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KANSAS CITY RESTAURANT WEEK WITH JAZZ- A LOUISIANA KITCHEN


Whether you consider yourself a foodie or not, you cannot help but rejoice at the fact that Kansas City Restaurant Week(KCRW) is here.10 days and 2 weekends of celebrating food in the KC Metro area. Kansas City Restaurant Week is undeniably a premier dining event that has been wooing the masses since 2010. Participating restaurants offer a curated and special menu priced at $15 a person for lunch and $35 for dinner, featuring three courses.

When you have more than 200 restaurants to choose from, where do you start? Or which restaurants make it to your list for the year? Well, we kick-started our eating journey through Kansas City Restaurant 2020 with Jazz-A Louisiana Kitchen.
It is no secret that we love Jazz and don't need an excuse to keep going back to savor our favorites. We have a long love story with New Orleans and Cajun-Creole cuisine.  Kansas City Restaurant Week 2020 surely helped us to discover some new favorites. 

In the first course, I tried out a Bowl of Gumbo. Their authentic New Orleans style Gumbo with a dark roux, Andouille sausage, seafood, dirty rice and plenty of flavor. It was hearty and honestly was a huge portion for an appetizer. That could be my whole meal on some weeknights. I love food which packs a flavor punch and this bowl of gumbo surely did that. My husband tried out Boudin with Beans and Rice. One 8 oz Boudin sausage link(rice and pork)served with their signature red beans and rice. 


 Moving on to course number 2. My husband opted for Blackened Catfish Hot Fanny. 2 blackened catfish filets, topped with a jalapeno and mushroom garlic butter sauce. Served on a bed of rice. with a side of succotash.
 Shrimps and grits are a guilty pleasure of mine. So when we were planning this evening, and I had seen shrimp and grits on the menu, I knew I had to try it out. And as we drove to Jazz, I kept thinking as to why I never did order Shrimp and Grits. On a normal day, my usual order entails Crawfish Etouffe. Shrimp and Grits is served together, but here at Jazz, what I tried out would seem like a deconstructed shrimp and grits. A hearty bowl of buttery grits served with succulent shrimp in their signature Pierre sauce.


  Last but not least, it was time for course number 3. Dessert. My husband opted for Chocolate Chip Bread Pudding An award-winning house specialty that is served hot and topped with a honey bourbon cream sauce.
If I am at Jazz, I have to order their signature Beignets. Four house-made beignets, topped with powdered sugar and served with Chantilly cream.  Crispy, crunchy yet pillowy soft when you bite into them. 


Kansas City Restaurant Week 2020 is on till January 19th. So make sure you check out the offerings at Jazz when you make your plans for the week. My heart and belly are full, with all the Cajun-Creole love, from Jazz. Bon Appetit!

NEW YEAR, NEW SKIN WITH CHARLOTTE TILBURY MAGIC CREAM & CHARLOTTE TILBURY EYE RESCUE

Happy New Year everyone! With the new year, come new year resolutions. This year, my only resolution is to ensure that I and my family is healthy. And I started off on that route by ensuring healthier skin. So New Year, New Skin with Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream and Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue. 
 Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream has been creating hype ever since it was launched a few years ago. It is an award-winning facial moisturizer that supermodels and beauty editors swear by.  Legend has that this cream was inspired by Charlotte Tilbury's work backstage with models. Layering this cream under makeup would give a glow. I am not a makeup artist but I swear by the importance of layering a rich and thick facial moisturizer below my make up. I do have dry skin, which is sensitive, and I do prefer my make up to be full to medium coverage. And the Holiday season, with all the outings, was the perfect time to try out this hyped product layered under my make up.

Charlotte Tilbury Magic Cream claims to revitalize dry skin. My skin is showing signs of age, and Winter is rough for my skin anyway. I can say that it is a great fit for anyone with normal to dry skin. For someone with oily skin, one might have to go with an even smaller portion of the cream on the skin, to avoid an oily T-zone. While I do not like overly perfumed products, I must add that this product just smells wonderful. My tropical soul shall forever be in love with Tropical flowers. And the fact that this product is perfumed and enhanced with Frangipani flower extracts, makes it an even perfect choice. Frangipani flower extract is also known for its moisturizing qualities. 
Hylarunic Acid is another hyped-ingredient that does wonders for skin conditions, like those of mine. Vitamin C & E brighten the skin to give it a glow. Camelia Oil, Rosehip Oil, and Shae Butter further intensify the moisturizing quotient of the product. last but not least Aloe Vera smoothens the appearance of the skin. The packaging is luxurious with Charlotte's signature rose gold tones. 


 The second product I tried from the Charlotte Tilbury collection was Charlotte Tilbury Magic Eye Rescue. It claims to be the secret to a hydrated, youthful-looking and brighter under-eye area. I must confess that while I am diligent with my night creams, moisturizers and sunscreen in my skincare routine, I often miss the step with eye creams. So it was dit a try. I tried out both products for the last few weeks before I was comfortable writing an honest review for all of you. The eye cream does a good job of locking moisture and giving a radiant look. Time-released retinols work over time to help smooth the skin and boost the appearance of the under-eye area.
Skincare is very personal. But if you are someone like me, for whom the product quality matters most over everything, then you should definitely give Charlotte Tilbury's Magic Cream and Magic Eye Rescue a try. I will not deny the premium price tag, but then again good skincare often comes with it. Thank you Influenster and Charlotte Tilbury for giving me the opportunity to test the products free,  for this review! 

WHAT I WORE THIS CHRISTMAS:RED&BLUSH







Hope all of you had a wonderful Christmas! It is officially that lull between Christmas and New Year's when many of us lose track of which day of the week it is. While I get ready for another round of scans for my husband, who just won his battle over cancer, I decided to sneak in a few moments, to write. As I always say, writing is therapeutic for me. New Year is officially more than 48 hours away. so it made sense to write about what I wore this Christmas. As promised, I had shared what my Christmas Eve outfit was, so here comes the next installment of all things festive, for this year.

I fell in love with this red skirt, when I had first seen it, almost 5 years ago. And I can assure you, that its a conversation starter. A full skirt is a favorite of mine, but with my petite frame, often it is a hard hunt, to pick out just the right one. I had first blogged about this skirt, when I had worn it for Kansas City Fashion Week, in 2015. I had paired this skirt with a polka dot top, and leopard pumps. I had styled this skirt with a Superman Tshirt for my daughter's Super Girl Birthday party, earlier this year. I love this skirt so much, that I pulled out this skirt again. Last year, I had paired it with a gunmetal glitter tank for Christmas dinner downtown.

This Christmas, it was all about letting the Red notes shine. I love playing up colors in a similar family. So a dusty rose silk shirt to off-set the textured red full skirt. Red statement earrings from Bauble Bar, Red lipsticks, black-footed tights, and nude pumps. The wind was mischevious, so the skirt looks fuller in some shots than it actually is. I fell in love with how festive and fun the combo is.
This red skirt surely is a classic in my closet, as I love how many ways I can style it. From Valentine's Day to Christmas, there are quite a few styles to rock with this beauty. A high waisted skirt is also very flattering for anyone of us with a mom bod. It helps me rock the festive colors, without having to force myself into a Spanx. Nope, bodycon dresses are happily retired from my closet, at least for now.

Thank you to all of you for supporting me in my blogging journey for 10 years in a row! Have a wonderful New Year.

SHOP MY OUTFIT:

CANDY CANE CRUSH : CHRISTMAS EVE OOTD





Two days to Christmas! This year has been a roller coaster ride for sure, with my husband being detected with cancer and then finally beating cancer. Among the various things which got pushed to the back-burner, was also my content calendar for the blogs. But its the last few days of the year, and I wanted to make sure at least some of the seasonal content made its way to blog, and to all of you. So stay tuned for two back to back outfit posts on the blog.

Let's start with Candy Cane Crush! I was sipping on some hot chocolate, which had a candy cane stirrer when this outfit idea came together in my mind. Many of you who are regulars on my blog have seen how much I love dressing up for the holidays, and how much I love to shop my own closet, in creating new outfit combinations.

The top is a crop top with a beautiful faux-leather Peter Pan collar. Its a light knitwear, which makes it perfect for this time of the year. The Holiday touch to the outfit was surely my Pixie Ankle Pants in a beautiful red. When I had picked out this pair of pants, I knew I would wear to some Holiday event. Red statement earrings, and Red Lips, added a few more layers of a festive touch to the outfit. The finishing touch to the outfit had to be the Leopard Booties of mine, which can jazz any outfit!

Hoping all of you have a wonderful Holiday season! Stay warm, hug more, and keep smiling!



STRANG HALL, OVERLAND PARK IS NOW OPEN


Strang Hall opens its doors to the Foodies of Kansas City, on December 20th, 2019. If you had missed my last post about Strang Hall, then you can read all about it here. Strang Hall is the latest entrant in the Kansas City food scene. Being a resident of the southern part of the Kansas City metro area, I must tell you, that it is great to have a food hall, in this part of town. Strang Hall is conveniently located in downtown Overland Park Kansas.

What is Strang Hall, you might ask? Well, Strang Hall is a chef-collective. Not one, not two, but six different restaurants by six different chefs under one roof. A full-fledged bar and a coffee shop complete the picture. Strang Hall had a series of previews whereby the chefs were introduced to select media/food lovers across the city. I was fortunate to be able to cover the previews and also finally attend the soft launch, prior to the grand opening on December 20th. It was wonderful to see the new space. I loved the wood details and the industrial touch. It is like trying out fine-dining, in an extremely modernistic-casual space.

While the preview events saw the chefs presenting a selection from their menu, the soft opening saw each Chef presenting one signature item from their menu. Let us start our culinary journey of the evening with a stop at Anousone by Chef Anouroum Thompson. You can see how my Asian roots were ecstatic to taste comfort food with South-Asian flair. A fusion of Lao and Thai home-cooked cuisine that will transport you to a home far away.
I am a huge fan of his Khao Phoon. Chef presented Forbidden Rice Pudding at the soft opening. Purple rice and coconut with a creme brulee batter topped with white chocolate ganache and caramel sauce. Flambed to perfection just before you dig in. Its always a good idea, to start your meal with dessert, right.
Our next stop was at another favorite - Nida by Chef Remy Ayesh. A wonderful fusion of Lebanese-Spanish flavors. If you love tacos, then Nida is surely your taco heaven. Carnida Taco: braised pork, refried black beans, Oaxaca cheese, grilled pineapple salsa. Chef Ayesh knows how to pack a flavor punch in a tortilla.
 Third stop for the evening was at Basabasa by Chef Joe Ponzer. Asian fusion and fried chicken seem like a culinary match made in heaven, right. Presenting Crispy Chicken Sandwich: dijonaise, shaved Napa cabbage, sweet pickled cucumber.

Who does not love a good pizza? I know I do, and so does my 6-year-old, who had accompanied me, as always. You might have had your pizza favorites, but one bite into Chef Chad Tilman's pizzas and your pizza loyalties will change. Norcini, by Chef Tilman, is an Italian-inspired concept that will feature pizzas and sandwiches. We tasted Italiano Pizza, which is a Tuscan-style soppressata(head cheese) pizza with a thin layer of tomato sauce and sweet peppers.
While I am not a huge fan of salads in general, I was bowled over by Chef 's Grilled Citrus Salmon: ancient grain mix, arugula, avocado, fennel, grapefruit, pomegranate. Chef Erin Bassett's restaurant Solstice will highlight seasonal produce and her passion for healthy food.
Last but not least, it was a stop at Chef Mark Dandurand's Fond, which is a concept that will serve familiar dishes to make something wholly new. ncept that will serve familiar dishes and inject them with exciting flavors to make something wholly new. Arancini: beet risotto croquette, blue corn, spinach puree, cave cheese.


Hopefully that got you excited to venture out and try out the newest kid of the KC foodie scene. Strang Hall in Overland Park, Kansas. We ate our way around this wonderful chef-collective and came home with our hearts and bellies full.  

CHRISTMAS DECORATING: EXPECTATION VS REALITY

 
 Its mid-December and everyone is counting days till Christmas! I am sure all of you have finished decking your halls. I had meant this post go live in the first week of December, but it got delayed. What didn't get delayed though, was my plan for decking my halls. We usually decorate our home for Christmas, just after Thanksgiving, and were able to accomplish that. But when it came to documenting it all, that's where the deadline flew out of the window. Better late than never, right.
So when it comes to decorating, there's always a clash of expectation versus reality. What you want to do, and what you finally land up doing?
Let's start with my list of expectations first:
  • I(f things had been normal at our end(read: no fight with Cancer), I would have wanted to change our Christmas tree to a flocked one. I and our daughter have had that on our wishlist. 
  • Change up the color scheme of our decorations from red, green and gold, to something more whimsical, maybe. I was thinking of peacocks and jewel tones associated with it. 
  • Maybe even going to a Christmas Tree Farm, and get a fresh tree, versus an artificial one. 
  • Have holiday decor in all of the rooms in our house. At least a touch of holiday decor. 
  • Maybe add a Second Tree! 
  • Matching holiday Pjs(though its technically not home decor). Followed by 50 attempts to get cute photos with the camera on a tripod and timer. Did I mention trying to convince both human and furry kids to stay still and maybe look at the camera? Struggles of a mom's life, I tell you. 
  • Make Mulled Wine and enjoy it too. 
  • Load the refrigerator with EggNog, for the Holiday parties. 
  • Get Christmas Crackers before they are sold out everywhere. 

Now here's a look at reality:
 














  • The tree and the halls were decked on December 1ts, but didn't manage to blog about them, till now. 
  • Didn't manage to shop for ornaments in a different color scheme. So it was back to red, gold and green, for another year. Switched up things a bit though, while staying in the color scheme. I tried my hand at decorating with gold Deco Mesh and I am loving it. Got a bunch of larger ornaments. The tree that we use is more than 5 years old and is starting to get sparse in some places. But I fluff it like there's no tomorrow. The deco mesh and larger ornaments were a good idea in hiding gaps. Another hack that I love, is to add green ornaments inside the tree, which also cheat the eye, into hiding gaps. Evert year I change up, what I use as a Christmas tree topper. This year, I used a bunch of gold and red picks/sprays. I love using sprays/picks throughout the tree, in general. 
  • I didn't manage to go and visit a Christmas tree farm. Cancer takes its toll, and its a slow and steady pace to get back to normal life and activities. 
  • We have an open-concept floor plan, so I made sure that we had holiday decor in the various parts of the living floor, to tie it all in. The tree beside our fireplace and the mantle are also decked up. We have the same arrangement of pine cones and candles on the center table, as I had for Thanksgiving. For our formal dining table, we have a smaller tree and the quintessential red truck, carrying a fresh-cut tree. We decked up the hutch behind the dining table with bottle brush trees of varying sizes, to give it that whimsical, woodsy feel. The kitchen table has a silver deer, with a couple of bottle brush trees. The silver goes well with the stainless steel appliances of the kitchen, yet ties in the holiday decor. 
  • No mulled wine or egg nog yet, but we still have time. 
  • No Christmas crackers yet.

Hoping all of you have a wonderful holiday season!