Posted on July 9, 2016 by Ching under Things to Do.
In the past we haven’t really gone to see the shows unless we knew someone in it. For instance, we had to go see Miss Saigon in 2009 because our friend Jimbo was in the show. However, I really enjoy music theater productions and, surprisingly, Brian does too. Last year we got to see Big Fish and Hello Dolly! And the year before that, we saw West Side Story and Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat.
Brian and I have really enjoyed watching the performances so at the end of the season last year we actually talked about getting season tickets for 2016. Anyway, my friend Andrea told me about half-priced season tickets around April so I decided to wait for a better deal. Well, guess what, we missed the sale.
But, as luck would have it, the universe has provided. Brian and I got vouchers to see Nice Work If You Can Get It and Oklahoma! from KMUW and we got a couple of free tickets to the sold out Beauty and the Beast from some friends of ours. The only tickets we’ve really had to pay for were for Mamma Mia! so it actually turned out okay that we didn’t get season tickets.
The only downside is that we don’t get to see the one show that Brian really wanted to see: Jesus Christ Superstar. Oh, well. After we see Oklahoma! and Mamma Mia! then we’ve seen more shows this season than we ever have in the past and I’m good with that. Next year the goal will be to see every single one.
I’m not sure if my luck will hold with getting free tickets so we may finally have to splurge and get our season tickets. I can’t wait to hear what musicals they’ll be bringing to Wichita next year.
Posted on July 4, 2016 by Ching under Food and Drink.
Some of my coworkers and I were in Manhattan, Kansas for a leadership conference last week. We normally just walk down the street to Old Chicago but we wanted to try something different this time so I gave them a couple of choices based on restaurants in Manhattan that I’d tried before and liked: Wahoo or Coco Bolos. It’s been a long time since I’d dined at either restaurants but I recalled that I liked them both so it didn’t really matter to me which one they picked.
They picked Coco Bolos, which is also where everyone else in Manhattan wanted to have dinner that night. There was a 45 minute wait when we got there. Although, the host conveniently forgot to tell us this when we first arrived. I only found out because I heard him tell the length of the wait to some of the groups that came in after us.
I’m thinking the $5 sangria carafes might have had something to do with how busy they were that night. Because the sangrias were so cheap and it took a while to drink an entire carafe, diners tended to linger. It took quite a long time to get a table. There’s not really a good place to wait so the five of us (Mike, Gwen, Alicia, Alex, and I) were huddled just in front of the door, trying to stay out of people’s way.
I guess since we were waiting a while, host guy decided he should take drink requests. Because I live in la-la land and I always think something fantastic is happening in the world, I thought he was buying us all free drinks for the inconvenience. Little did I know that he was keeping track of everything. I didn’t realize this until the check came. Silly me. This reminded me of the time that I walked back to my car after work and saw a card on the windshield and my first thought was that someone was inviting me to a party or rave of some sort, rather than “I’m getting a ticket,” which is what the card actually was. There were actually three “cards” so they must have really wanted me to go to that party but who’s counting?
You know how some people are so negative and they always assume the worst? Well, I am the exact opposite. I always assume the best. It’s kind of ridiculous. I try not to be overly optimistic but I can’t help it. It’s just the way my brain is wired, I guess.
So there we were, waiting. Trying not to get in the way but waiting and waiting. It had been several years since my last dining experience at Coco Bolos so then I started thinking “the food better be good to make the wait worthwhile.”
I could feel my eternal optimism starting to wane. That happens when you’re starving and you have to wait almost an hour to eat. It was specially hard seeing plates of food go by with regular frequency. LOL.
Host guy was smart, though. He kept the drinks flowing so we were all pretty mellow and, despite having to wait a super long time, we remained considerably patient.
I could tell my coworkers’ patience was wearing thin. We were all quite relieved when our table was finally ready. I’m not sure how much longer we could have waited.
We were all hungry so it didn’t take us long to decide what we wanted. We had chips and queso to start. No picture because we annihilated it before I could grab my phone. We were starving, remember?
Alicia and Alex both had the carnitas special. It was quite popular that night. We saw several plates of it go by while we were waiting. The both agreed it was very good.
Gwen got the Key West chicken special. She said it was delicious as well.
Mike and I both had the Thai Pan BBQ pork except he got his unadulterated. Naturally, I had to make modifications to meal. It was a pretty minor change, though. I asked for plain rice instead of the rice noodles that normally come with the dish.
Our server was nice enough to warn me that the peanut/chile sauce they coat all over the rice noodles is spicy so I asked for mine to be served on the side rather than over the rice. The skewered pork loins had more than enough flavor. I’m glad I got the sauce on the side because I didn’t need any of it. Dinner was delicious and was completely worth the wait. I also had a nice time visiting with my coworkers.
I really like Coco Bolos and I still highly recommend it despite the lengthy wait. It seems to be very popular with the locals, $5 sangria carafe night or otherwise. I’m pretty sure they’re busy regardless of what day of the week it is. Next time you’re in Manhattan, you have to go check it out.
I’m so glad we went because these guys are phenomenal. This was their second trip to Wichita. I hope they come back again because they’ve turned us both into fans.
Here’s an Audiotree live session I found on YouTube when I was doing a cursory research about the band we were about to see perform. I loved this video and really enjoyed the music so that got me even more pumped to see the show.
Here are some pictures we took after the show.
This is the Piper of Piper Leigh and the Smoking Section. They were the opening act. Here’s a video of her and her band that I found on YouTube.
This is Chuck. He is super tall and had to stoop a lot for this photo.
This is Josh. He plays drums and other instruments.
This is Larry. Larry plays guitar and is a long-time friend of Josh’s.
This is Michael. He plays banjo, mandolin, and harmonica.
This is the lead singer, Jared. He and Michael go way back just like Josh and Larry. Jared and Michael have been playing music together since they were kids.
The only person we missed was accordion player Gabe. I’m not sure where he was that night. Here’s a link to the band’s official bio from their web site. Anyway, all the guys were awesome and super friendly. I can’t wait to see them perform again.
I rarely listen to music that is not Zumba music but, as I get exposed to bands I’ve never seen or heard before, I’m finding that I really enjoy folk and folk-rock music. Let me know if there are artists or bands in this genre of music that I should check out.
In the meantime, I’m leaving you with one of my favorite Jared & the Mill songs. Enjoy!
Posted on July 3, 2016 by Ching under Food and Drink, Reviews.
Brian and I finally got around to checking out the Hungry Heart by the arena. It’s in the space formerly occupied by Jettys Pizza, which didn’t last very long. You can kind of see the Jettys sign faintly coming through in the photo above. I’m hoping the Hungry Heart doesn’t share the same fate because they’re actually really good. I would hate to see them close specially since we just now discovered their amazing food.
Brian and I started with the award-winning Asian wings.
Our very nice server told us that the wing recipe won a prize at last year’s Wingapalooza. Naturally, we had to try it. We weren’t disappointed. I think, out of everything we tried that night, these wings were our favorite.
Brian had their pulled pork sandwich for his meal. He said it was amazing. The sandwich consists of 20-hour smoked pork shoulder with tangy coleslaw and house-made BBQ sauce on a pretzel bun. You can select from various side options. Brian opted for the house-cut fries. They are homemade and awesome. They rank up there with some of the best fries I’ve had in town.
I had the Korean short ribs, which had excellent flavor. It normally comes with regular rice but I subbed it with the cilantro rice. I think I should have stayed with the regular rice though because the cilantro flavor didn’t work as well with the sweetness of the ribs.
I wasn’t sure how I would like the spicy cucumber pickles so I ordered the Asian green beans at first. However, after getting a small sample of the cucumber, I decided they actually weren’t too spicy for me. I kind of liked their sweet, spicy flavor so I ended up getting them anyway.
The green beans were really good too, but the flavor of the cucumber went really well with the short ribs. It’s clear that they put a lot of thought into what kind of side dishes to serve with each entree. If and when you go, my suggestion would be to stick to exactly how it’s prepared and not make any substitutions or changes unless you have allergies or specific dietary restrictions.
I plan on going back and ordering the Korean short ribs again without messing with the dish. I want to try the food just as the chef intended and I’m sure I won’t be disappointed. The seem to know their stuff.
Here are some pictures of the restaurant’s interior.
This is the host desk.
Brian and I like to eat early supper so we were the one of the first people in the restaurant for dinner that day. It picked up a lot as Brian and I were finishing our dinner.
There’s not much to their decor but the food is phenomenal.
Brian and I thoroughly enjoyed our dinner at the Hungry Heart. Not only was the food great but the service as well. Everyone was super nice, not just our server. If there’s anything that I was disappointed about, it’s that we didn’t try this place sooner. We will definitely be back.
Remember how Brian “didn’t want to do anything” for his birthday this year? Supposedly, he just wanted to stay home and play video games all day. I got him a satchel and a matching wallet, and I thought I was going to get off really cheaply this year. I got him the bag because he had been complaining about his wallet and keys wearing his suit pockets out and not being comfortable and stuff. Then, of course, you have to get the wallet that matches the bag because it looks ridiculous otherwise. Anyway, I thought those were going to be his birthday presents. Silly me.
I made the mistake of asking him what he wanted for his birthday (since we weren’t taking a trip or doing anything major besides dinner with the family). That’s when he springs the Robomow request on me. Anyway, you can’t ask and then change your mind.
“Just kidding, baby. I already got you your birthday presents for this year. Sorry about your luck.” That would be a terrible thing to do, specially since he’s been super amazing. He’s the best husband ever so he deserves to get his wish.
So there you have it. That’s how Billy came to be part of the family.
I don’t have a good video of it working but as soon as Brian makes a good video of it, I’ll post it here for you guys. I know several people are curious about it.
I hope he picks something cheap for his birthday next year.