Browsing "Restaurants"
May 7, 2013 -

Dining Out

One of the biggest challenges this winter was consistently finding good coffee to make at home. In Canada, my compromise for taste and price is Nabob Full City Metropolis. My coffee choices have been hit or miss all winter, and my latest purchase has been thoroughly a miss. L spoiled me rotten in Wichita, having a fresh pot of really good stuff available to me every morning. My morning coffee has been disappointing since Kansas.

I remembered from last year that the Dakota Magic restaurant has really good coffee. So I planned on having a lunch here, for both the coffee and to use up the rest of my U.S. cash.

I ordered a full pot of coffee (did not get through it) and a club sandwich, which came to $10. I brought half of the meal home for dinner. I’m going to miss this price/portion ratio when I get to Canada.

The coffee was sooooooooooo good. Since I only ate half my meal, I asked for a slice of pie to go with my final sips.

When I came into the restaurant, the server didn’t see me be seated and I was apparently invisible because it took AGES for her to see me. I was actually about to walk out, figuring they were too busy to take on any new customers, when she came to take my order. So when I asked for pie, she pointed to the buffet ($13 for lunch, OUCH), and told me to help myself to whatever looked good, plus ice cream if I wanted it, and that she wouldn’t charge me. That doubled her tip! I enjoyed their pecan pie with just a dollop of chocolate ice cream.

When you live alone in a small space, dining out is practically a survival mechanism. It’s an excuse to get out and do a little socialising. For me, food is food when it comes to my budget. Said budget goes further in the U.S. than in Canada and allows for more meals out, but regardless, so much per month goes to food and I eat very simply at home to cut costs (I so rarely buy desserts and junk food, for example, that saying that I never buy them is barely an exaggeration). Dining out is not a place where my budget needs to be trimmed, contrary to what some readers may think.

Another thing is that this blog is a business. When I post a review of a local restaurant, I keep a copy of the bill and the blog post and claim a partial deduction on my taxes! The logic there is that I keep a travel blog. Part of travel is discovering local cuisines and restaurants. Part of my business is travel writing. To write about travel, I have to write about food. Ergo the deduction.

I’m off to do more laundry. I did three loads this morning and now I have the heavy denim stuff to do, which will take FOREVER to dry since it’s almost impossible to wring out by hand.

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Countries, Finances, Homemaking, Laundry, North Dakota, Personal, Restaurants, Travel, USA    4 Comments
Apr 27, 2013 -

Good Food, Good Friends, Not So Good Movies

L has a ritual that he goes out with some of his friends a few weekends a month for dinner and a movie. I was invited to tag along tonight.

I was asked for my vote for dinner and didn’t want to suggest anything since I prefer for locals to choose the best option. Cheddar’s Casual Café came up as a definite finalist and I was happy to agree to that.

I had the same thing as I did at the Cheddar’s in Selma, a spicy sweet chicken and shrimp combo. Nothing else on the menu was as remotely appealing, even though everything looked great! I ordered mashed potatoes with gravy on the side and the gravy was white! I need to order gravy at every stop and see when it changes to brown! 🙂

For the movie, we went to see ‘Mud’, a coming of age story with a lot of potential but too much length. I’d give it a 4.5 and L would give it at 3. It’s one of those movies where the characters are much more interesting than is the story. It was the first movie I’ve seen in a theatre since I left Virginia!

The movie is set (and was filmed) in Arkansas. Why is that state ‘Ar-ken-sah’ while the state I am in right now, Kansas, is ‘Kan-zes’?

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Countries, Kansas, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Social, Travel, USA    1 Comment
Apr 26, 2013 -

Shawnee OK to Wichita KS

I awoke with a start at about 3:00 this morning with a premonition: I was about to have the day from hell. I tried to calm myself down and get more sleep, but I only got in a little fitful dozing. I gave up around 7:00 and got up to pack. I had coffee, but my stomach was too much in knots to even think about breakfast.

I took the time to analyse this premonition. Was it one that would allow me to change my fate or one that doomed me? I decided not to go to Wichita today and try to wrangle another free night out of the casino. The bad feeling didn’t appease itself at all. In fact, it got worse. I would just be delaying the inevitable.

So I packed, returned my parking pass, got gas, checked my tire pressure (perfect), hooked up, and headed on down I-40 eastbound. About a mile from the exit for Midwest City, BOOM.

I pulled over and walked around the rig to discover that my interior dually on the passenger side had disintegrated. I went back in the cab and asked my GPS where the nearest tire place was, which was fewer than 3 miles. I knew I could get there on my own power, so I put the four-way flashers on and motored over there slowly.

The place was Cramer Tires, a small mom & pop type of outfit. I was able to pull in straight enough to unhook. A lady came out and asked what I needed and then went out back to check her inventory of used tires. I’m getting new tires shortly, so a good used tired for $56 (all inclusive price) sounded pretty good to me.

Once they got the tire off, the reason for the failure became evident: a bad valve stem. The tire condition was good and so was the pressure. They replaced the valve stem, mounted the new tire, and I was on my way in about 1.75 hours. I thought everything was good till I got about 40 miles down the road, which was too far.

I pulled into a turnout on I-35 to use the bathroom and the toilet room was so hot that the toilet seal had melted and the toilet was loose. I ran outside and discovered to my horror that when the tire blew, it flew back and knocked the exhaust pipe up into the sidewall! I was very close to a fire (see the picture below). Moreover, the heat was enough that it disintegrated the pipe that goes from my grey water tank to the valve so my grey water was dripping onto the highway.

Thankfully, I was able to bring the tailpipe down after sitting at the rest area for enough time to cool the area down.

I stopped at every opportunity I could all along I-35 and everything seemed okay up until I got onto the turnpike, where there were few exits. The rig just didn’t feel like it was handling correctly. By this point, I was almost at L’s, so I slacked on the speed and drove cautiously.

My toll was $4.25, as I’d estimated, and then it was just a few minutes to get to L’s. I got lined up straight, unhooked, and then backed onto some blocks. L even had an extension cord ready for me.

It was at about this point that he informed me that my ‘new’ rear time was flat as a pancake.

L said that he’s going to have a look at my plumbing over the weekend. Am I glad I’m landed here!

He’s convinced that the neighbours won’t care that I’m here, so at this point, I’m looking at being in Wichita till Wednesday or Thursday. We’ll see.

Once I was settled in, we headed out to the Anchor pub in old town Wichita for a couple of pints and dinner so that I could meet his sweetheart. I hadn’t eaten all day, so when he told me not to be shy and order an appy, I gladly did and got some really nice chips and salsa. For a beer, he recommended a really dark brew called 1545, which was perfect for the cold and damp weather. Dinner was one of the best grilled chicken burgers I have ever had.

Downtown Wichita is beautiful! It’s one gorgeous building after another. I especially like all the bronze statues along the main drag. They are likenesses of ordinary folks doing ordinary things on a busy city street. I’ll try to get back out there and snap a few pictures before I leave.

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Countries, Kansas, Maintenance & Repair, Nice Folks, Restaurants, Social, Technical, Travel, USA, Weather    16 Comments
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