Archive for "Food and Drink"
Posted on March 19, 2017 by Ching under Food and Drink, Things to Do.
I’d been wanting to try an escape room ever since the first one opened in Wichita a few years ago. Back when I led the Quality Assurance team in the Customer Relations Center (CRC), we talked about going to Wichita Room Escape. However, they were only open on the weekends at the time. They were first starting out and all the founders had day jobs. I’m not sure if the business is still owned by the same owners because the sign on the front door says Seed Entertainment LLC but their web site has Kingdom1 LLC. Either they’ve changed owners or they’ve grown because they are now open during the work week.
I’ve been team-less for a couple of years now. I’m still technically a member of the CRC team but I haven’t had team members reporting to me for a while. I was so grateful when Darcy invited me and Jeff (our department administrative assistant, who tends to not get invited to things either) to be part of her team building exercise. And, I was even more thrilled when I found out it would be a room escape activity because I’d always wanted to try it.
Darcy booked the Autopsy room for us, which is about a medium difficulty level. We were told the room has about a 30-35% success rate and that everyone who has escaped has used all their clues. After a short briefing about how to operate the various locks that we would find in our room, we were off to the races.
I’m not going to reveal too much here so as not to ruin the fun for others but I will say that it was a ton of fun solving puzzles with Jeff and #TeamAwesome, the team name that Darcy’s team has dubbed themselves. It was so exciting every time we solved one of the puzzles and unlocked one of the locks because it led to even more clues. There were times that we would get stuck and had to use one of our clues (you get to ask for help three times) and then, armed with some guidance, attacked our puzzles with renewed vigor.
The key to remember is to not be stubborn and wait too long to use your clues. There are dozens of puzzles to solve and locks to unlock. You can’t waste 20 minutes being stuck. If you are stubborn and what until the last five minutes of your allotted time (you have exactly an hour to escape the room) to ask for your first clue, it may not be as useful. They’re giving you a clue, not the answer, so you still have to process the information. I don’t know about you, but it’s harder for me to solve puzzles under duress. So that is probably the best advice I can give. Do not wait too long to ask for a clue when you get stuck because it may be too late.
Since we escaped, we got to write on their wall and that was really cool. We are now members of an elite club of room escapers. LOL.
Even though we escaped the room with plenty of time to spare, it was challenging enough that we still got a rush and sense of accomplishment out of the experience. When we were down to the last 10 minutes of our time, we had no idea how many more puzzles had to be solved or how many locks were left so we did feel a sense of urgency at that point. No one panicked and we got out after roughly 51 minutes and 27 seconds in the room.
I was very impressed at the sheer number of locks and puzzles that they managed to squeeze in to the room. There were clues everywhere. The clues hidden throughout the room also consisted of a good variety to where you weren’t solving the same types of puzzles. And there were some combinations where the clues were laid out in multiple ways so there was more than one way to arrive at the solution. They had us working together and using every bit of that room. It was very stimulating and definitely one of my most favorite team building activities to date.
After working up an appetite solving puzzles, we headed to Dempsey’s Burger Pub next door for lunch. Here are some pictures of our delicious food.
I had the salmon burger, which I enjoyed immensely. Dempsey’s serves amazing burgers but the Burger Stand in Topeka is still my favorite. I mean, they have ping pong there and Dempsey’s does not. LOL. As far as gourmet burgers go, Dempsey’s is probably as close as it gets around here, though.
After lunch we headed over to Central Standard Brewing where Josh’s girlfriend Alicea met up with us. We played a round of Uno before I had to leave to pick up my little sister (but that ended up being canceled last minute because of something that happened at school) so I really could have stayed for another round of Uno. Anyway, I had so much fun hanging out with #TeamAwesome that day. I hope they invite me to another one of their team building events again soon.
Posted on March 15, 2017 by Ching under Food and Drink.
The Phelpi were in Kansas City last week for the Big 12 Conference. As luck would have it, the Stub Hub ticket pickup site was in my hotel! They ended up taking advantage of the $5 parking lot in front of the hotel and I met them when they came to pick up their tickets. It was super convenient.
Cory and his dad walked over to the Sprint Center for the first game. April, Gavin, and I rode the KC Streetcar over to the Metro Center. We didn’t need to but I wanted to share the Streetcar experience with April and Gavin.
April saw something on Facebook that the Texas Tech basketball team would have a send off at the Marriott Kansas City Downtown, my usual hotel, so we went over there first before heading to dinner. I showed them around a little bit, pointed at my office building, that sort of thing. When we got to the Marriott, no one seemed to know what was going on. Luckily, we saw the band when they walked in so we just followed them and found our way to the right spot.
Here’s a picture of the Texas Tech band members lined up along the hall as they waited for the basketball team.
We took some fun pictures while we were waiting.
I thought I got a video of Gavin high-fiving some of the basketball players as they walked by but I was a dingbat and forgot to hit the button. I did manage to get a good photo of him with the pretty cheerleaders.
After the send off, we walked over to Power & Light to have dinner at BRGR.
Here are some pictures of our food.
I would tell you what all of these different burgers are but I’ve slept since then. I do remember what I had — the Big Hoss — because it’s what Brian and I had the last time we were there.
I had forgotten how huge the burgers are and concluded, too late, that April and I should have just split one. Something to remember for next time.
Obviously, we got some fried deviled eggs (scroll up for picture). They are a must have at BRGR. We also got some truffle tots because they are so yummy.
We also got some sweet potato tater tots because they are simply amazing. They have a dessert-like sweetness to them and almost remind me of corn fritters, though I know that they aren’t.
As you can see, we had way too much food for two and a half people (three if we’re rounding up). I ended up boxing half of my burger and all of the leftover tater tots. I was thinking of eating the leftovers for lunch the next day at work, rather than just letting them go to waste. I was also super excited that I got to take another one of those little bottles of Tabasco. The last time Brian and I were here, our server let us take our bottle home so I was really looking forward to bringing home another little Tabasco bottle for Brian. He still has the other bottle and he carries it everywhere with him in his man-bag because he like to splash Tabasco on everything.
The kids activities outside the arena were already closed by the time we finished dinner but it was still too early for their basketball game so we ended up walking around hunting Pokémon. We also walked around the huge Rally House store across from the Sprint Center. Eventually, it was time for them to head inside for their game and I made my way back to my hotel.
As I walked away from the Sprint Center, toward Main, I passed by a man who stopped me and asked if I had any money. I think he was just a homeless person rather than an actual panhandler because he wasn’t holding a sign or anything. Anyway, I was still holding my bag of BRGR leftovers so I told him I didn’t have any money but I did have some delicious food. For a split second I considered taking the Tabasco because I had meant to give it to Brian but then I figured that the man would need it for the burger. It’s a must for the Big Hoss. I also figured that he will have great use of the Tabasco sauce to liven up other foods that he might come cross in the coming days.
I have always wanted to give my leftover food to someone in need but I never seem to come across any homeless people when I’ve got some food to give away. Either that or, I can never summon the nerve to offer it to someone who looks homeless. I mean, what if they’re not really homeless and just unkempt? That would be really awkward. I dare not insult anyone. I’m trying to help, not make them mad at me.
I usually just end up putting my leftovers delicately on top of a trashcan where a homeless person might come upon the gift without having to dig through the trash.
You have no idea how happy I was that I finally came upon a homeless person to accept my leftover food. I didn’t have any money for him but he seemed genuinely grateful for what I had to offer. While I would have enjoyed the delicious food (half of my Big Hoss, two deep fried deviled eggs, and tons of truffle tots and sweet potato tots because they always give you so much) the next day, knowing that someone who needed it more benefitted from it was far more fulfilling.
Anyway, what a fun evening! We live in the same city but, since Cory and April moved out West, we rarely ever get to see one another. It was such a treat!
Posted on February 17, 2017 by Ching under Food and Drink.
We got to try a new restaurant a couple of weeks ago. It’s located right next to the Mixx, which is our regular lunch spot on Thursdays. Last year ProteinHouse was under construction whenever we walked by. We walked by it a few weeks ago and it was finally open. The people inside seemed to be enjoying their food.
Michelle got to try it before the rest of us because she stopped there for lunch the day that she had to walk over to the Sprint Center to purchase tickets for a show.
The rest of us (Kelsey, Selena, and I) got to check it out when we had our team lunch a couple of weeks ago. The restaurant tagline is #EATCLEAN #TRAINMEAN #GETLEAN. It’s an interesting concept.
Here’s a picture of the open kitchen where all the “clean” food is made.
Selena had a wrap with a side of sweet potatoes.
Kelsey had a PH burger with no bun and also a side of sweet potatoes.
Michelle had the Southwest veggie burger which she said was really good. I’m supposed to tell Tammie about it.
I had the Aloha burger with no onions and a side of fruit. I took a couple of pictures of this towering monstrosity of a chicken sandwich for good measure.
The food was not bad. The chicken could have used more flavor but I really liked the pineapple. It made the sandwich more interesting. Other than needing more flavor and being tricky to eat, my sandwich was quite enjoyable. Selena and Kelsey said their sweet potatoes were cold but otherwise enjoyed their meals as well.
I thought the menu prices were a bit high for what you got but I guess that’s the price you have to pay for “clean” food. The decor is modern with TVs that are constantly showing body builders and workout people. I don’t know about you, but that makes me not want to eat. LOL. The space inside is small but I think they expect people to be in and out and not linger.
This place is okay but I definitely felt a bit out of place. Being around healthy food has always made me feel kind of awkward. Anyway, the place isn’t bade but definitely not one of my favorites.
Posted on February 12, 2017 by Ching under Food and Drink.
I took lots of pictures of the restaurant’s interior because of their interesting decor.
There are actually two affiliated restaurants owned by the same chef sharing the same entrance. This is the Extra Virgin side.
The interesting part about this is that Selena and I got off at the correct Streetcar stop but then we had trouble finding the restaurant because we were looking for a big Extra Virgin sign. The only sign that we saw prominently from where we stood was the giant Michael Smith sign. As it turns out, Michael Smith is the chef/owner of both restaurants.
When we walked inside and saw one restaurant to our left and another to our right, it finally made sense. We were at the right place, we just didn’t know what we were looking for. I was still a little bit confused though, so when we walked up to the host station I had to ask, “Is this Extra Virgin?” To which he replied, “Yes.” And that is pretty much how our first Extra Virgin experience began.
Here’s another picture of the interior. I took this one from where we were seated, which is toward the front of the restaurant, close to the bar area. Not sure what the purpose of this shelf is that is overflowing with books but it looked cool.
Here’s another interior photo that I took from my seat. I think this kind of puts into perspective where were were sitting. We were at a table with four chairs. Selena and I were sitting across from each other and we used the two empty seats next to us to put our respective purses and coats. I know this is a strange detail to add but this will come into play later so I hope you’re paying attention.
You can kind of see a corner of the bar in the upper left part of part of the above picture. Here’s a picture of the bar from where I was sitting. So I had my back to the bar and Selena sat across from me, facing the bar.
This is a picture of the empanadas that Selena ordered. We didn’t order much because the prices were kind of expensive. I think I have gotten spoiled by the cheap food during “happy hour” at Nara, which has quickly become my favorite restaurant along the KC Streetcar route.
I ordered the crab fried rice but I forgot to take a picture before digging in. It looks like a mess because it had a poached egg with a soft yolk.
It looked and tasted better than the photo but it was not what I expected. The rice has a crunchy texture which I’m not used to. I usually associate crunchiness with undercooked rice. Either that or bahaw (old, leftover rice). LOL. Selena liked the crunchy texture, though.
The funny thing is, I enjoyed the empanadas that Selena ordered more than she did and she enjoyed the fried rice that I ordered more than I did.
Since the portions were relatively small, we both agreed that we had room for dessert. We ordered two: chocolate flan (above) and churros (below).
The chocolate flan was very good. The churros were just okay. I like the churros dessert at La Bodega better.
Overall the food was just okay but it was service was great. Our server was attentive but the rest of the staff were too. I know this because something weird happened while we were eating. This drunk guy in his 20s randomly sat down at our table next to Selena and started to make some small talk with her.
I knew he was severely intoxicated so I didn’t want to engage. I looked down at my food and continued eating, avoiding eye contact at all costs. It was kind of awkward but I wanted it to be really obvious that we didn’t know this stranger. I felt really bad because Selena probably thought I was abandoning her. We couldn’t move because the drunk guy was sitting on Selena’s purse. If he wouldn’t have left after being made to feel unwelcome, I would have gotten up to ask the manager for help.
Luckily, they were paying attention. This woman who looked like the manager was watching the whole situation unfold. I suspect that they’d been observing this drunk guy for a while. It looked like she was trying to assess whether or not we knew the man. I suspect she didn’t want to ask him to leave if he was our friend. I was very awkward and stiff and not making eye contact so it should have been pretty obvious. Anyway, she disappeared and moments later reappeared with a man in a chef’s jacket (not Michael Smith but probably the man in charge for the night). She made eye contact with me while mouthing, “Do you know him?” I shook my head, “No.” He must have picked up on this because he said, “Don’t be shaking your fucking head!” He was quite angry and I really thought he was going to throw his drink at me. But, in an instant, the man in the chef’s jacket was at the edge of our table politely asking the drunk guy to leave. Drunk guy was like, “Can I finish my drink first?” I thought, here it comes. I really thought he was going to throw his drink at me but he didn’t. I don’t think he was happy about it, but he obeyed the request and got up and left. I was super grateful that the restaurant staff came to our table and escorted him out. I can deal with my drunk friends, but drunk strangers make me completely uncomfortable.
Anyway, Selena and I lingered at the restaurant for a while. I think that might have been part of the reason she was open to ordering dessert. We usually don’t get dessert. We took our time and I think deep down we were both making sure that he wasn’t waiting for us at the Streetcar stop. I think it was almost an hour after the incident when we finally got up to leave.
That’s the most eventful dinner we’ve had in Kansas City to date. I’m probably not going back there. It’s not the restaurant’s fault. They handled the situation perfectly. However, I thought the food was overpriced for what you got and it was just okay. Nothing spectacular. Also, I’m usually eating by myself and I really don’t want a repeat of that when I’m dining alone.
Posted on January 22, 2017 by Ching under Food and Drink.
I discovered a new favorite restaurant last week with an excellent “happy hour” menu. We barely made it in time. I think we got there ten minutes before happy hour ended but they were nice enough to let us order from the happy hour menu, which was great because there were lots of different menu items to choose from at a fraction of the regular price.
We sat by the bar, which is where happy hour happens.
There was hardly a soul in the joint when we got there but by the time we left the place was buzzing. I don’t think there were any empty tables by 8 PM.
I love that you have a great view of the downtown Kansas City skyline from the restaurant. If you look on the upper left corner of this picture, you can actually see the One Light Luxury Apartments building.
Since everything was so inexpensive during happy hour, Selena and I started with some edamame and ordered several different things.
This is the appetizer platter which consisted of two fried shrimp and pork gyoza (fried dumplings), two shrimp shumai, two crab rangoon, and a crispy pork and shrimp egg roll. All for $5.
We also had some friend mac-n-cheese.
We also had the beef yakigyu, which doesn’t look like much but it was also very good. Finally, I got an order of California roll because I wanted Selena to try it.
You’ll never guess how little we spent on our dinner. Our total for all of that delicious food came to a little over $27 ($35 after tip). I think this place might have the best happy hour in all of downtown Kansas City. It’s definitely my favorite.
I can’t wait to go back!