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Oak & Pie, Woodfired Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Posted on July 16, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

We probably still would not have tried Oak & Pie were it not for Amy and Hideki’s impromptu visit a couple of weeks ago. They showed up at our house unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon.

The house wasn’t in complete disarray but I had laundry hanging to dry and various things where they shouldn’t be, as I suspect is the state of most people’s houses when they aren’t expecting company. Surely, we are not alone in this.

We had planned a cookout for Sunday but, somehow, Amy and Hideki got confused and thought the party was on Saturday. In Hideki’s defense, we usually have our parties on Saturdays. We just happened to schedule it for Sunday this time around because Brian and both had taken Monday off work because of the 4th of July holiday on Tuesday. They were about 24 hours too early for the party. LOL.

Better early than late, though. I had this happen to me a couple of years ago. I thought the party was on Saturday. We had our outfits (it was an 80’s themed party) and present ready and everything. I just happened to check Facebook as we were heading out and then realized that the party already happened. It happened the day before, on Friday, and we completely missed it.

After quickly picking up and putting things away, we visited for a bit and broke into my new card game: What Do You Meme? After playing one round up to five points, we realized that it was about time for dinner.

Amy and Hideki brought various cheeses, gluten-free crostinis, wine and liquor for the party which we agreed they should just leave at our house so that they wouldn’t have to bring them all back the next day. Besides that, there wasn’t much to eat at our house because we weren’t expecting to feed anyone but ourselves that day.

Anyway, after some deliberation, the four of us agreed to go to dinner somewhere that none of us had been before. That’s how we ended up at Oak & Pie.

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Naturally, I had to take pictures because that’s kind of my thing. Oak & Pie is really cool. Their specialty is pizza but they also serve other things on the menu. And, although it’s a pizza place, the ambiance is more fancy than casual.

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Besides taking pictures of the restaurant interior, I also took pictures of our food and drinks. Here’s the meatball starter.

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This was good but Carrabba’s serves something similar and I like their version better. Plus, I think Carrabba’s gives you four meatballs instead of three.

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This was Hideki’s pizza.

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Brian and I decided to split one. We got the pizza they had on special that day.

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Amy got the special also but she asked for hers on a gluten-free crust. She also doesn’t mind onions, which we had them hold on ours.

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Here are some pictures of drinks.

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I really liked the pizza we had. It was quite satisfying. I’m glad Brian and I shared because, even with splitting the pizza, we couldn’t finish it. We had to take our leftovers home, and then promptly forgot about it. So then I didn’t even get to eat the rest of that delicious chicken and bacon pizza.

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Here’s a group selfie from that evening. I look like crap because we weren’t expecting company or to go out for dinner. I debated on changing at first but then I was just like, “Whatever.” Laziness and apathy took over.

It was a productive evening overall, though. Not only did we get to play-test my new card game but, since we were on that side of town already, Brian and I decided to stop by Academy after dinner and we bought one of those corn hole games. Some people call it bean bag toss.

The only downside of it was that we didn’t realize how terribly-made the store-bought games are. The game we bought broke after one use. And here Brian probably thought he had gotten out of having to make us one. LOL.

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Uncork the Music Concert Series

Posted on July 16, 2017 by under Date Ideas, Things to Do.    

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Brian and I enjoyed our first outdoor concert at Wheat State Wine Company so much that we decide to return and share the experience with some friends.

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Here are some photos.

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We had beautiful weather that day. It was the perfect day for an outdoor concert.

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The summer concert series at Wheat State Wine Company reminds me of the good old days when we use to go to the Bradley Fair summer jazz concerts. That was one of our favorite summer activities of all time.

While we’re waxing nostalgic, here are a few of the old blog posts about the Bradley Fair summer concerts.

Life is busier these days so we’ve missed the Bradley Fair jazz concerts the last couple of years. It’s still one of my favorite things to do in the summer though, and I would totally be there for each one if I’m in town and my schedule allowed it.

If you’ve never been to an outdoor jazz concert at Bradley Fair, I highly recommend checking it out. The concerts happen every Thursday during the month of June so it’s already over for this year.

In the meantime, if you’re looking to get your outdoor summer concert fix, head on over to Wheat State Wine Company in Winfield. It’s a bit of a drive but it’s totally worth it. The upcoming concert lineup is as follows:

Have a fabulous summer, everyone!

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Our Lunch at Juli’s

Posted on July 9, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

It had been forever since I’d been to Topeka and I’d missed Juli’s so much. As luck would have it, I got invited to have lunch with three of my favorite people when I was there for a meeting a couple of weeks ago.

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I went with Selena, Michelle, and Kelsey. Here are some pictures of our food.

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Michelle and Kelsey always eat super healthy and they always make me feel bad about my food choices. LOL. I think the first salad above is Kelsey’s and this one is Michelle’s. Selena and I both got the sandwich which was on special that day.

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I only took one photo because they looked exactly the same.

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The day we had lunch was the Friday before Selena’s birthday so Michelle got a carrot cake muffin for Selena, unbeknownst to her. Kelsey and I asked the chef Jose if they had any small candles so we could put one on the cupcake and surprise Selena but they didn’t have any.

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However, they did one even better. While we were enjoying our lunch, one of the people who work there delivered this beautiful fruit plate to our table. Jose made it and gave it to Selena for free in honor of her birthday.

This actually turned out way better than a candle because you could eat it!

Kudos to Jose for coming up with a creative way to make the experience special for Selena. I’ve always liked Juli’s. It’s one of my all-time favorite places to eat and get coffee in Topeka. Now I like them even more.

If you’ve never been, I highly recommend checking it out. The food is delicious and the service is second to none. Love, love, love!

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Child Start’s Brews & Books Event at CSB

Posted on July 9, 2017 by under Community, Events.    

Here are some pictures from Child Start’s Brews & Books event at Central Standard Brewing a couple of weeks ago.

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I thought I would post the pictures first this time and tell stories later. Anyway, I invited a ton of people to this event but only a handful showed up. Boo!

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Although, I can’t say anything about Shane because he was the man! He gathered up a huge box of children’s books from Sara and the kids’ collection and, since he couldn’t make it to the event, he gave me the books at work so that we could donate them to Child Start on his behalf.

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Brian got a workout carrying the big box full of books from the car to the event inside CSB. He is also the man! There is no way I could have gotten that enormous box full of books to the door by myself.

Story time!

This night was kind of interesting in many ways. First, I’d known about it a while since I’m on Child Start‘s development committee. It had been on the calendar for at least a couple of months and I even invited several coworkers to the event.

About a week or so before this Chad, an old friend from college who I hadn’t seen or spoken to in years until recently, mentioned he would be in town for the week to pack up his stuff and move Kansas City. Chad was on Facebook for a while before he deleted his account almost two years ago and then just disappeared completely. I had no real contact with him after our MBA commencement other than playing Words with Friends on and off. It’s a game that he is apparently addicted to — I can’t say anything though, because I derive enjoyment from playing it as well.

Here’s a picture of Chad from our MBA graduation/hooding ceremony in 2008.

The Chad

Obviously, we’d known each other for over ten years. I knew him mostly through school but I didn’t really know him very well outside of that. I was surprised when he hit me up to use me a reference for a job he was applying for earlier this year. I liked Chad. He was smart, hardworking, and easy to get along with. We worked together on some projects while in school and I never had any problems with him. There are people in college who are such slackers that you absolutely hate working with them and you hope to never see them again — ever. He was not one of these guys. Even though I knew very little about him personally other than he liked playing Words, and the request took me by surprise, I was happy to be a reference.

Fast forward to a few weeks ago when he asked if Brian and I would like to meet up for dinner and catch up. I told him that sounds great but I would need to check with Brian. Brian and I checked the calendar and every single day after work already has stuff going on. We were completely booked up. I told Brian that I was just going to invite Chad to the Brews & Books event at CSB and kill two birds with one stone.

Chad showed up. We had a nice time visiting and catching up. He also got to meet a few of our friends and acquaintances. Two of them were my coworkers. Yes, out of all of the people from work I invited, only Alex and Tisha showed up. They are the cool ones, though. Tisha even went above and beyond by purchasing books from the Blue Baboon book truck and donating some to Child Start. She helped in a couple of ways because Blue Baboon committed to donating a portion of the revenues from that evening to Child Start. The rest of us helped by drinking beers. I think CSB donated $1 to Child Start for every beer sold that night.

Despite most of my invitees not showing up, it was a great turnout. The place was completely packed inside. That’s how come we ended up sitting outside. It worked out great because it was a nice evening and it’s a lot easier to have conversation on the patio where it’s not as loud. Were it not for Alex who got there first though, we probably would not have had anywhere to sit at all — inside or outside — it was that busy! The organizers did a great job of spreading the word but also part of the credit goes to the Flying Stove, my first favorite food truck. CSB is always packed on the nights when the Flying Stove is parked there.

Speaking of invitees, Brian and I were at the dog park in Andover with our girls the day before and we met Ray (the dog pictured with Brian above) and his owner Megan. She’s really friendly and we had good conversation. We found out that she’s looking for a new home for Ray for when she moves to the East Coast for school. We mentioned that we would be at the Brews & Books event at CSB and that she could come and bring Ray and perhaps introduce him to some of our friends and one of them may fall in love and adopt him. We really had the Travel Junkies Jay and Becca in mind but they couldn’t make it.

Actually, we didn’t think Megan would actually show up, after all we were complete strangers. Not only did she show up and bring Ray, she also brought a couple of books to donate to Child Start, which was a really nice and generous gesture considering that the day before, when we were chatting at the dog park, she told us that she’s one of these people who cannot bear to part with books.

Anyway, how is it that my friends don’t show up to events I’ve invited them to but someone I’d only known a few hours does? I really like Megan and she did me a solid by showing up. I think she should become my friend. LOL.

Later that evening we run into Misty’s sister Michelle and her friend Sonny. They end up sitting and visiting with us. The funny part about this is Alex also knows Sonny from her days working at Heroes. As they’re catching up they realize that they live only a few yards from one another. Wichita is such a small world!

There were lots of positive things that happened that evening besides the book drive and raising awareness for Child Start. Some of our friends got to meet one another. Brian and I got stamps on our Wicked Brew passports (more on that next time, probably when we finally earn our shirts). The best part is I managed to plant the seed for hosting a party at our house. Brian hates throwing parties because he doesn’t like having a bunch of people over. I love having people over but, because it takes so much effort to convince him, we hadn’t had a party in over a year. Maybe it hasn’t been that long but it definitely feels like forever.

It took a little bit more discussion after that night at CSB but I did manage to get Brian on board and in party mode. The party happened last weekend and it was interesting. Come back next time and I’ll tell you that story.

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Andover’s Summer Concert in the Park

Posted on July 8, 2017 by under Events.    

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I actually got to volunteer at the Summer Concert in the Park this year! Last year I had a bunch of other stuff going on so I couldn’t go. Misty was my proxy and volunteered on my behalf. This year my schedule had some flexibility and so I made sure to sign all three of us up to volunteer.

It was super busy. We worked for five hours straight, selling beers, and didn’t get to take any breaks — but it was so much fun. It’s probably one of the most fun volunteer gigs I have ever done.

This is the fifth year of the event and they actually brought a couple of big names out to perform for everyone: Clint Black and John Michael Montgomery. I really have no idea who these guys are, and neither does Brian, because we don’t listen to country but, apparently, these guys are HUGE and SUPER FAMOUS in the country music scene. Anyway, that’s why we didn’t care to take any breaks. We didn’t even care if we could hear the music or not. LOL. We just worked, worked, worked.

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Here are couple of pictures.

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This second one is actually from Misty’s phone. I didn’t take hardly any pictures at all because I was too busy working. My main job was to fish out the Coors and Miller cans from the giant beer tub.

I was so busy that I had dunked almost my entire arm in the tub more than half a dozen times before I realized that I was submerging my watch and it was soaking in water for extended periods. Thankfully, Brian and I both have Series 2 Apple Watches, which are water resistant. This was a good call on his part because I would have been perfectly satisfied with a Series 1. He’s the one who insisted we get the water resistant version.

We’ve both had our watches for several months now but this was the first real test of the water resistance feature that my watch has ever had to endure. It made it through with flying colors.

You’ll notice that we’re all wearing blue shirts. It’s because the Andover Rotary Club, which is the Rotary club I belong to, takes advantage of this event to raise money for our club community service projects. We always wear our blue shirts at our club volunteer events.

Brian isn’t a Rotarian and doesn’t have a blue shirt but the Symphony in the Flint Hills volunteer shirts for this year just happened to be the same shade of blue so I made him wear that one. He fit right in.

It was another stormy night. Though not as bad as last year, the concert had to be cut off 30 minutes before the scheduled end time so that the park could be cleared. We were one of the last ones to leave because Misty and Brian were trying to help empty out the tapped kegs. Crazy kids!

They drank so much that Brian actually got sick. Lucky for us, he puked in the grass and not his car. That would have been so disgusting and hard to clean. At least the storm washed his vomit away. In his defense, he planned to eat dinner at the park but we were so busy that he didn’t have time to get something to eat. He drank on an empty stomach, which can make anyone — even the most experienced alcoholics — sick. Although, he is kind of a lightweight compared to all of our other drinking buddies. We both are. I’m usually done after two drinks.

Misty is a bit of a drinker herself. She drank so much that she went home without her shoes. We found her flip flops in the back of Brian’s vehicle (the three of us carpooled to the park) the next day. That was pretty funny. Good times!

We can’t wait to do it all again next year!

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