February 13, 2017

SkipTheDishes In Omaha {Giveaway}

Do you guys know about SkipTheDishes? It’s a delivery service featuring a lot of restaurants who don’t typically deliver, including some of my favorite restaurants.

I never tried it until recently, when I was contacted by SkipTheDishes and they asked if I’d give it a go. What a great service!

Want to try it out? Oh My! Omaha readers can get 10% off their orders through March 31, 2017! Just use OHMYOMAHA10 at checkout. Keep reading for a giveaway!

 

What to know about SkipTheDishes

Why order delivery?

Let’s see. Are your kids wild cards when you eat out? Is it 9 degrees out? Are you so done with doing the dishes? Three very good reasons to have someone go fetch you good food.

If you feel like it, you do have the option of pick-up. I never feel like it.

 

Is it really local restaurants?

Yes, and they’re good ones! If you like ethnic foods, there are a lot represented. Restaurants serving up pizza, smoothies, falafel, ramen, subs, burgers…they’re all represented.

Want to dine in your fancy pants (ie., your nice PJs)? Order from Le Buillon or J. Coco.

We tried a new-to-us restaurant, Burrito Envy. If you try them, do yourself a favor, and get the dessert! Those little fried bites of cinnamon heaven topped with sea salt caramel make diet cheat nights worth it.

Got kids? Some of the local restaurants include some kids meal options, like Amsterdam Falafel & Kabob and Frank’s Pizzeria.

 

How much extra is delivery?

It depends on where you’re ordering from. Expect to pay between $2-$5.50.

 

How long does it take?

SkipTheDishes does a good job letting you know up-front how long deliveries will be as you browse the list. Delivery times are based on things like distance from your house, where couriers are, type of food, etc.

 

Was it easy?

Very. You need to register an account before you place an order. Then you look through the list of restaurants, find something tempting, order your meals, add the tip if you want, and then wait happily for delivery. You can place an order to be delivered “ASAP” or during a 30-minute window some other time.

 

Stalking time

You can “watch” your courier through the whole process via a GPS tracker on the website. This is particularly useful with children who ask “When is our food going to be here?” every 3 minutes.

 

Did you mess it up?

Of course. I didn’t finish the ordering process when I thought I had, so my window of delivery came and went. I had to reorder once I realized my mistake. I learned this obvious lesson:

Tip: You know your order has gone through when you get an email confirming it.

 

SkipTheDishes Omaha Discount

 

I want readers to try this service out, so SkipTheDishes is giving you 10% off orders through March 31, 2017! Just use OHMYOMAHA10 at checkout. Start drooling over browsing menus today here.

Giveaway

 

One lucky reader will receive $50 credit to SkipTheDishes! Use the easy Rafflecopter entry form below for your chance. Giveaway ends Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11:59 p.m.

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Must be 18 or older to enter. Giveaway ends Sunday, Feb. 26, at 11:59 p.m. One winner will be randomly selected through Rafflecopter and contacted via email within 48 hours. The winner has 48 hours to respond before another winner is selected. Good luck and happy eating!

 

 

January 25, 2017

Review: Around The World In 80 Days

I had a mom-and-son date recently to the Omaha Community Playhouse to see “Around The World in 80 Days.” It was my 7-year-old’s first time seeing a production there. Fun, right?

Teri Fender as Aouda, Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek as Phileas Fogg and Ablan Roblin as Jean Passepartout in the play “Around the World in 80 Days,” on stage at the Omaha Community Playhouse. Photo by Colin Conces

Thanks to Omaha Community Playhouse for providing the review tickets in order for me to write this post!

What to expect:

– This is the live staged version of Jules Verne’s classic. A lot of language is antiquated and British terms that may be over kids’ heads.

– Lots of fun characters, all played by a small cast. My son was amused by Ben Beck and Monty Eich, in particular, who took on so many random roles throughout the around-the-world journey of Phileas Fogg (played by Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek). Granted, some reminded me a bit of

– Creative sets. The characters trek across the world by steamer, train and elephant. I think the elephant was the most creative piece of the set!

Monty Eich, Anthony Clark-Kaczmarek and Ben Beck are a lot of fun to watch in “Around the World in 80 Days.” Photo by Robertson Photography

Timing a potty break

There is an intermission, but the first half is very long. I recommend going to the bathroom before taking your seat before the show starts.

Is it kid-friendly?

A funny scene in “Around the World in 80 Days” on stage at Omaha Community Playhouse through Feb. 12. Photo by Robertson Photography

Yes and no. This show is a lengthy theatrical production – 2 and 1/2 hours with intermission. It’s appropriate for the seasoned theater-going child who is used to a lot of dialogue. I would not consider bringing both kids to this; my 7-year-old has been going to shows for years and I knew he’d be fine sitting through it. I just didn’t know if he’d be interested). He was! There was a lot of humor in the show that made my son laugh aloud, even louder than some of the older folks there. The running gag about the detective’s fake name (“It’s Detect…Um Ah Figs”) was comedic gold to him.

It is not children’s theater, that’s for sure. The audience was majority adults, with me being on the younger side of the crowd.

Is it grownup-friendly?

I thought it was a clever production. Director Carl Beck did a great job encouraging the cast to infuse humor into situations that could easily have been done dryly. Even though I knew how it would end, I was still right there engaged to the very end rooting for Fogg.

What was it about again?

“Around the World in 80 Days” is a fantastic journey filled with exotic locations and cultures, with comedy and suspense leading the way. Englishman Phileas Fogg and his French manservant, Passepartout, create a strange pairing with their distinct cultural backgrounds. The two men travel around the world in an unprecedented 80 days to win a simple wager, but they leave an incredible story about loyalty and friendship in their wake. This production consists of five extremely resourceful actors who bring Jules Verne’s incredible story to life.

If you want to go

“Around the World in 80 Days”

When: Through Feb. 12; performances are Wednesdays through Sundays

Where: Omaha Community Playhouse, 6915 Cass St.

Cost: Tickets are $36 for adults and $22 for students (Thursdays – Sundays) and $28 for adults and $18 for students (Wednesdays). A limited number of tickets are available at half price after noon the day of the performance at the Box Office (cash or check only). Discounted tickets are available for Wednesday performances only at $28 for adults and $18 for students. Purchase online here.

 

November 7, 2016

Saving Time Grocery Shopping In Omaha

Disclaimer: This post is sponsored by Walmart Grocery. I was compensated for using the service and writing about it on the blog. All thoughts and opinions expressed are my own.

Grocery shopping in Omaha

Mom on the run.

The week leading up to Thanksgiving is going to be a busy one. Meal planning. Grocery shopping. House cleaning. I add on top of that: Work, book writing, blog writing, and oh yeah, parenting.

And because I can’t deal with down time well, I will also be delivering Thanksgiving meals for Open Door Mission’s annual Drumsticks on Wheels on Nov. 19 (sign up to volunteer for that here) and attending a preview of The Rose’s “Prancer” (which opens to the public Nov. 25).

Between all that running around, I buy food to feed my family (imagine that!). So, I’ve learned a quick and easy way to check grocery shopping off my list while exploring our city: Walmart’s FREE grocery pickup service.

What I learned about Walmart grocery pickup

I was invited to try Walmart’s grocery pick-up service and share my experience with you. Here’s what I learned:

The beauty of grocery shopping online - I'm wearing pajamas.

The beauty of grocery shopping online – I’m wearing pajamas.

1. It’s easy to shop for groceries online. Head to Walmart Grocery website to see for yourself. The search function made it simple to move down my list and add items. The only qualm I have is that instead of being able to select the quantity of produce, say six apples, I had to select by pound. And I am clueless to how much six apples weigh.

2. You’re going to be asked to select the Walmart location to pick up your groceries. They’re spread out all over Omaha, Council Bluffs and Bellevue, that’s the good thing. The bad thing is that none were really near Midtown, my home turf. Still, driving 7 miles to Council Bluffs was no big deal. Beats walking up and down aisles for 45 minutes, right?

3. You need an idea of your schedule to plan on your pick-up time. That should be easy, but my kids love throwing a wrench into my plans. In an ideal world, you’d load your virtual cart, select your store for pick-up, pay and select the next available time that day to get your groceries. It didn’t work out for me that way. I was hoping to squeeze pick up between Saturday errands, but all pick up times that day were filled up, so I had to select pick up for the following morning. Keep that in mind and plan ahead.

Walmart free grocery pickup service in the Omaha metro area

The free Walmart grocery pickup service means you don’t really have to get out of the car to get your groceries – good to know once winter weather arrives.

4. Walmart loads the groceries for you. I called 10 minutes before arriving at Walmart, to give them a heads up to gather my stuff, and then I called when we arrived to have them bring everything out. Larry brought my groceries out and loaded them into my car. You know what’s going to be great in the winter? Staying in the car while Larry loads my groceries. I think Larry’s the greatest.

5.  The fresh food they pick out for you is truly fresh. If you’re a produce snob, like me, relax. I ordered apples, pears, spinach, bananas and parsley and everything Walmart picked out for me measured up to my standards. I checked as soon as I got home. I wouldn’t have been able to pick fresher looking fruits. No bruises, no gross spots.

Here's some of the fresh fruit I ordered from Walmart.com for easy store pickup.

Here’s some of the fresh fruit I ordered from Walmart.com for easy store pickup.

6. The grocery pick-up service is FREE. You’ll need to purchase a minimum of $30 of groceries.

Want to try Walmart Pickup in Omaha?

Here are the Omaha/Council Bluffs participating Walmart locations that have grocery pickup:

  • 18201 Wright St.
  • 6960 W. Maple Road
  • 8525 S. 71st Plaza, Papillion, Neb.
  • 10504 S. 15th St., Bellevue, Neb.
  • 1800 N. 16th St., Council Bluffs, Iowa
Shop online for groceries and then just pick them up at a designated time and location at one of the participating Walmarts in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area.

Shop online for groceries and then just pick them up at a designated time and location at one of the participating Walmarts in the Omaha/Council Bluffs area.

Start shopping at the Walmart Grocery website today! Don’t forget – it’s FREE to use the pickup service. Sorry, friends, your groceries are not free, just the pickup service.

October 31, 2016

Where To Get The Best Steaks In Omaha

Omaha sure loves its beef. One of the most frequent questions I heard from visiting performers back in Omaha Performing Arts days was “Where’s the best steaks in Omaha?”

Glad you asked. I posed the question to local bloggers and here’s where the list we came up with. If you’re hungry for a good burger, too, this list is for you.

beef Omaha

Where to find the best steaks in Omaha

Let’s start with the biggie: Steaks. If you’re looking for juicy, well-prepared steaks, look no further.

Tim and Lisa at The Walking Tourists have a few favorites, with Anthony’s Steakhouse being their favorite for steak. They offered these honorable mentions: Cascio’s Steak and Pizza House (open since 1946), The Original Johnny’s Cafe (open since 1922), Gorat’s (open since 1944) and Brother Sebastian’s Steak House & Winery.

Another old-school steakhouse of Omaha that gets some love is the Drover Restaurant and Lounge, which is a favorite of Bolton Carley‘s, Julie at Hostess at Heart, and Sara at Sabby Style for steaks. Whiskey-marinated steaks, y’all.

Kathy at Kissing the Frog suggests people try Mahogany Prime Steakhouse in West Omaha. She and her husband have never had a bad meal there, and said it’s more about the experience of dining there.

Looking for prime rib? Head to The Original Johnny’s Cafe, suggests Bolton Carley.

Where to find the best hamburgers in Omaha

Have you heard of the Stellanator? It’s a beast – six patties in all. You can find it at Stella’s Bar & Grill in Bellevue, Neb., just south of Omaha. Several local bloggers – including Tim and Lisa from The Walking Tourists, Bolton Carley and Jen at Liv Laugh Love – recommend Stella’s for burgers. The Walking Tourists suggest going with the single patty kind (with peanut butter and bacon). Jen said “There isn’t even a contest. The burgers are served without flair but the toppings and quality are second to none. The atmosphere is outstanding, and if you are from Bellevue, you can see how it’s grown through the years. . .even the parking lot has improved. . .but the burgers remain the same!”

Dinker’s Bar gets a lot of love from Omaha bloggers  – and throughout the city (they’re regularly voted the best in Omaha). Those who suggest grabbing a burger there include Samantha at Listening to His Voice and Bolton Carley.

One of my favorites is Croque Carcon at Block 16, which was seconded by Gretchen at Odyssey Through Nebraska (and third-ed – that’s a word – by The Walking Tourists). It also happens to be a favorite of Alton Brown (I do believe he said it was one of the best in the world), so I feel like I’m in good company.

What is there for the vegetarians?

Not everyone wants a juicy steak. I get it. I used to be vegetarian, so I know all about scouring menus for meatless entrees. As the representative veggie blogger, Liz over at LPO Beauty recommends the veggie burgers at Stella’s and Crescent Moon.

 

Your turn, Omaha and beyond: Share your favorite places in Omaha to get steaks, burgers and more!

September 12, 2016

5 Things To Think About Meal Delivery Services

I didn’t think I was the type of mom to consider using a meal delivery service. When I signed a book contract with The History Press this month – yay! – my already-miniscule free time disappeared, though.

It was fate of home-cooking gods that I was approached by Home Chef to write a sponsored post about their delivery service. I’m about to devote a ton of time to researching old restaurants of Omaha; if I want to keep eating most meals at home, a meal delivery service might be my answer.

Is A Meal Delivery Service Right For Your Family?

It’s not everyone’s answer, but Home Chef might work out for my family. Here’s what you need to consider to see if such a meal delivery service will work for you, too:

 

Home Chef Meal Deliver Service

1. How much of a control freak are you?

Food delivery services like Home Chef don’t give you the option of picking and choosing which entrees arrive. That was at tough pill for me to swallow because I plan a weekly menu and I like variety. With Home Chef, the meals I receive for the week depended on preferences I chose when I first set up my account.

Some people might prefer choosing exactly what they get, like a menu. Others like the surprise factor. Which are you?

2. How picky are you?

Home Chef lets you set dietary preferences for your account. You prefer vegetables to meat? Mark that down. You avoid dairy and gluten? Note that too. The more restrictions you put on your account, obviously, the narrower your choices become. I started out with several restrictions and had to add back in dairy in order to get a meal that worked. (It turned out to be the chicken with green peppercorn sauce – the dairy part – and it was divine).

My original taste profile excluded dairy, gluten and red meat. In order to get two meals to try my first week, I added back dairy and received a delivery of chicken with green peppercorn sauce, which contained heavy whipping cream. I'm totally happy with that result!

My original taste profile excluded dairy, gluten and red meat. In order to get two meals to try my first week, I added back dairy and received a delivery of chicken with green peppercorn sauce, which contained heavy whipping cream. I’m totally happy with that result!

You know what doesn’t matter? How picky your kids are.

They never eat any new food anyway, so don’t factor them into your decision making.

Darn picky kids and their eating habits.

Darn picky kids and their eating habits.

3. Do you want to spend your money for a restaurant meal or a home-cooked meal?

Here’s where price comes into play. Meal delivery services are not cheap. But, with sports and lessons and my million side projects I’m juggling, we were starting to rely on restaurants for nights we just couldn’t get home in time to cook a meal. And that’s not cheap either.

So, I’m seriously weighing options here. I love eating around our dinner table. And if it’s about the same price as a dinner out, why not go this route from time to time?

What you get with Home Chef is perfectly proportioned ingredients, many of them already chopped and ready to go. (But for those of you who like the chopping and prepping of ingredients, there are still a few fresh ingredients in each recipe you have to prep)

The portions of peppercorns, heavy whipping cream and cooking sherry I needed for a chicken dinner, all arriving ready to go.

The portions of peppercorns, heavy whipping cream and cooking sherry I needed for a chicken dinner, all arriving ready to go.

And FRESH ingredients. I received already-diced butternut squash for the caramel apple pork chops. I cannot even begin to describe how annoying it is to prepare butternut squash so I will gladly pay extra to have it arrive recipe-ready. Note: The apple for the recipe arrived whole – some perishables need to be prepared by the home cook.

4. How often do you need a little help with meals?

I’m able to plan fairly well and prepare some meals the weekend before the work week. And, I can rely on crockpot recipes for other nights. My downfall is Friday night, when I’m out of all fresh produce and just about everything else until my Saturday grocery trip.

Home Chef delivery requires you to pick your delivery day so – holla – Friday was my delivery date. I received an email letting me know things were on-schedule and when I came home from work Friday afternoon, my well-packed meal with ice packs was waiting for me.

How much do you think you want prepared meals will factor into how much a meal delivery service will cost you.

5. Are you interested in trying new foods?

So, I’m back to reminding you that you do not get to choose your entrees with Home Chef deliveries. Once I let go of my control-freak needs, this was kind of exciting. I regularly prepare new recipes, so I liked the surprise.

If you are a novice cook, it’s even better for you. Each meal comes with a very detailed, visual guide.

Each recipe comes with pictures, as well as a guide on what to prepare before you start.

Each recipe comes with pictures, as well as a guide on what ingredients to prepare before you start.

More about Home Chef

home-chef-logo

Home Chef was founded with a simple goal: to provide our customers with a delightful home cooking experience. Our founder, Pat Vihtelic, and his wife found it hard to make time to prepare home cooked dinners after work. Pat discovered that online grocery services only solved part of the problem — he still had to think about what was for dinner, and didn’t have time to comb the internet for recipes. More often than not, he was overwhelmed by the prospect of meal planning, and resorted to takeout.

Pat loves cooking. He loves hanging out in the kitchen with his family and unwinding from a long day by making a delicious meal. He knew there must be more people like him: people who are short on time, but value real home cooking and the joy that comes with it.

In 2013, Pat started Home Chef by partnering with a chef to design delicious, simple-to-prepare recipes. Since then, the team has grown to include several chefs, and more than 300 employees across production, marketing, technology, product, design, and customer service. Last year, they delivered over 1 million meals, and this year, they expanded their delivery to cover 90% of the U.S. – including Omaha.

Home Chef saves time, reduces food waste, and most importantly, brings people together around the dinner table.

Sign up for Home Chef

Ready to try a meal delivery service out? To get weekly meals delivered by Home Chef, sign up here.

 

Disclosure: I was compensated and provided complimentary meal delivery for this sponsored post by Home Chef. All thoughts and opinions expressed here are my own.

September 5, 2016

Where To Find The Best Pizza In Omaha

Edited: Nov. 3, 2016

We may be known for our steaks, but Omaha has some serious pizza goodness going on. But who serves up the best pizza in Omaha? I rounded up some locals to share their favorite places to grab a slice to help you decide.

Where to find the best pizza in omaha

I’ll start things off. My all-time favorite is La Casa Pizzaria’s thin crust margherita. I’m not even kidding, back in the day, after a long bike ride, I’ve nearly polished off a whole pizza myself. It’s that good. The crust is ah-mazing too. The corner slices are the best because of the extra crust. If you balk at thin crust, you’ve never had La Casa thin crust.

A long-time player in Omaha’s food scene (since 1919), Orsi Italian Bakery & Pizzeria gets a nod from Christi from Leupold Confidential. She recommends Orsi’s for what she calls traditional, old fashioned goodness.

Johnny Sortino’s has been serving up pizza since 1965. Bolton Carley says it’s the Saturday night pick-up she and her husband go out of their way to get. What’s so good about it? Bolton says they use different cheeses that just makes it better and the sauce has just the right flavor and isn’t chunky. As a bonus, it reheats well. She recommends the Hawaiian, but her husband goes for all-meat combos.

For more than 25 years, Mama’s Pizza has been dishing some really good pizza. They have three locations in Omaha, so there’s a good chance you’ve dined there if your child has ever played a team sport. Two bloggers gave Mama’s some love, Laura from Qpon Saving Mommas and Heidi from Maternal Media. Heidi loved it because when the kids reach a certain age, you can dump them in the arcade/game area and have grown-up conversations at the table. Her family’s favorites are pepperoni or hamburger. “Pair up the pie with a cherry fountain Coke and you’ll be bound to want to unbutton your pants in no time. Sit back and relax!”

There’s something about the taste of pizza that comes out of a wood fire oven. It’s divine. One of the newest kids on the block, Via Farina offers hand-crafted pizza from a wood oven. It was recommended by two people – Christi from Leupold Confidential (she calls it a “foodie’s dream) and Dana from Mom’s Good Eats. Dana loves the Uovoi with kale, pancetta, egg, Pecorino Romano, thyme and tomato. While there, she said you should be sure to try the house-made pasta. Dana also included Via Farina in her roundup of great food and drinks in Omaha on Tri Wives Club.

Another somewhat fairly new local pizza place that got a recommendation from an Omaha blogger is Noli’s Pizzeria in the Blackstone District. Julie at the Hostess at Heart suggested it.

Jamie from The Kitchenarium had a few great suggestions for different reasons: “For big groups or family gatherings, we like to pick up The Big Joe from Frank’s Pizzeria. We usually get the Meat Lover’s and for $60 we have fed 20+ people and had leftovers! It is delicious and a great economic choice. 🙂 I think Pizzeria Davlo has the best gluten free crust in town – Der Bamberg is what we order. Have to love sauerkraut on pizza!” Here casual family movie night pick is one of my guilty pleasures, too: Casey’s pizza. Yes, a gas station pizza. Jamie speculates that the appeal is their cheese blend. Which should you try? She recommended the taco and traditional pepperoni, as well as the breakfast pizza.

Julie from Family Fun in Omaha suggested Varsity/Roman Coin Pizza, which also is a favorite of my family’s. Whatever you order, get the cheesy breadsticks. There are four locations so you should be able to find one near your neighborhood.

Kathleen from Thinking Smaller is a huge fan of the West Omaha eatery, Dante Ristorante Pizzeria. She orders the Diavolo & Monterosso pizzas almost every visit. You can’t beat their Neapolitan pizzas made with ingredients from local farms and cooked in a wood-fired oven.

Going with a traditional Nebraska favorite, Lisa from The Walking Tourists suggested Valentino’s cheeseburger pizza (it’s cut into squares). It’s also one of the few local places that has a heart-shapped pizza on Valentine’s Day. There are seven locations in Omaha and Bellevue.

Gretchen from Odyssey Through Nebraska isn’t quite local, but she’s visited enough to recommend some good ones! She recommends Zio’s Pizzeria and Raggazi’s Pizza. She’s even written about them (here’s her Zio’s post and Raggazi’s post). If she had to choose, she says she’s a Zio’s girl. Another not-local-but-close-enough blogger, is the woman behind Taste of Lincoln (with a name like that, you know she knows good food). She recommends trying the prime rib at Jerico’s Restaurant – it’s been voted Omaha’s favorite prime years on several occasions.

New-to-Omaha pizza franchise Uncle Maddio’s gets a recommendation from Kathy at Kissing the Frog. This is the lone player on the list that has a good review of the gluten-free option. Kathy said the draw is the fresh ingredients and whole wheat crust. Uncle Maddio’s is about to open a second location in West Omaha.

Your turn! Who serves the best pizza in Omaha? Leave a comment to let me know.