Meal prep subscriptions seem to be all the rage these days. Blue Apron, Hello Fresh, Sun Basket. While these monthly deliveries seem like a lot of fun for the Food Network obsessed, we found something even better. Snack subscriptions! But not just any snack subscription qualifies as a food adventure. No, no, no. One snack box stands out above the rest, because it takes you on a trip around the world.
Try the World has created a snack box delivery that contains five all-natural, non-gmo treats from five different countries each month. We love this idea for three reasons. One: It comes right to your door, saving you thousands on hotel and airfare. Two: It requires absolutely zero cooking (we can’t stress the importance of this enough). Three: In terms of experiencing different cultures, a snack box is like the equivalent of asking your concierge to recommend a restaurant where the locals hang out. Sure, anyone can whip up a batch of Thai noodles if you want to feel a connection to Thailand, but what are the regular folks there walking around eating? Thai snacks, of course!
We tried Try the World for two months and received $5 off. It was a tiny bit on the pricey side, but not enough to make us shy away. $15 a month was totally worth it. Here’s what we received.
Crispy Banana Chips by Danielle from Thailand
Prawn Cocktail Handcooked Crisps by The London Crisp Co. from England
Olive Oil Taralli crackers by Terre de Puglia from Italy
Pink Champagne Biscuits by Fossier from France
Milk Caramels by Morinaga from Japan
Lemondrop Cookies by Casa Lucena from Portugal
Flatbread Crisps by Morsjo Deli from Sweden
Citrus Crumble Cakes by Ines Rosales from Spain
Taro Vegetable Chips by Minemadame from Thailand
Butter Cookies by La Mere Poulard from France
Verdict: Each box had a great balance between sweet and savory snacks and came with a description card detailing where the snacks came from, why they were included, or a bit of the company’s or country’s history. We had almost as much fun reading the packaging as we did eating the snacks (almost). The Prawn Cocktail Crisps and the Pink Champagne Biscuits were highlights and we couldn’t get enough of the Flatbread or Caramels. Every snack was packed with flavor, which was a stark contrast to our bland-by-comparison American snacks.
So, will we continue our subscription? Yes we will!
Have you ever been sitting down to lunch and thought, You know what would make this better? If this sandwich was tinier and cut into triangles. And if it was joined by other tiny sandwiches. And tiny desserts. And scones. And if it was served on a three-tiered tray. With tea. And if it was later in the day. Like, say 4pm. And if I was eating with friends. And we were overlooking the Pacific Ocean.
I mean, we’ve all been there, right? Which is exactly why Afternoon Tea was invented (historical fact). Mealtime can be monotonous, so why not stir in a little adventure!
There are many, many Afternoon Tea venues across the country and around the world that are worth visiting (we have a bucket list just for tea spots), and each comes with its own charms. As we’ve found while conducting extensive research on the subject, sometimes you can even find afternoon tea served in a place you wouldn’t expect or a place that doesn’t exactly advertise the fact, giving it a hint of mystery and exclusivity.
One such spot is the Belmond El Encanto, a luxury hotel located in the Santa Barbara Hills. Let’s just say, Santa Barbara hasn’t earned the nickname “The American Riviera” for nothing. It will probably be a sunny 72 as you zip past the Santa Barbara Mission and wind your way up to the hotel. You’ll be surrounded by trees and sweet-smelling flora as birds chirp in the distance. Once you arrive, a handsome valet will whisk your car away while another holds open the lobby door and hopes you have a wonderful day. Feeling pampered yet?
The best moment of your tea experience at the Belmond will probably be when you’re brought out onto the patio. The swaying palm trees act as arms spread wide, revealing the sweeping ocean and city views just beyond the gorgeous hotel grounds. You will be struck by how peaceful it feels, how relaxed. Soft classical music will be playing in the background as you’re shown to your seats and you’ll realize you would be perfectly content just sitting there all day.
But tea is waiting! The Traditional Tea comes with one classic and one currant scone accompanied by dishes of clotted cream and marmalade as well as a selection of sandwiches and sweets. Any good Afternoon Tea worth its salt will transform their tea sandwiches into works of art, as the Belmond has done with its egg salad and snipped chive, French cornichons, smoked salmon and watermelon radish, and cucumber with minted cream cheese.
The desserts are equally beautiful and scrumptious (plus they have touches of edible gold). Macarons, chocolate and coffee infused Opera cake, an almond berry tart, chocolate and apricot Sacher torte, and citrus madeleines.
You will be so full you almost won’t have room for tea. Just kidding, there’s always room for tea! We recommend the house blend or the blooming jasmine (that one comes with a show).
Belmond El Encanto would be awarded five stars if there were such a rating system for Afternoon Teas. Amazing food, delicious teas, and stunning views. A+
We promise we do actually eat food that hasn’t been prepared by Disney-affiliated chefs. Really! But when it comes to theme, you really can’t top their particular brand of magic. Which is why, if you’re looking for a New Orleans themed experience this Mardi Gras (and can’t afford the real thing), all you have to do is pop on over to Ralph Brennan’s Jazz Kitchen in Downtown Disney, Anaheim.
From the outside, Ralph Brennan’s looks is a traditional two-story, iron-balconied building one might find in the more romantic cities in Louisiana. Awnings and plants hang overhead and ornate iron gates beckon you to enter. Once inside, you are no longer in the hustle and bustle of a Disney thoroughfare, you’re enveloped by the romance of the French Quarter. A tiled courtyard, a grand staircase, a multi-tiered fountain. If only there were music playing… Oh wait, what’s that coming from the next room?
Under a canopy of colorful parasols and shimmering beads sits a stage, flanked by columns and surrounded by tables. A warm glow emanates from the low platform as a man sits behind a grand piano, serenading diners enjoying Sunday brunch. But once night falls, the tranquility of day gives way to the energy of Bourbon Street with festive jazz, New Orleans R&B, and zydeco.
Not only does the Jazz Kitchen have their ambience down pat, but it’s got roots too. Ralph Brennan’s family first went into business in 1943 when they purchased the Old Absinthe House on Bourbon Street in New Orleans’ French Quarter. To help capture that authentic Louisiana look and feel, a dozen New Orleans-based artists were commissioned to create original artwork for this California location. And boy was it worth it!
Of course, the desire for authenticity didn’t stop there. Ralph Brennan’s boasts what they call a “Parade of Crescent City Specialties”, including Gumbo Ya-Ya, Pasta Jambalaya, and Po’ Boys. You can sip on a refreshing Louisiana Lemonade or try a traditional Hurricane. And don’t forget the Beignets and Bananas Foster. The biggest problem with the menu here is that it’s nearly impossible to decide what to order! When we can’t decide, we go with the Bananas Foster French Toast or the Cajun Poutine Etouffe. We’re drooling a little just thinking about it.
Other culinary highlights include the Peach Cobbler, Bread Pudding Souffle, Southern Fried Chicken, Blackened Shrimp Street Tacos, Popcorn Calamari, Boudin Balls, and Catfish. Prices range from $12-16 for lunch and $22-36 for dinner and you’ll definitely need to make a reservation at least 24 hours in advance if you plan to have brunch.
Sunday Brunch runs from 10am-3pm, Lunch is served Monday through Saturday from 11am-4pm, and Dinner is nightly 4-10pm (11pm on Fridays and Saturdays). Call (714) 776-5200 for reservations or visit www.rbjazzkitchen.com
Nostalgia is, among many things, an adventure into the past. True, nostalgia is technically a wistful yearning for a time or place in one’s own past, but that seems so limiting! One of the first rules of adventuring is that there are no rules in adventuring, which means that you can wax nostalgic about your childhood or your grandmother’s. You can yearn for Paris from your year abroad or Zelda Fitzgerald’s Paris of the 1920s. Exploring this feeling opens lots of fun doors and if we’ve learned anything from C.S. Lewis, it’s to open doors!
Two things that seem to garner intense nostalgia are Route 66 and the 1950s. In fact, this place and this time period will, if you follow The Daily Adventurer long enough, probably pop up multiple times. Sorry not sorry. You will also read a lot about Disneyland because we can’t ever get enough of Walt’s world. So what would happen if something combined Disneyland, Route 66, and the 1950s? Well, we’d probably cause a rip in the fabric of time, but we’re willing to take that chance for you, dear readers, as we sh-boom our way over to Radiator Springs to eat at Flo’s V8 Café. Buckle up, kids.
Radiator Springs, if you are unfamiliar, is the fictional town located along Route 66 in the Pixar movie Cars. Its real-world counterpart is Cars Land, located in Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim. As replicas go, this one is truly astonishing. Every last detail has received the Disney treatment, including Flo’s V8 Café. It’s the fifties diner you wish all fifties diners could be and more. The pinks and teals are vibrant, the chrome is shiny, and the neon begs to be photographed.
Of course, this is Cars Land, so the diner has been designed specifically around its owner. The sassy and sleek Flo used to be part of a girl group known as the Motorama Girls and her diner is a showroom homage to that musical past. Even the jukebox at the counter holds Motorama Girls hits like “It Takes Two-Tone, Baby” and “Cruise Into My Life”. The waitresses wear teal uniforms with crisp white aprons, familiar fifties tunes play in the background, and the clocks are made of white wall tires.
Inside you can hang a right and sit in Doc Hudson’s clinic if that’s your thing, but the real action happens on the left. This is Flo’s turf. Old articles are framed on the walls telling the story of the Motorama Girls, a giant Motorama Girls mural takes center stage, and a rearview mirror that looks like an old prop from The Incredible Shrinking Woman hangs overhead. You can sit at a table facing the desert landscape of Ornament Valley and catch a few fast laps of the Radiator Springs Racers or you can venture outside to sit among the old fashioned gas pumps.
Luckily for hungry diners, Flo’s isn’t only about ambience. The menu here is something right out of June Cleaver’s kitchen. You won’t find any hipster nonsense here. Okay, that’s not totally true. They may not have foraged, artisanal truffle donuts served with bacon foam, but they do have tasty aiolis and IPAs. But any slightly gourmet tones are well hidden in homemade, down-home, comfort food that’s served up in a jiffy. Waffles and French Toast for breakfast, Roast Beef & Cheddar for lunch, a Turkey Dip for dinner, and sides of mashed potatoes and macaroni and cheese for days. All the great diner classics without the threat of roadside food poisoning!
Are we forgetting something? Oh yes, only the best desserts in Carburetor County. Flo’s “Made Right Here” Pie-O-Rama Pies are the reason the term “mouth watering” was created. Apple-Cheddar and Chocolate Mud are the tops and pair nicely with a classic shake (vanilla, chocolate, strawberry, or neopolitan) in a souvenir glass.
A little bit of Route 66 lore combined with the be-bopping 1950s all wrapped up in a Disney package. We never thought we’d be recommending a restaurant inside a theme park, but it’s absolutely impossible to resist Flo’s V8 Café.
November is the magical month when Disneyland transforms from a spooky Halloween wonderland to a sparkling, festive ode to all things Christmas. You have to be a real Grinch not to fall in love with the pageantry and creativity. We’re not judging, but if Disneyland isn’t an Adventure you’re on board with, you may need to reevaluate your priorities. Also, we may not be able to be friends and that would be tragic.
Magic is a mainstay of Adventure and the talented Disney chefs and bakers that create the much-anticipated holiday menus have it in spades. Disneyland may be a Class A Adventure all on its own, but their special holiday treats take it to another level of joy altogether. To pass them up means that either a)you’re one of those people that takes pride in saying no to birthday cake or b)you are overwhelmed by all of the tasty choices and need our help to guide you.
Well fear not, dear readers! We have tackled the positively grueling task of compiling a list of must-eat holiday treats, thus creating a mini adventure within an adventure (a theme-within-a-theme, if you will) just for you. Consider this your early Christmas present.
Candy Cane Beignets (Café Orleans, Mint Julep Bar)
Chocolate Coffee Yule Log (Plaza Inn Restaurant)
Crushed Candy Cane Cone (Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor)
Eggnog Latte (Royal Street Veranda)
Elf Mickey Stein with Cookies (Hungry Bear Restaurant)
Family-Style Cookie Bake (Big Thunder Ranch Barbecue)
Gingerbread Man Cookies (Golden Horseshoe, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Main Street Cappuccino Cart, Market House, Stage Door Café, Village Haus Restaurant)
Holiday Brownie (Village Haus Restaurant)
Holiday Funnel Cake (Stage Door Café)
Holiday Krispy (Bengal Barbecue, Golden Horseshoe, Main Street Cappuccino Cart, Refreshment Corner, Stage Door Café)
Holiday Peppermint Mocha (Blue Bayou Restaurant, Café Orleans, Jolly Holiday Bakery Café, Main Street Cappuccino Cart, Mint Julep Bar, Royal Street Veranda)
Holiday Sprinkles Premium Cone (Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor)
Peppermint Ice Cream (Gibson Girl Ice Cream Parlor)
Snowman Shortbread Cookie (Main Street Cappuccino Cart, Village Haus Restaurant)
Candy Cane, Snowman, and Christmas Tree shaped Breads (Boudin Bread Cart, Mortimer’s Market, Pacific Wharf Café)
Cozy Cone Holiday Sipper (Cozy Cone Motel)
Crushed Candy Cane Cone (Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream)
Elf Mickey Stein with Sundae (Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream)
Gingerbread Man Cookie (Fiddler Fifer & Practical Café, Pacific Wharf Café, Smokejumpers Grill)
Holiday Brownie (Fiddler, Fifer & Practical Café, Pacific Wharf Café)
Holiday Sprinkle Cone (Clarabelle’s Hand-Scooped Ice Cream)
Olaf Krispy (Award Weiners, Schmoozies)
Snowman Shortbread Cookie (Boardwalk Pizza and Pasta, Fiddler Fifer & Practical Café, Pacific Wharf Café, Smokejumpers Grill)
Sugar Cookies with Sprinkles (Pacific Wharf Café)
Chocolate Coffee Yule Log (Goofy’s Kitchen)
Eggnog Latte (The Coffee House, Hearthstone Lounge)
Gingerbread Man Cookie (The Coffee House, Hearthstone Lounge, Surfside Lounge)
Gingerbread Shingle Cookie (White Water Snacks)
Holiday Brownie (Surfside Lounge)
Holiday Dessert Selection (PCH Grill)
Holiday Krispy (White Water Snacks, Surfside Lounge)
Mint Chocolate Whoopie Pie (The Coffee House, White Water Snacks, Surfside Lounge)
Peppermint Mocha (The Coffee House, Hearthstone Lounge)
Snowman Shortbread Cookie (Tangaroa Terrace, Surfside Lounge)
Chestnut Praline Frappuccino (Starbucks)
Frosted Snowman Cookie (Starbucks)
Holiday Caramel Apples (Marceline’s Confectionary)
Holiday Cupcakes (Marceline’s Confectionary)
Holiday Krispys (Marceline’s Confectionary)
Mini Snowman Doughnut (Starbucks)
Peppermint Brownie Cake Pop (Starbucks)
Peppermint Hot Chocolate (Starbucks)
Peppermint Mocha Frappuccino (Starbucks)