Urban Hot Pot – Exploring Maryland

I was trying to refrain from writing about restaurants because I wasn’t sure how helpful it would be with sites already dedicated to restaurant reviews. But I realize that most of the places I go to in Maryland are food places! And well, it is my blog and since I love food so much, then why not share about my experiences! Ergo, Urban Hot Pot. Why start out with this place? Because I just recently went and so it’s fresh in my mind!

What is “HotPot”?

It’s a cooking method that involves boiling/simmering bowl of soup with which you place a variety of foodstuffs in to cook it. I believe it originated in China but I do know a lot of other Asian cultures have their versions of it. It’s basically the Asian version of fondue if you will – except instead of cheese, it’s broth.

Urban Hot Pot

I believe Urban Hot Pot opened early last year (2018) or mid to late 2017. There are many hot pot places in Maryland but I must say that I like Urban Hot Pot’s concept (which I’ll describe more below). The place is so clean, which is nice, because typically, in restaurants where people cook their own food, the place tends to be a little greasy  or at least doesn’t look as swell kept. I don’t know if it’s because this place is new-ish that it feels clean or they are just thorough when they clean it. Either way, I approve of their cleanliness.

Their Concept

Urban Hot Pot is an all you can eat type of restaurant with a rotating conveyor belt where ingredients are put on for your convenience. This is only located in the middle tables though. The tables on the side (as well as the tables in the middle), come with iPads where you can put in your orders. Each person gets their own pot of their choice of broth on top of their own “stove.” Everyone gets up to 2 hours to stuff their faces. Simple enough right??

Basic Info

Lunch: $18.99 per person
Monday – Friday: 12pm – 3pm

Dinner: $25.99 per person
Monday – Thursday: 5pm – 11pm
Friday: 5pm – 12am

Weekend/Holidays: $25.99
Saturday/Holiday: 12pm – 12am
Sunday: 12pm – 11pm

There are some options during dinner that are not available during lunch – hence the price. There are also some things on the menu that you have to pay extra for – including drinks. But to be honest, the ones included in the price are great! No need to get the extra ones unless it’s something you’re really aching to taste =)

The Sauces

Urban Hot Pot has their own sauce bar which include soy sauce, peanut sauce, sesame oil, vinegar, and lots of other sauces you can combine to make your own. My go-to is a combination of soy sauce, sesame oil, and vinegar… but you do you brah, you do you!

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The Extras

There’s also a bar for “sides” and desserts. Urban Hot Pot also has a frozen yogurt machine – a little tip – keep eating the hot pot stuff, the froyo is just ok.

My Thoughts

So I’ve been to Urban Hot Pot a few times and here are some tips as well as pros and cons.

Tips

Urban Hot Pot opens at 12pm. Get there at 11:45am so you can sit right away and pick out the middle booths you want. Otherwise, you may have to wait 2 hours since they give people 2 hours to eat all they can!

If you do get lucky and sit in the middle section, you want the 4 seater… the 6 seater is big but harder to get to the conveyor belt and the iPad (for ordering) located near the conveyor belt.

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The tables that are not in the middle uses iPads to get the orders. Look through the choices. Make sure you scroll left and right as well so you can see all the choices you have.

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Pros

The thing that stands out with Urban Hot Pot is the ordering through iPad. Once you master this, service is pretty good. It’s not only a way to order food, but you can also use the iPad to get more napkins, get some drinks, or if you just need to ask them a question – these options are on the iPad.

The conveyor belt is great because you don’t even have to use the iPad to order stuff. Just wait for whatever you want to come to you, and there you go!

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You get your own bowl of broth in Urban Hot Pot! They fill it up any time you want (within those 2 hours). I know in some places, the bowl is in the middle of the table and people just share the broth. So it’s kind of nice having your own so you can pick what type of broth you want.

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Cons

Urban Hot Pot is probably not the most kid-friendly of places. By “kid” I mean 5 and below. I mean it’s a pot of hot soup  right in front of you. It takes time to “cook” the food and what toddler likes to wait and not touch anything while waiting.

The bigger tables have 1 iPad for the whole crew. So unless someone is ok ordering for everyone the whole dinner, then some people may get frustrated.

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Overall

I do really like this place. I would definitely go here again and again. Give it a go! It’s a good place to try. Also, I love hot pots so I guess this review is biased toward hot pot places. But I truly enjoyed eating here. I took my time and just chugged along.

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Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Disney World – with the kiddos

Happy New Year everyone! It’s been a while since I’ve written a post and I’ve really been itching to write about our first trip to Disney World with the kiddos! I wrote a really long one but decided I may just have to write about the highlights because it was looooooooong!

But before that, I just wanted to thank everyone who has followed me on my blogging journey. It’s been hard coming up with content because I get caught up with what I think people may want to hear instead of focusing on writing about what I feel like writing about. So this year, my goal is just to write. Without thinking about what may be a “hit” or what may start to “trend.”

I started blogging because I wanted to share my adventures as a mom, but also to share my adventures as an individual. If it happens to put a smile on someone’s face, then all the better! So here’s to 2019!! Looking forward to writing more about things that give me joy! Thanks again for the follow!!

Disney World

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This past Christmas, my family and I went to Florida for our annual Christmas family reunion. Since this is the first time our little ones have been to Florida, A and I decided to suck it up and go to Disney World! What an adventure for sure! Here are some of the highlights that happened during out trip there!

JK it wasn’t that bad… haha

Animal Kingdom

Can I just say that Disney World is a machine?! The way everything works from the trams that take you to the parks and back to the parking lots, to the staff that notices the small things and make sure that you feel special. No wonder people call it “the happiest place on earth!”

OK! So yes, Animal Kingdom. This is where A and I went “solo” with our little family. Everyone else went to Universal and we took E and baby bro (let’s call him J from now on) here because we know they love animals. We were not disappointed!

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They loved the shows especially The Lion King and Finding Nemo. I mean who knew a 2 year old can sit still in awe for a whole 35 minutes? J enjoyed the shows so much he kept yelling “more” after each show we went to.

Lion King

Guys, legit, go here. E and J were staring open-mouthed the whole entire time. It’s basically songs from the movie with lots of tumbling and jumping and dancing! Here is J… who even taught him how to clap like that?!?

Pandora

We didn’t do the Flight of the Avatar – couldn’t get a fast pass to it and then the line was like 4 hours long! But we were able to go on the Navi’i River ride. Reviews showed that adults didn’t really like it, but the kids loved it so much! A boat ride in a cave with lots of glowing lights? Yes please!

We also indulged in the Night Blossom Drink! One of my good friends recommended I try it, so I did and I heart it. The kids loved it too. Limeade, apple, and pear flavors with popping passion fruit flavored bubbles? Yasssss! It also makes for a great insta pic… just saying.. if you’re into that…

Finding Nemo

It’s the whole movie in 35 minutes. Loved it. E got a little scared of the shark scene… but J was all about everything. I can’t believe this boy sat through the whole thing. Ok Disney, I see you.

My Thoughts on Animal Kingdom

It’s definitely a lot harder to get around with kiddos. Yes, bring them strollers. It’s super helpful. Also, note to self, E and J both have major FOMOs and don’t want to miss out on anything. So yes, J will forego his nap… but also know he will break down as soon as you get home… it was a rough night.

Magic Kingdom

I love this place! I LOVE THIS PLACE! If E and J weren’t with me, I would still love this place. Here is where E got her fill of princesses while also being treated like a princess. She was one happy kid. J didn’t nap his usual 1-3 pm but fell asleep during dinner and then woke up hangry… yayyyyy! This was also the day that 15 of our family members joined our family of 4 to enjoy the park together!

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Ok Disney… I see you and your awesome lights!!

The Rides

We rode a few rides – Buzz Light Year, Winnie the Pooh, the Carousel, Peter Pan’s flight, and of course It’s a Small World (my mom’s fave). The fast pass saved us from waiting too long in a few of the lines. This is when 19 of us would go through the fast pass lanes to enjoy the rides together. I loved it! It reminded me of when I was little and our whole family would wait in line together. This is when the cousins would either bond or get into fights depending on the mood. Luckily, there was no fighting this time around.

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Meeting the Princesses

There was a portion of the day where my mom, A, E and J broke off from the whole family, so E could finally meet the princesses. People… let me tell you! If your kid wants to meet a certain princess, make sure you stand in the correct line! Because we waited for an hour to meet Rapunzel, only to find out we were in the Esmeralda and Jasmine line!! Thankfully E didn’t know any better and thought we were just gonna get in another line again after meeting Esmeralda and Jasmine.

Little did she know that her mother had to pretty much beg the fast-pass people for the Rapunzel line. I think it helped that E was all decked out in her Rapunzel outfit – hair and all, that they kindly let us through the fast pass lane (especially since no one was there). E was speechless as Rapunzel tried to talk to her, but her smile said it all – her dream had come true. My heart melted when I saw that.

Enchanting Stories With Belle

Ok guys, I had to single this one out. There wasn’t a long wait for this one and honestly, I thought it was going to be a total dud… but guys, if you ever have a chance to take your kiddos here… do so. They get the kids involved and they get an up close and personal time with Belle!

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I loved it because E and J volunteered to be in the little story… this momma was so proud that J didn’t cry because the whole trip, he only wanted to be with me. So I was so proud to see him up there. I really think it’s because E was up there and he saw that she was having fun so he’s like “ok me too.” And my personal favorite, A, got picked to be a knight. The last person that would volunteer for anything that would make him be in the spotlight… but he did it for the kiddos and I loved it so much I had to write separately about it.

That Dole Whip

Ummm, O (my friend) is the best. She recommended this and I wonder why of all the years I’ve been to Disney when I was younger, I have never had it before. Guys, get it. It’s legit. It’s basically soft serve pineapple ice cream. And if you think it’s too tarty, get it mixed with vanilla ice cream and you’re good to go. Legit. Get it!

My Final Thoughts on Magic Kingdom

I can’t even. What can I say? I love this place. The shows were great! Beware of Mickey’s Philharmonic though – it could scare a 2 year old because of the loud cymbal sounds. Speaking from experience of course. Lol.. but otherwise, the shows were great and over the top and awesome. I loved them all.

Yes, it’s a lot harder with the kiddos. But I can tell that they really enjoyed it and if you can take them being whiny and cranky from lack of sleep/tiredness, then I really think you ought to try it.

Finally…

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Ok, that was longer than I thought it would be… but trust, it was way longer. LOL.

When I was a kid, I totally enjoyed all these rides and shows and stuff. But truly, I only remember snippets of it. As a mom, I don’t even remember what happened in any of the rides or the shows… what I do remember are E and J’s faces – their smiles, their awe, and their cheering. I guess that’s what my mom remembers when she took us when we were younger. I think that because of the way her face lit up every time E and J were awed of something. And I know that because of the way I felt when I saw their faces light up.

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So yes, A and I were exhausted… but we both agreed that the best part of that trip, was watching E and J. We also agreed that we would have to go again without the kids so we can enjoy it for ourselves… hahaha.. just keepin’ it real yo! Disney is not just for kids ok??

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!!

 

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

Winter Lights Festival – Exploring Maryland Series

Hi guys! Time for exploring Maryland Series again! Ok, so this may be a little late but better late than never. Are you guys looking for stuff to do with the kiddos that’s festive? Do you live in the Gaithersburg/Rockville/Germantown area? Even if you don’t, and you’re nearby those cities, you should go and check out the Winter Lights Festival in Gaithersburg!

Rothy’s – a Review

Well! I done done it again, set a whole new trend… HA! I WISH! I’ve got no fashionable bone in my body and that’s being nice. When it comes to fashion, I admire from afar and at times, I do try to be trendy. However, it doesn’t turn out well and it just looks like i’m trying way too hard. Enter Rothy’s.

The first time I saw these shoes was at work. My friend was wearing a pair of Rothy’s flats and told us about the company and what it stood for and my interest was piqued. However, I didn’t really think of buying it until one of my best friends said she got one. Hey, copying is the best form of flattery okaayyy?

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What is Rothy’s?

The co-founders of this company – Stephen and Roth – realized that “sustainability with style” wasn’t really something that was popular before. This is why they came up with shoes that are stylish, but also very long lasting. Stylish washable shoes? I’m totally in!

Rothy’s shoes are made directly from recycled water bottles! It’s also machine washable and supposedly has a quick dry technology. The insole is removable and washable… so basically the whole shoe is washable. Their website states that the soles of their shoes are “carbon free” rubber.  It also claims that it’s comfortable and you can wear it all day every day. And lastly, the shoe itself is light weight – about 9.3 oz. each shoe!

Cost

These shoes are not cheap. Rothy’s are $145 a pair, but you can get $20 off if you refer a friend or if a friend refers you. Unfortunately, those do not stack up. As in, if you get 3 of your friends to use your code, you still only get $20 off a pair of shoes. But you know, if you are into this company’s mission, it’s not a bad deal. Buy a pair, save the planet type deal. Even their shoe boxes are vegan and biodegradable. So yeah. Go for it if it’s something you believe in =).

My Experience

I went ahead and bought these shoes about 5-6 months ago. I’ve been seeing my coworker wear them and I was totally intrigued. When I found out one of my best friends bought a pair, I was like I’m in!

I chose the red  “the point” shoes. Quite bold for me, but this mama has got to get some of her groove back on okkkaaayy? It didn’t take long to be delivered at all.

My normal shoe size is 6.5 and so I ordered 6.5 because I heard they are true to size. They were. They fit nicely! Some reviews did say that they tend to stretch out, but I haven’t had that experience. So far, so good! Very comfortable indeed! Ok Rothy’s I see you.

 

Wash and Re-Use

So the biggest claims about these shoes are that they are machine washable so I had to try to wash them before I wrote a proper review. My concern was that the shoe will lose its shape and that it will basically break apart after washing them in the washing machine.

Ok so the Rothy’s website states you just remove the insoles and throw them into the washing machine with the shoes. So I did. Don’t use hot water – I mean the shoes are made from plastic bottles… amiright? Gentle cycle with gentle detergent. Afterwards, lay on a flat surface, leave over night, and voila, good as new in the morning.

As long as you don’t use any heat, the shoes were fine. They maintained their shape and when I wore them, they felt the same as when I first bought them! Still comfortable indeed.

My Final Thoughts

Ok, so yes, this is esssspensive! BUT, it’s washable and reusable and it’s actually pretty cool. If I had the funds, I would definitely buy more of these. I would love to try their different styles just to see how they fit. Maybe this upcoming Christmas, I can has some?? 😉

 

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(all gifs are from giphy.com)

 

Homestead Farm – Exploring Maryland

Since the weather has been mild the past week or so, we’ve been trying to find things to do outdoors. Last week, I wrote about Clark’s Elioak Farm in Ellicott City. Though I loved everything about the farm, we wanted to go somewhere closer to home. Enter Homestead Farm.

Homestead Farm

Homestead Farm is located in Montgomery County, Maryland, specifically in Poolesville. I don’t have stats on the acreage of this farm but it is rather large. Their pumpkin patch is one of the biggest I’ve seen.

On their site, you can see when fruits are in season so you can pick the time of when you want to go.

Cost? Admission is free! So just visit and see what they’ve got there =) The following is what we saw when we came in mid-October =)

Hay Ride

Like legit hay rides. During the weekends. You sit on a truck bed with hay and is pulled by a tractor! It’s great! Ok it’s $4 per person and free for under 2 year olds. What’s cool about this place is it’s a 20 minute ride all around the farm! The view is great and if company is awesome, then this ride is definitely fun! Ok Homestead Farm, I see you.

Petting Zoo

Not completely a petting zoo. You don’t really pet the animals but you do get rather close to them. My favorite is the little tiny spotted piggies. The kiddos definitely enjoyed this part and even the adults loved looking at the animals. A cool feature are the ramps/climbing places for the mountain goats! I like the fact that Homestead Farm thought about this feature. They also have chickens, more goats, and alpacas.. or llamas… I have no idea.

Apple Picking

Or fruit picking really. October is for apples. During the time we came, Pink Lady Apples were in season. There are tons! Just walk through the many aisles of apple trees and you can fill up a bucket in a short amount of time! Also they make for great pictures, okkkaayy?

Market

All the farms have great markets! This one is pretty big with lots of produce and jelly! They also had caramel apples! YUM!

 

Final Thoughts

 

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There aren’t as many things to do for kids as far as activities. But Homestead Farm is huge. You can still have your kids see many different things in the farm. It’s also nice because you get to spend time with your kids in some form of nature. I definitely loved seeing baby bro run around, looking at his surroundings. Good deal Homestead, good deal.

 

Thanks for reading and have a great rest of the day!

(All gifs are from giphy.com)