Firebirds

I had to take Brian on a proper date after making him sit through The Chalk Garden last weekend. Plays are not really his cup of tea. He was a good sport about it, though.

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We started out date night with dinner at Firebirds. Brian had never been there. His parents tried it for the first time on their last trip to Wichita and really liked it so I figured he probably would too.

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Here’s a photo of their signature drink.

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Here are some pictures of our food.

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We started out with crab cakes. Their crab cakes have great flavor but what I really like most about them is how chunky they are. There’s huge hunks of crab meat and not much filler. Just the way a crab cake should be.

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Their bread reminds me of an extra large pandesal.

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Brian had the smokehouse chicken sandwich.

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I really wanted the crab cake salad because Darcy really liked it the last time we were there. However, I had to pick something else since we had crab cakes for our appetizer. Ended up getting the Colorado chicken salad which is really good too. It’s not as good as my favorite chicken salad at Red Rock Canyon Grill but I thought it was delicious and I’d order it again.

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Firebirds Wood Fired Grill on Urbanspoon

I ate light because I was saving room for dessert. I’ve been having sweet cravings lately.

The big daddy chocolate cake really hit the spot. The cake is so huge that Brian and I couldn’t finish it. I had to take the rest of it home.

I wasn’t overly impressed with Firebirds when my coworkers and I ate there for lunch a while ago, but I was really pleased with our experience the other day. Our server was attentive and friendly and the food was good. Brian really liked it. Our dinner at Firebirds was a great start to our date night.

Painting and Shooting

It’s a painting and shooting kind of weekend. I had a lot of fun painting with my coworkers last night. Click the right arrow on the picture above to see more photos from our painting party at Paint the Towne.

Huge thanks to Tammie for organizing the event and to Misty for taking a bunch of photos. Thanks also go out to my awesome husband for making mini tacos for me to bring to the party and for driving Misty and me to and from the event. I really appreciated not having drive after a few glasses of wine, which flowed quite freely because everyone brought one or two bottles and then some. There were plenty of yummy eats too so none of us were drinking on empty stomachs. Safety first!

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Since I got to do what I wanted to do last night, Brian got to do what he wanted to do this afternoon. Cory and April went shooting with us also, which was awesome because they shared their targets and I got to shoot Cory’s new toy — a 22 calibre Ruger rifle.

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Here are a couple more photos from the shooting range.

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If you’re trying to score some points with your partner, taking him to the gun range is a sure fire way to do it (pun intended – LOL). Plus, couples who play together stay together. Just sayin’…

Date Night

Brian and I started our date night at Taste and See 2 in Old Town.

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The restaurant has been open for several weeks now, but this is our first trip there since we both have been very busy.

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Chef Jason Febres and Steven Bacci have really stepped it up. The place looks fantastic and the server uniforms look really spiffy.

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We started dinner with one of our favorite tapas: queso fondue.

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Brian had his usual, the real Cubano with truffle fries.

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I wanted to be adventurous and try something that I’d never had before, the saltinbocca. How can you go wrong with chicken and prosciutto?

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It was delicious. I even liked the mushroom and the cracker thing.

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We left the restaurant very full and happy. The beers helped. ;-)

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After dinner we went on to Abode to watch Blockhead perform. Reby and Aaron were there also. Come to find out, Aaron is a huge Blockhead fan.

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We actually got a real treat last night. I had no idea that Aaron is Cutter J, the Absurdist. He’s amazing!

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He makes music, plays with spoons, and even tap dances.

Oh, and Blockhead was really good too.

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Brian really enjoyed date night. He thanked me several times for taking him to see Blockhead. Yup. That’s what I do. I plan great dates. LOL.

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Here’s a link to Taste & See 2 on Urbanspoon.

Taste & See 2 on Urbanspoon

Cheap Movie Night Wasn’t So Cheap

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The hubs and I decided to have date night during the middle of the week because we both needed a break from our usual evening routine.

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We went to the theater from work so we were a little early for our show. Lucky for me, Old Town Warren has Angry Orchard on tap.

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Being able to have some drinks while waiting for showtime was as definite plus.

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Here’s a picture of the drink menu with the list of specials in case you are curious or want to plan your next trip around booze. LOL.

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We went on a Wednesday because we were planning on having a “cheap movie night” but ended up buying tickets for the director’s suite, which is not cheap.

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It had been a while since we’d both been to the director’s suite so Brian wanted to check it out. As you know, what baby wants, baby gets. LOL.

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Here’s a picture of baby in the empty theater. Getting away from the crowds was one of Brian’s reasons for choosing the director’s suite actually. We figured that, with it being $5 movie night, all of the other auditoriums would be packed.

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One of the things I like most about Old Town Warren (besides the fact that they have Angry Orchard) is that you can get food service in the theater auditoriums.

One of the things I don’t like is the quality of the food. I made the mistake of ordering chicken tenders. They were terrible. They were chewy in parts and the texture didn’t feel like real chicken. It reminded me of the same pseudo-chicken substance used to make microwaveable chicken nuggets. Blech.

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Brian had the chicken quesadillas with the cilantro lime chicken. They were actually pretty good, and contained real chicken. LOL.

Next time we find ourselves at Old Town Warren that’s what I’ll be ordering. That or just have dinner elsewhere and skip dinner at the theater altogether.

Unlike the food, the movie did not disappoint. Rush was actually better than I expected. I’m glad that Brian convinced me to go see it.

Wichita Flight Festival

Those who complain that there’s never anything to do in Wichita aren’t looking hard enough. Brian and I had a fantastic time at the Wichita Flight Festival today.

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The Wichita Flight Festival is open to the public and doesn’t cost a thing. Unless you are hungry like we were. In that case be sure to bring cash for concessions. Bring your lawn chairs and enjoy the afternoon. I’m filing this under “cheap date ideas” and coming back next year. LOL.

The Bradley Fair Concerts are Almost Upon Us

The Bradley Fair concerts are almost upon us. Are you ready?

Opera on the Lake
May 18 at 6:30 pm

Once a year, Bradley Fair Plaza is transformed from marketplace to opera-hall as Wichita Grand Opera (WGO) performs highlights from some of the most famous operas. WGO artists and musicians create the drama, passion and musical force of opera vignettes against the backdrop of Bradley Fair Lake. This community event is free and open to the public. Bring lawn chairs for seating and enjoy an evening of beautiful music under the stars. Reserved seating with dinner on the patio of Newport Grill is also available. For information or reservations, call Wichita Grand Opera at 316.683.3444.

Thursday Summer Concerts on Bradley Fair Plaza
June 6, 13, 20, 27 at 7:30 pm

Enjoy the sights and sounds of summer with professional jazz performances on Bradley Fair Plaza. The best sunsets, sounds and stars overlooking Bradley Fair Lake for everyone’s favorite complimentary music entertainment. Concerts are free and open to the public.

Celebrate America Concert and Fireworks
July 4 at 7:30 pm

Join us as we light the sky with spectacular fireworks as we Celebrate America. Enjoy the summer concert from 7:30 to 9:30 p.m., then sit back and be amazed as the fireworks dance over the Bradley Fair Lake.

Brian and I got new backpack chairs in anticipation of the concerts. It’s my favorite thing to do every summer except I had a Thursday night Zumba class that I had to teach last year. This year I’m planning ahead and not teaching on Thursday nights. Hope to see you all there. Woot!

Jay’s Giant Birthday Pizza

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We had a nice dinner with our pals last Saturday in honor of our friend Jay’s birthday. We didn’t stay out late though, because I’d been going to Spanish class on Saturday mornings. We stayed long enough to watch Jay open his present and pretend to be Daryl, unfortunately for everyone else present. LOL.

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Back Alley on Urbanspoon

Dinner last weekend was held at Back Alley, which is actually a great place to have dinner with friends, specially if you like watching sports because they have TV screens everywhere — large and small. Their giant pizza is a great value and feeds a lot of people. The drinks are also pretty reasonably priced.

We will definitely consider Back Alley for our next birthday gathering. The Alley also has an awesome deal on Friday and Saturday nights where you can pay a flat fee for unlimited bowling, go karts, and laser maze. I’m not quite sure what laser maze is, but the unlimited bowling and go karts alone are worth the deal. Brian and I will have to do a bowling and go karts date very soon.

Cheap Date Idea – Sculpture Scavenger Hunt

Brian and I had been talking about doing a walking tour of Wichita State University’s outdoor sculptures for a while now. However, various things like weather, family events, and other commitments kept preventing us from going through with our plans. Well, we finally got around to doing it yesterday. Other than being a tad windy, it was the perfect day for walking around campus.

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I’m filing this as a cheap date idea because it was a lot of fun and it doesn’t cost anything other than time. Set aside at least two to three hours of your day if you want to see all of the sculptures.

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We took so many pictures yesterday afternoon that I can’t possibly highlight them all here. I will share with you guys some of my favorites, though. For instance, this horse sculpture by artist John Kearney is one that I used to walk by all the time because it’s outside Hubbard Hall and right by my favorite parking lot.

We also have a horse sculpture by the same artist outside my work building downtown (the Bank of America on Douglas and Broadway).

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I was actually short enough to fit under this one.

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The funny thing is that we got asked for directions twice during our walking tour and we really had to rack our brains. Neither of us have really been on campus in several years (five for me). Well, I attend Leadership Elite through CMD but I really don’t go anywhere beyond the Woodman Alumni Center.

Brian and I concluded that we must look like a couple of college students or something. We told our friend April this yesterday and she was like, “Perhaps they thought you were college professors.” And here, we were patting ourselves on the back for looking young enough to be mistaken for college kids. Gee, thanks, April.

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There were several sculptures that I recognized from my days at the university but there were others, like this one, that I hadn’t seen before. I believe that the Tom Otterness Millipede sculpture was installed shortly after I graduated with my MBA. I really hadn’t been deep in the campus grounds since.

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Have any of you guys ever noticed this detail on the Millipede?

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Brian and I thought it was cute. Naturally, we had to take a closer photo.

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I used to walk by these two Fernando Botero sculptures all the time when I was in college. It always amused me because the longer I was in school, the more I resembled these two figures. Seriously. They say you gain ten pounds each year in college. That was pretty much true for me. By the time I got done with grad school, I looked a lot like the woman in the sculpture. LOL.

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I also used to walk by Francisco Zuniga’s Tres Mujeres Camindando (Three Women Walking) sculpture all the time because the ladies are located right by Clinton Hall which is where almost all of my business classes were held.

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Here’s Brian taking a picture of Accord Final by Arman Ferndandez. This is one of the many sculptures that I’d never seen before until now because I never had reason to go to that part of the campus.

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You’d think that after attending WSU on and off for over ten years I’d have seen everything. Nope. The campus is 330 acres. I really only got to see the areas where I had my classes, which was pretty much concentrated in the Jabara Hall, Clinton Hall, and Ablah Library triangle. I didn’t get to see much of the campus at all.

And back then I honestly had no interest and seeing the campus. I just wanted to get from my car, which always seemed to be parked ten miles from my first class of the day, to class without being late. My back was often sore from my 40-pound backpack filled with overpriced textbooks and my feet ached. I had absolutely no desire to walk around campus. I just wanted to get from my car to the classroom in the shortest amount of time possible. Even on when I had no classes, I had no desire to do it. Even if it would have occurred to me then (which I suspect it probably did because I know I’ve been wanting to do this walk for a long, long time), I had no time. I was working full time and attending classes full time. My free time was spent doing homework. LOL.

I was really grateful that we had the opportunity to go on our walk yesterday. When I proposed the idea to Brian, I told him that we were going on a sculpture scavenger hunt. We printed a map of the outdoor sculpture collection from the WSU web site and we set off on our mission. Brian wanted to drive to various parts, but I insisted that we walk the entire time. We were blessed with a beautiful day and I wanted us to enjoy it.

We had participated in a couple of photo walks before with some local photographers so naturally Brian observed that we were really doing a photo walk consisting of just the two of us. I said, “True. But this is a date! I’m taking you on a sculpture scavenger hunt date. Isn’t it fun?” I may be biased because it was my idea, but I do think that Brian enjoyed our afternoon date.

For those who are averse to walking around for hours, you can always check out the sculptures online. I don’t think it’s quite as fun as my sculpture scavenger hunt idea but it’s a suitable alternative for rainy days or if you are physically incapable of walking for extended periods. If none of those are true, then don’t be lazy. Get up off your butt and go see these works of art in person. Your body (walking burns calories, just sayin’) and your spirit will thank you.

Taking Advantage of the Beautiful Day

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We had wonderful 80 degree weather here in Wichita last Friday so Brian and I decided to dine al fresco. We would normally eat out on the deck but, since our house faces the East, the front patio is actually nicer in the afternoons. Also, we moved our patio furniture down to the walkout pit a few months ago when we had people over for the Pacquiao fight and never moved it back up so we haven’t really been able to sit out on our deck since then.

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Brian fixed us a couple of salads and poured us some wine. The weather was absolutely perfect. We had a nice dinner out on the front patio.

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The salads we made were quite yummy. The only thing that could have made it better was adding some hard-boiled eggs. The salads were a last minute decision though so we didn’t have any hard-boiled eggs ready.

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Even so Brian and I had a wonderful dinner. The best part is that we finally found white wine that we both like so we no longer have to open two separate bottles of wine each time. I can’t wait until we have another wonderful day like Friday so we can enjoy another meal outside. Dining al fresco is definitely a great date idea and should be on everyone’s to-do list.

Valentines Weekend 2013

We kind of went all out this year to make up for not doing much (other than our his and hers Nike ID running shoes) last year. We had just returned back from Cousin Tracy and Jeff’s wedding shower in Texas and then we had the trip to Jamaica the following month. Our budget was already stretched to its limit.

Anyway, Brian and I hadn’t been to the Kansas Star Casino yet (at the point when we decided what we were doing for Valentines — we are a couple of planners so we always make plans months in advance) so we decided that’s what we would do for Valentines weekend this year. We got to try food from Woodfire Grille when we attended Brew Ha-Ha last fall and we really liked it so we thought we’d just have dinner there and spend the rest of the evening playing in the casino. Brian made dinner reservations for 7:15 pm. This isn’t the first time we had 7:15 dinner reservations by the way. Our reservations at 715 in Lawrence was for the same time when we celebrated there a couple of years ago. That’s still my favorite Valentines celebration because we actually got to celebrate on Valentines Day (dinner was on the eve of Valentines Day, but the celebration continued into the next day).

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Neither of us had gotten massages in the last few months and we were both really stressed out so we decided to go ahead and splurge. I scheduled a massage at Serenity for us because it’s Brian’s favorite spa. I kind of felt like I was cheating on Michael (my favorite massage therapist who works at Sveta’s) but I had to go with Serenity because that’s where Brian likes to go and they were running a Valentines special with champagne and Cocoa Dolce truffles. I’d do anything for my Valentine. That includes cheating on my favorite massage therapist. LOL.

[SIDENOTE] My massage was good, but Michael is still the best. [/SIDENOTE]

We arrived at the Casino around 6:30 pm because I wanted to show Brian around and wanted to have enough time to get him a players card. This way we could go straight to playing after dinner. I’m glad we got there early because the place was packed.

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Thankfully, not everyone wanted to dine at Woodfire. The restaurant wasn’t very busy and we had excellent service.

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Here are a few of the pictures I snapped while we were waiting.

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They have over 200 wines on their menu so they give you an iPad to browse the extensive wine list. Wines can be purchased by the glass or by the bottle.

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Naturally sparkling wines and champagne are only available by the bottle but there’s a vast selection of white, rosé, red, and dessert wines that you can order by the glass. You can also browse beers and cocktails. Beers were reasonably priced. The signature cocktails were a little expensive for me. Then again, I’m a cheap drinker.

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When we were finally seated, it took a while for our server Andrew to come by and check on us because he was waiting on a larger group. He was nice enough to greet us and inform us that he was just going to deliver their coffees and then he would return. That was nice. At least we weren’t wondering who our server would be and where they were. We could see that he was busy and we didn’t mind waiting.

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Speaking of waiting, Andrew was completely worth the wait. I’m not sure if any of the other servers are as good, but he was fantastic. He impressed us right off the bat with his attentiveness. He noticed that I had black pants on so he took my cream-colored napkin from the table and replaced it with a black one that he gracefully placed on my lap. He also placed Brian’s napkin on his lap with the same finesse, but he didn’t replace it because Brian was wearing jeans.

I really appreciated the thought because I really hate having white speckles all over my black clothes whenever I’m out to dinner. Light colored napkins tend to do that. Kudos to Andrew for paying attention to the details.

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Brian and I started with the crab cakes. They were good. I’d had better, though. This is not to take away from Woodfire. I’ve just been fortunate enough to have tasted some really good crab cakes like the ones I had at Skipper’s Dock in Connecticut. Bonefish and Newport here in town have some good crab cakes also. Also, Wasabi serves some yummy bite sized ones. The ones at Woodfire tasted fresh and were prepared well. Brian even thought they were good and he doesn’t normally like crab cakes.

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I finished the crab cakes in no time. What can I say? I love crab cakes. Thankfully Andrew brought out a loaf of freshly baked sourdough bread for us to munch on while we waited for our dinner. They serve the bread with three different spreads. The first spread is whipped butter sprinkled with pink sea salt imported from Hawaii. The one in the middle is orange marmalade. The one at the bottom is the honey truffle butter. Andrew said it was his favorite of the three. I thought it was very good, but the smell and flavor of the truffle oil was almost overpowering. Clearly they did not skimp on it when making the butter spread. Brian preferred the regular butter because he thought the flavor of the honey truffle butter was too strong. I liked having all three options but enjoyed the orange marmalade the best.

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We didn’t want to have to carry around a to-go box of leftovers all evening so we decided to play it safe and split a dinner. This is my portion of the half chicken.

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Everything is a la carte so we had our choice of sides. I ordered the lobster mac and cheese. Not the best I’d had. Brian thought it had a weird flavor. I thought it was okay. Other than it was little on the cold side, I had no problems with it. However, the seafood mac and cheese they serve at Mike’s Wine Dive is way better. (Sorry, Adam. Just calling it like it is.)

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Brian was curious about the “world’s greatest fries” so that’s what he ordered. They were very good but not as good as the truffle fries that the Flying Stove serves. The texture was perfect, but I thought it needed more flavor. Brian thinks I have jacked up taste buds. I would get the fries over the mac and cheese, though.

Brian and I fully intended to try their creme brûlée but were too full at that point. In fact, I was so done that I decided to go to the restroom to brush my teeth before our check came. I didn’t want to be tempted to eat any more fries. I immediately regretted putting my braces back in when he brought out these chocolates with our ticket.

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Brian said they were too sweet and didn’t like them. I’m pretty sure I would have liked it. I love, love, love chocolates. I’m thinking he said that mostly to make me feel better. I so love my husband. LOL.

Overall we had a wonderful Valentines dinner. Andrew did a fantastic job of taking care of us. He was attentive, friendly while still being professional, and pleasant. I liked the ambiance of the restaurant. It’s like a quiet retreat from the voice of the casino. The crab cakes and fries were both very good. The chicken was cooked perfectly. The tables were set nicely. I even liked the weight of their silverware.

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Woodfire Grille on Urbanspoon

Here’s Brian with the steak knife that’s more like a machete. It’s solid and heavy. It was a little overkill for the chicken but it felt good in your hands. I liked wielding it. Brian behaved himself from then on. LOL.

Other things we noticed were the drawers in the booth partitions. This is where they kept extra napkins, silverware, and other stuff. This way your server doesn’t have to go all the way back to the kitchen to get a replacement fork or extra napkins. Brian and I thought it was a really good idea.

The wooden rolling cart that they used to deliver the entrees is another great idea. In keeping with the heavy silverware, the plates are quite heavy also. Brian and I liked this because it ensures that your server gracefully delivers your meal to your table. They don’t have to balance it on their arms or a flimsy tray.

We made a comment about how the rolling carts were a great idea and Andrew told us they were made of some kind of special wood (I forget what kind, but he did tell us) and cost $2500 each. Fancy. I guess I won’t be getting one anytime soon.

Brian and I managed to keep our dinner cost down by splitting an entree but it’s easy to see, with everything being a la carte, that your bill can quickly get out of hand. I’m glad we saved some money on dinner because the casino (between the high limit slots — it’s one of Jay and Becca’s favorite things to do at the casino — and Let It Ride — it was so busy that we had to wait a long time for a spot to open up) took all the cash that we came with. I think we walked out with only $10 left. I’m glad I didn’t have expectations of making money or it would have been a very disappointing evening. As it was, we had a wonderful time. Then again, I have a wonderful time with my husband no matter where we are. We could be sitting on the couch or laying in bed or riding in the car and we just have a jolly good time together.

Here you go, baby. This song is for you.

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