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With the heat really coming on, a new concept that been spreading all over the country finally made it's way to Wichita just in time to cool down our palates.

It's time to introduce the city to 8 Below Rolled Ice Cream.


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Union Station canopies
701 E Douglas
Wichita, KS 67202
316-768-6032

Open Daily 11am - 10pm

Website - Menu available online
Facebook

Cash/Card accepted

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8 Below Rolled Ice Cream brings something Wichita has never seen before and people are coming in masses. They really nailed it down with the location being in Old Town inside the Union State canopies. With an open area with a great view of Douglas, you could grab a dessert and walk around downtown unless it's so hot out that the ice cream melts. We found some shaded areas in Union Station to sit and enjoy our treats.

The concept is visually appealing as they make the ice cream right in front of you. All the ingredients you choose are placed onto a pan set at negative eight degrees. Then similar to a hibachi grill chef, the staff chops its, mixes it, flattens its, and rolls the ice cream into eggroll shape desserts. They then put them into bowls and top them with additional ingredients of your choosing.

It's all very cool. I stopped by over the weekend with my niece and cousins and everyone was up against the counter watching the employees work away.

If you don't want to pick all your ingredients, they have preset options of desserts you can choose from.

We recorded our creations in the works.




On our visit, we ordered the Brownie Mix, Pink Lady, Cookies & Cream, Mango Tango and Gimme Smore.

With only three stations available to make the ice cream, it can take some time especially when there's long lines. Each dessert took roughly 10-15 minutes to make. We arrived at 12:30 on Saturday afternoon and were able to order immediately. Within minutes after we ordered, an extremely long line built up that had to create about an hour wait. We were very lucky.




The ice cream was better than expected. All the kids absolutely it. The rolls had a great texture which tasted incredibly fresh. Couple of the kids said it was the best ice cream they've ever had.

The Mango Tango was probably the favorite of all the ice creams. The strawberries and mango really stood out from your everyday vanilla or chocolate ice cream that the kids are accustomed to. Even though there was a standout favorite, there wasn't one that anybody disliked or felt was average.

At six bucks per bowl, it was a little on the high end even though everyone liked it. The price would probably hinder many families from going frequently.

The wait times also left a lot to be desired. I was speaking with a couple of the employees and they noted that wait times all week long were 1-2 hours long. That hopefully will get better as the staff becomes more experienced at making the ice cream. Also when the ice cream was ready, the staff would announce out a number which caused some issues. Some people would order their ice cream and step outside of the building because it was so packed. Others would forget their number. Fixing that process of customers retrieving their ice cream could use some work.

Our experience at 8 Below Ice Cream was incredible partly because we were able to beat the rush. It took no more than fifteen minutes to order and get our ice cream. That instance became a rarity within minutes after our arrival. Many people I spoke to later who had tried 8 Below gave me their stories of long wait times close to an hour but loved the ice cream.

We will see how 8 Below Ice Cream improves as the summer moves along. With a great product, their process has a lot of room for improvement. If you can try it out without the long wait times, it's certainly recommended.

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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Who's ready for Wichita Taco Fest? I have my tickets, do you?


The event takes place at Union State on Saturday June 24th from Noon to 7 pm.

19 different vendors around Wichita will be on hand selling 4.5 inch bite size tacos for $1 a piece. You can pair that with chips and salsa for $2.

There will be several different contests such as Best Taco, Best Salsa and Best Margarita where crowds can participate in the voting.

For those that are there for the tequila, there's a Tequila Bar open from 12-4 pm. Q92's Carla Ayala will also be on hand to host the event with free giveaways. As for the most important part, here's the list of who will be on hand.
Taco Fest Participants:

Molino’s
Funky Monkey
Tacos el Torito
Angry Elephant
Hot 2 Trot
The Kitchen
The Mumbai Rail
Emerson Biggins
On The Border
Las Dos Costas
37 West
Blue Fin Sake Bar
Casa Del Charro
District Taqueria
Las Palmas Mexican
Los Compadres
Carlos O'Kellys
Chase Branscum
La Hacienda
Tickets are just $5 a piece and kids 5 and under are free. If you haven't purchased your tickets yet, head over to wichitatacofest.com to buy them online to stop by any of the Mobilecomm locations in town or the Demo Skate Shop to pick them up in person.

For more information, head over to wichitatacofest.com

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Blue Fin Sake Bar is having their grand opening on Friday, June 9th.

For this day only, they are offering 10% off of everything. They have been closed all week long for renovations and are ready to open their doors.

While Blue Fin Sake Bar has technically been open for a couple months, they will have a changed look inside and hope to improve on a key area that plagued them originally: the slow service as evident in some of their reviews. I can attest the sushi was great though. If they can overcome the long waits, Blue Fin has a great shot at making it.

Blue Fin Sake Bar is located at 255 N. Washington Ave.

You can check out our original First Look from back in April as well as follow Blue Fin Sake Bar on Facebook.

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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The Village at Greenwich has really grown over the year and now houses many restaurants. So far the offering has been lackluster with no restaurants that are true must try's. We've been to every single place within the Village that offers food and not one has caught our attention that makes us crave it again.

Our hope is that will change with their newest restaurant, the much talked about and truly beautiful Oak and Pie.


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2244 N Greenwich Rd Suite 900
Wichita, KS 67226
316-768-6900

Sunday & Monday: 11am - 9pm
Tuesday - Thursday: 11am - 10pm
Friday - Saturday: 11am - 11pm

Website - Menu available online
Facebook

Cash/Card accepted
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Oak and Pie is the newest wood oven pizza restaurant following in the footsteps of places like Il Vicino and Piatto. Oddly enough all the main upscale wood oven pizza restaurants are on the east side of town.

What sets Oak and Pie apart is the true beauty of the restaurant. They really did it right with the decor.


Everywhere you sit, it's certain to be comfortable. They have a great patio facing the north side of the restaurant and the bar area is great; nice and spacious and a wonderful place for afterwork drinks......


.......... or in our case, anytime drinks. For the record, we really loved their Cucumber Blood Orange Spritzer seen in the middle (and the right, they messed that one up).


This first look actually goes over two different visits. I had family and friends who both were anxious to try Oak and Pie so I did what any caring person would do.....go both times.

On both visits, we ordered appetizers in the form of meatballs with pie sauce and the calamari tossed with spicy pickled peppers. My niece loved the pita bread and dipping it into the pizza sauce. As for the meatballs, there weren't much to them. It was your typical ground beef with spices and seasonings. One of my colleagues wasn't a fan at all and was done after one. As for the calamari, they were much better. When eaten with the spicy pickled peppers it was even better. The peppers really gave the calamari that great complimentary kick. A couple of people did note that some parts of the calamari were a bit under-cooked and you could tell by the color.



Next up were the salads. Everybody ordered salads. From their house salad to the Caesar Salad to the Fresh Market Salad, anybody who went with one of the greens was a happy camper. My cousin noted that the house salad was one of the best salads she has ever had. The red wine vinaigrette was key in making it her favorite.

A few people, including myself, had the Farmer's Market Salad. Once again, their white balsamic vinaigrette dressing lightly drizzled over the candied walnuts, apples and Bibb lettuce were a great combination.

Even my friend who had the Caesar salad was eating away with pure jealousy saying he wished he could make something like that at home.

The only negative went to the Chilled Pasta Salad which was essentially flavorless. If there was any dressing on it, you couldn't tell.

Farmer's Market Salad

Caesar Salad

House Salad

Chilled Pasta Salad
Next up: the main course. There were some orders that weren't pizza in our group: the Lou's Lasagna and the Famous Panini with tomato basil soup. The lasagna came out a bit cooler than it should have been. Ironically enough, a lady who sat right next to us had the same issue. I had the lasagna and admittedly it wasn't my favorite. When it comes to lasagna, it wasn't close to others in town like DeFazio's or Il Vicino or Angelo's. There was something off to it that was hard to spot. I had a couple of my friends also try it and they had the exact same feeling.

My friend had no issue with the tomato basil soup and felt it to be pretty good. As for the Famous Panini, he said the chicken was too tender as if it had been boiled for too long.



Finally it was time for what we came for: the pizzas. The first thing we noticed was the temperature of the pizza. The pizzas were warm but it wasn't the same type of heat you'd find at Il Vicino or Piatto. When doing a quick google search on Oak and Pie to get the website information, I noticed on Google Reviews one of my photographer friends said the same thing.

Without getting too much into it, nobody left really blown away by the pizzas. While the wood oven pizzas are larger than the competition, there was a lot of crust to it as seen in the pictures below. The favorite of all the pizzas ordered was the Chicken White Pie and one of my cousins said if it weren't for the alfredo sauce, he probably wouldn't have finished it. The Soprano Italiano was very greasy which turned off another family member.

All of the other pizzas just lacked the flavor we were expecting. Maybe we set our expectations too high. Even for myself, I went twice and really wanted to like it but it just wasn't for me.

Chicken White Pie

Soprano Italiano

Oh, Buddy!

The Dogfather
For the service, the servers were fantastic. They catered to our every need which is why we wanted to like the place. Add in the whole ambiance of it all and it was a place we could have seen coming back for multiple returns had we been a fans of our food.

As for price, they are about on par with Piatto. When you compare it to Il Vicino which they are essentially like, you're spending more for a slightly larger pizza (10 inches versus 12 inches). Il Vicino prices are $8-11.50 while Oak and Pie is $12-15. The pepperoni pizza at Il Vicino is $8.50 vs. $12 at Oak and Pie.

In the competitive scene of wood oven in Wichita, Oak and Pie just failed to capture the magic we've come to love at places like Piatto and Il Vicino. We left with an underwhelming feeling.

Wichita Eagle writer, Denise Neil, recently boasted about her rare four star review for Piatto. Looking back at her past reviews, it looks as though she hasn't reviewed many pizza establishments so we were all interested to see if she would do a review of Oak and Pie and how it compared.

Upon looking at further reviews online, Oak and Pie certainly has their fans and could end up doing very well in Wichita with their following. There were also some that had our point of views. Unfortunately for my group of ten friends and family, it was a miss.

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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There's a brand new menu item available at one of my favorite lunch spots, Hot Stone Korean Grill. It is ramen which took Wichita by storm when Yokohama Ramen Joint opened over a year ago.


Hot Stone Korean Grill's new menu, which can be found on their Facebook page, still has many favorites of mine like bulgogi dishes and bento boxes. But we went there specifically for ramen as it's become one of my favorite dishes.


Their menu has five different types of ramen: Miso Tonkatsu, Kimchi Tonkatsu, Seafood, Veggie Shoyo and Shin (Spicy). For the Spicy Ramen, it doesn't include meat so you'll spend a couple bucks if you want to add something to it.

Any of the ramen dishes with meat will run you $10-12. For those wondering how that fares compared to Yokohama, their dishes are $8.25-9.

We tried two different ramen dishes, their Miso Tonkatsu Ramen and the Spicy Ramen with pork belly.



The Spicy Ramen was just as advertised.....very spicy; so spicy I had to stop at times because my mouth was burning. You'll definitely want to order pork belly with it.

For the Miso Tonkatsu, the noodle quality was fantastic and just the type of noodles I prefer in my ramen. The broth wasn't salty and had great flavor. The problem was there was barely any broth in the bowl.

Ramen's a good addition to the Hot Stone menu. I'm still back and forth whether I like it more than my usual bulgogi or bento box orders. The actual quality was good but for the money, the ramen costs more for a smaller portion size than the competitors.

Feel free to give it a try and make your own judgment. They are located at 3743 N Rock Rd # 100 (near 37th and Rock).

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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LoLo's Crepes marks their one year anniversary on June 7. To celebrate they will be offering $3 sweet and $5 savory crepes at Aero Plain Brewing (117 N. Handley St.). LoLo's Crepes will be there from 6pm - 10pm.


Be sure to follow them on Facebook to get a look at their menu for their anniversary celebration.

I had a chance to speak with Matt Lo, owner of LoLo's Crepes, and he had a message for me to pass on to everyone:

"It's been a year already, how time flies! I have been blessed with an opportunity to serve the Wichita family in the past year by bringing my favorite food into the food truck community. You have been nothing but supportive and encouraging! I am also the new owner of WeXcape entertainment and would love to have your support in this new journey. "

Times are looking good for Matt who will be celebrating the one year anniversary of his food truck along with taking over WeXcape entertainment. He mentioned that customer service will be his first focus as the new owner.

LoLo's Crepes made our list of our 8 Favorite Food Trucks in Wichita. So they are worth checking out if you haven't yet!

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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After a Sunday morning of golf, my friends and I drove around looking for a place to eat. It was right around lunch time and Taqueria El Fogon was closed for a private event. We decided to drive back near Clapp golf course and check out a restaurant we thought sounded familiar.


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1606 S Georgetown St
Wichita, KS 67218
316-927-2191

Open Daily 11am - 8:30pm except for Tuesdays
Closed on Tuesdays

Facebook

Cash/Card accepted
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Ourrs Family Dining is your standard family buffet that serves many different styles of food. They are similar to Furrs Family Dining which Ourrs took over. The names are so similar, one would think they just covered the F and put in the O.

After further investigation, it looks as though that's indeed that they did.


Here are their prices:
Adult Lunch - $8.99, with tax $9.66
Senior Lunch - $7.99, with tax $8.59
Child 3-5yrs. - $4.99, with tax $5.36
Child 6-10yrs. - $5.99, with tax $6.44  
Adult Dinner - $9.99, with tax $10.74
Senior Dinner - $8.99, with tax $9.66
Child 3-5yrs. - $5.99, with tax $6.44
Child 6-10yrs. - $6.99, with tax $7.51  
Sunday all day Adults - $10.99, with tax $11.81
Seniors - $9.99, with tax $10.74
Child 3-5yrs - $5.99, with tax $6.44
Child 6-10yrs. - $6.99, with tax $7.51  
Prices include all the food and drink you want! Ourr's Senior prices start at age 62yrs. and up.
As noted, Ourrs is a buffet similar to what you'd find at a Golden Corral. The big difference with Ourrs is it's all cafeteria line style meaning you walk down an aisle and other people serve you the food.


At Ourrs, there's everything from your basic American lunch staples like meatloaf, chicken, soup, salad to some Chinese buffet staples like fried rice, lo mein, chicken broccoli.

Here's a run down in the form of pictures:












There's certainly the long line of foods to choose from.

My friends and I tried most of what was available and to be completely honest, nothing really stood out. It was your standard buffet fare where the food tasted all about average. No one really hated the food with the exception of their ribs.

Ourrs had their following of people though. Most of the tables were filled on our visit and most of the people enjoyed their food from what we were able to observe. With prices comparable or even better on particular days compared to Golden Corral, we didn't notice much of a difference.

If you like the standard all over the board buffets, we suppose this could be worth a shot for you. Otherwise this probably isn't for you. Ourrs didn't appeal to us and ultimately was a spur of the moment decision when our first choice for lunch was closed. 

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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Americans consume around 14 billion quarts of popcorn a year. That's an insane amount of popcorn. To be honest, it's a fascination I've never grasped on to. Work vendors send us tins of popcorn during the holidays. One of the most popular popcorn shops I've been to is Garrett based out of Chicago. The lines to check out made me wonder if some addictive drug was placed inside to keep people coming back for more.

Here's the kicker though, every time the popcorn is around; I end up eating more than I should.

While out shopping in Andover one afternoon, I came across a little shop at the corner of Andover and Central. My niece saw it and recommended we stop inside to the topic of our latest review; The Popcorner.


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528 N Andover Rd
Andover, KS 67002
316-733-0099

2121 N Tyler Rd
Wichita, KS 67212
316-613-8828

Monday - Saturday: 10am - 7pm
Closed on Sunday

Website
Facebook
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Once you walk in, there is no confusion popcorn is the main product.





They have it all: tins, bags, treats, flavored popcorn, create your own flavored popcorn, you name it. The popcorn can be purchased in all different sizes as well. It's an anyway you want it type of experience.


My niece and I purchased four different small bags on our visit to take home and try. We went with Birthday Cake, Chicago Style, Tuxedo Gourmet, and Cookie Monster.





We are the first to admit that we are no popcorn connoisseurs.  After trying the Chicago Mix, I had the same satisfaction with The Popcorner's as I did with Garrett's that people swear by. The Tuxedo Gourmet was my personal favorite. Can you go wrong with caramel with white and milk chocolate drizzled over the top?

My niece could not stop chowing down the Birthday Cake and Cookie Monster. Both extremely sweet options, she could not resist. For the record, Cookie Monster was the flavor of the week and isn't available at all times. The other ones mentioned are.

There wasn't a single flavor choice that we disliked. For a couple people who don't eat popcorn often, we were more than satisfied with the Popcorner. It was great, wonderful, and tasty.

The staff inside were extremely helpful and friendly. They left a good enough of an impression that was worthy of a review.

With two locations in town, I could see myself returning for more popcorn for myself or even as gifts for people.

Happy Dining,
Eddy

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