ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

This morning I’m taking you on a nice little tour of the ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center in Burlington, Vermont. Its a nice little museum located at the waterfront.

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center

It introduces us to a bit about the area around Lake Champlain. They have rock formations that are there to touch.  Aside from that exhibit they have one called Frog World which shows frogs from different parts of the world. We were lucky to be able to get tthe tour and for one of the frogs we saw them being fed.  Followed after by exhibits and exhibits of the water system on the Lake Champlain and the amphibians and reptiles in those waters. There were also aquariums with different types of fishes in this body of water as well.

I left a link on the top when you click on the museum if you want to check out what exhibits there are there.

The petting pool was not as awesome as the one in Saguenay (check it out HERE) but they had a real horseshoe crab which is rare. I personally loved the frog tour and all the animals were super cool and this one has cool exhibits.  They offer different tours during the day if you could afford the time to stay a full day.  We had to drive back home or else we would’ve seen the frogs they had breed at ECHO.

The Frog World features the frogs up to the Vietnamese Mossy Frogs.  My favorite was the Leaf Frog.  Doesn’t it look so evil? Animated evil masterminds should use that. haha! Whats really cool about the Vietnamese Mossy  Frogs is that if you look closely, there’s actually two of them.  One is piggy back on the other and when we were looking at it.  The main one was trying to shake off its burden.

In turtles, the Eastern Snapping Turtle was super cool.  I wouldn’t want to be stuck in a pond with him but man, he looks so grumpy in an adorable way.

Who would’ve thought I’d get so interested in frogs, right? I love places that also focus on the environment in their own areas.  There’s always something new to learn about it.  Mostly because our dear country has already closed down our own of the Great Lakes and St Lawrence area.  Sad but true…

However, back to happier things, this one was awesome and if you’re in good driving distance, head over and check it out! 🙂

Happy Friday! Is it snowing where you are? Because that white stuff is still dropping today…

Advertisements

Restaurant Review: Henry’s Diner in Burlington, Vermont

I didn’t really research any restaurants before I left for Burlington with the girls.  All I knew was that I was in for a fun and relaxing weekend and left it up to my awesome friends.  Of course, they did their homework and they also knew what they wanted to do.  One of them gave me a heads up that she wanted to go eat at a diner.  I’m alright with that.  I’ve never eaten at a true American diner.  She suggested to this one, which is really close to our hotel, relatively speaking, its like in our backyard.  Of course, the main reason wasn’t how close it was, she told me that apparently former US president Bill Clinton, while he was campaigning in Vermont, ate there every day. How’s that for a fun fact? I never double checked that fact so if its wrong, its not intentional, feel free to correct me.

20130330_102020

So after we went back to the hotel after Panera Bread, we found everyone awake and functional, so we decided to head over to grab our brunch.  *ahem* I already told you that this trip was about pigging out.  We also use these meals to figure out the plans for the day.  Henry’s Diner had a wait time of about 5-10 minutes where we had to wait outside and enjoy the nice spring weather (which was lacking in Montreal).  During this time, we stood and looked at the  Easter Weekend Menu.

20130330_102552

After we sat down, we had a bit more time to reflect on the menu to see what we wanted while observing the size of the plates. I decided to order Vermont country ham.

Vermont Country Ham

Vermont Country Ham

 Other than not really digging the potatoes, this plate was totally delicious.  I managed to eat everything and was super full from it. If there was just two bone in hams pieces, then it would have bit a lot more manageable 🙂 Still, it was really good!

Crabby morning eggs benedict

Crabby morning eggs benedict

One of the girls took this and this one has crab cakes under the eggs.  The only issue she had was that the poached eggs aren’t supposed to be runny but these were a bit undercooked.  However, there were no other complaints so I assume it was alright. A very original take to a traditional dish, I’d say, no? Or do other breakfast places do this?

20130330_104315Next up, one of the girls got a lighter meal which was waffles with two sausage patties.  No complaints here either and I think, the sausage patties were a new experience for her, which is always fun 🙂

Veggie Omelet

Veggie Omelet

Looks delicious, right? I think my friend who took this enjoyed it.  Although we were all hitting our threshold for over eating.. haha!

We almost wanted to come back for another meal.  Henry’s Diner is extremely delicious. The service was pretty decent and the wait time wasn’t too long.  Its a cute little diner and I found it fun.  The first place that made me want to test out my self-portrait function with my phone while waiting for the food.

20130330_103217

Do you have any cool diners near your place? Suggest away! It’ll give me new travel ideas 🙂

This really makes me think about checking out all those cool places that Guy Fieri checks out in his show that we were watching on this trip..haha!

Restaurant Review: Panera Bread at Burlington, Vermont

During any work day, I have a really hard time getting out of bed regardless of having to wake up at only 7am but on the weekends, my body goes into auto pilot and wakes up at 6:30am no matter what time I go to bed.  Being on vacation was no exception, which was also how I managed to get in an exercise and snuck a peek out of the foggy window.

20130330_075929

While I was working out, my friend woke up as well and as the other two were still sleeping, we decided to head out at 8:30-ish to grab a light breakfast snack.  I had tried Panera Bread in Toronto.  And I loved it, so we headed over to the one here to try it out.

Obviously everything is made with  milk so I ended up taking a croissant and a green tea.

20130330_082715

I love croissants. They are flaky on the outside and soft on the inside. Love them! I’m so glad my bad health hasn’t had to get to me totally take butter out of my meals so I can still enjoy a croissant once in a while. This one was super delicious.

My friend got a Bear Claw.

Bear Claw

Bear Claw

She told me that she liked it a lot.  Its her first time eating one.  I obviously can’t eat it but doesn’t it look so good?

Actually, jumping ahead a bit, we all were so full on the last day that before we left, we went to Panera Bread to grab a light lunch and I got a small Rustica Penne Bolognese.  I think thats the name.

Penne Bolognese with Bread

Penne Bolognese with Bread

I don’t usually eat pasta when I’m out but this one was so awesome! I love it.  It wasn’t too salty or too much seasoning.  Everything was just right.  It was light enough to give me energy to drive back without making me tired.

Do you have Panera Bread where you are? Do you enjoy it? What pastries do you like to eat when you are at a coffee shop? Tea or Coffee?

Morning Walk in the Waterfront Park, Burlington, Vermont

Good morning to you all! Happy Wednesday!

Let me take you on a morning stroll in the Waterfront Park in Burlington Vermont.  Sounds like a nice refreshing plan?

Right when we walk in, the first thing we have to cross is the train tracks.

Train tracks extending into the distance

Train tracks extending into the distance

This actually reminded me a little bit of home because Old Montreal has a very similar scenery before we hit its waterfront also 🙂

As we walk in, we cross, we pass next to ECHO Lake Aquarium and Science Center, where I will take you tomorrow but its a cute little glass building.   As we walk in, we can already see the water extending in front of us.

P1210477

Right in front we have the big boat, and as we turn to the right, we have a little area where we can go down near the water.

Ducks in and getting out of the cold water

Ducks in and getting out of the cold water

Lake extended out into the distance

Lake extended out into the distance

Dogs playing in the water with the branches floating around

Dogs playing in the water with the branches floating around

As we get back onto the high platform, we go down a boardwalk. There`s not a lot of people and its pretty calm and relaxing to walk down here…

20130330_113439

 

Along the path, if you want to enjoy the view and just have a casual chat.  I did that with my friend, while the other girls went to take pictures on the train tracks.  There are this cute chairs.  I used to have a similar swing-y chair in the backyard when I was younger but in metal.

20130330_114114

Just lightly swing back and forth as we chat about little things here and there and catch up with friends, this is such a perfect place for it.

After about spending 30-45 minutes here, we went off somewhere else.

We came back the next day of course and thats where some of the more gloomy background pictures were taken.  Nice place for a morning stroll and a great way to start the day 🙂 We felt all refreshed afterwards!

How about you? Do you like to take walks next to waterfronts? Where was your favorite place to walk along? Do you have something near water near where you live?

 

Restaurant Review: El Cortijo at Burlington, Vermont

After a long night, we were all exhausted and got back to shower and rest at 7:30pm at the hotel room.  Not much of a partying group, eh? Well, after everyone was sitting in bed at 9pm, we turned on the TV and landed on the Food Network. It was at the show called Diners, Drive-ins and Dives (or something like that) hosted by Guy Fieri.  We are now forever glaring at this Guy Fieri, something like a love-hate relationship.  My friend started craving all the food she saw him showing on the show at the different joints he visited.  It was then we started searching up the restaurants to see which ones were open.

We eventually ended up jumping out of beds and changing quickly and heading out to get ourselves some tacos at El Cortijo.  On Fridays, this little restaurant is open till 1am.  Which worked perfectly for us 🙂

Here’s a little bit of the menu!

El Cortijo Menu

El Cortijo Menu

First up we ordered some drinks.  I went with my craving for Sangria and got a red one.  The girls decided to get a margarita.  One chose Pomegranate Margarita while the other one chose an orange flavored one.  I only got my own in pictures though.

Sangria

Sangria

I’m telling you this.  If you go to places and you suspect people are diluting your drinks and giving you more fizzy soda or fruit juice than actual red wine, this place is for you.  Mr. Bartender at El Cortijo made this drink in the way that all I really tasted was the red wine.  The girls also had high alcohol content in their margaritas and started getting a tad tipsy by the end, which made for a lot of laughing loudly.  We all learned that we are all happy drunks, if ever we did get to that point.

So did decide to have a light late night snack and took the solo tacos which is just one taco pretty much. The girls eventually took another one because it was going to help the margaritas sit better and get a bit of the tipsy feeling away.

Solo Tacos

Solo Tacos

I ordered the Chicken one and had to remove one of the ingredients but I think its alright. It was a pretty tasty taco although this one proved to be way messy with the sauce leaking as we were eating it.  Gotta work on those taco eating skills 😉

After sitting for an hour or so, we had to leave.  Suffice to say that Burlington downtown and Montreal downtown is very different at midnight.  This is what it looks like in Burlington!

Night in Burlington Downtown

Night in Burlington Downtown

Empty streets! 😮 Montreal is add packed with people to this scene and less space to walk and there you go.  Granted this place, had a lot of pubs and clubs and bars that had a lot of people inside and loud music blaring and a few people standing outside.  I like the different atmosphere 🙂 Plus those lights are just so pretty!

What do you like to have for late night snacks? What do you crave for in the middle of the night?

Restaurant Review: Olive Garden at Burlington, Vermont

I have heard of this place a lot but I’ve never been before.  Seeing as we were right next to it, it was out destination for dinner.  We had an early dinner and thank goodness we did because our wait was 20-25 minutes whereas people coming in 10 minutes after us were at 40-45 minutes or something like that.  It was crazy intense.  The first thing we know when we walk into this Italian restaurant Olive Garden is a whiff of cheese in the air.

They had a very good deal for 2 for $25 and seeing as we were 4 girls.  We took two of those.  The waitress we had was extremely nice.  Now onto the food.  We each had unlimited soup or salad and breadsticks.  Although only one of us ordered another soup. However, I don`t remember the soup names but I do remember the commentary.

minestrone soup

minestrone soup

In the soups, I had the minestrone.  It was delicious.  Also inspired me to want to add a bit of pasta and beans next time I make my own.  The texture was very nice because of it and it wasn`t too salty.

soup

soup

This is a cream based soup so I couldn`t get it but I don`t remember the exact name.  Two of the girls got this one. One liked it and the other said it was a tad too salty.  Just a taste preference I guess.

breadsticks

breadsticks

Next up, we had the breadsticks.  These are also unlimited. We could get as many as we like. We didn`t though, because we didn`t want to overdo it and not be able to eat our own meals.  I liked the taste of it a lot. I wouldn`t eat to much of it though as it started feeling like it was getting a little salt after a while.  It went great with the soup though 🙂

Now for the appetizer! I only have our own because the sisters chose to share dessert instead.

bruschetta and fried calamari

bruschetta and fried calamari

The fried calamari was the part I ate since I seem to have trouble digesting raw veggies.  Weird, I know.  However, it did well for us to share.  The fried calamari was absolutely tasty and possibly one of the best I have had.  My friend also enjoyed the bruchetta. She didn`t say much about it but there was no criticism either.  I take that as a good thing 😉

venetian apricot chicken

venetian apricot chicken

Sorry for the blurry pictures. I forgot to mention that I was using my new smartphone. Woohoo! I`m not too good at it so I`m still working on getting it right.  This was my main dish: Venetian Apricot Chicken.  Did I tell you how much I like apricot? This chicken was tender and the glaze was different and totally awesome.  I love it!

fettuccine alfredo

fettuccine alfredo

My friend got the Fettuccine Alfredo for her main dish.  It was a really big plate and she finished probably 3/4s of the meal before she had to give up.

five cheese ziti al forno

five cheese ziti al forno

One of the sisters got the same as me while the other one, who is vegetarian chose this Five Cheese Ziti al Forno.  She ate probably a quarter of it and said that she was full.  She felt it was heavy probably because of the cheese.  She ended working hard and finishing a bit more than half, I think.

Next up, we have the desserts! Everyone`s favorite part, right?

2 mini dolcini: chocolate mousse and tiramisu

2 mini dolcini: chocolate mousse and tiramisu

Did I tell you one of the other girls is a baker too? Anyways, she is and she was eating most of it since her sister almost couldn`t stuff any more in after her pasta.  She said that it was average.  However, the tiramisu tasted better than the chocolate mousse.

I was really pleased with the service and the food at Olive Garden. It was super fun to eat at and everyone enjoyed their meals a lot! 🙂 On top of that, their menus showed the calorie counts on the side.  Although calories aren`t really what I had on my mind but seeing the choice to take something healthier really makes it better appeal to the public (in this case, me).

Have you eaten at Olive Garden? What did you like? What do you like to eat at italian restaurants?

Burlington (and Plattsburgh) Finds!

I put “and Plattsburgh” because after a day of shopping in Burlington, we realized we had done most of what we were interested in and decided to head out to take the girls to see an American Target before it hit Canada.  So off we drove to Plattsburgh for the afternoon and do some shopping there.  Most of what you see is in Burlington with the exception of the books and movies that were cheaper in Plattsburgh Best Buy and Target.  Woohoo! I have bought all the movies I had intended to this year which are already released 🙂

Movies and Books...A sneak peek at whats coming up!

Movies and Books…A sneak peek of whats coming up!

Some of them are for my boyfriend but still they are purchases intended for both of us watching it together.  Are you excited? I’ll be reviewing lots and lots of horror 🙂 That side of my blog has been a bit slow. Plus, 3 books that were on special and I’ve been wanting to check out. I`m looking at this and it looks like a weird mix: animated versus horror.

Fancy Oreos!

Fancy Oreos!

There are always cool and different Oreo flavors. Last time for Christmas there was a lot more. My boyfriend loved the Limited Edition Oreos for its birthday.  I guess those were super successful so now we have them in Golden Oreos but with Birthday Cake fillings which tastes like cupcakes.  I ate 2 when I got home and gave the rest to my boyfriend.

Oatmeal Pop Tarts ?!?!? with funky marshmallows!!

Oatmeal Pop Tarts ?!?!? with funky marshmallows!!

The marshmallows and fun flavors will do well for baking or making some sweets.  I’ll see what I can do with them.  I love Pop Tarts.  But the ones I liked Brown Sugar Cinnamon or something are my faves but they were same price as in Montreal so instead, I bought these ones which are not available to me in Canada.  Haven’t tasted them yet but I’m hoping that it’ll taste awesome 🙂

Baker's Dozen of Bagels from Panera Bread! Good to share with family!

Baker’s Dozen of Bagels from Panera Bread! Good to share with family!

13 bagels to share between my mom and my boyfriend’s parents. Food is always a good gift.  I have other gifts as well but I’m not showing off everything I found..or else this post would be crazy.  I have some ornaments as well and some sample Yankee Candle which were on special.  Back to the bagels, I took one of every kind with Cinnamon Crunch being doubled.  I had the blueberry one yesterday morning and it was delicious!

My favorite soft drink: Sierra Mist! Yummy!

My favorite soft drink: Sierra Mist! Yummy!

Now for my favorite soft drink. I always pick up one bottle when I got to Plattsburgh–Sierra Mist.  Its like 7up or Sprite but its not as sweet and more natural.  I personally like the taste more.

I even got a baking tray, a workout sleeveless top and some granola (for baking) and two DS games, one of them I’ve been searching for EVERWHERE: Professor Layton and the Curious Village. Oh right, and I got some sweat pants and capri sweat pants and actual pants for work (not black too).  Success! I love productive trips like there where I can get better prices and fulfill my wants and needs 🙂

Plus, I managed to get some really nice shots of the scenery in Burlington.  That will be up tomorrow! And the drive to Plattsburgh was pretty nice, but no pictures since I was driving..haha!