November 27, 2017

That Time I Went to Nassau, Bahamas...

The last stop on my cruise last month was to Nassau, Bahamas. It was drizzle-y the whole day so it's hard to review, per se, but here's how we spent the day.


First I took a bunch of photos from the ship. They would have been prettier if it wasn't raining... I'm pretty sure.
My list of things I wanted to do happened to include 3 indoor things which worked out great given the weather: Pirate Republic Brewery, Senior Frogs (for lunch), Pirate Museum, and beach. 

But first... I had read that you can get your passport stamped in Nassau, so we specifically took our off the ship with us. What I had read started with "it was really easy" then sounded not-easy. But I was determined. It was basically exactly what the person wrote which, from memory, I'm pretty sure was "you find a guy at a fence, he sends you to a sketchy building behind a fenced area, you walk in and then you find a dude who will stamp it." This was exactly how it went and it actually was very easy but didn't feel easy at the time. 

After a 1/2 mile walk from the ship we came up to a restricted area (you can't miss it). There is a little kiosk but no one really to talk to as far as we would tell. There was a fence to the left and there was a guy standing at an opening. He was talking to some people so we waited. So yes, we did find a guy at a fence. I asked if there's a way to get a passport stamp, and turns out, he was very used to this request. 

He told someone in the kiosk why we were invading the restricted area, and he walked us over to a building nearby and told us that the last office at the end of the hall.  Said guy in the office at the end of the hall was also unphased by our request. We saw ourselves out of the building and the restricted area and headed for the actual entrance to Nassau. 

Next up was the Pirate Brewery. I don't drink beer, so the brewery stop was for Boyfriend. 
He very much enjoyed the Pirate beers. He got two beer flights/samplers and the favorite was the Citra Me Timbers.
Once he was done sampling, we headed to lunch at Senior Frogs. I did not realize this was a chain restaurant. We even walked past on in New York after getting off the cruise.
 Apparently this is a place people go to party. It was loud but tame when we arrived, but at some point while we were waiting for our food to arrive, a dude got on a microphone and chaos erupted. Shots were being given out for free, there was a conga line, and people were up and dancing. At 2pm on a Thursday.
The food was pricey and not all that amazing. I do recommend the guac, which is like $12, but you get a ton of it and it was freshly made and really good.
Next we headed for the beach. While not exactly sunny, it wasn't raining. I had read about a bar called the Tiki Bikini Hut that has these awesome drink specials and lounge chair rentals for cheap at Junkaroo beach.
We saw no such specials and really questioned if we were in the right place. All we got was a tiny menu of which they didn't have everything on it. Including water (I guess they only do bottled water, which I didn't want anyway). So Boyfriend drank a $5 beer and we left. 

Back at home, I again saw recommendations for this place. I'm 99% sure we were at the right place, so maybe the specials are seasonal, or they don't offer them on rainy days when attendance will be low. All I can say is, have a plan B if you try to go here for the cheap drinks.

We did walk down to the water so that we could say we went to the beach. The ocean did look nice. I walked about two feet in and was done. If it was sunny, we would have gone in, but not worth it in the drizzle.
The only redeeming thing about our walk to Junkaroo was that I got to take a photo with giant Hibiscus flowers.
These were just in front of some building. I was a little disappointed to learn that they are not stone or metal, they are plastic. 

We headed to the Pirate Museum. It was $13 each, but decided to do it anyway.
I appreciated that we were told we were allowed to take photos or video if we want. There wasn't a whole lot to look at artifact-wise, but there was a lot to read and learn about Nassau Pirates, and there was a pirate ship that you "walk inside." 
The self-guided tour was also longer than I expected. There was, of course, a gift shop at the end that was underwhelming. This is probably a great place to take kids, and it was a good option for us due to being indoors.

It was raining more once we were done, so we headed back to the ship. I had wanted to go to the Queens Steps to get some good photos but decided it wasn't worth it in the rain. 




November 25, 2017

That Time I Made Mushroom Soup...


I made this recipe using some recipe I found online but when it was done I was not impressed. That's what I get for picking something cause it's simple. First it was not so much soup as much as it was glop. Also it just sorta tasted like mashed up raw mushrooms if they could be raw and hot at the same time. So I added some stuff till it was way better. If you hate it though, I take no responsibility for it.


Cream of Mushroom  Soup

Ingredients:
5 c. sliced fresh mushrooms
2 c. + 1 c. chicken stock
1/2 c chopped onion
pinch dried thyme
3 TBS. butter
3 TBS. flour
1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. ground black pepper
1 c. half and half*
1/4 c. Marsala wine**



Directions:
1) In a large sauce pan, cook mushrooms and onion in 2 c. of chicken stock with thyme until tender, approx 10-15 mins.
2) Let mixture cool slightly then puree in a blender or food processor (I used my Ninja) leaving some chunks if desired (I didn't).
3) In a small bowl,  melt the butter in microwave and stir/mix/whisk in flour until smooth.
4) Scrape into sauce pan, add the salt,** pepper, half and half, and remaining  1 c. chicken broth and mushroom/onion puree (that's everything except the wine).
5) Stirring constantly, bring to a boil and cook until thickened.
6) Add more salt/pepper to taste, then add marsala wine.

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Mmmm Soup!


*I had heavy cream already so I used 1/2 c. cream and 1/2 c. whole milk. I think that's what half and half is anyway...?
** I buy my cooking wines at the grocery store. These have salt added to them, so you may want to exclude the 1/4 tsp. salt from the recipe.

November 18, 2017

That Time I Made Chicken Marsala...

I decided to bring back an old feature, and only some weeks. I stopped using my recipe blog, so why not post some food stuffs here sometimes?

This recipe is easier than you think, it's super-duper yummy, and it's one of my favorites. Yes, I just said 'super-duper.' Anyway, like in all my recipes calling for some kind of wine, I use grocery store cooking wine so feel free to do the same if you don't feel like hitting up a liquor store.

Chicken Marsala

Ingredients:

3 boneless chicken breasts
1/4 c flour
1/2 tsp salt
pinch ground pepper
1/2 tsp oregano
4 Tbsp olive oil
4 Tbsp butter
8oz fresh, sliced mushrooms
1/2-3/4 c Marsala wine


Directions:
1) Slice chicken breasts into two or three pieces, height-wise (...? I didn't know how to describe this in words so it actually makes sense, so I found a picture online, I guess it's butterflying, but cut all the way through.)









2) Mix together flour, oregano, salt, and pepper.
3) Heat the oil and butter in a large skillet on med-high heat until butter is melted and bubbling lightly.
4) Dredge (coat) chicken pieces in flour mixture and cook on medium heat on each side for about 2 minutes, moving to a plate afterwards.
5) Once all chicken has been cooked and removed, add mushrooms to skillet and cook for about 2 minutes.
6) Stir the mushrooms then add the wine to the mushrooms.
7) Return the chicken to the skillet, over lapping pieces if needed, so that it's at least partially submerged in the wine. Add a little more wine if needed.
8) Simmer for 5 minutes, then flip the chicken pieces over, and simmer for an additional 5 minutes.
9) Serve and enjoy!

November 17, 2017

That Time I Went to Great Stirrup Cay...

One of the stops on my recent cruise was at Great Stirrup Cay (pronounced "key"... look it up). GSC is owned by Norwegian cruise line so the only way to visit it is to cruise there (specifically on NCL).

Because it is a private island, lunch is provided for free, just as the buffet is on board, and drinks are included if you have the beverage package. 
I think there were 4 different bars to get drinks from, they were all packed by mid-day. We went to the island early and were able to get drinks easily for the first couple of rounds.
Also because it is a private island, it is BEAUTIFUL. There are no businesses or residents to trash the island or pollute the water.
Getting to and from the cruise ship requires a ride on a "tender," a small ferry-type boat that holds about 100 people.
If seas are rough, NCL will skip this port because the tenders are more affected by the waves than the giant cruise ships are. I feared this would happen as we were technically still in hurricane season, but we were met with calm seas and beautiful weather that day.
There are several spots to hit the beach. The farther you go, the less crowded. The beach is sandy but there are rocks in the water. Boyfriend and I did okay barefoot but water shoes may be advisable. We just tread lightly. You are able to go out pretty far and still be able to touch the ground in some areas.

We were there the first week of November and the water was exactly warm enough to be easy to get into while still being refreshing.
On the beach there are loungers which are free, loungers with a top that are not free (I would call these cabana's but...) and cabanas that are rented ahead of time through NCL - small and large.

The fancy cabanas are away from the sand, have loungers, chairs, and ceiling fans. As far as I know you still have to go get drinks yourself.

For lunch there is a buffet (I recommend the ribs) and a taco stand (we were underwhelmed with all varieties). It was pretty good for not having to pay for lunch as you would at most ports. Something to note: There are 4 buffet lines that are all identical but only two of them are obvious. Go over to the side of the buffet pavilion and skip the line.

If you want some Bahamas merch, you can shop for souvenirs at the "straw market" (what I would call kiosks).
Before leaving the island, make sure to stop by the photo op tower (to the right after going thorough the entrance, past the straw market near some of the lounger-cabanas and get a shot with the ship behind you.
Though honestly, you can do this in a lot of places on the island, this is just where you can get closest.
I highly recommend selecting an NCL itinerary that hits GSC if you are cruising the Bahamas or Caribbean.