Saturday, April 18, 2015

A Taste of Carbondale: Pepper Patch

I decided to head south this week and try a Tex-Mex place I've heard many good things about: The Pepper Patch.

Recently I joined the Topeka Restaurants group on Facebook, and shared this blog. I received a message from someone and a few other recommendations to try the Pepper Patch in Carbondale. So, a friend and I decided to go check it out and see what it was all about.

chips and salsa
Locally owned and the only sit-down restaurant in Carbondale, you can't miss the bright orange building right on Topeka Avenue, the main drag. The inside is just as bright as the outside -- green, blue, orange. The dining room seemed small but there was a back area with more tables that I didn't get a real good look at.

We were served chips and salsa as soon as we sat down. The salsa was thick and chunky, with good flavor. It was fresh and zesty and I enjoyed it. I appreciated the thickness as opposed to some salsa that is thin and runny.

To start off I ordered some guacamole and my friend ordered some white queso. I thought both items were tasty, but must note that the guacamole has a little kick to it. I love guacamole and I was happy with this order because it was a little different than what I'm used to at most Mexican restaurants where it seems like it's just avocado with pico de gallo added. There were chunks of avocado and plenty of garlic.

I ordered the featured item of the day, the chalupa. I wasn't sure exactly what I was getting when I ordered it, and I was pretty surprised with the humongous portion of fried tortilla topped with refried beans, taco meat, lettuce, tomato, cheese, sour cream and guacamole. I added some of the salsa to mine, because, like I said, I really enjoyed their salsa. This dish reminded me of a huge tostada and it was really good. I just cut chunks off and ate them with my hands, like you would a tostada. Some parts I ate with my fork like a taco salad. Either way, really, works.

I enjoyed the taco meat because it wasn't greasy and didn't drip all over the place. It had a lot of flavor but it didn't end up all over me, that was a plus. The tortilla that was fried was obviously fried fresh because it was nice and crispy and held up well to the heavy toppings thrown on. Everything tasted freshly made and bold flavors.

Tres leche cake
Since everything was good so far, my friend and I ordered dessert, which seemed pretty cheap to us, too. I got the tres leche cake and she ordered the churros. We shared. That was probably a good idea. The cake was so rich, there's no way I could've eaten an entire piece to myself! The chocolate cake was soaked in Kahlua, three milks and topped with their homemade whipped cream, cream cheese frosting. The top was sprinkled with cinnamon and chocolate shavings. Whoa. It was scrumptious. It was pretty rich though, so make sure you have some water nearby while eating it. The cake was soaked so much, milk is left puddled on the plate when you're finished. But, it doesn't feel soggy to me, like they soak it just before serving it maybe? The creamy frosting was thick and soft and reminded me of a dream whip topping.

The churros were good, too, but I think I've had them before at other places. I think they were just the kind you buy frozen and fry yourself. They were covered with honey (maybe) and cinnamon-sugar, I think. They were good, but the cake was better. I would highly recommend the cake.

I enjoyed my experience and would recommend the 15 minute trek south for a taste of Tex-Mex. The service was good, our waitress was one of the owners of the restaurant. She was friendly and helpful and answered all of my questions. I enjoyed the local, small-town feel. I am excited to try the Spanish potatoes and the Mahi Mahi tacos or the chimichanga -- I love chimichangas.

Check out the menu by going to their Facebook page and clicking on "menu" and downloading the file.