This is supposedly the best burger joint in Hollywood/Hallandale. I would have loved to have confirmed this but we only had a few minutes before our ride to the airport showed up and I like my burgers well done. We didn’t have enough time, unfortunately.
The restaurant had ample seating outside, which is a must if your are located in Florida. You have to allow people to enjoy the beautiful weather.
The decor inside was pretty cool. I liked the indoor-outdoor bar.
Ginger, Darcy, and I were walking around looking for a place to eat when we ran into the rest of our group. Their ride to the airport was much earlier than ours so they only had time for a drink.
I think Darcy had the ahi tuna burger and truffle fries.
The first picture didn’t do the burger justice.
Ginger had fries.
I had the famous mac n’ cheese with bacon.
I would have loved to try one of their handcrafted burgers but we didn’t have enough time. I like my burger well done so we would have been waiting for our food forever, and the service was slow enough as it was already. We couldn’t afford to slow them down any further.
I’m not sure that any of us were really happy about our food orders. The mac n’ cheese was just okay. The presentation in the cute, little cast iron pan was cute, though. The fries also came in these cute little baskets.
Anyway, we scarfed up our food as soon as it came because we had to walk back to the hotel to meet our ride to the airport. We got there early but the van beat us and was there already. Good thing we didn’t lolly gag at lunch.
I wish I could have tried their specialty because it almost seems unfair to rate them based on my limited, not-so-great experience. I guess we will just have to check it out again next time.
I got to experience South Beach, though briefly, a couple of weeks ago while on a work trip. We were actually in Hallandale Beach, FL. However, since we were in such close proximity to Miami, we decided to go to South Beach for dinner.
One of our consultants wanted us to experience Cuban food, and not the watered-down variety that you get in Wichita either. She picked Larios on the Beach, Gloria Estefan’s Cuban restaurant. I was hoping that we would run into Ms. Estefan during dinner but no such luck. The closest I got was her image on the mosaic on the wall.
Here’s a picture of the bar that greets you as you walk into the restaurant.
Since it is Florida, there’s seating both inside and outside the restaurant. You can see the tables outside through the window. This way you can enjoy the food, music, and weather all at once.
Here’s a picture of the fancy waiting area, which also doubles as dancing area when the DJ gets the music going.
We had such a large group so we ended up at two separate tables.
The table next to the wall with the picture was part of our group as well.
This is a picture of the Estefan Cuban combo appetizer sampler. It consists of breaded stuffed potatoes, pork tamale, bacon-wrapped maduros, traditional ham, chicken & cod fish croquettes, and black bean hummus with plantain chips.
The restaurant offers three varieties of baked Cuban empanadas: “award-winning” slow roasted pork, minced beef, and roasted chicken. I tried a little bit of each. They were all great but I liked the pork one the best.
The food took forever but there were several of us so that might have contributed to the delay. We enjoyed some appetizers and munched on plantain chips while we waited.
The group also enjoyed some drinks while we were waiting. I couldn’t drink because I was recovering from pneumonia and was still taking antibiotics. I wish I could have drank though, because this mojito with the sugarcane garnish looked so good.
I talked Kelsey into trying the sugarcane.
Here’s a pictures of the dishes that others in our group ordered.
I got the fresh whole red snapper, lightly floured and flash fried. They got me at fresh. You can’t really get fresh fish here in Wichita.
I think this might be the famous criollo seafood combo with lobster, shrimp, scallops, calamari, fish, baby claims and mussles in a cuban criolla sauce. I got to taste a piece of squid from this dish and it was so good. I think it might be the freshest squid I have ever eaten. Usually squid tends to be rubbery. This melted in your mouth.
We got to try several desserts.
This is the tres leche: homemade cake soaked in three-milk Botran Reserva Rum sauce and finished with torched merengue.
This traditional Cuban flan is probably the smoothest flan I’ve ever had.
This was my favorite dessert of all. It’s tres leche de chocolate. Just when you thought tres leche couldn’t get any better. It’s exactly the same as the tres leche but in chocolate flavor. Brian would love this one.
This was one of the assorted sorbets. I’m sure it was very good but I didn’t get to try it because I was more interested in the other desserts.
I think this is the café con leche. I didn’t get to try this one either.
We had a great time at dinner. Can you tell?
Larios was super busy when we were there. There wasn’t an empty table in the restaurant.
The fact that they were so busy and there were so many in our group affected the service somewhat. I had to wait for my food forever because the server made a mistake when he was taking our order. One of the people in our group changed their mind and when they switched their order, my order got scratched off in error. This happened to a couple of people at our table so the two of us had to wait for our food while everyone had theirs already.
The server felt bad for the mistake and tried to offer me a free drink on the house to make up for it. I told him not to worry about it. Of all the times to be offered a free drink, it’s when I can’t drink. LOL.
Anyway, my red snapper was totally worth the wait. It was so good I didn’t even need any soy sauce. I’m definitely going to have to bring Brian to South Beach and take him to dinner at Larios. All things considered, this is probably one of the best meals I’ve ever had (Cuban or otherwise). I’ll be back!
Ginger, Darcy, and I had a nice dinner at Billy’s Stone Crab Restaurant while we were in Florida last week. The weather was perfect for dining alfresco.
We had a nice, rocking (literally, the table rocked back and forth) table on the dock.
Here’s the view at dinner.
Lots of options for dinner. Here are some of the choices.
Every now and then, boats would sail by.
Ginger and Darcy both had the fresh fish of the day Key West style.
I had Alaskan king crab legs. It is a crab place after all.
Here are a few more pictures of the restaurant.
Sitting outside, by the water, is definitely the way to go specially when the weather is so beautiful. There were regular tables and also canopy booths like the one we were in.
This is what the booths look like.
That sidewalk is pretty narrow. I wondered how many drunk people have fallen over. LOL.
Dinner at Billy’s Stone Crab was fantastic. The weather was absolutely perfect for dining outside. I just wished that we could have gotten there sooner so we could have watched the sun set in the bay.
Since I was still on my antibiotics and steroids I just had water that evening. The Alaskan king crab legs were a bit expensive but I didn’t feel too bad about splurging because I didn’t have any drinks. I joked that I blew my entire dinner allowance on the crab legs. LOL.
I highly recommend Billy’s Stone Crab if you’re ever in the Hollywood, FL area. It’s expensive but worth it.
I found myself in Hallandale Beach, FL last week for work. If Hallandale Beach sounds familiar, that’s because it’s where the Zumba Fitness home office is located. More on that later. We were in Hallandale Beach for a meeting at the PwC Experience Center in Gulfstream Park. We stayed at Hampton Inn Hallandale Beach-Aventura across the street, which was great because it was walking distance from the office and great food.
We barely had enough time to get to our gate during our layover in Dallas so I was starving by the time we got to Florida. Lucky for me, Brio Tuscan Grille was right there. We got there just as they were about to start happy hour. The only thing with their happy hour is that the happy hour prices are only valid at the bar or in their patio area. If you sit in the dining room you have to pay full price for everything. That was a little bit weird but whatever. Everyone has their own rules, I guess.
Here are some pictures of the bar plates that we tried.
Housemade Chips & Dip
Black Pepper Shrimp
Crab & Shrimp Cakes
Everything was delicious but the black pepper shrimp (second picture) was definitely my favorite. The shrimp were laid on top of pieces of fried eggplant. The eggplant and shrimp combo tasted great. Sometimes when you’re super hungry things that just taste okay end up tasting way better. I don’t think it was the hunger in this case. This stuff was really good.
I think the closest Brio to us is in Kansas City. That’s both good and bad. Bad in that it’s a few hours away so I can’t just easily take Brian there to try their food. Good in that it’s not that accessible. LOL. I’ve added Brio to the list of places for Brian to try. Ya’ll should check it out when you get a chance.
I can finally say I’ve been to St. Louis, Mo even though it was just for a few hours. Ginger and I traveled there a couple of weeks ago to meet some folks at Laclede Gas Company (now Spire) and learn from them.
Been spending a lot of time at airport with Ginger of late. She is the best person to travel with. I’ve never had TSA Pre Check privileges until I these last few trips with her. I love not having to take off my shoes, take out my laptop and toiletries, and going through the short (or non-existent line) at airports. Now that I’ve had a taste of it, I’m almost tempted to pay for it even though I don’t even travel that much usually. I’d say it’s definitely a must for frequent travelers. If I traveled all the time, I would pay the extra for TSA Pre Check every time.
Ginger and I were supposed to have dinner with the rest of our team and the Laclede team at Brew House the night before our meeting but, as luck would have it (or my bad travel truck), our plane was delayed in Dallas. First they just had to change the tire. Then they discovered some kind of mechanical issue that needed to be fixed.
We actually boarded the plane and then were all told we had to get off so the repairs could be completed but were asked not to go too far away from the gate in case we were ready to board again. We were originally scheduled to arrive in St. Louis at 3:00 PM but didn’t land until 5:30 PM. We missed dinner with group obviously, which is the same thing that happened on our last trip together. Ginger and I joked that the rest of team is probably thinking that we’re trying to avoid the dinners on purpose.
We still had to eat dinner so we just opted to eat at the steakhouse next to the hotel instead. We didn’t want to wander too far away in case it started raining, which was in the forecast.
Neither of us wanted anything too heavy so we decided to just split an appetizer and an entree and then Ginger had a wedge salad. I probably should have ordered steak but I was quite happy with what I had. The food was pretty good. I really enjoyed the crab meat starter with hunks of jumbo lump crab over a horseradish cream cheese mouse and sweet chili sauce. The picture below doesn’t do the dish justice.
Here’s a picture of Ginger’s yummy-looking salad.
Then for dinner we split the jumbo shrimp scampi, which was also delicious. You can never go wrong with shrimp stuffed with crab meat. LOL.
The best part about dinner is the restaurant is connected to our hotel so you didn’t even have to walk outside. My room was pretty basic but I think it might have been an accessible room because I had tons of space.
It was an interior room so I didn’t have an outside view.
I didn’t really mind not having a city view but, being an interior room, made my room tricky to find at first. I didn’t realize that my room (625) was next to the elevator so, when I walked to the end of the hall where the signs were and followed the hallway around and then got down the hall, I was super confused when it jumped from 623 to 627. I almost called the front desk to ask someone to help me find my room but I couldn’t get signal and I eventually found it.
The Drury at the Arch was okay as hotels go. The location was great because of its proximity to the Laclede office. They also provide daily breakfast and happy hour which was nice. Ginger and I got to enjoy a couple of drinks on the day of our arrival.
The conference room we spent our day in is located in the corner of the Laclede building facing Busch Stadium. The walls were completely made of of class and the view was fantastic. It was good that it was kind of gloomy outside the day, otherwise it would have been way harder to concentrate.
We pretty much arrived the night before and then flew home immediately after the meeting. Ginger and I landed in Wichita about 10:30 PM that day. No issues on the trip home, thank heavens!
It was a super short trip. I wish we could have had more time to spend in St. Louis. I would have loved to have had pictures of the Arch and stuff. It seems like a beautiful city. I may just have to return and bring Brian. Perhaps we can plan a nice holiday weekend road trip with the girls.
Ginger and I had a nice dinner at Doolittles Woodfire Grill while in Madison, WI a couple of weeks ago. The hotel shuttle service ends at 6 pm but the front desk rep was nice enough to pay for our cab to the restaurant.
All we had to do was pay for an Uber ride back, which didn’t cost very much because the restaurant is located pretty close to the hotel.
Here’s a picture of the huge bar at the center of the restaurant.
We had the parmesan artichoke dip as our starter. They were nice enough to provide some sliced veggies for us in addition to the grilled ciabatta bread.
We also had the kinky mango sangria, which was super delicious.
Service was a tad slow, probably because they had a few large groups that evening, but when our food finally came it was totally worth the wait.
Ginger had the rib and chicken combo. She said they were the best ribs she’d ever had.
I had the shrimp and crab stuffed tilapia, which doesn’t look like much, but it was very good. I really enjoyed everything but the kinky mango sangria was my favorite part. As sangrias go, that was probably the best sangria I’d ever had.
Doolittles kind of reminds me of Redrock Canyon Grill at Bradley Fair because of the rotisserie chicken and ribs. I wish I would have tried their specialty for comparison. There aren’t any Doolittles in Kansas. They’re only located in Minnesota, North Dakota, and Wisconsin. We have a lot of similar places here though.
If you’re ever in Doolittles territory, I recommend checking them out.
The Burger Stand is hands down the best burger joint in Kansas. Not just because of their hip ambiance but the burgers are amazing. They’ve come up with the most creative and delicious combination of flavors. They offer a variety of different types of fries, which are flavorful enough to stand on their own, but they also have lots of different sauces you can try.
I had dinner at the Burger Stand at the Casbah last month, which is their Lawrence, KS location. Here are some pictures.
I know that menu is hard to read so here’s a link to their menu online. They have burgers (meat and veggie) and hotdogs (made with Nathan’s Famous all beef hotdogs) and a variety of fries to choose from. They even have poutine fries, which aren’t very common unless you’re in Canada.
These are the truffle fries, which are my absolute favorite kind of fries to get there. Even though the sweet potato fries and the duck fat fries are quiet popular as well. I hear the Cajun fries are yummy as well but I tend to go with what’s familiar so I always end up eating the truffle fries.
They have some salad selections too, if you’re not a burger eater but you gotta try their burgers because they are super delicious. I’m not much of a burger eater myself but these burgers are amazing. Beyond amazing. They are life-changing. LOL. The one pictured above is the Smoke which consists of a super thick burger patty, applewood-smoked bacon, gouda cheese, and chipotle-cocoa ketchup. I have never tasted a more delicious burger in my entire life.
We had our team builder at the Topeka location this past week. The Topeka location is officially named the Burger Stand at College Hill, probably because of its proximity to the Washburn University campus. Getting there is kind of weird because you drive by a bunch of houses. Parking is kind of iffy at times and the one way streets can be confusing but, I have to say, it’s totally worth the trip. I think the Topeka location actually has a more extensive menu than the Lawrence one in terms of burgers. For instance, I don’t think you can get Holy Jalapeño or Thai Turkey in Lawrence. It doesn’t matter to me either way though, because I just want the Smoke burger which I can get at both places.
Our team building activity last Wednesday consisted of pounding some burgers and playing a single-elimination ping pong tournament.
I’m not any good at ping pong but I think it’s super fun and wish I could play more often. My first match up was against Darcy. I don’t think she’s ever played ping pong before. I was able to advance to the next match which was against Miranda. I also won that match. My next match was supposed to be with Nathan but he withdrew because he felt bad about winning against Jenni despite his illegal serving style. I ended up playing against Jenni instead. She was pretty good and I lost that match.
Anyway, I had some pretty easy matches. I’m glad I didn’t have to play any of the pros like Kim, Dan, Andy, or Sam. I think Sam was the ultimate winner that night which is funny considering he’s not even on our project team. He was just tagging along with our Project Manager Andy who also works for the same consulting firm. Andy’s first match was with Kelsey and he was being really mean and smashing the ball every chance he got. I’m glad I never had to play him. Our Project Director Kim was really good and she held her own against Sam. Sam played ping pong the best out of everyone.
Even though I’m not as good at playing ping pong as the others, I really enjoy it. It’s a shame that we already have some furniture in the basement. If it was still fairly empty, I would totally ask for a ping pong table for downstairs. LOL. I wonder if there are any restaurants in Wichita that have ping pong tables you can play on. I know that there’s a ping pong table at the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park because I’ve played there before but it has been too windy and cold to play, and I haven’t really been in town enough.
Do you guys have some suggestions as to where Brian and I can go and have some food and play some post-dinner ping pong? Please post them in the comments. Otherwise, I may just have to take him to the Burger Stand in Topeka one of these days.
Remember when we were at the Boo and Brew Ball and Rune bought a private dinner for eight prepared by Chef Jason? Well, that private dinner happened a couple of weeks ago. Here are some pictures…
Becca and Kristen
Rune and Becca
Our great looking group getting ready to chow down.
Chef Jason prepping us for our six course meal.
Leave it the Larnengs to have fancy napkins.
Our first course…
Here’s Chef Jason describing the dish…
This dish was right up Brian’s alley. He was like, “Yes! I love tomato bisque!” LOL.
Our second course…
I would describe it to you but I’m afraid I’d butcher it.
Best to leave the explaining to the chef.
Bacon-wrapped stuffed jalapeño. I was a little bit worried about this one because I can’t handle too much spiciness but Chef Jason reassured us that this is “gringo hot” meaning not so spicy. I’m glad I tried it because, as with the first two courses, it was delicious.
Here’s Chef Jason preparing the quail dish.
Here’s a picture of the finished product…
Here’s Chef Jason describing the dish…
Here’s Rune enjoying the quail… immensely.
Here’s what my plate looked like after…
Here’s Chef Jason describing the dish…
Here’s Rune eating the flower… I did not eat mine.
And then here’s the pièce de résistance… It was the most delicious dessert ever.
Here’s Chef Jason describing it…
I loved all six courses. Everything was delicious. But, I have to admit, the dessert was the best course of all. If you ask Brian, he could care less about all of the courses in the middle. He liked the first and final courses the best.
Even though the courses seemed small (intentionally so for the sake of presentation), they were all very filling. I was regretting all of my soup because, by the third course, I was already full. This was an amazing and memorable dinner. I’m so grateful to Rune and Kristen for inviting us.
Brian and I had dinner with our friend Glynda on the eve of the Zumba cruise. We invited her cruise roommate Kate also, but she was too tired from all the shopping they did at the mall. Only Glynda was able to join us.
I remember craving Thai food that evening but Brian wasn’t in the mood for it and Glynda had never tried it before so we decided to play it safe and picked Gilbert’s. We got our Uber driver to pick us up at the hotel and drop us off at Gilbert’s only to find out that they’re closed on Sundays. We looked around the shopping plaza and there weren’t many restaurant options. There was a very loud bar across the parking lot which seemed like fun but it did not appeal to Brian. As luck would have it, Cocos was just a few doors down from Gilbert’s and they were open. The three of us agreed to eat there instead so I got my wish of eating Thai food after all.
We got to the restaurant early enough that we beat the crowds. The restaurant was considerably busier when we left.
Glynda was having problems with the Uber app so Brian helped her install and set it up. And then he explained how to use it and gave her a code for her first ride free.
Here are some of pictures of our meal…
We splurged a little bit and had a few samplers. The calamari was a little spicy for me but otherwise fantastic. I wish that Brian like calamari because he would have enjoyed the sweet, spicy flavor of this dish.
The chicken satay was delicious.
The fried dumplings was another great starter.
Glynda had some miso which she said she enjoyed.
She also wanted a salad but I’m not sure that the soft shell crab papaya salad was quite what she expected. I think she found it a little odd.
We already had several starters so Brian decided to have lettuce wraps for his meal.
I always try the yellow curry everywhere that I can get so I ordered the chicken massaman. At $30 it was a bit more expensive than I’m used to paying. I usually get curry around town for about $10 or maybe $15 if it’s a nice restaurant. That said, this was the best massaman curry I’d ever had. It had just a hint of spice and ample sweetness. I felt it was worth the higher price.
Overall our Cocos experience was pretty good. The menu prices were a tad high but it’s a pretty minor complaint considering the quality of the dishes I tried that evening. If I had some time to spend in Fort Lauderdale, I wouldn’t mind eating here again.
We first discovered Riverside Cafe seven years ago and then had completely forgotten about it since Wichita has had a slew of breakfast type restaurants open. We rediscovered it recently when we were looking for somewhere close to work to eat breakfast on the weekends that Brian and I were working on packing up and moving my office.
Riverside Cafe, amazingly enough, always seems to be really busy despite the plethora of breakfast options available in town. That was the case the two Saturdays that we went and were told that wasn’t even their busiest. If you go on a Saturday morning, the trick is to get there early – say around nine or even earlier. We got there about ten o’clock one day and there was already a long wait. We ended up sitting at the bar because we were in a hurry and we were very hungry. It wasn’t too bad. The place does get really packed as the morning wears on so be prepared to wait if you’re not an early riser.
One of the things I like most is a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Riverside Cafe makes a delicious one. I like their whipped cream also. It tastes homemade rather than out of a can.
Another thing that’s cool about Riverside Cafe is it’s very homey. They don’t have fancy mugs or anything. They just have random mugs that have been collected over the years. It’s really a lot like having breakfast at home, except the food is better and you’re around a bunch of strangers.
Here are some photos of Brian drinking his coffee. See what I mean about the mugs? They are totally random.
Here’s a picture of what I always get.
Here are pictures of what Brian always gets.
I really like Riverside Cafe. I’ve been to lots of different diners and breakfast joints and I really like the feel of this one. It makes me feel really relaxed.
We always end up at the Good Egg, which is Brian’s favorite breakfast place. The good is great but the place is little too yuppy for me. Brian is a bit of a snob so it’s right up his alley; whereas my style is more relaxed and down to earth. I enjoy fancy food every now and then but, when it comes to breakfast, I prefer it to be pretty basic. It doesn’t even have to look pretty because it will be in my belly in a matter of seconds.
We used to live by the Good Egg so it made sense for us frequent the restaurant. Now that we’re in a different part of town, it’s going to be a drive either way. The closest non-chain breakfast joint is Livingston’s Diner, which is another one of my favorites. I really like eating there as well. I just prefer the more relaxed atmosphere where I don’t think people will judge me for having gone straight from the gym or bed. LOL.
The last time we were at Riverside Cafe, we ran into local restaurateur Melad Stephan. He owns several restaurants and his own breakfast joint downtown. Either he lives around the corner and it was easier to get to or the food is good. I have no idea where he lives so I’m going with the latter.
They’ve since expanded so there are three locations now, including one in Derby. I’ve only ever eaten at the one on 13th Street so I can’t speak for the other locations. I really like the original one on 13th Street. If you’ve never been to Riverside Cafe, it’s worth checking out. Let me know how you like it in the comments.