Disney Snacks • Magic Kingdom: The Search for my Mickey Cake Pop

A few years ago, while visiting Walt Disney World with my buddy (who lived in Orlando at the time), I learned about my favorite Disney treat — the Mickey Cake Pop. We were visiting Disney’s Hollywood Studios and there was a small bakery (or confectionery) inside one of the Sunset Boulevard shops (near Tower of Terror). That was the place to get cake pops and other sweet treats inside of Hollywood Studios — once upon a time.

From that day forward, any time I would visit a Disney Park with my buddy we always picked up some Mickey Cake Pops, except in Epcot. There is no confectionery in Epcot, but that’s fine with me. Epcot has tons of great snacks and treats to eat, and Les Halles Boulangerie & Patisserie (the French bakery).

Side Quest:
Today, that Sunset Boulevard Bakery no longer exists.
In fact, there is no confectionery inside of Hollywood Studios.
It’s very sad that I can no longer pick up a Mickey Cake Pop
inside of Hollywood Studios*
(*my most visited Disney Park in recent years).

Since the loss of the Sunset Boulevard Bakery, Mickey Cake Pops are now only available in 50% of Walt Disney World Parks — the two Kingdoms, Magic Kingdom and Animal Kingdom. You can also probably find them somewhere in Disney Springs.

During my return to Magic Kingdom last month I had a small scare. I planned on eating some good treats, including something I’ve never had before. However, I also planned on finally having another Mickey Cake Pop — which I hadn’t enjoyed in over a year.

I’ve compiled this short journal of my meals during my last visit to Magic Kingdom in April.
I only ate three things, and they all happened to be sweet treats or desserts.

Treat #1 • Dole Whip Swirl

This first treat had been planned out since the moment I booked my Magic Kingdom reservation. I have always heard great things about the Dole Whip, I just thought it wasn’t really for me, since I love chocolate over fruity sweets. My original idea of this snack was more complicated than it actually is. In my mind it was some sort of pineapple drink float with soft serve on top.

The Dole Whip is basically soft serve ice cream and you get to choose whether you want Vanilla, Pineapple, or the swirl. For my first ever Dole Whip I went with the swirl, and that was the right choice. I think the mix of Pineapple and Vanilla is the perfect combination. The tartness of the Pineapple is toned down by the Vanilla flavor.

I ate this around noon for my breakfast, and it was a great breakfast. The soft serve is not too heavy of a snack. The weather was also perfect for a cool treat like this. The whole day was cool (in the 60s), so I wore my sweater, but the sun was shining so it was a little warm too.

I ate my Dole Whip and proceeded to visit one of my favorite shows in Walt Disney World, the Enchanted Tiki Room.

Treat #2 • Marshmallow Pop

After moving from land to land, I arrived in Fantasyland to visit Big Top Souvenirs, which also houses some baked goods. I came in searching for my favorite treat, but this is where I received some disappointing news.

When I asked for a Mickey Cake Pop, the cast member behind the counter notified me that they no longer existed. I saw a snack that sort of looked like a Mickey Cake Pop, so I asked for one. She told me it was like a rice krispie treat version of the Mickey Cake Pop, so I said, “Sure, why not.”

There was actually zero rice krispie inside of this new pop. Instead it was filled with pure Marshmallow fluff, which was better for me since a Mickey Cake Pop has Marshmallow fluff for the ears. Although it wasn’t the Cake Pop I had wanted, it was still pretty close in shape and satisfied part of my cake pop needs with marshmallow fluff.

Even though the Mickey Marshmallow Pop was not exactly what I came looking for, I would definitely get one again. This was a really tasty snack. I also know they have different shapes and versions of these that I will most likely try out in the future. Some may even feature different flavors.

Treat #3 • Mickey Cake Pop!

At this point I was on my way out of the park. I stopped at a few shops on Mainstreet USA to pick up some goodies on the way out (I have to use my Passholder discount whenever I visit Disney Parks, usually to get a new mug).

I also decided to stop at the Mainstreet Bakery to pick up some Goofy gummies. These are another favorite, but more of a take-home treat. I also got some Disney gummies for my nephews.

When I got to the cash register to pay for these treats, I also decided to take home a giant Mickey cookie since I was feeling a bit defeated about the missing out on my Mickey Cake Pop. At this moment I saw the cake pops, I asked the cashier, “Are those cake pops, or more marshmallow fluffs?” and he assured me that they were the cake pops I was looking for.

I had found them on my way out. I was so excited that I asked for one and I still took that giant cookie home, for all of my troubles. If you’ve ever had a cake pop at Starbucks, it’s sort of like that but there’s way more cake pop to it. Also, there’s the added Marshmallows for ears.
__

Since I hadn’t visited Magic Kingdom for over a year I just wanted to eat some sweet treats. I do plan on doing more food related posts in the future, and definitely some Epcot Food Festival posts as well. So, be on the lookout for those.

Stay tuned for more learnings, and hopefully I’ll be back at Walt Disney World soon to write about more Disney stuff. I still have one or two more posts to go from my April trip.

What are your favorite Magic Kingdom (or Disney) treats? Let me know in the comments, on Twitter, telepathically, or any other way you’d like to reach out and tell me about it.

Ferdi’s Learnings 3.0

Back in 2020 during the height of the pandemic, I launched Ferdi’s Learnings 2.0. I changed up the style and look of the site. I got back into posting a couple of times a month (sure, I planned on one or more posts a week, but things happen). I worked on my photo editing skills.

It is now 2022, and time for something new…

Ferdi’s Learnings 3.0 

What does that mean exactly? This year, I’m going to try all kinds of new stuff. This time it’s not about changing the look and feel, but instead it’s about adding more content.

A couple of weeks ago I added the “Events & Entertainment” category to the site, when I wrote about attending my first Live WWE event in over 20 years. And I will continue to add new “Events & Entertainment” posts (not just wrestling). In fact, I will be working on some later this week.

I plan to post more food stuff this year. Last year, I started my “Apples in Review” posts, where I was going to review every flavor of apple I could find. I did eat a bunch of apples last year, and have many photos of me eating apples now. I just quickly abandoned posting about apples. Yes, there are many different types of apples, but I learned that they mostly taste the same — or my apple palate isn’t very advanced.

Don’t worry, I will do something with those apple photos. Here are some pictures of me taking a bite out of some juicy apples…

I do however have a great love for “Sweets & Treats.” Hey! I think I just discovered another new category.

In the coming weeks I plan to start adding a few more, so stay tuned. For now, you can enjoy this post that talks about what I plan to do in the future. (This is what is called a filler post).

I will continue to write my regular learnings about dumb stuff I learn some weeks, but I’m also trying to grow. Aren’t we all? It’s important to continue to evolve. I’m not the same person I was seven or ten years ago when FerdingsLearnings began as a one off weekly post on a blog featuring a few of my Miami Ad School classmates.

Special shoutout to Wallace Cruz for creating this site as SCnA (Super Cool n’ Awesome people). And, for later handing it over to me for Ferdi’s Learnings when everyone else got too busy with their real work.

I will continue to write and post and explore and more just to make Wally proud!

Thanks, and see you real soon with some new stuff!

Bananas • The Perfect Food

I recently came to the conclusion that bananas are THE MOST PERFECT FOOD.

Think about it. A banana comes ready to eat. All you have to do is peel it and eat it.
Let’s briefly go over some of the reasons why bananas are THE MOST PERFECT FOOD:

#1 GREAT AS IS

There’s no need to mess with the banana, but you can if you want to. You may also eat a banana just as it is and that’s fine.

You can use bananas as an ingredient to enhance many meals and snacks. You can make a StrawNana smoothie. Make an extra sweet treat, like a frozen Nutella-Banana, Banana’s Foster or Banana Split. I even once grilled bananas wrapped in bacon. I’ve had bananas on pizza!

Side Plug: I also make delicious Ferdi’s Nana Puddin’ which you can order anytime by messaging me via text message, email, or social apps.

#2 CONVENIENTLY PACKAGED

There’s no need to wash your banana. Plus, you can easily peel it, with your fingers. Oranges feature an outer layer that you don’t eat either, but you need some sort of tool (or knife) to get to the inside — unless your some kind of barbarian. Other fruits hit the floor and need to be cleaned before you put them in your mouth.

#3 NO WASTE

Although the banana does come in it’s natural “package” (aka banana peel), there’s no need to worry about pollution. The banana packaging (aka banana peel) is 100% biodegradable.

Side PSA: Let’s just keep banana peels off the streets and walkways. You never know what’s going to happen when someone drives, bikes or steps on a banana peel based on what we’ve seen in movies, cartoons and Mario Kart.

#4 NUTRITIOUS

Bananas are a healthy source of fiber, potassium, vitamin B6, vitamin C, and various antioxidants and phytonutrients. You can learn more about the banana’s health benefits right here.

#5 DELICIOUS

Also, Bananas aren’t just a convenient snack, they’re also a delicious one. But this leads us back to reason #1. Like I said earlier, bananas are great as is but may also enhance many meals.

Are bananas my favorite food? No, of course not. There are a million better foods out there. But they are a great choice and the most perfectly made food by Earth (or God, or whoever you believe is in control of everything). I’m just trying to say they are the most perfectly designed food for instant consumption.

Obsessed with Coconuts

There’s something really weird going on in South Florida. Maybe it’s been going on for a long time and I’ve never noticed until recently. For my entire life I’ve lived on a small island connected to Miami — Key Biscayne (aka Island Paradise). You may have heard of it in the original Bad Boys movie, where they are told to go to Key Biscayne, but don’t actually go there.

Bad Boys (1995) • Not the exact scene where they mention Key Biscayne, but I had to include something.

Key Biscayne has also been featured in Christian Finnegan’s stand up comedy about Florida and Albert Einstein.

“If Albert Einstein Was From Florida” • Christian Finnegan

Key Biscayne is a wonderful place to go for a run. I have multiple routes that I run depending on the distance I’m traveling that day. I can run the loop around the residential part for 3 miles, I can run towards the lighthouse for up to 5 or even 6 miles, but lately I have stuck to running through Crandon Beach. That run can be anywhere from 2 to 10 or more miles (10 is my longest run, back a few years ago). During the entire pandemic I have stuck to 3 or 4 mile runs.

My run from earlier in the week.

***Side Note: I usually run with no glasses or contact lenses on. So, if you’re a fellow Key Biscayne resident who has seen me and waved at me or tried to get my attention on a run, I’m not ignoring you. I just didn’t see you. The loud music in my ears doesn’t really help the situation either. When running with no glasses all of your faces look like I’ve just been sprayed with Scarecrow’s Fear Gas (Batman Begins).

Batman Begins • Fear Gas

Let’s get back on track and talk about the strange thing I noticed lately. The weird thing I noticed lately is that people (most likely tourists) love trying to get coconuts to fall from trees. And they love trying to break them open to drink some coconut milk (or coconut water). I’m not even sure what’s inside of the coconut. Since they’ve always been around me, I don’t even think about them. I kind of forget they even exist.

This leads me to my main question: Do they not have Coconuts on trees in other cities, states, countries? Are we the only place with coconut trees? Palm trees? Are coconuts indigienous to Key Biscayne or South Florida?

This past week I saw one kid filming his friend trying to break a coconut open and drink from it. Is that that interesting? Last week, I saw a bunch of dudes trying to throw objects at hanging coconuts. Attempting to get them down.


Side Story: My Coconut Experience
I guess as a kid I had a friend with a machete once. Why? I don’t know, we were kids and we found a machete. We found a coconut on the ground and tried to break it open with our newly acquired machete. Once it was opened we saw there wasn’t much liquid or anything useful inside. After that, I was never really interested in a coconut again.


Maybe it’s a macho thing. It’s only dudes that I ever see trying to pull down and break open coconuts. Sometimes it’s a group or two guys. Most of the time it’s a guy trying to impress a girl. Don’t you know how stupid you look? Has any girl ever been impressed by a dude opening a coconut? Maybe on a remote island where there is nothing to eat or drink.

In Moana the people of Motunui depend heavily on the coconut.

“Consider the coconut (The what?)
Consider its tree
We use each part of the coconut
That’s all we need

We make our nets from the fibers
The water is sweet inside
We use the leaves to build fires
We cook up the meat inside

Consider the coconut
The trunks and the leaves
The island gives us what we need
And no one leaves”

from “Where You Are” • Moana (Original Motion PicTure Soundtrack)

But I did not grow up in Motunui (as much as I wish I had). I grew up in Key Biscayne. And we have a Winn Dixie, so we don’t need to live off of the wild coconuts and all of its parts. It’s more of a decorative thing for us. So, stop messing with our coconuts you tourists!

Dunkaroos are Back?

Remember Dunkaroos from the 1990s? The purple packet with cookies (or Biscuits if you’re from London) and some cake frosting for dipping. Plus, there had that fun cartoon kangaroo mascot with an accent. Of course, every 90s kid remembers Dunkaroos whether you enjoyed them or not.

1994 Dunkaroo commercial

A few years ago, I heard Dunkaroos were back. There were rumors that they had made a comeback at wholesale grocery stores (Costco and BJs and Sam’s Club). You had to be a member of an exclusive club to get a box of Dunkaroos. I’m not sure if they were ever even there or if this was some sort of lie the grown-up 90s kids were spreading.

Yesterday, at Winn Dixie I did encounter one box of (NEW) Dunkaroos. New style, new look, new everything. The problem was they were on top of some random boxes in the middle of the frozen food section. They weren’t yet set up on display.

No one was around so I grabbed the box and tossed it into my cart. I later noticed a hand-written code on the box. I also noticed that this was a display box, meant to sell each packet separately (I noticed this when I got home). So I wondered, Wait, how much did I pay for this display box? And, when I checked the receipt I was relieved to find out that I had paid nothing for them. Unless they were under some super secret code.

I scanned my receipt multiple times and found no sort of Dunkaroos or Kangaroo secret code. The cashier hooked it up, probably because she sees me each week. I saw her attempt to scan the box, but she acted like everything was good and tossed them into a bag.

New Dunkaroo Review

These new Dunkaroos are not the Dunkaroos I remember from middle school. The only thing that remained the same is the Betty Crocker cake frosting for dipping, even though this was a funfetti-style frosting. I remember having chocolate or vanilla frosting (maybe a cookies and cream one later on).

These new cookies are too thin and small. I even broke some when dipping them in the frosting. They’re like the Jesus cookies you receive at church kind of thin. If you make a product that comes with a dipping sauce, part of the R&D budget should go into making it so your product doesn’t break and get left behind in the dipping substance.

New “extra thin” cookies (biscuits or crackers)

They don’t taste the same either. The cookies don’t have the same flavor, but that could also be due to them being too thin. Also, in the 20+ years since we’ve last seen Dunkaroos I’m sure FDA standards have changed. Maybe there was some strange ingredient in the old Dunkaroos cookies that’s no longer usable — something to make them extra addicting to kids. I also remember different cookie shapes (including a kangaroo, a kangaroo limb and head). Now, they all just look like cheap kangaroo coins.

I’m not saying these are bad, they just aren’t the same. Also, if you want to enjoy dipping cookies in cake frosting I have a better idea for you.

Step 1 – Buy your favorite cake frosting:
Chocolate, Vanilla, Butter Cream, Funfetti, Birthday Cake…

Step 2 – Buy your favorite cookies, biscuits and sweet treats:
Oreos, Chips Ahoy, Biscoff, Nilla Wafers, Teddy Grahams…

Step 3 – Go home, put on a movie and start dipping all of your cookies
and treats in the cake frosting.

I dipped some Biscoff Plane cookies in my Kangaroo frosting.

Congratulations you’ve just made your own (better version) of Dunkaroos in 2021.
You’re welcome…

Weight Gain Ferd-Thousand (Pandemic Edition)

When the Coronavirus pandemic first began we were all forced to stay in our homes. Throughout year one everyone was talking about being lazy and gaining weight from all the snacking. I remember hearing Emily V Gordon say, “When we get out of this we’re all gonna be a little fatter,” on her and Kumail Nanjiani’s pandemic podcast, Staying In with Emily & Kuamil.

In the beginning of the lockdown I was still eating whatever I wanted, but due to no improv shows I didn’t have to eat dinner at midnight or one in the morning any longer. Before this all started I had a very strange eating schedule from Wednesday to Saturday, where I wouldn’t eat a full dinner before rehearsal or shows and instead would wait until I was done for the night. Also, the only food available after 11 pm or later is usually not very healthy.

At that time, with all of the late night eats I was still able to stay at a consistent weight of about 210-215. I was doing enough activity that it was fine for me to be eating so late at night. Probably not on the inside, but I looked fine on the outside.

So, when the lockdown started I was no longer eating my late night snacks/full meals (plus a late night beer or two). I was on a more regular eating schedule. I started to lose weight. Also, I was working out a lot more: running, boxing, swimming weights and anything I could do on my own outdoors or in the backyard.

Around the summertime I started eating a little more healthy, but kept working out like Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson. Maybe not as hard as Dwyane, maybe like 25% of what he does, but that’s still a lot for a regular human. I even started losing weight.

When I saw the number on the scale going down slowly I thought of a new plan. I thought this is going to be funny, when we get back to shows in “a few months” — it’s now been over a year — everyone will be talking about how they gained weight and I’ll be that one dude that looks better than before. I wanted to be like people on sitcoms that come back in a later season looking thinner, stronger and younger than they ever have.

This plan was working. I made it down to under 200 lbs for the first time since I lived in Orlando, back in 2014-2015. I was dropping weight quickly and getting stronger with mostly boxing, running and some light weight training.

Let’s take a short break to check out my
Pandemic Workout Selfie Album:

But then something happened — the holidays. The pandemic was taking way too long to clear up. It’s still clearing up. I started working on side projects (blogs/sites) that took away from my workout time. I grew bored of working out so much, and I started eating more and more [Oreos and junk].

At some point during the pandemic I decided it was totally fine to eat cookies, chocolate, ice cream and desserts with breakfast. Sometimes I would eat these before breakfast. I’d eat them while cooking breakfast. And I’m still doing that.

My weight started to climb, because let’s face it — It’s much easier to gain weight than to lose weight. I bet Chris Hemsworth (aka Thor) has to lose weight for many roles, but it must have been a fun time to gain weight for Avengers: Endgame (even though that’s probably a fat suit). Christian Bale has done both for roles and I bet gaining weight (American Hustle) was a much better time than losing weight (the Machinist).

In the beginning of 2021 I reached my highest weight in years, possibly ever. This sucked after reaching my lowest weight just a few months earlier (mid to late 2020).

Since learning about this massive weight gain I started working out again. I’m not at 25% Rock output yet, but I hope to get back there soon (maybe higher than that). I’ve tried a few things to get me to stop eating so much cookies and chocolate and sugar, but it’s hard during a 1+ year long pandemic.

I still haven’t seen most of the world yet, so there’s still a chance of me getting back to where I was when this whole thing began. I guess that’s my goal for now. Get to where I started — around 210-215. After that I’ll go for under 200 once again.

It’s not as funny to hear people say, “Wow, you look the same” as it would have been to have them say, “How did you look even better than you did in March 2020?”

I definitely need to go down in weight before the late night eating returns. Perhaps I can change that habit too. I can just get rid of the late night eating altogether. Either way, I’m going back down and I’m going to keep working out, before I see you all in 2021 — or 2022.

Apples in Review: Vol 2 – Granny Smith

It’s time once again for more Apples in Review. For the past few months, I’ve been tasting a new apple each week. I’m trying to get ahead for when I run out of apple varieties at The Fresh Market and am forced to visit actual farms or farmer’s markets. We’re now on to our second variety of Apple — the Green Granny Smith apple.

Green Granny Smith Apple just before taste test.

While the Red Delicious is the most famous apple, the Granny Smith Apple (aka Green Apple) is also a top-tier apple. Known for its sour taste, this variety is heavily featured in both the candy and adult beverage world. 

We’ve even seen Green Apple replace Lime Skittles. In the “original” bag of Skittles — if Green Apple replaced Lime just a few short years ago, does that make it still the “original” flavors? I don’t think so! Lime was always my favorite Skittles flavor. Did their license agreement with Limes end abruptly? #BringBackLimeSkittles! Come on, Marshawn!

“Original” Skittles flavors (although we all know that green used to be, and was better as, Lime)

Granny Smith apples are best known for their sour flavor. Although the sour flavor isn’t my favorite — eating too much gives you sticky Skittles/Starburst spit — I appreciate that they exist. If you eat a Red Delicious apple and a Granny Smith back to back, it’s kind of crazy to taste the difference between those two varieties alone. But who’s going to eat two different apples back to back? A Psychopath.

I was told (in a book, on a podcast and probably somewhere else) that Green Apples are great for heavy voice work (on-stage acting, voice over, singing). There’s some chemical in them, and only them, that clears your voice and throat. Or in gross terms — the Malic Acid within the Green Apple will clear mucus and the throat. Adding honey to ginger & lemon tea usually works for the throat, but just one bite of a green apple can do wonders.

Due to the sourness of the Green Apple it goes great with some smooth peanut butter (because crunchy Peanut Butter is for Ding Dongs). If you have a peanut allergy, which is common today, please don’t try this combo at home (or anywhere for that matter). 

Sour Apple face.

I find the Green Apple to be too sour at times and the skin to be tougher than most apples. I’m not a fan of a thick/strong skin on my apples. Now that I’m trying the whole apple and not just the inside parts, I much prefer a skin that blends in with the flavor, taste and texture of the rest of the apple.

My current Apple Ranking:
1. Red Delicious
2. Granny Smith

-based on flavors tried and written about so far

A Short History of Green Apples (according the the internet)

The Granny Smith Apple comes from Australia and was introduced to the market back in 1868. I had no idea that apples came from Australia, but I guess it makes sense for this backwards ass sour apple to come from upside-down Australia. It’s not sweet like other apples, instead it’s sour.

The name Granny Smith comes from it’s cultivator, Maria Ann Smith. Maria created this apple and was someone’s granny. The sour/tart flavors and crunch make this variety of apple good for everything from salads to pies and everything in between (candy and alcoholic drinks).

Once again I got this image from bestapples.com

While the Green Apple is not my favorite apple, it’s still a nice sour treat. I would enjoy it much more with some outside help — Nutella, dulce de leech, peanut butter. Let’s face it, I think every apple can be enhanced with “outside help.”

Apples in Review: Vol 1 – Red Delicious

A few weeks ago I made a post about all of the different kinds of apples that exist. While writing that post I decided that I would attempt to try all of the different varieties of apples that I could find. I was going to start posting my short reviews of each apple on the @ferdislearnings Twitter profile, but after trying a few different types of apples I’ve decided to instead make a weekly (or bi-weekly) post featuring a different apple each post.

It’s been a few weeks and I have now tried a few different apples. I wanted to get a bit ahead of myself.

Of course, I’m starting off with the original apple — The Red Delicious. The forbidden fruit that Adam & Eve ate back in the garden. I’m guessing it was a Red Delicious apple because I bet they didn’t have all of these varieties of apples yet. If Adam and Eve were the first man and woman then there was no one around yet to create these new kinds of apples and the Red Delicious had to be the only one around, right???

Let me start off by saying that I don’t normally eat the skin of an apple. My normal apple eating ritual consists of cutting an apple into slices and just eating the inside parts and tossing the skin in the trash (where it belongs). There is also usually some Nutella, dulce de leche or peanut butter involved.

For the purpose of this apple eating experiment I decided to bite straight into these apples, skin and all. I’m not using any flavor enhancers either (nutella, dulce de leche, peanut butter…). I’m reviewing not only the taste of the inside of the apple, but also the skin.

Red Delicious Apples ($1.79/lb) at the Fresh Market

Now it’s time for Apples in Review: Vol 1 – Red Delicious

The Red Delicious Apple just tastes like an apple to me. It tastes like a regular, plain ass apple. If a candy or beverage said “Apple-flavored” on the label, this is what I’d expect to taste.

If you pick a nice one you’ll notice a beautiful, shiny red coat of skin. I’m guessing that’s why they call it the Red Delicious — it’s shiny, red coat makes it look like a delicious treat for you to eat.

I started my journey with the most basic version of an apple so that I can hopefully notice the differences when I venture out into other varieties.

The red delicious apple is refreshing. After biting into this one the inside quickly started to turn brown and loose moisture. Apples tend to do this, but this felt much faster than I’d expect. Since eating this apple I have noticed that some apples have a extremely high moisture content and this wasn’t one of those.

When biting into the Red Delicious I thought, “Yeah, that tastes like an apple to me.” This is why I look forward to trying other varieties and seeing what differences I can taste.

I don’t expect to taste wild notes of chocolate with hints of mild cherry like in coffee, but I do plan to notice subtle differences in sweetness and sour levels, moisture and other apple identifiers. I’d say the Red Delicious is our middle of the road apple. It’s got a mild flavor for those who crave a simple, plain ass apple.

image from the Washington Apple Commission (bestapples.com)

Croqueta Roulette

Something I never really thought about but I do almost anytime I go to Publix in the middle of the day when I haven’t had lunch yet and I’m too hungry to wait until I get home — I always buy some croquetas from the Publix bakery.

SIDE NOTE: For you gringos a croqueta is a fried breaded cylinder usually containing ham inside and some other stuff too. I’ve heard someone call it a fritter before. They can also be filled with chicken, fish, cheese, chorizo, mac & cheese and all sorts of crazy stuff. I would call it the Cuban cousin to the Italian Mozzarella stick.

I’ve always been a ham croqueta person. Ham is the original. If you order a croqueta anywhere you will 99% of the time be given a ham croqueta, no questions asked. If the establishment you are at has chicken, fish, cheese or other types of croquetas they will either ask you, “What type of croqueta?” or you will have to specify, “I want a croqueta de pollo.” (Spanish for chicken croqueta).

What I do at Publix bakery to make my mid-day snack into a fun game is I usually order a few original croquetas (aka HAM) and one of either chicken or cheese (sometimes one of each). They all get thrown into the same bag and since all croquetas look about the same from the outside, it’s a fun guessing game.

The Publix bakery person usually tries to separate them with some fancy bakery paper, but that doesn’t really work because they are getting tossed around all over the bag. Also, I’m going to eat these while driving so I will not look in the bag to see how they are separated.

So, once I leave Publix and I’m driving home or to my next destination I get to play a little game I call CROQUETA ROULETTE. I stick my hand in the bag and grab one at a time. Next, I take a bite not really thinking about what’s going to be inside and I’m surprised each time.

Here’s my croqueta bag from yesterday’s game.

Yesterday I ate the cheese one first. I had ordered three ham and one cheese, so the game ended on that first bite. It was still was and always is a delicious game to play.

So, the next time you find yourself at Publix (if you’re in Florida) order some croquetas (if you’re in South Florida), and play a round of CROQUETA ROULETTE (if you’re in the car). 

You won’t regret it. If you’re not in Florida, find some kind of dumpling place that will let you order single dumplings and try DUMPLING ROULETTE. Maybe a FILLED DONUT ROULETTE. There are many ways to play this game.

Why so many Apples?

An apple a day keeps the doctor away. That’s what people used to say. But will any apple do? Is there a specific one with doctor-repelling powers?

Why are there so many different types of apples? Back in middle school, I remember learning about the three main apples: Red Delicious, Granny Smith and Apple computers (just kidding, Golden Delicious was the third one — I think). Just by hearing their names I knew the differences in look and taste.

Now I go to Fresh Market and see more than ten varieties of apples in one day: Red Delicious, Granny Smith, Golden Delicious, Fuji, Gala, Lucy Rose, Lucy Gal, Ruby Frost, Envy, Honeycrisp and new varieties popping up each season. I usually go for Fuji or Gala, but I don’t know if I’m making the right choice with those — they’re just the safe decision sinceI already know I like them.

I actually started writing this post because after I arrived at my newly redesigned Fresh Market (Coconut Grove). They had recently changed up the aisles, the fruit stands and a bunch of other areas in the store. The Fresh Market is my favorite market to go to. When I got there I saw how beautiful the apple display looked so I took some pictures with my iPhone and wanted to find a reason to share them. So, I wrote this whole thing about apples, but now I actually thought of a pretty good idea.

Over the next few weeks (possibly months), I will try a different variety of apple each week. I will give each one a small review on the Ferdi’s Learnings Twitter account, using the hashtag #ApplesInReview (Make sure to follow @ferdislearnings on Twitter for these). When I run out of apples I will create an #ApplesInReview mega-post right here on the Ferdi’s Learnings site, ranking all of the apples. Stay tuned for that.

Here are some more delicious iPhone pictures of apples for you to enjoy while you wait for my first review…