My First Time at Roller City

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Kira wanted to go skating so we took her to Roller City on Saturday. I don’t know how to skate so Brian went with us.

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I’m so glad he did because he was able to skate with Kira while I clung to the walls for dear life. Brian used to be a floor guard so he can skate forwards and backwards. I, on the other hand, never learned how and can barely stay on my feet.

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Here are a couple of videos of Kira and Brian skating.

Brian showing off his skating prowess.

Saturday was my first time at Roller City and it was Kira’s first time at Ziggy’s Pizza, my favorite pizza joint.

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We got to experience a couple of firsts together.

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We had the all meat pizza and wings.

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The barbecue chicken wings were yummy!

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Everything was delicious as always.

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The root beer float was the best part. It came in chilled glass goblet bigger than Kira’s head. Brian and I agreed we would go back just for the root beer float.

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Ziggy's Pizza on Urbanspoon

We had an awesome outing overall. No broken bones except for the ones that were in the chicken wings. LOL.

Ziggy’s Pizza is the perfect end to any outing. Even if I took some tumbles at the skating rink, the amazing food at Ziggy’s would have made it all better. Their food is not just delicious. It’s magical. If you’ve never been to Ziggy’s, I highly recommend it. Their $13 pizzas are more than enough to feed three people so it’s a great value. It’s a fantastic dinner option that won’t break the bank. I’m just glad we don’t live any closer or we’d be there every night.

What Happened Last Week

View from the Nest at the Oread…

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I love training held at the Oread because we got to enjoy views like these. The only down side is that I have to be away from home. Of course, I get to look forward to coming home to my two babies.

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Except, I don’t think they missed me. This is what I came home to on Wednesday. =P

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Our Customer Experience meeting at the Holiday Inn ended at four o’clock on Thursday so I had time help grandma with her computer, which worked out great since Brian has to work until five now. He also had to stop by the car repair shop to pick up Bebot.

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After grandma’s computer was fixed, she showed me her word search game.

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I didn’t have Kira on Thursday night so we were able to partake of $12 sangria pitchers at Taste & See. Misty joined us for dinner. Here are some pictures of our food…

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Taste & See 2 on Urbanspoon

I didn’t get a picture of the queso fondue which is our favorite starter at the restaurant. Misty hadn’t tried it before. I think we converted another.

Dinner was delicious and it was nice to be able to catch up with Misty. It’s been a while.

I had my Leadership Wichita session on Friday, which is worthy of its very own blog post. After our session Brian had a meeting at Wichita State for the fitness device study that he’s part of. He’s testing his third fitness device: Basis.

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It’s the one he thought he wanted, but he actually doesn’t like as much now that he’s tried a couple of other fitness devices. I’m glad he’s part of the test group, otherwise we would have bought him something that he would quickly tire of and then eventually not use. After this one, he has three more fitness devices to test.

It’s past my bed time so I’ll hold off posting about the weekend until tomorrow. And, I still need to post a Leadership Wichita update. So stay tuned!

Until next time,
Ching

715 Restaurant

Since I was in Lawrence last week, I had an opportunity to have lunch at my favorite restaurant on Mass Street. I’ve eaten there a few times over the years but it wasn’t until last week that I realized I’ve been saying the name wrong. LOL.

Here are some pictures of our food…

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715 on Urbanspoon

Granted, this recent dining experience was not as awesome as previous dining experiences here. This was my first time having lunch here. I think dinner is just better than lunch period. I still recommend the restaurant. The food is on the expensive side, but it’s good. If you go, go for dinner. That would be my suggestion.

P.S. I kept calling it Seven-Fifteen, but it’s actually called Seven-One-Five. I’d never heard anyone say the name of the restaurant because I rarely ever meet people who’ve dined there. Now I know how to say it correctly.

Our Anniversary Dinner in Orlando

We ate out a lot in the days leading up to our anniversary. We hit our favorite places in Wichita where we hadn’t been in a long time so we ate at the Anchor and also at Redrock but we didn’t really “celebrate” our anniversary until Orlando because I wanted Brian to try the Oceanaire Seafood Room.

I ate at Oceanaire for the first time when I was in San Diego on a work trip and loved it. I remembered that they had a location down the street from the convention center in Orlando so I asked Brian if we could wait to celebrate our anniversary when we arrived in Orlando that way we could have our anniversary dinner at Oceanaire. The place is so expensive, special to a frugal person like me. It’s not really a place that you could just go to eat just for kicks.

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I really like the “Happy Anniversary” message on the menu. It’s a nice touch. Although, I liked the menu from San Diego better because it actually had my name printed on it.

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I’m glad I warned Brian about the prices on the menu ahead of time. He would have had a fit. He is just as cheap as I am. LOL.

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This is my super delicious sangria.

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I also like the fresh veggies.

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The chef also gives a small treat to first timers. Brian didn’t even want to try it. He saw the raw fish and that was enough for him. It actually wasn’t bad.

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The “congratulations” card they gave us signed by the staff was also a nice touch.

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It makes me want to celebrate every birthday and anniversary there. I’m cheap, but once or twice a year won’t be too bad. It’s a shame there’s not one in town.

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They have the most delicious crab cakes ever. This one was just as good, if not better, than the ones I had in San Diego. I like that there’s hardly any filler and the crab meat has just the right hint of sweetness.

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This ugly entree was the most expensive thing we ordered. $42 for this dish. It was just okay. I’d had better salmon before, for half the price. Actually I was thinking the dish would be around $32 but since I substituted the crab Oscar instead of the shrimp Oscar there was an up charge.

All I’m saying is that the crab cakes are worth every penny. I expected more out of this dish. Maybe I don’t know what good salmon tastes like? LOL. Maybe it’s because of the messy presentation? I don’t know. All I know is that I didn’t enjoy this dish as much as I thought I would have.

I didn’t complain or ask to exchange it though. I just ate until I was full, which is what I should do anyway rather than cleaning my plate every time.

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This is the hash browns Oceanaire-style. We ordered it because our server said it was their most popular side dish. This was just okay also. Other than how huge the serving is, there wasn’t really anything spectacular about it.

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Brian’s pork chop was just okay too. It was cooked well, but I thought it needed more flavor. That’s probably just me, though.

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The baked Alaska was good but it was rock hard. It had just come out of the deep freeze so it was solid. She could barely cut it in half even after heating the knife. It was that hard. Here’s a photo of it from the side.

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Here’s a video of the baked Alaska. The flames don’t always show up in photos so our server recommended taking a video instead.

The Oceanaire Seafood Room on Urbanspoon

Even though the Orlando location didn’t live up to the high expectations set by the San Diego location, our anniversary dinner was wonderful overall. Our server was delightful. Although, I think they are purposely nice to you though so you don’t feel so bad about the bill when it comes. LOL. I joked to Brian that we blew our entire food budget on one night. We were celebrating our 12th wedding anniversary though, so we had to pick a special place — one that’s worthy of the milestone.

Looking back though, I think we should have celebrated our anniversary at Twelve. I hear the food there is great and it would have been perfect because then it would have been our 12th at Twelve. Maybe I can talk Brian into a do over on Friday night. It’s just so far. I wish it wasn’t so far out on the West side of town. =P

Grandma’s 92nd Birthday

We celebrated grandma’s 92nd birthday at Firebirds last night. It was also a late birthday dinner for Brian and late Father’s Day celebration. We didn’t have time to figure out what to do for gifts for everyone so we just decided to buy everyone dinner. It was a little lazy on our part, I know; but what can you do when you’ve just gotten back from traveling and you have to get on with everyday life real quick? I was back to my day job and teaching my Zumba classes right off the bat.

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Without further ado, here are some of the pictures from last night.

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Mom and dad were able to join us so that was great.

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Brian got a card that makes noise and some cash for his birthday from his mom and dad. He is so easily amused.

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Mom really thought this was a half portion.

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Brian got ribs. He said they were very good.

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Grandma got pasta.

Dad got a wood grilled salmon.

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Kevin got a cheeseburger.

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I had a Fireside BLT with grilled salmon.

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Donna got meatloaf.

David got a steak filet and fries.

We all shared a couple of slices of the banana cream pie.

Close up!

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Grandma got a nice card from the Firebirds staff.

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We had to take a selfie!

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Here’s a photo of the Brubakers outside the restaurant after dinner.

Picture from last night.

Firebirds Wood Fired Grill on Urbanspoon

Food at the restaurant was actually better than I remembered. I have always liked their bread because it reminds me of pan de sal. The servers brought us several loaves well before we could even finish one.

I’m not sure about the others but my food was pretty good. The last time I had salmon at Firebirds it was a little overdone. It seemed that way anyhow. I thought I would give them another chance and get salmon again. This time to just add to my salad. The salmon was done absolutely perfectly. It didn’t dry up so that was great.

Our server recommended their seasonal dessert, a banana cream pie on steroids. We shared two slices of the pie. It was delicious. I hope Brian learns how to make it because I would love to have some again. LOL.

Dinner Photos

Here are some photos from our dinners at the resort.

La Brisa

Out of all the restaurants, La Brisa was our favorite. I think it was the only restaurant that we went to with a full bar. The other restaurants offered only regular drinks and wine. The location was perfect. The restaurant had spectacular views and the breeze felt great against your skin.

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La Comedie

La Comedie is one of two French restaurants. This one isn’t included in the regular all inclusive package but it’s free to club premium guests. Naturally, we had to give it a try.

Brian was not too fond of this place because he said it smelled very fishy. I couldn’t smell anything because I caught a cold while we were there and I was at the peak of my illness at this point. The creepy puppets didn’t help matters any either.

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This is how they served water out of water bottles.

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My shrimp cocktail starter was served out of a pineapple cup.

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I got the lobster thermidor entree. I’m sure it was very good but I didn’t have much of an appetite that night.

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Brian had chicken cordon bleu.

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I did eat all of my crepe suzette despite my lack of appetite.

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Brian had chocolate ice cream.

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Kyoto Teppanyaki

The following night we had dinner at a Japanese hibachi place. Like La Comedie this restaurant is also located on the family side, Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe.

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This is their version of miso soup. I thought it was good but Brian didn’t like it because it had a lot of crap in it. He’s used to the clear miso soup that they serve at the teppanyaki restaurants here in Wichita.

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I didn’t get a picture of my plate but it looks exactly the same as this with shrimp instead of chicken. I ate a lot of shrimp while we were down there.

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I had coconut encrusted flan. Brian had some kind of chocolate cake roll/log.

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La Dolce Vita

La Dolce Vita is an Italian restaurant at Barceló Bávaro Palace Deluxe. It was Brian’s pick and his least favorite of all the restaurants that we tried.

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They gave us bread that reminds me of lavosh.

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The minestrone was not very good. It was very watery.

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The chicken cacciatore was just okay.

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Brian fared worse. His spinach and four cheese ravioli was overcooked.

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The only thing good, besides the cheesy flatbread, was the tiramisu.

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Chez Gourmet

We ate at Chez Gourmet on our final night at Barceló. This French restaurant is included in the regular all inclusive package and the best part is that it’s located in the adults only side so we didn’t have to take the train over to Palace Deluxe. Even though my lobster wasn’t cooked all the way, I actually liked this place better than La Comedie.

Brian said the place didn’t smell fishy and there were no creepy puppets. I still couldn’t smell so I can neither confirm nor deny the existence or lack of fishy odor, but I was definitely glad there were no creepy puppets watching us eat our meal. Jokes aside, the restaurant was furnished nicely and well-decorated. The ambiance of this restaurant is also more romantic than stuffy.

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This is the stuffed squid starter offered to everyone at the restaurant. Brian didn’t touch his. I ate mine. It wasn’t bad.

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The seafood soup was watery just like the minestrone from the previous night.

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This is the martini shrimp. The fried shrimp outside was yummy. The shrimp ceviche under the martini glass was just okay. Cool presentation, though.

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I had the seafood trio of shrimp, crab, and lobster. The shrimp was good but the crab was overcooked and the lobster was not done all the way.

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Brian had the chateaubriand. He said it was just okay.

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I had the crepe suzette again for dessert.

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I don’t get to eat crepes very often so I took advantage of it while we were at Barceló. I ate crepes everyday. If not at dinner, at breakfast. I didn’t know there was a crepe station at Caribe Buffet until our second or third day at the resort but after I found out, I got it every time.

As far as resort dining goes, La Brisa and Caribe are your best bets. They’re on the adults only side so you don’t have to ride the train to Palace Deluxe. Lots of options at Caribe (and guys can wear shorts because there’s no dress code) and they have a full bar at La Brisa so you can enjoy cocktails with your meal.

Seafood was abundant at the resort and you have lot of choices. I took full advantage and ate a lot of seafood, specially shrimp. Brian is not a seafood lover so he ate a lot of pasta. LOL. I hope you enjoyed all the food photos and you found the comments helpful. Until next time.

XOXO,
Ching

Caribe Buffet

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Brian and I ate at the Caribe Buffet on our first night at the resort. The buffet is nice because you can wear pretty much anything you like. Actually, that’s true for women anywhere you go. However, guys are required to wear pants at the restaurants except for the buffet. They don’t care if you wear shorts at the buffet. As long as you’re not in your swimsuit and have shoes on, they pretty much don’t care.

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They always have various fresh fruits.

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There are several food stations.

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This is the create-your-own-pasta section. It’s was Brian’s favorite station.

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This is the crepe station.

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They always have all sorts of fish dishes. That first night I was surprised to see these two whole fish, complete with the head and everything.

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This is one of the dessert stations.

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There are always so many choices.

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There’s so much food. If you go hungry, it’s your fault.

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This is the view from the restaurant. It’s pretty nice, but there’s actually an even better one. I will show you guys next time.

My strategy at the buffet was to try a little bit of everything first and then once I figured out what I liked that’s all I got for the most part. Brian really liked the pasta and the pizza. I leaned more towards rice, beans, shrimp, and pork.

The buffet has some slightly different options at breakfast and lunch than at dinner. During breakfast there is a mimosa station and a smoothie station. The mimosa station is self-explanatory. They have bottles of wine and orange juice. You make your own mimosa. The smoothie station is really cool. They have a wide selection of fruits and you just tell them which ones you want in your smoothie. It’s really cool.

They also have an omelet station where you can create your own omelet. What I like best about their omelet station is that they don’t assume that you want cheese so they don’t put cheese in your omelet unless specifically requested so I never have to say “no cheese” every time. LOL.

The breakfast buffet is actually much better than getting room service. Even though room service was included for us and, despite the convenience, the wide array of food options makes it worth going to the buffet for breakfast. The room service menu is quite limited. Plus, I don’t think you can get smoothies via room service (but I don’t know for sure since I didn’t try).

The Caribe is a really good option for casual dining. If you don’t really care about trying the restaurants, just plan on eating at Caribe buffet every time and you don’t even have to pack any pants.

Club Premium Perks at Barcelo

Since Brian and I figured we would probably pay for internet anyway, we went ahead and paid extra for the club premium perks. Club premium guests get the best rooms at the resort. I think we got the best room at the resort without upgrading to a suite because it’s ocean front and it’s on the most quiet, peaceful side of the property. And, we have easy access to outdoor showers.

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The one thing that I didn’t care too much for is having to wear wristbands. I guess that’s the thing here in DR. We didn’t have to wear wristbands when we stayed at Couples. Here, I’ve yet to see anyone without some sort of wristband. Even the folks we met who were staying at other resorts had wristbands on. I guess that’s how they identify you and what perks you get. You wear it everyday, every where you go.

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Anyway, if you’re going to have to wear a wristband, you might as well wear a cool, wooden one that says “CLUB premium” on it instead of a cheesy plastic one. LOL.

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You also get robes and house shoes. I kept trying to wear mine outside the room because I’d forget to switch my shoes out.

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Room service isn’t included in the regular all-inclusive package. You can get room service, but it costs. For club premium guests, it’s free. Brian and I took advantage of this perk on our first couple of days. They give you so much food that they’re practically bringing the breakfast buffet to you.

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This is just regular breakfast and they gave us a ton of food. The food could barely fit on our patio table. Seriously.

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The next day we asked for the Desayuno Romantico (Romantic Breakfast) with champagne so we could make some mimosas. It was an enormous breakfast. It required two tables. No wonder you have to schedule it a day in advance.

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Some of the perks on the list were stretching it (they’re not really that much of a perk), but room service was a real perk. We really enjoyed being able to have breakfast on our private patio.

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Other perks we found valuable were access to the hydrotherapy section of spa, access to the club premium lounge, priority dinner reservations, the free bottle of Rob Barcelo imperial rum, etc. One perk that we didn’t really take advantage of and weren’t really interested in is the access to the VIP section of the disco. Their disco club doesn’t open until 11 pm and we’re usually in bed by then.

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen

It had been a while since we’ve been to Tanya’s Soup Kitchen and I’d almost forgotten how much I love their food. I was reminded when we ate there for lunch on Thursday. It was Brian’s pick.

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Tanya's Soup Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Brian got the Junie, which is what he always gets there. It’s like a Cuban sandwich, his favorite sandwich to get anywhere. He also always gets the tomato bisque. I don’t normally like tomato bisque because it’s too tomato-ey for me most of the time; however, Tanya’s is really good. I love the flavor and consistency of it.

I got the City Chicken with the cheesy potato soup. I like the City Chicken because it’s a lot like the Garbo at Caffe Moderne except without artichokes. I actually can’t decide which I like better between the City Chicken and the Garbo. They are both very good.

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Here’s a picture of my lunch. It was so delicious. This picture does not do it justice. If you are ever in the Wichita area or if you live in Wichita, you must go to Tanya’s!

Eating Out

We really have to get our eating out under control when we return home. Here are some pictures from dining out over the last few days leading up to our vacation.

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These are from Old Mill Tasty Shop. We had to get a turtle!

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The next day Cari roped us into Bang Wednesday at Bonefish.

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We had to get dessert of course. It’s not everyday that they offer strawberry shortcake. I just can’t resist dessert.

We have to buckle down once we’re back in Wichita, though. I look terrible in my clothes and my thighs are so much bigger than they have been in the last couple of years. I know it’s all the eating out and all the desserts I’ve eaten catching up to me. It’s time to get serious!

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