This is my third trip home to the states this year and I had a great time. As discussed in my last blog, Minneapolis…I Like It, I took my first trip to Minnesota. It’s a beautiful place with beautifully kind people and I hope to make it back one day. From there I spent some time in Chicago. It’s been 10 years since I was last in Chicago. I’d taken a travel assignment and worked at Prentice Women’s Hospital at Northwestern. I stayed in a sky rise a few blocks from Michigan Avenue and Jaden was just 3 years old. It was only a one bedroom apartment but the closet was so big, Jaden used it as his room. I had a good time exploring Chicago all those years ago and it felt good to be back.
Because there were so many conferences and conventions happening in Chicago, I didn’t get to stay with my top hotel family @Kimpton because they were all full. I did, however, get a chance to stay at the Hyatt City Center. The location was great and the room was good enough. I made it to a Kimpton restaurant though, South Water Kitchen and as
expected, they met my culinary expectations. I ordered scallops with sautéed asparagus and bacon with mushrooms. I had an excellent mac and cheese and finished with a lemon cheesecake. I’ve always had great food at Kimpton restaurants so if you’re looking for a good meal and there’s a Kimpton near you, check out the restaurant. Of course I went to Giordano’s for deep dish pizza. It was wonderful! I really do like them better than Uno’s primarily because the sauce is on top; it does make a difference when it comes to deep dish.
During my trip to the Chicago area, I met some lovely people who reminded me of what a family unit should look and feel like. Truly, it brought joy to my heart. It also made me think of a woman in my life whom I’ve never really expressed how much I appreciate her and the impact she’s had in my life. You know how people always say to let someone know how much they mean or how much you care before it’s too late. I made it a point to do that. Aging really does make one reflective. Well, at least it’s made me reflective. Chicago was good to me.
On to Kansas City. Even though I was only there for a brief time, I got a chance to eat at Tom’s BonChon restaurant in Lee Summit and I spent a little time with my two sisters. First I have to tell you about BonChon. It’s the first one in the Midwest but apparently there are some on the east coast. It’s an Asian style restaurant and the Lee Summit location is super cute and trendy. The sports fan in me really appreciates the projected games on the walls. The best part is that the food is really good. I had pot stickers, wings, and fries. The wings were nice size and even though they were tossed in sauce, they were crispy. The fries were amazing! They also have a full bar. Great service too.
I introduced Mona and Mica to real jazz. We saw Bobby Watson at the Folly theater. It was both their first time seeing a jazz band in that type of setting. They seemed to enjoy it and loved Bobby’s sense of humor. We went to the hotel afterwards and hung out a bit. It was nice. I always enjoy the snippets of time we get to spend together.
Before leaving Kansas City, I had to have some BBQ. I went to Danny Edward’s BBQ. They were featured on Diner’s Drive-Ins & Dives so I thought they’d be good for sure. Well I’ll tell you…skip it. I know my BBQ and I can guarantee they boil their meat first and they leave membranes on the ribs. Part of me feels like you must not love BBQ if you leave the membranes on the ribs. Maybe I’m crazy! The food lacked flavor and I was highly disappointed. It’s okay though. I’ll make sure I go to Podnah’s in Portland next time I’m home. They know how to do BBQ right.
It’s been two years since I’ve been to Charlotte and I can’t believe it. Time flies. My niece from Atlanta met me there and she had a chance to meet my BFF, Tamika. We hung out at the Rooftop at the Epicentre in Uptown. I was in heaven because not only was the music good, they had a jumbo screen playing college football and I saw ‘Bama get rolled! It was great! We also had dinner at Enso Asian Bistro & Sushi Bar. They have great egg drop soup at Enso. Tamika introduced me to some of her good friends. She is truly blessed to have such wonderful people in her life. I have to give a shout out the LaSandra who made my much-needed dental appointments happen. Dr. Barrett Moore in Uptown is an excellent dentist if you live there. Just sayin’!
In all the fun I had, I had to do the courtesy expat thing: I picked up those impossible to find things in Qatar to bring back. Items included: hot tamales, hair dye, instant grits, kind bars, and aspirin. Yep, we look out for each other lol. I’ll never know when I may need someone to pick up something for me. By the way, those grits are pretty heavy even thought they are instant grits!
Anyway, I had a great time in the states. It’ll be February before I get back to Portland.
I am excited about the start of the Fall activities in Doha. Jazz at Lincoln Center Doha @jalcdoha starts back tonight. You know where I’ll be….