When we got the bill for breakfast this past Saturday, it came with a handful of Hershey Kisses. Yup, we were definitely in Hershey, PA. 

I went on a road trip to "The Sweetest Place on Earth" this past weekend to kick off the holidays season with good friends and lots of chocolate. When the invitation for this was offered, I couldn't say no. Looking back at some of the pictures from this brief getaway, I have no regrets. I may still be through some stomach issues, but not regrets.

Knowing that we were going to mostly eat sweets for the next 48 hours, my friend Ed and I made a dinner pit stop at Sands Casino in Bethlehem, PA to eat at Emeril's Italian Table (http://www.emerilsrestaurants.com/emerils-italian-table). Considering that I had not eaten in the past 6 hours, I first devoured this plate of calamari, which, as you can see did not survive for even a good photo op.

Crispy Point Judith Calamari - Trust me. It was delicious. 

I chose a simple, but reliably delicious entree as my dinner - spaghetti and meatballs, which came with a nice serving of arugula. I'm hyping up the arugula to point out that I did eat a vegetable this weekend. 

Housemade Meatballs w/ Spaghetti 

After this meal, it was hard to keep my eyes open while we were back on the road, driving the rest of the way to Hershey. (Don't worry. I wasn't the one driving. Kids, don't eat deliciously, heavy foods before a road trip. Food coma on the road isn't safe!) As soon as we got to the hotel, we briefly said hi to our other friends, and the last thing I remembered was passing out, barely hearing our plans of outlet shopping and chocolate devouring for the next day. 

Shopping is a lot of hard work. So, after about 5 hours of strenuous outlet shopping, we were starving. (No, really. I'm pretty sure I broke out into a sweat. Thought, this could've also been due to the heating at J. Crew. Whatever.) Someone in our group came across the Hershey Pantry (http://www.hersheypantry.com/) on Yelp! (i.e. my Bible for all user-reviews on places to go and things to do), and we headed to this quaint small-town joint. 

We were ravenous. The pictures are a pretty accurate account of what went down next in our late lunch/early dinner. We first devoured lobster mac n' cheese and taco fries as apps. That appeased us for like 10 minutes.

Lobster Mac n' Cheese: Creamy comfort food. Could've used more lobster. 

Taco Fries (Waffle fries with ground beef, salsa, and sour cream) - A hit w/ our group! Just managed to take one picture as evidence. 

Anticipating my night-filled of chocolate, I made a conscious effort on my dinner choice and selected...wait for it...A SALAD. Okay, not to be too "un-Mary-like", but it had coconut shrimp on it. It was delicious. I actually ate the leftovers the following day and treasured every bite of coconut, mango salsa goodness. 

Coconut Shrimp Salad - Ain't she a beauty? 

To continue the coconut theme, we ordered a slice of coconut cake to go. I'll confess: I'm eating it right now and if I were to share a picture, it would be of crumbs. Crumbs that I will savor once I'm done with this post. Hershey Pantry was a great find and a local gem. I'd come back just to eat here again! 

Happily stuffed and ready to face the cold weather, my friends and I headed over to Hershey Chocolate World to enjoy delicious hot chocolate, get shaken and stirred on a couple rides, and meet Santa's reindeer. We also "Ooohed" and "Ahhhhed" at some awesome light displays at Hershey's Sweet Lights. 

Gimme that KISS!

Meet Dancer...or is this Rudolph? These reindeer were moving around ALOT.

Good friends. Chocolate. Magical reindeer. You couldn't ask for a better way to kick off the holidays. 

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