Hello from beautiful Kansas City, Missouri. This weekend I am hanging out with my brother-in-law and sister. It is always fun to be here but as they say, “I like to visit but don’t know that I’d want to live there…” Life is pretty fast paced.
For the last two days the van has been 340 miles away while I’m staying at the Embassy Suites Hotel near the Kansas City International (KCI) airport. Being close to KCI, this is a busy hotel with elevators constantly scurrying up and down the interior corners of the lobby. From the room you can hear the muffled din of people chatting loudly, water fountains splashing, the room fan running, etc… the usual hotel noises… It’s different and very relaxing but I am terribly homesick.
Oh, how nice it would be to sleeping at Walmart or in front of an apartment building. I miss peeing in a laundry bottle, bike riding, and grazing the grocery store for free samples. Sure, the bed here is as soft as a cumulus cloud but there is no crisp morning air and peek of sunlight to wake up to. Everything is too comfortable! As much as I really like this place, there is no place like the cargo van and the solitude.
This reason for this trip was a celebration… Yesterday Sis gave me $605.00 from the first phase of the weight loss challenge. It sounds strange to say but I didn’t feel right taking it… The new lifestyle has brought so much happiness and vitality… that should be reward enough. I feel kind of shady, like the only way to accomplish the change was by being bribed. But it is what it is.
I was thinking about a buddy, Jeff, from the Smart Aldi Shopper blog while exploring the aisles. Trader Joe’s is owned by the same folks that own Aldi and the store has a similar feel to it. Most of the products sold are labeled simply “Trader Joe’s” but they are the same as name brand items, just packaged differently.
One cool buy was some very thin bars (the thickess of a granola bar run over by a 1969 Ford Van). It’s sort of the consistency of a “fruit roll-up” product but this little treat is made of fiber and dried fruit. Each bar has about six grams of fiber and a relatively small amount of carbs. They are perfect for the bike. Also purchased were two bottles of extra virgin olive oil – one was garlic flavored. The price was amazingly low. Each bottle was only $3.49 and $3.99 respectively. Similar oil was $8 and higher at the Whole Foods market.
But Sis noticed something else. She spotted various trail mixes that we simply could not pass up. The one that was the most intriguing was the most expensive and contained cashews, macadamia nuts, pineapple, cranberry and almonds. I was too cheap to buy it but she bought it for me, partly because of the name on the bag. Who can pass up “TREK” mix for a … “trekker”?
For lunch my sister and I visited an awesome restaurant on the “Kansas side” of the area, in the town of Leawood. It is called Mestizo. Information about the restaurant was featured on the Food Network. Mestizo is owned by Chef Aarón Sánchez and features upscale, modern, exciting Mexican food with its roots in traditional Mexican cuisine. The offerings are beautiful and the flavors are incredible.
This was such a departure from the local taquerias and the restaurants where I used to work. There was no need to drown the food in Tapatio sauce (similar to Tobasco). That might have qualified as a misdemeanor in this neighborhood. Such well designed and well executed dishes don’t need anything else to mask or overpower the flavors.
Now and then people have asked works best for catching trout… If trying for brown trout I usually just turn over a few rocks and look for earthworms. But for rainbows, it’s hard to beat Mike’s shrimp flavored salmon eggs. The streams around here are so small (and trees so close) it’s not always easy to fly fish with long rods, gracefully whipping the fly back and forth. You’re more likely to snag a tree.
#20 treble hooks work great for the size of trout we have around here. As years go by and the eyes get worse, they can be pain in the butt to tie on. They also hurt like a bit*h when you embed one in your finger and have to tear it out… That hurts a heckuva lot more than checking the blood sugar!
After leaving Cabella’s, my brother-in-law, sister, and I went to a Japanese steakhouse (similar to what you see in the picture) for dinner. It was easy to choose the healthy options and eat a smaller portion. For those who have never been to such an establishment, the Teppenyaki chef cooks at a table in front of you, cracking jokes and playing pranks while cooking your food.