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Posts Tagged ‘Bar’

books and beer.jpg

Books and Beer has been on my radar for a while, but I only finally made it to their event this past March. Turns out my suspicions were right, I DO love this concept! Between my mother and I (she happened to be in town so I took her along) we came home with a pretty good load of reads.

What: Books. You bring up to 10 books and in return (ideally) take home the same number of books you brought

Where: At a pub! Or bar! The last one had happy hour $7 glasses of wine!!

Who: Book nerds. Mingle with other people, ask them what they are reading, start conversations, OR put your nose in a book and be alone among other people like an introvert’s dream. But with beer.

Why: Books.

When: Next meetup is June 11, 2016. That’s a month out, so it gives you time to sort through your collection of books and decide which ones are worth sacrificing. You can always check their Tumblr here for the next event.

Oh and did I mention the event is absolutely FREE? Well, except you are going to need to buy your own beer.

Here they are on Facebook if you want to keep up with them.

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I never thought I would spend much time in Wichita, Kansas. It just wasn’t a place that was on my radar. However, in the last two years I have found myself in circumstances that have required a few extended stays there.

My first visit to Wichita was over a weekend and included a Saturday visit to a diner, an airshow, a wine bar and a club. By Sunday I felt like I had done it all and after a wander in a more than dead downtown, I gave up and spent the rest of the day watching HBO.

However, a few more visits had me scratching beneath the surface and finding a community friendly to an admittedly hippie soul like mine. Here’s what I found so that on your next visit you can skip the HBO and hit the ground running.

Food and Cafes

While a few restaurants and cafes offer vegetarian or a “healthier” option somewhere on the menu (examples Public or Anchor) I found the real standouts to come down to Lotus Leaf Cafe and The Garden Grill. Both are located downtown and have hours that vary during the day with Lotus Leaf closing early some days and Garden Grill closing for dinner completely on some days. I suggest checking the website before heading that way. Garden Grill’s menu is strictly vegan and there’s often a buffet but I find ordering off the menu preferable. Lotus Leaf offers plentiful vegan and vegetarian options with meat options interspersed on the menu, making it easy to convince a carnivore to come with you if they are hesitant. Both have amazing smoothies and juices.

Speaking of juices and smoothies, I would be amiss to mention that Wichita now has it’s very own Whole Foods on the east side of town. I arrived in Wichita after a few days in Austin, Texas, where Whole Foods is headquartered, and I can’t say that the Whole Foods in Wichita is comparable in item selection to stores in say Austin or Denver, but it does offer a decent takeout selection and loads of other options.

If you are just looking for groceries (and perhaps you are a bit disgruntled at the Whole Foods scene), The Natural Grocer has been around a while in Wichita. Their takeout selection is not so great, but you can get all the yummy groceries and supplements your heart desires!

Yoga Studios

All that food got you geared up for a nice stretch? I hope so because holy crap, yoga classes in Wichita only cost about $10 US a session. Do you know how much they cost in Singapore? Anywhere from 25 to 55 Singapore dollars (that’s $18 to $40 US).

My previous trips to Wichita have had me spending a lot of time with Adrian and Whitney at Siva Yoga. Formerly located downtown, you can now find them in the just east of central neighborhood of College Park. While I enjoyed their flowy classes in a warmish 80 to 85 degree room in the past, this trip I was second trimester pregnant and the thought of being in a heated room, even if it wasn’t Bikram hot, made me want to gag. (Listen to your body, yo!)

This led me to the even more east of central studio, Central Yoga, which is named after it’s location on Central Avenue. First, I hit up the community acupuncture sessions which cost a mere $15. The sessions are drop in, so you don’t have to be exactly on time for Dr. Vicki Dukes, DC to align your qi with her tiny little needles. I left floating on air, came back the next day for a fantastic aligned flow class with Keriann and later that week for an awesome prenatal class with the very knowledgeable Sally Beckett. If you are more into alignment than warm flow, Central Yoga is a great option.

Shopping

If you’re looking to do some shopping, I’d skip the often bragged about Bradley Fair and check out Watermark Books, an independent book store in College Park and RELove, a shop on Woodlawn that sales repurposed furniture and also holds classes to teach you how to repurpose a great find yourself.

Outdoors

While I can’t say I spent much time in nature while in Wichita, I can say that the river area through downtown is nicely kept and good for a stroll or run.

Live music

Live music seemed to radiate from bars and restaurants downtown in the summer evenings. Try Oeno Wine Bar for a start with relaxed jams while you sip a Pinot.

That’s all I have for now on Wichita. Got a secret tip? Let me know in the comments. xx

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It was Friday night and I wanted to check out somewhere new. I had just finished my first week of work and was eager to celebrate legal employment. I remember that Yelp had arranged half-priced drink specials at The Ebury. I was curious about the establishment as I have frequently passed by it. Also (if you believe the hype) Kate Middleton has been spotted there flipping through bridal magazines. I’m not actually a Kate chaser, but I figure when in London…

The Ebury is a classic yet modern restaurant and bar on Pimlico Road. It falls in suit with the other establishments in the area- slightly upmarket without the snootiness of Sloane Square.  If you are a casual person, you might feel out of your zone when you first arrive, but on closer inspection you notice the worn carpet on the stairway and the glitches in the service. In fact, it took some downright effort to get our first drink. We only intended on staying for one or two, but I sent a text message to Cary who had just finished teaching his yoga class and all of a sudden we had company and a great reason to stay. At this point, our 1 drink turned into 3 and the service went from nonexistent to pretty good. Yes, sometimes yoga teachers have cocktails too.

The cocktail menu is extensive and has a lot of area for exploration. The Marilyn  Monroe was a sweet strawberry and champagne mixture. The Strawberry Basil Martini was subtler on the sugar level yet still fruity. The Moulin Rouge was not too sweet with a tropical vibe. Husband had a glass of rose that he winged about at first but then ordered a second. I guess it grew on him.

Moulin Rouge and Marilyn Monroe

With all these cocktails going to my brain, I needed some food. Rather than booking into the restaurant, we shared a massive Mediterranean Meze that included hummus, grape leaf wraps, tzatziki, warm pita bread, olives and other goods. It was enough for 3-4 people and should be for £17.

You might not spot Kate, but if you come between 5 and 7 you might spot me. At £8 – £11 a cocktail, I designate this place strictly for happy hour and the next Yelp special.

The Ebury is located at 11 Pimlico Road, London SW1W 8NA. Happy hour is from 5-7 everyday and includes 2 for 1 priced drinks.

Ebury on Urbanspoon

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Photo not mine.

I have two modes when it comes to making it to the airport for a flight. I am either extremely early or barely make it. The other weekend I happened to be extremely early.

Husband and I went to our usual Gatwick pub for a pre-flight beverage and sub-standard reheated frozen snack. I approached the counter and made my order. The bartender squinted. “Um, can I see some I.D?”

The legal drinking age in the UK is 18. I am no longer anywhere near 18. I call bullshit on anyone who wants to tell me I look younger than 18. Nonetheless, I’ll take this as a compliment. I know bartenders in the UK are trained to I.D. anyone who doesn’t look 25. I like to believe that I can pass for 25.

I go to retrieve my passport and make it back to the counter. “Ah, American” he says when he sees it. “You know, I love some American accents. Some of them are really nice. Yours is really nice.”

“Thank you,” I reply. This is a nice surprise. I usually get told that American accents sound like a British person with a mouth full of bubble gum.

He feels the need to go on. He’s compensating with friendliness for having asked for I.D. “Some of them are really bad. Like Texas accents. I hate Texas accents. They are awful.”

I thank him again as I grab my beer.

“Where in the U.S. are you from?” he asks.

“I’m from Texas,” I reply as I prepare to walk away.

His face goes blank and he lets out a stutter.

Awkward.

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Photo Courtesy of Saf Restaurant and Bar

http://www.safrestaurant.co.uk

152-154 Curtain Road
Shoreditch London EC2A 3AT
+44.20.76130007

The Barkers Building 1st Floor
London, UK W8 5SE
+44.20.73634555

After hearing loads about Saf, a top end vegan and raw food specializing restaurant, I decided I had to try it.

I was meeting my architect friend, Ryan, near Kensington High Street for lunch and remembered that the restaurant was on the top floor of the  Whole Foods just down the street. I suggested we check it out.

I could tell that Ryan was a little weirded out. I lived mere blocks from the flagship Whole Foods in Austin, Texas for years and would often drop in to the restaurants dotted throughout the store. It had become a quite normal way to dine, but I could see that the concept was uncomfortable to Ryan and I began rethinking bringing an architect there. This was understandably so. The flagship Whole Foods in Austin integrates the restaurants into the store giving their presence an organic and natural feel while the one in Kensington corals them onto the top floor. While the interior design is modern, sleek and nice, you can’t escape the disappointing vibe of an indoor shopping mall food court.

I dismissed the disappointment when the server arrived with the menus. Oh my,  everything sounded amazing. The smoothies and drink section were a vegan foodie dream. The menu was dotted with mentions of cashew butter, tempeh, greens, mushrooms and other plant based treats.

After some deliberation, Ryan chose the Buddha Plate and I went with the lunch special of wild mushroom crepes. When our food arrived, the server made sure to explain all of the different items on Ryan’s plate. I can see how someone who isn’t used to eating this particular way could find items like kimchee intimidating. Luckily, Ryan is a cultured and open minded dude. He was totally game. I didn’t hesitate to chow down. In fact, I finished every single bite of my plate and even entertained the dessert menu.

Wild Mushroom Crepes

We decided to skip dessert in the end. The dessert and smoothies will definitely give me something to come back for, although next time I’ll visit the actual restaurant near Old Street. Perhaps I’ll treat myself to one of their Monday through Saturday £19.50 3 course lunches or a vegan Sunday roast.

Bottom Line-

Saf delivers amazing vegan and raw food.  For a quick pop-in, Whole Foods will do. If you have the time and money, consider visiting the actual restaurant.

Saf on Urbanspoon

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