Fried Brain

You know how much my brain is exhausted? I can't even remember where we have gone to eat! How sad is that? Oh I remember one now

UDon (UDistrict)
Now that we have moved to a city with a very large Asian population, we have decided that we need to branch out in our cuisine. We aren't picky eaters. We aren't afraid of different foods. It is just that in Omaha, you had: sushi and "Chinese" basically. Maybe a pho place or two. But that was it. Nothing in between. Nothing "authentic" I am sure (much like Mexican food though, I don't know if I know what authentic Japanese or Chinese is). This first little branch was a training wheel branch. While up near UW, we found ourselves hungry (weird, I know), so we decided to bop in here. I am going to call this "Udon noodles, Chipotle style" - choose a base, choose your toppings. See, training wheels!

Matt had me pick for him, so I picked something that looked very basic. For myself, I picked the curry one (don't even ask me names). We both picked various tempura'd items. And then we ate. Or we ate as best we could. Having never had udon, I had no clue how to eat it. I spied on our neighbors. I still wasn't good at it. My food, however, was delicious. The curry was not spicey (I would say a 1 on a 5 star scale) but was incredibly flavorful. If I had to give it a flavor group, it was totally 'umami' or whatever that new group is. Matt's was very basic, nothing to write home about. All the tempura'd items were okay. Unlike most American fried items, the salt and seasoning are minimal. I think that is because they are supposed to compliment the udon (I think? Maybe?). 

AMBIANCE: modern clean lines, not too bright; order at the counter type place obvs
TASTE: I found it delicious, but this was my first time eating udon
MENU: good variety...if you are going for udon that is
SERVICE: very friendly, they didn't rush us at all (or make fun of us) as we stumbled through the menu
OVERALL: in terms of quick casual type joints, I would def go back if in the udistrict. I wouldn't say I would drive out of my way though, so -> 4

U:Don - Fresh Japanese Noodle Station on Urbanspoon



At my lack of entries. Yes, I have a million excuses: new residency, new house, new puppy (!!!!!!!). You know what I also have? Plenty of time in the evening to update. Sigh. Maybe later tonight? Maybe? We will see, I might bake something.

We moved into our new place on Aug 16th. The storage pods were delivered at 9am; Matt had them empty by 11am. Amazing. All while I was at work :D. His parents came up from Olympia to help him as well. We will have a few boxes left to unpack and several pieces of furniture to buy, but it is finally starting to feel like home (getting the internet helps too). On the 18th we brought our little man Winston home. Trust me, I have plenty of pictures for you. He is a Shih Tzu/Maltese mix born on June 17th. He is frickin adorable. And we love him.

More on that later. Off to work (on my bike).


So you're telling me there's a chance

That I have returned??? Well...not quite yet. Life has been super crazy. Not "busy" busy, just busy. And stressful. Things I will tell you all about once I am back in action:

-Our trip up here
-The hoopfest awesome-ness
-Uh...(almost) our new place

That is all. Cooking and eating have been limited. Well...eating out I mean. I am always eating. Dueces



Okay, time to get a little sentimental. As much as a quip about Omaha and make fun of it, I have been here for 5 amazing, wonderful, productive years. I have learned more than I thought possible, grown in ways I never imagined I would, and made great friends.

I vividly remember leaving Spokane, Subaru packed up, bike strapped to the back, mom in the passengar seat. Hugging Matt (who thought he would never see me again). Hugging Dad. Hugging the dogs. Through Idaho. Through the never ending Montana. Then Wyoming, South Dakota, Iowa, and finally Nebraska. It is safe to say that I never though, even in my wildest dreams, that I would ever live in Nebraska. Check that off my bucket list. :D

Every year here (okay, maybe not 4th year) has been tough, but those first few weeks were rough. Learning how to study and fight through mounds of new material. Trying to stay sane. Wanting to be in Washington with my family. Yep, rough.

I am beyond thankful that I pushed through. While I see so many people working fewer hours, taking fun vacations, not rounding on the weekends, I don't regret my choice. I cannot think of any profession I would rather do.

So, I leave Omaha married, with a nice size house in debt, 25 pounds lighter, with too many books, with plenty of friends, with an appreciation of the human body, confirmed in my faith that God does exist, knowing that I can in fact stay up for 24hours straight, and excited for the next chapter.

You stay classy Omaha.



There are many reasons I enjoy newspapers. One reason is for restaraunt reviews that are usually fairly consistent. Blogs are great and all (mine included :D), but sometimes it is nice to have someone who is paid to do this stuff write about new places. 

In Omaha, they usually "feature" one place in the Friday paper. And pretty much no matter what type of food, that place will be busy the next few weeks, even if it doesn't get the best review. Shortly after that, you can see the place hit the "Talk of the Town" on Urbanspoon (I am a slight addict). Somethine interesting happened a few weeks ago though.

The writer featured a BBQ joint in north Omaha that finally hit the spot (he was from KC originally). He had a few negatives but overwhelmingly showered the place with praise. Now, had we been hanging in Omaha longer, we would have gone here for sure, regardless of the location. It doesn't appear as if the rest of Omaha felt that way at all - I have yet to see a review on it on Urbanspoon; no Talk of the Town for this place. Now, this could honestly just be a coincidence. Maybe Omaha wasn't in the mood for BBQ that week? Maybe people didn't feel like reviewing the place? My suspicion, however, is on the negative side. I feel that the readers of the Omaha World Herald don't venture to north Omaha regardless of how good a place sounds, which is too bad. Sigh. I will stop there because I don't want to get on a soap box again


Winding down

I have one week left. Simply amazing. Who would have thought this time would ever come? Becky in July? Nope. Def not her. Of course I am scared of starting the next phase, but just like last year, I know it will be crazy at first with so much to learn and see. Eventually, however, I know I will become more confident and capable. Just give me 12 more months :)

As with many places east of 72nd in Omaha, I always feel nervous expressing my opinion openly about them to the citizen's of this fine city simply because so many people have grown up going to these places. Like D'Lish back in Spokane (yes, I know it isn't that old), if you didn't grow up going there, you would probably never go back. Alas, that is not the case with Goldbergs.

They have two locations in Omaha, and I have only ever been to the one on Dodge, which is actually not the original. They have a great patio out front, but they have the unfortunate luck of being right on one of the busiest streets in town. That's okay though since eating outside in Omaha is rarely possible. I am sure the building has some history, but I don't know it. You walk in the back, adjust your eyes, and seat yourself. Sometimes this is nice. Sometimes not so nice. The place isn't huge but happens to have a well stocked bar on the east side of the dinning room. High walled booths breakup the room, and the maroon paint makes the place just comfortably dim even on the brightest of days. 

We sat in a booth, and our waiter was with us quickly. I would classify the menu as "American." Not modern American. Just traditional kind but not quite comfort food. Their main selling point are their burgers, which they have at least 10 on the menu. I am sure if you wanted something other than what was listed, they could throw it together, for a price of course. Then they have 10+ sandwiches that are sure to suite anyone. Your standard side is potato chips. Want something else? Gonna cost you, which is probably my biggest issue with the place. I can see charging for soup or salad, but even subbing potato salad causes a charge. 

Matt ordered the Montana Rueben with fries; I gave in to my trying-to-be-healthy side and got the Craisin Pecan Chicken Spinach Salad. Yeah, it's a mouth full. Our food came out in an appropriate amount to time. The salad was delicious, and they put the dressing on the side without even asking! It had just the right ratio of all the toppings, and the chicken was incredibly tender and moist. I inhaled it. Matt's reuben was okay. I will admit I have had better reubens. I think this one lacked heaping mounds of butter :) The fries were okay but nothing special. I have had the sweet potato fries before though, and they are pretty amazing. Go with those. They are worth the extra $1.50 :D

AMBIANCE: cool old building, perfectly dim, can be a little loud though
TASTE: right in the middle, nothing to balk at in disgust but nothing keeping my filling my face
MENU: great burger and sandwich selection, your typical entrees are limited, which is okay. Stick with what you are good at
SERVICE: so-so. Water refills were quick, but passion to be there...lacking
OVERALL: 4. I wouldn't drive out of my way for it, but then again nothing is out of the way in Omaha really

Goldberg's on Urbanspoon


Memorial Day weekend

Over Memorial Day weekend (let us all note that this has been the ONLY HOLIDAY ALL INTERN YEAR that I haven't had to work...just saying), Matt and I ventured yet again into the land of "driving around the midwest" (flashbacks to our honeymoon). We rented a car - 2012 Buick Regal - and head to St. Louis for a Cardinals game. If done in one sitting, the drive is about 7 hours or so. We decided to drive to KC Friday night and then STL Saturday morning.

We stopped at Bandana's BBQ in St. Joseph, MO (just north of KC) for dinner. Turns out they are now putting calorie counts on the menu! See my rant. Ergo, this helped in our menu choices. We got to our lovely, cheap hotel, fell into bed, and woke early the next AM to continue our trek.

My biggest desire of the weekend was to go to Pappy's Smokehouse - long rumored (by Urbanspoon and the food award internet world) to be the best BBQ in STL and one of the top joints in the country. As I am a planner to the core, I saw they opened at 11am on Saturdays and usually have a huge line. My plan was...get there at 11am. And we did! In fact, we got there at 1045, and people were already eating! I never get this. Whatever. We ate. We ate. OMG. It was great. Yes, I wanted that to rhyme. We ventured around STL on foot until our hotel room was ready. 

Saturday night involved the game basically. In true midwest form, STL was hot and humid. It was free hat night! And the bonus of Busch Stadium? They let you out and in again! My friend is doing OB/GYN residency down there, so after we got our free hats, we met her for a drink at "Bar 360." Yes, it is a hotel bar, but it has AMAZING views. Simply amazing. You can see right down into the stadium. Their drink prices reflect this amazing view, but at least my sangria was delicious. The cardinals ended up losing that night, but we experienced St Louis style pizza for the first time at (will review here shortly)

Sunday involved being a tourist. We went down to the arch early in the AM (trying to avoid heat & humidity). Being the sized individuals we are, and given Matt's slight fear of heights) we opted to take photos OF the Arch rather than IN the arch. We wandered around the waterfront some more and touched the Mississippi River...with our shoes. It looked kinda dirty. Breakfast was found. The remainder of the day was supposed to involve the Budweiser Tour and the free zoo. Supposed to. In Matt fashion he said "Hey, let's walk to the Budweiser plant so that after our samples, neither of us has to drive." I say, "As long as you are okay getting all gross and sweating." He said, "Already done." The tourist map claimed it was 1.7 miles. Google later showed it to be 2.5. Huh. We got there eventually. Hot and sweaty. And ready for beer. Turns out when you sweat that much, 2 free samples gets you pretty happy pretty fast.

Obviously we were now stuck there without a car. Rather than just walk back the 2.5 miles, however, we decided to do our own little bar crawl. Basically, we stopped at a lot of bars on the way back to downtown. Grizzly Bears, 1860s Saloon, Carson's, Kelly's, Angry Beaver, Drunken Fish, and possibly one or two more. Obviously, the zoo didn't happen. On a positive note, a 2.5 mile walk isn't as hard when you stop and drink every now and then :D

Monday involved driving back to Omaha. We had a ton of fun but have realized that STL - at least the downtown - isn't the greatest place. Like many cities across the US, people are flocking out of downtown to the suburbs, which is sad to me :( That, however, is for another day


So close

Guess what...ONE MORE MONTH! Heck, not even a month left. My last day is June 22nd. How crazy close is that? 

I finished up my ER rotation last week and started on heme/onc (blood and cancer) at the VA. I forgot how great it is to be on a consult service (last time was way back in August when I still closely resembled a chicken w/ my head cut off). We only have a handful of people we see in the hospital, and the rest of most days I wait for a consult to be called. 2 afternoons a week I work in out patient clinic, which is...interesting (my staff is a very unique guy). 

Like most rotations, I can see the positives and negatives of this specialty. The negatives -> you are around quite a bit of sadness and death and dying. Plenty of pain and suffering. With all that, you may be wondering if there is any good in all of it. But there is. You get to help people through a very emotional situation. You get the chance to see the rare ones who always have a silver lining point of view that makes you grateful for your own health and life.

On to food

Pappy's Smokehouse
Now, if you are a food TV addict (as I am), you have likely seen this place on some program or another featuring BBQ. Just search "St. Louis BBQ," and this place will appear several times. Some magazines even rank it one of the top in the nation. Now, I know everyone has their own opinions, and this is just mine. So no getting all argue-pants on me. I am a planner, so I "knew" they opened at 11am on a Saturday. I knew how to get there from the freeway. I knew the main parking lot, which can get really crowded, is in the back. Little did I know, that it actually must have opened earlier, because when we rolled up at 1045, there was already a line (inside at least). We took our place, poured over the menu, and made our choices...all before getting even close to the front. For as busy as it was, the place was pretty clean and a nice comfortable temperature (in the dining room at least). They have your typical red-white checkered table clothes on a variety of table sizes that all have little signs reading "Please place your order before taking a table." I actually appreciate this, because nothing worse than worrying about where you are going to sit.

We decided to get a variety of meats. Matt got a half-slab of ribs w/ a little bit of pulled pork. I got the 2 meat dinner (regular size thank goodness) with brisket and turkey breast. I loved all of our choices. The brisket was incredibly tender, and the turkey was nice and moist yet super flavorful. They had a variety of sauces you could put on yourself, and I think I like the sweeter one more than the other 2 (original and hot). The ribs were honestly amazing. They had a ton of meat on them. While they fell apart in your mouth, you could still pick them up without making a mess. The pulled pork was good as well, not as good as the rest though in my opinion.

For the big question...would I wait an hour or more for this? Truthfully, I don't know. I can't answer that because I have never been in that situation. Yes, it was great and probably some of the best BBQ I have ever had, but I hate lines.

AMBIANCE: great, friendly people, noisy but cozy
TASTE: amazing smokey flavor, amazing sauce
MENU: everything from sandwiches to huge platters, keeping it simple though, which is nice
SERVICE: counter service, so not super personal but everyone was very nice
OVERALL: If we lived in STL, I would give it a 5.5 (without the line). Then again, BBQ ranks just below pizza on my "food on my mind" scale

Pappy's Smokehouse on Urbanspoon



(Pan across empty room. In walks Becky proudly carrying a soap box. She places it delicately at the front of the room, adjusts her pants because they seem a little short, and boldly steps up. Crowd holds on because she may be up there for a while)

By now most of you have heard about Mayor Bloomberg's proposal regarding the selling of soda in New York City - no more than a 16oz serving at a time in restuarants (or something of that nature). I have huge issue with this, so please excuse me while I impart my almost well thought out opinion on you.

I myself am a lover of soda. It's the bubbles. Gotta love the bubbles. I choose to drink diet soda. Yes, I am sure something in it will give me cancer one day, but I am trying to live in the present. There was a time when I drank regular soda - mainly through college. At that time, however, I was playing competitive basketball 6.5 days a week, so the calories didn't matter as much. Because of this love, I fully understand how easy it is to consume a large amount of calories simply by mindlessly drinking regular soda. I also agree that this is a HUGE issue with the growing number of obese Americans, especially children. Simply limiting the # of ounces a patron can have at one time, however, is NOT how we should go about addressing obesity.

First, my silly critiques on the proposal
1. Uh...they can just keep getting refills and bothering the waitress when she should be bring me my food

2. What about those of us who drink diet soda? I want 96oz of it all at once. Thanks

3. 16oz really isn't very much. The standard "single serving size" plastic bottle is 20oz. Just saying

4. Like any little kid who is told that they can't walk on wet cement, they just want to walk on it more. Tell me no large sodas? I am going to drink more just to spite you

My more serious critiques
1. Why is the government trying to be a dictator? Hear me out before you rip me apart. I am a doctor; I see every day that obesity is a problem. You know who can't boss you into being healthy? The government. No 20oz soda at McDonald's? Guess what, they can still buy it at the store. Sure, tax it more, that is a whole seperate issue. Limiting how much a person can drink (in one cup) impinges on his or her own personal freedom to choose. Yes, I know this isn't the biggest "choice" a person makes in his life, but it is a choice made millions of times daily. 
   I know you may be saying, "Well they did it with smoking, how is this any different?" And I say, "You smoking around me affects my health; you drinking regular Coke around me doesn't interfere with my life or my health at all." Which is true. It doesn't. You want to drink 10,000 calories in soda a day? Those calories aren't oozing out onto me and getting me all obese and stuff. You, "Well, obesity is driving up costs of health care and this and that and this." Me, "So is smoking. And older people." You, "Well...any little thing to cut down calorie consumption by obese people will help." Me, "True, but this isn't how we do it." Read on

2. Where does it stop? I think this sort of limitation can be too much of a slippery slope. Unlike smoking (you either are smoking or your aren't), there is a huge variety of foods and serving sizes with a broad spectrum of calorie counts. What type of food goes on to be limited next? From now on, burger patties can be no more than 8oz. And you can only have one on a burger at a time. And you can only order 2 per person in your party total. And no sides. You can have either fries OR the burger. Not both. And whenever you order a salad, dressing has to be on the side. Actually, let a government official come put the dressing on for you (okay...exagerating a bit there, but you get my point) You may think this is silly, but I feel it is too easy to allow a limitation on one thing at a time that slowly leads to a ban on a lot of things.
      And where does this leave us with alcoholic drinks? I know this ban just stipulates soda, but what about 20oz beers? And that 10oz margarita? Yes, it is smaller than 16oz, but it is way high on calories. Do we just start serving everything in 100 calorie packs? You, "So what do you propose Ms. Smarty Pants." Again, read on.

The key, my imaginary friends, is education. For years now, the government has said that nutritional information has to be easily available to consumers. Cool. Awesome. Love it. You know what is overwhelming? Looking at that HUGE table of numbers down the hallway on the way to the bathroom. They always put them in weird places. They are always hard to read. Heck, I am relatively smart and still find them a little too cumbersome. It all boils down to calories (yes, % of fat vs carbs vs protein matters too, but let's keep it simple here people).

And guess what, most people, be them smart or stupid, have little insight into how many calories are in their food. While it may make me feel awful about my choice to walk into a fast food joint, it helps me immensly to see that calorie count right up on the reader board right next to the item I am about to purchase. King County is Washington has done this for a couple of years. Panera Bread does this nationwide. That whole panini has 950 calories? I'll have half. And a cup of soup that has 100 calories. 

To solve, or at least start to address, the issue of obesity, we have to get to the source. People consume too many calories and live too sedentary of lives. Solution - eat less, move more. Being forced to consume fewer calories WILL NOT WORK because no one is there to babysit your eating/drinking all the time. It is still a choice to consume too much. Knowing, however, that your breakfast sandwich has 600 calories in it gives you great information on how to eat the rest of the day. We have to educate people on the calories in food and then let them make the choice. EDUCATION IS KEY PEOPLE!!!!!!!! Dictating intake, is not

(Becky steps off soap box, adjusts length of pants again, and runs swiftly to Panera) :D


Last Omaha Concert

Well, not forever. Just for us :)

On May 31st we went to The Shins at the "Stir Cove" at Harrah's over in Council Bluffs. I would never claim to be a Shins fanatic. I would never claim to hate them either. We seem to exist together just fine never really acknowledging the others existence. Regardless of our past relationship, Matt got us tickets along with his coworker Casey and his wife. 

In a weird, puzzling way, Omaha was cold that night. Yep. Late May. Cold. Coat cold. People wearing gloves cold. NOT QUITE seeing your breathe cold. Okay, the last one may be a bit of an exageration, but you get my point. We pull up, park easily (no paying!), file in. This place is right on the edge of the "beautiful" Missouri River looking towards downtown Omaha. Harrah's, in all its glory, serves as the back drop for the stage. There are no true seats, just grass in sort of a fake almost natural ampitheater. Casey and his wife have kids and do parent type things, so they had several camping chairs that we used. It was maybe 56 degrees. Max. I hunkered down with my Coors Light (only $6, not too bad for a concert venue).

First group: The Antlers. Um...can we say...whiney? Yeah. We can. Very whiney. Not really a pump up the crowd band to me. I am sure some people love them. We are not those people

2nd group: Blind Pilot. I really enjoyed them. Mostly up beat songs that I can dance in my chair (some may not see it as dancing) to. I would buy their CD. If those still existed.

Finally: The Shins. As stated previously, we have long existed seperately. Last night we were thrown into the same room. Overall...meh. And I don't blame the group. I blame the venue. I see them more as a small indoor venue type group. A place where you can all just chill and have some (cheaper) drinks. The music was fine. Would I have put the set list together a little differently? Yes. Do I know anything about putting set lists together? No. But that doesn't matter. It just didn't flow or move the way I was expecting. Sadly, I think our relationship will go back to the way it was


Ode to the hubby

On why I love my husband (don't worry, not overly the top gushy)

-He is always more than willing to run to the grocery store for me...as long as he has a list in hand
-He likes to walk. A lot. He would take a walk 3 times a day if he could. He is going to make a great old man one day
-He knows when to stay out of "my" kitchen (it is mine when there is food going on. It is his when there are drinks going on)
-He only judges me a little bit when I eat way too many of the things I bake...for quality purposes obviously
-He gets way sweatier than I do when working out (and trust me, that is hard to do)
-He can't sleep in past 7am. Well, physically he can. Emotionally and mentally he feels like a lazy bum if he sleeps past that



A lot of people have food they can't stand, smells that make them sick, and even fabrics that drive them nuts; sometimes we neglect those noises that just drive us crazy. Matt often makes fun of me for my hearing, and, as my friend KTO can testify to, I have a tendency to make things up when I don't hear them :) I am sure this will only get better with age. That doesn't mean, however, that I don't have noises that drive me bonkers. Here is a short list of the ones I can think of off the top of my head (my family knows most of them already...and does them on purpose already...)

-Nails on chalkboard. Duh. No one really likes this I don't think. BUT with smart boards and white boards etc, it isn't as much of a threat in my day to day life. Then again, putting a chalkboard in your kitchen is sort of hot right now. But a lot of times that is "chalkboard paint," and I don't know if that makes the same noise

-Knife on a plate & teeth on a fork. I think the first one is pretty common for people, which means almost everyone realizes when they have done it. The latter, however, often occurs frequently as part of an every day meal. Just an innocent person trying to make sure they get all the food off that fork. Watch for it sometime. It may just make you shudder too. Thinking about it just now almost made me want to throw up. Plastic forks for all!

-Chewing loudly. 'nough said. 

-Moving plastic grocery bags. Okay. I admit. This one may put me into the "nutso" or "neurotic" category. I am okay with that. I. HATE. GROCERY. BAGS. MOVING. Yeah yeah yeah. I know I should use my re-usable bag, but I forget sometimes. I guess this is my punishment. I like my groceries very stable and clumped together so that I don't hear them rolling and moving and getting all out of the bad. 

I think those first couple boil down to the idea of one bad texture on another. The last one seems to be - as I actually typed it out - more of a personal issue with my groceries escaping all over the place and breaking or causing a mess etc etc. Will I get over these? Probably not. Do I want to? Probably not :D


This just in

Wait...did I forget to tell you all? (Okay, anyone who reads this probably already knows...but still) Matt got a job!!!!! Teaching!!!!!! He found out last week. We are beyond excited. This isn't a feat because he has no skills. Matt is a very gifted teacher who truly loves doing it. He didn't choose to teach so he can have summers off or so he can coach. He teaches because he loves it. This was more a feat because of how tight the market is for teachers. Hundreds laid off with fewer retiring and fewer openings. The hardest part is getting the interview. He is dynamite after that. It is at a private school too! Which is a good thing in my mind. Yay! Moving in 5 weeks!


Ode to Brunch

Forgive me if I have already discussed brunch with you imaginary people, but I want to talk about it a little bit more.

Brunch. It is a magical magical word to me. It can quickly change an ordinary weekend into one of beauty and happiness and everything good in the world. Okay. That might be a bit of an exageration...in your book. Not in mine however. As long as it is really brunch. Not just late breakfast. 

Growing up, brunch WAS Patsy Clark's. It was this great place in Spokane that served an amazing, out of this world buffett type brunch. Plus it was in this really cool old mansion. We would go when we were young, and I have no clue if they served dinner or lunch or anything other than hoards of breakfast food. It managed, however, to serve as the bar against which all other brunches are judged. Sadly, it no longer exists :(

It may be the fat kid in me, but brunch is not brunch without it being a buffett. Honestly otherwise it is just late breakfast. I have no problem with late breakfast, but don't invite me to go out to brunch if we are just going to Village Inn or Perkins. Invite me out to breakfast then. :D

Patsy Clark's had table upon table of everything you could imagine - pastries, bacon, sausage, potatoes, WAFFLES, eggs, more eggs, and desserts. They likely had a meat carving station, but that didn't appeal to young Becky. Now, was it really as awesome as I make it out to be? I dunno. It could have been my young mind making it into this Willy Wonka fairy tale land. Alas, nothing I have had since can measure up.

(True) Brunches I have tried in Omaha? --> Crave, Upstream, Grissanti's, Valentino's. That is about it I think. I would say the best was probably Crave. It wasn't too expensive plus you got a free mimosa or OJ with it. Yes please!

Brunches (read: Late breakfasts) that I have ENJOYED in Omaha? --> Dixie Quicks, Taxi's, Le Peep. Dixie Quicks (now in Council Bluffs) is fun and quirky, and if you haven't gone but live in Omaha, you should go


Can I Get Through This?

I don't mean intern year. Of course I can finish that. I mean all the other items in our house/kitchen. We are rapidly approaching 'THE MOVE,' and every time we buy something, I cannot help but think, "Can we finish that?" New thing of shampoo...can we really finish that? New quart of olive oil...really? Costco sized butter...okay, that answer we all know is yes. 10lb bag of quinoa...now that is pushing it? From the outside, you may all think this is silly, but when it comes to packing, I don't want to move all these items if we don't have to. At the same time, I hate wasting money and don't want to toss things either. Ergo, we are now in a fine balancing act of buying and using. Looks like I will be washing my hair a lot :)

Having done this ER rotation for all of 1.3 days, I can see why people like this type of job. I can also see, however, how you could become very jaded and burnt out. The pluses: you get to do the initial investigation, you don't have to follow up on tests (you pass them along to their primary doc or the inpatient team), it can be really hands on (in high acuity places...not the VA). The downs: people treat this as their primary doctor (not as much at the VA as at Creighton), you can get a lot of drug seekers, you have to deal with small problems that truly could be seen by a primary care doctor - sniffles, upset stomachs because you ate too much at dinner - and having to practice CYB medicine (cover your butt). You are 99.99% sure they don't have a clot in their lung because nothing points to it at all, but you order the test regardless 'just in case.' It really could jade someone. Alas, these 1.3 days have been way better than floors.

Wasabi Sushi  
As previously stated, Monday was our 1 year anniversary. Because of Step 3 and then a meeting for Matt, we could not celebrate until last night. I put Matt in charge of choosing our dinner location. We originally chose a steak place. Then, after much debating (mostly in his own head), Matt changed plans and decided on Wasabi. We have been here several times, so I knew we would not regret this choice. 

We were seated immediately when we arrived (around 6pm or so). The servers sort of tag team service - one with drinks, one with food, another with food. Heck, if it makes it quick, I don't care who is helping me. For those who have never been before, this is an all you can eat for one price type thing. No, not a buffett sushi place. You order off a menu just like any other sushi place. The thing here - if you don't finish it, they charge you for it. Makes complete sense to me. When you see the price at first (I think $22 for adults for dinner), you may be taken back. If you go hungry, however, you can spend that much easily. Having been here before, we knew at least what appetizers we enjoyed - the fried chicken (katsu) and the "pizza." The former is thinly pounded, lightly breaded and perfectly fried. It is satisfying without being heavy. It comes with a flavorful teryaki-esque dipping sauce as well. The 'pizza' shouldn't fool you. Other than the fact that it is "stuff on top of a round thing" it in no way resembles pizza. To tell you the truth I don't know what the base is made of, but it seems like hash browns in patty form with yummy on top of it. That is all the better I can describe it. Delicious.

They have quite a selection of sushi but nothing outlandish and crazy (at least not on the all you can eat menu). I always enjoy a good crunchy roll. All our rolls were delicious, but compared to other sushi places, I don't think their ingredients are as high of quality but by no means the bottom rung either. Everything came out quickly and neatly without any issues. Included in the price is your choice of 3 different ice creams - vanilla, green tea, and red bean. Matt got green tea, and I got the red bean. Don't let the name scare you, the red bean is a perfect combination of cold and sweet. The green tea isn't for me, but it really does taste like green tea. We left full and satisfied as per usual. 

AMBIANCE: dimmly lit but great decor, modern but still warm
TASTE: middle of the road in terms of quality but I wouldn't pass up a roll in front of me; a few of the appetizers could use a bit more seasoning
MENU: expansive; as I said previously, the have plenty of rolls to choose from but nothing super crazy or fancy
SERVICE: top notch, our sodas were never empty, the food came out quick and clean
OVERALL: 5. I would go here every month if I had the money (and expandable pants) to manage it

Wasabi Sushi on Urbanspoon


$3000+ later...

Yep. Another hiatus. This one has a good excuse though! I was taking Step 3, which is the 3rd of 3 exams all MDs have to take to get licensed. You take Step 1 between 2nd and 3rd year of med school, Step 2 (written and fake patient) during 4th year, and Step 3 (usually) some time during intern year. They get slightly easier (or I guess I just get smarter) as you go; plus they carry a little less weight with each one...as long as you did well on the one before it :D. Oh, yeah, and they also cost a butt load of money. In total, all 3 - not counting the fact that you have to fly to one of five cities for the fake patient one - cost over $3000. Yep. I hope I passed :)

See, I told you it was a good excuse. I am so excited to not have to study every night. I start "Admit Area" at the VA tomorrow, which is their ER. No, we don't get car accidents or gnarly things, but I hear I get to do some joint taps, ultrasounds, etc. And scrubs. I get to wear scrubs.

One year ago yesterday, I got married! The service was at 4pm. At about 3:57pm, the lights flickered. It had been windy out and slightly drizzly pretty much all day. That didn't bug me. I'm not made of sugar. None of us think anything of the power flicker until my younger brother came into the holding room - "Uh...um...anyone have a lighter? Don't worry, we are setting candles up." Come again? Yep, the power went out. What we were now seeing were the emergency lights. My brothers and Matt's brothers scrambled and quickly set up candles. We found an 'itty-bitty book light' to help the readers see their readings. Thank goodness we chose the chapel we did - floor to ceiling stained glass running the length on both sides. Plenty of light! Well, plenty that we could be seen enough. Our photographers did an amazing job working with the lighting. A quick 1hr and 10 minutes (full Catholic) later, we were married!!!

Etc etc...party party

My only regret: I didn't drink enough beer at the reception. I wasn't looking to get drunk, it was just such good beer!!!!!

No resteraunt right now. Gotta get back into the whole typing things 



Sorry for the hiatus...again. Busier days + vacation = little updating. My life since I last wrote (can't even remember when that was):

-Transitioned to the day time pretty easily. Remember that I don't like rounding :( While I switched easily to being awake when the sun is up, I really struggled to wrap my brain around working when the sun is up. I am on general medicine at the VA, and we can't seem to get our patient list under 8 no matter how hard we try. Sigh. I am enjoying it though.

-Went to Seattle! Matt and I headed to Seattle last week to find housing for next school year. Whelp. We saw plenty of places, really really liked one place, and put in zero offers :D Our loan doesn't allow us to close before July 10th, so we have some timing issues to work out. That, and we aren't convinced that buying is right for us right now simply...and don't tell him I said this...because Matt doesn't have a nailed down job yet. :( Anyone have one they want to give him?

-Enjoyed Easter with Matt's family. Holidays with other people is always...different. They don't do a big family thing for Easter, and obviously their traditions (basically just baskets) are different. My mom was sad though because this is the first time, possibly ever, that she didn't have any children home. Yes, she still hides eggs and baskets for her adult children. I have no shame in that. 

-Went to 2 concerts...back to back. I am getting too old for this. On Wednesday night we sat FRONT ROW at Death Cab. Last night we drove to Lincoln to see Avett Brothers. Both shows were great! Neither venue blew me away though. I will post some pictures at some point.

To the important things in life. Food!

As someone who struggles to live in the moment, before I go someplace to eat, I usually look up everything about it - reviews, hours, menu, etc. While this may seem like a good thing, and from time to time I am sure it is, it usually gets my mind set on a track of what to expect - from the food to the service. I still try to go with an open mind, and luckily that works for me most of the time.

I had a Groupon to this local establishment that I had to use before it expired, and with Matt on spring break already, I ventured here for a solo lunch. Of course an early lunch for sushi on a Saturday in Omaha makes for quick seating. The place, in usual Omaha style, is in a strip mall but is surprisingly open and bright on the inside. They have a bar with probably 20 stools or so and then plenty of seating. I shuffled my lonely self into a booth and proceeded to get lost in the menu. Oh. My. Goodness. That, my imaginary friends, is a large menu. Dozens of different rolls in several sizes - a good variety of "typical" (not sure what else they are called) and specialty. And then they have entrees - both Japanese and Chinese. And then they have lunches and bento boxes. To get a good variety (and because I had previewed the menu) I decided on a bento box and a Crunchy Roll. Man do I love crunchy rolls. The soup and salad came out quickly. The former was delicious and just salty enough. The green onions were fresh and crisp. The latter, however, left a lot to be desired. Iceberg lettuce with a big glob of orange colored salad dressing. It tasted alright, but the presentation was slightly unappetizing. Don't worry, I still ate it all. Next came my roll. That was great. Everything tasted fresh and very high quality. The crunch was just crunchy enough without overpowering the remaining components. My bento box was just the right size as well. I got the teryaki chicken. It was a little disappointing because nothing beats all the great teryaki places in Seattle, but it was still good. I forget what else came with it, but it was all to my liking. I left very satisfied and happy I made the trip. Now only if they had happy hour...

Service: great! But I did go at a slow time
Ambiance: very bright and open, music was a tad loud...and from the late 90s :D not that there is anything wrong with that
Menu: Large and in charge. Come prepared to read
Taste: Sushi was amazing. I really believe they use quality ingredients and take care in their preperation. Most of the other items were just above par I would say
Overall: 4. I think their sushi is higher quality than Blue but it reflects in their prices

Okinawa Sushi on Urbanspoon


You Know You are Tired When...

You can sleep 8 hours at night and take a 3 hour nap without blinking. No really. I took a 3 hour nap today, in 90 degree heat, with the sun fully shining, without a single issue. Really? Really? Yep, I am tired. Thank goodness...I am on my last night!!! Whoop whoop. 3 am. 5 hours left. BooYah!

This weekend I was a single lady once again. Eating when I want. What I want. Turns out, I almost eat more when Matt isn't around. No one to see that I ate half a batch of biscotti. To the rest of the world, that biscotti never existed. To me, that biscotti only half existed :D I really haven't done much other than workout. Matt left for spring break on Friday. No exotic locations...unless you consider Lacey, WA exotic. I leave Tuesday after clinic! Hopefully we can find a place to live! Yay!

I did what I have never done before: I ate lunch at a menu restaurant...ALONE! Yep, I said it. I will write a full review later, but we had a Groupon that was going to expire. I thought, "Heck with it, I am going to lunch." And it was delicious and amazing. Matt will come next time :D

Nothing else new really lately. Spring has sprung. No actually, summer has sprung. Bees are out. Trees are in full bloom. It was 90 here today. 90!! Tomorrow/Monday is supposed to be in the low 70s, however, so I toughed it out and didn't turn on the AC. Whoop. Here's to April coming in like a lion. A really really hot African lion.



Almost there! And by almost I mean 6 more nights! Whoop. As much as I may deny it, this rotation - and the lack of sleep - is finally catching up to me. On Saturday morning, I slept in until 1030 without even blinking; Sunday it was 930. What is so odd about that you may ask? I. Don't. Sleep. In. Especially with Matt around. I am usually up and ready to go (not "cute" and ready for the night time or anything) by 9. Sigh. But man did it feel great.

Friday I joined Matt for "Drinking Fridays" (happy hour with teachers) at Cilantro's. They don't have HH specials, but the delicious salsa makes it all good. We then "got" to hang out with high schoolers to watch the talent show. Matt really wanted to go because someone was doing stand-up in which Matt got made fun of. Sigh. That was long. We left before the end. It is interesting to me that the guys were funnier than the girls - is this because it is how we are raised? What is expected? Confidence in high school? All of the above. I digress. We then, of course, hit up late night at Johnny's. I will someday review this place...when we don't just dine for HH.

Saturday involved...um...lazing around? I really can't tell you what we did. A walk. Costco. Oh yes, a high school track meet. Always.......fun? Both of us got a little burned on our faces. The weather here has been amazing! Loving every minute of it, before it turns into 95 and humid. Saturday night we met some friends in Dundee for dinner at The Dundee Dell.

Dundee Dell:
Matt and I have long been lovers of the Dundee area. If we were to have stayed in Omaha, we would have moved here. Interestingly, they really only have a couple bars and even fewer places to eat, but that is changing. The Dell remains a true and sturdy standby (or 'staple') of this area. I could quote you the history of the area and the building and the name and the owners, but I am not a true Omaha-ian ergo I am not required to actually know this stuff. 

For quite a few years now, I have turned my nose up (well, more like 'away' really) from The Dell. I can't even give you a good reason why though. They have a great beer selection (not always the cheapest) and good atmosphere (though it can be a little loud at dinner time). I really don't know what it was. Maybe because everyone else raved about it? Always wanted to go there? Maybe I was mad at Dundee for not offering me more dining choices? Regardless, I was foolish. I apologize. I hope The Dell will accept.

We have been here twice in about 2 months and had a great experience both times. The menu is largely made up of sandwiches and burgers. Yes, they advertise the fish and chips heavily, especially this time of year, but I don't think this is where they shine. Almost every sandwich has a few options of what type of meat you want (ie pastrami vs chicken vs turkey) to please even the pickiest in your group. They even offer a salad or two if "The Grinder" or a patty melt isn't calling your name. I got the chicken pesto philly. Oh goodness was that great. The chicken was in big chunks to the point where you could tell it was chicken. The peppers and onions weren't too sauteed into mushiness. The hoagie was just soft enough yet plenty sturdy. I would order that every time if everything else didn't look so darn good. I will say that their appetizers leave a lot to be desired in my book. None of them have a lot of heart and all sort of seem to have fallen out of the freezer and into the microwave/deep fryer.

Service: Excellent!! This time at least. We have had some poor service here before
Cleanliness: Little under par I would say. Maybe it is the green carpet or something, but the ground always seems a little dirty
Ambiance: Great! Always lively on Friday and Saturday nights (if you want lively that is)
Menu: Appetizers are lacking in motivation. Everyone (except your super health conscious and vegans/Celiacs) could find something to enjoy - including adult beverages :D
Taste: (other than appetizers) Great! No sandwich or burger is too dry or over salted. Your first bite doesn't blow your hair back but it keeps wanting to eat...and eat...and eat
Overall: 5. Yep. I said it. 5.

Dundee Dell on Urbanspoon



Ode To Joy

And by 'joy' I mean college basketball. I have long been a college basketball fan; I wouldn't say nut or fanatic but fan will suffice. Ergo, March Madness makes me giddy. Basketball on TV all day long you say? Sign me up. I of course root for my Zags. Luckily this year both the men and women made the tourney (have for a couple years now). I mourned on Saturday when the men lost but celebrated when the ladies won. Woot!

I took a little dispensation from my Lenten 'no booze on Saturday' thing for St. Patrick's Day - still no beer though. Did I live it up you ask? Uh, no. I am boring and on night float. Matt and I headed downtown to watch a few of the games at a huge sports bar, which was a ton of fun. We then walked around and watched drunk people try to/try not to get hit by cars. The weather was AMAZING. On the way home we stopped at Lot 2 for a glass of wine - a new wine bar here in Omaha. It will get a full review after we actually eat dinner there. We did, however, get ourselves a little snack - deep fried pig ears. I had no clue what to expect. The bartender said "like bacon from a different part." I disagree. It was yummy and salty but not really like bacon. Would I recommend it? Yes. Would I get it again? Maybe...maybe not.

What else have I been up to? Night floating. Not sleeping enough. Working out. Eating. I usually get in bed in morning by 10am but cannot manage to sleep past 230 or 3. Grrrrrrrrrrr.



Excuse me for a moment as I have an actual serious post.

Reality of the matter is that people get sick. Very sick. And people die. We don't always know who or when or even why. But it happens. It is sometimes hard to remember this when a day, or a night, goes smoothly. You feel good about what you are doing and that you are helping people. All of that can change so suddenly, however, for you and your patients. 

Two nights ago we finally had a crappy night. I say finally because our 2 weeks have gone pretty well thus far. As soon as we came on we had to put a little old patient on pressors (an IV medication to try to keep the blood pressure up) as well as a BiPAP machine (like the thing people with sleep apnea use) because she was having trouble breathing. Her heart was failing basically. We then had a relatively "un-sick" patient suddenly code. As we are working on him, I receive a call saying our little old sick patient was made 'comfort care' - no more intervention to keep her alive, just try to keep her comfortable. Within 30 minutes both of the patients had passed. The energy, the air, the motivation is sucked out of our team. While we go on with our night, each of us is left to pick up the mental and emotional mess left internally.

I can distinctly remember having to pronounce my first death that first week in July. He too was comfort care, so the death was expected. But I still got a cold chill when the nurse called me to say he had passed. I went and spoke to the family, who was with him when he passed and were mentally prepared. I did the final exam we are required to do, expressed to the family that I was sorry for their loss and asked whether they could use anything, then I walked out of the room with the glossy eyes and an ever enlarging lump in my throat. The sad thing - I don't remember his name. I remember everything else about the story: his room number, the color blanket he had on him, what the family said to me. I can't remember his name though. Is this self preservation? Mental and emotional protection? These questions are too big for me and my little half read blog. They remain important however.

The culture of medicine is to not discuss death. Death = failure. We are supposed to keep people alive. When we do talk about it, we stay superficial. "It is best for her." "He was very sick." Then we leave it at that. Even if that is the case, we don't delve further into our own reactions, beliefs, and feelings. Do we need touchy feely therapy sessions? No. We do need to express it however to stay mentally well. Sigh. Add another thing to my list of things to work on


End of the Internet

This isn't some doomsday message of the world (ie...internet) ending. No. It is far more personal. I have found the end of the internet. If you look at the timestamp on this post, it will be in the early AM hours. It turns out that night float gives you a lot of time to explore...the internet. I know that if I just go and watch TV that I will fall asleep. And, as previously discussed, I don't want to do that. 

I have never been "good" at internetting. Yes, that is a word. I have always been the person who checks her emails, checks her facebook, and - as of late - checks her google reader for recipes. That's about it. No newspapers to follow. No funny websites I frequent. My time could be bundled (minus my brief moments with you lovelies) into approx 15 minutes a day. Max. That makes my time here, alone, at night, difficult to spend. I am finding my way. Usually through food websites :D Sometimes through learning (getting into TED talks), and always through Hulu

Vincenzo's (West location):

Matt and I finally got to celebrate my birthday! We had been to Vincenzo's once previously and decided to give it a go again. I have a (bad) habit of looking at menus before we go to a restaraunt, but this time it was legit - Friday in Lent, I had to make sure they had good non-meat dishes. And they did. I had Matt call to make a reservation as our last trip there resulted in getting drinks at the bar and waiting with snobby West Omahaians. Sigh. My least favorite kind. Turns out that they don't take reservations for parties smaller than five. Yes, yes, I know there are both pros and cons of places doing this, but we were still slightly irked. Secondly, what a weird number...5? Really? Weird. Anyway, we said to heck and decided to beat the dinner rush. 

We walk in shortly after 6pm to find enough open tables that we are sat immediately. Our waitress attended to us quickly but not in a rushing sort of way. I love having adult wait staff. They always make a place seem nicer. Matt ordered an old fashioned (I swear he is 65years old if a day); I got a diet soda (night float energy sap and all). As far as I could tell, he enjoyed it thoroughly, and my diet was filled quickly every time.

As we were going "all out" for my birthday, we got not one but TWO appetizers - the calamari and the mussels. The calamari was a little lack luster. While better with a little lemon on it, the lemon shouldn't make the calamari. It was cooked decently, but the breading just lacked pizzaz. The mussels where great. The sauce, while it looked like it might be heavy, was light and citrus-y. And had mushrooms in it. I love mushrooms.

The menu had a good range of traditional pastas, steak & chicken options, as well as baked pastas and salads. I was tempted by the spinach salad, but figured I only turn __ once. I dove into my meatless options and ordered the scallops farfalle. While usually not a gorgonzola fan, the sauce was perfect - creamy yet not too heavy, full of flavor yet paired well with the rest of the components. It was seasoned just right. My only complaint was that they didn't really mix the spinach in with everything; it sort of sat in a clump under some of the pasta. Matt got baked manicotti & cannelloni; while I chose not to taste, I believe him when he said it was great and filling.

And of course...dessert. Combining my love of chocolate with Matt's love of pecans, we ordered the chocolate tort with the pecan crust. When it came out, the crust was about 3/4" thick, the same thickness as the chocolate itself. :( But alas, they knew what they were doing. If that chocolate had been any more abundant I may have died. It was rich and smooth and worked well with the crunch of the pecan crust. Yum!!

Service: greatly above par especially as far as Omaha standards go. Our waitress was great even with some demanding tables around us
Ambiance: decor is on the verge of slightly aged but still clean and well put together; great lighting. I love good lighting when eating
Menu: basically your standard Italian choices but vast enough that everyone has an op
Taste: aside from the calamari, everything was great. While easy to overlook, seasoning was perfect
Overall: 4. I would definitely call this my favorite Italian in Omaha thus far

Vincenzo's Ristorante on Urbanspoon


Messing with my head

Well, not so much my head as my stomach. This night float thing that is. I am thoroughly convinced after a week of this that I am doing it right - staying up all night and sleeping during the day. The advantages: pages don't take you off guard, sleep isn't interrupted, you can watch a lot of hulu. The disadvantages: um...you are up all night, it seems like you are wasting your day by sleeping, you run out of internet to explore, and your eating schedule gets all sorts of messed up. Sigh. I normally eat dinner with Matt (considered my breakfast I guess), eat late night in the caff as it is open from midnight to 2 am (my lunch I guess), and then have a little bit of breakfast before leaving work (well...dinner I guess). I then go workout and hit the hay. 6 hours later, I am up and making dinner/breakfast.

With my belly not sure what is going on, we will see what happens today (Friday...right?). Am I going to be hungry at 1am? My best guess is yes, since in actuality I am hungry all the time.

Wednesday was my oh so wonderful birthday!!! Unlike my husband, I love my birthday. I have no mental complex (yet) with aging. We all do it. Awesome. I find it as a great excuse to A) Eat too much dessert and B) be so incredibly happy and no one can judge you or think you are high or what not. I have had quite a few unexciting birthdays in my 'adulthood.' On my 18th birthday, we lost my last high school basketball game. When I turned 21, my team and I were flying to Grand Forks, ND early the next morning. This year...I worked night float. Up til 8am, amazing workout, slept til 5pm, back to work. Matt made me pizza (my request) and took me to TCBY. He got me some great presents. It was low key and wonderful. We may celebrate further tonight. Who knows. I just love having my birthday.


A Tale of Two Choices

I have rejoined the land of vampires - the land of dreaded Creighton Night Float. If all 4 of you remember correctly, I was on VA Night Float back in December. Life was grand. Baking was at full stream. I was well rested and well worked out. Or is it well workouted? Either way, patients aren't as frequent, as many, or as sick there. CUMC nights are known to be feared, dreaded, relived in PTSD treatment sessions. Okay, the last one is a bit of an exaggeration. My team, however, is great. It is made up of me, another intern, and an HO2. I start with Cardio crosscover (taking calls on cardio patients) and will switch to UniMed crosscover half way through (ugh...way busier then). Both of us interns admit patients. We are each allowed to admit 5 before we 'cap' --> can't admit anymore patients per national rules. We get here a little before 8pm and are here until 8am. 12 hours. Sunday night through Thursday night. 60 hours per week. Not too bad. Here are the choices that plague me currently however - to sleep or not to sleep.

Everyone approaches sleeping on months like this differently. You could try to get sleep here and there during the night and then take a nap during the day - this was my approach at the VA. My nights of attempted sleep sucked because I was always worried about getting paged. You could not sleep and then go home and sleep, get up in the afternoon then workout and hang with your husband. Or you could not sleep, go workout, then sleep until later afternoon and get up to eat and hang out with your husband. So, in my opinion, those are your three choices. If you couldn't tell from my dislike of option one, I am not trying that. While I could have gotten 3+ hours on all three nights I have done so far, I hated that constant feeling of worry that I could be woken at any minute. That left me with option 2 and 3. I have done one of each thus far and am heavily leaning toward option 3. Of course, this could all go to sh*! in a couple of days, but heck, might as well try staying up all night as long as I can.

Again, no new restaurants :( I have to think of some places we have eaten in the past


2012 Update

As we have successfully moved into the most wonderful month of March (the month lucky enough to be home to my birthday), I thought it would be appropriate to update on my new years resolutions. That, and the fact that Matt & I are trying to save some money makes for fewer reviews. On to the fun!

I will have to admit that I can't fully remember my new years resolutions. Plus I am a little too lazy to look back and see what I promised you internet peoples. Basically I will sort of kind of remake them, right...now

-Read more: whelp...I really wanted to read one non-medicine/learning book a month. It has been 2 months (obvs), and I have only gotten through 1 book sadly. Still, however, that is pretty good for me. Plus, I have the next book in my hot little hands. My first book was Stiff. Next one up is A Thousand Splendid Suns. I read Kite Runner by the same author. I hope it isn't as...um...serious. But I have a feeling it will be

-Floss more often: sorry dad, I am failing this one

-Live more in the present: sigh. Sadly, not happening too well. I have an excuse for this one though --> we are moving! You have to do a lot of future thinking when moving. I do plan things a little too much. A few too many lists for things to do 3 weeks from next Thursday. I will work on it. 

On a further motivational note, I found this blog post. Some good stuff in there. I admit though that sometimes people get a little too self centered, but for the most part, these things aren't self centered in a bad way. 

On the best note ever, we made these last night. By far and away the best sandwich I have ever eaten. Ever. Ever. Ever. We added a little mozzarella. Matt had turkey on his as well. Seriously. Go make these now. Now!!!!!!



As many know, Lent began on Feb 22nd with Ash Wednesday. In the past couple of years, I have become a huge fan of Lent. Now, I know you don't often hear people saying that, so let me explain myself. Many people are critical of the Catholic Church for being so uniform and 'text book.' The sayings are the same, the order is the same, there is little room for ad lib in much of the communal setting. I usually spin this around and see this as a strength and beauty of the Church. I can go to any mass anywhere in the country, heck, even in a foreign country, and know what I am supposed to do and what is going on - minus some kneeling vs standing. Yeah, the music may change as well as the homily, but I know I will get 2 readings, a Psalm, and the Gospel. While I/we know God is all around us, the hour we spend in church walls is 'God concentrated,' as we take it seriously...or at least I do. How does this relate to loving Lent? To me it is reverence. 

I have gone to several types of churches throughout the past 5 years with Matt. No other denomination is as reverent during service...except maybe some Orthodox...and those that have Latin mass. In addition, very few ever even mention Lent. There is no 40 days of prayer and fasting. No abstaining from meat. No sacrifices. Easter just sneaks up on you. Celebrating (and yes, I use that word intentionally) Lent gives me a chance to concentrate on my relationship with God. I have the chance to reflect and try to understand how I can be a better person. I love this. You may say, "Becky, you can do this anytime of year," which is totally true. But I don't. Lent gives me the extra push because I know (hopefully) millions of other Catholics are going through the same process with me.

For Lent, I have chosen 2 things to do - one to incorporate into my life and one to remove from it. I will try to read some sort of reading everyday (easy with our Galaxy tab...has an app for that.) I have also chosen to not a) drink on nights when I work the next day and b) not drink beer or hard alcohol. With night float coming up, that leaves me with Friday nights to enjoy some wine. If you have ever read this blog, you know...I love beer. Hence, this really is a sacrifice for me. Plus, Jesus loved wine I am pretty sure.

To celebrate Fat Tuesday, I invited 2 friends over (Matt was working late), and we enjoyed bacon-beer pancakes, eggs, and, well, beer! It was great. 

No reviews today. Sorry


The caramel of cheeses

Have you ever had this stuff?!?!?!?!
This is honestly the caramel of cheese. Here is a very brief wiki on it. Matt had this up in Lacey with his family over the Christmas holiday. He insisted that we get it here. I thought it would take a while to find, but they had it in the fancy cheese section at Baker's. Sigh. I guess that meant we had to get it. I was hesitant because the only way Matt would ever describe it to me was "different." I asked what it tasted like..."different." Texture..."different." Nothing more than that. It wasn't because he was trying to be mysterious or anything but simply because it is, well, very different. If I had to describe the taste, it truly is the caramel of cheese. Slightly sweet & incredibly smooth. It almost melts in your mouth. Just like a good caramel. And really it is made sort of as caramel is - boiled down something else; in this case, that something else is whey (the product left over from milk when you make cheese). If you have yet to, go get some now. Don't let the color turn you away. It is the color of caramel!!!!! And get a solid but neutral cracker for it. Such as wheat thins. The cheese by itself may be a little too different for you otherwise. 

As with many things/place to eat in life, Matt and I tend to gravitate towards deals. I love trying new places, but I usually need some sort of swift kick in the rear to go outside of my cuisine comfort zone. When a Groupon popped up for this place this past fall, I jumped on it. Sadly, we had yet to go, and it was on the verge of expiring. Having read many reviews, we decided to go on a Sunday when our opinions wouldn't be tainted by a noisy crowd. In typical Omaha fashion, this place is in an unassuming strip mall, faded awning, almost sketch looking from the outside. Inside, you are greeted warmly with almost tiki-esque decor. Bamboo, fake thatched roofs. Cutesy. We were a little early for the dinner crowd but it still took them a while to notice us at the door. After seated, our drink orders were taken quickly, and we, of course, had to get mojitos. The Groupon included 2 of these, an appetizer, and 2 entrees. We tried to order the papa rellenos, but they were out :(...yet it seemed the table next to us (seated after ourselves) seemed to be able to get some. :( We ended up ordering something else very middle of the road - not too outside of my comfort zone. The mojitos came out pretty quickly - likely because it was a Sunday. These aren't your typical over sweetened, over minted mojitos. They packed a punch, and had we been paying for them, we really would have gotten our moneys worth. For dinner, Matt ordered one of their many sandwiches with fries; I got a shredded brisket with mushrooms, onions, and wine sauce. My sides included black beans, plantains, and rice. Matt's sandwich was HUGE and tasty but slightly on the dry side. The fries were a little soggy. My entree was on the smaller side but the taste was amazing. The onions and mushrooms were cooked well and blended seemlessly with the brisket. Only two downsides to my entree: 1. brisket was slightly dry yet there was a ton of oil in the bottom of my dish. 2. The size for the price you paid (outside of Groupon of course) was a little small. The sides were great. My love affair for black beans continues, and these erally hit the spot - slightly smokey and not overcooked. Service was slow but very kind. They tried to actually talk to us like people and not just customers. While this was my first adventure in Cuban food, I can safely say that my mind is now open to trying more.

Service: sub-par. I have come to expect this, however, from family run places. I just can't imagine how slow things would have been on a busy night
Cleanliness: even though it had an island feel, it was a clean island :D
Ambiance: very relaxed. Friday and Saturday they have live music. I am sure it gets loud in there
Menu: Wide selection of sandwiches and decent selection of entrees. 
Taste: Great. Some textures were a little off and dryness was a bit of an issue, but everything tasted amazing
Overall: I would say...4. For lunch only though I think. As I said above, the price for the size of the entrees isn't quite worth it for me. The sandwiches are a great deal though...just no fries 

Gusto Cuban Cafe on Urbanspoon


Triple Rule Out

Most patients over a certain age, with a certain body habitus, or with certain diseases in their medical history (including prior heart attacks, high cholesterol, or diabetes) will get admitted to the hospital if they present to the hospital with chest pain. This isn't a knock on ER docs because they do things day in and day out that I cannot or will not do. However, in the day and age of CYB (cover your butt) medicine, chest pain (CP) gets admitted. Often, their diagnosis is "ACS r/o" or "acute coronary syndrome rule out." This involves checking heart enzymes, getting a few EKGs, etc. Where the ER docs practice CYB by admitting, floor docs (such as myself for the next 4 months) practice CYB by extending "ACS" to "triple" rule out - acute coronary syndrome, pulmonary embolism, and aortic dissection. All can present with chest pain. All are very actue serious problems if the patient has one...or more.
ACS r/o (if truly negative) is relatively simple. An echo of the heart here. A stress test there. The other two, however, require scans of the chest and abdomen. And dye. Which can hurt the kidneys. Sigh. Unfortunately, these diagnoses, if missed, can result in suits. Hence - CYB medicine. This isn't a political statement. Just a statement.
On to more pleasant things...food!!!
I lied. I have yet to actually move on to more pleasant things. Matt and I joined my college friend Sarah (who lives in Omaha) and some of my college teammates here a couple weekends ago. Growing up, we went to "The Old Spaghetti Factory." Deep down inside, I feel that Spaghetti Works is trying to be OSF. This wasn't my first choice. It wasn't even close to my top 20 of choices downtown. One of my teammates, however, was bringing her 18 month old, and Sarah wanted to be sure we went to a "family friendly" place. Sigh. This is a meal I will never get back. The place is huge but wasn't too crowded on a Friday night, which was nice. We got a drink at the bar while waiting for them to arrive. The bar is RIGHT next to the door and almost makes you feel that you are being judged by all the people coming and going. We get seated and look over the menu - many of your standard "Italian" dishes. Nothing outside the box. No made up words for food (like Olive Garden does...but that is okay because there food at least has flavor). All meals come with a trip through the salad bar. I get a little excited because I love a good salad bar. Disappointed. The plates where maybe, MAYBE 4.5 inches in diameter. The choices were all picked over and hard to put on the tiny plates. I got a meatball sandwich with a side of fries. For some odd reason, the fries appeared a good 5 minutes before my sandwich. No texture. No flavor. Most likely pulled from a bag from the freezer. The sandwich was okay. It had just the right amount of cheese compared to sauce compared to balls. The bread left a lot to be desired. Matt got the chicken parm sandwich. Meh. All my friends got pasta, which, on the whole, looked and tasted boring. It was all something I could have opened a can/box/jar of at home. Here, however, you had the great chance to pay $13 for a small portion AND get bad service. Our server made no attempt to see us as people and not just wallets. He wasn't rude by any means just not concerned for anything outside of his bubble. Wow. I sound really negative. But honestly all 3 people that read this, save your money. There is a lot more bang for your buck you can get in downtown Omaha

Service: poor. Incredibly poor.
Cleanliness: below average; not sure if it was because it was a little later or because it was "family friendly"
Ambiance: cool building. Nice high ceilings. Decor neither offended nor impressed
Menu: if you are simply a "meat and potatoes" person, this place is great for you. The term "plating" doesn't apply to anything here
Taste: bland. Pasta dishes looked sad; sandwiches were okay but lacked any sort of pizzazz. 
Overall: 0. Never again. Even if my entire family came down from Spokane and only wanted to go here. I would say, "I'll meet you somewhere afterwards. I don't want to toss my money down the drain there"

Spaghetti Works on Urbanspoon