There are not a lot of words that can be said about seeing Paul McCartney perform live. It was truly amazing and possibly a once in a lifetime experience for me. The setlist was 38 songs long and filled with 23 hits from The Beatles, a handful of Wings tunes, and rounded out with some of Paul’s solo work. My pictures may not do it justice, but here they are anyway.
Sidekix Saucy Asian Grill has been open for roughly a year now and I finally took the time to give them a try. The are located in the growing strip near the intersection of Columbia Parkway and Delta Avenue. I arrived late in the afternoon, just past 2 PM, to find a nearly empty restaurant, save one sole individual finishing his lunch.
Then menu layout is similar to Chipotle with first a choice between bowl and wrap. You then add a base (lettuce, Asian noodles, brown or white rice) followed by a protein (chicken, steak, or tofu). From there there are a variety of vegetable toppings that can be added (mostly raw) and a ton of sauces to choose from.
I went with a chicken and brown rice bowl ($7.45) topped with a handful of raw veggies and their signature general kix sauce. Over the taste was good and the serving size was plentiful. I really would have liked for the raw veggies to be cooked before serving. Perhaps allowing customers to build their bowl like I did and then giving the option to quickly stir fry together would make it even better. As is I don’t think I will be a regular customer, but with a couple of changes this concept could be successful.
Just Q’in has progressed from a BBQ competition team, to a food truck and catering business, to now operating two restaurants. The first opened in December of 2011 in Newtown, and now as of a week ago their second location is open in Walnut Hills. I was fortunate enough to get a preview of the Walnut Hills space and to sample the food thanks to Yelp.
Northside Distilling was on hand to provide samples of their moonshine and corn whiskey. They also had a lemonade raspberry spritzer that was delicious. I had no idea that there was a distillery in town, but Northside was the first to open in years.
During our preview event, both the indoor and outdoor areas were not yet quite complete, but there was enough done to get a sense of what the space will feel like. Clean lines and a modern feel dominated the inside, while the outside screamed history with older brick walls.
We were treated to samples of pulled pork, ribs, brisket, and chicken wings. There was plenty of food to go around and I was even able to sneak in for seconds! I really enjoyed both the pulled pork and the chicken wings, which are something somewhat unique to Just Q’in, at least in this part of town.
I am excited to get back to Just Q’in soon to see the completed restaurant and to sample more of their deliciously smoked food.
After spending a few days at Walt Disney World last week we moved over to Cocoa Beach for some relaxing in the sun. Most of the days were spent relaxing around the pool or playing at the beach. We did drive up to Port Canaveral to watch the SpaceX rocket launch, but that was the extent of our excitement until the last day, when a few of us rented kayaks from SoBe Surf and explored Sykes Creek.
Rather than taking a guided tour we decided just to rent the kayaks and go out exploring on our own. We met up with one of the SoBe employees at their shop and then followed him in our car out to the launching pad, less than a half mile down the road. We were given our equipment and some suggestions on where we could find some wildlife.
Once we paddled out to Sykes Creek from the launch we decided to head about 300 yards south to a little cove where we were told manatees liked to hang out. We paddled all the way to the back of the cove before without seeing more than a few birds, but as we began to paddle back out toward the main creek we were surrounded by manatees!
The giant sea cows were very slow-moving and gentle, though one of them found Nick’s kayak to be very interesting. He even went belly up to get his mouth fully on the bottom of the kayak. Immediately I was mad at myself for not bringing my GoPro as I would love to have seen what they were doing under the murky water.
We spent a good amount of time in the southern cove before paddling north to a larger cove that didn’t seem to have any manatees in it. We continued north to the Merritt Island Causeway bridge, where we spotted a dolphin. We tried to follow it as it continued north but we quickly lost track. On our way back toward the launch, we found a dolphin who was busying trying to catch a meal along the shore wall.
When we finally made it back to the launch we had been out for roughly three hours. I think if it weren’t so hot we could have paddled all day, but we still saw plenty in the few hours that we were out, and managed to get some exercise in as well.
We are back from our week-long vacation in Florida. We are still recovering from some long and hot days but we had an awesome time! First things we did was to visit Walt Disney World, specifically we spent our first day at the Animal Kingdom and followed it up with two days at the Magic Kingdom.
I figured that Animal Kingdom would be a somewhat relaxing start to the trip after traveling the evening before. We kicked it off with trips on TriceraTop Spin for Kim and our preschool aged kids, while I took my brother-in-law Nick (age 15) on Expedition Everest, Primeval Whirl, and DINOSAUR. The kids also spent some time in The Boneyard right at its opening at 10.
From there we had an early lunch before going to Finding Nemo – The Musical, which was probably my favorite show of the trip. The puppeteers were really good at both singing their parts and working the large puppets. After enjoying the show and the air conditioning, it was time to brave the heat. Fortunately I took the older two (Trey and Nick) on the Kali River Rapids ride while Paige and Kim met Mickey and Minnie. I had made FastPass+ reservations for both so we didn’t have to wait in either of the long lines.
After our separate events we rejoined to see some of the animal displays at the Maharajah Jungle Trek and Discovery Island Trails before watching the Flights of Wonder bird show. After the show it was time for our FastPass+ reservation on the Kilimanjaro Safaris ride through various animal enclosures. I thought the hippo display was the coolest as I have never seen that many hippos together at one time.
We were all very hot by this point of the day, fortunately we had just a few more indoor shows to catch. First was Festival of the Lion King, which the kids really seemed to enjoy. The acrobats dressed as monkeys were huge crowd pleasers and the sing along songs were great to hear. On our way out of the park we stopped by It’s Tough to be a Bug inside the Tree of Life for the short 4D movie featuring the characters from A Bug’s Life. It was a solid day and we managed to see nearly everything the park has to offer before leaving just past 5.
If we thought that our first day was packed full of fun, that was nothing compared to the second day in the parks which brought our first day at the Magic Kingdom. Just as we did the day before, we split into two groups to kick off the day. I took Nick on Space Mountain while Kim took the kids on Astro Orbiter. Making a quick entry to some of the most popular rides rewards you with nearly zero wait time at the beginning of the day.
From there we saw no line for Buzz Lightyear’s Space Ranger Spin, so we went ahead and did that even though I had a FastPass+ reservation for this for the following day. No problem though as I was easily able to reschedule that for another attraction using the iPhone app. We then did a quick trip on the Tomorrowland Transit Authority PeopleMover while we were in the area before stopping at the Monsters, Inc. Laugh Floor, which proved to be a hilarious live comedy show.
We then took not one but two spins on the Mad Tea Party, which was probably the most enjoyable ride we shared as one group of wide varying ages. As we did each day, we stopped for lunch just before 11 to avoid the crowds that packed the restaurants leading up to noon. We had a little extra time after lunch so we made a quick stop at Prince Charming Regal Carousel to find Cinderella’s Horse.
Next we again split into two groups for arguably what was each of our kid’s favorite things we did. I took Trey and Nick on the Seven Dwarfs Mine Train while Kim took Paige to meet Anna & Elsa. Both of these attractions are super popular and are some of the most sought after FastPass+ reservations. I stayed up until midnight 30 days before our trip to get these reservations and I am glad I did. At the time of our visits each one had a wait well over an hour!
From there we watched another 4D movie at Mickey’s PhilharMagic before cooling off at Casey Jr. Splash ‘N’ Soak Station. The fun didn’t stop there as I had another FastPass+ reservation for our group on Peter Pan’s Flight, which I honestly thought was overrated. At this time Paige went down for a nap, so I took the boys into the Country Bear Jamboree show before we watched the Festival of Fantasy Parade.
After the parade we made a quick run over to our last FastPass+ for Under the Sea – Journey of The Little Mermaid. Amazingly I was then able to secure another FastPass+ for it’s a small world just minutes later using my phone. The kids all left the park singing this song as they couldn’t have been any happier. But before we left we took one final ride on the Pirates of the Caribbean to end a jam-packed day.
Accomplishing so much on our first day in the Magic Kingdom allowed us to relax a bit on this second day. But before we did that we once again arrived before the rope drop and split into two groups. I took the boys on Big Thunder Mountain Railroad. Initially I wasn’t sure if Trey would like the roller coasters as much as he did, but once we did the Seven Dwarfs and he loved it I was pumped to take him on more big rides. The boys liked Big Thunder maybe even more, so we quickly rode it again without any wait! We then walked right onto Splash Mountain before meeting back up with Kim and Paige who had already ridden Aladdin’s Magic Carpets and were busy playing in some of the splashing water nearby.
We then went straight for the Jungle Cruise, and in hindsight maybe we should have skipped the second ride on Big Thunder Mountain, as we ended up waiting roughly 20 minutes for this one, by far the longest we waited for anything in either park we visited. The kids were a little spoiled by that point and nearly melted down in line but we pushed through and enjoyed the comical cruise before grabbing lunch.
After lunch we had a date with Belle at the Enchanted Tales With Belle on a FastPass+. I almost removed the boys from this one and did something else but I am glad we all went to this, though none of us truly loved it as much as Paige. The audience members get to act out part of the story with Belle and I tried to convince Nick to play the role of the Beast. Maybe next time!
From there we again split up for another round of FastPass+ selections. I couldn’t get any other ride for the boys and I to do, so we went ahead and did Splash Mountain again on the FastPass+ I had originally booked long ago. The girls got to Meet Ariel at her Grotto. Paige added another autograph to her signature book along with a photo. These meet and greets were her favorite thing she did.
I guess going under the sea really tired out Paige as when we all met up again she had already fallen asleep for a nap. I had yet another FastPass+ for the Barnstormer for all us, but instead I just took the boys on this smaller scale roller-coaster before we all decided to call it a day and head back to the hotel a bit earlier than the day before. We had debated going over to Tom Sawyer Island or taking a ride on the Liberty Belle Riverboat, but we didn’t wait to wait in line or wake Paige so we will have to save those attractions for another time.
For the most part we saw just about everything that we had wanted to see in a few long days. If the kids were a little older I probably would have tried to take them back to the park for the Main Street Electrical Parade along with the fireworks show, but they don’t often stay up past 8 or 9. Instead we spent the evening relaxing in the resorts outdoor pool and lazy river. The next day we woke up, swam some more, and then headed off to Cocoa Beach for a few more days of fun in the hot sun.
Overall this was a really good year at Bunbury. I rarely saw any lines, thanks to the RFID equipped wristbands used for entry and payment, which was easily the biggest improvement from last year. Occasionally I saw some lines for certain food but it always seemed to be moving and there were always nearby stands with much less demand. Only downside to the wristband was the obscene amount of money spent by me and my family without even realizing it.
My highlights for the first day included The Mowgli’s, X Ambassadors, and The Killers. Saturday was a little slower for me, and some sets were cut short due to rain. Personally I really liked Austin Plaine and Umphrey’s McGee.
One thing that still needs some improvement revolves around the river stage. It was often so packed that I truly only watched a single performer and that was from way to the side. Maybe it’s time to move this stage off the wall like the festival was forced to the year with high water. Or if it stays in the current location, perhaps a video screen on top of the stage would be nice so you could see the performance without actually being down on the wall. If there is anyway to get a larger floor section in front of the stage that could help alleviate some of the crowding too.
The biggest highlight of the festival for me was seeing Of Monsters And Men for the first time. I have been a big fan of the Icelandic based band since their debut album from 2011. The nine member band hit all the highlights from the two studio releases in the hour-long set. I look forward to seeing them again, so hopefully they will return to the area again soon.
Other highlights from Sunday included Elle King and a monstrous closing set from Florence and the Machine. Florence put on a hell of a show and was an excellent way to cap off the weekend. See you next year, Bunbury.
One morning on our recent trip to Kansas City we stopped into the Corner Restaurant in Westport for breakfast. We arrived just before 9 AM and found a brief wait for a table of four. Coffee was provided to us while we waited and soon enough it was our turn to eat.
My five-year-old loves pancakes and waffles. He was blown away by the side of his pancakes, bigger than his head and really thick too ($5 for 2). He was not disappointed. Our three-year-old daughter is really into parfaits and was happy to see one on their menu with fresh fruit and granola on top ($7). This was enough for her to share with her mom and both seemed to enjoy it.
I went with the swoonin’ biscuits, a trio of two house made biscuits smothered in the peppercorn sausage gravy, two farm fresh eggs, and either hash-brown or house potatoes ($13). The biscuits and gravy were some of the best I’ve ever had! Thick and creamy gravy with plenty of pepper flavor, and the biscuits were awesome.
My wife had the french toast with Fiji apple and cranberry chutney along with maple mousse ($12). The portion size was gigantic and the flavors were excellent. The food at the Corner Restaurant is worth the wait!
No trip to Kansas City is complete without sampling some barbecue. On my latest visit my family and I stopped in to Fiorella’s Jack Stack in the Country Club Plaza for lunch. We had a late breakfast already so I was very happy to see a lunch plate section to the menu, available daily from 11-3. I had wanted to the sliced meat lunch ($11.29 for 2 meats and a side) but I actually think I ended up with the regular order with two sides ($14.79 for 2 meats/ $16.79 for 3 meats).
For my meat selection I went with pork and turkey. As for sides I chose the hickory pit beans and cheesy corn bake. Both meats were expertly smoked and tender. Their original BBQ sauce was provided on top of the meats, while a sides of both spicy and hot sauces were provided. I think I liked the spicy the best. Of the sides I would definitely recommend the beans over the corn bake, which was a little soupy in my opinion.
We were also happy to find a pretty good selection of kid’s meals ($6.79 with side and drink). Our five-year-old son really enjoyed the mini jumbo sandwich is thin sliced smoked turkey on a seedless bun. I don’t think he has every tasted turkey so good!
During a recent trip to Kansas City my family and I spent a morning and afternoon at Crown Center. We visited both Kaleidoscope and LEGOLAND before heading toward Fritz’s Railroad Restaurant for lunch. We nearly headed somewhere else after finding a line snaking through turnstiles full of people already waiting for a table. Though after watching the line for a minute we realized that the line moved pretty quickly.
Fritz’s biggest draw is the overhead train cars that deliver you food to your table. Young children are fascinated by this as every passing train could potentially drop their cheeseburger or grilled cheese right in front of them.
Orders are placed through a phone at your table. Drinks are delivered soon after by the wait staff. I wonder if at one time drinks used to come via train but after watching the food buckets dangling from the automated elevator system, I don’t think that would be a good idea at all.
The menu is limited to burgers with a very wide variety of toppings, a handful of other sandwiches, hot dogs, and a couple of salads. Sandwiches do not come with sides. We sampled the BLT ($4.49), grilled ham and cheese ($4.99), and a couple of kids meals that included fries and a drink ($5.99). My wife and I also split an order of fring (fries with two onion rings, $3.19).
Overall the sandwiches were good, though seemed to be overpriced for what they are and without a side included. I think the best part of the meal were the onion rings, so maybe skip the fries (especially if your kids will have some extra anyway with their kids meals). I wouldn’t come here without kids, but for a young family it is worth a stop.
On my recent trip to Indianapolis my wife and I grabbed a quick breakfast before heading back to Cincinnati. We walked past the Indianapolis City Market the day before and the next morning I searched there for a breakfast spot. I quickly found 3 Days in Paris and we immediately headed that way.
We arrived just after 9 AM on a Monday and found the market mostly empty. The market itself opens at 7, but the creperie doesn’t open until 9. 3 Days in Paris is right in the center of the market. After placing our orders my wife and I took turns exploring the other booths while waiting for our crepes to be made. Keep in mind that only two crepes can be made at a time, so if they are busy it could take some time for your crêpe to be prepared.
I’m not a fan of eggs, so I was really happy to see plenty of crepes offered without eggs in the them. I went with the Harvest crêpe filled with ham, Havarti, apples, dried cranberries, spinach, and a cherry chipotle sauce ($8.49). This was an awesome crêpe and it was really filling! My wife was equally as happy with her green eggs & ham crêpe with egg, ham, mozzarella, spinach, and pesto ($7.49).
3 Days in Paris makes an excellent crêpe and I would absolutely go back at any time to sample more. The hot date with bacon, Havarti, goat cheese, dates, onion, and walnuts looks very intriguing.