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Archive for "Food and Drink"

Oak & Pie, Woodfired Pizzeria & Wine Bar

Posted on July 16, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

We probably still would not have tried Oak & Pie were it not for Amy and Hideki’s impromptu visit a couple of weeks ago. They showed up at our house unexpectedly on a Saturday afternoon.

The house wasn’t in complete disarray but I had laundry hanging to dry and various things where they shouldn’t be, as I suspect is the state of most people’s houses when they aren’t expecting company. Surely, we are not alone in this.

We had planned a cookout for Sunday but, somehow, Amy and Hideki got confused and thought the party was on Saturday. In Hideki’s defense, we usually have our parties on Saturdays. We just happened to schedule it for Sunday this time around because Brian and both had taken Monday off work because of the 4th of July holiday on Tuesday. They were about 24 hours too early for the party. LOL.

Better early than late, though. I had this happen to me a couple of years ago. I thought the party was on Saturday. We had our outfits (it was an 80’s themed party) and present ready and everything. I just happened to check Facebook as we were heading out and then realized that the party already happened. It happened the day before, on Friday, and we completely missed it.

After quickly picking up and putting things away, we visited for a bit and broke into my new card game: What Do You Meme? After playing one round up to five points, we realized that it was about time for dinner.

Amy and Hideki brought various cheeses, gluten-free crostinis, wine and liquor for the party which we agreed they should just leave at our house so that they wouldn’t have to bring them all back the next day. Besides that, there wasn’t much to eat at our house because we weren’t expecting to feed anyone but ourselves that day.

Anyway, after some deliberation, the four of us agreed to go to dinner somewhere that none of us had been before. That’s how we ended up at Oak & Pie.

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Naturally, I had to take pictures because that’s kind of my thing. Oak & Pie is really cool. Their specialty is pizza but they also serve other things on the menu. And, although it’s a pizza place, the ambiance is more fancy than casual.

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Besides taking pictures of the restaurant interior, I also took pictures of our food and drinks. Here’s the meatball starter.

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This was good but Carrabba’s serves something similar and I like their version better. Plus, I think Carrabba’s gives you four meatballs instead of three.

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This was Hideki’s pizza.

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Brian and I decided to split one. We got the pizza they had on special that day.

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Amy got the special also but she asked for hers on a gluten-free crust. She also doesn’t mind onions, which we had them hold on ours.

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Here are some pictures of drinks.

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I really liked the pizza we had. It was quite satisfying. I’m glad Brian and I shared because, even with splitting the pizza, we couldn’t finish it. We had to take our leftovers home, and then promptly forgot about it. So then I didn’t even get to eat the rest of that delicious chicken and bacon pizza.

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Here’s a group selfie from that evening. I look like crap because we weren’t expecting company or to go out for dinner. I debated on changing at first but then I was just like, “Whatever.” Laziness and apathy took over.

It was a productive evening overall, though. Not only did we get to play-test my new card game but, since we were on that side of town already, Brian and I decided to stop by Academy after dinner and we bought one of those corn hole games. Some people call it bean bag toss.

The only downside of it was that we didn’t realize how terribly-made the store-bought games are. The game we bought broke after one use. And here Brian probably thought he had gotten out of having to make us one. LOL.

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Our Lunch at Juli’s

Posted on July 9, 2017 by under Food and Drink.    

It had been forever since I’d been to Topeka and I’d missed Juli’s so much. As luck would have it, I got invited to have lunch with three of my favorite people when I was there for a meeting a couple of weeks ago.

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I went with Selena, Michelle, and Kelsey. Here are some pictures of our food.

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Michelle and Kelsey always eat super healthy and they always make me feel bad about my food choices. LOL. I think the first salad above is Kelsey’s and this one is Michelle’s. Selena and I both got the sandwich which was on special that day.

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I only took one photo because they looked exactly the same.

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The day we had lunch was the Friday before Selena’s birthday so Michelle got a carrot cake muffin for Selena, unbeknownst to her. Kelsey and I asked the chef Jose if they had any small candles so we could put one on the cupcake and surprise Selena but they didn’t have any.

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However, they did one even better. While we were enjoying our lunch, one of the people who work there delivered this beautiful fruit plate to our table. Jose made it and gave it to Selena for free in honor of her birthday.

This actually turned out way better than a candle because you could eat it!

Kudos to Jose for coming up with a creative way to make the experience special for Selena. I’ve always liked Juli’s. It’s one of my all-time favorite places to eat and get coffee in Topeka. Now I like them even more.

If you’ve never been, I highly recommend checking it out. The food is delicious and the service is second to none. Love, love, love!

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8° Below

Posted on July 4, 2017 by under Food and Drink, Reviews.    

Ice cream is another great way to beat the heat. There’s a new shop that opened up at Union Station just down the street from my work. I got to check it out with a couple of coworkers, Tony and Theresa, a few days ago.

It was actually Theresa’s idea. We had planned to go as a group but, when the day came, some people backed out so it ended just being the three of us. Theresa originally wanted to drive over but Tony and I talked her into walking. It’s really not that far of a walk from work.

We walked to Heroes first for cheap lunch. Friday is .99 cent tacos day. Then we walked over to 8° Below for dessert.

We have many ice cream shops in town and there’s plenty of good ice cream to be had. What’s novel about 8° Below is that they serve rolled ice cream. It looks really pretty but it does take forever to make.

Let me show you pictures and then I yak at you some more.

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You can pick from the signature flavors or create your own from the vast array toppings, mix ins, and drizzles.

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Then you get to watch them make your ice cream. That is, if the store is not too crowded. The shop isn’t very big.

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Here’s a picture of Theresa, Tony, and me that was taken while we were waiting for our ice cream. There wasn’t a line at lunch but it still takes a while to get your ice cream because they make it to order.

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That was definitely a down side for me. Rolled ice cream is cool and all but I’m not a fan of waiting. I prefer the places that have the ice cream already made so, when I tell them what I want, I have my ice cream in my hand within a matter of seconds.

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I had the mango tango. Theresa had the thanks a latte. Tony had the brownie mix, which I believe is what is pictured above. I didn’t take pictures of all of our ice creams because you’d only be disappointed. The ice cream was tasty but the presentation never looks as good as it does in the pictures.

The verdict? I didn’t like the wait and I thought the ice cream was overpriced. I suppose you are paying for the experience and novelty of watching your ice cream be made and rolled right before your very eyes. If you don’t care either way, then it’s pretty pointless. Just go where they have delicious ice cream at a cheap price like Braum’s or Baskin Robbins.

I probably won’t go back unless Brian just absolutely wants to go.

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Brian’s 43rd Birthday

Posted on July 2, 2017 by under Events, Family, Food and Drink.    

There were a ton of things going on this year and multiple birthday celebrations. Brian and I started out by having a quiet dinner at Granite City (East) on Friday, June 9. He wanted a “just the two of us” dinner.

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Well, the two of us and his giant beer.

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Pics of our dinner…

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The next day was Symphony in the Flint Hills. This was more for me than Brian but he was a good sport about it. His reward and birthday present was a deluxe massage with Johnson Nguyen at Sveta’s. I got to try Johnson a couple of months ago when he first started doing massages at Sveta’s and I wanted Brian to experience his style of massage because my massage was very good. Brian said it was a great massage but Mindy Nuce is still his number one choice. He said Johnson is now his second though, for those times when Mindy isn’t available.

He didn’t get a big present this year like he did last year but we had that trip to Alaska that we’re still recovering from. Trips are not cheap!

Fast forward to June 13, his actual birthday. I actually ended up double booking because I promised to keep the PowerGEN trivia night thing going for work and we agreed on Tuesday night trivia at the Pumphouse on June 13 as our next trivia night. Then Jimmy Washington, who is on the board of directors for the Wichita Orpheum, offered us tickets to the Celebrity & Chef Cook Off.

Since it was Brian’s birthday and I was completely hijacking it with work events, I figured that I should at least let him choose what he wanted to do. He picked the Celebrity & Chef Cook Off, naturally. It’s one of his favorite fundraising events.

Lucky for me, Ryan Muzzy (one of my coworkers and fellow PowerGENer) was more than happy to take charge of trivia night. That freed us up to attend the Orpheum benefit.

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The Lexus parking lot was open that night but we got a hangtag anyway because we are nerds. As we were walking to the arena, we were stopped by this couple who asked if they could park there and I would have said yes because no one was there to check tags anyway and the gate was open but Brian told them they had to have a hangtag and made them park somewhere else. He’s mean like that. But it’s his birthday so he can do whatever. LOL.

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Here are some pictures of all the amazing food. As with every year that we’ve been, we don’t really get to try everything. We usually give up before we’ve even sampled half of what’s there.

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I had to take a pic of their sign because I enjoyed this immensely. I may have Brian take me there this weekend because now I’m craving it.

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I may or may not have gone back a few times for this dessert. You know I went at least twice because I got a couple of photos.

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Brian and I ran into our friend Bill Ramsey at the event.

Here’s a picture of our handsome group.

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Usually we stay for the whole thing but I felt bad for bailing on the trivia night so I talked Brian into stopping by the Pumphouse on the way home.

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We arrived just in time for the final two rounds. The PowerGEN team just went by “PowerGEN” and didn’t come up with a clever name this time.

That’s Leo and Tammie’s team, the Oatmeal, at the next table. You can see Leo in the pic above with Tammie next to him. She has her back to the camera. I think that might be Scott to the right of Leo. He’s been going to Tuesday night trivia religiously. Their team always does really well. I think they were in second place when we got there.

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Here’s Ryan, Teresa and Ted. PowerGEN was doing pretty well. They hadn’t breached the top three yet but they were close enough in score to be in the running.

PowerGEN was in fourth going into the final round, which is a really good place to be because you have a great shot at placing depending on what happens with the top three teams. The final round is where you get to wager some of your points, up to a maximum of 20 points. This is why I say that fourth place is a good spot. Obviously, if you’re close to the bottom, 20 points isn’t going to make much of a difference but if you’re within the top five and the spread is not that vast then you could really pull off an upset.

I was super excited when the trivia master announced “movies” as the final round category. We would have been hosed with sports but Brian and I know a lot about movies so I was like, “We got this!”

They gave us four Charlize Theron movies in random order and we had to list it in order chronologically. The movies they gave us were:

I’m a huge Charlize Theron fan so I was pretty familiar with her filmography. I knew that Mighty Joe Young was the oldest and Aeon Flux was the newest. However, I wasn’t so confident about the two movies in the middle. I was very familiar with Monster though because, besides Charlize Theron being made to look ugly, that had one of my favorite Journey songs it: Don’t Stop Believing.

Brian was convinced that Monster was after Aeon Flux but I felt so sure that Aeon Flux was released after. Anyway, Alex was with me so the two of us overruled Brian. LOL. In the end, we went with The Legend of Bagger Vance after Mighty Joe Young and that’s what we submitted. I was very confident about our answer but I was nervous about the wager.

Ryan, who was a fantastic leader, finally put his foot down and said, “We didn’t come here to take third!” We ended up wagering the full 20 points.

I think everyone else got the final question wrong because all the point went down but ours. PowerGEN ended up taking first place that night.

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Winner, winner, chicken dinner! Everything lined up perfectly. The right people were there and the right trivia questions were asked but, ultimately, I think it was Ryan’s leadership that made the difference.

Brian’s actual birthday was Tuesday but we’ll fast forward to Friday because not much happened between his birthday and Friday. Well, stuff happened but it wasn’t birthday related.

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Anyway, April Padgett from the Wichita State University Foundation reached out to me to tell me that Brian’s picture with Dr. John Bardo and Elizabeth King that was taken at the Society of 1895 luncheon back in April was finally ready and she could drop it off. It was printed just in time for Brian’s birthday. How perfect!

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We met up for coffee at Mead’s Corner and she gave it to me then. I texted Brian to tell him I had his special luncheon photo and it was in a neat little holder so he could display it at his desk but he said he had no room so he let me keep it. It has been on display at my desk ever since.

Brian took the day off work on that Friday because that was the day of our big family celebration. We were having a BBQ in honor of Brian’s birthday, grandma’s birthday, and Father’s Day weekend. We were actually expecting a visit from his parents who live in Oklahoma but their plans fell through. At first his mom was staying home but his dad was still making the drive up for the weekend. But then his mom got really sick and his dad couldn’t leave. We were bummed when we found out a few days before the event that David wouldn’t be able to join us but we understood. Luckily, we didn’t have any major presents — just gift cards — and those are easy enough to mail so that’s what we did for him instead.

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The party still went on though because Brian had already bought all of that food and everyone else was still coming. Everyone else being Brian’s cousin/nephew Zach, my sister Jenni, my mom and dad, and of course grandma.

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Brian got a Boston creme cake. Yes, like his favorite donut.

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Mom made Filipino spaghetti. She made a ton so we had a bunch left over. I ended up refreshing it on Sunday night by adding another jar of meat sauce and I shared it with Faith and her kids when I went to work on Monday. She said they loved it.

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Brian grilled three full slabs of ribs.

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They ribs don’t all look the same because he couldn’t fit the third rack in our small charcoal grill so he had to start those in the oven and then finish them off in the grill. Those actually turned out the best. The meat literally fell off the bones and melted in your mouth.

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We also got a pan of our favorite mac n’ cheese from Costco.

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We also had other BBQ-type foods like baked beans, green beans, and corn on the cob. And then had Hawaiian sweet rolls, which are our favorite. I didn’t get to take pictures of everything but you get the idea.

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One of the milestones we celebrated was grandma’s birthday. She turned 95 on June 19. Can you believe it?

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We just got gift cards for her and our dads so they could get what they wanted. Grandma’s was to Dillon’s where she gets groceries and other things. Dad’s was to Lowe’s because home improvement is kind of his thing. For Brian’s dad, we got Cabella’s so he could get more ammo. It’s way easier to mail a gift card than ammo.

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I wanted to play some Uno but some people were party poopers. We ended up playing heads up. Just me and mom and Jenni because no one was really interested in playing games.

Anyway, that was the conclusion of Brian’s fun birthday week. Can’t wait to do it all again next year. I’m thinking of throwing a nautical themed birthday party because it’s going to be his 44th, which in poker-speak is sailboats.

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Saturdate with Grandma – Zoo Edition

Posted on June 27, 2017 by under Family, Food and Drink.    

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Brian and I took grandma out for an early birthday treat a couple of weeks ago. We went on a zoo date but, before that, we stopped for lunch at Aero Plains Brewing where we knew that LumpiaPalooza would be.

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Here’s a picture of Brian chatting with the owner, Cynthia Wilson. She is a relative of Matt, who was our server at 49th State Brewing Company in Anchorage.

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We couldn’t decide what to get so we ordered the “Make Me One With Everything” – TWICE! This package consists of five savory lumpia flavors (original with spicy sweet and sour sauce, pulled pork with BBQ sauce, Caribbean veggie with mango salsa, mac and cheese and bacon with BBQ sauce, and mozzarella stick with marinara sauce) and three dessert lumpias (lemon blueberry, chocolate chip cookie dough, and Nutella banana).

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Here’s the full menu.

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Areo Plains is Brian’s favorite brewery in town so he took advantage of the opportunity to enjoy a glass while we waited for our food.

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I also took a picture of Brian and grandma while we were waiting.

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And, an obligatory group selfie.

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Here are some pictures of our amazing lumpias.

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This was grandma’s very first food truck experience so, of course, we had to take a picture with the owner before we left.

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Then it was off to the zoo for the rest of grandma’s pre-birthday treat.

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Here are some of my favorite pics from our zoo trip that day.

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We were going to go on the boat ride but they shut it down early because of the weather. It was rainy the day. It had been raining lightly on and off but then it started to really pour. We didn’t get our boat ride but we got to see a lot of stuff and it was a fun day overall.

Brian and I had a great time and hope that grandma did as well.

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