Monthly Archives: March 2011

Burgers, Burritos, and Fried Fish

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Vivian and I both had a fun weekend hanging out with a handful of friends this weekend, starting with the gang from JNO. It was our turn to set up for the dance, and we wound up staying most of the night. Little Debbie decided to have a belated birthday jam, and then we joined her for pie at Village Inn afterward.

On Saturday, Vivian and I had lunch with Jenny and Joe at Louie M’s Burger Lust in South Omaha. I’ve always loved this particular “hole in the wall” in South Omaha, and it only seemed fitting to share it with Joe, being a burger connoisseur himself. The place has a charming decor that looks like it hasn’t changed in the last 60 years, and it only seemed fitting to wash down a couple burgers with a chocolate malt served up at a soda fountain that could have come right out of American Graffiti.

That evening, Vivian and I attended an anniversary party for a few of our friends, Phil and Jen. They’re food fanatics as well and decided to make some homemade tamales and burritos for the lot of us, complete with equipment to make our own tortillas. We met them last year at a GAMe couples night put on by Craig and Debbie, and we seem to share a similar passion for food. We stuffed ourselves and watched their wedding video and honeymoon in Greece before calling it a night.

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On Friday, we celebrated our third annual Fishy Friday at St. John Vianney’s in Milliard, lining up with a dozen or so of our friends to have fried fish, tater tots, pancakes, grilled cheese, and an assortment of other fried, beige food together. A live band played “Sweet Caroline” for us to “bah bah bah” along to, and they even played “Happy Birthday” for Frank, who just happened to have a birthday happening at the next table.

Of course, Jenny and Joe joined us as well and stuck around to make some weird sculptures out of leftover food and then fly paper airplanes at one another until the parish staff kicked us out.

Jon’s Birthday and Bi-Polar Weather

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My brother Jonathan paid us a visit over the weekend to celebrate his birthday here in Omaha, and Nathan drove up from Lincoln to join in the fun. We celebrated in the traditional sense, with pizza, burgers, and a couple bad MST3k movies (that were actually quite hilarious) — Daddy-o and Girls Town, starring Paul Anka and Mel Torme of all people.

We also spent a great deal of time playing with Photo Dojo, a downloadable game for the Nintendo DS. It takes advantage of the DS’s built-in cameras and lets you snap photos of your friends to create a Mortal Kombat style characters that can fight each other. We wrapped up the visit playing a round of DAK together at the kitchen. We didn’t even make it through one round, as Nathan and Jonathan both spent most of the time picking out crads they thought they’d thrown out.

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On Sunday, Vivian and I took advantage of the beautiful weather and took a twenty-mile bike ride up and down the Bellevue Loop Trail. I had been hoping to make it all the way up to Haworth Park (and then ride into Old Towne for ice cream), but the gale-force wind had the uncanny ability to blow in the opposite direction toward the end of our ride. We got to see some neat scenery along the way, including old railroad mile markers, long-abandoned telephone wires, and old farm equipment being devoured by weeds. We finished off our trip with Culver’s ice cream to replenish whatever calories we’d managed to burn off.

A few days later, the calendar decided to roll back to winter for some reason, and we got dumped with a few inches of snow out of nowhere. It felt crazy for this to happen in late March, but the roads stayed clean and the trees got a nice coating of wintry frosting.

Going green!

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Vivian and I have been enjoying some festive meals together this month, including jambalaya for Mardis Gras and corned beef and cabbage for St. Patrick’s Day. Vivian even managed to color her hair green for St. Paddy’s day, so after washing down our dinner with an Irish cream or two we watched the film The Secret of the Kells, which was about as Irish a film as I could find on Netflix instant play list.

I’ve also started a personal finance group at our church and have started meeting on Tuesdays to go over chapters from the Dave Ramsey book, “The Total Money Makeover.” I’ve been absorbing information from personal finance podcasts and blogs for some time now and have been eager to share what I’ve learned. I didn’t want to go through Dave Ramsey’s system at first, since anyone who actually believes that commission-based funds cost less than commission-free funds over time needs to have his head examined. Enough people asked about doing his “system,” though, that I thought it’d be worth a look, especially if I can add a few doses of good advice from other points of few, particularly my hero Clark Howard.

Done Ham and Michael Moloney

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Vivian and I had a terrific weekend together that started on Friday night with dinner at the 801 Chophouse. We’d been planning on eating there for some time, particularly since one of our Jitterbug Friends, Brian Langbehn, just happens to be the head chef. Vivian ordered the filet mignon, and I got a rib-eye so tender that I was able to cut it with a fork. We tossed on some wild mushrooms and lobster mashed potatoes on the side, along with some soufflé for dessert. Naturally, we let the waitstaff know that we were friends of the chef so he could come out for an embarrassing photo with us at the booth.

After dinner, we got to head down the street to see Jeff Dunham and his cast of characters perform at the Qwest Center. The place was absolutely packed with tens of thousands of people crammed in with us at the main arena. The Guitar Guy was the opening act, and he got to perform a couple amusing songs, one of which involved accidentally walking into a couple gay bars in Omaha (both of which I was familiar with for reasons I can’t explain). Then Jeff and his friends Walter, Achmed (the dead terrorist), and Peanut made us laugh for another hour or two, which was terrific. We even got to meet a few new characters, such as Achmed’s son (who was only half-dead), and smaller hand-puppets versions of both Peanut and Jeff Dunham himself. It was a great show, though next time I’ll try to get a little closer to the stage.

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On Saturday, Vivian and I met up with a bunch of her co-workers to gorge on Sushi at Wasabi out on West Maple. I’d gone to Body Pump earlier that morning to work up something of an appetite ahead of time, and I’m glad I did.

Afterward, we met up with our mutual friends Phil and Jen for an afternoon at the Home Show at the Qwest center. We met several people who might be able to help us with some home improvements, and also sat through a lengthy cookware presentation that lost interest long before the would-be salesman/chef got to the hard sell. The highlight, however, was getting to meet Michael Moloney, the interior designer for the show Extreme Makeover: Home Edition. He had a brief Q&A about the show and stuck around for autographs and pictures afterward, which was fun.

We had dinner with Phil and Jen afterward at Zum Biergarten in Bellevue, a delightful German restaurant owned and operated by an authentic German who emigrated to Omaha. Vivian and I found room to share a Tour of Germany plate, which consisted of a brat, schnitzel, sauerkraut, and lots of other things. Zehr gut! I washed it down with a bottle of Spaten Dunkel and then had some Jagermeister back at Phil and Jen’s before saying, “Gaten Nacht.”

Jeff Dunham photo courtesy of This Guy.