I found Matador Restaurant on Instagram and was excited to try a tapas restaurant that was closer than Boston.
I made a reservation online for the two of us and I'm glad I did as the restaurant was quite busy. We were seated after a few minutes wait and our server welcomed us.
I wasn't thrilled with the cocktail menu and honestly my order was a bit on the tart side. My 2nd order was a Cava and I should have just started and finished there.
For our meal we selected Iberico ham, boquerones, pan con tamate, patatas bravas, charred galician octopus, seared wild mushrooms, and the flaming chorizo. Our favorite dish was the seared wild mushrooms with a close second place going to the boquerones (sardines).
Otherwise nothing was memorable. For the price paid we would rather drive into Boston for tapas.
We easily drove up to Quebec City and checked into the Hilton Quebec City. The check-in staff was busy and when it was our turn one of the staff members went on break or left. Finally, we checked in and went up to the executive floor. Our room had a lovely view of the city! Greg went and spoke to the concierge in the executive lounge for lunch ideas. The wonderful concierge gave us a few names and after a little research, we picked one that sounded good.
For dinner we had reservations at one of our favorite restaurants. Le Lapin Saute is the perfect spot for a comforting atmosphere, friendly staff, and delicious food. We started with the smoked salmon and the foie gras torchon. We cleaned the plates entirely! For our entree we ordered the Confit duck leg, braised rabbit leg, duck sausages and bacon cassoulet. For dessert we couldn't pass up the salted honey pie.
The next morning we decided to head to the top of Montmorency Falls. Unfortunately, mother nature wouldn't cooperate with the our hopes for views. The fog wasn't great for photos but it did add some mystique to our walk.
After our sightseeing we were pretty hungry and after we dropped the car at the hotel we ventured to 3 Brasseurs. We settled in with a couple of drinks and started our lunch with the Toulouse sausage. The Toulouse sausage comes out on a hot plate and is delicious! For entrees we decided on the fish and chips which were also very good.
Unfortunately, our drive back home started during rush hour and so the easy ride turned into a long ride! In the end no matter how short or long of a stay we have in Quebec City it's always an enjoyable one!
Greg and I finally visited the Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum. While the museum is on the small side we enjoyed our visit. The architecture is breathtaking with area after area begging for photos to be taken. The museum houses paintings by Rembrandt, Titian, and more but my favorite was the Portrait of Isabella Clara Eugenia by Frans Pourbus II. Finally, I can't forget to mention the 10 million dollar reward for the 1990 art heist. We both agree that we recommend a visit to the museum.
Earlier this year we were in London and Winnie the Pooh: Exploring a classic was on display but I never found the time to visit it. I was thrilled when I heard that the exhibit would be coming to the Museum of Fine Arts Boston! As members of the museum, we were able to get free tickets on select days in September.
We opted for a Saturday morning visit and we're so thankful that we had tickets and that we are members. The line to purchase tickets was out the front door, down the stairs, and curved to the right of the museum. With our passes, we were welcomed right on in. The Winnie the Pooh exhibit is adorable! Kids and kids at heart will love the interactive pieces, the artwork, the toy collection, and so much more. I can't recommend a visit to the exhibit and the museum itself enough!!
This summer hasn't exactly been the easiest for us. Early this year I damaged my foot without realizing it. It took me a while to get a full diagnosis but eventually found out that I broke a sesamoid bone in my foot. All summer long I was in a boot (walking cast) and this hindered my life greatly. I'm currently out of the boot but I am using a bone stimulator daily, still having doctor appointments, and not fully healed. Unfortunately, this chain of events set off my anxiety, my depression, and left my body in a lot of pain. Anyone who has been in a boot for an extended period of time will understand just how much it affects your hips, back, and leg.
In addition to this we found out that Fred' (our shorkie) heart murmur got worse and his heart is enlarged on the left side. We had to start giving him medication, changing his treats, changing his dry food, and watching out for different signs. Next came another problem. We found out that our veterinary clinic was under dosing him for 2 months! We were frantic, disappointed, etc. After several days of discussions we were accepting of the apologies. Our hope is that this error doesn't affect him too greatly.
On to the positives! We've dined at some new restaurants in the area, attended some fun events in Boston, and visited our family in Colorado and I'll be sharing our thoughts and pictures from all of it.
Right now I should be packing instead of typing because....we're leaving for Ireland on Friday! Excited!! This isn't the hiking trip we originally planned thanks to my broken foot but we have a lot to look forward to and share with everyone. We'll be checking out a new hotel and the sights in Dublin, going to Belfast and walking on the Giant's Causeway, hanging in Galway and the Cliffs of Mohr, and spending a day in the Wicklow Mountains. Stay tuned for all of them fun. You can also follow along on my Instagram and Twitter.
This post was rather difficult for me to write. In June we had a lovely little getaway with Porscha and my parents. Unfortunately, an experience we had at lunch stayed with me for the rest of the weekend and still causes me sadness. Portland Maine is a wonderful city, filled with sights, restaurants, hotels, and good people. We will definitely visit again and still recommend it to you.
We checked into the Hilton Garden Inn Portland Downtown Waterfront. Only one of our 2 rooms was ready but that was fine. We booked a king bed room for my parents and a double queen room for us and Porscha. We brought up our luggage and settled in Fred. My mother and Fred were hot and tired so they decided to relax at the hotel while we went out for a drink and some lunch.
Vena's Fizz House is a gem! The staff, store selections, and beverages are all wonderful. The 4 of us sat at a hightop and ordered a mixture of alcoholic and non-alcoholic drinks. We did order a snack but the staff forgot about (we were probably better off without it anyway).
We ended up bringing lunch back to the hotel for my mother and all hung out together for a little while. Once the weather cooled down we went shopping and enjoyed a nice stroll through the city. Back at the hotel, we weren't able to sit in the bar area with Fred but the wonderful bartender said he would bring us drinks into the lobby area (where Fred was allowed to be). The front desk staff also offered to turn on the fireplace for us to enhance the ambiance. A Shirley Temple for Porscha, wine for my mother, and Manhattans for the rest of us were all perfectly made.
For dinner, we opted to order food to go and watch a movie together. My dad and Greg walked up to The Thirsty Pig to pick up the order we called in. My favorite items from the Thirsty Pig are Matt's BBQ Banh Mi, Icelandic Hot Dog, and the Potato Salad. For a casual, balanced, and delicious hot dog or sausage definitely try The Thirsty Pig.
The next morning we woke up early and walked around Portland and enjoyed the quiet. For breakfast, my parents popped over to Standard Baking Co but we headed to The Holy Donut (yay vegan donuts). Porscha is also obsessed with cannoli's so of course, she loves the holy donut's cannoli donut!
After checking out of the hotel we headed back to Kittery Maine. We stopped into When Pigs Fly Bakery once more for a loaf of sliced sourdough bread to enjoy during the week. Luckily, traffic was light and we made it the rest of the way home easily.
At 3:30 a.m. the alarm is not a happy sound but up we went. We quickly dressed, grabbed our bags, and checked out of the hotel within a half an hour. Thanks to our early departure we made it to Boston in record time. My family wanted to do lunch together since my cousin from California was visiting so Greg and I stopped for take-out.
We parked and walked over to the Gourmet Dumpling House in Chinatown. I placed our order and had a 20-minute wait. The creature of habit that I am I crossed the street and ordered a bubble tea at Tea Do and then picked up desserts for everyone at Bao Bao Bakery.
Our lunch was a lot of fun and I was so happy to see my cousin before she headed home. Finally, we made it home and started to unpack and get ready for the week ahead.
We skipped lunch so we decided to have an early dinner before checking into our hotel. We decided to try The Vault Kitchen & Market for our meal. We were seated close to the bar area and our server was warm, offered suggestions, and very professional. My perfectly balanced and refreshing cocktail was the Thai Margarita. I ended up ordering a 2nd one throughout our meal since I enjoyed it so much. For food we ordered the grilled calamari, seared shumai, duck dumplings, lao sausage, and chicken claypot.
The grilled calamari was cooked well and had a gentle seasoning. We both loved it. The dumplings were kind of a hit and miss for me. The first issue was it's the same dough and shape. The shumai was fine but the duck dumplings were too finely ground for my taste. Greg enjoyed his lao sausage entree and the flavor was bold which I liked. My chicken claypot was outstanding. The dish was comforting, warmly spiced, and the chicken was tender.
We slept in, which for us is 7:30 a.m. and stopped in the lobby for coffee. Greg enjoyed a hot coffee while i opted for a caramel iced coffee. The Kimpton Brice Hotel offers an adorable selection for their guests.
We continued our sightseeing of Savannah with a morning walk around the historic district. We love the architecture, parks, churches, and cemeteries.
After a short rest in our hotel room, we decided to take another evening stroll down River Street. We enjoyed watching the riverboat dock, purchased pralines at River Street Sweets, and tried to find a spot for drinks and snacks but nothing seemed to work for us.
We headed back to the Kimpton Brice and decided to order drinks and appetizers at the bar. My cucumber collins was refreshing and well balanced. Unfortunately, the staff was a bit frazzled again and Greg's Manhattan ended up as an Old Fashioned. Greg enjoys both drinks and didn't really complain. The octopus we ordered was very tender and seasoned well but the potatoes weren't cooked fully. The brussels sprouts were crispy and slightly sweet. Finally, the fried baby artichokes we ordered were delicious. These were the closest I've had to fried artichokes in Rome Italy. The artichokes were crispy, salty, and the dip was a good accompaniment.
Before heading up to bed we ordered a Manhattan and a Bourbon and again there was a mistake and we both got Manhattans. Not a huge mix-up but a little annoying to get two drink orders wrong.
For my birthday my friend booked an appointment for a massage at the Mandara Spa at Disney World. I opted for the first time of the day so that Greg and I could spend the rest of the day together. Greg and I both drove over to the Dolphin hotel and valeted the car (which was validated by the spa). I checked in and a staff member showed me around the spa. Once inside you will find a men's and women's changing room with lockers, showers, steam rooms, and other amenities. The next area is a relaxing area for before treatments. I sat back and relaxed with a nice cup of coconut hibiscus tea. My masseuse welcomed me and showed me to my room where I enjoyed a light Balinese massage. After my massage, I was given a complimentary glass of champagne and shown to another relaxation area.
To continue the celebration my husband booked us a cabana by the pool at the Waldorf. The staff showed us to our assigned cabana, showed us the stocked fridge, menus, and helped settle us in.
The cabana was relaxing and I loved being able to get some shade since it was a hot and sunny day. There were a few things that I feel could be improved upon. The first thing is that the fridge comes with complimentary soda and 2 bottles of water. Once you drink those waters the staff bring you tap water. For the price of the cabana, I feel like bottled waters should be given throughout the day. A staff member asked us when we would like to receive our fruit plate. I don't know if he didn't tell anyone or what happened but 11:30 a.m. came and went and we ended up having to ask someone else about it after 12:00 p.m.
The poolside restaurant staff are wonderful. The server was always coming by the cabana area for drink and food orders. For lunch, we enjoyed a couple of different cocktails, the Asian salad with shrimp, the edamame, and the peel and eat shrimp. The drinks and food are pricey but we couldn't complain.
We made it inside the hotel to relax before dinner right before a pretty strong rain shower.
Room 925 is a Disney View Suite with a large king bedroom, living room, and dining area. The four of us went to check out our room and wait for the luggage before heading out to an early dinner. The room was very clean and mostly kept up. The living room couch was a little sad looking and could use a replacement. The view was terrific and let us watch multiple fireworks from the park during our stay.
Our friends dropped us off at the Waldorf before heading home for the night and we made plans to get together again tomorrow. After unpacking some of our belongings we decided to take a sunset stroll along the golf course. The weather cooled down slightly, the golf course was empty, and we had a relaxing stroll with plenty of spots for pictures.
To end the night we enjoyed a glass of wine on our balcony and watched the fireworks from Disney World.