Fork & Fennel

Fork and Fennel Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brian and I got to try a new restaurant a couple of weeks ago. We were supposed to got to the Andover Rotary Club’s summer picnic but it was canceled due to weather. Plan B was to hit Central Standard Brewery, which is where the Flying Stove usually parks on Thursday nights. We texted them to see if they would be out but they hadn’t made the call yet. It was pretty clear on our side of town so we decided to go for drive and swing by CSB. We were so disappointed to find the truck absent. Apparently, though the weather was pretty clear downtown and on the East side, it had rained hard on the West side of town were the Flying Stove guys are from. They were worried that things would get worse so they made the call to turn around and cancel for the evening.

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Brian and I were already out but didn’t really have an alternative plan in mind. We were driving East on Douglas, toward our house, when we came up Fork & Fennel. Neither of us had been there but I’d heard great things about the restaurant. A potentially stormy night seemed like the perfect time to try it. LOL.

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The restaurant has a pretty cool interior, which is a huge departure from the old decor. The restaurant used to house a taco joint years ago.

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It’s been completely transformed and looks great. I love the lighting and metal chairs. Note that the lack of people is not because the restaurant isn’t any good but because we were supposed to be in some kind of thunderstorm watch.

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Here’s a glimpse of the menu which Brian carefully studied, as we should since we are first timers at the Fork & Fennel.

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Brian and I had to try the waffle chips and dip. I’m glad we did because it was amazing. The waffle chips are like waffle fries but thinly sliced and crispy. The chips were great alone but phenomenal with the house dip, which had excellent flavor.

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To keep ourselves from overeating, Brian and I decided to split the smokey bleu and bacon. I don’t particularly like onions so I would have them hold the red onion marmalade next time. Other than that, the burger was amazing.

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The burger normally comes with a side of waffle chips but, since we had already stuffed our faces full of it, we opted for a side salad. For a nominal fee, they halved our burger for us and we each got our own salad.

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The salad was amazing. I loved the pecans, blackberries, and cheese crumbles. We probably could have done with just one salad though, because Brian didn’t really eat his. I think it was too frou frou for him.

Anyway, if you’ve never been to Fork & Fennel you have to check it out. The food is delicious and the restaurant ambiance is unlike anywhere else in town.

Date Night – Salina

Tucson's Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Brian and I had the opportunity to watch Kathy Griffin’s stand up performance at Stiefel Theater in Salina a couple of weeks ago. Neither of us had been to the Stiefel Theater before. We actually thought the drive there would be longer. It’s really only a little over an hour. Anyway, we decided to make a night of it.

We decided to eat dinner at Tucson’s before the show because it’s pretty close to the theater. We also checked online and the restaurant had pretty good reviews.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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I had the tilapia with rice and veggies.

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Predictably, Brian got chicken tenders. He really should have ordered steak. It is a steakhouse after all. But neither of us that fond of beef. Why we picked a steakhouse to eat at for dinner, I have no idea. LOL.

I suppose we wanted to avoid fast food and there really weren’t that many options.

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Here’s a picture of the sign in front of the theater.

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This is where everyone congregated as we waited to be let in to the auditorium.

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Here’s a picture of the theater auditorium.

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It wasn’t too obvious from the previous picture but there’s also a balcony area.

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We got really good floor seats. We were only seven rows from the stage.

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Obligatory pre-show selfie.

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And just in case some of you are not familiar with Kathy Griffin, I took a picture of the flyer. She’s semi-famous. LOL.

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She’s also super hilarious. I really like her conversational, story-telling style. I don’t feel like I’m watching a stand-up comedian. It just seems like you’re listening to a friend tell you stories, except they’re juicy and funny and entertaining.

We drove home immediately after the show because we both had to work the next day. It was a long night but totally worth it. If you get a chance to see the “Like a Boss” tour – I think she’s hitting 80 cities on this tour – you should. Brian and I give it two thumbs up.

The Muse

Muse (Inside Wichita Art Museum) Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

When we were at the Wichita Art Museum for the Summer Opening Party, Brian and I had dinner at the Muse Café. It was a real treat because they’re normally only open for lunch. Now that Brian no longer works downtown, we wouldn’t ever have the occasion to have lunch there unless we were both off in which case we probably wouldn’t be downtown. LOL.

I’d eaten there before but it had been a few years. Brian said he’d never been there until that night. I’m pretty sure he has, though. Anyway, if you’re looking for a nice, quiet place to have lunch that serves good food, this is the place.

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The restaurant also boasts a fantastic view of the Paula and Barry Downing Amphitheater and the Arkansas River beyond.

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I was trying to get the art garden in the background of this selfie but I failed miserably.

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The art garden is awesome. If you haven’t been, you should definitely go check it out. Confluence did a fabulous job. One of the ways you can enjoy the beautiful, new grounds is by participating in “Yoga on the Lawn” held on the second Saturday of every month from May through October. There’s lots of other events that take advantage of the art garden but I digress… Back to the Muse.

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We had light fare that night so I only have a couple of food pics. I had the shrimp tapa which had excellent flavor. Brian had the cheese and fruit tray.

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I still like the cheese board that we got at the Ivy in Hell’s Kitchen. That’s in New York in case you were wondering.

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Anyway, we really enjoyed our dining experience. I wish the cafe was open for dinner also. It would be a great place for a nice, romantic dinner. After dinner you could take a stroll through the art garden and maybe get proposed to.

Oh, yeah. We are already married. If I weren’t though, and I were to propose to someone, that’s definitely how I would do it. You have to time it just right though, because the Muse Café is only open for dinner on special occasions such as the Summer Opening Party. It’ll be worth all of the planning. You could even have the wedding there. I think it would be really cool to be married where the proposal happened. Do over!

Yokohama Ramen Joint

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Yokohama Ramen Joint  Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

My friend Misty told me about this place a couple of weeks ago when we were at CSB. She gave it a poor review, though. She told us it was super busy and not worth it because you just get overpriced ramen noodles. LOL.

I just happen to love ramen noodles and I prefer to form my own own opinion about a place so, naturally, I talked Brian into to checking it out with me. Although, I was a little bit worried at first. Brian isn’t really a ramen guy.

“I hope they have other stuff on the menu besides ramen,” I thought to myself as we walked to the restaurant.

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The place is really tiny, as you’ll see from the photos that follow. That’s the main reason why they’re always busy and there’s lines out the door. There isn’t enough room inside for everyone. When we walked up, we noticed people standing outside, in front of the restaurant. We wondered what that was about and quickly realized that it’s the line to be seated. It’s so small inside that there’s not enough room for people to wait.

You have to stand outside while you wait for a table. When a table becomes available, they come out and tell you that you may come inside. It’s definitely an interesting setup. Lucky for us, there wasn’t much of a line when we went.

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Here are a couple of pictures of the restaurant’s compact interior.

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Here’s a picture of the menu. I was relieved to see they have lots of other things besides ramen. Although, I’m not sure why you would go to a ramen place if you don’t like ramen – unless, of course, you’re Brian and your wife forced you to go with her.

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They also had a variety of dessert options. We skipped it this trip, though.

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Brian and I started with pan-fried dumplings, our go-to starter at places such as these. If it’s offered on the menu, there’s a 99% chance that we’re going to order it as an appetizer.

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Predictably, Brian got a bowl of chicken fried rice for his meal.

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I can’t remember what I got because I asked the server for a recommendation and ordered what she said was good. I think it was the N2, shouyu ramen.

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I love that they serve their ramen with an egg. That’s exactly how I eat my ramen. Except, I add a hardboiled egg rather than a soft-boiled one.

I enjoyed my meal. Not sure why Misty was disappointed. Then again, I am a ramen lover. I could eat ramen everyday of my life and not complain.

Brian thought the restaurant was just okay. I will definitely be back though. I want to try all of the different ramen bowls.

Above is a video sneak peek posted by the Wichita Eagle. I highly recommend checking it out and trying the delicious ramen for yourself. If you go, let me know. I may join you.

Rok:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub

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This is supposedly the best burger joint in Hollywood/Hallandale. I would have loved to have confirmed this but we only had a few minutes before our ride to the airport showed up and I like my burgers well done. We didn’t have enough time, unfortunately.

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The restaurant had ample seating outside, which is a must if your are located in Florida. You have to allow people to enjoy the beautiful weather.

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The decor inside was pretty cool. I liked the indoor-outdoor bar.

Ginger, Darcy, and I were walking around looking for a place to eat when we ran into the rest of our group. Their ride to the airport was much earlier than ours so they only had time for a drink.

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I think Darcy had the ahi tuna burger and truffle fries.

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The first picture didn’t do the burger justice.

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Ginger had fries.

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I had the famous mac n’ cheese with bacon.

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Rok:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Tomato

I would have loved to try one of their handcrafted burgers but we didn’t have enough time. I like my burger well done so we would have been waiting for our food forever, and the service was slow enough as it was already. We couldn’t afford to slow them down any further.

I’m not sure that any of us were really happy about our food orders. The mac n’ cheese was just okay. The presentation in the cute, little cast iron pan was cute, though. The fries also came in these cute little baskets.

Anyway, we scarfed up our food as soon as it came because we had to walk back to the hotel to meet our ride to the airport. We got there early but the van beat us and was there already. Good thing we didn’t lolly gag at lunch.

I wish I could have tried their specialty because it almost seems unfair to rate them based on my limited, not-so-great experience. I guess we will just have to check it out again next time.

Larios on the Beach

I got to experience South Beach, though briefly, a couple of weeks ago while on a work trip. We were actually in Hallandale Beach, FL. However, since we were in such close proximity to Miami, we decided to go to South Beach for dinner.

One of our consultants wanted us to experience Cuban food, and not the watered-down variety that you get in Wichita either. She picked Larios on the Beach, Gloria Estefan’s Cuban restaurant. I was hoping that we would run into Ms. Estefan during dinner but no such luck. The closest I got was her image on the mosaic on the wall.

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Here’s a picture of the bar that greets you as you walk into the restaurant.

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Since it is Florida, there’s seating both inside and outside the restaurant. You can see the tables outside through the window. This way you can enjoy the food, music, and weather all at once.

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Here’s a picture of the fancy waiting area, which also doubles as dancing area when the DJ gets the music going.

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We had such a large group so we ended up at two separate tables.

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The table next to the wall with the picture was part of our group as well.

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This is a picture of the Estefan Cuban combo appetizer sampler. It consists of breaded stuffed potatoes, pork tamale, bacon-wrapped maduros, traditional ham, chicken & cod fish croquettes, and black bean hummus with plantain chips.

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The restaurant offers three varieties of baked Cuban empanadas: “award-winning” slow roasted pork, minced beef, and roasted chicken. I tried a little bit of each. They were all great but I liked the pork one the best.

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The food took forever but there were several of us so that might have contributed to the delay. We enjoyed some appetizers and munched on plantain chips while we waited.

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The group also enjoyed some drinks while we were waiting. I couldn’t drink because I was recovering from pneumonia and was still taking antibiotics. I wish I could have drank though, because this mojito with the sugarcane garnish looked so good.

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I talked Kelsey into trying the sugarcane.

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Here’s a pictures of the dishes that others in our group ordered.

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I got the fresh whole red snapper, lightly floured and flash fried. They got me at fresh. You can’t really get fresh fish here in Wichita.

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I think this might be the famous criollo seafood combo with lobster, shrimp, scallops, calamari, fish, baby claims and mussles in a cuban criolla sauce. I got to taste a piece of squid from this dish and it was so good. I think it might be the freshest squid I have ever eaten. Usually squid tends to be rubbery. This melted in your mouth.

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We got to try several desserts.

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This is the tres leche: homemade cake soaked in three-milk Botran Reserva Rum sauce and finished with torched merengue.

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This traditional Cuban flan is probably the smoothest flan I’ve ever had.

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This was my favorite dessert of all. It’s tres leche de chocolate. Just when you thought tres leche couldn’t get any better. It’s exactly the same as the tres leche but in chocolate flavor. Brian would love this one.

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This was one of the assorted sorbets. I’m sure it was very good but I didn’t get to try it because I was more interested in the other desserts.

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I think this is the café con leche. I didn’t get to try this one either.

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Larios on the Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We had a great time at dinner. Can you tell?

Larios was super busy when we were there. There wasn’t an empty table in the restaurant.

The fact that they were so busy and there were so many in our group affected the service somewhat. I had to wait for my food forever because the server made a mistake when he was taking our order. One of the people in our group changed their mind and when they switched their order, my order got scratched off in error. This happened to a couple of people at our table so the two of us had to wait for our food while everyone had theirs already.

The server felt bad for the mistake and tried to offer me a free drink on the house to make up for it. I told him not to worry about it. Of all the times to be offered a free drink, it’s when I can’t drink. LOL.

Anyway, my red snapper was totally worth the wait. It was so good I didn’t even need any soy sauce. I’m definitely going to have to bring Brian to South Beach and take him to dinner at Larios. All things considered, this is probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had (Cuban or otherwise). I’ll be back!

Billy’s Stone Crab

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Ginger, Darcy, and I had a nice dinner at Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant while we were in Florida last week. The weather was perfect for dining alfresco.

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We had a nice, rocking (literally, the table rocked back and forth) table on the dock.

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Here’s the view at dinner.

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Lots of options for dinner. Here are some of the choices.

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Every now and then, boats would sail by.

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Ginger and Darcy both had the fresh fish of the day Key West style.

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I had Alaskan king crab legs. It is a crab place after all.

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Here are a few more pictures of the restaurant.

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Sitting outside, by the water, is definitely the way to go specially when the weather is so beautiful. There were regular tables and also canopy booths like the one we were in.

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This is what the booths look like.

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That sidewalk is pretty narrow. I wondered how many drunk people have fallen over. LOL.

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Billy's Stone Crab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Dinner at Billy’s Stone Crab was fantastic. The weather was absolutely perfect for dining outside. I just wished that we could have gotten there sooner so we could have watched the sun set in the bay.

Since I was still on my antibiotics and steroids I just had water that evening. The Alaskan king crab legs were a bit expensive but I didn’t feel too bad about splurging because I didn’t have any drinks. I joked that I blew my entire dinner allowance on the crab legs. LOL.

I highly recommend Billy’s Stone Crab if you’re ever in the Hollywood, FL area. It’s expensive but worth it.

Brio Tuscan Grille

Brio Tuscan Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I found myself in Hallandale Beach, FL last week for work. If Hallandale Beach sounds familiar, that’s because it’s where the Zumba Fitness home office is located. More on that later. We were in Hallandale Beach for a meeting at the PwC Experience Center in Gulfstream Park. We stayed at Hampton Inn Hallandale Beach-Aventura across the street, which was great because it was walking distance from the office and great food.

We barely had enough time to get to our gate during our layover in Dallas so I was starving by the time we got to Florida. Lucky for me, Brio Tuscan Grille was right there. We got there just as they were about to start happy hour. The only thing with their happy hour is that the happy hour prices are only valid at the bar or in their patio area. If you sit in the dining room you have to pay full price for everything. That was a little bit weird but whatever. Everyone has their own rules, I guess.

Here are some pictures of the bar plates that we tried.

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Housemade Chips & Dip

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Black Pepper Shrimp

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Crab & Shrimp Cakes

Everything was delicious but the black pepper shrimp (second picture) was definitely my favorite. The shrimp were laid on top of pieces of fried eggplant. The eggplant and shrimp combo tasted great. Sometimes when you’re super hungry things that just taste okay end up tasting way better. I don’t think it was the hunger in this case. This stuff was really good.

I think the closest Brio to us is in Kansas City. That’s both good and bad. Bad in that it’s a few hours away so I can’t just easily take Brian there to try their food. Good in that it’s not that accessible. LOL. I’ve added Brio to the list of places for Brian to try. Ya’ll should check it out when you get a chance.

First Time in St. Louis

I can finally say I’ve been to St. Louis, Mo even though it was just for a few hours. Ginger and I traveled there a couple of weeks ago to meet some folks at Laclede Gas Company (now Spire) and learn from them.

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Been spending a lot of time at airport with Ginger of late. She is the best person to travel with. I’ve never had TSA Pre Check privileges until I these last few trips with her. I love not having to take off my shoes, take out my laptop and toiletries, and going through the short (or non-existent line) at airports. Now that I’ve had a taste of it, I’m almost tempted to pay for it even though I don’t even travel that much usually. I’d say it’s definitely a must for frequent travelers. If I traveled all the time, I would pay the extra for TSA Pre Check every time.

Ginger and I were supposed to have dinner with the rest of our team and the Laclede team at Brew House the night before our meeting but, as luck would have it (or my bad travel truck), our plane was delayed in Dallas. First they just had to change the tire. Then they discovered some kind of mechanical issue that needed to be fixed.

We actually boarded the plane and then were all told we had to get off so the repairs could be completed but were asked not to go too far away from the gate in case we were ready to board again. We were originally scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at 3:00 PM but didn’t land until 5:30 PM. We missed dinner with group obviously, which is the same thing that happened on our last trip together. Ginger and I joked that the rest of team is probably thinking that we’re trying to avoid the dinners on purpose.

Carmine's Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

We still had to eat dinner so we just opted to eat at the steakhouse next to the hotel instead. We didn’t want to wander too far away in case it started raining, which was in the forecast.

Neither of us wanted anything too heavy so we decided to just split an appetizer and an entree and then Ginger had a wedge salad. I probably should have ordered steak but I was quite happy with what I had. The food was pretty good. I really enjoyed the crab meat starter with hunks of jumbo lump crab over a horseradish cream cheese mouse and sweet chili sauce. The picture below doesn’t do the dish justice.

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Here’s a picture of Ginger’s yummy-looking salad.

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Then for dinner we split the jumbo shrimp scampi, which was also delicious. You can never go wrong with shrimp stuffed with crab meat. LOL.

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The best part about dinner is the restaurant is connected to our hotel so you didn’t even have to walk outside. My room was pretty basic but I think it might have been an accessible room because I had tons of space.

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It was an interior room so I didn’t have an outside view.

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I didn’t really mind not having a city view but, being an interior room, made my room tricky to find at first. I didn’t realize that my room (625) was next to the elevator so, when I walked to the end of the hall where the signs were and followed the hallway around and then got down the hall, I was super confused when it jumped from 623 to 627. I almost called the front desk to ask someone to help me find my room but I couldn’t get signal and I eventually found it.

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The Drury at the Arch was okay as hotels go. The location was great because of its proximity to the Laclede office. They also provide daily breakfast and happy hour which was nice. Ginger and I got to enjoy a couple of drinks on the day of our arrival.

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The conference room we spent our day in is located in the corner of the Laclede building facing Busch Stadium. The walls were completely made of of class and the view was fantastic. It was good that it was kind of gloomy outside the day, otherwise it would have been way harder to concentrate.

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We pretty much arrived the night before and then flew home immediately after the meeting. Ginger and I landed in Wichita about 10:30 PM that day. No issues on the trip home, thank heavens!

It was a super short trip. I wish we could have had more time to spend in St. Louis. I would have loved to have had pictures of the Arch and stuff. It seems like a beautiful city. I may just have to return and bring Brian. Perhaps we can plan a nice holiday weekend road trip with the girls.

Doolittles Woodfire Grill

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Doolittles Woodfire Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

Ginger and I had a nice dinner at Doolittles Woodfire Grill while in Madison, WI a couple of weeks ago. The hotel shuttle service ends at 6 pm but the front desk rep was nice enough to pay for our cab to the restaurant.

All we had to do was pay for an Uber ride back, which didn’t cost very much because the restaurant is located pretty close to the hotel.

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Here’s a picture of the huge bar at the center of the restaurant.

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We had the parmesan artichoke dip as our starter. They were nice enough to provide some sliced veggies for us in addition to the grilled ciabatta bread.

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We also had the kinky mango sangria, which was super delicious.

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Service was a tad slow, probably because they had a few large groups that evening, but when our food finally came it was totally worth the wait.

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Ginger had the rib and chicken combo. She said they were the best ribs she’d ever had.

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I had the shrimp and crab stuffed tilapia, which doesn’t look like much, but it was very good. I really enjoyed everything but the kinky mango sangria was my favorite part. As sangrias go, that was probably the best sangria I’d ever had.

Doolittles kind of reminds me of Redrock Canyon Grill at Bradley Fair because of the rotisserie chicken and ribs. I wish I would have tried their specialty for comparison. There aren’t any Doolittles in Kansas. They’re only located in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. We have a lot of similar places here though.

If you’re ever in Doolittles territory, I recommend checking them out.

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