Fun in AC for Everyone!

Never in a million years would I have believed that I’d be anxious to go to Atlantic City. Not even once, much less twice in one year! What do they have to offer little, innocent me? Aside from parties, great food, a beautiful beach, amazing hotels and casinos, gorgeous people, and an indescribable energy….

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This time I was in Atlantic for two days and a night with the fella to whom I introduced you last time, and his son. They really made the experience even better. We drove the two hours from Jersey City to Atlantic City in their family Lexus with Top 100 Hits playing in the background as we discussed life, death, and everything in between. Let me tell you, these two are quite a pair; the laughs and fun are endless!

A great soundtrack for your adventure:

You Want It Darker

My one concern was that his 19 year old son would be bored! However, we discussed the plan and made sure everyone would be entertained and content. After all, drinking, gambling, and partying are not the only things to do in Atlantic City. Not to mention, there was plenty of food! What does a teenage boy love more than food?

When we got to AC, we were tired, but not ready to stop just yet. We ate at the Asian restaurant in Harrah’s Resort and Casino- where we were staying for the night. They didn’t have too many vegan options, but I had edamame and they each had sushi and sashimi.
After some wandering and window shopping, the young guy was exhausted and went to hang out with my dog in the room. Meanwhile, the two big kids went to Harrah’s ‘Pool After Dark’! Considering how many cars were in the self-park garage, the crowd seemed slim. Still, we grabbed a drink and partied with Ja Rule; he was the guest host that night.
Now, that’s a name I haven’t heard in awhile!

The funny thing about the ‘Pool After Dark’ is that no one ever seems to be in the pool. Everyone creeps around it, trying not to fall in. Though, two brave men were chilling out on pool floats in their swimming trunks this time. They looked comfortable. Everyone else just congregated in cliques and danced like only people from New Jersey can dance. new_jersey_pumps_fists_classic_round_sticker-re4aea560380e431e9890426d396bd2a9_v9waf_8byvr_324We did what we came to do: pump our arms and lose money! Well, he lost money. I did my usual one-game-only: one roll in roulette– black. Doubled my money and walked away. Like a champ. Once hunger struck, we went to the 24 hour hotel cafe. He got a fruit tart that looked a bit frigid and sad, and I got an apple. A green Granny Smith apple. Will I never learn to carry snacks with me everywhere I go? We ate our late night snack, and went off to bed just in time for the sun to rise.

Next time, I’m bringing these:

KIND Bars, Dark Chocolate

The next day was no less fun or eventful. After a long, satisfying meal in the Borgata’s buffet, we did a little more window shopping. This time we made a huge purchase- a black and grey hoodie with the name ‘Borgata’ on it. For me, of course!

Unfortunately, we once again did not plan ahead well enough and missed out on seeing a show. The shows were later in the evening and nothing that we were too interested in seeing. Eyeing the rain outside, and knowing how anxious his son was to see the movie Jack Reacher, we went to a movie theatre not far from Tropicana . It looked like a shabby theatre from the outside, but the inside was large, clean, very buttery smelling, and, once the movie started, the darkness was impenetrable. The movie itself wasn’t my cup of popcorn, but it was lively and fun to watch it together. The group who fights bad guys together, stays together.

After this, just as we thought we we were ready to pack up and go, there was a realization that everyone was tired and hungry again. Hungry and tired. Driving two hours in a car together when everyone is hungry and tired is just asking for trouble. We couldn’t do much for the sleepiness, aside from some energy drinks, but the hunger could be solved with no difficulty at all. When we discovered there was a Buddakan in Caesar’s Palace, we knew where to go.

The Buddakan in New York City is absolutely awe-inspiring, but I’ll admit, I think Caesar’s version may have it trumped. Starting with the hotel’s recreation of Ancient Greece, and then a major scenery change into a faux boardwalk, we were under the Greek spell. We walked down the “boards”, looked out at the real beach with its setting sun, and entered a darkened hallway. Once you start down this pathway, you can’t help but turn your attention to the long, amber glass table leading to Buddha himself. Sitting with legs closed and heart open, he entices you to come forth, be seated, and eat!

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We did eat. Although the waitress tried to convince us that a salad and two entrees would not be enough, we restrained our grumbling tummies, and decided to only order more as necessary. We’re very responsible… and stubborn. Nonetheless, the waitress and all the wait staff were extraordinarily friendly, patient, and concerned with our comfort.

I was surprised at the limited number of vegan options, but some of the dishes could be adjusted to fit vegan needs. In the end, I went with the tofu and cashew dish and requested a side of spicy sauces. Can’t skimp on the spice!
Considering that 2/3 of the members of our table were staunch animal eaters, the salad really did get nabbed up quickly. Between the voracious hunger and the amazing ginger dressing, that salad didn’t have a chance.

As far as the main meals, I can’t speak for the shrimp lo mein, but the cashew and tofu was a delight! Being slightly less starved and deprived at this point, we had an opportunity to appreciate all aspects of this dish and its elements. Cashew and tofu protein aside, there was mint and pineapple and eggplant, too! Truly a little of everything, and all the parts of the puzzles added their own unique touch.

When it came time for the end of the meal, we were all completely satisfied and ready for the drive back. Stuffed to the gills and all! Good thing we had mentioned it was my birthday! Not that it was my birthday, but it “was” my birthday. Y’know? It was quite a surprise when along came a little cardboard box wrapped in a red bow. There was no birthday song, but the single lit candle was perfect. I unwrapped my gift and smelled the most amazing chocolate stank of my life. It was glorious.

Unfortunately, upon asking, we learned that the waitress had forgotten I was vegan. Goodbye, my sweet sweet! Fortunately, I was with two men who truly cared about me and were willing to eat my brownie for me. Plus, the embarrassed and guilty waitress brought over a strawberry sorbet that I could eat! Not my ideal dessert, but I ate it without a care or fret in the world.

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No hard feelings, Buddakan, this was my punishment for lying, I suppose.

Once fed, packed up, and filled with a heart full of joy from a marvelous day, we headed to the car with feet dragging and a little whisper in our ears to “stay… staaayyyy!”

Finally, having forgotten my phone in the hotel earlier in the day, I asked for photos that my younger comrade collected throughout the day. With all we had done and seen and all the unforgettable memories and moments between the three of us, I was anxious to have images to hold onto and share. He forwarded me the three photos he took:

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Pictures of advertisements for chocolate from the hotel wall

That says it all, folks. That’s everything.

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In the meantime, get satisfied!

‘Things to Try’ (click the link)


Asher’s Gourmet Pretzels, 1Lb


Vegan Street Food

Hosting with the Mosting

My housewarming party has come and gone. It has been and done. Would I say it was a success? Well, sure. Nine people came, 4 of whom were family, but hey, the internet tells me all I need is one or two friends. I ain’t ashamed. Ain’t no shame in my game.

After the fact, I realized I didn’t take any photos of people, just the food and drinks. No regrets. I was proud of my choices!

So, first up: the drinks! WINE! I went with lots of vegan-friendly wine. My parents lent me Chivas, which is a whiskey, I guess. No one drank it, but it was there. Most parties welcome whiskey. I also had a little rum and bourbon left from other random events. I was prepared to get my friends smashed, if they so desired it, but also had the nice wines and a bottle of pre-mixed sangria to please everyone. Also put out juices, club soda, ginger ale, and tonic water for those fancy folks.

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Between the NINE of us we finished two bottles of wine. Just barely. We did not get crunk up in hurr. This is definitely for the best, though.

Notice the various cups, though. Plastic cups of various sizes and colours. To delight all types! Bottle opener and cork screw ready to go. I’m not sure why my bottle opener is so huge. I guess it’s so I don’t get arthritis from opening ALL DEM BOTTLES! But, seriously, why is my bottle opener the size of a small child? I feel like I could throw it through a glass window and rob the place. If I wanted.

Oh! I didn’t even mention the music. With a bluetooth speaker I was able to pump up the jams! By jams I mean Cat Stevens, a little James Taylor, some Steely Dan…. You know, the wild kids. Starting out with some light music is a good idea, I think. Then, if things get more lively (we didn’t get more lively) then you can start getting contemporary and noisy. Just keep in mind if you have neighbours… remember to make the music even louder and with more bass. Yes.

Now, originally I was planning on doing a Taco Bar kind of deal, but then I realized how messy that would be. Taco things all up in my couch seats. This may have been the neatest party ever, and I don’t mean, “Golly gee, that party sure was neat-o!” I mean, “Use coasters and wipe yo’self before I wreck yo face.” Scaring one’s party guests is how one gains respect. Insider fact. You’re welcome.

Point being, I went with things I could bake, make, or put on a stick. About an hour before the party, I put my frozen snacks in the oven (falafel balls, potato and mushroom bourekas, and vegetarian Moroccan cigars), I cut my veggies and put them on plates. These I kept in the fridge until 20 minutes before, so they’d be cool and crisp. Then I put my chips and my dips out (salsa and roasted red pepper hummus.)

Finally, the piece de resistance, I put out dessert. Dessert was where most of my time and effort went. After making my chocolate covered pretzels, (directions in the ‘recipe’ tab) I stabbed fruit with skewers and made them look magical. Of course, the stupid fruit salad people gave me varying numbers of fruit, so some of my fruit stick rainbow thingies were homophobic. “It’s Adam and Eve, not Pineapple and Watermelon and Blueberry!”

What.

Doesn’t this dessert table make you wish you were homosexual? But, if you’re not, it’s too late. It’s NOT a choice! If you’re not gay yet, you’re stuck with the opposite gender. Believe me, I know it’s hard.

So… obla di, obla da, we’ve made a party. All you need now is chairs, people, plates, cups, bowls, utensils, napkins, and… yep, done!

And, hey, if you’re just really bad at everything, just hire a caterer or tell everyone to “bring their favourite food, drink, or dessert.” You provide the plates and utensils, they bring the food and drink, and laziness conquers all. You have options! Options are important.