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Cover Sweet tea and spirits

 

Title: Sweet Tea and Spirits

Author: Angie Fox

Series: The Southern Ghost Hunter Series (#5)

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Sci Fi & Fantasy 

Release Date: April 25, 2017

 

 

Southern girl Verity Long is about as high society as her pet skunk. Which is why she’s surprised as anyone when the new head of the Sugarland social set invites her to join the “it” girls. But this is no social call. Verity’s new client needs her to go in undercover and investigate strange happenings at the group’s historic headquarters. 

But while spirits are whispering hints of murder, the socialites are more focused on Verity’s 1978, avocado-green Cadillac. And when Verity stumbles upon a fresh body, she’s going to need the long-dead citizens of Sugarland to help her solve the crime. Good thing she has the handsome deputy sheriff Ellis Wydell on hand, as well as her ghostly sidekick Frankie. The bad thing is, the ghosts are now whispering about the end of a certain ghost hunter.

 

Sweet Tea and Spirits is the fifth book in the Southern Ghost Hunter Series and it continues the story of Verity Long and her fellow residents of Sugarland. Verity is an endearing character and she always strives for what’s right. When it comes to hard knocks, she’s had them all, but she continues to fight, both for herself and others in need. This time around a mystery caller sets her on the road to investigate the Sugarland Historical Society, a home with surprises that have been hidden from the town folk for generations. With the assistance of boyfriend/deputy sheriff Ellis, and her not always so friendly spirit sidekick, Frankie the German, Verity solves the murder mystery and provides some much needed closure to those still living in the home long past their living years.

I found this book to be as charming and enjoyable as the previous installments in the series. My favorite is still the original, Southern Spirits, but this book is a winner in its own right. Often my favorite aspect of books are the fun animal characters and Lucy, the skunk, is still right up there with the best of them. This was a quick read and I literally had a hard time putting it down. A true must read for fans of the genre and anyone wanting a thoroughly entertaining experience. This series is one of my all time favorites and I’m greatly looking forward see what Angie Fox has in store for us next.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2

 

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Breakfast with Minnie & Friends

Breakfast with Minnie & Friends is the only character dining option within Disneyland Park. It’s located at the Plaza Inn restaurant just off Main St. They are most famous for their Fried Chicken Dinner, which is fabulous, but the breakfast buffet is fantastic in its own right.

After checking in with your reservation, yes you should make one, they immediately take pictures of your group. The pictures will be printed and placed into a keepsake portfolio that you may purchase during your meal. You can decline having the picture taken if you want. After pictures you are taken to a cashier to pay and then it’s off to your table. Our host also gave us a little mini-tour of the buffet before taking us to our seats. I have a few food allergies, which I mentioned at check-in, and as soon as we sat down I was told that the chef would come out to talk to me. The chef came out right away to let me know what was safe to eat and what I needed to avoid in the buffet lines. She also offered to make me a special fruit plate, since one of my allergies is pineapple, to ensure that the fruit I ate hadn’t come into any contact with pineapple, as it’s all together in the buffet.

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My special allergy-free fruit plate

The breakfast is served via several different buffet stations. On the day we attended they had the following items to choose from: Mickey waffles, pancakes, French Toast, scrambled eggs, hash browns, chicken fried steak, biscuits & gravy, country potatoes, an omelet station, bacon, ham, sausage, oatmeal, cold cereals, fresh fruit, fruit toppings, jello, yogurt parfaits, and a variety of small pastries. They also have a self serve drink counter with soda, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, orange juice, apple juice, milk, chocolate milk, and water.

We tried a little of everything they had to offer and the food was all good. The bacon was a little too limp for my taste, and some of the pastries were dry, but other than that I have no complaints at all about the food. My two favorite items from the buffet were the Biscuits & Gravy and the Mickey Waffles. This time I chose to just have blueberries with my waffles, but the caramel banana sauce that they offer with them is phenomenal.

When dining out the food is extremely important, but with a character breakfast the experience is what you’re really paying for. There was no disappointment here in regards to the food or the character interactions. If you’re looking for the dining experience with the most variety of characters then this is the one for you. We were there for about an hour and a half, and in that time there were very few moments when there wasn’t a character at our table, or at least close in proximity. The characters there that morning were: Minnie (of course), Rafiki, Captain Hook, Tigger, Eeyore, Chip, Dale, Gideon, Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother, and a Mary Poppins Penguin. They all spent a lot of time at each table while we were there. Each character came through the dining room at least twice, sometimes more, and they were extremely playful with kids and adults alike. In fact, I need to go back to take more pictures of the food, as we were so overwhelmed by character interactions that I forgot to take pictures of all the edible items. Definitely not a bad thing.

My family and I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and recommend it as the best character breakfast at the Disneyland Resort, in terms of both food and variety of characters. Though a couple of the other buffets have a better variety of food, the extra characters here bump it up to best as far a character dining for me. If you’ve eaten at the Minnie & Friends breakfast, let us know your experience. Be sure to check the Disneyland website for current prices and to make your reservation.

Enjoy and Happy Eating!!

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Chip didn’t want Donald in the picture.

 

**Please do not copy or use photos from this posting for any purpose without my permission. Thank you.

 

 

 

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Steakhouse 55 Breakfast Review

 

Steakhouse 55 is a fine dining restaurant located on the ground floor of the Disneyland Hotel. We had all of our dinner reservations booked, but really wanted to try out this restaurant, so we opted to have breakfast there. Best Disney dining decision I’ve ever made.

The restaurant décor is classic and truly elegant. Once you step into the dining room it’s like being transported back in time to the chic Old Hollywood restaurants of the past. The name honors the special year of 1955, when we welcomed Disneyland Park, as well as the Mickey Mouse Club into existence. A special year in Disney history that fits this special eatery to perfection.

They serve breakfast from seven to eleven each morning and dinner from five to eleven every night. An Afternoon Tea service has been recently added, and it has become very popular, often booking a couple of months in advance. I highly recommend you get a reservation when you plan to eat here, but if you forget to do so, they are usually able to accommodate some walk in patrons, though you will likely have a wait. No need to worry, though, the restaurant has an elegant lounge out front where you can partake of a cocktail while awaiting your table. Or, if you prefer, you can have a light meal there.

This was my first time eating at Steakhouse 55, so I’ve only experienced breakfast here so far, but I plan to try everything they have to offer, as it has become one of my all time favorite Disney dining establishments. I truly can’t recommend it highly enough.

Pictures below menus.

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Main Menu:

Entrées

French Toast

Thick-cut French Toast dipped in Eggs, Cream, Vanilla, and Powdered Sugar served with warm Bananas Foster or warm Berries
$14.00

Mickey-shaped Waffles

served with Maple Syrup and your choice of warm Bananas Foster or Warm Berries and Bacon or Sausage
$16.00

Buttermilk Stack

Steaming Buttermilk Pancakes piled high served with Whipped Butter and Warm Bananas Foster or Warm Berries
$12.00

Egg’s Benedict

Two Eggs, expertly Poached atop Canadian Bacon and an English Muffin served with Hollandaise Sauce and choice of Fresh-cut Fruit or Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
$16.00

American Breakfast

Two Eggs any style with Ham, Bacon, or Sausage served with Toast or Bagel and choice of Fresh-cut Fruit or Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
$15.00

New York Steak and Eggs

A juicy 7-ounce Certified Angus Steak with two Farm-fresh Eggs any style served with Toast or Bagel and choice of Fresh-cut Fruit or Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
$20.00

Build-Your-Own-Omelette

Choice of three: Cheese, Bacon, Sausage, Mushroom, Ham, Avocado, Tomato, Onion, or Roasted Peppers served with Toast or Bagel and choice of Fresh-cut Fruit or Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
$15.00

Two Times Four

Two slices of French Toast or two Pancakes, two Eggs any style, plus two Strips of Bacon and two Links of Sausage and choice of Fresh-cut Fruit or Roasted Potatoes with Peppers and Onions
$16.00

Huevos Rancheros

Two Eggs, Corn Tortillas, Cheese, and Black Beans served with Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, and Sour Cream
$14.00

Sunrise Burrito

Scrambled Eggs, Chorizo, Potatoes and Cheese in a Flour Tortilla with Pico de Gallo, Guacamole, and Sour Cream on the side
$14.00

 

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Amazing Eggs Benedict

This was the best Eggs Benedict I’ve ever had. Cooked just as ordered, which you often don’t get when ordering the eggs well done. The Hollandaise Sauce was the perfect consistency and didn’t have an overwhelming lemon flavor like so many do at other restaurants. The potatoes were also perfectly cooked with just the right amount of flavoring from the peppers and onions to give it a nice zesty flavor that didn’t overpower.

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New York Steak and Eggs

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American Breakfast

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Fun dessert our waiter brought us. Clearly he raided Goofy’s Kitchen next door.

Healthy Harmonies Entrées:

Egg White Omelette

Egg Whites with Mushroom, Tomato, Onion, and Peppers served with Toast or Bagel
$15.00

Seasonal Fruits with Yogurt

Fresh Fruit Cocktail or a Grapefruit Half
$10.00

Kellogg’s® Cereals

Froot Loops, Frosted Flakes, Mini-Wheats, Raisin Bran, Rice Krispies, Special K, or Corn Flakes served with Sliced Banana or Strawberries
$9.00

Granola

Rolled Oats with Sliced Almonds served with Sliced Bananas or Strawberries
$9.00

Oatmeal

Oatmeal served with Brown Sugar, Raisins, and Sliced Bananas or Strawberries
$10.00

Smoked Salmon and Bagel

Dill Cream Cheese and traditional accompaniment
$14.00
 

Kids’ Mickey Check Meals

 Kids’ Mickey Check Meal – Fresh Harvest Fruit Plate
served with Lowfat Yogurt and Bran Muffin. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water. Meets Disney Nutrition Guidelines for Complete Meals without substitutions
 $9.00
 Kids’ Mickey Check Meal – Junior Scramble
Scrambled Eggs with Turkey Bacon, Potatoes, and fresh Fruit. Choice of Small Lowfat Milk or Small Dasani® Water. Meets Disney Nutrition Guidelines for Complete Meals without substitutions
 $9.00

Kids’ Meals

Whole-Grain Mickey-shaped Pancake

served with a side of fresh Fruit and choice of Small Lowfat Milk, Small Dasani® Water, Small Minute Maid® Juice, or Small Nesquik® Chocolate Milk

$9.00

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Uncle Walt – One of those famous pics where the cigarette has been removed.

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Beautiful and Classic!

 

 

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Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast

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The Chip ‘n Dale Critter Breakfast is located at the Storytellers Cafe in The Grand Californian Hotel. I haven’t eaten at this breakfast in many years and it wasn’t at all like it used to be, unfortunately. After checking in with our reservation, we were given a pager and told to wait inside to be called. We waited only a few minutes before we were taken to our table and our server arrived almost immediately to take our drink order. This was the only location where my food allergy was not acknowledged by the check-in/host staff. Since this was our third breakfast buffet of the weekend, and they mostly all serve the same food items, I felt comfortable not speaking with the chef here, but I was surprised that they didn’t mention it since it was even printed on our seating card. Disney is usually very good at dealing with food allergies and this was the only time it completely slipped past them.

The buffet breakfast items here were: Eggs Benedict, Mickey waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, an omelet station, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, cold cereals, fresh fruit, and a variety of small pastries. Your server will also offer you coffee, tea, hot chocolate, orange juice, apple juice, milk, and water.

We tried a little of everything and the food here was very disappointing. The bacon was barely cooked, as were the scrambled eggs, which were extremely runny. The pastries, with the exception of the carrot raisin bread, were all very dry. Additionally, we arrived a little over an hour after they started serving breakfast and at that point no chef had arrived to man the omelet station. About ten minutes after we went through the buffet someone finally showed up at the egg station and that precipitated a huge line of about 30 people to engulf the end of the buffet, right next to our table, as they had clearly all been waiting to be able to get an omelet. This was not acceptable at all. The one bright spot to the meal was the Eggs Benedict, which was extremely good.

At a character breakfast, the interactions with the characters is as important, if not more so, than the food itself. In this case, the characters were just as disappointing as the food. We were there a little over an hour, and in that time the only characters that came to our table were the bears from Brother Bear. Now, no offense to Brother Bear, but it doesn’t seem that these characters would be popular enough to be at a breakfast. Though, when they’re the only ones there you take what you can get I guess.  I found it fascinating that it’s called Chip ‘n Dale’s Critter Breakfast, but in our time there neither of them were in the restautant. I’m not sure what characters are usually present here, but the experience on this day was beyond subpar all around. If you’ve eaten at this breakfast, let us know your experience.

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**Please do not copy or use photos from this posting for any purpose without my permission. Thank you.

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Breakfast with Minnie and Friends

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I haven’t eaten at the character breakfast at the Plaza Inn in Disneyland for many, many years. It’s now called Breakfast with Minnie and Friends, but I believe it was called something else way back when. If fact, here is a picture of me the last time I had breakfast here. As you can see it was during the Rescue Rangers days, so that was indeed many years ago.

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After checking in with your reservation, they immediately take pictures of your group, that they will try to sell you later, then they take you to the cashier to pay and then it’s off to your table. Our hostess also gave us a little mini-tour of the buffet before taking us to our seats. I have a food allergy and as soon as we sat down she said she’d send the chef out to talk to me. The chef came out right away and then I was off to the food choices now knowing what was safe for me to eat. The breakfast is served buffet style and on the day we attended they had the following items to choose from: Mickey waffles, pancakes, scrambled eggs, hash browns, chicken fried steak, biscuits & gravy, country potatoes, an omelet station, bacon, sausage, oatmeal, cold cereals, fresh fruit, jello, yogurt parfaits, and a variety of small pastries. They also have a self serve drink counter with soda, coffee, tea, hot chocolate, orange juice, apple juice, milk, and water.

We tried a little of everything they had to offer and the food was all very good. The bacon was a little too limp for my taste, and some of the pastries were dry, but other than that I have no complaints at all about the food. My two favorite items from the buffet were the Biscuits & Gravy, and the Caramel Banana Mickey Waffles.

When dining out the food is extremely important, but with a character breakfast the experience is what you’re really paying for. There was no disappointment here in regards to the food or the character interactions. If you’re looking for the dining experience with the most variety of characters then this is the one for you. We were there about an hour and a half, and in that time there were very few minutes when there wasn’t a character at our table, or at least close in proximity. The characters there that morning were: Minnie, Rafiki, Perla, Captain Hook, Tigger, Eeyore, Pooh, Chip, Dale, Max, and Cinderella’s Fairy Godmother. They all spent a lot of time at each table while we were there, and each came through at least twice, sometimes more, and they were extremely playful. In fact, I need to go back to take more pictures of the food, as we were so overwhelmed by character interactions that I forgot to take pictures of the edible items. Definitely not a bad thing.

I thoroughly enjoyed the meal and recommend it as the best character breakfast at the Disneyland Resort, in terms of both food and variety of characters. If you’ve eaten at the Minnie & Friends breakfast, let us know your experience. Be sure to check the Disneyland website for current prices and to make your reservation.

Enjoy and Happy Eating!!

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**Please do not copy or use photos from this posting for any purpose without my permission. Thank you.

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PCH Grill Surf’s Up Character Breakfast

 

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This was my first time eating at the Surf’s Up character breakfast and for the most part I wasn’t disappointed. The Surf’s Up breakfast takes place daily at the PCH Grill restaurant located within the Paradise Pier Hotel. The breakfast is served buffet style and on the day we attended they had the following items to choose from: Mickey waffles, Mickey pancakes, banana-caramel French toast, flatbread pizzas, scrambled eggs, hash browns, beef chilaquiles, smoked salmon with bagels and cream cheese, an omelet station, crisp bacon, sausage, oatmeal, cold cereals, fresh fruit, and a variety of small pastries. In addition, they had a choice of two different smoothies within the buffet and from your waiter you can get coffee, tea, hot chocolate, orange juice, apple juice, milk, and water.

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Between me and my two dining companions, we tried a little of everything they had to offer and the food was all quite good. It’s always nice when you have a made-to-order omelet option that offers egg whites/substitute, as well as the traditional. At that station they’ll also make you scrambled eggs with any of the omelet add-ons you would like. My two favorite items from the buffet were the Apple Cantaloupe Smoothie and the Caramel Banana French Toast. Yes, I have a sweet tooth.

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When you go out to eat, the food and service is important, but with a character breakfast the experience is what you’re really paying for. I have to say I was a little disappointed by the show/characters. When you first arrive you will have your picture taken with Mickey Mouse dressed as a lifeguard. We were seated at our table right after our photo op and our waiter stopped by immediately to take our drink order. As soon as we got back from our first trip to the buffet, our drinks had arrived and the characters were just beginning to make their rounds.

We were there about an hour and a half and in that time, not including the original photo with Mickey, there were three characters in the restaurant. First through was Pluto, followed closely by Stitch. After that there were no characters for a really long time. I guess the people at the table behind us complained, as they were seated after us and after Pluto & Stitch came through, because a manager came over and spoke with them about the lack of characters and then brought Minnie Mouse directly to their table. After that Stitch made one more pass through the restaurant, but that was all the character interaction we saw. They play a little surf music occasionally and I believe it’s supposed to be a time for the characters and kids to dance, but I walked over to try to take a picture and there were no characters out there at the time, just a few kids dancing. I’m not sure what characters are usually at the breakfast or if our experience was the norm. If you’ve eaten at the Surf’s Up Breakfast recently, let us know your experience. In spite of the few and far between character interactions, I enjoyed the meal. Be sure to check the Disneyland website for current prices and to make your reservation.

Enjoy and Happy Eating!!

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**Please do not copy or use photos from this posting for any purpose without my permission. Thank you.

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cover71792-mediumTitle: Diner Knock Out

Author: Terri L. Austin

Series: Rose Strickland Mystery #4

Genre: Mystery & Thrillers, Literature/Fiction (Adult)

Release Date: October 20, 2015

Publisher: Henery Press

Format: Paperback, e-book

Print Length: 302 pages

Source: NetGalley

 

Rose Strickland’s life is complicated. Besides her waitressing gig, she works part-time for Andre Thomas, a PI with no faith in Rose’s ability to investigate, her love life with Sullivan has stalled, and her BFF, Roxy, has found a new bestie, leaving Rose out in the cold.

Determined to prove herself, Rose takes a case on the sly. As she searches for a missing MMA fighter, Rose discovers an illegal fight club, a group of ruthless businessmen, dead bodies, and a trail of drugs.

Hunting down clues that lead too close to home, Rose finds herself in the fight of her life. Can she beat the killer to the punch before she gets knocked out for good?

 

This is my first time meeting Rose Strickland, though it is the fourth book in the mystery series about her. Rose has quite an interesting and somewhat chaotic life. The daughter of well-to-do parents who preferred to make it on her own rather than live by her family’s rules, is struggling a bit to make ends meet. To get by she’s working a waitressing job, as well as working part-time for a P.I., Andre Thomas, who doesn’t seem to have a lot of faith in her abilities to do more than desk work. She’s determined to prove him wrong, however, and takes on a case of her own that leads her into a world that is much more than she ever bargained for.

Rose is a very relatable character and I found myself connecting to her right away. The fact that I hadn’t read the previous books was no detriment at all to my understanding of her history and my enjoyment of the book. She is surrounded by a cast of fabulously quirky characters, from her restaurant boss, Ma, who’s looking to bag herself a widow, to her friends, Roxie, Sugar, and Axton, all of whom are crazy in their own wonderful way. I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention Rose’s criminal kingpin boyfriend Sullivan, since we all love a bad boy, and his best bodyguard Henry, as they are both fantastic characters that play a very important part in the murder mystery plot.

I enjoyed this book from start to finish, and I will definitely be going back to read the previous three installments of the series. All of the characters are unique, realistic, and fun, and I want to jump in and be friends with each of them. I’m really looking forward to reading more from this author and continuing my friendship with Rose and the gang. I must add that the book did get bonus points for mentioning Veronica Mars. If you want to spend time with some fabulous characters for a quick, fun, and funny mystery, I highly recommend you pick up Diner Knock Out.

♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ 1/2

My gracious thanks to Henery Press and NetGalley for providing me with an eARC of this book in exchange for my honest opinion review.

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