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Posts Tagged ‘restaurants’

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My taste buds are excited about next week. The Hungry Games are coming to Cedar Rapids.

Cedar Rapids Restaurant Week is March 1 – 6 and 29 area restaurants are going all out to draw us in and feed us great food, for a pretty inexpensive tab. Making it into a competition, participating restaurants are serving up special Hungry Games menus for lunch (only $10) and dinner ($25). They are hoping you’ll try more than one and then vote for your favorite. Check out the link to see all the restaurants and their offerings but, working downtown for the last 8 years has given me the opportunity to check out a lot of downtown eateries. So if you can’t decide where to start on your Hungry Games tour through food, I’ve compiled a Top 3 for various categories. I’m only listing those restaurants participating in Restaurant Week. Let the Games begin!

Top 3 Downtown Lunch Stops:

  1.  Need Pizza – so good that when my college kid comes home, it’s where he wants to go. They make your pizza any way you like it…truly.
  2. Rock Bar American Grill – great hamburgers, great price. FYI – The mechanical bull doesn’t run at lunch.
  3. The Lost Cuban – I’ve only been here once but really, really liked it. If the number of Rockwell engineer-types eating there is any indication, I’m not the only one.

Top 3 Outside of Downtown:

  1. Winifred’s – a special place to eat with special people. I have wonderful memories of my last time in the purple building along First Avenue. It’ll probably always be #1.
  2. Zeppelin’s – very good, very busy.
  3. Emil’s Hideaway – you’ve got to look for this one. It’s hidden behind the Taco John’s on First Avenue across from Lindale Mall, but it’s worth the search.

Downtown Top 3 I’m going to try (if not next week, sometime soon):

  1. Daisy’s Garage & Filling Station – ok, not right downtown, but I’ve been intrigued with this new restaurant since it opened last summer. The front door is a garage door which stays open on good weather days (which won’t happen here for about 4 more months). The menu is my draw: Steam pots, oil can burger, and Guinness shrimp.
  2. Popoli’s – more expensive and only open for dinner so it’ll have to be a “date night” try.
  3. Sauce – one of the many new restaurants in Czech Village. Located in a building slated for demolition after the 2008 flood, it was lovingly restored by the owners. I enjoy supporting local chefs who use as many local providers as possible.

I’ve personally eaten at 13 of the 29 restaurants participating in The Hungry Games so I have quite a few yet to sample. Probably won’t happen in one week but since eating is one of my favorite pastimes, I’m looking forward to a fun summer. Better get back to running!

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It’s July 2nd…a good day to look back on the first 6 months of the year. Or maybe not. Should have done it yesterday…July 1st. Better for my latent OCD. I mean really, who logically starts something on the 2nd of anything? So my “new thing” is doing something illogically and out of the norm for me. Convoluted arguments with myself. That’s actually pretty normal for me.

Back to the purpose of this – a self-evaluation of my 2015, part 1. I don’t really have year-long goals. Too easy to cop out and forget about them. I try for month-long goals…better for my short-term memory. Was going to make May my “watch movies I wish I’d already seen” month – didn’t happen. Something always comes up that seems more fun than sitting in front of the TV for a couple of hours. I still have the stack of DVDs in the living room (I’m sure they’ll remain there until Christmas) but summer is no time to hunker down in the house when the sun doesn’t set until 9 p.m. And by 9:01 I’m exhausted and ready for bed.

I am doing well on my 90-days-through-the-Bible challenge. One-third of the way and still on track. I tell myself that I can’t read anything else until I’ve read my Bible. It’s working so far.

I’m also still running…well, running, then walking, then running, then walking, and finishing with running. Still not very fast. But I do somewhat enjoy the discipline and feel so much better after getting in a 2-mile run. And I try to participate in 5K races periodically to keep myself out there. I won’t win anything except the finisher’s medal but that works for me.

Some of the “new things” I’ve tried have been successes – meaning I’ve made them part of my lifestyle now. Like edamame…delicious. Giving blood – do it every 8 weeks now (first time was last November after years – literally years – of being afraid. Silly me). Fitbit – addict. Found out I’m more competitive than I thought. New restaurants – I’m committed to trying new places because I’m tired of seeing the same menus at every place I eat. This is not a hardship, by the way. Downtown Cedar Rapids has a plethora (new word – try that every day too) of eating establishments and I’m not opposed to giving each of them a try at least once. Support local eateries people! The McDonalds, Olive Gardens, Red Robins, and Chilis will survive without your support – but there is so much more to experience.

I’m reading a new blog every day. It’s called Leadership Freak. Exceptional. Give it a try – even if you are the only person you’re leading.

By the way, a new friend recently shared a document on her Facebook page that I thought was awesome. So I’m sharing it here. It’s called “Everything is Awful and I’m Not Okay: questions to ask before giving up.”

Second half goals: volunteer more, complain less. Stay out of arguments that won’t matter the next day. Build people, not walls. Love more, fear less. Keep trying new things to stretch my comfort zone into the 3XL range. I may even pick up my guitar again.

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