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Krispy’s Fried Chicken and Seafood(It’s All About the Chicken and Waffles)

19 Sep

If there’s one thing that will keep me motivated on a 20 mile run it’s the thought of enjoying a plate of chicken and waffles afterwards. Until recently it was hard to find this opulent soul food combination in Wichita, but Krispy’s Fried Chicken and Seafood has changed that. This small restaurant is located on south Hillside just north of 31st St and specializes in a simple menu full of fried goodness.

Sadly many people are not familiar with or are turned off at the notion of feasting on fried chicken and waffles served together in a magical syrupy harmony. Let me tell you, it is a wondrous mix of sweet and savory that pleases the soul. The combination of a quality waffle, crispy fried bone-in chicken, and syrup is tough to beat when you are looking to splurge.

Syrupy Soul Food

Syrupy Soul Food

Krispy’s has a small interior with only a few tables and on our visit it seemed like they did more carryout business than dine-in. The main feature of the menu is of course the fried chicken that is available in 2 piece to 24 piece options. Chicken and waffle combos, tenders, fried steak, hot wings, and gizzards round out the poultry offerings. As the “Seafood” part in their name implies they serve fried shrimp and catfish as well as sides that include fries, O-rings, okra, mashed potatoes, and a salad that looks terribly out of place on this menu and probably isn’t a top seller. For dessert there is ice cream and brownie bites, both in fried form. The prices at Krispy’s are rock bottom with two pieces of chicken and a waffle costing about $4. You can buy the 24 piece meal for $27.

On our visit, we ordered two chicken and waffle meals, a side of sweet potato fries, and

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

Crispy Sweet Potato Fries

a banana waffle for a our son. The sweet potato fries were average, while crisp they lacked any seasoning. The banana waffle on the other hand was quite delicious. It had a slightly crunchy exterior and great banana flavor. Of course the chicken and waffle meal was the highlight of our lunch. The fried chicken was tasty. The breading was not overly seasoned or greasy, while the meat remained moist. The waffle was delicious as well with a slightly cinnamon flavor. With a packet of syrup drizzled over both the chicken and the waffle it was the perfect combination of salty and sweet soul food.

Krispy’s fills a much needed void for a local fried chicken place. While their menu is nothing fancy they do a good job serving solid and affordable comfort food.

 

Krispy’s Fried Chicken & Seafood on Urbanspoon

YOLO Grill

8 Aug

There are many restaurants in town to get a burger and fries, so in order to be successful,  an establishment has to set itself apart from the others. Keeping the menu simple and not cutting many corners are two easy ways to accomplish this in my opinion. YOLO (You Only Live Once) Grill is just a simple restaurant making simple food, but they know how to do it right.

YOLO is located on West St. just north of Central in an old Sonic building. It’s conveniently painted a lovely shade of fluorescent green just in case you are having trouble finding it. There isn’t much seating inside the small eatery, so be prepared to wait for a seat during the peak lunchtime hour. The menu is pretty straightforward, but does offer some variety. The backbone of the food offerings are their hamburgers and they have several to choose from.

The YOLO burger with Fried Egg

The YOLO burger with Fried Egg

You can have your simple bacon and cheese or up the ante with a fried egg, pulled pork, hot links, or avocado. There are also fish and chips, a BLT, chicken strips, a lighter grilled chicken wrap, and a reuben sandwich. Sides include delicious fried treats such as fries, O-rings, okra, and pickles. For those preparing for an eating contest or just looking for a challenge, they offer “The Tombstone”, a six patty monster burger.

Luckily we visited YOLO on a Saturday, when the reuben is offered, so I went with it. My sister opted for a cheeseburger with a fried egg, and my son got a grilled hot dog although he was eyeing the basket of suckers on the counter intently.

As an aficionado of Reuben sandwiches, I was eager to sample YOLO’s offering as they make their own corned beef. I am rather familiar with corning beef and was impressed that a restaurant is willing to take the extra time to do this.

Reuben Perfection

Reuben Perfection

Piled high with thick cut corned beef, sauerkraut, swiss cheese, and dressing it tasted like everything you could hope for in a reuben. The tender, flavorful corned beef and indulgent amounts of melted swiss made this one of the best reubens I have ever had.  My only complaint was that the bread wasn’t the traditional rye, but I am willing to overlook this. The basic thick cut fries that came with my meal were perfectly cooked and well seasoned.

The single patty hamburger was a solid effort, that was highlighted by the gently charred crust of the meat disk. YOLO uses an open flame grill for cooking so they can impart that flavor onto the meat as well as keep the grease in check. The burger was a touch overdone, but nothing to really complain about. The fried egg added a little flair to the basic burger.

My son seemed to enjoy his ketchup laden hot dog and fries. When ordering a hot dog you have the option of having it grilled or fried, while we went with the grilled version, I can imagine you can’t go wrong with a deep fried hot dog.

I was happy to see the pride that goes into the food at YOLO. While the menu offerings are nothing new to Wichita, if you like American comfort food done right this is a great place to check out.

 

Yolo Grill on Urbanspoon

Food Trucks at the Fountain

25 Jul

If you have always wanted to sample some of Wichita’s most popular food trucks, keep in mind the last Sunday of each month. On this day several trucks gather at the Water Walk Fountain in downtown to serve up lunch from 11:30 to 2:30.

The owners of the Flying Stove are responsible for “Food Trucks at the Fountain”, so their truck is a constant each month. There are several other trucks that round out the offerings and provide plenty of options. On our visit B. S. Sandwich Press, Park-n-Pork BBQ, The Waffle Wagon, Brick House BBQ, and Let’m Eat Brats were serving as well.

When we pulled into the parking lot nearest the food trailers it seemed that there was some sort of problem. Apparently in a frenzied rush to order caramelized waffles from the Waffle Wagon, people had simply forgotten how to use a parking lot properly. I present to you Exhibit A:

Massive Parking Lot Fail

Massive Parking Lot Fail

Once out of our car we walked up and down the row of trailers, scouting out the menus. Steph went with a Cobb salad sandwich and the famous crack-laced truffle fries from The Flying Stove. After much deliberation I went with a Carolina style pulled pork sandwich and green beans from Park-n-Pork. There was a good crowd even at 1:30, so each truck had decent queues for both ordering and picking up food.

Cobb Salad Sandwich from Flying Stove

Cobb Salad Sandwich from Flying Stove

The Cobb salad sandwich was filled with a generous serving of lemony grilled chicken, tomatoes, avocados, blue cheese, egg, lettuce, and dressing. The chicken, while somewhat overcooked, had very good flavor. The rest of the ingredients worked as well together as in a traditional Cobb salad. I was most impressed with the bun. Laden with this many ingredients it is not uncommon for buns to suffer CBF(Catastrophic Bun Failure) and render themselves a wet mass of mess, but this one held strong. The truffle fries were as delicious as usual. There is certainly no need for ketchup with these perfectly seasoned fried potatoes.

Carolina-Style Pork Sandwich

Carolina-Style Pork Sandwich

My pork sandwich featured a decent amount of pulled pork, a vinegar based BBQ sauce, and coleslaw. I was happy to see that despite sitting in a warming tray for the last several hours the pork was still fairly moist, which is no small feat. The pork had a nice smoke flavor and good rub as well. Overall I liked the sandwich, but I thought there was too much coleslaw overpowering the pork and sauce. The spicy green beans were a disappointment because they were canned and it was such a meager serving. The peppers and garlic provided a good kick, but were unable to save the bits of bean. I think if fresh or even frozen beans had been used this would have been a tasty side dish. For dessert we were hoping to get a caramelized waffle from the Waffle Wagon, but unfortunately that had sold out by then.

I was glad to see that the event was so popular, but the large crowds meant longer waits and food that started running out towards the end. Food Trucks at the Fountain is a good way to scope out the various food trucks that continue to pop up over town.

Marrakech Cafe(Trending Now In My Stomach: Moroccan Food)

17 May

Wichita can tack on another cuisine to our diverse restaurant scene and this time it’s Moroccan. Marrakech Cafe opened up in early 2014 and specializes in food from the owner’s native Morocco. This small eatery is a bit tricky to find, as it’s tucked behind the gas station on the SW corner of 21st and Woodlawn, but your search will be rewarded with a delightful meal.

Inside Marrakech are a number of small two and four top tables, so if you have a large group pushing some tables together will be your best option. They also have a glass case full of alluring desserts, which I’m sure would be great if you can manage to save room after your meal.

Zaalouk Salad: Your Tummy Will Thank You

Zaalouk Salad: Your Tummy Will Thank You

Since it was our first visit, our waitress kindly walked us through the menu. The highlights of the small menu are the tangine dishes which feature chicken, beef, or lamb cooked with vegetables or fruit in a traditional earthenware pot called a tangine. There is also a chicken pie called a pastilla(or bastilla, depending on translation), which is a phyllo dough pie filled with chicken, onions, and eggs. There are several salads including one with roasted eggplants and tomatoes and the ubiquitous fattoush.  Rounding out the menu are some shawarma wraps. On Fridays in Morocco nearly everyone enjoys a couscous  meal and the same is true at Marrakech. Every Friday you can enjoy Moroccan couscous layered with meat and veggies.

We had a tough time deciding what to order, but after some deliberation we went with an order of Zaalouk salad, lamb tangine, and a bastilla. The “salad” was the first dish to come out and was more dip-like in nature, at least from an American perspective. Nonetheless it was pure deliciousness. The dip consisted of roasted eggplant, tomatoes, green peppers, and various spices, namely cumin. It was served cold with soft pita chips. Move over hummus because I have found Zaalouk.  Next up was the lamb

Tender Lamb Tangine

Tender Lamb Tangine

tangine, which got extra points for presentation as it came out steaming hot in the clay tangine. The waitress pulled back the cover to reveal a nice hunk of lamb shank surrounded by dates and slivered almonds. The lamb was tender and flavorful and was nice change of pace from beef and chicken dishes.  The warm dried dates added some sweetness to the dish. Soft baguette bread came with the meal and aided in soaking up some of the juices in the tangine. The final piece of our trilogy of Moroccan delights was the bastilla. The menu describes this dish as a “plate from heaven” and I would say that is not far from the truth. I could see the god of your choice putting his stamp of approval on this concoction.

Bastilla: A Plate From Heaven Indeed

Bastilla: A Plate From Heaven Indeed

The phyllo dough pie was filled with shredded chicken, scrambled eggs, onions, and various spices. Sprinkled on top of the pie was a light dusting of powdered sugar and cinnamon.  It was a sublime pie that could be enjoyed for breakfast, brunch, lunch,  dinner, or a drunken snack. While it may seem odd, the sweet and savory combination of egg, chicken, sugar, and cinnamon was disturbingly addictive.

Marrakech also has a glass cooler full of desserts that looked good, but we failed to save any room after out meal.

This was my first experience with Moroccan food, but it will not be my last. A visit on Couscous Friday is definitely in the cards. The simple and fairly healthy preparations of flavorful food are sure to appease. Just don’t go there and order a plate of hummus and a shawarma, while I’m sure they are good, you can order that stuff at nearly 42.7% of restaurants in Wichita.

 

Marrakech Cafe

6257 E. 21st.

https://www.facebook.com/marrakech.cafe

Watermark Cafe

24 Apr

What’s better than sitting down to begin a new book? How about enjoying a tasty sandwich or salad while enjoying your book? Watermark Books and Cafe, located at Oliver and Douglas,  is the place where you can make this happen. Watermark is one of the few remaining independent book stores in Wichita and perhaps some of their success can be attributed to the popular cafe that is housed inside.

The Great Expectations: Could Dickens Describe it in Less Than 500 words?

The Great Expectations: Could Dickens Describe it in Less Than 500 words?

The scope of the cafe’s offerings is impressive for a small place and includes dine-in or carryout options for breakfast, lunch, or dinner, fresh baked pastries and breads, and catering. The menu consists of various sandwiches and salads cleverly named with book titles, soups, several breakfast offerings, daily desserts, and a number of specialty drinks.

On our visit I went with the Great Expectations, a Dickinsonian delight that consisted of turkey, apricot-curry mayo, lettuce, and chopped walnuts. It was a sandwich that even Pip would have been pleased with. The apricot-curry mayo and walnuts were a nice combination that livened up this sandwich. Steph ordered the Catcher in the Rye, which included turkey, salami, swiss cheese, and sundried tomato mayo served on rye bread of course. This hearty and warm sandwich was quite tasty, although the rye bread was not as good as other versions in town. We also ordered a PB and J kids meal for our son, which in hindsight may not have been the best decision. Imagine a small child with PB covered hands and face running off into the kids section of the store. Lesson learned.

Watermark Cafe offers decent and unique sandwich and salad options for quick dining. They also get bonus points for having creative names for their menu items. In fact I took the liberty to come up with a few more suggestions for possible new items:

The Heart of Darkness: Baked tilapia, fried plantains, and mango salsa served on a whole wheat tortilla

A Christmas Carol: Thick sliced turkey, smoked gouda cheese, and a walnut cranberry pesto

The Grapes of Wrath: A mixed green salad with grapes, toasted pecans, and a buttermilk vinaigrette

 

Watermark Cafe on Urbanspoon

http://www.urbanspoon.com/r/329/1346128/restaurant/Watermark-Cafe-Wichita

Saigon Pho

1 Mar

One of the few good things about this winter dragging on is that temperatures have remained optimal for Pho consumption. A large, piping hot bowl of Pho with a little bit of chili sauce it one of my favorite ways to warm up on a frigid day. Wichita has a great Pho scene, with restaurants spread all over the city so you are never more than 10 minutes away from Vietnamese soup. Saigon Pho is a newer option that is located on Harry just East of Oliver. It is actually just a couple of buildings away from the iconic and amazing Manna Wok.

Quick Cure for a Cold Day: Beef Pho

Quick Cure for a Cold Day: Beef Pho

Like many of the businesses along this stretch of Harry, Saigon Pho doesn’t look like much from the outside, but like many good things(especially restaurants) looks are deceiving. The dining area is small inside, but there is still room for a larger group to be comfortable.

The menu covers all the basic Pho combinations, including thinly sliced steak, meatball, and tendon, and is available in medium or large bowls. In addition they also have a few appetizers, fried rice dishes, Bahn Mi, speciality soups, and a vermicelli bowl called Bun. Several of these items are offered as lunch specials as well with prices that range from $5-$6.

On our visit I was torn between the Pho and several of the unique speciality soups, which included wonton noodle, spicy beef, and crab tomato. I ultimately went with the steak and meatball Pho, while Steph decided to try the wonton noodle soup. While we waited for our food the server must have thought we needed some entertainment because she turned on one of those terrible daytime TV shows. There’s a first time for everything I guess.

The key to good Pho is all in the broth. The meat and fixings are all about the same no matter where you go. You will never hear someone praising a restaurant’s Pho because of the bean sprouts. No, all judgement lies in the

Wonton Noodle Soup

Wonton Noodle Soup

mysterious and magical beef broth. Saigon Pho’s was very good. It had a rich and complex flavor with a hint of sweetness that I really liked. The lean slices of steak were served rare and finished cooking in the broth for a nice presentation. I would rank this version of Pho right up there with My Tho and Pho Hien, two of my favorites. The wonton soup was also a delicious meal. The broth was similar to that of the Pho, but sweeter and with a strong shrimp flavor. Several tasty wontons, shrimp, and plenty of noodles were also in the soup.

I was impressed with the quality of Saigon Pho’s soup and I hope that the word gets out about what they are doing. They also have a nice website with some entertaining descriptions of the menu items.

http://saigonpho123.com/

Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno(The New Pupusa King)

28 Jan
 Pupusa Perfection

Pupusa Perfection

Pupusas, pupusas, pupusas. If you have never tried one of these delicious marvels of Salvadoran cuisine then I implore you to stop reading this nonsense at once and proceed with haste to Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno. Trust me it will be worth it. It is conveniently located on Central between  I-135 and Grove. Just look for the dark blue building right next to the drive thru liquor store.

Fried Plantains: A Must Try

Fried Plantains: A Must Try

While the exterior of the building looks rather dubious and the parking lot surface resembles that of the moon, inside you will find a cozy and tastefully decorated dining room. This small eatery specializes in traditional little snacks(antojitos) and beverages from El Salvador. Besides the aforementioned pupusas, Antojitos serves fried plantains, empanadas, Salvadoran style steak, tilapia, rice, beans, and some specials. Although it is a sit down restaurant there are no printed menus, so just take a glance at the posted menu by the kitchen or ask the helpful server for suggestions.

Full Flavor from a Whole Fish

Full Flavor from a Whole Fish

On our visit we of course ordered several varieties of pupusas including cheese, frijoles, chicharrones, and the “Loco”, which is a little bit of everything. An order of fried plantains was needed as well and we probably should have stopped there, but they were offering a chicken soup, so we got a bowl of that and an order of tilapia.

I’m sorry Usuluteco, but I have found a better pupusa. The difference for me was the tenderness and abundant filling of Antojitos’s. For maximum enjoyment spread some of the accompanying salsa and curtido(tangy cabbage relish) on top of the pupusa. The fried plantains were nicely done and popular with our son. They were served with a generous bowl of mayo, which was different from my other experiences with plantains, but perhaps it is customary. When they brought out the vat that was my bowl of soup I knew we had made a strategic ordering mistake. Soon after came another plate with half a chicken and rice to accompany the soup.

Tub o' Soup

Tub o’ Soup

Then Steph’s whole tilapia was presented with salad, rice and several containers of tortillas. We were buried in delicious Salvadoran food. The soup was a basic homemade chicken stock base and was filled with assorted stewed vegetables. The generous amounts of chicken and rice made it a nice balanced

Chicken and Rice for the Soup

Chicken and Rice for the Soup

dish. While Steph was  somewhat put off by the whole tilapia, I found it delicious. You forget how flavorful tilapia can be when it is served whole.  Just slap some fish and rice onto one of the provided tortillas, throw on some avocado and you have a treat. We tried two of their homemade drinks in addition to the copious amounts of food. The horchata was not as sweet as Mexican versions, but every bit as delicious and the tamarind based juice was rather refreshing.

Bottom line here folks is that Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno brings it. For a $1.75 a pupusa it may just be the best deal in town. The previous tenants of this building have struggled to make it, but hopefully this place can buck that trend, because it is a gem and every time a small place like this closes it leaves a scar upon my heart or something like that.

Restaurante Antojitos Salvadoreno

2117 E. Central

316-269-4090

Link to the menu: http://www.restaurant.com/restaurante-antojitos-salvadorinos-wichita-pid=200268

Cow and Sow Deli

11 Jan

It seems like the Wichita dining scene has a lag of several years when it comes to new trends. We are just now getting over the great food truck explosion of 2012/2013, Gastropubs are a relatively new concept, and everything is served on a pretzel bun now. At this pace you can expect Cronuts coming to a bakery near you in 2020. Another one of those trends that is starting to catch on here is the locavore movement/diet/religion/whathaveyou. This admirable trend tries to focus on sourcing as many ingredients as possible from local producers. With all the great meat and produce that Kansas has to offer, I am surprised it took this long for the movement to come into full swing. Cow and Sow Deli is the newest in a growing list of restaurants that offer local produce, breads, and meat.

Mushroom and Kale Soup: It tasted better than it looked

Mushroom and Kale Soup: It tasted better than it looked

Cow and Sow is located downtown on Douglas, inside the Renfro building. It is a small space, especially on a busy day, but there is plenty of seating in a separate dining area next door in the Renfro Studio. Besides serving food Cow and Sow also has a very small market where you can buy various food products from local producers. At the time of our visit it looked a bit bare, but January in Kansas is not known as one of the more bountiful months for fresh food.

The lunch and dinner menu consists of a few sandwiches and one or two soups of the day. There is also a self-described “salad trough” that features unique homemade vegetarian and vegan options.  The sandwiches feature locally baked bread and greens, while the soups are all made in-house daily. They also offer a small assortment of pastries, coffee, and desserts.

During the winter months I am hopelessly addicted to homemade soups of all kinds, so I of course ordered a bowl of the mushroom and kale soup as well as half of the Tangy Beef sandwich. My mom also ordered a bowl of the kale soup. Not long after ordering one of the owners came out to tell us that we had cleaned them out of soup for the day, so to make up for the lack of soup they brought us out another half Tangy Beef and a Mooffaletta.

Tangy Beef with fresh lettuce

Tangy Beef with fresh lettuce

Although we got the bottom of the soup pot, it was still delicious. For being a vegan friendly soup I was surprised at how creamy it was. Unfortunately most the mushrooms and bits of kale were tiny, but I’ll chalk that up to it being the last bowl of the day.  The tangy beef sandwich was impressive as well. It consisted of thinly sliced top round, local hydroponic lettuce, a horseradish chive cheese, horseradish sauce and a fresh pretzel bun. I have to say that the lettuce nearly stole the show from the beef. It tasted very fresh and certainly will spoil you from buying greens out of a bag again. There was just enough horseradish spread to give the sandwich flavor, but it was not overwhelming. All and all this was a light tasting, yet filling sandwich.  The Mooffaletta was certainly a heavier sandwich, but satisfying on this crisp day. It consisted of salami, ham, mortadella, mozzarella and provolone cheeses, and an olive spread. All of this was served on toasted focaccia bread from Crust and Crumb. With this list of ingredients one would really have to work hard to not make it delicious and luckily Cow and Sow didn’t. I thought the prices were reasonable given the quality and quantity of the food.

Apparently we hit Cow and Sow on one of their busiest days, but despite that service was friendly and attentive. I can’t wait to visit Cow and Sow during the summer when local vegetables are in full swing. I’m sure they will be serving up some good stuff, but until then I could go for another bowl or three of their soup.

http://www.cowandsowdeli.com/

Cow and Sow Deli on Urbanspoon

Birds on the Roof Bakery and Cafe

16 Dec

Every once in a while you have a real fun dining experience that makes you appreciate local restaurants even more . On our visit to the recently opened Birds on the Roof Bakery and Cafe we had such an experience. Birds on the Roof has a prime location at Central and Rock and is one of the more unique and eclectic restaurants you will find in these parts.

A Small Glimpse of the Decor

A Small Glimpse of the Decor

The inside of the restaurant has undergone some extensive remodeling since the days when this space was a scuba shop. The design motif is something along the lines of Parisian Cafe meets the Mad Hatter’s tea party. The colors are bold and vibrant, there is a big red tree, a water feature, and a staircase in the middle of the dining room that leads to a second  level of seating. To cap it all off  a projector was beaming Casablanca onto one of the walls during our visit. Much to our son’s delight they were thoroughly decked out for Christmas as well including an electric train.

Birds on the Roof is primarily a breakfast and lunch place, but recently they

Baguette with Buttercream Spreads

Baguette with Buttercream Spreads

hired Chef Nathan Toubia to get a dinner service going. He brought over some of his popular dishes from the now closed Bocconcini including lemon chicken, pork saltimbocca, and beef with mushrooms. The dinner menu also includes a few salads, sandwiches, and pizzas.

On our visit I ordered the Ultimate Burger, Steph went with the Chicken Pesto Piadina, and the chef made our son a grilled cheese. A few minutes later the chef came back to say he was almost out of ground beef, so I substituted a BLT. While awaiting our food, we were served some baguette with mint and strawberry buttercreams. The baguette was nothing amazing, but the fresh buttercreams were a treat.

The pesto piadina is a hot flatbread sandwich with chicken, pesto, tomatoes, and plenty of gooey mozzarella. Although messy it was a delicious sandwich. The chef decided to have some fun with my plate and brought out a very tiny slider burger complete with bacon and cheese. I also got a full sized BLT. It was hard to pass judgement on the burger since it was so tiny, but it had good seasoning despite being well done. The BLT on the other hand was great, but technically it was a BAT, since it was piled high with arugula. The sweet pepper bacon is what

Mini Slider Burger

Mini Slider Burger

made this sandwich. I’m not sure if they make the bacon in house, but it was wonderfully sweet and crunchy. Next time I will probably get a side of the sweet crack bacon with whatever I order. Both our sandwiches came with homestyle fries that were nicely seasoned and crispy. We could not pass up dessert since there was a tray of French macarons in the bakery section. We sampled a pistachio and a blueberry variety. Both were good,

The BAT with Sweet Crack Bacon

The BAT with Sweet Crack Bacon

especially the blueberry, but the delicate shells were too crunchy.

There were only two employees working during our meal, one of them being the chef, Nathan Toubia. It was  fun to have him personally wait on us, although I hope they plan to add more help so he can stay in the kitchen. During busier times I would be concerned about the quality of service with such a small staff. We do plan on going back to try the breakfast and lunch menus especially since they have something called waffle nachos.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Birds-On-The-Roof/1410823972467327

Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe on Urbanspoon

Molinos

24 Aug

Frida’s was a small Mexican restaurant that Steph and I sadly discovered right before it closed back in 2010. It was one of our first dive experiences and got us hooked on “off the beaten path” dining. Their piratas and salsa bar were things of beauty. Luckily the owners of Fridas are back in the restaurant business with their new place called Molinos, located on North Waco next to Juarez Bakery. While it is not an exact copy of Frida’s, they have many of the same items, including the beloved piratas.

Inside, the décor and seating has not changed much from when Las Tias de Beto inhabited the space. It’s still clean and new looking with decent seating areas. The menu has a good mixture of familiar Tex-Mex style dishes that you can find at many Mexican restaurants, as well as more traditional and unique items. I have noticed several online commenters railing against the fact that many of their dishes aren’t traditional Mexican. While I agree with this observation, I don’t see what the big deal is. Molinos is trying to serve a menu that blends both authentic and Tex-Mex into delicious combinations. If you want straight up authentic food, there are plenty of other

A Famous Pirata and a Gordita

A Famous Pirata and a Gordita

places to visit in Wichita.  Some of the highlights of the menu are the aforementioned piratas, a pineapple and mint salad, a baked potato with queso, and elote(a Mexican version of corn with mayo, crema, and cheese). Most meals come with your choice of meat including carnitas, chicken, and cochinita pibil. Keeping up the Fridas tradition, upon request they will bring you out several of their salsas to sample.

On our visit I went with a pirata and a gordita. The pirata consists of a crispy flour tortilla stuffed with your choice of meat(carnitas in my case), melted cheese, lettuce, sour cream, and guac. A small bowl of pico de gallo is served on the side. My pirata was as delicious as the version I remembered from Fridas. It is really the perfect Tex-Mex dish that incorporates as much goodness into one tortilla as legally possible. For the gordita I ordered cochinita pibil as my meat. As evidenced by the picture, this little meat filled tortilla pocket was not quite as breathtaking as the pirata, but at least the cochinita was good. It had a sweet and tangy taste and was very moist. The gordita shell, made from masa, was certainly fresh and chewy. With some pico de gallo it made for a tasty meal. Steph went with her usual default Mexican restaurant order of chicken enchiladas. For her sides she ordered the charro beans and elote. Molinos serves their version of elote in a bowl and let me tell you it’s addicting. There will be no going back to grandma’s creamy corn recipe after you get a taste of elote. Not to be overshadowed, the enchiladas and charro beans were solid as well. The  two enchiladas came smothered with a savory chile sauce that certainly did not originate from a can. Topped with sour cream and  cheese, they were very good. The charro beans were quite amazing as well. Charro beans are a nice break from refried beans and are typically more like a hearty soup. Molinos’ version were some of the best I have had in town. They were nicely seasoned and contained what I believe was tripe instead of the usual bacon. While Steph was not impressed with these tender bits of offal, I found them quite delightful. I would be remiss if I did a review on a Mexican joint and did not mention the salsa. We just went with the regular red salsa which was very good and had just the right amount of kick to it. The salsa was also provided entertainment for our son, who enjoyed attempting to dip his chips into it.

If you are a fan of Mexican food then you should definitely check out Molinos and if you aren’t a fan just go have a pirata and tell me you don’t like it.  With their varied menu you can enjoy traditional dishes or branch out and experience some of their fusion type dishes. Anyway you look at it Molinos is a great addition to the local Mexican restaurant scene.

Molino's on Urbanspoon

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