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Archive for "Food and Drink"

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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Shock ‘N Clause at the New Neighbors

Posted on January 25, 2020 by under Community, Food and Drink, Things to Do.    

I can’t believe I completely forgot to blog about the one of the best things that I was part of in 2019. Our friend Marc discovered the Shock ‘N Clause movement and organized one for our group.

There are many variations of this random act of kindness but our group agreed upon $50 per person (or $100 per couple). It basically works this way: All the participants pool their cash, use the funds to pay the meal, and the remaining cash goes to the server as their tip.

Our group consisted of the #VacayWithJayJay #CostaRica2019 gang plus Mama Dill and two other couples. One of the non #CostaRica2019 couples was friends with the Huntees and the other couple was friends with the Shooks. Here’s a group photo of the most generous bunch of people I know…

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We ended up taking our Shock ‘N Clause to the New Neighbors because none of the other diners could accommodate our large group (we had 15 people total) for brunch. Neighbors holds a special place in my heart because we used to play “bar” poker there back in the day. This was back in our Amateur Poker League (APL) days about fifteen years ago. I actually thought we were going to that same restaurant where we used to play but Brian and I hadn’t been there in years and we didn’t realize they moved. The restaurant is in a new spot and now called the New Neighbors Bar & Grill, instead of simply just Neighbors Bar & Grill.

I think the move to the new location happened a few years prior but the name change happened only a few months ago. After the owner was murdered back in July, the restaurant was closed for some time. The restaurant reopened in October under new ownership and that’s when the name change to the New Neighbors Bar & Grill happened.

Anyway, we were lucky to have a great server who seemed truly deserving of the gift. The restaurant isn’t a fancy place and the menu items are quite reasonably priced. Our group’s entire meal cost under $200. Since we brought $750 with us, our server ended up with just slightly over $550 as her tip. It felt really heartwarming to be able to pay it forward and bless someone’s life in this way specially around the holidays. I’d have to say this was the most gratifying meal I’ve had ever in my entire lifetime.

Speaking of meal, I’d be remiss if I didn’t share pictures of our food. That’s kind of my thing and I’m not about to let you down.

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I had their corned beef hash which was refreshingly very different than any other corned beef hash I’d ever had. I think it’s the best ever compared to all the other ones I’ve had in town, and I’m not just saying that because my heart was full.

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I couldn’t take pics of everyone’s food, because there were two other couples in attendance who I didn’t know very well and I didn’t want to seem weird, but I took as many as I could.

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At least our #VacayWithJayJay pals knew better than to start eating before I could take a photo of their meals. LOL. Seriously though, we have the most amazing and generous bunch of friends. I hope that Brian and I are able to participate when we do this again later this year. Until then, keep paying it forward and GNG.

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Dinner at Xin-Gao

Posted on December 27, 2019 by under Food and Drink.    

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Becca arranged for us to have dinner at this amazing teppanyaki grill at the resort on one of the evenings.

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Here are some pictures of the restaurant interior and furnishings.

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We were waiting for Jay, Tina, and Justin to return from XPLOR. Becca took the afternoon off and didn’t go with them. The three of us — Becca, Brian, and I — went to Xin-Gao to hold our reservation.

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Here’s a video of the elegant water feature in the middle of the restaurant.

Here are some pictures of our food.

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This is the miso soup, which was presented beautifully.

Our fried rice was delicious.

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These were the most beautifully plated hibachi dinners I’d ever seen.

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Pictures of desserts that were as good as they looked.

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We ate a lot of great food while on vacation. This was another wonderful dinner on our immensely memorable trip. Until next time. GNG.

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Hanging Out at Casa Fuego

Posted on December 26, 2019 by under Food and Drink, Life, Travel.    

Our adults-only building at Hotel Xcaret is pretty self sufficient. It has two pools — one on the roof and our swim-up on the ground level. We have our own restaurant in the building. We have our own bars — the one inside Fuego Restaurant, at the rooftop pool, and the “secret” bar in the walking path.

All of the amenities in our building are private and for Casa Fuego guests only. It’s easy to sneak in because, even though you have to scan your bracelet to open the glass gates, you could always go around them and sometimes they’re left open. However, the resort is so vast and there’s something for everyone. Other guests staying at other buildings have access to so much, I doubt they even know or care what we have in Fuego. Brian and I had access to everything, plus all of the exclusive stuff in our building. Anyway, it’s very nice if you like to have peace and quiet and privacy.

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Here are a couple of pictures of us having breakfast at Fuego Restaurant, which was conveniently just a couple of doors down from our room.

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They serve breakfast, lunch, and dinner so it’s perfect for when we are in a rush or when we don’t want to deal with all the other guests or if we get back to the hotel late and don’t really want to venture out.

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Here’s a picture of Brian looking over the menu.

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Here’s a picture of the fancy menu.

Fuego Restaurant was the perfect place to do our short live update on location. We just did a short video before digging in to breakfast. Some food pictures follow.

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Instead of having a Panero come by, because the restaurant is exclusive to Casa Fuego guests and not many people are usually dining there, they just give you a tray with various pastries. You also get a tray with four different spreads.

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Here’s a closer look at the breads.

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Everything is fancy at Fuego.

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After breakfast, we went back to our room to lay in the hammocks out on the patio.

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We had a great view of the ocean and access to the pool. It was quite nice and relaxing. Then we decided to go up to the rooftop pool.

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The rooftop pool has amazing 360 views of the resort and the ocean.

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Here are some more pictures I took while up there.

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Some pictures of the pool.

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Here are some pictures of the scenery down below.

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We went back to Fuego Restaurant for dinner on a separate occasion. Here are some pictures of that night’s dinner menu.

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Here’s a picture of the restaurant’s signature drink. Of all the delicious drinks I tried there, this was my most favorite.

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Brian even liked it.

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Video of Brian trying to explain the drink.

Here’s the server explaining it. This explanation was more simplified than the first one. We originally thought it was the drink of the day but they let me keep ordering it in the days that followed. I kept going back to the restaurant just to get that drink because I liked it that much.

Picture of our toasted bread in a bread envelope.

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Fancy appetizer on a piece of rock. I could have eaten six of these.

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Everything on the menu was too fancy for Brian so he just wanted tomato soup and fries. The service at the restaurant is top notch. They actually offered to make him a burger, even though it wasn’t listed on the menu. They seriously do everything within their power to please you.

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Here’s a picture of my delicious lobster risotto.

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I can’t remember what this was called but it was also amazing!

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Here’s another picture of my favorite drink on a different visit. I think we were headed somewhere else — maybe lunch with the rest of the crew and I just had to swing by and get one of these to go.

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Brian and I liked the restaurant so much that we decided to go back there for breakfast on departure day.

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We got to eat outside this time.

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The weather we had that day was the best we’d had all week.

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We took advantage of the opportunity to eat outside.

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Here are the amazing views from the restaurant patio.

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Fancy toast and side of bacon.

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The most beautiful French toast I’d ever laid eyes on.

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Here’s a close up photo. It was as delicious as it was beautiful.

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Brian explaining the different jams.

We really enjoyed our week at Hotel Xcaret and loved staying in the Casa Fuego building. Every detail of our stay was amazing. We will definitely go back!

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Breakfast at La Trajinera

Posted on December 26, 2019 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

Pictures of our fancy breakfast at La Trajinera.

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I think I meant to take a picture of the potatoes but missed. LOL.

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