The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Ropewalk

We’ve passed by Ropewalk several times a day on our many travels to OC, but we’ve never stopped in until now. It’s pushed back far from the main drag and I wasn’t sure what kind of food they would serve. (Yeah, I know, checking out the menu online would have helped with that…)

We stopped in on a sunny and unseasonably warm Friday afternoon in October and were seated right on the water (the bayside). I’m telling you, the bayside doesn’t get enough credit…some of these views are phenomenal.

 

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Okay, so maybe this view complete with ketchup and mustard bottles doesn’t do it justice, but believe me when I say this was relaxing scenery. I wanted to stay here all day.

The menu was extensive—much of the “Expected” fare like steam pots and handhelds, along with some twists on the usual including lobster pot pie, smoked shark bites and fried green tomatoes. There is also an Oyster Shooters menu if you like that sort of thing (I do not).

Since it was off season and the restaurant was practically empty, we were served VERY quickly…a little too quickly for my tastes since we were soaking in the serene view. Our appetizer and drinks came out within ten minutes:

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This was the Ropewalk’s version of bang bang shrimp, called Bada Bing Shrimp (Sopranos!). They also brought us out our own really totes adorbs mini pitchers of water in case the Bada bing spice made us thirsty:

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It was quite warm, even on the water, so I drank that entire pitcher—my bladder thanked me later, I assure you. I, of course, also had a Ropewalk mule (or two) and it was delightful. Hubs got a John Paul Jones (kind of like an Old Fashioned) and he even shared his cherry with me…what a gentleman.

Within minutes of downing the Bada bing shrimp, our meals came out. Hubs got day boat scallops over Orzo (if it’s on the menu, you can bet one of us will get the day boat scallops):

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They looked great and apparently tasted great as well with fresh ingredients. That was a concern when we came off season…how fresh are the ingredients? Ropewalk certainly did not disappoint. I got a pulled pork tacos. Yeah, I know, I eat too much pulled pork. But they were so good, who can blame me?

 

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We had no room for dessert (just room for another drink to relax in the sunshine). Beautiful view + Delicious food= One Happy Bad Mommy.

Food: 8 out of 10 forks

Atmosphere: 9 out of 10 forks

View: 9 out 10 forks

Value: 7 out of 10 forks (it was a little on the expensive side)

*Side note: There was no kid’s menu that I could see. I was also too busy drinking up the view to ask. Sorry 😦  They DO have a playground outside though, so I’m assuming there’s something for the kids.

Oh and here’s a great view of the sun set over the bay:

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Can you see now why I love it so much?

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The Bad Mommy Balancing Act

I had a lot things planned this week. I was getting my butt back to the gym after an injury. I was back to meal planning and was determined to carry out my plans whether my family threw fits about what we were eating or not.  I was participating in National Novel Writing Month (NaNoWriMo) so I needed to write 1,667 words a day. I wanted to catch up on my blogging (I’m trying to reach 10,000 views for the year, so feel free to share any of my blogs and help a girl out). I was getting caught up on laundry, cleaning, dishes…all the stuff I’ve been neglecting. Oh, and I was working at my job that pays the bills every day, of course. I was determined to be Supermom this week. Supermom, Superwife, Superwriter, Supernurse. I was gonna do it all. I bet you can guess that hings didn’t go as planned.

Before you jump to conclusions, let me just say that nothing catastrophic happened this week. What happened this week was what happens in everyone’s lives week after week after week…sick kids, computer glitches, forgetting to take meat out to defrost, broken appliances, gimpy husbands, missing homework, and so on and so forth. Nothing that couldn’t be solved in a 23 minute episode of a sitcom. I realize my “problems” are not unique—if anything, that’s why you read my blog—because my life is the same as many of yours. But nevertheless, my carefully outlined to-do lists (Hubby isn’t the only one with to do lists), did not get completed. To do lists for me have become like a competition with myself. How much can I get done? How fast can I get it done? Can I check off stuff on tomorrow’s to do list today???

The lists didn’t get done and I fell behind. Monday’s list didn’t get done till Tuesday and Tuesday’s list got pushed to Wednesday, and by Friday, I was two days behind because of…life. Life got in the way. Life gets in the way of everyone’s plans and we survive. survived. Yet, when Friday rolled around, did I shrug my shoulders and say oh well, because you can’t stop life from rolling at you full steam? No. I did not. What I did do is beat myself up for not getting it done. (not literally—my family would definitely have me committed if I started punching myself. It’s bad enough I felt so crazed this week that I started talking to my clothes—hmmm, maybe I could use a vacation in the looney bin). I didn’t blame the technology that failed me or the family members that needed my help this week. I blamed it on me. In my eyes, I was the one who failed to be Superwoman. And it made me feel crappy. I didn’t see what I had accomplished this week (I’m a day ahead of my writing schedule for NaNoWriMo), instead I focused on what I hadn’t done (this blog, the dishes, the dusting…oh my God all the dog fur in the house). I downed half a bottle of Santa’s Little Helper wine and went to bed feeling like a loser, with a headache to boot.

This morning, though, I woke up and decided that I was NOT going to beat myself up anymore. I was going to accept the fact that I was human and just one human, at that. I need to give myself a break when I don’t meet my insane expectations. Because I realize I set myself up to fail by making my lists unobtainable—as if it says something about my character if I push myself to the brink of exhaustion. But for what, though? And at what expense? My sanity? My health? Aren’t Type A personalities more likely to drop dead of a heart attack or a stroke? Shouldn’t that alone make me rethink my expectations?

I blame the internet for my stress…Pinterest and Facebook and Instagram. With the dawn of this social media, we can see that Suzy Sunshine has just made her entire family’s Christmas gifts from reclaimed wood and her newborn baby’s umbilical cord blood. She’s created Christmas cards from recycled newspaper and her children’s footprints. We are constantly reminded that someone out there is doing it better than us. But what we don’t see is Suzy Sunshine chewing Valium like tic tacs and her hair falling out from stress.

Suzy Sunshine needs to give herself and break and so do we. I know…easier said than done. Maybe what stops me from giving myself a break is the fear that if I let myself slide this week, what’s to stop me from sliding next week? And the next? And the next? Until I don’t hold myself accountable to anything any more. I mean, no one at home seems to really hold me accountable. They do their own clothes and they don’t really care if their pillows are covered in dog fur. They don’t care if we eat at a restaurant every night of the week or I gain twenty pounds from eating tater tots instead of real food. Everyone gets to school and work on time and they always have food to eat and beds to sleep in. I’m not really a bad mommy…I just think that I am. But what if I slip so far that I really do become the bad mommy I think I am?

So, I can’t let myself slip too far. But I also can’t stress myself out. Motherhood is a balancing act. Hell, LIFE is a balancing act. We’ve all got to figure out the point where we are comfortable with less stress and where our breaking point is. We’ve got to acknowledge our shortcomings, but stop letting them define us and make us ignore all the good things we do and all the positives in our life. FELLOW MOMS…WE CANNOT BURN OURSELVES OUT! Life isn’t like a box of chocolates as Forrest Gump said it was. Life more like a diet. We need to eat salad and go low carb sometimes, but damn, we need that box of chocolates every once in awhile, too. And maybe a bottle of wine.

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Georgia Recipes

As promised, the recipes for last Sunday’s “Georgia” meal. Please bear with me for when I don’t use “proper” cooking terms. I’m the “Bad Cook” for a reason.

COUNTRY FRIED CHICKEN: (adapted from Favorite Family Recipes)

Ingredients:

  • 4 chicken breasts (halved & pounded flat)
  • 2 c. buttermilk
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • 2 c. flour
  • 1 Tbsp. paprika
  • tsp cayenne pepper (less if you’re not a fan of spicy…in that case, we can’t be friends)
  • 1/2 Tbsp. garlic powder (or more if you’re Italian and can’t taste garlic unless it’s fresh)
  • salt and pepper to taste
  • vegetable/ olive oil for frying
For the gravy:
  • 1/4 c. reserved pan drippings
  • 4 Tbsp. reserved flour mixture
  • 2 c. chicken broth 
  • 1/2 c. milk
  • salt and pepper to taste
  1. Place chicken pieces in a plastic freezer bag and pour buttermilk over. Place in refrigerator for 2 hours (or overnight). (Just speaking from experience, do yourself a favor and double bag this…cleaning up buttermilk off the shelves of the fridge while you’re trying to cook is no fun.)
  2. Whisk together eggs and milk.
  3. In a separate bowl combine flour, paprika, cayenne, garlic powder, and salt and pepper. Stir until well combined and then remove about 4 Tbsp. of the dry mixture. Set aside for gravy.
  4. Remove chicken from bag, shake off excess buttermilk, and dredge each piece in flour mixture. Then dip in egg/milk mixture. Dredge in flour mixture once again. (Your hands will be coated with flour. It’s VERY annoying and you can’t take pictures with your phone during this process.)
  5. Add oil to a large skillet until it is about 1/4-inch full. Heat oil on medium-high heat until it reaches 250-degrees.
  6. Add each piece of chicken to the oil without overcrowding, for about 3-4 minutes on each side or until crispy and golden on the outside. Stand back and don’t burn yourself with the popping oil.
For the gravy:
Drain off all but about 1/4 c. of the oil from the pan. Whisk in reserved flour mixture until golden. Slowly whisk in the chicken broth and bring to a boil. Reduce heat to a simmer. Once the gravy starts to thicken, add milk to desired consistency, whisking constantly. Add salt and pepper to taste. Serve over chicken. (Or next to chicken if your children do not want the gravy touching the chicken as mine did not.)
CANDIED YAMS (aka little cubes of heavenly sweetness):
Ingredients:
  • 6 cups of cubed sweet potatoes (or yams…practically the same thing)
  • 1/4 c. butter
  • 1/3 c. brown sugar, packed
  • 1 Tbsp. molasses
  • 1 tsp. cinnamon
  • 1/4 tsp. ginger
  • 1/4 tsp. nutmeg
  • 1/4 tsp. cloves (crushed)
  1. Preheat oven to 400.
  2. Cube sweet potatoes and boil until they are bright orange. (Don’t ask how much water to put in the pot—just eye ball it like I do.)
  3. On stove, melt butter in skillet.
  4. Add brown sugar and spices. Stir until melted.
  5. Add molasses and stir.
  6. Drain sweet potatoes and pour into casserole dish.
  7. Pour sugar and spice mixture over potatoes and toss to coat.
  8. Bake until sweet potatoes are tender (about 25 minutes).

 

FLUFFY BUTTER BISCUITS:

Ingredients:

  • 2 cups All purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp Baking powder
  • 1/4 tsp Baking soda
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 6 tbsp unsalted Butter (frozen)
  • 1 cup Buttermilk
  1. Preheat oven to 450.
  2. Combine dry ingredients.
  3. Grate frozen butter into dry ingredients. (YEs, I said grate it…apparently this is one of the many secrets to the light and fluffy biscuits. Don’t tell anyone or Cracker Barrel may go belly up.)
  4. Cut with pastry cutter (or two forks if you’re like me and have no idea what a pastry cutter is) to make it crumbly.
  5. Make a well in the mixture and pour the cold buttermilk in the middle.
  6. Mix together until a dough forms. (And sticks all over your hands.)
  7. Lightly flour your cutting board or other flat surface. (And the counter, and the floor , and your shoes so you end up tracking it all over the house…)
  8. Shape the dough into a ball. Try not to warm the dough up too much in the process.
  9. Stack the dough. Cut the rough ball of dough in half, then stack one piece of dough on top of the other. Gently press the pieces back together into a ball, then cut the dough in half again, stack again, press again. Repeat that process three times to create air pockets in the dough which make up the flaky layers.
  10. At this point I shaped the dough into a rectangle and used a glass to make the round biscuits. Try not to pull up quickly and create suction because that will seal the edges and the layers won’t be flaky. (I TOLD you this was a complex thing…you’re probably wanting to pop open a can of those refrigerated biscuits right about now, aren’t you???)
  11. Put biscuits on tray in fridge to make them cold again for another 15 minutes. Then pop them in the oven for 10 to 12 minutes or until they start to get golden brown on top.
  12. Bon appetite!

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Rare & Rye

We passed by this place a few times on our summer long quest of finding our beach condo. It’s in an unremarkable building in the parking lot of a hotel. We probably wouldn’t have noticed it at all except for the “Coming soon” and “Now Open” signs that graced the sides of the building. The name alone suggested that it was a place to try without the kids and so on our “closing” vacation without kids, we did just that.

We chose a Saturday at lunch time to visit. That meant the place was almost completely empty except for some bar patrons, so we had our choice of where to sit. We chose the upstairs area which, despite facing the ocean front, had no view because the windows were too high. That was a bummer and disappointment, but the decor and atmosphere more than made up for the lack of view (who wants to see the water everywhere they go anyway?). The decorating was very tasteful and not “beachy” at all. After going to one beach/bay themed restaurant after another, it’s nice to have a change of pace. img_5043The server was of course, super attentive (since we were the only people in the place), and we felt bad making him run up and down the staircase to take our order and bring our drinks. But once he brought our drinks, we didn’t feel bad anymore. Hubby had a Manhattan and I had a Moscow mule. I’m sort of in love with Moscow mules at the moment. They’re so light and refreshing. Look at this, isn’t it gorgeous????

img_5050FYI, I’d like a set of the copper glasses for Christmas so I can make my own Moscow Mules at home (Santa???).

Anyhoo, back to the food. The menu actually says “Rare & Rye: Unique Eats & Libations”. This is not, I repeat, NOT a place to bring your picky eater. This is a restaurant for people with a more adventurous palate. There is a kid’s menu if your picky eater happens to be under the age of 10, but if he/she is an adult, you may want to try a restaurant that doesn’t have lamb lollipops or duck on its menu. It’s too expensive to push your food around on your plate because it wasn’t what you thought it was.

I had the crabby mac since I wasn’t very hungry, and I didn’t regret my decision. OC crab with aged white cheddar cream sauce over orecchiette with crumbled rye on top. Doesn’t that look amazing?

img_5045 It was soooo good. Better than any lobster mac & cheese I’ve ever had…and I love lobster mac & cheese. I may have to make crab mac & cheese instead now.

Hubby had this:

img_5046I forgot what it was called and I think it was the daily special because it’s not on the menu online. He really enjoyed it whatever it was. We both thoroughly enjoyed our meals and we would definitely go back to try their lite fare or wine and cheese menus.

Food: 9 forks out of 10. Drinks were 10 out of 10…on point 🙂

Value: 7 forks out of 10. It’s a little on the pricey side, but the food was well worth it.

Atmosphere: 9 forks out of 10. We really loved the decor. The bathroom was cool, too. (Okay, so I check out the bathrooms in every restaurant I go to…don’t judge me.)

View: Unfortunately 5 forks out of 10. But honestly, you can’t always get an ocean view.

Check out Rare & Rye for a sophisticated meal while you’re in OC…make sure you don’t miss it!

The Bad Mommy Cooks—Georgia

Paula Deen and I have nothing in common other than the fact that we were both born in the month of January. But today, I channeled my inner Paula Deen to put a little South in your mouth in honor of the great state of Georgia.

I think that not only was I born in the wrong century, I was born in the wrong part of the country. I don’t think I’m a Yankee at all (maybe that’s why I dislike their baseball team so much?). Maybe in a past life I was Scarlett O’Hara with my hoop skirts and my fluttering lashes underneath my parasol. (My daughter’s name is Tara for heaven’s sake—it can’t be a coincidence.) I love the heat and despise the winter. I can swoon at the sight of a handsome man. Pulled pork and BBQ sauce also makes me swoon. Sweet tea, corn bread and chatting with neighbors on my porch? Sign me up! I’m pretty sure I must be a Southern belle at heart. So of course, the idea of Country Fried Chicken had me drooling as I read the recipe.

After last week’s debacle with the chicken fried steak, I didn’t think my family was going to embrace the idea of me making a very similar recipe the very next week. I felt that I couldn’t just make the chicken fried chicken and gravy in case in turned out to be a disaster like the chicken fried steak. I decided to butter them up with biscuits (ha ha…a pun!), candied sweet potatoes, peach cobbler, and sweet tea. By the end of this meal, I was sure Paula Deen and I might have diabetes in common as well.

I was fixin’ to have this meal on the table by 5, but because there were so many components to it, I started prepping around 3:30. Thank goodness, too, because holy cow was this meal labor intensive and complicated! (And we didn’t end up eating till almost 6.) I was trying to make sure everything was done around the same time and man was that hard! The cobbler went into the crock pot right away since it would take the longest and then I started prepping for the candied sweet potatoes. Well, I was madder than a wet hen when I realized that the recipe that I’ve used in the past on Pinterest just up and disappeared! I had to quickly piece together what I remembered with another candied yam recipe. The panic started to set in then. I was prepping the yams and making the tea, while making the buttermilk “marinade” for the chicken. At one point in time, I had all four burners on my stove going and my hands flying in all different directions.

(Yeah, that’s a pot with tea in it. I actually boiled the tea in a giant pot on the stove):

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There were pots and pans and measuring spoons and cups and bowls and cutting boards…oh my!

The hardest part of the whole meal was the biscuits. Holy cow, did y’all know how many steps are involved in making biscuits? You have to grate frozen butter and use a pastry knife and kneed the dough and watch them bake and all sorts of crazy nonsense. At one point, I actually cried out “my biscuits are burnin’!” I remember making biscuits in home ec in middle school and they definitely weren’t this difficult. Then again, those biscuits tasted and looked like hockey pucks, while today’s biscuits were little fluffy pillows of buttery heaven. I’d show you a picture, but all the biscuits are gone. My one kid doesn’t even like biscuits and he ate them.

So the biscuits were baking as I was getting the temperature right to fry the chicken. And it was taking forever. But I wasn’t going to make the same mistake I did last week and take a chance on “crowding” the chicken in the pan while it was frying. Nope, I was getting this chicken to crisp up if it was the last thing I did. Each piece of chicken was going to get its own time to be the star of my skillet. So that took a while—as soon as it was done, I pulled the yams and the biscuits out of the oven where they were keeping warm and quickly whipped up the gravy. I poured the sweet tea and the meal was ready to go.

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Oh my heavens that looks delish! AND it tasted just as good as it looked—fried up nice with a spicy kick to it. Well I declare…I’m not such a bad cook today, am I? No! It’s not photo-shopped! I’m insulted by that insinuation. Today I was a Southern goddess in the kitchen. Paula Deen, eat your heart out. Well, not really…her kitchen probably doesn’t look like a tornado came through after she cooks. I reckon I used every dish we own for this meal:

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(Not the wine glasses…they were um, for a different recipe…)

After eating, I was as full as a tick and had to wait a whole hour before I could even think about having the peach cobbler with ice cream. I have to say the cobbler was a little disappointing—a bit soggy even though the original poster of the recipe on Pinterest swore it would crisp up in the crock pot. Hmmph. I added some peach vodka to my sweet tea to make up for it: (Well Georgia’s KNOWN for peaches!)

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I am planning to include all the recipes, ‘cuz I know y’all wanna make this awesome meal, but you’re gonna have to hold your horses. I used a lot of recipes and even stitched a few together to create my own, and I’m worn slap out right now. Check back later in the week and I’ll have the recipes up if you’re interested in making this kick ass Southern meal. And I promise, just ‘cuz this meal was good, I won’t get too big for my britches. In fact, I’m sure I’ll screw up next week’s meal. Tune in to find out!

My Honey’s Do List

I love my hubby, I really do. He does a lot for me and the kids—he pays the bills, he cooks (sometimes when the mood strikes), he goes to the grocery store (after I make the very detailed list for him to follow). He’s supportive and always there for me and the kids. But there’s one thing about him that drives me bonkers. You’re probably rolling your eyes at home now, aren’t you? You’re probably thinking I’m a selfish beotch if I could think there was anything wrong with a man who does all those things…why, women on Tinder would throw themselves at him…YOU would probably throw yourself at a guy like that, wouldn’t you? Of course you would…and I would too. Except for the fact that he is not really handy at all, resulting in an every growing…to do list. Ugh—this list (which is not an actual physical list, just a running count of things I need him to do) drives me NUTS!!!! Many of the items on this list have been on it for well over a year—there’s actually a few items that have been on the list for over A DECADE. I’m not talking about any sort of cleaning projects or anything of that nature. These are all “manly” chores.

Now before you jump down my throat and say, “Well Heather, you’re an independent woman. Certainly you could do the things on the list. You don’t need a handy dandy hubby for things like that.” Well, yes and no. There are things on this list that I can’t do because I am too short or too “weak”. There are other things on this list that I could very well do, but I don’t have the time to do them. I’m busy with the general making sure the house doesn’t fall apart from a carpenter ant invasion because no one else cleans up after themselves. And working. And blogging about things that irritate me…like the honey do list that never gets any shorter.

  1. Connect the wrinkle release hose to the dryer. TWO and a HALF years for this one. We bought this dryer with the awesome feature of a steamer cycle. You put the clothes in the dryer and steam them! Hubby said it was easy. All it involved was a quick change of hoses. I couldn’t wait to kick the ironing board to the curb! Yeah…I’m still waiting. In fact, I’m ironing right now.
  2. Change the lightbulbs—this never seems to go off the list because once he changes one lightbulb, another lightbulb goes out. This holds true whether he changes the lightbulb immediately or he waits seventeen weeks. I currently have lightbulbs out in the lounge/den, basement, and the bathroom. Changing the lightbulbs myself involves ladders or climbing into precarious positions where I may fall and break a bone. *Sigh*.
  3. More light woes. One of the motion sensor lights on the front of the house went out five years ago. Yes, I’m not making that up. We thought the bulb went out. He finally climbed up there on a ladder and changed the bulb two months ago, only to discover that it’s actually something wrong with the lamp itself, not the bulb. He put the cover back on, climbed down the ladder and is currently ignoring it.
  4. Put the molding on the newly renovated lounge/den area. We renovated it ten years ago. The whole thing was a joint project—I sheetrocked, I painted, he barked out orders and carried the heavy stuff. I cannot use the saw. I am pretty handy with the hammer and a screwdriver but hells no…I’m not using a saw. I have nightmares about losing an appendage. Hubby has no qualms about using power tools—in fact, he has brought a plethora of mostly useless power tools that he has either used once or bought “just in case”. He tells me the molding is a “summer project” whenever I ask in the winter, and a “winter project” whenever I ask in the summer.
  5. Order elk steaks. I know, this sounds strange. This has to do with our “eat around the USA” challenge. Yeah, I could definitely do this one, but the fact remains he said he would do it, he’s the one who’s particular about his meat, and he’s the one who is attached to this phone or the computer 22 out of 24 hours a day. Once again, I’m pretty busy cleaning up after his children.
  6. Get my oil changed in my car. Another thing I could do, but he has time to go in the day when it’s not crowded and he won’t have to wait for hours (those 10 minute oil places are a LIE). About 3,000 miles ago I told him I needed an oil change. The light comes on EVERY TIME the car is turned on. He drives my car about 50% of the time—he’s SEEN the light. Still, no oil.
  7. Get rid of some of the tee shirts in his closet. This is a constant battle. He has no less than 147 tee shirts. No, that is not an exaggeration. In fact, it’s probably a gross under-estimation. This I can definitely do myself, but when I TRIED to clean the closet out last fall, I thought his head was going to explode.
  8. Clean out the mail basket by the computer. Like I said, he’s sitting there half the time…would it kill the guy to go through a piece of paper at a time??? I go through the mail first and only put the mail in there that I don’t know what to do with (like bills), so it’s not like there’s any junk mail in there or anything.
  9. Put the extra flooring pieces for the office somewhere…the attic, the garage, the garbage dump…ANYWHERE. It’s been sitting on the floor of the office for two years. It’s too heavy for me to lift, and it’s in my way constantly. So are the boxes of boxes in the lounge/den. So are the boxes of baseball cards he refuses to part with. For some reason, clutter doesn’t make him as crazy as it makes me.

At a certain point in time, I will have to admit defeat and either do stuff myself or hire someone to do it for me (he hates when I say that…sometimes it results in something getting crossed off the list in a fit of fear I may follow up on my threat). But until then, Honey, here’s your “Do List”.

*Update—since I wrote this, my oil has been changed! We’ve also added 5 more things to the list, though.

The Bad Mommy Eats OC—Tequila Mockingbird

After we closed on the condo in OC, we discovered that although it came furnished, there was no food in the place (WHAT?!?!?). We considered ourselves “on vacation”, so we certainly weren’t going to the local supermarket for food to cook. We decided to celebrate at the closest Mexican restaurant.

Tequila Mockingbird had been voted as the best something or other in Ocean City (I think it was restaurant #66 out of #440 on Trip Advisor), so of course, we needed to try it. And also, the name…so cool…my favorite book is “To Kill a Mockingbird”, so I loved the play on words. My favorite restaurant in New Jersey is Jose Tejas. Anyone who lives in Central NJ knows this restaurant—it’s famous for it’s delicious food, excellent margaritas, and incredible ambiance statewide. It’s also famous for its interminable wait times. I have come to assume that such wait just natural came with great Mexican restaurants. Imagine my surprise when we arrived at Tequila Mockingbird and were ushered right in to the busy restaurant. Yah! No wait!

The restaurant was crowded so the hostess sat us on the bar side of the restaurant. The first thing I noticed was that the decor was not what I was expecting from a Mexican restaurant—it had a “pub” flavor to it—big Steelers and Raven fans (they may lose points for this alone).  Well, Heather, what did you expect at a bar? I don’t know…something more Mexican, I guess…a sombrero or maracas or something.

A basket of chips and homemade salsa were quickly brought to the table. Mexican restaurants must buy their chips in bulk from the same distributor because these chips tasted exactly the same as my beloved Jose’s. The salsa at Jose’s is NOT homemade as this salsa was—I actually prefer the jarred salsa, so I didn’t really care for their homemade salsa. Yeah, yeah, I know…preservatives and all that.

I had a pomegranate margarita—it was a little too sweet for my taste and kind of expensive. I know I can’t compare the two, but I can’t help it—Jose’s margaritas are around $7. This one was over $10 (I can’t remember the exact price…maybe it was more potent than I thought). Okay, I swear, I’ll stop comparing. Repeat after me, Heather: Tequila Mockingbird is not Jose Tejas.

Our meal came quickly (I DO like speedy service).  Mike got shrimp tacos, his personal favorite and I got chicken quesadilla. I always get that at…the place not to be named. 

The food was hot, and the ingredients fresh, but both Mike and I agreed it lacked the flavor of…the place we usually like. I think if you’ve never been to Jose Tejas the great Mexican restaurant, you would find this place great (mostly because you wouldn’t know what you were missing). Honestly, it was fine, but not what I was expecting for “The Best Mexican Food in OC”, so that also colored my judgment as well. Definitely give it a try if you’re looking for a fast, clean place for tacos and other Mexican cuisine in OC.

Food: 6 🍴 out of 10 (drinks were also a 6)

Value: 7 🍴 out of 10

Atmosphere: 6 🍴 out of 10

View: 5 🍴 out of 10 (it looked out to a parking lot…they can’t all be gems)

*They have a kid’s menu, named “The Kiddie Rides”…cute.