Exciting times!

Nerd alert!  New camera talk ahead!

This weekend I jumped in with both feet and went for it.  I upgraded my DSLR after 10 years.

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Meet Betty

Ain’t she a beaut?  I have been thinking about this upgrade for awhile and the photography bug is getting the hooks in me again so I thought I would just go for it.

I took a few first shots in the car on the way home but the battery didn’t afford me much time.  Reluctantly I came home and threw the battery on the charger and started (not so patiently…) waiting for it to be done.  Finally after what seemed to be ages but was in reality only a couple of hours, it was charged!  I threw the battery in her and took it outside with the dogs for a test session.

I must say I am IN LOVE with it.  Its very quick and responsive.  Now I just need to get used to settings and lay out on this camera and tap back into my chest of photography secrets I have packed away.  I can’t wait to show you guys some more shots!

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Lunches with Dad – Haywards Pit Barbeque

In the interest of full disclosure, this weeks pick wasn’t technically a new restauarnt for us.  That being said, it has been at least 25 years since and was in a different location when we last visited.

I chose Haywards Pit Barbeque which now resides in Lenexa, KS.  I barely remember going there as a kid, but seeing the hanging on the wall helped bring it back.  That I remembered once I saw it.

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When we got there we were quickly seated and got menus.  Dad had a hankering for okra so we got a fried okra appetizer.  It was a plentiful portion!

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Fried Okra Appetizer, it was packed full! (We had already started in on them before snapping this)

Dad and I both went with the lunch special which was  regular sandwich with you choice of one or two meats, your choice of two sides and a drink for $11.

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My sausage and brisket sandwich with fries and cheesy corn.

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Dads brisket sandwich with beans and cole slaw.

We both were definitely full after our meals!  The meat was good and served dry, which I prefer so I can add the sauce myself.  I thought the slaw was kind of bland.  The beans had good flavor to them as did the cheesy corn.  I am still pondering over the spicing of the cheesy corn and need to do some investigating.  I liked the spiced up twist on the usual cheesy corn.  The fries were my favorite part I think.  They were big meaty fries that were fried up perfect so they had a crispy bite but the middle was so soft and pillowy and perfect.  MMMMMmmmmmmmm!

All in all it was a great meal with good service.  While we were there, I did overhear someone (the manager maybe?) go up to the table by us to inquire about their ribs and if they were overdone and when they agreed that yes, maybe they were, she got them fresh ribs and apologized profusely.  That’s not something you usually see without the customer having to mention it first.  Kudos.

Scores?

Me: 4, Dad: 4

 

Lunches with Dad – The Majestic

As I mentioned in my last post, we hit too spots this past week and both were repeats that we wanted to introduce Grandma to.

Thursday Dad picked the place and it was The Majestic.  Its a classy old joint on Broadway in downtown.  Dad has a thing for classic old buildings and this one doesn’t disappoint.

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We were greeted at the door and sat a table/booth.  We all sat in the booth portion so we could admire the scenery 🙂

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Our server, Brandon, was fantastic.  Warm, friendly and attentive.  We all chose different things off the menu and none of us were disappointed!

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Top – My meal which was the Four Cheese Mac and Cheese with Chicken and golden beets as a side dish.  I had never had (or even heard of!) golden beets but thought I would give them a shot.  I still am undecided about them.  They weren’t bad but they weren’t amazing either.  But I did try something completely new!

Middle – Grandma’s meal.  She got the Turkey on Ciabatta sandwich that was on the specials menu with a side of asparagus.  We all tried the sandwich and it was delicious.  Both Dad and Grandma said the asparagus was good too.

Bottom – Last but not least is Dad’s meal of a soup and sandwich combo.  His sandwich is a French Dip (yes, again) and his soup is broccoli cheddar.  Both were good and seasoned well.

I was perusing the website and I didn’t really think about where they do the jazz music but apparently the downstairs of the building is the “Jazz Club” where they have local live Jazz musicians every night and you can dine down there too.  During prohibition, there was a speakeasy down there.  Must splurge sometime and go in the evening!

Scores?

Me: 4.5, Dad: 4.5, Grandma 5

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Lunches with Dad – Harvey’s at Union Station

Dad and I went to lunch twice this week, but they were both repeats.  BUT!  Grandma was up visiting and we wanted to show her some cool places that were sure bets.  Plus we went there before I was writing these little reviews so we needed another try, right?

Our first pick of the week was Tuesday was mine and we went to Harvey’s at Union Station.

When you go, ask to sit upstairs.  Since its in the “lobby” of Union Station, you get a great view of Union Station from up there!  Its a beautifully restored old building and I’m glad its part of our wonderful city.

When we sat down and was perusing the menu my eyes were drawn to the onion rings and I decided those needed to happen first.  I didn’t get a picture of them before they were devoured.  It was a generous helping of perfectly breaded and cooked onion rings with generous sides of ranch (my fave) and ketchup.  I think we all give the appetizer alone a solid 5!

There were lots of yummy things to choose from on the menu and I was struggling with making a decision.

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The top picture is my meal.  It was Panko crusted chicken with ham and cheese over mashed potatoes and served with green beans.  The chicken was great but the ham and cheese on it made it too salty so I pushed that aside.  It was a good change of pace.

The middle is Grandmas meal  She went for the baked potato soup and a house salad.  She said the soup was a bit too salty and the salad was not cut up enough (what is up with that when you order salads at restaurants these days?!?).

Dads meal was the bottom picture.  He opted for a French Dip sandwich with a side of fruit.  He’s not even a horseradish fan but said the sauce was decent.

Scores?  Last time Dad and I both gave it a 4.  This time?

Me:4, Dad: 4, Grandma: 2.5

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After lunch we went across to the World War 1 museum at Liberty Memorial.  Another great place to visit!

Lunches with Dad – The Firehouse on 20th St Bar and Grill

Lunch log: Thursday April 7 2016, The Firehouse on 20th St Bar and Grill.  Dad’s pick.

After going to another North Kansas City restaurant last week, Dad was inspired to explore NKC a little bit and came across The Firehouse (also known as Christines Firehouse) on the interwebs.  It’s in an unassuming building behind the CVS in NKC.

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Its a cozy atmosphere inside with mostly high top seating at tables.  They were busy at 11:30 when we got there and had to wait for them to (quickly) clear a table so we could sit.  There were three people rounding the room and providing quick and friendly service in tandem.

They have daily specials, which Thursday was $1.00 tacos.  I saw some come out and it was tempting to order the tacos but upon perusing the menu, the Pulled Pork Nachos were calling my name louder than the tacos.  Dad had read about the tenderloin there and wanted to try that.

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Pulled Pork Nachos

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The tenderloin…on a huge bun and plate…

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the tator tots were hiding under the cover of the tenderloin

As you can see, the portion sizes were HUGE.  My pulled pork nachos were delicious.  I have been craving good pulled pork nachos since Josh and I went to the Ozarks last year and I had my first brush with that magic.  These had lots of delicious pulled pork and cheese on crispy chips..  Yummmmmmmmmmmm.

Dad’s tenderloin also did not disappoint.  It was GIGANTIC.  They didn’t make it that  big by pounding it super thin, either.  It was seasoned well and at least 2/3 of it was left after dad was well past full.  You can even order and extra bun and condiments to share with someone else.

It was certainly a meal that surprised me for such a hole in the wall place and I will certainly be going again…maybe even later today…

Scores?  Dad: 4, Me: 4.5

Lunches with Dad – Tay’s Burger Shack

Another week, another lunch date with Dad!  Since we were playing catch up, it was my decision again.  My BFF had told be about this burger place, Tay’s Burger Shack,  in Northtown and I decided it was time we tried it out.

It’s in a tiny little building that I have always noticed and never visited.  Well, thats not true i’m told.  In 1981, a bar inhabited the building and I was in it with my dad, after he had gotten laid off from his job.  I was 5 months old at the time.  My memories of it are unclear, naturally.

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It’s a clean and quaint little place.  You walk in and order/pay at the counter then sit down and they bring your food out to you.

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Top – My double with cheese fries. Bottom – Dad’s single with chili cheese fries

At every table, along with the usual condiments, there was a bottle of house made Sriracha ketchup and sriracha mayonnaise.  A little too spicy for our tastes, but was still good.  Our food came out quickly and was clearly fresh.  The fries were hand cut with a delicious seasoning on top of them.  The cheese on mine was a yummy addition.  Dad got chili and cheese and the chili had some spicy tang to it.

After we finished our meal we were contemplating our next move when we were brought a cup of ice cream and a comment card.  When he brought it to us he said he was trying out a new flavor and wanted our honest opinions.  The new flavor was root beer ice cream.  It was pretty decent.  Our suggestions were to add more root beer flavor and maybe make it a little creamier.  I would buy it if it was on the menu.!

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free ice cream!

It is definitely a place I will be visiting again.  Josh needs to try it too and so should you! 🙂

Scores?

Dad: 4, Me: 4

 

Knitting – New project alert!

Wow.  It’s been quite a while since I talked about any knitting.  To be honest, its been a hot minute since i’ve done much knitting.

In yarn adventures I got to check out a cool knitting shop in Vegas called Sin City Knit Shop.  I didn’t get to spend much time there but it had a really cool atmosphere and friendly people!  I picked up needles and stitch markers for a shawl/cowl project I started while I was out there.  I used a yarn I got at a local fiber event earlier in the winter (hand dyed from Th’Red Head), but haven’t gotten further than row 3.  Sadly, I need to check my stitch count before I go further (all 305 of them!).  That project is in time out for now…

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my beautiful hand dyed yarn

Over the weekend Laura and I went to Winterset, Iowa for our second annual Heartland Fiberpalooza trip.  We both treated ourselves to a skein of the softest alpaca yarn.  I am going to make a quick scarf just so I can have that heavenly softness near my face whenever possible.

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Other than these projects, on my needles still are the never ending scarf that I bought LAST year at Fiberpalooza and my Grandmas shawl.  I really only have a couple inches left to go on the shawl but am just kind of stalled as the rows seem ssoooooooooooo long! #knittingproblems

Lunches with Dad – Peachtree Buffet

Aaaannnddd…we’re back!  After taking a month off due to illness, travel and work Dad and I were back at it today.

Looking back I realize the Ay! Chihuahua was actually Dad’s last pick (write ups not necessarily in order…) so this week should have been my pick and pay but we had this on the radar and it worked out well so we went for it.  I got the next two weeks of paying, Dad! (FYI, if you didn’t know…we switch back and forth picking and paying for lunches)

So.  The Peachtree Soulfood Buffet was our destination of choice.  Dad had been there, a couple years ago but thought it was a must try for me.

Peachtree sits right of 435 an Eastwood Trafficway in an unassuming building.  Facing the street is the buffet restaurant and around the corner, in the same building, is a cafe (but we went to the buffet).

  
We arrived shortly after their 11 opening time and were the first patrons there.  They had an assortment of hot and fresh foods on the bar and ready to go.  Upon perusal of their website (just a few minutes ago) I see that they feature different meats and such on different days.

All of today’s offerings were yummy.  I liked everything I tried and so did Dad.  They also had a good selection of desserts including peach cobbler, chocolate cake and other cakes.  The cakes were portioned out in a case already.  The slices looked skimpy but in reality they were perfect size for desserts.  I didn’t get many pictures as we were too busy enjoying our meal!

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My first plate on the left, Dad’s on the right

We had a great meal and I will most certainly be back, with new people in tow.

Scores?

Dad: 4, Me: 4.5

 

Food and travel, road trip style

I love travel.  I love exploring new cities and trying new places to eat.  Josh had to go to Florida for work and we decided to make a road trip vacation out of it.  It was a whirlwind trip, but good nonetheless.

We left Tuesday morning and got on the road.  All was going well until about 3 am (we decided we would just drive all the way thru) when we got a flat tire.  In Georgia.  In the rain.  Luckily I noticed it before it was a blowout or worse and we were able to get off the highway at a rest stop.  We got the tire changed and found out there was a rental car location in the next town and drove there until the rental place opened in the morning.  Since it was so late, we opted not to get a hotel room to sleep in for 4 hours and instead slept in the car.  Classy and cheap 🙂  After getting the tire taken care of (replaced sadly enough) we were back on the road.

Every place we ate on this trip was somewhere new for us.  Here’s the rundown!

Smokey Bones in East St Louis – BBQ, as the name suggests.  We are “spoiled” in Kansas City and BBQ almost always includes beef and turkey.  This was mostly pork based BBQ but was good nonetheless.  I got the pulled pork nachos, which was very yummy.  Josh got a sandwich of some kind, I believe.

Krystal Burgers – The White Castle of the south (?).  Baby burgers.  It was a meal.  We don’t regret it but won’t be scrambling to go back.

Bojangles – The KFC of the south, with a flair.  The chicken was decent as were the sides.  I do have to say…sweet tea in the south is SWEET!

Abe and Louies in Boca Raton – This was the fanciest meal of the trip.  Wait.  This was the fanciest meal of my LIFE.  As soon as we walked in I felt way under dressed for this restaurant.  We were seated at our table and had a bit of sticker shock when we opened the menu.  Everything was Ala carte and soda was served in a 12 oz bottle with a glass of ice.  That being said, the meal was INCREDIBLE.  We started off sharing a chopped salad (it was huge) that was really good.  For my entree I opted for something super different than my norm and got Shrimp and Scallop Risotto.  It was great.  Josh got a steak and a side of macaroni and cheese.  They were both amazing.  Best steak I have ever tasted!

The Burger Freak in Ft Lauderdale – This was a recommendation from my nieces dad and it did not disappoint.  The burger and fries were solid and they had fried oreos for dessert.  Whats wrong with that?  Nothing!

Thick and Thin Pizza in Boca Raton  – This place is what I imagine NY pizza joints are like.  Intimate spaces where you can see right in to the “kitchen”.  We got a pepperoni pizza and it was greasy and yummy!

Casa Maya Grill in Deerfield Beach – Another recommendation from my nieces dad and his girlfriend (and my niece, actually).  A Mexican place with decent food.  We both got fajitas and enjoyed them.  There was a table side guacamole service, but neither of us like it enough to join in on that fun.

Ole Times Country Buffet – This was a find as we pulled off on an exit on the way home in the search for a lunch.  It is exactly what it sounds like, a buffet.  However, it was easily the best buffet that I have been too!  They had a great selection of “southern” foods and meats.  Everything we tried I think we liked and was good quality.  It’s probably a good thing they don’t exist in our neck of the woods.

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In full disclosure, we did eat at a McDonald’s on the way back but it was super late and we were hungry and trying to push thru and make it home.

We were so anxious to get home to our furry kids and own house we drove straight thru and got home 24 hours after we left Florida.  I know that is a drive I won’t be making anytime soon again, especially straight thru like we did!  I would definitely visit Florida again where we were, especially at the same time of year.  The weather was BEAUTIFUL.

Since it was a working vacation for Josh, I wandered around by myself while he was working.  I explored the beach by our hotel where they had just finished filming some scenes for a new movie.  I checked out some shops and soaked up some ocean air.

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Friday Josh and I headed out and did some exploring together.  We ended up at Butterfly World and were both impressed.  They had lots of cool butterflies, naturally, and birds and pretty plants to look at.  I enjoyed the Lorikeets the best.  The best dollar I spent there was for a little cup of what is apparently lorikeet crack.  They will fly right over to you and perch on your arm for a taste of the crack.  One was also fascinated with my jeans and attempted to climb up my pant leg.

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I wish we could vacation more!  Where is your favorite vacation destination?

 

Lunches with Dad – The Dubliner

First off, a confession…this isn’t the restaurant we set out to eat at a couple of weeks ago when we went.  I had been perusing some local webistes and had chosen Cleaver and Cork to go to.  However when we got there we found them closed, despite their website saying their hours were 11am – midnight.

Therefore, we improvised.  There are still plenty of choices in the Power and Light District and we quickly regrouped and decided on The Dubliner which was right across the way.

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When you walk in, it has a cool old-timey, fancy feel to the place which we both love.  We were seated in a half table/half booth right off the main floor.  Neither of us, being the dorks we are, wanted to sit with our backs to the room so we both sat on the booth side together.

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Feeling splurge-y we started off with an appetizer of the Dubliner O’Rings.  They were beer battered and delicious.  I asked for ranch instead of the included sauce (not a horseradish fan…) and was not disappointed.  It was a house made ranch that was different from your “normal” ranch dressing but delicious.  As was the ketchup, as odd as that may sound…

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Feeling fancy, I ordered the Steak Frites.  It came with a delicious tomato bacon marmalade on top of the steak which really made it for me.  The potatoes were a little boring/plain but what can you do?

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Dad went with the Irish Nachos.  It was a potato lovers dream.  They were very tasty.  Chips and shepards pie and cheese and mashed potatoes and gravy.  What more could you want?!?

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Over all we were very pleased with our meal.  I would definately go again and try some other things and I’m sure dad would too.

Scores?  ME: 4, DAD: 4

Now if you will excuse me, there is a spot on the beach calling my name and beckoning me to bring my book down and read by the ocean…

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Current  view from hotel room, must go investigate beach…