Go Blues!

A Blues Win
Bob’s cousin, Drew, was in town for the holidays and he expressed interest in a hockey game while here. We couldn’t pass up an opportunity to see a game so Bob gathered a group of us and headed down to the game.

Our first stop was the Royale. Bob is such a huge fan of this restaurant. It has the corner local bar vibe to it with simple bar food. We had wanted to go to Pappy’s but it was closed for Christmas so this was our second choice. It was a more than adequate choice for dinner. I’m a big fan of the fish tacos, I would recommend that dish.

After sitting down in our seats, the Blackhawks scored and our entire section stood up and cheered. I had no idea that we were surrounded by Blackhawk fans. But don’t worry, I represented. Each time the Blues scored, we cheered loudly. Monika and I even participated in the Power Play dance. We wanted the Blackhawk fans to know that we weren’t intimidated by them. And we saw a winning game, woo! Now, they were only one goal away from free Big Macs but a win was a win.

Lester's Many TVs
We wanted to take that winning energy and apply that to the Mizzou game so we went to Lester’s to watch the Insight Bowl. This was my first time at Lester’s and I have to say, it is definitely a great place to watch a sports game. There were TVs all over the place, wherever you sat, you were able to see a game. The fries were delicious and I enjoyed my coke float (although, my order confused the waitress, she didn’t understand that I wanted to replace root beer with coke). Unfortunately, with all of our cheering, the Tigers were not able to pull out a win. So sad. But hey, one of two wins, I’ll take it.

Cirque Dreams: Holidaze

Last year, we went to Cirque Dreams: Jungle Fantasy at the Fox Theatre and absolutely loved it. We were blown away with the set design, the acrobatics, the creativity of the show. When we heard that Cirque Dreams was coming again with a holiday special, there was no hesitation, we were going and were going to be impressed.

We were sorely disappointed. I felt like we needed to smoke a bowl in order to enjoy the spectacle that was Holidaze. The acrobatics were not as impressive, the original holiday songs did not need to be sung and the set designs and characters were downright terrifying. There was no storyline, no cohesion between one thing and another. Even worse, they felt the need to belt out “modern” Christmas carols. I would not recommend this show, don’t waste your money.

Group shot, w/photobomber

The only saving grace was that we went to the Fountain on Locust afterwards for a light dinner. The interior is eclectic and casual with it’s art deco murals and pops of color, a mixture of bar and old school ice cream parlor. The menu has an array of dishes and we all ordered different items. I had the Royal Grille (an adult grilled cheese sandwich with apple slices). It was delicious. Everyone enjoyed what they each ordered.

I was intrigued by the dessert menu, of course, and so I saved some room for some of that. What did I order?

Tiniest Ice Cream Evar!

The world’s smallest ice cream cone!!! My sister and Kim each ordered the world’s smallest ice cream sundae. Aren’t they just adorable?

I would definitely recommend the Fountain, we heard about it from friends and now we are passing the recommendation on to you. It’s a fun and different place for you to check out the next time you are down around that area.

Supper Club Field Trip to Sidney Street Cafe

Jen and I are rational people. We understood that if we hosted a Supper Club on the Wednesday before Christmas, there was no way that the house would be clean by that Saturday. Consequently, we decided to take a field trip to Benton Park and the Sidney Street Cafe. We had been hearing good things about this place for a while and were eager to try a new restaurant.

We were seated in the very back of the restaurant, a dark and intimate room. Our table had a small light and a single candle to illuminate the menu, written on an iPad-sized chalkboard. Our waitress walked us through the appetizers first and we decided to get a variety of offerings to share. The consensus favorite was the veal dumpling, but the shrimp and the crab cake were both really good. The lobster turnover was pretty decent as well. Monika got a ham and an egg that looked great, but was on the other side of the table.

In addition to the appetizers, the bread course was a basket of these incredible little beignets. Hot and soft and sweet and buttery, but each in perfect proportion. So, so good.

The main courses came with either salad or soup. Most went for the salad, but I opted for the soup and it was awesome. The girls liked their salads as well. When the entrees came out, we were ready, and we were not disappointed. I ordered the filet béarnaise (that’s filet, lobster and béarnaise sauce — decadent!) which was served with roasted seasonal veggies and mashed potatoes. Jen had the pecan encrusted rabbit with roasted root vegetables, basil sausage, and rabbit jus. Katie had the pork chops, Kim had the filet, Kate had the rib eye and Monika had the whiskey strip. Before we got down to business, we portioned up our meals so everyone could try each dish. Each dish was awesome in its own unique way, but I must say I preferred my filet. I mean, lobster and steak — come on!

To finish, we got three deserts and spread them around. First up was the pot au creme. Basically mousse-like, the chocolate was smooth and creamy and topped with peppermint cotton candy. The dark chocolate turtle brownie was super rich and hella tasty. The last dessert was some sort of pastry with lemon ice cream and a blood-orange sauce; it was a nice balance to the richness of the chocolate.

A definite recommendation to this place: 12 thumbs up!

The Flavors of the Big Island

The biggest reason that Jen and I so enjoy visiting new places is the opportunity to enjoy the local cuisine, and this trip was no exception. We made it our goal to eat, when eating out, only at places that we can’t in St. Louis. So make an impromptu bib from a napkin, and come along with us on our culinary journey across the island of Hawaii.

Our first stop was on the night we arrived. We had been traveling all day and were basically famished. Sam had two performances of Rocky Horror that night, but we had called ahead to find a local fast-food option that would give us some sustenance before we zoned out for the evening. Sam recommended Blazin’ Steaks, a local franchise. We got some of the $6 Teriyaki Steak combos and wolfed them down before going back to Sam’s condo to crash for the evening. Simple, good food for cheap turned out to be the theme for the week.

The next day, we went to Sumo Deli for breakfast. Don’t be confused by the word “deli” in the name, this place is more like a diner, except without the counter and stools. This place serves up classic hangover-cure food with a Hawaiian twist. We ordered musubi (rice, grilled meat (our favorite was spam) and sauce wrapped in seaweed), spare ribs, tempura, and a loco plate (eggs, hambuger patty, rice with gravy over the top) to split between the three of us and the total was, like, $12. So awesome.

Monday morning, Jen and I made a repeat visit to Sumo Deli to get some grub before we got underway for our trip to the Hilo side. More of the same from yesterday and just as good as we remembered. We also stocked up with some snacks and juices for our road trip. Most notably, we got a bag of Maui Style Salt and Vinegar chips. I’m salivating just thinking about these again.

That night, Jen and I hit Ocean Sushi in downtown Hilo. It had been recommended by The Big Island Revealed (the only guidebook to the island of Hawaii that you will ever need) and we would be crazy to come all the way and not eat some sushi. The book prepared us to be underwhelmed by how the place looked and it definitely looked sketchy (especially with the neighborhood it was in), but it was packed and we were looking for adventure. Put simply: this place is awesome. The miso soup we ordered to start it off was probably the best miso I’ve ever had. The broth was flavorful and it set the tone for a great meal. We each got a couple rolls to share, as well as the obligatory unagi, and I got a sashimi plate that was really good — Jen’s not a big sashimi fan. It was all very good, the flavors were clean and distinct, and the fish tasted very fresh. Highly recommended.

The next morning, we had breakfast at the inn, overlooking the waterfall. Farm fresh eggs, waffles, Kona coffee, fresh squeezed juice, Punalu’u Bread for toast (sooooooo goooood!), and fresh fruit. Just about the perfect way to start off a morning.

Lunch that day was at the Black Rock Cafe in Pahoa. Pretty mediocre American food, but it was the only thing really convenient since we were in the middle of nowhere, making our way back to Kailua-Kona. Probably would have been better served to grab some McDonald’s on the road, but not the end of the world either.

Lunch one day in Kailua-Kona was at Splasher’s, a bar and grill down by the pier that targets the cruise ship crowd. Its outdoor seating overlooked the ocean and lent a laid-back vibe to the place. The burgers there were hella tasty, and I’m a big fan of the waffle fries.

Another lunch was at You Make The Roll, a sushi stand near Sam’s condo where you can make your own roll. The sushi there was really good and we tried a “sushi taco”, which is basically an oversized sushi roll in an egg wrapper. Good, but a lot of rice — it ended up being a lot of food.

Another memorable meal was at Bite Me Fish Market, famous for its fish tacos. Really delicious. They served whatever they caught that morning so you never know what type of fish is on the menu. Also, we had shave ice from a local stand. It’s pretty much a ginormous sno-cone with your choice of toppings or ice cream in the center. Jen got the red beans in the center of it, which was a nice touch.

We did manage to cook a few meals as well, most notably steaks grilled out by the pool in Sam’s complex, and pulled pork pizzas. It was a very delicious week all around.

Weekend Road Trip to Memphis

You Are Here
Bob and I had been talking about making a trip down to Memphis for the past couple of years and never acted upon it until a couple of weeks ago. Along with two other couples, we headed down south for a weekend of drinking, eating, drinking and eating (oh and a couple of sightseeing things as well).

When we arrived Friday afternoon, we checked into the Hampton Inn on Beale Street. Okay, my opinion, a great hotel to stay at for its location. I mean, you walk outside, turn right and there’s Beale Street. You’re also close to the Fedex Forum and Autozone Park. How perfect is that? I will definitely be staying there again the next time I’m down there.

Once we settled in, we headed out to Silky O’Sullivan’s for some dinner and drinks, especially the drinks:
Enjoying the Diver
That is the Diver, a bucket of ice and alcoholic goodness. Of course, it would have been suicide for one person to drink all of that so they shared…two buckets. I’m glad that what we learned in kindergarten stuck with us for 25 years (okay, I know, Sarah, not for you. Stop making me feel so old).

After leaving Silky’s, we explored Beale Street.
Fun times in Memphis
Beale Street is surprisingly short and yes, it’s full of bars. And beers. They made it so convenient for you to get one:
Kindred Spirits
Once we sufficiently wandered up and down the street, we ended up at Coyote Ugly.
At Coyote Ugly
Did not live up to the expectations. What do you mean the movie isn’t indicative of real life? Sure, the ladies danced on the bar and had body shots available, but that was about it. But I can now say I’ve been to Coyote Ugly and no, I did not dance on the bar.

Saturday we took a tour of the “Birthplace of Rock-n-Roll” aka Sun Studio.
The Legendary Sun Studio
This was where Elvis, Johnny Cash, Jerry Lee Lewis and more made some of their biggest hits of the career. We went through the history of the place and toured the recording studio.
Sun Studio

U2's Drums

With Elvis' Mic
Yep, Elvis spit on that microphone.

That day we also found a fabulous barbecue place: Corky’s.
So Delicious
We all feasted on ribs that just fell off the bone. Memphis is known for it’s dry rub barbecue and so that had to be ordered. We were fortunate to have our rack of ribs split dry/wet for a taste comparison. I do have to say, I think the dry rub won me over.

Graceland wasn’t on the agenda, but we did see it:
We Even Visited Graceland
Okay, so we passed by it on the way to some shopping and got a quick glimpse at it. It may have to be something that needs to be checked out the next time we’re in town.

Later on in the evening, after taking a nap (Amanda and I took naps while the guys lounged in the hottub and pool), we checked out A. Schwab’s on Beale Street.
A. Schwab
Established in 1876, it’s a dry goods store that has the most random things in it. Apparently it had enough things to entertain us for a while:
Sombrero'd

Inside A. Schwab

Inside A. Schwab
After taking a trip back in time, we stopped by the Blues City Cafe where they have the BEST tamales that Bob has ever tasted. It’s not much to look at but this is all you need to know:
OK!

More drinking! We ended the evening at the Flying Saucer. I have to say, it’s probably my favorite place because there was such great people watching! We sat along the open window and watched the parade of cars drive by and women in such incredible outfits. “What Not to Wear” should do an episode in Memphis, right on the street. We even saw riot cops!
Riot Police

Sunday was Duck Day! We got to see the famous Peabody Ducks hustle down the red carpet and into their fountain. It was pretty adorable and hilarious, it’s a must see when you’re down here.
Ducks!

Ducks!

Ducks!

We also popped over to Mud Island and saw the Mississippi River scaled down.
Mud Island
It’s a detailed model of the river flow all the way down to the Gulf.
On Mud Island

Don't!

A perfect day to top off a fun weekend and a great group of friends. Thanks for letting the Sherrons tag along! You guys are such great traveling buddies, I hope there are more trips like this in the future!
Group Shot on Mud Island

And what’s a trip without more photos?