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Archive for "Travel"

Final Dinner in Delray Beach

Posted on April 5, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

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We walked by DADA’s beautiful patio everyday walking to and from the tennis center and our hotel. I really wanted to eat there at some point during the trip but they were always so busy.

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Unfortunately, these patio pics are as close as we got to eating there.

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We were going to El Camino again on our last night because we wanted good, affordable food and cheap happy hour drinks but they were crazy busy. I think the wait was 45 minutes to an hour. As many great restaurants as there are in the area, we figured that we could probably find an equally good place with a lot less of a wait but we actually walked for a long while before we settled on a place because nothing seemed to appeal to Brian.

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We ended up eating at Amar Mediterranean Bistro because the aroma of the food wafting from the restaurant onto the street smelled amazing. Also, they could get us in right then. Sometimes you question how good a place is if there’s not a wait but we saw dozens and dozens of carry out bags waiting to be picked up so we took that as a good sign. Plus, I decided to trust my nose. There is no way that food that smells is good can be terrible.

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I’m so glad we did. This was probably the best Mediterranean food I’d ever tasted. I wasn’t really sure what was different about their hummus but it was better than any other hummus I’d ever had. Also, the house-made bread was so fresh and warm. We really could have filled up just on hummus and bread alone.

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They also brought out this thing that was like crunchy strips of bread served with this thick yogurt thing.

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Brian and I decided to share the mixed grill for dinner. It’s basically a plate of chicken, beef, and kafta (lamb) kebabs. I’m glad that we decided to share the entree because we were both really stuffed from the hummus. Even sharing, we still had plenty leftover. I would have felt bad for wasting so much food.

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Here’s a picture of Brian enjoying the fried kibbeh, which is another reason why we were so full by the time we got around to our entree.

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We found out that Amar had only been open a month. I think that’s why it wasn’t as crowded. Not enough people knew of its existence yet. The food was fantastic, though. I’m pretty sure the lines are out the door and around the block these days.

I am so happy that we found this place. I highly recommend it for if you’re ever in the area. We would totally dine there again if we find ourselves back in Delray Beach. That’s all for now. Until next time. GNG.

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Our Dinner at Deck 84

Posted on April 4, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

We passed by Deck 84, a cute restaurant next to the water, on our walk to the beach. The visitor’s center had 10% OFF cards for the restaurant so that kind of clinched the deal. I wanted to check it out anyway because it reminded me so much of Skipper’s Dock, so the discount was just icing on the cake.

PRO SAVINGS TIP: When visiting a new place, always swing by the visitor’s center because they usually have all sorts of coupons and deals.

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Here’s a picture of Deck 84 from the Atlantic Avenue bridge.

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One of the neat things about this restaurant is that you can dock your boat and grab a quick bite. I suppose there are probably many places like this in Florida but it seemed notable to me as we don’t really have places like these in Wichita.

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If you’ve been fishing, they’ll even cook your catch for you!

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We came on foot, rather than by boat, but we had to take a dock selfie.

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We decided to sit outside to enjoy the beautiful weather as well as the view of the fancy yachts and various other boats cruising on by.

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The two sides of the bridge occasionally part to allow the bigger boats passage. And then as soon as the bridge is back together, you’d see a steady stream of people walk across. We saw it happen a few times while we were dining. It’s really neat.

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With COVID, a lot of restaurants really aren’t doing physical menus any longer. Most places have QR codes on the table that you can scan with your phone to view their menu online. Deck 84 was no different. However, they didn’t have a paper menu with daily specials.

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Here’s a picture of that drink listed at the bottom called “The Siren.” I’m not a huge fan of paying $13 for a drink but I figured what the heck. We’re on vacation.

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I ordered the shrimp mac n’ cheese for dinner.

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Brian ordered a basket of fries and the empanada listed on the paper menu.

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The empanada was not what we expected. I think Brian was expecting something like a Mexican empanada. This one had a strange filling. It was almost like a shepherd’s pie wrapped in an empanada. Brian said it wasn’t terrible but it wasn’t good either. LOL.

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Our server explained that they normally have the Mexican kind but they made special empanadas for St. Patrick’s Day and they didn’t realize that was the kind they had on the menu. Brian and I wondered if these were leftover from St. Patrick’s Day and they were trying to get rid of them. It was an unpleasant thought but a clever way to get rid of excess food inventory.

After we had this conversation, Brian decided he liked the empanada even less. I mean, we were there on a Friday — two whole days after St. Patty’s Day. It seemed kind of gross.

It really sucked because, up until this point, we were really enjoying our Deck 84 experience. I liked my mac n’ cheese and my drink was pretty good (expensive, but that’s how much drinks are at nice restaurants are — unless you happen to be there for happy hour) and the service wasn’t bad. Maybe they weren’t leftover empanadas and we’re just imagining all of it.

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Outside of the empanada thing, I really liked the place. I liked that they are super dog-friendly and even have a special menu just for your fur-babies. They have an entire section on this on their website with an extensive list of dos and don’ts for pet owners (I’m assuming, because dogs don’t know how to read or own phones).

Based on the list of chef-prepared dog entrees, I’m guessing these pooches are quite spoiled.

Overall, I’m glad we stopped here for early dinner. Brian might feel differently but I actually liked what I got and I thought it was a neat experience. Whenever I’m out of town, I’m always looking to dine at places that aren’t available at home. Deck 84 checks that box for sure. Until next time. GNG.

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Delray Public Beach

Posted on April 2, 2021 by under Travel.    

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There were no pro events on Friday, March 20, so Brian and I took advantage of the afternoon to do some sightseeing. However, after seeing how busy the downtown streets were, neither of us wanted to drive. Brian didn’t feel like walking much either but it was the lesser of two evils. I managed to convince him to walk around downtown and walk to the beach with me.

The Delray Public Beach is a straight shot down Atlantic Avenue from our hotel. The walk to the beach is a scenic one that passes by many interesting sights including restaurants, gift shops, and boutique hotels.

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Atlantic Avenue crosses Gulf Stream. Here’s a view from the bridge.

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This is a view of Deck 84, one of the restaurants that we tried while we were there, from the Atlantic Avenue bridge.

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We made it to the beach in about 20 minutes but, as it turned out, hundreds of other people found their way there too.

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The beach, though not the most beautiful one we’ve ever set foot on, was quite impressive in its expansiveness. It seemed to go on for miles. It seemed like you could go for a jog in either direction and not reach the end for days.

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Neither of us got in the ocean. I dipped my feet in but the water was much colder than I’d like so this was all I could muster.

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This is a view of Atlantic Avenue from the Ocean Boulevard intersection.

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Gelato-go is one of the fun shops along Atlantic Avenue.

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I had the marscapone with nutella. It was amazing.

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There was also a Starbucks along the route, which was perfect because my friend Amy Jaramillo wanted a “been there” mug from Florida. The funny thing is, I had a Kansas mug in my carry on for Lauren (McLaughlin) and I totally thought I would be less a mug on the way home but it turns out I still had to transport one back. A Florida one this time.

The trip wasn’t a successful one in terms of pickleball but it was a nice little getaway for me and the hubs. If you don’t consider my lackluster tournament performance, it was a fantastic trip overall. I will write about Deck 84 next time. GNG.

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APP Delray Beach Open

Posted on March 30, 2021 by under Hobbies, Travel.    

Here are some of my favorite pictures from APP Delray Beach Open, my first APP Tour tournament. First of all, the location was amazing. The stadium court at the Delray Beach Tennis Center is huge!

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I’ve never been to a place quite like this. They spared no expense. Not only did they paint three pickleball courts in the stadium, they also had a couple of digital scoreboards for championship court.

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This place is so huge that even with the APP Tour’s 27 pickleball courts, there were still several tennis courts available for the locals.

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This is the view from our favorite shady spot at the stadium.

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That blue tent on the right is the main streaming booth. Brian actually got to go in and get some live streaming tips from Kyle Selinko.

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Here are a few pictures with some of my favorite people.

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With Regina Franco, who played with Sarah Ansboury in women’s doubles and Jocelyn Devilliers in mixed doubles.

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With Lauren Stratman, who played with Lea Jansen in women’s doubles and Patrick Smith in mixed doubles. Lauren and Pat took second in pro mixed doubles and Lauren also completed in pro singles where she took fourth.

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With Patrick Smith (aka the Winter Soldier) and Lauren McLaughlin of Live with Lauren fame. She’s the one who gave him the Winter Soldier nickname.

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I got a super awesome Live with Lauren shirt that I can’t wait to wear!

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One more pic with Lauren McLaughlin for good measure. We took this after I French-braided her hair.

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With Jocelyn’s wife Aleks. They took advantage of spring break by going to Florida a few days ahead of the tournament and turned it into a family vacation.

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With Belinda Dettman, photographer extraordinaire, and Dana Joseph, volunteer extraordinaire. Dana gave the best player orientations ever.

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This is a picture of Dana giving her player orientation speech. She did all of them.

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With my 4.0 35+ mixed partner Brent Huff.

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Here’s a photo of the two of us courtesy of Belinda Dettman.

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Belinda also took a great pic of Brian and me.

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With my fabulous 3.5 35+ women’s doubles partner Kerry Shannon, founder of the Pretty Picklers. She gifted me with these awesome sunglasses which I absolutely loved and wore all weekend long.

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This bright pink Pretty Picklers half zip long sleeved shirt was another gift from my new friend Kerry. I felt so official.

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With Ken Hermann, CEO & founder of the APP Tour.

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With Steve Deakin and Dekel Bar, who played together in men’s doubles.

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The guys playing against each other — Patrick and Jocelyn on the left, and Steve and Dekel on the right.

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Here’s a picture of Pat getting a butt rub.

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The community center people did not like their parking lot being overrun by tournament players.

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Here are a few more pictures of the amazing set up at the Delray Beach Tennis Center. They had so much space for everything, including an entire row of vendor tents (after the volunteer and player check in tents and the ticket sales), tournament desk that was centrally located, and food trucks.

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Lastly, here’s a picture of me in action courtesy of Belinda Dettman. It’s my first official pickleball tournament photo.

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For more about the tournament and how I did, follow Zumba with Ching on BMC. Until next time. GNG.

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Happy Hour at El Camino

Posted on March 29, 2021 by under Food and Drink, Travel.    

El Camino, Delray Beach

Brian and I really liked El Camino. It was our first stop when we arrived in Delray Beach because we were both starving from the trip.

El Camino, Delray Beach

El Camino has great happy hour menu but we were so hungry we decided to order off the regular menu instead.

El Camino, Delray Beach

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The food was pretty good. I enjoyed my tacos and black beans.

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But I enjoyed my blood orange margarita best of all.

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Brian enjoyed the hot sauce. Maybe a little too much.

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More about our recent trip next time. Until then, GNG.

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