander and poppy, as these are also potentially deadly if ingested.

Luckily, not all gorgeous blooms fit for your wedding cake are bad for your health. “As a precaution, ask for certified organic flowers that have not come in contact with toxic pesticides.” Orchids, for example, are often heavily treated to protect them from insects, so they may not be the safest to place on food.

BE AWARE OF SCENT AND TASTE

Another guideline to work with when selecting your blooms is considering their aroma. Stay away from flowers with a strong odor. “The scent leaches into the cake. And trust me, it will smell better than it will taste,” says Cecile Gady, former owner of Cakework in San Francisco, who started out using fresh flowers in her designs 26 years ago. 

"In any case, make sure your baker places the flowers in plastic spikes specifically designed to be inserted into cakes. This will help prevent any of the water in the stems from leaking into the cake and leaving a bitter taste," recommends Shim.

GO FOR ONE IMPACTFUL BLOOM

A new trend in decorating wedding cakes, says Deborah Lauren of City Sweets, is skipping the bouquet of flora and going for one grand blossom instead. “I love the huge boule de neige from France,” says Lauren. “The bloom comes up to 10 inches in diameter and makes such an dramatic statement.”

—Erinn Bucklan

(Source: colincowieweddings.com)

Filed under wedding cake flowers floral dessert bride budget reception

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Foodie Friday: Glazed Orange Bread | One Sutton Place

Ingredients
  1. 2 sticks unsalted butter softened
  2. 2 c. sugar
  3. 4 eggs at room temp.
  4. 4 oranges, zested and juiced
  5. 3 c. flour
  6. 1 t. baking powder
  7. 1/2 t. baking soda
  8. Scant t. kosher salt
  9. 6 oz. vanilla yogurt
  10. 1 t. vanilla
Instructions
  1. Cream butter and sugar with a mixer for 5 minutes.
  2. On medium speed, add eggs one at a time.
  3. Add 1/3 c. orange zest (you should have a heaping tablespoon left for the glaze)
  4. In a large bowl whisk together flour, baking powder, baking soda and salt.
  5. In a separate bowl whisk together 1/4 c. orange juice (juice of one orange,) yogurt and vanilla.
  6. Add flour and yogurt mixtures alternating in 3 additions.
  7. Fill prepared loaf pans a little over half way.
  8. Bake at 350 degrees for: mini loaves 20 minutes, small loaves 25-30 minutes, large loaves 45 minutes.
  9. While bread is baking, heat in a sauce pan 1/2 c. orange juice (juice of 2 oranges) and 1/2 c. sugar on low until sugar dissolves.
  10. After removing bread from oven, cool for 10 minutes.
  11. Remove to wire racks on a cookie sheet.
  12. Spoon syrup over loaves and cool completely.
  13. For glaze: mix 2 c. powdered sugar with remaining orange juice and orange zest.
  14. Pour over bread and allow to dry.
  15. Store in refrigerator or freeze.
Pan measurements
  1. mini = 2 1/2 in. x 4 in.
  2. small = 3 in. x 5 1/2 in.
  3. large = 9 in. x 5 in.

(Source: onsuttonplace.com)

Filed under foodie friday recipe food culinary bread baking orange foodie

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Wedding Venue of the Week: The Casitas Estates - Arroyo Grande, CA

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Private Estate Nestled In San Luis Obispo County’s Wine Country
Spanish style California hacienda with “little houses” and a mountain backdrop. The Casitas Estate is an incred­i­ble private loca­tion, its Span­ish archi­tec­ture is unique and brings a distinctly classy Mediterranean feel.  With its vineyard backdrop, new cer­e­mony loca­tion, pool­side veranda, grass van­ish­ing edge vista from the top of the prop­erty, or the beau­ti­ful enclosed front court­yard, there are a variety of vignettes on the prop­erty that will suit every wedding celebration with style and class. 

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The Casitas Estate Site Fees - start at $6,800 and go up to $12,000

‘The Per­fect Day’

Wed­ding Recep­tion (typ­i­cally Sat­ur­day) or Rehearsal Din­ner (Fri­day or Sat­ur­day) Only 

Exclu­sive use of seven acre Estate prop­erty that includes:

  • All four casitas (pri­vate lux­ury rooms) for two nights (lodg­ing for 8–10 guests all weekend)
  • Use of Great Room in main Hacienda,
  • Recep­tion infin­ity lawn to accom­mo­date up to 180 seated guests,
  • Front foun­tain court­yard for cock­tail reception,
  • Two addi­tional cer­e­mony site options (Vista View or poolside),
  • Full use of kitchen for caterer
  • Shut­tle ser­vice two hours before and two hours after event cre­at­ing des­ti­na­tion wedding,
  • Terra cotta tiled sunken dance floor,
  • Two deluxe restrooms facilities.

* Seated max­i­mum for Infin­ity Lawn recep­tion is 180 guests.

For all pack­ages:  We also offer coor­di­na­tion of table/chair/linen and place ware rentals, light­ing rentals, and can rec­om­mend cater­ers if desired. We want to make it as sim­ple as pos­si­ble for your spe­cial day.

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This venue is perfect for: wedding weekend events, southwestern themes or wine themes. 

Filed under casitas estates CA arroyo grande weddingvenueoftheweek venue bride Budget reception ceremony