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!

Almond Cake Bundlet babycake 3 woman and an oven

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!

 

Why isn’t Ruby Tuesday busier? – HaliPawz

I used to travel a lot for work.  One thing I learned was the importance of consistency with restaurants.  After working all day and spending multiple days in a city, you start to find yourself not willing to try a new local restaurant, you want one of your old reliable(s) because you know what you are going to get.  Depending on what city I was in, I would have one or two “go to” restaurants.  Sadly, I even ordered the same thing from them usually.  Over time, you begin to know which restaurants are very consistent with their quality and tastes and which ones might be hit or miss.  Let’s face it, when you’re tired, eating in restaurants every day, and have been away from home for a few days in a row, you just want something you know and like.  One restaurant I came to know to be pretty consistent is Ruby Tuesdays.  One thing I noticed from town to town, even here in Kansas City, is the restaurant is never packed.  It makes me wonder, Why isn’t Ruby Tuesday a busier restaurant?

My mom and I went out to dinner tonight and we decided to go to Ruby Tuesdays.  I gave her a choice of three and let her pick.  I tried to pick places I knew wouldn’t be too busy for a Saturday night but would still have good food.  We went to the location in North Kansas City, but I can speak confidently about that one and the one in Independence.

I want to talk about some of the facts, based on MY experience……

    • I have never encountered poor service.  Just the opposite really.  It must be a decent restaurant to work at because everyone always seems friendly.  I have laughed over one thing or another with a waiter.  Take tonight for example, I was drinking my typical Coke with Lemon and she brought me another drink with a new straw still in the wrapper.  She asked me something, probably about the food, and as I was answering her, I opened the new straw then chuckled a little and said I didn’t know why I opened the new straw.  She genuinely laughed with me and said she didn’t know why she brought me a new straw!  I know it doesn’t sound like a lot, but it’s the little moments you come to appreciate.
Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar     Photo by TripAdvisor.com

Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar Photo by TripAdvisor.com

      • Their salad bar is one of the best around!  I LOVE their salad bar.  I can not say enough good things about it.  Everything is always fresh.  I have never seen a dirty salad bar at any location I have gone to.  The dressings I have tried always have flavor to them.  Their croutons are amazing.  I can honestly say, if they aren’t my favorite croutons from a restaurant, they are in my top three.  The quality of the salad bar is very consistent in every state and every location I have ever been in.  The only thing I have ever encountered was one location, I can’t remember where, was out of croutons on the bar.  I mentioned it to the waiter.  Not only were they refilled immediately, the waiter brought me a small dish of them for the salad I was eating.
Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar Photo by TripAdvisor.com

Ruby Tuesday Salad Bar Photo by TripAdvisor.com

  • Their menu has some hidden gems on it.  I changed the way I cooked my green beans at home because of the way Ruby Tuesday’s prepares them.  I finally asked someone what they were cooked in and how they were cooked and they told me.  I now brush my green beans with olive oil and grill them.  I even went out and bought a pan a few years ago just to grill green beans on my grill.  Since then, I have used the pan for other things, but it was originally purchased because of those green beans.  They also have white cheddar mashed potatoes that I love.  One of my favorite meals from their was their Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin.  I say was because one day I was torn between ordering my go-to and trying theirRibeye.  Ribeye is one of my favorite cuts of meat but I had always been happy with the sirloin from there.  The waiter, ever so helpful, pointed out I could order the Ribeye and have it prepared like the Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin.  Are you serious?!?!  I never even thought about it!  I have a new favorite!  My mom ordered the bourbon glazed pork chop tonight and it came out looking as good as the picture in the menu.  It smelled great and she said it was really good.  She said it was nice and tender.  It must have been because she ate more of her meal than it did.

    Ruby Tuesday Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin

    Ruby Tuesday Asiago Peppercorn Sirloin

  • That leads me to another point…..the portion sizes are good.  I always leave full when I eat there.  Tonight I even took home a small portion of my steak.  I was just too full to finish it.  Not only that, but the food actually has flavor but not so much fake flavor you lose the flavor of the actual item.
  • Their food prices are reasonable.  In addition, if you are like me and like to take advantage of savings, if you have a smart phone with the Retail Me Not app, type in Ruby Tuesdays and there is usually a Buy one meal, get one 50% off.  I use that coupon all the time when I eat there.  I tell the waiter and at the end of the meal, they ask to see the coupon and I show them the code.  I have never been made to feel awkward for using it or felt like the waiter was annoyed I was using it.  ****Just remember to tip them based on the amount BEFORE the discount.  You can also go online with a desktop or laptop and go to RetailMeNot.com and print the coupon ahead of time, but if you have a smart phone, it isn’t necessary to print it.  In doing some searches for this blog, I did find a Facebook group called Ruby Tuesday Coupons where they also have different coupons posted on there.
  • I do think their desserts are a little pricey for what you get.  I ordered the cupcakes once and wasn’t impressed.  I do like their Blondie dessert though, so if you’re not too full from your meal and want a huge dessert or one to share, you might want to consider it.
  • They are a full service bar.  I don’t usually order alcoholic drinks when I’m out.  I just don’t see the point in spending that much money.  I am completely against drinking and driving, I’m usually the driver, so again, I tend to avoid alcohol when I’m out to eat.  I have ordered their signature drink; Ruby Relaxer and it was really good.  According to their website, the drink is: “a mellow blend of Absolut Vodka with Cruzan Coconut Rum, peach schnapps, pineapple and cranberry juices, and fresh orange.”
  • They have these cheddar cheese biscuits they normally serve with the meals.  For some reason, now that I think about it, we didn’t get them tonight, but I didn’t think to ask why.
  • Their carry out service is pretty good as well.  I love the fact you can run in and make your salad and then grab the hot portion of your meal and head back out.  They do have prepared salads on their menu but I don’t know why anyone would choose that over making it yourself at their salad bar.  I’ve never tried it, but I’m sure you could just order a chicken breast by itself to add to your salad if that is all you want.  I know Outback will do that.  I used to do it for carry out all the time.  I’d just order their house salad with a 6 oz chicken breast.  Never hurts to ask if you are interested.
  • They are ADA Friendly.  There is usually enough spacing between tables for wheelchairs and walkers.  Just tonight, I noticed about three different families eating there where one member was in a wheelchair, plus my mom was there with the walker and even with her getting the salad bar, she is able to navigate it on her own.
  • Family Friendly, Meeting Friendly, Date Friendly, and Friend Gathering Friendly.  I wouldn’t say it is a romantic place, but I have actually had two different dates there.  One was even a first date.  I don’t think it should be understood the man pays so if he insists, I try to think of a restaurant centrally located between the two of us with good food and not too pricey.  Ruby Tuesday fits the bill.

So why isn’t it busier?  I’ve been thinking about this.  Perhaps people don’t understand what a hidden gem of a restaurant they are.  Are they the fanciest?  Absolutely not.  They are clean, they are simple.  They are like a neighborhood restaurant that just happens to nationwide.  I remember I didn’t go into one for the longest time because I thought it was a seafood restaurant.  I have no idea why, but I did.  Their logo, the little swoosh on the “s” in Tuesday made me think seafood.  I chalked it right up there with chains like Red Lobster, Applebees, etc, all of which I don’t go to.  I have never been impressed with the quality of their food.  As I don’t eat anything from the water, Red Lobster’s only alternative was a chewy chicken.  So, with this thinking, I stayed away until one day I decided to venture in and I am so glad I did.  I remember taking a friend there once and when we left, he admitted he had never eaten there before and it wasn’t what he thought it was.  I think we’ve been back two or three times after that.

To me, it is just a nice, relaxing, place to go and enjoy a decent meal at a decent price.  The only complaint I have about the locations in Kansas City is that they don’t have one close to me.  If they wanted to put one near Waldo, I would probably just bounce back and forth between them and Chipotle all the time!  Actually, I think Waldo demographics would be perfect for them.  They should consider it!

I encourage you to look to see if you have a Ruby Tuesday near you.  If you do, go check out what coupon would be the best for you, and then head out to try it.  I’d love to hear about your experience if you do.  Or, if you’re already a fan, drop a comment about what location and what you love about it!

Happy Eating everyone!

If you like this and want to stay up to date with my posts, follow me on Twitter @HaliPawz  or Like me on Facebook.com/HaliPawz 

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

Kingsman Movie Review – A Randomocity Submission

As some of you know, I am not dividing my writing between HaliPawz (here) and I am also blogging for Randomocity Podcast Network.  If I write something I feel will truly target their audience, I will post to their site but I will also include a link here so my readers have access to it, even if they don’t necessarily check out Randomocity all the time.  You should though!  Anytime you need a laugh, you’ll find it there!

I had the opportunity to see a screening of Kingsman: The Secret Service at the Alamo Drafthouse KC.  Click here to read the review in it’s entirety.