October 2011

Alright gang, up next on the Dining by the Alphabet Trail is Letter P. Who's got some suggestions for me?

Obviously three exclusions that I will not be going to are Papa John's, Pizza Hut, and Pleasures. Don't ask why, just nod your head and agree!

Just glancing through a small list of "P restaurants", there are a lot of Pho establishments. Would I be opposed to going to one? Absolutely not but I would definitely prefer a place I haven't been to.

This time around, let's try for something off the beaten path. A place many people have heard about but just never made it out there. Something new, something fresh.

Oh yeah, definitely no Pacific Coast Pizza as seen here.

The 15th letter of the alphabet is upon us.

While trying to decide where to go, I unfortunately had to take into consideration my Project Vegetarian currently going on. I have two days left to go to complete my mission and didn't want to cheat. So one of the options I was considering, Oasis, I had to knock out because I heard you have to try the burgers there. The other option I was wanting to go to, Old Mill Tasty Shop is only open for lunch during the week.

But then while looking around; I noticed there just happened to be a vegetarian restaurant that begins with the letter O. Then I thought to myself, what would "Macho Man" Randy Savage say when choosing a restaurant?

He would start off by saying two words: "OHHHHH YEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHH"

So my decision was made.
Oh Yeah! China Bistro.
3101 North Rock Road • 316.425.7700
Open Daily: Mon–Fri 11:00–10, Sat 11:30–10, Sun 11:30–9
http://www.ohyeahchinabistro.com/index.html - Menu listed on the site

They are near the northwest corner of Rock and 29th street. They're in that shopping center where Sprint and Il Ponte Cafe are located. This was formerly known as Zen (a vegetarian restaurant) but changed their name and included meat on their menu.

My guest diner for this evening was Megan. She's a first time guest diner for Wichita By E.B. Ironically enough, she's ran into me on a couple other blogging excursions so it made sense to just have her aboard for Letter O.

Upon arriving, we were greeted and seated. There were two other couples in the establishment so it wasn't very busy when we got there. Throughout the night, I'd say probably 10 or so other diners would drop in. The place looked pretty fancy inside and was very quiet. Quiet to the point you could at times hear others talking. Just my personal preference, but an atmosphere like that could use some light music playing in the background. Nothing too loud but just something to clear the white noise.

To start off the night, we ordered the Thai Spring Rolls for an appetizer and a bowl of Hot & Sour Soup for me and Egg Flower Soup (a fancy name for Egg Drop Soup I suppose?) for Megan. To note, all soups are available in vegetarian style except their seafood soup).

They have a handful of other vegetarian appetizers like Soy Nuggets (lightly fried Soy Nuggets), Salt and Pepper Tofu cubes, Seaweed Medley, Garden Tempura and a host of others.

The server came out and brought out our soups which were both delicious and priced right. During this time, our server informs us that they were out of the Thai Style Spring Rolls and suggested the Horizon Spring Rolls (variation of the traditional spring rolls made with napa, carrots, celery and thin noodles). I was very indifferent so we went with those as the substitute. A short while after those came out and were burning hot inside. Megan took the first bite and you could tell the instant she bit in, they just came out of the fryer. Soooooooo I waited a while to bite into mine. The spring rolls came with two different sauces, a sweet and sour sauce and a mustard/wasabi mix. The mustard wasabi mix should be FDA approved to clear stuffy noses. Or wasabi in general should be. Once the spring rolls cooled down a bit, I took a bite into mine and it was very delicious. Megan recommends the sweet and source sauce over the mustard/wasabi mix. I do too as well.

It's not the size of the roll that matters, its the taste..........
Or is it?

Excuse me sir
"What is your soup of the day?"
During this time, we were ready to order our entrees for the evening. Megan knew right off the bat she was going to go with the Orange chicken (deep fried ingredients stir fried in spicy tangy orange flavored sauce). I briefly told our server I was doing this whole vegetarian for a week thing and asked for some suggestions. He did inform us earlier it was his first day on the job but he did work when Oh Yeah was Zen Restaurant. So I asked what he would have chosen since many of the Zen menu items were now on the Oh Yeah Menu. He suggested the Phad Tai (Thai style stir fried rice noodles with bean sprouts, eggs, and peanuts). It came with tofu that could be cooked to my liking. He recommended the best tofu route to go was the steamed tofu with the Phad Thai. It sounded alright to me, I was prepared to give tofu another shot.

Finished the rest of our soup, server came around with constant refills (great job there) and dinner was served!
A reason why Project Vegetarian was a bad idea

The Orange Peel Chicken just looked delicious. It came with a side of rice. The temptation was nearly killing me to try a piece of chicken but Will Power won that battle. Megan mixed her chicken and rice together and was ready to go. After a few bites she mentioned how good it was. She said she would definitely recommend the orange peel chicken and that it was just as much as you'd pay at PF Changs.
 I'm a big Pad Thai fan (or as "Oh Yeah" spells it Phad Thai) and was anxious to see how Oh Yeah's fared compared to others I've tried in Wichita. When it was placed in front of me, I must admit, the tofu did not look tempting. I had to place it all on another plate because I wasn't sure I was ready to eat all the tofu placed on top of the meal. I bit into the tofu a few times and I have to admit, it's just not my thing. Megan tried it as well and ended at one bite. I decided I'll just eat the Pad Thai meatless and rate my meal solely on the Pad Thai. Halfway into my meal, I just wasn't impressed. My Pad Thai looked very mushy and soggy like the noodles were boiled for too long. Taste-wise there wasn't much flavor to it. Wasn't spicy, not that it was supposed to be. A blank aftertaste. Just kind of bland in general. I ended up not finishing my meal out of choice not because I was full.


While "Oh Yeah" is a Chinese/vegetarian restaurant, it's really just seems like a Chinese Restaurant with vegetarian items here and there. Any meal can be made vegetarian style by going meatless or with tofu.

The service was great even if our server had only been there one day. He would try to ask any questions we had and ask someone if he didn't know the answer. Drinks were constantly being refilled. The timing of order of meal to receiving the meal was spot on.

Unfortunately for me, I wasn't impressed with the meal but Megan was happy with what she ordered. Like any dining experience, your perception can change based on what you order. Last night, it was a thumbs down for me and a thumbs up for Megan.

All the pricing was very comparable to any Chinese restaurant. Both entrees were around $10, the soups were $3 a piece and the appetizer was $3.50. Total bill came out to $31 and change before tip.

So the moment of truth. What to rate "Oh Yeah China Bistro"?

After some thought, Megan decided to give Oh Yeah a 4 based on everything from value to service to food quality. Myself, I gave this place a 3. My thinking was Service was great. Value was alright. The app was good but not great for two spring rolls for $3.50. The soup was delicious but the entree failed to deliver and for the most part, that should be the best part of the night. Maybe I'll come in again and try a different meal if I'm in the area.

So the final score: 3.5

I want to thank Megan for being my guest diner on Dining by the Alphabet.

Up next is Letter P so I’m sure I'll be needing suggestions from all of you!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!  Happy Dining All!

All comments are appreciated.
Oh Yeah China Bistro on Urbanspoon Oh Yeah China Bistro on Urbanspoon

Pacific Coast Pizza.......oh where do I begin?

When this place first opened up, my circle of friends was pretty excited. We tried the place out and liked the food they had. Of course at that time, the customer service was pretty good too. We would find ourselves going up there for an occasional group dinner or a weekend afternoon sitting on the patio, hanging out over a few drinks.

They have a variety of pizza creations, some decent, some really good. Their wings are pretty large and filling. I prefer the teri-hot wings. Actually one of my friends swears they have the best wings in town.

Now the dilemma. Do you continue going to a place where their customer service is just horrible despite the food?

I've been there probably a couple dozen times now and lately I'd compare their customer service level to that of a...... wait, I have nothing to compare it to because they don't have any to compare. Am I exaggerating? Slightly, but when I say their customer service is bad, I totally mean it. A handful of friends are also to the point where they are just fed up with it. Each time we have gone in, we're like "OK, if the customer service sucks this time, we're not coming back."

About 3-4 weeks ago, we went in on a Sunday afternoon for lunch, drinks and watch a little football. About an hour into the day, their keg exploded (this happens literally every other time we go in), our server forgot who's order was who's, I had to wait at the bar forever, our server brought us our tickets when we weren't even ready to leave (and note, our server wasn't cut or anything) and the whole experience just, for the lack of a better word, sucked. With no manager on duty that day, I decided it was best to just send an e-mail to the owner/manager/whomever. Give them a couple weeks to respond if they planned on doing so. Here is the e-mail:

To whom this may concern,
We've been regular patrons to Pacific Coast Pizza for a while. Your establishment is convenient, the food is pretty good and we love going outside to play Bocce Ball over a few cold beers and pizzas. Plus it's an occasional mainstay for our lunch crew at work.

Unfortunately your customer service has dropped dramatically the past handful of times we've been there. From absolutely horrible service to consistently "exploding" kegs to long wait times, we are near the point to where we are ready to mark this off our list of regular stops.

We were in the other day and standing at the bar waiting to be served. This employee was standing at the end of the bar just writing on her dry erase board. She looked over at us and continued to write on her dry erase board. About a few minutes go by and she puts down her marker and reads what she wrote, grabs the marker and continues writing. Knowing she was the only person at the bar, we would hope she would come serve us. Instead we waited until she was ready. She walks over, grabs a glass for another order, walks by, then she notices us again and finally asks us if we're ready to order.

Another night, a group of 8 of us are in for dinner. We ordered four pizzas, a couple appetizers, drinks around for our group. Once we received our food, we literally had to go ask our server for refills and additional drinks on three different occasions. Then on the final time, we were waiting to receive our tab and she was just hanging out at the bar. To make matters worse, you guys were not that busy.

The same employee from the first example we've had many times. By far the worst server at your establishment. She would bring us out our orders one by one. If we were ordering wings, she would lay them on the table. We would have to ask her, whose order it was. She didn't even know what type of wings they were. So she would let them get cold while she went to go and try to figure out whose order it was.

I've been meaning to put this on my site but would love to hear back from the owner or manager of your place. We honestly would like to see your place succeed as we are all actually fans of your food. But the customer service has just gotten out of hand that we had to say something and it's almost the last straw.

Thank you for your time.

A couple weeks go by and no response. A friend, knowing I sent the e-mail, actually went in and talked to the owner one day and said, "Do you ever check your e-mail?” The owner didn't respond. The owner did mention to my friend he has been aware of the customer service issues. Another friend actually called up Pacific Coast to inform them of the e-mail. No response. I even wrote a quick note on their Facebook page which was promptly deleted.

If I gathered my friends together, we could easily come up with a larger list of their customer service woes but if I typed it all out, my fingers might start to hurt. I'd easily put their customer service level in my Worst 3 in Wichita.

So the dilemma begins, if you like their food but hate going in, do you continue eating there? Order just take-out? Or just never go to the place again?

I'd love to read your thoughts gang.
Pacific Coast Pizza on Urbanspoon

Over halfway done with Project Vegetarian.

It's been a struggle at times with lots of temptation. For instance on Friday, my brother was making pork chops and asked if I wanted one. It smelled so good; I was tempted to go sneak one in the middle of the night. Instead I settled for Bella Luna salad.

Earlier that day, I tried some Pho for lunch. I saw an option for tofu instead of meat at Tsunami and went that route. The Pho was delicious but the tofu was just awful. I've had tiny little bits of tofu before in my miso soup but never big chunks. Tasted nasty, I will probably avoid tofu for good now. Throughout the day for lunch, I snacked on peanuts, grapes and pineapple. I forgot how good grapes and pineapple were for snacks. I immediately went after work on loaded up on a "Vegetarian's Shopping List"

Jars of peanuts
Bags of groups (did you know that grapes are just left sitting out at Dillon's for all hands to touch? I was pretty turned off by it but somebody said to me "Eddy, you can always wash the grapes when you get home". It made sense, so I did)
Baby Carrots
Some noodles
Frozen vegetables
(And other odds and ends)

Saturday was the hardest.

A few of us went to Lawrence for the KU/K-State football game. Before the game, they decided on going to Dairy Queen before for lunch. While glancing at the menu, I saw no veggie burgers, no vegetarian options. Just meat and dairy products. Perfect. I ended up with a little side salad that was horrible and a thing of fries. I figured beer would hold me off until dinner.

Instead of going home right after the game, we made a brief detour by the casinos in Topeka. Brief turned into seven hours later. There was a little grill and snack shop in the casino we stopped by to eat at before heading home. Once again, no option for vegetarians. I ended up with the same thing before at Dairy Queen. Salad and fries. But I purchased a bag of peanuts to snack on as well.

Boy....... was I hungry. When I eventually got home, I made a peanut butter sandwich and at some yogurt.

Insert Sunday. A new day! Finally a chance to stay home and eat a good meal. For lunch before football started, I made some steamed vegetables and rice. For a little dessert, I had some yogurt. Overall it wasn't that bad. Throughout the day while watching the game, I snacked on peanuts. Later that evening I drove over to the Dillon’s salad bar and loaded up on a great dinner. Salad, pickles, pineapple, grapes, macaroni noodles, eggs, baby carrots, and green beans. That lasted me until the end of the night.

That's not to say Sunday had its fair share of temptation. My mother calls me over for burgers and brats. I had to pass. My aunt wants to know if I wanted any homemade beef jerky. I told her I couldn't eat meat. I think she gave me this "Are you crazy" look. I survived the temptation though and lived to see another day.

Monday morning.... eggs.

So I'm halfway done. I must say that I haven't been as hungry as I thought I'd be. Part of me feels like I'm eating healthier but who knows. Do I miss meat in general? Yes. I'd love to eat a porkchop. I'd love to eat some beef jerky. I'd love to eat some real bacon in my salad.

Pushing through the week though. I'm guessing for dinner it's going to be some pasta for dinner with baby carrots and some toast. If that idea sounds less than appealing, I'm going to try my first fully cooked vegetarian meal  tonight with some recipes some of you have been e-mailing me. IT BETTER BE GOOD!

Project Vegetarian continues!

I'm hoping to knock out Letter O tomorrow though, we'll see how that goes.

I have decided to embark on a new adventure. Some people have chosen to do the same adventure because of health, religious, political, environmental, cultural, aesthetic or economic reasons. My reasons? I'm doing it for the hell of it. I just want to see what it's like.

I did some small research on vegetarians and I read that one study indicated that vegetarian women are more likely to have female babies. My mother certainly wasn't a vegetarian! While there is no actual number of vegetarians in the United States, a 2008 Harris Interactive poll showed that 3.2% of U.S. adults follow a vegetarian-based diet. Make that 3.2% +1 person as of this week.

From today thru Thursday of next week, I will be a vegetarian. Why those days? So I can eat whatever food I want during Halloween.

There are all sorts of vegetarians. (From Wikipedia:)
  • Ovo vegetarianism includes eggs but not dairy products.
  • Lacto vegetarianism includes dairy products but not eggs.
  • Ovo-lacto vegetarianism (or lacto-ovo vegetarianism) includes animal/dairy products such as eggs, milk, and honey.
  • Veganism excludes all animal flesh and animal products, including milk, honey, and eggs, and may also exclude any products tested on animals, or any clothing from animals.
  • Raw veganism includes only fresh and uncooked fruit, nuts, seeds, and vegetables. Vegetables can only be cooked up to a certain temperature.
  • Fruitarianism permits only fruit, nuts, seeds, and other plant matter that can be gathered without harming the plant.
  • Buddhist vegetarianism (also known as su vegetarianism) excludes all animal products as well as vegetables in the allium family (which have the characteristic aroma of onion and garlic): onion, garlic, scallions, leeks, or shallots.
  • Jain vegetarianism includes dairy but excludes eggs and honey, as well as root vegetables.
  • Macrobiotic diets consist mostly of whole grains and beans.
For this project I will be an Ovo Vegetarian. I will include eggs but not dairy products and will avoid chicken, seafood and meat. (Ha ha, I said meat.)

I'll be eating fruits, vegetables, pastas, rice, who knows what else. Going out to eat for dinner will be interesting as I'll get a chance to look at the side of the menu I rarely ever look at: the salads or vegetarian menus. I'm headed to see the Wildcats and Jayhawks play in Lawrence tomorrow so a road trip I'm sure will require one fast food stop. That oughta be interesting.

So let Project Vegetarian begin. Will I survive? Will I give into the temptations of meat (ha ha, I said it again). I'm going to keep a daily food blog to track what I've been eating and if I ever get full. For those that are really into following this adventure, you can follow me on Twitter to get updates of my food. That's called taking "stalking" to a whole new level! I'm headed out for lunch later today so who knows what i'll eat.

On a final note, if it’s not a fact that the McRib is truly meat, can I eat that as a vegetarian?

Have a great weekend all!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook
All comments are appreciated.

Lots on my mind. So let's get some of those quick hits started right about..................


·               El Agave opened up the other week. It’s on Rock Road just south of 96. I had a chance to go in with some friends for dinner. I didn't take any pictures, do any sort of review. I will note a couple things. I tried their Jalisco Burrito. It was pretty good, nothing memorable. Their salsa was tasty but tons of onions inside it. The service was excellent but the food was just another meal to me. Maybe it's the fact that I don't have a great pallet for Mexican food but this place tasted like any other Mexican restaurant. I'm willing to give this place another try once things settle down for them. For as busy as they were on the Friday night I was in, they did an excellent job of keeping up with business. Maybe in a few weeks I'll go back in and do a full review.
·              A Popeye's will be opening up on North Rock Road across from the Northrock shopping center area. It's the old Taco Tico building in front of the Sprint store (which I might add is the best place I've ever received customer service in the phone industry, North Rock Location). I love Popeye's and think it's the best fast food chicken joint in Wichita. Cajun Mashed Potatoes and Gravy, Their red beans and rice, oh my, I know where I'm headed after work............
·              The McRib is back in Wichita!!! I didn't even know until my brother texted me to let me know that it was back. No commercials, no e-mails, no anything (double negative, I know). Regardless I went in and purchased two. Ate them, Smiled. Went back the next day for two more. Repeat process. If you don't know by now, I'm an avid McRib fan. I get them every time I'm in Wichita. If they made an iPad app or Android App with a McRib locator I'd be downloading it right now. This is pretty gross but I actually have a McRib sitting in my refrigerator. I know where I'm headed after work.............
·              I must be honest with everyone. I've been absolutely fed up with the quality of lack thereof of customer service offered by Pacific Coast Pizza. I've said it many times; I'm a huge fan of their food. But the customer service has just been absolutely wretched lately. A couple Friday’s ago, I wrote them an e-mail pacificcoastpizza@gmail.com (or whatever address was listed on their website) to let them know how I felt. Gave them examples of the multitude of times we've been in. It went without reply. So I wrote on their Facebook wall to just give them a hint to check their e-mail. Let's see if that one is received. I know where I'm NOT headed after work.........
·              I'm interested in checking out Ciao Italian Kitchen that just opened up. It's in the old Press/Piztro's/Sabor building (not in that order). I'm interested in playing a game though. How many different restaurants will be in that building by 2015?
·              Letter O is still on the table and up soon. I've really lacked any motivation for this letter.
·              Less than a month left until Shocker basketball. The excitement for it hurts my brain.

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!  Happy Dining All!

All comments are appreciated.

A while ago, I used to work in the downtown area. I'd always venture around the local spots for lunch with friends who worked in the area. We had a good ritual going at least once a week or once every other week. Unfortunately there was one spot that closed down around that time. A place I always had the intention of going to but never made it out.

Tanya's Soup Kitchen.
1725 E. Douglas, Suite 105
Wichita, KS 67211
(316) 267-7687
Hours: Sun Closed; Mon-Thu 11am–3pm; Fri-Sat 11am–3pm, 5–9pm
Webpage: http://www.tanyassoupkitchen.com/
Their menu is on the webpage.

When they reopened a few months ago, I had every intention of going. It was one of those places you always plan to go to but never do. Fortunately one random weekend, I was in the area and made it in. Their weekday hours don't work for me often so fate and being at the right place at the right time made this visit happen.

First thought walking in was "Wow!" There was a long line when I came in! The place was pretty busy when I stepped in.

While waiting in line, an employee was walking asking if anybody had any questions regarding the menu. On top of that, members of the staff were offering samples of the soups they had on their menu today. I had four to choose from. Chicken Tortilla, Smokey Tomato Bisque, Dutch Split Pea with Sausage, and Black Bean Minestrone with Pesto. The Tomato Bisque had "SPICY" written next to it so I asked for that. Within seconds, I had a sample cup next to me. It was very delicious.

When I was next to order, I decided to go with their Flight of Samples. It's $5 and it gives you a small little bowl of their soups along with a roll. With that, I ordered their Smokey Tomato Bisque soup in a medium bowl. All of it ran me around $10 plus a tip I left on the receipt sheet.

A short while after my flight of soups and my medium bowl of Smokey Tomato Bisque was brought out to me. I went for the flight first.

From lower left -clockwise (Split Pea, Chicken Tortilla, Tomato Bisque
and Black Bean Minestrone)

Chicken Tortilla - Absolutely delicious. Part of me wishes I ordered this instead. Not trying to overhype it but it may be the best I've had. (Scratch that, second best. One of my friend's mothers makes a mean Chicken Tortilla soup. I'm sure she's part Caucasian part Tortillian though)

Smokey Tomato Bisque Soup - As I already commented on it earlier, it was delicious and had a great little spicy kick to it. I asked one of the ladies who worked there and she said it was made with a chipotle pepper.

Dutch Split Pea with Sausage - Not for me. It had a little chunky baby food type feel to it. One of the employees was walking by and I talked to her briefly and she told me she had the same sentiments and it's definitely a unique soup for unique tastes.

Black Bean Minestrone with Pesto - It was a little better than the Dutch Split Pea but the pesto aftertaste was a little overpowering. The last two soups I tasted aren't really your normal everyday soups but I saw others who had ordered it and seemed to like it.

I quickly dug in to my bowl of Tomato Bisque. I sat in the far back of the restaurant so I could just watch others reactions on eating their soup. Everybody looked happy. It helped the afternoon was just glorious with the weather. The patio was filled along with the inside.

I forgot my lactose pill so I had to eat around the soup.
It was like playing a video game where you have to
avoid the Koopa Troopa's except in this case
it was cheese or I might literally die.
The service was great. My drink was always filled up and an employee would always be walking around seeing how everybody was doing.

The menu does have other items like salads and sandwiches. I really need to go in again to try their potato salad and pasta salad. Both items which I love! And others have told me their bread pudding is “to die for”. I’m not sure any food item is worth dying for so but the “common sense” in me says that it was just a figure of speech.

Overall, I was very impressed with Tanya's Soup Kitchen. With fall here and colder weather approaching, this could definitely be added to my list of regular stops. I happen to love soup. Tanya's happens to make soup. It could be a perfect match. Ask many people you know and I doubt you'll hear many bad things about Tanya's Soup Kitchen. The majority I've spoken to love the place.

Highly recommended!

Don’t forget to follow us on Twitter and like us on Facebook!  Happy Dining All!

All comments are appreciated.

Tanya's Soup Kitchen on Urbanspoon Tanya's Soup Kitchen on Urbanspoon

I asked a while ago on Twitter and Facebook (Haven't liked us or followed us? Do so today!), what the best Pumpkin Patch in the Wichita area was.

The majority of people responded with Walter's Pumpkin Patch.

Oddly enough, Kansas.com posted a list of the local area Pumpkin Patches. So here it is for your reference:
* Applejack Pumpkin Patch, 10007 SW Indianola Road, Augusta. Information: 316-733-8909 or http://www.applejackpumpkinpatch.com/.

* Cox Farms Pumpkin Patch, 6059 S. Seneca.
Information: 316-524-8062 or http://www.coxfarm.com/.

* Munchkin Pumpkin Patch, 1031 N. Hoover Road, Peck. Information: 316-209-6378 or http://munchkinpumpkinpatch.com/.

* Walters Pumpkin Patch, 10001 NW U.S. Highway 77, Burns. Information: 316-320-4150 or http://www.walterspumpkinpatch.com/.
I have never been to any one of these but hope to do so sometime this October!

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