Ted’s Cafe Escondido

We had the opportunity to try a new restaurant a few weeks ago when we were in Oklahoma to deliver Brian’s old truck to his dad. We’d been looking to buy a new vehicle for a few years now and just hadn’t found the right one. Plus, we were saving money because we didn’t want to finance it. We paid for Crichton in cash in 2007 and we finished paying off Bebot in 2008. We didn’t want another car payment. However, we promised that we would give the truck to Brian’s dad once we got a new vehicle.

Goodbye, Crichton.

We finally found the exact car that we wanted to add to our family in October. We would have delivered the truck to Oklahoma sooner but we promised Jenni that Brian would help her move in early November so we couldn’t get rid of the truck just yet. Our opportunity came Thanksgiving weekend because neither of us had to work.

It was fitting too. Rather than participating in the consumerist juggernaut that is Black Friday, we used the day to drive to Brian’s parents’ home in Oklahoma and deliver the truck to them. We gave it to them for several reasons. Brian’s dad likes to do projects at home and in his workshop and had been looking for a truck to haul stuff to and from the store. They have a couple of four-door sedans that aren’t really conducive to hauling big, bulky items. We figured that he would get more use out of the truck than we would. We also wanted to get rid of the truck because Brian doesn’t really enjoy helping people move and he got tired of me volunteering him and his truck long ago.

It didn’t make sense to sell the truck or trade it in because we wouldn’t get what it was worth. Plus, Brian’s dad was looking for a truck and it didn’t make sense for him to buy one when we had a truck that we no longer needed. Giving them the truck was a great way to say thank you for everything they’d done for us over the years. And, how appropriate that it happened on Thanksgiving weekend.

Ted's Cafe Escondido on Urbanspoon

But I digress… I really wanted to tell you about this restaurant that Brian’s parents took us to that day. The place is called Ted’s Cafe Escondido. We don’t have one here in Wichita, but it’s very similar to Abuelo’s. They have the same kind of tortilla chips that I like and the menu options are similar. Prices are comparable also. I guess the restaurant is more like Abuelo’s and Felipe’s together. You’ll see what I mean when you see the food pictures.

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Brian had a bean and cheese burrito smothered in queso. This is what my unadventurous husband gets everywhere. Unless we’re splitting something. Then he is forced to eat what I’m having. LOL.

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I had the pork chile verde and Brian wanted nothing to do with it.

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Donna had the handmade tamales.

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I can’t remember what kind of burrito David had because so much time has passed. I really should have blogged this weeks ago but we’ve been super busy.

The restaurant gives you a free sapodilla on request. It’s good but not as good as the mini, bite-sized sapodillas at Felipe’s Jr. You have to pay for those, though. One could argue that free is better. LOL.

Of the places we’ve tried in the area, which is not many because we’ve only been down there a couple of times since they moved, this one is my favorite. That doesn’t say much, I suppose. Check back in a few months.

Meddys

Meddys on Urbanspoon

Meddys opened a few months ago at the old Jimmy’s Egg location on Harry and Rock Road. However, we didn’t learn about it until after Lights on the Lake. We were super impressed with food at the event that we had to track down the caterer. That’s how we found out about Meddys.

We try not to eat out too often but we’ve been really lazy about cooking at home the last few months and it’s hard to resist a good hummus. LOL. Plus, it’s located in our section of town so we couldn’t not check it out.

Here are some pictures of the restaurant:

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What I like most about Meddys is the simplicity of their menu.

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You don’t have to spend a half an hour trying to decide what to have. Also, the sides are all $1.99 which beats any super value menu at any fast food restaurant.

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Brian got the creamy tomato soup, which he had a chance to try and liked at the fundraising event.

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He also got a chicken shawarma wrap and a side of shoe string fries.

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I love skinny fries so they already got me. Brian prefers the fat, steak fries.

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For dinner I had the beef shawarma bowl. I had to fish out the onions, which I don’t like, but it was great other than that. I’m not really that hard to please. You give me some meat and some rice, and I’m good to go.

Brian, on the other hand, wasn’t easily impressed. He felt that the quality of the food fell short of the restaurant’s promise. I would have to agree with Brian. Meddys is great but, if you have the opportunity to try their catering, it is way better. I wonder if different cooks prepare the catering food than the ones that cook at the restaurant on a regular basis. I still think it’s good either way, but Brian was really disappointed because he expected the food to be just as good (if not better) than the food at Lights on the Lake.

For me, if you have good food and good prices, you’re already winning. For instance, a couple of people can share the $1.99 hummus and call it good. They give you lots of pita. More than enough to share. May that’s just me because I find hummus really filling.

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If you want something more substantial, you can get the shawarma and hummus plate for $7.99. It’s enough to feed two hungry people. Where else can you eat for that cheap (without resorting to ordering from a super value menu)? Nowhere.

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Thank you, Meddys, for giving me another reason not to cook.

Thanksgiving 2014

My coworkers take Thanksgiving very seriously. Our lounge area and break room were totally decked out last month for Harvest Feast.

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Our coworkers who organized Harvest Feast really outdid themselves this year. They even got matching aprons. How cool is that?

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We all chipped in $5 for the meats but Brian didn’t want me to show up to work empty handed so he made me the banana pudding dessert thing that we love so I would have something to bring to the potluck.

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It was a huge hit. How could it not be? This thing is like crack. Anyway, if you’d like the recipe or if you’d like to see all the other variations we’ve made in the past go here.

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We hosted Thanksgiving again this year so I decided that I probably ought to decorate. We found this beautiful wreath at the store that matched our Christmas tree on the main floor, which is natural and woodsy, so we had to get it. It looks great, don’t you think?

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This is the Christmas tree in the basement.

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We didn’t decorate too much but we put up enough decorations to be somewhat festive.

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We like personalized things. Can you tell?

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I liked these napkins and placemats not only because they’re personalized with our last name initial but mainly because they’re neutral and match the rest of our decor.

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We brought out our wine glasses for mimosas so I finally had the opportunity to use my festive wine charms.

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This was Molly’s first Thanksgiving back with us.

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Molly and grandma kept each other company as we reheated the food that was carefully prepared by the Fresh Market.

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We had a great time celebrating with family.

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Here are some pictures of the food we enjoyed at Thanksgiving.

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We were wise this year and created a project plan for when things needed to go in the oven. It worked out perfect. Everything finished right on schedule.

The food was delicious and we had way more food than we needed. I’m thinking either we order less food or invite more people to our little Thanksgiving shindig next time.

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Jenni’s birthday was the day before Thanksgiving so we celebrated with her.

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I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving holiday. Until next year!

Homework Night with My Little Sister

I know my little sister loves it when we go on outings to the zoo, amusement park, museum, skating, painting, etc. but my favorite activity with her by far is homework night. I enjoy taking her on fun outings, but I really enjoying helping her with homework.

She was a little impatient on Wednesday night because there was more homework than usual and the assigned work, specially the math portion, was more challenging. She wanted to stop before we were finished, but I managed to get her to complete all of it.

I think next time I may need to add a short break in there to make up for Kira’s shorter attention span. I’m learning so much from this process.

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I snapped these photos on Wednesday night. I couldn’t resist. The sight was very Norman Rockwell and the Saturday Evening Post.

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Homework nights are nights that I look forward to with eager anticipation.

Lights on the Lake 2014

It’s been a few years since we’ve attended a Lights on the Lake launch party. The last Lights on the Lake launch party we attended was at Abode back in 2011. The event has gotten so much bigger since then. Last year and this year it was held at Murfin Stables, an amazing venue.

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They really upped the ante this year with the upgraded dress code (cocktail attire was recommended) and lavish decorations. Check out these photos.

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The opulent table setting made me feel very fancy.

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We were assigned to table 22, Brian’s favorite number.

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Meddys catered the event.

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Here’s what was on the menu. The hors d’oeuvres consisted of creamy tomato soup, vegetarian lentil soup, baked pita, hummus, and fresh vegetables.

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There were people walking around with trays of hummus and soup until dinner.

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Salads and desserts were already at the tables but dinner was served buffet style. The salad was a delicious Mediterranean salad with salmon. It was very good.

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For dinner we had chicken shawarma, beef shawarma, rice, and roasted vegetables.

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Savories provided dessert. We had a couple of options: brownie bottom cheesecake and cherry cheesecake. Yummy!

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There was a silent auction, my favorite thing to check out and do at these events. I didn’t win any of the items I bid on this time, though.

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There was also a live auction. That’s something that I generally don’t participate it because I don’t have as much money at my disposal as other event guests. Live auction items usually go for thousands of dollars.

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At this event, however, there were a couple of things that went for just $900 so that was a pretty good deal. One of the most successful auction items was this black goldendoodle puppy that went for $3500.

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She’s going to be one spoiled puppy!

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There was also a wine pull and signature cocktails for sale for people like me who weren’t keen on the drink selections at the open bar. For $30 I got a signature drink with a commemorative champagne flute and $5 refills.

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Brian and I got to play with the TapSnap photo booth.

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We took a group photo of our table also.

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Brian and I had such a great time. Brian will say he still prefers Brew Ha-Ha but, overall, Lights on the Lake is a really enjoyable fundraising event. It also benefits a great cause – Heartspring Pediatric Services. I highly encourage you all to support the organization and participate in the event next year.

Also, remember to check out Lights on the Lake this year. It’s one of the most amazing Christmas light displays in here in Wichita.

Startup Weekend

Last night some people were clubbing, partying, hanging out at the mall with friends, at the movies, or at home just chillin’ while there were a few working. At the Labor Party ideas were getting pitched.

I dropped my little sister Kira off at her house around nine o’clock or so, after we went home to let Molly out and feed her, then dinner at Panda Express, and after we finished painting our projects at Color Me Mine. I can’t post pictures of our projects because they are presents and we wouldn’t want to ruin the surprise.

Anyway, I was already downtown so I decided to check on my dreamer husband who was participating in Startup Weekend. He’s a dreamer who is always coming up with ideas. He registered for the event kind of at the last minute at a friend’s recommendation and encouragement. Of course, I was super excited because I’d always wanted to attend myself but have always been so busy. This way I actually get to be in two places at once because I’m experiencing Startup Weekend through Brian. I know it’s not the same but, given how hectic my schedule is, this is as good as it’s going to get for me right now.

When I arrived they had already completed the pitches process and were just about to form teams. Brian’s idea wasn’t one of the top four concepts. He’s a dreamer who needs talented people to work on his idea. With the limited number of technically skilled participants, many people were gravitating towards the top ideas. I think he was bummed that he couldn’t work on his startup. He pretty much just hung out with me and filled me in. This was not acceptable. If I’m going to be vicariously living Startup Weekend through Brian, he needs to work on a project even if it’s not his own.

The facilitator and I finally convinced Brian to join a team. The team already had four or five members prior to Brian. I feel really bad for the team he joined too for the sequence of events that followed.

So he joins the team and they’re talking about their project, etc. I’m just kind of hanging out, observing the initial stages of team formation. Then Brian asked me to come to their table so I can listen in as the team commenced discussing their concept and planning everything they need to do.

As I’m sitting at the table, trying desperately to stay out of the way, I see the flip chart with the PLTW idea. As you know, I was super impressed with the Engineering Academy kids at West High that PLTW now holds a special place in my heart. I was like, “That’s an idea that I’d like to work on. Who’s working on that?”

The guy who pitched the idea eventually wanders off to our table so I turn my attention away from the team that Brian’s working with so I can learn more about the PLTW idea which I was really excited about. There is a female engineer who offered to work on the idea with the originator but there’s just the two of them. They didn’t have a team. I told them, “This is an idea that I would really like to work on but I’m busy this weekend. If you want to work on it in the weeks or months to come, then I definitely want to help and be part of it.”

Between the three of us, we had an idea that we were passionate about but had no team. I wasn’t even registered to participate in Startup Weekend. I was merely a spectator. LOL. This is when I discovered something important: one person can make a difference.

If they wanted to continue working on the PLTW idea outside of Startup Weekend, I told them I would help round up resources. Even though I have no technical skills to contribute — I’m not a graphic designer, programmer, engineer, or web developer — I was absolutely certain I could round up some people with the necessary skills. Not over the weekend, but we would get it done.

When I latch on to something that ignites my passion, I have a difficult time restraining myself because I have so much enthusiasm and energy. That can be both powerful and scary. Just ask Brian. Within a few minutes of sitting their table, I managed to jack everything up. Their team switched gears and they’re now working on the PLTW project instead of the food porn idea.

One of my reservations about participating in Startup Weekend is that I really have nothing to offer a startup. At least Brian is a dreamer and has lots of ideas. I have no startup ideas. I’m a joiner with no ideas of my own. The one thing I am is a collector of hobbies and experiences. I want to participate in everything life has to offer and I specially relish opportunities to support causes that I’m passionate about.

However, after last night, I realized that I can use my energy and enthusiasm to rally people around an idea. Maybe there is a place for people like me in Startup Weekend after all. Every team needs a joiner.

American Education Week

American Education Week is November 17 to November 21. Five Wichita public schools are participating. Visit one, two, or all of the sessions listed to celebrate American Education Week and experience education like you’ve never seen it.

Monday, November 17 – 3:00 PM
Earhart Environmental Elementary Magnet, 4401 Arkansas
Unique magnet experience and efficiency in building design

Tuesday, November 18 – 8:30 AM
South High School, 701 W. 33rd Street S.
Technology and curriculum meet in the iPad initiative

Wednesday, November 19 – 9:00 AM
Coleman Middle School, 1544 N. Governeour
College prep through AVID’s Socratic dialogue

Thursday, November 20 – 2:00 PM
Horace Mann Dual Language K-8 Magnet, 1243 N. Market
Dual language learning starts in kindergarten

Friday, November 21 – 1:00 PM
West High School, 820 S. Osage
High tech pre-engineering and 3D printing

Please RSVP to make your selections. Call Superintendent Allison’s office at (316) 973-4580 or email jelly@usd259.net.

If I wasn’t already booked up next week, I would totally attend at least one of these sessions. I can tell you from experience the pre-engineering program at West High is AMAZING. After spending time with the Engineering Academy kids during our Leadership Wichita session on Education, I was very impressed. Derby High is great, but the experience made me wish I would have gone to West High instead. I might have finished my Engineering degree, or realized that it wasn’t for me and save time and money and gone straight to business out of high school.

I suppose I wouldn’t be who I am today if it weren’t for the seven years of undergrad. LOL. My time at Wichita State taught me a lot. I would have rather not bounced between various majors and finished in four years, though.

Anyway, in case you don’t already know, we have fantastic public schools in Wichita. Check them out during American Education Week (or any other time — I was told they love visitors) and see for yourself.

Brew Ha-Ha 2014

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We had a great time at the Big Brothers Big Sisters Brew Ha-Ha fundraising event on Friday night. The event, which is our most favorite fundraising event every year, is always a great time but it was even more meaningful for me this year because I started my journey as a big sister volunteer for Big Brothers Big Sisters in over the summer.

We saw several of my coworkers and former coworkers. We also met friends from outside of work. We spent most of the evening hanging with the Shermans and the Washingtons, who also happen to be our neighbors. I know I’ve raved about our neighbors before. We really have the best neighbors. If you are looking to buy a house in Southeast Wichita, Sierra Hills is the place to be.

The food this year was provided by Freddy’s (always our first stop because the beer milkshakes are a highlight of the event for us), P.F. Chang’s, Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, Newport Grill, and Woodfire Grille. No Carrabba’s this year, which was a bummer because we always enjoy visiting with Joe. They donated to the silent auction though, so they weren’t completely absent from the event. My favorite food was the braised short ribs that Woodfire Grille served. It was delicious. I don’t really drink beer. I mostly like to go to sample all the delicious food that the vendors offer.

Brian was hilariously inebriated, but not embarrassingly so. Thank heavens. I would like us to be invited back next year. =P Jokes aside, we both had a wonderful time and are already counting the days until the next one.

Bowling Update

So I’d been trying to bowl a 500-series since the Fall league started and I kept failing miserably. Well, guess what. I actually did it twice while mom and dad were in the Philippines. I wouldn’t have believed it myself had I not been there to witness myself do it. LOL. Even an blind squirrel finds an acorn sometimes.

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Seriously though, I may be a better bowler than I believe myself to be. Perhaps it’s time that I stop selling myself short and start concentrating so I can live up to my potential.

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I’m obviously capable of bowling a 500-series. I just need to do it consistently.

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Brian says I bowled well because I was relaxed and was having a great time. Mom says I bowled well because I was bowling with friends and I was trying to impress them with my bowling skills. Either way, we had a great time bowling with Linsday and Dawn over the past three weeks. They were the best subs ever and helped us earn 11 points, almost a perfect run. I couldn’t have hoped for a better outcome.

Now, instead of being one of the bottom teams, we are one of the top teams. I hope that we can continue our streak now that mom and dad are back. We shall see how it goes tonight. Wish us luck!

Thank You

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Thank you to everyone who celebrated my birthday with me. Thank you for all the cards, presents, hugs, and birthday wishes. You all really know how to make a girl feel special!

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