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