Lacie’s Farewell Lunch

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When you are loved, people not only celebrate you but they celebrate with you. We had a wonderful farewell lunch at Public in Lacie’s honor last week. I happened to be in town (somewhat of a rare occurrence these days) so I got to attend.

I’m actually grateful for several reasons:

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Lacie and Lila

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Nykole, Shanda, and Sherii

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I think Shane was starving because he tried to eat my head. JK.

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Huge thanks to Karen for organizing the lunch.

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And then here’s the obligatory food pics.

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Public at the Brickyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

It’s Public. The food is amazing. Of course, I had to take pictures. LOL.

This last pic was of my lunch. I had the curry chicken special with a side of fruit. I’m not really trying to eat healthier but I am eating fruit when I can. Everything is great at Public. You really can’t go wrong, no matter what you choose to order from their menu.

Anyway, Lacie has only been gone a few days but I miss her already. I did get one of her work shirts so, at least, I have something to remember her by (besides the dozens of photos). Good luck, Lacie!

ICT Pop-Up Urban Park

Speaking of food trucks, if you’re looking for them during the week then head on over to the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park on Douglas. Now that the weather is nicer, they’ve really amped up the schedule. There’s usually four or five food trucks there daily.

I pretty much walk over there everyday that I’m working from the Wichita office. Here are pictures of some of the yummy eats that you can get.

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This is the kalbi chicken from Noble House Hawaiian Plate Lunch.

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These are the most delicious Vietnamese carnitas tacos I have ever had. They are from Funky Monkey Munchies. FMM food truck has been around for a while but I’ve never tried their food until recently because, honestly, I couldn’t tell what kind of food they were selling from their food truck name. Now that I have tried some of their food, I know what type of food they make. They make super delicious food.

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I’m sure the truffle fries gave the source of this food away. You guessed it. These are from the Flying Stove. The original food truck that made food trucks cool. I only got one taco the first time but I liked it so much that, when I hit them the other day, I ordered two tacos and fries. Also, I get my taco arabe without the caramelized onions.

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These delicious ribs are from the Kamayan Truck. Brian and I met Faith and her kids there for dinner a couple of weeks ago. I’m not sure what’s going on though, because the last two Thursdays that I’ve tried to hit them for dinner they weren’t at the park. It’s kind of crappy when you have your heart set on Kamayan food and then you can find them.

Anyway, if you want to try some of these awesome dishes, you should like the ICT Pop-Up Urban Park Facebook page. They post the weekly schedule. The lunch schedule is spot on but the dinner schedule is pretty hit-and-miss. Like I said, the last couple of times that the schedule said Kamayan would be there, they were nowhere to be found.

I’m going to be in Wichita this coming week so you’ll probably see me picking up my to-go lunch at the pop-up park. Hit me up ahead of time if you want schedule an appointment for ping pong. If I don’t see you, have a fantastic week!

Cutie at Food Trucks at the Fountain

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Brian and I ran into a cutie at the Food Trucks at the Fountain event last month. No, I’m not talking about the Flying Stove dude. I’m talking about the puppy.

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She is such a cutie. She’s like the unofficial Kamayan Truck mascot and has been visible at many of their recent events, including the ones at the Pop-Up Urban Park.

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I don’t know what it is about a guy holding a puppy but Brian looks even more handsome in this photo. Facebook even thought he was Chef Jason and insisted on tagging the photos as such. LOL.

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Aren’t they both adorable?

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We had food from the Kamayan Truck that day. Here are some food pics.

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You must try the porchetta. It’s delicious.

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My favorite part is the crispy, crunchy pork skin.

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Brian loves their ribs.

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The papaya salad is very good but too spicy for me. It almost needs its own chaser. Then again, I don’t really eat spicy foods so it could be I’m just not used to it.

If you missed Food Trucks at the Fountain last month, don’t worry. It’s happening again on Sunday, May 22. Brian and I will probably be there hunting down some yummy eats.

I remember when the only food truck we had was the Flying Stove. They’ve really started a revolution. Now there’s like 35 or so trucks that participate in Food Trucks at the Fountain. How amazing is that?

See you on Sunday, May 22!

Scooter’s Downtown

Did you know that there is now a full-fledge Scooter’s location downtown? We’ve had a drive-up Scooter’s for a while but never a sit-down location (complete with wifi) until recently. Brian and I found it last month when we were headed to Food Trucks at the Fountain. Brian, because he is pessimistic about everything, actually didn’t expect them to be open on a Sunday.

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We were pleasantly surprised. Not only were they open, but there were no lines.

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The space is nice and cozy. I usually end up at Mead’s just because it’s so close to my office but I’ve always liked Scooter’s because of their candy bar coffee flavors. I’m glad there’s one down the street now.

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It’s conveniently located across the street from Emerson Biggins on Douglas if you want to check it out. You’re welcome.

Rok:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I think Darcy had the ahi tuna burger and truffle fries.

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The first picture didn’t do the burger justice.

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Ginger had fries.

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I had the famous mac n’ cheese with bacon.

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Rok:BRGR Burger Bar + Gastropub Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Tomato

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.

Larios on the Beach

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.

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Here’s a picture of the bar that greets you as you walk into the restaurant.

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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.

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Here’s a picture of the fancy waiting area, which also doubles as dancing area when the DJ gets the music going.

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We had such a large group so we ended up at two separate tables.

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The table next to the wall with the picture was part of our group as well.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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I talked Kelsey into trying the sugarcane.

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Here’s a pictures of the dishes that others in our group ordered.

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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.

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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.

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We got to try several desserts.

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This is the tres leche: homemade cake soaked in three-milk Botran Reserva Rum sauce and finished with torched merengue.

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This traditional Cuban flan is probably the smoothest flan I’ve ever had.

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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.

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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.

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I think this is the cafĂ© con leche. I didn’t get to try this one either.

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Larios on the Beach Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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!

Billy’s Stone Crab

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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.

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We had a nice, rocking (literally, the table rocked back and forth) table on the dock.

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Here’s the view at dinner.

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Lots of options for dinner. Here are some of the choices.

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Every now and then, boats would sail by.

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Ginger and Darcy both had the fresh fish of the day Key West style.

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I had Alaskan king crab legs. It is a crab place after all.

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Here are a few more pictures of the restaurant.

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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.

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This is what the booths look like.

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That sidewalk is pretty narrow. I wondered how many drunk people have fallen over. LOL.

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Billy's Stone Crab Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

Brio Tuscan Grille

Brio Tuscan Grille Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

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Housemade Chips & Dip

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Black Pepper Shrimp

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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.

First Time in St. Louis

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.

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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.

Carmine's Steak House Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

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Here’s a picture of Ginger’s yummy-looking salad.

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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.

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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.

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It was an interior room so I didn’t have an outside view.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

Doolittles Woodfire Grill

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Doolittles Woodfire Grill Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

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.

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Here’s a picture of the huge bar at the center of the restaurant.

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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.

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We also had the kinky mango sangria, which was super delicious.

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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.

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Ginger had the rib and chicken combo. She said they were the best ribs she’d ever had.

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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.

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