Hi, I'm Rachel.

A few years ago I could barely boil water.

True story.

Determined to be a kick ass wife, I developed a love for football and learned to cook in my tiny Jersey City kitchen. I spend my days working in Manhattan, my nights and weekends chasing after a rambunctious toddler, and the hours in between cooking with my husband and feeding my TV habit...oh, and I blog about it all! 

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Entries in travelogue (6)


La Creperie on Palm Beach

As the summer is rapidly winding down, so are my avid posts about my favorite - and albeit indulgent - Aruban eats. It seems like our vacation was mostly eating, but I assure you, there was plenty of lounging time too. As I sign off from my Aruba travelogue for 2010, I'm dishing up one more sweet eat. It's La Creperie, a tiny hut in the Paseo Harencia serving up both sweet and savory crepes.

I'm always facinated by how crepes are made and I feel confident that if I had this nifty set up in my own apartment kitchen, I could dish 'em up just like the pros do.

Plus, then I'd get to use this mini rake/hoe contraption which is necessary to spread the batter around the hot plate. Let's face it, it really looks like a lot more fun then your standard spatula, don't you think?

Ever since our trip to Germany and Paris in 2006, I have developed an unhealthy obsession with Nutella. So when presented with the option to consume it warm and inside a crepe, who am I to turn it down? Enter my Nutella and strawberry crepe.

Though my first choice was Nutella and banana, I guess I got there late and all of the bananas were gone, leaving only strawberries behind. While I always love a good berry (and anything with Nutella), I'm sorry that I didn't get to try the banana as I'm confident it would have been tops.

But this one was pretty fantastic as well, bursting with warm Nutella and fresh strawberries. In the words of Ina Garten, how bad can that be?

Psst...for more Aruba fun, check out Madame Janette's, Dushi Bagel, Moka's Red Velvet Cake, Dutch Pancakes, and How to do Happy Hour!


No Reservations About Prague

This past Monday on Travel Channel's Anthony Bourdain No Reservations, one of my all-time favorite cities was featured - Prague, the city in which my sister Kimberly decided to study abroad and Shaun and I deemed the perfect opportunity to catch some Eastern European culture.

From the cobblestone streets to the orange-topped homes, the former Soviet stomping ground just so happens to be one of the most beautiful cities in the world and one in which I could picture myself living. While remnants remain of the Soviet regime - buildings with rowed windows and smokey, underground cave-like clubs and bars – the untouched nature of the city brings an experience of Old World excitement over the history that has passed here. On the famed Charles Bridge, orange rooftops dot the horizon and winding cobblestone streets weave their way through the city.

Oh, and did I mention the food? After watching Tony's recap of the picturesque city in his signature snarky tone that I love so much, I couldn't help but wish I was back there. His completely accurate rundown included the staples of any visit to Praha:

Lots and lots of beer. In fact, Prague is the home of beer. From widely-known Pilsner Urquell to local varieties like Budvar and Staropramen (which by the way, I enjoyed this past summer at Zepplin Hall, the Jersey City Biergarten!) to serious microbrews that are merely numbered or named after someone in the bar, there's never a shortage and there's never a time too early to start drinking.Shaun enjoying a beer of the Budvar varietyLots and lots of meat. Sausage, to be specific. I'm not sure what it is about Europe and meat products, but just as we did during our trip to Germany in '06, Shaun and I left Ceska in dire need of a vegetable diet detox to compensate for the extreme overconsumption of pork and venison (a meat served up with whipped cream and berries...really). Consuming this for days on end can really get to ya. Tony travels to the outskirts of Prague, where locals break down entire animals in their own backyards to stock up on meat for the winter...a culturally telling display that was enough to make even a serious carnivore such as myself squirm in my seat.

Lots and lots of fried cheese.
At the bottom of Wencelsas Square, a place where KFC and McDonald's fill in the gaps between local eateries, a street cart, the true test of a culture’s food, serves up mayo-slathered fried mozzarella cheese sandwiches so delicious that it’s impossible to eat just one. The cheesy goodness is a standout, not only due to its salty, gooeyness but also due to its reminiscence of high class Jersey Shore fried fare...only at no Jersey Shore I've ever known. Your only concern will be what to wash it down with and the answer inevitably reverberates: hot wine.Kimmi and I warm up with hot wine after getting stuck in the rain (note the wet manes!)

Served with a bit of cinnamon bite and a slice of orange, hot wine is the ideal beverage for a city plagued by cool weather for most of the year. It warms from the inside out, just as a good adult beverage should.

Things he neglected to highlight:
Outdoor cafes chock full o'lattes. One of my ultimate loves in Prague is the abundance of outdoor cafes with large heating units, keeping us warm while we sipped on creamy, indulgent lattes in the middle of March. Oh, what a world where this is common practice in the middle of the day. Enjoying lattes at our favorite cafe

Our favorite musical quartet. Though Tony does not point this out, one of my, Shaun's and Kim's favorite/most interesting/most mind-boggling memories from the trip was a musical quartet – one man on a cello, one on a clarinet, one on guitar and one keeping the beat by tapping a CD case.

Drums? Who needs ‘em? I should mention that with fried cheese sandwich and alcoholic beverage in hand, there’s nothing left to do but to people watch. After all, the next CD tapping musician could be just around the corner.

So what do you think? Did you watch No Reservations on Monday? Have you been to Prague? Have you traveled anywhere with absolutely amazing or memorable food options?


Aruba Travelogue: Happy Hour at Bugaloe Beach Bar

After laying on the beach all day, coating your skin with sand, salt, and sunscreen, there is really no better way to top off the afternoon than with a great happy hour. Though frozen and fancy drink sampling is a must at as many places as possible, my favorite happy hour destination of the week, and the place I went back to almost every evening, was Bugaloe .

Found on De Palm Pier, between the Radisson and the Riu Palace, Bugaloe had the very best sunset view every evening, not to mention delicious, highly spiked, low priced cocktails - a perfect end of day, pre-dinner activity. With a full menu of food and drink, my drink of choice quickly became the Pink Lemonade, essentially an intensely, yet not too overpoweringly spiked vodka, cranberry, and lemonade concoction. Other fab happy hour drinks include Fuzzy Navel ($3.50), Bay Breeze ($3.50), Mojitoes ($4.50), and Amstel Bright ($3.50).

In addition to great drinks and atmosphere, Bugaloe also boasts live music, my personal favorite is a salsa band from Aruba Salsa who performs every Wednesday night from 7-11pm and also offers free salsa lessons, the latter of which I swear I'm going to talk husband into next year because it just needs to happen. Salsafied tunes included Michael Jackon's Wanna Be Startin' Somethin' and Coldplay's Clocks. Bugaloe also features live music almost every other evening of the week.

Bonus 1: Before the live music started, they played fantastic, fun tunes in the form of Michael Jackson hour-long music blocks.

Bonus 2: On the pier, you'll also find De Palm Tours, a popular excursion company specializing in sunset cruises and island tours (also the sponsor of my aforementioned Jeep adventure).