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


The LKs all grown up

I use the term "grown up" here loosely. My younger brother and I were the 'little kids' (LK's) of the family as we were the younger 2 of the 4. The title itself has never been fully appropriate. While 2 years older than I, I have always been the same size or taller. Yes, always. Even when I was born. But seriously, my parents had more money by the time we hit our growth spurts, so the LK's are actually taller than the BK's. To the point...

My little brother came to visit us 2 weekends ago! It also happened to be the kick off of Omaha Beer Week, which was amazing. He managed to fly out during the Snow-magedden of Denver. He arrived before Snow-magedden (Omaha version) even arrived. We hit up Cali Taco, where they forced us to get a pitcher of beer. Forced. We then met Matt and his work peeps in Benson and managed to hit up both Krug Park and Jake's. Oh the glorious beer we got to drink. Oh wait, we then headed to Dundee. And ate at Amsterdam Falafel. Wow. The entire night was amazing to say the least.

Saturday involved brunch and later, beer. In the afternoon we headed to Johnny's Steak House for a little classy happy hour. They have a great happy hour in my opinion. Pictures of mojito's??? We refrained. We then headed over to Brix - an awesome wine and beer store that happened to be a stop on the Beer Week party bus tour. It turns out we aren't very patient. We had a beer there, lingered, and then got antsy. In truth, we really only wanted to go to the last stop on the tour any way - The Lauter Tun.

This place has quickly become one of our new favorites. While very typical of Omaha - strip mall - the inside is nothing like you would expect. The bar top itself juts out into the middle of the moderately sized venue; a dozen 2-4 person high tops surround the bar seating. They have an amazing selection of 22 beers on tap that scroll through on flat screen TVs. I hear that they even have them on iPads for less busy times. They have even more in bottles. There cocktail list is just as extensive. Our favorite - hands down - is the Rootbeer Candy: rootbeer schnapps, vodka, and jagger. It doesn't sound good, but it is AMAZING. The wait staff and bar tenders have been incredibly attentive during all 3 of our visits and make the place worth returning...every week :D While not the cheapest place to drink, the drinks are great and completely worth it.

After a couple hours there, we had to take him to The Phoenix ('our' bar) and for greasy Mexican. Sunday involved the Super Bowl and too much food. mmmmmmm...food.


Life in the Time of Cardiology

I dove head first into cardiology last week. This is my 2nd of 2 months. My first month wasn't too bad, and this month hasn't been the worst...yet. What I enjoy about cardiology is that we always seem to have a concrete goal in mind. UniMed doesn't always feel that way. And it isn't that in cardiology we ignore every other part of the body that isn't the heart or blood vessels. In fact, we often get patients who have had heart problems prior but admitted for something else...such as pancreatitis. What I dislike about cardiology: the overall speed. Heart patients tend to be more complicated, so we have to often take a little more time on each one. These two things - having a goal yet moving slowly - make for a very focused mind during this rotation.

My attending right now has a mesmerizing mustache. I don't know what it is, but sometimes I find myself staring at it. Weird. I know. He, however, is one of the most calming presence I have ever experienced. Not all zen and meditation type calming. It's different. His tone of voice, the volume of his voice, and his body language just ooze CALM when he is talking to patients, families, and even us lowly interns. We had a code on a patient the other day; he was a few days post-op from coronary bypass surgery and doing well. He suddenly went into ventricular tachycardia (bottom part of the heart is beating super super fast), which is sort of what happens just before someone goes into ventricular fibrillation (something that requires shocks to get out of usually). My attending (maybe powered by the mustache) managed to keep everyone calm and kept some over-anxious resident or nurse from shocking this poor patient. He ended up coming out of the bad rhythm on his own. I hope one day to be as calm in such a stressful situation as this man is.

Bobbo was here this past weekend! I will update more on that next blog post, but for now I will just review our brunch spot.

We ventured out in my trusty 4 wheel drive, manual subaru during our first real snowstorm. My amazing driving and slip sliding got Matt, Bo, and I to Wheatfields safely on a Saturday morning. Typically this place is popping at the seams at brunch time. While the One Pacific Place location is open for dinner, they are best known for their breakfast. You enter and immediately want to eat everything in sight. While slightly chaotic, the bakery part of Wheatfields is located right when you walk in. OMG. Everything is so tempting - pies, breads (sweet and savory), pastries, and cakes (their wedding cake is to die for, but $$$$). We were seated right away thanks to the snowstorm. The dining room is sort of half hazardly thrown together with a mix of booths and tables. The menu. Was. Over. Whelming. No seriously. It is about 8 pages full of breakfast stuff and dinner/lunch stuff PLUS the specials menu. Needless to say, we took a while too decide. Matt, in his odd way, got nachos and a reuben. The reuben looked like it had too much 'kraut to me, so I didn't even take a bite. Bo got a scramble...which came with a cinnamon roll. I could eat just the latter and be completely happy. I got a strata with sausage and cheese with hollandaise. While flavorful, I felt it was slightly dry. The portion size was plentiful, however, and it came with...a half waffle. I actually sort of find the slightly odd sides charming. Who doesn't want half a waffle? Unfortunately, the waffle was slightly dry as well. Then again, waffles aren't my favorite breakfast carb. They had everything you would ever want on this menu - scrambles, omelettes, stratas, quiches, and your standard carbs and eggs and meats. Plus a good 2 dozen lunch sandwiches and more dinner entrees. I will say that this isn't IHOP or Denny's where you can find several items under $6. The prices are all closer to $10, but I do feel that you get what you pay for here. And then they force you to walk back out by all the baked goods :( If only I were still playing basketball

Service: great! But I think it helped that the place was really quiet due to snow
Cleanliness: could be improved upon
Ambiance: this isn't their selling point. You can tell they just keep adding areas of seating because they are so popular. I wasn't going here for the ambiance though
Menu: OMG. Overwhelming. Something for everyone
Taste: While my dish was dry, overall the taste was great. The strata blended everything that is/should be breakfast (cheese...meat...eggs) into a uniform, airy dish.
Overall: 4 (see side column for what this means). I enjoyed it, but we don't often go out for breakfast. Prices were reasonable for the amount of food on the plate, but I don't see ourselves working this into our plans on a monthly basis.

Wheatfields on Urbanspoon


7 down, 5 to go!

I find that I often want to use the title "Survived." Thatis either scary or complete overuse and simplification of the word. I will go with the latter.
UniMed is over! Whoop! On my last day we actually only had 2 patients. Yep. 2. So I can't really complain that much. My 1st month way back in July was pure hell. This one was great. My first month of cardio was great, which means this one will likely be  awful. If you couldn't pick up on the hint, I started cardio today! I was super lucky and got assigned to the team with 4 residents again, which makes the workload just a tad bit better. I have said it before, and I will say it again, I am pretty sure people don't trust me to take care of patients. Our patient list right now? 5. For the whole team. I hope to keep this fluffy white cloud going!
In medicine, you have 3 identities of people: fluffy white clouds, black clouds, and all the rest (I will call them grey clouds). If you are a fluffy white cloud, things go well for you. Calls are benign. Your days aren't hectic and over the top crazy. If you are a black cloud, your day in the hospital is usually a sh*t storm. Crashing patients. PICCs that need removal, shortness of breathe that doesn't improve - with anything - because it is a massive pulmonary embolus. Critical lab calls. And 5 admits in 2 hours. Grey are obviously somewhere in between. Some people flip back and forth between the two. Some. Just. Stay. Black. Clouds. I am very lucky to not be one of them. Yes, I have had my moments, but on the whole, I tend towards a light grey.
This building seems to be a rotating door of restaurants. My parents can recall them all. I cannot. For a time it was a seafood place, then maybe a salad place. Really? A salad place? Well, now it is Dewey's Burgers & Brew. My parents and I met my aunt, 2 uncles, and a cousin here before the Zag game when I was up in Spokane. Walking it, it has nice high ceilings, family seating to the right and "bar" seating to the left. While no real fault of theirs, you are greeted by the bar, which isn't always the warmest of feelings. In truth, there wasn't much distinction between the family and bar seating. Plenty of tables on both sides. No real high tops (which sometimes people imagine as 'bar' seating). Their names suggests that they would have a plethora of tap choices. In actuality, they had 8. One being my lover, Widmeier Hefe. Yep. The menu had a range of sandwiches as well as burgers (their specialty) as well as Italian entrees (evenings only) as the place is owned by a family who also owns an Italian place in town. I got the mushroom swiss burger with soup as my side. The soup was standard. Nothing to write home about. The burger was pretty tasty. The meat was tender and juicy but not to the point of runny down your arm and ruining your shirt for the night. Every bite was flavorful, and I found I could actually taste the swiss. So often the swiss is either of low quality or the seasoning salt is too powerful. This was great. In terms of portion size, it was neither too big nor too little. I was full by the end but not regretful. My mom got the chicken philly, which was also very flavorful. My dad got the stromboli - not like the pizza type you are thinking. It is more of the grinder variety. Ground meat, red sauce, cheese, onions(?), hoagie. While not my sandwich of choice, it was still quite good. Everything was a lot more flavorful than I expected out of this location. I am a fan of Red Robin (no judging, I like the fries and the clucks), but I would choose this over Red Robin any day. Everything overall just felt individually made and that the kitchen truly paid attention while putting our meals together.
See side column for how I rank things

Service: great, they didn't rush us and actually took time to talk to us (not in that fake way either)
Cleanliness: average
Ambiance: average, building is fine but you can tell it has served many purposes
Menu: decent selection but wasn't blown away by appetizer choices
Taste: as I said, above average
Overall: If I lived in Spokane, I would give it a 4. My parents have already put it in their "5" category, but it doesn't quite make it there for me
Dewey's Burgers and Brew on Urbanspoon