Monday, September 24, 2012

La Tradicion Tortilleria Reviewed

La Tradicion Tortilleria(316) 264-31481701 N BroadwayWichita, KS 67214
A month ago, I made either a tweet or a Facebook post about a Mexican buffet place I saw near Lincoln and Edgemoor. It was a while back but a friend replied that there was one located near 17th and Broadway. The placed was called La Tradicion Tortilleria. The location alone made it sound more authentic. Plus food on Broadway seems to just taste better.
I was able to talk a couple friends into braving this all you can eat Mexican buffet establishment with me. Despite their worry about a possible language barrier, I assured them that my 6 years of Spanish education split between high school and the fine Wichita State University would get us by.
Showed up around lunch time and the building was what I expected: a small little hole in the wall that you would probably drive right by if you weren’t paying attention. I actually parked at a Mexican restaurant a building just north of it and realized I was at the wrong place.
The first thing I saw was a sign advertising a sign for their buffet. $7.49 Buffet Special. It was higher than that $5.99 price I saw on some other food reviews of the place; I’ll blame that on Boeing leaving Wichita.
The buffet had about twelve different items in a big buffet cart. They are as follows:
Chicken Molle
Chipotle Chicken
Potato Soup
Pork in Green Chile
Beef Enchilada
Pork in Red Chile
Fried Zucchini
Seasoned Potatoes
Fried Beans
Spanish Rice
Pork Chimichangas
Flour & Corn Tortillas
Chips and Salsa
I tried every single item on the menu which was a horrible idea because I would get too full and feel like death later. One of my friends mentioned how salty the food was. Another said he thought it was all average for Mexican but it wasn’t a disappoint.  He said if you like buffets for the value proposition it may be good. He would definitely go back sometime to try something off of their menu.
The food tasted authentic and I thought was better than a lot of the Tex Mex stuff you see at the franchised Mexican restaurants in Wichita. The only problem with the buffet was eating it all off of one plate, a lot of the tastes mixed in together. Eating a spoonful of the pork in green chile followed by the chipotle chicken made it all feel as if it was all the same. The chips and salsa were self serve and just laying out. The chips had a little bit of a stale feel to them. It was a very thick chip by that I mean imagine four chips stacked on top of each other, that it what you'd get. The salsa had to be poured by yourself and there wasn't much flavor. You definitely wouldn't go here just for the chips and salsa.

I thought the value was spot on for everything you received. Would I go there again? I would but a lot of time would have to pass. I ate so much that the thought of Mexican food an hour later made me gag.
It’s something unique as I didn’t know of any All You Can Eat Mexican Buffets until recently.
Give it a try yourself. I’d love to hear what you thought of it.







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Thursday, September 13, 2012

Minh Hoa Restaurant & Cajun Seafood Reviewed

Minh Hoa Restaurant & Cajun Seafood
1556 N. Broadway

I heard the Minh Hoa Restaurant and Cajun Seafood had a review done on them by the New York Times. Now that’s pretty big time for a small little restaurant located on north Broadway.

I took pictures of the entire menu and will post that at the end of the blog
That was the first time I’ve heard of Minh Hoa Restaurant and Cajun Seafood. I guess they have been open for a few months so I must have been living in the dark or something. Vietnamese food AND Cajun food? At the same place? I’m so in.
I asked a handful of friends to go up there with me for lunch last week to give it a try. A couple of my friends were hesitant to go given the location but seeing as how I bring “Street Cred”, they tagged along. One of those friends would not go in until I arrived; he sat in his car and was either listening to music or saying prayers until I parked. I couldn’t tell. Upon arriving I noticed the windows were completely tinted so you could not see what’s going on inside. That says only one thing to me: “There must be a lot of fun things going on in here!”
When we walked inside, I was quite surprised at how large the place was. There were about 14-15 tables spread out. Also, there were a couple televisions playing and limited decoration inside. I asked our server how long they have been open and she verified they had been open for a few months. My sources were correct!
Seeing as how all of us were newbies to Minh Hoa, I asked our server what was good and asked about a few menu items. She said that there was a new item not yet on the menu: Duck Noodle Soup. Something new? Sure, I went ahead and ordered it without asking what all was inside. I also went with an order of spring rolls. I was super close to just ordering Pho to see how well it stacked up against the rest of the downtown competition.
Another friend with me ordered the Bun Mam which is a steamed rice vermicelli soup meal. It’s sometimes called “Vietnamese Gumbo” but made in a fish paste broth. I was almost tempted to try it until I heard about the Duck Noodle Soup. Another friend surprised me and ordered the Mi Quang which is a famous Vietnamese noodle dish. It’s basically yellow tinted rice noodles mixed in with different proteins ranging from shrimp, pork, chicken or beef and topped with all sorts of fresh vegetables. A third friend ordered chicken fried rice made extra spicy and the final friend of ours who was sort of turned off by the menu went with chicken fried rice and a side order of eggrolls. I was almost sure he would order from the kid’s meal since it had chicken fingers and popcorn shrimp. There’s a reason we call him “Picky”.
Interestingly enough, nobody ordered from the Cajun portion of the menu so that just leaves the door open for a second visit.
The spring rolls and eggrolls came out early and most of us all gave it a try. They were about what you’d expect for a spring roll. It’s REALLY hard to mess up a spring roll given its limited amount of ingredients. I still prefer my spring rolls hand made from either my mom or my aunt but these sufficed. I did not try the eggrolls but two friends commented that they were average and how “You’d be surprised how good the eggrolls are at….at Dillon’s.” Like my spring rolls, I prefer them home made and will rarely ever eat eggrolls elsewhere.

The Peanut Butter sauce is one of the best sauces ever made.

If you have never seen this before.... it's an eggroll
ATTENTION: This is NOT a meal.

Next up, our server brought out a plate of our toppings for the soup. One of my friends thought that was his actual meal. He was shocked and had the look of a 2 year old kid having his lollipop stolen from him. The disappointment in his face was priceless. I wish I would have caught that entire moment on film so I could rewatch it over and over like I did Billy Madison in high school
After that were our meals. All meals came in huge portions. The chicken fried rice plates were ginormous. (I was surprised ginormous didn’t come out incorrect on spellchecker btw). I had a couple bites of the spicy chicken fried rice……spicy it indeed was. I couldn't tell exactly what was put inside to make it spicy. My friend who actually ordered the meal would later tell me that night, it gave him heartburn. My other friend who ordered the regular chicken fried rice seemed pleased with his meal. A satisfied picky eater is pretty much like hitting a homerun.
Spicy Chicken Fried Rice
The Mi Quang didn’t look particularly appetizing and my friend ended up agreeing with the sentiment. He called it average but would like to go back and try the Cajun part next time.
Mi Quang
I asked my friend to message me about the Bun Mam because the expression on his face while eating it wasn’t inviting. Here’s what he told me:
I had the Bun Mam. It was pungent. It tastes like an Asian grocery market smells which is either good or bad, depending on if you enjoy that flavor. Bun mam is rice vermicelli topped with pork and seafood, comes swimming in a pungent broth loaded with fish sauce.

Bun Mam
As for the Duck Noodle Soup, I’m not a big fan of Asian soups that come with meat that’s still on the bone. It makes it tougher to eat. Unfortunately that’s how the Duck meat was. The meat was still pretty good and the broth was ok. I was NOT a fan of the noodles though. The noodles were best compared to bad tasting ramen noodles. I think the meal would have been much better with a rice noodle but I should have asked what sort of noodles it came with. I was less than impressed with my meal but it wasn’t bad to the point I wouldn’t give them a second shot. I’ve learned that when you go to restaurants like that, it really comes down to what you order.

Duck Noodle Soup
Overall, the impression from most of the guys was they’d give it another shot. I’m in the same boat. It’s a local establishment that offers something unique to Wichita. Definitely give them a shot yourself and see what you think. I’ll be going again and will follow up.






Also today marks a month away from my Half Marathon I signed up for that I’ve done the bare bare bare minimum amount of training for. If you don’t hear from me on October 15th, I didn’t make it.

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