Little Saigon

Brian had a comp day on Friday because of the long hours he worked during National Sales Meeting. He asked if I wanted to take a day of vacation from work. I thought about it but I had a lot of work to catch up since we’ve been in a bunch of meetings over the last couple of weeks. That, and I usually save my vacation days for taking an actual vacation or for when I’m sick so I don’t have to use my sick leave. I collect sick leave hours like I collect food pictures. LOL.

Brian spent his comp day with Mr. Sprinkler (time to start watering the yard) and also visiting his grandma. It was a productive day for him overall. However, that meant I was on my own for lunch. Faith and I decided to have lunch at Little Saigon. Here are some pictures of our food.

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Little Saigon on Urbanspoon

I’m so glad she suggested it because I’d never be able to go otherwise. Brian doesn’t really like these types of restaurants. Actually, he doesn’t like eating out in general.

Anyway, I hadn’t been to Little Saigon in years. I believe the last time that I ate there, the restaurant was called something else. The restaurant’s name was Kim Huong then and, several years before that, it was Pho 99. The restaurant served Vietnamese food then just as it does today. The food is pretty good and the selection is vast. The menu choices are pretty much the same as before actually.

I had the chicken curry when Faith and I were there the other day. It was one of the restaurant’s specials that day. It was delicious but it was a tad too spicy for me. Faith didn’t think it was spicy. I’m just a wimp, I guess.

Little Saigon is one of the better Vietnamese restaurants in town. The interior is bright and wide open with ample seating. It’s not dark and compact like other Oriental restaurants in town. I’d go back to try some of the other items on the extensive menu. Hopefully I can talk Brian into going with me in a few weeks. Ya’ll are welcome to join us. Just holler.

Brian’s First Time at Hibachi Boy

Brian had never been to Hibachi Boy so I took him there on Thursday night while we were in Derby to check out some jeans that Jenni no longer wanted. The story about the jeans is that some of them were actually mine originally. When I gained weight and got bigger, I gave them to Jenni who has always been a smaller size than me even at heaviest. She had a dozen jeans for me to look through and I ended up taking home three of them. There was only one that I’d never seen before so two of them actually came from me and I was finally getting them back after all these years.

The jeans were all low waisted, which is not really my style anymore. I prefer higher waisted jeans. Brian calls them mom jeans. They are not truly high waist jeans but jeans that hit at your natural waistline rather than well below your navel. I like them because they hold my gut in better. The low waisted jeans tend to make me bulge at all the wrong places. Maybe I’m an old lady now. I accept it. LOL.

Anyway, I told Brian that I didn’t really want the those three jeans back. They weren’t my style anymore. Mostly I just took them back to prove a point: that I could fit in them again. Yes. Everyone needs some validation every once in a while. Even me.

So that was the primary reason that we found ourselves in Derby the other day. We hit Hibachi Boy on the way home because Brian had never been there and I figured I would take him to try it. Here are some pictures of our dinner.

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We started with the appetizer sample which is supposed to be two fried dumplings, two spring rolls, two crab rangoon, and two chicken wings. They were out of wings though so they just gave us three of everything, which was fine. Although I’m wondering if the wings were really good. They must have been for them to run out of them that early in the evening.

The spring rolls are not really great. Some people probably think they are, but we are spoiled because we are used to lumpia. Any kind of spring roll just pales in comparison.

The fried dumplings were decent. They’re as good as the fried dumplings that you would get at any other place. What Hibachi Boy really did great on this platter was the crab rangoon. The filling had nice creamy consistency and was the just right hint of sweetness. Next time I’d probably skip the sampler platter and just go for an order of the crab rangoon.

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Brian had the hibachi chicken and I had the hibachi shrimp. I thought it was pretty good. Brian thought it was just okay. But then he doesn’t really enjoy eating out these days so nothing is ever as good as just eating at home.

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What I like about Hibachi Boy is that they give you a little bit of everything. You get both noodles and rice. At other places you have to choose one or the other. You get some vegetables. Not a lot. And you also get bean sprouts. So you get everything that you would get at hibachi restaurants.

Hibachi Boy on Urbanspoon

The best part about Hibachi Boy is the price. It’s hibachi food at half the price. Then again, it’s more of a fast food setting rather than a nice sit down restaurant setting and the chefs aren’t performing for you but if you really don’t care to have that experience and just want the food just go here. You can even get it to go.

Brian may disagree with me on this one but I really like Hibachi Boy. If I have to eat out anyway and I’m in Derby, I’d probably pick Hibachi Boy. Go check it out if you haven’t already. Hibachi food at half the price. That’s all I got to say.

Blue Moose

I had the opportunity to check out Blue Moose while I was in Topeka last week.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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Blue Moose on Urbanspoon

This is what I had. It was good but very salty. I like salty foods so I didn’t mind it. The dish would have been way too salty for Brian, though.

Overall the restaurant had a pretty good menu selection. Everyone seemed to be happy with their dinner. As far as Topeka restaurants go, I still like the Blind Tiger best but I wouldn’t mind returning to Blue Moose again.

Firebirds

I had to take Brian on a proper date after making him sit through The Chalk Garden last weekend. Plays are not really his cup of tea. He was a good sport about it, though.

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We started out date night with dinner at Firebirds. Brian had never been there. His parents tried it for the first time on their last trip to Wichita and really liked it so I figured he probably would too.

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Here’s a photo of their signature drink.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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We started out with crab cakes. Their crab cakes have great flavor but what I really like most about them is how chunky they are. There’s huge hunks of crab meat and not much filler. Just the way a crab cake should be.

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Their bread reminds me of an extra large pandesal.

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Brian had the smokehouse chicken sandwich.

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I really wanted the crab cake salad because Darcy really liked it the last time we were there. However, I had to pick something else since we had crab cakes for our appetizer. Ended up getting the Colorado chicken salad which is really good too. It’s not as good as my favorite chicken salad at Red Rock Canyon Grill but I thought it was delicious and I’d order it again.

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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill on Urbanspoon

I ate light because I was saving room for dessert. I’ve been having sweet cravings lately.

The big daddy chocolate cake really hit the spot. The cake is so huge that Brian and I couldn’t finish it. I had to take the rest of it home.

I wasn’t overly impressed with Firebirds when my coworkers and I ate there for lunch a while ago, but I was really pleased with our experience the other day. Our server was attentive and friendly and the food was good. Brian really liked it. Our dinner at Firebirds was a great start to our date night.

Cravings Gluten Free Bakery

When I joined Adventurous Babes Society last year, I had no idea it would actually lead to adventures and meeting cool women. Mostly I joined because I wanted to get one of the cool purple t-shirts (they are very high quality, by the way) and that’s the only way to get one. Actually, my friend Ethel told me about it and I’m impressionable and impulsive and will join anything that sounds like a good idea so I did.

It’s a lot like what happened with Zumba. I became a ZIN member to get discounts on Zumba gear. LOL.

Anyway, I’d been sitting on my membership for months now and hadn’t actually participated on an adventure until recently. Normally, I’m not able to attend events because I’m either at work or working out or teaching Zumba. The other day I happened to see that one of the other ABS members couldn’t make one of the adventures so she was giving up her ticket. It worked out perfect because I was on a brief break from working out because I fell ill (quite suddenly) on Wednesday. And as suddenly as it had come, it was gone. Literally, I had 100 degree fever one day and was back to 97.6 temp within 24 hours. I didn’t want to miss any work though, so I suspect that I just willed myself well. Mind over matter, so to speak.

I wasn’t taking any chances, though. My plan was to lay off working out Wednesday, Thursday, and Friday so I could be well enough to teach my Zumba classes on Saturday. The doctor, who just happened to be checking my ankle on Thursday afternoon, agreed it was a good plan.

I spent a lot of time waiting around in the examination room so that’s when I found out that there was a seat available at the Death by Chocolate preview adventure. Death by Chocolate is an annual fundraising event at the Exploration Place. As with most adventures, I wanted to do this one but I didn’t sign up because I would normally be at Zumba on Thursday night. As luck would have it, the stars aligned. I was off workouts and a seat happened to become available. I found myself at my very first ABS adventure, just like that. This was a great one to start off with too because it didn’t require any physical activity. LOL.

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Cravings Gluten Free Bakery on Urbanspoon

All we had to do was sample these delicious gluten free confections by Cravings Gluten Free Bakery and provide feedback in preparation for their participation in Death by Chocolate. Such hard work, I know!

Everything you see in the photo above was gluten free. That’s not the amazing part. The amazing part is that everything was delicious! I usually don’t have high expectations for gluten free foods, but you couldn’t tell these creations were gluten free at all. In fact, it was hard for me to pick a favorite because everything tasted great. When we went around to tell the group what we liked best, I picked one of the cake balls with pop rocks because all of the items equally tasted good to me and I’d never had pop rocks before. I was so amused by the sounds they made as I was eating them. Oh, and I picked the white cake balls instead of the dark ones because they made louder popping sounds as I was eating them. I didn’t want to tell everyone that I’d never had pop rocks before, though. I didn’t want them to think I was silly. Everyone has tried pop rocks before. Well, everyone except me it seemed. Until last night, of course.

Anyway, I had a wonderful time tasting some delicious gluten free goodies and meeting some truly amazing women. I can’t believe I waited so long to join an adventure. I’m thinking now that I really need to make time and squeeze more adventures into my busy schedule. My next one is the Let’s Dance adventure on March 9. I am so looking forward to attending!

In the meantime, Death by Chocolate is on March 8. Best of luck to the Cravings team. I hope you guys win!

For more information about the Adventurous Babes Society and to join, simply visit their web site. Use Ching Brubaker as a referral and I get a free baseball cap after three new members! You don’t know what you’re missing out on!

My Fancy Dinner with Jane at Fleming’s

This dinner was 20+ years in the making so it was only fitting that we went to a fancy schmancy restaurant. Oh, yes. Only the finest for my dear Jane. ;-)

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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The spreads are tasty, but the bread got cold too quickly.

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This is a picture of Jane’s filet.

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Jane’s baked potato.

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My chicken, which was surprisingly very good. But for the price, it better have been. LOL. I think I could feed 4 people at Applebee’s for the price of that piece of chicken.

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This is the most delicious sautéed spinach I have ever tasted. I don’t know what Jane thought of her dinner, but I was very, very happy with the food that I ordered. My food was so good that the price didn’t even bother me and you all know how much of a cheapskate I am. LOL.

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Fleming's Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

The dessert was great too. In the middle of our meal, our server asked if we wanted dessert because they had one particular dessert that takes 20 minutes to make. When she gave us our options, that was the exact one that we wanted. I told her the 20 minutes didn’t bother us because we’ve waited 20+ years to see each other. Twenty measly minutes is nothing.

The last time I saw Jane was March 1993. That’s when my family moved from Las Piñas (a city located in the island of Luzon in the Philippines) to Colorado. Jane moved to the US in 2000 but we never had the opportunity to see each other until now. It’s funny because our mutual friend Sheryll only lived in the US for three years or so and yet I saw her four times. Jane has been in the US for 14 years and this is the first time we’d gotten together.

I initially planned to take her to dinner at Yard House because their food is familiar to me. There’s one at Legends that I’ve dined at a few times and I really like it. The prices are pretty reasonable. I planned to buy dinner so that was a factor.

My friends who attended the Zumba Conference with me wanted to go to dinner before the theme party on Saturday night. We initially thought we would go to Fleming’s but then nixed the idea after seeing the prices. Everything is a la carte so the cost of dinner would add up really quickly. After considering our other options, we ended up at Yard House where I had originally planned to take my friend Jane. Anyway, it worked out for the best because, out of all our restaurant options at LA Live and Nokia Plaza, Yard House seemed to have the best vegetarian selections. One of the women I traveled to the conference with is a vegetarian.

That meant no Yard House on Sunday night. Jane wanted steak so that really only left one place: Fleming’s. Oh, irony! LOL. I was trying to be cheap on Saturday night and managed to avoid Fleming’s only to end up there the next night when I was actually footing the bill. The universe is funny that way.

Of course, the food was really good and I hadn’t seen Jane in over 20 years so it was totally worth it. Don’t ask how much it was, though. It actually cost more per person than our dinner at Duck City. At least there we got appetizers and soups (the best soup ever) and I think Lance even had a glass of wine. I don’t think Brian and I have even come close. Well, maybe once. LOL.

I hope Jane knows how truly special she is to me. She managed to get her cheapskate friend to buy a really expensive dinner and spring for an extra night at the JW Marriott at LA (also not cheap) just to make dinner happen. And, what a delightful dinner it was. I had a great time catching up. Hopefully, it won’t take another 20 years for us to get together again.

Yard House at LA Live

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Here are some pictures from our dinner at Yard House.

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Yard House on Urbanspoon

I love Yard House because the food is reasonably priced and reasonably good and they have great reasonably priced drinks. Reasonable for LA anyway. LOL.

I think it’s going to be tough for you guys to figure out which plate is mine because I didn’t order my usual mac and cheese. Even though I deviated from my usual, I wasn’t disappointed. I enjoyed my dinner so much that I actually want to drive out to Legends in Kansas City and take Brian to dinner at the Yard House there.

Have you figured out what I had for dinner yet?

Saturday Night

Saturday was a pretty busy day for us. We were up late watching Goldfinger, James Bond movie #3 in our project of watching every Bond movie ever made. After the painting party we dropped Misty off at her sister’s house in Andover so we didn’t get home until almost ten. Therefore, we didn’t start our movie until late.

I had originally planned to attend Melissa’s Zumba class at Zeal at 8 AM on Saturday morning, but since I was up so late I ended up nixing that idea. I couldn’t stay in bed all day though because I had my own Zumba class to teach at Andover YMCA at 11 AM. Not that I would have. I rarely ever sleep in, even when I’m up all night.

After my Zumba class we went shooting at Bullseye with Cory and April. Then after that we had a couple of events: Cutter J the Absurdist at the Donut Whole and then The Fabulous Fleshtones at Walkers Bar & Venue.

Before going out for the evening, Brian made us some roast beef and cheese eggrolls. We made some the other day and we loved them but there was something missing. Brian decided we needed some Arby’s sauce. We ended up going by Arby’s on the way home from shooting and picking up some curly fries and Arby’s sauce for our eggrolls. What a brilliant idea! The sauce was exactly what the dish needed.

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For dessert Brian fried up leftover lumpia wrappers and sprinkled cinnamon sugar over them. Those turned out really great also.

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We had a little bit of time to chill at home before our first event. We arrived at the Donut Whole just in time to watch our friend Aaron aka Cutter J the Absurdist perform. This guy is amazing! Here are some videos I took of his performance.

Not only does he masterfully mix music and visuals throughout his performance, he also sings, plays with spoons, and tap dances. I’ve never watched anything like it. He’s not just talented, his creativity is out of this world.

After his performance we were off to Walkers Bar & Venue for the Fabulous Fleshtones. We’d never been to Walkers. It’s pretty new. Our friends’ gig was the perfect excuse to check it out. Apparently, Walkers is the new hangout in town. The place was packed.

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The Fabulous Fleshtones were great as always. Their music is so different from the music we were listening to at the Donut Whole just moments before, though. I’m always amazed at our eclectic taste in music. LOL.

Anyway, that’s our weekend in a nutshell. How was yours?

Metro Grill II

I’d been wanting to try Metro Grill II since they opened the restaurant but we hadn’t gotten around to it until recently. Brian and I hadn’t been eating out for one and, secondly, when we do eat out we end up using convenience as a key deciding factor. So we end up eating where we work, play, or are going to be rather than going out of our way for a restaurant. Don’t get me wrong. We have done that, but that’s not what usually happens.

Anyway, we fully intended to make something to eat at home yesterday but the stars just lined up for us to try Metro Grill. When we went to see grandma yesterday at Victoria Falls, we drove by the restaurant. It’s located just North of Kellogg in one of the commercial strips along Andover Road. So that’s where they’re located!

At that very moment it seemed as though a lightbulb materialized out of thin air over my head. “Why don’t we just have dinner there tonight?” I asked Brian. “I’d been wanting to try it.”

We arrive a little bit before six o’clock and there were no other customers yet. I think we were their first diners of the evening.

Here are some pictures that I took of their dessert display.

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Even though the desserts looked fantastic, I was worried at first. “How good can this place be if there’s no one here at dinner service?” I wondered. However, three people showed up as we were mulling over the menu and other groups of diners trickled in as we were waiting for our food and while we were eating. We were just early I guess, but we are a couple of old farts and we prefer to eat dinner before seven. LOL.

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By the time we left they actually had a decent dinner crowd. We didn’t linger. We just stayed long enough to eat our meals and then we bounced because we still had to move furniture around for my World Party Party and then we had to head over to the Candle Club to watch The Fabulous Fleshtones perform.

Here are some pictures of our dinner.

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Brian had the Cuban, which he said is good but not as good as other Cuban sandwiches he’s had. He said they use dill pickles instead of sweet pickles, which gives the sandwich a slightly different flavor. Another thing that’s different about the Cuban at Metro Grill is the shoestring potatoes that you see sprinkled on top of the sandwich. Those are also inside.

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I had the fontina chicken with mushrooms and asparagus. All of that served on top of white rice. I’m a rice eater (lover?) so that helped me decide what to have for dinner. They have a wide selection of menu items and when I checked FourSquare for recommendations it seemed like everything was good. If it weren’t for rice, I’d probably still be trying to decide what to have. LOL.

The flavors were delicious but the presentation of this dish was a little lacking. Everything seemed like it was just piled on top of one another. The plate they used to serve the dish is also quite small. After the pile of food and the bread on the side there’s barely any room to maneuver. I would recommend serving this dish on a bigger plate. I would probably leave the bread off too because I usually eat bread or I eat rice. It’s either or and not both. For me, anyways. Other people probably feel differently and it’s good to have options, I guess.

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I’d been craving fruit salad since I ate the last of what was left of mom’s fruit salad so I ordered their fruit salad for dessert. It was good but it just seemed like a bunch of fruit mixed together. And, again, the presentation was blah. There really isn’t much there. With the beautiful desserts that were on display, I really hoped that this would come out prettier. You can’t even see the coconut shreds, which they put at the bottom of the bowl. I would have sprinkled that on top of the fruit salad.

Metro Grill II on Urbanspoon

I’m not sure how much thought went into deciding what fruits to use but, even though it looked like a bunch of fruit mixed together with no rhyme or reason, they were able to create a good cornucopia of flavors in my mouth. I specially liked that it had bits of mango. I mean, who doesn’t like mango?

Despite my critique of the presentation, I did eat every bit of the fruit salad. Brian didn’t want anything to do with it, and I thought it tasted good. I still prefer my mom’s fruit salad though.

The verdict? Metro Grill II is not bad. Definitely worth checking out if you’ve never been. I have mixed feelings about the value, though. I thought my dinner was priced appropriately, but I thought Brian’s sandwich was on the expensive side because it didn’t even come with any kind of side dish. They could have put a few leaves next to it to increase the perceived value. Brian probably wouldn’t have eaten it, but it would have appeared more complete.

The quality of the food you get for the price is decent, but the place isn’t exactly a “cheap” place to eat dinner. It’s kind of in between fast food and nice. So perfect if you want somewhere casual to eat but want something better than fast food.

Oh, and one last thing, though I’m not even sure if it’s worth mentioning because it’s kind of a given for any restaurant with an open kitchen. Don’t be surprised if you smell like your dinner when you leave.

NYE Shenanigans

We had a couple of friends who hosted New Year’s Eve parties so we didn’t end up having our own party. Jay and Becca invited us to Sumo the day of but we were already committed. I think this was one of the few times that we didn’t ring in the New Year with the Dills.

Anyway, Jen and Armando hosted a fabulous NYE party with lots of amazing food. Click left and right on the photo above to see some of the dishes we enjoyed that night.

As much as we wanted to stay, we eventually had to bail after a couple of hours to attend the Elrond’s NYE house party, which was actually the first NYE party invitation that we accepted. It’s just a shame that we could not squeeze in all three NYE celebrations that night.

It was Elrond’s first party at his place so it was like a house warming party of sorts. It just so happened to fall on NYE. Anyway, he gave us a grand tour of the place. It’s actually very nice.

The house is in College Hill but it’s been renovated quite nicely. The kitchen has been updated with granite counter tops. Despite all of the improvements and updates throughout the house, which were well done by the way, the house still maintains it College Hill charm. It’s a really cool and perfect for someone like Elrond for sure!

Elrond who’s still getting settled in his new place had this large frame resting on the fireplace mantle. Brian was like, “Someone stole your picture!” In reality Elrond just hadn’t decided what painting to frame. Yes, ladies, this guy paints, makes furniture, lives a healthy/active lifestyle, and has a good job.

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Before the rest of this blog post turns into an online dating ad, I wanted to share a photo that we took with the frame because it was just begging to be played with. LOL. Brian and I bailed around a little before eleven thirty so we could be home in time to ring in the New Year at home our own way. We have a “special” tradition.

As we were saying goodbye to everyone, Melissa asked if we were bailing to go to party #3. I explained that we had to be home before midnight.

She came to my Zumba class this morning and told me about all the shenanigans that happened after we left. Sounds like we missed a great time. She did say that Andrea explained our “tradition” or why we had to leave.

I really wish we could have stayed because it looked like the fun started after midnight (based on the Facebook photos, anyhow). I guess we could have left and then come back, but Brian and I didn’t want to stay out too late either because we also have a tradition of getting up early and putting in a few hours of work on New Year’s Day.

On the bright side, Elrond had such a blast that he’s decided to host a house party every month. Sounds good to me. I love parties! And the best part is that we won’t have to bail early next time.

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