Yuck or Yum: Candy Corn

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Halloween is one of my favorite holidays. Growing up, my brother and two of our childhood friends raided the neighborhoods of the Oregon, Wisconsin countryside. We started in my neighborhood so we would not miss out on two of the best houses of the night: one handed out small chocolate milk cartons and the other king size candy bars.

We ended the night at Jake and Derek’s neighborhood, which had decent picking but also marked houses avoid: the dentist’s house with toothbrushes, the few with smarties and sweeTarts, and the row of candy corn houses. Well, I was the only one of the four that skipped these houses in attempt to avoid disappointment year after year.

At the end of the night, the four of us gathered in the living room, dumped our candy from our pillow cases (yes, a pumpkin bucket did not suffice), and sorted our candy. My piles looked like this:YUCK

Keep Pile: Butterfingers, Reese’s, Kit Kat, Twix, Milky Way, Three Musketeers, Skittles, M&Ms, Junior Mints, Gummy Lifesavers

Trade Pile: Snickers, Starburst, Hersey’s, Dots, Laffy Taffy, Whoppers, Crunch

Reject Pile: Almond Joy, Candy Corn

I think many trick-or treaters agree with me when I say Candy Corn is my least favorite candy of all time. I find the yellow, orange, and white sugary Halloween classic absolutely disgusting. It’s so bad, I can’t just pop a kernel into my mouth but have to eat it in small bites. How can I eat a single piece of candy corn in multiple bites, you might ask? It’s possible – in fact, it’s necessary to consume the smallest dosage possible so my teeth don’t experience instant pain. Tooth pains plus an awful waxy taste is a terrible combination, which is why I avoid this sugary treat like I avoid Haunted Houses on Halloween.

Pickin’ your Brain:

  • What Halloween candy is in your “reject pile”?

Feedback Friday: Dahl & DiLuca Restaurant Review

Feedback Friday_Please Don't Make Me Eat ThatMy mom and I booked one dinner before we arrived in Sedona: Cress Restaurant at L’Auberge. The restaurant sits on the bank of Oak Creek and serves a prix fixe menu (that includes picky eater approved selections, I checked before making the reservation). The pictures of the food, atmosphere, and reviews of the experience were unlike others so we booked two months in advance to guarantee our spot. Of course, the only night it rained on our vacation was the night we dedicated to dining on Oak Creek. I was bummed about moving inside until I saw the dining room, one that is everything I want for my future kitchen – clean white walls with colorful paintings, medium-grey toned wood floors, large windows, and industrial-chic chandeliers.

FF17 - Sedona 2 (Ingrid)The menu was simple – three pages listed the selections of each course. Thankfully, the server explained that we could choose three courses from the four that the French restaurant offers: first, second, main, and dessert. A picky eaters dream! Without it, my mom’s three-course meal would have turned into four courses. The menu specifically asked guests to refrain from cell phone use so I’m not able to provide my normal restaurant review. In fact, I believe Cress Restaurant did this for a reason, which is why I am ending the review here. Reviews don’t do Cress restaurant at L’Aubrege justice – it is truly a special place that you need to experience in order to understand.

The food, service, and beautiful setting of Cress Restaurant made it one of my favorite dinners of all-time. I’m still thinking about the pillow of buttery potatoes beneath my filet and that plum and raspberry tart with crème fraiche gelato…

FF17 - Sedona 1 (Ingrid)

On the way home, our driver suggested a few other restaurants in Sedona, one of which was Dahl and DiLuca. His enthusiastic and detailed description inclined us to make a reservation for the next night.

The quaint Italian Restaurant reminded me of an old-school supper club: a gust of fresh marinara greeted us as we entered the small bar area. A brick wall with arched entryways separate the space from the main dining room where intricate chandeliers decorate the ceiling. Large (and comfortable!) leather seats surround small tables covered with white tablecloths. The interior of the room is impressive, something straight from an old Italian storybook; the piano and cello duo only added to the ambiance.

FF17 - Dinner (Lumina)

Although tempting, my mom and I went straight for the main course. I had my favorite Bolognese (with house-made linguine pasta!) whereas mom had the Pollo alla Rustica – house-made fettuccine with grilled lemon chicken, baby spinach and sautéed mushrooms in a white truffle cream sauce.

My. Meal. Was. Delicious.

The meat sauce was rich and flavorful and the pasta cooked to perfection. The best part was the complementary extra side of sauce, a concept that I have not experienced outside of my grandma’s house, but should be adopted by more Italian-American restaurants. This way, there is never too much or too little sauce – it can be any way you want it, which is exactly what my picky taste buds like to see. My mom agreed that her dish was delicious but wished that there was more chicken. Instead of a chicken breast, which she was expecting, the chicken was crumbled into the dish. I settled my stomach with a few scoops of chocolate gelato and my mom had the Panna Cotta.

FF17 - Dessert (Lumina)

Aside from my Las Vegas favorite, Panevino, Dahl & DiLuca was one of the best Italian Restaurants I have been to in years. The food is authentic, service is spectacular, and subtle ambiance makes for a special and delicious night out.

Restaurant: Cress Restaurant / L’Auberge de Sedona / 301 L’Auberge Lane / Sedona, AZ 86336 / 855.905.5745 / www.lauberge.com/cress/

Picky Eater Approved: 6/5

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Restaurant: Dahl and DiLuca Ristorante Italiano / 2321 Arizona 89A / Sedona, AZ 86336 / 952.282.5219 / dahlanddiluca.com

Picky Eater Approved: 5/5

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Worldwide Wednesday: Prickly Pear

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Our second annual Mother-Daughter trip took us to Sedona this past weekend. We relaxed at the spa, took a Vortex Tour, ate at a bunch of delicious food, and hiked so much that my lower body is still sore.

I knew that Sedona is recognized for its sought-after spas, vortex energy, and geological wonderlands before we arrived but what I didn’t realize was that Sedona is home to the Opunita cactus. Commonly known as the prickly pear, the large cactus species grows in the southwestern United States, Mexico, South America, Africa, Australia and the Mediterranean. What cactus am I talking about, you might ask? It is the classic picturesque cactus plant with large oval leaves, sharp spines, and cylindrical magenta fruit around the edge.

WW5 - Pickly PearWW5 - Sedona

Before I moved to the Southwest, the balanced character of the exotic cacti fascinated me. Despite my interest in cactus plants, I haven’t seen the famous prickly pear in Las Vegas, which made it all the more exciting when I spotted it in Sedona. Much to my surprise, I quickly learned that the fruit of the cactus is edible after noticing local restaurants offering prickly pear desserts and Margaritas. That’s right! It can be peeled and eaten raw but is mostly made into candy, juice, or dried and sweetened.

My excitement stemmed more in regard to the cactus plant rather than my desire to actually taste the fruit. I reacted to it like I do most new foods: I’m sure that it “tastes great” and everything but I don’t feel the need to try it. Then, we had an overzealous hike one afternoon and I needed to spike my blood sugar levels. Prickly pear taffy was my only option. The fruit, at least in taffy form, tastes like a mixture of raspberry, watermelon, and bubble gum. It’s not bad, but it’s strange to swallow a bubble-gum textured candy that has a bubble-gum taste. Nevertheless, it is something all types of eaters should try when adventures take them to the lands of the prickly pear.

Pickin’ your Brain:

  • Do you have the urge to try new foods when you travel?