Archive | September, 2010

M.I.F. Deli

27 Sep

I start this entry with a question: Is there a certain dining establishment that you have driven by for years without ever trying it out? Well for me, one of those places is the MIF Deli located at Central and Edgemoor. MIF has been in the same strip mall next to Mickey Ds for as long as I can remember. My mom and I finally took the plunge and went in for lunch. MIF specializes in one of Wichita’s most abundant cuisines, Mediterranean. If you haven’t been to at least one of these places before then you should seriously sit down and re-think your priorities in life.

MIF has a small dining area that gives off a very relaxing vibe. The menu offers the typical dishes that you will find at most Lebanese/Mediterranean places such as hummus, fattoush salad, and chicken shawarma. They also have a nice selection of sandwiches and their specialty, savory pies. I took a cue from the every popular Wichita Eagle Dining Chat and ordered the potato pie with a fattoush salad. The generous slice of pie came out nice and warm. I thought that it was just as good, if not better than the potato pie available at La Galette (yeah we will eventually review this one, so keep your pants on). The fattoush salad had a sweeter taste than others I have had around town, but it was still good. My mom, ever so adventurous, went with a turkey sandwich. It was actually very good, because it was served on an Asiago bread bun. There are few things better in this world than cheese baked into bread my friends. The Asiago cheese really jazzed up the old turkey sandwich. Now I’m sure that Panera probably serves some Asiago bread sandwich, but c’mon people just go to MIF.

All in all MIF serves up some good Lebanese as well as good ol sandwiches. Drop by and get yourself some potato pie!

EDIT: We did try a order of hummus and soft pita. The hummus was good, but not as good a Bella Luna.

M.I.F Deli on Urbanspoon

The Beacon(A beacon of breakfasty deliciousness)

23 Sep

Sunday we paid a visit to the The Beacon restaurant before I had to report to work. The Beacon has long been a cornerstone of the Wichita dining scene located just west of Douglas and Washington. It was our first time there and we were not disappointed.

The Beacon is your typical diner with typical diner food, but they are best known for their breakfast which is served all day everyday. Do note that they are only open till 2 or 3 in the afternoon, so if you get a B&G (biscuits and gravy)  craving at 10pm on a Tuesday night you will have to look elsewhere unfortunately. As you walk into The Beacon you are met with a whiff of air that is still trying to adjust to Kansas’ new smoking ban. Thank the Lord they finally passed this ban. It makes people with The Asthma, like myself, much more inclined to frequent establishments that were once smoke-filled dens of cancer. Anyway they still have the always trendy ceiling fan air filter combo which now just helps to soak up the sweet smell of hot cakes in the morning. The walls are adorned with nautical and maritime pictures and painting. Apparently some of them are for sale for what seemed to us to be steep prices, but I’m sure if you take one home it doubles as a hashbrown scented air freshener.

On to the main event, which is typically the food, at least on this blog. I had a strong, unrelenting desire for sweet buttery pancakes on this particular morning, which is no different from the other 6 days of the week.  Yes I am a total pancake whore. I ordered the regular plain pancakes and a couple of eggs sunnyside-up. I’m not sure if it was the fact that I was rather hungary or that I always make pancakes with reduced fat bisquick  that clouded my judgement, but these pancakes were absolutely awesome. They were the perfect combination of sweetness and texture that one looks for in a world-class hot cake. The eggs were also perfectly done. Now I know there are some of you non-believers out there thinking that American breakfast fare is so simple that a drugged mule could produce a good omelette, but that is not true. I would have to say in my rather unprofessional opinion The Beacon dominates The Good Egg and Jimmy’s Egg as far as their pancakes are concerned. It is a simple meal, but sometimes those are the easiest to screw up.

Stephanie ordered a short stack of chocolate chip pancakes. It was half chocolate and half pancake which is exactly the way it should be. I prefer my chocolate chip pancakes plain and was happy to eat them minus the syrup since they are already so sweet. I also ordered a side of hashbrowns to cut into the sweetness. These were cooked perfectly. The outside nice and brown and crisp with the potatoes inside nice and soft. They don’t have much seasoning on them so be prepared to use salt or if you like ketchup.

The other great thing about the Beacon are the prices. We were shocked when we got our total for 5 adults at the end of breakfast. We spent around $40 including the tip. This is a great little place to hit up when you need a break from the chain breakfast places.

Beacon Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Felipes vs. Our Lady of Guadalupe (and other state fair fare)

19 Sep

Oh that is right friends we are having a Mexican food face off on the blog. Phil and I are both ginormous fans of Mexican food and actually ate it 5 nights this past week.  The first contender is Felipe’s which is a long-standing staple in Wichita. It also happens to be one of my (Stephanie) favorite Mexican restaurants. The other is Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Church in Hutchinson, KS. Guadalupe is not a staple in Wichita, however it is one at the Kansas State Fair. It is also one of a small handful of food booths that Phil and I stop at each year. Let’s start with Felipe’s first since we ate there on Friday.

We tend to visit the Felipe’s located at 21st and Woodlawn but have been known to go to Harry and Webb as well when we are eating with Phil’s family. Felipe’s salsa and chips leave lots to be desired. The hot salsa doesn’t have much spice or taste to it and the mild isn’t much better. So we don’t go there for the chips and salsa. I go there for the Combination #1. Included is a cheese enchilada, a flour (you can choose corn, don’t know why you would, but you can) taco, and a bean tostada with a side of beans and rice. The cheese enchiladas at Felipe’s are my favorite enchiladas and I have yet to find another place that can beat them. Their menu says the enchiladas are corn tortillas dipped in Felipe’s special chile anco enchilada salsa filled with cheese, then topped with house cheese, and then prepared in a traditional Mexican fashion. I have no idea what the traditional Mexican fashion is, but that is what makes the difference. They can be pretty heavy with all of that cheese but oh so wonderful. The taco is another favorite because they do not heavily season their beef and they use ground beef, not shredded.  Also, you have a choice of a flour or corn shell. Just order the flour.

The Guadalupe parish has a strong Hispanic community and members of the parish prepare and serve all of the food. Unfortunately they only bust out the dishes once a year for the fundraiser at the fair, but that is probably what makes it taste so good. So obviously you cannot go to the fair without sampling because if you missed out one year, you would have to wait another year, which would make even the strongest person go insane.  We both ordered a cheese enchilada and taco. These enchiladas and tacos are absolutely wonderful when you consider the fact that they are made ahead of time and left in a warmer until they are served. So fair warning you may get one that isn’t as hot as you may like (my enchilada this past time for example). However, you can taste the homemade deliciousness in each one of these creations.  I have to say that if the church had its own restaurant it would probably move ahead of Felipe’s on my list of favorites. But since I can only get their food once a year at the fair, then it has to stay in third. Fun fact: For both of us our absolute favorite Mexican restaurant is Tarahumara’s in Norman, OK. Look for a blog about it come October.

Since we were at the fair there was of course several other “delicacies” that we tried including a Krispy Kreme hamburger. (Insert favorite heart attack joke here) It is an actual hamburger with lettuce and tomato that has two Krispy Kreme glazed doughnuts for the bun. We decided to split one four ways with my parents. One quarter of this thing was enough for me and no I will never need to eat one again. I couldn’t figure out what the big deal about them was because it really wasn’t that good. It was too rich and heavy and I only at a fourth of the thing! In hindsight they did offer a chicken instead of beef, which would have been much better. Hopefully they will be offering it next year. One of my absolute favorites of the day was stopping at the Dairy Bar which is under the Grandstand. It is the place to go for ice cream at the fair because it is the best and you can also support local dairy farmers. I got a single dip waffle cone with chocolate chip cookie dough. They have tons of flavors you can order so you should be able to get your favorite. We also always stop at the Salt Water Taffy place outside of the Sunflower building. Make sure you stop at this one, because the other isn’t as good. They have strawberry, chocolate, vanilla, banana, butter rum, black walnut flavors and maybe one or two more.

And last but certainly not least: Ye olde Pronto Pups!!!  A pronto pup is the technical culinary term for a hotdog dipped in cornmeal batter and fried to a golden brown deliciousness. And they’re even hand dipped, which is a strange selling point. How else would you get the batter onto the dog? I can’t see these food trailers buying some large robot to dip hotdogs. Anyway this year I found out that a Pronto Pup is a perfectly acceptable food to have at 10 in the morning.

Maharaja-CLOSED

13 Sep

This past week we were treated to a visit from our high school friend Abby who lives with her husband Brian in Augusta, Georgia. Abby had informed us that she is a fan of our blog so we decided to take her along with us. NOTE: If there are any other fans of this blog, we will gladly take you along as well, but don’t expect a free meal.

We have heard a lot about Maharaja through Wichita Eagle writer Denise Neil and food websites like urbanspoon.com. Maharaja is located at 3008 W Central. If you know where Riverside Hospital is, it is just west of the hospital. If you noticed the picture you will know that they serve Indian cuisine. I would just like to clarify that Phil had to talk me into this place since I am not a big fan of spicy food. I really had no interest in trying any of the restaurants on our list that serve Indian food because all I ever hear is how spicy it is. Abby, being a good friend, let me know she also isn’t much for spicy food but still enjoyed Indian food. So off we went.

Like many of the places we visit, Maharaja is pretty small, but there were only 4 other customers in the place with us. The inside of the restaurant is adorned with Indian themed artwork and murals. They also had some kicking Indian club music playing, either that or some sort of rap music. I couldn’t discern any English vocabulary being used, so I figured it was what all the kids are dancing to in India these days. Definitely no Robbie Shankar.

All diners are served a tortilla looking chip called a Papadam when they first sit down. It is accompanied by 3 unique dips. The first is a balsamic vinegar type dish, the second had and powerful mint taste to it, and the third was a red chili pepper sauce. I ordered the Seekh Kabob which was described on the menu as “Ground meat with spices, onions, cilantro and grilled in the clay oven.” I also followed Abby’s example of ordering a Mango Lassi to drink. She described it as drinkable mango yogurt. Our drinks came out quickly and were delicious. I had to remind myself to slow down so I wouldn’t drink all of it before the food got there. Abby’s description pretty much hit the nail on the head. I would also use the word smoothie to describe it though. When my food arrived I noticed that my kebabs had already been taken off of the sticks. Now some people may be disappointed by this, however seeing as I am known for being extremely uncoordinated when sharp sticks are around, I was relieved. The kebabs were tasty, but spicy and I was happy that I had saved plenty of my drink because it was extinguishing the fire in my mouth. Now remember I am not a fan of spicy food so other people may find the kebabs much more to their liking because they enjoy the feeling of their tongue being burned off. Phil will tell you that they were not that spicy and the fact that I ate all of them should let you know that they weren’t too hot. I just wouldn’t order them again only for the reason it was too much spice for my taste. I will probably just order a liter of Mango Lassi the next time we go.

Our friend Abby ordered the Chicken Korma and was kind enough to let us sample. I sat there through the rest of the meal envious that I hadn’t ordered the same. The Chicken Korma is very similar to a Thai dish called Pa-Naeng-Neua that Phil is rather partial to. The chicken is covered in a creamy coconut sauce, sprinkled with almonds and cashews, and served with rice. The dish was extremely scrumptious and one that I will order when we go back. The other great thing is that you can choose your “hotness” for the dish so mild food lovers like me can get what we want and those that want to burn their tongues off can get what they want.

I, Phil, ordered the classic Indian dish, Tandoori chicken. The plate came with two chicken thighs and two legs on a bed of sautéed veggies. The chicken was well seasoned, but did not have an overpowering spice to it. I enjoyed the chicken, but too was envious of Abby’s previously mentioned dish. The best part of the meal was the traditional Naan bread that came with Steph and I’s meals. It is a fried flatbread, similar to Native American fry bread. Two large pieces come with each meal.

Overall we liked our experience at Maharaja. The menu is large and filled with dishes that most people are not familiar with, so multiple trips are probably needed to get the complete picture. They have an affordable lunch buffet that I hear is very good, and would be a good way get to sample multiple dishes. The only knock that I have would be the price. The dinner prices were a bit higher than I thought they should be, but you do get a good quantity of food. CAUTION: By the cash register they have a small dish of fennel seed and small candy. This is meant as a pallet cleanser and should only be used in small doses, unless you are a fennel addict or something.

Kwan Court-Closed

6 Sep

This week we hit one of our favorite restaurants in Wichita, Kwan Court. If you have lived in Wichita for any length of time you have probably been to Kwan Court or at least heard of it. If not, you should probably get out more often instead of reading food blogs all day.

Kwan Court is an Asian themed restaurant with a wide range of menu offerings ranging from traditional Chinese options to seafood, and sushi. Steph and I both agree that they have some of the best sushi in Wichita. We understand that many people are hesitant to try sushi because they automatically assume it is raw fish. Steph actually doesn’t eat any rolls with raw fish, so don’t be afraid to try our suggestions. We have also introduced several of my family members to sushi at Kwan Court and they have enjoyed it.

This past Saturday we branched out a bit when we ordered our sushi-we stick to the maki menu. Just a FYI: when you order sushi at Kwan Court you also get a small bowl of miso soup and cucumber salad. The miso soup contains seaweed and tofu. It comes in a little bowl and you drink straight from it. Neither of us are big cucumber fans, but this is the only time Steph will eat them. They are cut into small pieces and mixed with seaweed and crab. I am not a big fan of it, mainly because I don’t like cucumbers. For sushi we ordered our favorite roll: the shrimp tempura roll. It is small pieces of tempura shrimp wrapped with the traditional algae and rice. We believe there are some other ingredients in there as well but cannot currently remember them. The other rolls we tried for the first time were the spider roll and the BBQ scallop. The spider roll is basically some crab meat and cream cheese rolled up in rice. The idea of the roll is simple, and yet the flavor was great. We aren’t quite sure why the scallop has BBQ in the name because we couldn’t taste any, but we still ate them all. Other rolls we have tried in the past include: the California roll (shout out to Steph’s sister Rachel who holds the family record for the most California rolls ever eaten), the Kwan Court roll (also called the Kansas roll, the meat in this roll is cooked steak), the shrimp roll, and the Philadelphia roll. Stephanie does not suggest the Philadelphia roll though because it is uncooked salmon with cream cheese.

We also like to order a dinner entrée when we eat there. Twelve pieces of sushi isn’t quite enough for a person’s dinner. This particular night we ordered the usual, Honey Crispy Walnut Shrimp. Yes I said Honey Crispy Walnut Shrimp. It is probably one of my most favorite dishes ever.  The menu describes this dish as “a creative ensemble of crunchy walnuts and fresh plump shrimp topped with a rich velvet smooth sauce that carries you where you want to be.” We can tell you that the sauce they use in this dish is amazing and it does carry you were you want to be. OH JOY!  Phil has been known to lick the plate. We tend to order this dish just about every time we come in because we love it so much. In fact when we see it on other restaurants’ menus we don’t order it because we know we will be disappointed because it won’t be as good.

We have visited Kwan Court several times and have never been disappointed. Try it out if you haven’t and if you have never tried sushi try one of our suggestions and you will enjoy it. And if you don’t like your food they have a large aquarium and lobster tank that you can entertain yourself with. By the way, they have a great Sunday buffet that is also exceptional, plus they have a nice old lady who plays the piano.

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