Saturday, May 3, 2014

Ziggy's Pizza; Wichita, Ks

Ziggy's Pizza in the College Hill Neighborhood, Wichita, Ks

A friend of mine moved into this really quite awesome area of Wichita and last summer after moving them in we started exploring the very walk-able neighborhood.   One of the areas that was just down the road is a little shopping village of small little house like buildings on a bit of a square.  Soon we found this awesome little pizza joint that has a really awesome outside patio and some amazing pizza selections.  This is a fabulous stop if you are ever in the area! 

So one of my favorites on the menu is their Mamacita's Taco Pizza.  Why, well it has the thin layer of refried beans, taco sauce, ground beef, onion, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomatoes,  and is topped off with Dorito's.  This is the way Taco pizza should be.  You get all the flavor and the crunch of a traditional hard corn taco shell.  It is fantastic!  (Note: the blurry picture below does not do this pizza justice).

Some of the other great options that I would recommend: 
The house salad with the Italian dressing that has so many great flavors packed into every bite it could be a meal in itself.

The Kickin' Chicken pizza with buffalo sauce and jalapenos- this one is tailor made for you spicy food lovers.  This pizza defiantly packs a bang in every bite. 

The White Delight Pizza is a wonderful option for those who are not huge marinara fans.  This chicken pizza is made with cream cheese, bacon and peppers served with marinara on the side.  It is delectable goodness that is creamy and super tasty.

Price Range: $8-15 per person

Friday, March 21, 2014

Scoeboard Sports Bar and Grill; Emporia, Ks

Scoreboard Sports Bar and Grill; 6th and Mechanic, Emporia, Ks

This little Sports Bar and Grill is a very recent addition to the Emporia Dining Scene.  The name says it all and the menu is exactly what one would hope to find at a Sports Bar.  The appetizer menu is expansive and mostly of the "fried stuff with cheese" variety.  The burgers are large, have a tendency to be greasy, and are loaded with every topping but the kitchen sink.  It took a while for me to get in there to check this place out for an actual meal.  The decision on the burger option was difficult but finally was narrowed down to the Bobby Burger and the Slayburger.  So my dining partner got one and i got the other!

The Bobby Burger comes with an optional hot sauce which I asked for on the side.  The hot sauce was a salsa blend and for me, there was not much "heat" to it at all.  It seemed to be more of a simple tomato salsa that did not have any of the traditional peppers to add the heat.  The burger was topped with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickle, bacon and french fries.   Since french fries came on the burger I elected to get the fried Mac-n-cheese triangles as my side.  Overall the flavor was okay, nothing to rave about in the world of burgers, but a good hearty meal. 

The Slay burger is served on a pretzel bun with bacon and a fired egg.  I only had a bite of this one and found pretty much the same thing as I did with my burger- it was good.   

This new spot in Emporia is working on it and trying hard.  The service was sometimes a bit slow but they were trying.  The food is okay and there are lots of TV's to watch your favorite sports events while you eat.   This is a nice alternative for a quick bite to eat in the Emporia Downtown area.  Next time you head to a sporting event at White Auditorium, stop in and check it out.

Price Range: $8-12

Saturday, February 22, 2014

W A Japanese Restaurant; Lawrence, Ks

W A Japanese Restaurant on Mass Street, Lawrence, Ks

So there was an occasion to head out on a nice day trip to Lawrence, Ks and celebrate a birthday. What better way to celebrate than by heading to try out W A Japanese Restaurant.  After dining in Okinawa, Japan last fall, I will admit that my expectation is sometimes a bit high when eating Japanese style food in the states.  So, keep that in mind.

Dinner started with Miso soup and this is one dish that defiantly has been watered down (quite literally) in the states.  The fish broth has very little of the strong fish flavor found in many of the Miso soups I tried in Okinawa.  This soup was a very simple broth that was warm and had very mild flavor that would be palatable for just about any customer. 

The main course was the the Love-Boat selection of Sushimi, California Rolls, Tempura, and Teriyaki Chicken.  This only works if all diners in your party are fans of this type of food and open to the variety.  This was a great way to sample a variety of the offerings at WA and seriously push the bounds on how much I can actually eat in one sitting.  This was absolutely delicious!   All the fish was cut well and the rolls were made tightly and stayed together when you picked them up with the chopsticks.  Additionally, the fish selections were very flavorful.  The Teriyaki chicken was good and the sauce had a very nice balance of sweet and tangy.  The tempura batter was a bit thick on some of the selections but it had very nice flavor and was cooked perfectly.

After stuffing myself silly with the delicious array of sushi and sushimi it was time for my favorite Green Tea Ice Cream, and I was a little disappointed.  This particular dish was very heavy on the bitter side of Green Tea Ice cream and did not have a pleasant consistency.  It was really quite a let down as I had not had the pleasure of having this delectable dessert since my trip overseas.  So if I go back to WA, will probably skip this addition.

Overall this was a nice new place to check out.  The service was fantastic and very friendly which always goes a long way with me.  Generally the food is on par with other Midwest land locked sushi restaurants.  The reality is that there is going to be a little bit of taste sacrificed because of that.   The ambiance of the restaurant makes it a really nice place to go on a date or other special occasion dinner.  

Price Range: $15-35

Amanda's Bakery & Cafe; Emporia, Ks

Amanda's Bakery & Cafe in Emporia, Ks

It is a lovely little cafe that is nestled in the Southwest corner of the Cress Building at 7th and Commercial street in Emporia.  This great little lunch stop offers those big windows to allow a host of people watching while you enjoy the made to order, fresh and tasty lunch that sits before you.  The menu offers a variety of delectable sandwich combos served on fresh baked bread with fresh sides that will please any palate. 

On this visit the selection was a Southwest Kickin' Chicken Panini and potato salad.  

This meal is the perfect size to be filling without overdoing it.  The bread is absolutely delicious and really makes the sandwich pop with flavor.  The fresh fruit side option was overly tempting as it all looked extremely juicy and perfectly ripe, but the potato salad won out on this particular visit.  The potato salad was creamy with a nice balance of flavor that was not overpowering.  Overall Amanda's Bakery & Cafe is a really perfect downtown lunch stop while out shopping, running errands, or simply escaping the office for lunch.  Stop by and check out this great Emporia treasure on your next lunch break!

Price Range: $6-10

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

The Home Cafe, Emporia, Ks

For those who spent time enjoying Emporia, Kansas nightlife previous to 2010 you may remember a small greasy spoon out on Highway 50 called the S&S Cafe.  It was sort of a staple for a long time and filled in after country kitchen closed and before Village Inn opened, then again after Village Inn stopped serving all night, that little greasy spoon was there.  In fact, it was a 24 hour dining establishment next to the S&S gas and Weigh station.  There were many people that enjoyed the greasy fare in that small cozy little space that had great tasting food.  Sadly this establishment closed down  a few years ago but a a new place has opened in the space- and it is pretty tasty!

"The Home Cafe" is only open from 6 am to 2 pm and are shooting for more of the old diner feel than a greasy spoon.  The new owners put in a lot of work to lift a long existing layer of grease and grime from the interior floors and walls.  The booths have been removed and new tales with a light maple wood top and mauve cushioned chars now fill the small dining area. Additionally they did not try extra seating in by placing tables uncomfortably close together.  In fact it is one of the few time when I have sat in a chair in a restaurant that when I pulled it out it didn't slam into another chair or wall.   

The service is friendly and quick without an hovering, which I appreciate.  My coffee was refilled promptly and often without interruption to the conversation.  (Always a sign of an experienced wait staff).  The menu was pretty basic, covering your usual diner breakfast staples.  They also have a limited lunch menu but there is often a lunch special like meatloaf.  There is also a small selection of home made pies available- yum!  

On this visit I went with my standard order of a ham and cheese omelet, hashbrowns, and toast.  The omelet was cooked well with a good sizable portion of diced ham and a heavy handed portion of blended cheese.  This made for a really great ratio of egg to ham and cheese throughout the entire omelet, not just the center.  The hashbrowns were a perfect golden crunchy exterior with the light buttery perfectly cooked texture underneath.  Hashbrwons can often be the make or break indicator of a god breakfast diner and the Home Cafe does not let you down.

Generally the price range was $5-8 per meal so it is comparable to other diners and chain restaurants. This is a place that is definitely worth stop to try out if you are looking for a new place to try in the morning.

Address: 4601 U.S. 50, Emporia, KS 66801
Phone: 620-343-3338
Hours: 6:00 AM- 2:00 PM Tue- Sun

Thursday, January 2, 2014

China Buffet Emporia, Ks

Well after a very full fall it is time to start a new year.  In the spirit of starting over I had my first meal out at a restaurant that is also starting over with an interior make over.  Hopefully there will be people who are willing to give it another chance in the new year, and based on the crowds on New Year's Day, I would say that it has a chance.

The China Buffet located on Industrial Road and Highway 50 in Emporia, Ks has undergone a little transformation.  The interior remodel inspired confidence in the quality and improvement in the food as well.  This is a typical buffet of Chinese food that offers a little bit for everyone.  Lunch price was $6.99 and the dinner price is $9.99.  The tables were sparkling (they are glitter infused Formica table tops) and clean.  The food was hot, fresh, and generally well seasoned.  

The nice part for families is that there is a selection of American cuisine for those picky eaters in your family.  There were chicken nuggets, fries, and even pizza available.  The buffet is well organized and grouped in ways that make sense and make it easy to find the food you are craving.  Highly recommend the Crab Rangoon, Garlic Chicken Dish, and the Cucumber Salad.  

The wait staff was pleasant, friendly and for the most part efficient.  Dirty plates were taken from the table quickly and politely.  Everyone who was working seemed to generally be smiling which indicates a good environment.

Overall, I would recommend that if you like Chinese buffets in general to give this one a shot or a second chance (as the case may be).  You might be surprised by what you find.

Address: 2804 U.S. 50, Emporia, KS 66801
Phone:(620) 343-6688
Thursday 11:00 am – 9:00 pm 

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Children of the Mind by O.S. Card

Children of the Mind by Orson Scott Card (4th book in the Ender Series)

If you have read any of the posts about books on my blog you already know that I divide books based on how they feed my brain.  There are the brain Candy books that are just fun to read but require little digestive effort; the Light Snacks that give you a little taste and require a little bit of brain digestion; Meals for the Mind that are full of thought and sustenance to feed your brain knowledge and insight.... Then there are books that are just hard to digest- the 7 course meal of the literary world.  The Ender series by Orson Scott Card has gone back and forth between the last two categories and this last installment was the perfect 7 course meal of books to wrap up the story lines.

Some may think that these types of books are daunting, and often they are.  In my modest opinion most of the books that fall into this category are the classics that you almost have to force yourself to finish.  However, with Card there is an easy prose style that makes you want to keep reading.  He created beautiful characters that embody all of the characteristics that we hope (or wish) we had, as well as all of those characteristics we fear lie just beneath the surface.  His understanding of the foibles and struggles of the human mind burst forth in an allegorical story line that push our moral, ethical and political consciousness to a new level. 

This is a book that challenges the reader to think and examine the world in which they live from a safe distance.  The book allows for questioning of all beliefs in a safe distant false reality that feels all to real while reading.  Though the heart of the book seems to be this moral, ethical, political dilemma that everyone must face at some point of their existence; it is the over arching theme of communication and knowledge that, for lack of a better phrase, slaps you across the face in the last few pages.  

This book series is marketed as young adult literature; however, this is also one of those books that as your knowledge and ideals grow over your life, so will the things you take away from this series. Yes, this is a book series that teens would enjoy; but, it is also a book series that warrants rereading, revisiting, re-digesting at different points in your life.  Although I did not read these books until I was much older, I doubt my teenage self would have had the full appreciation of the subtlety that Card uses to probe grey areas of the age old question of right and wrong. 

This is a book series I recommend to everyone.  Even if you are not a Science Fiction fan, at its heart it is a book that dolefully explores the reality of our human existence in a way that is meaningful, life affirming, and sustaining of deep thought.

  • Series: The Ender Quintet (Book 4)
  • Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Tor Science Fiction (June 15, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0812522397
  • ISBN-13: 978-0812522396