Taste & See

Some coworkers and I had lunch at Taste & See today to vet them for a work function next week. It was really Amy and Faith’s thing but I ended up inviting myself because I had the connection. I was joining them so I could make the introduction. That, and who would pass up Taste & See? Seriously.

Anyway, Mel ended up joining us and then the four of us peer pressured Isaac into going. LOL. It’s been a while since I’d had a fun work lunch like that. I’m really grateful that they let me crash their lunch.

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Amy seemed to really enjoy her gaucho churrasco steak. She thought it had great flavor. Mel had a bite of it and thought it was a little chewy. I figured it was the cut of the meat, but she had other theories. She said that it was a strip-lion (instead of strip-loin). I’m pretty sure it’s beef. We’d have had to pay extra for that exotic stuff. LOL.

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Faith had the ceviche tacos, which she loved. Her meal came with a side of Chef Jason’s delicious hummus.

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I had the ultimate paella, which lived up to its name. It was the ultimate blend of mussels, shrimp, scallops, sausage, and chicken. Yum!

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Isaac got the real Cubano, which is the only thing he ever gets at Taste & See. I can’t blame him. It’s really good. It’s actually Brian’s favorite there as well.

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Mel had the oceanic mac and cheese, which is my other favorite at Taste & See. Except she found the sauce too rich and was disappointed that it was made with linguini instead of macaroni. Though I think they’re just using the term “mac” to loosely represent the pasta portion of the dish.

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We had to sample the dessert, of course. Amy loved the nutellini. I think that’s what it’s called. They’re like banana lollipops.

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My favorite, the cuatro leches cake, didn’t fare as well. It’s delicious but it was outshined by the s’mores pie thing. Isaac liked it so much that he actually asked about ordering a pan for his family of four. LOL.

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I think the best part of the s’mores thing, besides actually eating it, is watching them torch it. LOL. Though, I think Isaac would have preferred to do it himself probably.

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Taste & See on Urbanspoon

Everyone seemed to enjoy their meal overall. I think Faith is sold. The fact that the chef is “easy on the eyes” (not my words, but I wouldn’t disagree) is just a bonus.

The biggest downside is the location which is kind of far and not really in the best part of town, but I think it will be worth the drive for the group. At least it’s something different. I’m sure many of the people who will be attending the meeting next week have never been.

The only thing that could’ve made this a better fit would have been if the Old Town location was already open because then it would be walking distance from the meeting. The new location is still under construction, though. Chef Jason keeps posting progress pics to get everyone amped. I know I am. I can’t wait for the new location to open.

Wahoo in Aggieville

Some of my coworkers and I were in Manhattan, Kansas for a leadership conference earlier this week. While there we had an opportunity to try a new restaurant — Wahoo Fire and Ice Grill. None of us had dined there before.

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We ordered a couple of starters to share. Sally picked the Mojave Desert shrimp, which is basically just bacon-wrapped shrimp drenched in barbecue sauce, but it was yummy. You can’t really go wrong with bacon-wrapped shrimp. Actually, you can’t go wrong with bacon. Bacon makes everything better. LOL.

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We also had the crab rangoon dip with a generous helping of fried wonton chips. These were delicious and filling. I seriously could have made a meal out of the appetizers.

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Teresa and I both got the Wahoo stir fry. You have to order the dish that’s named after the restaurant, right? I mean, it’s got to be something special if they’re going to put their name on it. The dish was really flavorful. It probably had almost too much flavor. The rice was drenched in the teriyaki ginger peanut sauce, which is a delicious, sweet sauce with just a hint of spice to it. Again, very good but somewhat overwhelming halfway through the dish. It made me wish that I had some steamed rice to tone down some of the flavor.

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Sally had the salmon BLT. I think she had the healthiest meal of the group. The picture of Gwen’s mixed grill (sirloin, fish, and chicken) didn’t come out very well so I’m not posting it. The dish looked fantastic, though. If Brian and I eat here, that’s probably one that the two of us could share.

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Wahoo Fire and Ice Grill on Urbanspoon

Sunni had the Bimini Island pasta. I think we were all happy with our entree choices. Everything looked really good.

Wahoo is a restaurant that I’d love to take Brian next time we are in the area. I’m not sure what was in this space on the corner of 11th and Moro before Wahoo, but I think Wahoo fits. I’d totally bring Brian here next time we find ourselves in Aggieville. Maybe we’ll have to attend a Wildcats game or something.

Post Labor Run Feast

Misty, Brian, and I were hungry after the Labor Run so we decided to have lunch at Pei Wei. Doc Greens next door was a contender, but Misty doesn’t like “rabbit food” as she calls it. She’s missing out. Doc Greens has some really good food.

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Anyways, here are some pictures of our lunch…

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Eggrolls were good but greasy. I think we are getting spoiled because we’d been making lumpia here at home and we are always really careful to drain all the oil off.

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I had the spicy Korean with chicken. It wasn’t as spicy as I was afraid it would be so that was good. The crazy thing about Pei Wei is that the actual dishes look exactly like they do in pictures. At least this one looked like it went from the poster to the table.

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Brian had the chicken fried rice. It was just okay. Not as much flavor as the other fried rice we’ve had. I think as far as fried rice goes there are several great options locally. This doesn’t really rank.

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Pei Wei Asian Diner on Urbanspoon

Misty had the Thai coconut curry with shrimp. It looked and smelled good. Perhaps I will try that one next time.

The food at Pei Wei won’t blow you away, but it’s not bad. I wouldn’t mind eating there again. If you are looking for authentic Asian, this isn’t the place to go. There’s lots of other options in town. Definitely try some of the local mom and pop joints because they’re usually better than the chains.

Now, if you are looking for fast Asian food that’s not a hole in the wall then you’re probably at the right place. The concept is a lot like Noodles & Company where you have signature dishes and then you pick what kind of meat (or none at all) you want added to it. Then they also have small plates and combos — lots of options. I’d say it’s worth checking out if you’ve never been.

College Hill Deli

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I finally got to try College Hill Deli thanks to Jay and Becca. I can’t believe I’d never been there before. Here are some pictures of their delicious food.

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College Hill Deli and Catering on Urbanspoon

Ever notice how most Mediterranean restaurants are owned by men named Ali? LOL.

Seriously though, this place is legit. The hummus with chicken shawarma is the best hummus you can get in Wichita for $6 and it is substantial enough to eat as a meal. The fattoush salad has great flavor. I appreciate that they don’t skimp on the feta.

I can’t comment on the bierock pie, which is what Jay had, because I didn’t get to try it. It looked good though. My chicken shawarma wrap was also good. Brian got to eat my leftovers when he arrived back to Wichita the next day. Of course, it’s not the same. I’m going to have to take him there to try the delightful food fresh.

Thank you to Jay and Becca for dinner but, most of all, for introducing me to a wonderful new place to eat near work. Oh, yeah!

Coconuts at Peabody

The warm up and cool down workshop was my final one of convention. After that I could finally relax. That meant only one thing: pool time!

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We got there just in time to secure three lounge chairs before the rest of the convention attendees showed up. While we were waiting for Christina to join us, several people tried to ask for the lounge chair that we reserved for her.

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The Peabody Orlando pool was really hoppin’ on Sunday night. That’s where almost everyone was, including Zumba celebrity Gina Grant. An impromptu Aqua Zumba session even broke out.

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I would have preferred a less crowded pool, but I didn’t mind the Zumba music pumping and the people gyrating. My drink helped me chill out. LOL.

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After laying around for a while, Brian and I decided that we didn’t want to leave to shower and get dressed for dinner so we ended up eating at the pool. The Peabody Orlando has a poolside restaurant called Coconuts. Prices are still on the pricy side as can be expected considering where we were, but at least they offered a bit more selection than Mallards.

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We had the hummus and pita, which you can’t really go wrong with (we order it everywhere we go), and the $20 appetizer sampler. On the plus side, the hummus and pita at Coconuts is cheaper than the one they serve at B-Line Diner and you actually get more grilled pita chips.

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Here’s the one they serve at B-Line that costs almost twice as much.

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Here’s the hummus and pita platter served at Coconuts.

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Had we known this ahead of time, we would have just ate dinner poolside at Coconuts the entire trip. Seriously. The drinks are universally expensive throughout the hotel premises, but the food prices at Coconuts were far more reasonable than anywhere else at the hotel.

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Here’s a close up of the appetizer sampler which consisted of chorizo and corn arepas, chicken wings, coconut shrimp, chips and dip.

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Yes, I realize that the coconut shrimp is almost the size of my head but you only get two of them. This appetizer would have cost only half as much if we were back home in Wichita. By Sunday I was actually ready to go home and put the breaks on all the spending. Whew. Thank heavens the Zumba instructor convention in Orlando only happens once a year or I would be completely bankrupt.

On a side note, I’m actually thinking of checking out the Zumba conference in LA next year. LOL. It’s only a couple of days instead of four so I’m hoping it will be less expensive. I am starting to save now though, just in case. I’m thinking it will still cost me quite a bit. However, I plan on going about it the smart way and rooming with another instructor on this next trip so that I can at least reduce the cost of lodging to half. Here’s to hoping I get a good deal on airfare. Until next time!

The Pub Orlando

While Ching was in one of her classes I decided to go roam around outside the hotel and see if I could find a good place for lunch. I was really wanting to find some Cuban restaurant but there weren’t any close. I ended up going to a place called “The Pub”. I looked it up on Urbanspoon and it had high ratings so I figured why not.

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Once I got in there it ended up being a really nice place. The bartender was really nice and helped me choose a really good beer. Luckily they bottle it and I can get it here in Wichita. Unlike the Sam Adams Brick Red that I really like that you can only get on tap and only in Boston Bars.

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I decided on a ham sandwich that was on a pretzel bun. It ended up being really good. the fries were also really good. I love think cut fries.

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The beer the bartender suggested was really good. The only down side was I had not eaten in few hours and the Beer went right to my head. Luckily the food balanced me out for the walk back to the hotel.

I wish there was a Pub here in Wichita. I think it would make places like Fox and Hound step up their game.

The Pub Orlando on Urbanspoon

The Crepe Factory

The Crepe Factory is probably my favorite food stand at the Orange County Convention Center (OCCC). The crepe options are limited but they are good. Then again you can’t go wrong with crepes. You can put just about anything inside and it’ll turn out delicious. I don’t think the Crepe Factory is as good as the Crepe Cafe, the crepe place that we tried when we were in Fishermans Wharf in San Francisco. It is pretty good, though. If they’d given us enough time for lunch, I probably would have eaten there every single day. LOL.

Be prepared to spend some cash at the OCCC, though. The crepes cost $10-$12. There are no cheap lunches at the convention center. That’s for sure.

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Brian had Korean tacos from another food stand the first time that I had the crepes. I’m sure they were good, but I bet they weren’t as good as my cordon bleu crepe.

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The next time I had a hankering for a crepe, he decided to try it with me. He got an American, which is basically a breakfast crepe. I wanted to go for the gusto that time though, so I added tomatoes to my regular cordon bleu. I also ordered a banana + Nutella crepe for dessert. It’s my favorite kind of crepe. Yum!

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Mallards Bar at Peabody Orlando

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I only had a limited time to get ready between my training session and the live concert so instead of going to Pointe Orlando to eat dinner, we ended up grabbing something at Mallards. The quality of the food and drinks was good, but there are significant downsides to Mallards. The biggest one being the limited selection. Since it’s a bar, they just have a handful of options. And, it’s “bar” food. It may be upscale bar food, but it’s still bar food.

The service was also terrible that night. I don’t know what was up with our server, but she was inattentive and unhelpful. She was almost borderline rude. Immediately after she delivered our food, she brought the check over. That’s one of my pet peeves because it makes me feel rushed. Plus, I wanted to order some other stuff. It was really annoying.

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Besides that, their drinks are super expensive. Then again, that’s probably normal for Orlando. I’m so glad I live in Wichita where I can get a couple of drinks for $13. LOL.

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I think we should have tried one of the other restaurants located inside the hotel instead (there are a few inside Peabody Orlando). If only I wasn’t in a hurry. I probably would have been better off going back to B-Line Diner or grabbing something from B-Line Express (the diner’s to-go counter).

Possibly the one thing that Mallards has going for it is the march of the ducks at 11 AM and 5 PM. So just go for the ducks. Don’t bother eating or drinking. LOL. Or, save yourself the trip and just watch Brian’s video.

B-Line Diner

Brian and I ended up eating at B-Line Diner on our first night in Orlando because it rained. I had my heart set on taking the trolley to Oceanaire Seafood Room at Pointe Orlando but we didn’t want to walk outside because of the torrential downpour. It rained while we were getting some supplies at Walgreens and, by the time we arrived back at our hotel, we were both drenched.

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Anyway, B-Line is conveniently located on the first floor of our hotel so we wouldn’t have to go outside. It was a no brainer. We put some dry clothes on and off we went.

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Brian and I both love hummus so we decided to start with that. It was topped with some sort of kalamata olives tapenade, which made it really salty. I like salty stuff so it appealed to me. Brian didn’t care much for it. He would have much rather preferred a tub of Sabra. LOL.

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For dinner we just split a chicken sandwich. We didn’t want any leftovers as our room wasn’t equipped with a microwave. You could request one from housekeeping, but the Peabody charges $20 extra per day for use of the microwave so it wasn’t worth it. Anyway, back to the sandwich. It had all the fixins including apple slices and a huge chunk of avocado. It was actually pretty good.

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Splitting the chicken sandwich was actually a good move on our part because we wanted to save room for dessert. The B-Line has an extensive dessert selection. However, since Brian and I were sharing dessert, we couldn’t go too crazy. We ordered a slice of their Oreo chocolate mousse cake.

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B-Line Diner on Urbanspoon

It was just okay. It tasted like something that you could get anywhere. There really wasn’t anything special about it. The dessert was probably my least favorite part of the meal.

The food at B-Line is actually pretty good. The location is extremely convenient, specially if you are staying at the Peabody or have a conference nearby at the Orange County Convention Center. The diner is also open 24 hours a day, which is a huge plus. The only downside is that the prices are quite high. Then again, that’s typical of everything in this area of Orlando so, after considering all of the other options, B-Line is probably a bargain. I wouldn’t mind eating there again next time we’re at the Peabody.

Airport Eats

I hate long layovers at the airport. I prefer to time it just right so I am ready to board the next plane as soon as I get off the previous one. Brian, on the other hand, is always paranoid that he will miss his connection so he likes long layovers. He makes our travel arrangements most of the time so I’m at his mercy.

What to do when life hands you lemons? Well, you make lemonade of course. So we used the long layovers to sample some of the airport food. First stop: Berghoff Cafe at Chicago O’Hare.

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Out of all the restaurants in our terminal, Berghoff got the best reviews. We were there too early for lunch though, so I couldn’t get a reuben which is what everyone on FourSquare recommended.

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We didn’t eat breakfast before we left Wichita so it worked out perfect actually. Brian had a breakfast wrap and coffee. I had an omelet with toast and jelly.

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As with most airports restaurants, Berghoff uses cheap plastic utensils and my fork broke halfway through my breakfast meal. If anyone at Berghoff is reading, switch to Knorks please. Anyway, the breakfast wrap is pretty much an omelet wrapped in a tortilla. It’s cheaper and way easier to eat. No need to use the cheap forks. So if you go and get breakfast there, my advice is to get a breakfast wrap. You can even eat it as you’re running to your gate. LOL.

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On the way home Brian gave me a four hour layover in Houston. Why? I have no idea. Houston is never as busy as Chicago or Atlanta. I was bored out of my mind. I decided to eat at the Chili’s despite the horrible reviews on FourSquare. Most of the negative reviews revolved around the slow service, which wasn’t really an issue for me as I had four hours to kill.

I had the appetizer sampler with the big bites, Southwest eggrolls, and spinach dip. The food was decent and the service wasn’t too bad. Everyone was correct about the slowness, though. Anyway, they let me charge my phone and hang out at the bar even after I finished my meal so I can’t complain. What I will complain about though, is my four-hour layover. Never again.

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