All-American Hamburgers

Besides my love for soups, I love to eat a good ol’ All-American hamburger with plenty of ketchup and mustard!

But after doing a story on Type 2 diabetes, I’m afraid my love for these hamburger joints might have to become a less frequent affair.  There’s nothing wrong with eating hamburgers as long as it’s in moderation and not a daily staple in my diet.  Let me share some of my favorite burger joints in/around Wichita.

If you have any suggestions of other places that I should visit, comment and let me know.

  • The Anchor – 1109 East Douglas Avenue, Wichita
  • Charlie’s Famous Burgers – 3200 West 13th Street North, Wichita
  • TJ’s Burger House – 1003 West Douglas Avenue, Wichita
  • Timbuktu Bar and Grill – 1251 North Andover Road, Andover

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Time For Soups

It’s that time of the year where cooler temperatures are among us and what does that mean?  Well, for those that only like soup when it’s cold, then, its time for soups!

I re-introduce to you “Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.”  It truly is one of my favorite lunch spots and it’s even better now that it can warm me up so that I can report in the frigid cold winds of Kansas.  I introduced Tanya’s to both phojos Scheffer and Gio, and I believe they are fans too.  Every time I walk into the restaurant, I’m eager to see what’s on the board.  There’s always a new soup that I haven’t tried and I’m never disappointed with my selection.

Another favorite spot of mine is Barn’rds near 21st Street and Woodlawn.  They have my favorite vegetable beef soup.  I always combine it with the delicious BBQ beef sandwich.  It reminds me of my days in college whenever I eat there.

My favorite sushi place, Wasabi, also has a warm treat.  I enjoy eating their seafood udon noodles with the beef stock soup.  Although, I have to say that in terms of udon noodles, I still prefer the sweet udon noodles at Kanai (on the west side of Wichita).  In one of my next entries, I’ll have to introduce you to pho, Vietname noodles in soup.

Volunteering in south Wichita has its perks…re-visiting Restaurante Usuleteco.  After my friends and I volunteered at the Lord’s Diner, we visited the restaurant at about  7:45 p.m.  The staff was kind enough to let us order and eat our food, even though they closed at 8 p.m. on Friday!  I don’t recall any soups on the menu but I thought this would serve as a nice reminder of this mom-and-pop restaurant.  If you’re looking to break from the routine or are looking for something good and new, then I recommend this place…just don’t show up at 7:45 p.m., like us.

Italian in Kansas

Luciano's at 216 West Main Street in Mulvane

For my birthday, back in September, I decided to venture down to Mulvane for some Italian food.  I’d been there a few years ago with a friend and was missing some good Italian food. Luciano’s in Mulvane sure didn’t disappoint!  For lunch, they have a salad and entre special.  It took me a while to make up my mind but I chose wisely and the result was perfect!  I had the Insalata Mela Verde, spring mix salad with green apples, grapes, and crushed walnuts.  For my entre, I had Mottola Sugo di Carne, which the menu said it was a penne pasta with Luciano’s family recipe for meat sauce.  It was DELICIOUS!  And, as an added bonus, I had free dessert because it was my birthday!  Let me tell you, that creme brulee was nearly to die for!

Luciano's Insalata Mela Verde and Mottola Sugo di Carne

Luciano's Crema Bruciata

If you don’t feel like driving, I have a great recommendation…Marchello’s Restaurant in South Wichita! Their meat lasagna is one of the best I’ve ever had.  During lunch, you can even get the salad and lasagna special for less than $8!  They are quite generous with their sauce and a perfect match with their garlic bread.  Can you say, delicious and affordable?

Marchello's Restaurant at 3107 S. Seneca in South Wichita

Marchello's Lasagna

Back in the summer, I tried the fairly new Italian restaurant in Old Town called Luca.  I had a glass of wine, cup of Stracciatella soup, and gnocchi for nearly $40.  The food was alright but I would rather spend the gas money going down to Mulvane for more Luciano’s.

Luca's Gnocchi

Germany in Kansas

It was my first time eating German food with a group of friends.  We ate at Imbiss Grille at 315 N. Mead, in the heart of Old Town Wichita.  Overall, it was good food and good fellowship time.

After volunteering for nearly 3 hours, the group was ready for some cold beverages imported from Germany.

One of my friends ordered the sampler platter and I got to try everything from the sauerkraut to the bratwurst.  My favorite was the sauerbraten with a heavy brown gravy.  The meat was tender and very tasty.  (I’ll probably order that the next time I’m there.)   I’m also a fan of the red cabbage especially when eaten with the sauerbraten; it gave it a crunchy, sweet texture mixed with the tender meat.  The spatzel was okay…tasted much like bland pasta and needed the brown sauce to give it some flavor.

Sampler Platter

I ordered the chicken schnitzel sandwich…that was delicious.  For a side, I ordered the German potato salad, which is served warm…that was not my favorite.  The sandwich was served with a potato pancake inside, which was truly perfect!  I think this sandwich, with a different side, would make for a great lunch.

Chicken Schnitzel Sandwich

Dinner would not be complete without desserts.  Both of these were delicious.  Although the caramel bread putting takes 15 minutes to make, it was well worth the wait.

German Desserts

The group left Imbiss Grille very satisfied!  As Heidi Klum says in her show, “Auf Wiedersehen”…until next time Imbiss Grille!

Hungry Rotaractors at Imbiss Grille in Old Town Wichita

Affordable Mediterranean Food in Wichita

Phojo Schaeffer and I must like eating Mediterranean food when we work together. In this blog, we visit two different Mediterranean places in Wichita – N&J on the east side and Le Monde on the west side.

The photo at N&J’s (5600 E. Lincoln St.) was taken after we enjoyed our evening meal with Intern Kameron.  It was Kameron’s last day interning at the station for the summer before he returned back to KU to finish his last year.  (Thanks for helping us out, Kameron.  He joined me on several stories, including the Teen Hero At Turnpike Accident, Saving Abandoned Dogs, and Spirit Union Contract Vote).

I had heard of N&J’s for years but it was my first time eating there.  The food was delicious and affordable — the only down fall was the strong odor in the restaurant.  I had the chicken shawarma wrap which had one of the most delicious shawarma sauces I’ve had in a long time.  I think the only one that can top that is the sauce I had when I ate Mediterranean food in NYC.

The Le Monde restaurant at 602 N. West Street is only a few blocks south of our station.  We’ve driven by the restaurant several times but haven’t had time to stop by, until a couple of weeks ago.  Schaeffer and I went to get their greek gyro and fattoush salad special for $7.29 (tax included)!  Pretty good deal for a filling evening meal.

The gyro had a lot of seasoned beef that was overflowing.  It’s a messy but delicious wrap with the cucumber yogurt sauce.  Highly recommend this with the fattoush salad.  Also, their buttermilk biscuits are delicious but only eat one or two or else you’ll get stuffed before your main dish comes around.

Overall, two affordable restaurants with delicious Mediterranean food.

Summer and Soups

Anyone that knows me, knows that I love soups!  I love soups all-year-round!  So, it’s no surprise that I would love a restaurant called Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.

I heard about this restaurant a long time ago when they were in a different location, but they closed shop before I could ever go there.  Then, a couple of months ago, our anchor, Larry Hatteberg, did a story on Tanya and her new location.  Also, phojo Rex is friends with Tanya and her husband.  So, it was only a matter of time that I would go there.  During one of our weekend lunch breaks we went to the new location and met Tanya.  She’s everything Larry had said about her.  From the brief conversation I had with her, I could tell she truly has a passion for cooking and serving great food to her customers.

We arrived after shooting our story and well after the lunch hour period…but it was still packed when we got there around 2:30 p.m. on a Saturday (more evidence that the food had to be delicious).

When we walked in there was a board that showed the daily soups (there are 4-6 soups made fresh daily).  The one that caught my eye was the gazpacho, especially after being outside shooting a story in the 105+ degree weather!  Another reason it caught my eye was because I love sweet corn and avocados and this gazpacho had both.  Might I also add, that it was delicious and perfect cold soup for summer!

I had the soup and half Chef’s Club sandwich combo.  The sandwich was delicious with the smoked turkey, bacon, and avocado.  I highly recommend the combo – – it filled me up but wasn’t so heavy that I couldn’t produce my story afterward.

Looking forward to more soups from Tanya’s Soup Kitchen.  I’m ready to go there again very soon…

Address: 1725 E. Douglas
Phone: (316) 267-7687
Closed on Sundays

Saturday Subs

Phojo Schaefer and I were on our way to Santa Fe Lake in Augusta for a story about the algae problem and the lake drying up.  It was already noon so we decided to eat before going out to the lake for our story.

To keep up with last Saturday’s sub sandwich tradition, we decided to go to Planet Sub on Kellogg and Greenwich.  It had been a few months since I had last visited Planet Sub, so it was a welcomed meal.  Although it’s not a mom-and-pop shop, having met the franchisees, I think they really care about their product and service.

I was in the mood for lots of meat so I chose the “Planet Sub” sub, filled with ham, roast beef, turkey, and bacon.  I substituted the bag of chips with a cup of potato salad.  I knew we would be outdoors for a few hours looking for people to talk to us about the lake, so electrolytes-filled Powerade was my drink of choice.

After paying for the meal, I got the Queen of Spades card.  I like their concept of using a deck of cards to signify the number for your order, instead of a regular number.  It took less than five minutes and our food was delivered to our table.

I love the taste of their oven-baked wheat bread. The sub itself was delicious and filling.  It gave me enough energy to work on our story and filled me up enough until my 8 p.m. dinner.

Sushi in Kansas? Wasabi

This was my third time at Wasabi and it didn’t fail to meet my expectation.

A group of friends and I had just finished volunteering at the local soup kitchen on Friday and were craving sushi.  Although we knew it would be busy and there would probably be a wait,  it was worth it.  Thankfully, we had five in our group so one person managed to find a parking spot rather quickly and got inside to our name on the waiting list.  The rest of us were not so lucky.  It took us nearly 15 minutes to find a parking spot.  I’d never seen Old Town so busy at around 8 p.m.  Perhaps people waited to come out after the temperatures started dropping.

In the heart of Old Town in Wichita is this Japanese sushi restaurant.  They’re located on the northwest corner of Douglas and Washington.

By the time we found a spot to park and got inside, we waited just a couple of minutes to be seated.  The restaurant was packed full of young professionals and new families (we knew this from the crying babies).  The noise level didn’t bother us because we were too busy catching up with each other and selecting sushi.

Four out of the five of us decided to have sushi and eat it family style.  We each paid $22-23, which included sushi, miso soup, tax, and 20% tip…not bad for the wide variety of sushi we ordered.

We ordered two classic rolls, California and Eel/Avocado rolls.  The two other times I’ve eaten at Wasabi, I ordered at least one of those two rolls to prepare my taste buds for more adventurous sushi.   After this visit, I think I will go directly to the Chef’s Special Rolls, especially the *Salmon Crunch Roll and the *Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll.

(Top-Bottom, L-R): California Roll, Eel/Avocado Roll, Super Tiger Roll, Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll

We ordered the following five Chef’s Special Rolls:

  • Coconut Gigolo (coconut shrimp, mango, cilantro, soy paper, and peanut butter) – I’m sure you looked at the words peanut butter and thought, that doesn’t go with the word sushi.  Well, it was surprisingly delicious.  You can taste the peanut butter but it went very well with the coconut shrimp.  I didn’t taste the mango, probably because of the peanut butter taste overpowered it.
  • Volcano Roll (spicy tuna, mozzarella cheese, baked masago) – I could have passed on this one.  I’m not a big fan of cheese combined with tuna and masago (fish eggs).
  • *Salmon Crunch Roll (crab, avocado, salmon tempura) – This was the upgraded version of my regular California Roll.  This roll had a good balance of flavors and had the right amount of crunchy texture.  I like this roll very much and I think this will be the first roll I’ll order next time around.
  • Super Tiger Roll (shrimp tempura, spicy tuna, shrimp, avocado) – I’m a big fan of shrimp so this was my favorite to look at.  There were slices of shrimp on top of each sushi roll.  The roll had a nice little kick it to it, thanks to the spicy tuna.
  • *Spicy Tuna Tempura Roll (spicy tuna, avocado, fried coconut flakes) – Don’t let the name fool you, this was spicy enough that I could handle it.  I don’t usually like spicy foods but this sushi was actually mild enough to be able to enjoy the rest of the flavors.  The coconut flakes helped balance the spice on the tuna.  This was another one of my favorite rolls.

Coconut Gigolo Roll

It is expected that a restaurant specializing in sushi will take some time in making the rolls.  We didn’t keep track of the time from when we ordered to when we received our food.  We were enjoying each others’ company and felt that our waitress paced our meal well.  The owner brought out four bowls of miso soup and noticed that the fifth guest, who ordered Japanese noodles instead, did not order soup.  She didn’t want our friend to feel left out and brought out a complimentary bowl for her.  This made me feel good supporting a restaurant whose owner is not only working together with her chef-husband, but also being extra attentive to details even when it was busy.  On the other hand, we were too busy enjoying our food that we never noticed that an item we ordered, never came.  We ordered the edamame, salted soybeans in a pod, as our appetizer but it never came before or after our meal.   They apologized for it and corrected our bill.

Overall, a great experience and I’m already looking forward to the next time I go back to Wasabi.

Another Japanese restaurant with delicious food and sushi is Kanai.  It is located on the southwest corner of Maple and 119th St, on the west side of Wichita.  The single time I’ve eaten at Kanai, I found the atmosphere inviting, food delicious and filling, and the service exceptional.

Southside Subs

When I was younger, I remember passing by “The Grinder Man” on East Pawnee.  We used to go next door to Braums to get ice cream but never went inside the G-Man.  I finally went inside to eat and walked away quite satisfied.

On Saturday, Rex and I filmed our story outside in the extreme heat, so we were ready for a nice cold drink.  It is then, he suggested the G-Man.  Good choice, Rex.  They had cherry limeades with free refills!  Definitely helped quench my thirst.

I had the turkey sub special with a drink.   The 6″ sub was nice and warm but wasn’t enough for me.  I should have ordered the regular 12″ sub instead.  Perhaps it was just the right size since we still needed to go back to the station to produce our story.

The G-Man doesn’t accept credit cards, so if you go, remember to bring “real dough.”

Address: 510 E. Pawnee St.
Phone: (316) 264-3462

¡Que Rica La Comida Salvadoreña!

Rex and I at Restaurante Usuluteco

What do you get with $8.21? If you’re having lunch at Restaurante Usuluteco, you can get one chicken tamale, two pupusas, and a Coke in a bottle.

A couple of friends, including a law enforcement officer, told me about this small restaurant that serves food from El Salvador.

The restaurant was pretty easy to find. It’s just south of Pawnee on the northeast corner of Northern and Hydraulic, in a small shopping center. When we got inside, a friendly host/waiter helped us get seated and order our lunch.

Refreshing Coca Cola!

First thing on the menu were the pupusas, traditional Salvadoran dish. The pupusas look like stuffed patties but are made of corn and filled with a variety of fillings. My favorite was the revueltas, made of ground pork and mixed with cheese. It was perfect when I drizzled some mild sauce on top of it.

As a connoisseur of tamales, it was no surprise that I ordered a chicken tamale when I spotted it on the menu. It was perfect! The tamale reminded me of the ones I used to eat in Guatemala.

The meal was perfectly tied with a Coca Cola in a glass bottle, reminiscent of the ones I used to drink as a child. Although I hadn’t drunk a Coke in months, it was much-needed after having spent several hours outdoors covering stories in the 100+ degree weather.

My overall experience was excellent. I just wish I had room to eat the empanadas, filled with plantains. Guess I’ll just have to go back for round two that includes empanadas.

Tamales and pupusas

Address: 1714 E. Northern Avenue
Phone: (316) 409-3820
Closed on Mondays