Archive for the year 2016
Posted on December 22, 2016 by Ching under Food and Drink.
I definitely think I eat out too much. It’s something I regret but also enjoy at times. Specially when I’m in good company.
Last week I met Kelsey and Terry at 715, my favorite restaurant in Lawrence. Brian and I got to try it out a few years ago and it has been a favorite of mine ever since. They always have really interesting specials.
That night with Kelsey and Terry they had arroz con pollo on special for $10. Terry and I both had it. It was delicious. It reminds me of arroz caldo, which is a fancy form of lugaw (Filipino rice porridge).
I have made lugaw for Brian a few times before just from scraps I can find in our fridge and pantry. Brian likes it when I make lugaw but this is something way better than anything I could make.
Anyway, the dish had a familiar texture and excellent flavor and I, therefore, loved it. It also helped that I was in the company of two of my favorite people, which made the dinner all the more enjoyable. We had a great time catching up with Terry and his post-corporate-life adventures. I am super sad that he is moving but he is moving somewhere fabulous and closer to his daughter and grandchildren. Who can blame him?
If you are wondering why I am super sad about this and asking yourself who Terry is, then you probably haven’t been reading this blog long enough. Just kidding. LOL. Terry was my boss’ boss for several years. He inherited the call center when we reorganized in 2009 and so we all became his children. He wasn’t officially my mentor but he was my mentor (and still is, kind of – we keep in touch). Seriously. This man pretty much imagined me into being, put me on this path, and made me who I am today.
So that’s who Kelsey and I had dinner with last week. The man is incredible. He even bought our dinner. Of course, he probably had some extra change from selling all of their belongings to empty their Lawrence house in preparation for the big Florida migration. They got rid of pretty much everything and they’re getting all new stuff for the new place; even kitchen stuff.
He told Kelsey and I about this cool company called Dreamfarm. They make the world’s best kitchen tools and gadgets. Period. End of story. And, they even send you cool “thank you” videos when you buy stuff from them.
Anyway, I purposely haven’t written about this because I’m worried that as soon as Brian sees all of the gizmos they’re hawking on their site he’s going to scrap all of our kitchen utensils. That can get expensive.
So, Brian, if you’re reading this – don’t get any crazy ideas!
Dinner in Lawrence was a nice break from the long drive the Kansas City, which is where I normally spend my Monday nights (so I don’t have to get up super duper early in the morning to get to the office). The routine is now a familiar one and I actually kind of enjoy working in downtown KC. There are downsides of course but there are definitely upsides. One of them is Wrap It Up – this new Tex-Mex place I discovered in the food court inside the building across the street.
They serve amazing breakfast burritos!
I can’t believe I only discovered them a couple of weeks ago! Selena and I were trying to figure out how we missed this place when we have been getting breakfast from Subway, which is in the same food court, this whole time. I realized why when I got there at 7:45 AM one morning and they were still closed. This place doesn’t open until eight. Selena and I are usually getting breakfast well before that (generally no later than 7:30 AM) so all of those times that we’d walked over to get breakfast, we never noticed Wrap It Up serving breakfast because the lights are usually still off and it’s completely dark on that side. Had we been coming later in the morning, we would have noticed the long lines of people waiting for their breakfast order. Trust me. It’s worth the wait. I haven’t been back at Subway since I discovered this place.
The downside is that Selena prefers to eat before eight (I do, too) and she actually likes the flatbread breakfast sandwiches at Subway. They’re not bad but I really, really, really like the breakfast burritos at Wrap It Up. I guess I’ll just have to stall every morning so that I can still walk across the street with my breakfast partner.
That same day we had our team holiday lunch with Kelsey and Michelle. The four of us went next door to Yard House. Not our first choice but when you only have an hour and you want a nice sit-down meal, your options are kind of limited. Kelsey actually suggested Webster House, which is where she had lunch with the One CIS change management team the week before. Unfortunately, that restaurant is quite popular for holiday lunches around this time of year because there weren’t any reservations available until 1:45 PM. We were stuck with Yard House.
Here are pictures of our four plates:
You’ll never guess which one mine is because I usually pick the crappiest, fattiest food item on the menu. This time I decided to go with a healthy option based on the advice of my friend Tammie who told me that I would be more successful with my running venture if I had better nutrition. I’m not much of a salad-eater but that last plate is mine. I had the summer salad (minus the leeks) which is a vegetarian option but, seeing as I’m not a vegetarian, I added chicken.
My salad consisted of romaine, strawberries, avocado, oranges, candied walnuts, and, of course, chicken, and it was absolutely delicious. I have never been so happy eating healthily in my entire life. I would get this salad every time. I now look forward to my next visit to Yard House because I’ve found something amazing on the menu that isn’t completely terrible for me. No more vampire tacos or greasy mac n’ cheese for this girl. LOL.
Finally, there was dinner at Anton’s, which I will have to write about separately. There will be pictures and words to go along with it so stay tuned.
Anyway, I eat out way too much.
Posted on December 21, 2016 by Ching under Food and Drink.
So I finally got my wish of eating at Lulu’s. LOL.
When we were in Kansas City a few weeks ago over Thanksgiving break, I suggested eating at Lulu’s when we drove by the restaurant after our Boulevard Brewery tour. The restaurant doesn’t look like much on the outside and Brian felt the area was a bit sketchy so he wanted to go back to the more familiar Kansas City Power & Light District. We ended up having a nice dinner at BRGR so it was all good but I couldn’t help feeling disappointed that I missed an opportunity to eat at a place I hadn’t tried before. Seeing as I don’t like to drive, I figured I may never get a chance to try Lulu’s.
I was telling my coworkers about it the following week and, after checking out the Lulu’s menu and reviews on the web, they all decided that we should check it out. Ha! Take that, Brian!
Here’s what the restaurant looks like inside. It’s kind of dark with a hip vibe. We definitely do not have any Thai restaurants like this in Wichita.
This is a picture of their crab rangoon made with real crab meat.
I can’t remember what this is. Actually, I’m not sure I had any because there were only three pieces and I was too busy stuffing my face with crab rangoon.
This a picture of the “build your own” lettuce wraps, served with fresh carrots, bean sprouts, red cabbage, cilantro and a side of peanuts and ginger peanut dressing.
Kelsey had the lettuce wraps for dinner. She has been eating very clean. These next two dishes are Michelle’s and Selena’s. I wish I could remember what they had. They both really enjoyed their entrees.
I had the massaman curry, which is what I always get on my first visit at every Thai restaurant. It’s a safe bet and gives me a good basis for comparison.
Also, Lulu’s offers bubble tea. Naturally, I had to try it.
So the food was absolutely delicious. I think we all enjoyed every bite and ate too much. I know I did. The tea was just okay. I had taro bubble tea and it wasn’t as good as the taro bubble tea I had at ICTea not too long ago.
I still really like the place and I will definitely be back – but not for bubble tea.
The holiday season is upon us and you know what that means. Christmas party time! Brian and I had several and we managed to hit all of them but one. We couldn’t make the Edward Jones holiday party at Cowtown over the weekend because I was too sick to go out.
Nickira and I were on our own for the Big Brothers Big Sisters holiday party this year. The party fell on the same weekend that we were moving grandma from Cherry Creek to Victoria Falls. Brian had to help with the move so this year Kira and I went to the party by ourselves without Brian.
After grabbing a quick lunch, we were off to Botanica. I always get confused and couldn’t find the entrance at first but we made it. Kira and I got to do so crafts and she also got to talk to Santa and Mrs. Clause. I think she told Santa she wanted an iPhone 7. LOL. The kid has expensive taste.
She did get a couple of fun, craftsy presents but she was a little disappointed that Thunderdog didn’t come to the party this year. Last year Thunderdog showed up and gave a bunch of stuffed animals to all the kids. Nickira got a giant stuffed dog. We were hoping for the same this year but no such luck.
Kira talked me into browsing the gift shop at Botanica on our way out. It was actually pretty fruitful because I found some Christmasy jewelry to wear to my work holiday party that night. We also got a festive headband for Nickira.
Fast forward to that evening. Brian and I made it to the Employees’ Association holiday party at Joe’s. The funny thing is that we thought we completely missed it.
Brian and I were enjoying a nice dinner with his dad at Bubba’s 33 when I started seeing party pictures at Joe’s come through on Facebook. They were of the same people I expected to see at the EA holiday party so I freaked out just a little bit.
“I think we’re missing the party,” I told Brian.
“What do you mean?” he asked.
“I think the party is happening right now,” I replied as I showed him the pictures on Facebook on my phone.
“You mean we’re missing the party that you bought tickets for?”
I nodded, “I think so,” as I frantically dug through my purse in search of the card with instructions that Carly had given me the other day.
I finally found the card and, much to my relief, it said that the party was on Saturday night and not Friday night.
“This must be a completely different party,” I concluded. It just happened to be at the exact same place. LOL.
The party on Friday night was actually the IBEW holiday party. Anyway, you can’t blame me from freaking out because this has actually happened before. Brian and I put together special outfits for a friend’s birthday party and had her present ready and everything and we were getting ready to go out the door when I realized that the party happened the night before (it was on Friday and not Saturday) and we completely missed it. True story.
I’m so glad we didn’t miss this party because we had a fabulous time.
Here are some pics.
I was so busy last year that I completely missed the EA holiday party. I’m so glad we didn’t miss it this year because it was super fun. They had a photo booth, fun trivia, and cheap drink specials. The food was just so-so but the company more than made up for it. The sad part is, I lost at trivia twice that same week. LOL.
Rahima reserved a table for us at the Flying Saucer for Tuesday night trivia. We were supposed to be “Turning our $30 into $50” as our team name proclaims but it was a really competitive, high-scoring trivia night. We had no chance. It was still fun but it’s definitely more fun when you’re winning.
Speaking of winning, these two winners picked up the tab from our friends’ Christmas dinner and gift exchange at Granite City last weekend.
It was a fabulous dinner with the Dills, the Phelpi, and the Larnengs. Naturally, it was at the West side GCFB because they’re all West-siders.
Oh, and it was all going really well until Rune decided to send us all into a sugar coma by ordering a bajillion mini desserts that weren’t so mini.
The mini dessert portions at GCFB are very generous. They’re almost like full-sized desserts. Brian and I were perfectly content sharing one of these.
Rune being Rune, he ordered three of everything!
Next up was the One CIS holiday potluck.
Selena and Kelsey both brought homemade cookies and treats.
Me, being my undomesticated self, I just bought a cake from Cosentino’s and called it good. Michelle went with me and helped pick it out.
After that it was time to celebrate with my Wichita officemates in the CRC.
Once again, the West-siders dominated and we ended up the Bricktown Brewery on 21st and Tyler. The West-siders always get their way. =P
Shanda was the lucky one to get my present this year.
I was so proud of that wrapping too, specially the box. LOL. One year, Carmen bought a special gift box that was bacon-scented dryer sheets and she put her present in that. It was hilarious.
I’m too cheap to buy actual gift boxes. I usually just use old Amazon boxes from previous deliveries or other random boxes that I can find around the house. When we finally finished our cereal and I saw the cereal box, I had to grab it before Brian could throw it away. I knew it would be the perfect box for my white elephant gift!
I loved it because it looked like I was gifting cereal. It’s the perfect cover for the inappropriateness stored inside.
As for me, I got a new game that I have never played yet – Cranium Dark – and a beer-themed deck of cards. I love white elephant gift exchanges!
We had the opportunity to celebrate Becca’s birthday last month. It was the Saturday after Thanksgiving so the theme was “Leftover Potluck,” which was perfect because we had a ton of leftovers.
I was trying to earn some bonus points so I wore my one and only Pats shirt.
It was hilarious! We had a great time celebrating Becca’s birthday. Cheers to another awesome year!
Posted on December 12, 2016 by Ching under Family, Things to Do.
We had a super quiet Thanksgiving lunch this year. It was just Brian, grandma, and me. Brian’s parents usually do their own Thanksgiving in Oklahoma. I invited my parents but they were still both recovering from illness and feeling antisocial. They didn’t feel like joining us. I even offered to bring them some food but mom declined. I also invited Jenni via text but never heard back.
All of our friends were doing their own Thanksgivings. Initially, our friend Chad said he would swing by but he ended up canceling last minute. We ended up with way more food than three people could eat. It worked out great though, because then grandma was able to take some food home with her.
This was our first year without Fresh Market. We ended up getting food from Dillons. The food was okay but definitely not as good as the quality of the Thanksgiving meal we get from Fresh Market. Most of the items were off the shelf rather than prepared fresh like the Thanksgiving dinner we get from Fresh Market. This is definitely a case of “you get what you pay for” except Fresh Market is no longer an option since they closed their store.
Brian and I agreed that we will need to figure out a better plan for next year because we are definitely not going to order the Dillons Thanksgiving dinner again.
Brian had to work on Black Friday this year so I was pretty much on my own. In years past, we’ve both had the day off so we’ve braved the Black Friday mobs and have actually gone shopping. We switched gears the last few year and have done most of our shopping online so I didn’t really feel an urge to go Black Friday shopping this year. Besides, it’s not as much fun without Brian.
Instead of shopping, I decided to spend the day with my little sister.
We started with breakfast at Doo-Dah Diner. I love that they give you free monkey bread while you wait for your meal. It’s my most favorite part of eating there.
Doo-Dah was busy that day so we just sat at the counter.
Nickira originally wanted pancakes but then she saw chicken and waffles on the menu so she switched to that instead. I was worried that the meal would be too big so I convinced her to split it with me. I’m glad we split it because it was not quite what Nickira expected.
She was not a fan of the chocolate dipped bacon. She actually gave me hers. Oh, and you can tell which half is which by the egg. Nickira wanted a runny yolk on her egg, while I wanted mine fried hard.
It was just the right amount of food for me.
After breakfast we were off to Winter Art Mania at the Wichita Art Museum.
And then after doing all of the activities inside, we decided to go for a stroll through the art garden and take some photos. I just love the Wichita Art Museum!
This hasn’t been our typical Thanksgiving or Black Friday. Actually, this hasn’t been our typical year. Yet, despite all of the obstacles and challenges, we managed to find joy in everything. I’m so grateful for the love of our family and friends and for all that we have. We are truly blessed.