Sunday, August 12, 2007

Back From KC

Got back from Kansas City this weekend; Lauren's friend Jenny and several of her friends were participating in this weekend's Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure 4k walk/run Downtown, and she had invited us to join their walking team, so we drove down on Saturday afternoon in order to stay overnight prior to the walk today.

Even so, we did find a few things to do yesterday. The afternoon found us at a regional cat show at the Overland Park Convention Center, where Lauren discovered a new favorite cat breed, and we kinda confirmed that one of our cats has some Maine Coon in her background. Afterwards, we stopped off at Oak Park Mall for a little shopping, including a small visit to the local Godiva chocolatier.

We then made our way over to Cho Ga, a Korean restaurant in Overland Park that we had been wanting to try since it opened earlier this summer. The last time we had Korean food was at a small place in Des Moines back in early 2006 (the former Ariang over on Douglas Avenue up in Des Moines, which reopened as Teriyaki House before the place, sadly, closed for good last year), so we were eager to try out a new venue.

Cho Ga

Lauren commented that the menu was the "most traditional for a Korean place she had ever seen", but we all enjoyed the selections we picked. Both Jenny's younger sister Beth, who was in town following an Americorps stint down South, and I had bulgogi (grilled, seasoned, and shredded beef roundeye and veggies done on a small grill) with chapchae (long cellophane noodle) and served with lettuce for wrapping the meat and steamed rice for a side, while Lauren managed to talk Jenny into trying the bibimbap (ground meat or seafood with veggies served in rice and served in a super-heated stoneware pot, with an egg cracked over the rice). Bibimbap presented this way is served hot enough that the egg cooks as it mixes into the rest of the ingredients, leaving the dish rather crunchy in texture. The sides (which we were given plenty of) were also quite varied and flavorful, ranging from onion cakes, to pickled daikon radish in spicy chili sauce, to bean sprouts, to kimchi, to an interesting apple with mayo salad.

The Walk

We left Jenny's condo early on Sunday morning, in order to make it to Union Station by around 7ish and find a parking spot. At Union Station, we were joined by some of the other members of Jenny's walking team and over 20,000 other walkers and runners.

After checking out the various vendors, we went to the starting line near the Block fountain in front of Union Station. There, the "race" started, with the runners starting first, followed by the walkers. It was quite an amazing sight, seeing the street ahead of you packed from one side to the other with people, and the crowd stretching for several blocks ahead and behind.

Afterward, we checked out the sponsor and vendor tents (including the one from Energizer), but because the heat by then was getting into the danger zone (up to 101 degrees), we adjourned indoors to Union Station for drinks and some some air-conditioned rest before heading to the car.


After the race, Jenny and Beth had some errands to run at Wal-Mart, so they dropped us off at Jenny's condo in Blue Springs. After a nap for Lauren and some light reading for me, they returned from Wal-Mart, and we set off for Bollywood, a roughly year-old Indian restaurant that features a big-screen TV continually showing Bollywood Indian movies (so named because of their lavish production and dance numbers). We were pleasantly surprised that afternoon to discover that they have started offering an inexpensive (but very good) lunch buffet on the weekends, so we were able to indulge in a lot of our favorite curries, kebabs, vegetarian-only dishes, their garlic and herb naan, and desserts such as carrot halvah without hitting the pocketbook too hard.

Overall, we had a great weekend and we managed to avoid the worst of the heat as well, so it was well worth it, and now that we're home, it looks like we've got another good shot at some rain this evening.