Good luck at the Miss Ghana USA pageant

E59A4026cfbAs another pageant weekend approaches, it’s time for me to wish my best friend, Akua (Idia) Tokunboh, good luck at the Miss Ghana USA pageant.

We’ve been friends since freshman year at WSU!  She’s currently a pharmacist and graduated from the KU School of Pharmacy last year. I am so proud of her accomplishments!

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I call her my African sister and think of her as an African queen.  It’s probably why it’s fitting that she’s competing in the pageant this weekend in New York City.  The winner of the Miss Ghana USA goes on to compete at Miss Africa USA. You can read her essay by clicking here.

Now, here’s an update of my wonderful Indian sister. If your recall, my last post was to wish Megha good luck as she represented the Asian Festival at the Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen pageant.

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Guess what?!? She won!!!

IMG_3409Last month, she was crowned Miss Kansas’ Outstanding Teen 2014 and she’ll represent Kansas at Miss America’s Outstanding Teen, July 29 to August 2 in Orlando. You can vote for her by going to this site, https://fourpointsmagazine.com/maoteen-americas-choice/item/1383-kansas.

I’m so excited that we both will compete in the state of Florida that same week but that also means that I won’t get to see her in Orlando. She has a great support system, including her lovely grandmas, so I’m sure they’ll cheer extra loud for me. Wishing my little sister, good luck at MAOT!  IMG_3390

Good Luck to Miss Asian Festival 2013

 

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Since 1984, a cultural pageant winner has been chosen to represent the annual Wichita Asian Festival.  The purpose of the Miss Asian Festival Pageant is to give young women of Asian descent the opportunity to discover their heritage and celebrate their culture on the Asian Festival stage.

Last year, the judges chose a 16-year-old girl representing India to be the 30th Miss Asian Festival.  I still remember meeting this young lady for the first time. I thought to myself that this quiet and shy girl had this positive aura that makes you want to be her friend.

Since then, I’ve had the honor to mentor this young lady.

For months I’ve seen Megha Gangadhar step out of her comfort zone and grow as a leader.  As a pageant director, the most rewarding part is to see women grow as they prepare to compete.  As a fellow Asian-American and president of the Wichita Asian Association, the most rewarding part is seeing Megha embrace her Indian culture and seeing her grow as a leader in the Asian community.

As she competes in her first “real pageant,” I know our Asian community is proud and supports her in the journey for the title of Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen 2014.

Good luck to my friend and mentee!

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Global Sunday Fun Day

Here’s a recap of my Sunday Fun Day, which took me on a global tour.

My first stop was in Laos

Before lunch, I had the chance to meet our Miss Asian Festival 2012 (Miss Laos) to buy craft items for the Wichita River Festival Sundown Parade.  As we continued shopping, she told me that she was asked by Miss Vietnam to be a bridesmaid. It made me feel so proud to know that through pageantry, Miss Laos and Miss Vietnam were able to not only learn about their own culture but also learn about others’ cultures, and ultimately form lasting friendships.  For any young lady considering representing a country at Miss Asian Festival 2014, please click here to apply.

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Miss Asian Festival 2012 contestants

My second stop was in Vietnam

For lunch, we ate at My Tho, a Vietnamese noodle restaurant.  Wichita has a large population of Vietnamese-Americans so the Vietnamese food here is quite delicious. Having visited Vietnam, I must say eating pho (Vietnamese noodles), always brings back the memories of my trip to Ho Chi Minh City and Nha Trang (where Miss Universe 2008 was held).

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October 2008 in Nha Trang, Vietnam

My third stop was in Mexico

For dessert, we decided to go to the NoMar area of Wichita, which celebrates the Hispanic cultures in Wichita.  We visited one of my favorite fruit shops in town called Tropicana.  They serve mixed fruits with some syrup and some chili powder (and sooooo delicious)!  I was telling my brother that it reminded me of our childhood in Guatemala where we would spend Sundays eating local cuisines.

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Tropicana and My Tho

The fourth stop was in India

I had the pleasure to spend some time with our Miss Asian Festival 2013, who is going to represent the Asian community at the upcoming Miss Kansas Outstanding Teen competition in Pratt.  Her mother was gracious enough to make a custom-made lehenga from India and gifted it to me today. I tried it on and loved it!  can’t wait to show you all the beautiful outfit! It was there that I also got to snack on delicious samosas that her mom made.

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Idia (finalist for Miss Ghana USA 2014), Nina (Miss America 2013), Lily (Miss Kansas International 2014), and Megha (Miss Asian Festival 2013)

The final stop started in Japan and ended in Haiti

Our young professionals service group (Rotaract Club of Wichita) met and ate Hana Cafe, a Japanese restaurant in Old Town Wichita.  The main reason for our meeting was to start working on the Third Annual Pub Crawl to raise funds to provide clean drinking water for school children in Lambert, Haiti. Please mark your calendars for Saturday, November 22 to help with this fundraiser. Details on the event will be posted on the Facebook event page.

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Committee photo at the Second Annual Pub Crawl

Today, it became even more apparent that my community is diverse and global, right here in the heart of the U.S.A.

-Lily

Pageant Season 2014

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Miss Kansas United States 2014 pageant

Alright…this is a LONG overdue blog entry.

I’m switching this blog from “Lily’s Luncheons” to “Where’s Wu?”  I’d like to post some of the fun adventures that I get to participate in because of pageantry and television.

Since pageant season 2014 is already in full swing, I thought it’s only appropriate to come out of my hiatus with a quick entry on my adventure to Kansas City to watch a pageant.  I had the opportunity to attend the Miss Kansas United States pageant as a “former” with a few of my friends.  Women who have competed in pageants know that pageant season means that you can catch the “pageant bug.”  I’ll post more about that in a future entry . . .

During this adventure, I had the opportunity to catch up with friends I’ve had the honor of meeting throughout my pageant journey.  In the photo, you can see, from left to right, Miss Ruby Slippers 2009 (Susan Yang), Miss Kansas United States 2010 & Miss Kansas 2011 (Carissa Kelley), and Miss Oklahoma International 2009 (Cat Taylor).  We had the chance to see some great gals from Kansas compete for Ms., Miss, and Teen titles. I look forward to seeing the growth the winners and the contestants will have this year.  If you’ve competed in pageants, you know that pageants can help a woman grow mentally, emotionally, and intellectually.

Here’s to a great pageant season 2014!

Until next time,

Lily

Treaders In Great Bend

Phojo Gio and I went to Great Bend for a murder sentencing. We don’t like going those but we do have to report it. Since we only had a limited amount of time to eat, we ventured across the street from the courthouse. This is where we found, Treaders at 1309 Main Street.

It’s  a small family owned restaurant where you can see your food getting prepared right in front of you. It was a buzzing place during lunchtime, so I assume it’s a place the locals also enjoy. I was a little too preoccupied with my toe injury that I didn’t get to take more notes, but I do remember that the food made me feel a little bit better.

For lunch, I had the half sandwich and cup of soup special, which came with a drink, for $6.99. It was the right amount of food for lunch and we were in and out within 20 minutes.  Like most of you know, I’m a fan of soups, so it didn’t matter that it was 100+ degrees outside, I still wanted my “feel good” soup (especially after the injury).  I had their baked potato soup which was thick and tasty. I don’t think it was the best soup but it was still good. I think it was partially because we were rushing out of there to get to a press conference, so we ate fast, meaning I partially burned my tongue with the soup.  I also had the chicken sandwich. I would’ve enjoyed it more if it had more chicken in it but I guess that’s why it’s only a half sandwich.  Overall, a good experience and if I’m back in Great Bend, I would stop by again.

 

 

STL and CHI

This is a short post but thought I’d write about a couple restaurants in St. Louis and Chicago.

As I was cleaning, I found a few reminders of my trip to Chicago several years ago with some of my friends.

Chicago
Le Colonial – I remember this nice Vietnamese/French fusion restaurant. It is the restaurant that we saw David Schwimmer from “Friends.”

Costa’s
I remember going to Greektown to eat at this restaurant. It was delicious and perfect before we went to watch the “Blue Man Grouo.”
http://www.costasdining.com

Emperor’s Choice
If you’re in Chinatown, this is the place to go at any time of the day. I remember going there for dinner but also going there later in the evening with the munchies. Good food and authentic.
2238 S. Wentworth Ave., Chicago, 60616
312-225-8800

St. Louis
Hannegan’s Restaurant and Pub
In Laclede’s Landing
Not much recollection of this restaurant but I got their card, so, it must be good enough that I wanted to remember this place.
719 N. Second St, St. Louis, 63102
314-241-8877

Pre and During Lenten Friday

Okay, these two restaurants I’m writing about have no connection other than I ate at these two places during this first week of Lent.  I’m always up for going to a new mom-and-pop restaurant and it was no different this week.

Phojo Greg and I were already downtown for an interview, so, we decided to check out a restaurant that replaced the Quiznos at the corner of Murdock and Waco.  We visited “El Piminiento” for the first time and I’m sure it won’t be the last.  I had two tamales, rice, and beans for about six dollars.  The portion was more than generous and the taste of these tamales was just perfect.  I’m a huge fan of tamales and these did not disappoint.  I chatted a bit with the owner, Havier, and he told me that all of his food is authentic Mexican food and that he’s enjoying being an entrepreneur in Wichita.  I highly recommend this place for Mexican food but you’ll have to find out their times.

El Pimiento

738 N. Waco

316-440-5122

After working all day and then volunteering on Friday evening, I must have been a bit tired because I got us lost!  Since it was Lenten Friday, I knew I could eat seafood.  Having heard about the Wichita Fish Company by a friend, I suggested that restaurant.  Unfortunately, they close by 8 p.m. and we don’t get out of the Lord’s Diner ’til 7:35 p.m.  We called them and they suggested we go to Haysville Fish Company which doesn’t close ’til 9 p.m. on Friday.  I thought I knew where I was going but apparently I did not.  I got us lost for a good 10-15 minutes but we got back on track to arrive at the Haysville Fish Co. by 8:15 p.m.

Since, it was Lenten Friday, we knew we’d have to wait for our food.  And, it was well worth the wait!  While we waited for our food, I chatted with the owner, Larry.  He told me the Haysville restaurant had been open for a little over year and that it gets very busy on Lenten Fridays.

I ordered the crab cake dinner and it was delicious!  Only problem was that it was too much food for me to finish.  Bright side, I had some leftovers so I could have it again.  I tried some of my brother’s Haddock strips and they were perfectly seasoned.  I recommend what I ordered but would order one additional smaller item with the crab cake dinner and share it.

Haysville Fish Company

7301 S. Broadway, Haysville

316-260-3400

Tues-Sat 11 a.m.-8p.m.

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All-American Hamburgers

Besides my love for soups, I love to eat a good ol’ All-American hamburger with plenty of ketchup and mustard!

But after doing a story on Type 2 diabetes, I’m afraid my love for these hamburger joints might have to become a less frequent affair.  There’s nothing wrong with eating hamburgers as long as it’s in moderation and not a daily staple in my diet.  Let me share some of my favorite burger joints in/around Wichita.

If you have any suggestions of other places that I should visit, comment and let me know.

  • The Anchor – 1109 East Douglas Avenue, Wichita
  • Charlie’s Famous Burgers – 3200 West 13th Street North, Wichita
  • TJ’s Burger House – 1003 West Douglas Avenue, Wichita
  • Timbuktu Bar and Grill – 1251 North Andover Road, Andover

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Time For Soups

It’s that time of the year where cooler temperatures are among us and what does that mean?  Well, for those that only like soup when it’s cold, then, its time for soups!

I re-introduce to you “Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.”  It truly is one of my favorite lunch spots and it’s even better now that it can warm me up so that I can report in the frigid cold winds of Kansas.  I introduced Tanya’s to both phojos Scheffer and Gio, and I believe they are fans too.  Every time I walk into the restaurant, I’m eager to see what’s on the board.  There’s always a new soup that I haven’t tried and I’m never disappointed with my selection.

Another favorite spot of mine is Barn’rds near 21st Street and Woodlawn.  They have my favorite vegetable beef soup.  I always combine it with the delicious BBQ beef sandwich.  It reminds me of my days in college whenever I eat there.

My favorite sushi place, Wasabi, also has a warm treat.  I enjoy eating their seafood udon noodles with the beef stock soup.  Although, I have to say that in terms of udon noodles, I still prefer the sweet udon noodles at Kanai (on the west side of Wichita).  In one of my next entries, I’ll have to introduce you to pho, Vietname noodles in soup.

Volunteering in south Wichita has its perks…re-visiting Restaurante Usuleteco.  After my friends and I volunteered at the Lord’s Diner, we visited the restaurant at about  7:45 p.m.  The staff was kind enough to let us order and eat our food, even though they closed at 8 p.m. on Friday!  I don’t recall any soups on the menu but I thought this would serve as a nice reminder of this mom-and-pop restaurant.  If you’re looking to break from the routine or are looking for something good and new, then I recommend this place…just don’t show up at 7:45 p.m., like us.

Italian in Kansas

Luciano's at 216 West Main Street in Mulvane

For my birthday, back in September, I decided to venture down to Mulvane for some Italian food.  I’d been there a few years ago with a friend and was missing some good Italian food. Luciano’s in Mulvane sure didn’t disappoint!  For lunch, they have a salad and entre special.  It took me a while to make up my mind but I chose wisely and the result was perfect!  I had the Insalata Mela Verde, spring mix salad with green apples, grapes, and crushed walnuts.  For my entre, I had Mottola Sugo di Carne, which the menu said it was a penne pasta with Luciano’s family recipe for meat sauce.  It was DELICIOUS!  And, as an added bonus, I had free dessert because it was my birthday!  Let me tell you, that creme brulee was nearly to die for!

Luciano's Insalata Mela Verde and Mottola Sugo di Carne

Luciano's Crema Bruciata

If you don’t feel like driving, I have a great recommendation…Marchello’s Restaurant in South Wichita! Their meat lasagna is one of the best I’ve ever had.  During lunch, you can even get the salad and lasagna special for less than $8!  They are quite generous with their sauce and a perfect match with their garlic bread.  Can you say, delicious and affordable?

Marchello's Restaurant at 3107 S. Seneca in South Wichita

Marchello's Lasagna

Back in the summer, I tried the fairly new Italian restaurant in Old Town called Luca.  I had a glass of wine, cup of Stracciatella soup, and gnocchi for nearly $40.  The food was alright but I would rather spend the gas money going down to Mulvane for more Luciano’s.

Luca's Gnocchi