Feb 22, 2019

More Polaroid snaps from the Disney Parks

I've been blogging a lot lately about the great hobby of Instant Photography.  It's actually becoming quite a fun hobby of mine that I'm getting very active with. While I've shared some background on the hobby itself.. I'm starting to amass lots of Polaroid snaps and need a platform to share them.

I spend a lot of time at the Disney parks, so the melding of my love for Disney and my new Instant Photography hobby was largely seamless. Now.. taking retro photos at the Disney Parks is pretty much a hobby all unto itself!  The viewership was pretty favorable on the first set of Disney Polaroids I posted, so here's some more for you to take a gander at. Enjoy!

 Panoramic Shot of the Prince Charming Regal Carousel

 My Son getting in on the Instant Camera hobby at Morocco Epcot

 My firstborn Daughter hanging out in Morocco Epcot

 Temple in Japan Epcot Pavilion

 A Templar Knight? Spotted in the UK pavilion at Epcot

 Flower Bed in the Magic Kingdom


Disney World has Rats.. but in a good way!

Besides park icons and famous spots to snap pics at, there are endless photo ops everywhere you look.  I'll have to share some of the overlooked features of the parks soon.

Feb 20, 2019

The Instant Photography renaissance

A recent Polaroid snap from Toy Story Land - Disney's Hollywood Studios

I love the revival of analog instant photography that had steadily been gaining momentum over the last several years.  I always urge folks to give instant photography a try, as I'd love to see more people join the tribe.

Polaroid 600 series OneStep 
My go-to camera for analog instant photography

Yes.. it's a wonderful time to be alive for fans of instant photography new and old.  I give a lot of the credit to Fujifilm and their little Instax cameras they've been producing for several years.  Their selection of colors, accessories, and ease of use has gotten a whole new generation of people interested in instant photography.  It was enough of a re-emerging market, that Polaroid began making film for their classic cameras once again. They also launched all new camera models with a classic Polaroid look and feel to them.  It feels as if the options are endless if you want to break into the hobby  just look at some of these great choices on Amazon..

Instant cameras at great prices

In this day and age, so many people have grown up never using a camera of any kind, and simply snap away using their phones. There's just nothing else that can anchor you to a memory like a photograph you can hold in your hand.

Newest edition to the family..
a 1998 Polaroid OneStep Express

There are currently 6 different instant cameras under my roof. My Son and I shoot with vintage Polaroids, and my daughters use Fujifilm Instax cameras.  I'll continue to sing the praises of instant photography, and I plan on sharing more of my snaps here very soon, so keep an eye out!

A couple of great guides
if you'd like to read up on Instant Photography..

Instant Camera Guides

Feb 16, 2019

Retro Ray Gun Water Pistols

I practically live on Amazon.  One big reason is because of all the retro goodness you can find there.  Check out these retro Squirt Guns I recently bought..

Squirt guns were a staple when I was a kid.  We'd even smuggle our Kool-Aid filled squirt guns into the movie theaters (it was a much different time).  The water pistols served as drink receptacles, so we wouldn't have to buy the soda sold at exorbitant prices. 

Heck.. my friend and I once got the idea from a comic strip to fill them with chicken soup so we wouldn't get hungry during a double feature, but the bits of chicken kept clogging up our guns!

These Ray Gun style squirt guns made by Schylling are incredible.  I originally bought them to do a cosplay with, but they look so incredibly cool, and work so well.. I keep them handy all summer long to squirt the occasional flying pest, or to shoot at my bride's derriere as she walks by.  

It's been years since such an affordable toy has brought me so much amusement and nostalgia.  I've added a link below in case you too would like to relive some of your childhood.

Retro Squirt Gun 2-pack

Feb 7, 2019

McDonald's Cheesy Bacon Fries

by Darrin Vindiola

I like fries.  I don't love them, but occasionally I get the urge for a nice hot helping of salty fries.  My favorite style has to be beer battered pub fries. Those aren't always the easiest to find when a craving suddenly hits, so if I'm on the go and need to squash a craving fast.. McDonald's is usually my go-to.  I don't know what it is about McDonald's french fries. They aren't the best fries I've eaten by far, but they are always incredibly consistent in terms of saltiness, crispiness, and flavor.

Enter the new McDonald's Cheesy Bacon Fries introduced to the world during this year's Super Bowl.  Well.. my quarterly french fry craving once again hit this week, a few days after I saw that Superbowl commercial, so I figured if I was going to McDonald's to get fries I might as well give them a Bash.

Be forewarned,  As I type this new post.. I can feel a Retro Dad rant coming on.  You'll soon see why.  

The Hope, the dream, the promise of good things to come.

WHAT.. the actual.. FRIGGIN' FRIG McDonald's?!?
Those were pretty close to the words I uttered when I saw these.

Okay.. I'm not sure why I let that McDonald's commercial pique my interest. I've been burned so many times by new products that fast food restaurants release. Very seldom do they hold up to all of the hype the company pitches at you.  And McDonald's Cheesy Bacon Fries my friends are no exception to that phenomenon.

So you can see the fries I got were totally underwhelming. I mean, at first glance I thought they had forgotten to put the bacon on my fries.  You would think they were sprinkling gold dust atop the fries, they way were being so stingy with it!

As for the cheese, it made Velveeta taste like that of a finely aged artisan variety.  It was BAD, and barely resembled cheese flavor at all.  In the end there was no star of this hot mess, and I use the term hot mess loosely, because the cheesy bacon fries were barely lukewarm.  The addition of the cheese sauce, along with the few crumbs of bland bacon not only detracted from the fries, but killed any pleasure I would have normally gotten from eating them. 

Even if the french fries were fresh out of the fryer, the cheese sauce was piping hot, and there was more bacon, I can't see these being much better than what I had on this particular day. I have no one to blame but myself for once again believing the Mc-hype.  McDonald's got my four bucks, but there's no way I would ever take a chance on this monstrosity ever again. The McDonald's Cheesy Bacon Fries might be something some people may enjoy, but I can't foresee too many people out there thinking they are anywhere close to being worth four dollars.

Feb 1, 2019

World Food Truck Park in Kissimmee Florida

I had an incredible dinner the other night at a place in Kissimmee that's been right under my nose for the eighteen months I've lived in the area.  I heard rumors recently about an incredible permanent Food Truck lot located across from Old Town Kissimmee on Hwy 192.

While you can get fare such as Sandwiches, Dogs, Hawaiian Shaved Ice, etc.. there are tons of Spanish and Latin Food Trucks there as well.   I saw Mexican, Puerto Rican, Peruvian and Colombian Food Trucks just to name a few.  I had to actually take a couple laps around the park because EVERYTHING looked and smelled so great.

First off, we ordered a couple items from the 'Salsa Queen' Food Truck.  Check them out..

Tripletas Tostones Rellenos
Fried Plantain Cups filled with shredded meats

Tostones Burger
A Puerto Rican style Burger,
with crispy fried mashed plantains for the buns!

Next.. I had to get a couple Tacos from 'Tacos My Guey'. 

I opted for one steak and one fish taco and both were incredible.  These were hands down the best tacos I've eaten since moving to Florida from Colorado.  Their sauces were great as well.

Here's a few other trucks that caught my attention..

The sights and smells here are amazing, because everything is being made fresh to order.
If you're ever in the area of Old Town Kissimmee and are in the mood for some great Latin food.. I highly recommend stopping by the World Food Truck Park. You're bound to find something delicious suited to your taste.

Visit World Food Truck Park Online

Indian Salted Pumpkin Seeds

I've loved Indian brand Pumpkin Seeds for as long as I can remember.   It had been at least a couple of decades since I've seen them on shelves. Recently however, I stumbled upon them in a little candy store in St Augustine Florida.  As soon as I got home I checked Amazon to see if I could buy them in bulk quantities, and am happy to say that I was pleasantly surprised..


Thanks to Amazon, I now have my very own display box of Indian Pumpkin Seeds!  They are every bit as good as I remember, and they're now one of my go-to snacks when I crack open a couple of beers.I'm going through them pretty fast however, so next time I might opt for 72 packs for the cost of $20.48! I'll include that link below if you're interested. Happy snacking my friends!

Jan 29, 2019

My retro breakfast routine at Bob Evans

Feast your eyes on this spread!  It's called 'The Homestead Breakfast' from Bob Evans.  The version I order 95% of the time rocks two eggs, three sausages, hash browns, grits, sausage gravy, and two hot buttery Bob Evan's biscuits.  I grew up eating this type of breakfast, so I guess in all actuality.. it can be considered somewhat of a retro meal.

I love Bob Evans, but I tend to only eat there for breakfast.  Not many other places do breakfast up as good.. and that really is saying something considering that they are a chain restaurant.  Let me dissect the meal for you..

Side note: This is not a paid or sponsored post.. I simply love Bob Evans to death and they're my favorite haunt for breakfast.

The Homestead in a nutshell 
A hearty farm favorite that includes Bob Evans signature sausage gravy alongside two farm-fresh eggs cooked-to-order. Also includes your choice of premium breakfast meat as well as hash browns, home fries or grits and freshly-baked bread.

I can't quite decide who's the bigger star of this spread, the wonderful sausage gravy.. or the buttery biscuits that are constantly made fresh throughout the morning.

The runner up for me has to be the grits.  Always cooked to perfection, I add a little butter and salt to my liking, and am instantly in heaven.  If I don't choose them as an option, most of the time I order a small side like you see in the picture at the top of the page.  The made to order hash browns are tasty and crisp, and I always request a bottle of Tabasco to kick them up just like my Dad and Grandfather used to.  The eggs and sausage end up pulling everything together perfectly.  Rest assured I leave nothing on my plate when I'm done with this meal!  

My Grandmother was an Oklahoma farm girl.  She grew up eating and cooking meals such as 'The Homestead' on a daily basis.  Whenever I spent the night at my Grandparents house as a kid, I would wake up to a made from scratch breakfast every morning.  Biscuits or pancakes were always a given, but grits were always served up at every breakfast. Grandma's skillet sausage gravy was often served as well, and looked & tasted very similar to Bob Evans.  Biscuits?  Those were made from scratch and fresh baked just like Bob Evans as well.  

Oh, and I'd be remiss if I didn't mention the Bob Evans coffee blend. There's just something about their coffee that I love.  It's neither too strong nor too weak, not acidic, and I can drink cup after cup.  I started drinking coffee when I was about 15, and for some reason Grandma's just tasted better than everyone else's.  Bob Evans coffee is yet another parallel that often gets me reminiscing about the Good Ol' Days. 

Plain and simple, Bob Evans breakfast takes me back to some of the happiest times of my youth.  Breakfast happens to be my favorite meal of the day, and is very much something I take my time to enjoy with no stress or distractions.  Nothing gets me off to a rotten start of a day than a bad or sub par breakfast.   If I can't dedicate enough time or attention to having an enjoyable breakfast, I don't even bother having one at all.  The fare Bob Evans serves up has never left me dissatisfied yet, and I relish in the fact that I can visit whenever I want and leave more than content.  

I tell everyone I know about Bob Evans, so I figured I would do the same with you.. my great readers.  I foresee myself enjoying breakfast at Bob Evans for years to come.  Heck.. I'll probably be one of those old guys sitting at the counter enjoying his breakfast, reading his newspaper, and chatting with all of the other old fellas.  As for now.. I'll be enjoying my usual at Bob Evans tomorrow morning, somewhere in the heart of central Florida.