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It’s been a long time, but my sister spent some time in the hospital so everything was (and is) put on the back burner. I’m just getting back into the swing of things with this review of my first trip to Hunan Chinese Restaurant out in Kearney, Missouri!

We were given a lovely combination platter (of which there is some not as lovely video – my phone stinks!), then Orange Chicken for Laota and Three Ways + Sizzling Rice for moi (about $10 per huge plate) – Some pics & video!

The rice was a bit heavy (I’m used to sticky rice, though, so that may be why), and everything was fried or drenched in sauce – which is all fine, actually. It was American-style Chinese food and absolutely lovely! The people were lovely, the food was good, the atmosphere is amazing (piano music and some fantastic singing). Couldn’t have had a better time!

Speaking of Asian food, I have a review of Kato Japanese Restaurant coming up!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

bento_box: KFC Christmas (KFC Christmas)

Well, a few weeks ago on my mother’s birthday there was a swimming party. Yes, a 500 year old woman decided to have a pool party for her birthday – which would be great if it wasn’t a two hour drive in the heat. Add on top of that she had to stop and mull around a redneck’s garage sale for an hour (stank, I came out of it with allergies) then she wanted to eat – before a long car ride and a dip in the pool.

Okay, fine, her birthday and we do things her way. Then she decided on Country Kitchen – which was a bad idea and everyone but her knew it, but she decided that’s where she had to go.

Because it was cheap we all got the breakfast bar, and it tasted fine (so unhealthy, but I’m an egg fiend!). Low and behold, before the day was through, everyone had food poisoning. Food poisoning that lasted ages and everyone’s still slightly sick from the trip.

So, the moral of the story is my mother’s an idiot and Country Kitchen is disgusting. :P

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

bento_box: KFC Christmas (KFC Christmas)

If it looks like there’s nothing but lumps, hunks, mounds of meat on that plate then I say look again – that white thing is taters. Oh yes, I am very, VERY, healthy! ;)

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Parkers Hog Roast

How do we not have this in America? That’s all I can think as I poke around this awesome website for a hog roast hire business in the UK called Parkers.

The idea is that you can hire Parkers to come and cater your function or event and, for about the same price as it would cost you to rent a roasting machine, they come in with the machine and hog, roast your dinner for you and serve it so you can think about other things like how to keep Uncle Mike-y away from the liquor cabinet and thus avoid a no-pants, lampshade-hat scenario!

One of the really great things about this is that, other than it just freeing up your time, your hog is also prepared by professionals who know what they’re doing and roast these hogs for a living. It’s a fabulous concept because it would take you out of the equation, and the possibility of you absolutely ruining your own roast hog by trying to do it yourself if you’re not familiar with these roasting machines. And if you’re hosting a party or event, the last thing you want to do is cook with a contraption you don’t understand – you could end up with a lot of sick guests and a polite decline to your next party invitations! Why not let the professionals do it? You wouldn’t try and fix your car by yourself if you didn’t know how, would you? Well, I wouldn’t but that’s because I know me and I know how much I can fudge up what should be a simple job!

I really wish they’d expand their business with one in the United States. As you probably know, I’m a vintage loving gal and this would make a great centerpiece to an old fashioned tiki party or kitsch luau!

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Just a tad late with this, but we went on an excursion for Mother’s Day all the way to St. Joseph, Missouri to my mother’s favorite place in the world – Ryan’s Grill Buffet & Bakery.

I’ve never been a big fan of Ryan’s, partially because I just don’t like buffet style food, but this last year I’ve been there a few times and it’s always been really good. This time was no exception!

I nabbed two big platefuls ( Mashed potatoes and gravy, fried chicken, potato wedges, BBQ ribs, carrots, rolls and macaroni and cheese ) and a little ice cream. I would’ve had more but one of our party got sick (as usual) and decided to be a downer the rest of the time, including freaking out because we were still enjoying the buffet after she had already had her fill and gone to the car. Women!

Ryan’s gets 3 stars out of a possible 5, the food was good but not necessarily great and the atmosphere always leaves something to be desired. Plus our service woman was rude (not just to us, to everyone).

4302 North Belt Highway
St. Joseph, MO 64506
(816) 390-9855

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We just got back from a trip to Bethany, where we stopped for dinner at Toot-Toot’s Family Restaurant and got buffet – My mom and her hubby love buffet, but I don’t eat enough to balance out the cost. I usually get two plates tops and then a little dessert – I suck at buffet, lol!

Chicken Dinner at Toot Toot Family Restaurant

Buffet was 50/50 – all the greens except for the iceberg salad (blargh!) had frigging bacon in them (including the green beans!), but the mashed potatoes and fried chicken were pretty good. The best part of the meal was the nachos I got with my second plate – I forgot to take a pic of the ice cream, but I did get a pic of one of the awesome signs on the wall!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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Nice surprise today, the rents brought by a coconut cream pie from Perkins that we split 4 ways, which was especially nice because I haven’t had much to eat today and don’t feel like making anything lol. Snapped a bad picture of the pie in the light from my laptop, lol!

Perkins Coconut Cream Pie

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We did a little heavy lifting yesterday and rewarded ourselves with a visit to Dos Chiquitas Mexican Restaurante in Bethany, Missouri.

The first thing you notice about Dos Chiquitas is the great lighting in the building. Unlike China King, and some other small but great chow stops, Dos Chiquitas has softer, warmer lighting instead of florescent bulbs buzzing two inches from your eyeball for the entire meal. The next thing you notice? The super friendly, even more super attentive staff who make you feel at home from the moment you walk through the doors.

Dos Chiquitas Shredded Chicken Soft Tacos

Then comes the food. Your started off with a basket of light, crispy tortilla chips and a little cup of the best salsa you can imagine. And they keep it coming while you wait for your order.

The menu is full of combos and drinks, and even a burger or two, but what Laota and I got were shredded chicken soft taco combination plates that come with heaping helpings of rice and beans. We couldn’t finish it there, we had to take it home!

The food is fragrant, and packed full of flavor. Like our server (awesome guy, very friendly!) said about other Mexican restaurants in the area, “There’s no flavor, it’s just food.” and I agree with him. The difference between Dos Chiquitas and other places serving Mexican-style or TexMex food is that Dos Chiquitas food is infused with flavors. The chicken was delicious, the tortillas were delicious, the rice is to die for and the beans were a great balance to it all. There was a mild fruity note to the meat, as if it had been cooked with peppers or tomatoes, and the order was on our table in no time.

I can’t gush enough about this place, and I can’t wait to go back! Four out of five stars, would have been five if FoxNews hadn’t been on the televisions lol.

DOS Chiquita’s
(660) 425-4639
Bethany
3507 Bulldog Ave
Bethany, MO 64424

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Okay, not first but it may as well be. For those of you who live near franchises, this isn’t a big deal but for me? It definitely is – this is the first Egg McMuffin I’ve had since I was about 19. Not because I don’t like fast food (I can take it or leave it), and not because I can’t afford it (can’t, but that’s not why lol) – there’s literally not a McDonald’s around here for some 30-odd miles in every direction and I have to walk. The only fast food in town is the local Subway, and it’s only been here for a few years. Feast your eyes on the glory of…. my burned McMuffin!

Faith's Burned Egg McMuffin!

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Poppa’s Family Restaurant is a little lunch and dinner joint out on the highway that’s run by people I’ve known through my mother’s church for something like 17 years, but I haven’t eaten there all that often.

I have to admit that I haven’t had a great experience there in the past, due to the food being over priced and not that great, plus the service was a bit lacking. But tonight they get a good review from me, because it’s hard to screw up a soft taco (lol!) and our waitress was exceedingly nice and friendly.

I got the all you can eat soft tacos and an iced tea, the tacos were good (not great, but good) but the tea was bland and more like water. I like a good, strong iced tea but I wasn’t specific so I can’t imagine why they would know that and can’t dock them points for it.

The tacos came four at a time in a burger basket with lettuce, tomato, cheese and a little cup of salsa. No sour cream and no self service, which was odd, but it didn’t detour the night. Laota got a big chicken baked potato thing, but she started scarfing it before I could get a picture! (BAD Laota!)

The biggest plus was our waitress was the sweetest thing. She was too nice for words and I’m so glad we got her, she made my night! Overall, if I had to rate it tonight it would be 3 out of 5 stars, which isn’t too shabby. All of the other times it would have been two stars max.

Poppa’s Family Restaurant
1204 W US Highway 136
Albany, MO 64402-9100
(660) 726-5577

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I reviewed this restaurant in November, I believe, because I’d gotten to treat there for my birthday (which is in November) during their grand opening and had nothing but nice things to say about the place.

Well, my tune hasn’t changed. In the last several months I’ve had take out from them a few times but this is the first time I’d been back to dine in since November.

China King isn’t a chain, or at least I don’t think it is. It’s Americanized Chinese food at it’s best. It’s clean, the staff is SO courteous, patient and nice and the food, as always, is to die for.

I went with Laota, Mom and her Hubbs and we sat in the well lit dining area (flanked by two big-screen TVs tuned to Discovery and History channels) and had a great meal, here’s some of what we had:

The only issue I have with China King is that it’s so small, and I think that limits their appeal to the locals but I love the place. The food is hot, served fast and fresh, the staff are wonderful and they have the best crab rangoon – probably the best Chinese restaurant I’ve been to in Missouri, period.

Curious? Check them out:

Tel: 660-425-8884
604 20th St.
Bethany, Missouri USA 64424

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Well, I know I’ve griped about Toot-Toot Family Restaurant in Bethany before, about how I don’t like buffet and they’re always crowded. The food is usually bad and they watch you like a hawk, as if you’ll steal food you just paid for.

Well, I won’t take it back, because that’s the way it HAS been every other time I’ve ever gone, but we went tonight (my mom loves the place) and I have to say, it was absolutely fun. The food was good (crab legs, BBQ pork short ribs, shrimp, roast beef, green beans, and so on), they had these little flaky napoleon things that were delicious and we got the best server – sweet guy, very polite, very courteous. It’s the single best visit I’ve ever had, and I can’t figure out why?

But it did deserve a good review, 3 out of 5 stars for good food, good service – would be 4 stars if it didn’t usually suck.

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My mom and her new hubby took me out for an early birthday lunch (my birthday is on Tuesday), and we headed up to Bethany instead of straying too far. They surprised me by not going to Toot-Toot (which is awful, by the way – I’m not really a buffet kind of girl, though) but instead went to the new Chinese restaurant, China King.

The first thing I noticed about China King was that it was tiny from the outside, but inside it’s about as big as an average Panda Express. It was clean and cozy, with a friendly staff who are gracious even though there’s a bit of a language barrier (they do speak English very well, though, but the way I mumble they were a bit hard of understanding me!).

When you first walk into the building you’re hit with the amazing aromas of whatever the heck they’re cooking up in the row of giant, well seasoned wok in the kitchen (you can plainly see the neat little kitchen from the register). The food portions are huge, Laota and I both had Egg Fu Yung with pork and fried rice and the portion was heaped, literally heaped, on the plate. Two large patties (each bigger than a normal hamburger patty), and a portion of rice as big as both patties, plus your choice of an egg roll or the best damn crab rangoon you’ve ever had – all for about $5.50. You could easily feed three people with the portion we were given each, we had over a whole meal’s worth for each one of us to take home.

The whole thing was delicious, the food came out fast, the service was friendly. I almost wish I could dock these guys a few points because they’re so far away. I’ve got a pic or two of the Egg Fu Yung (sorry it’s blurry, low light plus crappy camera!). A-

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I’ve been gone so long it’s starting to look like I never eat, which is not far from the truth lol. I’m so dead broke (and kind of far from anywhere but franchises) that it makes me wonder if I’ll ever have something decent to post here. However, pretending these chains are as fun for everyone else to read as it is for this poor girl who’s just now able to visit these places is part of what keeps me actually blogging.

Granted, I do need a new camera but we’ll just pretend, once again, that the truth is how I see it and I actually have one. And now I shall LOL out loud.

But I have a treat for you guys, and it’s not one of my silly chicken dishes or my blurry pictures, oh no! It’s a link to one of my favorite food blogs in which you get to relive a bit of Travel Channel fun when Off The Broiler went to White Manna with Anthony Bourdain of No Reservations fame. How frigging cool is that?

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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So, I hate Missouri. I’ve lived here awhile and I’m still not used to it – the insane weather, the mega swarms of insects, and worst of all, there’s nothing to do so I end up working 24/7. What I wouldn’t give to go back to Southern California, even just for a few days. I miss the laid back atmosphere of Anaheim and Oceanside, the ocean, the theme parks and the restaurants in San Diego.

There are no restaurants out here, for the most part, that you can be seated in and have a four star meal. In fact, I don’t believe I’ve ever seen one in the county, and there are definately none in town. I’m tired of fast food or no food, and I wish there were a way to find great dining out here, sort of like the service they’ve got set up over at CafeSanDiego.com. They’ve got a website set up to help you find great San Diego dining, on which you can find great places to eat via their search function, on which you can narrow your search for a restaurant on search terms as specific as neighborhood, cuisine and even atmosphere.

The nice part about this San Diego dining guide is that you can search for coupons if you’re broke like I am, and because of that I thoroughly plan to use the site once I’m in a position to go back to California, since Laota and I have already planned to move out there as soon as we’re financially capable of doing so, and using coupons for, say, African cuisine would be a great way to celebrate us being back in our home state!

Mirrored from Hanamachi Lights: Bento & Food.

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