The Fairest Trip Report Of All: 1/07

Mini trip report! Read all the posts in this report here.

We pick this day up right after finishing the race. Having finished much faster than expected, I indulged myself in a trip to the official race merch tent. After all, I couldn’t very well not have a souvenir from my all time best marathon, could I?


Indeed not. I did a few laps before finally settling on a marathon jacket I hadn’t noticed the day before with a much cuter design than the one I had seen and rejected. It was ridiculously overpriced, but every time I wear it it’ll make me happy. That’s where Disney gets you: right in the nostalgia gland.

I didn’t want to lollygag too long, though; I had finished much faster than normal but I still had a late checkout to make. I caught a bus to the All-Star resorts, and despite my capitalist detour I still managed to make it back to my room around 11am(!). 

I had been given the gift of time. (Well, I guess I gave it to myself!). I’m sure I could’ve gotten out of there in as little as 45 minutes if I really pushed myself, but I took my time. First a luxurious shower, then chilling with a little mindless TV while I slowly packed all my things, changed, and slapped on some makeup.

By the time I finished it was nearly 1pm, but I was feeling pretty good for having just run a marathon. My first act was to hit up the front desk as I had never received my Magical Express information for the trip home, but that was quickly straightened out. Then on to the bus and Disney Springs!

It sure has come a long way since the days of Downtown Disney. The Springs have managed to turn about a vast improvement, but I can’t put a precise finger on why. It’s not the shops and restaurants. I mean it IS, but that’s not what creates ambiance. Somehow DS has synthesized a new, more Disney-like feeling. It’s not parks level, but it’s definitely there. Whatever it is, I dig it.

My understanding was that Disney Springs had a post-race party, but I never saw hide nor hair of it. Indeed, I hardly saw anyone else with a medal on. Maybe I just missed it? I never really did make it as far as the West Side (assuming it’s still called the West Side).

Party-less, I was left to my own devices. I figured the best thing to start with was some food; I was only minimally hungry but it seemed right given the morning’s activities. I selected Pizza Ponte, the quick service Neopolitan pizza place from the new Maria & Enzo’s empire of restaurants.

After surveying my options, I selected a pizza with marina, mozzarella, prosciutto, and greens. The Cast Member who handed it to me informed me that she wasn’t heating it up because it’s better fresh. 


That may be so, but I wasn’t a huge fan of it room temperature, either. The mozzarella was insufficiently melty and felt off the pizza in chunks. Most damningly, however, the marina was bland and sweet. I know this place is has gotten good reviews so far, but I found it underwhelming. Interesting selection of Italian sodas, though.

Having experienced one wrong note, I decided to… take a chance on another new place. Life is risk! I couldn’t resist popping into the Edison, which had opened a scant week earlier. The small upstairs bar was full, so I snagged a spot at the giant downstairs one.

Let us be real here: the drinks are expensive, even for Disney. I dropped $14 on The Mistress:


But it was right up my alley: very bubbly and not too sweet. Upon being informed the flower was edible, I ate it, but it tasted like nothing.

I had overheard the bartender mentioning a Thai chili lime margarita, so I went with that next. I give you $13 for the Lightning Rod Margarita:

It’s like drinking inside Bioshock!

I cringe at the bill for two drinks but I gotta say this was fantastic. I’ll tell you upfront it’s legit spicy, so be prepared; this ain’t no “Disney-spicy so actually it’s mild” type thing. I was surprised to discover looking at the menu online that the drink uses mezcal alongside tequila, as I’m usually not a fan of the flavor. But whatever smokiness it added played in perfect harmony with the chili.

While I imbibed I struck up a piecemeal conversation with one of the bartenders and some passing waiters. By the end the were advising me to dump Pat and move to Orlando. Can’t say I’m not tempted… (Just kidding, Tiger!) (Wait, you don’t ready this blog. MAYBE I WILL. 😉

I was tempted to stay for one more drink but the combined pressures of money and time levered me out of my seat. Instead I headed over to the World of Disney, where I wandered around a bit before getting thoroughly overwhelmed. I shot out of that mess and over to Goofy’s Candy Kitchen to get Pat some of the gummy worms he loves.

I poked around a few more shops, including Cherry Tree Lane’s Dress Shop where I want everything and can afford nothing, but ultimately talked myself out of any purchases. At the appointed time, I sadly dragged myself back to the bus to All-Star, then onto the bus to the airport. Boooooo.

And that was my high-speed marathon trip. SO WORTH IT.

I’m not quite finished, either! For the grand finale: a review of afternoon tea at the Grand Floridian.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Is Headed To The WDW Marathon

On this day last year I was headed to WDW for the Dopey Challenge. I can’t say my heart isn’t breaking over the fact that I am not doing the same this year, but it helps to know that the horizon isn’t entirely barren: I am doing the marathon on its own!

As I mentioned before, this thirtieth-birthday-present-to-myself is being performed on the super-cheap – fly in Saturday morning, fly out Sunday night, no parks. That does put a minor damper on things from one angle, but from another it gives me an unprecedented opportunity to explore the new Disney Springs and whatever resort my little heart desires.
Saturday plan as of right now: hit the expo for my bib, then check out Disney Springs, maybe get a little sushi at the Morimoto place or try something from the Indiana Jones bar. Or Earl of Sandwich; that’s good too. Poke around some shops, see what’s up. Then it’s back to Pop Century, food court dinner (possibly AoA for make-your-own-pasta?) and early bed.*
Sunday plan as of right now: post marathon, hopefully run back to my room and shower, then hit up the monorail route. Brief stop at the Magic Kingdom just to peek through the windows, as it were. Perhaps even travel the monorail track through Epcot. Bread pudding from Tambu Lounge a distinct possibility. Maybe duck into Trader Sam’s? 
I pondered attempting some sort of meet-up thing, but then it seemed kinda stupid; I mean, it’s not like this blog is THAT big a deal, and anyway I’m sure most of you have park tickets and big dreams. Go ride those rides! 
BUT. Here is my wardrobe for the weekend:
I’ll be tweeting my locations. If you happen to be in my neck of the woods, come say hi!
Who will I see at the marathon?
* TWELVE MILLION ALARMS AND A WAKE UP CALL. If you’re up at 3am, PLEASE TEXT ME AND CONFIRM MY WAKEFULNESS.
Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

In Which Jenn Cleans Her Face With Disneyness

There are the standard, expected Disney souvenirs – t-shirts and sweatshirts and picture frames and magnets and all manner of things shaped like Mickey Mouse and emblazoned with the Disney logo. These things are awesome and I have lots. They cheer me up immeasurably when I am away from WDW and I love that.
But then, too, there are other things from WDW that are less expected. I use them all the time and they remind me in quieter, subtler ways of better days. Here I am thinking specifically of the subject of this particular still life:

I used to be (knock on wood) a chronic acne sufferer. Mind you, not in the really serious “before picture in Proactiv commercial” kind of way, but I was never blemish-free and often suffered through those big awful lumpy cystic zits. In the summer of 2009, I made two important discoveries: Seabreeze astringent and Basin’s oatmeal facial soap.

I bought the latter on a whim while browsing the Basin store in Downtown Disney. I know a lot of people are disenchanted with DTD, the hope of Disney Springs notwithstanding, but I always kinda liked it. It’s nice browsing while in the Disney bubble, you know? And the Basin store is awesome if you like bath product stores. Their soaps smell pretty and often look pretty too, and they have fun testers like sugar scrub.

The oatmeal soap was labeled as good for your skin and that was good enough for me; I bought a bar and never looked back. In truth, astringent is almost certainly the most important part of my clear skin arsenal, but I use my oatmeal soap almost every day in the shower and it makes me happy because it’s a little piece of WDW. To my knowledge, WDW has two out of three of the existing Basin storefronts. (Incidentally, if you hate DTD, there’s a smaller auxiliary Basin called Basin White in the Grand Floridian. I often pick up my replacement bars there if I’m not planning to hit DTD in a given trip.)

There are other quiet WDW reminders you can bring home with you. Example: a few years ago I bought a friend incense from Epcot’s Japan pavilion as a wedding gift. The next time I headed to the parks, he gave me $20 and asked me to buy him as much incense as it would get. Success!

I used to have a shark keychain from DAK’s Rainforest Cafe; it has since broken but I’ll replace it if they’re still there. An enormous amount of adorable Japan pavilion merchandise has found its way home with me. I also have a few non-logo clothing items from DTD, and I always look at those pretty silk dresses in the House of Good Fortune shop in the China Pavilion. I generally talk myself out of the purchase because they’re a bit pricey, but maybe someday…

Do you have any non-Disney-but-still-Disney souvenirs?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon!

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/21

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! To read all the posts in this report, click here. 

Our final full day in California. Sigh.

The parks weren’t opening until 10AM on this particular morning, which meant that we could sleep in. Which meant that we woke up about an hour ahead of schedule. Naturally. So we hung around the room for a bit before readying ourselves and walking down to the resort.

Disneyland was offering Extra Magic Hours (or whatever the equivalent is over there) for their hotel guests, but we decided to go in anyway. We were corralled at the hub for a bit until 10AM sharp, then set free.

Our first stop? Buzz Lightyear, as I had heard from many sources that the detachable guns made for a superior experience to its WDW counterpart. In theory, this is correct – they did FEEL easier. But I must have gotten used to the stationary WDW guns, because my score was pretty pitiful, all things consider. Moon smoked me – but then she’s always been better at first person shooters than I am. (And so are you. And so is everybody, ever. WHY CAN’T IT EVER BE MELEE?)

MOON: I’m a boss at laser tag, too!

I got the bright idea to check in on the wait time for Space Mountain. Moon did not appreciate this, but upon seeing the 10 minute posted wait time she allowed herself to be herded into line. Our ride photo would not indicate an improvement for her the second time around.

Pathos.

No one in this photo is enjoying themselves except me.

Post-Mountain, we bounced over to Fantasyland, where we proceeded to take ABSOLUTELY RIDICULOUS pictures. It was awesome.

MOON: I’m sure there are going to be a lot of those…

So awesome, in fact, that we decided to go around the entire park taking silly photos. As we passed Big Thunder Ranch, I saw a HORSE! Yay! Unfortunately this guy wasn’t as accommodating as the pair I met during the Tinker Bell Half, but it was still nice to see him.

THIS IS TRUE.

And even nicer to see Woody. I coached him and Moon into their pose and the CM on duty suggested a “Woody’s Angels” spin-off. Do you think we could resurrect Bo Peep for that? I always liked her.

I was still bound and determined to find myself a cupcake, and we checked the Hungry Bear for exciting desserts as we passed. Admittedly the honey lemon cupcake was a feast for the eyes and I’d heard great reviews… but I didn’t want a LEMON cupcake. Too light. I WANTED a honking sugar-fest. But a GOOD honking sugar-fest, with vanilla or cream cheese frosting for preference and some sort of frosting-intensive filling. In retrospect I probably made a mistake, but we moved on.

The Winnie the Pooh dark ride was practically next door and had no line to speak of, so we took a ride in a hilariously-named honeycomb. Okay, I might be imagining things, but I remember the WDW version as being WAY better. The story at Disneyland lacks clarity. Am I making things up?

Oh, bother.

By this point I was in the mood for a snack, of which there were many inside the Pooh Corner gift shop. Despairing of ever finding a glorious, WDW-worthy cupcake in Disneyland, I gave up the ghost and bought one of those generic colored cupcakes that are all over both properties. It was fine, sugar-fest-y, even, but an underperformer compared to anything I could get at Starring Rolls. Disneyland bakers need to step up their game.

MOON: If I may be so bold and repeat my favorite tweet: “I just stuffed cake into my BFF’s mouth. The trip has climaxed.” There you go, guys. That’s the highlight of my trip.

Subpar.

We’d photographed our way through Fantasyland, New Orleans Square, Frontierland, Critter Country, Adventureland, AND Main Street and it was time to head across the yard to DCA. On the way out we stopped in a gift shop so I could look for a shirt I liked, but they didn’t have it in my preferred size and color so I vowed to look in the World of Disney store later.

Over in DCA, I made a beeline for the roller coaster, and Moon was kind enough to wait for me and take photos as my train took off. Then we stopped in at the Golden Vine restaurant, but the menu didn’t inspire us to spend that kind of money; we went back to Pacific Wharf and got tofu bowls from Lucky Fortune Cookery (another one for the food review post).

Our next stop was Carsland, where Moon got a churro cone. I guess they make them fresh to order, because Moon informed me it was going to take six minutes for hers to arrive. She gave me leave to run off and look for Stanley stuff in the gift shops.

I checked through pretty much every single gift shop in the place and came up with exactly one lame t-shirt and a magnet. I mean, Stanley has a freakin’ STATUE here; shouldn’t he be more heavily featured? Moon called, churros accomplished, and I directed her over to me for discussion. I ultimately bought magnets for my mother and grandmother. The cashier guy was super nice – he gave us First Visit pins and Mickey stickers (which now adorn my cubicle wall and my cell phone case, respectively).

I FOUND IT!

Also, Moon gave me her cinnamon chocolate dipping sauce from the churros because she’s not a huge chocolate fan and I drank that stuff like it was hot chocolate. Question: reasonable behavior or cry for help?

MOON: I’m sorry for being a fatty and eating all the churros!! But I couldn’t find youuu and I was hungry. :/ But at least there was sauce, right? You ate that like a champ!

It being vacation, it was time to imbibe; we hit up the wine place next to Golden Vineyard. The guy there was also very nice, offering us different pours if we didn’t like what we got and describing our potential purchases. I got a glass of Malbec and Moon got a Cabarnet, and we took our glasses over to the benches in front of California Screamin.’ (On the way, Moon was accosted by a lady who wanted to know WHERE DID YOU GET WINE?????)

I snagged a FastPass for the roller coaster and we sat and sipped our wine for awhile. I finished my glass at the EXACT moment my time opened up. Moon had fallen asleep, and upon my return she was STILL asleep. It was adorable.

MOON: Zzzzzzzzz…

I did rouse her after a time, and we decided to approach DCA the same way we had Disneyland that morning – circle around and take pictures. So we did that. And as we walked past Grizzly River run, I saw him: DUG!

Oh, and here’s a bear from the gift shop.

Also, at some point we took pictures with Chip and Dale. I don’t remember when so I’m just going to stick this photo here. Chip tried to mime me into giving him money for food, but I refused because HE DOESN’T DESERVE ANY. (Confession: I don’t like Chip and Dale because they’re mean to Pluto. I harbor the same distaste for the Roadrunner and Jerry Mouse.) 

It was then that I made my most exciting discovery of the entire trip: one of the famed DISNEYLAND KITTIES! Disneyland sets up feeders to support feral cat populations that keep the rodent numbers down. Cast members warned, and rightly so, that they were wild, but this particular cat was incredibly sweet, rubbing against my hands and everything. Until some stupid kid came up and started yelling MEOW!!!!! at him which freaked him out and he ran away. Why do people continue to bring CHILDREN to Disneyland? I just don’t understand it.

We continued our tour with Condor Flats, but there wasn’t much there beside Soarin’ and we get that at WDW. After that we found ourselves back on Buena Vista Street… so I went into Starbucks and bought ANOTHER cupcake. Because it LOOKED epic. I say LOOKED… but more on that later.

I was so young and full of hope.

Moon convinced me to leave the parks, but I wasn’t ready to let go. She went back to the hotel while I headed into Downtown Disney and the World of Disney store to find my shirt. It was pretty much exactly the same as a shirt I had almost bought at WDW, but it said Disneyland instead; I figured since I still liked the design it would make a good souvenir. Unfortunate WoD didn’t have red in size small either, so I settled for purple. Whatever. Purple brings out the green in hazel eyes, right? The universe knows what it’s doing. I also found a shot glass and got a small pack of notepads for coworkers, but otherwise I managed to hold on to my money.

What I couldn’t hold on to was my sense of perspective – as usual, the prospect of leaving Disney property bummed me right the hell out. A normal person, having completed their business, would then go back to their room. I chose to walk alllllll the way down the DTD street to the Disneyland Hotel and back, ducking into a few shops for no reason whatsoever. My initial plan was to pick up the monorail and ride it into Tomorrowland before exiting, but it was down… which also saved me from the temptation to stay in Disneyland, so I guess that was just as well.

Goodbye… sniff…

Eventually I was able to drag myself away; I met Moon back at the hotel and we pondered the remainder of the day. Various driving excursions were considered, but as I am a nervous driver in new situations we abandoned those ideas in favor of staying safely close to home.

Step one: hot tub! At this dinner-ish hour, the pool area was practically empty. There was one family there, but they left shortly after we arrived. We did have one admittedly cute encounter – their little boy came up to us just before they departed and asked us very gravely if we would like him to turn the hot tub jets on for us. I don’t even like kids and I found that adorable.

Eh.
Much better.

Step two: dinner. We settled in at the Rainforest Cafe because it was right across the way from the DTD movie theater (we will get to step three shortly). This will serve as the final section of our Disneyland food review post, but let me just say now that they don’t skimp on the vodka.

Step three: movie. The reason we wanted to drink was because we had selected Paranormal Activity: The Marked Ones as the evening’s film. WAIT HEAR ME OUT. Moon and I have a tradition with some friends that we watch horror movies together, both good and bad, and mock them and/or clutch each other in terror. We KNEW a PA movie would be mockable, but we hoped it would be a fun mockable. There is a method to our admitted madness, okay?

As you might have guessed, however, this particular PA installment was passable at best. The most interesting part was that when we walked in – a few minutes into the previews at that – we had the ENTIRE THEATER to ourselves. A couple came in shortly after, but they left about halfway through (if that informs you of the quality). Meanwhile, Moon literally stretched out across the seats and fell asleep about a quarter of the way in. The most frightening thing about the entire experience was sitting in the dark alone.

MOON: There’s also a tradition of me drinking a little too much in excitement for being scared and then my subsequent snoozing. I had a nice nap. Much better than the movie, I’m sure.

I woke Moon up at the end and we walked back to the hotel in the hush of Disneyland Resort at 11PM at night and went to bed shortly after. Our vacation was essentially over. In the morning: TRAVEL TIME.

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us atfairestrunofall@gmail.comSee ya real soon! 

The Fairest Trip Report of All: 1/17

Hi guys! Time for another glorious trip report, highlighting our time in the Disneyland Resort. For the sake of flow, this report will be written by Jenn with Moon popping in for notes – don’t worry, these will be clearly delineated. As with my last trip report, a lot of food reviews will be held for a later post, so stay tuned for that. Hope you enjoy! 

My parents live right by BWI [MOON: Mine too!], so my dad can usually be coerced into offering rides. This day was no exception, and since Moon lives nearby we picked her up too. Airport check-in and getting through security took longer than normal, but we had arrived in plenty of time for our flight so it was no problem.

Once into the airport proper we bought small breakfast items (Jamba Juice for me, though sadly not free this time, and a Naked juice for Moon), and then we sat at the gate and read a bit until boarding time – which was actually on time! Who would have guessed?!

I had not sprung for Southwest’s upcharge of Early Bird Check-In, as I only believe in it for business travel when I’m not footing the bill, but I had checked in online at precisely the opening time and managed to snag us B boarding group positions. I was some slots ahead and reserved us our preferred seats: aisles for both of us, directly across from each other so we could still converse. Perfect.

Until it happened.

The last people to board the plane came in and, not surprisingly, found that there was nothing left together. The guy asked me if I would mind moving to the middle seat for some reason; I’m not entirely clear on how that would’ve helped him sit with his girlfriend, but I, um, well, said no, because nobody likes the middle seat and I had won my right to early selection with careful advanced planning. Then he asked me if I would move up one, as somehow there was another aisle seat available, which did make sense to me as that would make two seats together, but I initially refused because I wanted to stick with Moon. So THEN he decided he would take the middle seat next to me and, uh… well, he was a broad gentleman. Which is fine! Some people just are! Yet it’s not… an ideal trait in an airplane seatmate, y’know? I don’t have a good solution for this one. Anyway. I sucked it up and moved up one and just talked to Moon diagonally backwards and occasionally got hit in the head by people traveling to the bathroom. Such is life.

MOON: Juuuuuust saying – they slept the whole time.

Go ahead and tell me if any of this behavior renders me a jerk; I’m always open to personality improvements. But I kinda feel like, if you’re flying Southwest, you have to recognize and accept that if you’re among the last to board you take what you can get. Naturally there are exceptions to every rule and extenuating circumstances do exist and what not, but that’s the law of the jungle, no?

My new neighbors were very pleasant and actually rather adorable – a middle-aged couple, the wife slept on the husband’s shoulder, and when they ordered drinks they clinked glasses before imbibing. (Side note: have you ever noticed how air travel makes drinking at any time whatsoever socially acceptable?) Moon seemed to be fine with her seatmates too, so that turned out all right.

MOON: Except for the papers. This lady had A LOT of paper. She would read a page, tear it out, then stuff it into the backseat pocket. She and her husband were also SNACK FIENDS. I’ve never seen anyone eat so many snacks on a flight. It was adorable, don’t get me wrong, but I was impressed. 

We landed early (!) and grabbed our luggage once an LAX employee had climbed all over the carousel undoing a bag jam, much to my amusement. From there we picked up the Budget shuttle to get our rental car. The Budget guy was kinda pushy and freaked us out about insurance coverage; even though I know my own insurance covers stuff we wound up getting partial coverage from Budget too in case. Which I think may have been dumb in retrospect, but whatever.

Although we had reserved an economy vehicle, we wound up in a Volkswagen Jetta. “Is it a party color?” inquired Katherine via Twitter. No. It was brown, which filled Moon with glee.

MOON: I was indeed filled with glee. More on The Importance of Brown later.

Braun.

We spent the rest of the trip periodically referring to the fact that ve vere driving in a braun Wolksvagen Jetta. Which felt like a friggin’ LAND BOAT to me, a habitual driver of a little Ford Focus. BIG IS SCARY. But I didn’t bend, spindle, or mutilate anyone or anything with it over the course of the week, so I guess it turned out okay.

MOON: Oh, it wasn’t that big!

We took off for the Howard Johnson Anaheim and, barring a brief and exciting series of U-turns furnished by clever, clever Siri, we found it without trouble. We checked in and found ourselves in building three, right behind the main building. The room was fairly large, and had some nice features like a mini-fridge, coffeemaker, and extra sink outside of the bathroom. The one consolation to its Disney-adjacent location: a Mary Blair-style art print on the wall.

After retrieving our suitcases from the car, we dumped our stuff, changed out of our Maryland-appropriate winter clothes, and put on glorious, glorious shorts. It was awesome. Then we WALKED to Disneyland! WALKED! We were crossing under the Disneyland sign in under ten minutes! I mean, how awesome is that?! Sure beats buses. Is this what it feels like to stay at an Epco-area resort?

The Disneyland layout works so that you go through the bag check line and then you’re in a wide, courtyard-type area with Disney’s California Adventure on one side and Disneyland proper on the other; the gates are parallel to each other and you can go either way. Across from the bag check is another bag check/exit area, and from there – from our direction, anyway – you enter Downtown Disney.

I like how Disneyland is coming out of my head.

We headed that direction and walked all the way down DTD, which, contrary to the WDW setup, is a long line of shops in straight lines all the way down the street until you bottom out in the Disneyland Hotel (there are entrances to the Grand Californian and Paradise Pier along the way).

As we went we poked about at some shops and restaurants, but nothing was quite working for us so we wound up at the Disneyland Hotel in the famous Trader Sam’s Enchanted Tikki Bar. Sadly, the amazingly decorated interior was packed, but we were able to grab some drinks to go and take them out to the fire pit across the way. We spent a good 30, 45 minutes with that firepit, nursing our drinks, relaxing, and generally being silly.

Moon’s latest favorite pastime is Truth or Dare.

MOON: Yes, it is. I commend your sporting behavior!

My dare? “Take a sassy photo of yourself and make it your Facebook profile picture RIGHT NOW.” Which is how this happened:

Sassy!

Eventually our drinks were done and we were ready to find some dinner, so we took a look at one of the store maps posted about and decided to give La Brea Bakery a shot. It was on the other end of DTD; on the way back we stopped in Roxy so that Moon could buy a hoodie, as she had forgotten to bring one.

MOON: In fact, I forgot a lot of things. I was WEARING my hoodie in the morning before we left for the airport. I’m still not quite sure what happened to it. I still blame getting my weeks mixed up. 

We looked at the La Brea menu and selected grilled vegetable sandwiches as a likely hit, so we wandered into their Express section and… saw it wasn’t available there. We turned tail, approached the sit-down podium, and were seated within minutes. Review to come!

Waiter, there is too much pepper in my paprikash.

It was still only about, oh, I don’t know, 6PM? 6:30PM Pacific? But to our bodies it was three hours later, and I kinda wanted to encourage that until after the race so that our 3AM wakeup call on Sunday wouldn’t feel so harsh. Still, we were on vacation, so we stopped at the hotel gift shop for some fun supplies. Thing one? Reeses Pieces. Moon LOVES Reeses Pieces. She also grabbed some Sour Patch Kids, which were rung up by a cashier who looked AND sounded exactly like Edna Mode from The Incredibles. It was uncanny.

Thing two? Alcohol. As we surveyed the cases, noting with some trepidation the rather expensive bottles of wine, and Aussie lady came up and started giving us purchasing advice. Something about avoiding cabernets, or possibly ONLY drinking cabernets; I confess I got a little foggy on these points. Interestingly enough, her #1 recommendation was the 25 oz cans of Bud Light Lime, which we ended up buying because I like carbonation and we were both sick of trying to make a decision.

From there we retreated to our room and tried to find a movie but came up short. Instead we just munched on our snacks and talked, I showered, and then we went to bed at like 8PM. East Coast girls forever.

And then we woke up again forty minutes later to BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! BOOM! for like ten minutes straight and about five minutes in I realized it was the Disneyland fireworks. We had arrived.

MOON: I actually slept through the first night of fireworks; sorry for staggering your cadence, Jenn!

Tune in tomorrow for day two of our trip!

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!

An Ode to Bread Pudding (And a Gluten/Lactose-Free Recipe!)

This is a Jenn post. I figured I’d mention since it’s not in the post title.

I am an acknowledged sweet tooth, and I’ll be the first to acknowledge it. If there were any possible way to achieve a balanced diet while consuming only dessert, I’d be the first person on board. One year for my birthday Moon gave me a can of frosting, and I was thrilled because as far as I’m concerned cake only exists as a conveyance for frosting anyway. Yay for eliminating the middleman!

Indeed, there is no foodstuff in the world I love more than frosting. Except for one.

Glorious, glorious bread pudding.

I don’t know why, precisely. I don’t recall eating it as a kid so it can’t be a nostalgia thing. It’s not particularly fancy and rarely complex. Certainly it’s easy and cheap to make. But there’s something about the sweetness, and the texture, and the spices… in a word: yum. (But NOT yum-o because that is not a word. Neither is delish. STOP IT.)

And so naturally, as one of my ongoing Walt Disney World projects, I have been making a slow tour of the bread puddings of the World. I once kept a reservation at Boma, even though I knew I wasn’t hungry enough for it, purely because the prospect of unlimited bread pudding was too idyllic to ignore. I nearly flipped my proverbial lid when I discovered banana bread pudding in the late lamented Main Street Bakery, and my raptures over the bread pudding that concludes a meal at ‘Ohana were so intense my server insisted on bringing me another bowl. Next time I dine there I am seriously considering asking for it first.

I went on a solo trip two years ago, and my very first night was spent wandering through Downtown Disney. I marched directly into Raglan Road, plunked myself down at the bar, and without even glancing at a menu declared my intentions for Gir’s bread and butter pudding. “It’s big,” warned the bartender. “You probably won’t finish it.” “Oh, no,” I replied. “This is my dinner.” “Then you’re probably fine,” he said, and showed me how to mash up the delicious pudding and pour vanilla sauce all over it. I ate every bite. (And then a Moroccan man tried to convince me to go home with him, but I’m pretty sure the two aren’t related.)

Not pictured: creepy guy.

Occasionally I have been known to make my own bread pudding, which brings me to what the White Knight would refer to as My Own Invention. As an experiment, I’ve been cutting down on gluten in my diet, just to see if it does anything. I bought a couple boxes of gluten-free waffles on sale at Target, and found them fairly dry and crumbly and not particularly appetizing. Say, what does one generally do with dry bread products?

BREAD PUDDING TO THE RESCUE.

I pulled up a recipe I had used a few years earlier at Thanksgiving, pumpkin bread pudding, which can be found here. I combined it somewhat with this basic bread pudding recipe. For starters, the pumpkin recipe mentions sugar in the directions but not the amount in the ingredients, so I used the 3/4 cup from the basic recipe and it turned out fine. I also baked the pudding in a sous vide bath as recommended by the basic recipe and it worked, although I don’t know if it necessarily made a huge difference.

As I mentioned, I replaced the bread with the gluten-free waffles. I had one full box plus an extra waffle from the other box, so I used seven waffles total. I think there was enough liquid to handle another two to four waffles if you wanted a denser pudding, but I’d use at least six or else you’ll likely end up with something better described as pumpkin-pudding-with-sporadic-waffle-pieces.

I ripped the waffles up into small pieces after I took this photo.

Now for the lactose-free part: bread pudding recipes tend to call for milk and even heavy cream. Uh-uh. I replaced both with unsweetened almond milk and it turned out great. Would the taste have been richer had I used the milk and cream? Probably, but since I didn’t compare I remain blissfully ignorant of what I was missing. Almond milk substitutes just fine; you could probably use rice or coconut milk too.

The recipe does call for eggs and therefore isn’t vegan, although if anyone has suggestions on that front, lay ’em on me.

I hesitate to show you a bowlful of my finished bread pudding because it just doesn’t look that appetizing. Bread pudding generally doesn’t photograph well. But close your eyes and imagine it covered in ice cream and whipped cream and caramel sauce and tell me that doesn’t sound AWESOME. I dare you.

One question remains: would bread pudding taste good covered in frosting?

Don’t forget, you can follow us on Twitter @fairestrunofall. To see how our training is going, check out Jenn’s dailymile here and Moon’s dailymile here. If you have any questions for us, leave a comment or email us at fairestrunofall@gmail.com. See ya real soon!