Tiny Horse

Fashion, beauty, food, art…pleasing to the senses


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Iceland Part I

Yes, boy and girls, I traveled to ICELAND! Our hotel was in the capital, Reykjavik but our excursions took us to neighboring places. My favorite excursion was the surreal, magical Blue Lagoon! The most interesting part about it is that it’s not even natural! It is just a byproduct from the geothermal energy plant. Water seeped into some fissures and the heat of the earth, along with the abundant minerals formed the amazing Blue Lagoon. The silica mud there gives the waters its signature milky aquamarine hue and the high pH and heat serve as a tonic for your body. Doctors here legit prescribe treatments to just soak it up! Ay ay, doc!   What made the experience even more luxurious was that the center opened especially for our group a whole hour before public hours. I could spend a whole day here! Temperatures were about 38 F that day and the wind sure was whippy, but then you sink in the waters and forget about all that. Of course, it made climbing out of the lagoon that much more terrible.

Tips for booking your own trip to the Blue Lagoon:

  • A regular admission gives you a wrist band and nothing else. It’s about $50 so be prepared if you choose this option!
  • Pack a towel and flip flops!
  • If you’re willing to spend $90 per person, then yes, slippers and a bathrobe are included
  • Shower facilities and locker rooms are great but got SUPER crowded after it was open to the public
  • Must shower naked first, then put on swimsuit to be able to go into the lagoon
  • Swim up bar in the middle of the lagoon available and you pay via your wrist band. They limit you to 3 adult drinks so you don’t die in the heat and of dehydration
  • Excursions here are only to and from the airport. I’m sure you can arrange your own trip here but it’s en route to Keflavik.

My Blue Lagoon themed mani! Bikini So Teeny from Essie on all nails and a Jamberry wrap that didn’t work so well. I did a top coat this time to make it last using BBWorks True Blue Spa topcoat.
  Yum! Mai Tai Bistro on their main street in the capital. This is the best pad thai I’ve ever had. Presentation was gorgeous and every table had chopped peanuts, dry chili powder, sweet vinegar, black pepper and fish sauce.   Noodle Station! First place I spotted and first meal in Iceland! These are steaming bowls of beef rice noodle soup and it was full of hot and spicy goodness! Iceland does Asian food right!
  Daily breakfast at the Foss Hotel. I had 3 plates of everything and averaged around 2.5 pastries a day. Skyr was abundant and passable with fruits, nuts and Coco Puffs sprinkled on top.   Every day we would eat a big dinner on the main street somewhere and then go to a different restaurant just for dessert. This was a Nepalese restaurant that I picked. I got the milk balls which were sweet dough balls in a soup of condensed milk and syrup served in a fancy ice cream goblet! The hubs got lamb momos with a strange but yummy garlic sauce.
  Best dessert goes to this historic Icelandic bakery-turned-restaurant. This is strawberry mousse with skyr foam, licorice meringue and like 2 berries. Amazing presentation and odd but rich taste! Hubby chose this place because he wanted a fish meal. Pictured here is my dish: sweet BBQ skewered chicken in an herb aioli with a side of fries. Best BBQ chicken I’ve ever had! Iceland did meats right! I had the tenderest pieces of lamb and beef while I was there.


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Birthday Fun 2013

I turned 26 on November 13th! I already feel like I’m a functioning, logical adult so my older age confirms this. But whatever age you turn, getting pampered never gets old 🙂

 

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Exhibit A: my coworker at the office bought me a huge chocolate cake complete with candles, matches and even a sweet card! So wonderful!

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A Madison-chain bar/restaurant celebrates my birthday with a free mug, birthday cocktail, burger, bracelet and sundae. Boy, do I feel special.

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The hubby took me out to a hip Asian Ramen & Dumpling bar downtown that I’ve wanted to go to since Valentine’s Day. We pigged out with these succulent pork belly mantou buns for the appetizer and sipped the warmed sake. I have to say that for me, sake > wine. I attribute that to the natural Asian-ness in my genes but the taste and aftertaste of sake is just so much smoother and pleasant than any type of wine.

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Main course time! These huge bowls of ramen were da bomb. I got the tonkotsu flavor–rich pork broth with fresh ramen noodles topped with flavor infused egg, braised pork, marinated bamboo shoots, nori and a generous sprinkling of scallions. Warmed me right up during this 30-degree weather day…

I was so shocked when I came to the US to learn that ramen noodles were considered a poor college kid’s dinner. It is totally not so. That rich broth itself takes like 2 days to perfect, if you’re serious about it. In China, poaching an egg in a bowl of noodles is no big deal; I thought it was pretty standard. I guess that’s why all my college roommates were so impressed by my “real” instant noodle meals. I chopped vegetables, sauteed meats, sprinkled scallions and poached an egg into every bowl of instant noodles from the Asian grocery store. Why skimp on the good stuff?

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Birthday dessert = heaven. Mango mochi ice cream atop drizzled chocolate sauce. Oh, my!

Hip Asian Eats in Chicago

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I always love eating out in Chicago and I tend to choose hip Asian fusion joints that would otherwise never be found in Madison, WI. This jewel of a place is called Manee Thai and it’s located in the Wicker Park area. I actually ate here last year while visiting Chicago but their menu items updated and I totally didn’t recognize it, haha.

John and I ordered:

-Shrimp wonton soup

-Peanut satay chicken and rice

-Crab in a bag fried deliciousness with a sweet Thai chili sauce

The broth in all Asian soup dishes always surprise me by their flavorfulness while being completely clear. This wonton soup was no exception. You will not believe how hard it is to purchase fresh bean sprouts in WI…well, maybe you will since the staple diet here is cheese, bread, brats and beer, lol.

My Love of Potstickers

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Fried potstickers are a go-to comfort food for me. None of that mac ‘n cheese or grilled cheese as “home-cooking” for me! Madison only has 2 pseudo Asian grocery stores so I don’t have many options when it comes to craving Chinese delicacies. They do, however carry frozen bags of dumplings with a variety of fillings so that’s enough to satisfy me. I like to fry them up on a non-stick pan and then present them in an artsy way. I have been told that my dipping sauce is amazing and I’m very particular about it. I tend to judge lots of Chinese restaurants based on how their house chili sauce is. If a server hands me a bottle of Sriracha sauce, you’re probably at Noodles & Company.

Sauce ingredients: soy sauce, balsamic vinegar, chili oil and flakes, grape seed oil, sesame oil, scallions/chives, minced garlic