Browsing Category: restaurant reviews

Places to eat in Kansas City: Eggtc.

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Found another great breakfast place in KC! It’s been there for several years, but we only discovered it recently.

Just a few blocks south of the Plaza on Main Street, Eggtc. is next door to Minsky’s Pizza (same owners). On weekend mornings, expect a wait. And expect good food!

As is so often the case, I ordered an Eggs Benedict (on whole wheat toast, to make it a smidge healthier).

Tender, juicy, flavorful ham; not too thick, not too thin. The egg perfectly done. Nice job!

They offer nine different kinds of omelettes, plus a “build your own” option. With eight kinds of meat, seven kinds of cheeses, 16 different vegetable choices, and a partridge in a pear tree… (sorry!) …you ought to be able to find or create something that suits your fancy. My friend ordered an omelette off the menu: Apple and Goat Cheese omelette, with walnuts and onion chutney. Not my cup of tea, but she enjoyed every bite.

I didn’t snap a pic of her husband’s plate, but he ordered the “Salubrious” omelette — isn’t that a great name? It’s not often a menu item has you pulling out your smart phone to look something up on dictonary.com! (Salubrious means “conducive or favourable to health; wholesome”.) It contains Monterey Jack and Swiss cheeses, asparagus, black olives, mushrooms and red onions, topped off with red onion chutney.

They also serve frittatas, crepes, breakfast sandwiches, breakfast pizza, biscuits and gravy, pancakes, waffles, french toast… you’d be hard-pressed to find a breakfast favorite that’s not offered here.

There were eight of us at the table; I don’t remember what everyone ordered, but I do know there were no empty plates at the end! It’s a wee bit loud, but the service was prompt and friendly.

Definitely recommended!

Eggtc. website

Eggtc. on Urbanspoon

The best low carb salads at Panera

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I love Panera! Even though I rarely get bagels or sweets there any more, I love their salads and appreciate the fact that they provide some nutrition info right up front. The calories are listed right on the menu. Pretty bold!

However, I don’t believe that counting calories is all that useful. (Here’s why, at least partially.) So I went to Panera’s website and downloaded the nutrition info and did a little spreadsheet work. If you’re focusing on controlling diabetes and/or eating low carb (South Beach, etc.), a useful thing to consider is the protein to carb ratio. That is, are there more protein than carbs, and in what proportion?

Based on my personal study into food’s effect on insulin and blood sugar, my approach to healthy eating is to try to keep an approximate balance between carbs and protein. More protein than carbs is okay; more carbs than protein is not. So in my protein-to-carbs (P-to-C) approach, I’m looking for a ration that 1 or higher.

Here’s an example: If your “protein bar” has 10 grams of protein, but 30 grams of carbs, it has a  P-to-C  ratio of 0.33 — not good! However, a spoonful of sugar-free peanut butter has 8 grams of protein and 6 grams of carbs; a ratio of 1.25 — much better!

I looked at all of Panera’s whole salads, including the dressing. Here are their four lowest-carb salads, with their respective ratios.

ALL of the other salads on their menu are below 1.0.

Of course, there’s more to healthy eating than carbs and protein, but as I said, if you’re looking to control your blood sugar (glucose) or trying to lose weight by watching carbs, these are some important numbers to know.

I am not employed by or affiliated with Panera Bread, and this is not a sponsored post. I am not a medical or nutrition expert; just someone who cares about my health enough to dig for the facts.

Places to eat in Wichita: Tanya’s Soup Kitchen

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Tanya's Soup Kitchen - chicken salad

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen is more than soup: there’s sandwiches and salads, too. Everything (except the bread) is made fresh on site, and the dishes all strike a nice balance between the creative and the comfortably familiar. Nothing is run-of-the-mill, but nothing is frou-frou, either. It’s nice for our gluten-sensitive friends that they offer gluten-free bread options, and the staff seems to understand the accommodations that need to be made for such folks.

The interior is sunny and open, with a casual cafe vibe. You stand in line to order, and your food is brought to the table.

Today I enjoyed the “Ella,” shown at the top of this post. (That’s a small. You can also order large.) It’s a chicken salad with cashews, dried cherries, and fresh herbs on mixed greens, with your choice of dressing. The dressing on the chicken is very light; no gloppy mayo here. I went with the herb vinaigrette; it was nice and light, with a perfect balance between sweet and tart. The herbs complemented the blend, but no herb was so prominent that it overwhelmed the flavor.

I also got a “small” soup…

…which would be a “bowl” in any other restaurant! Today, I opted for their creamy tomato dill soup. It’s so popular, they offer it every day, year-round. And I can see why. It’s delish! It’s also quite sweet. I’m sure there must be some sugar in there, so for health’s sake, I didn’t eat the whole thing. But I would have liked to!

Their salads are reasonably priced — ranging from $3.50 to $7.00 for a small, $4.50 to $9.00 for a large — but personally, I think their sandwiches are a little overpriced; $9 for whole; $7.75 for half.

Overall, a quite enjoyable lunch!

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen website

Tanya's Soup Kitchen on Urbanspoon

Places to eat in Kansas City: Slice Deli & Bistro

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On a recent short trip to Kansas City, we decided to try some place different for breakfast. I read about Slice Deli on Urbanspoon: it was rated 95%, and reviewers raved about how great the sandwiches are, and about how they smoke and roast all the meat on site. And given the name, I was expecting something bistro-ish. So we went with high hopes.

Which was a mistake.

Now, given all the positive reviews, I’d be willing to try it again at lunch time. And if you go in with realistic expectations, it would be just fine. (Except for the coffee. More on that in a minute.)

First the atmosphere: The space is bright and clean, with toys and games available to play while you wait. But Slice is adjoined to a convenience store, with a large open doorway between the two, and there is no change in ambiance from one to the other. “Deli” is an appropriate description. “Bistro” is not.

My husband and I both ordered “The Beater:” two eggs any style; two slices of bacon, sausage or ham; hash browns and toast. I thought the sausage and eggs (which I ordered over medium) were perfect. The hubs considered the sausage overcooked. The toast came without butter — and without an offer of butter from the waitress — and there was none sitting out. The hash browns were perfectly adequate.

I’m not a big coffee drinker, but my husband is. Big coffee snob, really, if we’re going to be honest here. He grinds locally-roasted Sumatra beans every morning, and perks it in a French press. Get the picture? He described the coffee at Slice as “the worst coffee I’ve ever had anywhere.” Given that ringing endorsement, I didn’t try it, so I can’t give the alternate opinion. If coffee is coffee to you, you might think it’s perfectly fine. If you’re a coffee connoisseur, you might want to skip it.

So the bottom line is: go for lunch, go in with reasonable expectations, and if you’re picky, skip the coffee.

Slice Deli & Bistro on Urbanspoon

Places to eat in Wichita: Le Monde

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I’ve been to Le Monde three or four times — well, at this location, anyway. Years ago, there was a Le Monde downtown, but I don’t know if that was the same owners.

The West Street one looks like it was a fast food joint in a former life, but it’s been updated on the inside and out with a homier look.

The menu offers a mix of Americanized Euro-ish favorites: quesadillas, ravioli, chicken moutarde; and the Lebanese offerings which are (happily) commonplace in Wichita: hummus, fattoush, and schawarma. The entrees are dominated by pasta offerings: eight, to be exact.

Homemade biscuits are served free while you peruse the menu. Although delicious, they seem a little out of place with the Euro/Mid-Eastern slant of the menu: they taste just like my grandma’s shortbread (American farm food), and the ones we were served this time tasted like they’d just come out of the oven.

I usually get the fattoush salad with chicken, but today I was in the mood for something different, so I ordered a gyro. I’ve never had one before, so I have nothing to compare it to or to judge how authentic it was. But it was yummy! The seasoned ground beef (and/or lamb?), tasted sort of like breakfast sausage. A good thing, in my book. The tomato and tsaziki sauce was the perfect complement, adding a contrast without overwhelming. The pita bread was soft and puffy.  My daughter was scared off by the tsaziki (yogurt and cucumber sauce), but after she had a taste, she didn’t want to give it back to me. It’s served with a generous side salad of your choice — my choice: fattoush, of course!

When she ordered, she stuck to what she knew: chicken schawarma. (Or schwarma.) This dish is pretty common in Wichita. The base of it is hummus — which I can be fairly picky about, since I have a pretty rockin’ homemade version. Then that is topped with chicken schawarma and, usually, some grilled onions, pine nuts, olive oil and/or paprika. Le Monde tops theirs with pickles (housemade, I think), and fresh tomatoes. 

The chicken is tasty, but not remarkable. I give their hummus a thumbs up. And yes, I know I’ve already said that the pita bread was great, but it bears another mention! I wish they’d serve pita for the free appetizer, with some zahtaar seasoning and good olive oil. But then again, I’d probably just fill up on that! So maybe it’s a good thing (for my waistline) they don’t.

Le Monde Cafe & Deli (west) on Urbanspoon

Places to eat in Kansas City: Beer Kitchen

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The Beer Kitchen in Westport, Kansas City MO

The Beer Kitchen in Westport is another of our favorite spots in KC. In the past, we’ve enjoyed their lunch/dinner menu, including various salads, burgers, Mac & Cheese or Fish & Chips.

This time, we were visiting a little earlier in the day and looking for brunch.

Both the hubs and I are big fans of a classic Eggs Benedict, so we’re always on the search for good ones. We still miss the EB at Reverse Grill and Jack Gage, which are both now closed.  🙁

But luckily, Beer Kitchen also has a brunch menu on the weekend, so my husband tried it. It comes with a side of “brunch potatoes” – chunky cubes of potatoes, crispy-brown on the exterior. The verdict: good hollandaise, potatoes nicely done, but the poached eggs were a little under done, with the whites being just a tad runny. But he wasn’t in a complaining mood, so he didn’t send them back.

I ordered a “Turkey Turkey” sandwich: smoked turkey, turkey bacon, avocado, tomato, chipotle cheddar and chipotle aioli on grilled sourdough. Being the spice wimp I am, I was concerned about the chipotle component of this sandwich, but the waitress assured me it wasn’t spicy at all, so I ordered it as is. I should know better! It was just a little too spicy for me, but again, not bad enough to not finish.

Other than the spice factor (which wouldn’t be an issue for most people), the sandwich was delish. I especially liked the toasted sour dough: it was the absolutely perfect balance of crunchy outside and just-chewy-enough inside. Unfortunately, it didn’t photograph well, so no pic.

Even with these two small complaints, I would recommend Beer Kitchen without reservations. This was probably our fourth or fifth visit, and they have been consistently good.

They are open seven days a week: open at 11 am on weekdays and 9 am on the weekends. They close anywhere from midnight to 3 a.m.; check their website for details.

Beer Kitchen website

On Urbanspoon:
Beer Kitchen on Urbanspoon

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Places to eat in KC: El Patron

Places to eat in Kansas City: El Patron

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How to spot El Patron.

El Patron Cocina and Bar is a locally-owned Mexican restaurant, but it’s not your standard mexi-gringo fare. My sister is a local and she first clued us in to this gem; we’ve been back multiple times and are never disappointed.

It’s definitely off the beaten track, as far as restaurants go. It’s in a somewhat industrial area, and I would never have picked it out, just driving by. It’s even a little hard to find when you are looking for it. (The gray arrow in the photo at left points to the El Patron awning.) But it’s worth the hunt!

The interior is a refreshing break from the ubiquitous chunky-wood-painted-neon-colors you find in so many local cocinas. It feels more like a bistro, with exposed brick walls displaying original art.

My favorite — and what I almost always order — is the fish tacos. As you can see in the photo below, they have a much more generous serving of fish than Seasons 52. You can get them on corn or flour tortillas, topped with cabbage, avocado, and pico, and they come with a side of mango salsa. What I love about them is that the balance of all the flavors is just exactly right: you can taste the fish but it’s not overwhelming, and you get just a small hit of the pico, without it dominating the dish.

But on this visit, my husband wanted the fish tacos, so I decided to order something different, and went with the tacos al pastor: tender chunks of pork, marinated in a “secret recipe.” It’s a very, very red sauce — prepare to get messy! — and though it contains pineapple and orange, don’t expect anything like a teriyaki. It’s a slightly sweet sauce with cinnamon being the most dominant note. It was nicely flavored; if I were a fan of cinnamon with meat, these would be fantastic. But I’m not, so I wasn’t wild about them. Understand, though, that it is just this matter of personal taste that is my only complaint. They were still delicious!
My husband and son have also ordered steak and shrimp — Arrachera con Camarones. It’s a marinated skirt steak, served with sauteed shrimp and caramelized onions. Garnished with charred jalapeno, beans, rice and guacamole on the side, served with flour tortillas. They’ve both ordered it more than once, which tells you that it’s good! (This photo is from the El Patron website; I didn’t get a good shot of it.)
So if you’re willing to venture beyond the Plaza and Westport, check this place out!
Located at: 2905 Southwest Blvd. (which is not the same as Southwest Trafficway)
Hours: open for lunch and dinner, M – Sat.; dinner only on Sun.

El Patron website.

El Patron on Urbanspoon

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Places to eat in KC: Beer Kitchen

Places to eat in Kansas City: Seasons 52 on The Plaza

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Seasons 52 is a high-end restaurant chain that just opened a location in Kansas City’s Country Club Plaza last year. As the company website says, they feature a “seasonally-inspired menu and award-winning international wine list.” As our server explained it, the whole menu changes seasonally, then there are a number of features which change week to week.

The decor feels sort of like a nice hotel lobby. Elegant, pleasant, but lacking soul.

Our server was perfect. Friendly and sincere; knowledgeable and helpful without being pushy.

My daughter and I split the Tiger Shrimp Penne Pasta with “market vegetables in a lemon-basil sauce with Parmesan cheese,” to quote the menu. The shrimp was nicely done and the vegetables were perfect, but I couldn’t taste lemon or basil in the sauce. In a cheaper restaurant, the dish would be perfectly acceptable, but given the location, the ambience and the prices, I expected to be wowed. I wasn’t.

My husband ordered the Blackened Fish Tacos. They were beautifully presented, but as you can see, none too generous with the fish. His take on the flavor was similar to mine regarding my pasta.

On to dessert! (I don’t know who first came up with the idea of serving tiny desserts in restaurants, but it is genius!) I ordered Lemon Pound Cake, and it was finally the calibre I was expecting: a perfect balance of sweet and sour. My daughter ordered Mango Cheesecake, which she said was good but lacking much mango flavor. My husband ordered the Pecan Pie with Vanilla Mousse, and it was so sweet he didn’t want to finish it.

I always hate to give bad reviews, probably due to that mantra driven into us all in childhood: “If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything.” But unless someone else is picking up the ticket, I won’t be back. It’s not horrible; really, it’s not! It’s just not much above good.  🙁

Seasons 52 website
Hours: Open for lunch and dinner seven days a week

Seasons 52 on Urbanspoon

You might also like these places to eat in KC:
El Patron
Beer Kitchen in Westport