Rediscovering an Old Classic

We first discovered Riverside Cafe seven years ago and then had completely forgotten about it since Wichita has had a slew of breakfast type restaurants open. We rediscovered it recently when we were looking for somewhere close to work to eat breakfast on the weekends that Brian and I were working on packing up and moving my office.

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Riverside Cafe, amazingly enough, always seems to be really busy despite the plethora of breakfast options available in town. That was the case the two Saturdays that we went and were told that wasn’t even their busiest. If you go on a Saturday morning, the trick is to get there early – say around nine or even earlier. We got there about ten o’clock one day and there was already a long wait. We ended up sitting at the bar because we were in a hurry and we were very hungry. It wasn’t too bad. The place does get really packed as the morning wears on so be prepared to wait if you’re not an early riser.

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One of the things I like most is a nice, warm cup of hot chocolate with whipped cream. Riverside Cafe makes a delicious one. I like their whipped cream also. It tastes homemade rather than out of a can.

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Another thing that’s cool about Riverside Cafe is it’s very homey. They don’t have fancy mugs or anything. They just have random mugs that have been collected over the years. It’s really a lot like having breakfast at home, except the food is better and you’re around a bunch of strangers.

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Here are some photos of Brian drinking his coffee. See what I mean about the mugs? They are totally random.

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Here’s a picture of what I always get.

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Here are pictures of what Brian always gets.

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Riverside Cafe Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I really like Riverside Cafe. I’ve been to lots of different diners and breakfast joints and I really like the feel of this one. It makes me feel really relaxed.

We always end up at the Good Egg, which is Brian’s favorite breakfast place. The good is great but the place is little too yuppy for me. Brian is a bit of a snob so it’s right up his alley; whereas my style is more relaxed and down to earth. I enjoy fancy food every now and then but, when it comes to breakfast, I prefer it to be pretty basic. It doesn’t even have to look pretty because it will be in my belly in a matter of seconds.

We used to live by the Good Egg so it made sense for us frequent the restaurant. Now that we’re in a different part of town, it’s going to be a drive either way. The closest non-chain breakfast joint is Livingston’s Diner, which is another one of my favorites. I really like eating there as well. I just prefer the more relaxed atmosphere where I don’t think people will judge me for having gone straight from the gym or bed. LOL.

The last time we were at Riverside Cafe, we ran into local restaurateur Melad Stephan. He owns several restaurants and his own breakfast joint downtown. Either he lives around the corner and it was easier to get to or the food is good. I have no idea where he lives so I’m going with the latter.

They’ve since expanded so there are three locations now, including one in Derby. I’ve only ever eaten at the one on 13th Street so I can’t speak for the other locations. I really like the original one on 13th Street. If you’ve never been to Riverside Cafe, it’s worth checking out. Let me know how you like it in the comments.

Juli’s Coffee & Bistro

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I found a great place to eat while I’m in Topeka, Juli’s Coffee & Bistro. It’s just across from our Topeka office on 8th Street. I eat there almost everyday, whenever there’s enough time to grab lunch.

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It’s got unique decor and really cool ambiance.

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Even their salt and pepper shakers are cute. There are different ones at each table.

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And, they serve breakfast and lunch.

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Here are some pictures of food from Juli’s.

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Juli's Coffee & Bistro Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I would have more pictures of food except most of the time I’m grabbing my food to go and eating while I work. As you can see from my parking voucher below, ten-hour days are not unusual. I think we’ve had a couple of thirteen-hour days already so ten hours is about average.

I’m still straddling my regular job and my role in the CIS project right now so I’m kind of doing my old work while I’m working on the project. Fridays are pretty much dedicated to getting caught up on what’s happening with the Customer Relations Center, and training my coworkers and team members who have been gracious enough to take care of some of my duties while I work on the CIS project. I’m finally at a point where my major responsibilities are covered so I can start focusing most of my attention on the project.

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I’ve been spending most of the week (Monday through Thursday) in our Topeka office. While I’m starting to get used to driving from Wichita to Topeka, I’m not really fond of driving so I’m glad I found a place within walking distance of the office that serves great food. I highly recommend Juli’s if you’re ever in downtown Topeka.

District Taqueria

I found out about this restaurant from my then hygienist at Wichita Family Dental, Rebecca. She’s moved on but we keep in touch on Facebook. One day last year, while she was cleaning my teeth, she told me that her brother was about to open a taqueria on Douglas. We didn’t really have a restaurant specializing in tacos so I thought it would make an excellent addition to the collection of restaurants in downtown Wichita.

If I remember correctly, opening was delayed a bit. Then I forgot all about the restaurant. And then it finally opened. But, as these things go, they’re always so busy during the first few months. Inevitably they’re understaffed and I end up with bad service and then the negative experience colors my impression of the place. I didn’t want that to happen so Brian and I decided to wait. And then we forgot all about it except for the occasional reminder each time someone we know mentions that they went.

I’d been wanting to check the restaurant out since before it even opened but the opportunity never came up until Nykole suggested that we eat there after our team building activity at the Kansas Food Bank. OMG. I’ve been seriously missing out. The tacos are unlike any other tacos I’ve ever had. The tacos at the Hill come close but you have so much more selection at District Taqueria. If you’re craving tacos, District Taqueria is the place to go.

Here are some pictures of the various tacos we got to try.

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As you can see, all of the first timers tried a variety of tacos. They’re $3 each when you mix and match. I wish that I could have tried them all but there’s no way I could eat more than three in one sitting. I suppose this is how they keep you coming back.

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Nykole had been there before so she knew exactly what she wanted.

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You can also order a bucket of chips to eat with their salsa. You can also get a jar of their queso which is quite different than any other queso I’ve had. Their queso is thicker in consistency and has a bit of a kick. The guacamole was very good but it wasn’t really that different than the guacamole at other restaurants I’ve tried. I do like that everything is served in cute jars, including dessert.

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We had the tres leches. It was just as tasty as it looked.

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I liked it so much that I decided to take Brian there a week later for my birthday lunch. We both took vacation days off work that Friday. I wanted him to experience District Taqueria because besides the great food, the ambiance is really cool. They even have a shuffleboard table.

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This was his plate.

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Here’s mine.

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District Taqueria Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Tomato

We were both too full for dessert. We will have to go back though, because I really want Brian to try that tres leeches. I know he will love it.

If you’re wondering if you can have beans or rice with your tacos, you can’t. As far as food choices go, there’s really not much else which I think is smart because then the focus is on the wide variety of tacos offered.

Anyway, I highly recommend District Taqueria. Brian and I thoroughly enjoyed our lunch and are ready to go back to sample more tacos.

Public at the Brickyard

Public at the Brickyard Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato

I had the pleasure of dining at Public for the first time last week when we had our work visitors, Eric and Alex from AllConnect. All I could think was, “Why haven’t I eaten here before?”

I had the slow-cooked ribs based on our server’s recommendation. They were super delicious. I think these ribs were even better than some of the ribs I’d had at our best barbecue joints. Seriously. They had great flavor and they were fall-off-the-bone tender. Delicious!

Here are pictures of some of the delicious meals that were ordered that night…

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I didn’t have any of the buffalo cauliflower but I guess it’s a popular starter.

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Please don’t ask me what all these dishes are because I honestly don’t remember. Anyway, they all looked delicious and everyone seemed quite satisfied with their choices. I was so impressed with my food that I decided I just had to take Brian. We ended up going there for dinner two days later.

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One of my favorite things, besides the delicious, food is the ambiance. They have really interesting decorations and toy trains everywhere. They also bring you the bill in a book, which I found really clever and neat because I love books!

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This is their take on the Cuban sandwich.

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I wanted Brian to try the ribs so I ordered them again.

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Strawberry shortcake with champagne infused strawberries and homemade whipped cream. It was so good. I would go just for dessert!

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I ate so much the night that Brian and I were there that I told Brian that I’m a competitive eater. I had to explain my gluttony somehow, right? Anyway, he didn’t believe me. “I’m serious,” I said. “Whatever that other table is having, I’m having two of.” We both laughed.

Jokes aside, we had a wonderful dinner. I think we’re probably the last two people in Wichita to discover Public but, just in case you haven’t been, I highly encourage you to go. I give it two thumbs up.

Pig Out Session at La Bodega

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Here are some pictures from our pig out session at La Bodega last weekend. We lucked out and dined during happy hour so we not only enjoyed half off our pitcher of sangria but we also got to try several half-priced tapas.

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This is our favorite potato dish there. It’s very flavorful.

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We got to try two different meatball dishes. Please don’t ask me what they are called because I honestly cannot remember.

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This is goat cheese with some kind of marinara sauce. It was great with the bruschetta.

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These are the chicken and chorizo skewers.

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We finished our meal by drinking the last drop of sangria and churros.

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The best part about La Bodega is that it’s right next to several stores we love like Trader Joe’s, Lululemon and the Apple Store. Can’t wait to go back!

Churn & Burn

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Churn & Burn is probably the best ice cream shop that you’ve never heard of or tried before. That could be for several reasons: their location, which is not really in the best part of town, and it’s not a chain. If you’ve never been though, it’s definitely worth checking out for several reasons: they have a really cool coffee and ice cream concept, they make their own ice cream (which is actually pretty good), they do cool stuff with liquid nitrogen that’s really fun to watch, and they have vintage arcade game tables.

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My friend Jeri kept posting about it on Facebook so we finally just had to check it out. Plus, we really had no reason not to. Churn & Burn is technically on our side of town.

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They have lots of delicious flavors. Their ice cream kind of reminds me of the ice cream that Marble Slab (in Bradley Fair) serves.

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This is that thing they do with liquid nitrogen.

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Brian getting ready to play some games.

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Incidentally, Jay and Becca actually know the owner. They saw our Facebook post while we were there and decided to pop in since they were in the neighborhood. They used the opportunity to say hello to the owner and visit with me and Brian also. It was great catching up with Jay and Becca. We hadn’t seen these two jet setters in a while.

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Anyway, don’t mind the tacky plastic sign. They were on the other end and just recently moved to this end of the strip. Don’t judge a book by its cover, remember? We just learned this. Also, don’t judge a book by its location. This part of town may not be great but this place definitely is, so come check it out.

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The Kamayan Truck

Have you tried food from the Kamayan truck yet? It’s probably the best food you’ve never tried. I highly recommend checking it out. It’s my new favorite food truck because they serve some of my Filipino foods that I can’t get anywhere else. Here are some pictures of dishes that they offer to whet your appetite.

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These are the Asian tacos. Not really Filipino but it usually helps to serve people something familiar. I prefer the pork dishes, though.

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Brian and I have tried a few things. I don’t have any pictures of the porchetta because, the day I got them for us, I had to drive across town to Brian’s office and, by the time I got there, I was so starving. Brian was starving too. We were so hungry we just scarfed up the food and, by the time I remembered that I needed a photo, all we had were empty boxes. We ate every bit of it; including the achara, which I love.

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Achara is a Filipino food condiment made from pickled green (unripe) papaya. You can see some of it in the photos above. It’s so good. If you’d like to make yourself some, here’s a link to one of the recipes online; or you could save yourself the effort and just buy some from Kamayan. Theirs is really good.

If you want to track the truck down, like their Facebook page to follow them around town just like I do. The best time to try them is for the bigger events like Food Trucks at the Fountain because they save the lechon (pictured above) for special occasions.

Lechon is the best. It’s my favorite thing ever and there aren’t many places you can get it. That’s why I look forward to when I can get it from the Kamayan truck. The skin of the lechon is the best part. You must try it and let me know what you think in the comments.

13th Anniversary Dinner at Luciano’s

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Here are some pictures from our low key anniversary dinner at Luciano’s, a restaurant that we’ve heard so much about but have never been to until now.

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This is Brian’s interpretation of Kilroy.

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Our delicious starter, which consisted of two different types of mozzarella cheese, prosciutto (from Parma, Italy), kalamata olives, olive oil, and salt.

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I liked the cozy ambiance of the restaurant. It’s quiet enough for a nice, intimate conversation also. Brian and I agreed that it’s a great place for a date.

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Brian had the baked lasagna.

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I had the pasta carbonara.

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And, we each got dessert. Tiramisu for me.

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Creme brûlée for Brian.

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Brian and I really enjoyed our dinner at Luciano’s. Even though they did card us and I didn’t have my purse with me. At least our server used good judgement and realized that if I’m married to an old man like Brian then I must be equally old. LOL.

I’m really glad they let me drink otherwise I would have missed out on the delicious sangria. It was so good that I had two glasses of it. Even Brian liked it. The only downside is that you could only order it by the glass. A carafe to share with Brian would have been nice.

Anyway, great dinner overall. I highly recommend Luciano’s. Brian and I will definitely be back, with or without a special occasion to celebrate.

The Hill Bar and Grill — New Favorite

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We tried the Hill for the first time recently and now it’s our new favorite place to eat. Brian and I are addicted to the chicharrones.

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As you can see, we can’t get enough of it.

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Brian says their onion rings are really good too. We love that they provide a variety of dipping sauces. They’re all very good but we think that the one we like the most is called chipotle aioli. It goes great with the chicharon.

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Some folks at work tried the Hill and said it was really good. My friend/coworker Tammie likes it because they have lots of options for vegetarians. They have several gluten free items on the menu as well.

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Here are some pictures of food from the Hill.

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My favorite thing to get is the carnitas tacos. Admittedly, I haven’t really tried much of anything else. Brian and I have been to the Hill twice now. The first time was when we had lunch with Jan, Connie, and Isaac. The second time was last Thursday when we wanted to grab a quick bite before going to Chamber Music at the Barn.

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I tried to order something different on our last trip there but, after much deliberation, I still ordered the carnitas tacos. Sometimes you just have to stick with what you know.

Brian had the pulled pork sandwich the first time and chicken tacos the second time. The chicken tacos looked good but I don’t think that they were nearly as good as my carnitas tacos. Just sayin’.

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We didn’t have time for the donuts on our first trip because it was during my lunch hour and I had to get back to work. The menu says to allow 10 minutes for the donuts so I recommend ordering it only if you have some time to spare.

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Since we missed out the first time, we made sure to get it on our second trip. The donuts are really donut holes covered in cinnamon and sugar. They kind of remind me of the sopapillas we get at Felipe’s Jr for dessert, except they’re a lot smaller than the regular sopapillas and bigger than the bite-sized ones. They came with three different dipping sauces: raspberry, chocolate, and caramel.

I thought they were good but not as good as sopapillas. If I could have the mini sopapillas from Felipe’s with these dipping sauces that would be the perfect combination. Still, I really liked the Hill. The location is great for meeting up with our West side friends who don’t want to drive all the way out to the East side and there’s bound to be something on the menu that everyone will enjoy.

Brian and I both liked the Hill so much that we’re already looking forward to our next trip. I just hope that I can talk myself out of ordering the same thing again next time.

Dempsey’s Burger Pub

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Brian and I finally had a chance to try Dempsey’s a couple of weeks ago. When you enter the restaurant, you’ll notice they have an upstairs and downstairs section. Brian and I opted to go to the basement because it seemed like there was more energy down there and we wanted to be where the action was.

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Here’s a picture of the upstairs. If you want to talk, it might be best to stay upstairs. Not sure if it’s that way all the time but it was pretty loud downstairs when we went.

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I had the buffalo wings because I’m not really a burger person. I know. Right. Why go to a burger pub? LOL. Brian and I just wanted to see what all the fuss was about mostly.

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The truffle fries were decent. They’re not as good as the ones they serve at the Anchor or Flying Stove, though.

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Brian had their egg burger. It’s one of those burgers that looks so ugly that you expect it to be really good. Much like the truffle fries, it was just okay.

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Overall Dempsey’s was pretty underwhelming. I’m not sure if we ordered the wrong things (although, we’ve been to restaurants before where everything’s fantastic so it didn’t matter what you ordered) or if everyone has been talking it up so much that we had unrealistic expectations. Either that, or we waited too long to check them out and they’re now in their mediocre phase. You know how that goes. Sometimes restaurants are amazing in the first couple of months but then they just kind of flatten out after a while.

On the plus side, our server was super nice and friendly. That’s not much of a differentiator, though. Maybe we’re just lucky but we get great service at most places. You really have to have great food. When we left Brian was like, “I really don’t care if we go back.” That pretty much sums the whole experience up.

Dempsey’s was just okay so Ziggy’s still rules Clifton Square as far as we’re concerned.

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