This is the third year in a row that we’ve gone to Orlando around this time of year. So I guess that makes it an annual tip. The first year was actually when we went on our Groupon cruise. Our friends Rae and Jeremy went that year, and we put on furs and went to the Ice Bar (thanks to Groupon for that one too).
Rae and I in our rented furs (Don’t worry PETA, I’m sure they were faux).
Fruity shot that luged down the ice sculpture in to my ice shot glass.
The next year we went with our friends Milly and Neil, to go see our favorite comedian, Russell Peters (the Husband is Indian, in case you were wondering how that happened). We went to Dave and Buster’s first, then to the show.
I’m a cheater. Don’t ever play games with me. I even cheated at the game of Life, “accidentally” spilling Kool-aid on the $100,000 job card, so I would never be poor! Consider yourself warned.
We match, you can tell we’re newlyweds. At the Russell Peters show.
This year we went because it seemed like we should and I missed the water slide at the Loew’s Portofino. We went alone, a first in our new tradition. Every year we’ve stayed at the Portofino, and this was no exception. I love that hotel; it’s easy to get to their other hotels and to Universal and the Citywalk. Most importantly, they have the most amazing water slide. I swore this time I was going to go down it 100 times. Unfortunately, mother nature ruined my plans and I didn’t even get to to go down once. I guess I’ll have to go back in the middle of the summer, when it will be guaranteed hot enough to put on my bathing suit.
We started our Orlando mini-vacation with a stop at Giordano’s. We love stuffed pizza but, for obvious reasons, only eat it about once a year. Since Giordano’s closed in Tampa, we reserve our fatness for our Orlando trip.
Before I go on, I must confess that I used only a fixed 50 mm, manual focus lens for all of my photos. I got a lovely new Nikon DSLR for Christmas and I’ve been meaning to force myself to get better with this lens. I figured since we make this trip a lot, it was the perfect time to possibly ruin all my photos.
Anyway, we always order the same thing; stuffed sausage pizza and Peroni. Pizza is always better with Italian beer.
So nice and cold.
I’m sure it’s low fat, right?
Look at all that cheese! And yes, the Husband is lactose intolerant. Thanks Lactaid, for allowing him to continue to enjoy pizza.
We headed back to Portofino and took the water taxi to Universal’s Citywalk. We had no plans of going to the parks or even Citywalk. But we wanted to check out the other Loew’s hotels on site; the Royal Pacific and the Hard Rock hotel. We walked to the Royal Pacific from the Citywalk and it was a short and very pretty walk next to the waterway that connects the whole area.
The Royal Pacific is so pretty. It has an Asian theme, with bamboo and sculptures and gorgeous decor. The pool was really big and seemed kid-friendly.
The gorgeous Asian inspired decor at Royal Pacific.
We had a drink at Jake’s American Grill, because it was the first one to have happy hour. We ordered at the bar then sat outside by a beautiful and relaxing waterfall.
The Husband is so patient with my attempts at photography.
After our drinks, we took a taxi to Dave and Buster’s. I love skee-ball and Isaac loves all the games (typical boy). My only real complaint about the Loew’s hotels there is that when you ask for a taxi they send you in a nice SUV, which costs $20 to where we were going, when a metered taxi is only $13. Which wouldn’t normally annoy me that much except Dave and Buster’s was CLOSED!!! They were having some private event. So now we wasted the money to get there, and of course we still had to get back.
We decided to at least stay in the area and walk around. We stopped at Hooter’s to have a drink and make a game plan. Obviously the Husband’s choice, but honestly, it was the only option right there. We decided to make the most of it and have a bar crawl down International Drive. I ordered a sangria at Hooters, and the bartender had to look up the recipe. Very disappointing, especially in Florida. I feel like everyone here knows how to make a sangria. The bartender also had the worst eyeliner I have ever seen, and it was uncomfortable to even look at her.
Our next stop was Twin Peaks. Now, we had no idea what it was. All I knew was that the sign said drinks. We walked in and were surrounded by nearly naked girls. Apparently it’s like a country version of Hooter’s, except they were having a Valentine’s Day special, where all the girls wore lingerie. Quite a surprise to walk in to.
We sat at the bar to have a drink. They had their own beers, a blonde and a brunette. I had the blonde and it was actually pretty good. Nice and light and fruity, similar to Blue Moon. The beer and mugs were the coldest I’ve ever had. The beer dripping down the glass literally froze.
End of the Husband’s super cold 312.
They have a huge selection of draft beers.
I checked in on Yelp, and it gave me a free nachos and queso. I wasn’t planning on eating, but it was free, so what the hell. They ended up being really good and the cheese was just the right amount of spicy and went perfect with my super cold beer.
After watching the nearly naked bartenders for a while, I was ready to move on. We noticed a taxi stand across the street, so we hopped in a taxi and headed to Loews Hard Rock Hotel. We went to their Velvet bar and I finally had their Moscow Mule. I’ve been wanted one ever since Loews started tweeting about them. I don’t drink vodka usually and I don’t love ginger beer, but I still liked it. I think it was the Olympic Gold (ok, copper) mug it came in.
Just for you Sochi,
After we finished our drinks we started the walk back to the Portofino. Again, it’s a lovely path by the water. This time we had a surprise guest. A raccoon ran out of the woods and right next to us! Totally scared me, but he looked even more frightened. We just walked away nonchalantly, and he took off the other way. Once we decided it was safe, we stopped so I could get some photos of the gorgeous view.
Portofino Bay at night.
Sneak attack by the Husband.
The next morning we headed to Sal’s at Portofino. We’re platinum members of their YouFirst loyalty program, so we had the rest of our $100 credit to use up. A first for us, since we usually drink and eat our credit at night.
After we ate we started to trip home. But first, we stopped at the outlet mall. I really hate going there because people drive me crazy, but the President Day sales were so worth it!