Can you believe this February weather we’re enjoying? So far, it’s been warmer, wetter, and definitely not as snowy as a typical start to February. And, no real snow is in this week’s forecast with more above average warmth sticking around until this weekend.
As you know, we were in Kansas City, Missouri, this past weekend where Ray was speaking at a conference Saturday.
When we go on vacation or on quick out-of-town trips, we try not to gorge ourselves with food. Don’t get me wrong — if I find a fun buffet, I’m going to eat. However, we usually just eat one meal a day when we do that. That was the case Saturday and Sunday. When I share these tasty pictures, remember that was the only real meal we had each day and we didn’t spend a fortune!
Since Ray picked Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue Friday night and it was very tasty, especially the warm carrot cake for dessert, I made the choice for lunch Saturday. I chose Swagat Fine Indian Cuisine in the Zona Rosa shopping complex. I’ve been wanting Indian food again since having it in Houston last October and all of the reviews I read about this place were great.
The food was amazing and the service was excellent. For the most part, I was a good boy and I stopped after two plates. Okay, I did eat a lot of the nan (pita-like bread).
If you’re not very familiar with Indian food, some of delicious items I chose were chicken tandoori (baked chicken marinated in yogurt and spices), chicken korma (chicken with nuts, raisins, herbs and spices in a creamy sauce), chicken tikka masala (“an all time favorite cooked with marinated pieces of chicken in a dark orange tomato based sauce), chole saag (spinach and chick peas), turnip masala, mushroom masala, basmati rice, and lemon rice.
And, here’s something I didn’t know before my correspondence with Anoop Choong at Swagat. Chicken Tikka Masala is now the most popular dish in the United Kingdom! Fish and chips are now ranked #2 in a recent survey!
I topped the meal off with Kheer (rice pudding in sweetened milk with raisins and almonds) for dessert and a very tasty mixed-spice chai tea, which is pretty much black tea, Indian spices and herbs brewed in milk. Yum!
As we paid to leave, instead of mints, the restaurant had a bowl of fennel seeds and tiny, colorful, black licorice-flavored candies. It’s called “mukhwas”. In addition to serving as a breath freshener, it also helps with digestion and is very popular among the Indian crowd.
If you visit Kansas City, you definitely have to try Swagat Fine Indian Cuisine for their lunch buffet!
After leaving Swagat, we decided to try our luck at the casinos since we saw signs for them. Our first stop was Harrah’s. Since Ray and I are not big gamblers and we hate parting with our money, we only played $60 each. It didn’t take long for Ray to lose his and while I was up $60 on my first $20 bill, it didn’t take long for my luck to change and before you knew it, I was also down $60!
We moved on to another casino, Ameristar Casino. While playing there, we ordered and paid for our one drink. I don’t know how you can go wrong with a vodka/diet coke, but it was lousy. Oh wait, that’s because it was pretty much just diet coke. The slots there were not friendly to me so I lost my $50, but Ray broke even.
As we were leaving, we decided to try one more casino that we saw a sign for that promised 95% payback. We drove in Kansas City, Kansas (we were staying in Kansas City, Missouri) and found the 7th Street Casino. It basically looked like an old two-story church and, needless to say, the crowd was interesting — a very different mix of people.
Since I mentioned before that Ray and I are not big gamblers, we usually just play the “penny machines” and we don’t usually lose big or win big. However, Ray was pretty lucky hitting two nice payoffs.
Since that’s a penny machine, he won $214 that time and that was his first win. After that, he hit another jackpot thanks to a bonus spin that gave him 30+ free games. However, I lost my $50. At that point, I was mad at the casino world. I had to make the decision to go home down $160 or try one more time. I marched over to the ATM and then I sat down at a slot machine that I saw a woman playing earlier with “Vegas” in the title.
Instead of playing the usual minimum bet of 30 or 40 cents I usually play on the penny machines, I was determined to play like a real gambler and I started off with the maximum bet of 200 credits ($2). Spin after spin, I kept losing and I was down to $40. Deep down inside, I was getting sad thinking that I was going to lose all my money.
And, then it happened. I got three “Bonus Spin” icons and I got to play the bonus round!! The “wheel” started spinning and instead of landing on one of the extra spins spaces, it landed on the “money wheel”, which meant I got to spin another wheel for money.
The gambling god was looking down on me. It landed on $140. I would, at least, win back the money from the last ATM visit. I decided that I’d keep the $100 and play the other $40 and the $40 I still had on the machine.
Needless to say, I hit it the “bonus spin” a few more times and I won back all the lost money at Harrah’s, Ameristar, and the money from this casino earlier. Ray’s two wins there won back his lost money and he cleared a little more than I did!
It took three casinos and nine hours, but I walked out with $107, the most money I’ve won since the 1990s when I won about $600 once in Reno, Nevada, and about the same amount in Palm Springs, California.
Before leaving beautiful downtown Kansas City Sunday, we decided to have our one meal of the day — brunch. We chose Bristol Seafood Grill and it was a great choice.
While I only got small portions of food, my favorite, by far, was the char-crusted tuna. I had two pieces and added a small dollop of creamy horseradish and capers. Their biscuits and gravy were fantastic and I also enjoyed the lobster mac & cheese, the Chipotle grilled shrimp enchiladas, and the chicken picatta.
For dessert, I sampled the carrot cake, the cinnamon twists, and vanilla bean creme brulee. Okay, the cream brulee was so amazing that I had two!
And, I know that many of you read my Saturday blog, but I want to share this again. If you want the best, most spectacular carrot cake ever, stop by Fiorella’s Jack Stack Barbecue.
I know Kansas City is known for its steak and barbecue, but I experienced so many different foods that proves the city’s culinary versatility.