Archive for "Things to Do"
Posted on November 30, 2016 by Ching under Things to Do, Travel.
Here are some pictures from our Boulevard Brewery tour last week.
The gift shop.
Beers available for purchase at the gift shop.
Brian’s favorite Boulevard beer.
The Smokestack Room.
My handsome husband.
The Beer Hall.
Beer Hall selfie.
Beer Hall menu.
Here’s what the pretzel dogs looked like.
Cute little photo both trailer at the Beer Hall.
Our awesome tour guide.
The original brewhouse.
The stuff that beer is made of.
Not much going on. They shut down production early for the holidays.
The iconic Boulevard smokestack.
The have a pretty great outdoor terrace.
Our final stop.
Cheers for free beer.
Tank 7 induced beer happiness.
This pretty much sums it up.
Posted on November 26, 2016 by Ching under Things to Do, Travel.
Since Brian loves coffee, I went ahead and scheduled a tour of the Roasterie factory in Kansas City. A tour of Boulevard was already on the agenda and the Roasterie is conveniently located just down the street from the brewery.
If you’ve never had coffee from the Roasterie, you’re totally missing out. Brian tried it for the first time and he’s convinced that it’s the best coffee ever. I’m not a coffee connoisseur so I honestly can’t tell you the difference. However, I do know that I don’t like drinking coffee (unless it’s like a super sweet latte or mocha or cappuccino of some sort) and I don’t mind drinking Roasterie coffee without any sweetener, creamer or other additives.
The tour went off to a bit of a rocky start. Unlike the brewery tour where you just show up, the Roasterie requires you to reserve your spot for the tour on their web site. I checked the schedule and everything and we made reservations for the 12:30 PM tour. I got an email reminder and everything.
Being the punctual people that we are, Brian and I hit the road early so we could arrive in plenty of time for the tour. We arrived at the factory around noon and we saw that the prior tour was still finishing up. We milled around for a bit, checked out the goodies, and took some selfies and such.
At the end of the other tour, we approached the girl who was doing the coffee brewing demo and asked her where we needed to be for the 12:30 PM tour.
She was like, “There isn’t a 12:30 PM tour. We switched to our holiday hours so the next one is at 1:00 PM.”
This obviously made me more than a little cranky because I received an email that clearly said 12:30 PM. She offered to get the manager but I was like “Don’t bother.” I’m just going to tweet you jerks and blog about your ineptitude. I’m kind of passive-aggressive like that. LOL.
Kidding aside, it’s a free factory tour. So we thought we could do this first and eat lunch after. It’s not their fault that we were getting “hangry” and so I was like, whatever. I asked Brian if he was all right waiting a little bit longer and he was fine so we continued to mill about the store.
Anyway, a few other people showed up after us and I think they received the same wrong information that I received. I thinking that the tour people probably realized that something was amiss because we ended up starting our tour around 12:45 PM instead of 1:00 PM as the girl had previously stated. I’m not sure what happened but I was glad they came to their senses and our wait was cut short by 15 minutes.
The tour starts with a short video (less than ten minutes) about the company’s origins and operation. I couldn’t find the whole video on YouTube but I did find bits and pieces of it. Here’s the bit about how it all began:
Here’s the bit that talks about coffee:
Here’s the bit about air-roasting:
Now for some pictures…
This is a picture of the cafe at the factory. The most important thing to remember is to wait until after the tour to go to the cafe because if you mention that you took the tour then you get a discount on your purchase.
They have this little alcove with a neat backdrop and so naturally we took a selfie.
This is a picture of the previous tour that was finishing up when we got there.
They have this whole airplane theme because of “air-roasting” and so in the retail store, they have an area with an airplane chair and wood backdrop. They also have different hats and props but Brian has this thing about putting hats that other people have worn on his head (he thinks it will give him lice or something) so you don’t really get the full effect here.
The idea is you put on a pilot’s hat or use some other prop (there’s a coat tree with various objects you can use) to make your photo more interesting. Alas, this is Brian we’re talking about so the above photo is all I got.
This is us trying to entertain ourselves while we wait for our tour to commence. You can see the coat tree behind us with the various hats and props to play with for the special photo station. At least that’s what I concluded they are for; there weren’t exactly any instructions.
All of the people from the previous tour are gone now. Brian and I are just milling about while waiting for the 12:30/1:00 tour to begin. I’m taking pictures because that’s what I do to pass the time.
Here’s a view of the factory from the retail store.
If you don’t have time for the whole tour, you can always observe the operation from the retail store area.
I took photos of the various artifacts they had on display.
Can you tell I was bored? LOL. That’s what happens when you arrive for your 12:30 tour and you’re told there isn’t one until 1:00 PM.
We managed to occupy ourselves, though. There were plenty of interesting things to see like old coffee-related items in the cupboard.
And just various objects on display around the open space next to the store.
Finally, it was time to tour. They gave each of us hairnets. They also had beard nets for the bearded fellas.
This was one of our tour guides.
He was wearing an interesting outfit, which led me to the conclusion that being a hipster was one of the qualifications for being a Roasterie tour guide.
I wish I had a more to say about these photos but I really wasn’t paying that much attention to what he was saying.
I was too distracted by his outfit. Just kidding!
It’s actually really noisy in there so it’s hard to have conversations or hear anything.
I do know that the hole in the coffee bag is not actually a hole. It’s a one-way valve that allows carbon dioxide to escape the bag because freshly roasted coffee needs to de-gas. It’s so the coffee bag doesn’t explode.
Here’s some helpful information for brewing the perfect cup of coffee at home.
At the conclusion of the tour, we got to watch (and also taste) the same coffee, Ethiopian Natural (pictured above), brewed using two different brewing methods: French press and pour over.
It was all very interesting and we learned a lot. One of my key takeaways is that I actually don’t mind drinking coffee as long as it’s good coffee. LOL.
Also, Brian likes the pour over method for this coffee blend. The thing to remember is different methods lend themselves well to different blends you’re probably going to prefer different methods for the each.
Once you’ve found the blend of coffee you like, from whichever region, then you’ll want to brew it using different methods to see which method you like best. We tried the same coffee and it really did taste different.
Just between us, both methods seemed like a lot of work to me for a single cup of coffee. She said that after doing it a few times, you actually get used it. It becomes so easy you can even do it half asleep; which is good because if you’re like Brian then you’re not really fully awake until after you drink your first cup.
Anyway, here are pictures of some of the goodies and gift sets available at the store.
Don’t worry. You don’t have to drive to the Kansas City factory store to purchase these gifts. Many of them available on their web site. Although, visiting the factory store does have the added perk of a free factory tour.
And, for those who have everything, they also offer “coffee experiences,” which can be arranged for a fee by calling the office.
Before I go, I’m going to leave you with this short film about the Roasterie that I found on YouTube. I think this might have been the old video they used to show before they switched to the new version. Anyway, it’s super informative. Enjoy!
Posted on November 25, 2016 by Ching under Things to Do, Travel.
Brian finally got to experience riding the Kansas City Streetcar this week. The streetcar runs up and down River Market and Union Station seven days a week.
I’d been using it to load up on Pokemon balls and to hunt for Pokemon after work some nights. It’s cool because you can hit several stops as the streetcar moves along, sort of like when we hired that party bus specifically for Pokemon hunting.
I’d ridden the streetcar several times before and the operator never says anything. You don’t even realize they’re there. Except for Brian’s first ride. The operator was like, “How’s everyone doing?” And she goaded us all to cheer. She was like a tour bus driver, all enthusiastic and stuff. It was quite unusual.
“They’re not all like that,” I told Brian.
When we got to Union Station, where the ride ends and you have to wait a few minutes for the streetcar to change direction, the operator emerged from the booth to move to the other end of the streetcar. That’s when we realized we met “Streetcar Sandy,” the jolliest streetcar operator of them all.
I had to get a selfie with her because she’s a bit of a celebrity. She was featured in an article about the KC Streetcar in the Kansas City Star back in May. Feel free to click on the link to read the article.
There’s also this short informational video:
I really love the KC Streetcar. It doesn’t go a long distance right now. It only spans about two miles. But I’m excited for when the streetcar actually gets extended all the way to Country Club Plaza and UMKC. That will be awesome.
Posted on November 20, 2016 by Ching under Events, Projects, Things to Do.
Here are some pictures from the team building volunteer service activity that I organized a couple of weeks ago. I’m so grateful for my amazing coworkers who gave up part of their holiday weekend to help out.
The project? We helped set up the North Pole Winter Carnival at Child Start‘s Polar Express Literacy Event.
The trickiest part was building the train display with no instructions.
Mike was super proud of the fake wood wall that he and Mel built.
He’s showing it off in this photo with Faith’s husband (left).
They didn’t need our help with the main event area. Our group’s focus was setting up and decorating the game room, which I actually thought was the fun part.
I really wish we could have attended the event and seen the kids enjoy the carnival games. Brian and I had another party to attend that evening, otherwise I would have totally dragged him with me. Had I planned the weekend better, I could have taken Nickira to the event. I think she would have enjoyed it.
I hope Child Start holds the event again next year. Nickira is getting to close to that age where she might think it’s a little bit childish but I really think she would enjoy it. I hope I can take her next year because it will be the final one before she’s officially a teenager. I saw some pictures of the event on the Child Start Facebook page and it looked like a blast. I’m really bummed that I missed it.
At least we got to help set up. I just love volunteering for stuff like this. It warms my heart. The best part is the $1000 donation from the Westar Energy Foundation to match our team building volunteer service hours.
Posted on November 2, 2016 by Ching under Events, Things to Do.
Took Nickira to City Arts on Saturday morning. They were hosting an arts and crafts event that was free to the public. I saw information about it just a few days prior and figured that it would be right up Nickira’s alley.
Normally, I would have been teaching my Zumba class but Erica filled in for me.
Our craft options were little stick dolls, sugar skills, and Halloween buckets.
And we did them in that order. These pictures are of the examples.
This is the first stick doll I made.
After we made our stick dolls, we went on to paint sugar skull cookies.
I had to remind Kira that these skull cookies are just for painting and they aren’t to be eaten. The lady told me the cookies are just made with salt and flour so they’re probably not any good. Plus, you really wouldn’t want to eat a cookie that everyone else has touched. These were made specifically for painting.
Mine didn’t turn out too bad. Nickira and I agreed she should give it to her mom.
Afterwards, we went to the other room to make and decorate small Halloween candy pails. It was great that they had three different craft projects.
After that project, we both decided to make another pair of stick dolls before we had to leave to grab lunch. This is my second attempt.
I really liked how they had all of the craft supplies on hand so after short instructional briefing you pretty much had run of everything and could make whatever you wanted. I think I had just as much fun as Nickira, if not more. LOL.
People always complain there’s nothing to do in Wichita but there’s always fun community events like this one and there’s lots of fun free things to do. There’s usually a number of events and activities going on, you just have to know where to look. Facebook is great because it gives you quick and easy access to nearby events coming up. I also check Wichitaweso.me at least once a month.
If you don’t want to have to check multiple place, like our FLIP + CHING page on Facebook because I usually post about my favorite upcoming fun events that people should check out. Some cost, some are free, but all of them fun things to do.