Friday, December 30, 2011

Quick Hits: Kansas Star Casino, Wichita Brewing Co.....

Can you believe 2011 is almost over? I want to first thank all of you for stopping by to read. It's been a great time writing. It's definitely been a fun albeit it expensive hobby.

Let's get on to business of what will be the final Quick Hits blog of the year.

Had a chance to stop by the Kansas Star Casino for a few hours this week. The current casino is inside what will be the equestrian center, so don't let the size fool you. The actual casino is scheduled for completion I believe late 2012, possibly sometime into 2013. The current setting is nice but has been extremely busy from the people I've spoken with. When I stopped by late in the evening, it was very busy. Nearly all the tables were full. Table mins ran from $10-25. Not a single $10 seat was open so if you wanted to gamble it would be a $15 or $25 table. They have craps, roulette, pai gow, baccarat, let it ride but no poker room right now. Plenty of slot machines. The drinks there are not cheap and the last thing I noticed, it's VERY smoky. Ever since the smoking ban, I'm so used to going out and not having to deal with all the smoke. It's not like that here. One funny sight: a person using an oxygen machine while smoking a cigarette. Classy folks. Classy.


At Central and Rock Road, a Chick-Fil-A sign is finally up. The building is officially under construction. I'm surprised none of you Chick-Filnatics are camping out there right now.

Project Minimum Salary starts in a couple days. I'll have the daily blog up on here once that begins. Am I looking forward to it? Kind of...... Not eating out all the time is going to be missed!

Never been to d'Sozo before but I read that as of January, it'll now be called Miguel Larcher which just happens to be the name of the owner and head chef.

What am I most excited about tomorrow (not including the company)? Not the New Year's Eve celebrations, not dinner, not having the day off, but it's the Wichita State/Creighton game. Saturday late afternoon quite possibly might be the loudest Koch Arena has been for a while. The UNLV game was big but this one is much bigger. You have the top two preseason favorites going at it. Our biggest rivals coming to our home. We win and we have a two game conference lead on Creighton. I dislike mice, I dislike cats but I dislike blue jays even more. For those going to the game tomorrow, remember it's a "Black Out". Wear black.

A group of friends and I made it out to Wichita Brewing Co and Pizzeria. We stopped by midweek and the inside of the place is bigger than I thought it'd be. They were able to seat 12 of us rather easily except we had to wait for the tables to clear. (Side note: Don't you hate it when you're with a party and they have 3 of the 4 tables open and you're just waiting on this one table to clear. The couple sitting has already tabbed out but they just sit there and talk?) Nearly everybody at the table tried different beers they brewed there along with an array of pizzas. I had the 5:02 Amber and it was pretty delicious. Others around tried the Half-Wit Wheat which they said was the closest thing to a light beer they had on hand. I didn't hear a single complaint on the beers. For a pizza, I tried the "Mother McCLuck'R" (citrus blaze base topped with chicken, Andouille sausage, red pepper, fresh sliced jalapenos, red pepper flakes, fresh cilantro and honey drizzle). Pretty sure there was sriracha on top of it. It was very good if you like spicy food. After three slices, I needed water. Tried a bite of the Buffalo Perfection and it was ok. What were really good were the stuffed mushrooms that a person at our table ordered. A buddy of mine ordered one of their subs and wasn't a fan of it. He ate half and gave the rest away. The general consensus I heard around the table was that the pizzas were good but not great. Some people said that Il Vicino was much better but I'm not sure the pizzas are comparable. Would people go there again? People said yes even though it's quite the drive for an east sider. I took some pictures of the food but didn't get the names of the pizza so use your imagination!







Letter T is hopefully on the block before the New Year begins.

Until then, happy dining!

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Monday, December 26, 2011

Special Dining Report: Bocconcini Italian Eatery

Bocconcini Italian Eatery

4811 East Central
Wichita, KS 67208
Ph: 316.613.2523
Website: http://www.360wichita.com/Restaurants/Italian/BocconciniItalianEatery.html
Menu: http://forms.360wichita.com/94935/Bocconcini.pdf

Over the holiday break, I was looking to grab some lunch at Bocconcini. I've heard pretty good things about the place and notice its steady run of patrons if I'm ever driving by. So on Friday afternoon, my buddy, Brandon and I stopped in to check the place out.

When we arrived the place was busy. Nearly every table was packed except for a couple two-tops with flowers on them. It was quite romantic (totally kidding!). We sat and were immediately greeted by our server who brought us out our waters.

It took us a while to figure out what we wanted, there were many items on the menu that sounded really good. I almost said "looked" but realized that there weren't pictures on the menu.

In the meantime, we both went with their soup of the day which was a potato soup and leek with bits of bacon and parsley. Pretty good stuff. We devoured the bowl quickly, probably because we were both very hungry.

The Soup of the Day
We finally decided on our lunch. Brandon went with the Pasta Fresca (penne pasta with fresh spinach, roma tomatoes, roasted garlic, and thinly sliced red onion tossed in balsamic, olive oil and white wine - $8). At the suggestion of a previous dining guest of mine, I went with the Salmon P.L.T (grilled salmon filet, pancetta, lettuce, and tomato with garlic mayo on French bread, came with garlic fries - $8)

Salmon P.L.T. with garlic fries
My Salmon P.L.T. was very delicious. The salmon had a really good flavor to it and wasn't accompanied by a super fishy taste to it. When my server brought the fries out, I asked for some dipping sauce like ketchup or something. He said since the fries are made with oil and garlic they have great flavor to them and wouldn't need a dipping sauce but he could bring some out if I wanted. After a couple bites of the fries, it had a unique taste that was good but was still dry. Definitely could have used some dipping sauce.

Brandon liked his Pasta Fresca. He said it wasn't your typical pasta meal. The sauce was runny but in a good way. He liked the balsamic type dressing on the pasta and mentioned it wasn't something he's had before on pasta. He would order it again or recommend it.

Pasta Fresca
The service was great. Our server noticed the both of us in Shockers gear and was quick to make a comment about them even though it was clear to see he didn't know much about them. A for effort though. At least he didn't make some comment like "I like KU basketball more" (true story!). Waters were always refilled. With as busy as the place was, we still received our food promptly.

My only gripe was one minor detail and it's something other servers do. They will say "Our deserts today are such and such and such, when one should I bring you?" or "We have ice tea, Pepsi products, which one would you like?". It comes off kind of pushy. Kind of a minor pet peeve or annoyance of mine. Others may feel differently but being a former server I just like the "Did anybody save any room for desert today" or "Would anybody like to hear about our deserts?". That's all.

Overall, we both liked Bocconcini. There are other items on their menu I would really like to try sometime but I recommend it. Give it a try if you're in the area. It's located over at Central and Oliver at the southeast corner.

Plenty more blogs to come out before Project Minimum Salary starts in less than a week's time! Stay tuned!

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Reader's Grab Bag - 12/21/11

I've quietly been gathering thoughts from readers from tweets, Facebook posts, and blog comments on their opinions of places. Some good, some bad.

Sometimes I'm wary about reviews I see on Yelp or UrbanSpoon because they could easily be from people who own the establishment or work there.

The comments below are from hopefully trusted sources. No stockholders, restaurant owners, restaurant employees, etc.

I definitely enjoy blogging about my adventures but I equally love to hear people's thoughts on places as well. I really do take them into consideration when choosing places to eat at. Just like the first Reader's Grab Bag, I have left out their names. If you would ever like to share your thoughts, anonymously of course for a future grab bag, just shoot us an e-mail at wichitabyeb@gmail.com or hit us up on any social media outlet.

Now time for your voices to be heard:

Kanai
I have to disagree with you on that one (Wasabi). Kanai wins the best sushi in Wichita award. Wasabi is #2.

Charlie's Pizza Taco
Since I no longer live in KS, I haven't been to the new Charlie's, but the one in Pratt... AMAZING. Miss those so much. Try it.

Fox and Hound
I've heard people disparage the Fox & Hound food, but I've never been disappointed by their food.

Thai Traditions
Thai Traditions is still the best.

Sweet Basil
Love Sweet Basil, and they have a Sunday brunch...

Chapada Chophouse & Churrascaria
I would not waste my time going to Chapada again. Some of the meat was undercooked when they served it to us, the flavor was lackluster, and the salad bar was subpar. If you want a good Brazilian Churrascaria steakhouse, go to Fogo.

Or

It’s a little pricy and some of the negative yelp comments are true (servers and managers not knowing their product) but the meat and salad bar were good and they probably had a top 10 beer menu (for Wichita). Multiple Goose Island bottles (like Sophie, Fluer), Hoegarden, Tallgrass, etc. Plus they had old fashioned drinks like a Manhattan. For the Price, I would give it an average rating. If you exclude how much you spend, it would be a higher rating.

Wichita Brewing and Pizza Co.
We like Wichita Brewing Co.Pizza is good, beer is even better.

Or

WBCo and Pizzaria has great food but I wasn't crazy about the atmosphere. It just seems like its missing something.

Bocconcini
Bocconcini was good but not great! I think it's a good lunch place but that's about it.

TJ’s Burger House
I've had a better hamburger at McDonald's vs. TJ's. Have never eaten at Ty's. Would never intentionally go back to TJ's.

Wasabi
It didn't take long to solve the mystery of why I'm the only customer inside the East Wasabi! Their service sucks, the sushi is almost mediocre, and higher prices than Old Town location. I would rather eat Dillon's sushi next to the salad bar.

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That's all for now. If you too would like to get your opinions in, just send them our way to wichitabyeb@gmail.com - All opinions will be kept anonymously. Also if you have any questions, feel free to throw them my my way.

Happy Dining all.

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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Dining by the Alphabet: Letter S: Sals Japanese Steakhouse

The week before Christmas weekend and I wanted to knock out yet another Dining by the Alphabet Letter (yes Microsoft Word, that is a fragment and I don’t care). This time it was Letter S. There were plenty of suggestions of decide from: Such staples as Sumo and Scotch and Sirloin (how's that for alliteration!). I decided against those two because of their popularity especially on the East side of town. Many people have been to them.

I then narrowed down my list to two places. One of them was Savutes but since they are closed on Monday's, we went to our other option.

Sal's Japanese Steakhouse
6829 E Kellogg Dr
Wichita, KS 67207-1509
(316) 682-8880


This is located on the south side of Kellogg just east of Woodlawn. It's next to a bed shop right off the Kellogg frontage road.

Sal's Japanese Steakhouse is mainly known for their hibachi grill similar to Kobe's and Sumo's. I'd say it's probably one of the less popular ones in Wichita. So why not give it a try?

My guest diner for tonight was Melisa. This was her first time being a guest diner. She brought her husband and three children (two, Maggie and Ivie, who decided they would help me in rating this place!). Ivie and Maggie even brought paper and markers to write their notes down. Two others joined us to fill up the hibachi grill and watch the excitement.

We made reservations Monday evening but in reality they were not needed. The place wasn't busy at all so we were seated once our entire party arrived. Our server was quick to bring us out waters once we sat and we don't recall ever having to wait for my water to be refilled.

Throughout the dinner, many "Sumo" comparisons were made especially by two of the girls as that has been the only hibachi grill they've been to. Even when the cook was out, they would say out loud, "This is just like Sumo!". I wonder what was going through the cook's head while they were saying it!

When our server came out to take our order I decided to go with the Filet Mignon and fried rice. Melisa went with the Teriyaki Steak and fried rice. Around the table others ordered Teriyaki Chicken, Teriyaki Steak, and Steak.

Better than any appetizer I could think of
In short time, miso soup came out. I wonder if miso is short for "i love MI SOme soup" cause I do. The miso soup according to Melisa was more flavorful than other places. I seconded the opinion as did some others at the table. Once it was apparent we were finished with our miso soup, our server then brought us the salad with ginger dressing. If you like ginger dressing, you won't be upset here. This is just as good as other places I've been to that offer it like Sumo or Ah-So.

Next up, our cook came out. He looked friendly and gave everybody a warm hello. He did his little pregame performance and made sure he verified everybody's meal. One thing everybody noticed was he was very good with the kids. He never looked annoyed with the kids asking him questions and took it all in stride and tried to make sure they enjoyed it all. Nice touch.



We did the whole shrimp catching and only person, I believe, caught it on the first time. Shrimp catching is when the cook tosses shrimp into the air and you try to catch it in your mouth. I missed mine and it was totally because I lost the shrimp in the light. He threw it directly where a light bulb was facing me so I was blinded. I was set up to fail! After the kids saw me miss, I felt like less of a man. :(

Our cook did all the tricks like flipping bowls into his hat, the onion volcano, tossing shakers in the air and catching it. It's always entertaining if you go to hibachi grills in moderation.

There is something about fire that can hypnotize
the eyes of any child.
Can I use the caption "Rice Rice Baby" again?
We were eating as the show was being put on and getting full as time went by with all the fried rice, cooked veggies, onions, shrimp, etc. A couple people at the table noticed that their little vegetable medley included carrots and potatoes. It's something that was new to us and wasn't bad at all. Melisa loved the fact that they used less garlic in their rice allowing for more flavors to come through other than being overwhelmed like you were preparing for a vampire attack.

Melisa and I each had our steaks cooked spicy. Melisa had to ask since she wasn't sure if she saw it on the menu. She said the chef was precise in preparing it spicy without trying to kill her. She's had it at Sumo before where it is so hot, she cannot eat it. She did mention that it was better than Sumo's since there was seems to be a lot of fat on her meat there. My filet mignon was cooked medium rare and it was delicious. Each bite was very tender and flavorful; by far my favorite part of the meal.

The shrimp with a sauce that was delicious

Filet Mignon and extra stuff. I focused on the filet!

Teriyaki Chicken a friend ordered
 After dinner, they gave everybody little bowls of sherbet. The kids liked it a lot.


For their service, they did everything they were supposed to. Melisa liked how the server slipped in to clear plates and bowls without disturbing us or letting them sit and pile up. Her water was never empty either. As for the cook, he interacted very well with the kids and even giving her two year old pretty much everything they ordered for free. Other places, charge a plate fee or a special charge. They did not at Sal's. I have zero complaints about their service and was happy with everything.

For price, I think some people were kind of expecting it to be a little cheaper than the competition. After browsing around, I noticed that prices between all the hibachi grills in Wichita are about the same with minimal differences in price. Melisa spent $63 without tip for her family of five while I spent $24 without tip. I think both prices included an 8 person gratuity charge. The kid's meals ran $9.95 in case some of you parents are wondering. She mentioned had the meals been $3-5 cheaper, it would have been exceptional on value.

The atmosphere was nice and quiet. Having it not be busy, probably added to that. But even if it was, the place has a calm demeanor to it compared to the east side hibachi grill. Melisa gave extra points for the atmosphere. Being able to carry on a conversation with friends at a table is important and Sal's is conducive for that. I thought the atmosphere was pleasant and didn't put off a pretentious vibe to it. It's a little dark inside but it seems to be that way at most hibachi grills.

It must be mentioned that one person at the table did not like their meal. He said the steak was tough and he would not go again. So take that for what it's worth. Personally I had no problems with the meal at all and loved every bite of it. I did give him a bite of my filet and he enjoyed it much more than what he had.

Overall Sal's is a good place to go with friends or a group of people. It's a good alternative to other hibachi grills that may be busy and I don't think it's one of those places you feel like you have to get all dressed up for.

Review time!

First I should probably post the kid's review.

Maggie's Review

Ivie's Review
I promise that is their handwriting even though it looks similar to mine. Maggie thought the service was fast, the food was very yummy, the soup was sweet, the chef was hilarious, and the water was spilly (because she spilled it on herself). Ivie thought the steak was good and the cook was funny funny. Let me repeat, not just funny but double funny and to end it all, the service was fast.

As for the adult review: For price, Melisa was hoping they would be a little more competitive on price and rated it a 3 noting that taking kids can get expensive. She enjoyed the food and gave it a 4. She mentioned if her stomach had made it, she'd give it a perfect score. She thought the service was perfect. On the Wichita By EB scale, they went back and forth between a 4.5 and 4 and finally went with a firm 4. My sentiments were pretty similar outside of the kids because frankly I don't have kids and don't plan on that anytime soon! My final score for Sal's Japanese Steakhouse was a four. So that puts the final Super Scientific Scale rating at a 4 (out of 5)!

I want to thank Melisa and the family for joining me in Dining by the Alphabet. It was a great and entertaining time.

P.S. - When I got in my car to drive home, there was no one in it but me. As I'm driving, I hear a little girl's voice in the very back. I look back and see no one. It freaked me out! Then I realized I still had toys from Christmas shopping over the weekend. Crisis averted!

Up next is Letter T! The 20th letter of the alphabet! Anybody have suggestions?

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Sal's Japanese Steakhouse on Urbanspoon Sal's Japanese Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 19, 2011

Quick Hits: 12/19/11: Kansas Star Casino, Wasabi and Christmas!

Quick Hits: 12/19/11

Less than a week until Christmas! Who's excited?
I've always wondered how many people eat out for Christmas. To my knowledge, my family never has and I don't know of any friends whose family does. Do any of you readers eat out for Christmas?
Denise Neil put up a great little collection of places that are open: http://www.kansas.com/2011/12/13/2140052/heres-what-restaurants-will-be.html
  • I've made a list of places that I really want to try out. That list includes Chapada Steakhouse, AVI, Sloppy Joe's, Wichita Brewing and Pizza Company, Charlie's Taco Pizza, Ciao, and Bocconcini. I received tons of opinions on each of the places. Many that differed from whether one place was good or bad. So I can't wait to try them out for myself. With Project Minimum Wage coming up in less than two weeks, I'm going to have to crank some of these out soon.
  • I did have a chance to try out Sloppy Joe's and wrote that blog here. Unfortunately that's one place I see struggling for business in the future and am very unsure of their future.
  • The Kansas Star Casino opens up this month. As an avid fan of casinos, I will have to check this place out. To any readers who are purchasing me Christmas gifts like say family, "straight cash homie" is the way to go. I need something to bet on black with! I drove by the casino on my way to Tulsa a couple weeks and it looks very nice. Interested to see what the inside looks like.
  • I heard over the weekend that Souper Salad closed. This was in the building at Kellogg and Rock right next to Toys "R" Us. While not a place I frequented often (probably once a year), it was a place I always enjoyed when I stopped by. I guess showing up one time per year for the last 13 years it's been opened wasn't enough to prevent its demise.
  • Went to Wasabi over the weekend and tried out three different rolls, I’ve never had before. I think Wasabi solidified to me that they have the best sushi in Wichita (east side for sure but it’s still debatable between Wasabi and Kanai).
    Red Dragon Roll: (spicy tuna, cream cheese, avocado, baked red snapper) - this roll they light on fire in front of you, so take it easy on the hairspray if you go.
    Baked Lobster Roll: (crab, cucumber, avocado, baked baby lobster)
    Crazy Crab Roll: (crab, avocado, cream cheese, shrimp tempura, shrimp)

    All were very delicious but if I had to rank them, I would say Baked Lobster Roll, Crazy Crab Roll and then the Red Dragon Roll)
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I think I'll have plenty of time to crank out Letters "S" and "T" before December ends. If anybody has suggestions for Letter S, just throw them my way.

Go Shox tonight! Even though it's "just Newman".
Until then folks..................

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Special Dining Report: Sloppy Joe's


If you follow us on Twitter or Facebook, you'll know there's a wish list of sorts of restaurants. These are restaurants I would love to check out soon. Well on Saturday while I was out Christmas shopping because I'm one of those last second types of guys, I made it out to West Street. What's on West Street you ask? Well it's a place called Sloppy Joe's. They specialize in you guessed it: Sloppy Joe's.

They are located in the old Sonic Space at 803 N. West Street. They do not have a webpage but can be found on Facebook. I was able to grab a picture of their menu.


I guess one of their popular burgers is called the Jake's Special (two quarter-pound patties, barbecue roast beef, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onions, ketchup, mustard and mayo). I decided to go with their most popular item, their regular Sloppy Joe. I asked what their next popular sandwich was and the lady at the counter said their BBQ Sloppy Joe was. So I went with that an order of tots.

The lady who took my order was very nice. My only gripe was she didn't tell me that the to go menu's that were right on the counter had coupons in them which could have saved me money for my Christmas shopping. So heads up, when you go there are to go menus on display. In them are coupons for Buy 1 Get 1 Free, free tots, etc.

While waiting on my order, I glanced around the building. It was very small inside. I counted seven four tops. So the place seats roughly 28 people if that is what seven times four equals.


The Original Sloppy Joe and Tots.
It didn't take too long for the Sloppy Joe's and tots to come out. The first thing I did was squirt a bunch of ketchup on the tots. They tasted just like Sonic’s but cooked longer. Sometimes when I go to Sonic, it seems like their tots are a bit undercooked; not at Sloppy Joe's. Next up, I picked up my original Sloppy Joe and figured "Crap, this is too big and it's going to get very messy." I went the fork and knife route to eat my Sloppy Joe's. The original Sloppy Joe was delicious. I wanted to save that for last then so I dug into the BBQ Sloppy Joe. With the first bite, I immediately thought "brisket sandwich" because that is what it tasted like. It wasn't bad but it wasn't the taste I was going for. I finished most of it and went straight back to the original Sloppy Joe. Took a few bites of that, went back to the tots, repeat process. The Original Sloppy Joe was absolutely delicious along with the fries.

The BBQ Sloppy Joe without the bun on it....duh....

Halfway through my Sloppy lunch

Here's the hard part. Sloppy Joe's is a tough sell. They are very easy and cheap to make. A business centered on Sloppy Joe's could be a hard sell given the economic situation many people are in. Their sandwiches ran in the vicinity of $3 and their tots were a dollar and change.

Was it good? Yes. Would I go there again? Probably but it's hard to find people wanting to go to a place just to eat Sloppy Joe's and being on West St, it's not an area of town I travel to often.

You should definitely try it once and see what you think. I liked my experience and now am the owner of a "Buy 1 Sloppy Joe, Get 1 Free". Merry Christmas to me!!!

Please note, this is NOT Letter S. It's just total coincidence that Letter S is up next and I went to Sloppy Joe's.

I think Letter S should be out this week. In the meantime, don’t forget to follow us on Twitter where we're approaching 600 follows and then closing in on 200 likes on Facebook

Friday, December 16, 2011

Dining by the Alphabet: Letter R

What's a pirate’s favorite letter of the alphabet? Aaarrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh!!!!! (I crack myself up way too easily).

So with that said, Dining by the Alphabet Letter R is in the books! There were plenty of options for Letter R with the most popular being Red Rock Canyon Grill. At first, I was tempted to go there but I've been there so many times and it probably would have been a biased review. It's one of my favorite places in Wichita; possibly the best pork chops ever.

I wanted to go somewhere I've never been before and I went with the second most popular suggestion given by the readers through Facebook and Twitter. I bring to you Letter R................

Riverside Cafe

739 W. 13th St.
Wichita, KS. 67203
Ph: 316.262.6703
924 S. Woodlawn
Wichita, KS. 67218
Ph: 316.682.9265
824 N. Baltimore
Derby, KS. 67037
316.425.0057
HoursMon-Sat - 6:00AM - 8:00PM
Sun - 6:00AM - 2:00PM

Of the three locations, I was told to go to the West side location on West 13th street so that is where we went. FYI, there is a Buy 1 Get 1 free coupon on their website and DealSaver has a $20 gift certificate for $10. Not sure how long either of those last though. If you're interested, go check that out soon.

My Special Guest Diner (notice that's in all caps now like it's a proper noun or something) was Samantha. She is a first time guest diner with Wichita By E.B. Along with Samantha; we were joined by two others who were going for their first time as well to Riverside Cafe.



When we arrived, we were politely greeted and told we were welcome to sit anywhere we'd like. The decor inside had great character. Samantha said the place made it feel like a hometown cafe. They had all sorts of decorations on the wall, very busy but in a good way. All the booths had a little jukebox that played music. Ours got off to a great start with classics but then slowed down with too much slow romantic music.

Fried Goodness
We looked through the menu and decided to order some appetizers. For $8.99, you can order a Fried Combo Platter that includes your choice of any three different appetizers, served with French fries. Our options were Green Bean French fries, mushrooms, okra, cheese sticks, jalapeno poppers, onion rings, sweet corn nuggets, deep fried pickles, or 2 chicken strips. With four of us, we went with the green bean French fries, cheese sticks and deep fried pickles. When the plate came out, it looked like a big plate of fried food......because it was. Of the three, my favorite was the green bean French fries. Very tasty. The cheese sticks were just cheese sticks and like I said in the Letter Q blog, "Is there even such a thing as a GREAT cheese stick?" The fried pickles were ok as I've had better elsewhere. Samantha thought both the green bean French fries and cheese sticks were good. She enjoyed the appetizers as a whole.

Ummm yeah so when I unrolled my silverware this is what came out. I grabbed a new set.
What's that green thingie?

For dinners, Samantha ordered the Steak and Shrimp combo (6 oz. dinner steak and 4 shrimp). Hers came with corn, baked potato, a roll and a side salad with ranch. I debated back and forth between the special which was a hamburger steak or the homemade meatloaf. I must interject that I absolutely love meatloaf. It's quite possibly in my Top 5 favorite home cooked meal; actually getting hungry right now just thinking about it. In the end, I went with the homemade meatloaf smothered in gravy. It came with a baked potato, green beans, a roll and a side salad with raspberry vinaigrette (definitely needed spell checker on that word!). The salads came out right away and it was like any side salad you'd find at a small diner or bar. Little bowl, side of dressing and not many toppings. Not terrible, Not great.



Food came out in good time and it was chow down time.

Samantha was straight to the point. She wasn't a big fan of the steak and shrimp. She compared it to lunch served in the cafeteria of a middle school. She said her steak did not have much flavor. The corn and baked potato weren't anything to write home about. The shrimp was big and actually pretty good though. The appetizers unfortunately were the best part of the meal for Samantha. She was upset she didn't go with her gut and order off the breakfast menu that is served all day.

Now it was my turn to dig into the homemade meatloaf. (First off, how is it homemade? Was it made at home and brought to Riverside Cafe? Because if it was made at Riverside Cafe could it technically be called homemade meatloaf and not restaurant made meatloaf?) I first tried the baked potato and it was like any other potato. The green beans were good. The roll was decent. Then the moment of truth as I bit into the meatloaf. Yeah...... can't say I was a big fan. I took another bite to verify and my initial reaction was right. I think it might have been the gravy or something. It tasted very salty. I was kind of upset by it all and only ate half of it so not to waste a lot of food. I should have went with my gut and ordered the hamburger steak. One of my friends told me a long time ago, "Never order meatloaf at a restaurant." He might be right. I just wasn't impressed with my meal and Samantha had the same sentiment.
Ma!!! Where's the meatloaf?!?!?!?
The other two in the group ordered a steak and shrimp meal which he thought was kind of tough. The other was a chicken fried chicken meal with mashed potatoes which she liked a lot. I actually had some bites of the chicken fried chicken; I should have ordered that instead. It wasn't too bad.
I should have went this route. Looked much better!
I've heard many good things about Riverside Cafe and think it would have been best served to go with the breakfast menu. They were busy when we arrived. They obviously have many loyal patrons that frequent the place. This possibly could have been an experience where we just ordered the wrong thing, I don't know.

The service was pretty good. Our server did her best to be friendly and taking care of any request we had. Samantha thought it was a little much at times but I suppose it all depends on the person.

The price is all right on. Anywhere from $5-12 for most dinner meals. The breakfast menu was all extremely affordable especially if you use their Buy 1 Get 1 free coupon.

The total for Samantha's meal, mine and the appetizer ran $28 not including tip or the use of any coupons. You can easily eat there for much less, probably in the $7-10 range for two people.

In rating the place, Samantha wasn't impressed and was a bit disappointed by it all. I definitely had the same sentiment. On the Super Scientific Scale, Samantha gave Riverside Cafe a 2. I think with a different meal it could have been better, I liked the service and ambience of it all but was disappointed still. But with the whole experience I had to rate the place given what I went through. My final rating? A 3. Service was good, value was excellent, ambience was excellent but the food was subpar. That gives Riverside Cafe a final rating of 2.5 (out of 5).

If any of you decide to go to Riverside Cafe, give the breakfast menu a try. I'd love to hear your thoughts on this. I'm sure there are plenty of people that will disagree with the review given but it is what it is.

Up next is Letter S where I bet there are plenty of suggestions for.

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Riverside Cafe on Urbanspoon

Monday, December 12, 2011

Davis-Moore 1. Eddy 1. A win win!

First I will preface this all with "This is not a paid advertisement by anybody." The people involved with this blog are not related to me, friends with me, acquaintances or pets of mine. This blog is not fictional, if you hear about someone in this blog that is a real life person, that person in fact is actually real.

Car shopping. It's one of the most annoying and tedious things to do. Of all the things to shop for I'd put it in the top five of annoyance levels.

1.) Car
2.) Belt
3.) Gifts for my Parents who are hard to buy for
4.) Cell Phone Batteries
5.) House

After a few weeks of car shopping I am finally finished. I ended up purchasing a car through Davis Moore through one of their salesmen named Mike. If you are interested in a car, tell him Eddy sent you. He works over at the Nissan lot.

Seriously, Mike was the most genuine guys I had the pleasure of doing business with in the three weeks I spent looking for a car. Wasn't pushy, cocky, annoying, none of that. He was just another average guy like me trying to make a living. Someone said it best; he might be too nice to be a car salesman. I understand that being a sales guy you have to know when to push to try and get the sale. It's a fine line to where if you push too hard it can be annoying. Mike was nowhere close to that line.

I went to dealerships like Rusty Eck Ford and Mel Hamilton Ford and came across some of the cockiest salesmen. Guys who would brag to me about how much they've sold, how good business is doing, throw me lines that went over my head to make them try to sound smart. Kind of slimy at times too attacking other lots and the business they do. Guys who would ask me "What are you trying to accomplish here?", "You DO know what this is right?" Annoying.

But at Davis Moore, they made "car buying fun" or actually not as annoying. I'm sure some people have had great experiences at Rusty Eck Ford or Mel Hamilton Ford or horrible experiences at Davis Moore. Just like going into a restaurant, the type of service you can get varies on the person and the timing of it all. But on this past weekend, all the stars aligned and the service was spot on.

Good Job Mike. Good Job Davis-Moore.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Fox and Hound: "Please Seat Yourself..........."

Sunday evening, a couple friends wanted to go up to Fox and Hound to watch the Cowboys game and have a couple beers. I thought to myself, "Why not, maybe I'll go in and see what the service will be like." I wrote back in March of 2011 the following line in the Dining by the Alphabet Letter F blog:
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.
 I openly felt that Fox and Hound had possibly the worst customer service in all of Wichita at least on the east side.

My friends and I arrive at 7:29 p.m. A greeter opens the door for us and welcomes us. Nice. We sat ourselves at a hightop in the main bar where the most traffic flows through. We sit at the only high top table that was available. It was dirty, napkins lying around, food crumbs, we figured the server would just come clean it as somebody probably just left.

A few minutes go by and we see servers literally passing by us. No hellos. Nothing.

7:39 comes up and I start to find it amusing. I tell everybody at the table to not grab a single server, we'll just wait to see how long it takes for them to realize us.

7:50 pm hits......still nothing.
7:51 pm.....a server looked at us (YES!!!!)
7:52 pm......said server walks by

7:55 pm.......I pinched myself to make sure I wasn't dreaming

7:56 pm......Are we in Sixth Sense? Are we alive?

7:57 pm hits and I see a manager walking out of a door. A friend of mine points out that he is in fact the manager. So I decide to go ahead and walk up to him. Here's how our friendly conversation went if you're interested:
Eddy: "Hi my name is Eddy. I decided to come in here with some friends to just check out the place. We arrived at about 7:30 and not a single person has came up to our table, took our order or just noticed we're here."
Manager: "Ok, let me go check on it."
He leaves and next thing we know a server comes around and apologizes and says that's not how we do business here and we're sorry. She said the manager was going to buy us a round of drinks and brought us chips and salsa. That was the end of that. It would have been nice to see the manager show face and apologize himself but he was too busying fraternizing with the female servers.

Our server takes care of us until halftime and she informs us she has to leave. She actually did a good job and was friendly. We tabbed out with her and was given a new server. Literally one of my friends had to wait the length of an entire quarter to get his tab so he could leave once the new server arrived.

I've tried to give this place a chance. Not sure why because the food is not that good. So I took a little mini-survey on Twitter and Facebook to gauge others thoughts on Fox and Hound and here's literally the responses I received.
  • Won't eat there. Too many times with poor service and poor food. Can't believe they are still open.
  • I think their food is gross and their service is meh.
  • I only go there for pint nights. That place usually had terrible food and service
  • That place is terrible. We won't go there for anything, not even Shocker watch parties. Their food is disgusting. Drinks are overpriced.
  • Way overpriced crappy food :-)
  • yucky food. blech! I was accidentally served raw chicken wings -gag!!!
  • Always bad service
  • I never strayed past nachos, but I think they're good. Aaaand they have cider beer on tap - win for me. Just trying to even out the comments :)
  • Few times I've been there had nice, friendly bartender and waitstaff but food taste and price sub par. And cant believe they charge boo-coo cover on fight nights. 
  • The last time I ate there I ordered a pizza from Papa John's. That place sucks.
  • Its not bad, but definitely not the best food. They should commit industrial espionage and steal old Chicago's cook book.
  • I've never had good service there. It always takes forever to get anything and then I sit there for a half hour with an empty glass when I'm finished.  
  • The nachos did not have nearly enough toppings and the chips were layered with salt.
    The wings that the wife and I shared where the wrong ones, Super Hot instead of Spicy Garlic/Mild. We got a new order but after about 30 minutes.
    The staff is very SLOW, but speed and mentally.
    The baked beans my in laws had were so salty they were not edible.
    30 minutes to get our check and that was before the game was over. 
  • The Fox is "ok" -- just take it for what it's worth. The only time I go there is after work and they seem to be pretty solid, but that may be b/c they've gotten to know our crowd. Oh well. If you go there for lunch, it's also not a bad place. 
  • I will never go there again
So there are the comments. Now at least I don't feel alone in my thinking that the place is horrible. Thanks to everybody who shared with me their thoughts on Fox and Hound. If you would, share this on your twitter feed or Facebook profile. Hopefully Fox and Hound can take some notes and fix the problems they have which seem to begin with service.

I have sent this blog to anybody within Fox and Hound I could get contact of and we'll see if they write up a response. 

And to make matters worse for the night, The Cowboys lost. What a great evening...........

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Dining by the Alphabet: Letter Q: Quincy's Bar and Grill

What's Justin Bieber doing messing with the Mariah Carey classic "All I Want For Christmas?". Sounds like there are two girls singing that song now.

Ok, that was totally off subject but something I just had to get off my mind. On to more important matters such as eating food which is actually what I did a couple days ago when I continued my journey down the alphabet to Letter Q.

After searching through every single restaurant directory I could find, I came across only two places that began with Q. Quizno's and Quincy's Bar and Grill. Probably 3 out of my total 5 readers have been to Quizno's so I went the other route. Ladies and gentlemen, I bring to you Dining by the Alphabet, Letter Q:

Quincy's Bar and Grill
http://www.quincyswichita.com/
2047 North West Street
Wichita, KS 67203-1358
(316) 942-8200

Menu: http://www.quincyswichita.com/menxu.html

Quincy's is located at the corner of 21st and West St. You can't miss it. They are open seven days a week. Sunday - Tuesday 11 am to Midnight and on Wednesday - Saturday 11 am to 2 am.

My guest diner for Letter Q was Megan. This is her second go around as she originally joined Wichita By E.B. for Letter K (Kanai). A few other friends joined us when they found out we were going to a bar.

The place was pretty busy when we arrived a little before 7 pm. Maybe it's because there was a KU game that night because the Evansville/North Carolina came surely wasn't bringing in the viewers! The area is pretty big. Plenty of seating, pool tables, dart boards, some video game machines and beer. Gotta have the beer! Definitely a good bar atmosphere though. Looked to be a lot of regulars inside. I wish I wasn't wearing slacks and a button down from work...........


Megan mentioned she liked the atmosphere. There were several tables that could accommodate 8-10 people which is nice especially when you go out with a bunch of friends. It would be a great after work watering hole or dinner and drinks with friends.

When we walked in, we just sat ourselves at a big table. Similar to what you would do at most bars. Our server came to us and immediately took our drink orders. Fat Tire pints were on special for $2.75 that night. Why not?

After we received our beers we decided to take a look at the menu and order some appetizers. Seriously a blind person could read the menu. The menu is large. Have you ever seen that Burger King commercial where the guy with small hands couldn't hold a whopper? Same deal with this menu.




The Menu compared to the beer


Even the menu is bigger than the plate
We asked our server what her favorite or most popular appetizer was and she pointed at the Jalapeno Howlers ("Mild jalapeno peppers stuffed with cool cream cheese, breaded and golden fried. Served with Ranch dressing"). I decided to go with that. One of my other friends who decided to join us ordered the Buffalo Wings (over a half pound of crispy jumbo wings served with our secret Buffalo sauce). And another friend had the Cheese Sticks (crunchy on the outside, warm and melted on the inside. Served with warm marinara). It did not take long for the appetizers to come out. She brought out our three apps quickly but forgot one things, plates and silverware. Probably a mental error.

Of the three the Jalapeno Howlers were my favorite except when I bit into it, I'm pretty sure I burned my mouth. My appetite has no patience and burning my mouth over and over is a consequence of that. Others commented they liked the wings the most. Nobody said the cheese sticks were great which brought up the conversation, "Is there really such a thing as a really good cheese stick?" Regardless, it was your typical bar food. They didn't excel in any of the appetizers but none of them sucked either.

Took a bit to get the server to come out and get our dinner order. I originally went with the Prime Rib Sandwich because it said on their menu "Our Most Popular Item". But then Megan ordered the special which was a sirloin steak and shrimp that came with two sides for $10.99. Then another person answered. I fell to the peer pressure. I changed my order and went with hash browns and a fully loaded baked potato. Megan ordered a potato and fried cauliflower.

The Special
Food came out and it was time to chow down. Everything looked delicious when it came out. The baked potato had little bits of bacon in it and a side of sour cream and butter. Stuffed it all in there and went to town on the baked potato. I was hungry to say the least. While I was getting baked potato wasted, Megan bit into her shrimp and enjoyed it. She mentioned the jumbo shrimp was juicy and not over cooked. We both admitted the steak was a little tough but cooked medium rare as ordered and seasoned just right. I still finished the steak and it filled me up. A third friend who ordered it said he liked his steak and probably one of the best he's had in a bar. So take that for what it's worth. My hash browns were not that good. They were pretty soggy. One of Megan's favorite parts of the evening was the fried cauliflower. I think she may have said that a few times how much she loved cauliflower. I wonder if any Halloween costume stores are still open because I'm considering buying her wax cauliflower ears for Christmas.

One of my friends ordered the Italian Sub.
He liked it and that's coming from one of the pickiest eaters I know!
The total ticket between us for a few drinks, two specials, and a side was $42 not including a tip yet. The price was on point. For everything we ordered, it hit the spot. We could have easily ordered sandwiches or burgers for much less. The beer specials were nice and the app prices were in the $5 range. All of the food that came out was hot and fresh. Megan did say that was some of the best far food she's had in a while. It was a comment shared by others at the table. She gave both the food and the price individual 4 stars.

The worst part of the night was probably the service. They had two servers to the entire bar which I think was enough for the amount of patrons inside that needed to be served. She was a bit slow to get us what we needed, aka not very prompt. Megan thinks she could have done a better job on selling the menu.

Megan commented on one last thing which is funny because one of my readers said "You should totally rate the bathrooms." Megan mentioned the bathroom was less than clean, kind of a turn-off. I'll agree one of the worst things a restaurant can have is a bad bathroom. Take Sumo for instance, bad service but their bathrooms are very clean.

So taking everything into consideration, it's time to give the final Super Scientific Score. Out of five stars, Megan gave Quincy's a 3.5. Myself? The exact same. So Quincy's gets a 3.5 + 3.5 = 7 and divide that by 2...........I believe that's a 3.5!

I want to thank Megan for joining me on Dining by the Alphabet Letter Q. Always a great time hanging out with her along with the other friends who accompanied us.

Up next is Letter R. I'm hoping there are more options than just two for R.

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Quincy's Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Project Minimum Wage Starts January 1st

Sorry guys, I'm pushing Letter Q one more day. It's been completed and I just need to write the blog up for it. Expect that this week!

After my whole Project Vegetarian which just lasted one week and I'll admit wasn't the best thing ever, I've decided what to do next. Traveling to Puerto Rico and Cancun, I was able to see a lot of poverty stricken areas. I always asked myself, "How do these people get by? What do they do for money?" Then you come back to Wichita and you can sometimes see the same thing. People working on minimum wage jobs and probably scratching and clawing to get by. Is it possible? How hard is it?

Now if I was loaded and retired, this is a Project that would be more feasible but something I'm going to try in the month of January is a little something something I call Project Minimum Wage.

How hard is it in Wichita to live on a Minimum Wage Salary? More importantly, can I do it? Cause I'm certainly going to try. Minimum wage in Wichita, KS is $7.25. There are 31 days in January so that equals out to roughly $1,200 one would earn before taxes and everything. Right now in my daily life, I could not live off of that especially when you take into account general expenses like housing, insurance, daily cost of living, eating out for this blog, etc.

So there are certain liberties I'll have to take into consideration while doing this whole project in the month of January. I live in a house but I'm going to pretend I have an apartment I pay for. A low end Apartment in Wichita can run around $300 that would include trash and water. My electricity bills are higher than an apartment so I'm just going to say an average electricity bill is $50. So there's $350 right there.

Then you take out taxes and at a $1200 salary from what I've been able to find out is about 15-20% so we'll just say $200. After apartment, electricity and taxes we're down to $650 for a month.

For the sake of the project, we're going to save I don't have a car payment. I just drive a car with bad gas mileage which in fact my SUV has so it helps with the project at hand. I'll have to cover gas when I need it out of my now $650 budget. Say I get health insurance through my employer at $100 a month. Then my auto insurance is $30 a month. That $650 figure drops to $520 just like that.

What about cable and internet? $100 Boom. (I need cable and internet!) Down to $420.

Can I live off of $420 in a month? Remember this isn't including the cost of gas, food, recreation, haircuts, savings, clothes, toiletries, etc. And what about unexpected costs like healthcare and stuff? I may just have to man it up.

Any toiletries I currently have, I get to use for January along with clothes and food currently in my house. The food is scarce enough and I will try to keep it at the same levels until the new month.

People who have heard of this adventure I'm about to go on always ask "Why are you doing this?" Well my first response is "I don't know." I just do things to do things with no rhyme or reason. Then I start to think about it and it's something I have wondered about. How do people do it? Maybe it'll give me a better appreciation for what I have in life. Not to take things for granted. I'll be honest, some people think it's kind of stupid what I'm doing and yeah there might be a level of stupidity to it all but if I made a list of the Top 10 Stupid Things I've Ever Done...... This would not even crack the Top 30.

Everything I do will be on a $420 budget. I hope my friends don't plan any sudden road trips, casino stops or invite me every day to stop by a bar to watch a game. If so, I might have to buy some Old Milwaukee's Best to sneak in the bar with me.

What about my Shocker season tickets? I'm going to pretend I won those in a radio contest. Not giving that up!

No help from the government either. I'm not going to "pretend" to get food stamps or anything. Just all off of a minimum wage salary. Although if I start to run slowly, donating plasma could be tempting. But I hate needles, so that's out of the question.

How about free meals and such? Well if I get a free meal, I'm going to consider it a free meal. Trust me though I'm not going to make constant stops by my parents or beg my friends to buy me a drink or a meal. I won't actively go out and look for that. If they do offer me one though.................

So that means I have roughly three weeks to live it up in a life of luxury. Come January 1st, it all changes for 31 days. It'd be better if I was retired, that way I could really do this project right and go get an apartment and see if I could truly do this. But for now, we're going to take some liberties into this.

I'll keep a daily journal and post it here when it's all ready to go so you guys can follow along.

Can it be done? One month on a minimum wage salary in Wichita, KS?

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Until then be on the lookout for Letter Q coming out very soon.

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Sunday, December 4, 2011

Quick Hits 12/4/11: Jersey's and U-Grill

Quick Hits 12/4/11

Surprise Surprise U-Grill has closed. The restaurant lasted about two months. I went there twice right when they first opened and never returned. Guess that says a lot about how much I liked the place especially considering how close they are to me for lunch and I chose other places. Here's the U-Grill blog I wrote a while back: http://wichitabyeb.blogspot.com/2011/09/u-grill-informational-review.html

Stopped by Jersey's Bar and Grill real briefly over the weekend just to see what it looked like and to meet up with some friends. Looks nice inside, reminds me of a B.G. Bolton's with how the place is setup but with more signed jerseys, pictures and helmets. They place is setup in sections and areas are walled off so it doesn't look as open and big. One of my friends said they make great chicken fingers. My reply, "You have to suck pretty bad to mess up chicken fingers." But hey, it is possible! The location is definitely off the beaten path so I'm going to stay tuned and see if they can make it. I wish them the best but they have an uphill battle ahead of them. If you'd like to try it out for yourself, it's over at 3213 N. Toben Road (near K-96 and Webb) in the old Johnny Carino's building. They are open til 2 am. Here are a couple pictures of the inside.



Yes, I know the second picture quality was a little crappy
to say the least!
What is it about Northrock Theatres that is so dirty inside? It's too bad their impending end will mean Bill Warren holds a near monopoly on theatres in Wichita. Competition is always nice. Went to see The Muppets (not by myself!!!) at the Warren. Place was sold out on all showings so we were stuck going to Northrock. Place is so rundown. I remember when it first opened and was one of the best theatres in Wichita. How times have changed!

Who all went to the UNLV game Sunday? Place was rocking! Loudest the arena has been all season. That mark will probably be bested on NYE when we play Creighton. Huge marquee win for the Shockers at home. If UNLV can grab some more big wins like against Wisconsin or Cal, that can only help us out more. Tough week ahead of us with Tulsa and Utah State on the schedule. Anybody else going to the Tulsa game? We'll for sure be there!

With the holidays over and everything, it's time to get back on this Dining by the Alphabet ride. We return I hope this week with Letter Q.