Heading home

We are on our way back from Vegas… it was a lot of fun, lots to post about but for now I am just chilling at the pool until the limo arrives. :)

Vegas Friday Feast

Appetizer
What was your first “real” job?
Attendant at a place that rented Nintendos by the hour. Kind of like an early cyber cafe, but for Nintendo games.

Soup
Where would you go if you wanted to spark your creativity?
I think Barcelona Spain would do just that, but I have some great ideas late at night too.

Salad
Complete this sentence: I am embarrassed when…
When I write Spanish and don’t use the proper symbols.

Main Course
What values did your parents instill in you?
Hard work. They showed up to work every day, even when they did not feel like it.

Dessert
Name 3 fads from your teenage years.
Starter Jackets, Rat Tails and The Macarena, and I had to live that one twice!!!

Garth @ The Sprint Center

Garth

My first time at the Sprint Center came with a lot of expectation. I have read a lot about the place and have been wanting to visit it since I first moved to KC and saw the structure being built. I am not the biggest country music fan, in fact I kind of dislike most of it, but last night I became a total cowboy wannabe. Garth Brooks is a great entertainer and he puts on a great show. So lets see how the Sprint Center did.

Parking

I heard a lot about parking for an event at the Sprint Center from the local media and I am sorry to say they are all wrong. If you park close to the event you are going to be stuck on traffic for a while, I knew that just from going to big events before. We decided to go for drinks at Vivaces first and meet the couple that was going with us to the concert. We then drove only one car a little closer to the arena and found parking right away. We went into a parking garage that was advertising 5 dollar parking only 5 blocks away. It was a beautiful night and 5 blocks is not a long walk. This also helped tons getting out because there was no opportunity for build up of traffic and since we were not going towards the highway like everyone else that simplified things. We were back home in less than 30 minutes.

The Arena

Even though I was impressed with the size from the outside of the arena, I was not too impressed when I was inside. It is more of a sports arena than for concerts, I really hope they get a team or it would really be a waste. We are lucky enough to have a private box at the center thanks to my boss, but if I had to buy tickets I think the best seat in the place for a concert is actually behind the stage. Those seats are at the best viewing angle for sure. The acoustics of the place seemed fine to me, I am not an expert on the subject but I heard every note.

The Crowd

Yes, I have to rub it in a little more. Going in as a VIP is the way to go. No line to get in for us, but general admission an hour before the show it wrapped around the block but it seemed to flow. Everyone seemed to have a great time and the noise level was amazing when Garth came out to play, compared to the cheers when his wife started the night. The people that worked inside all seemed to be very nice and attentive, the best thing to get food wise is in the Quick Trip inside the arena. The Founders private bar was not anything too special and I believe the prices of the food in there are the same as everywhere else.

The Show

Garth’s wife sang a couple of good songs that I actually recognized, one was a cover of “How do I live without you” and the other one was “American Girl.” She did a very short set and I think did an excellent job. I did not like that there was a big pause between her show and Garth’s I kind of felt like she should have warmed up the crowd and then led right into him singing.

Garth is an amazing entertainer. He works the crowd like nobody else I have seen live. He truly wants to make you a cowboy for the night and take you on a ride. I did wear the belt buckle that Travis gave me, so I had at least one piece of Country attire. His songs are pretty timeless and even for a non country fan I seemed to know a lot of them. Even though he did a long set it seemed to go by way too fast.

The Verdict

The Sprint Center is one of the best arenas I have been to. It seemed like it was very well organized and if you are willing to walk some blocks you can park pretty cheap. As long as the scalpers do not ruin the chance to get tickets I believe that this arena will become one of the best places in the country to go see a show. Go take a look at the pictures at my wife’s flickr.

Thanks for the pressure

So my friend Mark tells me the other day, dude post something funny, you have been way too serious in your blog… at first I thought I should up the profanity quota along with the use of… but then…

Two things occurred to me, one is that I found other outlets for my humor in the form of tumblr and facebook… and two that being funny on command is actually just too freaking hard.

I have used the line from Goodfellas way too much, the “what am I, a clown, do I f*ing amuse you?” in situations where people put me on the spot to actually be funny. Boondock Saints also has a hilarious scene where Ron Jeremy (fully clothed) puts Rock through a very awkward time… you have to see the movie to get this (if you have not, don’t read my blog anymore… you have homework to do.)

I have discussed it with my wife several times that I should start writing down some of the jokes I tell her and come up with a stand up. She laughs at my jokes partly because she loves me… but I can be funny… and it is mostly because of my accent sometimes making some word sound funnier than they already are, you should hear me say motherf*er… it comes out more like morerfoker than anything else and it get at least a smile every time.

Last year I came out with one funny saying, and since I still have not patented I might as well disclose it to see if it catches on, or just totally offends the billions of Chinese people that actually read English (I could have been a d!ck and said Engrish but I did not)…(and I yes, I do have Chinese friends, and they are not token friends.) I was having a conversation with my friend Tom and we were talking about some people overcomplicated simple things. In the corporate word people use the word utilize way too much. Anyways, I came up with the saying, yes that is more complicated than Chinese alphabet soup… I am not sure if it was just the moment, but I still laugh about that one.

The other funny story as of recently was a bit I did about going shopping with my wife and it goes like this. I refuse to go to the grocery store with my wife. In the past I had to wait for way too long while she checked every single teabag on the darn place looking for just right combination of spicy, sweet, citric type of tea. It is even worse in the cereal isle. I still pick my cereal based on cartoon characters, in Colombia it was Melvin the Elephant who was the mascot of Choco-Krispsies(I think in the US is called Cocoa and the mascot is a monkey), here in the US is Tony the Tiger… but no that is not good enough of her for my wife, she wants a bran cereal with the health properties of raisin bran but without the raisins.

I have even tried to go just in and out to pick up bread and milk with her but it has backfired. In a effort to minimize the visit’s length I did not get a cart or even a basket, I figure if she that I cannot carry much more she would take pitty on me. This particular day a 10 pound jumbo size steak happened to be on sale on the way to the milk and bread… and it just so happen that blocks of cheese were also available for sale… so as I carry 10 pounds of lean jumbo meat on one hand and juggle cheese blocks and a milk jug on the other (she did carry the bread) the trip down the refrigerated isle reminded my blatter that it was about to explode(thank health nuts for convincing me that drinking litter after litter of water is good for me!)

I say, honey could we hurry up, I really need to hit the bathroom. At the moment she was looking at little plush toys that are strategically located on your way out, if you have kids you know that it is torture to try to walk out of any place because everything is placed on your way out. When you think that you have already managed to get out of a place without having to buy every shinny, sugary, latest toy in the world thing they get you with the “it is just a quarter crap.”

So she ignores me and continues to look at the stuffed dolphin that is obviously telling her, I am homeless please bring me home… and I repeat, honey, I just wanted to come in and out… can we please get going. I swear, Linda Blair was slower than what her neck did when she turned around and told me, you have no patience for shopping with me.

So that is my bit and attempt at being funny, if you don’t like it I am sorry for your lack of sense of humor.

Best Food in KC

Everyone loves comfort food, warm handmade tortillas, cornmeal, sweet potato. My comfort foot favorite meal is called Bandeja Paisa. This dish coming from the mountains of Colombia like our coffee is a common theme on most authentic restaurants all over this country. I have had it in Chicago and Miami and now the best on can be had right here in KC.

Downtown Kansas City, Kansas there is a little Colombian restaurant called El Rincon Colombiano. It was were I had my first meal as a Kansas City resident and I still have the friends I made that first day… actually thanks to them I have met many more. The restaurant has been newly renovated under a new owner. He was actually somewhat of the star of the piece the Pitch wrote some years back.

The Bandeja Paisa is the equivalent of what many Americans think of when they see a plate with turkey, mashed potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce and stuffing. While in the US we only get that dish combination once a year, imagine getting that kind of comfort food every time you go to a restaurant in a distant land.

Aldemar who was the waiter mentioned in the 2005 pitch review of the restaurant, greeted us now wearing the hat of owner operator. In the kitchen there was now a new cook and I was exited but cautious with my expectations. This is the only Colombian restaurant here and if they changed things too much I was going to be disappointed. To my surprise, the Bandeja Paisa was the best one I have had since I was probably back in Colombia.

There was enough meat on my plate to induce a food coma, I kind of feel like I am still recuperating from the meat intake. My only complaint about the place before was that the steak always lacked a little bit of juiciness, and I would ask to get my bandeja with pork instead of beef. This time I actually got a bandeja and none of the things that make it up needed to be substituted. Every single piece was delicious.

A bandeja paisa is composed of rice an beans as a base, the red beans are cooked with Colombian flavor and rice that is plain white but has a flavor that is hard to describe. The meal than start climbing in calories and mouth watered with the delicious arepa , fried plantain and avocado. However the star of the meal is all the protein, a fried egg, a nice and crispy chicharron, a very lean piece of steak and a Colombian sausage. To round the meal up you can order a tropical fruit juice.

This not a meal for the calorie counter but for one that wants to try a little taste of Colombia. I can tell you that you will not regret trying this meal. I seriously think that the 10-15 bucks you spend at this little place will give you a better meal than any of the big fancy chains all over the city. If you are ever downtown KCK, go down a couple of blocks south on Minnesota on 6th street and you will find one of KC’s hidden great eateries.

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