Tuesday, September 12, 2017

Mizu Sushi & Hibachi Restaurant



A new hibachi and sushi restaurant called Mizu, just opened up across from Cracker Barrel this week. I've driven by a few times to check it out since I heard that there would be a new hibachi spot coming soon. I heard they were open so I had to get over there and check it out. It's in the building that was originally called The Rib Crib.

The staff was friendly and sat us immediately in a booth. The woman brought menus and a sheet of paper for the all-you-can-eat lunch of sushi and hibachi. It's encouraged to only order one of everything at first, and then ordering more when you are done so food isn't wasted. The food comes pretty quickly so it wasn't a problem for me. There are salads, appetizers, sushi, hibachi, fried rice and Japanese noodle dishes.

Starting off I chose the green salad that comes with ginger dressing. There were other options, too, including a cucumber salad and couple others. I also chose some crab rangoons and chicken dumplings. Each item came out quickly. My husband and I shared the appetizers and also ordered some chicken fried rice. I enjoyed everything and appreciated that it all came so quickly, especially during lunch. The crab rangs reminded me of the money bags at Tuptim Thai only a little crispier. The sauce was sweet, but not real thick like that bright pinkish red
sweet and sour sauce and I enjoyed it. The dumplings came with a sauce of its own and was pretty tasty, too. Everything was hot and fresh.

Next came the thin Japanese noodles and my hubs got the steak hibachi so we could share and get a little bit of both. I got the chicken noodles and the portion was just right. Because of the set up and it being all you can eat, I appreciated the smaller portions so I could have a little bit of everything. Also, once you finish you can always order more if you still want it. The steak hibachi came with
a good portion of meat, sauteed veggies and some fried rice. Again, the portions aren't heaping but they are still generous, and there is the option to order more for up to two hours. We still had sushi on its way so I knew I would still need to save some room for that and didn't order additional portions.

The last thing to come was the sushi. We ordered a spicy tuna roll, a volcano roll and a rainbow roll. The volcano roll was my favorite even though it was pretty spicy, at least for me who is pretty sensitive to spicy foods. This one also looked pretty cool because it was cut differently and stood up to resemble a volcano with the red sauces dripping down the sides as if it has just erupted. The rainbow roll was good, and the spicy tuna roll was alright. I wasn't a fan of the spicy tuna roll because it had too much of the crunchy stuff that's usually on top, on the inside. Maybe if it just had less crunchy stuff I would have liked it better, I just didn't like this one. Other than that the sushi was fresh and full of bold flavors. That volcano roll I would recommend to anyone who wants to try something a little different.


For $12.99 at lunch I felt like the price was perfect for what can be ordered. There is a two hour time limit, but who has two hours to eat lunch most days? I get full pretty fast, too, so I don't even need an hour. I think it would be the perfect place to take a group of friends and order everything on the menu and share it and hang out for awhile. I'm excited that it's local and right down the street and I look forward to returning soon. The dinner for 2 is $30, which is a great price, especially for a date night or a night out with friends.

Tuesday, August 29, 2017

Fuzzy's Taco Shop, Topeka




Today I tried Fuzzy's Taco Shop in Topeka. It opened last week and I've been hearing about it ever since. It's always busy when I drive by and a lot of my friends have tried it. I have also heard mixed reviews so I thought I'd wait a few days before going.

When I got there the line was almost to the door, but inside was more spacious than I thought it would be. Back when I had last been in that particular building it was Team Sporting Goods and there were racks of sports equipment and lots of stuff on the walls. Now the walls are painted in bright colors with booths and tables all around. It's different than I remember but I like it, and I'm glad another restaurant has come to the College Hill area.

There are so many items on the menu that it was hard to choose. I was glad to have a few minutes to read it over while I was waiting in line. Although the line was long, it didn't take too long to get my order in, and I wonder if it will be like that on a regular basis once it's not so new to the area. The menu has all kinds of loaded nachos, tacos and burritos. Breakfast items are served all day, which is a huge plus for me because I like breakfast at all times of the day.

I got a chicken taco and a spicy pork taco in hard shells, and Ryan and I split some brisket nachos. I
ordered a side of guacamole, too because that's just a must for me. The only thing I didn't like was that the chips with the guac came out with seasoning on them, and I didn't like the seasoning. Next time, hopefully they can just leave it off and use salt. The guac was good, it had chunks of avocado in it, tomatoes and onions that I enjoyed. The chicken and pork tacos come with cilantro, feta cheese, tomatoes and lettuce. Those were tasty, too, although the chicken was just a little salty. I put some guacamole on all my tacos, and they were awesome.

The brisket nachos were humongous and someone could order a platter for their entire meal if they wanted to. This platter could also be shared between 4-6 people as an appetizer, or between two people who are really hungry. I devoured them and my tacos, but was extremely stuffed by the time I was through.

My experience was a good one, as compared to some of the reviews I've seen online. But, to me that's to be expected at any new location and I'm sure things will smooth out in the next few days. If you don't want to chance it, I'd say wait a week or two then go try it out. Or, go when it's not a lunch or dinner rush and really give them a chance. We went today, on a Tuesday at 2 p.m. when it's not necessarily lunch time, but it was still busy. After ordering we only waited about 5 minutes for our order and found a place to sit pretty quickly, too.

I plan to return and check out their breakfast menu soon. Like I said before, I'm glad another restaurant has come to College Hill within walking distance of my house.

Thursday, June 29, 2017

Top Dog



Finally, a hotdog spot in Topeka. I mean, a lot of places have hotdogs on their menu and some even have Chicago-style hotdogs, but there hasn't been a place that specializes in just hotdogs that I can remember. Top Dog is now open by Gage Bowl on Huntoon and I got over there as soon as I could. (The map still says it's Mr. Nice Guys' Hot Box, but that business is no longer at that location.)

Elvis Dog
The place looks like an old school drive-in with parking in front, under an awning and a building with large windows and that's where the hotdogs are. You go inside and order, though, so it's not really like a drive-in, but it still looks cool. There are tables inside to eat at, or there is a picnic table outside to sit at, too. It was a beautiful day so I sat outside for my lunch.

The hotdogs are all beef can come off the menu or you can build your own with the toppings you choose. The menu has basic hotdogs like the Perry, which has ketchup, mustard and relish. They even have a Chicago dog and their Sloppy dog is a chili dog with mustard. I decided to be brave and try something different, such as the Elvis dog with peanut butter, crushed corn cereal flakes and bananas. My hubby got the Mexico dog with drunken beans, bacon, lettuce, jalapeno, pico de gallo, tomato, avocado and cheese. Just listing out those ingredients is making my mouth water.

If you order a meal your hotdog comes with a drink and a choice of a baked potato or chips. The baked potato even comes with butter, sour cream and cheese. I got the chips but the hubs got the baked potato and it was fat. I couldn't have eaten one so I'm glad I went with the chips.

The Elvis dog is definitely something to write home about. I have always loved peanut butter and
Mexico Dog
bananas, so why not on a hotdog? The combination was so good that I ate the entire thing, bun and all. I haven't been eating bread much, but this warranted an exception. The creamy, earthy peanut butter with the sweet banana contrasted with the juicy, salty hotdog perfectly. The peanut butter would kind of coat my mouth but the with the texture of the hotdog and bun and the crunchy cereal flakes, it wasn't hard to eat at all. I would order this again.

The Mexico dog was loaded with all kinds of stuff and is one that I will have to return and order for myself. It looked pretty good but I was so preoccupied with mine I didn't even taste it. I hear it was tasty and the guy working said it was his favorite hotdog to order. It has avocado on it so you can't really go wrong there.

The people working were very friendly and happy to answer any questions we had. Their hours are pretty awesome, as their drive-thru is going to be open until 3 a.m. on Fridays and Saturdays for all those people leaving the bars across the street who want to eat but don't want to drive all the way across town. I know it's going to be an option for me. I plan to return many times to try other items on the menu, and I saw where they have BYO nachos so those are a must.

Tuesday, March 28, 2017

Porubsky's: A Taste of Topeka History



I ventured down to Porubsky's, in Little Russia, on the outskirts of Oakland in the northeastern part of Topeka for an article I'm writing for TK Business Magazine. I decided I should order some food, just in case I decided to write a review. Of course, my experience was a memorable one so I had to write about it.


The full name is CW Porubsky Grocery and Meats, but most people just call it Porubsky's. Even though the area was populated by Germans before the Great Flood in 1951, people called them Russians because a group of them had previously settled in Russia, and the area became known as "Little Russia". People still call it that today. The restaurant and grocery has been here since 1947, and at that time main bridge to the Oakland part of Topeka was right there, instead of to the North, where it is today. Then in 1951 the flood came along and destroyed the bridge, but it didn't destroy Porubsky's.

If you mention Porubsky's to anyone in Topeka they will immediately talk about one of two things, the hot pickles or the chili. For me, it's the chili. Monday through Thursday, Sept. 1 to April 1, they make it fresh daily, which means, next week there won't be any more chili until September! I just realized this as I was typing it and it makes me a little sad inside. A lot of people like the hot pickles, but I'm not much into hot pickles, my favorite are dill and bread and butter and I'm not much into spicy foods. Although, over the years that is changing some.

The chili definitely is one of a kind and so good. It's got beef and beans and so many spices and seasonings I could't tell you exactly what is in it, but whatever it was, it was tasty and I can't say I've ever had chili like it. It comes with a slice of cheese on top, saltine crackers and a cup of raw onions on the side. I got a little slice of a hot pickle, too, but not a whole one, I honestly am not a big fan of horseradish and that's what they use to make these particular pickles hot. It wasn't as bad as I'd remembered the last time I tried one, but I don't think I'll be ordering one any time soon. The chili,
however, I will be back this fall for another bowl.

Their menu has more than just chili, and there's an entire deli on the other side of the store. Deli
sandwiches and a cold plate, and in the summer a special hoagie sandwich replaces the chili. I'm not sure where else in town you can get a pastrami on rye from a local restaurant, where it's sliced fresh daily. Please enlighten me if you know of a place.

When I was in there today, not only was I interviewing Cecilia Porubsky but there were a couple of students from Washburn University there interviewing her, too. They were asking questions about the history of the deli and I got to hear some interesting stories about the flood and the people who lived in the area who have supported the deli over the decades. Cecelia said that about 75 percent of the people who come in are regulars and the rest are people from out of town who have read or heard about the place from people raving about the food. Kansas state legislators and law makers come in during the legislative session on the regular and people venture out into the snow and sleet to get chili for home. If you haven't been to Porubsky's, you're truly missing a wonderful experience. The people and the food will keep me coming back every time.

Josey Baking Co.



This post was originally published on www.EverythingTopeka.com. Check out the website for information about what's going on in Topeka. 


A cute little bakery recently popped up in Westboro in the little shopping center on Huntoon and Oakley. It's been there for a couple months, but because I've been avoiding carbs, I haven't gone yet. I finally decided to venture over there today and I wasn't disappointed.

The first thing I noticed was the overwhelming smell of freshly baked bread and cinnamon rolls. Oh the bread! The items available ranges from sweet and savory kolaches, cinnamon rolls, cookies, croissants and much more. The lady working said they've been busy and even as the baker was bringing out fresh kolaches, people were ordering them just as fast because it was lunch time.

Before ordering I looked at everything that was to offer, and although it was lunch time, there was still a nice variety. As an advocate for locally sourced foods, I noticed Josey Baking Co. sells Hildebrand milk and uses the cream for coffee, too. On the Facebook page I learned the bakery also offers strawberry, chocolate, 2% or the mocha-chocolate milk at retail prices. Hildebrand milk comes in a glass bottle, though, so be prepared to pay the bottle deposit. Of course you get that money back when you return, or just get a new one without repaying that deposit fee. It’s simple. I have five bottles laying around on any given day because I forget them but it’s always nice when you
remember and end up with an extra $10.

 I ordered the Monte Cristo kolache and a cup of the tomato basil soup. I didn't want to go too crazy on the bread but I do wish I could have tried the bierock or even the BBQ pulled pork kolache. Everything available sounded tasty but I couldn't get it all. Even all the sweets looked amazing, I just can't eat all that or it will make my stomach upset anymore, so I passed. Everything I've heard about the cinnamon rolls and other sweet treats has been positive, though.
.
The Monte Cristo kolache was sprinkled with powdered sugar and stuffed with ham and Swiss cheese. Served on the size was a little cup of jalapeno raspberry jelly that had a nice kick to it because there's little chunks of jalapenos throughout it. The bread was soft and fluffy but nice and crusty on the bottom, not soggy. I loved it, and the jelly had just enough spiciness that it wasn't overpowering and went smoothly with the powdered sugar and Swiss cheese.

The tomato soup was chunky and seasoned just right. I love it when there are chunks of tomato and not completely smooth. I love texture.

My only complaint is that my schedule doesn’t mesh well with theirs and most of the time I have driven by, they are closed. But, it’s a small, locally owned business and a bakery. Usually bakeries close after noon, but at least these guys stay open until 5 p.m. most days except Saturday when they close at noon.

I’m excited to return and try the other pastries, but slowly, so it’s going to take awhile because there are so many varieties to choose from. I hear the cinnamon rolls are amazing and they’re huge.

Here's a direct link to my post on Everything Topeka, http://everythingtopeka.com/the-topeka-newsletter/667-experience-restaurants-with-tricia

Monday, January 23, 2017

A Taste of Lawrence: Ramen Bowls



 Ramen Bowls is my new favorite restaurant in Lawrence. I've been there twice in the past month and I want to return as soon as possible.

Chicken and Kimchi Tacos
Located on 10th Street in between Massachusetts and New Hampshire, Ramen Bowls is in a two-story building with tight space. Downstairs is the kitchen and two small tables that can be scooched together to make a six-top. Upstairs are more tables and a small waitress station, and it's really more of a loft than an upstairs because there is a railing and it opens up and you can see downstairs. If you get there when it's busy, you may have a waiting period but it's worth it. We waited for 30 minutes the first time we went because we had four people, but we just went across to the Replay Lounge and had a drink. The host texts you when your table is ready so it was convenient, too.

The menu consists of traditional ramen bowls, modern ramen bowls, fried rice and dumplings.

For an appetizer we ordered the Chicken and Kimchi Tacos, soft, flour tacos stuffed with braised chicken, kimchi, micro greens and bread and butter pickles. The sweetness of the pickles and the spiciness of the red pepper aioli and the tanginess of the kimchi go together perfectly. The micro greens were a nice texture. I could just order these tacos as lunch someday, but I had to save room for my noodle soup, as this was just an appetizer.

For my entree I ordered the Goddess Bowl, which could be a vegan dish but instead of tofu I asked
Goddess Bowl
for chicken. I'm just not a fan of tofu. It's something about the texture, and sometimes it doesn't have much flavor. Other than the tofu, or the chicken in my case, there is half an avocado, somen noodles, mushroom miso broth, spinach, Napa cabbage, scallions, local micro-greens and roasted red pepper aioli. When the bowl comes out, the cabbage and other veggies are are just kinda piled on top of the noodles and broth so everything is nice and fresh. The broth is always piping hot so the cabbage wilts down and the scallions soften up quickly. The red pepper aioli has a little spice to it so it gives the noodles a nice kick.

My favorite dish is basically a bowl of fried rice. The Hawaiian fried rice is amazing and I wish I could make it myself so I could just make it for dinner every night of the week. It may sound weird at first, but once you try it you will jump on board with me and never look back. It's called the Hawaiian fried rice because it has pineapple, fried Spam, peas and carrots in it. The Spam is salty and seared crisp and the pineapple is sweet. The rice is fried just right and it's perfectly fluffy so you can scoop up nice sized bites onto your chopsticks.
Hawaiian Fried Rice

If you're not one for Spam, which I realize there are some of you out there, there are various types of fried rice on the menu and you don't have to get the Hawaiian variety. I'm sure those fried rices are tasty, too, I just haven't tried them because I always want the Hawaiian rice.

I can't wait to get back to this place. I just wish there was a location available in Topeka so I didn't have to drive all the way to Lawrence. Still, it's worth the drive and the possible wait time for a table.

Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Tequila's Mexican Restaurant in North Topeka



I work at a local bar part time and I've been hearing regular customers talk about the new Mexican place near the cloverleaf on North Topeka Blvd. I had to go see what they were talking about because half of them don't even know the name of the place, just that it's new and it has Mexican food. The name of the place is Tequila's and they have an original location in the Brookwood Shopping Center on 29th Street. I have never been to that location so this is my first Tequila's experience.

I went at lunch and I believe they had just opened their doors because there was nobody else in there, but after about 20 minutes the lunch crowd showed up.

The place is large and open with booths along the sides and tables set up in the middle. The bar is in the back corner and looks to be fully stocked. There are a few chairs at the bar so people can sit there and drink, eat and watch sports. We sat in a booth.

I started off with some guacamole as an appetizer. Avocados are one of my favorite foods and so guac is definitely up there in the top 10 so I always order it when at a Mexican restaurant. This guac was good, I enjoyed it but it did need a little salt and maybe some more cilantro. The chips always came out warm and fresh with lots of salt on them so that helped but I still found myself sprinkling a little in the guac itself.

For my entree I ordered the Chef's Special Enchiladas with two over-easy eggs on top and it comes
Chef's Special Enchiladas
with rice and beans. It is $2 added for the fried eggs, but I think that still put my entire meal around $9, so I went with it. I wish the eggs would have been runnier as they were cooked more over-hard than easy, even an over medium would have sufficed. I think maybe their grill was too hot for an over easy egg because it was pretty browned. The meal was tasty, although I felt everything needed a little more seasoning, like each item was lacking something. That being said, I still ate my meal until I was full because it was good, just not "special" as the name of the item promised.

The enchiladas were made with corn tortillas, ground beef and red sauce. It was served with rice and beans. For lunch the portion was a little large, but I could see it being just right for dinner.

The atmosphere and waitstaff were friendly and inviting and the food was good. I've heard a lot of positive things about the food, maybe it just wasn't my personal favorite. Everyone in this town has their favorite Mexican spot because there are so many of them; not everyone can agree.  I'd still recommend checking it out for yourself.