Tags: Florida, nights out, restaurants
It was Wednesday, actually, but we decided we needed a nice night out. I even bought a new dress! I bought tickets to the Cirque du Soleil and made reservations at Wolfgang Puck a month in advance. All our ducks were in a row.
Except…set back. We walked into Wolfgang Puck, checked in at the front, and they proceeded to seat us. But as we took a look around, we were clearly overdressed. And it was horribly depressing…metal tables, kids in strollers, and it felt more like a mall food court. Then we looked at the menu, and it was all wrong. Clearly this wasn’t right, so we headed back to the podium to straighten things out. Turns out I had made a reservation at Wolfgang Puck Café…when I should have made a reservation at The Dining Room at Wolfgang Puck Café. Seriously?! On the website there is barely a distinction. And who would make a reservation at the stupid mall food court version, anyway? After a few blank stares, a shrug, and a poor explanation that they were all full up upstairs, we decided to blow that joint.
Instead, we went here.
And as cheeseball as it is to spend your anniversary dinner at the Planet Hollywood, we actually had a great dinner. We ordered fruity cocktails (James liked his bright green Sour Patch with Midori so much that he ordered two!), got the Capt’n Crunch breaded chicken finger appetizer (which was awesome), and our dinners weren’t half bad, either. Wolfgang Puck can suck it!
Then it was off to the circus! I was glad I passed on dessert at PH because then I had room for a Cirque specialty: $5 cupcakes! I had the red velvet with a glass of Pinot Grigio. This was no ordinary cupcake. Instead of cream cheese icing, it had what amounted to a 1-inch hunk of cheese cake topped with nuts. OMG, indulgent!
The show was spectacular! It’s amazing what they come up with. You had your standard clowns, tight rope walkers and trapeze artists. But then they had daredevil bike tricks, silk curtain acrobats, and the most adorable little Asian girls doing an intricate dance with wooden dumbbells and ropes. The stage itself was almost as enthralling as the show. The floor would transform as things dropped down from the ceiling, and suddenly the whole stage would be a trampoline. They wouldn’t allow photography, but I got this cool picture in the lobby.
What a wonderful way to spend our anniversary. Happy eight years, honey!
Tags: Disney, Florida, nights out, restaurants
Three months ago I reserved us a table at Le Cellier Steakhouse in Epcot Center, table for three, just in case. I arranged with our babysitter a month in advance, and James and I had planned to spend the whole day at Epcot riding rides, chowing on some awesome steak, and staying for the fireworks show at closing. But, alas, that plan wasn’t in the cards.
First the sitter called in sick. Then, in the intervening three months, work has gotten hellacious for James. So at 5:30, when we all piled in the car to drive to Disney, I had a grumpy husband in the passenger seat and a whining toddler in the back. I didn’t even mind that we hadn’t gotten to spend the whole day at Epcot – it was 93 degrees and sunny, so perhaps that was for the best – but, dammit, I wanted to enjoy my dinner!
As if by magic, once we rolled Liam’s stroller past the big Epcot ball, our moods elevated. Liam cried out, “I see the big ball mommy!” and “Look, it’s the monorail!” It was manageably warm, and the crowds weren’t too bad. We killed a little time taking Liam through the hedge maze in the English pavilion, and the running around did him some good. It did them both some good. Though James perked up the most when his appetizer arrived: Canadian Cheddar Cheese Soup made with Moosehead beer and “Nueske’s” Bacon. Whatever that means. It was delicious, especially when dipped with big loaves of pretzel bread. Liam happily munched on the bread offerings, downing two cups of chocolate milk in the process.
My steak arrived, the “Le Cellier” Mushroom Filet Mignon, AAA Canadian Beef Tenderloin with Wild Mushroom Risotto, and it was. To. Die. For. Seriously, the best steak I’ve ever eaten. Even in Kansas City, land of steaks and barbecue. It was better than J. Gilberts. It was better than Pierponts, even, and comparably priced. We ordered a salmon fillet, carrots, and french fries for Liam off the kid’s menu (three guesses which item he actually ate), and even his fries were superb. I might have helped him out a little with those.
Paired with the recommended pinot noir, I contentedly wolfed down my meat while my dainty hubby ate half of his overcooked (IMHO) New York strip. (Overcooked to his liking, mind you. These chefs know how to cook steak!). Stuffed to the gills, I couldn’t leave without trying dessert, so we decided to split the Maple Crème Brulee. James ordered a glass of the Neige Apple – an ice apple wine – and our server graciously poured us each a tiny glass. He even came over with a bottle and told us all about the tour he went on in Quebec. Fascinating that they actually pick the apples when they’re frozen on the tree.
I had dreaded taking Liam along for dinner, but he turned out to be a well-behaved, if not entertaining, dinner guest. He stayed in his seat, asking if we were in “the cave,” which I guess James had told him because Liam probably didn’t know what a cellar was. He talked and talked and talked and talked, making James and I laugh at times with his innocent observations. After finishing his chocolate milk, he said, “Mommy, I really sucked that down!” Something I tell him all the time. When I told him we’d ask our waiter for another one, I could see him looking around, and a few minutes later he loudly shouted, pointing, “Is that our guy?” Sure enough, it was. Half the time I can’t even remember what our server looks like. What a smart boy. Of course we had to sit through the usual banter: Does daddy have a pee pee? Does mommy have a pee pee? Does our waiter have a pee pee? Potty training has made him genitally obsessed. Not once did he cry, whine, or insist we leave. The only time he got out of his seat was the check out what daddy was putting in the “to-go” box. Then he happily returned to his seat and waited for us to pay the bill.
After dinner we walked around the Canada pavilion a bit, admiring the big waterfall. James didn’t want to stay the extra 30 minutes for the fireworks, but I figured we’d have plenty of other opportunities to see them another time. We’re already planning another Epcot date day (or two!) during the Food and Wine Festival. Our waiter said they serve that cheddar cheese soup at their booth, and we’ll be the first in line, for sure.
Tags: baby, Florida, halloween, movies, nights out, restaurants
That about sums up our week. Liams been bad about the naps, and I’m still trying to catch up on all the shows I missed while in KC, so I haven’t had much time for blogging. Right now I’m at the park with Liam, fetching “orange bear” from the bottom of the slide and depositing him at the top of the stairs so Liam can push him down the slide. Apparently quite fun for both of them.
Anywho, it’s still blazing hot down here in FL, so we spent Wednesday afternoon at Cocoa Beach. I’d forgotten how much finer the sand was there than at Playalinda, and now that it’s fall the crowds were much lighter. I could even leave the stroller in the car and carry Liam since I didn’t have to bring a whole picnic lunch. We stayed about an hour as we watched a storm approach. Our umbrella almost blew away! We got drenched on the way to the car, and of course it blew over in no time. I tried to talk him into going back to the beach, but he wanted to go home. That actually worked out well — normally I’m so tired and sunbaked after a day at the beach, but this time we both felt fine. This might turn into a weekly afternoon excursion as long as the weather holds out.
On Friday we had a friend over to play, one-year-old Nicole and her mom Mandy who we met at swim lessons and have met up with a couple times. Liam did a great job sharing his toys, and while they didn’t really play together like Liam and Jean, they still had fun. We’re making this a weekly playdate since Mandy has Fridays off of work. Yay for new friends!
Last night James and I left Liam with our sitter so we could go out for a date night. Because we can almost never agree on a movie, we thought it would be fair for one of us to choose the restaurant and the other choose the movie. James chose Portobello, an Italian place in Downtown Disney that he and his family used to love when they lived here before. He was a little disappointed in his favorite appetizer, a thin crust 4-cheese pizza, but our entrees were great, and the white chocolate creme brûlée was amazing! After dinner we saw the movie I chose, 50/50, which I’d heard good things about from friends and NPR. We both really liked it — great performances and very well written.
Liam got his R2-D2 costume in the mail, and with a few minor adjustments, I think it will fit him. I say I think because I have yet to get him to agree to try it on. Sigh. It was only $15, so I won’t be completely heartbroken if he refuses to wear it for halloween. But bribery does work pretty well on him now, so I’m thinking I’ll just tell him the only way he can get candy is to put on the costume. At least it should work long enough for me to snap a few photos. Let’s hope.
Tags: baby, family, nights out
Life for me in DC has certainly picked up as of late. My new mommy friends from the other side of the pond planned a fabulous night out for those of us always cooped up at home. We headed to a bar on U street, apparently the happening place to be. We arrived early, thankfully, and snagged a portion of the rooftop bar to stand and chat. Two drinks and four hours later, we tired mommies headed downstairs to sit, and by midnight we were headed home. But I was thankful — I had RSVPed for a playdate at 10 AM sunday, and I didn’t want to be the hung over mom sitting in a crowded room with screaming kids. Hangover averted, I made it to my play date, and it was quite a turn out — probably 15 or so moms there with their kids. The ages varied, but there were quite a few in the 6 – 10 month range, perfect little playmates for Liam. This is a new group I joined, just for working moms, so they’re planning lots of events on the weekends when i can attend. They also want to plan some moms nights out, though I doubt James will go for it. Lately when I leave James to watch Liam, Liam screams the whole time. Some other moms I met today said their kids often times do the same thing. I guess there’s something to be said for momma’s touch 🙂
My parents are driving up from Kansas City tomorrow, and I can’t wait to see them! I spent the afternoon cleaning this filthy house top to bottom — sadly, my only excuse for really cleaning is when we have company. They’ll be here for a week, and I’m sure there will be much sight-seeing, eating out, and playing with a very interactive grandson. yay!
I also have to note Liam’s milestones this weekend. Saturday I was feeding him puffed cereal (so cute to watch him gum them to mush, lol), first putting them in his mouth directly, which I’ve been doing all week, and then he started eating them out of my hand. Next thing you know, one gets stuck on his hand, ends up in his mouth, and a little light went off. Suddenly he’s clumsily grabbing them and shoving them in his mouth all by himself! Then, on Sunday we were playing patty cake, and instead of making fists like he normally does, he splayed his hands out. I called to James, and of course, he replies, “oh, yeah, I taught him that yesterday.” Right, daddy. anyway, this morning I sat him up in the bed after his bottle, and what do you know, he starts clapping his hands all on his own! So cute.
Tags: amusing, nights out
I have to be honest, when I saw the invite come around for a virtual wine-tasting via Twittermoms, I was a bit skeptical. I mean, how much fun could you really have drinking wine at your desk while reading random tweets about motherhood, wine, TV, books, and other random musings? But after four glasses of a particularly good Malbec-Rose (Dona Paula Los Cardos, for $12, in case anyone was wondering), I’m wondering why I didn’t think this would be fun.
I’m new to Twitter, so the format threw me a bit. But after logging on to TweetChat, I found it harkened back to chatrooms I’d visted in the late 90s. But slightly more sophisticated and easier to follow. I never did figure out how to link my tweets to Facebook, so here’s some highlights from the discussion in a format that’s halfway decipherable:
me:Eek, I had to rinse the dust out of my wine glass, it’s been so long
Reply: that’s just SAD
Reply: I’ve never had dust
Me: Sadly, i used to be quite the wino before kids. Enjoying Los Cardos Malbec-Rose from Argentina. Paired with Trader Joe’s Crab Cakes.
Reply: Love those TJ crab cakes!
Reply: Me too!
frombottle2box I need a bathroom break already!
DawnSandomeno I have the mommy sippy cup for the “mommy juice”! http://www.partybluprintsblog.com/products/tabletop/the-adult-sippy-cup
Reply from me: that’s hilarious! On my Christmas List now.
Me: FYI, Rose does not pair well with Oreo Cakester. But it’s not stopping me from eating it.
Drunk_Bot Drunk? Go ahead. Text somebody you don’t like. You won’t regret it tomorrow. I promise.
twittermoms I love how we haven’t even discussed the wine tonight – go moms!
Reply by me: Just like a real wine tasting!
thedeMentedmom k, I’m officially tipsy now
Reply by me: On glass number four, and right there with ya.
thedeMentedmom: I need to somehow coerce hubby into making dinner for kids
Reply: show him UR boobies!
Me: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rose_wine In case anyone is curious how a Rose is made. This is a winetasting, yes?
Reply: (nobody, because no one is interested in actually talking about wine here, lol)
Then we talked about True Blood, and this movie, and I got 6 more followers on Twitter. All in all a productive night, I’d say. Now I really must drink some water and go to bed. James just peeked his head in and call me a lush. Yes, dear. Good night.
Tags: family, james, kansas city, nights out, restaurants
Fall is such a lovely time of year. The weather was absolutely perfect, and I had a three-day weekend. I managed to get back on my bike briefly, which was less awkward than I thought, but I’m not in shape enough to ride very far. No more riding to work, I’m afraid 😦 Saturday night I went to the P&L with college friends Jenny and Tori. We intended to paint the town red, but we’re old, (and I’m preggers), so we headed home around 11, lol. We did have an absolutely awesome dinner at Bristol. I had the sea bass with lemon risotto and green beans, delish! And of course I saved room for the creme brulee. Thoroughly stuffed, we headed over to the bars, where we snickered at the dress code (apparently, the area has earned the nickname “Power & White District”), then had a drink in the Maker’s Mark bar. I’ve always been a huge fan of Maker’s Mark bourbon, though this time I couldn’t partake. But the bartender took pity on me and mixed me an awesome fruit punch drink, on the house.
Sunday we headed to mom and dad’s for dinner and to visit with my Aunt Cary, in from Lexington. Jill brought Evie, who was of course cute as ever. By the time Sunday night rolled around, James and I were wondering where our weekend had gone. Back to the grindstone.
In job news, James got the supervisor job and met with his new bosses today. It looks like they might want him to start as early as next week! He’ll be in the same building, so it won’t be a big change. But he seems to be looking forward to some different kind of work. He also got a call from the people at The Cave, who asked if they could call his references. That’s a very good sign. Apparently there are three positions available, so that increases his chances even more. It’s looking more and more likely I’ll get my way, woo hoo! However, there’s still that niggling chance that the DC job he’s the most excited about will come through, and we’ll be turning our lives upside-down to move there right after Liam is born. It’ll be hard for him to turn down — it’s a GS 14 position, which has been almost impossible for him to get so far, and it would be really good for his career. Ideally I’d like to stay in KC at least through next summer, but as usual, things are still up in the air. Here’s hoping all of this gets settled soon (before I go bonkers).
Tags: james, nights out
Last night I went to see Thik Lizzy at the Riot Room, my friend Eric‘s Thin Lizzy tribute band. I don’t really go to many shows anymore, but now that the bars are smoke-free, I’m willing to break my old habits. The music was loud, but fun, and Eric rocked it on the drums. He’s always drumming away at lunch, so it was fun to see him do the real thing. KC/DC, an AC/DC tribute band was up next, but my ears were ringing like crazy, my back was aching a bit, and I figured it was time to get my preggers ass home. James insisted that while I don’t have a real curfew, the baby needed to be home by midnight. Yes, daaaaad *eye roll*
Tags: nights out, restaurants
They say 30 is the new 21. I’m not sure who “they” are, but after my uneventful 30th birthday last November, I figured “they” weren’t anyone I knew. Guess I thought wrong. My college friend Tori had a big 30th birthday bash in St. Louis this weekend. And though we didn’t party quite as hard as we did on her 21st, we did an admirable job for being so old.
We started in the late afternoon with a girls-only naughty toys party, learning the ins and outs, so to speak. Quite informative…and expensive 🙂 Then we moved the party to The Drunken Fish, a trendy sushi hot-spot at Westport Plaza. Our server, a dead ringer for the Chotchkie’s waiter on Office Space, filled us in on the “awesome” new infused sakes they’d just gotten in that day. After ordering some carbonated monstrosity, Tori’s Korean friend Mee Wha and I opted for some hot house sake. To which we received a rather annoying lecture about how only good sakes are served cold, and cheap sakes are served hot to make them taste better. Whatever, dude, bring us the cheap stuff! I looked to Mai Wa, hoping she’d know best — but we both agreed we like hot better, no matter the stigma. And it was good. As was the mountain of salmon, yellow tail, and eel I ordered. Our server, sensing the animosity toward his lecture might equal a lessor tip, kept bringing us free appetizers and desserts. Tori’s boyfriend ordered a bottle of Soju which, after half a bottle of sake, went down with surprising smoothness. After that, we all had a round of sake bombs at the bar. See, ya take a pint of beer, see? Then put some some chopsticks about an inch apart on top. Then you pour a shot of sake and balance it on top, ya follow? Then you shoot a thimbleful of 151 proof into the sake, light the thing on fire, shout a bunch of Japanese words I can’t remember, pound your fists on the bar, knock the sake into the beer, and drink the whole thing up just as fast as you can! SAKE BOMB! HAIEE!
Full of fish and sake, we stumbled to a nearby bar to dance the night away. But somewhere around midnight we started to sober up, realized we were all old, and decided to head back to the hotel. The next morning, daylight savings and a four-hour drive back home left me feeling closer to 40 than 30. Oh well, I still had a blast. I can’t wait until Tori’s next milestone birthday!
Tags: biking, kansas city, movies, museums, nights out, restaurants
Dinner with Toast Friday at Pangea was outstanding. I had the house salad with garlic balsamic vinaigrette dressing and a small plate of gnocchi, shrimp and artichokes that, while small and little pricey, really hit the spot. I couldn’t resist dessert–I had the flourless chocolate torte, and Toast had the mango spongecake. Mine was a bit heavy, so Toast graciously shared hers, which was definitely the better of the two. Afterward we headed to the new Bloch building at the Nelson, ethereal at dusk in a modren sort of way. Will have to come back with my camera sometime. Then we headed to the Tivoli to see The Darjeeling Limited. Surreal in the usual Wes Anderson style, I preferred it his past works (though, Rushmore was pretty damn funny, this movie spoke to me more). The trio of misfit brothers (played by Owen Wilson, Adrian Brody, and Jason Schwartzman) find themselves on a soul-searching train ride through India, and hilarity ensues. But not your average-everyday-slapstick variety. A little more dark, a little more quirky. I heard on NPR that you either “get” Andereson’s comedy, or you don’t. I’m not sure I “got” Steve Zizzou, but I got this one.
I went for my own soul-searching ride on Saturday via bicycle on the Mill Creek trail, a few miles west of my house in Olathe. I’m not in the best of shape right now, having slacked on the bike riding and yoga in favor of freelance work and dinners out, but I thought I could handle a 20-mile ride, which usually takes a couple hours on the trail by my house. Instead, it took me almost 3 hours to complete 14 miles of treacherous hills with a 30 MPH headwind–gusts of 50, I’m sure. Around mile 11 I ran out of water. At mile 12, my cracked, chapped lips felt like two blistered, swollen bubbles, and I cursed myself for leaving my chapstick at home. I had to stop several times those last 5 miles to rest and attempt to conserve energy and water. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so thankful when I finally saw my car up ahead. Man, that sucked. Note to self: Mill Creek Trail is not for the faint of heart.
Our new bed arrived shortly after I stumbled my way into a shower, and I gratefully spread out on it’s memory-foam goodness. I’m a little disappointed with the motion transfer aspect–although it cuts down quite a bit, there’s still some jiggle. We took it off the frame, which helped quite a bit. But it’s still not perfect. There’s probably a way to further stabilize it, but I’m an artist, not an engineer. As for sleeping on it, James and I both woke up with achy backs this morning. But we were warned that this type of mattress takes some getting used to, and we’ve got 30 days to test it out. I have a bad habit of crossing my feet and laying my arms over my head as I sleep, and I think if I can train myself to just lie flat, it’ll feel better. Just like the seats on my Honda, I’m sure I’ll get used to it. Let’s hope.
Tags: nights out, washington dc
This time not for me, but my friend Julie, who’s taking the plunge in early October. We had a whole day event, starting with wine-tasting in the hills of Virginia, continuing with dinner at Clyde’s in Chinatown, and ending with some bar hopping that kept us out til 2. A sleepy train-ride later, and we were safely home in bed. A fun night–particularly when Julie would devilishly squirt random strangers with her giant penis-shaped squirt gun we made her carry around. The bums didn’t appreciate it, but the young drunk guys absolutely loved it.
As much fun as I had, this night did make me realize that my bar-hopping days are quickly coming to an end for me. I had one beer at the restaurant, but after a full day of wine-tasting, I wasn’t much in the mood for more alcohol that night. I ordered water at the bar (for a dollar a pop! what a rip off!) and endured the smoke and loud music to the best of my abilities. I did enjoy all of the bachelorette fun, but I think if this had been just a normal night out, I would have gone home early. I’m finding lately my priorities are shifting toward my marriage, and settling down, and living a more healthy life. I’ve had fun in my tumultuous 20s, but I think I’m ready for my stable 30s. Though, if anyone asks, I’m still gonna say I’m 26. 😉