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Twizted Confections

18 May

For several years I have lived in close proximity to Twizted Confections and never happened to stop by. I had sampled their cakes and cookies a number of times, but was missing out on much more.

Italian Hoagie

Italian Hoagie

Twizted Confections is located at Woodlawn and Central, near Il Primo Cafe, and is the place for anyone with a sweet tooth as well as those who enjoy a bierock. While their main business are sweets, they also offer some savory sandwiches and bierocks. In fact they are quite proud of their bierocks judging by the sign outside and the bierock superimposed upon a large reproduction of Michelangelo’s “Creation of Adam”. There are several tables inside for dining in, but it appears that most people grab food to go.

The savory menu is short and consists of several sandwiches, bierocks, and quiche as well as sides that include coleslaw and garlic slaw. The sweet menu is expansive and includes pies, cookies, cakes, baklava, cupcakes,  and muffins. They typically have a wide selection available daily, but if you are really craving a certain type of pie, ordering ahead is your best bet. They also offer a variety of fresh baked breads.

The Cold Reuben

The Cold Reuben

On our first visit we tried two of their sandwiches, an Italian Hoagie and a Reuben, as well as sides of the garlic coleslaw. The Italian Hoagie featured ham, salami, cheese, tomato, onions, and Italian dressing on a homemade crusty roll. This was a pretty good sandwich, although I could have done with less dressing. The Reuben was rather disappointing on the other hand. A proper Reuben needs to come out hot so the corned beef can meld with the cheese and sauerkraut. Unfortunately ours came out mostly cold and the bun lacked the toasty goodness it needed. This sandwich has potential because the rye bread was wonderful, they just need to add more beef and make sure it comes out warm. The garlic slaw had a nice balance of garlicy sweetness that made it a good side.

Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake

Blue Ribbon Carrot Cake

Feeling that our Twizted experience was less than complete we went back another time to load up on bierocks and sweets, since reviewing a bakery without trying any of the dessert options is unacceptable. We ordered bierocks to go as well as a variety of cookies, a slice of their State Fair winning carrot cake, a brownie, and a slice of peanut butter pie.

Bierock Cross Section

Bierock Cross Section

After a quick zap in the microwave, the good sized bierocks were ready to enjoy. And enjoy we did. The roll itself was soft and flavorful and stuffed with plenty of meat and cabbage. The filling was well seasoned, although the meat was a little overcooked. All in all I would rank this bierock as one of the better ones in town. The sweet treats did not disappoint either. Each of the cookies we sampled were good, but the

Delicious PB Pie

Delicious PB Pie

brownie, cake, and pie each proved to be much better. The brownie was very soft, chocolatey, and had a pasty-like crust on it. It was quickly devoured by the kids in our group. The carrot cake was everything you could possibly want in a carrot cake. The cake itself was moist and full of cinnamon spice goodness, while the frosting was an excellent cream cheese variety. The peanut butter pie was the most decadent and delicious of the desserts. The rich pie had a base layer of peanut butter cream, followed by a layer of whipped cream, and topped off with a nice chunk of peanut butter candy.

Twizted Confections is first and foremost a dessert place. If you are looking for a specialty pie or cake this is the place to check out. While the bierocks were good, the rest of their savory options were average in my opinion.

 

Twizted Confections on Urbanspoon

Mead’s Corner

26 Mar

Steph and I recently started drinking coffee on a somewhat regular basis, so we figured it would be good to review a coffeehouse. There is an ever growing list of places to get a good cup of coffee in Wichita, but since we were looking for some lunch as well we went with Mead’s Corner, located at Douglas and Emporia. Mead’s is one of those places I have always driven by, yet never visited. Why I kept passing up a place that advertises gelato on their exterior is beyond me.

Ham and Cheese Panini with House Salad

Ham and Cheese Panini with House Salad

Mead’s Corner is a unique establishment because it is owned by the First United Methodist Church and their profits are given to charities. Mead’s religious affiliation is kept fairly low-key in the restaurant, so those who do not feel like being evangelized to can visit without any reservations.

Beverages, namely coffee, are the main menu attractions at Mead’s, but they also serve some pastries, paninis, salads, a hearty breakfast burrito, and gelato. The coffee is fair trade, high quality stuff that is priced very reasonably compared to other places.

On our visit I tried a cappucino and a ham and cheese panini, while Steph ordered a hazelnut latte and turkey panini. Both of our coffees were good and only cost around $3 each for 12 oz sizes.  My ham and cheese panini was basic, but tasty. There was a decent amount of ham and the bread was grilled to panini perfection. My only complaint was that the sandwich came with basic yellow mustard. I think perhaps a Dijion mustard or some whole grain variety would have added a better flavor profile. Steph’s turkey panini came with tomatoes and a balsamic dressing. Again it was nothing fancy, but made for a fine lunch. We both had house salads with our meals, which featured a spring mix, craisins, croutons, and the tasty balsamic house dressing.

Heaping Cup of Gelato

Heaping Cup of Gelato

After finishing off our lunch we surveyed the many flavors of gelato trying to decide what to order. Since we were only able to narrow it down to coconut and mocha, a split dish was ordered. The generous serving of gelato was delicious. It seems that gelato flavors are usually more intense than regular ice cream and these varieties proved that true.

Mead’s Corner has something for just about everyone, whether you need a good cup of coffee, a quick and satisfying lunch, or a gelato fix. And with profits going to charitable causes, it a good place to spend your money.

 

Copper Oven Cafe and Bakery(Don’t Leave Without Dessert)

20 Jan

In my opinion some the most unpredictable dining adventures you can have are at cafes and diners. You never know if the place just pulls everything out of the freezer or if they actually take the time to prepare homemade food. It’s the difference between enjoying a tasty comfort food meal or something that leaves you wondering why you didn’t just go get some Pho. Copper Oven Cafe and Bakery, located on 13th just east of Meridian, happens to be an establishment where you won’t go away doubting the state of traditional American cuisine.

A Perfect Reuben with a Mound of Ranch Potatoes

A Perfect Reuben with a Mound of Ranch Potatoes

Copper Oven is located in  an older strip mall, but inside is a spacious and inviting dining area. Besides the restaurant there is a bakery that of course you must go  by to get to your seat. It’s a great idea because after glancing at their wide variety of cakes, cookies, pies, and pastries you will be hard pressed to pass up dessert. The menu has all the items you would expect from an American style cafe, but also some surprises like ceviche, upscale sandwiches, and several signature salads.  Breakfast is also served till 2pm each day and they have many hearty egg dishes to choose from.

On our visit we both decided to try a couple of their sandwiches. I ordered the iconic Reuben and Steph went with a grilled chicken pesto on focaccia.  The first thing I noticed about the Reuben was the thick cut rye bread it was served on. Good rye bread is essential for a proper Reuben and is all too often overlooked. Well not at Copper Oven, these people don’t mess around with their rye bread. Tender corned beef, plenty of melted cheese, sauerkraut, and of course the grilled rye made this one of the best Reubens I have

The Chicken Pesto Sammie

The Chicken Pesto Sammie

had. The chicken pesto was close to being a really good sandwich, but we thought it was held back by the focaccia. It was thick compared to the rest of the ingredients and could have benefited from being toasted. Other than that it was a tasty sandwich.  The pesto was fresh and had a strong basil flavor, and the fresh veggies were a good touch. Both of our sandwiches came with a large pile of Ranch potatoes, which were just basic fried potato cubes. We didn’t hear any complaints from out son who finished off quite a bit of his grilled cheese. The  biggest decision of our visit and probably our week was what to get for dessert. After some deliberation we ordered a slice of chocolate peanut butter cream pie. The coconut cream was a close second and I will be back for some of that action soon. Anyway, the

Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie

Decadent Chocolate Peanut Butter Cream Pie

chocolate peanut butter pie was money. Good crust, great flavor, and some sinful whipped cream on top is about all you can hope for in a cream pie.

If you are looking for simple American fare done right as well as great desserts, Copper Oven is a place to check out.
http://copperovencafe.com/

Copper Oven Cafe on Urbanspoon

Banh Mi Ngon

10 Nov

Previously Published in the Wichita Eagle:

It used to be in order to find a Banh Mi sandwich in Wichita you had to travel to midtown, but now with the recent opening of Banh Mi Ngon things have changed. This small eatery, located at Central and Woodlawn, specializes in the delicious Vietnamese sandwich as well as serving up in-house pastries and drinks.

The dining room, if you can call it that, has the feel of a small coffee house. There are plush couches and chairs, just a few tables, and Wifi. It is a perfect space to relax, enjoy good food, and perhaps get some work done.

One of Wicita's Top Banh Mi

One of Wicita’s Top Banh Mi

The menu centers around Banh Mi, the traditional French influenced Vietnamese sandwich. There are several different sandwiches offered with meat options that include beef, chicken and pork. Each sandwich comes with jalapenos, sliced cucumber, cilantro, carrots, and Vietnamese mayonnaise. Homemade French baguette is the vessel by which all these ingredients are conveyed unto the diner. In addition, Ngon offers croissants stuffed with cream cheese or chocolate, a savory pastry called a Bird’s Nest with sausage, onion, cheese, and shredded chicken, spring rolls, and a daily special.

On our visit we ordered the traditional combination sandwich ($4.25) with ham, pork roll, and charisu pork (thinly sliced braised pork), a grilled pork sandwich ($4.25), a savory pastry ($2.49), a

Perfect Drunk Food

Perfect Drunk Food

chocolate filled croissant ($1.99), and a glass of their homemade soy milk. I was impressed with the quality and quantity of the ingredients in our sandwiches. The veggies were fresh and crisp, while the meat was tender and lean. I was especially impressed with the ham that had small pieces of pickled pig’s ear mixed in. For the less adventurous I recommend the glazed pork Banh Mi.  The sweetness of the thinly sliced pork balanced nicely with the jalapenos. The baguette was appropriately sized as to not swallow up the filling of the sandwich, and while it was high quality bread I would have liked it to be crustier. The Bird Nest pastry used the same bread as the baguette and was a delicious snack. One could make a killing selling these outside of bars at two in the morning. As for the dessert croissant, it was amazing. You really can’t go wrong with a good pastry filled with semi-sweet morsels, although it was not as flaky as I like. The homemade soy milk had a hint of ginger to it and was refreshing.

Mmmmm, Chocolate Filled Croissant

Mmmmm, Chocolate Filled Croissant

Banh Mi Ngon is a counter service restaurant and our server/cashier was very helpful in explaining the menu and offering samples. The prices were reasonable as our total meal was under $20. For those you with small children there are no high chairs, so carryout is probably your best bet.

https://www.facebook.com/pages/Banh-Mi-Ngon-Vietnamese-Sandwiches/431616720290750

Juarez Bakery

4 Aug

If you think that Wichita is lacking in good local bakeries, then you have not paid a visit to Jaurez Bakery. While it’s location at 1068 N. Waco may be a bit off most people’s beaten paths, it is certainly worth the trip if you are looking for some authentic Mexican pastries. Juarez also doubles as a small grocery store, which stocks a variety of Hispanic food.

So Many Sweets to Choose From…

Once inside you are immediately drawn to the large selection of exquisite looking baked goods nicely displayed along the front wall. The bakery is self serve luckily, so you can take as much time as you would like to make your selections without holding up the line. This also forces you to exercise some degree of self control or you may walk out of Juarez with several bags full of treats. To begin your shopping experience just grab some tongs and a tray from the cashier counter and get to work.

And Still More…

The selection of baked goods at Juarez includes: pan dulces, churros, croissants, several varieties of cookies, doughnuts, cake, and even something that appeared to be in the shape of a pig.  Some of the sweets are labelled, but if in doubt the cashiers can help you with any questions.

On our most recent visit we selected a churro, a Mexican wedding cookie, a scone looking treat covered in chocolate, and
a cream filled doughnut. The churro and unidentified scone-like treat were our favorites. The deep fried churro tube had a crispy exterior that gave way to a dulce de leche filling. Rolled in cinnamon and sugar it was great. The scone looking thing tasted similar to a cake doughnut and had a delicious chocolate topping as well. The Mexican wedding cookie was just at it should be, dense and crumbly with a dusting of powdered sugar. The creme filled doughnut was just as good as any that you would find at your typical doughnut shop.

If you are looking for some great homemade pastries, Juarez Bakery is the place to go. With prices ranging from $0.75 to $2 per item it is also a great value compared to other sweet shops in the area.

Our Selections Included a Churro(top) and a Mexican Wedding Cookie(bottom)

Juarez Baking on Urbanspoon

Bagatelle Bakery- Wichita KS

27 Oct

One of Wichita’s dining/food weaknesses is the local bakery scene. There are only a handful of places that offer fresh baked delights and one of those is Bagatelle. Located on Harry just east of Woodlawn, Bagatelle has been turning out breads and pastries for a number of years as well as serving breakfast, lunch and dinner.

After just one visit to this bakery/restaurant I am ready give it the award for “Most Eclectic Menu in Wichita” or “Most Likely Restaurant to serve Mexican, Lebanese, and French foods on the same day”.  Those are two categories that must be added to the Reader’s Choice Awards next year. We apparently visited on Mexican day, because the special was enchiladas, which complemented the quiches, soups, hummus, and ham sandwiches rather nicely. A bit taken back by the presence of enchiladas at a bakery I fell back on my old trusty friend, the ham and cheese croissant. I also got a cup of black bean soup for my side. Steph decided to go simple as well and ordered a turkey croissant with a side of hummus. Making our way to the decent sized seating area, we found a basket full of pita chips and well as some tasty ciabatta bread that was being offered to all customers. It looked like if we had gotten there earlier, there would have been some cake for dessert on the freebie table.

We enjoyed our generous bowl of hummus and as well as the cup of black bean soup and some ciabatta bread while waiting for the sandwiches to come out. The sandwiches eventually came out served with a simple pickle. Both the turkey and the ham sandwich came out the same with ample amounts of meat, several slices of cheese, and served on what was a very good croissant. Some people might have been taken aback by the lack of other ingredients, but it just reminded me of the way they serve sandwiches in France. When you have quality ingredients you don’t need a bunch of sauce and vegetables to get in the way.  Now I’m not saying the croissants at Bagatelle are as good as in Paris, but they are some of the better ones I have had stateside. We left Bagatelle full and satisfied with our experience. Steph was so full from lunch she actually passed up on some of the wonderful looking pastries behind the counter.

As far as the bread and pastry products go at Bagatelle, they had croissants, ciabatta bread, baguettes, and a wide variety other assorted pastries. If their baked goods menu is anything like the lunch and dinner menu I can only assume that it is rather dynamic and changes day-to-day. Similar to N and J’s, Bagatelle also offers bags of pita chips, cheeses, and seasonings. To sum it all up, Bagatelle offers a random assortment of good food, breads, and pastries at reasonable prices and they can even make you a wedding cake.

Baugatelle’s Daily Specials

<a href="http://Bagatelle Bakery on Urbanspoon“>

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