Friday, October 27, 2006

Autumn Trip - Day 2 - Newhampshire - The White Mountains

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We made our way from Maine to Vermont. Along the way we pass by the state of New Hampshire, home to the White Mountain National Park, where Mount Washington(the highest peak N of the smokey mountains) is.

White Mountains and Mt Washington

Making our way to the Mt Washington auto trail, we were dissappointed that it was CLOSED.... because it was approaching winter and it is pretty unsafe. A quick check with the locals indicated that there is no way of going to the top of the mountain itself. So we made the decision to rush over to Vermont.

As we were driving to Vermont, we were treated to a really scenic view of the White Mountains and it started SNOWING!!! While that was an exciting event..... it made driving much harder and slower.

Scenic View

Grp Shots

With the snow as our enemy, Me and Lawrence had a really exciting time navigating and driving respectively. Eventually we found the hotel we booked and also made our way down to the town of Burlington. There I had to try the French Fries from this place called Nectars which was recommanded by my co-worker, Jeanine. The fries were pretty decent, although there was 1 more place I would have liked to try but there was no time.

We found this interesting place along the way

Autumn Trip - Day 1 - Maine - Lobsters Lobsters Lobsters

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Taking advantage of the fall break, the Chestnutties decided to go on a nice trip to enjoy the Fall Foliage. It was a trip up North, covering the states of Maine, New Hampshire and Vermont.

Day 1 - Maine

What was the objective in visiting Maine? Well for most people it is the scenic drive and Arcadia National Park which is VERY unique, it is a mainly off shore National Park with most of it being Mount Desert Island. It is a unique mixture if coastal features and forest features, very nice, the hills are all granite hills so they look barren, hence the name Mount Desert Island. It is a really scenic place, a mix of hills, coastal region and forests.
Selection of Choiced views:

Cat's Kick sure is strong

First Family Road Trip Shot!

But my Maine objective is.... MAINE LOBSTERS aka Homarus americanus!!!!!! (but more on that later...)

The view from Arcadia National Park was really nice especially when we went up Mt Cadalliac which was the highest point. On top it was SUPER windy due to prevailing trade winds blowing towards boston. So it was Really Really Really cold considering the uber strong winds (I could be blown around so its no joke), the height of the hill and the autumn season. Brrrrrr, cold but the view was worth it, we could see the entire isle and the surrounding areas ^_^ very picture perfect.

Meditation is good

On top of Mt Cadelliac

The view

Of cos one must not forget the autumn foliage ^_^ yay!

For lunch we had it at Jordan pond house inside the national park itself, it was recommanded by my boss, and I could understand why. Their signiture dish is a puff called a Popover. Its a simple batter baked at extremely high temperature, this causes a vapour explosion in the popover that gives it its ultra fluffy on the inside, cripsy exterior taste. It was amazing with some jam and butter.

More..... erm.... meditation


After going up for some mountain view we drove around visiting the rest of the area which included a light house on the edge of the rocks. It was quite fun climbing around the rocks and finding fresh seafood that "grow" on it (ie:clams and some clam like food) but I did not eat em :p

Nice shot pacey!

One of my personal Fav

Dinner of cos was LOBSTER... why else would I care about going maine? LOBSTERS, the meat was really nice and sweet.... YUM YUUUUMMMM

Homarus americanus

Create Your Own!

Tuesday, October 24, 2006

Back from Vermont!!!

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WOOT back from a trip from Maine ---> New Hampshire ---> Vermont!


Pics + description to come

Sunday, October 15, 2006

Recipe: Tiramisu Cheesecake

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Inspired by the one I had at cheese cake factory, I attempted to make my own


1 8 oz. packages cream cheese
1 Cup sugar (icing) and 1tbs granulated sugar
8 oz. mascarpone cheese
2 eggs
2 Tbs. flour
3 Tbs. coffee, STRONG
Lady Fingers


  1. Mix the Cheeses and sugar and eggs and flour, stir well.
  2. To that mix, add the coffee.
  3. Prepare a bowl of coffee and coat the lady fingers with it (NOT SOAK)
  4. Lay the lady fingers into a pan making sure it covers the pan well, this forms the Crust
  5. Sprinkly cocoa powder over the crust
  6. Pour in the Cheese Mix
  7. Into the Oven at 350F for 20-30 min, then lower the heat to 200F until the Cheese Mix sets.
  8. Take it out to cool for 20-30mins
  9. Into the Fridge for 4 hours.

It tastes wayyyyy better then it looks

BTW Estee also helped with the cake ^_^ (she wanted to make sure i gave her credit)

Recipe: Poppy Seed Lemon cake/bread

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Cat bought some Poppy seeds while she was out shopping with Char... sooooo

Poppy seed Lemon cake with Orange glaze
Recipe Taken from Robbie


3 cups all-purpose flour
2 1/4 cups granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp. baking powder
1 1/2 tsp. salt
3 eggs
1 1/2 cups milk - low-fat okay
1 1/8 cups vegetable oil
1 1/2 Tbls. poppy seeds
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. butter flavor extract (I used real butter)
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract

1/4 cup orange juice
1 1/2 tsp. vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp. butter flavor extract
1 1/2 tsp. lemon extract
3/4 cup Sugar



  1. Preheat oven to 350F
  2. Mix Dry ingrediants, ie: Flour, sugar, baking powder and salt
  3. Add the eggs, milk, extracts and poppy seeds
  4. Stir well
  5. Pour into bread/cake pan
  6. Into the Oven for about 60 minutes or until a skewer comes out clean

  1. Mix the Orange juice with the extracts and sugar
  2. Stir well
  3. After cake/bread is baked, apply glaze while the cake/bread is still warm.

Photos courtesy of ME!(first time i took em)

Recipe: Triple Choc Threat Cupcake

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Why triple threat?

  1. The Cupcake batter contains chocolate
  2. The Cupcake filling IS chocolate
  3. The Cupcake Frosting IS also Chocolate

6 ounces bittersweet chocolate, chopped
1 stick unsalted butter, at room temperature
1 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon baking soda
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 large eggs
3/4 cup granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup sour cream

Preheat oven to 350ยบ F and position rack in the lower third of the oven.

Boil a pot of water, upon boiling, turnoff the heat and place the metal bowl with the chocolate on top. Whisk to incorporate. Remove from heat and set aside. Let cool to room temperature.

In a mixing bowl, combine flour, baking soda, baking powder and salt. Whisk together, then sift. Set aside.

In another bowl beat eggs, then add sugar and vanilla. Mix until well incorporated. Add chocolate mixture a little at a time, and continue to mix. Add in flour mixture in three batches, mixing well between additions. Add sour cream and continue mixing until well incorporated.

Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full and bake for about 18 - 20 minutes. When done, muffins should spring back when lightly depressed in the middle, and a skewer inserted into the center comes out clean.

Remove from oven and cool in muffin pan for about 10 minutes. Transfer to wire rack to complete cooling.

Chocolate Filling

4 ounces dark chocolate
1/4 cup milk
4 ounces cream cheese, at room temperature

In the top of a double boiler, combine dark chocolate and milk. Stir to combine. Remove from heat and let cool to room temperature.

In a bowl, combine cream cheese and chocolate and beat until smooth. Refrigerate for two hours (minimum) before filling cupcakes.

To fill cupcakes: Transfer chocolate filling to a pastry bag fitted with a 1/4" star tip. Insert the tip into the top of each cupcake (about 1" deep). Gently squeeze the pastry bag and slowly fill the cupcake, withdrawing the tip while squeezing. Do not overfill. Repeat until all cupcakes have been filled.


4 ounces dark chocolate, chopped
1/2 cup heavy cream

In a saucepan on low heat, combine heavy cream and dark chocolate. Stir until well combined. Remove from heat and cool to room temperature. The ganache should thicken slightly.

My caked looked something like this:

Taken from

NOTE: After the water boils, turn off the heat, you want to MELT not boil the chocolate

Add the choc and milk together, adding milk only after the choc has melted will result in something unplesant

Saturday, October 14, 2006

Windy City - Chicago Day 3

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ARGHH last day in chicagooooo

So we rushed off to United Center, Home of the CHICAGO BULLS! While the bulls currently suck, we were there to see Micheal Jordan, His royal Airness, statue. The place was pretty deserted except for us, and a few other tourists who were obviously there for the same reason.

Next it was off to solider field... home of the NFL team the Chicago bears. Now the bears are off to a GREAT season, one of the league's best defense. Along the way to the stadium we ran into this artist who was doing some photoshoot, all you had to do to take part was to bite an apple and let him take a picture of the teeth mark. After that the apple is FREE! WOOT free apple! GIMME!

Soldier Field


Ok so we arrived at Soldier Field, took some shots, was tempted to shout Philly Eagles Rock, but decided to be more cautious.

Next stop: Shedd Aquarium

This was a famous place, at least that was what everyone told us, including my boss who is like this big fan of aquariums and museums. There were several exhibits, ranging from coral reefs to mangroves to lakes etc... was pretty cool to see all kinds of weird fish as well! The only dissappointment was the dolphine show which was kindda MEH..... but overall the place was still quite good.

Staring down a Pirahna

Those seals are soooo sad


While at the aquarium I was trying to do pressed pennies as usual ( that means a regular 1cent coin gets SQUISHED and has the attraction's logo pressed on it) when Estee asked me if the penny i was using was shiny (Shiny penny = GOOD and NICE pressed Penny)

Estee: You sure that penny is shiny?
Adrian: yes....... I wash my pennies ok...
Estee: ...... (goes to a corner and breaks down laughing)
Adrian: (wonders why estee suddenly started laughing.... then goes back to pressing his penny)

Heading back, we almost missed our flight but due to a DELAY (OMG THANK YOU ORBITZ FOR TELLING ME) we were able to make the flight ablit the rush and all... and to my travel companions, My apologise for this oversight in timing, you guys/gals were definitely very understanding.

Overall Haul:

3 Pressed Pennies
6 Shotglasses

Windy City - Chicago Day 2

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Day 2 was a very simple day, just head to all the attractions that are clumped together near lake michigan and abuse the heck out of the city pass which gives us free entry!

First stop: Fields' Museum

Normally I am not that big a fan of museums, but I must say this one is pretty cool. Its the the biggest and most complete (96%) T-Rex fossil in the world! They named it Sue, BUT that does not mean it was female, perhaps they should just called it by some ambiguious name like Kelly or Pat.


YAY my surname

There were tons of exhibits at this museum, ranging from dino fossils to how life is like under the soil to Egyptian culture to the evolution of life. (YES i believe in darwin's theory of evolution) I think my general knowledge levelled up a few times here, if only i do retain it some how.

The Evolution of Life

Egyptian Fun

Deep underground... the LOBSTERS are THIS BIG... ok its a crayfish

I still lost in the widest mouth contest

Grp Shot

Amazingly we took a very long time in there.... not what I expected from a museum visit, but this was a darn good one. Lunch was a simple affair of "Chicago" Styled hotdogs. Now this may sound like my Philly Cheese Steak Rant... and it probably does anyway... but what makes a Chicago Styled Hotdog a Chicago Styled Hotdog?

Its got the following features:
  1. The Dog itself is from the vienna hotdog factort located in Chicago... PURE BEEF
  2. You never ever... ever ever.... ever EVER put ketchup on a chicago hodog. You want your mustard, relish, onions that is fine, just NO KETCHUP.... NEVER....PERIOD. Why? well its Tradition... its like it ain't a philly cheesesteak if it ain't got no cheesewiz ya dig?

Sitting down enjoying the View after Lunch


After the fantastic museum we headed over to the Adler Planetarium.... without realising it was 40 minutes to closing time.... the JOY....

But it was cool, watch this IMAX film about the pharos and the stars and how the stars and astrology were deeply ingrained into egyptian culture and tradition. Then we rushed through a few exhibits but i do not really get much impression due to the lack of time.


One thing to note when we were in the area... Chicago is a WEDDING City.... lots of people choose to get their wedding photographs at the Museum/planetorium/aquarium area which is also the waterfront over looking the city skyline... so that is pretty cool.

I counted at least 4 weddings, the bridesmaid were in white, blue, yellow and red for the 4 weddings, i guess it is to prevent any confusion ^_^

Next its off to cheesecake factory back at hancock observatory. Estee's very good friend from RGS was meeting her there so we all decided to also meet her. I must say she is not only beautiful (Like those Bollywood actresses) but also rather successful.

Walking to meet Estee's Friend

Chicago River View


Desert consisted of 3 cheesecakes, Vannila Mocha, Tiramisu and choc chip cookie dough... I think i can replicate the Tiramisu and choc chip cookie dough ones... shall update everyone on my baking process. That reminds me I need to update my recipes on this blog! Maybe I should start another blog to document all my baking exploits and flops.....

After dinner, the night was still young, it was over to the House of Blues for live music, after all Chicago was well know for Jazz Bars and such.

Drinks at the House of Blues

Not bad for a first timer I must say

End of Day 2:
Press Pennies count: 2
Shotglass Count: 5

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