3 Women and an Oven – Bakery review – HaliPawz

I have been thinking about Pink Champagne cupcakes for a while now.  I remembered last year that a local grocery store (I think Hy-Vee or Cosentino’s Price Chopper) had them but told me they were seasonal and this was last January if memory serves me.      Why the month stuck in my head was because I would have thought they would be seasonal for February because of Valentine’s Day not in January    I recently went to the grocery store I thought had them last year but I didn’t find them.  The bakery department was closed so I could not ask anyone at the time. I had planned on going back a different day.  Fast forward to today when I was thinking about them so I googled pink champagne cupcakes in Kansas City.  It was in this search I came across 3 Women and an Oven bakery   After looking at the website for a few minutes I went through their Instagram photos and thought everything on there looked amazing.  The detailing on their cakes and cookies was beautiful. I was excited to try them.  Even though their location really isn’t on my way home or even close to anywhere I go I thought it would be worth the trip to try to make it before they close at 6 PM.   Their cupcakes are $3.75 and their babycakes ( mini bundt cakes) are $2.25. The products were nicely displayed and sparkled in the light.   As I was checking out, I saw where they sold the “fairy dust” to make your own cakes sparkle.

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Pink Champagne cupcake from 3 Women and an Oven

I Purchased a small assortment of cupcakes and the baby cakes. I was excited to try them so decided to try one of the mini cakes as I drove home.  The first thing I noticed was the frosting was a little hard. I took a bite and could not believe how dry it was and the cake was cold.  I took another bite and yes, it was very dry. It was lemon raspberry so I was thinking perhaps the fruit affected the cake but you would think it would make it moister, not dryer.  I decided to try the red velvet mini cake.  It was also dry. It had a nice flavor to it, but was so dry it wasn’t enjoyable.

I decided to wait until I arrived at home to try any more.  I wanted them to warm up a little to see if it made a difference.

I opened the box when I arrived home and was disappointed to see the lemon candy had fallen off the Lemon Drop Cupcake.  The frosting was so hard I could only sit it back on to take a picture, I couldn’t place it back into the frosting. Now, I do want to point out, as someone who likes frosting, there is a nice amount of frosting on their cupcakes. It would be nice to see if it is soft when they are freshly made.

I decided to try small bites of the remaining cakes because I was afraid if I waited until the next day,  they would be too dry to even eat.

The mini carrot cake was next.  It was moister and had warmed up, but I have to say the flavor was lacking slightly in my opinion.  So far, my excitement over these cupcakes was dwindling and I hadn’t even tried the main reason for my purchase; the Pink Champagne cupcake!

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Mini Almond Bundt Cake sparkling in the light

The almond cake was next. It was so cute.  The small almond sliver on top. The cake sparkled in the light.  The cake was moist, the frosting was dry, but the flavor was amazing! So far this was my favorite! I have to admit, even though I had more to try, I ended up eating the whole mini cake!

I decided to take a little break to avoid a huge sugar rush but knew I’d come back to them before the night was over.

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After a small break, I decided I needed to try a cupcake.  I had been focused on the mini cakes because they were easier to try small bites of.  I cut a small piece of the lemon drop cupcake out, making sure to get frosting and cake.  It was very lemony   The cake was heavy and dense   The frosting was stiff and a little dry except around the cake   There it was softer and easier to eat. I placed the remaining cupcake in an airtight container to finish tomorrow at lunch.  One thing I would say, and this is just my opinion, but if there had been a little bit of lemon filling in the cake, I think I would have liked it a little more.

Next, I tried the mini pink champagne cake. I bought a regular cupcake and a mini one with the hope of taking the mini one to work the next day to eat at lunch. It was the only flavor I duplicated.  I took a small bite and was sadly disappointed.  The cake had a burnt flavor to it! While it didn’t appear to be burnt, it still tasted burnt.  I could not taste any of the pink champagne taste I remembered from the grocery store ones I fell in love with the year before.  Had I had this one first, I know I would not have driven 30 minutes out of my way to get more.  Oddly enough, it also left a weird after taste.  While I’m typing this I can still taste it and not in a pleasant way.

Now the time had come for me to try the Pink Champagne cupcake.  I had taken another break.  My palette was clean.  I have to be honest, I wasn’t as excited as I was earlier in the evening, especially after having the mini one but I thought, perhaps it’s a different batch than the mini one. Maybe I will be pleasantly surprised.

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I do have to give them credit, the appearance of the cupcakes are beautiful.  The frosting looks delicious, the cakes sparkle.

I did not cut a small piece on this one.  I decided to take a bite the way a cupcake was meant to be consumed.  I took a bite, making sure to get frosting and cake. The frosting was moister than some of the other cakes.  From the size of the cupcake, it was difficult to get a bite from top to bottom, so the cupcake was a good size. The flavor was disappointing.  It had that same burnt flavor but I could taste some of the “champagne” flavor in the cupcake, which I could not taste in the mini cake.  I couldn’t tell if it was a burnt flavor or if the champagne flavoring was just off or maybe even old tasting.  I wish I could explain it, but it tasted old or burnt.  I did decide to wrap this one up in an airtight container as well and if I get a different taste tomorrow, I will definitely share.

Overall, 5 flavors and only 1 would I want to purchase again. The almond cake.  Perhaps if I was eating a fresh one I might have a different take on a couple of them, but flavor is flavor and some of them were lacking in that area.

I love cupcakes but don’t see myself making the trip to south Overland Park to purchase cupcakes from them again.  I have found other places around Kansas City who can do an almond cake just as good.  My quest to find an amazing Pink Champagne cupcake continues!

What are your favorite go to cupcake places?  Doesn’t have to be just in Kansas City, I’d like to hear your favorite place in your city!

 

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I visited Rockstar Burgers restaurant in the Westbottoms, Kansas City Missouri – Halipawz

Rockstar Burgers Westbottoms

Rockstar Burgers Westbottoms KCMO

I volunteer every year for the American Royal. For the last couple of years, I have driven by Rockstar Burgers on my way to the AR complex.  It always catches my eye.  The artwork on the outside is very much an attention grabber.  There always seems to be people there, which, for the Westbottoms, says a lot.

Today was no different.  I had signed up to volunteer for the BBQ sauce competition and sure enough, my eyes gazed to Rockstar Burgers as I drove by.  I had a pretty tight schedule today so I knew it would have to wait until another day. Not to mention I am back on track with my eating healthy and watching my caloric intake, so a burger would not be on the list

As luck would have it, we finished today’s portion of our volunteer duties early.  I did some quick calculations in my head and knew I’d have time for a burger AND a swim before I had to go to my next appointment.  I was heading to Rockstar Burgers.  I figured today was as good of a day as any.

I walked in and was greeted.  The decor is a lot of graffiti but it’s unique and eye catching.  They have normal tables as well as bar height tables.  The chairs are torn, the tables are wobbly…all of which just adds to the character and charm of the place.

 

The waitress came over to get my drink order while I perused the menu.  Since they are open 24/7 they serve breakfast and burgers with a mixture of other items thrown in.  I asked the waitress how big the patties were.  She said the regular burgers were the thin patties, about .25  lbs but the Rockstar Burgers were 1/2 pound. When I inquired what was on the Rockstar burger she rattled off so mush I couldn’t remember it all, but I disregarded it when I heard the word egg.  I am not an egg on my burger type of person.  The confusing part is, when I stated, “so if the others ones are .25 pounds then the double cheeseburger is 1/2 pound. She told me no.  Then she said… maybe .5 pounds.  At that point, I was lost so I went ahead and ordered the double cheeseburger, fries, and a strawberry shake.

Menu at Rockstar Burgers

Menu at Rockstar Burgers

 

They have free WiFi which is always nice. I did have to ask for the password but they have Free WiFi on the menu so I didn’t feel awkward asking for it.

My strawberry shake arrived first.

Rockstar Burgers Strawberry Shake

Rockstar Burgers Strawberry Shake

It was a nice size shake.  The shake was ok.  It could have had a little more strawberry flavor to it.  It was nice and thick, which is how I like my shakes.  I don’t think I would order it again unless I was just really in the mood for a shake.

 

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My food arrived.  I was pleasantly surprised at the size of the burger, especially with the confusion over the size.  They only put 2 strips of bacon on it, which for an extra $3 I guess I would have thought maybe 3 slices.  You don’t get to specify the Temperature of the burger so I figured it would come out well done.  I was right.  The bacon had a really nice flavor to it.  It may be why you only get 2 slices, they spend more for a nice quality bacon.  The bun was fresh, there was plenty of cheese on it. The burger overall was good.  I’m not saying it was memorable, but it was ok as burgers go.  It was filling.  The fries were ok. I had to add a little bit of salt to them but they were nice and crispy on the outside, hot and meaty on the inside.

The staff checked on me often and removed any trash each time.

My bill, with tax, came to $16.50 before too.  While a little pricey for lunch, I had splurged on the shake and bacon, so it was average price to me.  More than I would normally spend when dining alone for lunch, on a whim. When it came time to check out, they bring the card scanner right to the table.  It pops up with the total as well as 3 gratuity options, 15%, 18%, and 20% with the amounts clearly showing.  You just select one, sign with your finger, and remove your card (if it has a chip). Super simple.

They also have a full bar, which is open until 1am according to the menu.

While I was there eating, it began to fill up   The more people who entered, the louder the restaurant became   The music is at a tasteful volume though, so you don’t feel like you’re competing with it to talk / listen to others

There is also an option  to sit outside but they don’t have a lot of tables out there so I’m sure they fill up quickly

Overall, I’m glad I stopped in. Looking around as I walked out, I realized there are a few other restaurants in the Westbottoms I should try.  I normally just drive in, volunteer, and drive back out.  With the American Royal moving at some point, I really should make the Westbottoms a destination from time to time.

I think Rockstar Burgers would be a fun place to go with a group who just wanted to have a few drinks and some burgers.  The atmosphere is fun.  The staff is friendly and very efficient.  The menu warns you there may be a wait because they cook to order, but I didn’t find the  wait to be too long.

If you’re in the Westbottoms, it’s worth checking out!

Have you been to Rockstar Burgers? Leave a comment and tell me about your experience!

 

When your voice goes from falling on deaf ears to being heard; a review of the movie Suffragette – HaliPawz

I am guilty of not thinking a lot about the rights I have as a woman.  I know there are countries where women do not enjoy the freedom I have here in the United States and I feel for them but I have never really truly thought about what the women before me went through in order for me to have the rights I enjoy today.  I received an email telling me I had passes to the screening of the movie Suffragette at the Alamo Drafthouse.  I always enjoy having a reason to go there so I looked up the back story of the movie.  It was based on a true story and about women fighting for the right to vote.  Sounded interesting so I was looking forward to going.

My day got away from me at work and I almost decided to not go because I was late getting home.  I changed into some jeans and a sweatshirt and headed out, hoping I would be able to get a seat still.  (When you get passes to a screening, it is first come, first seat, so if you arrive late, you might not be able to get a seat).  I didn’t think it would be an “in demand” movie so I figured I would get a seat, I was just hoping it would be a decent one.  Sadly, there were a lot of empty seats.  I say sadly because the movie was good.  It was better than I expected.  It moved me.  It made me appreciative of what I enjoy today.  It made me think back to that time, to a time when women had no rights and it truly made me realize it wasn’t about the right to vote, it was about the right to be free to speak, to think, to have a voice when your voice fell on deaf ears.  While the movie was set in England, the lack of respect was not limited to England, it transcended throughout the world.

When we live in a time where courts give such a huge preference to the mothers of children, even when the mother isn’t really fit to be a parent, it’s hard to imagine a time when women did not have that luxury.  A time when a child could be taken from the mother with no one thinking anything about it.  If the father didn’t want the mother to be part of the child’s life, he had that right, because the courts saw the child as his property.

It went beyond the fact that women worked harder than some of the men and only made a third of what the men earned.  It showed the bosses had the right to treat the women any way they wanted.  Not only did the courts look the other way, but husbands would even look the other way, because the money was needed for the household.  It was OK for the women of the poor to work and be treated in such a horrible way, but not OK for them to want a voice, want a say.

Women had no rights in prison.  They could be arrested for “unlawful assembly” and be detained for weeks, months, even years without proof.  If they were viewed as “trouble makers” they were watched and arrested with little to no actual proof.  Barbaric measures were used on them in prison with no one thinking twice about them.

Girls as young as 12 could be married.  Once they were married, they had no rights or any say in anything that happened to them, to their property, to their money, or even to their children.  It did not matter if they married rich or were working woman poor, their rights were non existent.

Carey Mulligan, who plays Maud Watts, a wife and mother who had no desire to be a Suffragette but was pulled in and became a voice when she started to see the true reason behind the movement.  She did a great job of drawing you into the film, into her character.  You felt her pain, you felt her sadness, you felt her loss when her world was crumbling around her.

All of the women in the movie did an amazing job.  It was raw, it was moving.  They had a story to tell and they told the story.  There were moments you laughed.  There were moments your heart broke.  It isn’t a movie about emotional highs and lows though.  It was about helping the audience connect to the story, to get immersed in the story. Meryl Streep, who plays Emmeline Pankhurst has a small part, but her part shows the length, the strength, the depths these women were willing to go to in order to get their voices heard.

To understand that these women were peacefully protesting for 50 years before they took more radical measures as the movie showcases was so surprising to me.  I never knew how long of a fight women fought for the rights we have today but then to think about the fights that are still happening when it comes to wage equality and position equality within some companies.

So, while I went to watch a movie to write a review, I left with a new understanding of history.  History that affects me directly.  History that affects women all over the world directly.  I have always been a supporter of all people having equal rights.  I have said over and over, as long as a person isn’t bringing harm to themselves, children, animals, or others, then they should have the same rights as the person next to them.  It isn’t until everyone accepts the equality measure that this world we live in will truly be equal.

I encourage you to go and see the movie, it isn’t a “feminist” movie, it is a movie about passion for what is right, passion for justice.  I think everyone can walk away with an understanding much clearer than the little bit we learned in history class.

The Fight is definitely not over.

Criminal on your bucket list? FOCUS on the movie for instructions A Randomocity Submission

I find myself at the Alamo Drafthouse Theater again for a movie premier. Tonight I saw Focus starring Will Smith and Margot Robbie.

This is the first time I have ever been upstairs at the Alamo. (To read my previous review on the Alamo Theater, click here)  There is a table shared between two chairs instead of the solid table in front of the row like I am used to. It wouldn’t be bad if you were sharing a table with someone you know, but a single ticket had been given for seat one, so everyone was off a seat, resulting in trying to share a little table with someone you don’t know. While not horrible, you were more aware of your actions.  I was trying to be courteous throughout the movie.

I actually watched the trailer earlier today so I would have an idea what it was about. I was happy to see it was about a woman learning how to be a better criminal. I have always fancied myself as able to commit the perfect crime if I was inclined to do so.

To read my movie review in its entirety, visit Randomocity Podcast Network.

Spankings, Songs, and Star Wars; 50 Shades of Laughter-HaliPawz

With all the excitement buzzing around 50 Shades of Gray, when a friend invited me to see 50 Shades! The Musical Parody, I decided to go. I love musicals and I love comedy, add the fact it was about 50 Shades, I knew it was going to be interesting.

When I was told it was going to be at the Kansas City Starlight Theater, I was surprised. The theater is an outdoor venue and it was February. Call me crazy, but I didn’t think it would be too much fun being bundled up in layers, watching a play outside. I was informed they also have an indoor theater and it was in there. I was excited. An outdoor theater with an indoor theater, the former theater person in me was intrigued.

We were able to get tickets for the VIP experience, which included free valet parking, an original cast album, premium seats, and a meet and greet with the cast after the show.

KC Starlight had a pre-show cocktail and appetizer event. We were given one free drink ticket with our VIP tickets when we arrived. The room for the event was decorated in such a fun manner. They had a 50 Shades! The Musical Parody screen up for pictures, the drinks were strong, and the music playing was great. I have to commend Starlight for how engaging the atmosphere was before you even entered the actual theater. It felt like fun was all around you. The music was well-chosen. Everyone was laughing and having a good time in the room.

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We went into the theater and I fell in love! It appeared to be a rehearsal type stage with the chairs all around it. Very intimate feel. It reminded me a little of my high school drama club days. We were in the third row center so I knew we would have a great viewing of the show. I could not wait for it to begin. They announced this was the first time Starlight had ever had a production like this in the indoor stage. It was definitely a WIN! I hope they continue to do them.

Within a few minutes of the show starting, two gorgeous men with no shirts on came out onto the stage…. To finish reading, read my blog at Randomocitypodcast.com

Outback Steakhouse – Lee’s Summit, MO

I don’t usually think that a blog about a restaurant is exciting so I tend to just do a review and move on, but I think tonight’s outing calls for a little more than a basic review.

Dinner tonight was a long time coming. My mom and I were out running errands all over the Kansas City Metro area. We started out in Leawood / Overland Park and ended up in Lee’s Summit by way of Independence. For those not from KC, it equals one end the metro area to the other.

We had just left Raytown Wal-Mart and I had suggested going to dinner before we ran to the barn so I could feed the horses. Mom suggested going to the barn first so that I wouldn’t have to feed them in the dark. I felt bad because it would mean we would be eating even later, but she said that was fine.

We left the barn with a destination of Monetti’s in Lee’s Summit in mind. Outback had entered my mind (in Independence) but I wanted to do a local restaurant. Imagine my surprise to find it was closed and a German restaurant was coming soon. As we passed the Outback to get to Monetti’s, I commented to my mom that I had forgotten about that location but I wasn’t sure why when I always think it’s the best one in the KC area every time I eat there. She asked if it was because the food was better and I said, “No, the food at most Outbacks are about the same but there is something about the service at that one….it’s better…even though most Outbacks have good service”. We left it at that and continued down the road to Monetti’s.

After finding it closed, I said, I’m too hungry to find another local restaurant and we headed to Outback.

I have to say that I am VERY happy that we ended up there tonight. It started with a very friendly waitress named Jamie. My mom saw that the tilapia came with a lump of lobster or crab (I can’t remember) but she doesn’t like that, so she was going with the Mahi even though she had never had it before. While I am all for her trying something new, I know my mom. She will NOT send something back, even if she does not like it or if it is prepared wrong. I knew she was hungry, so I wanted her to get something she would enjoy. Jamie was great and understood the problem and came up with a solution for my mom. She was able to key the Tilapia in without the additional items so mom would like her meal.

As we were waiting for our soup / salad, I checked my emails and realized I had received a coupon for a free dessert from Outback for my birthday. Even better!

Our entrees came out and they both looked great. As I do not eat anything from the water, it’s sometimes difficult for me to comment on any fish or seafood meal, but I have to say mom’s tilapia looked picture perfect. As I went to fold the butter and cheese into my mashed potatoes I noticed it didn’t melt right away. I wasn’t concerned until I went to take a bite. They weren’t cold, but just a little cool. I cut into my steak, ordered medium rare, and took a bite. It too was a little cool. Not cold. Just slightly cool. Not the standard I’m used to from Outback but I decided to eat it rather than send it back and have it cooked more. Jamie came out and I inquired if my meal had sat out a little waiting for the tilapia. She said it hadn’t. She offered to get me some new potatoes but I told her it was ok. I am not shy to send something back if it isn’t right. I chose not to send this back because it was prepared so well, just cool.

A few minutes later, John, the manager came out and inquired about our meals. I said they were fine but he asked me again so I repeated my story. He again offered to fix it. I appreciated his concern but said they were fine. He then offered us a dessert on him. I smiled and explained the email for the free dessert. He said to save the email for another visit and let him take care of the dessert. I thanked him and he left.

A few minutes later, Jamie came out with some fresh, hot, potatoes for me. I was surprised and thanked her. Surprisingly, they were not OVERHEATED. They were perfect.

We ordered our dessert (the sampler) which was great as well.

While I was waiting for the dessert, I started this post. I wanted to make sure to recognize the outstanding service provided to us tonight. So often, we are quick to point out negative and not always highlight the positive.

As we left, I commented to my mom that the service we received was the example of why I say that location is one of my favorite locations. As we discussed it a little more; it hit me. It’s not just the service they provide there, it’s the Sincerity in their service.

Thank you Outback for allowing your associates the ability to handle all situations, not just the complaints and thank you to Jaime and John for your outstanding attention to excellence.