We absolutely love an ice cream trend! Rolld Ice Cream in San Luis Obispo has brought the newest sweet treat to this college town and people are lining up out the door for it.
Let's hear from Rolld how all of this came about: "After traveling all across the country and world we learned about Thai-Rolled ice cream and fell in love with it. After visiting over 50 locations we decided to open our very own shop in our home of San Luis Obispo. Combining the best flavors from our travels we came up with a unique and delicious menu."
They have a ton of great flavors on a large, awesomely overwhelming menu board and once you've made your choice (so hard!) the fresh cream base is frozen, as they say, "right before your eyes". There is a lot of chopping and scraping and spreading and a lot of forearm flexing which basically means you're also getting a show with your ice cream!
Some of their flavors have locally inspired names (Bishop's Split, Chorro Crunch, Madonna Mint, Mustang Green Tea, Poly Pebbles, and SLO S'more) and others are classics (Strawberry Cheesecake, Apple Pie, Butter Pecan, and Rocky Road). No matter which flavor you choose, you will end up with a bowl full of delectable rolls to dig into. We recommend the Hazelnut High (nutella base, Ferrero Rocher, nutella drizzle) and the Chocolate Cougar (chocolate base, brownie bites, chocolate drizzle, chocolate chips, chocolate wafer straw) because we're chocoholics here at The Daily Adventurer, but you really can't go wrong with whatever you choose.
What do you do when you purchase a historic, mid-century modern motel on the top of a hill overlooking a tiny town off the 101 freeway on the Central Coast of California that has a photographer's dream of a sign out front but that is also lovingly referred to as the Bates Motel? You renovate the rooms, make it look like it was transported here from the Coachella Valley, keep the sign, and open an on-site restaurant named Norman, of course!
The Skyview Motel in Los Alamos, California first opened in 1959 and had always been a roadside icon. However, icon status does not always ensure that something will remain. It sometimes takes dedicated individuals to breathe new life into a place to make sure its sticks around for future generations. Thankfully, that is exactly what has saved the Skyview from being forgotten.
Norman is the brunch spot to end all brunch spots. The decor is elegant rustic, the menu is locally inspired ,and the views are spectacular. Since the weather here is more often perfect than not, you can sit outside and soak up the poolside ambiance or you can settle into a comfy suede booth indoors.
The brunch menu at Norman is relatively small, which is exactly what makes it so good. The chefs here aren't going for quantity over quality by trying to dazzle the eyes with dozens of choices. They aim to dazzle your tastebuds with a carefully curated assemblage of seasonal and local hits. Try a cheese plate for the table to start, then go for the Norman Burger (with Swiss cheese and caramelized onions on a brioche bun that looks like a sculpture when it's brought out) or the Avocado Toast (with heirloom tomatoes, macerated leak, and bagel crunch). And don't forget a cocktail!
The only problem with brunching at Norman is you won't want to leave! Lucky for you you don't have to.
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)
Imagine, if you will, that you are in an Elvis phase. You watched the 2005 miniseries Elvis starring Jonathan Rhys Meyers for the third time and it awakened something inside you. So you watched Elvis movies and listened to Elvis albums and started checking in on the Graceland live cam (a real thing), and briefly considered purchasing Elvis glasses (complete with sideburns).
Now imagine that, as a travel writer, you have decided that every time you go out of town you will hunt for Elvis sites. If you go to Hollywood you will find his star, if you go to Tupelo you will visit his boyhood home, etc. You expect that what you will find are the usual tourist traps. What you do not expect is to find the unexpected.
So on visit to family in Orange County you swipe open your phone and type in "Elvis Orange County" and "Elvis Anaheim" to see what pops up. To your utter astonishment you find the Azteca Restaurant & Lounge, a Mexican restaurant in Garden Grove that pays brilliant, if incongruous, homage to The King.
Of course, you get very excited and as you pack up the car to head home and punch the address into you navigation system you feel the flutterings of impending Adventure. Then, because you are not only an adventurer but a person who is somewhat shy and anxious in unfamiliar situations, you drive down the adorable Historic Main Street in Garden Grove you feel flutterings of a different kind. Namely, the Carls' Junior breakfast burrito you had for breakfast.
But as you park the car and wander up and down the street, pausing across the street from the Azteca you fight the urge to leave without going inside. It would be such a waste! And think of all the untold Elvis riches inside! So you stare at the restaurant a little longer, shop in the adorable thrift store across the street, stare at it some more in the hopes that someone else will walk inside that you can draft behind, then finally pluck up your courage, cross the street, pull open the heavy wooden door, and are instantly terrified and thrilled at what you see before you. First, the restaurant is empty because it is 11:01 on a weekday (terrifying). Second, Elvis is literally everywhere (thrilling).
As you take a few steps forward you are greeted by the friendliest host you have ever encountered outside of Disneyland. He positively beams as he welcomes me in. You ask him if it would be okay if you take a look around despite the fact that you won't be staying for lunch and he says, "Of course!" As you walk around the empty restaurant you ask a busboy who is putting out place settings if he is an Elvis fan. He smiles and tells you that he wasn't, but he is now. You ask the host if he ever gets tired of all the Elvis and he laughs, "Never!"
Every wall is an Elvis collage of photographs, artwork, and memorabilia. Glass gases display collector's items and Elvis can be heard over the speakers singing Viva Las Vegas. Red twinkle lights are draped across the ceiling and when you look up you see movie posters from every Elvis film. Jackets hang down like ornaments and a motorcycle is perched atop a half wall opposite a life-sized Elvis figure that has probably been in hundreds of selfies.
You have been immersed in Elvis and you hate to leave, but you also don't want to hang around without eating, so you take several pictures, thank everyone for being so nice, and step back out into the bright afternoon sun, vowing to come back with friends to try the undoubtedly amazing food.
Once you get home you can't resist the urge to research this anomalous restaurant. You find out that, as the story goes, the original restaurant was opened by "Aunt Connie" in 1957 and moved to it's current location in 1980. Thirteen years later Aunt Connie retired, handing the reins over to her nephew JJ Jauregui. JJ was a huge Elvis fan and, shortly after taking over, bought a framed picture of The King and decided to hang it in the restaurant. Fast-forward twenty years and that one picture turned into the "largest Elvis collection west of the Mississippi".
But it's the end of this story that's the best part. You don't have to imagine any of this, because you can see and experience it all for yourself!
Azteca Restaurant & Lounge
12911 Historic Main Street
Garden Grove, CA 92840
As good as an old fashioned Hershey bar can be, it cannot compare to chocolate that has been carefully selected by a chocolate guru and flown over from Switzerland. Sorry, Kisses. All of the chocolate at Chocolate Maya is organic, hand-made, ethically grown and produced, and uses only the purest ingredients. This upscale chocolate shop isn’t about getting a quick fix for your sweet tooth, it’s about indulgence mixed with a fair amount of education. They have truffles, they have chipotle infused dark chocolate, they have strawberry balsamic ganache. Not to mention the wall of over seventy chocolate bars from all over the world.
Maya knows everything there is to know about chocolate and can answer any question you could possibly have about the confection. If you want to have the full experience you can book a Private Tasting or sign up for a Walk-In Tasting where you will learn all about the chocolate that you’re consuming (try to hold back from devouring if you can!). It’s kind of like wine tasting, but without the hangover. Any time of day is a good time of day to pick out a few truffles or order a cup of hot cocoa and sit in the Chocolate Lounge to relax and visit with friends. And you can even pick up one of these handy booklets -
Chocolate Maya is a must-see if you're in Santa Barbara, especially if you have a passion for chocolate that borders on obsession.