Our dripping icicle lights looked great in our front tree. But they only filled about a quarter of the branches. So Michelle bought 4 more strands and we hung those, filling most of the tree. And now it looks three times better! This photo doesn’t do it justice, as it just looks like the icicles are all lit up. But they do drip downward in a pattern, sparkling along the way. We’ve had a few neighborhood compliments on them already.Tweet
Since moving to Orlando, I’ve been passively searching for a decent Italian restaurant. I was once recommended to Fresco, a surprisingly good restaurant for being stuck next to Kmart in the corner of a dark shopping plaza on Turkey Lake Rd. Well now we stumbled upon Matteo’s on International Drive, down the road from the Festival Bay Mall. It took over the former Whistle Junction spot about a year ago, but we hadn’t heard of it until this weekend, after spotting it while heading to the nearby Disney Character Warehouse outlet store.
As it turns out, Matteo’s is excellent, serving HUGE family style portions for a very reasonable price. They offer “half” portions as well, for an even more reasonable price, and even those dishes are enough to bring home plenty of leftovers.
My meal started with a good, but not great, cup of pasta fagioli soup, and Michelle had an excellent caprese salad, with fresh mozzarella and a rich balsamic glaze. Michelle’s dinner was equally good, a variation on chicken parmesan but with eggplant layered in as well. I know it was good because I ate the remaining half of it for dinner the next night. I tried one of Matteo’s specialities, veal layered with cheese, mushrooms, and a marsala sauce. I forget what name they gave it, but it was excellent (and was my lunch the next day).
We were stuffed and opted against dessert, but after chatting with the restaurant’s owners/managers for quite a while (very nice guys from New York), they offered a free cannoli to go, which we gladly accepted. And it was delicious, once we had the room for it a bit later.
I’ll definitely return to Matteo’s, not only for the good food, but also for the great people that work there. Despite its touristy surroundings, it’s a great restaurant for locals to enjoy.
Most surprisingly, they are technically a chain restaurant, with other locations in New York and elsewhere in Florida. But it’s all family-owned.Tweet
Last Christmas, Michelle gave me a cheese making kit. With this Christmas approaching, I finally got around to trying it out… and failing. My first attempt at making mozzarella at home resulted in a sloppy mess in a pot. But it was close! The curds formed and I was able to cut them, but they were far too weak to stay together. As soon as I tried to stir or spoon them, they fell apart. I know what I did wrong and will try again soon, hopefully with more success.Tweet
I returned to the Orange County Regional History Center for a special presentation by the Universal Orlando Art & Design team about how they take their ideas from concept to completion. It’s related to the exhibit that opened a couple weeks ago featuring their artwork from the last 10 years or so. It was an interesting and entertaining panel discussion followed by a Q&A session. (And you can watch the whole thing online, as I recorded it.)Tweet
I got nothin’ to share. It was a completely ordinary day. I didn’t take any pictures. I didn’t do anything special. I didn’t even eat anything special. And, honestly, I’ve grown a bit tired of this whole daily photo thing. But since I’m down to the last few weeks, I’ll keep at it ’til 2011 is over. But today, I got nothin’, so here’s a big black box to represent it.Tweet