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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