Riding the Bike with One Pedal.

Category: dining (Page 1 of 2)

Spinach Saturday!!!

Last Fall, James put in a bed of spinach – he watered it like crazy during the blasting heat, and then covered it up with agribond fabric (lets light & moisture through, but still protects from the elements – even a “real” winter, which we didn’t even have!) As the unseasonable weather allowed, he started peeking at it a couple months ago, and the beautiful dark-green leaves were dotting the bed. Then it just exploded! We cooked a few dishes with it last week – a  trumpet pasta with sausage, onions and cream sauce, an omelet stuffed with sauteed spinach & asparagus, and quiche this morning. Then he picked about 2/3 of the bed so we could put it up and have it later this summer:

Then I took over, and began blanching & ice-bathing all the greens. They really do cook down, so it seemed rather comical to have them go from MASSIVE SIZE ZOMG to five Foodsaver bags! But the bags are solid, heavy packets of good-for-you goodness, and will surely be a tasty alternative to store-bought.

Upcoming recipes are going to include a spinach pesto, some homemade pasta noodles (we’ve made them once before – lots of work, but worth it!) and I’m going to try frying up sliced garlic until it has a crunch, like I do for my pho topping, and then cooking a bunch of spinach with a dash of sesame oil & some chili garlic paste.  Popeye’s got nothin’ on us this Spring!  Here’s a shot of the quiche, shortly before it was devoured:

A Little Levity

I am brimming over at this point. My emotional bucket has reached capacity. A friend of mine posted this on Facebook last night, and I surprised myself at how hard I laughed. To the point I was trying to hold my eyes open because I was physically scrunching up my face so much, I couldn’t see. I hope it at least gives you a chuckle. (The “ok” hand gesture set me over the edge, I think.)

And People Call Me Picky?

The Wo and I treated ourselves to a dinner out on Friday night. We went to one of our favorite local spots, Red Snapper, where the kimchi is homemade, and everything is delicious. Shortly after our appetizers came, a young couple was seated near us – well within earshot, and it was hard not to hear them as they ordered. The man ordered a tofu dish, and the woman began a long list of what she could/could not eat. We shared a waiter, and he was spot-on professional. She didn’t want peanuts, meat, rice noodles, eggs, seafood or dairy. She did want pad thai (?) but just the sauce, over buckwheat noodles. I puzzled over that order in my head, as many of her absolutely-not ingredients were, like, KEY to making a good pad thai!

Their food arrived. She indignantly told our waiter she did NOT want zucchini, she did NOT say it was ok to give her any kind of squash, WHAT were those peppers doing there, and back to the kitchen it went. Wo and I looked at each other and did that Vulcan mind meld thing, sending each other the “Whoa, wtf?” message. Our entrees arrived, and then shortly after that, our neighboring table’s re-do order came back. This time her voice rose, as it STILL contained vegetables she didn’t want. Our waiter ran over, dutifully listened to what she seemed to want, then ran it back to the kitchen again.

At this point, the Wo and I couldn’t look at each other because it would have been abundantly clear to our neighbors that we were a bit horrified by her.

I had the Spicy Calamari, by the way. Utterly delicious, and brought half of it home with me. JWo had the orange beef, and it was fantastic. We got a side of fried rice that filled an entire carryout container, despite both of us eating some with our meal.

Third time, here comes the dish de impossible. It looked like a pile of seaweed and noodles, but it was met with praise from its recipient. Finally! We kind of look at each other share that smirk of “WTH? Whew, that’s over.”

Oh no.

Two minutes later, she has waved our waiter back over.

“I don’t like the texture of this. It’s not what I expected it would be. What is that over there? (gesturing at our table)” and she proceeds to order some fried rice – but without egg. And, I believe, certain vegetables. We left before that order arrived. Who knows how many times that one went back.

When we got home, I called the manager, and told her that Philip not only was a fantastic waiter, but that they should do something extra for him tonight, like buy him a shot when his shift is over. She laughed and thanked me.  First of all, if you have serious-ass allergies or personal convictions about your food, Pan-Asian cuisine does not strike me as a great place to go for dinner. (All I could think about was how many dishes use fish sauce or shrimp paste!!!) And even then – Red Snapper is the kind of place that  would bend over backwards to make you a dish – just tell them what you can’t have/don’t like. But to make a waiter run back and forth for 20 minutes, and in a pretty condescending manner? I hate to think about how they tipped him.

It’s A Small World After All….

OK, I’m going to start by saying THANK GOD this is finally DST weekend. Because I got up at 7 am, to go to Liberty, to a craft show. Not your run-of-the-mill craft show, no, but a craft show with kick-ass good crafts. It was a lot of fun, and I did a good job of shopping, both for myself and for others. There were lots of unique finds, and we spent about an hour, toodling around the building, saying howdy to our buddy Ana, and making our purchases.

After that, we made our way to the Old Mill Stitchery, which carries some nice yarns (lots of Berroco), and has some stitchery-type things, plus a HUGE room for wool rug making. I fell in love with a small rug, and then instantly fell out of love with it once I saw the price tag. ($700. It was drop-dead gorgeous, but certainly not going underfoot at that price!) I got a cute little kit with wooden bowls designed to use up your leftover sock yarns, and it was pretty inexpensive.

Then it was time to find something to eat.  Beth wanted breakfast-y food (it was 10:30) and Laura & I really didn’t care, we just started eyeballing things as we were driving through the big shopping area up there. B saw a Steak & Shake, and since we knew they’d not only be open, but they’d serve just about anything, I turned right…. and moments before making that turn, saw “The Corner” in the opposite direction. So we did a U-turn, because lawd, if you haven’t ever been, they make cinnamon & sticky buns the size of your head. And all the food is good. Which is why there’s always a wait.

The beautiful thing about knitting is that it gives you patience when you need it. We had our name on the list, estimated wait was half an hour, and we sat outside on a bench, all three of us with our knitting. Chatting back and forth, jumping each time the overhead PA system sprang to life, knitting the minutes until we were called. Suddenly, a man crossing the parking lot looks over at us, and starts waving and shouting “HEY THERE!” We are all instantly confused, thinking surely he must mean someone else. Within thirty seconds, though, I realize, this is a former client of mine, and his name jumps into my head, and I find myself waving back saying, “Well, Hell! Hello there, Danny!” He comes over and shakes my hand and introduces himself (uh, I remember you, I said your name!) and we exchange pleasantries. He goes back to his wife, they head to their car, and we’re left chuckling about our confusion and the randomness of me running into someone in Liberty (which for those following from another location, this is a northern suburb, approximately 30 miles away from me, and not someplace I frequent.

Then,  a guy walks buy, and I look at him, and say, out loud, “That’s Chip! Hi, Chip!” Because it is CHIP from Kansas City SWAT, and I’ve not only met him, I have his autographed picture. Beth starts laughing. Chip turns to look at me, and I realize I’ve done all this out loud. “Hi Chip! We met at Jimmy Johns a while back, how ya doin’.” He is kind enough to go along with this and even mentions the correct location, saying he remembers, and hi, how ya doing today, and are we waiting to be seated, or have we already eaten? Which would be rather funny, to have eaten and parked ourselves on a bench to haaaaang and knit, but ok, it’s not like my stream of consciousness is going to correct yours, Chip, you could crack my head open WITH YOUR MIND and a TEASPOON. He goes in to check on the wait, returns, gets his wife, and we all nod at each other again like we’re old pals. I’m hoping to be able to use my ever-growing connection to Chip, SWAT team leader, for more blog fodder down the road, I’m just putting that out there right now.

We had a fantastic waiter (Charles) (he’s in charge) (I love him), great food, and an all-around successful, entertaining morning. I’m sleepy, so I should get a nap in before I head off to the festivities tonight – also up north, but more towards the west this time.

I realized as I was typing that it’s November now, but October marked the ten-year anniversary of my move to Kansas City. I think I came here mid-month, for my job. And every year I’m here, the universe seems to get just a tiny bit smaller. But ever so much more colorful, and ever so entertaining. I love it!

Here’s Hoping My Mojo Improves…

In case you were wondering?

I scorched the cheese sauce last night, and in an effort to disguise the faint toasty taste, over-seasoned with parsley & garlic powder, rendering what should have been comfort mac & cheese into a strange chewy mess. Threw half my bowl & all the leftovers away. I might be on to a diet plan here, though. (What with the price of food, though, it’s a little pricey with all the throwing-away!)

At least I couldn’t ruin the ice cream cone (Drumstick!) for dessert…. Today, by golly, I am going to turn this trend around!

Stay cool, especially if you’re in the KC area – bleah! There’s nothing like an “Excessive Heat WARNING” and your county shaded in fiery red to keep you inside or in the pool!

The Starbucks’ Vivanno Does NOT Bring All The Boys To The Yard…

I met up with Ms. Laura for a quick lunch before she left town today – got to meet her sister, who’s accompanying her on the drive out West, and we lunched at Lulu’s down on the Blvd. I’m going to miss seeing her & chatting with her – but I’ll accept her excuse (her wedding/honeymoon). While the company was excellent & our conversation good, the food itself was… OK. I appreciated the copious quantity of vegetables, but I was struck again by the comparison in my head to Thai Place/Thai House. It’s just not there for me, what they’re serving. I put my finger on what was missing (beyond the obvious: sauce), and realized it was fresh herbs. Seasonings. The condiment tray consisted of sugar, ground red pepper, and jalapenos floating in vinegar. I doctored my noodles up some, but found myself wishing for a tangy brown sauce.  It’s kind of “Thai-Lite”.

So, I thought I’d swing through Starbucks on the way back, and try out one of these new smoothie milk-shake thingies. Except it’s not actually a milk shake. I got the banana-chocolate Vivanno, and even after I got past the fact that ice cream hadn’t even walked down the same sidewalk as this beverage, I still couldn’t find much joy in it. Tossed. Because $4 drinks grow on trees, natch.  Sigh. I realized when I looked it up that any beverage that employs whey powder isn’t going to remotely parallel a smoothie or milkshake, and while it’s moderately healthy & contains all sorts of good things, again, I was reminded of the Dessert Tray of Disappointment.  (This was from our trip long ago to Puerto Vallarta, where “desserts” were artfully arranged and displayed in such a way to promise sweet finishings to your meal, only to discover they had less sweetness than a biscuit.)

All I can say is that the pressure is on for dinner tonight.

Whirl Wind!

OK, there’s been a lot going on…. let’s start at the beginning, rather than the middle, mmmkay?

Friday Night Fish Fry. Well, this was a bit of a bust. We went back to St. Thomas More’s, where it all began for us, and they’ve changed their fish this year. The baked fish was pretty good, though rather bland, and the fried fish was resoundingly over-battered. And it wasn’t “battered” but rather “triangular-shaped fish object” and my first bite pulled away an empty corner of…batter/crust. No fish. Argh. Sides? Ok – your standard green beans, corn, and french fries, plus slaw & buttered boiled potatoes (which I do so love.) Desserts were once again run by the girl scouts, and I must say, the girl from last year who delightedly applied whipped cream decided to get industrious, and created a tray that she took from table to table, upselling people who perhaps weren’t going to mosey over to their table to choose a dessert. I had seen pecan pie, and she dutifully went back to get some. Pretty cute. But not worth a return trip, sadly. $8.50 per adult.

Sunday Blogger Meet Up. Well, is it really a meet-up if it’s just two of us, and we’ve already met before? Emma Liar is back in Kansas City, and had a hankering for Hooter’s chicken wings. So we got some.

100 Wings

I must say, the 3-Mile Island? Not hot enough. Dammit. It’s pretty sad when Pizza Hut’s “Blazin’ Hot” pack more punch than wings named for a nuclear disaster.

And after we got home, I busted my hump to finish the wristwarmers. I knit on them all throughout The Kingdom, which is a very stressful movie, I think, and if you’ve seen it, you’ll understand the jarring disconnect to turn that movie off & immediately see Jason Bateman introducing the Foo Fighters on the Grammys.

I knit so much, and so devotedly, that all my tiny little fine-motor-skills muscles ached. Even my ear ached, and I blamed the knitting. But I got up this morning & wove in the ends, and Bravissimo, here they are!

Toasty Arms & Hands

Even without my hands they cling to coffee

I can’t wait to knit another pair, but in finer-gauge yarn and smaller needles. Hello, have you met the Masochist who lives on CandyCane Lane? Yep, that’s me!

You Know What Today Is, Right????

Well, OF COURSE it’s Friday.

It’s the first Friday of Lent! And most of you know the Wo and I do not adhere to a specific faith, except any disciplines that are directly ordered from the Lamar Donut Church of Goodness. But a lack of religious organization in our lives does not prevent us from availing ourselves of any good celebrations. Or food. Thus, tonight begins our 2nd Annual stream of Friday Fish Fry Forays! I’m going to focus on reporting back more on the food and ambiance, vs. my own wide-eyed agog-ness that accompanied me to most of last year’s adventures. (We are working on getting tickets to that Cure’ of Ars shrimp boil in advance this year, but we are unsure how to get them short of going to mass, and that feels a little…disingenuous…plus I would totally get busted for not knowing the routine.) TGIF, and when I write that, I really mean it. Swear on a stack of Lamar’s.

Ahhhhhh, Cuba.

I had lunch today at Cafe Cuba today, 4116 Broadway, and here’s my report:

Very good. More expensive than I anticipated, but delicious and a welcome break from the standard lunch fare. I’d re-read the review in the Star, and made sure I ordered a Cubano Coffee, which was everything I hoped for and more – except I wished there could have been more. A small shot of sweet caffeinated loveliness, my dining companion mistook for a side of soy sauce. (Which seemed out of place to her, rightly so.) I had the #1, Steak Sandwich, she had the #3, Cuban Sandwich – which is similar to the #2 Cuban Sandwich, only more meats and cheeses. Her sandwich was huge! If I wasn’t a reluctant mustard eater, I definitely would have made the same choice. My sandwich was flavorful, and the bread was delicious. The steak was a bit chewy at times, but the true star of the meal were the plantain chips that came with your sandwich. Every time I see plantain chips, I expect to taste banana, because of the resemblance, but of course they are more akin to a potato, and sliced thin & deep-fried – well, they make the common potato seem just that more … common. Each of us spent around $11 for our meal – including beverage – which is perhaps more than the average sandwich costs for lunch, but then, you aren’t getting an average sandwich. We ogled the pulled pork and rethought our choices, which we’d already ordered and paid for, because it looked to be a winner. That’s what I’ll try on my next visit.

Obviously the restaurant is not trying for any major ambiance – the furniture is reminiscent of a company break room, and laminated maps of Cuba and Cuban money serve as place mats. None of that is particularly important, but there was a strong cleaning product odor that irritated the senses and distracted from the delicious smells emanating from the kitchen. If it hadn’t been 90 degrees, we would have availed ourselves of the outdoor seating. It will take a couple more visits before I have a final rating, but for now, I’d give it 3.5 out of 5.

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