Monday, April 27, 2009

Newark, Delaware Mexican Restaurants

So we have now made it to three of the local Mexican restaurants around here. After being spoiled by the authentic food in Phoenix, nothing can quite live up to our Mexican food tastes, but these are still pretty good restaurants.

El Jefe: Brian went to this little place off of Kirkwood Highway with his co-workers before taking me there. When we went, the service was a little slow in getting to us (and it was actually a slow night for them), but once we were able to get our order in the experience improved greatly. The food was the closest to what you'd get in Phoenix, and the guacamole and salsa were both good. We'll definitely go again.

La Tonalteca: This place is right off Main Street downtown Newark, making it the closest to us. This place has replaced Tres Margaritas (in Tempe) as our spot to get our Mexican food fix on a Friday night. It's a franchised restaurant, with 10 locations in DE and one in PA and NY each, and overall has pretty good food-even though it's just a little overpriced.

Border Cafe: We finally hit up this place after passing it many times. Unfortunately, it is the least favorite of the options so far. It was a packed restaurant, and the round wooden tables were crammed so close together you could barely get through the restaurant. The menu was billed as a Tex-Mex restaurant, but ended up being an odd mix of Mexican, Cajun, Creole, and Soul foods. The food was okay, I didn't really like it but Brian did. I probably wouldn't return for a full dinner, but the chips were good enough that it might be a good place for having just drinks and appetizers. There are three locations in MA, and two in NJ in addition to the DE locations.

Sunday, April 26, 2009


I have always been a make-a-calendar and mark off the days kind of person.  So, I'm eagerly looking forward to the following:

  • Memorial Day Weekend Camping Trip (May 25)
  • End of school (June 11)
  • Mariah, Ashley, and Moms weekend (June 11-15)
  • Weddings Weekend + Trip to Put-In-Bay (July 3~...)
  • Next Harry Potter Movie (July 15)
  • Trip to MONTREAL! (Apx. Aug 8)

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Assateague Island National Seashore

At the end of my spring break, we headed south for a quick camping trip. I was very excited for the rainy weather to let up, and it ended up being a very warm and sunny weekend.
We headed across the border to Assateague Island. This island is basically a big sand bar on the bottom of the Delaware peninsula. The entire island has a complex arrangement of national parks, one in MD and one in VA, as well as a Maryland state park. We camped in the Maryland section of the National Park, on the ocean side. We were in a "walk-up site," specifically #66. There were more sites further in actually in the sand.
We had a great time together, thoroughly deluding ourselves that it was the middle of summer on the East Coast.
Brian enjoying his coffee on the ocean side beach.

The island has a slightly odd terrain. All of the plants and animals have to be adaptable to the arid conditions and sandy soils. It looked fairly familiar to us:

Prickly Pear Cactus/Adapted Trees

We rented a canoe and explored the bay side of the island.

The most enchanting part of the island were the wild horses. They aren't sure how these horses got to the island, but they have been at home and free at Assateague for hundreds of years. These horses came right up to the trail, and didn't seem to notice us at all.

Other wildlife we saw included: birds, ducks, geese galore, cottontail rabbits, turtles, and deer.
Bay Side
On the way out, we also stopped at Dumser's Dairy Land for an ice cream treat to complete the summer feel. The menu was extensive. Brian enjoyed his brownie ice cream sundae, while I had my favorite, a scoop of butter pecan.
We left with a small collection of seashells, as well as fairly intense sun burns.
We definitely plan to visit again!

Tips for (Next Time) Camping at Assateague National Seashore
  • Mini golfing very close to the park
  • Catch a movie at the visitors center
  • Don't forget sunblock
  • Bring bike
  • Get firewood (for a beach fire) or charcoal (the only type of fire allowed at the campsites) before crossing over the bridge.
  • Bring some hurricane lamps to protect candles from the windy conditions.

Book Recommendation: The Bridges of Madison County

This book has been in my bookshelf for a long time. I acquired it from a give-away pile at school. I finally picked it up during a long car trip recently, and greedily read through most of it in one sitting. It was a very good guilty pleasure kind of read. I highly recommend it.

I'm going to netflix the movie version soon.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

A Day of MY Spring Break

Today was a very nice day. Even though it was extremely rainy again, basically a light drizzle for most of the day, I felt pretty happy in this dreary little state. It doesn't take much to make me happy, just getting out and around.

9:00 Woke up as Brian was leaving.

11:00 Found my way to the bank and Target. I only had to turn around twice! I still can't navigate all the roads around here. I really miss having Target right down the street... I got some pink tennis balls and some fun stuff for camping.
12:00 Went to Trader Joe's. It was my first time to the one in Delaware. We find a lot of great stuff in their frozen section. My favorites include:

Our freezer is now officially full, between the TJs trip and bringing home lots of meat from my parents freezer.

12:30 Got potato soup and a sandwich at Panera Bread.

2:00 Repaired five cardigans. I had to put about 15 buttons back on sweaters-I was very impressed that I could find all of the lose buttons in my sewing box except one. I really don't seem to lose anything. I have had this on my to-do list for a while, so I was very happy to get it all done.

Later... having a pretty colorful plate of food that Brian made. Cubed steak, vegetables, strawberries, and pineapple.

However, we did miss seeing Anderson Cooper at the Univ. of Delaware b/c it was sold out. I guessed it would be, but Brian never assumed it would be that popular.

Easter 2009

We headed home this Easter. Since my spring break started on Good Friday, we were able to leave after school on Thursday. It took about 11 hours, give or take. The time there was well spent-we saw lots of family and a few friends. However, we definitely missed the beautiful warm sunrise service that has become our Easter tradition at Alleluia in Tempe. The service there is held outside at Papago park. It was pretty chilly in Indiana.

Brian made some cute eggs. I think he would try to make anything I asked. I went with stripes.

I took a few pictures of my adorable second cousins hunting for eggs:

We headed back on Monday morning, stopping at, "one of the greatest places ever," according to Brian. Grandpa's Cheese Barn was a nice little shop with many, many free samples, as well as a little deli. We bought cheese curds, sage cheese, some mustard, and relish, as well as grabbing subs for lunch. Their black cherry soda was also good! Next time we go we will have to try the ice cream.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Day Trip: Cherry Blossom Festival Part 2

I dragged Brian out of bed early Saturday for the second trip to DC in as many weekends. We had some unfinished business from last weekend. With the promise of Cinna-bun at a rest stop along the way, he was out of the house a little earlier. We went through Baltimore this time, rather than going 896 through Annapolis, and ended up facing an awful lot of traffic due to construction, congestion, and rubber necking.

We parked at a different park and ride this time (Greenbelt-no pay for parking on Sat/Sun), and it was absolutely packed. Luckily we already had our metro cards. We took the green line into L'Enfant Station and started our day at the Air and Space Museum. We picked a few exhibits to view-my favorite was the planets exhibit. I actually know a lot about them through the Mars Educator trainings I attended in Arizona, and could converse pretty well with Brian. I can't really compete with his knowledge, considering he was able to see Saturn through a telescope at one of his own trainings. A very powerful telescope. Could see the rings and everything, said it looked just like the pictures.

We then looked for lunch-an almost impossible task. The plan was to eat at that museum b/c they boasted of having a Boston Market, that was actually only two different meals beside the entire McDonald's menu. Brian didn't want this, and we finally decided to go to the cafeteria in the American History museum. We rested a bit on the lawn while deciding this, and Brian made fun of my Arizona weakness for cold as I huddled in three layers and a hood in while other mall walkers past us in shorts. It wasn't so much cold as windy.

The cafeteria in the American History museum was really quite good, though of course overpriced. We took in a few exhibits there. I really liked the kitchen of Julia Child's. In the bon appetit exhibit they have all of her actual kitchen, with all the gadgets on display. In the Science in American lives, Brian noticed a few scientists he has heard speak. Many of the most popular exhibits were packed, and we were pretty exhausted, so we stopped at the Stars and Stripes cafe for some ice cream. Overlooking a fountain and some beautiful architecture, I loved my butter pecan while Brian enjoyed a root beer float. I was really impressed by the ice cream.

We then made our way back to the cherry trees to see how they had survived the big storm and the windy days. The sun was going down behind the Washington Monument. They were on their last day of peak bloom. Still beautiful.


I have a new favorite website.

A few weeks ago I got a recipe for supposedly perfect brownies. Not too fudgy (like Brian likes) and not to cakey (more like I like). However it called for "cake flour" and I couldn't find any in the grocery stores around here (don't get me started on how much I don't like the grocery stores here). So, I looked for some online. I found some at the King Arthur website, as well as a few other goodies I just had to have. After getting my first shipment of two huge boxes, I've put the rest of my desires on to a wish list to get at a later date.

And Brian really liked the brownies-my first time not using a box mix. Not sure the cake flour really made the difference though.


  • Cute Shirt

  • I need four of these... cake flour, bread flour, wheat flour, all purpose flour. My cannister has too small of a lid to really be able to measure out of.

    • Black decorating sugar: I need these for some "pool" cupcakes I am making-for the 8 ball.

  • For the rest of the pool balls I'm making.
    Again for the pool balls, I need the black food coloring.

    • Scoop for my new flour container