This coming up Saturday, February 26th, the Anchor will be playing host to a Loaf Off. It is a meatloaf competition from 11-1 that supports the Make a Wish Foundation. Admission is $10 for adults and $5 for children (5-12). So there are two reasons I am putting this on the blog. Number one is that events involving food and supporting charity are absolutely awesome. We are huge supporters of them when we can be. Second, Phil has entered the competition and will be making his delectable meatloaf. He has named it “The Smoked Trinity.” So we hope to see everyone on Saturday. Both of us will be at the chainfree table serving meatloaf and having fun raising money for an amazing cause.
NOTE: The Metro Grill in Andover is no longer owned by Chef Michael Gonzalez, so the food and menu may have changed. Chef Gonzalez operates the Metro Grill on West Central.
The famous Metro Grill, dominator of Towne East mall food, has finally opened up a second location in a free standing building. Their new location, called Metro Grill II, is way out there in Andover, just north of Andover Rd and Kellogg. We were excited to try the place out minus the mall atmosphere, so on Saturday night we dropped by and were surprised to see just how popular the new location has become. There appear to be some initial growing pains; they were out of flan and soup, and the pop machine was down.
The space is on the small side with maybe 10 tables or so. You order and pay at the counter and then find a strange, trendy, wobbly, plastic bar stool to plop down on. Your order is called out to you, so you must pay attention. There isn’t a number or name system, they literally just call out the food you ordered, which causes some confusion especially on a busy night (They called our order 4 times before we realized it).
I went with the Pasta Mia. It is penne pasta in a pink garlic cream sauce. I added shrimp to mine and was happy that I did. The pasta was absolutely fantastic. Michael, the chef and owner, added the perfect amount of cheese to the top and I loved the dish. The downsides are that the dish is served on a styrofoam plate and plastic silverware, and there isn’t enough food. Phil and I both left still feeling hungry and decided some ice cream sounded good to help top off our dinner.
Phil ordered the Pasta VIP which was awesome as well. It consisted of some linguini, cherry tomatoes, a nice white wine and garlic sauce, and a well seasoned bit of chicken and shrimp. I would have liked to have had a bit more for $10 dollars though.
From my two visits to Metro Grill I firmly believe Chef Michael has the Midas touch when it comes to food. Everything I have had is amazing and he is probably making some of the best food in the city right now. I think the Metro Grill II has the chance to become a destination restaurant once more people find out about this little gem. Hopefully over the next several months some of the kinks will be worked out at the new place. I would suggest changing the ordering system, doing away with the plastic silverware at least, and maybe adjusting prices or portion sizes. Chef Michael is the perfect combination of entertainer and cook and I hope that he is able to smooth out the edges and enjoy long years of dishing out bad ass food.
For a nice romantic post-Valentines dinner Steph and I went to Taqueria El Paisa, a great Mexican joint located at 21st and Arkansas. For those of you who don’t know this establishment it is located in the authentic part of town. The part of town where you go to get the real stuff (Mexican food that is). On an early Thursday night there were only two other tables in the mission style building. Once you are inside El Paisa you quickly realize they do no subscribe to the minimalist approach to decorating. There is a large mural on one wall, plenty of flair affixed to the other walls, and trendy clay pots which double as light fixtures over each table.
Once we sat down, immediately three jars of salsa and a basket of chips appeared before our eyes. There was the traditional tomato based red salsa, a hot green chili salsa, and a tomatillo salsa. I have never had tomatillo salsa in Wichita before and I am not sure how many places in town serve it, but I just have to say this salsa was amazing. It had a rich creaminess and wonderful flavor. Coupled with the fresh tortilla chips we both had our fill. For dinner I decided to go with a large roasted pork burrito. This one came stuffed with beans, rice, cilantro, cheese, and onions and cubed pork. On top of the stuffed flour tube were two types of salsa with a beautiful piped ribbon of sour cream serving as a dividing line between the two. When I first tasted the pork I was surprised to find that it had a subtle sweet taste. I had never tasted pork seasoned in this manner at a Mexican joint and it rocked my world. One last twist to this delicious burrito was the fact that one side contained rice and the other beans. Yeah, sit back and let that sink in.
Steph ordered three corn enchiladas with beans and rice. She ordered one beef, one cheese, and one chicken. The chicken and beef were shredded inside of the enchiladas, which made for a good texture when coupled with the tasty enchilada sauce.
I would highly recommend El Paisa to anyone looking to try some new Mexican flavors, whether it is the tomatillo salsa or the giant burrito that brings tears to my eyes. So get out there and check out one of the better places to get Mexican food in Wichita.
Steph had yet another snow day this week, so we braved the elements to go to one of her favorite Wichita restaurants, La Galette. La Galette is located in the Delano part of town, which if you don’t know, is located on Douglas between Seneca and McLean. If you have never been to Delano, shame on you! It is so choc full of chainfree options that the Pizza Hut located in Delano appears as out of place as a strip club next to a church. La Galette is the peculiar marriage of a Lebanese cafe and a decadent French pastry shop. Don’t let the name fool you though, they serve no real French food besides their desserts and quiche. Although with all the French pictures on the wall they really try to trick you into believing that really is Notre Dame you are staring at.
When going to La Galette make sure you park in the rear of the establishment, because parking along Douglas is limited and treacherous. Upon entering through the back door you will find the walls brightly colored and covered with Frenchy stuff. All ordering is done at the counter and your food is brought to you. The small menu is a mix of traditional Lebanese food and some salads, soups, and sandwiches. This time around I ordered the Kibbe with hummus and a side of cream of tomato soup. Steph went with a nice spinach quiche and tomato soup. Even before we ordered our savory food Steph had made a beeline for the desert counter, oogling all their sexy confections. After much deliberation she decided we would share a half pound of hazlenut buttercream frosting wedged between two bagel-like pastry slices.
We both sat and stared at our wheel of hazelnutty goodness wondering if we would be able to control ourselves until we were finished with our main course. Luckily our food came out in a timely manner. My kibbe was very good, although for the price I thought it was a small portion. You could tell it was freshly made. The kibbe was accompanied by an ample amount of fresh pita bread and some hummus, which was fine. The cream of tomato soup tasted great on a day when temperatures struggled to get into the double digits. Another lunch dish we would recommend would be the potato pie. Steph enjoyed her homemade quiche. They make these ahead of time and throw them in the microwave to warm them up but the quiche are still quite tasty.
We both disposed of our lunches quickly so we could move onto the piece de resistance. I decided to play it cool and let Steph have the first crack just in case she slipped in a sugar coma. It was definitely rich but tasted great. Steph said that she enjoyed it but has tried several other desserts and prefers their mousse or cheesecakes. Steph will guarantee anyone that you cannot go wrong with any of their desserts.
We were able to convince my finicky family to try out a new place this past Sunday. Phil had recently seen a review of the Wichita Pizza Company by Denise Neil in the Wichita Eagle. She gave it a high rating so we were eager to try it out. The restaurant is located at Harry and Webb in a strip mall right next door to Dairy Queen. When you walk in the door there is a large counter/bar area that opens to the kitchen and the majority of the tables are around the corner. The place is also decked out with flat screen TV’s-possibly too many. I counted 7 TVs in the small eating area we were in. The place isn’t huge but we didn’t have a hard time getting enough seats for our 12 person party. We just sat at separate tables next to each other. Before we get caught up in all the pizza talk, I must add that they also serve salads, calzones, and hoagies.
Phil and I previewed the menu beforehand and I was determined to try their Taco Pizza. We also wanted to try a traditional pepperoni. So we of course ordered one of both. Let’s start with the pepperoni. It was fantastic. Not greasy, the crust had some great flavor, plenty of pepperonis and cheese. I would rank it right up there with AJ’s and Knolla’s. As for the taco pizza, it was delicious. It started with a base layer of refried beans, then lettuce, hamburger, tomatoes, and shredded cheese. This beautiful concoction was topped off with crushed nacho cheese Doritos. The Doritos may sound weird, but they bring a great crunch to the pizza. You have to go and try one of these! The only disappointing part was the sauce they brought out. We both were pretty sure it was a bottle of sauce from Taco Hell. And sure enough when they brought out extra “salsa” for our take home box, the salsa was in tiny little plastic packages-not Taco Bell’s though but very similar. If they would just actually use a real salsa it would make things much better. They could run around the corner to Felipe’s and grab a few gallons to go.
I asked the question if this place is better than Knolla’s and I have to say that yes it absolutely is. I hope this place will get the love it deserves and stays open. For anyone living close to Harry and Webb(or anywhere in Wichita) you now have several fantastic chain free options to choose from for dinner or lunch.
On Saturday night, we were able to drag Phil’s parents away from their new puppy for a few hours. We decided to go to Fizz Burgers and Bottles based on a recommendation from a co-worker of mine. Fizz is located at 37th and Rock Road in Siena Plaza. If you know where Orange Leaf is, it is just on the opposite end of the plaza. When you walk in you see the cozy seating area, a bar, and plenty of bright colors. We were told they were having table service that night, but they are set up to take orders at the counter so it may just depend on how busy they are. Our waitress let us know that besides burgers, they are known for the number of drinks they serve in bottles. We were expecting to see an overwhelming 12 page beer list, but were instead met with list of 15 or so. They have the usual domestics, some Boulevard and other micro brew offerings, and several import bottles. Although the selection wasn’t quite as unique as I was hoping for, it was decent for a small restaurant. They also have several types of wines to order (most are bottle only) and some specialty bottled sodas. One thing I had never seen before at a burger place was the $100 bottle of wine that they were offering on the menu. I hope they didn’t buy a case of that wine, because its probably not going to be a big seller.
Since the rest of their name includes the word burger all four of us decided to order one. They have 5 burgers on their menu and the option to build your own as well. You also have the choice of ordering a quarter pound or half pound burger. I decided to go with a quarter pound House Burger. The burger is made with Roasted Garlic Sauce, Garlic Dill Pickles, lettuce, and tomatoes if you eat those. The burger was great. Nice and juicy and a thick patty. I only wish I had ordered cheese with it. A piece of provolone would have made it fantastic. I also went with an order of the sweet potato fries. The waitress suggested their pecan dip. I wasn’t too sure about this combination. We found out that the dip was originally meant as a salad dressing and I tend to think they should continue to use it that way. It had an interesting taste and we found out there was buttermilk which would explain the odd taste. Needless to say, I stole quite a few of Phil’s regular fries.
Phil went with the 1/4 lb bacon cheeseburger with spicy mustard. When ordering this burger make sure that you ask for whatever garnishes you want because it is served with no veggies. The burger was juicy and I actually spotted some pink in the middle! Hooray, another place that knows how to make a burger better than 5 Guys. The cheese and bacon were icing on the cake of this delicious beefy patty. I went with the regular fries, which were nice and thick.It would have been better had they added some more seasoning to the fries, but ketchup made up for that. The only other issue I had was the fact that the burgers do not come with fries, you must order them separately. Phil’s parents ordered the Spicy and the Swiss Mushroom. Both thoroughly enjoyed their burgers as well.
We both really enjoyed Fizz and would add it to the list of places to get a good burger in town. You cannot go wrong with a place that serves good beer and good burgers, so go and check it out.