Sisters in Crime Writers Blog Hop. What Is Your Writing Process?

Laurie is a travel writer; a mystery writer with some Murder She Wrote books to her name, and baseball guru. Take a look at her kid-lit baseball book, Catcher in the Sky. She's also the daughter of the guy who wrote Coffee, Tea or Me?

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A Manly Meal, an Italian Feast, and Dinner with the Philharmonic -- Have We Got Dining Deals for You

Orlando -- Compensate for the searing summer sun by having truly good food at a lower price than usual. These three so-called Dining Deals offer value at places with great food. I talked about them recently on Orlando's Fox 35 with David Didzunas, executive chef of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, and anchor Lauren Johnson. Here's the clip. David Didzunas, executive chef of the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport, will join me. Manly Mondays Head west, hearty eaters. The Crooked Spoon, a gastropub in Clermont, will match your appetite with a Manly Mondays basket guaranteed to fill you up. The “Man-Sized Meat Baskets” will be filled with three or four house-smoked meats, such as ribs, wings, and smoked and grilled sausage. The selections will change weekly. Extras like grilled corn, corn bread, fritters or French fries will be in there too, all for $19.

Crooked Spoon photo small

A Manly Mondays basket

I allow myself no Manly Meals, as I want a Small Waist, but I’d say a Manly Meal plus a doggie bag sounds like a fine idea. 200 Citrus Tower Blvd., Clermont, 352.404.7808, Estate Italiana Peperoncino is a sweet little Italian restaurant on Restaurant Row in the Dr. Phillips neighborhood. It’s offering a three-course dinner on Mondays, Tuesdays and Wednesdays for $30. Here’s the catch: You must mention Rona Recommends to receive this package. You’ll be entitled to an appetizer such as cozze pepate (peppery mussels) or arancini (fried rice balls); a “primo,” which is a small entrée; sorbet or a homemade dessert; and a glass of house red or white wine. The menu changes daily, but your primi choices might be pasta with a Bolognese ragù sauce or pasta alla Norma, made with roasted eggplant and fresh ricotta cheese.

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Fried rice balls

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Pasta Bolognese

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Pasta with eggplant and ricotta

Dellagio, 7988 Via Dellagio Way #108, Orlando, 407.440.2856, Liberty Weekend Food & Wine Experience The chefs at the Hyatt Regency Orlando International Airport put together gourmet wine-pairing dinners several times a year. This month, they’re having a Liberty theme. The four-course dinner will be served while the Orlando Philharmonic Orchestra performs live. The entire meal is $105 including tax and tip. That’s quite a value for the combo.


Diners sit on the balcony and watch the orchestra below.

The meal will begin with seared Idaho rainbow trout topped with a Zelwood corn creme. Cedar-roasted quail will follow, plated with smoked barbecued cannellini beans and an heirloom tomatoe confit. For the entrée, expect a strip of roasted bison loin with a roasted plum demi-glace and fingerling potatoes, bacon and baby Swiss chard. The meal will end with a warm blueberry and blackberry cobbler topped with ice cream. These summer flavors will be accompanied by Grgich Hills Estate wines paired with each course. Valet parking will be free and a lodging package is available. Saturday, June 28, 2014. 9300 Jeff Fuqua Blvd., Orlando, 407.825.1315, Eat enthusiastically, Rona

B Resort Orlando -- Value-Priced Chic at Disney World

Orlando will welcome B Resort next week, a Lake Buena Vista property a short walk from Downtown Disney. B Resorts are cheap-chic. In other words, they have a suave, contemporary flair, yet they're midpriced. The decor is a spiffy, bold white palette with vibrant splashes of color.

When the restaurant American Q opens, it will feature barbecue from all over the Americas. That means salmons as Native Americans cooked it, jerked meats from Florida (well, really Jamaica), and brisket from Texas. Look for that in about a month.
Here are some photos of this snazzy hotel. I have my eye on those lanai rooms for a little staycation.
The lobby, which has several seating areas
This is the bed in a junior suite.
This junior suite sofa folds out to a bed.
Two queen beds
The outside of a lanai suite. There's a sofa on the side you can't see. These suites are right by the pool, and the staff considers the seating areas "private cabanas."
The pool. It's zero-entry, which means you can walk right in starting at pool deck level.
The rooms come with Aveda amenities. When the spa opens in a few weeks, it and its salon will use Aveda products.
Room snacks are a mix of upscale, generously packaged items. Each is $5.
Candied bacon, deviled egg and crudite. I don't know if this will be a menu item or a catering option, but it was very good. So was smoked brisket,a seafood salad, and a white chocolate-covered cookie. I'm excited about the food.
I'll report back when the restaurant opens.
Eat enthusiastically and lodge with style,

The Door Bore

So now it’s doors. Every three hours, it seems, I must replace a part of my home.

Blame Florida heat and humidity, cheap 21-year-old builders’ materials or plain old age. Whatever the culprit, it siphons off loads of cash I’d rather keep. And is, specifically, no fun. At all.

Today’s project is the front door to my house. It’s a double-door, wood, painted green right now, with little glass panes. The glass gets filthy, the wood is weakening, the ...

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Our (Temporary) Ultra-Jewish Immersion

Once I got to Tel Aviv, I found the Israel I expected — a bunch of brunettes who looked like me and my family living lives similarto ours.

That’s not what I encountered traveling to Israel.

Our ultra-Jewish adventure began in the Newark airport as we waited for our connecting flight. After a lunch we didn’t need in case the airline meal was awful, we packed up the remaining half of my son’s Subway turkey ...

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How to Stay Connected While Traveling: Brilliant Kid Version

We were four over-connected Americans traveling to Israel. Between us we had three iPhones, one regular cell phone, one laptop, one GameBoy, oneKindle, and three iPads. Cheapy me, though, refused to buy a new converter for plugging American devices in overseas outlets. Two is enough, I insisted. We'll share.

Not enough! my 16- and 20-year-olds agreed. So they came up with a solution: a circuit breaker with space for plugging in several ...
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Taco Tuesday. Meh.

“It looks pretty saucy. Is it saucier than usual?”

This is Josh, my college student, home for the summer. He’s examining a frying pan filled with flavored chopped meat, perplexed, nay concerned, that the dinner set before him isn't quite right. It’s Taco Tuesday, you see, a weekly event in our kitchen because Josh misses Cornell’s make-your-own supper, in which he indulged every Monday last school year. (They don't menu plan via alliteration there, apparently.) Taco night relieved Josh from the monotony of ...

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Faux Moi

You should have seen me Saturday night, wiping salt off my tongue. Not wiping. That’s too civilized a description. With a force of desperation, I was dragging a linen napkin over my tongue, from top to bottom, top to bottom. Occasionally I’d jam a finger in and wrap it around my tongue to scoop out more of the assaulting mess.

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Potty Training

Did I mention the toilet? Ours worked perfectly well. I liked it fine. Only nowadays owners of upscale homes who redo bathrooms install “comfort height” units. They’re higher off the ground so we don’t have to struggle to squat so low. (I never struggled; did you?)

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Hear Me Roar

One fine spring day in Oneonta, New York, my college friend Chris and I bolted out of her car in a bank parking lot while belting out the words to Helen Reddy’s “I Am Woman.” Newspaper editors, serious students and overall ambitious young women, we were giddy with possibilities – until we came face to face with Clifford Craven, our school principal.

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