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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"What counts in making a happy marriage is not so much how compatible you are, but how you deal with incompatibility."

~ Leo Tolstoy