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Sleuth’s Dinner Theater Travel Review – Orlando, FL

This review was done by Marshall (AKA The One True Hazard)

Sleauths _ Zainey Laney

 

As a celebration of October, the Month of Two Birthdays around our household, we managed to wrangle a few seats over at the I-Drive area’s famous Sleuths Dinner Theater. I-Drive is well known for the sheer number of dinner theater concepts that have sprung up around there, and we have seen most of them. Medieval Times, Arabian Nights, and Pirates come to mind. They all run off a similar formula. Gather everyone together in a waiting area/bar/gift shop until show time, then wrangle them into the show area and give them chunks of the show while they eat their dinner.

Sleauths Gift Shop _ Zainey Laney

Sleuths is the same kind of concept, but instead of a high-action stunt show in a massive amphitheater, you have a more intimate theater gathered near a small stage. The show is, as the name would suggest, a mystery for the audience to solve. There are many different shows available at Sleuths, so even if you go multiple times, you’ll get a different experience. Because of the smaller theater, and the type of show that it is, much of the performance is not only interactive with the audience, but improvised a bit.
Sleauths Bar _ Zainey Laney
We enjoyed the show. It was lots of fun. I don’t really want to ruin the show for you, so I won’t really get into the nitty-gritty details, but ours was a murder mystery at the Squire’s Inn in England. The characters were off the wall, and the actors really got into them. After seeing things unfold up until the murder, we received the main portion of the meal. After that, we got to question the suspects, which was lots of fun. This is where the actors could really show off their improv skills, as they would not only respond entirely in character, but could easily segue weird questions into the pre-scripted, multi-character scenes that would reveal content. Then, we got dessert, followed by accusations.
Sleuths Stage _ Zainey Laney
This was where the show fell a bit flat. As someone who was raised watching Poirot and other Agatha Christie mysteries on PBS, the final result was… unsatisfying. As the only piece of definite evidence as to whodunnit was left until the end to be revealed, it could literally be ANY of the suspects right up until the reveal. The suspects all have a motive, and no alibi. It feels as if they could change the ending right there with a quick whisper behind stage and nobody would be the wiser. That grinds my gears. This could have just been the Squire’s Inn story that did this, but I have no way of knowing.
So, after a full discussion of the show, lets move on to the consumables. The bar has a full assortment of drinks, and several house drinks that looked very good. There was a chocolate mint drink that was very tasty. Once you get into the show, you have unlimited soda, beer, and wine. The lasagna was much better than the food we’ve had at other dinner theaters, and Vince’s steak seemed to meet his expectations. Deserts were a bit of a let down, as the chocolate cake was dry and dense.
Sleuths Dinner _ Zainey Laney
All in all, Sleuth’s is a fun experience, but I would only go again if I could get a discount. At the price, its food is in need of a little upgrade. The show was entertaining, and a good way to spend an evening with friends. I would like to see if all the other shows have the same lackluster ending, but take this bit of advice: think of this less as a mystery show, and more of a comedy. You’ll enjoy it better.
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Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party

It’s Travel Thursday with some more Epic Travel.

Marshall recently had the opportunity to go to Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party with Chris. Here is his take on one of the most popular halloween events in Orlando.

Mickeys Not So Scary with Chris and Marshall _ Zainey Laney

 

I recently had an opportunity, alongside MovieGuy84, to check out Mickey’s Not-So-Scary Halloween Party at Disney’s Magic Kingdom. This is not the first time I had been to the Party, but it was the first time I had been there on an invite. Okay, technically as a +1 on an invite. Thank you, MovieGuy. If you want me to sum up the rest of what I’m going to say, you should definitely go, and a lot an entire evening for it up tomidnight. You’ll be tired the next morning, but it’ll be good fun.
Mickeys Not SO Scary Castle _ Zainey Laney
Each year, they kick off the night with a show. In previous years, most were disappointed with the production and direction of the shows. I’m pleased to say that Disney has addressed that. This year features the Sanderson Sisters of Hocus Pocus fame, their long-overdue-induction into the society of Disney Villians, and a lot of elbow rubbing with other villainous headliners. The sorcerous sisters have come back from their slumber and are attempting to brew their Hocus Pocus Party Potion. They need several ingredients that are all supplied by various ne’er-do-wells including Dr. Fusilier, Oogy Boogy, and Maleficent. It’s all very campy, and yes, that’s the point. Personally, I felt that Oogy Boogy’s part was a bit weak as far as story line, but this is about fun, not high literature. The Sanderson Sisters were perfectly decked out. They looked exactly like their movie counterparts, and moved and sang just right. Disney really did them justice here, and the show really made the night for me.
Mickeys Not So Scary Boo to You Parade _ Zainey Laney
After that, the Headless Horseman of Sleepy Hallow fame came riding through to kick off the Boo-To-You parade. If you haven’t seen this before, it takes various attractions from around the Magic Kingdom on parade, blending their theme songs with the parade music in an earworm that will please and annoy you for two and a half days after. A fun highlight is the zombie undertaker dancers for the Haunted Mansion. As they dance, they drag their shovels on the ground, throwing up a shower of sparks. So fun. If I’m not mistaken, they’ve added Wreck-It Ralph characters near the end of the parade, close to the Goofy Float. I liked Vanellope running around and saying hi to everyone.
Mickeys Not So Scary Boo to You Parade _ Zainey Laney
Now, you can’t have a fun Halloween without Trick-Or-Treating, and Disney supplies. Many of the attractions are shut down and become candy zones where you can load up. Interestingly, Pirates of the Carribean was also shut down. Possibly because George doesn’t want to work nights. My recommendation is to wait until during or after the night’s fireworks display to do your candy runs, as the lines will be shorter. We managed to hit all the stations, see the show, parade, and fireworks, and ride three rides all during the event without breaking a sweat. While you’re about, you should check out the Haunted Mansion, as all the staff have revealed their undead selves (via great makeup jobs) in the moonlight, and one of the ghostly ladies will be out for a meet-and-greet. Great photo ops are to be had all over the park, as just about every character is hanging out to meet you. Now, I mentioned the fireworks display. Really, I wasn’t much of a fan of it. Having seen it before, and having so much of it de-synced was a bit of a turn off. I hope they’ll update this in future years.
Mickeys Not So Scary Fire Works _ Zainey Laney
All in all, this was a great event, and I hope to go again one year. If you have the opportunity, kids or no, you should definitely go. It isn’t a scary Halloween. It’s a fun, exuberant romp through all the festivities you remember from your childhood. And your inner child will thank you.
Do you like guest posts? Let me know in the comments!
Until Next time,
Keep Calm and Stay Zainey _ Zainey Laney
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Paramount Fine Foods Review (Orlando)

It’s Travel Thursday!

Recently, me and the side geeks had the opportunity to experience a new kind of food genre: Lebanese. It is similar to Greek or Mediterranean food, but has it’s own distinct dishes which define it.

Paramount Fine Foods is located at the Orlando Eye complex on I-drive across from the Shack Shake. (If you missed my review on that you can find it HERE). Parking is directly adjacent in the parking garage and is free.

Paramount Fine Foods Table _ Zainey Laney

Seating is cozy as you can see above. And to provide more of a family atmosphere, there is even an indoor playground!

Paramount Fine Food Kitchen _ Zainey Laney

Ordering is a little different, as you approach the counter and pay. Then the server will bring it to your table. The dishes are large and suitable for sharing. Also, check out the delicious looking desserts!

 

Paramount Fine Food Dishes _ Zainey Laney

Here is a selection of popular dishes from the restaurant. My personal favorite is the hummus which is served with made from scratch pita bread which is served table side piping hot!

Paramount Fine Food Hummus _ Zainey Laney

A sampling of Hummus and Moutabbal, which is grilled eggplant and tahini.

Paramount Find Food Pita Bread _ Zainey Laney

Don’t mind the facial expressions. We are thoroughly enjoying it! Another favorite of everyone is the falafel, fried fresh and topped with sesame seeds. I highly recommend this with the tahini sauce. I could not get enough by itself, and cannot wait to go back and try in a sandwich.

For our evening, we were able to sample a few other items from their menu as well. Here is a view of Marshall’s plate filled with falafel, basmatic rice, chicken, and the tahini sauce. Drinks were also a variety of fruit juices. The one below is strawberry.

Paramount Fine Food Sampling _ Zainey Laney

One of the most interesting things we tried was the Manakeesh which is like a Mediterranean pizza. Honestly, it is one of the best things I have eaten in a long time and is very reasonably priced!

Paramount Fine Food Manakeesh _ Zainey Laney

We were able to try 3 different Manakeesh. The Zataar is a paste (similar to pesto) of sesame and thyme blended with olive oil. It was very refreshing. The other 2 are made with an Accawi cheese. Let me tell you, the white one is divine. I do not know how that cheese is made, but it has so much flavor!

Overall, we are really excited to go back and try this again. The sandwiches, pizzas, and salads are reasonably priced, and on Saturdays they have brunch that is around $15 per person.

While you are there, make sure to check out the Orlando Eye pavilion! This is a must have spot for any vacation, and it won’t break the bank either.

Thanks for joining us on this new adventure, and until next time…

Keep Calm and Stay Zainey _ Zainey Laney

 

Disclaimer: Products or services received in post were given in exchange for review.

 

 

 

 

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Stefano’s Grill Review – Orlando

We recently had the opportunity to try out Stefano’s Grill which is located in the Dr Phillips area about 10 min from Universal Orlando. Not only were we using some gift certificates, but we wanted to experience the Magical Dining program.

This program consists of an appetizer, entree, and dessert for $33 at this specific location. Other locations deals may differ. This program runs until the end of September and you can get more information at this site.

For our party, Chris was the only one who opted for the plan (mainly because I am a picky eater). Unfortunately I forgot to get a picture of his dessert, but the rest is picture below.

Appetizers:

Fries and Zucchini _ Zainey Laney

Marshall and I split the Parmesan Garlic fries and the Fried Zucchini. The zucchini is a tempura batter consistency and was so delicious. It was probably my favorite thing the whole night. The fries were standard.

Flatbread appatizer _ Zainey Laney

Chris samples the flatbread and as you can see he ate most of it before I could get a picture. It was shrimp and spinach but he said there was not enough shrimp on there. Definitely tasty though!

Calamari _ Zainey Laney

Vince has expensive tastes so he went with the calamari. I cannot comment on the taste myself since I cannot stand fish, but he said it was quite delicious.

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For my entree, I sampled the Bolognese Rigatoni. The sauce was very good and it was a generous portion of meat. So much, that I could not finish it.

Flatbread _ Zainey Laney

Marshall’s entree was the Three Meat Flatbread. For the price, it was very filling, especially because it was the one of the most inexpensive things on the menu. He recommended a side salad as well.

Steak _ Zainey Laney

Chris got the Steak. The chef is a butcher by trade so the cuts of meat were very much quality cuts. At the top of the picture you can see some garlic. We were a little jealous of this, as they took a whole head of roasted garlic and squeezed it onto the plate. Then they mashed it up to put over the top of the meat. I love garlic so this was heaven!

Veal _ Zainey Laney

Vince got the veal and while it does not look very colorful, it was definitely tasty to him! You can see that there is a lot of care that goes into these dishes, but if you are looking for vegetables, I found them to be sparing. We could have really used some more as I am practically a vegetarian.

 

Zainey Friends _ Zainey Laney

On the whole, if you are looking for a nice Italian restaurant, Stefano’s Grill is definitely unique. It is a mom and pop run establishment that is cozy. The service was excellent and it was not too busy (though I recommend reservations).

Check out more review in my Epic Travel section. And until next time:

Keep Calm and Stay Zainey _ Zainey Laney

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Shake Shack @ The Orlando Eye opens today!

Orlando Eye Pavilion _ Zainey Laney

Earlier this year, the Orlando EYE opened on International Drive, and with it a variety of restaurants and attractions in a mini theme park. Today, Shake Shack opens, being the newest food venue to open near the main pavilion.

Marshall and I had a chance to preview the location and food before it opened. We had never been to a Shake Shack before so we took every opportunity for this new experience.

Grand Opening of Shack Shake at Orlando EYE _ Zainey Laney

The location is small but classy. It was easy to find parking as it was right next to the parking garage (which is free!). From where are standing you get a good look at the EYE iteself.

Now let’s talk about the food! To us, it is very much like a cross between a Burgerfi (another Orlando burger place) and an In -and -Out. The menu is simplistic but with some interesting options as well.

First what we tried!

Shake Shack Meal _ Zainey Laney

The food comes on a silver tray that is very modern. I should also mention that the tables are wood and “branded” with their logo seared into the top.

Marshall got the Roadside Burger (cheese and carmelized onions), cheese fries, and a peanut butter shake. I tried the fries with cheese on the side, a ‘Shroom Burger, and an Orlandough Concreate Mixer. More on that below.

Orlandough Concreate Mixer @ Shake Shack _ Zainey Laney

Dessert I had to eat first because the moment I got it, there was melting. Obviously it was an Orlando exclusive (hence the name), but the ingredients are delicious! It included Chocolate Custard, Chocolate Cookie Truffle Dough, Marshmallow Sauce, and Chocolate Covered Pretzels.  I have to say that after I tried both the Peanut Butter shake and this, I definitely got the better end of the deal. To me there was really not enough variety of shake on the menu for a place that has Shake in the title. Definitely go for the custards!

Fries with Cheese @ Shake Shack _ Zainey Laney

Next we went for the fries! You can get either plain fries (with mustard or ketchup to dip) or cheese fries. I did see one guy get bacon on his but I don’t know if that was a secret menu thing or what. To save, we recommend buying 1 cheese fries with the sauce on the side and 1 regular fries and sharing the cheese; there is enough to share! Loved the fries a lot as they definitely tasted twice fried, once for cookie and then for the crispy exterior. Personally though, I kind of wish there were more side options but these were very good.

'Shroom Burger (Vegetarian) @Shake Shack _ Zainey Laney

Although you can’t see it, the ‘Shroom Burger is the vegetarian option. I am picky about my meat and while I do eat ground beef, I like to alternatives when I can. This contains a patty made of a portobello mushroom stuffed with cheese, breaded and then fried. The burger comes with lettuce and tomato. After tasting both burger I can say I preferred the real one, although Marshall like this one. Can’t decide? You can get Shack Stack which has both the mushroom and beef patty stacked!

I would be remiss if we did not talk about other things on the menu. Although the menu is primarily burgers and hot dogs, there are other things on there that might surprise you. The hot dogs and burgers contain no hormones and no antibiotics. The custards are shakes are made in house with real sugar (no corn syrup), and milk from non-hormone cows.

They have their own Ale called Shackmeister that is probably worth a taste, as well as their own red and white wine.Lastly, you can bring your Fido his own doggie bag with 2 different dog friendly treats: biscuits or custard! Lastly, Shack Shake contributes to the clean water campaign with it’s own bottled water, with proceeds going towards the cause.

Overall, if you are looking for a place to eat that is inexpensive, simple, and environmentally conscious, definitely check this place out. Burgers and fries for 2 will set you back about $20 with desserts costing $4-6 each on top of that. Considering all the more expensive places to eat around the Orlando Eye complex, this is really not bad.

When you are all done eating, make sure you visit Orlando Eye, Sea Life, and Madame Tussaud. If you are interested in a review of that, make sure you comment!

Disclaimer: I received the opportunity to sample food at no cost to me, but I was under no agreement to write about it if I did not want to.