February 29, 2012

Eurotrip Recap–Vienna, Austria


Vienna was the third stop on our European Adventure where we enjoyed two days of amazing sight seeing. This capital city of Austria is clean, classy with an edge, and very friendly.  Vienna is considered to be the "city of music" and was truly spectacular.  We felt like we were in a foreign country, but still close to the comforts of home at the same time.
Here are some of our highlights:
Stephansplatz:  This is the geographical center of Vienna and home to St. Stephen's Cathedral.  The cathedral has an amazing mosaic tile roof and is in the middle of an exclusive shopping district.



Night shopping at Stephansplatz.




Schonbrunn Palace


One of the most cultural monuments of the country, this gigantic spectacle is not to be missed.  The grounds and gardens are spectacular and vast. 

We didn't even go inside, but just meandered around the "back yard" if you will and were amazed.  The begonias were beautiful and the fountain was fabulous.  There is also an onsite zoo that we were going to explore, but ran out of time.







Prater: Home of the giant Ferris Wheel and amusement park feel; this area is a bit "out of town", but was the host of Wiener Wiesn 2011.


This was a mini-Oktoberfest celebration that was a precursor to the real deal in Munich which was our next stop.  We drank, ate and were merry.  They had delicious cheesy sausages and their pretzels were divine.  Jenny even scored an authentic pair of Lederhosen as a parting gift!








Naschmarkt: This open air market was full of diverse flavors.  It was full of vendors and lined with eateries, but wasn't one of my favorites.  The veggies and fruit were beautiful but the many stands with dried fruit were full of bees everywhere and the same types of goods were being sold throughout.








State Opera House: 



So beautiful!  We wanted to have the Opera House experience and read online before we started our trip, that after the first intermission they will sell 4 euro tickets for standing room only.  Since the State Opera House was right next to our hotel it made it so convenient.



The performance of the night was a ballet that was beautiful and very artistic.  The boys didn't love it, but I'm pretty sure they were glad we experience it...even if it was for only 30 minutes!



Hotel BristolThis was our one luxury hotel splurge of the trip and was in the perfect location.  We were situated directly across the street from the State Opera House, right by the U-Bahn station and at the beginning of Stephansplatz.  We were within walking distance of everything!






Laundry in the bathtub!


DSCN8699The view from our room – beautiful!

Hop On Hop Off Tour:

This was a great way to see Vienna and one of the only “tours” we paid for while in Europe.  With multiple hop on/hop off locations, we were able to see the entire city without exhausting our walking shoes or our budget.  What was even better was the location.  One of the first pick up spots was right by our hotel!



Many of the buses were "topless" and the weather was absolutely perfect on our tour day.  We could still have our own agenda, but get the tour experience as well.  While on the buses they supply you with headphones and share information about the city along the way.  We bought the all day pass and thoroughly enjoyed the city.


DSCN8774  DSCN8773


Blue Orange Coffee and Bagel: Most days on our trip our breakfast was either a quick granola bar or a complimentary buffet at our hotel.  Mike and I did however venture out to treat ourselves to a breakfast date at Blue Orange Coffee and Bagel while in Vienna.  They had free wi-fi, good food and delicious coffee.  It was only a few blocks away and I loved the colors.  Go Gators!






1516 Brewing Company: American Football!  Great beer!  Hamburgers!  After five days abroad, this brewery/restaurant hit the spot.  We felt right at home and made this our watering hole the first night in Vienna.  The people were very friendly and not only helped us get our bearings in a new city, but offered many great sight seeing suggestions.   Luckily this gem was just around the corner from our hotel!




This was definitely one of my favorite stops while in Vienna.  We had such a great time singing dancing and watching football.  The other patrons there thought we were so fun and were the typical crazy Americans.


Wiener schnitzel in Wien!



Not only did we find American Football – the Packers were playing!  Score!


Vienna was well worth the stop, and should be on every European itinerary! 


Next up:  Munich, Germany

February 28, 2012

Web of Resources


One great way to add some depth and interest to your weekly menu, whether it's breakfast, lunch, dinner or special event/party, is to use the many resources the Internet has to offer. 

Upon browsing at the plethora of different food brands in my refrigerator, I wondered if those companies had recipes available on their websites for inspiration.  After doing a bit of research on the subject, I found the answer to be a definitive yes!

Here are some of my favorites that I will definitely be using for creative menu making in the coming months.  Enjoy!