Chow: Making The Chinese American Restaurant (Museum Of Food And Drink)

The Museum of Food and Drink is extending Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant until the Chinese Lunar New Year on February 16, 2018!

Step inside the Museum of Food and Drink as you experience the history of Chinese American cuisine with artifacts, 100 year old clippings, infographics, and even a fortune cookie machine! This limited time exhibit also features tastings at their exclusive Culinary Studio.

As the world’s first large-scale food museum, Brooklyn’s MOFAD delivers a visual walkthrough of the Chinese American Restaurant timeline (almost 200 years)!

You’re immediately greeted with a massive wall of takeout containers. But as soon as you step behind it, prepare to be immersed in a rich past. This exhibit was interesting and though it was quick, you learn a lot about the culture and cuisine, leading up to today.

As you walk around, you’ll find fantastic displays: photos, articles, even videos. One of my favorite sections was the wall of old restaurant menus. It was amazing to see how much has changed over the decades. Imagine paying only 75 cents for a plated dinner combo (soup, entree, and dessert)!

For Chow, MOFAD also houses a special fortune cookie machine that will create the cookies live with custom fortunes submitted using their in-house tablet/Twitter/hashtag (#ProjectFortune).

Powered by Infiniti, the purpose of #ProjectFortune is to spread messages of goodwill so that when visitors come to the exhibit, they’ll hopefully receive your fortune and share it with friends & loved ones!

See the fortune I submitted here!

Though the machine wasn’t working this particular day, we still got to learn about the whole process and see many of the submitted fortunes colorfully displayed at the end of the exhibit.

MOFAD also had part of Flavor: Making It and Faking It on display, their previous/debut exhibit. In this MOFAD Lab, different smelling stations were set up. Here you can experiment with a few apparatuses that would release a combination of various smells of your choice.

For example, what combination of cilantro, peach, caramel, and candy will create “strawberry”? Or how much orange oil, lime oil, cinnamon oil, and vanilla extract is needed to smell like “cola”?

Build different flavors at 3 stations or try your hand at the Smell Synth, a scent organ you can play! With over 500,000 different combinations, your senses will go haywire!

As you make your way to the exit, don’t forget to stop by the Chow Culinary Studio! Each General Admission ticket includes a small complimentary tasting (MOFAD states that they cannot guarantee dietary accommodations). And for an additional $11, you can upgrade to the Chow Down ticket which turns your tasting into a 3-course meal!

Tastings will vary from the chefs on duty to the featured dish of the month. We had the pleasure of sitting with in-house Chef John Hutt, who was not only very knowledgeable about authentic Chinese cuisine but also able to deliver a delicious meal!

He started us off with the dish of the month which was the Peking Pork with Sweet and Sour Glaze over rice. Great texture and great taste – the chef meticulously cooked the pork (see more in the video at the end).

Next, he served up some Malai Mushroom Dumplings with 7 year old vinegar. He taught us a brief lesson on Ma (numb) and La (spicy) – explaining that the mushrooms will create a tingling sensation, ultimately giving off a “spicy” effect. What a rush!

Lastly, we wrapped up with a Rice Pudding with Fortune Cookie. I normally don’t like rice pudding but it was a great finisher as we continued talking about Chinese cuisine and his involvement with the museum.

We were fortunate to have Chef John rather than one of the rotating guest chefs. His experience made our meal all the more enjoyable and it was educational too! The exhibit itself takes about 30 minutes with an additional 30 minutes for the full tasting. Be sure to check out the video recap below for more and click here for tickets.

The Museum of Food and Drink is extending Chow: Making the Chinese American Restaurant until the Chinese Lunar New Year on February 16, 2018!

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Warner Bros. “Get Animated Invasion” Pop-up (October 6-8, 2017)

Zoinks! From October 6-8, 2017, Warner Bros. partnered up with Boomerang and BoxLunch to bring some very iconic cartoons to life! To name a few: Looney Tunes, Tom & Jerry, and Flintstones…

In the style of Refinery29’s 29Rooms, this completely sold-out (but free) event contained a handful of interactive rooms & corridors that featured popular animated properties. Guests could fully immerse themselves in the world of Wile E. Coyote & Road Runner (with a “real” hanging anvil trap) or experience something spooky with Scooby Doo (complete with fog machine):

As soon as you enter, you’re given a voucher which entitles you to one of three Flintstones themed ice cream treats brought to you by Milk & Cream Cereal Bar. Choose from: Dizzy Dino (Fruity Pebbles blended ice cream topped with Fruity Pebbles & Dino Bones Candy), Bamm-Bamm Thank You Ma’am (Cocoa Pebbles blended ice cream topped with Cocoa Pebbles & Salted Caramel Rock Candy), or The Bedrock-y Road (Cinnamon Pebbles blended ice cream topped with Cinnamon Pebbles, Marshmallows & Chocolate Rock Candy).

I chose Bamm-Bamm Thank You Ma’am!

They came in a specially marked cup with a color changing spoon! I’m telling you, the whole experience totally makes you feel like a kid watching Saturday morning cartoons all over again!

In the main hall was a line of tablets to watch clips of your favorite cartoons. But right by this section was the home of Bugs Bunny:

Pick up a giant carrot or two, pose with Bugs, or just grab a secret lollipop stashed inside his mailbox (you read that right)! You won’t be happier that it’s rabbit season!

As you feast your eyes on all the great wall decals and neon lights, you’ll also find some fantastic art pieces. The next room featured a collection of Marvin the Martian figures painted to resemble popular superheroes. Each was painted by a different artist. Here’s a “Wonder Woman” Marvin the Martian by Tony B. Kim:

As you make your way towards the end, the exhibit doesn’t slow down yet… Giant Jetsons art can be found right next to the Warner Brothers Water Tower!

And if you blink, you’ll miss that clever cat Tom trying to catch Jerry! Sneaky sneaky…

But all throughout the pop-up there were screens, big & small, playing clips from your favorite cartoons. It was great to just sit back and enjoy the atmosphere, while eating our ice cream. Mind you, this was all during New York Comic Con 2017, so some sitting was absolutely priceless!

There were also some fun inflatable chairs by the gift shop, accompanied by (you guessed it) more cartoons!

And the gift shop itself was pretty extensive. Brought to you by BoxLunch, you had everything from apparel to accessories: Flintstones hats, water bottles, Space Jam shirts, even Funko Pop figures!

The Get Animated Invasion Pop-up was a lot of fun and even though it wasn’t necessarily huge, it had tons of photo opportunities – plus it was completely free! Be sure to scroll to the bottom for a quick video tour of the pop-up!

My Ocha – Matcha Shop (Shops at Riverside, Hackensack, NJ)

“Whole Lot A Matcha… We Got Ya!”

My Ocha is a new café inside the Shops at Riverside (Hackensack, NJ) with a focus primarily on matcha, or powdered green tea. With a very modern interior and fantastic fresh menu, My Ocha is a wonderful addition as the Bergen County mall undergoes renovations this fall.

Their menu currently consists of various drinks & snacks including French macarons from the popular Macaron Café in NYC, soft serve ice cream, and a selection of refreshing spritzers (20 oz) for only $4.95: enjoy flavors like matcha limeade, cherry yuzu, blueberry matcha latte, and much more! They also serve both hot & iced matcha drinks (you can even choose from regular, almond, coconut, and soy milks), hot & iced teas, and coffee.

The owners, John & James, take great pride in what they do and as I spoke with James, I instantly loved the direction they are taking My Ocha! Get this: they only use ceremonial grade matcha and 90% of their inventory in house is organic… even their water is triple filtered!

The shop will actually continue to expand its offerings in the near future. James indicated that as their food menu grows past macarons (think crêpes and poké bowls), one of their goals is to provide tall tables for dine-in guests.

Personally, I think the inside is perfect from the colors, down to the decor. It’s very inviting and James is very hospitable, leaving for a great experience from beginning to end.

They’re also one of the few shops in this area that use the Coffee Ripples service, which is an app-powered machine that “prints” high quality images on your coffee foam using coffee bean “ink”. This is an awesome bonus I discovered during my visit! I printed a Darth Vader onto my foam, and the possibilities are endless because you can customize your own image with your smartphone app & it gets sent directly to My Ocha’s machine. Check out the video below for how it all works:

My personal favorite here is the strawberry matcha latte. What is it? Imagine hand-ground ceremonial grade matcha powder via mortar & pestle, meticulously brewed & then swirled with a milk of your choice (regular, almond, coconut, or soy), and a layer of utterly delicious housemade strawberry compote at the bottom. What you get is this:

Not only does it look good, it tastes even better!

You can find My Ocha right by Au Bon Pain and Mr. Cupcakes on the first floor of the Shops at Riverside (390 Hackensack Ave, Hackensack, NJ 07601) and online at Yelp & Instagram.

Brooklyn Defender 2017 Launch Party with New York Comic Con

Tonight was the launch party for the latest Brooklyn Defender IPA by Brooklyn Brewery partnered with ReedPOP’s New York Comic Con. Every year, this power couple releases a new take on the “Official Beer of New York Comic Con” featuring brand new artwork of an original modern Brooklyn superhero.

Defend Beer with Brooklyn Defender IPA, our heroically hopped golden IPA featuring strong notes of tropical fruit, well-muscled hop bitterness, and an incredibly dry finish. Cape not required. #DefendBeer Brooklyn Defender IPA is proud to be the official beer of New York Comic Con.

The event was jam packed with fans eager to try the new golden IPA but the night wasn’t just about beer, no.

ReedPOP/New York Comic Con was in the house, providing fun all night long! As we entered, we received a raffle ticket for the end-of-the-night prize drawing, a couple of NYCC stickers, and a voucher to redeem a limited edition Brooklyn Defender pint glass!

Once we were inside, everyone was already enjoying the Brooklyn Brewery Tasting Room atmosphere, except this time it’s been decked out with #DefendBeer artwork and photo ops!

You could enjoy the existing arcade games inside, grab a seat at one of the many tables for coaster/paper sword decorating, or head over to the superhero backdrops where you can pose with props in front of the skyline or a wind machine!

Eventually, the pizza that was promised showed up and it didn’t disappoint.

Brought to you by Sizzle Pie, an assortment of slices fed the hungry crowds!

While waiting for the raffle drawing, we got to sit down and check out the “Design Your Own Coaster” baskets:

But honestly, even the printed side of the coasters were keepers!

Next, we had to check out the fondant cake by Rock Candy Cakes. Modeled after the Brewery, this cake was intricately detailed, down to the building design and the superhero pose on top!

As the night came to a close, the MC announced the Instagram story winner who would win a 4-day pass to New York Comic Con next month! Though multi-day passes are not an option this year, these special passes would allow entry for all 4 days. Lucky!

The same top prize was given to the raffle ticket winner… except this was 5 minutes after the MC attempted to read off winning raffle tickets pulled from the wrong bucket… (Runner-ups won Brooklyn Beer swag!)

The final event was the cosplay contest. Many entered and I saw a bunch that were phenomenal like this Batman costume from Christian Bale’s Dark Knight Trilogy.

Winners also won the special NYCC passes, with a Grand Prize of 2 passes. Check out the top 3:

Congratulations to all the winners!

The whole event was well thought out and didn’t leave a single second for a dull moment. And the night just made me that much more excited for New York Comic Con, October 5-8, 2017 (buy tickets here)!

And to top it all off, on our way out we were able to redeem our vouchers for that limited edition pint glass! Originally behind schedule, we were told we would need to return to Brooklyn after 2 days to pick it up… but thankfully the shipment had arrived just as the event was winding down!

Thanks, Brooklyn Brewery & ReedPOP for hosting a fun event for us! Cheers!

Hello Kitty Cafe Truck

There’s a pink truck outside Westfield’s Garden State Plaza serving fun treats and merchandise but it isn’t your typical food truck… it’s the Hello Kitty Cafe Truck!

For the past 2 years, Sanrio’s popular character has had its own cafe on wheels travel the country: delivering cookies, macarons, petit fours, water, mugs, and t-shirts.

Not only is it a must for fans of Hello Kitty & all things pink, but also fans of the baked goods as well! I was surprised to discover that the macarons and petit fours not only photographed well but were quite tasty too.

Check out the whole menu below:

As short as the menu is, the line still moves along very slowly but if you make it, you’ll be able to choose from 6 fun items on their menu – plus a free tote bag with a food purchase over $25!

Make sure you arrive early! The later you are, the longer you’ll wait and the more likely things will sell out before you reach the front. It was a very diverse group of people lined up – from kids dressed head to toe in Hello Kitty to adults who thought Hello Kitty stopped being popular in 1992:

But once you reach the front, everything is displayed in their window and a little tent is set up next to it for the non-food merchandise.

When you’re finished, the truck is decorated on all sides… so whichever side is free, be sure to swing around to snap a selfie!

So don’t miss your chance! The Hello Kitty Cafe Truck’s next stop is this Saturday, September 9, at The Shops At Skyview Center in Flushing, NY from 10am-8pm (while supplies last)!

ComiCONN 2017 (Foxwoods Resort Casino)

ComiCONN proudly boasts being “A Show for the Fans by the Fans!”, but can you feel it when you attend?

Whether your interests lie in sci-fi/fantasy, comedy, or pop culture, ComiCONN has something for everybody! It was my first time attending this con and I thoroughly enjoyed it. From the guests & vendors to the venue itself (Foxwoods Resort Casino), it was packed with things to do, photo opportunities, and plenty of ways to throw away cash!

Primarily I was excited to attend this con because of their guests Paul Springer & Simon Williamson, both of whom I’ve never met. But the guest list goes on and on with cast members from Sons of Anarchy, The Walking Dead, Karate Kid, and V. Unfortunately Paul Springer (puppeteer for Ree-Yees in Star Wars: Return of the Jedi) had canceled just before the start of the con but I still got to meet Simon Williamson and plenty of others!

Also got to meet Mr. Timothy Zahn, who’s written many fine books, but one of the more popular ones today is Thrawn, a recent redone character from his work in the 90s. Grand Admiral Thrawn has been re-imagined for the Star Wars Rebels cartoon and he’s such a great antagonist. Since I missed my chance to see him at Star Wars Celebration, I was so glad I got my book, comic, and figures signed!

I was pleased to find that our initial entry into the show floor was fairly simple, as well as our first re-entry in the beginning of the day, but to get back in later in the day was a total nightmare. ComiCONN was quick to respond and fixed the re-entry issue the next day. If they didn’t, it would be Rhode Island Comic Con all over again (same company, actually).

But at least once you’re outside you can enjoy the show store and some more photo ops! (And of course all that the casino has to offer) Some of the additional photo ops included a Wonder Woman cosplayer on a prop horse riding off the success of the standalone film, the 501st Legion, and Speed Racer.

Even Speed Racer needed some cash for show exclusives! But by far the best ComiCONN exclusive was the exclusive G.I. Joe #241 with cover art by Ian Chase Nichols. I picked one up for $10 and got it signed by him for free at his booth:

The vendors on the show floor were very cool, with a lot of variety in products. Booths ranged from art to collectibles to freebies. I think one of my favorites was Foxwoods’ very own Cake By Franck. They normally have a state-of-the-art vending machine on the casino floor but it was shut down for repairs. Instead, they had a booth set up at the con on top of their retail store on the other side of the resort. They were serving up specialty geek treats for this weekend including, but not limited to, chocolate covered pretzel lightsabers, comic themed cupcakes & brownies, a chocolate throne from Game of Thrones, lemonade potion bottles, and a completely edible chocolate Millennium Falcon in 3.75″ scale!

How amazing! But as fun as that was, Sugar Factory takes the cake with jaw-dropping desserts & drinks. We had lunch here and we had a total blast with their Smoking Goblets. We realized that there are a few in our area but figured that with all the other places we could check out in NYC, we would never make the time to actually go to a Sugar Factory.

As our day started to wrap up, we made our way to Jason David Frank’s booth for his final signing of the day. After hearing about him being someone’s target at last month’s Phoenix Comicon, we were relieved to see he was still traveling to cons. Even though we saw him at multiple cons in the past, we only now made an effort to meet him.

JDF seemed like a fun guy who cares about his fans! But just before our turn, NBC Connecticut interviewed him for their ComiCONN news segment, where the anchor asked him about Adam West (who had passed away the night before, RIP). It was Jason’s first time hearing the news and was totally shaken up, so when he returned to his booth he wasn’t fully himself quite yet… You can tell by his smile in our photo. And also by the fact he signed my comic book: “To: John”!

Can you find us in his epic selfie?

On our way out, we got to say hi to Gaten Matarazzo, who plays Dustin on Netflix’s Stranger Things, and also pose in the Byers living room:

And a con wouldn’t be a con without a couple of freebies! We got a few DC posters for Wonder Woman and Justice League!

All in all, it was a great con and the venue made it even more enjoyable. It was their first time at Foxwoods, but hopefully not their last. I loved that you can enjoy this midsize convention but also venture out into the casino & outlet mall during your down time. I’d like to see how they handled the change in re-entry since that was my only negative experience. Looking forward to their 9th next year!

Wizard World Philadelphia 2017

We had a blast in Philly this past weekend!

Last year I attended Wizard World’s show in Richmond, VA and was slightly disappointed by the size so I was very much excited to attend one of their bigger shows in Philadelphia with guests like: Chuck Norris, Jesse Eisenberg, Rob Liefeld, Michael Rooker, Sean Gunn, Jon Heder, and Ralph Macchio! I originally planned on attending to meet Millie Bobby Brown (Eleven from Stranger Things) but she unfortunately backed out a while ago.

But the convention itself was set up much better than Richmond was, and it utilized its floor space more efficiently too! Upcoming 2017 blockbusters had their displays up and were perfect for memorable comic con photo ops. Despicable Me 3 had a prison cell with lifesize Gru & minions “giving tattoos” (plus receive temporary tattoos that come alive with their app), Spider-Man Homecoming had their theater standee with Spidey in his yellow blazer, 47 Meters Down had a giant shark cutout that you can pop out of, Transformers The Last Knight had a photo op with SQWEEKS, and Warner Brothers had a booth to promote their latest hits: Wonder Woman (which I stand by my decision that it’s a fantastic movie), King Arthur, Lego Ninjago, and the remake of It.

WB also had a raffle wheel where you could win promotional items from those movies. You could have won a plastic Wonder Woman tiara, some WW bracelets, a King Arthur patch, or a poster featuring Lego Ninjago or Wonder Woman. I could tell that the staff member wasn’t too thrilled to work at this station.

The vendors were pretty typical but I was able to pick up a few things for myself and some friends, including the rare first issue & first appearance of Batman Beyond which I got signed by voice actor & Boy Meets World star Will Friedle! In addition, I got my Deadpool #12 signed by creator Rob Liefeld, and my Marvel Chuck Norris Karate Kommandos #1 signed:

I’m excited to get them back once CGC grades them and add them to my collection!

In the middle of the day we needed a break from all the walking and standing in line, so we grabbed lunch in the ever popular Reading Terminal Market. The last time I was in here was 9 years ago and it was not nearly as crowded as a Saturday filled with convention geeks! I was disappointed that Delilah’s had closed a few years ago – I really wanted to try the 7-cheese mac & cheese that almost beat Bobby Flay in Throwdown. But thankfully, we found a delicious alternative with Beck’s Cajun Cafe! We got to dig into some cajun alfredo pasta, jambalaya, gator gumbo, and fried mac & cheese balls! If you’re ever in the area and you’re craving some spicy creole cuisine, definitely stop by.

I also had the privilege of meeting the talented Lex Lang who’s done countless voices in animation. He’s also done some great work with Lucasfilm, specifically Stormtroopers in Rogue One, Poe Dameron in Lego Star Wars, and Han Solo in Battlefront II/Rogue Squadron III. Maybe you’ve heard his voice in: Lupin the 3rd, Transformers RID, Digimon, Ghost in the Shell, Justice League Unlimited, Naruto, Avatar, The Batman, Bleach, Dragon Ball Super, One Punch Man, etc.

He signed my Rogue One Stormtrooper figure! We got a photo together and as he signed my Stormtrooper trading card, I asked him if he’d seen the new Rogue One trading cards by Topps. He said he hadn’t, so I gave him one of the extra ones I brought of troopers storming the beach of Scarif. He seemed to really appreciate it

But the highlight of the con was definitely being able to meet the legendary Chuck Norris. Twice.

He was fashionably late and was surrounded by Wizard World staff, security personnel, and local police. I think they all stayed close to him for their protection.

He & his wife Gena were very kind and the line moved very swiftly, like a roundhouse kick to the face.

There were a lot of people getting autographs on the provided 8×10’s from The Expendables or Walker Texas Ranger, but just as many getting rare memorabilia signed as well. Once I got my comic signed, we came back shortly after to line up for the photo op with him which was a lot longer than the autograph line.

Again, he was very courteous and was happy to pose with us despite posing normally with most others.

In the end, Wizard World redeemed itself in my book. I’ll keep checking on what they’ll bring to the table in the near future.

But for now, I’ll close with one of my favorite Chuck Norris facts:

Chuck Norris once killed 200 people with a grenade. And then it exploded.

Star Wars Day 2017 (40th Anniversary of A New Hope)

Today, Star Wars fans around the world annually celebrate the saga, the franchise, the life-changing experience that is Star Wars! Why today? Because it’s May The 4th, as in May The Fourth (Force) Be With You!

How does one celebrate Star Wars Day, you ask?

You could go to one of the many shops offering special once-a-year deals on Star Wars merchandise, you could cosplay as your favorite Jedi or Sith and duke it out with your friends in a lightsaber battle, or (if you’re like me) you can relax at home with friends and enjoy good eats & one of the current 8 films!

It was our first time hosting a Star Wars Day Party since getting engaged in Disney a couple weeks ago, so we were excited to hang out with friends and have a good time! To commemorate the 40th Anniversary of Episode IV: A New Hope, we popped in the Blu-ray and ate Episode IV specific food (with minimal prep)! If you’re in a pinch for time, here’s an easy way to enjoy Star Wars Day!

First, a Star Wars Day Party isn’t complete without a game! It keeps things social while you’re watching the movie and there’s always a new game to try out! I always love playing a version of Star Wars Monopoly. There are tons to choose from, whether it’s the Saga Edition, the 1997 20th Anniversary Edition, or this year’s 40th Anniversary Special Edition!

And what’s a game without some prizes? Lucky folks got to walk away with a nostalgic piece of collecting with a 1990’s Star Wars figure!

I luckily got to keep the Snaggletooth!

But onto the food!

The cups, plates, napkins, and tablecloth were from Party City. They seasonally cycle through new styles & designs but currently they carry many Episode IV-friendly designs (in addition to the existing Episode VII prints). Plus using this party-ware makes cleanup easy and keeps dish-washing at a minimum!

The signs I made for the dishes were inspired by the classic Star Wars silver “double racetrack” with the 40th Anniversary logo. Once you have the art & font, they’re easy to make and you can print a few on a page (preferably cardstock).

The menu (clockwise from top-left):

Vader-ade: Not necessarily Gatorade! Simply mix your favorite drink together, add coloring to a Sprite/Sierra Mist type soda, or purchase a pre-colored drink for effect. I chose red because of the Sith Lord’s lightsaber, of course!

Mos Eis-Tea: Mos Eisley’s most popular sweet drink (maybe not)! This can also be your favorite recipe of iced tea, sweet tea, green tea, etc. or pre-made tea drink.

Greedo’s Doritos: Green tortilla chips. You may get lucky and find avocado chips but any green chips will do! Spinach, lime, etc. But if they’re not green, then you’ve missed the point. Stay on target.

Sorry About The Mess: Accompanies the chips! After Han fries poor Greedo, who knows what kind of Rodian guts spilled… but everyone can enjoy salsa!

Jek’s X-Wings: Honor fallen X-Wing pilot Jek Porkins and enjoy the wings of your choice. We went with Korean style soy garlic wings.

Tatoo-weenies: Simply pigs in a blanket… or is it? Unlike Luke & Tatooine, you’ll be sure to return to these over & over!

Potato Wedge Fries: Named after multi-battle survivor Wedge Antilles, this side can obviously be potato wedges, steak fries, or any fry of your choice.

Yavin 4 Cheese Mac: This was store bought, so I don’t know how accurate the “4 cheese” is… but you get the idea! Bonus points if your mac gets closer to the orange/red color of Yavin!

Han Burgers: White Castle slider case is cheap & quick, and it’ll help you make the Kessel Run in less than 12 parsecs! (This is not actually guaranteed.)

Pad TIE: We picked up a container of Pad Thai from one of the many Thai places near us… “There’s too many of them!”

Chewie Cookies: In the past, I baked Wookiee Cookies with a Chewbacca cookie cutter. But this year we cut corners and bought a pack of S’mores Chips Ahoy! Quite chewy!

Imperial Suckers: These Stromtrooper lollipops were a last minute addition for fun. I tried thinking of a name like Luke’s Lollipops but it made no sense. Finally, I realized that the Empire sucks!!

Multi-Leia Chocolate Cake: And finally, the pièce de résistance… a delicious chocolatey cake in the name of everyone’s favorite Princess. I cannot stress how *vital* it is that your cake truly has multi-layers!

As the movie wrapped up, we all took turns taking pictures with our Polaroid camera with special Star Wars film:

With lightsabers as borders and a different graphic at the bottom with every photo, everyone had a little souvenir to take home.

And some extra parting gifts in the form of a goody bag!

Yes, actual vintage 1977 Topps trading cards, a Funko Pop Stormtrooper pin, a pen/stylus, and some Jelly Belly sparkling Chewbacca jelly beans!

Of all the years I’ve had a Star Wars Day Party, this was the one to go all out! 40 years and going strong! It’s a thrilling ride to be a part of this amazing Star Wars culture and to be able to celebrate with a galaxy full of fans who are deeply into it as much as it is in them.

But there’s more than one way to celebrate! How will you enjoy Star Wars Day today?

May the 4th be with you!

East Coast Comic Con 2017

This is our second time attending East Coast Comicon and we came back because the first time was so much fun & was a meaningful trip for us. Again at the Meadowlands Exposition Center in Secaucus, NJ, there were some great guests, vendors, and vehicles for attendees to experience.

The Guests

As always, ECC had some amazing comic guests who have left their mark in comic book history: Michael Golden, Mike Zeck, John Beatty, Jim Salicrup, Marv Wolfman, Fabian Nicieza, Yanick Paquette… the list goes on and on! But I did get to meet Batman The Animated Series’ Kevin Altieri who was seated right next to Ren & Stimpy’s Bill Wray:

Kevin signed the cover of my Batman: Mask of the Phantasm VHS (yes, VHS, you read that right). He was an… interesting guy, to say the least.

But on top of all the pro comic book guests, there were tons of up & coming talent in the artist alley like my go-to favorite CreeesArt (check out the Minion-Captain America art at the end of this post). I’ve lost count of how many times I’ve seen him at cons now. But check out his work, he’s fantastic!

But the media guests were of particular interest this year: Dawn Wells (Mary Ann of Gilligan’s Island), Penny, Don, Judy & Will from Lost In Space, Danny Trejo, Ernie Hudson (Winston from Ghostbusters), wrestlers Kevin Nash & Ashley Massaro, and of course Daniel Logan from Star Wars Episode II: Attack of the Clones!

At first I was worried because when doors opened at 10am, he wasn’t at his booth. In fact, he didn’t arrive until after 11am. But we stuck through it! While waiting on the online queue to buy NYCC 2017 tickets, we patiently stood first in line at his booth. When he finally arrived, the energy of the place totally changed! While he was setting up his table with 8×10’s and Boba Fett trading cards, not once did he ignore the crowd. He kept telling stories, connecting with fans of all ages, and went above & beyond. I can’t say enough about Daniel!

He explained that he was late because of airport luggage mishaps and needed to go clothes shopping with his manager Saira. It was quite funny, all the while he was putting his Boba Fett helmet together for display. Then I got to talk to him about being in the low-budget “Sharknado: The 4th Awakens” film, Jeremy Bulloch (Boba Fett) & Tem Morrison (Jango Fett), how some other celebrities are just so cold towards fans, and why he’s so blessed to come to cons! Then later on (since we were first again at the photo opp) he talked to us even more, congratulating us on our Disney engagement right before we attended Celebration, and how he & his wife also had a special proposal at Walt Disney World (but with Mickey & Minnie too)!

I wasn’t a fan of the company running the photos this year. It was a single photographer with a single SD card running one booth. The camera wasn’t wirelessly connected to the printers and would take anywhere from 10 to 30 minutes to receive your print. Previously (and at every other con I’ve been to), the photos print instantly! We came back after an hour only to find that someone had taken our print (??) but the photographer was by the vehicles for the Lost In Space photo opp, so my photo could not be immediately reprinted… I had to come back in another hour. Also, digital files were also not offered. It was a major hassle. But when I told Daniel this story, he offered to sign our photo at no charge – what a guy! He also signed my Clone Wars Boba Fett figure and a photo of Jango & Boba I already got signed by Tem at Celebration. Plus he threw in a free selfie & signed card!

On our way out we also ran into Tony Todd from Candyman, Star Trek: TNG, the voice of Zoom on CW’s Flash, and Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen. Super nice guy!

The Vendors

On top of the obvious booths filled with vintage & modern comic books, there are always a lot of interesting vendors at ECC. Various prints & posters, collectibles, cosplay items, etc.

With the 40th Anniversary of A New Hope coming up, I thought it would be fitting to share these cool Star Wars coasters:

And who can resist Lego mini figures!

But thanks to a little smart shopping, I was able to finally get a 6″ Black Series Sabine Wren, a cool comic book adaptation of Michael Keaton’s Batman, and more!

The Vehicles

Another highlight from this con is the collection of vehicles they bring in. This year they had the Munster Koach, The Monkee Mobile, Christine from the Stephen King movie, the Lost In Space Chariot, the Ghostbusters Ecto-2, and 3 Batmobiles (Adam West, Michael Keaton, Christian Bale)!

On top of all of that, we did eventually score tickets to this year’s New York Comic Con online! So all in all it was a great con. Fantastic cosplay, delicious food (check out the mac & cheese bites, jalapeño poppers, and chicken nuggets below), and amazing swag haul. What more can you ask for?

Kellogg’s NYC Cereal Cafe

“Just follow your nose!”

In the summer of 2016, Kellogg’s opened a very unique and very sweet cereal cafe in NYC’s Times Square. After missing the Pop-Tarts pop up cafe last month, and the Pop-Tarts World Cafe a couple years ago, I finally got to visit the shop and try some of their famous concoctions (in collaboration with founder & owner of Momofuku Milk Bar: Chef Christina Tosi)!

You’re immediately greeted by unique signage, neon lights, and Kellogg’s packaging, followed by their creative menu worked on by Tosi.

Though the location is seemingly in a “permanent” location, the menus clearly say “limited time!” and “limited quantities!”… Is it only a matter of time before this establishment also ‘Flakes’ and goes away?

I quickly noticed that workers were few and seating was scarce, but there were tons of treats to go around!

All around, your favorite cereals are on display: Froot Loops, Apple Jacks, Rice Krispies, Krave, and of course Pop-Tarts!

And once you’ve decided on which sweets to consume, you hit up one of the workers who has a tablet containing all the possibilities they offer at Kellogg’s NYC. While you’re doing that, take a look at what hasn’t sold out yet, including their available cereal donuts and L’eggo my Eggo sandwiches (look out, Eleven!):

We ultimately decided on the Life In Color (Froot Loops) donut, Double Chocolate (Cocoa Krispies) donut, Smack “Burger” (Honey Smacks, Cocoa Krispies, Frosted Strawberry Pop-Tart Patty, Pineapple “Cheddar”, and Corn Flakes “Lettuce”), and a Dem Cookies, Dough milkshake (Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Pop-Tart, Vanilla Ice Cream, Blueberry Jame, Fresh Strawberries, Milk, Whipped Cream).

Once ordered, you receive a buzzer that will display the cubby number to pick up your order.

And surprise! Your treats are waiting for you. And wow, everything was so sweet… like SO sweet. You’d better absolutely love (slightly chewy) cereal if you’re considering coming here.

As the days get warmer, look out for how the workers handle your food. If not gentle, their tongs will crush your cereal donut. And if not in the perfect temperature, your milkshake will start to melt & fall apart way too fast! So be warned: photograph quickly, people!

In the end, it was quite an experience and the entire place is beautifully colorful, but we couldn’t wait to get to dinner and indulge in some salty dishes next!