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International Foods

Punta Cana

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Punta Cana

Over the July 4th weekend, Ben and I snuck out of the country for a little R&R. {I know it is not very American of us.} We love to travel so in February we got the itch for a "second honeymoon" aka an excuse to go to the beach! We ended up booking a 6 day 5 night trip through CheapCaribbean.com and it could not have been more satisfied with this decision! We booked the flight + all inclusive resort and everything from our condo, to the cabanas, to the food was superb and exactly what we were looking for! We stayed at the Presidential Suites in Punta Cana, Dominican Republic. I was immediately hooked on these cabanas on their website and that is mostly why we booked our vacation there. 

This trip was different than our others in the sense that we decided not to "plan" any excursions or big activities. The plan was to not have a plan. We followed through on this and I am so happy that we did! We literally got up every morning, snagged up a cabana, then laid in it, read books, ate delicious food, jumped waves in the ocean, & participated in the resort activities! This included yoga on the beach, some beach games, a foam party, + more! We met some amazing new friends that we were sad to leave! This is more of a boutique hotel so you saw the same people all the time! I really liked this about the resort. Each night the buffet restaurant had a different theme and the food was just great! It was way better than I expect at an international all inclusive resort. We ate our fair share, let me tell ya!

Something that stood out to me the most about Punta Cana, besides it being absolutely beautiful, is the people. Everyone was so nice. This is a very familial culture and you feel that while you are there. We really enjoyed getting to know the entertainment staff and could always count on them for a good laugh + some energy!

 
Cabana
 
 
Towel
 
 
 
 
 
Ben
Chelsea
 
 

Dreamin' of the beach -

Chelsea
 

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PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

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PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Hey fellow foodies -

PF Changs is famous for their Chicken Lettuce Wraps. Everyone always talks about the chicken lettuce wraps anytime PF Changs is mentioned. Since 3 of my 4 siblings worked there, I am extra fond of these! I found this really simple and quick recipe to make these in your very own kitchen! Now normally - I will substitute complicated or unique ingredients for other things that I already have in my cupboard but in this recipe it is very important to get the right sauces so that it tastes just right! You can find all of the ingredients below at your neighborhood grocery story and thankfully it doesn't require a special trip to a Chinese or International grocery store. Not that Chinese or International grocery stores are bad - I just know it takes a lot more effort to find and go to one of these little gems!

PF Changs Chicken Lettuce Wraps

Adapted from this recipe.

Prep Time: 10 minutes

Cook Time: 10-15 minutes

Servings: 4

Ingredients:

  • 1 tablespoon of olive oil
  • 1 pound of ground chicken
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1/4 cup of hoisin sauce
  • 2 tablespoons of soy sauce
  • 1 tablespoon of rice wine vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon of freshly grated ginger
  • 1 teaspoon of Sriracha, or more depending on how spicy you want it
  • 1 can (8 oz) of whole water chestnuts, drained & diced
  • 2 green onions, thinly sliced
  • Salt & ground black pepper, to taste
  • 1 head of butter lettuce

Directions:

  1. Heat olive oil in a sauce pan over medium-high heat.
  2. Add ground chicken and cook until browned, approximately 3-5 minutes. Crumble the chicken as it cooks and then drain the excess fat.
  3. Stir in garlic, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, rice wine vinegar, ginger, and Sriracha for approximately 1-2 minutes.
  4. Season with salt and pepper to taste.
  5. To serve, spoon several tablespoons of the chicken mixture into the center of the butter lettuce leaf.
 
Chicken Lettuce Wraps
 

Happy cookin' -

Chelsea
 

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Austin: Eating my way through the Weird City

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Austin: Eating my way through the Weird City

This past week I was in Austin, Texas for work. Although I have been to Austin many, many times in my life - I thought I would give you my "official" review on places that I ate at in Austin. Most people (including myself) would compare Austin to Denver in trendiness, hipsteriness, music scene, foodiness, outdoorsy-festivals, etc. etc. I am naturally drawn to this city and all the fun and cool things to do! Too bad I don't have my hubby here to explore with me. :(

Monday:

Lunch @ Taco Deli - This is a cute little taco shop close to our offices off of Mopac and somewhere haha. My co-worker took me there because when someone asks me what I want to eat while in Texas - I always answer "Mexican!". I ordered a carne asada taco, a conquistador taco, guacamole & chips, AND a Horchata!! Horchata is officially my new drink obsession! It is absolutely delicious and I had never heard of it until today. Apparently - this is some new trendy tex-mexy slash Mexican drink that is being served. My understanding is that it is rice milk and cinnamon but it is absolutely refreshing!

Dinner @ Zocalo Cafe on Lynn Street - This is another cute little cafe/modern/cutesy Austin taco/flauta place! I couldn't decide what I wanted and I was STARVING since I didn't leave work until almost 8 o'clock (all justifications for what I am about to say...) so I ordered two meals haha. I got an order of chicken flautas with black beans & rice and the zocalo plate which is black beans with chicken, tortilla strips, and rice, and tomatoes and just a whole lot of greatness in a little pile. Then I discovered that they also had Horchata here. I asked the guy if I could pay for one since I had already closed out - and in true Texan fashion he said it was on the house.... I then proceeded to drink 90% of the drink in my 5 minute drive home to my hotel. #Horchataprobz Anyways - again this place is absolutely delicious!! I LOVED everything I ordered - especially the Zocalo plate. I highly, highly recommend it! I can't wait to explore more food this city has to offer.

 
Horchata
 

Tuesday:

Lunch @ El Meson Taqueria on Burleson Rd - One of my many bosses and I were looking for somewhere close by our client and this popped up. It had good ratings so we decided to try it. It is a little hole in the wall place located close to the Airport. I ordered cochinta pibil tacos with black beans and rice ($7.30) and chips & guacamole. It was sooo good! This is more authentic Mexican food rather than trendy Tex Mex. This is an order at the counter and sit down to eat establishment. If you are ever in this part of town - I recommend stopping by despite its appearance on the outside! (It is a tiny little brown stand alone, old building.

 
El Meson Taqueria
 

Dinner @ ZTejas on 6th Street - I went to this place with about 10-12 people from work who were all in Austin while I was. I must say that this places is absolutely AMAZING and did not disappoint. We started off with the Tejas Trio which is queso, guacamole, and salsa picante and some of the skillet cornbread (I couldn't find the name on the actual menu online so it may have been a happy hour special.). I then took the server's recommendation and ordered the Smoked Chicken Chile Relleno which he said was supposed to be the house favorite. I trusted him and ordered it. Let me just say that this was the best food choice I made ALL WEEK! I am dreaming about this chile relleno, seriously. This chile relleno was unique and included grilled poblano peppers, pecans, apricots, raisins, pepitas, jack cheese, sour cream, green chile & red pepper sauce, and seasonal rice and vegetables. Just take a peak below, but be warned that it will make your mouth water. I cannot wait to go back to Texas or any other city that has one of these awesome restaurants. Also - I must note that their margaritas were really good! I ordered the frozen margarita that was topped with Chambord and it was only $5 during happy hour. 

 
ZTejas
 

Wednesday:

Lunch @ Vertskebap on 1920 E Riverside Dr - My coworker found this little gem not too far from our client. It was really delicious! It is a Mediterranean fusion sandwich shop. I got the kebap with beef & lamb, tomatoes. cucumbers, and the house sauce. This place is good but I wouldn't go out of your way to go here for lunch, just if you are already in the neighborhood!

 
Vertskebap
 

Dinner @ Malaga Tapas Bar - So there is a big joke/back story behind this place. Some of my coworkers who were at dinner on Tuesday at ZTejas were just ranting and raving about how fabulous this tapas bar was. They had already been 2-3 times that week and wanted to go back. I was immediately in because 1. I love tapas. 2. Anything this good I just HAD to try. and 3. Who wants to eat alone on a work trip? I arrived a few minutes after my coworkers so they had already ordered a host of things to share. Overall this place was a let down. I thought the tapas were just mediocre, and I have DEFINITELY had better. I am a tapas girl and so this is totally my type of food but this was just not that great.

If you are ever planning a trip to Austin - you will undoubtedly be impressed by the shear amount of food options and fun things to do! I love this city and I am sure you will too. 

Your Fellow Foodie -

Chelsea
 

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