Thursday, May 10, 2012

A Taste of Lawrence

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The other night my husband and I decided to get out of Topeka to try a restaurant in Lawrence. With his recent experience working in a brewery, he wanted to try Lawrence’s local brewery, called Freestate Brewing Company – and I am glad we did because the food was amazing. The service was pretty snappy, as well.
Not only did their menu have surprising selections - like the Cuban sandwich and baked goat cheese, both of which we ordered – everything tasted great too. It was extremely hard to choose what to order, as the menu wasn’t your typical bar menu, which is what I was expecting. I don’t drink much beer so I can’t really comment on the their brews, but because they were a brewery I assumed the emphasis would be on the beer, not the food. I was so wrong – you know what they say about the word assume, right?
I wanted the onion rings because the batter is made with their beer, but the menu doesn’t say which beer, just that it’s “Freestate’s beer batter.” The rings are served in a basket, piled high, with stone-ground mustard and ketchup. They are crunchy and golden on the outside and the onion is tender and juicy on the inside. The portion size is substantial for an appetizer.
The second appetizer we ordered was the Spanish baked goat cheese, and stands out the most in my memory. This app consisted of goat cheese combined with a garlic tomato sauce, with melted Swiss cheese and it’s topped with fried capers. The cheese and the tomato sauce blended together create a creamy, flavorful dip with the stringy Swiss cheese and crispy capers adding texture and character. The tartness of the goat cheese, and the acid in the tomato sauce combined with the tanginess of the fried capers, the flavor was deliciously unique. It’s served with slices of toasted baguette for dipping, but we also liked dipping our wedge-cut French-fries into it and that was pretty amazing as well.
I ordered the smoked turkey sandwich, and opted to have it grilled - which you don’t have to. The turkey is smoked, (hence the name, “smoked turkey,”) and it comes with Swiss, cream cheese and a side of mayo. It stood out to me because it is served with fries and a cluster of red grapes, which I don’t see regularly. I love grapes so this influenced my choice. The turkey was sliced thin, with cheese layered throughout the sandwich, the cream cheese was spread on the bread so I didn’t really need mayo, unless you really want it, I guess. I tried putting it on mine, but decided it wasn’t needed, the sandwich is great without it – and who needs that extra fat anyway? The grapes added a sweetness that I welcomed, and I found I liked to take a couple bites of the sandwich, then, I would eat a couple grapes. Their sweetness paired nicely with the smoke on the turkey.
Freestate Brewing Co. is located at 636 Massachusetts Avenue Lawrence, KS and their website is where you can check out their menu, specials and what beers they have on tap. I would definitely recommend checking this place out, and trying their beer and their food. Happy tasting!

More photos of the food I have eaten recently

I know this blog is called Tasting Topeka, but I have decided to include a few photos from Freestate Brewing Co. in Lawrence Kansas. It's not too far from Topeka and the food is delicious, so check it out sometime. 

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Return Customer

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Wow, I just had a really awesome lunch. Juli's Coffee and Bistro at 4010 SW Huntoon in Topeka is the place to go for an awesome sandwich, good coffee and friendly service.
Every time I go there, the service is great, the seats are full and the food is awesome. I follow them on Facebook and saw that they started new items on the menu, and I decided to check them out. The one I tried is called the Wild Bessie, with roast beef, cheddar cheese, lettuce, tomato and bistro ranch all served on a ciabatta roll. Each sandwich is served with your choice of chips. The selection varies in flavors and brands. Usually I see Block & Barrel and Sun Chips, but sometimes there are other kinds too.
The bistro ranch has a little kick to it, but it's not really spicy, and makes the sandwich pop. The roast beef is tender and not chewy like some, and the roll is soft and a little chewy like ciabatta should be. This sandwich is pretty awesome, and if I didn't want to try the other items I would order it every time.
Another thing to be mentioned is the service. I am always impressed that two people can take care of their customers so well. They look to be extremely busy, but they still have time to smile, say hello and get your order to you in a timely fashion. I love this local business and will be coming back many times in the future.
Oh yeah, the coffee is pretty good too, they serve Roasterie coffee, which I talked about in my last podcast. Happy tasting :)