Farmer’s Market to Suburban Garden: Eating through Southwestern, PA

Ligonier Farmer's Market

Last weekend I took a short trip to my hometown in Pennsylvania to visit with friends and family and indulge in my favorite comfort foods. There really is nothing that compares to a home cooked family meal. Knowing all of the ingredients were helping to support local farmers and grown without pesticides or hormones was an added bonus. Click here for my farm to table photo tour.

Where is your favorite farmer’s market?

What is a must have item you always pick up? 

Restore : The Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples

The tri-level world class Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples is an elegant oasis, designed to relax your mind, revitalize your spirit, and restore your soul in a welcoming environs surrounded with (and pampered by) nature. The Spa facilities include locker rooms (stocked with fluffy robes, towels, sandals, and every grooming item imaginable, just in case), aqua lounges, an outdoor mineral pool, overlooking the Gulf of Mexico and relaxation areas (stocked with water – sparkling or flavored still, coffee, teas – both hot & iced, and small snacks including nuts). Offering treatments including massage, facials, micro-dermabrasion, eyebrow shaping, reflexology, yoga, reiki, body wraps, personal training, and more.

Mineral Pool at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples

We checked into the Spa early to change into our robes and enjoy a soak in the warm whirlpool within the aqua lounge before heading to the salon for our scheduled services. The aqua lounge also houses hot and cold plunge pools, a steam room and sauna in addition to the whirlpool, which offers an inviting bowl of iced cucumbers to soothe your eyelids, if you so desire. Just prior to your appointment, a host will find and escort you to the proper treatment area, so you won’t have to worry about a thing, including time.

Our time arrived and we were escorted to the salon for our services: one Ritz-Carlton Signature Manicure and one seasonal Citrus Summer Manicure and Pedicure Combo

The salon personnel were very welcoming (and accommodating) as we mulled over which polishes to choose, desired nail length and shape. After choosing our lacquers, we were seated in plush manicure stations beside one another.

Completed manicures, modeling Danialli Rings, available in The Gallery

One FOTF opted for the Ritz-Carlton Signature Manicure which includes exfoliation, a deep therapy mask applied then hands encased in warm mitts, completed with a nourishing moisturizer. After perusing the polish options she chose the vibrant Big Apple Red from OPI.

I chose the Citrus Summer Manicure and Pedicure Combo, a softening treatment for the hands and feet using citrus scrubs, available as a seasonal special. Starting with the manicure, my nails were expertly unpolished, shaped, filed, and buffed to a glossy sheen. Then my cuticles were fixed, the scrub applied, and my skin softened and repaired from oils of the Kukui coconut. I chose a traditional french manicure with polish in a soft pink hue by essie. Once my nails were completed, picture perfect and sealed with a quick dry shellac, I was whisked off to the pedicure area. Their pedicure stations are complete with state-of-the-art massage chairs by True Touch with a multitude of options, ranging from zones, pressure, style, and speed. My feet experienced the same expert treatment as my hands, while I played with the options on my chair, and were topped off with a coat of Midnight in Moscow, a deep purple hue by OPI.

While waiting for the polishes to fully set we headed upstairs to the mineral pool to soak up some Vitamin D before lunch. Unfortunately, the weather was uncooperative and we had just settled in when the sky opened up to a torrential downpour. Heading inside for cover, we decided it was time to taste test the Spa restaurant =H20+.

=H20+ offers an array of healthy, creative all natural items for a light lunch, including: made -to-order salads, sandwiches, wraps, and smoothies. We chose to modify the House Smokey Turkey  Salad and Spinach Salad.

Upon being seated you are served a crispy crackle bread and assorted sauces including hummus, and a roasted red pepper in addition to a diced vegetable. Until we sat down to eat, I didn’t realize what a hunger I had amassed. I noshed on the cracker-like bread until our fresh heaping salads arrived.

Turkey Salad at =h20+

The House Smokey Turkey  Salad we modified contained a mix of candied squash, dried cranberries, walnuts, large pieces of smoked turkey and broccoli, atop arugula and paired with a maple vinaigrette. This robust salad balanced the smoky flavor of the turkey against the sweetness of the candied squash and vinaigrette. The walnuts imparted a distinct crunch, while the cranberries were slightly chewy resulting in an array of different textures to delight the mouth.

Spinach Salad at =h20+

The Spinach Salad we modified to include diced tomatoes, roasted pears, and marcona almonds atop fresh spinach leaves, paired with a honey mustard vinaigrette. This salad satisfied our sweet tooth while also introducing a copious amount of nutrients. The roasted pears were yielding and decadent, a nice accompaniment to the crisp marcona almonds. The dressing on this, house-made honey mustard was the perfect consistency and just sweet enough, but not too much so. After we headed home, I ended up wishing I had asked if it was available for purchase.

This small restaurant fills up quickly, especially in the rain, but their service is quick and efficient. On better (non-monsoon) days outdoor dining is also an option.

Finishing up our meal we headed downstairs to spend time in the relaxation area before heading back to the aqua lounge where we blissfully reclined until closing time. The Spa was tranquil with a handful of other patrons cycling through throughout the day, as it is only available to guests and members of the Ritz-Carlton. If you are in search of a elegant private oasis, look no further.
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The Ritz-Carlton is now offering a summer Spa-Cation package until September 30,2011. You are invited to relax and restore your senses with their unparalleled service coupled with rejuvenating treatments at the Spa.

The package includes: Overnight accommodations in a coastal view room, a $200 Spa Credit per night, and Lunch for Two in the Spa’s new =H20+ wellness eatery (per night).

Click here for information on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Spa-Cation deal.

Click here for the previous post about Resort Activities at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

The Ritz-Carlton Naples
280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.,
Naples, FL 34108 USA
Phone:  (239) 598-3300
www.ritzcarlton.com

We’ve arrived: Ritz-Carlton, Naples FL

Welcome to the Ritz-Carlton

We’ve arrived at the iconic Ritz-Carlton, Naples beach resort. First opening their doors 25 years ago and accumulating awards ever since, including; AAA Five Diamond, Forbes Five-Star, (both for 22 consecutive years), named #9 among the top 50 Resorts in US and Canada on Travel + Leisure‘s 2011 “World’s Best List” and #70 in the World, Gold List of the World’s Best Hotels, Resorts, and Cruise Lines, 2011 in Conde Nast Traveler Magazine, amongst others. We excitedly stepped out of the valet circle and into one of the consistently highest ranked resorts in the world.

Warmly greeted by Jorian Weiner, Public Relations Manager, we checked into the resort, offloaded our bags and began a guided tour of the expansive property. The Ritz-Carlton experience offers many options, we wanted to be sure we didn’t miss a thing! In addition to enjoying the beautiful southwest Florida coastline, 2 heated outdoor pool areas (one family friendly, one with VIP section), and magnificent Spa, what else does the Ritz-Carlton, Naples have to offer?

Options at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples

FOR THE GOLFER: The Ritz-Carlton, Naples offers free shuttle service to its sister resort, the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Golf Resort. This award winning Greg Norman-designed Tiburón Golf Course offers complimentary TaylorMade golf club rentals and sleeves of golf balls. Golfers under the age of 18 can tee off for free, one with each paying adult.

FOR THE GOURMET: There are seven dining options available ranging from the health-concious =H20+ located in the Spa, Caribbean-inspired cuisine at Gumbo Limbo on the Boardwalk, tapas at Bites in the Lobby lounge, casual dining at the Poolside Cafè, Italian cuisine at The Terrace, traditional Japanese at The Sushi Bar, and fine dining steakhouse at The Grill. There is also the Gourmet Shop, stocked with fine chocolates, coffees, and gelato for those times when you need just a little sugar or caffeine jolt. If you wish to explore contemporary Mediterranean or global bar foods, hop on the shuttle to the Golf Resort and explore their five dining options as well.

Nature's Wonders Laboratory

FOR CHILDREN (OF ALL AGES): The resort offers Nature’s Wonders, an eco-friendly environmentally focused program that connects guest with nature. The program, led by Master Naturalists at the resort,  includes: nature walks, dolphin, sea-turtle and manatee watches, aquarium feedings, a mini laboratory where small guests can use child-sized microscopes, slides & Petri dishes, a hands-on workshop and Nature Vision Theater that streams National Geographic specials. During our tour we learned that an adult female sea turtle will migrate back to her beach of birth to lay her eggs. The Naples beach currently is home to a handful of sea turtle nests which should hatch in upcoming weeks.

vue lounge

vue, the ultimate entertainment lounge, with a chic interior is a mecca for children, teens, and adults. Equipped with Xbox 360, Sony PlayStation 3, and Nintendo Wii systems hooked up to 40″ LCD TVs, 2 private lounge areas with 19′ flat screen TVs, DVD players and iPod docking station, and a massive 63″ LCT TV with Blu-ray play connected to a Bang and Olufsen surround system. There is also a Mac station with iMacs for use. We are told that although originally created to cater to the teen crowd, when major sporting events are televised the demographic skews older. Looking for an unconventional space for your next meeting or event? You may have found it.

FOR THE SHOPPER: There are eight on property shops including everything from Zegna suits for the gentleman at John Craig, swimsuits and sunscreen at The Pool Shoppe, beautiful fine jewelry and artwork at The Gallery, Prada sunglasses at The Signature Shop, face creams, masks, and other products used in the Spa at The Spa Boutique, tennis apparel, footwear, and racquets at The Tennis Shop, Ritz-Carlton signature apparel at The Boutique, and anything small you may have forgotten to pack at The Sundry Gift Shop.

After touring the resort, and spying a sliver of sunshine remaining, we hurried upstairs to our guest room to change into swimwear for a quick visit to the pool area before dinner at Bites. We opened the door and entered our luxurious room, greeted with an amazing coastline view and this incredible, completely edible chocolate sculpture. OMGoodness we have arrived.

Incredible Chocolate Sculpture from The Ritz-Carlton, Naples

Check back here tomorrow for the continuation of our Spa-Cation weekend and our review of Bites in the Lobby Lounge (now live).

Click here for information on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples Spa-Cation deal.

Click here for our day at the Ritz-Carlton Spa, Naples. 

Click here for our 5th Avenue, Naples Distractions along the way. 

Distractions on the Road

“Focus on the journey, not the destination. Joy is found not in finishing an activity but in doing it.” – Greg Anderson

Foodies on the Fly headed across the alley last weekend (Alligator Alley for non-locals, aka 175 – the 2 lane stretch of road connecting the east coast to west coast of Florida) in eager anticipation of our weekend of relaxation: A Spa-Cation at the Ritz-Carlton, Naples.

Brambles English Tea Room - Naples, FL

We arrived in Naples early to stock up on essentials on 5th Ave prior to check-in. First, we brunched at the quaint Brambles English Tea Room, a hidden gem just off of 5th Ave., run by British couple, Chris & Heather. The decor is shabby chic: floral wallpaper, pink tablecloths, and beautifully eclectic china.

We ordered two pots of tea to share: The Royal Wedding (We had to, it was created just for Kate & Wills!), a blend of China black tea flavored with raspberry, strawberry, kiwi, and a hint of mango and the Caribbean Voodoo, China black tea flavored with cornflowers, mango, coconut, passion fruit, and more (Mysterious and apparently addicting, I order this one every time I visit!).

Brambles Brunch Spread

We started our meal, as any proper tea should with freshly baked scones, strawberries and clotted cream. If you visit Brambles, these crumbly semisweet breads are a must. Then our entrees arrived, Roger’s Salad Nicoise (which wasn’t because we modified and subbed shrimp) and a freshly baked Quiche Lorraine, a signature item adorned with homemade Mango Chutney. The salad nicoise was light, crisp, and perfect for the foodie on a diet (not this one). My quiche was fluffy with a thin crust and full of large pieces of ham and cheddar. The quiche is paired with a side salad and honey mustard vinaigrette, so I received a serving of veggies as well.

The food is wonderful here, but what will lure you back is the ambiance. The owners are exceedingly polite, and the room warm and welcoming. Not surprisingly, it is best to make your reservations in advance as this tea room tends to fill up quickly. (Note: Plan to arrive at 11:00AM, as we did, and enjoy their scones fresh from the oven!) After brunching we perused their gift shop and purchased loose tea (Voodoo, told you I was addicted!) to accompany us home. They also carry a variety of fine English china, Royal Wedding souvenirs, handmade chocolates, and tea accessories.

Brambles English Tea Room on Urbanspoon

Florida Olive Oil Company

Next we visited Florida Olive Oil Company, a local shop that sells their own line of infused balsamic vinegars, and you guessed it, olive oils. Throughout the store are tasting stations where you can try each of over 50 varieties, including some with a dash of sea salts or spices. Alongside each bottle is a short description of the flavor and pairing ideas to spark your inner culinary god or goddess. Examples include: savory – Cilantro Garlic balsamic vinegar, or Porcini Mushroom olive oil, sweet – Chocolate balsamic vinegar, French Vanilla olive oil, fruity – Wild Blueberry balsamic vinegar, Persian Lime olive oil, or spicy – Habanero Lime balsamic vinegar, and Roasted Chili olive oil. We took full advantage of their in-store offer, purchase 6 bottles and receive one free and ended up with… 3 olive oils (Rosemary, White Lemon, and Chipolte), 6 balsamic vinegars (2 Black Walnut, 2 Fig, 2 Espresso), one Chipolte barbecue glaze, and 4 spice packets.

The manager was very welcoming and we ended up staying much later than we thought tasting, tweeting, and talking, so our 5th Ave. trip ended with just two visits, but we weren’t dismayed as we packed up our loot and  headed to the Ritz-Carlton for the start of our Spa-Cation.

Ritz-Carlton Naples, FL

To be continued…

Take a Spa-Cation at the Ritz-Carlton – Naples, FL

SYMPTOMS: Excessive checking of your smartphone/iphone/blackberry, dreams of uncompleted projects or a continuation of your work day, tension in your back, neck, and shoulders from carrying the weight of the world on your shoulders (or just an uncomfortable desk chair)…

DIAGNOSIS: In dire need of a relaxing weekend… and some pampering.

TREATMENT: Spa-Cation at the Ritz-Carlton – Naples, FL 

Relaxation is waiting at the Ritz-Carlton

The Ritz-Carlton is now offering a summer Spa-Cation package until September 30,2011. You are invited to relax and restore your senses with their unparalleled service coupled with rejuvenating treatments at the Spa.

The package includes: Overnight accommodations in a coastal view room, a $200 Spa Credit per night, and Lunch for Two in the Spa’s new =H20+ wellness eatery (per night).

This weekend we will be heading to Naples to test drive this offer for you. Stay tuned for live tweets on the hotel, accommodations, spa, and of course the food! Can’t wait to hear more about this resort, check out our review on the Ritz-Carlton, Naples High Tea service.

The fine print: Rooms starting at $419 per night. Package is subject to availability and cannot be combined with any other offer. Advance reservations are required; rates do not apply to groups. Rates listed are per room, per night, single or double occupancy, and exclusive of taxes, gratuities and other charges unless otherwise noted. Hotel and resort credits cannot be used toward room rate, tax, resort fee or gratuities. Credit cannot be reimbursed or exchanged if not used. Credit must be used during stay.

The Ritz-Carlton Naples
280 Vanderbilt Beach Rd.,
Naples, FL 34108 USA
Phone:  (239) 598-3300
www.ritzcarlton.com

South Florida Weekend Guide: July 15 – July 17

Strike A Pose: The Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week Swimwear shows start Friday, July 15 in Miami Beach. Watch the models strike a pose on the runway, see the latest trends in swimwear fashion and attend a few swanky parties around town. Some events are “invite only” but you don’t need to be VIP to attend the events below.

Glam It Up: MAKE UP FOR EVER is hosting a “Lash Lounge” Party at Sephora in South Beach on  Saturday July 17th from 4:00-7:00 PM. Sephora South Beach, (721 Collins Avenue, Miami Beach, FL 33139) Stop by the store to customize your own pair of faux lashes and even have the pros help you apply them.  Call (305) 532-0904 for more details.

Drink More Wine: Enjoy 9 World-Class wines with dinner (or lunch) for an $25 at The Capital Grille. The Generous Pair Event is going on now until September 4th.  For more information click here.

Socialize: New Times Broward-Palm Beach will host a Tweet-Up at Rare Las Olas (401 E. Las Olas Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) on Friday, July 15th. In order to enter you must say the magic words New Times at the door. No magic words, no entry. You will also get free cocktails and appetizers for two hours — from 7 to 9 p.m For more info on Rare Las Olas, call 954-527-3365 or visit rarelasolas.com.

Get Real“Art of the People: 20th Century Social Realism” at the Boca Raton Museum of Art (501 Plaza Real; Boca Raton FL) every week Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Sunday from now until September 11. For more details Call 561-392-2500, email info@bocamuseum.org, or visit bocamuseum.org.

This Weekend: Can’t miss events in Palm Beach, Broward & Miami Dade Counties

Friday, May 13th
Sushi & Summer Stroll from 5:30PM – 8:30 PM

Morikami Museum and Japanese Gardens
400 Morikami Park Road
Delray Beach, FL   33446
561-495-0233 

Sushi & Summer Stroll  - Walk around the beautiful grounds of the Morikami Museum and Gardens at your own pace and listen to the sounds of the Taiko drums in the background. Prefer to take a seat? For only $2 additional purchase a seat for the Taiko drumming performance by Fushu Daiko. Hungry? Grab a bite in the Cornell Café where they serve a delicious assortment of sushi, noodles, teriyaki, and more. This event reoccurs once a month through September.

Admission Fees:
$7 for adults (ages 18+)
$5 for kids (ages 4-17)
FREE for members & kids 3 & under

Saturday, May 14 
Great American Bake Sale & Fairchild’s Artist in Bloom Exhibition
 from 9:30AM – 4:30PM
Fairchild Tropical Botanical Garden 
10901 Old Cutler Road
Coral Gables, FL 33156
Phone: 305.667.1651

Great American Bake Sale & Fairchild’s Artist in Bloom Exhibition -
Head to the beautiful Fairchild Tropical Botanical Gardens in Coral Gables this Saturday for a day of strolling the expansive gardens and viewing of their extensive collections of rare tropical plants (including palms, cycads, flowering trees, tropical fruit trees, vines, and succulents).
This weekend only they are also hosting the Fairchild’s Artist in Bloom exhibition with over 150 original oil and acrylic paintings, watercolors and botanical illustrations for viewing and purchase.

After spending the day in the garden you’ll surely have worked up an appetite, so stop by the National Blogger Bake Sale, presented by Share our Strength to help End Childhood Hunger and pick up a treat or two from our fellow South Florida Bloggers, Bakeries, and Restaurants including:  Cupcakes Nouveau, 2 Girls and a Cupcake, Freakin’ Flamingo, Dunkin’ Donuts of South Florida and more! Don’t forget to enter to win a gift certificate for WokStar Eleanor Hoh’s wok cooking classes for 2, or dinner for 2 at Michael’s Genuine Food & Drink. Another beautiful day in paradise surrounded by nature, accompanied by baked goods to support ending childhood hunger: sounds like a sweet deal to us.

Admission Fees:
Admission to Fairchild includes all of the garden exhibits and a narrated tram tour (subject to availability).
When available, walking tours and shuttle service are also included in admission.

Adults  $25
Seniors (65 and over)   $18
Children 6-17  $12
Fairchild members and Children 5 and under are Free

Sunday, May 15th
Downtown Open Market from 11AM – 4PM

Royal Palm Place Monument Piazza
308 S. Federal Hwy
Boca Raton, Florida 33432
Corner of S. Federal Hwy & S. Mizner Blvd.
(Same location as Saturday’s Boca Raton Green Market)

Head over to Royal Palm Plaza this Sunday to support your local artists, crafters, independent designers, musicians, vintage and antique dealers, specialty food and unique local businesses! It is fun for the whole family, including pets too. With over 50 vendors you are sure to find things like:

  • Vintage clothing and accessories
  • Natural bath and body goodies
  • Handmade indie crafts
  • Specialty pets items
  • Handmade & vintage jewelry
  • Flea market finds
  • Art
  • Baked goods…. and more!
  • Including a visit by Feverish Ice Cream

Admission Fees:
FREE event & parking

Presented by StitchRock (Indie Craft Fair & Bazaar & Family Vintage (Vintage Clothing, Accessories, Jewelry & Home Décor for the Entire Family).

Sunday, May 15
Battle of the Brides from 11AM to 1PM
Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel
1140 Seabreeze Blvd.,
Fort Lauderdale, FL 33316

Grab some popcorn or a Corona and watch 50 blushing brides battle it out to win a dream wedding at the Sheraton Fort Lauderdale Beach Hotel.  The event starts promptly at 11am and includes a bouquet toss, cupcake eating contest, and a bridal tug-of-war. The last bride standing will win a 75 person dream wedding at the Sheraton and with over 50 competing brides we are sure there will be some hair pulling, name calling, and bridezilla moments you won’t want to miss. Oh and rumor has it one of the Foodies On The Fly contributors might just grab her designer knee pads and most reliable pair of stilettos to battle it out…

Admission fees:
FREE to attend 

A De La Vega in the Park

Become Your Dream (same image as my tee at home)

Several years ago I visited New York with my friends for the very first time over my birthday weekend. While looking for a place to grab brunch, my favorite meal any day, on St. Mark’s Place we came across a few chairs on the sidewalk with spray-painted names and inscriptions, like Chairnobyl, Charonimo, and The Chairminator and stickers with inscriptions like “Become your Dream” adorning them.

Immediately intrigued, I walked over to inspect and found the De La Vega Museum (which sadly, has since closed) in the East Village. Inside, amongst the original and repro drawings, paintings, and other wares was none other than the artist himself, James De La Vega. (In case you don’t want to click the link- DeLa Vega is a street or graffiti artist, depending on whom you ask, whose random chalk drawings and murals pop up all around NYC. )

After thoroughly checking out all the pieces I settled on some stickers, notebooks, and a small poster. Upon hearing it was my birthday and we were visitors from Florida, we were given T-Shirts to wear back home, awesome! (Although the stickers have been stuck and the notebooks written in, I still have and proudly rock my “Become Your Dream” tee.)

Just last month, while in the city (and my first time in Central Park!) I spied a chalk drawing that looked suspiciously like a De La Vega. BF in tow, we raced over to the jogging path, and noticed that it was in fact a De La Vega! We happily spent the next half hour locating, photographing and tweeting the chalk-art in the jogging path, while attempting not to get run over. The fruits of our efforts are here for you to enjoy:

        

Check out our Facebook page for the full gallery.

Keep your eyes open around the city, and maybe you will find a De La Vega too!

The Food Trucks Are Heading North

Clear your calendars because the food trucks are coming to Boca!

On Wednesday, May 11th the trendiest food craze to hit the streets of South Florida will be rolling into Palm Beach County for the Gourmet Food Truck Expo. The event will take place at Boomer’s on Airport Road in Boca Raton and will include music, dancing, and delicious street food, starting at 6:00PM.

The line up includes 25 trucks serving up everything from Truffle Mac N’Cheese Bites to Miso Burgers and everything you can dream of in between. With so many options there is sure to be a food truck to satisfy every palate.

Check out the list of trucks and read our reviews below.

Who will be there:
4 Alarm Pizza
 - A classic pizzeria on wheels
Aaron’s Catering Express {Check out our review here}
Big Kahuna - Ice cream, shaved ice and frozen yogurt
The Blue Tree Cafe – Healthy cuisine
Bru’s Room Traveler – A rolling version of the local sports bar
Catered Bliss - Sandwiches and burgers
Caza Crepes - French crepes and galettes
Che Grill - Argentine cuisine
Chef on Wheels – 1 - American/Italian cuisine
Curbside Gourmet {Check out our review here}
Divan Bakery {Check out our review here}
Dog Eat Dog - Gourmet hotdogs
Dim Ssäm à gogo – Asian inspired cuisine
Feverish Ice Cream - Ice cream and gourmet popsicles
Giuseppe’s Italian Sausage - Sausage and pepper heros
Grillmaster Cafe - Burgers, fritas, and more
Kona Ice – Frozen treats
The MexZican Gourmet - Authentic mexican cuisine
Mobile Cigars – A mobile cigar store
Nacho Mama’s Grill - Tacos and more
PS 561 – New England style hot dogs and more
Red Koi - Asian cuisine
Shao Roma – Romanian cuisine
Sir Pizza - Gourmet pizza
Slow Food Truck {Check out our review here}
Sugar Yummy Mama {Check out our review here}

For more information visit www.gourmettruckexpo.com