Sunday, August 12, 2012

Medieval Times

We always see this castle by I-90 when we go to our favorite shopping places at Schaumburg, IL.  It's been more than 10 years, since I first got intrigued by this majestic structure, and yes it took me that long to finally go check it out!

The Medieval Times Castle

It was one of our friends' birthday, so we thought of celebrating it here.  
Birthday celebrant, Ela, in black, in right photo.  Weather was perfect as you can see.

My King! :-)

Inside the castle... 

There's a dungeon displaying instruments of torture during the medieval times.

More torture paraphernalia which was really creepy... 
Oh, and they have nice decorated ceilings too (so not all that creepy).

Inside the arena... it was quite large and had real sand.

Amazingly trained horses, bright costumes, colorful lighting, lively music, and great audience interaction as each section had its own knight to cheer for (we got the black and white night - in picture, lower left).

And this after all, is not just a show, but really a feast - we had the following for dinner:

Which we had to eat with our bare hands... after all, there were no utensils back then.

Half a chicken which I didn't finish.  It was tasty - wondered if they cooked it the same way back in the medieval times!

  Tomato Bisque served in a dish made in China hehehe.

Jousting!  Unfortunately, our knight was the very first to get defeated.  Ha!  Great acting though.  

 Fun, fun, fun.  I would do it again if my sister and family come over.  Definitely worth our $42.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

It's More Fun If You Travel Cheap

Yesterday, we took a trip to the Warren Dunes at Michigan... I realized that if you love to travel, it doesn't really matter if you spend away or spend cheap.  We took on three states in one day and found hidden treasures along the way for 70 bucks (this can easily be gone in a few hours at a mall or an expensive restaurant).  It was tiring, but worth it.  Not only do you enjoy time with friends, but you see, experience, eat(!), and learn something new and exciting.  Photos to post on Facebook and Blogger is just a bonus!

Here's a rundown:

Car Rental/Gas $150 divided by 5 = $30
Parking @ the Dunes $8 divided by 5 = $1.60 
Warren Dunes Entrance = FREE

Breakfast: McDonald's McGriddles Breakfast Meal $5
Lunch: Popeye's 2-Piece Dark Meat Combo with Red Beans & Rice & Sweet Tea $7
Snack 1: Ben's Soft Pretzel with Cream Cheese & Soda $5
Snack 2: Calumet Fisheries Stuffed Shrimps $8
Dinner: Sun Wah Duck Feast $14

Total: $70.60

8:15 AM - Breakfast at McDonald's, Chicago

Started the day with a hearty breakfast and made sure we had a well-fed driver. :-)

11:15 AM - Arrived at the Warren Dunes, Michigan

Glad my camera was already working when we went on this trip!  P&S is always easier to carry around especially in this super hot weather.  We didn't stay too long - we just wanted to see the Dunes!

I wore my comfy chic sandals which the Popeye's lady at the counter complimented.

They climbed all the way to the top - I didn't even bother attempting as I knew I wouldn't be able to take the heat, with my "himatayin" nature and all hehehe!

1:45 PM - Pit Stop at Indiana Department of Transportation

After having our carry-out Popeye's Lunch at the parking lot (all picnic tables were full), we headed to Michigan City, Indiana.  But before that, we changed clothes at the nearest rest area.

2:05 PM - Arrived at Lighthouse Premium Outlets, Indiana

Shopped til we literally dropped (from exhaustion) at Lighthouse Premium Outlets.  I didn't buy much as it was a shopping-without-a-mission kind of thing.  And it was very humid!  At 4:00 PM, I got tired, so Hubby and I had a mid-afternoon snack - Ben's Soft Pretzels with Cream Cheese.  It was sooo incredibly soft and chewy, reminded me of pugon pandesal back home!  Too bad they only had stores in Indiana.

7:30 PM - Arrived at Calumet Fisheries, Chicago

We left Lighthouse after getting caught in a heavy downpour at around 5:30.  Everyone's hungry so we decided to go to Calumet Fisheries in Chicago.  This place was featured by Anthony Bourdain, and is apparently famous for their smoked fish and french fried seafood.  When we got there, we discovered the place had no tables... just our tired luck.  We just bought stuffed shrimps and smoked fish to go and took another 30-minute drive to Sun Wah for a nice Chinese dinner, still within Chicago.

8:30 PM - Dinner at Sun Wah, Chicago

Dinner.  Finally.  It's great to have friends who know a lot of places to eat - from hole-in-the-walls, to (television) famous restaurants.  Sun Wah has the best roast duck ever, which was served three ways: carved and served with white buns ala cuapao; duck bones soup; fried rice/noodles.  Happiness.

Home by 10:00 PM.  What a great day it was!

Friday, August 3, 2012

Vigan Longganisa: 2 Ways

Ahhhh diet no more.  But how can you resist the garlicky goodness of Vigan Longganisa?!  

Today, as I worked from home, I had to cook lunch and dinner for hubby and I as we ran out of leftovers to pop in the microwave.  Then I saw a package of vigan longganisa in the fridge (thank God for Unimart) and I started planning on garlic fried rice and fried egg for good ol' longsilog... But since my cravings have been pretty fickle lately...  I made pizza for lunch and lumpia ala vigan empanada for dinner instead.  Improvised, of course!

Vigan Longganisa Pizza

Sauce: Tomato sauce, soy sauce, garlic, onion, dried oregano, dried basil, pepper, sugar
Leftover Naan (for crust), Vigan Longganisa (cooked and sliced), yellow bell pepper, onion rings, green chili, sliced tomatoes, 1 egg, mozzarella

Preheat the oven at 375F
Saute the garlic and onions in vegetable oil and add the tomato sauce.  Add about 1 tbsp of soy sauce and season with oregano, basil, pepper, and sugar.  Simmer for 5 minutes.  Set aside.
Place the naan in a shallow baking pan (foil is optional) and top will all the remaining ingredients, but make sure that the egg is whole and on the center.  Sprinkle with mozzarella.
Bake in the oven for 30 minutes.

Great with Tabasco sauce!

Lumpia ala Vigan Empanada
I was so excited to make the lumpia as the original Vigan Empanada is my all-time favorite.  It reminds me of my childhood when we visit Ilocos during the summer.  

Diced potatoes, shredded cabbage, onions, garlic, bean sprouts (I used canned), diced cooked vigan longganisa, 2 eggs beaten, salt, pepper, patis (fish sauce)
Lumpia Wrapper

Fry the potatoes in vegetable oil and when tender, sauté with garlic and onion.  Add the longganisa, bean sprouts and cabbage.  When cabbage is wilted, add the eggs and stir together.  Season with salt, pepper, and patis.  Let the vegetable mixture cool down for about 30 mins.  Wrap the mixture in Lumpia Wrapper as shown below (I'm missing one picture where you'll need to fold the sides of the wrapper after the 3rd photo).  Deep fry in vegetable oil for about 7 minutes.

Serve with Vinegar!  Better with Sukang Iloko but I only had Pinakurat which is actually an excellent alternative!  I only had this for dinner and no rice.  Heavenly and nostalgic.