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Archive for "Reviews"

Niupipo Pickleball

Posted on January 18, 2021 by under Hobbies, Reviews.    

A few months ago the Niupipo people contacted me about posting a video review of their paddle on Instagram. I had never heard of this company before so I didn’t respond right away. In December, Frank Anthony Davis (FAD) announced his new partnership with the company so then I remembered that they had contacted me. I reached out to see if they still wanted me to post a video review. I think Brian has rubbed off on me in that I am always really careful when dealing with companies I’m not familiar with. It’s funny how an endorsement from a friend can make all the difference. Shortly after I sent them my home address, they sent me a pickleball set that included two pickleball paddles and four balls.

Here are some pictures of the pickleball set they sent me:

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The popularity of pickleball has exploded exponentially the last couple of years. It’s crazy how many new paddle companies are now out there and new ones continue to pop up. I remember when I was looking for a starter set a couple of years ago, there were only a handful of options on Amazon. I ended up buying an Amazing Aces pickleball set because it seemed like a good value and, honestly, there weren’t many options available. I really wish I had known about Niupipo at the time. Then again, they might not have been around yet.

Niupipo sent me their MX-19 set. I really wish that I would have seen this option back then because I might not have outgrown my paddle so soon. I got my Amazing Aces set for $70 and, for $10 less, I could have gotten this better set from Niupipo.

The set came with two high quality fiberglass and honeycomb paddles, four balls, and a carry case. The paddles felt lighter than my old Amazing Aces one and felt better in my hands overall. Though the grips felt too thick for me in both but the paddle grips are pretty standard and the issue of thickness can be easily remedied by removing the factory grip cover and replacing it with thinner grip tape.

Believe it or not, what I liked best about this set is that the two paddles came in different colors so it’s easier for me to tell which is Brian’s and which is mine. Our two Amazing Aces paddles were exactly identical. For someone who is just starting out with pickleball, who isn’t ready to invest in a $100-$200 paddle, this is a really great set to have. I highly recommend it.

These paddles would have been really great for me to have when I first started playing a couple of years ago. At this point, I’m really enjoying playing with my Electrum. After having played with a few different paddles (Selkirk S1C, Prokennex Pro Speed, and Encore Engage MX 6.0), I really like my Electrum Pro the best. However, I’m paying it forward and spreading the pickleball love by donating this paddle set to a lady who is helping some beginners at her church get into pickleball. Many beginners don’t have their own equipment so this will be a good set for them to have as loaners for those folks.

Until next time. GNG.

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Rio Grill & Cantina

Posted on June 13, 2020 by under Food and Drink, Reviews.    

Finally had the opportunity to check out Rio Grill & Cantina in Andover. They took over the old Las Palmas space in the strip at Central and Andover Road. I can’t believe I’ve never been here before. The food is great!

I went for an Andover Rotary Club board meeting. It was our first in person board meeting since the pandemic began. We’ve been holding the board meetings via ZOOM until this one. The funny thing is, I’ve been on the board for a year now and I could never make the meetings. I think I’ve only attended one meeting during my first year as PR chair because something would always come up. That is, until the pandemic began and then we had a state-wide stay-at-home order. The ZOOM meetings were a lot easier to attend because then I didn’t have to budget in the drive time, which always seemed to be the challenge on days that meetings were back to back. For instance, if I had a meeting from 11 o’clock to 12 noon, there was no way I could drive to Andover to attend attend a meeting so I would just have to miss it. With the ZOOM meetings, I could quickly go from one meeting to the next without having to worry about driving.

Anyway, I’m still working from home so, even though this last one was in person, I was able to attend. Rather than having to drive from my office in downtown Wichita, I came from my house which is only about 5-10 minutes from almost anywhere in Andover.

I’m so glad I was able to attend this one because, not only is the food good, but it also happened to be Alison’s birthday. Huge thanks to Stephanie for picking up birthday cake on her way to the meeting.

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Besides celebrating her birthday with us, Alison also celebrated her final board meeting. After ten years of being on the Andover Rotary Club board (in one role or another), she finally gets a much-needed break. We are sad to see her leave the board because the club wouldn’t be what it is today without her service. She’ll still be part of the club so I’m pretty sure she’s still be helping us with lots of things but at least she won’t be required to attend the board meetings. At least for the time being. We are a very small club so who knows how long this break will last? She might be back again before too long. LOL.

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I always try to take pictures of food whenever I eat out and most specially if I’m eating somewhere for the first time but I didn’t want to be too nerdy so I only got a couple of pictures this time. I got a picture of Norm’s nachos (above) and my California burrito (below).

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My burrito was amazing. Easily the best burrito I have ever had. It’s got pork inside (which we all know how much I love pork), smothered in delicious green sauce, and topped with some avocado slices. It was so good, I can’t wait to have it again.

Once grandma is finally able to venture out of Victoria Falls, we’re going to have to eat lunch here because I think she’ll really like it.

Until next time. GNG.

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My Tho with Teresa

Posted on March 14, 2020 by under Reviews.    

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I met my friend Teresa at My Tho a couple of weeks ago. I have to say, even though it’s been over ten years since I’d last eaten there, not much has changed. They still don’t take cards. So take note, if you are eating at My Tho, remember to bring cash for payment.

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I got a picture of the menu and the restaurant interior but forgot to take pics of our food. #FAIL We ordered the exact same thing (pho with pork) though, so the pics would not have been that exciting.

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It was fun catching up with Teresa. I do not get to see her enough and we should catch up more often. Speaking of catching up, our friend Jason was supposed to join us but something came up at the last minute and he couldn’t make it.

I wouldn’t mind going back to My Tho. Their food is quite good. Perhaps next time we’ll have a full group with us.

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HomeGrown, Finally

Posted on February 2, 2020 by under Food and Drink, Reviews.    

I met Jan for lunch at the Bradley Fair HomeGrown on the first day of my holiday break. HomeGrown has been around for a while now. Their first location on the West side of Wichita opened a few years ago. I’d heard plenty of people say how great it is but since it was all the way out West, we just never got around to going.

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The Bradley Fair location opened some time ago but because it’s so popular the waits on the weekends are always longer than we have time or patience for. Anyway, it wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I finally had an opportunity to go. I figured since I was going on a weekday the wait wouldn’t be as bad. There was still a wait but it wasn’t as bad as it could have been.

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Here are some of the delicious drinks they offer.

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I had a chicken and noodle soup. It was great!

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I can’t remember what Jan had but it looked good too.

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Anyway, I liked it so much that I talked my friend Chris into walking over to the downtown location with me and having lunch there. I had the Cuban this time.

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Here’s a better pic.

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Chris decided to have breakfast.

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Then, since Brian and I were both off on MLK day, we decided to meet at the Bradley Fair location so he could try it. Here’s a pic of his meal, which is what he usually gets at most breakfast joints. Brian said the biscuits were delicious! He said they were the best he’s ever had.

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I had the carnitas breakfast which was excellent. I would totally order it again.

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We invited my new friend Sharmin to join us. This is her avocado toast. Anyway, buying her lunch was the least we could do since she was nice enough to bring me along as her guest to her pickleball sessions that morning at the Wichita Country Club. I will have to tell you about that in another post because it deserves its own write up. And this post is all about HomeGrown.

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Later that same week I was back at the downtown HomeGrown location again. This time with Jenni. Yes, I liked it so much I actually ate HomeGrown food (albeit different locations) three times in seven days.

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This is Jenni’s benedict (above). I wanted to try one of their omelets this time (below). It was great. I’ve yet to get anything on the menu that I didn’t enjoy.

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Anyway, HomeGrown is fabulous. The only downside is that, because it is so good, the wait to get a table is atrocious. However, if you get on their waiting list on Yelp, it’s not so bad. I didn’t know this when we went to Bradley Fair on MLK day. We had to wait almost an hour for a table. Well, I think it was 30-40 minutes but it seemed like forever. At least it gave Sharmin time to run her errand across the street at Trader Joe’s.

The time that I went with Chris to the downtown location, we just ate at the bar so we didn’t have to wait for a table. When I went with Jenni, she got there early and was already seated. Regardless of the wait, HomeGrown is totally worth checking out. Even if you have to wait, the food is worth it! Until next time. GNG.

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The Wheel Barrel

Posted on March 30, 2018 by under Food and Drink, Reviews.    

Finally got to try the Wheel Barrel.

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My coworker Tom, who lives in there area, has been talking it up for weeks. However, I’m not usually in Topeka and, when I am, I’m usually hitting up the Burger Stand. We carved out some time on this last trip to Topeka for the Wheel Barrel, though. Sarah, Chris, Tom, and I went on Monday night.

Here are some pics.

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Sarah had a half sandwich and soup combo. I can’t remember what kind of sandwich she got, though. I think she might have gotten the “luau” because I remember us talking about how much she loves ghost peppers.

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Tom had a full sandwich and soup. I can’t remember what kind of sandwich he got for the life of me. He also got the tomato bisque soup. I heard their tomato bisque is really good. I’m not really a tomato bisque soup person but Brian loves that stuff. I may have to bring him here.

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Chris and I both got the same thing — the “hangover” grilled cheese sandwich. It consists of smoked gouda, sharp cheddar, bacon, two fried eggs, and sriracha aioli on sweet brioche. It is amazing. This was, hands down, the best grilled cheese sandwich I’ve ever had.

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This is the Wheel Barrel’s take on bananas foster. It was the perfect size dessert of the four of us to share.

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So, I have newfound respect for Topeka and a new favorite restaurant. I’m definitely hitting this place again the next time I’m in town. I may even bring reinforcements (i.e. Brian).

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