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El Convento, San Juan, PR

The names of the OSJ restaurants we ate at escape me know, one was Aqua-something and it was good. We really enjoyed staying in the old part of the city, it is lovely with a good vibe. We stumbled upon a tour at the governors mansion and it was beautiful and interesting.

The location of the el Convento is great if you like to walk. We spent all day and the evenings on foot.

about 9 hours ago
cleobeach in Latin America & Caribbean

The Mill, Hershey

Thanks for the report. We have relatives in Hershey and like to go out when we visit. We will give it a try.

Nov 19, 2014
cleobeach in Pennsylvania

El Convento, San Juan, PR

We loved our 3 night stay at the El Convento. For evening meals, we only ate there once at the tapas style restaurant. Service was challenged and the food was ok. There was at least one wedding going on and a corporate meeting so the hotel was at capacity. We enjoyed all three of our breakfasts very much. We hit the wine and cheese reception each night and it was quite nice, far above a typical hotel happy hour.

Logistical help needed for bring a meal to friend

Ha! In my semi-hoarder family, a better message may be "I will throw this out if you give it back to me"

Nov 17, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Logistical help needed for bring a meal to friend

What is it about the gladeware? I always get mine back as well, which is fine but I have a nagging feeling that If it was Tupperware, it would never find its way home.

Nov 16, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking
2

Dinner for 14...dinner on table or self serve?

While I want to put the platters and serving bowls on the table, I have reconciled the fact that my table is not wide enough to accomadate that style of dining. We do a buffet style with veggies, stuffing, rolls, breads and desserts on the sideboard and the meats and gravy self-served off the stove. I set the table and everyone is directed to take their plate and proceed through the kitchen to the sideboard, to table. Wine and water pitchers are on the table with extras on a table off to the side.

Nov 16, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Flavours for Wild Boar

Pickled red cabbage

Nov 14, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

What type of cuisine do you NOT like?

German. I am the daughter of a German and have lived in Germany. I have enough exposure to the cuisine to know I can say I don't like it. Some dishes are fine, some I like but as a whole, been there, done that.

Nov 14, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Carry-on Packable Foods to Take to a Food-Challenged Thanksgiving...

In that case, I would pack Zanax!

Joking aside, I hope she has the chops to just roll her eyes (in private) and laugh about it with people less high strung. Nothing brings out family dysfunction/wackiness like the holidays. And weddings....and funerals...... Ask me how I know.

Maybe spread the theme over time instead of focusing on one meal?

What about a big batch of great mixed nuts for a cocktail hour? I use a recipe from Chow that is a huge hit at our thanksgivings.

This may sound weird but one of my favorite breakfasts at a local diner is a "mess" which is stuffing, potatos (frozen tater tots or hash browns would work great) sausage (likely available at conveniece store in some form, don't overlook the rolly thing that cooks various tube meats) cooked together with scrambled eggs and topped with gravy.

Your niece is lucky to have you.

Nov 14, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics
1

Carry-on Packable Foods to Take to a Food-Challenged Thanksgiving...

Is there a reason why she isn't checking a bag? Checking a bag would open up lots of options.

Nov 14, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics
1

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

The site of those particular napkins and tablecloth still provoke jokes between my husband and I. Sadly, the tablecloth is reaching the end of its life (sniff) and is now only called into service for picnics.

Funny, but its not just the awkward ILs who get anxiety around my linens, which are nothing special. We use cloth napkins all the time. Yet I have had several friends tell me they wanted a paper towel instead as to not dirty a napkin. One friend says it is because they feel they are somehow not good enough for warrant "special" touches. Said friend now gladly uses my napkins.

Nov 12, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

>To which, my dear MIL replied: "Well, I already called them and they're coming."<

Sounds like a good family to me!

Nov 11, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

All this talk about quality cookware . . .

Or staff to prep!

Nov 10, 2014
cleobeach in Cookware

Do-it-yourself recipe kits to mail to family with a new baby?

I think the dry ingredients/shopping lists/instructions is a great idea. Even before I had a child, the meal planning part of homecooking was my biggest hurdle and in some ways, it still is.

Knowing what will be made and what needs to be purchased would be a huge help to most stressed out/tired people. I used to pay for a meal planning service.

Do-it-yourself recipe kits to mail to family with a new baby?

I like the idea of trail mix or a great nut mix.

Nov 04, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Do-it-yourself recipe kits to mail to family with a new baby?

I understand middle of nowhere living, a gift certificate for far away take out is a burden when it requires more time to pick it up than to make the same at home.

Dried beans and spice for chili, including a shopping list and instructions? (is this the dump chili you mentioned?)

Cured meats and cheeses and crackers might ship ok.

Nov 04, 2014
cleobeach in Home Cooking

Do you or don't you rack your cookware?

Me, make room in the pasture!

I have rack envy. My husband has, shall we say, particular tastes and hates racks. The exception being racks full of copper pans, he adores those. Copper pans that he would expect to be perfectly polished at all times. Guess who would be polishing them? Me. We won't be getting copper pans.

Nov 04, 2014
cleobeach in Cookware

Ina Garten - Make It Ahead: A Barefoot Contessa Cookbook

I don't think the white shirt against the white background helps at all.

Nov 03, 2014
cleobeach in Food Media & News

We all have squirrel DNA

And beer and wine.

I grew up in the country and know all about snow storms and power outages. It used to get so bad that my parents would park the car at the end of the driveway and walk in because we couldn't get the driveway plowed. (our driveway was probably two football fields long)

Yet I don't remember anyone freaking out about stocking up. Maybe it was because most people had extra fridges and freezers. We were 30+ minutes from the closest grocery store so trips were always planned, never just because we needed a few things. If you ran out of milk, eggs orange juice, you survived.

I suppose it is different if the cupboards are bare during decent weather, I guess "extra" food would be a concern.

Nov 03, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Hound Parents

Oh my, I can sort of imagine that. We are travelling over Thanksgiving, which means no turkey dinner. My son put in a request for lobster as a substitute.

Nov 03, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

We all have squirrel DNA

People lose their minds where I live with the mention of snow. Bread and milk fly off the shelves. A friend's husband works at a commercial bakery and she keeps me informed about the forecast based upon the change in her husband's schedule. Snow forecasted? He has to work double shifts.

I don't understand it. Even if We were snowed in for three/four days, we could live without bread or milk and I don't have a huge pantry.

Nov 02, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Illicit indulgences

Stove top stuffing dry, right out of the can, by the handful.

Nov 02, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Slum Dwelling

I completely agree on the Reese's vs. gourmet peanut butter cups. There is something about the salt content and texture that is in perfect balance with the chocolate that I never found in a handcrafted candy.

I'll also pick a Tastykake chocolate cream filled cupcake over a homemade cupcake any day of the week.

Nov 02, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics
1

Hound Parents

Home cooked meals were a 2 or 3 times a year treat in my childhood home, the rest of the time it was TV dinners. Despite that, my dad loved to eat and was an adventurous eater. When we travelled, which was often, he always ordered new (to me) and interesting foods. We did eat out a fairly often at nice restaurantS and those evenings it was all about the experience. He definately taught me to try new things and to be open to the unknown.

I was expected to try everything and no "yucking" was allowed. If I didn't care for something, fine, just say no thank you the next time I encountered it. I think this was a valuable lesson. When I became a parent, I was shocked how so many parents carried on about how this and that food was gross or icky. It is no wonder they have kids with such limited palates.

Deep freezer essentials

I prep onions and peppers in quantities that I typically use. I pack them flat in freezer bags so when frozen, I can stack them in shoe boxes.

A sharpie to label everything is a must. I have learned that my memory fails me 6 months later when I look upon a mystery package.

I buy beef and pork by the half. I like to cook and freeze ground beef to make week night dinners easier. The butcher packages steaks, chops, roasts ip by the weight I specify but if you buy at a supermarket, freeze meats in quantities you will use for one cooking.

Nov 02, 2014
cleobeach in General Topics

Cheap/Bent Restaurant Flatware

We purchased a cabin with all contents included. I found dozens of wooden hangers and several pieces of silverware monogramed with the name of luxury NYC and DC hotels, circa 50s-60s. The husband travelled for work and I assume either he or his wife brought them home.

Oct 30, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

I am thankful I have many more happy thanksgivings memories than bad ones.

Here is a good one, it ranked right up there as one of the best -

Last year we celebrated early with a combo of family and friends, the type of people who meet as strangers and leave as friends. No one was weird about not knowing other guests, everyone mixed beautifully.

There was lots of laughing and hands to help. I was happy to step away with a glass of wine when my husband and his best friend carved the bird and my uncle made the gravy, having taken over the duties from his recently deceased mother. (This is an uncle by marriage but his own parents were our guests for years.)

There were tears of joy when a much wanted pregnancy was announced. Guests lingered a long time, other friends stopped in after their family gatherings. We pulled the living room furniture into the dining room for extra seating.

We went to bed with the house a mess and laughed at the sight the next morning.

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

Yes and yes. A second invitation was not extended.

A perfect example of "the road to hell is paved with good intentions."

Oct 29, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food

Best/worst Thanksgiving ever...

The table cloth was a minor player but a symbol of the big problem.

Mr. CB did not have a relationship with his mother and step-father in many years. He had his valid reasons but as it sometimes happens, memories fade, people age and think about second chances.

These ILs aren't necessarily bad people, they are awkward and can't function outside their dsyfunctional comfort zone.

We were recently married and moved into a new (to us) house. Mr. CB invited the ILs and his brother for thanksgiving.

I pulled out all the stops, decorating the house, planning the appetizers (hubby was in charge of the meal) and setting the table.

The ILs arrived too early and were put off that we were weren't ready. I could tell immediately that we got it all wrong, very wrong. They were visibly very uncomfortable in our home.

I was ordered to NOT put the cheese and crackers on plates, they would eat them out of the box. I thought everyone had lost their minds and I guess they sort of did. My husband snatched the cracker box out of my hands and tossed it in their General direction.

Then my husband put a pan of sweet potatos on the grill. The maple syrup spilled and caused a spectacular fire. My mil started screaming and burst into tears. My husband threw the potatoes and a pan of stuffing, still flaming, into the yard.

Things went downhill from there. At some point, they all stopped speaking to each other and I decided wine (for me) would help. It did not.

My innocent table cloth and linen napkins were named as causing them (the ILs) to feel uncomfortable.

Cheap/Bent Restaurant Flatware

Sadly, your reports of theft don't surprise me at all. who knows why people do these things. I know two restaurant managers/owners that report the same problems with the theft of small items.

Oct 29, 2014
cleobeach in Not About Food