Our boss decided to take the team from work out to dinner the other night. He said we had a rough 2012 and were going to have an even tougher 2013 so he wanted to show his appreciation by taking us all to dinner at Granite City. I personally love Granite City. Especially their 2-Pull Beer, lol
And of course, since we didn’t have to pay for anything we all got dessert.
All in all it was a good evening. We had some great conversations and tried really hard to just avoid work subjects. It didn’t really work, we ended up talking about work eventually but it was limited and short.
Granite City is one of may favorite places to drink…I mean eat.
We couldn’t figure out where to take the Orbases yesterday, but finally decided on Freddy’s Frozen Custard for several reasons. First off, it’s Brian’s favorite hamburger chain. Also, Freddy’s started in Wichita and Orbases have never been to a Freddy’s restaurant. The best part about Freddy’s — besides the shoestring fries — is that they opened their first restaurant in 2002, the same year that Brian and I got married. Freddy’s will always hold a special place in my heart and belly.
Since Freddy was in the Pacific during WWII, I also really like all of the photos they have displayed around the restaurant particularly the one right above Sam in this photo because it’s a memorial in Leyte.
Okay, I take that back. We liked all of the photos with the exception of the one at our table. Sam thought it was gross that they were in their bathing suits. She wanted us to sit at a different table instead. LOL.
Brian and I got our usual — a steakburger combo and hotdog add on. We always split the burger and the hotdog in half so we get to enjoy both with having to eat one of each, and we don’t end up eating too much of the fries which isn’t hard to do because they’re completely addictive.
The Orbases all had shakes, which they seemed to like. So that was good. Sam ate all of her hotdog and reassured us that she liked it because it’s rare for her to finish all of her food. Then, she adds that it’s rare for Cameron to NOT finish all of his food. That made the entire table laugh. Sam was full of zingers yesterday. Sheryll explained that is how she normally is after she warms up to people. She was really quiet and shy when they first arrived. By Sunday afternoon she was quite talkative.
Clayton had the patty melt which he said reminded him a lot of Filipino beef steak (or bistek). He said the flavors and the way that the meat and onions were cooked were reminiscent of bistek. We speculated that Freddy must have been inspired by Filipino cuisine because of all the time he spent in the Philippines during the war. We got a jar of Freddy’s special fry seasoning for them to take back to Dallas so Clayton can recreate the Freddy’s steakburger experience back home. If anyone can do it, Clayton can.
Brian and I only had a limited amount of time after my Zumba class and before my waxing appointment so we decided to have lunch at Great Harvest rather than going all the way back home. We split the mile high panini sandwich. Though we hadn’t been there in ages, it’s the sandwich that we usually get there.
I must say, it’s just as good as I remembered. If you’ve never been to Great Harvest, I highly recommend checking it out. They make the best breads here in Wichita, hands down. Their cinnamon burst bread has always been my favorite. They also make deliciously cheesy garlic bread sticks. They give everyone free samples of their freshly baked breads and they also give you a free cookie on your first FourSquare check in. Those of you who have been to Great Harvest know that they have really awesome cookies, so that’s a FourSquare deal that is not to be missed.
If the amazing food isn’t enough to draw you in, then the friendly service should. The fine folks at Great Harvest are simply the nicest people you’ll ever meet. I give this restaurant an A++ because they are just plain super. Go ahead and check it out and tell them Ching sent you.
We had the most interesting cab ride to the hotel. While we were waiting for Carmen’s suitcase to come out of baggage claim, she called the cab driver Ruben who was recommended by Miner, one of the hotel staff members that she spoke with last week.
She got his voice mail the first time that she tried. She was cracking up because his voice mail message said something like don’t leave a message, just keep trying to call back. When she finally got a hold of him, she thought he said it would take an hour and twenty minutes for him to pick us up. She was like, we can’t wait that long to be picked up. He clarified and said twenty minutes. I guess his heavy accent caused a bit of a language barrier.
We waited for a while and, after a bit, Carmen was thinking that if he didn’t show up in five more minutes, that we should just take another cab. Finally he called and informed us that he was getting ready to pull up. He asked what door we were by. He also asked Carmen what she was wearing, which was a little awkward because it could have easily been taken out of context. LOL.
We had the most entertaining ride to the hotel. Ruben was very friendly. He asked us what music we wanted to listen to. We told him it didn’t matter and that we would listen to whatever music he listened to. He tuned the radio to 95.1 Latino Vibe and we were dancing around to Mexican and Latin American music all the way to the hotel. All the while he was telling us about Camelback Mountain and the various stadiums that we were driving by. He also told us about his Zumba instructor daughter who lives in Texas. He was Mr. Congeniality, full of helpful information.
He told us about the free shuttle service at the hotel and gave us some restaurant suggestions. That’s actually how we found out about Raul & Theresa’s in Avondale. We figured if a Mexican person says that a Mexican restaurant is good then it’s got to be good, right? They should know.
Here’s a picture of my carnitas dinner at Raul & Theresa’s. It was pretty good, but not great by any means.
Their chips were pretty mediocre and their salsa is way too spicy. When we asked for mild salsa, we got something that was very watery and way too mild. We finally just made our own by mixing the both the regular and mild together. I was disappointed that it wasn’t nearly as good as similar restaurants here in Wichita.
I’m not sure how everyone else felt about their dinner. The entrees that were delivered to our table both looked and smelled good. Jennifer, one of the students in class who joined us for dinner that evening, said her wine was not good. Then again, who orders wine at a Mexican restaurant? You’re supposed to order a margarita. LOL. We should have warned her ahead of time.
Other than that, the service was pretty good. I think the locals really love this place. Thus, the great reviews that we got from the Ruben and the hotel staff. Speaking of Ruben, he was a great cab driver and lived up to the advertisement on his business card of “friendliest cab in town, low rates, clean ride, and clean driver.” When Carmen left her cellphone in the cab after she got dropped off at the airport, he even came back to the hotel and returned it to me. How many cab drivers would do that? If you are ever in the area, be sure to call Dove Transportation at (602) 413-5399 and ask for Ruben. That might be Ruben’s direct number, actually. If you get voice mail, don’t leave a message. Just call again.
Brian let me pick where we ate lunch on my birthday. I chose Bite Me BBQ just down the street from work. It was a nice change of pace from our usual brown bag lunches.
The nice thing about Bite Me is that they give you enough food that two people can share, which is exactly what Brian and I did. Neither of us wanted to over-eat (something that I tend to do) and it also saved us money. We’d been eating out a lot lately so it was nice to be able to eat lunch inexpensively.
Anyway, I’m enjoying eating out now because Brian has already said that he is putting me on diet post-surgery. He sent me a couple of links to post-thyroidectomy weightless tips and such. It’s comforting to know that Brian won’t let me get fat after my thyroid surgery. LOL.
Brian and I got our Thai House fix last week. We kind of went wild with eating out on account of my birthday, and the lack of groceries in the house (which has since be remedied, by the way). We called our order in so that it would be ready by the time we got there and we wouldn’t go over our allotted one hour lunch break.
It should come as no surprise that Brian ordered the Thai House fried rice with chicken. His favorite menu item at Thai House and one of his most favorite versions of fried rice. The owners told us that their pineapple fried rice is actually even more popular than the house fried rice. Brian thinks he will try that next time.
I got the #17 Lad Nha Thai House with rice instead of noodles and no tail on the shrimp. The owners are so fabulous and accommodating. Seriously. All you have to do is ask and, as long as it’s doable and no illegal, they will oblige. I was told that I was only one of two people who sub rice for noodle in #17. The other person is a Hispanic guy who doesn’t like noodles. It’s not that I don’t like noodles because I love noodles too, but I really, really, really love rice. I could eat rice for breakfast, lunch, and dinner everyday of my life. LOL.
BTW, we mentioned to them that we were so sad because we couldn’t get our Thai House fix a couple of weeks ago and ended up going to Hana Cafe for dinner instead. We had a great dinner, but really had our heart set on Thai House that day. It was a Tuesday and the restaurant is only open until 2 PM on Tuesdays.
The good news is the owners have decided to stay open for dinner on Tuesdays and have their short day on Mondays, which they said is the slowest day of the week for them anyways. I’m not sure when this new schedule will start, but I’m happy that I’ll be able to get dinner at Thai House on Tuesday nights in the future. WOOT!
Review #4 was published this weekend so I can finally blog about it. Yeah! I usually try to avoid blogging about places that I review for the Wichita Eagle Dining Panel until after the article is published because I’m afraid that I’ll write the exact same words, which is against the rules. The Eagle can’t publish anything that has already been previously published elsewhere. The review has to be original/unique so they have to publish it first. Only then can we do what we want with our article.
If you are in a hurry, you can pick up pre-made sandwiches to go or fix something from the salad bar. We weren’t in a hurry so we ordered our food from the deli counter. There are some things that are already made like the bierocks and pot pies, but sandwiches takes a couple of minutes to assemble.
Brian and I were so disappointed when Under the Cork closed because that meant the end of free wine tastings. Guess what. Somerset Ridge has a space inside GreenAcres and they offer wine tastings Wednesday through Friday from noon to 6 pm, and Saturday from noon to 5 pm. I strategically left this detail out of my review because I didn’t want to seem like a wino. LOL.
This is “the hood” sandwich that Brian tried.
Doesn’t it just look so colorful and delicious?
One of the nice things about eating at GreenAcres is that you can get whatever you want to drink. I got a bottle of my favorite flavor of Naked juice — Mighty Mango.
Food-wise, I got the the house-made chicken pot pie.
Here’s a better picture of the trail mix cookie, which was super yummy. They are so good that I want to buy a few dozen and pass them off as my own. LOL.
This is a picture of their wonderful chef’s chicken salad.
A slice of heaven… I mean Italian cream cake. GreenAcres offers a vast selection of dessert items, so you’re not limited to just cakes.
When I think of food and dining, I normally don’t think about grocery stores. This experience has totally opened my eyes to the vast array of dining options available in the area. If you’ve never been to GreenAcres or have never tried their deli, I highly recommend checking it out.
The Secret really works! Several months ago, when Chapada first opened, I told Brian that I wanted to go there for my birthday. I thought it, and guess what. The universe delivered in the form of a Groupon. If I’m going to try a new place, I might as well try it at half-price, right? (BTW, this deal is available for one more day so go grab one!)
Jay and Becca, who got the same Groupon, joined us for dinner. I’ve heard mixed reviews of Chapada, but our experience was really good. The service was slow at first, but improved as the meal progressed. The process is just like any churrascaria. If you’ve not been to one, you have an all-you-can-eat salad bar and then gauchos with various meats on large skewers come to your table. If you want the meat offered, then you just ask them to slice off a piece for you. This goes on pretty much until you cry, “Uncle!”
Chapada is not quite the same caliber as Fogo de Chao, which is probably the most well-known out of all the churrascarias, or even Texas de Brazil, which we got to try last year when we were visiting Cousin Tracy and Jeff in Fort Worth. However, Chapada is the closest thing you can get to that type of dining experience around these parts because it’s the only churrascaria I know of in Wichita.
Here are some pictures from dinner…
Brian told them we were celebrating my birthday, which isn’t until Tuesday, but close enough — so they let me pick a dessert for free. I chose the cream brûlée (that’s not creme brûlée, mind you — they serve CREAM brûlée at Chapada — LOL), which consisted of three different flavors. There was a coffee flavored one, a raspberry, and a banana. The coffee one was my favorite. If we ever go back, I’m getting the cream brûlée again and asking for all three to be in coffee flavor.
Brian wasn’t a huge fan of the cream brûlée at Chapada. He still prefers the chocolate creme brûlée at Bonefish Grill, which is his favorite creme brûlée. It’s not always available, but he is always happy whenever he can get it.
At dinner Jay and Becca asked if we were having a birthday party for me this year. I told them no, that this was pretty much it. I think they were surprised and disappointed because we had a blast when we had the Ponderosa Party a couple of years ago, complete with “smash” cake and everything. There’s just too many parties going on this weekend already, and we have a mortgage to pay for now so we didn’t really have any extra money to throw at a birthday party (for catering, entertainment, decorations, and such), and we didn’t really have time to plan anything, and 35 is not really a poker hand. When I turn 44, we’ll talk. LOL.
Anyway, we had a great time with Jay and Becca last night. I was a nice, intimate birthday dinner — probably the first birthday dinner of several coming up, because we tend to have multiple dinner celebrations whenever we have birthdays. There’s really no point dieting during your birthday month.
But I digress… Chapada was not bad. However, the salad bar selection is not as vast as what you would find at Texas de Brazil, but you don’t want to get full on that other stuff anyway. You want to save room for the meat. Though it’s not the best of its class of restaurants, the cost is way less than other churrascarias, and it’s not like you really have a choice. They’re the only churrascaria here. For those of you who don’t want to spend the $35 per person for the all-you-can-eat parade-of-meat experience, but would like to try it at least once, then the Groupon is a great option. It’s going to be available for one more day. Go get one.
Brian and I drove to work separately yesterday because he was attending the HOA meeting and I was to go to Zumba. However, Darcy wasn’t feeling well so she left work early which gave me an excuse to be a slug and not workout after work. Since I wasn’t working out, Brian and I decided to meet up at Hana Cafe after work. It was my first time there since they remodeled. The place looks great.
We made it in time for Happy Hour when they have some of the sushi items at half price. We got a California maki and a Hana maki.
Brian wasn’t that hungry after the sushi, so he just had miso soup.
My favorite thing to get at Hana ever since I’d been going back when they were still next to the old Eric Fisher Salon on Rock Road is the beef bi bim bab. It’s been a while since I’d had it so I ordered it, even though I was already somewhat full from the sushi. I just couldn’t resist.
I like to eat it with teriyaki sauce instead of the regular red sauce they serve with it.
I had red bean mochi for dessert. It was super yummy!
It was a delicious dinner. I ate way too much. So much that I figured I would probably vomit in the middle of Zumba class if I went. I decided to go home and attend the HOA meeting with Brian.
Since we drove separately, we decided to race (without speeding, of course — I didn’t speed, but I can’t speak for Brian — he probably tried to cheat) and see who could make it home first. Naturally, I won. LOL. But that’s because I was smart and cut across to First Street and got on the Canal Route from there. Brian went around to Saint Francis. He will blame his loss on a lot of things, including having to walk to the parking garage and getting stuck behind a slow-moving dually.
The HOA meeting took a lot longer than I thought it would. I’m glad it only happens twice a year. Even then, I don’t know that I ever want to attend again ever. I only felt like I had to go to keep Brian from acting like a douchebag. He actually behaved himself and the big question that he wanted addressed was asked by someone else. So he didn’t have to be the jerk who brought it up. LOL.
I had to make a trip to Chicago for some training. I asked a few of my friends, where to eat in Chicago. They responded with Giordano’s. So I asked the group I was with if they wanted to go and they agreed that it sounded like a good place. And, it was right down the street.
When we walked in they handed us a menu. They told us it would be a 15 minute wait, and then told us that we could order the pizza while waiting for a table since it took 45 min to get a pizza made. This was a little concerning but we figured what the hell, the place is packed, it must be really good.
We started with the bruschetta appetizer. It had really good flavor and was actually a really large portion.
The pizza was not just large, it was gigantic.
This was a medium three topping stuffed deep dish pizza. We each got two slices and we still could not finish it.
We thought about taking it back to the hotel, but we didn’t have any fridges or microwaves in our rooms.
I would have to say that this was a really good place. Prices are reasonable for what you get. But be warned. The wait is pretty long. So keep this in mind if you are making plans for a date or something.
Speaking of dates, I think I will need to make plans to bring my wife back here for a vacation at some point.