Thursday, August 16, 2018

Chip Truck Review: Mr GoodChip

This is a brand new truck in Oshawa and has a lot going for it. Fresh, very clean inside, there's great parking, a Porta-Potty (didn't check it out), clean and new tables with umbrellas. Just no onion rings. Located on the north side of Taunton Rd, between Garrard Rd and Thorton Rd, at "The Barn" next to the big pool store.

I get the feeling he's not entirely committed to the menu yet. That's okay though! Look how clean everything is. I nearly tried the blooming onion petals, but I knew my kids wouldn't eat any so I'll wait for when I'm with Rob. The two sizes of burgers are nice. Oh, I didn't see the coleslaw! You can tell a lot about a food establishment by their coleslaw!

Wowzers. Look at the size of those fries! Thick! And real cheese curds! The gravy was thick and rich. The girls thought it tasted like chunky beef soup, but I think that's a good thing actually.
Halfway down was another layer of cheese and gravy. There was no cheese shortage here!! Which upset Hugh cause he doesn't like cheese on his fries and usually picks around the edges and at the bottom. The cheese was so stringy, it was ooey, gooey messy and yummy. I will say I thought the fries could use another minute or two and most of my testers agreed--even though they like them pale. They were not crispy fries.

Look at how pretty and smooth the table is. The umbrella has solar lights too. Mr Goodchip obviously knows what people want, and it's the little things that can make the experience good. The ambience...well, it's Taunton Rd. You can watch small planes coming/going to the Oshawa Airport, and traffic watch. A little noisy but not too bad. We will definitely check it out again and hopefully he's added onion rings :)

Thursday, August 9, 2018

Chip Truck Review: Captain Jack's (Brechin, On)

I'm not sure that is the real name. There was another name on the awning that looked like it might have been painted over at one point, but was sort of showing. It's located at the Foodland in Brechin, Ontario. Highway 12, south of Orillia. For Pete's sake, use some common sense when going here on a busy travel day. Don't try to pull out to go north when all the traffic is coming south on Sunday night.

There were people here when we stopped, so that's a good sign. There was a board with lots of flyers up, a table with toppings, all under the awning, that's nice. It was a bit of a high window though. Good selection of burgers, fish and chips, meal items. However, I added a poutine to the order, and they totally forgot it. It wasn't on the bill, so that's good, but I would have liked to try it. I saw someone else's and I think it had cheese curds.

They have onion rings! Hard to find at chip trucks!

Not a whole lot. I think this is a small and there's probably one missing. I don't think they're fresh dipped but they were still satisfying. I hate the crumbly ones from A&W.

The girls got the chicken fingers and fries. A ton of fries, but only 3 chicken fingers. They were quite large though, and they got dipping sauce, so they were happy. The men got burgers. They said they were very good. The fries seemed good. Of course, I always say they should be done more but everyone else thought they were good. 
The a parking lot, but there were several tables. Foodland there if you want to buy your own drinks or dessert. 
If you go to Google Maps (not sure if my link will work right) and look at the street view, you can see it. You can also see the fog. My ex's extended family all lived up that way and we had many foggy drives back!
And on our way up to go fishing, we found this peddle boat at the Tim Horton's. It was quite large! Adorable!

Tuesday, August 7, 2018

Chip Truck Review: " Best in Town"

Often when I ask for new chip trucks to try, the ones at Canadian Tires get mentioned. They always smell good, and are usually busy. Do all Canadian Tires have a chip truck? The two in Whitby do! So one day Megan and I were out getting a father's day gift (at Canadian Tire--how convenient) and opted to do a test--the first of the season. 
This is the Whitby south location, on Consumer's Drive. 

I wanted a menu picture, but it was too busy

I believe this was the jumbo hot dog. Megan said it was really good. 

And this was the "poutine". Okay, first up. We all see it. There are no cheese curds. Since becoming a poutine fan, I have come to enjoy cheese on my fries (must also have gravy). So, I don't care too much if it's curds or not. Shredded cheese makes a nice ooey gooey mess that curds sometimes don't (if they're just sprinkled on top).  So I don't take points away. 
It appears that I like my fries more well done than most people. These were almost too well done, but I still found them acceptable. Those who prefer less done, take your chances. I don't remember anything about the gravy.

The ambiance? Well, it's at the front of Canadian Tire, between the entrance and the auto shop. Not exactly scenic. It's not a terribly busy one, and there was shade in the afternoon, so points for that. The worker did not add it up right, $1 in my favour. The sausages did seem to be the big draw, with a steady stream of people. 

I would definitely get the fries here again. Maybe not make a trip just to go there (I do have my own deep fryer), but I'd rather have those than the wimpy things at Wendy's and McD's that are just up the street from Canadian Tire. 

Thursday, July 19, 2018

Cruise 2017: Coming Home

Well, the day came and we had to finally go home.  Sob. We were up bright and early, despite not needing to be at the airport too early this time.   I always get some great shots of the sunrise...I usually only see the sunrise on the day we leave Canada, if we have an early flight, and the day we fly home :)

 One of the glass blowers said she was at the end of her contract and was going home when we got to Miami. I wonder if that's her U-Haul? LOL. Or, maybe if you have a group of people, it's cheaper to rent a U-Haul for luggage and then everyone goes in a big van?
 Some hurricane damage

 No editing! It's so calm there in the morning!

 They vacuum up the grass clippings! LOL!!

 We got in the terminal and of course, Rob starts stressing that our luggage hadn't arrived yet. Of course, it took a little while, but it all showed up. We got a scary taxi ride over to the airport (all our taxi rides in Florida are scary. Really. It's a scary place to drive). Did our airport stuff and walked around. The airport was totally different than I remembered from 2008.  This time it was much nicer.
 We went to TGIFridays and I had something awesome and saucy. Thankfully I actually had another shirt in my carryon. Well, technically, it was the pajama top I wore the night before. But I sewed it from a t-shirt pattern, so I think I was fine. And it even went with my pants. In the future, I must think about this, because it always happens.
 Walking around, we found this Service Dog Relief Area. I'm not sure where you're supposed to go if you have a dog that isn't a service dog.
While waiting, Erica and her entourage appeared at our gate. I guess her sister and her husband were on our flight. There seemed to be some juicy gossip, regarding a foot under the table and other fun stuff. Fun way to pass the time while charging our devices. Then I walked all over trying to find a decent price cup of coffee. Got to a tiny Dunkin Donuts in the back of a newspaper shop, and was 10-20 cents short. Walked all the way back, got the money and head back for my java. It actually wasn't too bad!
Somehow, we got lucky, and the ONLY empty seat on the plane was our window seat! Not sure how that worked out, but I love the window seat! And Rob loves the aisle LOL.
Damn, that's some big plane we're on!

 Coming into the Toronto area
 Got in, off the plane, got luggage and went to customs. It was confusing. There were extra lines and machines to put in passport and get a photo scan done and it said something about expedited service. The woman working wasn't very clear, but basically said you still end up in the long line with everyone. We did it anyway. Only it couldn't get a photo of Rob. We don't know if it was because he had his hat and glasses on the first try and maybe it used up all it's tries. Or maybe because of his nystagmus (uncontrollable eye movements). Of course, he stressed and fretted all the way through the customs line. There were a couple people in a panic--one who didn't speak great English--because they had connecting flights and needed to get through. People were really nice though and let them move up the line. When we got up there, the customs officer just said "sometimes the photo doesn't work, especially with blue eyes", stamped our receipts, and off we went (oh, the trip down was the first time we ever got stamps in our passports!).

The Park N Fly shuttle stop was chaos. Only the valet parking bus was showing up, but it was full. We finally all just jammed on one van. Got to our truck, it was still in one piece, and off we went. Missed the turns for the highway, Rob got cranky and stressed again but we finally made it home. Yes, it was a bit of a slow drive due to the timing, but that's life. And that's the end of the cruise, the "last one for ten years" (until all the kids are through university). I hope not!

Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Day 10: At Sea

Ahhh. The bitter sweetness of the last day of a cruise. The day to do all the things on the ship you never got around to doing. have liked to swim in the Solarium pool but it was still frigid. We wanted this trip to be relaxing, a chance to reconnect and enjoy being with each other again. So, we relaxed. However, the last day always has some great activities. First up was the backstage tour. I never miss these, and wish more ships did them!

Logically, it started in the theater. However, shortly after it was starting, there was another talk in the theater by ship's officers. So it felt a little rushed. This is when I learned that earlier in the cruise the one night was "so bad" for waviness, that the main cast member in the production couldn't go on--that was the one night I got seasick! So I felt better knowing that even a seasoned cruise ship cast member had trouble :)
We broke up into groups, but unfortunately, the groups were a little too large, and due to the talk happening after us, the groups departed too close together and as we toured, we actually got groups mixed up in the close quarters. It was hard to hear some of the tour leaders (they're used to microphones, or not having speaking parts LOL). 

Just some of the backstage stuff. I think these are the stand lights for the music stands. Why that interested me, I don't know. But I am a musician LOL.

Inside one of the dressing rooms. The cast members do their own hair and makeup and have pictures posted so they know what they're supposed to look like.
The wardrobe room was fascinating!
Our tour guide said she was the wardrobe mistress--and had no sewing experience! But she was learning on the job. One of the cast members knew much more than her--he had been taught by his mother. So not sure why she got the position. She was also in charge of wardrobe laundry, and apparently this is the only Celebrity ship with wardrobe laundry facilities right there.

The wig and headpiece room!
Just a map from a "crew only" zone. There is such a hidden life on the ship.  Confusing stairwells, halls, etc.
When we came back out in the theater, the ship captain's talk was going on, so we stayed for that.
I think it was about safety and navigation, but you wouldn't know from the questions people asked. It was fascinating to hear some of the stories of avoiding storms, and safety issues they've had--and avoided.
Spent some time up on the pool deck relaxing. No chairs, so we had to sit on loungers.  I don't understand why they don't have chairs!
We went to the glass charity auction. Some gorgeous pieces. I would have loved the shell. These pieces they would package up for you--but you still had to get them home. I don't see that green vase lasting very long. 

I liked this vase...but not so much how the stripes twisted at the top. Anyway, things went for large sums--the vases for more than I thought, the fish and shell for less (about $600US, I think, for the shell). 

Look! Another ship! We must be getting close to Florida now!

One little detail I saw right away at the start of the week was the carts used by the room stewards. Not the typical hotel carts, these ones looked like large suitcases. Just one of those little extras you find on Celebrity. If you care about the appearance of the hallway. I don't really, though the times it smelled like mothballs was so horrible, I wanted off the ship. And, think of this....Rob spilled much of a mug of coffee on this carpet. You couldn't even tell. What else can you not tell? 

Of course, we got the bbq Spring roll and it was delicious. I would have liked a few more LOL.

In the day planner, there was an evening show listed. I know we went but I don't recall what it was specifically. Greg London. There was a rum tasting I would have loved to gone to, but it was extra. 

Try as we might, it's never an early enough night on the last night. Room got cleaned up, luggage got put away and Rob still tried to convince me to do early walk off. There was probably one more late night trip to the buffet too LOL.

Wednesday, June 27, 2018

Day 9: Falmouth, Jamaica

Jamaica, mon.  Again. We have been here, at one port or another, for three out of five cruises. Eastern, Western, and now Southern have all included Jamaica. We did a fabulous off-road tour in 2007, an interesting catamaran snorkel in 2011, and now this trip. Originally, this was to be a sea day, and the last day of the trip was to Key West, FL. That changed with the hurricanes, though other ships started going back to Key West shortly before our cruise. We weren't too excited about going back to Falmouth, although now the construction would be completed. We figured it would be another rest day. I would have liked to do an excursion, but with the incidents in the news about we made Magaritaville our excursion.

Not sure why we were in this lounge at 9:16am. I think Rob needed the bathroom LOL. This is the Ensemble Lounge on Deck 5 and was where we had our Muster Drill on the first day. A nice, quiet lounge, often with acoustic music, I wish we had used it more. 

We made it off the ship and decided to walk around and get our kids' souvenirs that we hadn't gotten around to getting. What a lot of junk in those stores. A lot of drug and sex references. I get that it's Jamaica, but really, it made it hard to find things for the kids. All they really wanted was Del Sol things (for the girls; Hugh is hard to buy for!). I took this picture because there was a boy in the kindergarten class with brothers living in Jamaica and he was a huge Usain Bolt fan. We were walking around the outer parts of the port complex. There are some nice garden areas if you want a bit more quiet from the marketplace. 

We decided to find Margaritaville for some refreshments. It's on the "port shopping map" the ship provides. But do you think we could find it? We could see what looked like a pool area, but we could not find the entrance, based on what the map showed. I should have known by this time to look at a REAL map before arriving, but we didn't have a on-board wifi plan. We found another restaurant next to the potential pool, and thought about going there, but Rob wanted to stick with a name he knew. He asked the girl at the Greeter's podium. She pointed to a little path between two buildings. WTH? 

Somehow, we found the back way into Margaritaville. Totally bizarre. And for some odd reason, it didn't occur to us to bring our swimsuits either. So we sat outside for drinks. I had a really hard time getting the wifi to log in, the waitress wasn't much help. Finally logged in and it kept dropping. But nice to connect with home for a few minutes. 

I was going to have a margarita, since well, we were in Margaritaville (again). Opted instead for drinks in the souvenir glasses. And then a different drink. And then Rob insisted we have one more. I was quite buzzed by the time we finished and got our bill for $9,554.13. Jamaican Dollars! LOL! I knew ever even thought about what currency Jamaica had. We could also pay $96.89Cdn. Wow, it was about the same price as an excursion! For 46oz of slushie drinks (each!), a souvenir glass, and a good buzz. A nice way to "end" the cruise. 

 As we left, we went out the "proper" way. Through the store, of course.
 Totally applicable, since we entered in through some obscure back path.
 This was for my brother and his girl; they have an iguana.
 Well, we were younger than most on the ship (It says "Mixed drinks for those who don't blend in")
 We headed back up to our room for a rest. It bugs us that the only way to view the TV is to lay on the bed. On our first (two?) cruises, the TV was across from the couch. That's a much better set up.

Couple Selfie! Coupie?
We had seen earlier in the week during port departure, a lot of officers and cruisers on the helipad. We finally got our invite to attend for this day. It stated that we needed close toed shoes.  I swear, one of the other guests was wearing slippers. I only had my clog like shoes that I had worn down. I actually did not bring closed toe shoes for this trip because I figured we were taking it easy. Who would have thought I'd need them to go to the helipad? On this ship, you access it through a door into the crew area, and then out to their outside lounge, and then go up some stairs. So that part was kind of neat. Once up there, you get a little fizzy drink and get to mingle with the officers and staff.

 This woman had bought this shark puppet and was getting her friend to take pictures of her "eating" things in the background. They were having a great time but her husband was mortified. I added to his embarrassment by asking if I could play along! LOL.
 What's that out there?
Wow, it's a little fishing boat. And Rob is afraid to take Bob into Lake Ontario!
See, Jamaica does have police. It's a safe place! :)

THe man on the far right is the Cruise Director. I went up to him and asked him if he used to work on Royal and he said yes. I said I'm pretty certain you were the CD on our first or second cruise! He was impressed we remembered him. I don't recall him having a sock fetish back then though...
Thanks for the photo, hubby. Once again, at an angle.

Jamaica really is quite a beautiful island.

That's a shot of Margaritaville. We could see that "volcano" but could not find the entrance!

We walked around and checked out the blown glass on display. The artist had talked about how this vase didn't go as planned, but she worked with it anyway. I think the flower was supposed to be on the bottom but got stuck to the side as she put it in

Awww. Sea turtle!
Glass rods they use for various things.Love the colours!

Vase and pitcher
There is a "Whiskey House" on deck 15 (shown as "The Porch" in the Celebrity brochure of the layouts). It seemed to always be closed. It appears sometimes they have tastings (the Daily Planner lists tastings at a few bar, but they were extra). I do recall going by once and it was packed. 

 Looking down into the library

This was an interesting space on deck 7. Called "Team Earth" there was a really neat table and all these screens and posters promoting the WWF and their work with shoreline and shallow water rehabilitation. I'm not really sure what the area was for though. There was also a Card Room on deck 9.  It was very popular.
I think I took this picture because there was nothing on the menu I wanted that night. 

And our, sometimes very stinky, hallway. Can you see Rob all the way down there? He's by our door. Really, it's not that far (compared to the Allure!!), but anytime you want to go to the room...
Anderson came to bed with me :) We didn't get towel animals, so Anderson was the next best thing. Okay, maybe better.
There was a stage production show. I'm sure it was good. I have no pictures or really any recall. They tend to blend together. I see in the planner that Sean Roach played in a lounge, but I have a feeling we were tired.

I think this was one of the few nights where I didn't want anything on the menu. I probably had a Caesar salad and the grilled New York Striploin.