Tag Archives: Wichita KS

Keeper of the Plains in Wichita KS

20150911_202420TRAVEL THERE: THE RING OF FIRE CEREMONY FOR THE KEEPER OF THE PLAINS

I’d just like to complain a little bit.  This particular attraction was the sum total of things available to me in Wichita KS.  It’s not that they don’t have museums and gardens.  It’s that the museums and gardens were all against me.  They closed about the time I got there Friday.  They opened back up when I went into the Ministry Event, but closed when I got out.  Then they waited until I left town to open up again.   Thank you Keeper of the Plains for lighting your firepots for me.20150911_202635

Dramatic Positioning

Our waitress at Taste and See gave us great directions to the site of the Keeper of the Plains.  We found parking and saw the pedestrian bridge before we could see the Keeper.  Once the Keeper came into sight, it was clear he’s in a very dramatic position.  He stands at the confluence of the Arkansas and Little Arkansas Rivers and looks down towards the modern city.

The Keeper himself is a work of modern art, but he makes me think of the popular Kokopelli figure.  While Kokopelli is hunched forward, the Keeper stands erect with his face lifted to the Great Spirit.

As we approached the pedestrian bridge, with its bow and arrow motif, the arch of the bridge framed the Keeper.  Each perspective seems to add to the mystery of the great figure atop a stone outcropping.

20150911_202858Once across the bridge, we entered an open-air interpretive center explaining the spiritual significance of the Keeper to Native Americans.  From this position you are below the stone out-cropping, looking up at the Keeper.  Soft tribal music fills the air in the interpretive area making it feel like a sacred place.

There are paths below the outcropping that allow you to walk all the way around the statue.  The area is dark, so it was quite popular with couples.  Deb and I were a little out of place.

Having seen the statue up close, we decided to wander back across the bridge and enjoy the Ring of Fire ceremony from afar.

I Anticipated the Wrong Ring 

Across the river along the esplanade was several tiers of seating and a different type of tribal music was playing, “Happy” by Pharrell Williams.  Deb and I climbed to one of the upper tiers and watched a couple of little boys dance to the trippy little tune.  As we enjoyed the boys I tried out the panoramic feature on my phone I had discovered at Myriad Botanical Gardens.  The light wasn’t right, but I will share the results anyway.

20150911_205047

Finally the moment came and flames erupted in the firepots at the Keeper’s feet, but that wasn’t what I was expecting.  I wanted fire to blaze between the hands of the Keeper.  Careful reading of the information I found revealed  they’d had all the prepositions right, I’d just decided I didn’t want it that way, so I ignored them.  My purposeful ignorance did not change a thing.  The magic light did not appear for me.

20150911_210022I grabbed a final shot for you and we went back to the car.  This was Friday night.  We spent Saturday in the arena and enjoyed the seafood buffet at the hotel that evening.  The next morning we headed home.  We experienced the worst service I’d ever had at a McDonald’s somewhere along the way in Oklahoma.  Then we were home.

I took this trip in mid-September.  When I got home there were still several articles about the San Antonio Stroll on my blog waiting for posting.  I went ahead and wrote all the items on the Wichita trip as soon as I got home, knowing the series would not start until late October, but not wanting to miss the details.  You are reading this in the new year, but I am writing them on a beautiful September afternoon in Dallas.   I wonder what will be going on in the New Year of 2016.

 

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Legends at DoubleTree Wichita KS

Your Breakfast Buffet

Your Breakfast Buffet

TRAVEL THERE: LEGENDS RESTAURANT AT DOUBLETREE BY HILTON IN WICHITA KS SERVES TASTY AND CONVENIENT FOOD

When you stay at the DoubleTree by Hilton in Wichita KS, you’re out at the airport and away from everything else.  The hotel is lovely and once inside you can forget you’re even at an airport.  At mealtime Legends Restaurant & Bar, in the lobby of the Hilton is a safe bet for a good meal.

Breakfast As You Like It

The Executive Level of this hotel is a sweet deal during the week, because you have a breakfast buffet and an evening social hour right there on your floor.  If you are up on the Executive Level on the weekend, breakfast is still a sweet deal, because it’s comped.  Everybody else has to either pay $12.95 for the breakfast buffet or order a la carte.  Since it was comped, we opted for the breakfast buffet.

The breakfast buffet has pretty much anything your heart desires.  There’s all the cereals, fruit, yogurt, pastries and such.  There’s a do-it-yourself waffle maker with all the trimmings.  They also have omelettes, Eggs Benedict,  breakfast potatoes, sausage and bacon.  You know, the usual.  Well, maybe not so usual.  Eggs Benedict are kind of a treat.

On Saturday, I tried the Eggs Benedict.  Everything about them was fine, except for the fact that I’m funny about eggs.  I don’t like scrambled eggs or omelettes, and any other egg should be well done.  Well, a properly cooked Eggs Benedict should be over easy, but I’m not fond of the runny yellow goo.  The sauce was good, the muffin fine and I ate my egg white.  I left a lot of yellow goo behind.

The next day was Sunday and after 10 there is a Champagne Brunch with an elevated price tag.  They had an extra buffet table all ready to fill up with additional goodies, but we got there before 10 so we could get on the road and to avoid having to pay extra.  On that morning I went for some cereal and a biscuit.  OMG, that biscuit was good.  There can be some pretty sorry excuses for biscuits on a buffet, but these were amazing.  I only ate one and since I’m not fond of gravy had no problem avoiding it, but I really, really wanted another biscuit.

Saturday Night Seafood Buffet

After breakfast on Saturday morning, I noticed on the way out of the restaurant that they had a $34.95 Seafood Buffet in the evening.  That sounded pretty darned good to me.  We’d be at the Living Proof Event all day long and I just bet we’d love to come back to the hotel and veg.  I was right.  What I didn’t know was everyone else in the general vicinity was also going to realize this was a good deal.  I’m guessing that most of the people we saw hanging off the rafters in the restaurant lived in Wichita and came out on a regular basis.  They all seemed to have the drill down pat.

There really was all the seafood you could eat.  From broiled cod to shrimp cocktail and mussels to crablegs, you could eat yourself into a stupor.  I love crab legs and they were sweet enough that they didn’t need butter as far as I’m concerned.

Oh and dessert.  There was a chocolate pie good enough for someone’s mother to claim.  It had a denser meringue than my own mother made, but the chocolate and the crust tasted just like home.  There were other delicious looking choices, like a chocolate cake, but that wasn’t as amazing as the pie.  After dinner we were glad to waddle back to our room and call it a night.

The New Year is upon us.  I hope itis going to be a good year for you and yours.  Party hardy, but get home safe.  And come back in 2016 for a little Wichita KS sightseeing.

 

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The DoubleTree, Wichita KS

It's all about the cookir!

It’s all about the cookie!

TRAVEL THERE: THE DOUBLETREE BY HILTON AT THE WICHITA AIRPORT

If you ever go to a Beth Moore Living Proof Event, book your hotel early.  I assumed we’d stay in downtown Wichita, close to the Intrust Bank Arena where the event was being held.  I even sat down to make my reservations a month in advance. We had a lovely stay at the Wichita DoubleTree, but it wasn’t our first choice.

Don’t Cry Over Spilled Milk

OK, so fine.  Our first choices for accommodations in Wichita weren’t available – at least not at the convention pricing – so we couldn’t stay there.  Next?

Hilton’s Doubletree Hotels are lovely places.  After I booked our bargain room they emailed me and told me I qualified for a standby upgrade.  It would cost $15 a day, but I would be on the Executive Level.  The Executive Level offers amenities like free breakfast and daily hors d’oeuvres in the evening, but those breakfasts and hors d’oeuvres weren’t available on the weekend.  I wasn’t sure whether it was worth it or not, but I took it anyway.  I’d leave it to chance.  If there were no upgrades available when we got there, I would be perfectly happy with a regular room.  If the upgrade was available, then we’d see if it was worth it for the next opportunity.  When we got there we got the upgrade and it was worth it.

Check-in and Unloading

Checking-in was not as easy breezy as it had been in OKC.  Apparently whoever had our room during the week had gotten a late check-out and the registration desk wasn’t sure whether or not the maids had gotten to it.  Still, the Doubletree always greets you with a seriously amazing cookie, so you can’t get too upset by anything as you enter chocolate chip nirvana.

Should you ever stay here, please note that their complimentary shuttle will deliver you to locations within the airport, but otherwise, you better have a car.  The registration desk couldn’t answer that question, so we found the bellman.  He said he could take us to the airports taxi stand where we could get a $30 round-tip taxi.  No thank you.  I was trying to avoid parking fees, so a $15 taxi wasn’t the answer, since it also came with other hassles.

So we headed to the room.  I’m sure the nice bellman would have been happy to see to our luggage, but we’re independent sorts.  We pulled around to entrance closest to our room and gathered up our bags.  Deb led the way into the building, pulling her bag behind her.  There was a pair of exterior doors and a pair of interior doors.  I negotiated the exterior doors with no trouble, but as I held them open to wheel in my bag, I backed into the vestibule and fell into Deborah’s luggage.  We found this very amusing, but a pair of maids who stood nearby looked as if they suspected we were drunk.  Then Deb asked them where the elevator was.  They pointed to our right.  We were standing right next to it, which we also thought was hilarious.  The pair of maids were then firmly convinced we were bonkers.

Up on the Executive Level

The Executive Level requires your room key to let you in.  No riff raff allowed.  There’s all kinds of amenities up there for the business traveler.  A computer with wifi, a printer, comfy chairs and a TV.  There’s a coffee bar and buffet, as well as tables for eating.  It’s all tastefully decorated in rich woods and dark upholstery.

When we got there a couple was hogging the area in front of the TV with an attitude that suggested they belonged there and we didn’t, so we didn’t try to make friends.  I’m thinking they were booted out of their room, had a late flight and needed a place to hang out.

You’ll need your room card again to get into your room.  And it’s just a room.  More luxurious and spacious than the space in OKC, but no door separating the sleeping area, so we gave a little and got a little.  The room was beautifully appointed and quite chic, but it was still just a hotel room.  Nothing about it to get very excited about.  We did have comfy robes and house shoes to use and there was a safe, but the bottles of water were strictly for Hilton Honors members.

What made the upgrade to the Executive Level worthwhile, in spite of the absence of breakfast and social hour, was that in lieu of these amenities the hotel comped our breakfasts down in the hotel’s restaurant.  The breakfast buffet was $12.95 each, so were were about one breakfast ahead each day.  We also had dinner there on Saturday night, not comped, but I’ll tell you about Legends Restaurant next week.

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Jason Febres’ Taste and See In Wichita KS

Taste and See: Global Fusion

Taste and See: Global Fusion

TRAVEL THERE:  A VISIT TO OLD TOWN IN WICHITA KS WITH DINNER AT JASON FEBRES’ TASTE AND SEE:GLOBAL CUISINE

The drive from OKC to Wichita has to be one of the most boring in the world.  About the only excitement we had was gathering up change for the toll road.  Things got more fun in Wichita.  We found Old Town and then ate at a restaurant owned by a famous TV Chef, Taste and See.

Rolling Into Town

The first thing we had to do when we got to Wichita was find our hotel.  Then we had to figure out how to get to the Intrust Bank Arena at 9 AM the next morning.  I was hoping the hotel would be taking a vanload or two, but no such luck.  We chatted with the bellman, but didn’t like any of his suggestions.  It looked as if I’d have to drive down there and park.  So as soon as we dumped our stuff in the room, we went back out.

Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita is not the American Airlines Center in Dallas, but I was paranoid about it all. (Am I the only one who hates having arenas named after businesses?)  I didn’t want to be stuck outside trying to park while Beth Moore was inside the arena blessing the socks off everyone.  I programmed Nancy the Navigator to find the arena and headed downtown.  Deb tried to help Nancy and kept urging me to go ahead and turn left, but for once I ignored her.  Come to find out, Deb had been trying to get me to the Convention Center rather than the Intrust Bank Arena.  Nancy had it right.

I drove around a little more to convince myself that parking was not going to be an issue.  Then we decided to explore Wichita a little bit.  This time we turned Nancy off and I followed Deb’s instructions.  She found a gas station and then got me to a parking lot in Old Town.

Discovering Old Town

Like Bricktown in OKC, Old Town in Wichita is an entertainment area.  While much of Bricktown is new, most of Old Town is old.  The first place we happened upon was Mort’s, which is a happening sort of a place, but it’s also a cigar-smoking place and my eyes wanted no part of that.

Deb in Taste and See

Deb in Taste and See

So we followed the map around to an area with several restaurants and landed at Taste and See: Global Fusion.  Confession:  We had no idea we had arrived at THE hot foodie spot of Wichita.  For that matter, we had no idea Wichita was supposed to be a foodie destination.  We just got lucky.

Taste and See

The hot foodie spot was not much into decor.  Bare tables, concrete floors – a sort of diner vibe.  At the back of the restaurant was an open kitchen with a lot of chefs.  I’ve heard of too many chefs in the kitchen, but watching these guys seemed like a demonstration of just that phenomena.

Deb was in the mood for a steak and I just wanted to nibble a little bit, but first we wanted drinks.  I chose Sangria.  Deb ordered a glass of wine, but the waitress didn’t like her choice.  After a bit of tasting Deb decided the waitress was right about the pinot being sub-par.  I think she ended up with a merlot.  My sangria was great.

Then there was the ordering.  The tasting menu sounded amazing, but it was $35 and to get the paired drinks was another $45.  I’m into a little splurging, but that was beyond my keen.  So instead  I picked out a couple of tapas.  Deb chose a steak and she ordered it rare.  The waitress took her order, but then a chef came and discussed the wisdom of rare and suggested medium rare.

The Famous Chef we didn't know

The Famous Chef we didn’t know

The conference was a success and Deb loved her steak.  I loved one of my tapas, the Cornucopia, but the Pizzettes had too much dough – as in the toppings were just about right, but sat in the middle of too much bread.

All the while we kept our eyes opened for Jason Febres, the famous chef we knew nothing about.  Lo and behold, he showed up, but after chatting up a few other tables he landed at a large group about two tables away.  He stayed there for the rest of the time we were there, so I never got the chance to help him out with his Pizzettes.

Of course we had dessert.  It was some Oreo Cookie thing, which was delicious, but didn’t begin to compete with the not-so-trendy Lava Cake we’d tackled in OKC.

Time to Call It a Night

I’m glad we happened upon the ultimate Wichita foodie experience, but I have to confess that it was not my favorite meal of the trip.  In fact, if we were handing out foodie awards, we’d have to give it to OKC, not Wichita.

We took another route back to our car.  For a Friday night the area was actually pretty tame.  Mort’s was rocking, but we could smell the cigar smoke long before we heard the live band on the patio, so I’m not sorry we missed that hot spot.  Nancy the Navigator took us back to the Doubletree and we tucked ourselves in for the night.

Here’s a few more pictures from our foodie experience.  Come back next week and I’ll tell you about the hotel.

 

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