Monday, March 28, 2011

What Should Letter G Be?

Sometime a week from today we will be returning with Dining by the Alphabet. Hopefully we can find another winniner after enjoying Letter F's Fat Tonys Grill and Sports Bar. That leaves us about a week to decide what G should be.

We've had some suggestions starting with the recently opened Gaslamp Grill. From friends alone I've heard some bad things about this place. Expensive, small portions, more artsy dishes than actual food to fill you up, "not worth the money". Makes me rather worried about going here because its not just one or two people I've heard this from but multiple.

Green Mill is an option but thats a national chain I believe. Same as Grandy's even though I loved that place as a kid. Not sure if there are even any left in Wichita!

So what other options for G are there? Sounds like Wichita has a rather limited offering for us on G!

Saturday, March 26, 2011

New York By E.B.

Well ladies and gentlemen,
We will be taking a brief break from Wichita and making a one week stop to help root on the Shockers in New York City when they play in the mecca of all sports arenas, Madison Square Garden.

New York By E.B. - I need new cards!
We will take with us our taste buds and sight seeing eyes to see the best of what New York has to offer in our limited time there. Hours and hours of researching all there is to do in that big city in the Northeast. HELP! What are the best places to visit? What are the best places to eat at? After doing long research on the city, its quite plain to see that New York has so much more to offer than our city of Wichita. The listing of restaurants in a small little district in New York are almost on spot with the number our entire city has. Its.... well.... ridiculous!

For the majority of the group that is going with us, we're all newbies to the Big Apple. So we ask this to you veterans of the NYC, what are your suggestions? We've read through the reviews on UrbanSpoon, we've looked at Wikipedia, we've googled as much New York knowledge our brains can take. The last thing we need is your opinions.

When we get back hopefully we'll be energetic enough to write up on our experiences in one of the biggest cities in the world. Food, arts, sports, shopping, and being broke.

We will return the following week and pick up where we started with Letter G.

Empire State of Mind.

Go Shox!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Wichita State Shockers vs. College of Charleston

Put the dining aside, close down Intrust Bank Arena, cancel classes tonight. There's only one thing going on tonight that is important. Shocker Basketball.

Tonights home game against the College of Charleston is big for us. 6 pm. Charles Koch Arena.

Yes, I know its not the NCAA Tournament. Its the NIT. Who cares. Yeah its unfortunate and it was gut wrenching that we didn't make it. Losing in St. Louis in the semis hurt a lot and made the drive home back to Wichita an unenthusiastic one. But we will make due with the chances we have. And the chance we have tonight is to play in Madison Square Garden, the mecca of all sports arenas. I've never been and if we win, I plan on going.

Me, Tiffany, a host of friends along with thousands of fellow Shocker fans will be in attendance rooting on our hometown Shockers. For those of you who don't have tickets to the quickest sellout we've had this year, its on ESPN2. The winner of this game plays the winner of Northwestern and Washingston St which airs at 10 pm cst on ESPN2.

I actually was going to blog about either Linkhaus moving buildings or a place called Sweetly Scrumptious (both located in East Wichita) but I'll save that for tomorrow or another day.

Today and tonight its all Shockers. Joe Ragland, our present and future for next season, really willed us to victory Sunday morning when I think I woke up my neighbors and I don't even live in an apartment. So I had to have been loud. And we're really going to need him when he runs our offense tonight. Toure, Durley, Stutz, Smith, Kyles, Hatch, Demetric, Blair, Ellis.......... we'll need them all. Its going to be a team effort. I've read a lot on this Andrew Goudelock kid and he honestly scares me. He looks to be the real deal for Charleston.

Tickets have been hard to come by. I've seen them on Craigslist with people asking $100-150 for them. Seriously people?

Its a good thing I don't have children, cause they would be neglected today.

Go Shox.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: Letter F

Letter F. Was it a failure or fortune?

Our original plan was to head to Fizz's Bottles and Burgers or Burgers and Bottles or Brottles, I forget which one, regardless they were closed by the time we were ready. We nixed out on Felipe's cause we've already had Mexican for Letter A and C, and if we went to yet another place that served chimichangs, we'd be forced to change our blog name to "Wichita Por E.B." and our feature to "Comer Por El Alfabeto". We may lose all five of our readers due to language barriers then.

When deciding on our place, we were aiming for something most people haven't been to yet. Your staple F's like Fox and Hound (one of the worst customer service spots in Wichita hands down) and Felipes, many of you have all been to. Even Freddy's Frozen Custard has gained its popularity through the years and seems to be blowing up lately all over the region. So where does that leave us?

We bring to you.......


FAT TONY'S! Home of the Largest HDTV in Wichita.
Located on Douglas at the southwest corner of Douglas and Emporia. Don't drive too fast or you literally might pass it. http://www.fattonysgrill.com/

The Mural
I must say walking in the place is pretty overwhelming. Lots of space inside. Its very large and claims to have the city's current biggest HDTV (20 feet!) you can find in any restaurant or bar with 7.1 Dolby Digital Surround Sound (even though I can't tell the difference between 5.1, 6.1, 7.1, and any other number Dolby uses). I'm not an audio buff by any means..... or just buff in any sense of the word. The walls are also lined with many flat screens. I think they are placed a little high forcing you to raise your head constantly but that's just my opinion. The walls have signatures on them, i'm guessing was placed on there by patrons. There's even a little mural painted on with a Chiefs, Jayhawk and Wildcat football player. I'm not so big on that but its a nice representation of Kansas football so I won't complain.  

 The bar also features a "skybox" of sorts. You take the stairs to higher level that's open to the entire bar. You're nearly eye level with the big screen they have. Plus you get a birds eye view of everybody below you. If you have a God complex, THIS is the spot for you! There's also a couple flat panel televisions up there, a couple old arcade games like Pac-Man along with necessary tables and chairs. The perfect mancave, except its not a cave! I didn't get a chance to check it out but I may have to some time for my upcoming birthday. I was told you can rent it out for parties and such.

Before coming in we noticed on their website they have two food challenges. And for the friends that know me, I've done two food challenges before. Both happened to be wing challenges. One I passed and the other I failed MISERABLY! Maybe i'll tell that story in another blog. Fat Tony's has a wing challenge and a burger challenge. For the wing challenge. You have to eat 12 bone-in wings in 15 minutes with nothing to drink. Win and you get a t-shirt, your name on the plaque and bragging rights. Lose its $10. For you burger fans, the Burger Challenge consists of a five pound burger with all of the fixings and a full pound of fries. Same prizes if you win, and if you lose, $25 cost. I might have to try their Wing Challenge and see if I can raise my win percentage to 66%.

The place was nearly dead when we came in. Probably cause its a monday, the place is new and lots of hungover people from the long basketball 4 day weekend. We seat ourselves and our server comes to us. Friendly gal who looked like she was happy to be there. Even the bartenders and cooks greeted us as we walked in. For a mere three seconds, we felt like royalty until reality set in. Our server asked us if we've been to Fat Tony's before and we replied "no". So she sat down by us and showed us the menu. She mentioned how Fat Tony's has great New York style pizzas and that's what they were started for but lately they've been known for their philly cheese steaks. She also mentioned they have great burgers and showed us those.

The apps minus one popper somebody
I won't say who ate before the
camera came out. 
So we glance over the menu over a couple dollar drafts they had on special for mondays. Hard to pass up on a dollar draft, right? The server gave me a list of their specials and if you ever get a chance,  check it out. They have very good drink specials for each day of the week. Competitively pricing themselves against other bars. So back to the food ordering..... Thought about ordering the pizza but went ahead with her suggestions to see if they were the real deal. Ordered that and some fried pickles cause we both love fried pickles. A few minutes later she comes back with "We sold our last order of fried pickles yesterday and we won't get another delivery until tomorrow". Losing. We sat there and looked over the menu to see what other appetizers we could get. Their options are basically what you would find in any bar. Mozy sticks, nachos, artichoke dip, fried mushrooms, etc. We agreed on the jalapeno poppers. 

So our orders come out. Tiffany had the Original Philly Cheese Steak (thinly sliced steak blazed with peppers and onions then topped with melted Cheez Whiz) and fries. I had the Tony's Half-Pound Burger (a 1/2 lb of Premium Black Angus beef from Creekstone Farms grilled to your liking and topped with lettuce, tomato, pickle and onion) with fries. I added a slice of bacon, which I think is a rip at 99 cents, should have just ordered another beer instead of that. All the food came out in a very timely manner.
The best thing about Philly is not the Eagles

Excuse me sir but we decided to just put the entire cow
inbetween the buns just for you!
 The burger was pretty big. Have you ever seen that Burger King commercial where the guy has very little hands and can't eat his burger cause of it. That's how I felt. NOT cause I have little hands but because the Burger is big. Before I can even take a bite out of my burger I look over to my right and here Tiffany say, "Wow these fries are bank! Probably the best in Wichita.". Now that's a very bold statement to make. People have varied opinions on whats a good fry. So let's describe what the fries were like...... ..... ..... ..... I'm pretty blank on how to describe them so Tiffany put it best as "Similar to Spangles fries but seasoned differently". She hit the nail right on the head. They are shaped like Spangles fries, have the same feel to them but don't have that very salty taste. So after some more fries, they did taste eerily similar to Spangles which we both consider the best fries in fast food. We ate portions of each others meals and Tiffany, I think, was in love. Not with me, Not with Kenny Chesney, Not with Bradley Cooper but with both the burger and the Philly Cheesesteak. Regarding the Philly Cheesesteak she wished it had more peppers and onions but she still loved it. For the burger, she thought it was awesome. Just awesome. I think the only word I could make out from her non-stop raving was "yummy". The burger had a backyard grill out taste to it. You could almost taste the charcoal. That, I loved. It was seriously a big burger. I've been used to the greasy burgers in Wichita and this its not, almost a little too dry. Then I realized it had no ketchup or mustard on it so I had to pile it on to add a little more moisture to it. That helped. I had some of the Philly Cheesesteak and I must admit, it was good stuff. I too would prefer some more onions and peppers to add a little zing to it. But overall, one of the best I've had in the city. Based on that alone, i'd change the name to PHAT Tonys not Fat Tonys cause that philly cheesesteak was pretty hot and tempting! (insert chuckle).

We were stuffed to the brim after that to where I probably could have crawled up onto a bench and napped but decided it was best not to. Our total bill ended up around $27 for two dinners, an app, and a couple beers. That's very comparable to what you'd spend in any Wichita bar for the same amount.

On our Super Scientific Scale, we both scrored Fat Tony's above a four. So the final verdict 4.25! So a much better outing for us compared to Letters D and E. Both very satisfied for what we had plus the customer service was top notch from the moment we walked in to the end. Its hard to say what the future holds for Fat Tony's but if the word gets out and they can keep focusing on their customer service, this place should succeed. I've seen bars start off great and then lose that focus when they start to garner their following of regulars (aka Fox and Hound) so heres to wishing the best to Fat Tony's.

For the final picture, I decided to take a live photo of the receipt. Enjoy and have a great Tuesday.


Comment Away!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Getting Carded

They have finally come in! Wichita By E.B. business cards!

From here on out, every restaurant we stop by will receive one of these sweet babies right before we leave. Giving them all a little notice, they've been reviewed and thanking them for serving us. Even a little spot in the middle of the card for us to sign with a white pen on the backside.

Just our way of saying thanks for opening up in the Wichita community and letting them know how they did. Something every place could benefit from. How can you improve as a business if you don't know your customers opinions?

I'm well past 21 and yet still get carded everywhere I go. Lottery tickets, Rated R movies, casinos,  the occasional PG-13 movies, liquor stores, medicine at Wal-mart, (ok maybe I was kidding about the PG-13 movies but everything else yes) so now its my turn to card someone. So if one of you restaurants gets carded by us, probably best to read what was said!

The cards are even nice too. Glossy finish and all business like on the front and then grey, basic and easy going on the back. Kind of like a mullet but in card form.

You haven't gone big time until you own business cards!


Tuesday, March 15, 2011

What Should Letter F Be?

What should letter F be? Its a question I ask myself on a daily basis. One of those worldly phenomenons that just may be answered next week.

Just looking at a basic website listing, there don't seem to be many "F's" listed. A few more than the Letter E but not by much.

aka Death By Consumption
We have browsed around Yelp, Urban Spoon, Yellow Pages and just not sure its the complete listing of what Wichita has to offer. So we are once again asking you all for help. What do we do for Letter F? Is the World Famous Field House located by WSU an option? Probably not if we're looking for an extensive menu of food. Although I must say, they are one of the best bars in Wichita if you want great customer service. And trust me, I've been to a lot of bars in my time. Right now I'd guess people's suggestions for "F" would be Felipe's Mexican Restaurant but lets be honest with each other. What's this place known for? Their food or their drinks? We'd be more focused on drinking cazuela's there than actually eating the food. Then by the time its review time, the blog would be written in a drunken and blurred state of mind

"We weeeent to Felipe's....hahahaha..... it twaz sooooooo delishus! We each had a cazuela and it roked are world! haha ha ha. Did somebody in the room just fart? Ha ha ha. Wait, Did i just type out what I was subconciously saying to myself? Was the food any good? Cause all I remember was drinking two cazuela's, calling SafeRiders, telling them I was a WSU student, they believed me, got a free ride, and here we are blogging."
Really? Nobody wants to read that gibberish.

So what are the hidden gems inside of Wichita and the surrounding area that you would suggest? Are there any new spots that recently opened up you'd be willing to recommend or want us to be the guinea pig for you? We're all ears.

Couple other notes. Tiffany and I will once again be going to head to head in this year's NCAA Tournament Pool. Last year, I lost. Sucks cause i'm pretty sure I watched 99% more basketball than she did. There's a popular quote: "Behind every great man is a great woman" but does that really apply to NCAA tournament pools? If any of you are looking for a tournament pool to enter, just e-mail wichitabyeb@gmail.com and we can get you the details. Tournament starts this Thursday

And get your tickets to the Shockers home NIT game vs. Nebraska. The game is Wednesday at Charles Koch Arena at 6 pm. Let's pack the place up and support our hometown Shockers. Yeah it sucks we made the NIT. I'm still pretty bitter of it all but i'm still going to support them. Here's to hoping Indiana St can represent the MVC well. Don't think its going to happen.

Now bring on the "F"in suggestions!

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: E

While most of the people our age were either sleeping, passed out, still up partying or even going to Church. Tiffany and I decided to do something a little different. Dine Out for Letter E. We are both not morning people by any means so that puts a little extra pressure on our option. So without taking up any more of your time, we bring to you our choice for Letter E.

Only serving people ages 70 and up
Egg Crate Cafe located on the west side of Wichita off of 13th st near Tyler. They are open daily from 6 am to 2 pm.
8606 W. 13th Ste. 150
Wichita, KS 67212
Ph: 316.295.2822
Fax: 316.295.2823

View Menu

When we arrive in, the first thing I immediately notice is we are definitely out of our element. The average age of customer at around 8 am, I would say is 45-50. So equal to the average age of the student you will see sitting in the front row of the WSU student section. We are greeted when we walk in (I think they may have read my previous blog!) and we are seated rather quickly.

Our server took our drink order of water and orange juice and gave us ample time to place our order. Tiffany thinks the staff could have been a little friendlier, I was indifferent, our server and everybody else left literally no impression on me. Don't think they went out of their way to give great customer service but also didn't give bad customer service. Just went through the motions. Of note, our server only came to us once to check on us from start of meal to tabbing out.

We glance through the menu and its your hodge podge of breakfast favorites you can find at most places. Nothing really out of the blue like chicken feet omelet or pancakes stuffed with mayonnaise. After a bit we decided and ordered the following: French Toast with two eggs over easy. Strawberry Waffle with two eggs scrambled. 2 large biscuits with sausage gravy. Hashbrowns and 3 strips of bacon. The server warned us that was a lot of food. We weren't thinking, its 8 am and Tiffany's brains doesn't officially turn on til 9 or 10........mine sometimes never. Besides we wanted to sample bits of everything. The end result:
Enough food to feed Jon and Kate plus 8 pre-reality tv drama.
I contemplated putting a "Help Wanted" ad in the Sunday Paper to help us eat the food. No way we were going to finish it. The Belgium waffle........seriously, I'm no geography major but it might have been the size of Belgium. And the biscuits and gravy...... I'm no geography major but if I got to name a country, I'd name it biscuits and gravy based off the pure size alone. The French toast...... I'm no geo--- you get the picture.

We take a deep breath and dig in. French toast. Delicious. Tiffany liked her Belgium waffle, the strawberries were excellent but the waffle was a little hard. We both loved the hashbrowns, probably our favorite part of the meal as it was the only thing we finished completely. If you can't perfect hashbrowns, you don't deserve to be a breakfast spot. The biscuits and gravy.....alright. Tiffany's comment right after "My mom's gravy is better." (If you're out there reading this, please drop some off tomorrow morning before work!) The bacon......bleh....I've had better.

We obviously didn't finish the meal. Even if we did, we wouldn't admit it! Boxed up half a waffle, one piece of french toast, a piece of bacon and nearly 2/3's biscuits and gravy and asked for the check. $23 for our entire meal. This is not close to what the average person would spend. We ordered bits and pieces of everything. I'd say when you go into eat some breakfast, you're looking at spending anywhere from $5-9 if you get a drink and an extra side. Very affordable pricing, I'd say its better than IHOP and Denny's cause seriously, who goes to IHOP and Denny's sober most of the time?

One thing was definitely agreed upon. Breakfast food, its rarely the type of food that will just blow you away. It is either good or very bad. Not much gray area. We both enjoyed our dining experience outside of our zombie-like state. Didn't help matters later we were stuffed to the brim AND tired.

On our Super Scientific Scale, Tiffany gave Egg Crate Cafe a 3.5 and I gave them a 3. So that equals 3.25. Just a wee bit above average. Best described as "good but not great"

.........and that concludes Letter E. Honestly not many choices in Wichita to choose from. We were limited and decided to think outside the box and grab breakfast.

Lastly two things are worth mentioning. Facebook Like buttons have been added to the webpage and each individual blog post. Liking a blog post, will post a link of the blog to your Facebook wall to spread the word around. And congratulations to Wichita Heights boys and girls team for winning the 6A state basketball titles. While we are by no means Heights graduates, friends of ours are and live vicariously through those student athletes everyday. Its an impressive feat and represents Wichita high school athletics in a great way.

Egg Crate Cafe on Urbanspoon

Friday, March 11, 2011

Overlooked Items of Appreciation

Sometimes, the smallest things can really make your dining experience a more enjoyable one. The little amenities that a place offers that can sometimes go overlooked.

A Greeter. Admit it, sometimes its nice to have someone open the door for you when you walk in. Greet you with a pleasant smile and a hello. Even if they don't open the door, a hello is nice. Take Kanai for instance, they greet you with something I'd need the Google Translate to let me know what was said. Even if I don't understand it, I appreciate it.

Clean Restrooms. This is half and half. Half the business' responsibility and half the customers responsibility. Businesses should keep their restrooms clean and we as customers should do our part to keep them clean as well. There's no need to pee on the seats, always flush, don't throw paper towels on the ground. One thing I love is automatic soap dispensers, paper towel dispensers and water dispensers. Automated Everything gets two thumbs up in my book. If a restaurant wants to be super handy, get a door that doesn't require you to open it with your hands. I'm by no means a germ freak but some people are and i'm sure would love items like that. Sumos........you may want to read this.

Knowledgeable Wait Staff. We all don't know how to pronounce "baklava", or what's in a fattoush salad. There are many places through our dining adventures where it'll be our first time, where we may order something that we've never had (example: baba gross). So having a server who knows whats in a dish or can recommend us an option instead of saying "Everythings good" is really helpful. Los Cocos and Cafe Bel Ami did a great job here.

There you have it. Three simple and affordable things any restaurant or establishment can have to bump their level of customer service.

In other news, thanks to everybody who's helped pass the word on for Wichita By EB.com. The e-mails and comments we've received are greatly appreciated.

Our Letter E has been decided and you can expect that up very early next week. We're going to do a little something different this time around.

And starting with Letter F, we're going to start leaving behind cards to places we try out so those restaurants can get a fair opportunity to respond or read what was wrote about them. Cause really, what's the point of writing a review on a restaurant if they can't see what areas they need to work on or read what customers like? We designed the cards during the sleepless evening and this was the end result:


Watch Out Wichita!

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Need Suggestions On Letter E!

Right now since I don't own one of those cools yellow things people used to use back in the day to look up phone numbers, I use Urban Spoon to try and find random restaurants. Unfortunately Urban Spoon doesn't have the most complete listing of restaurants.

For instance when looking up places for Letter D, Deshi Curry (located over on 21st street) is not listed. So that really makes me wonder what is the best source to find listings of restaurants. I tried Yelp but that site is pretty jumbled and doesn't give an alphabetical listing, at least not to my knowledge.

Why I ask?

The Letter E is coming up next. And i'm not so sure Eddy's Parents House would count because what happens if I don't like mom's food (which I do love by the way)? The price can't be beat.......free, but what if the service is bad? I certainly can't write that....... or I could and just say it was all Tiffany's opinion.

But the point of this blog is to review places to eat in Wichita...... preferably places where any of you could go as well. Not so sure my mother would appreciate me giving out her address and then having random people stop by for a quick bite to eat.

Possible New "E" Place in Wichita?
So what good places out there start with the Letter E? Originally off the top of my head Emerson Biggins was the only one that came to mind but that doesn't sound like an appealing option. Urban Spoon only has 9 places listed and that doesn't count the places that start with "El" like El Mexico, El Tejano, El Torro. If someone wants to go steal the Letter B off of business signs, I could make an exception and go to Ella Luna to try their hummus because its definitely been a while for us.

Readers, we need your help. Desperately need some suggestions for Letter E. What we've seen so far doesn't exactly excite our bellies.

E......................

P.S. - Hope you all like the new design layout. Its much brighter and easier on the eyes. Plus we received our first note of publicity this week! We made it in Denise Neil's latest newsletter. She's a writer for the Wichita Eagle! Raise your hands if you're excited....... Wait, I see no hands..... Oh that's right cause i'm the only person that's excited.

The comments box has been fixed so people shouldn't have problems with that anymore. Suggestions away! Letter E.... GO!

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Dining By The Alphabet: D

Some things in life aren't meant to be. On Tuesday, we should have just stuck with Appetuesdays. We received some good suggestions for Letter D, many we strongly considered going to.

In the end, Letter D was just a disaster and disappointment.

Our choice for Letter D going into Tuesday was DeFazio's. What do you know, they are closed on Tuesdays. So we went to our second spot, D'Sozos. According to their website, they are closed for dinner. So up next on the list Delano BBQ.....yep, closed for dinner.

So we ended up on Dolci and Joe's. I checked their website. (http://www.dolciandjoes.com/). Looked up their menu and ran it all by Tiffany who seemed to like it. Their menu has their dinner times listed as Mon - Sat. 5 pm - 8 pm. For this week's entry for Dining By The Alphabet, we had some guest eaters who wanted to join us. The plan was to meet at Dolci and Joe's at 7 pm. On our way up there, we get a call from one of our fellow eaters, Ricky. He calls and says, "Did you do your homework? The place is closed." Fantastic. We met them all up there and yes indeed, the place was closed. Sign said they close at 4 pm. What's the point of having a website if you're going to post the wrong times? My plans for the evening were now screwed up because I trusted a company's website. I'll be sure to let Dolci and Joe's know about this.

So what I came down to was Letter D restaurants do not like to stay open late on Tuesday. We scrambled to find another D restaurant. Doc Howards, Doc Greens, Doc Steakhouse, but settled on the following place:
Welcome to Da Cajun Shak
Yes, Da Cajun Shak. Kind of fit rather well considering it was Fat Tuesday. This place is located at the southwest corner of 21st and Woodlawn (6249 E. 21st Street Suite 114, Wichita, KS 67208)

We had a group of six of us and the moment we stepped inside Da Cajun Shak we were met with "We don't have room for you guys." That was it. We. Don't. Have. Room. For. You. Guys. Then "We don't have enough to seat you." I was taken back by this as I have frequented this place many times before and am a fan of their cajun meatloaf. We all kind of just stood there in amazement, not knowing exactly what to do. We discussed going somewhere else and then a few tables opened up that we could possibly put together so we asked. The response, "Not those two tables" (in a stern voice) "But you can those two tables". Yes its Mardi Gras, you guys were busy, please don't kick my ass.

This upset me from the start and kind of set the mood for the rest of dinner. Like I said, I've been here before and have had better and nicer service from the same people who seemed to have cracked under the pressure of having been busy. This was Tiffany's first time in there along with a few others and this definitely didn't leave a good first impression. One that may never be repaired.

So we sit, order our drinks. (FYI, they don't serve alcohol here). We then look at their menu which can also be viewed online here. Unlike Dolci and Joe's, i'm pretty sure this is right. We all decide to order some appetizers. Gator bites, fried catfish, and dippin shrimp. They come out in a pretty timely manner. Our server sets them down and we see fries also on the platter so we ask what was what. His response "gator bites, catfish, shrimp". So.......... I guess its a Surprise Basket or some sort of game where we get to bite and decide what we just put in our mouths.

Quick! What is what on here?
We placed our order at the same time we asked for our apps. Tiffany and I split a three entree meal of Chicken Lafayette, Fried Catfish and Fried Gator with sides of Fried Okra, Jambalaya, and Seasoned Fries. Yes, our intention is to have a heart attack later tonight. We sort of messed up and ordered too many fried items and items similar to our appetizers. (Couple sidenotes: my favorite item is the Cajun Meatloaf but I didn't want to order it again as I just had it recently and secondly, Tiffany isn't a big fan of cajun food so take that into consideration).

Can I get a side of Health Insurance?
Three of the guys with us all ordered similar type of entree meals as we did. Our friend Erica who was with us ordered a fried chicken tender po boy.

When the servers brought out our orders, there was confusion on who's order was who's. One of the ladies just stood there awkwardly holding the plate while others tried to figure out who's order belonged to who. Real..............awkward. So after that confusion we were all able to dig in.

Erica felt there was too much bread on her po boy and the other guys just ate away without too much commentary. Dave was pretty quiet regarding his food. The only comments I really got was Danny and Ricky and the food being fried and having to work out because of it. Was I just joined at the table by all girls? Later on Ricky (the reason why we chose to eat on Tuesday in the first place) would comment about how it was a very bad idea of going to Da Cajun Shak and redoing the letter D but that's how it goes in the world of critiqueating.

But ultimately the review falls on the shoulders of Tiffany and I. I am a fan of cajun food and a fan of fried food (albeit not every single day of the week, in moderation my friends..... in moderation). I enjoyed each part of my meal besides the fries which were just not good. The chicken lafayette and jambalaya were pretty good for restaurant quality. Fried catfish and gator bites were a little above average. I didn't get to try the okra cause somebody snuck them all inside her belly (in her defense, I was offered okra but passed). Tiffany had small bits and pieces of each meal but just didn't like it. As was stated earlier, Cajun is just not her thing.

Da Cajun Shak really shot themselves in the foot earlier in the night with their approach to the customers when the seating wasn't available yet. Tiffany said the best part of their customer service was refilling drinks. I've eaten here before and I don't personally know the people but they seem like good hearted people but a little rough around the edge. Their people skills leave a lot to be desired. To their credit they've been serving Wichita for five years now, not many locally owned Cajun places in Wichita I could name. This is one of those places where you have to be a fan of this type of food to enjoy it.

On the Super Scientific Scale: Da Cajun Shak gets a 2.5. I gave the place a 3.5 and Tiffany gave them a 1.5. They were docked severely for their customer service.

So that was Letter D. Just a disaster of a day with dreadful and disappointing decisions. How's that for alliteration?

Thanks to everybody who helped with suggestions for Letter D.












Wait.......................it doesn't end there. Later that evening we hoped to end it all on a good note. So for you lucky readers you get more D's! A DOUBLE DOSE of Blogging. We wanted to get something sweet to snack on for later. Tiffany being the dessert queen still had an appetite left since she didn't eat too much so we made a quick late night stop by............................

The Donut Whole!
The Donut Whole is located on Douglas just east of Hydraulic near downtown. 1720 E. Douglas Ave Wichita, KS 67214. They are open 24 hours with their own drive thru. We decided to make the excursion inside the place and were met by an eclectic group of people of all walks of life. I'm guessing they have wi-fi here since a quarter of the crowd had computers out. This place only has donuts and drinks (once again, no alcohol). 
Only certain donuts on hand daily
We were given the suggestion that we should try the Maple Bacon donut. With how our evening has been, are you surprised they didn't have any left? We're not. Nearly all donuts run between $1.00 and $1.50 so we chose three donuts to take back home. Futter Binger (a play on butter finger), Rocky Road (marshmallow, chocolate and nuts), Peanut Butter Pretzel (pretzels and peanut butter and chocolate). 
Nothing says class like milk in a Budweiser glass!
We decided to take bites of each one followed by a drink to cleanse the pallet. Until we get back, we noticed all of the donuts we ordered were chocolate cake donuts. The night just keeps getting better! Of course I didn't use milk for my cleanser, I'd rather use gasoline. Our first donut we tried was Rocky Road. Pretty good, nothing too special. Next up..... Futter Binger. Disappointment. We couldn't even taste any of the butterfinger on it. And the last one, the Peanut Butter Pretzel. Score. Finally we came up with a winner. This was by far the best of the bunch. All the donuts were pretty rich, not overly dry and probably better than what you could find at Krispy Kreme, plus the place is open 24 hours!

We will probably try this place again. Next time, we're going to make sure we get a very unique assortment of donuts instead of all the same type. The price was pretty good and the service was a little awkward with the young lady at the counter kind of staring our way waiting for us. Felt sort of rushed trying to decide what to order and just didn't have a pleasant attitude. Despite that final fact, Tiffany gave them a four and I ended up with a 3.

Donut Whole's Super Scientific Score: 3.5 

So that does conclude our Dining By the Alphabet Letter D. Kind of a car wreck of an evening that really just started off wrong with many places being closed and then Dolci and Joe's with absolutely wrong information on their website.

Here's to hoping Letter E is better. We haven't even begun to think about what options there are for that letter but two things I know for sure. We will call ahead to make sure they are open and Letter E is the coolest letter in the alphabet.

Comments Welcome...........

Thursday, March 3, 2011

What Should Letter D Be?

Well the final blog this week for me. With Arch Madness looming upon us, I now must let you the readers help me come up with places for Letter D while I root on the Shockers to victory this weekend.
What we're looking for is a place preferably locally owned and something you can only find in Wichita.
Mexican spots......ehhhh..... let's avoid. A and C went to that. So let's focus on anything else.
Tiffany and I are very open minded and will try anything once.
Dunkin Donuts, Denim and Diamonds, and Dairy Queen have already been added to the no list as well as Dillons Fried Chicken!
Comment Away!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Appetuesdays: Hummus and Baba Ghanouj

You'll notice our new poll this week ask what is the best hummus in Wichita. As hummus fans, we thought it'd be cool to try out some new hummus. We didn't want a full dinner such something light and easy. Take a break from Dining By The Alphabet and just have a nice conversation over what we call "Appetuesdays".

So for our Appetuesdays spot, we selected N&J Cafe. A place both of us have never been too. Our plan was simple, just order a couple appetizers, eat, chat, people watch and call it a night.

Upon entering in, the place was BUSY! For its location on the southeast side of town (literally adjacent to Southeast High School), we were surprised how busy they were. Didn't know if we were to seat ourselves so we had to ask the main guy at the cashier station. You do. So we grabbed a booth and waited for a server. Service was a wee bit slow. Noticed there were really only two servers for as busy as they were. The servers worked their tails off but restaurants should be staffed properly. We didn't gripe about it but one guy behind us sure did. I think the term best to describe him throughout the night is "asshole". Seriously a guy who was griping about everything, entered in, a table wasn't bussed yet, so he bussed it himself and ended up dropping an entire glass of water on the ground and left it there, then asked for a server wanting to order, changed his mind and needed more time, complained about waiting for a server. You know those types of customers.

So yeah, service could have been quicker. Anyhoo, we decided to order a large hummus and a small baba ghanouj with one walnut baklava (to my credit I pronounced it correctly). We've never had baba ghanouj. One of the servers at Cafe Bel Ami suggested it, called it hummus made with eggplant instead of chickpeas. We kept it in the back of our mind for the future. I've never had baklava so we ordered their walnut baklava, only $1.25, tiny little pastry. The hummus and baba ghanouj (I'm telling you that's a hard word to spell, I have spelled it wrong everytime I tried to type it) came in two sizes, small and large and run around $4-5 depending on the size.

Hummus and its ugly stepsister, baba ghanouj


Both apps came with pita bread and pita chips. You'll notice the sizes look the same in the picture that's because the server took our order wrong. She thought we ordered both larges. Kind of upset about it because I didn't want a large order of baba ghanouj in case we didn't like it. We told her and she just looked at us. Some places may have offered it at the small size rate, some would have taken it back, she honestly just stood there and looked at us. So I let it slide since it was only a dollar difference but even an apology would have been nice.

We took bites of each and Tiffany immediately nixed the baba ghanouj calling it gross or as she now calls it "Baba Gross". I had my first bite and was seriously intrigued by the flavor. Wasn't sure if I liked it or not, so I tried again..... and again..... and again.... and again.... and again. To this moment I can quite pinpoint what it tastes like. At some points it taste like a bad chunky salsa, other times it tastes bland, other times weird. It does have a very smokey taste to it. It wasn't great but then against it wasn't horrible. Just is what it is. Tiffany refused the rest of the night to try it again. Our server came by and even said she wasn't a fan. The hummus on the other hand was good. Compared to Cafe Bel Ami, Tiffany says N&J's doesn't have as much flavor as Bel Ami. She said N&J put way too much oil in it and that I have to write the following "You better agree cause when you had a bite of that oil you made that "ughhhhhhh" face." So I do agree. There were spots of hummus where the color just changed completely. I've heard many people say that N&J has the best hummus in Wichita. Just not sure I feel the same way. Tiffany still believes Bella Luna is the place to beat. So that's where the bar has been set.

Tomorrow's word of the day: Baklava
As for the baklava, not sure I like it. Tasted kind of dry to me but Tiffany said it was pretty moist. Maybe its just me not being a big fan of desserts or maybe i'll just have to try it again. She liked it, me...still on the fence. But for only a dollar, great value! They had walnut, pistachio, and almond baklava. The pistachio's were all gone when we were there so that maybe the most popular option. I may grab some at random next time i'm in the area. I like that word though, baklava. Its so fun to say, not so much type. Baklava.

After we finished, we asked for a couple to go boxes and our ticket. She brought them out and we put our card out and waited for her to pick it up. While waiting, we decided to walk around the little "grocery store" they have inside the cafe just to see what else they had. Tons of hookah supplies. By the time we got back, our server still hadn't picked up our check. So we just grabbed it and paid up front.

We will probably go back to try this play out in the future. Heard many good things about this place but just honestly didn't get to experience it or see it. Service was a little on the slow side being understaffed. The baba ghanouj was weird, hummus possibly overrated. We won't rate this on our super scientific scale but going into it the next time, its already an uphill battle for N&J Cafe.

We saw some items on the menu that interested us like the combo, kebbe dinner, and the kafta. So when we do get a chance to get a full meal, we'll give a better review on the place.

But for hummus alone, it goes:
1.) Cafe Bel Ami
2.) N&J Cafe

We've had hummus at other places but since the inception of the blog, we're off to a fresh start on rating hummus.

N&J Cafe, you better step your game up for the next time we come in.