Archive | February, 2012

Mexico Cafe Delano

26 Feb

Cruising through Delano the other day in search of a satisfying lunch we decided to try Mexico Cafe Delano. I really like the name of this restaurant, it is self explanatory and leaves customers with no doubt as to the cuisine or location. It would be great if other restaurants would adopt this simple nomenclature, just imagine hopping into the car and heading to American Burger Cafe Rock Road or Quasi Italian Riverside. Anyway, Mexico Cafe is located in one of the old, elongated brick buildings that Delano is known for. There are about ten tables in the front, while a counter is all that separates the dining area from the kitchen and prep area. It is awkward looking, but provides for an interesting view. There is also some impressive Hispanic themed art on the walls that is for sale if you have several hundred dollars to spend.

This place is about as family as you can get, as our waitress happily pointed out. The father cooks, the mother wraps silverware and the daughter serves/cashiers/enters into strange conversations with customers. One review I read mentioned that the service can be” funny/awkward” and I think that summed up our experience nicely.  Mexico Cafe’s menu has no real surprises, just a small offering of tacos, enchiladas, burritos, tostadas, and monterreys. While we looked over our options two salsas and chips were placed on our table. Both salsas were good, especially the hot salsa. The chips on the other hand were quite salty and the not the best we have had. Steph ordered a combo platter with a taco, enchilada, and tostada. Beans and rice do not come with the combos, so we ordered a side of rice. I went with the Deluxe Burrito, how it differs from the regular burrito I cannot say.

A Wide Angle Lense Was Needed to Get This “Deluxe” Burrito

Both of us enjoyed our meals at Mexico Cafe. The taco, served in a fried flour tortilla was good while the enchilada, smothered in meat sauce and cheese was the highlight. We both liked the side of rice, unlike some rice you get, it did not taste like it had been sitting around for several hours. My Deluxe Burrito was certainly deluxe in proportion. It took up the entire plate and was rather imposing covered with a healthy portion of meat sauce and cheese. Inside was ever so tender pork along with chili beans and sauce.  While I typically like some veggies with my burrito, I thought this all meat and bean extravaganza was great.

Mexico Cafe, like many other small Mexican restaurants in Wichita, offers decent food at a reasonable price. While we were not totally blown away with their offerings, it was still a good meal. If you like supporting a real family operation this is definitely an excellent option.
Mexico Cafe Delano on Urbanspoon

Sit @ Thai Express(CLOSED)

17 Feb

As some of you may know, Wichita holds the dubious honor of being one of the top ten cities in the US for fast food restaurants. Yes we are choc full of fast hamburger, chicken, and taco places, but at least we can boast of a place that serves fresh Thai fast food. No, Spangles is not rolling out a new Pad Thai bowl, I’m talking about Sit @ Thai Express(Note: The use of the “@” lets people know this is a trendy and happening place that they should definitely frequent). In order to compete with other fast food joints, Thai Express even has a drive through window. But please do not  attempt to eat that steaming bowl of Red Curry on the drive home. Even though it maybe tempting, it will probably end badly for you and your car.  Thai Express opened last fall in the old Taco Shop location just east of Oliver and Central. With the new paint job you would have to be colorblind to miss its beautiful fluorescent green exterior.

A Can’t Miss Paint Scheme

After changing managers not long after opening, Thai Express has revamped their menu and now everything is made fresh to order. The cozy dining space has a few small tables and ordering is done at the counter. The decor is sparse and modern, but the Happy Halloween doormat was a nice touch I thought.  It seemed they were having some climate control issues on the blustery day that we decided to dine there, so perhaps take out is the way to go during extreme climatic events.

Their menu consists of 20 Thai dishes that are displayed along with pictures on the front wall, most are offered with your choice of chicken, beef, or shrimp.  Appetizers and a few Thai specialty drinks are also available. The three of us each ordered a different type of curry, I went with my favorite Panang. We also tried out the 3 piece dumpling appetizer. The food came out within a few minutes served in styrofoam to-go boxes minus their lids. Besides the main dish, each meal came with a small egg roll, steamed rice, and sweet dipping sauce.

Panang Curry Meal

It was not the best  bowl of Panang that I have ever had, I definitely would have liked some Thai basil on the side, but for the quick service and value it was acceptable. The small egg roll was very good and left me wanting several more of them along with the dipping sauce. The dumplings made for a nice light appetizer complete with a tasty filling of some unknown ingredients. The other two people I had lunch with both enjoyed their curry meals.

Tasty Dumplings

Thai Express offers a tasty alternative to the typical fried fast food options in the surrounding area. Although it may not be the best Thai food available in the city, it is certainly convenient. With many menu options it is a good place for a quick lunch or dinner during the week.

Sit @ Thai Express on Urbanspoon

Cafe Asia

4 Feb

Tucked away deep in the far corner of Normandie shopping center at Woodlawn and Central lies a literal hidden gem, Cafe Asia. Without much signage, it is entirely possible for one to circle the strip mall endlessly searching in vain for the Asian restaurant. I’m sure many a hunger-crazed soul has given up their search and opted for the highly visible Little Caesars. Luckily my internal GPS came through for us and we were able to enjoy the delights of Cafe Asia.

Inside you will find a small dining area that looks similar to many of the family run Asian restaurants around town. They are very proud of Malaysia as evidenced by the numerous travel posters that adorn the wall. Once seated our party was quickly served baskets of fried wontons and a delicious sweet strawberryish dipping sauce. It was a solid way to start off our meal. The menu is good sized for a small place and has something for everyone. If you are just looking for good ‘ol Chinese dishes they have those, you can get your Thai fix with some curries and Pad Thai, and they also offer Malaysian dishes.

Steph ordered a combination plate of Lo Mein with shrimp, chicken, and beef, while I opted for something called Chow Kueh Teow, which apparently is a “famous Malaysian” dish. The Chinese dishes on the menu are served with an egg roll and crab rangoon. Being a connoisseur of crab rangoon I thought Cafe Asia’s were just ok, but their egg roll was good.  When the main dishes came out, we were both greeted with a large amount of food.

How About a Big Dish of Chow Kueh Teow?

The Chow Teow was a tasty dish that consisted of wide rice noodles, sprouts, egg, and plenty of beef, chicken, and shrimp. The ingredients were coated in a brown sauce that was well seasoned, but not overpowering. The chicken and veggie Lo Mein did not disappoint either. The thick noodles were cooked perfectly with no mass of clumped up noodles that one can sometimes get when ordering Lo Mein. Once again they did not skimp on the various parts of the meal. The sauce was a bit on the bland side, but tasted much better than when Dillons drowns their Lo Mein in soy sauce.

After our experience at Cafe Asia, we decided it will become our new place for Chinese/Asian take out. So farewell Great Wall and Dillons, we will no longer need your services, except maybe when we have a crab rangoon craving. If you are in the mood for some type of Asian dish and lots of it, look no further than Cafe Asia.  If you didn’t already jump in the car immediately at the mention of fried wontons with dipping syrup then now is your time.

I attempted to take a picture of the hours of operation at Cafe Asia because it was the only way I would remember them. Unfortunately I took the picture with a phone camera, leaving much to the imagination. Here is my interpretation: Basically they are closed on Sunday and Monday, closed for lunch on Saturday and Tuesday, and then there is a break between 2:30 and 5 on the other days(Although it could be 4:30 or maybe 6pm?). During the week they close at 8pm, but on Friday and Saturday they don’t close till 9pm. Got all that? Just go around noon for lunch and around 7 for dinner and you should be ok unless of course its a leap year and then you’re out of luck.

Tell Me What the Hell This Says and Win A Prize

Cafe Asia on Urbanspoon


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