Sunday, April 28, 2013

I've Shed A Few Pounds Recently. Here's How...

It probably goes without saying that I have a voracious appetite for good food and adult beverages. Readers of this blog and followers of my Facebook and Twitter food photos have asked how it is that I don't weigh 250+ pounds. Honestly, until recently it was reasonably easy to balance my caloric intake with an appropriate amount of exercise to keep my weight in check. Unfortunately vices have a way of sneaking up on you at age 47 much more than they did at 37. So it was that after a particularly festive and decadent 2012 holiday season I found myself looking for ways to trim down a bit.

Reducing alcohol consumption seemed like a good way
to shed some pounds right? Well... maybe.
Alcohol consumption seemed like low hanging fruit ready to be pruned. I was enjoying several glasses of wine nearly every weeknight as well as wine, beer, and cocktails on weekends. My thought was to create a clear delineation between weekends and weekdays, drinking days vs. non-drinking days. Now for my purposes the weekend always starts on Thursday so I decided beer, wine and cocktails were OK on Thursday, Friday, and Saturday. Alcohol would be off-limits Sunday through Wednesday. (It's worth pointing out here that my wife is an active participant in all this. She is an enthusiastic partner in both the vices and the remedies.)

For me, the alcohol deprivation was (is) extremely boring and only marginally effective. Between mid-January and March 1st I was happy to see about five pounds go away. But that's where it leveled off. Five pounds lighter and a cup of hot herbal tea watching Game of Thrones on Sunday night? Meh.

Thursday, April 25, 2013

Establishing My Metro Bona Fides at Bloomsbury Bistro

How's this for establishing my metrosexual bona fides? I found a charming bistro in an antique mall through a hair salon referral. Hey, whatever works.

The Bloomsbury Bistro is easy to miss. It's located in the back of the Mission Road Antique Mall which is located behind the very easy to find Panera Bread in Prairie Village.  Even though I'd been to the antique mall several times before I never really paid much attention to the restaurant. Knowing my appetite for good eats my friend Cyndy Johnston, owner of Sopra Salon across the street, recommended it to me.

My wife and I have a pet expression for ladies of a certain age (the age is somewhat variable but let's say north of 60) - "So stinkin' cute". And that would be the first thing you notice at The Bloomsbury Bistro - the place is practically overflowing with charming, well dressed ladies that are well, just "so stinkin' cute". It also appears to be a popular Mother/Daughter or even Mother/Daughter/Granddaughter spot. I haven't quite reached the point where that fact would attract me to a restaurant but it doesn't necessarily scare me off either. Especially if the food is good. (Sidebar where the exception proves the rule: On my most recent visit there were no fewer than three tables with gentlemen dining alone).

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

So, Your Kid Is Going To Kansas State Next Year? Bring Home the Butter...

K-State Communications and Marketing Photography: History of K-State &emdash; Call Hall ice cream 1941Congratulations! Your son/daughter is heading to Manhattan, Kansas. The Little Apple. Home of the Wildcats. Aggieville. Bill Snyder. Call Hall. OK, maybe you haven't heard of that last one but if you like to eat (you do like to eat, right?), and if you cook (even a little) you'll want to find Call Hall and make it a regular stop during your day trips to campus.

Built in 1963, Call Hall is named for Dr. Leland Everett Call, who joined the K-State faculty in 1907. Call served 21 years as dean of agriculture, beginning in 1925. A year after it was built, the building became home to the K-State Dairy Processing Plant and the Dairy Bar (photo). The Dairy Bar has always been a favorite of those seeking their made-on-the-premises ice creams. It's good stuff and you should try it. But do not leave campus without some butter. Sold in one-pound bricks this butter is some of the most wonderful 16 ounces of churned goodness you can find.

Sunday, April 21, 2013

Indulge: Spargelkarte (White Asparagus Menu) at Affäre

It's probably been 25 years now, the first time I traveled to Munich, Germany. At the time, as a young man traveling on business, I'm sure it was good Bavarian beer that I was looking forward to. Looking back however, it was the German asparagus that I remember most. It was late April, maybe early May and I didn't know it at the time but I was stepping into a magical culinary window of time in Germany known as Spargel Season. Walk through the center of town in any German city this time of year and large chalkboards in front of every restaurant herald the arrival of spargel in a long list of dinner specials built around the celebrity vegetable. "Was ist spargel? (What is spargel?)" I asked in a poorly accented German that only an American can manage. The friendly restauranteur whose English was worse than my German gestured enthusiastically with his hands for me to follow him into his establishment. Once inside he proudly pointed to a simple dish containing several fat, white (admittedly phallic) spears the likes of which I did not recognize. "Spargel!" he said triumphantly. I shrugged my shoulders, still confused, and asked to be seated. I ate spargel for three days straight.

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Missed Connections: This Little Blogger Went to Market

You were a popular Northeast JoCo farmer's market. I was a long-time admirer. You promised to be there today. I made a point of coming to see you (in the rain!). I was there. You were not. I still care. Please prove that you care too and fix your Facebook page.

Friday, April 12, 2013

First Sip - T. Loft Opens

Lately I've been trying to use my Friday mornings to get around to as many coffee joints as possible. I'm an espresso latte drinker on Friday mornings and Kansas City has lots to offer characters like me. So it was with some trepidation and a mild sense of adventure that I slipped into Kansas City's newest addition -  T. Loft. Trepidation because T. Loft has lattes, but no espresso. No coffee of any kind for that matter. That's by design of course. And a little scary for a coffee guy.

T. Loft owner Jill Minton (enthusiastically)
describes her menu.
I introduced myself to owner Jill Minton and explained my preference for espresso beverages. After a little back-and-forth she recommended I try the Coconut Almond Latte (a blend of coconut tea and their own house-made almond milk). While my drink was being prepared Ms. Minton explained the other store offerings including dozens of tea blends (available hot, cold or loose-leaf to brew at home), fresh juice blends, and a variety of gluten-free pastries.

Verdict on my drink? It won't be replacing my espresso latte on a regular basis but it was a very tasty alternative all the same. I'm anxious to return in the coming weeks for some of the fresh juice blends.

T. Loft (8025 State Line Road) has been in soft opening mode since Sunday.  Their Grand Opening is tomorrow.

Have you been to T. Loft yet? Weigh in with your opinion below.

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Quotable Twain

"There are people who strictly deprive themselves of each and every eatable, drinkable and smokable which has in any way acquired a shady reputation. They pay this price for health. And health is all they get for it. How strange it is. It is like paying out your whole fortune for a cow that has gone dry."  

- Mark Twain

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Whatever Debbie Gold Is Up To, I Promise To Pay More Attention This Time

This was supposed to be a blog post about the amazing dinner Shelly and I experienced at The American Restaurant when we celebrated our anniversary several weeks ago. It was going to go something like this:
  1. I get married 17 years ago and move to Kansas City.
  2. Soon afterward, blushing bride and I eat at Kansas City gem The American Restaurant and have a wonderful meal overlooking Crown Center during a December snowfall. Magical.
  3. For various (and indefensible) reasons we wait until last month (17 years!) to return to The American and marvel at what we'd been missing. 
  4. Accolades for Executive Chef Debbie Gold. 
  5. Yadda, yadda, yadda.
  6. Food Porn Photos.
Things can change fast. Just this week Ms. Gold pulled a fast one and announced her upcoming departure from The American. Where she's going next is super double secret spy stuff and known only to those who know. Suffice it to say however, this time I will pay more attention and not ignore this local talent.

I'll save the yadda, yadda, yadda for Debbie's new digs and whatever The American does post-DG

But you still want photos. And here they are:

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

On Board at Louie's Wine Dive

I'm not going to lie. When I first heard that this place was going to be called Louie's Wine Dive I was less than enthusiastic. Wine Dive just sounded a little to hipster for me - and I'm more than tired of the hipster business ethic that seems to be based on inattentive service by brooding, bearded twenty-somethings. My misgivings faded when I read some of the pre-opening press and learned that many of their menu items included meats from Local Pig. I immediately put them on my list.

They've obviously found an audience. When Shelly and I visited soon after their opening in October 2012 there was a medium crowd - busy, but far from full.  We returned in December and it was decidedly more popular. Immediate seating but not much. Then, in an attempt to take some friends on a cold January Saturday night, we faced a 90-minute wait for a table at 7:30 PM. Good for Louie's. Bad for us. We moved on.

This past Saturday we were back - this time arriving on the early side of evening in order to watch a 6:00 PM March Madness basketball game at the bar. As luck would have it we found two seats at the bar directly in front of one of their two TVs. Interesting observation: This place fills and slows in waves. Standing room only one moment, thirty minutes later there are bar tables available.

So, what's all the fuss about? From my perspective Louie's Wine Dive is doing more than a few things right:

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

This Shouldn't Be So Good - Chicken Burger at Beer Kitchen

As a general rule I don't order much chicken when I'm eating out. At the top of my taboo list is any kind of chicken burger, chicken sandwich, you get the idea... boooring. So it was, several Saturdays ago that Shelly and I sat down at the bar at Beer Kitchen and prepared to order brunch. A chatty young woman next to us said without invitation, "Get the Creole Chicken Burger.  It's awesome!" Um, thanks Chatty Girl? We're fine. "Seriously. It's the only thing I ever order here." She motioned to a plate with a half eaten, intriguing-loooking sandwich on it. Oh, what the hell...

And now I'm hooked. I've eaten this spicy little number for both brunch and lunch and am already looking forward to one as a late-night beer chaser. Ground chicken? It shouldn't be this good. But it is. Thanks Chatty Girl. Seriously.

Creole Chicken - Cajun-blackened chicken burger, chipotle white cheddar,
avocado, tomato & chipotle aioli on potato roll