There’s so many more places that I want to visit over there. I need to go back!
If any of you guys want to go on a vacation, we know some travel experts that you should talk to… Jay and Becca at The Travel Junkie are the best. Although, they’re always trying to sell us on Sandals and we are diehard Couples Resorts fans. LOL.
There was a Culver’s next to our hotel so I just had to try it. I walked over there with Malisa and Jennifer on the last day of class. The rest of the class tried it the day before and they were telling us about the cheese curds that you just had to try. They’re made with cheese from Wisconsin.
Carmen who ate there the day before wasn’t impressed with their butterburgers. She said it the hamburger patties didn’t have much flavor. Heeding her advice, I stayed away from the burgers and ordered chicken strips instead. I substituted my fries for cheese curds, of course. I also had a chocolate shake.
Everything was good, but not out of this world. I think we are spoiled by Freddy’s because they have such delicious burgers and hotdogs and concretes. Culver’s food was just ‘eh. The location is great though. It’s nice to be able to walk to the restaurant. So that’s always a plus. And the people are super friendly so they get an A+ for service. When they found out that we were from out of town and had never tried Culver’s before, they even offered us samples of their frozen yogurt. I couldn’t try it because of my braces, though. But it’s okay because I got a chocolate shake which is probably made from the same stuff anyway.
Give Culver’s a try if you’ve never been. It’s worth at least that.
Several folks from training class decided to go to Romano’s Macaroni Grill for dinner on Wednesday night. It was a nice opportunity to relax and visit with the other students. I learned so much, not just in training, but also from the other students. I learned about Tabata from Jennifer and nightly rituals like drinking a glass of champagne in the evening to celebrate the day and doing 20 push ups before bed.
Here are the obligatory food photos from that evening for your enjoyment.
The food was really good. A couple of people ordered appetizers to share with the table so I got to try the goat cheese stuffed peppadew peppers and Italian nachos. Both were yummy.
I had the chicken scaloppine. It was so good that I was tempted to finished it all. We used to have a Romano’s Macaroni Grill in Wichita, but it closed several years ago. There’s a Barnes & Noble there now. It’s been years since I’d been to the restaurant and I’d forgotten how good the food is. I wish they’d reopen a location in Wichita.
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.
Pictures of hotel food. It was not bad, actually.
They made delicious salads. I really liked the avocados.
I really liked their salads and would have been content eating every meal at the hotel. Some of our companions wanted to venture out and eat though, so I got to try a couple of other places.
Overall I enjoyed my stay at the Hilton Garden Inn in Avondale. The staff were really friendly. And, although they didn’t have a free shuttle to and from the airport, they had free shuttle service available for anywhere within five miles of the hotel. You just let them know at the front desk where you want to go and they drop you off and pick you back up when you’re finished. They even took us to Tanger Outlets in Glendale on our last night.
Carmen and I had a two-hour layover in Houston on the way to Arizona so we decided to have lunch at the airport. Here are some pictures of our food.
Mozzarella Cheese Bites
I didn’t get a picture of Carmen’s burger because she bit into it too soon. LOL. She was so hungry, she decided she wanted some mozzarella cheese bites to start. I got to try some. They were yummy. You can never go wrong with Ruby’s, though. I remember Brian and I got to try it during one of our airport layovers a couple of years ago.
As airport food goes, Ruby’s is actually pretty good. Since I had tried it before, I figured it would be a safe bet. No chocolate shake for me this time, though I was really tempted. I thought Carmen would get one, but she didn’t.
I would have liked to hit Ruby’s again on the way home, but my layover was shorter and I didn’t want to risk it. I just had a smoothie from Smoothie King instead. It was enough to tide me over until I made it home. Ruby’s is good, but I’d rather eat at home with Brian any day.
Brian and I both love Scooter’s Coffeehouse and we found a location in Overland Park that is a cut above the rest. The exterior didn’t seem like much, but it was quite cozy inside. It beats all of the Scooter’s Coffeehouse locations here in Wichita in terms of furnishings and decor.
Though there was only one bistro table a couple of chairs outside, the store had plenty of seating inside. And the interior partitions created some private areas.
It’s not feasible for us to drive three hours just to go to this particular Scooter’s; however, we do find ourselves in the Kansas City and Overland Park area quite a bit. Now that we’ve found this Scooter’s on Antioch Road, we’ll go out of our way to go to this particular location for our coffee fix when we’re in the neighborhood.
The service was great, the coffee was tasty (they made my iced Twix even better than the ones they make at the Scooter’s in Andover, which is our favorite one here in town), and the store interior was cozy. I have nothing bad to say about this Scooter’s. In fact, I wish there were one exactly like it here in Wichita. Until then, at least we have this one. As an added bonus, I found out that some friends of ours live nearby. They need to invite us over so we can have an excuse to hit the Scooter’s. LOL.
The Christmas tree at the Manhattan Hilton Garden Inn gave a serious case of tree envy. It looked like it was easily over twenty feet and there wasn’t an unadorned inch.
The tree that I’d been working on at home looked completely naked by comparison. I was tempted to go to Michael’s this morning to pick up some more ornaments. LOL.
Speaking of Christmas decorations, Brian and I were inspired by this wine-themed Christmas tree that we saw at Von Maur today. We’re totally doing one next year!
I had the opportunity to try Harry’s restaurant in Manhattan, Kansas the other day. The restaurant is kind of fancy. The dim lighting, the ornate crown molding and chandeliers give the restaurant an elegant and almost romantic ambiance. I’d heard some good things so I was actually looking forward to giving the restaurant a try.
This was Darcy’s dinner salad with blue cheese crumbles. The dim lighting inside the restaurant made it difficult to take good photos of the food and my cellphone doesn’t have a flash. Brian and I did get new phones this week though, so this problem should be a thing of the past going forward.
I had the roasted bell pepper and crab bisque.
Darcy had the beef stroganoff for dinner. Again, the photo didn’t do the dish justice. It looked absolutely delicious in person.
This was my pork roulade — slow roasted center cut pork loin stuffed with shrimp, crab, and spinach dressing. It was very, very good.
I didn’t get any pictures of Ginger’s salad and entree because she was sitting across from me and my phone was too slow and we were all starving. I’m surprised I was able to get photos of Darcy’s food. LOL.
If you are ever in Manhattan, Kansas, I recommend dining at Harry’s.