Browsing Tag

restaurants

Blog

Take it easy (Ray in Winslow, Arizona) and the restaurants we tried on our Grand Canyon trip

One of the funnest things about going on a trip is the unexpected, the spontaneity. This can be good or bad, but it is all part of the excitement and breaking out of your daily routine and the mundane. Traveling, while it  can test your predetermined budget and be stressful at times, can expand your mind and thrill your heart.

A quote on https://theplanetd.com/the-ultimate-travel-quotes-as-chosen-by-you/ says, “Great things never came from comfort zones.” So true!

me, our daughter Leah, & Ray at Grand Canyon

me, our daughter Leah, & Ray at Grand Canyon

When my husband Ray, our daughter Leah, and I traveled to visit the Grand Canyon in Arizona to celebrate Leah’s college graduation, Ray and Leah (both science buffs) decided after we had seen the Canyon, that the next morning we would drive to see the Meteor Crater near Flagstaff, Arizona on Route 66 (a famous highway that stretches across the USA for 2,400 miles, crosses 8 states, and three time zones). The crater measures 550 deep and is almost a mile wide.

Meteor Crater, Arizona

Meteor Crater, Arizona
Image source:https://www.visitarizona.com/directory/meteor-crater-natural-landmark-galleries-museums/

The website says the iron-nickel meteorite impacted the area with a force 150 times greater than an atomic bomb. Ray and Leah were disappointed to find that the area was closed temporarily, and we could not go after all.

But I was secretly relieved. We didn’t have our hats or sunscreen, and I just wanted to go shopping for souvenirs for Leah and me!

Continue Reading

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Blog

Taste of Africa restaurant

painting of elephant

painting of elephant

This week Ray and I celebrated Valentine’s Day a little late (we had to go on a date near his payday!). I googled online to look for a good Moroccan restaurant, and found Taste of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, which is within an hour’s driving distance from us. It was the right choice; the food is delicious and the service is excellent!

African tribe

African tribe

I loved the vibrant colors of the restaurant (especially oranges and reds), with African paintings on the wall. They also play African music.

A Taste of Africa restaurant

Taste of Africa restaurant

 

African art

African art

 

paintings

paintings

Ray ordered the Kalahari Platter (tender pieces of goat, cooked in an assortment of herbs and spices with ugali, sauteed kale, sauteed cabbage, chapatti (a flat bread), and Kachumbari salad.

platter

Kalahari platter

The ugali is a sticky dish that is a staple at African meals. The chef and the waitress complimented Ray on eating it correctly–balling it up in his hand, and then sopping up the goat stew with it.¬† He was in his element.

Ray at Taste of Africa

Ray at Taste of Africa

They said most Americans eat it with their forks. (Of course, how would one know how to eat it properly without visiting Africa?) This made him smile very big, so proud.

ugali

ugali

Ray remembered how the native people in Kenya ate it as we visited there, when I spoke for three days at a women’s conference.

Beth Jones speaking, Kenya, Africa

Me speaking in Kenya, Africa with a translator

At Taste of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, I ordered Mshikaki (chicken skewers–so good!), fries (it came with the meal as french fries often do in many countries), and Kachumbari (a wonderful little salad).

Mshikaki (Chicken skewers), fries, and Kachumbari (salad)

Mshikaki (Chicken skewers), fries, and Kachumbari (salad)

I had looked at the menu prior to us driving there and knew that without a shadow of a doubt, I wanted The Sweet Banana for my dessert--fried plantain slices drizzled with cinnamon sugar, topped with vanilla ice cream on chocolate and strawberry syrup. Ray and I shared it, even though I wanted it all!

The presentation was so pretty and Oh. My. Gosh. It was divine! (Or was it sinful?) My mouth is watering even thinking about it again!

The Sweet Banana

The Sweet Banana

The female chef is originally from Kenya and came to America as a student and to start her restaurant business. She came to our table to greet us; we complimented her on the wonderful and beautiful meal. 

If you haven’t tried this place yet, and you’re a wanna-be foodie like me, you’re in for a different, elegant experience!

You can find out more here.

When one of our African friends, Apostle Catherine of Nairobi, Kenya, saw my pics of the restaurant on Facebook, she said, “Welcome back to Kenya.”

Apostle Catherine Nairobi, Kenya

Apostle Catherine
Nairobi, Kenya

I believe one day we will return to Africa. 

me in black & white vest Ray bought me

me in black & white vest Ray bought me

I also believe our daughter Heather will go to Africa one day, as a mission trip there has been on her heart for years. I bought her pretty, blue, dangling earrings that the restaurant’s owners sell with other beautiful, colorful African jewelry there.

our beautiful daughter Heather

our beautiful daughter Heather

 

Heather's earrings

Heather’s earrings

 

jewelry

African jewelry

It was a fun date for Ray and me, and I’d love to go back sometime. What ethnic restaurants have you tried lately? Leave your comments below.

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail
Blog, Faith, Marriage, prayer, Writing

Ceviche, cheesecake, and coffee

Recently my husband Ray shocked¬†me when he texted me from work, “Don’t make plans for tomorrow night.” It was payday and he intended to take me out somewhere new to eat for Saint Patrick’s Day.

I ¬†prayed before going into a cute little shop on the square in town called What To Wear, which has beautiful clothes but is very expensive. I asked God for a bargain, thinking I’d be doing good if I could find a new shirt for $30.

God gave me favor and I found an olive green and black striped shirt on the winter clothes rack for 80% off–it was only $10! I wore it on our date.

The green brings out the green in my hazel eyes. I felt very Scarlett O’Hara-like, pretty,¬†and happy.

Me in green shirt for Saint Patrick's Day date

Me in green shirt for Saint Patrick’s Day date

Ray doesn’t usually offer to take me out on dates; he’s usually tired after his work shift and just wants to rest and relax at home. I often have to be the one to suggest a date, so I was excited when he texted me. I had no idea where he was taking me, which made it even more fun.

You have to understand that normally, I don’t like secrets. At Christmas time, I always shake my gift boxes, trying to guess what is inside! Usually I would’ve hounded him to tell me where we were going. But I decided to just be patient and let him surprise me.

He knows I love Mexican so he took me to a contemporary Mexican restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas called Frida’s. Here he ordered a dish he loved but I’d never tried called ceviche, a seafood dish popular in the coastal islands of Latin America.¬†

ceviche and sweet potato fries

ceviche and sweet potato fries

Ceviche is usually made from raw fish cured in citrus juices, and spiced with chili peppers, chopped onions, cilantro, and salt. It’s often accompanied by other foods to complement its flavors like sweet potatoes, lettuce, corn, plaintain, or avocado.

Ours came with avocado and apple slices, which sounds like an odd combination but is very tasty. Ray ordered sweet potato fries to go with it. It was very unusual tasting and delicious. 

He ordered pork tacos seasoned with¬†achiote paste,¬†sliced purple onion with red beans, and their specialty drink, a¬†cilantro-jalapeno¬†margarita,¬†which he’d never had before. He thought it was okay. ¬†

pork tacos, beans, and cilantro-jalapeno margarita

pork tacos, beans, and cilantro-jalapeno margarita

I ordered chicken flour tacos with cilantro and chopped onions. I’d say the ceviche was best and highly recommend it. Their chips and salsa (always my favorite part and I could eat them every day) were delicious.¬†

Chips and salsa

Chips and salsa

 

chicken tacos

chicken tacos

The waitress had seated Ray and me at a table near the bar. I noticed there was a young man with a scraggly beard in a leather jacket, blue jeans, and boots, sitting at the bar with a beer, eating chips, and thought instantly of my sister Maria.

My precious sis Maria

My precious sis Maria

She went through a painful divorce and she really wants a godly husband, although she now has a huge crush on Australian actor Dominic Purcell, star of Prison Break. She posts pics of him all the time on Instagram. (You can follow her there @manibraka.)

Dominic Purcell in PRISON BREAK ©2006 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeremy Cowart/FOX   

Dominic Purcell in PRISON BREAK
©2006 Fox Broadcasting Co. Cr: Jeremy Cowart/FOX

I wanted to snap the leather jacket guy’s pic and text it to Maria, but Ray probably would have objected–just as I’d protest if he went around taking random pics of pretty women with his phone.¬†

When Ray and I walked outside, we noticed the Harley beside our car and we both decided that it must belong to the guy in the leather jacket at the bar. It’s the kind of bike¬†Ray has always wanted, a Harley-Davidson Softail Classic. I did take a pic of this just for Maria. (She’d probably prefer the guy!)

Harley-Davidson Softail Classic

Harley-Davidson Softail Classic

Ray and I¬†were going to go to a movie after we ate, but the theater didn’t have one we wanted to see, so we walked around the shopping center. Ray spotted a coffee and dessert shop called Decadent, and we were both drawn like a magnet in there. Ray commented that our middle daughter Eden should work in a place like this, since she loves coffee and baking cupcakes.¬†

cupcakes at Decadent

cupcakes at Decadent

Ray was the one who originally wanted to go in there, and when I asked what he was ordering, he said, “Just an espresso.”

I looked at him like he was crazy! He was NOT taking me into a shop with coffee and dessert, and just getting me a drink! Naturally I ordered a frappe and the calorie-laden, rich, chocolate cheesecake, with caramel syrup drizzled on top. Heavenly!

chocolate cheesecake with caramel syrup

chocolate cheesecake with caramel syrup

I winded up only drinking a little and throwing away the frappe’, much to Ray’s chagrin. Honestly, McDonald’s is even better! I’ll definitely be going back for the cheesecake, though!

frappe

frappe

Next we went into a toy store that Ray wanted to see.¬†The¬†children’s books, counting bears, and fun science experiments like a rock tumbler reminded me of our homeschooling days.

I looked at everything wistfully and said, “Leah sure grew up fast.” Ray sighed deeply and said, ¬†“Yes, she did.”

Rock Tumbler

Rock Tumbler

 

Giant yellow crayon

Giant yellow crayon

Finally we found a charming place to sit outside with rocking chairs by a fireplace with beautiful, colored stones.¬†It was very relaxing. The cheesecake and the fireplace–looking at the stones–were my favorite parts of the evening.¬†

fire

fire

Ray by the fire

Ray by the fire

me by the fire

me by the fire

As we sat there, Ray jokingly commented about all the yuppies. Just then a young couple came by us, walking their adorable black, lab puppy. I wish I could have taken its pic because the puppy was so cute. but I didn’t want to violate the gray line of stalkerism.

The puppy peed on the sidewalk as we chatted with them and the couple seemed humiliated and apologized profusely, while¬†the woman sprayed the urine with a cleaning mixture in a spray bottle, dabbing it with paper towels.¬†I was shocked she had to do this, and for the moment I was glad we didn’t have a puppy. As they walked off, I told Ray I didn’t know there was an ordinance that you had to clean up¬†after your pet.

puppy pee

puppy pee

This reminded me of the funny scene in the movie Kate and Leopold, when the female police officer ordered Leopold to clean up his room mate’s dog poop on New York City’s¬†sidewalk and he disgustingly refused, because he was royalty (a baron) from the 19th century.¬†

We sat by the fireplace awhile, talking some more. Ray then wanted to stop by a sushi bar, but unfortunately it was closed. The last place we visited at the shopping center was another restaurant just to see their menu. We were stuffed, so we didn’t order anything.¬†I loved their giant coffee cup decoration. This would get you going in the morning!

coffee cup deco

coffee cup deco

Overall, it was a very fun Saint Patrick’s Day date. I hope you had a great holiday.¬†

FacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmailFacebooktwitterredditpinterestlinkedinmail