Cincinnati

I wanted to see what the hype with the gorillas was all about, ha! #Harambe

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Nami Japanese Restaurant Review

Nami Japanese restaurant is located on S. Fort Hood Street, in the shopping center area that also has O-mart and Verizon Wireless. There’s parking available in the shopping center lot. I went here for lunch for the first time last November with my friend Greg, and I went here for dinner recently too.

The restaurant has three hibachi tables on the right side of the bar, and regular dinning tables scattered about, but mostly on the left side of the bar. They do have a full bar. The menu is the typical Japanese restaurant menu. I think the menu prices are reasonable for that kind of restaurant. They were busy during dinner service.

The food was good, but mine took a long time to arrive. They didn’t bring our food out at the same time though, so by the time my entrée arrived, the mister already finished with his. Our waitress also forgot my soup and salad that came with my entrée, but by that time I didn’t want to stay at the restaurant any longer and was ready to go, so we didn’t even bother saying anything to her about it.

I do want to say though, the sushi chef personally came over to our table and he gave us some sort of yellowtail fish that was very fancy prepared. This was about 15 minutes after we sat down at our table, I’m not sure if he thought we were on a first date or something. I thought it was very nice and sweet. He probably thought it was our anniversary or something because I had a dress on… but anyone that knows me, knows that I love wearing dresses, especially in the summer. The mister thinks he did that because the chef probably thought I was pretty or whatever.

The dinner service was a bit disappointing, but the restaurant was very busy, and I have eaten there during lunch service before, and it was better when they’re more slowed paced. I didn’t mind too much, except when you’re paying $25 for an entrée you should get everything that it comes with! But, don’t let this one slip-up deter you from going. Mistakes will be made in everything in life. I still highly recommend it.

The Day of the Crabs

Today I went to Walmart to develop a picture and to get the mister a wok. He’s a white guy with a Chinese girl — c’mon now! They have a cheap brand at Walmart for $5, so I bought it. Next I went to O-Mart (a very popular Asian supermarket in Killeen, located on S. Fort Hood Street; they specialize in Korean, Japanese, and Chinese foods) for live crabs. I got 3. I poked them with the tongs to see which ones were moving and still feisty, as some of them appeared to be dead (they weren’t moving). I got 3 that were snapping each other with their claws.

So for tonight’s dinner, it only cost me a total of $6.40 at O-Mart, no kidding! I got 3 live blue crabs, a huge piece of fresh ginger, and 3 baby bok choy stem batch; the crabs were only $5.03. Using fresh ingredients and cooking homemade dishes is not only healthier, but more affordable too. Even buying the wok at Walmart with my groceries at O-Mart, everything came out to like $10 (can’t beat that price!).

Here’s some pictures (I was told they can say a thousand words, ha!)… and for a video tutorial on how to cook Cantonese style blue crabs, check out the video below! (Oh, and I also made the baby bok choy tonight too.)

Washing then with cold water in the sink to wake them up a bit and to clean them.

Washing then with cold water in the sink to wake them up and to clean them. (One of the other crabs tore another one’s leg off! They were fighting in the paper bag!)

I couldn't bear to kill them, so I had the mister do it. I showed him how: put the crab on its back, with a cleaver or sharp chef's knife, cut it in half by going down the middle of its body; but leave the shell intact. Pull the body apart into 2 separate pieces by ripping the halves off the shell. Crack the claws with the blunt side of the knife for easy opening when eating.

I couldn’t bear to kill them, so I had the mister do it. I showed him how: put the crab on its back, with a cleaver or sharp chef’s knife, cut it in half by going down the middle of its body; but leave the shell intact. Pull the body apart into 2 separate pieces by ripping the halves off the shell. Crack the claws with the blunt side of the knife for easy opening when eating.

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The actual cooking time is only about 10 minutes.

I added cilantro at the end on this one... because I had a bunch, and it's one of my favorite herbs.

I added cilantro at the end on this one… because I had a bunch, and it’s one of my favorite herbs.

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A picture of the knife set the mister got online. I love it!!!

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The mister got the awesome culinary knife set on Amazon.com, I love it! Check out my previous post on how to cook bok choy!

Here’s a video tutorial on making the blue crabs… now go eat!

Carolina Ale House Review

Carolina Ale House is a chain bar/restaurant. This review is for the Killeen, TX location.

They weren’t busy when we went, but there was no hostess at the front, so we waited a few minutes until one showed up.

The menu has a nice selection. (I asked him beforehand if he gets ID at places, and he said no, so I said they’ll ID him because of me — he thought I was joking, but everywhere we went they ID him when he ordered alcohol. Ha!) The thing was, I wanted their Seared Ahi Tuna Asian Salad… but the waitress comes back to tell me they don’t have any tuna. (An episode of Kitchen Nightmares flashes through my head, with Gordon Ramsey screaming.) So I ordered their grilled salmon instead. It tasted good, but I can’t really taste anything anyway.

I did not like their chicken soup. It was very salty. The waitress kept coming up to us like every 5 minutes asking us if we’re doing okay. I hate when they do that.

I told my Ranger, I usually don’t finish my food — he said, I know. So since his dad is a pediatrician, he had went to China to one of the rural villages to do some humanitarian work, and he said that his dad thought it was polite to finish his plate, but that they kept putting more food on his plate each time he finished his food — so he realized that in Chinese culture, leaving food on your plate is actually Chinese etiquette (versus American etiquette, where it’s polite to eat all your food). I told him I was very impressed that he even knew, ha!

I think if they had the tuna I would have liked it better. The Ranger being a guy, doesn’t care. Guys (especially military guys) are happy eating anything that isn’t a MRE. I give this place 3 out of 5 stars… the worse thing for a restaurant is to not have something on their own menu!

P/S. We went to Cracker Barrel despite the Cracker Barrel Tinder girl — I put my spoon into the bowl of gravy and ate it. He said, Are you eating gravy?! He laughed at me. Haha. ♡

Wicked

I saw Wicked tonight, at the Kansas City Music Hall. It was very good, even though it wasn’t Broadway. (I’ve been spoiled by that New York City life!)

It’s actually a love story, which made it kind of sweet, because I grew up loving this movie as a kid’s movie. So basically, the cute guy in the movie falls in love with the awkward misfit (like any teenage flick), while dissing the super hot girl. They end up together in the end. (It’s actually a lot better than how I wrote it.)

I also got a super sized balloon as a lovely surprise for my birthday… I turned 21 today (haha). Thanks to a really nice guy (a child advocacy lawyer) for a happy birthday. It was an unbelievable first date, but I kept thinking about the Intel Captain… I think it’s kind of hard to give someone a genuine chance when you’re thinking of someone else. Oh, I know the Intel Captain’s all the way down in Texas (but the man secret squirrel an address for my birthday flowers!)… and my Mets won the game tonight! #2015WorldSeries ♡

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Best Way Inn — Blackwell, OK

I drove down to Texas from Iowa for a week. First, I am never doing that drive ever again. I thought I would need my car while I was there, but I really didn’t. (I can’t drive my guy’s because it’s stick-shift, and I don’t know how to drive stick.) Going down and coming back up, my stopping point was northern Oklahoma.

I left on Friday evening, there was freezing rain in Iowa and Missouri when I left. (The boyfriend got me four Goodyear tires before I left, my Christmas present — thank God too because my old tires wouldn’t have been very safe going down there in that kind of weather.) Driving through Kansas wasn’t too bad, but in Oklahoma the fog was so thick I couldn’t see anything in front of me. I got off the exit for Perry, OK and stayed at a Super 8 that was right by the exit.

When I got up on Saturday morning and started my drive again it had started raining in Oklahoma, with steady raining in some areas of the state. It had lighten up in southern Oklahoma and even in northern Texas. It was just a very light drizzle rain when I crossed the state line and stopped at the information center in Gainesville, TX. However, around the Dallas-Fort Worth area, traffic was slowed down greatly and there were a couple of accidents on the I-35 southbound. From that area on, the raining had turned into a downpour, with certain areas of I-35 having very heavy raining. I finally got to Killeen around 3pm on Saturday.

Okay, I have to say that I was kind of bum about not really seeing much of Texas except for the I-35 highway. When I lived in North Carolina I had to drive through Virginia, Maryland, DC, etc. — yet, I don’t consider myself as actually being in any of those places. All I saw was the highways of the states I’ve passed! Killeen is a big commercial area that has been built up around the military presence at Fort Hood. There are a lot of restaurants, as well as a mall and other chain retailers. I really didn’t see much of anything because after driving for that long I didn’t want to be in a car. The area does have a lot of retailers that cater to the military, with discounts for service members from stores to restaurants.

On my drive back I stopped in northern Oklahoma again, but this time it was around 1:30am and I was so tired that I pulled into the first motel right off the exit. That was such a disgusting mistake. I didn’t really check out the area, instead I had paid for a room without looking at my surrounding. The motel (Best Way Inn, in Blackwell, OK) was HORRIBLE!!!

When I entered the room that he gave me, the bed was slept in and not done, which meant the sheets weren’t changed. The bathroom was the same, with soiled towels on the floor, and the trash bins still had garbage in them. I went back to the front desk and told the guy I wanted a refund. He said that they don’t issue refunds per their policy, but that he’ll give me a different room. If that’s how their business policy is, then it should be listed somewhere. It wasn’t listed anywhere. The new room he gave me was better than the last, but it was still disgusting.

I didn’t feel safe there. I was too tired to cry about it, but I had my guy on the phone until almost 3am because I was convinced that this motel was a place like Hostel, Vacancy, Psycho, or some other slasher movie. I’m also convinced there was blood stain on the wall by the door. Despite the towels being folded and the bed being “made”, I knew that they most likely weren’t washed at all. The white towels didn’t even look white and had specks of black stuff on them. Bug feces? Lice? Eggs/larvae? I was scared to fall asleep.

Using the bathroom, I squatted over the toilet to pee… like I do when I’m in a public bathroom. There was no way I was sitting on that thing, even if it looked relatively “clean”. I also slept with my socks on. I didn’t get to shower, not even wash my face or brush my teeth because the place was just so gross and disgusting I didn’t trust anything in there.  This is the ONLY business that I’ve ever filed an actual complaint against just because I was so disturbed by the way this motel operates.  I filed a complaint with the Oklahoma State Department of Health, Protective Health Services, Consumer Protection Division. DISGUSTING!!!

During the rest of my drive on Sunday, it was so windy I didn’t even know until I got out of my car. In Texas and even parts of Oklahoma, the weather was mild and nice, but in the northern part of the state and once you’ve enter into Kansas, it was really windy and chilly. Once I finally got back to Iowa it was freezing!

Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island

The first time I’ve ever even realized that such a place existed was in the summer of 2013. While I was being stupid on Facebook (because it kept asking me to update my current city in the “About Me” section, which I wanted to purposely leave blank), I entered Christmas Island. I actually remember a place called Christmas Island when I was being stupid on MySpace back in 2006. When I had enter the country on Facebook, a city suggestion appeared for a place called Flying Fish Cove. It sounded so obnoxious and cute that I didn’t actually believe such a place existed. A quick Google search popped up a Wikipedia article that showed it in fact does exist.

It was stumbled upon by an English captain, for the British Empire’s East India Company, who sailed past it on Christmas Day 1643 — hence the name. Its capital is officially called Flying Fish Cove, and this is where the population of the settlement lives, it is also unofficially refer to as “The Settlement”, and some English and Dutch maps will even list it by this name. It was discovered to be uninhabited. In 1887, another English captain on board a ship called Flying Fish, named the anchorage bay area he found on Christmas Island, Flying Fish Cove.

It became a British territory the following year in 1888, and soon after settlements started on the island because of the discovery of lime. Lime mining began in the 1890s with indentured laborers from China, Singapore, and Malaya. It was first governed by a government department for colonies in Britain, and then by the Crown Colony of Singapore.

During WWII the island came under attack by the Japanese. The island was surrendered to the enemy during the war, and reclaimed after the Japanese’s defeat. In October 1945 settlements began to re-occupy the island. Australia’s request that sovereignty for the island be transferred to them from Singapore was granted by the United Kingdom, and in 1957 Australia paid Singapore £2.9 million for its compensation.

The majority of the population is Chinese, followed by European and Malay. The official language is English, with Chinese (Cantonese) being the second most spoken language. It has a large population of asylum seeker from other Asian countries, including those in the Middle East regions.

It has been described as a safe area, with many locals leaving their homes and cars unlocked. It’s a relatively small community that is surrounded by the jungles and the sea. Many of its goods must be imported in. There are no direct flights to get there.

I would love to check this place out one day. Things to do there include many activities that are popular and common in other island countries. I think Flying Fish Cove, Christmas Island would be a nice place to visit with my guy some day. He’s always wanted to go to Australia — and that’s really the only way to get to the island.

Newport Grill Review — Wichita, KS

After we went to Helzberg Diamonds to return the bracelet I decide that I didn’t want for a second time in one day! (Poor guy, he must have felt like banging his head on a wall by then) — the boyfriend Google search for a seafood restaurant nearby and got Newport Grill.

Hmmm, we were both in jeans, so we were kind of under-dress for the ambience, especially the boyfriend who had on his Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles t-shirt. Anyway, I already wrote a review on the restaurant’s Facebook page, so I figured I just screen shot my phone and upload the review.

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The Looney Bin Comedy Club, at Live @ 215 Performance Theater — Wichita, KS

The boyfriend and I met up in Wichita, KS over the weekend.  I wanted to go to one of those interactive dinners but they were sold out of reservations.  So instead I Google comedy clubs because I’ve never been to one.

We went to see the Looney Bin Comedy Club, performing at Live @ 215 Performance Theater. The ticket (or door price) is inexpensive, and military and students get a $2 discount with ID.  The drinks were reasonable bar prices, the food (and menu) is the typical terrible bar food/menu.

Jeff Bodart was the opening act, and Tim Kidd was headlining that night’s show. The bathroom was surprisingly very clean, I didn’t think it would be because the whole layout looked kind of like a dive. I think they should break down the wall to the adjoining bar and make it bigger.

The comedians were great. I enjoyed the acts. There was an annoying woman who was drunk and desperately trying to get attention when Tim Kidd was performing. I think she was attempting at heckling, or just couldn’t control her alcohol… or really was just that annoying, not sure. I highly recommend. Oh, and I had my first Shirley Temple and Virgin Rita — both taste great! ♡♡♡

Fuji Japanese Steakhouse — Ames, IA

I am not a fan of the state of Iowa, especially being from NYC. One of the things I miss the most about NY is the diversity and ethnicity… I especially miss fresh seafood.

This is a Japanese restaurant in Ames, Iowa — and I must say, for Iowa it’s actually impressive. Don’t let the outside of the restaurant deter you from going. At first glance I thought it was going to be one of those Chinese takeout restaurants with a Tex-Mex menu on the back of a tri-fold menu. The outside does look dingy, it’s in a small shopping/business strip lot. There’s parking (always a plus), but the front design of the restaurant does not do it justice.

Inside the decor is very nice. It’s roomy and quiet. They had green tea (yay!), my waitress was Asian and had a heavy accent and wasn’t very fluent in English, but I didn’t mind — if anything she made it more authentic!

I am very picky about miso soup, and this one was really good, even comparable to some of my favorite restaurants in NY. It had seaweed and tofu in it. (It would have been excellent if they’ve also sprinkled some scallions on top.) The price was reasonable for sushi. It’s a casual atmosphere. Great for groups too. It’s probably not a place for children though… but what Japanese styled restaurant in America really is?

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