Tuesday, June 6, 2017

T Stands for Dinner and a Meeting

I belong to a Wellness Group. On the fifth Tuesday of the month, the group meets at the Villari's Natick Martial Arts Studio. This is the dojo where Himself (a 4th degree black belt) teaches and takes classes. Since I had the meeting, I thought he'd like to come along. We could go out to dinner before the meeting, and he could work out while the meeting was going on.

There are lots of chain restaurants in the Natick/Framingham area to choose from, but I had a gift card to The Outback. I love the Outback especially the Coconut Shrimp. Perusing the menu online, I saw the restaurant was offering a Surf and Turf Special. Steak with Coconut Shrimp. My mouth watered.


Something didn't look quite right when we pulled into the parking lot. There were no cars. Not one. And then we saw the notice on the door. This location had closed. So no Coconut Shrimp for The Little Princess.

Steps from Outback is Legal Seafood, but Himself didn't feel like eating at Legal. We were also near Pizzeria Uno's and Bertucci's, an Italian restaurant. I didn't feel like Uno's, and Himself and The Wizards (other professors from the college) usually go to Bertucci's a couple of times a semester. We decided to head across the highway to the Natick Mall and


The Cheesecake Factory. It was chilly so no diners on the patio.


The menu is extensive. It takes nearly 20 minutes to decide what to eat. I debated skipping dinner and just ordering a slab of too die for cheesecake.


I liked the mermaid skylights.


We ordered stuffed mushrooms for an appetizer. They were good, but Ma made them better. A Coke for Himself and an Arnold Palmer (half lemonade, half iced tea) for me.


We each had a house salad. Mine with balsamic vinegarette and Himself had Ranch dressing, I think. We also had bread, but I was too busy eating and didn't take a picture.


I had hoped The Cheesecake Factory had Coconut Shrimp on the menu, but nope. Himself ordered a surf and turf special, Steak Diane with Salmon, mashed potatoes, and asparagus.


I ordered Crispy Pineapple Chicken and Shrimp with veggies and rice in a sweet and spicy sauce. Yup, those are Himself's asparagus spears as he doesn't like asparagus. He doesn't know what he's missing. I also got a taste of his salmon, and he had a taste of my shrimp.


Portions were bigly, yuge so we got a doggie bag, and I asked for a to go cup so I could take the rest of my beverage to the meeting.



This is Bob. Bob is the same rank I was 14 years ago when I went on sabbatical. Green Belt with stripe (four ranks away from 1st degree black belt. There are 10 levels of black belt.)


The Wellness meeting is held in the waiting area between the large and small studios. Some members of the group recently participated in The American Cancer Society Relay for Life, offering Reiki treatments to cancer patients/survivors (free) and a nominal fee for others. All money collected was donated to the American Cancer Society. I think this was the 5th year the group has participated. I had to miss as I was teaching a workshop at the Worcester Public Libary. We also discussed people coming to Reiki to reduce stress (that's how I began the journey).  Because Master Beef, Reiki Master/Master of Masters has a martial arts background, he also brings and shares with us Chi Gong (breathing and moving) and Wu Chi ( the art of stillness) exercises. Discussion also invovled other energy work, and philosophical discussions.


While we were having our meeting, Himself was working out in the small studio, or as I like to call it the CJ Kennedy Gallery. I was commissioned to paint the five Shaolin animals. Dragon, Tiger (I named him Fluffy), and Leopard (affectionately named Burly) hang in the studio. Snake and Crane will be painted later this year.

Drop by hosts, Bleubeard and Elizabeth's blog to find out what the rest of the T Stands For gang is up to. If you want to play, include in your Tuesday post a beverage or container for a beverage. Don't forget to link your blog to Bleubeard and Elizabeth's page.

38 comments:

  1. I'm sorry your first choice of eatery had closed before you could enjoy steak and coconut shrimp, but the place you went to look great, and that food has made my hungry stomach growl! And yes, you did see a little black cat on my flower pot, a leftover from Halloween which I use all year round. Happy T Day, hugs Valerie, now off to get something to eat....

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    1. The black cat on your flowerpot made me smile. I'd use it all year round, too.

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  2. what a very interesting day you had! Too bad you weren't able to get your coconut shrimp but your meals look good. Hubby and I like to taste each others food choices too:)
    How cool to have your paintings in the studio! Happy T day!

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    1. When we go out to eat, we always try to order something different so we can each have a little taste of something else.

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  3. Seems like a great place to eat at. Best wishes!

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    1. A little pricey, but the food is good especially the cheesecakes.

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  4. Interesting post does sound like you ended up with some tasty foods-Happy T Day Kathy

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    1. The portion I was served was so big, I had amazing lunch two days in a row!

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  5. Interesting post and a good trip here and there ro find somewhere to eat

    Happy T a Day

    LoVe Chrissie xx

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    1. And I didn't have to cook. Win win :-D

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  6. Great to see your animals again.

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    1. Thanks, Finn. They really look good on the wall

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  7. I will have to try the coconut shrimp at The Outback. I do love The Cheesecake Factory too! Your paitnings look great up there. Awesome that everyone coming in to the studio gets to enjoy them!

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    1. The Coconut Shrimp is usually served as an appetizer. Sometimes, I order that as my entree and ask it to be served after the bread (love their bread!) and salad.

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  8. I can certainly relate to a restaurant being closed. But closed permanently is another thing. It happened to us a few months ago, too. Too bad you didn't get your coconut shrimp.

    I ate at a Cheesecake Factory in CA, but the portions were small and the prices were outrageous. No leftovers to take home and I even had room for dessert. But the cheesecake was out of this world.

    What an incredible building and your paintings are incredible. Such an honor to have been commissioned to paint these animals.

    I had a Reiki treatment once, but I don't think the person knew what she was doing. She didn't even touch me. I felt NOTHING, except frustration for having to lie so flat for so long.

    Thanks for sharing this experience, your trip to the Cheesecake Factory, and your Arnold Palmer with us for T this Tuesday.

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    1. Maybe you ordered the small plates? These portions were large enough for another meal, and I got two lunches out of mine.

      You've given me an idea for a Reiki post. Thanks.

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  9. It seems a shame that you didn't get your first choice of restaurant, but the meal you showed in the photos looked delicious.
    Your paintings looks fabulous as well.
    Happy T day.
    Yvonne xx

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    1. Well, it's just an excuse to go to one of the Outback's other locations.

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  10. love Bob and the cheesecake sounds divine

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    1. Bob is fun to knock around. There are so many flavors of cheesecakes, you feel like you died and went to Cheesecake Heaven!

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  11. I LOVE Cheesecake Factory. Even if we don't eat there, when in the vicinity we get to go. Mine: Lemon Raspberry.....
    I'm impressed on your belt level. I've always been at the low level with any martial arts.
    Also love the CJ Gallery:)

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    1. My favorite cheesecake is Chris' Outrageous Cheesecake: Chocolate Cake, Chewy Brownie, Toasted Coconut-Pecan Frosting and Creamy Chocolate Chip Coconut Cheesecake.

      Part of me feels bad that I didn't continue to black belt, but my path diverged and lead me to become a Reiki Master.

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  12. Wow, your meal looks delicious and so nice to have plenty for take home too πŸ˜€. I enjoyed seeing where your Wellness meeting takes place, Bob made me smile and the the classes sound wonderful! Congratulations on being commissioned for the paintings too, they are awesome! Happy T Day! J 😊

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    1. Thanks, the paintings were fun to do.

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  13. Very interessting post, CJ. You have to share close-up photos of your Shaolin animals. I did Tai Chi for a few years. I think Tai Chi is related to Chi Gong, but you would know better;-) I really enjoyed it and love how it looks and flows.

    Happy T-Day! Hugs, Eileen

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    1. T'ai Chi and Chi Gong are related. That was one of the things we discussed at the meeting.

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  14. We have Outback here, and I enjoy their steak. I'm sorry your location closed. We have a cheesecake factory here but haven't gone yet. From your post it looks like I'm missing out. I'll have to check them out soon.

    Happy T Tuesday

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    1. Do go get over to The Cheesecake Factory, but make sure you save room for dessert. Better yet, skip your entree and go right to cheesecake

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  15. Cool. I didn't know you were accomplished in martial arts. That is impressive. It all sounds like a wonderful meeting and a good group to do your wellness with. :) Happy T day. Your Cheesecake Factory meal still looks yummy even if it wasn't the Outback. Hugs-Erika

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    1. I can't claim to be accomplished in martial arts. I know enough to be dangerous to myself.

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  16. Your meals look delicious - glad you finally found somewhere that suited you both! You asked about the difference between scones and teacakes…scones are made with flour and a raising agent and can be plain, with raisins or with grated cheese added - teacakes are made with a yeast dough with added raisins, baked, cooled and then cut in half to toast- hope this is helpful! Happy T Day Chrisx

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  17. I liked the CJ Kennedy Gallery picture the best! ;)

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  18. Well CJ i'am late to the party... So much going on around the house i'm going to be hard pressed for a while for the T party but i'm trying to make it work... LOVE the Outback and i'm sorry you didn't get to go.. My favs are their bread... Just give me the bread and a bloomin' onion and i could make a meal. lol I have never been to the Cheesecake Factory.... i had the opportunity while in CA but forgot all about it while i was there.. bummer! i could so make a meal out of a slab of cheesecake.. :) Love CJ's Gallery! Hugs! deb

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    1. Outback has great bread. If you do get a chance to go to the Cheesecake Factory, skip dinner and go right to the cheesecakes

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  19. Really bad you weren't able to get your coconut shrimp but this meals look amazing as well!Congrats on being commissioned - that's just super!!!

    oxo Susi

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  20. You ended up at a great place, with some great food! Love the paintings you created! Amazing! A very special day!

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