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EAT (out)

Finding Christmas Cheer in Christmas Lights

No doubt Covid has changed our Christmas season. I miss cookie baking with friends, going to concerts and plays, and hosting holiday gatherings. While I am mourning all of these traditions, I will admit, slowing down hasn’t been all terrible. I’m not as rushed. I’m not trying to fill all my time with all the great things. We’ve even purchased an advent wreath with candles to thoughtfully remember the purpose of this season. What a beautiful new tradition that we can do at home together.

Another new way we are receiving joy and light this December is by driving around and looking at Christmas lights. We’ve done this in the past, but this year is different. It’s better! My husband found a post on the Captain of the Kids blog listing houses and neighborhoods around the city with amazing light displays. The guide is great because it labels each house: just lights, lights and music, and award winners.

So far we’ve done the Anderson Township/ Mt, Washington area, the Carthage/Wyoming/St. Bernard/Mt. Healthy area, and the Milford/Loveland area. We have fun mapping out our routes and seeing parts of the city we haven’t before.

We just finished planning our routes for Fairfield/Forest Park and Northern Kentucky. Two more epic drives to come. It gets us out of the house and we listen to a variety of Christmas tunes (sometimes we have to take turns controlling the playlist). There is just something about LIGHT this time of year; it’s a powerful reminder of hope.

These drives have truly brought us joy. We talk. We pack snacks. Grab a hot chocolate, or in my case, a peppermint mocha! Honestly, I believe more people are stepping up this year. Doing something. Even if it’s small. Adding a little bit of glow to what feels like, at times, grim days. I see it even in my own neighborhood. People putting a little something outside to sort of show that we are all in this together.

Again, check out this article by Captain of the Kids to plan your routes! It’s really something for the entire family. Plus, it’s free (other than the gas) and it’s covid safe. You know my motto: experiences are more important than things.

If any of you would like to know some of my personal favorites so far, please comment on the post and I will get back to you. Or, if you have a house or neighborhood that you think I should check out, please comment and let me know.

GO THERE (Driving around your city)! TRY THAT (Checking out the Christmas lights)!

La Torta Loca: Tacos and Empanadas

Between COVID, a scary diagnosis, surgery, healing, and, well, more COVID, my blog has been on hiatus. I finally decided that even though I’m not eating inside restaurants right now, I’m definitely getting take out! Why not write about that? Maybe I need to temporarily change my blog title from Go There! Try That!  to Go There! Take That!  It doesn’t have quite the same ring though, does it? Anyway, I’m glad to be back talking about food.

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One of my coworkers (oh hey Sherry) always has impressive recommendations for TV shows, books, movies, and restaurants. She gets me. So, if she recommends it, I try it.  That’s how I got to La Torta Loca in Florence, KY.  I’ve actually been sitting on this post since last February (the last time I dined in). After our first visit, I immediately went back a week later with all my friends. 

So, how do I know the restaurant is still as good? Because I got takeout last night and it was even better than I remember.

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In a nutshell, Torta Loca is small but mighty. The food is filling, delicious, full of flavor, savory, and messy! A perfect combo. This is one of those restaurants I kind of don’t want to talk about because I kind of don’t want everyone else to know about it.  BUT,  I also DO want everyone to know about it. Know what I mean?

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La Torte Loca focuses on Empanadas, Tortas, and Arepas. It’s a combination of Mexican and Venezuelan food. You can eat a lot here for your money.  It’s hands-on, authentic, can’t-eat-more-but-will-eat-more, so-going-to-end-up-wearing-it-on-my-shirt delicious.  If you find yourself unsure of what to order, order a bunch! And share. Taste test challenge at its best.

Be prepared though, depending on when you go, you may have to wait a bit for a table or for takeout. There isn’t a ton of seating, but as I said earlier, the wait is worth it. 

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People always ask me what my favorite dishes are and that’s hard. We love all the food here, but if I had to highlight a few items, it would be:

  • Empanadas: the chorizo and cheese, the shredded beef
  • Arepas: La Pelua (Mechada and cheese), La Mejicana (carnitas and cheese)
  • Tortas:  El Guarro (carnitas, jalapeno, onion, lime, cilantro, salsa verde), La Tropicana (chicken, chipotle sauce, pineapple, cheese)

Just don’t skip the chorizo and cheese empanada! I think it’s my fave. Oh, and the chips are served hot and fresh.

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Any keto eaters out there?  I have a friend who does Keto and she LOVED the tacos served on crispy cheese tortillas. Yep, you read that right.  Taco goodness wrapped in a bed of crispy cheese.

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The hostess here is for sure the hostess with the mostess. She seats and greets and serves and . . . well, she does everything but the cooking. She will make you feel at home. Torta Loca is a family-owned business and you can totally taste it in the food. If you are being super covid careful, place an order and take it to-go. As I said earlier, it’s small but mighty. 

La Torta Loca, I love you!

GO THERE (Torta Loca)! TRY THAT (chorizo and cheese empanada, beef empanada)!