Friday, December 20, 2013

Paisano's Is Still An All-Time Favorite

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Walking in to Paisano’s I felt like I should be on a romantic date. The lights were low and the music was Italian opera. Even though it felt romantic there were still groups of people and friends having a good time.
I went on a Wednesday and they run a special for half price appetizers so my friends and I ordered a few different dishes. The one that stood out to me the most was the fried eggplant. What surprised me was the cheese and herbs they put inside the lightly breaded and not greasy eggplant. The crispsness of the breading and the softness of the cheese paired well with the tender eggplant and didn’t disappoint.
A longtime favorite is their calamari, served with a pesto aioli. It’s nothing like the calamari you can get elsewhere in Topeka. It’s fat, it’s tender and juicy and I get it every time I go.
With every meal comes bread sticks and salad. I always love this part. The bread sticks were fluffy and hot and fresh and we got as many was we wanted — same with the salad. The salad comes with pepperoncini, red onions, tomatoes, black olives and their Italian vinaigrette. The waitstaff always had Parmiagiano Reggiano to grate fresh on top of every course and you better believe I always say yes when they offer.
I ordered the veal Parmesan, which comes with spaghetti and marinara. The waitress said I didn’t have to get the spaghetti and marinara that came with it — I could substitute a different type of pasta and sauce if that’s what I would rather have — but I did go for the spaghetti and marinara with my veal. They also offer chicken and eggplant Parmesan but I had my fill of eggplant and I prefer veal over chicken. The veal Parmesan was phenomenal. The meat was tender, the breading was crispy and fried just right. If only I wasn’t so full from the appetizers, salad and bread sticks I could have eaten the entire thing but I took home leftovers that night.
I have been to Paisano’s many times and have never had a bad experience. If you are looking for a nice place for lunch with a friend or a romantic dinner, this place will never disappoint. They also have half-price lunch every weekday between 11 a.m. and 11:30 a.m. with a drink purchase. This is very popular so show up early and be ready to stand in line outside of the restaurant. 

Monday, October 14, 2013

Marco's Pizza offers pizza and a movie

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A new pizza place opened up in town, but it’s not your typical pizzeria. Marco’s Pizza is right next to Family Video and is also owned by the same company. What I thought was cool about this place is the two businesses work hand-in-hand — providing deals for pizza and a movie, as well as offering to return your movie that’s due after they drop your pizza off.
When I walked in, I noticed the window in between Family Video and Marco’s. You can order from Family Video, if you want, while you are looking for a movie. There are a couple tables if you want to dine in, but that area isn’t too big because, I assume, most people will be taking their pizza home with the movie they rent. What’s cool is if you get a large pizza they give you a free 5-night movie rental. Now, these movies aren’t the new releases, just the ones that have the sticker that shows a 5-night and a 1-night rental on it. Some movies are on the New Release wall, but not all of them.
Marco’s Pizza offers a pretty normal selection of pizza, salads and fresh baked subs. They make their dough fresh, from scratch every day and never use frozen cheese like many pizza places do. I was surprised they make the dough from scratch — not many places do.
I ordered the Chicken Fresco pizza which comes with 4 types of cheese, grilled chicken, bacon, onions and slices of tomatoes. Something I don’t remember offered at other places are their free crust toppers — butter garlic, parmesan and roma. The person taking my order said the best way is to get all three, so that’s what I did. The pizza was tasty — I enjoyed the large chunks of chicken and the fact that the onions were cut smaller, this way they were fully cooked and not crunchy – I am not a fan of raw onion especially on my pizza. The crust was good but nothing too special and the addition of the crust toppers made it exceptional. This pizza was not greasy, so I appreciated that.
I also ordered some Cheezy Bread, which I assumed would just be normal cheese sticks. I could taste the variety of cheeses and the added seasoning. They use the parmesan and roma crust toppers on the Cheezy Bread and the addition made them better than normal cheese sticks NOT like the ones you get from Pizza Hut.
If you don’t want pizza or breadsticks Marco’s also offeres sub sandwiches and salads. I look forward to checking those out next time I rent a movie.
I think what will keep me coming back is the fact that in the future they plan to deliver your pizza with a movie if you want to rent one. I can forsee myself doing that a lot, especially on cold nights this winter.
For their full menu, check out their website by clicking here.
If you have a favorite restaurant you would like me to review, follow me on Facebook, Tricia Peterson WIBW News, and send me a message.

Friday, July 26, 2013

Boss Hawg's

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If you are looking for barbecue in Topeka, Boss Hawg's would be a good place to start.  In Kansas barbecue is very popular and everyone has their preference. I have yet to find mine, but Boss Hawg's was, like I said, a good place to start.

The restaurant is also a bar, known as Pig Skins, so you can choose to sit in the bar or restaurant, like a lot of places. The booths are round and they also have bar stools and tables to sit at, with huge TVs on the walls. I chose to sit in the bar so I could watch TV.

I ordered the wings as an appetizer because they are smoked, and it's hard to find smoked wings in Topeka - maybe I'm not looking in the right places. The smoky flavor was immediately apparent and I think much better than other wings that aren't smoked.

They serve them in three flavors, barbecue, naked or buffalo-style and with a choice of sauces ranch, bleu cheese or prairie fire dipping sauce. I chose to go half and half, with buffalo and barbecue with ranch dressing. The ranch was ranch, and the wings were special because they were smoked. 

I decided to order something that would allow me to taste various items because I wanted to do a thorough review of their barbecue items - and they have a lot. I ordered the Hawg Heaven, which has a lot of meat. A quarter rack of ribs, a quarter smoked chicken, smoked sausage and a quarter pound of any of our shredded smoked meats and a choice of pulled pork, beef brisket, smoked ham or smoked turkey served with baby back ribs or with spareribs. I got the baby back ribs, pulled pork and beef brisket for my choices.

The smoked sausage was my favorite. It had cheese in it, too and the smoke was there but not overpowering. The chicken was also tasty - with a crackly-smoked skin and juicy, smoky meat inside. I had to remind myself I had other meat to try so I wouldn't get full on the chicken alone.

The ribs were tender and fell right off the bone. They serve them without sauce but they have sauce on the table, which is good because I like my ribs with sauce - although these didn't necessarily need it. 

The pulled pork was a little too tender for me - I felt like it kind of melted in my mouth. I want chocolate to melt in my mouth, not pork. I would have liked to see more chunks of meat and for it not to have been so shredded. 

I absolutely loved the French fries. I know they are just frozen and bought-in, but they were lovely. They look like house-cut steak fries but they are a little thinner. They were crispy on the outside and fluffy on the inside and not soggy at all - I despise soggy fries. 

The brisket was my second favorite after the chicken. It was chunked up and with the addition of their spicy barbecue sauce it was tender, flavorful and just a little spicy. 

I loved the coleslaw and it's the best slaw I have had in this town. It was creamy and fresh, the slaw was crunchy, not soggy, so you could tell they make it in house. It was a nice addition to the plate of meat that I ordered. 

Overall, I enjoyed my experience. If you aren't much for barbecue they also have a menu that features sandwiches, tacos, fajitas and other food like that. I want to return and try their chimichanga - I love those.

 I look forward to returning and trying other items on their menu. They have lunch specials as well as family-sized meals that will feed five to six people, these are called "beast feasts".
Pricing is a little high, I must say. None of their sandwiches are under $9.50 and their appetizers are all over $8 except for their fried pickles, which are priced at $6.99.  Their lunch specials have some items priced around $7, but not many of them. 

The service was okay. The waitress started off strong, bringing us our drinks quickly and our appetizer and food. Then our friends met us a little later and they didn't get as good of service. I didn't have a bad experience, but my friend had to wait on his beer and he wasn't happy with that.

The website for Boss Hawg's is currently under construction but if you Google search the restaurant, you can find a link to their menu. 

Saturday, July 13, 2013

NOTO Burrito Keeps Me Comin' Back

View Larger Map This map shows where Serendipity is located because NOTO Burrito is so new they aren't on the map yet. Serendipity is right next door.

NOTO Burrito is so good I have gone back three times since it opened last month. That's gotta say something about the place.

First off, I tried the Planting Peace and Love burrito - in honor of the Equality House here in Topeka. It comes with two choice of meats (they don't judge), pico, three blend cheese, guac, jalepeno cheese sauce and a rainbow of their salsas. I only got chicken because I didn't want tofu, turkey or ground beef - those are the other choices they offer up. On top of this masterpiece they put this lovely pineapple barbecue slaw that made the entire burrito. There are two different types of slaw including the one I just mentioned and the mango habanero slaw, which is much spicier than the pineapple barbecue.

 The slaw was my favorite part - crunchy, soft, sweet and tangy. I loved it. The only part I wish could have been improved was the use of fresh pineapple would have been appreciated because it's so in season right now - currently they use canned. Canned is consistent, but just not as flavorful, in my opinion.

The first time I went they placed the slaw on the top of the burrito and it was served in a basket. The second time I went they made some adjustments and started putting the slaw inside the burrito and in a to-go box with chips. The salsa was out so you could get yourself some. The third time I returned they kept the to-go boxes but started portioning out the salsas so everyone got one 2 oz. portion of each kind - rojo red, sweet and spicy and strawberry jalepeno. They also had returned to putting the slaw on top of the burrito. The significance of this is that the owners care - they want your experience to be pleasant. They have been asking customers for their opinions and input and they have listened - that is how I know they will be successful in the future, they care.

The second time I went I ordered the Thai Me Up - I love the names. They make me laugh. Inside this concoction comes rice, beans, cheese, fried noodles, zesty Hawaiian salsa (I think that's the pineapple slaw) and your choice of tortilla wrap - they have spinach, roasted red bell pepper and regular flour. I enjoyed the mesh of Mexican and Thai food that took part in this burrito. They only thing I felt was lacking was the use of the fried noodles. I couldn't really tell they were in there and they didn't add to the burrito. I actually forgot they were in there until the end when I looked at the ingredient list again and was like "oh yeah...". Probably won't order that one again, but it was still pretty tasty.

The third burrito I feasted upon was the Roman's Wankie - I feel weird even saying the name. This one had rice, beans, avocado, pico, sour cream, chicken, cheese and romesco sauce on top with choice of slaw. This one was a good mix of Italian flavor and burrito with the addition of the romesco sauce. That slaw just makes everything taste so amazing. Next time I wonder if they would think I was weird if that's all I ordered.

What I like about the NOTO Burrito is that it's local, fresh and delicious. The owners care, they want to please you and the atmosphere is that of NOTO - relaxed, inviting and artsy.  The walls are filled with local art and they even have letters arranged that say 'support local'. I think it's the perfect addition to the North Topeka Arts District and I hope they continue to do well.

Every time I have gone it has been busy and I have had to wait a few minutes in line, but it's always been worth the wait. I went during the First Friday ArtWalk in July and waited almost half and hour in line but others were doing the same so I must not be the only one who feels that way!

Tuesday, June 18, 2013

Westlake Ace Hardware Father's Day Drawing Winner

This is Kathy Frye. She won the Father's Day drawing sponsored by Westlake Ace Harware. She won a quesadilla grill basket, a BBQ rub and a $25 gift card to spend at Westlake Ace Hardware. Thanks to everyone for participating! If you didn't win this time, keep coming back for more chances to win soon.

Thursday, June 13, 2013

Father's Day Giveaway Winner

Kathy Piper- Frye is this week's winner for the $25 gift card and accessories from Westlake Ace Hardware. If you are disappointed you didn't win, cheer up! There will be more chances to win more accessories from Westlake Ace Hardware this summer. Just stay tuned to hear more! Thanks to everyone for participating

Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Oriental Express - A Taste Of Asia

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For some reason I didn't even realize there was a Chinese restaurant at 29th and Wanamaker. Now that I have discovered it, thanks to my brother-in-law's girlfriend Chelsye, I plan to return often.

They consider themselves an Asian restaurant so they feature various dishes including noodle soups, stir fries and sushi. I tried some sushi and cashew chicken.

The sushi was fresh and tasty. I ordered a rainbow roll because it's my favorite, Drew ordered an orgasm roll and Chelsye ordered a sunrise roll. The rainbow roll was your typical rainbow roll that you can get at any good sushi restaurant. The sunrise roll was my least favorite but only because I am not a fan of smoked eel - so if you like smoked eel, you will definitely love this one. The other ingredients include avocado, cucumber, crab meat and cream cheese.

I enjoyed the orgasm roll. I thought Drew was joking when he said the name of it, but that's really what it's called. It's a good name. It was memorable because there is shrimp tempura, kani, avocado and salmon in the middle, wrapped in Nori and rice, then baked with spicy mayo and seasoning on the top. When baked the mayo sets up so it's not saucy anymore and the crunchy topping bakes into it. I tried to find out what the "special seasoning" was but they couldn't answer me - they might not have even known what it was. Whatever it was, it was delicious and I want more. (Kani is crab and nori is the seaweed wrap used in most sushi.)

The cashew chicken I ordered came with jasmine rice. Some places don't automatically serve it with rice so I appreciate that it's included so I don't have to spend more money. The sauce was thicker than I am accustomed to, but it wasn't bad, just different. The vegetables were zucchini, celery and carrots and the meat was dark chicken meat. I picked the celery out because I think it tastes like dirt and is only good for adding flavor, not actually eating it. That's just a personal preference - next time I will ask for them to leave it out completely.

I plan to return and try a few other dishes and sushi rolls because I enjoyed my first visit. The servers were nice and helpful and the restaurant was clean and taken care of.

For their sushi menu and regular menu and other general information about the restaurant, check out their website at

Friday, May 31, 2013

Westlake Ace Hardware Father's Day Giveaway

All right, here we go... I am doing a Father's Day Giveaway!All you gotta do is subscribe to my blog, comment on a post that you like and share this status! It's easy and you will get entered into a drawing to win a $25 gift card to Westlake Ace Hardware and a cool grilling accessory from there. It's simple :)
I will do the drawing the Wednesday before Father's Day, 6/12, so you can give your dad these items as a gift, if you want. Of course you could just keep them for yourself! 
Here are Westlake Ace Harware locations:

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Tuesday, May 28, 2013

A Taste Of Leavenworth: Suprisingly Good Thai Restaurant

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On Memorial Day my husband and I traveled to Leavenworth, Kans. for his work and planned to have lunch there. We found a Thai restaurant and decided to check it out, it's called Baan Thai.

Walking in I liked it right away. The decorations were nice and not over done like some Thai places, and they weren't burning incense. Some places like to burn some strong incense and I think it should smell like the food at a restaurant, not incense. They also used white China with blue design and I thought that was cool.

I ordered the appetizer sampler that came with soft egg rolls and fried egg rolls, crab rangoon and chicken satay with a variety of sauces. My favorite sauce had little slices of cucumber and red onion and the sauce was sweet and rice vinegar-like, which complimented the cucumbers well. I liked to put them on the slightly curried chicken satay and eat them together. The crab rangoons were pretty tasty and different than what you would get at a Chinese restaurant - the filling was a little thinner and it had different spices than what I am used to.

The soft egg rolls are amazingly tasty and served cold. They aren't fried, but are made with a special rice wrap that is soft and almost sponge-like. Inside are ingredients like lettuce, cilantro, carrots, shrimp and rice noodles. I liked dipping these in the sweet and sour sauce.

For my entree I ordered the cashew chicken, which is served with jasmine rice. This is my favorite dish and Baan Thai truly impressed me with this dish. There were carrots, dry chilies (which are spicy as hell, by the way), cashews and onions and a lovely sauce that I liked to soak in my jasmine rice.  The vegetables were cooked thoroughly but not mushy and the sauce was sweet but not too with the spiciness of the dry chilies. I wouldn't recommend eating the dry chilies unless you want your mouth to be on fire for awhile.

Although it's taken me 29 years to go to Leavenworth, now I have a reason to return. Baan Thai gets my approval and I plan to return in the near future.  If you ever find yourself in that town, stop by and try some cashew chicken or pad thai - I didn't try the pad thai, but I bet it's good.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Red Snappa' snapped me

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 I must say I was skeptical when I heard about the new Cajun-style restaurant opening up downtown on 5th and Kansas. It surprised me and I plan to go back - but maybe when they aren't so busy.

The food was good, the service could use some work. My husband and I waited about 13 minutes to get a drink order in and menus brought to us - and about 15 minutes before we got our food after ordering. I think this is something that can be worked on, plus, we got there at about 1 p.m. and that's still considered a lunch rush time and all the tables were full.

The menus are on white paper, the walls are bare but the atmosphere is inviting and the food speaks for itself. Featuring sea food Po' Boy sandwiches and jambalayas the cuisine is pretty close to the real thing. I ordered the sausage, chicken and shrimp jambalaya and Ryan ordered the seafood po'boy sandwich and fries. My jambalaya came with corn bread but I also ordered some coleslaw because I wanted to try it.

I enjoyed the jambalaya but it wasn't exactly what I was expecting. When I was in culinary school one of my chefs, Chef Richardson, was born and raised in Louisiana. He made jambalaya one day and it was so spicy and full of flavor I just kept eating through the spice - even though it was way hot to me. Now, that I have acquired a taste for spiciness I would have welcomed that spice, but this jambalaya at Red Snappa' was not as robust. Also, the sausage wasn't Andoullie like I was expecting/hoping. It was just a  Johnsonville sausage or something like that. I would have liked to have a harder sausage. Other than it not being as I had it before, it was a tasty dish. I thought it had a hint of heat, and I enjoyed the mini corns, which I didn't expect and ended up liking.

The cornbread was so sweet and delicious. It was crumbly but it didn't fall apart. It was some of the best cornbread I have ever had. I ordered more because it was so good.

I tried the seafood po'boy and I liked that. The shrimp and oysters were breaded in some sort of beer batter and fried, and thrown on a French bread slice with onions, tomato, lettuce and brown mustard.  The seafood was crispy and tender and the French bread held up well to the bulk of it. I would have liked more of a sauce, Ryan agrees, but it was good anyway.

I plan to go back because the food was worth our wait. If you are looking for a quick bite on lunch hour, this is not your place. If you have an hour I would say it's a good place. Maybe after they are open more than 2 weeks they will have better service. I still say to try it out some time.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

What the heck Mr. Stirfry?

Just a couple weeks ago I wrote about the injustice Mr. Stirfry was a victim of. Well, unfortunately for them the false post was on the right track. Although the buffet doesn't have pest problems, they have sanitation problems it appears.

According to the article link below on, Mr. Stifry has had more critical food violations than any other restaurant in Topeka. The worst violation that I read about what the overflowing, cut up, raw chicken that was stored above raw vegetables. This is a simple, common sense thing and I feel like the blame is on management. They need to train their employees better and require them to pass food safety tests.

When I lived in Maricopa County in Arizona, before I could even get a job in the kitchen I had to take a test and pass with a certain percentage before I could even apply for a kitchen job. Why doesn't Kansas have this same law? I think it should be required in all counties, but that is my personal opinion.

The only thing that scares me is that Mr. Stirfry offers sushi. Some sushi - not all - has raw fish and other items. One of the problems with their violations, as I stated before, was with storing raw chicken incorrectly. The correct practices should be common knowledge.

If you look at my recent posts, I also reviewed Sakura restaurant in the past. They had tasty sushi and good service - plus it was close to my house. I bet if the people handling food there had been trained or were required to have certain knowledge, that place wouldn't have closed. Sadly, it's not the worker's fault, it's the establishment and the management for not enforcing safe food handling practices.

Anyway, at least they don't have bugs or mice like some Topeka restaurants do.

Manny's, finally a good restaurant at that location!

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I love the place out on 17th and Wanamaker called Manny’s.
Featuring Greek cuisine, pasta and burgers, Manny’s includes a dine-in or a car-hop experience. The first time I dined in and the second time I tried the car-hop. Inside is pretty small though, with only three to four booths, four window seats and a small bar-like area. The place was busy both times I went, and the people working did a good job serving everyone. It wasn’t fast - I waited a couple minutes to be served - but only had to wait seven to 10 minutes minutes for my food, and they were busy the whole time. 

The first time I visited, I ordered the cheeseburger and French fries, the second time I got the gyro and onion rings. I have been back many times for the gyro. The French fries are the thick restaurant-style and can be ordered plain or with seasoning - I ordered plain. The second time I went, I ordered the onion rings and would recommend those over fries, every time. The onion rings were crispy and traveled well, unlike the fries that were soggy by the time I got home. Even when I ordered them the first time, when I dined in, they weren’t that memorable – just basic French fries. 

The burger was pretty tasty too, but was a basic cheeseburger. Good but there are much better things on the menu than a boring cheeseburger and fries. What really stood out to me was the gyro. If you don’t like meat, they offer the veggie gyro, too, but the meat was the best part. It’s usually a combination of lamb and beef and Manny’s has cone-style gyro meat, which means it isn’t the frozen, already sliced meat. It’s on a huge spit that rotates and they cut the meat off in strips. The tzatziki sauce was tangy and garlicky with a robust cucumber flavor, (tzatziki is a cucumber sauce) and they added plenty to the sandwich so it wasn’t dry like some gyros I have tried in the past. They give you a choice of grilled or raw onions, I chose grilled, of course – I don’t like raw onions. The pita bread was grilled, but soft and held up nicely to the hot meat and sauce. It comes with lettuce, tomato and feta cheese. Instead of crumbling the feta on top, they place a cube of feta for you to crumble yourself. I like this because you can control how much cheese you want, and it doesn’t get lost in the tzatziki sauce, which is a whitish color and has chunks of cucumbers in it.  

Everything tasted homemade, and I know for a fact they make their baklava from scratch. This is another thing I look forward to trying when I go back in the near future. 

For a look at their menu and to see what others are saying about Manny’s, check out their Facebook page at I am looking forward to returning and trying their souvlaki dinner, which is like skewered chunks of meat and vegetables  and it looks like they have chicken.

Chipotle vs. Qdoba


I have heard so many people argue about which restaurant is better - Qdoba or Chipotle. I decided to compare the two myself and let you know what I have come up with.

First off I would like to let you all know I have always been a fan of Chipotle and in my household that is where we always go. I tried Qdoba once, a long time ago and decided I liked Chipotle better. Because of this recurring argument, I started second guessing my decision and wanted to give Qdoba a fair chance, hence this blog post. Usually at Chipotle I order the salad with chicken because I love the dressing they have.

I started by ordering a salad at Qdoba because I already knew what the salad at Chipotle was like. Then, I went back for round two by ordering burritos. I also enjoy guacamole so I ordered chips and guac at both places. I also tried to used similar ingredients in each restaurant - cilantro-lime rice, black beans, chicken, pico de gallo, sour cream, cheese and lettuce - this way I could more accurately compare the two. I found many differences but surprisingly a lot of similarities.

 First, I will begin with the differences that I found:

1. (salad) Most noticeably is that Qdoba has a shell and Chipotle does not. This is one thing that I like better at Qdoba - I really enjoy taco salads with the huge shell. It gives some texture and saltiness to the salad and it's optional. You can eat all of it, some of it or none of it - it's up to you.

2. (salad) The dressings are different. Qdoba has a creamy dressing whereas Chipotle's is more of a vinaigrette. I like the dressing at Chipotle better because it has a tanginess that is a distinct flavor in the salad, whereas in Qdoba's I didn't notice it as much.

3. The big deciding factor for a lot of people who choose Qdoba over Chipotle is the fact that Qdoba has queso where Chipotle doesn't. Personally, queso doesn't matter to me and is not going to determine where I choose, mainly because it wasn't anything to write home about. Chipotle's guacamole is much better than Qdoba's queso - there I said it. I ordered the Queso Burrito and I just didn't see the big deal.

Here are some similarities:

1. The tortillas for the burritos are alike. I saw no real difference there. Qdoba does offer a whole wheat option whereas Chipotle does not. Both places steam their shells to soften them up.

2. The pico, cilantro-lime rice, beans, sour cream and cheese are all the same. It also seems like the other salsas available are similar. The include pica de gallo, green chile salsa, corn salsa and a mild crushed tomato salsa.

3. I didn't see any difference in the chicken except for that it seems like Qdoba gives a little bit more of it, per serving.

4. The prices are the same. You can get dinner or lunch for under $10 unless you want a drink and a side. I usually spend $12 at both places when I order the salad/burrito (doesn't matter which), guacamole and a drink.

If there are any other aspects that I failed to cover, please ask me below on the comments. I plan to visit each place a few more times and update this post because I know there are many other menu items that both of these places have to offer and that I can compare.

As of now I still prefer Chipotle. I appreciate the variety Qdoba offers but I am still more of a fan of Chipotle's flavor - there just seems to be more of it.

Here is a link for Qdoba's menu -
Here is a link for Chipotle's menu -

Qdoba's Location:

Chipotle's Location:

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Tuesday, April 16, 2013

A Taste of Wichita

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I visited Wichita for a Kansas Collegiate Media conference last weekend and the first place I ate was definitely worth noting.
My group and I wanted lunch somewhere near, and Old Town was near. I Google searched for restaurants in the area and found River City Brewing Company. It was the second or third place that came up, then the lady at the front desk had a list of recommended places to eat and it was at the top, as well.
The place was pretty cool and I enjoyed the way it was set up. The bar in the middle with tables and booths all around. The walls featured the names of their beers and what they tasted like, daily specials and various flatscreen televisions. Everything was made out of thick, reddish wood, which made it feel welcoming and pub-like.
The menu includes soups, salads, seafood, steaks, pizzas and sandwiches. Since I was only visiting I could only sample a limited number of dishes, but the ones I did try were worth ordering again some time.
I started off with chips and salsa because I wanted the fish tacos for my entree and wanted to keep the theme going. The salsa was homemade and the menu claimed it was "fire roasted" and the taste and texture reflected just that. The chips were fried in-house and overall I was happy with them. Much better than Pace picante sauce, that's for sure.
I enjoyed my grilled fish tacos even though I was expecting a hard taco and received a soft shell, it was tasty. The chipotle cream sauce was just spicy enough for me but if you are sensitive to heat you might ask for this on the side. The fish was grilled and not crumbly - it held together well and didn't fall out of the taco, which I have had a lot of grilled fish tacos that do that. There was a ton of avocado, which I love, and it was topped with lettuce and queso fresco, (white cheese). The rice that was served as the side was okay. It had a hint of nutmeg that I can't say I appreciated because nutmeg isn't my favorite spice. There wasn't too much that I couldn't eat the rice, but I didn't eat it all. I ate every last bite of my fish tacos, though.
Everything my friends ordered looked good and they all enjoyed their meals. We ordered a beer sampler and tried a few of the beers they make there. I am not a beer critic but I liked most of the light colored beers but I am not a fan of dark beers. It seemed to me that their beer was quality and would recommend checking it out the next time you are in Wichita.
Here is their menu:

Wednesday, April 10, 2013

Facebook's true power revealed to Mr. Stirfry on April Fools Day

 I heard about this and felt really bad for this restaurant and the people that work there. Apparently, someone thought it would be a funny joke on April 1 to post a picture on Facebook. The picture showed a box of Chinese food with what appeared to be a baby mouse inside. The chain has lost 1/3 of its normal business in the last couple weeks due to this accusation. Upon further investigation the photo was found to be a fake, used on other websites such as

This was definitely an epic fail on the part of whoever posted this photo. I don't know why they haven't told us who this person was, but I would be embarrassed if it were me. I can't believe some people. Facebook and other social media are powerful and can get you sued, and this person has learned that the hard way.

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Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Best Mexican Restaurants in Topeka

If you are a native Topekan like me you know Topeka has a ton of Mexican restaurants. Instead of reviewing some of them, since there are so many, I thought I would just rank my top favorites in town.

1. El Mezcal

El Mezcal is voted No. 1 in Topeka and I can't argue with that. I have been to their various locations and each time I am impressed. My favorite is the Burrito Gigante and I get that almost every time I visit. I have tried many of the menu items over the years and I don't think there has been anything I was unhappy with. Plus, there are various locations so it's always close.


The North Topeka location

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The Fairlawn location

2. Cielito Lindo

This place is awesome, especially their lunch buffet. They offer it at a low price and the buffet features a wide variety of items. My favorite is always the white cheese sauce and the guacamole - usually these items are expensive when bought by themselves but here they are included. The fajitas are great and they offer some different combinations, such as their Hawaiian-style fajitas. I would recommend this place over many restaurants in town.

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3. Casa

A long time favorite of mine is Casa. Their lunch buffet is always good and their fried ice cream is something to write home about.

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4. Taco Casa

My grandma Pat always brought me to the Taco Casa on Sixth Avenue. It's mostly microwaved but at least I know it's real meat and not some powder mixed with water and grilled. I love the family atmosphere and you always know what you are gonna get. I love the tostidos, the queso and their burritos, without the black olives, of course.

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5. Pancho's

This is a great late-night spot for some Mexican food, especially if you don't want Taco Bell. The menu offers items that can normally be found on most Mexican restaurant menus and prices are low. I have been here a few times and I never left unhappy or hungry. Their portions are huge and I can never finish my entree. They also offer Jarritos in various flavors and that's a huge plus for me, I love Jarritos.

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6. Taco Villa

Yeah, yeah. Some would say this isn't a "Mexican" restaurant but I still like it. The food is mostly micrwaved, or so it seems, but the food is fresh and not packaged. The service is fast, the food is cheap. The Thing is a popular choice on the menu and I like to order that as well as the taco burger.

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Monday, March 25, 2013

Ellen Stardust Diner - New York City

I had many good experiences in New York City, but the one that stood out the most was the worst experience, of course. I would have to say that it was the single worst dining experience in my entire life. I must tell you that I was extremely hungover and had just woke up. My friend Kelly and I walked around Manhattan in search for a place to eat where we wouldn't have to stand in line for an hour before getting seated.

We found a place called Ellen Stardust Diner that looked nice enough and there was no line out front, score. We walked in and were seated right away, score. The seats were cramped and we were next to the server station and bar, no score. Usually this wouldn't be a problem, but at this restaurant, it proved to be a hazard. The music was loud but wasn't that big of deal, at first. After ordering off of the extremely over priced menu, $21.99 for a freaking cheeseburger, and getting our drinks, I realized that our server, instead of serving us, was singing and dancing around the restaurant.

Our food didn't take long, but some other person than our server served it to us - she was too busy dancing around. The food was ok. The cuisine offered is that of your typical diner food, burgers, fries, shakes and meatloaf. I wouldn't say it was great, nor would I say it was worth the money they wanted. Kelly ordered chicken fettucini Alfredo which didn't seem to have any sauce or flavor. The burger I ordered was like two inches thick and reminded me of a hockey puck. The fries served were crispy and good, but nothing special. Nothing was special about this place, except for the singing waitstaff. I guess I should be nice, they are trying to get on Broadway, and I mistakingly patronized it unknowingly - this is not their fault. BUT, I would never go back. I don't like people singing in my face, nor do I appreciate being ignored by my waitress so she can sing and dance. On that note, the music was so extremely loud, Kelly and I couldn't even talk to each other, let alone ask a member of the waitstaff for extra sauce. I also had a problem with the servers sanding on the back of my chair and dancing, kicking my seat while I was trying to eat. Not only that but I also had someone singing in my face and jangling bells and just causing me to want to bolt without paying. I did pay, but after the waitress chased me down to demand more of a tip, it made me want to rethink paying for this horrible experience. 

Normall, I have something good to say about the restaurant, but not this time. This restaurant offended and appalled me in a way that I can't believe this place is popular. I guess if you like people singing in your face while you try to eat instead of serving you, go to this diner. If you are like me and want to actually get service when you pay over $20 for a cheeseburger, go to another restaurant, even if you have to wait 30 minutes, it will be worth the wait.
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Saturday, January 19, 2013

Recent food I have eaten

Look forward to my review on Mad Eliza's, a new cupcake shop on Wanamaker.

One can expect to find yumminess at LaRocca's

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LaRocca's surprised me with awesome pizza and mozzarella sticks. The service was great too. The people that worked there were friendly and willing to accommodate their guests. I noticed the owner working right alongside the employees. The husband runs the second location on Gage and his wife runs the original location on Urish Road. I went to the one on Gage.

Not only did the service impress me, so did the food. I loved the mozzarella sticks because they were baked, not deep-fat fried like most, and they didn't take forever, either. Five come with an order and they are accompanied by marinara sauce or ranch dressing - I chose marinara sauce. The pizza was a small meat lovers without the beef, because my friend doesn't like beef. I personally would have been happy with the beef, but you know how that goes.

Anyway, Larocca's offer much more than just pizza. What caught my eye were the baked sandwiches, called submarines. I am looking forward to trying one of those soon. Additionally, lasagna, spaghetti, cannoli and salads are offered on their menu. It's a pretty standard Italian menu with no big surprises and everything I have tried has been good. I plan to return for one of their submarine sandwiches and maybe some lasagna.

If you want to check out their menu, it's available on their website,, and their Facebook page, where you can find more photos and information about the place.  I look forward to returning and maybe even driving across town to the one on Urish Road.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

Boca Cafe

A new place called Boca Cafe opened last month in the College Hill area, across from the Burger Stand. When I first walked in, what caught my eye was the local art on the wall and the cheese grater lamps hanging form the ceiling. There are various tables and chairs and booths around the room with a counter to order at.  The menu consists of artisanal sandwiches and salads, a soup of the day and three vegetarian options. There are also breakfast menu items available as well. Although it may seem simple the menu items each have a special twist and tons of flavor.
            The first salad I tried was called the Drunken salad with marinated tomatoes, sliced artichokes and brandy-soaked mozzarella tossed in mixed greens. The dressing is a simple balsamic vinaigrette that compliments the ingredients nicely. The sun-dried tomatoes seem to be made on-site as well as the croutons that are made out of their focaccia bread.  I like their croutons because they aren’t hard like pre-bought croutons. They are crispy on the outside and spongy on the inside and soak up the dressing just enough so they aren’t soggy, and at the same time, they aren’t so crispy they cut your mouth. It’s called the drunken salad because the mozzarella is soaked in E&J brandy and when eating the salad the taste of brandy is there, but not overpowering, either.
For lunch, the salad came with a small cup of their soup of the day. That day, (and the second day I came back, actually,) it was tomato-basil. It was thick and bright red, with a hint of basil. I was impressed with the soup and salad so I decided to come back for more.
            I am very happy I decided to come back. On my second visit, I ordered the special of the day, a Monte Cristo sandwich. This sandwich had sauerkraut, which I personally don’t like but kept it on there, smoked turkey and provolone cheese. I also chose to have it made on focaccia bread – if you don’t like focaccia bread, they have several kinds to choose from. The best part is the raspberry jam, spread on the bread, but I also like to have it on the side for dipping. I ended up liking the combination with the sauerkraut so I am glad I forgot to ask for none – some things are just meant to be, and I really think the sauerkraut is one of those things. It pairs nicely with the sweetness of the raspberry jam and the smokiness of the turkey. No one flavor overpowered the other, they blended well together to make a perfectly balanced sandwich.
            The other sandwiches offered include a Cuban sandwich, which consists of pork, mustard, sweet pickles and provolone cheese; the B.L.A.T., which is like a BLT only with avocado, herb aioli, lettuce, tomato and a choice of prosciutto or bacon; and the Affamato with smoked ham, salami, pepperoni, mozzarella and sun-dried tomato marinara. For sides the cafĂ© offers the soup of the day, rice chips, chickpea chips or a salad. There are many other choices on the menu than what are listed here and in the next week there will be a breakfast menu featuring waffles and waffle sandwiches. Also, in six months, the menu will be changed completely.
            I highly recommend checking this place out. My husband and I really enjoyed this place and plan to go back many times in the future. I want to return and try their waffles and other breakfast items because I hear they are just as amazing as the rest of the food.

Ok, so the address is 1414 SW 16th Street, here in Topeka. I can't get the Google map to generate the correct map. In the future when it works, I will post it. And here's their Facebook page: