Houston Eats: The Chocolate Bar and Houston Sights

When are visitors were here two weekends ago we had some fun and a tad obscure outings on the weekend. By far our best stop of the weekend was The Chocolate Bar. We may have actually done twice while our visitors were here! ūüôā

We started our Saturday morning at the¬†Urban Harvest Farmer’s Market in the parking lot behind 3000 Richmond downtown Houston. Although it was down pouring on us, it was a great market! I picked up some grass-fed beef and large gulf shrimp. The fruits and vegetables looked yummy along with many of the other things that were being sold. Since it was raining, I didn’t snap any photos, but I hope to go back.

Our next amazing stop was The Chocolate Bar. This is a must stop destination if you are ever in the Houston area. They have two locations and we did visit them both on two separate days. They make their own chocolates, cakes and ice creams. I can’t even put into words how amazing everything looked, smelled and tasted. We were in chocolate heaven.

The Amazing CakesIMG_0547 A Hot Chocolate ShotIMG_0551Peanut Butter Chocolate Cheesecake
IMG_0552 A BerryChocolate CheesecakeIMG_0553 Addy wanted in on the tasting action.  IMG_0555 IMG_0556 IMG_0557

We loved this place so much. Everything we had was great. We took chocolates home and I’m surprised they even lasted the car trip back. We went back on Monday and enjoyed their homemade ice cream before we took our visitors to the airport.

After our chocolate coma on Saturday we head to a store called Biscuit. It is a small home boutique store and they have a pretty cool mural on the outside. IMG_0558 IMG_0559

Next on our agenda was the Beer Can House. Yes, it is a house with the exterior made of beer cans. I think Dave would have loved to have this as his house!IMG_0563 IMG_0564 IMG_0565 IMG_0566 IMG_0567 IMG_0568 IMG_0569 IMG_0571 IMG_0572

Our last quick stop with our visitors was to the “We Love Houston” sign before we headed back home for the afternoon.¬†IMG_0575IMG_0574 IMG_0576We can’t wait to explore more of our new city!

 

Pregnancy Cravings: Cafe Iguana

At the beginning of my pregnancy I had tons of cravings for foods from back home. Luckily, I was able to fulfill those cravings with our trip back in June, but there has been one craving that has been consistent throughout the weeks. MEXICAN FOOD! I can not get enough! Prior to getting pregnant it was always Taylor suggesting for me to cook or go out to get mexican food and I would just go along with it. Now, I could eat it every day!

My cravings for it are so bad. For example, three of our meals¬†last week consisted of Mexican food. First, on Sunday(then Monday’s lunch) I¬†made Chipotle Barbacoa (I made mine in a le crueset-recipe found here), dinner on Thursday was Tacos with leftovers for lunch on Friday and then Saturday we went to Cafe Iguana for lunch. This post highlights one of our favorite dinning out options in Singapore.

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Cafe Iguana is one of the restaurants that Taylor and I frequent the most here in Singapore. We usually go for lunch during the weekend and sit outside on the patio looking over the river. We are such frequent visitors now that the staff is excited for our little ones arrival! We go during lunch time because Cafe Iguana has a staggered price scale on their alcohol during the day. From 12pm-3pm a pitcher of margaritas costs $22, from¬†6pm-9pm its about $40. Prior to getting pregnant Taylor and I would share a pitcher, now he just orders one by himself, it’s still cheaper than paying per glass!

We are so exciting in our choices that we now order the same things each visit! Plus, the two of us order the same exact thing as each other! We start with a pitcher of strawberry margaritas and an order of queso and chips.Treetopwalk-65Then, we get the delicious steak tacos.

Treetopwalk-72In the past, I have also tried the chicken chimichanga. Treetopwalk-73A few weeks back, Taylor did get to share his pitcher with someone. Treetopwalk-66

 

Mandy!

Now, the question is, will the baby grow up loving or hating Mexican food?!?!

Mandy’s Update: Part One

After being in Singapore for five days, I can safely say that Mary and I have done a good job of seeing the city together. Mary has done a great job of planning activities for each day, and we still have a few days of exploring left. Here are some of the highlights from my trip so far!

On Friday, we walked the shopping area of Orchard Rd and had lunch at Din Tai Fung, which serves dumplings other similar food. After, we did a little more browsing in the shops on Orchard Rd, but jet lag had hit me like a ton of bricks, so it was home to relax, have dinner and early to bed!

Shopping on Orchard RoadIMG_0262 Lunch at Din Tai FungIMG_0264

Saturday, Taylor, Mary and I hiked though a local park. The coolest part of this was the suspension bridge which took us across the top of the tress. After a hot and sweaty hike, we headed to Dempsey Hill for lunch. For dinner, we ate along the river at EM on the river.

Hiking IMG_0276

Sunday was a day spent back on the Singapore river. First we took the river boat tour of the river and the bay. I loved seeing the buidlings and hearing the history of Singapore. My favorite part was being in the bay and seeing Marina Bay Sands, the building topped with a boat like structure. There are plans to return to this awesome building this coming weekend. For lunch, we ate at Mary and Taylor’s favorite Mexican restaurant. Taylor was excited to finally have a buddy to drink the jugs of margaritas with him.

River CruiseIMG_0304 My 2nd Favorite Building IMG_0318

On Sunday afternoon, Mary and I ventured to IKEA (which is basically like going to IKEA in the states) and the Grandstand shopping area. We both bought awesome bamboo kitchen accessories to have, hers is yellow and mine is green!

After a quick check up on Baby B at the doctor (all is looking great!), Mary and I spent Monday morning at the Singapore Botanical Gardens. This has been one of my favorite parts of the trip so far. I loved walking though this well maintained and beautiful park in the middle of such an urban area. The best part is the National Orchid Garden, which is all orchids in all colors and sizes. After the orchid garden we did more walking and finally needed a break and ate lunch at the gardens! It was pretty hot and humid that day, so we headed back for an afternoon of relaxing (ask Mary about her new favorite TV show!)

Botanic GardensIMG_0330SBG-16SBG-21SBG-26SBG-34SBG-37SBG-55

On Tuesday, Mary had booked us a cooking class at Food Playground. This was a great opportunity to learn some Singapore history and culture though cooking. You can ask many of my friends and they will all tell you, I am not the biggest fan of cooking, so of course, Mary made me do most of the work (and volunteered me to be the helper when ever possible)! We cooked chicken and rice and dumplings. The food turned out great and we had a fun morning.

The IngredientsFoodPlayground-4Volunteer DutiesFoodPlayground-10 Making the RiceFoodPlayground-16 Prepping the Wonton DumplingsFoodPlayground-25Making the Chili SauceFoodPlayground-32Filling the Wonton Dumplings
FoodPlayground-42 FoodPlayground-40 FoodPlayground-52Our Finished ProductsFoodPlayground-56 Eating the Finished ProductFoodPlayground-59

Wednesday, we explored the neighborhood of Tiong Barhru, one of which had a great bakery where we indulged in some almond and chocolate croissants and a berry tart! We also headed back to Orchard Rd to buy a wallet I had eyed on the first day, and walked up Emerald Hill. This is a cute street with original architecture tucked away behind the craziness of Orchard Rd. I loved it! We continued on the MRT to another large mall on the hunt for a few things for the baby. We were kind of successful, but fun to see other parts of Singapore!

Our Baked GoodsIMG_0366

Emerald Hill IMG_0368

I have 4 more days left here until I leave for Australia on Monday. We have lots more planned and more to see! So far, it has been a great trip. I have loved seeing the city as well as living the life of an ex-pat at times!

Western Australia: Part One

A few weeks ago we headed back to Australia with Taylor’s parents. We flew Saturday morning from Singapore to Perth(a 5 hour flight) and then drove about 3¬†hours south to Margaret River Valley in South Western Australia. In total, we stayed for a week. ¬†The area is best known for its wineries and beaches. While I personally had to sit out from the wine drinking fun, there was plenty to keep us all occupied and I was a great designated driver. We had a fabulous time and I would highly recommend it for a getaway!

We rented a house situated half way between the town of Margaret River and the Ocean. The house was called Selador (get it? “cellar door” ), which Taylor found and booked online. It was a great 2 bedroom, 2.5 bath house with a great kitchen and living room. We had some kangaroo appearances outside too!

The Kitchen

untitled-13 Dinning Room untitled-12 The Kitchenuntitled-11 The Living Roomuntitled-15 Hallway with Half Bathuntitled-17 Office/Sitting Room before Bedroomuntitled-19 Our Bedroomuntitled-22 Outsideuntitled-23 untitled-26 untitled-32

Sunday, we headed off to visit some of our first wineries. We headed to Leeuwin Estate for the first stop of the day. This vineyard also had a nice art gallery attached to it.

First Tastinguntitled-33

The next stop was a Voyager Estate Winery. This winery had beautiful grounds. We strolled around the rose garden. untitled-42untitled-35 untitled-38

Up next, we headed to Xanadu winery.

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Our last wine stop of the day was at Cape Mentelle Vineyards. Taylor decided to have a little childhood fun here. untitled-51

We rounded out the day with a nice lunch in Margaret River at the Settlers Tavern. I had a great BBQ sandwhich(which they were proud that they had just got a smoker/grill from the USA.) It was delicious!

The rest of the day was spent picking up some groceries and relaxing at the house!

On Monday, we headed south towards Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse which is the most Southwest point in Australia. Along the way we stopped at Gnarabup Beach and Surfers Point Beach. Surfers Point is a very famous surfing beach on the west coast. The week after we left a big competetion was gearing up. untitled-52 untitled-55 untitled-56 untitled-58 untitled-59 untitled-60

On our adventure we also saw this giant lizard!

untitled-62On our way to the lighthouse we had a lunch break in a small town of Augusta and stopped at a cute resturant called Deckchair Gourmet. We all had tasty sandwhiches and then got back on the road to head to the lighthouse. We had beautiful weather this day and a great blue sky. It was great for taking pictures!

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

untitled-64 untitled-65 untitled-68 untitled-78 untitled-89 untitled-90 Say Cheese!untitled-93 untitled-96 untitled-98 untitled-104 We were in the middle of two oceans!untitled-105 WAust-7 WAust-10

Our day ended with dinner out near the beach at Sea Garden Restaurant. We had some wood fired pizzas and seafood. We had great meals both of these days all from recommendations from the Lonely Plant books! I wish I would have taken pictures of all the wonderful food we ate, but I forgot!

I can’t wait to share more from our trip next week!

Gardens and Chocolate Photography Tour

As part of my photography group, we visited the Gardens by the Bay and the Cheese and Chocolate Bar at the Marina Bay Sands in December. The Gardens by the Bay is a new large park in Singapore with flower domes, super trees, sculptures and paths. We only visited one area of the park and I am looking forward to going back. We went in the late afternoon evening and were able to do the sky walk and view the light show at the super trees. Afterwards, we visited the Cheese and Chocolate Bar. ¬†It was located at the top of the Marina Bay Sands and you had a pretty amazing view. The pictures at the chocolate bar are not the best, sorry, I think I was too excited to start eating! I can’t wait to go when we have visitors! Enjoy the pictures!

Gardens by the Bay

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The Chocolate and Cheese Bar

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My Plates-Don’t Judge!

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