With our groupon in hand Steph and I set out for the Bay Leaf last weekend. We had glanced at their menu and website before hand, so we thought we had an idea as to what we were getting ourselves into. The Bay Leaf is tucked in back of Clifton Square on east Douglas. Steph and I were thinking that this would be a nice, cozy place that one could enjoy a good meal at on a Friday night. When I saw that the special on Friday was $1.50 PBRs I started to wonder what was up. Upon entering the restaurant we were met with a strange layout. There was a small bar and counter in the front with the dining room (which was empty) located in the back. The dining room was small with only 6 or 7 tables set up, the large PA system and laptop made it seem even more cozy. The decor throughout the restaurant had a trendy classic feel to it. I don’t really know what that means, but I’m not an interior decorator so I have no idea how to describe what I saw. Anyway the decor contrasted sharply with the T-95(hard rock station) that was playing in the background, the daily special stapled on a pillar, and our waitress’ exposed navel area.
Steph tried to order the Papa Giorgio’s Pasta but the waitress informed us that they aren’t making it anymore because they are in the process of changing their menu. We were a bit annoyed by this. Either the waitress should have informed us that dish was unavailable before we ordered or they shouldn’t have it on the menu. Since the waitress seemed more concerned about her friends up front, this should not be shocking. So Steph ended up getting the chicken salad sandwich. It came out with a large scoop of chicken salad in the middle with slices of tomatoes and four slices of French bread. The chicken salad looked as though it had been put through a food processor which made the various parts difficult to taste. We weren’t too impressed with it.
The appetizer that we ordered was the best part of the meal. We tried the bierock bites, which as the name implies were nice little balls of bierock. You could tell they were freshly made and seasoned just right. I chose the Philly cheese steak with fries for my entree. My sandwich had a good combination of melted cheese and tender, lean beef. The peppers and onions were cooked just right and it was all served on a tasty hoagie bun. The waffle fries were nothing too exciting, but after looking at Steph’s side salad I was happy with my side choice.
I know this may sound like our worst review ever, but overall our experience was not awful. There were just several small things that snowballed. I hope that once the Bay Leaf completes their menu renovation things will get better. I just hope they don’t remove the bierock bites. Unfortunately, or fortunately we finished our dinner before the two piece band started their set. From what I witnessed while they were setting up I wonder if anyone who witnessed the performance has regained their hearing. Between the bass amp that was wheeled in, the large PA system, and the fact they were going to play in room the size of my basement I can only wonder what in the world it sounded like.
Since Steph had yet another day off from work, we decided to try out College Hill Deli and Catering on MLK day. This establishment is located on east Douglas about 150 feet from Dolci and Joe’s Restaurant. It feels very strange for these two somewhat similar restaurants to be located so close to each other. As you step out of your car it’s as if there is a battle being waged for your patronage. I’m not certain, but I suspect that after hours there is a violent turf war that breaks out between the rival eateries. There is a tension in the air that one can sense just driving down the street.
Anyway who cares about my strange delusions when there is food to be blogged about. The inside of College Hill Deli is small and warm. We were initially seated at the largest table in the place since all the other tables were occupied. The large table happens to be located under the main heat vent for the dining area and was it ever roasty toasty. It made made my grandparents house feel like Siberia on a cold day. Luckily we were able to move to a smaller table within a few minutes. After perusing the menu I felt like I had been to this place before. The menu was full of Lebanese/Mediterranean inspired dishes and could have probably passed for Bella Luna’s menu. Not to say that is a bad thing, but really how many places in Wichita need to serve hummus? Are garbanzo beans really cheap around here or something? Needless to say, being the Hummus addicts we are a plate was quickly ordered. It was fine hummus served with some nice soft pita and diced tomatoes. The tomatoes were an addition that I had not encountered with hummus before, but they seemed to work out just fine. It was about this time we realized that that waitress was handling every table in the place. Considering there were about 8 tables we were rather impressed. More on this later. I decided to take the plunge and order the hamburger with fries because that is how I roll. Upon laying eyes on my burger I was rather impressed. It had the appearance of an actual burger( You know one of those things where there is a nice half inch to inch thick slab of meat wedged between two bread buns). It is something that some of these local chains don’t quite seem to understand. Yes I’m calling you out Five Guys and your stupid thin patties! So the burger was solid and actually had a bit of pink in the middle of it. All for around $7. Amazing. The fries were fine, nothing to write home about though. Steph ordered the quiche with a fattoush salad. Today’s quiche was broccoli and cheese. It was tasty and nice and warm. La Galette’s is slightly better, but we can’t always make it downtown. The salad was fine and had the strong dressing but it wasn’t anything different form what we have had before. At one point while eating I looked up and noticed our waitress walking down the sidewalk. I quickly wondered if she knew something we did not but as it turned out she was taking care of a delivery order down the block. She did this all while still waiting on all the tables. I’m not sure who the waitress was, but she deserves a medal for that performance.
College Hill Deli may not have the most interesting menu, but it appears they at least make good food. So that should count for something. I do hope that they get that poor waitress some help because even a Super Waitress needs some R and R.
After a rough two snow days in a row, on Friday I had meetings all day and was able to go to lunch with some co-workers. We decided on TJ’s Burger House. TJ’s has two locations in Wichita now. The original is located on Douglas in the Delano District and the newly opened second location is at Harry and Webb. Today we went to the new one since it is much closer to school. The inside of the restaurant is decorated similar to a diner with large booths and fun 50′s paraphernalia on the walls. It was absolutely freezing inside so make sure to bundle up. I went with a cheeseburger because the name of the place is TJ’s BURGER House and apparently they serve burgers. There are seven different burgers on the menu so you can be a bit more adventurous if you want. The burgers are huge, so only order a double if you are going to be an offensive lineman in tomorrow’s game. The burger was fine, nothing spectacular or fancy but you could also tell that it was hand pattied and freshly made. I enjoyed the burger and would order it again. I also split a half order of fries with a co-worker. Notice we split a half order of fries. The fries seemed like they are fried in the same batter as onion rings. They were tasty. My co-worker also asked for their homemade spicy mustard for her fries. She let me try some and it was awesome. So I would encourage ordering some of their spicy mustard. I also ordered a butterscotch milkshake. It was great. They brought it out in the old-fashioned sundae glass with a huge amount of whipped cream and a cherry on top. The shake was a great blend of ice cream and just the right amount of butterscotch.
Now I have to say that unfortunately for some of my co-workers they are trying to watch their weight and we of course chose a very healthy eating establishment. Most of them ordered salads. We found out that TJ’s makes all of their own dressings and the salads were absolutely huge as well. However, I heard several “oh my goodness” and “this is wonderful” so I would assume that they enjoyed them. So try out TJ’s Burger House for some traditional American fare and make sure to enjoy a milkshake in the absolutely freezing restaurant with snow outside.
Since Steph had yet another snow day on Wednesday I was obligated to bring her along with my friend and I as we went to El Patio. El Patio is that place on east central that you have probably driven past a hundred times and never noticed it. It is directly to the west of Baysinger Police supply, but some conveniently located trees block your view most of the time. El Patio is also the restaurant that’s sign has a giant number 6 beneath it. Now I am unaware of their being 5 more El Patios in Wichita let alone one other, so I’m guessing maybe there was an old Motel 6 here and they just decided to recycle the sign. Anyway its a good conversation piece. Once inside El Patio you will find a cozy dining space appropriately decorated with Hispanic pictures and drawing. There are about 10 tables in the place so expect a wait when you go over the lunch hour.
My friend had beat us there and was holding down a table for us. He had also polished off half a basket of chips so I guess he approved. Their salsa can best be described as un-chunky. It is so runny that its served out of squeeze bottles. While I prefer chunky salsas, El Patio’s is very good. They do give you a second bottle of salsa that is rather on the hot side and caution must be used when using this condiment. I thought it hit the spot on a cold winter afternoon. On this occasion, still recovering from a bout with the flu, Steph and I both went with the safe beef combo. It came with a taco, tostada, and enchilada. All three of these were well done. I would put the taco and tostada up against any other in the city. The enchilada was good, but not as good as Felipes or La Posada. El Patio offers all your typical Mexican dishes plus one that I would like to go back and try. That dish is menudo. Had my stomach been feeling 100% I might have taken the plunge, but I had to put it off. Menudo is a stew that contains slow cooked tripe (stomach lining) with a rich broth. Now you may be thinking that is disgusting, but it must be good if so many people like it.
All in all El Patio is a simple Mexican joint that serves good food for a low price. If you are ever in need of a good place in the downtown area and can’t find a Taco Bell this is one place you can go.
We have been slacking on our blog lately so I decided to blog about our two recent Sunday lunches. What is funny about both of these places is that both have several locations in one other state and then have one or two locations in Wichita. The Good Egg has lots of locations in Arizona but Wichita is the only location outside of the Grand Canyon State. Doc Green’s has several locations in Georgia but only two in Wichita. So I have decided that we can blog about these two places since they are not chains outside of one state.
Starting with the Good Egg. The Good Egg is located in Bradley Fair close to 21st and Rock Road. It is known mainly for its breakfast items but also serves lunch as well. We have been many times with my family due to their love of tasty a breakfast. I have tried several items including their chocolate chip pancakes (twice the size of your head so don’t order too many), the Yogurt and Granola (Yogi), and the Three Cheese Omelette. This past time I ordered the Omelette and was rather disappointed. The eggs were a bit overdone and a tad rubbery. I think I will stick with the pancakes or the Yogi from now on. The pancakes like I mentioned are absolutely huge and packed with chocolate chips so only order if you have a sweet craving. The Yogi is a nice light option but can also hit the sweet spot with the yogurt. Phil ordered the Huevos Rancheros. Since he didn’t even offer to let me try some, I am going to guess he enjoyed them. It must be said that the Beacon and the Anchor have a better breakfast but the Good Egg is closer to our church and house.
Today we went to Doc Green’s. They are located at the Waterfront close to 13th and Webb. They are known for their creative salads and healthy menu options. I tend to always order the Dr. Beeks with chicken tenders. It is a sweeter salad with feta cheese, craisins, and candied walnuts. The portions are huge and the salad is very filling. I was bad this time and also ordered a piece of carrot cake. The carrot cake was freshly made and pretty good. Not as good as from a bakery (Thinking of You comes to mind) but still tasty. I ate the whole piece. So here are two tasty options for lunch or brunch in Wichita.
After a brief break to gather our senses we are off and running in the new year. According to WordPress we had 1600 hits in 2010 giving our blog a “good health” status. We are very pleased with these developments. Since July we have reviewed over 45 restaurants and hopefully changed the lives of many of our readers. On another good note, amazingly enough we have not been hit with any libel lawsuits yet. As far as 2011 goes we are looking forward to pushing on with our chainfree crusade. If someone would leak this site to Denise Neil we might even become local celebrities. Coming in just a few short months the Eagle will start its Reader’s Choice voting nonsense and we are planning to go Tea Party on its ass. Hell hath no fury like that of an angry foodie. I apologize if my writing over the next several blogs seems random and extra crazy, but I have just finished Keith Richards’ drug riddled autobiography and am plunging into the depths of a Hunter S Thompson book as we speak.
Now on to the Adrian’s blog. My friend and I met at another of the many Mediterranean restaurants in Wichita the other day. This time it was Adrian’s located next to Best Buy at 21st and Rock. Just from gazing at the outside of this establishment it is clear the owners have gone out of their way to transform the bland exterior into a cozy bistro with the addition of decorative covered entrance. As I walked in I was immediately drawn to the bongos like a monkey is drawn to a banana. They were proudly displayed in the makeshift music corner that occupies the front of the restaurant. My sources tell me that the owner is the bongo master and will occasionally jam out on the weekends. They also had a sign advertising a 70s rock duo that performs regularly at the venue. Nothing like hummus and some acoustic Free Bird. Yum.
So of course we started out with the house hummus since we are both aficionados. I would have to say that it was very good, although I have yet to find any hummus in Wichita that is terrible. Just different types of good. I decided to try out their Fattoush salad with grilled chicken, while my friend ordered a classic Lebanese dish, the chipotle chicken wrap. My salad was decent although it seemed as if there was a bit too much dressing. The grilled chicken was slightly overcooked and a bit salty. It was certainly not the best Fattoush I have had, but it could have been worse. On a positive note my friend really enjoyed his spicy chicken wrap.
Adrian’s has a very similar concept as Bella Luna. Both specialize in Mediterranean and Lebanese dishes while offering a variety of other options. I would give a slight edge to Bella Luna, but there were some intriguing dinner entrees at Adrian that I would like to go back and sample.