Monday, February 28, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: C

Choosing Letter C was quite the task for us this time around. We received the obvious suggestions like Connie's, Cortez, Chester's Chophouse. Even Chuck E. Cheese and Church's Chicken which Tiffany was quick to nix from the list. All poor to great suggestions on places to go. But these are places many people have been to and frequented. Copper Oven was a new one both of us have never been to but unfortunately for them they are closed on Sunday and Monday.

We decided to go once again off the beaten path and try something fresh for a change. A place a little out of the way. Let me tell you the Letter C is very popular for Mexican food. Add in Cholitas, Carlos O'Kelly and Casa Martinez out in Derby and that's five with the two aforementioned restaurants listed earlier. But we managed to find a a new spot for the both of us. I bring to you guys........................

Los Cocos. Translated into English by my friend Google Translate, you get Coconuts. Not sure what that means. Los Cocos is located on the West side of Wichita at..........
1335 North Tyler Road
Wichita, KS 67212
(316) 722-6267

Yes, we recently had Abuelos a couple weeks ago and decided it'd be nice to see how this place fared against a national chain. Plus Los Cocos usually isn't one of the first suggestions that someone throws out when dining out for Mexican.

We arrive and they look pretty busy judging by all the cars in the parking lot. Get inside and ask for a booth for two. The area is pretty wide open and they place us in an area that is actually pretty cold. Los Cocos turned into Los Frios. Right after they seated us, we saw the host turn up the heat.

Wichita Bars........ learn something
Now this is a serving of guacamole
So our server comes up to us and takes our drink order. On Monday nights they have $5 domestic pitchers and $7 import pitchers. We shoot right for the Tecate BUT they don't have that on tap, so we settle for Miller Light. After the Abuelos little serving of guacamole, we decided to give Los Cocos a try for the same app. At roughly a couple dollars cheaper, we received a bigger portion of Guacamole. The serving you see ran us around $3 and change. The beer was also served a extremely frosty mugs that turned our fingers to ice on the point of arrival. It was nuts how cold the mugs were..... or should I say "cocoNUTS!" The guac was pretty good but unfortunately there was still big chunks of avocado in it, wasn't chopped up as fine. Not necessarily a bad thing but a point of reference if you are picky about your guacamole. The salsa itself was good, not great by any means, had a special little zing to them. I asked our server for their hot sauce.......not a good idea. I love hot sauce but it was a little too spicy for me. I took one bite and figured i didn't want to lose my taste buds.


So we just avoided the hot sauce and focused on the other food and beverages as seen to your left and right.




When our server comes back we ask the popular question of "What good?" Some servers at restaurants will blow the question off, some will say, "I don't eat here", some will blabber on not knowing what they are talking about. Luckily our server was very helpful. She was able to point out bits and pieces from each part of the menu and tell us what was in it and what she thought of it. She was very insightful and helped me narrow down my suggestion. The two items we decided on, The Chimichanga and the Shrimp Tacos. Two items you could probably find on most, if not all, Mexican restaurants. I was close to ordering the Crab Enchiladas but that didn't seem like a good idea. I have to work tomorrow and not sure I want any tummy aches to come and go during the day.
Co-worker: Whats that smell? Smells like an awful mix of crab and enchiladas!
Me: "Yeah it does, no idea where that came from (rolling eyes). At least its not crab and beignets!
We get back to our drinks and complimentary chips and salsa, just chit chatting and before you know it our food is already out. We must say throughout the night the service was excellent. Abuelo's could really learn a thing or two from The Coconuts or for our spanish speaking readers, Los Cocos.

Forrest Gump and Bubba would be proud of these Shrimp Tacos

Once the food arrive we do our obligatory first bite of our own meal and exchange portions of the meals. The shrimp tacos were just excellent. They tasted fresh and beat anything you can get for 99 cents at Taco Bell. Tiffany enjoyed her chimichanga as well. The rice. Muchos Delicioso. Some of the best rice I've had at a Mexican restaurant and Tiffany shared the same sentiments. Her beans though.....bland. She did not like them at all and when I tried some of it, I thought I was eating melted cardboard cause yes I know what melted cardboard taste like......

Chances Orange Leaf makes this a flavor of froyo?
Overall the food was pretty good. Above average but not excellent by any means for everything we got. Some parts of the meal great, other parts... bland. Was it worth the money? Yes. But it didn't end there, we wanted to have the full course meal and tried out some desert dessert. I've never had a sopapilla before so we figured they'd be our best bet. Our server explained a sopapilla as a fried donut rolled in cinnamon covered in a honey and chocolate glaze. Tiffany tried to put it into laymens terms and say imagine a type of "beignet". I literally almost crapped my pants upon hearing "beignet". But rest assured sopapilla's are not beignets, they are their own type of pastry. So being the adventurous type, we ordered them. Smart decision.

Yippee-Yeeeyaa, Sopapilla! These are wonderful!
The whipped cream spread on top of the sopapillas and then wiping each piece along the plate that had the honey and chocolate glaze all over it was "yummy in our tummy", the bomb.com and totally radical all rolled into one. Tiffany says On the Border offers these too but are much smaller. An excellent way to end the meal and a perfect substitute for a sleeping pill cause I feel like i'm in a sleepy trance writing this right now. (Editors note: The other half is already crashed out). 

We received our bill. And dinner for two, drinks, appetizer and dessert....$30. Not too bad for everything we got. This is taking into account we spent around $30 for just two meals and one appetizer at Abuelos for below average food. The service here was just top notch, prices extremely affordable and the food above average and just below excellence. On Mondays, kids eat free. I went into this with a plan to pretend I was a kid cause I might be able to pass for one but decided that's not what a professional writer would do.

On the (soon to be patented) super scientific scale we gave this place 3.75 stars. That's a 3.5 from the lady and a 4 from myself.

If you'd like to check out the menu, Urban Spoon has a blip of it posted on their review site. 

This is definitely a place we'd suggest to others. Locally owned and Tiffany heard rumors there is one opening up in Derby soon. If you own an Entertainment Book, there's a coupon in there for Buy 1 Get 1 meal or something I believe. We didn't use one.

So ladies and gentlemen, that is Letter C. Up next on the alphabet chain as we've been told by our Kindergarten teachers long ago.......The Letter D. Not 100% sure what Letter D brings us yet. We have some ideas but are always open to suggestions. We will have some "guest eaters" with us to help us explore the menu even more and try an additional appetizer or two. We look forward to it and always thank you for checking out Wichita By EB.com. 

Comments are always welcome as are suggestions for Letter D. 

Stay Tuned and Go Shox this weekend!

Los Cocos on Urbanspoon

Friday, February 25, 2011

Beignets: The Underdog Story

There are certain times in life where you will just lose every battle. Women, taxes, death, and recently I learned another. Beignets.

What's a beignet you ask? It is a pastry made from deep-fried dough, much like a doughnut, and sprinkled with confectioner's sugar, or frostings. Savory versions of beignets are also popular as an appetizer, with fillings such as maple or fruit preserves.


Watch out. They are evil!
 I didn't know what one was until last month when I went to Newport Grill. We ordered beignets as a dessert item off of their menu. Based off our waiter's description, they sounded delicious. He described them as doughnuts with hot chocolate filling inside or something to that effect. We decided what the hey, lets give these a try. So the waiter brought them out in a decorative bowl (I can't describe what the bowl look like, i'm not very observant like that..... I am a guy you know). So I dig into one and put the entire bite size beignet in my mouth and bite in. Boom. Tough Actin Tenactin. My mouth was on fire. Imagine Mount Vesuvius just erupting in your mouth. My very first bite into it, hot scalding molten lava chocolate just burst all on the inside of my mouth. I couldn't spit it out in fear of embarrassment. I kept it inside with my eyes lighting up in pain. Everybody at the table erupts (no pun intended) in laughter. I had no warning from our server they were going to be that hot. However much pain that lady who sued McDonald's for hot coffee was in, I easily tripled that. I think I may have lost my taste buds for the rest of dinner. Pain, I tell you. Pain. I would rather give birth to a 12 pound baby than experience the burning sensation of a Newport Grill beignet again. Ok, maybe I wouldn't go that far.

So from that moment, I was given a lot of grief for beignets from the people that were there for Beignet/Eddy I.

Choking Hazard
Fast forward to a couple weeks ago. During lunch time, we decided to head to Linkhaus. Friendly staff there. After we finished eating, we were offered complimentary beignets. I almost passed out from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder but manned up as I always do and agreed to accept their offering. I asked the server if they were hot inside and he assured me they were not. Just a doughnut like pastry covered in mounds of powdered sugar. Sounds good to me. Just to make sure I wasn't on Candid Camera, I took half a beignet to make sure it was cool enough inside. Stabbed it with a fork to make sure it was dead and not get the best of me...... turned and aimed the fork towards my mouth.... opened wide.... prepared for the bite..... I accidentally inhaled when the beignet entered..... beignet in my mouth. I choked on inhaling all that powdered sugar, spit powdered sugar everywhere like Triple H entering a wrestling ring, beignet falls out of my mouth, i'm coughing like i'm choking and need CPR. The entire establishment stops like a record scratch, cooks in the back peek their head through an opening, and for once I did not want to be the center of attention but was. All Eyez On Me. I'm standing with watery eyes, still coughing, powdered sugar probably on my face and lips just looking up at everyone. Readers, I wish I made this up. It was seriously one of the most embarrassing times of my life. The server comes up to check on me while people are laughing. It was one of those Southwest Airlines "Do You Want To Get Away" commercials.

The Beignet got the best of me AGAIN! And I even took all the necessary precautions to make sure i'd win for once. I was told inhaling sometimes is a natural thing humans do while eating. I wish that wasn't the case. I boxed up the rest of the beignets and took them with me. I did not want to eat another one and not sure I ever will again. Maybe third times the charm.

To make matters worse, both times. Newport Grill and Linkhaus were work engagements. All co-workers. I've turned into the Beignet guy. Maybe E.B. stands for Evil Beignets, i don't know. Regardless I need to find a new pastry to eat. And people wonder why I'm not even that big a fan of desserts. Maybe this will now give you some insight. 

So until then we are still working on trying to decide Letter C. Its actually tougher than B. Most of the Mexican places suggested like Connie's and Cortez I believe have been eliminated.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

How To Post and What Should Letter C Be?

So i've received some emails on how to comment. First if you ever need to get a hold of me, you can reach me at wichitabyeb@gmail.com.

Commenting is very easy. If you are signed into blogspot with your Google or Gmail account that is by far the easiest. In the comment box, type in your comment then select Google account from the "Comment As" dropbox. If you don't have a Google or Gmail account you can select "Name/URL" from the dropbox and just type in your name and comment from there. The URL is not needed, all you have to do is type in your name. I've posted some images to show you how to.

Many options to comment as. Two popular choices, Google Account and Name/URL

When using Name/URL, all you need to type in is your name and then hit continue.

Become a follower today!

Following is very easy to do if you'd like to receive notifications of new blogs or just have your picture listed on here. On the far right hand side of the blog you'll see a Followers section (a screenshot has been posted to the right). Click follow and you can use your Google, Twitter, Yahoo, AIM account to follow our blog. Our goal is to have more blogs than we have fingers by the end of 2015. Is this going to be possible to do?

So moving on to important matters. Now that we're done with B, What should Letter C be?

We loved the fact that we tried Bel Ami. Its something just in Wichita and a place we've never been too until that evening. One of the nice things about Dining By The Alphabet is it gives us a chance to try out spots most of you may have never heard of or even been to either. It gives more exposure to a hole in the wall or a Wichita secret. Of course from time to time, we're going to try a place we've already been that that's pretty popular. Bella Luna was almost the choice for "B" but we've both been there many times and wanted to venture out.

"C". Just by looking at Urban Spoon's listing of Wichita, Andover, Derby, Maize, etc's listing of restaurants that start with "C", there are plenty to choose from. But what stands out as the best from the rest.
This is where you come into play. Help us decide Letter C!

Comment away.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: B

Originally intended to be saved for a weekend or even next week, we decided to say what the hell and go out for dinner. I mean, it is National Margarita Day. Before choosing a restaurant we had to set some more rules for "Dining By The Alphabet". One, we are going to try our hardest to choose a local establishment. Something that can just be found in Wichita. Also we decided that words like "Cafe", "El", "The", "Los" do not count towards the restaurant name. So a place like THE Ohio State University, would just be Ohio State University.

We looked through the many suggestions we received from facebook, forums, e-mail (zero from this blog we are still awaiting our first comment......). Received lots of good ones. Checked out different restaurant websites, Urban Spoon, Yelp and decided to go a different route.

So allow me to bring you our option for Letter B. Drumroll please.....

Dang!
Bagetelle.....CLOSED!!!! Yep they close at 7 pm.

Actually this was going to be our nightcapper. Knock out two B's at once but by the time we arrived here a little after 8, they had already closed. So I proudly bring to you our real choice for letter B. Drumroll please again....

Bel Ami. Or the proper name: Cafe Bel Ami.
229 E William St # 101
Wichita, KS 67202-4019
(316) 267-3433
www.cafebelami.biz/ (menu is listed online)

Straight from the website:
For outstanding French Mediterranean cuisine, our long-established restaurant is a perennial favorite. The downtown location makes it convenient for a special meal after work or before a night out on the town. Our staff is both friendly and efficient, our food is well-crafted, and the surroundings are comfortable and inviting
Located downtown on William St right between Broadway and Market. Kind of an upscale looking establishment when you walk in. "Excuse me sir, do you have reservations." My response? "Ummm..... Wichita By E.B.com, you may have heard from me, please seat us soon." My real response? "Sorry we did not make reservations."

Step inside and there are only three sets of fellow eaters inside. Two groups of business people and one family. Not very busy tonight. We are seated rather quickly and the server comes with our waters. He welcomes us and offers us drinks. Tiffany orders a Covey Run White and I have myself a Ciroc Vodka Press. The server didn't know what that was so I explained to him how to make it. He did a pretty good job.

Now being a Mediterranean establishment of course we had to order some hummus. It came with soft pita bread. I like other places that give you pita chips and bread. Here's a pic, now you'll have to excuse the lighting, I didn't have a flash on and the place is super dark.

I wonder if Cafe Bel Ami saves money on not turning on ANY lights
The hummus was pretty good. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would order it to go. On a five scale, I'd say a four while Tiffany says 3.5 and ("Bella Luna's is so much better"). For the salads, they only offered two types. A Caesar salad and a Fattouch salad. Now I've had fattouch salad at Bella Luna. Did not like it whatsoever and haven't ever had it outside of that one time. But being a world renown food critic, I had to try it again.

A fattouch salad is not pronounced "Fat" and "Touch" Just saying...
I had my fattouch salad and finished it. Its definitely not my favorite item in the world but I kept an open mind and ate away. Just something about the dressing that I don't like. Just seems very oily to me. I won't knock them for it though. Its my own fault for ordering it. Tiffany on the other hand, loved her Caesar salad and "loved" is an understatement. Lets switch it up to the indention for a play by play of what happened:
(after the first bite, open eyes, smiles) I've had a lot of Caesar salads and i'm not gonna lie, this is the bomb.com (end scene)
That pretty much sums it all. Best Caesar salad in all of Wichita. I had some of it too and I have to say, I've had some fattouch salads in Wichita but if this was a UFC fight, Caesar would make Fattouch tap out.

Next time the main course. Tiffany had the Shrimp Ravioli (Stuffed Cheese Ravioli sauteed with shrimp, onions, leeks and mushrooms in a lobster cream sauce) and I tried the Grilled Tilapia (Served with creamy sun dried tomato sauce) The servings were HUGE. Seriously Andre The Giant would have had a problem eating both of these meals.

Did you bring an extra stomach to put the food in?
Seriously the pictures don't really show how big everything was. Imagine the size of my ego.....yeah that's how big it was. The pieces of ravioli was ginormous as were the shrimp. The tilapia was good size too. Each bite was seriously mouth watering. Don't tell Tiffany but i'm pretty sure I saw drool fall from her mouth after her first bite of ravioli.

For dessert, we had planned to go to Bagetelle so we passed on dessert. Originally I wanted to order the baklava since I never had one. Tell me readers, I think its pronounced "bock-lava". She says its "bock-luv-a". I'm pretty sure she's wrong. 

The service was good. Our server may have spoke a little much but he was very polite calling Tiff "madam" and myself "governor". Kind of awkward for a little bit. I've never been called "governor" before so it was interesting. He also knew the menu inside and out. Every question we had, he gave the right answer for it. This is a place i've never heard of. Tiffany actually came up with the place and we looked it up and decided what the hey. Has the looks of a "hole in the wall" from the outside but inside its an old dimly lit fancy restaurant. Do not go here in nike shorts and a Shocker shirt. Most people were well dressed.

Dinner here runs a little more on the high side. Drinks, apps, salads and entrees ran a little over $75. Definitely not a place i'm going to frequent all the time but something I'd really recommend and consider going to again.

On our super scientific scale: 4.25 stars
That's a four from the lady and a 4.5 from myself. She docked it a little for the price of the meal. I just wish the ambiance was a little better. Way too dark. Felt like I was getting ready to participate in a Murder Mystery Dinner Party.

So there you have it folks Bel Ami. That knocks B off our list and we now look forward to see "C" has to offer. Let the suggestions begin.

P.S. - Crap we forgot to order Margaritas on National Margarita Day!!!

Cafe Bel Ami on Urbanspoon

Customer Service and The E.B. Three

Customer Service is a class that everybody should take at least once in their lifetime. I would definitely put this above Calculus or Physics in grade school or high school. Cause really what's more important in life? What the difference between an electron and proton is or knowing how to talk to people and making them happy?

Part of what "Wichita By E.B." intends to do is not only give you the faithful readers an idea of whats out there to eat in this great city of Wichita (and the surrounding area) but to give you a heads up of who's hot and who's not in the World of Customer Service.

Eating out is by no means affordable when you do it a lot or if you're trying to avoid the McDonald's Dollar Menu or the late night, post bar QuikTrip buffet of hot dogs and taquitos. So when you're spending money on food, you should be served right. Your glass should never be empty. Your order shouldn't be messed up. And the least they could do if the food isn't good is serve it to you with a smile. Granted not all places serve you your drinks, or bring your food to you but you get the gist.

Lets face it, most consumers take three factors into consideration when going out to eat. Quality of Food, Customer Service and Price. If any of those factors just completely suck, it could be a game killer for that restaurant. If one though is below average and the other two are just outstanding, odds are high you will check out the place. Its what I call the "E.B. Three". And if one place can excel at all of the "E.B. Three", then you will have my time and money pretty often cause I cook like I can sing........ not pretty. So i've been told at least. I'd honestly compare my singing to Boyz II Men minus the right pitch, harmony, and talent but that can be saved for a whole other blog.

But really is customer service the single biggest factor in eating out. Can it absolutely make or break a place? I doubt price would in Wichita. If the price is high but the food quality is like heaven in your mouth people will still go. Food just might tie customer service for the biggest factor though cause if the food sucks, people will not likely go there again.

With that said, the suggestions for places to eat have been coming on strong. Tiffany and I have started forming a list, checking it twice, making sure those restaurants aren't naughty but nice. Cause Wichita By E.B. is coming to town.

Dining By The Alphabet: Letter B is nearly decided and will take place this week. We promise to bring you this time a locally owned restaurant that hopefully offers delicious food and great customer service. The price is the lowest on the scale cause I'm willing to pay a high price if the other two are, as my friend from a couple weeks ago Snoop Dogg would say, "off the chain". So you can count out such places as Burger King, Biggest Cheese Pizza, and a Beach House which I think is owned by some lady by Michelle.

Sorry BK, you will not be getting a visit from us unless we feel the need to slide down that really cool slide you guys have.
By the way if anybody knows of any "X" restaurants in Wichita or the surrounding area, we really need some suggestions. If not, Wichita By E.B. might have to do a one time travel to hit up every letter in the alphabet.

E.B.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Dessert Sunday Special: Orange Leaf

Alright, its a Sunday. Seemed like a very busy day for Wichitans to go out and grab a bite to eat. Many packed parking lots. So on the way out for some groceries, it was decided on this very nice day to grab some "froyo". Honestly, I had no idea what froyo was before tonight. I guess its short for FROzen YOgurt. Put those two words together and you have froyo, how clever. And where's the hottest, hippest spot to grab some froyo these days? Orange Leaf.

It seems to be the popular rave these days. Put those two words together and you have poave. Doesn't sound as cool though does it?

So I've never been to Orange Leaf before but the reviews i've heard have been excellent. Very simple concept. You fill up this little tub with as much frozen yogurt as you want (all low fat or no fat). Then you head to this salad bar-esque stand of toppings. You have brownies, butterfingers, cookies, gummybears, peanuts, literally all sorts of stuff. Then you can add syrup or other similar toppings. Head to the cashier and you weigh your tub. Charged by the ounce. Pay. Eat. Simple as that.

When we arrived, they gave us these little dinky cups to go sample whichever flavors we want. The very first flavor I tried was Pineapple because it was lactose free (i'll get to that in a moment). Way to sweet for me. Tiffany immediately went for the red velvet. Pretty good I must say, and then we sampled the peanut butter..... excellence. So we filled our tubs up. The tub I picked up had a waffle cone inside it. Waffle cones are a must for me. We checked out and it came up to $7 and change. Pretty comparable to what you'll pay elsewhere. I guess the difference with Orange Leaf is everything is low fat or non-fat. To someone like me, that's not very important but there's definitely a market for it out there.

The deliciousness
Now you'll see in the picture above a little pill. That my friends is LACTAID pill. These pills works naturally to make dairy foods more digestible, giving you the freedom to enjoy the foods you want, when you want. For those of you who suffer from one of the most undesirable pains of life, check this out. This is what allows me to have a little Orange Leaf.

Seating. I counted all the seats and there were about 26-29 seats available....on the inside. They have about three to four tables outside but being in shorts and a shirt, it started to get a bit chilly outside. The seating I'd compare to an upscale McDonalds. I'm talking total plastic seating but with a modern look to them.

McSeating
So there you have it. Orange Leaf. We tried, we tasted, we liked. I was quite impressed by it all. Its not too often I eat ice cream or yogurt in general so when i do, I want it to be good. Unlike Tiffany who's been to Orange Leaf many more times and is already a huge fan. Just imagine yourself at Orange Leaf trying their delicious froyo and you could be this happy.

So there you have it folks. Orange Leaf. There are two locations.
7730 E 37th St N # A
Wichita, KS 67226-2822
(316) 440-0923

8918 W 21st St N # 600
Wichita, KS 67205-1992
(316) 351-5713

From two complete opposite sorts of dessert fans. One who loves ice cream and one who doesn't eat ice cream as much. You have two highly deserved recommendations for Orange Leaf. On our super scientific method of taking into account value, service (well it is self-serve), customer service, taste, we give this place 4½ stars. The non-ice cream lover was not the one to give O.L. five stars. 

Word is there will be a third Orange Leaf built on the east side of town near Central and Webb. Not sure yet.

But definitely check this place out. I can really see business picking up once the warm weather hits.....and stays cause this past weekends bit of sunshine I'm guessing was only temporary. 

Enjoy your Presidents Day. COMMENTS WELCOME!

Friday, February 18, 2011

What Should Be Letter "B"?

No Dining By The Alphabet update for today. I'm definitely not looking to gain 80 pounds of fat during this Dining By The Alphabet adventure you readers have chosen to join us in. So eating out every single day is not one of the options for this blog. I've seen Super Size Me and what it could possibly do to your body so for now we're going to try the eating out of all these restaurants to once a week maybe once every other week.

The Letter B restaurant is still up for grabs. No final choice has been made. Being a fan of all types of food, I have no preference. Could be Bonefish Grill, could be Bella Luna, maybe even a 1% chance that Burger King could be the choice.

One place for sure that won't be is Barn'rds Roast Beef Restaurant. I understand they have a large cult following of people who swear by their food. But honestly, I'm just not a big fan. I don't understand people's love of it. I've been there many times while I was in college, its a close stop by campus, maybe even an option before Shocker games, a crowded lunch spot, on the East side of town where I live but I don't get the sensation. I find it overrated like 3D movies.

Barn'rds Roast Beef Restaurant
I've had many of their menu items even their pasta salad (I'm a huge fan of pasta salad. Best pasta salad in town was The Cedar on 13th street before they moved and had the worst customer service in the now Larry Bud's building & before Tanners building). Anyways, don't like it. Their fries are good but its not enough to keep me coming back.

I would still go there if some friends wanted to stop there as i'm not the pickiest person. But that was before......

The final straw happened a while ago. Tiffany and I decided to go there for late dinner. Went through the drive through and at that point in time we decided we'd both order the Chicken Salad Sandwich with fries. I added on the pasta salad because i'll try that stuff anywhere even a convenience store at 5 am.

Ate the food. Tasted alright at the time but the future is what's more important. And the future wasn't kind.

I've suffered battles with being lactose intolerant but this battle was worse. Two chicken salad sandwiches between the both of us. Two battles of food poisoning. From that point, I will just refuse to go there. I know....... you usually aren't supposed to order chicken salad sandwiches as they may not be fresh. Its Barn'rds! I thought everything there was FRESH? The only thing fresh was my intestines and stomach after they were cleaned out after my bout to food poisoning which I lost. Me. 0. Tiff. 0. Barn'rds Induced Food Poisoning. 2.

So that automatically knocked Barn'rds Roast Beef Restaurant out of the equation.

What should be "B"? Suggestions and comments are welcome. Just looking at Urban Spoon's listing of B restaurants in Wichita and the surrounding area, there's quite a few to choose from. Stay tuned.

In the meantime, check out the Shockers on ESPN2 tonight. 6:05 pm! Go Shox!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: A

Abuelo's
1413 North Waterfront Parkway
Wichita, KS 67206
(316) 634-2230
abuelos.com

=======================
For the first installment into Dining By The Alphabet, we have chosen Abuelo's for Letter A.

Go figure, the first place we decide to go to would not be a local establishment but yet a chain. Oh well, we wanted to try a place that was popular in Wichita and most places within the Waterfront seem to be that single criteria.

We arrived just a little before 7 pm and the place was busy. Day after Valentine's Day, we figured wouldn't be as busy. Wrong. Walking in you could see people waiting for tables, but when we went to the hostess she sat us right there. Could it be Abuelo's received word they were going to be the first Restaurant to be Featured in Wichita By E.B's "Dining By The Alphabet"? Or is the truth, they had tables for two but not larger groups. I'm leaning towards the latter but you never know.

Upon seating, our server came over and welcomed us to Abuelo's. Very soft spoken waitress. I'm not sure we could have heard her any better if she was speaking through a megaphone but we won't fault her for that whatsoever. We decided to order a side of guacamole. Figured that'd be a nice appetizer to go along with their complimentary chips and salsa. This is now a good time to probably let the world know an issue of mine. I'm lactose intolerant. So my choice of food can be severely limited depending on the amounts of cheese they put on their food. I can have small doses of it here and there but straight queso.....no no. There are pills I can take to allow me to eat dairy products but stupid me left them at home. So back to the app, gaucamole was really the only choice to go. Ordered that, decided to pass on drinks for the evening.

The server comes back with our guacamole and chips. I wish I took a picture of it but for a little over $5, it was the smallest serving of guacamole i've seen at a restaurant. I'm pretty sure On The Border and Felipe's give larger portions. Oh well. So we're eating away at the guacomole with the chips. Guacamole is good. The chips are good. Not overly salty or greasy. But something seems to be missing: the salsa. The server comes back and we ask for salsa. She gives us the spacy "oh it slipped my mind" line. Could we be in for an adventure tonight?

We place our order in. I ordered one of the limited time menu items. Carne Asada a la Tampiquena. It was a big plate of wood grilled skirt steak served on a bed of onions, cheese enchilada, cheese quesadilla and fresh guacamole. Served with rice and charro beans. Wait, aren't you lactose intolerant? Yes. So I substituted the cheese enchilada for an avacado enchilada to change it up. Kept the cheese quesadilla in case Tiffany wanted it. And since i'm not a big bean fan, I asked for all rice and no beans. Tiffany kept it simple. She went with the chicken enchilada and the spinach enchilada. The avocado and spinach enchilada intrigued us, so we just had to have it.
Carne Asada a la Tampiquena
So we wait. Wait. Wait. It takes a wee bit over 25 minutes for our order to come out. It was a busy night but unusually long for a Mexican restaurant for the food to come out. Could have been a mix of issues. I had a steak (cooked medium rare), nearly every table in the place was full, short staffed. I don't know. But i've always been of the thought that Mexican restaurants nuke their food and bring it out to you.

Eventually the food comes out and we dig in. Everything except the beans. They brought the beans out with my food and apologized and brought out more rice instead. We first tried the spinach enchilada. Quite tasty I must say. Avocado enchilada, eh.... its ok. I didn't try the chicken enchilada but Tiffany's face didn't exactly spell out D-E-L-I-C-I-O-U-S. The steak was alright. Cooked medium rare but wasn't wonderful. I know, you're not supposed to go to a Mexican restaurant and order a steak. I was craving one and thought an upscale Mexican restaurant may be able to wow me. (Sidenote: Do you go to a Bella Luna and order a steak? Usually no, but i've heard they have the best steak in Wichita from a few people). The rice was rice. I like all sorts of rice so i'm not too picky there. Didn't bother with the quesadilla, just boxed that up. We were pretty full early on into the dinner and asked for a couple boxes.
Two Enchiladas: Chicken and Spinach
If anybody knows of a training class on how to box food up properly, please let me know. I was informed Tuesday night, I pretty much box food like a five year old.

One thing I did notice is that our server was giving everybody bags for their leftovers. Literally. Everybody. Table behind us, next to us, adjecent from us, behind us, everywhere had bags. I felt so left out. I did kind of want a bag to carry it all out in case any grease or something leaked from the bottom in my car. So I asked for one. Literally the server took four trips until she got us a bag and apologized for it. With all due respect if you have to apologize more than twice to the same customer. Somethings wrong.

So we checked out and spent a little over $30 between the two of us. By no means unaffordable for the average consumer. Decently priced and the service seemed to be lacking a little. Quality of the food was literally just ok and on the verge of bland. I'm honestly not sure if we'll ever make a return here.

We decided to keep the rating system simple and use a 5 star scale. Her score, My score. Divide by two. Simple and to the Point.

What did we end up on for Abuelos? 2 stars.

Plenty of better options out there for good Mexican food. Honestly Abuelo's I think you're just paying for the ambience of the place and the fact that its located at The Waterfront.

So Letter A was a letdown. We'll see what Letter B has in store for us. If any of you have suggestions on where to go for B, let it be known.

Welcome to Wichita By E.B.

Welcome to Wichita By E.B.

I've decided to start this blog due to the fact that yes, I love Wichita. Its a place I see myself living possibly for the rest of my life. I still consider myself young so that means i'm out and about checking out what this fine city has to offer.

I'm by no means a copyrighter, a great writer or anything like that. My literature and grammar expertise all ended in second grade when I won the spelling bee. Yep, that's pretty much the extent of my knowledge. Well I did receive a diploma from Wichita State a while ago.

But back to the point. I'm an avid supporter of everything that Wichita has to offer whether that be musical concerts, sporting events, the Shockers, Intrust Bank Arena events, and really the only thing to do in Wichita...... eat.

On our journey through this blog (which by the way is still under construction design wise), the feature column we offer will be "Dining By The Alphabet". Once a week, maybe every other week. Myself and another guest diner will be checking out a different restaurant in Wichita. Ideally we'd like to choose local establishments instead of chains, but sometimes, the chains here in Wichita are just so good and/or popular that we have to try it out. Our first restaurant will be one that starts with an "A". We go there, check it out, eat, take notes, pictures, etc then will post our review up. Next restaurant, starts with a "B". I hope you get the picture now.

So come join us on our adventure at http://www.wichitabyeb.com/ - As time goes on, we hope to have many different reviews up for all Wichita patrons to see. In between the "Dining By The Alpahbet" feature, i'll have some random blogs up on past things i've written about wichita, previous dining experiences, thoughts on happenings around Wichita, etc. If there's a big concert, I might possibly check it out. Within the past year or so, I've seen Tim McGraw, Lady Antebellum, Bon Jovi, Dave Mathews Band, Snoop Dogg......so i'm a very avid supporter of everything Wichita has to offer.

I hope you will continue to stop by and read what we have to say. Don't expect Shakespeare or professional writing when you get here. Just some good old honest truth from somebody who's lived in Wichita a long long long time.

E.B.