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Wichita – Bite Me BBQ

Bite Me BBQ, located at 132 N. St. Francis in downtown Wichita, was the location of a recent noontime meal prior to two days of business meetings. My good friend Keith and I checked out the place early on a weekday. The first thing we noticed was how big the place was, and how quickly it filled up. The lunch crowd obviously likes the place!

The expansive restaurant features a sports bar like atmosphere and a menu equally as expansive as the location. Obviously, I was there for the pork! I had the three meat combo with ribs, hotlink and pulled pork.

According to their website, “In a 2008 Quest for the best BBQ ribs in the state, Kansas Magazine named Bite Me BBQ as one of the best BBQ restaurants in the state of Kansas.”  That being said, there are a lot of new, and really great, BBQ restaurants in business since that time. I had to find out for myself if they could still compete.

I thoroughly enjoyed the hotlink, and the seasoning and smoke of the ribs was spot on.  Their website claims that they have “… the biggest spare ribs you will ever see fall off the bone. Our ribs cook for 16 hours.”

Now, I will certainly agree to the size claim, however my ribs did not fall off the bone.  As they say in the barbecue cooking shows, the ribs had a “tough chew”… this is unfortunate, because they were some of the most flavorful ribs I’ve had in a long while!  If Bite Me BBQ can work on the tenderness aspect  of their ribs, I’d say they would have a fair shot of competing for their 2008 title again. It was certainly tasty enough that I will give them another try.

Until next time,

Chris

Kansas City – El Camino Real

El Camino Real (Spanish for The Royal Road), is an authentic Mexican experience! I’m not talking about those Americanized Mexican restaurants that claim to be authentic but cover everything in cheese sauce. I mean the real deal….the kind of place where you either order in Spanish, or else you point to what you want on the menu. These places are different, but in a good way. You might consider them to be a cultural experience.  When it comes to menu items, usually, you will get smaller portions served with corn tortillas rather than  big flour tortillas, and you can get however many of a particular food item that you want.

El Camino Real is located on Seventh Street in Kansas City, Kansas. You will find it just up the street from the 7th Street Casino and right next to the Historic Huron Indian Cemetery.  During my recent visit, I ordered Tacos Al Pastor (pork). This is what we Americans typically call “Street Tacos.” They are small soft corn tortillas filled with flavorful pork. Cilantro, lime and onions come on the side. What makes these different than other similar tacos (see the blog on Dodge City Taco Trucks), is that El Camino serves theirs with slices of pineapple. The lime, cilantro and pineapple combine to create a pleasant citrus kick that you won’t find in an Americanized version.

If you are looking for real Mexican Food with a taste of old Mexico rather than an American imitation, check out El Camino Real!

Until next time,

Chris

Shawnee – Old Shawnee Pizza

Old Shawnee Pizza in downtown Shawnee (near 60th and Nieman) has been a staple in the area since 1969 when a struggling insurance salesman hoped to make a better living and started a pizza place. Only 48 years later, I managed to get around to trying it for the first time, and I can certainly see why it’s stuck around so long.

When you’re looking for interesting ways to eat pork and you’re at a pizza place and that place has on the menu a pizza called the “Pig and Pepper,” it certainly piques your interest. The “Pig and Pepper” pizza at OSP isn’t an ordinary pizza by any means. The description is “Chipotle pesto, pulled pork, smoked bacon, ghost pepper cheese & topped with bacon aioli sauce.” Yes, you read that right. Pulled pork and bacon with ghost pepper cheese on a pizza!

Now that I really have your attention I’ll tell you that this pizza was beyond excellent! The crust was thin and crispy and the toppings tasted exactly like you think they should. The ghost pepper cheese might scare a few people, but it really was only slightly hotter than regular old pepperjack cheese. The pulled pork was tender and smoky and the bacon was light and crisp, which is just how it should be on a pizza. I absolutely cannot wait to get back to this place and try some of the other pizzas!

Until next time,

Mike

El Dorado – Dilly Deli

Dilly Deli, located in the District 142 shopping building at 142 North Main El Dorado, KS, offers a unique dining experience. The building itself is a historic downtown building that has been sectioned off into a variety of stores and businesses.

Dilly Deli, shares its space with Brewco. Coffeehouse, which of course makes it a great place for both food and drink. I met my mother there for a late lunch as I passed through the area on my way home from a business trip. We were looking for someplace unique, local and tasty, and Dilly Deli fit the bill!

I ordered a delicious cup of house drip coffee and a tasty PoBoy Baguette featuring locally produced Yoder Meats including Pepperoni, Salami, Sweet Lebanon Bologna, and Amish Butter Cheese, Spread with Red Pepper Mayo Topped with Spring Mix, Black Olives, Cucumber, Red Onion, Tomatoes, all Drizzled with a Feta Vinaigrette.

Served on crusty, pressed bread, this sandwich closely reminded me of another favorite sandwich found at the North End KC.

If you’re looking for a good cup of coffee or a great sandwich, check out the Dilly Deli!

Until next time,

Chris

Manhattan – The Blue Moose

On a recent business trip to Manhattan, I found myself looking for a new place to eat. I found a restaurant location that isn’t new, but a restaurant that is! The Blue Moose is located at 100 Manhattan Town Center Manhattan, KS 66502. Many of you may remember this as the location of the Old Chicago, just near the mall. The Blue Moose is in Manhattan is one of five locations, with the other four in Topeka, Prairie Village, Lenexa and Overland Park.

Upon walking in the door, I was transported back into my college days, as the restaurant has a layout and atmosphere just like its predecessor, a place I once frequented often. The Blue Moose does have a different menu, and I was happy to see some great pork items featured. I ordered slab bacon and grits small plate that was a delicious as it was beautiful. I was impressed, and I don’t say that lightly. In fact it’s rare that I find anything different on most menus. This small plate was a rare, and tasty, treat. The grits were perfect and reminded me of a savory mashed potato dish. The bacon was paired with a tomato bacon jam and a red eye port wine sauce, which were prefect complements.

I dare to say that this was one of the best bacon dishes I have had in a long while. Check it out for yourself and see if you agree!

Until next time,

Chris

Overland Park – The Snack Shack

If you’ve not been to downtown Overland Park, KS, you really should go check it out someday. It’s a rare place in the middle of urban sprawl that still feels like you’re standing on Main Street USA. The view from Santa Fe Drive in Overland Park makes you think you could just as easily be standing in the middle of a town of 3,000 people in central KS. It has the clock tower, the water tower, and old store fronts with street parking just like you’d expect. Along that street you will find some good old-fashioned American food just like you’d expect in small town America.

The place to get such food would be “The Snack Shack on Sante Fe”. The Snack Shack is serving up some of the best burgers, fries, onion rings, and ice cream in the whole metro area. Oh, and if they’re serving up that type of food you know that menu has a great pork tenderloin sandwich on it too. So, in my search for all things pork I decided to have one. You can’t just have a tenderloin sandwich either so I ordered the “50/50” which gives you both fries and onion rings to go along with it.

The tenderloin was perfect. They pound them out in-house and get all their meat from McGonigle’s market in Kansas City, so you know it’s fresh and high quality stuff. The tenderloin was sized just right for lunch (not as big as my face) and had a light and crunchy breading on it. The battered onion rings were about as good as any I’ve ever had and the fries were crunchy on the outside and slightly chewy on the inside just like they ought to be. I can guarantee I will be making a trip back to The Snack Shack before too long, and I’ll be leaving room for ice cream next time when I do!

Overland Park – K Macho’s

As fellow blogger Mike says, “Mexican Restaurants are a great place to find good pork!”  A recent visit to my girlfriend’s favorite restaurant, K Macho’s, proves to be no exception. Although K Macho’s gets very mixed online reviews, the completely full parking lot tells another story. Personally, our visit was excellent.  We went to the Overland Park location 11741 Metcalf Avenue, which featured a great covered patio. One that I certainly look forward to checking out later this summer! Their second location is located at 1229 E. Santa Fe St. in Olathe.

During our visit, we started with the complementary chips and two types of salsa, including a traditional red and a white with a strong guacamole flavor. For lunch, I ordered the Kansas Burrito, a 12 inch tortilla with three types of meat, including big flavorful pork chunks. As you might expect, this dish was served with beans and rice.

Although the restaurant was very busy during our noontime visit, service was attentive, prices were fair, and our meals were served very quickly.  You need to try K Macho’s and give it your own review.

Overland Park – Rosati’s

If you are in the mood for pizza, but possibly wanting something more unique such as Chicago deep dish pizza, then look no further than Rosati’s Pizza in Overland Park, KS. Around the KC metro, Rosati’s is known as one of the few places that Chicago transplants will trust to feed their deep dish cravings when they’re feeling a little homesick.

If “deep dish” isn’t your thing, you are in luck, as they have all other styles of pizza too. Hot sandwiches, calzones, pasta, and Chicago-style hot dogs are also on the menu if you’re not in the mood for pizza. On my latest stop I had a small “deep dish” pizza with Canadian bacon, sausage, and regular bacon on it. Carry-out deep dish pizza doesn’t photograph very well, but that thing was an incredible combo of pork, cheese, sauce, and buttery crust. Those pictures don’t even begin to describe how good that pizza was!

The one knock on Rosati’s is they are carry-out and delivery only because there is no seating inside. But being located at 9928 College Blvd. (just west of Hwy. 69), they are very close to Corporate Woods, the Overland Park Convention Center, and all the surrounding hotels. If you ever find yourself in the area and want something different and better than the usual delivery food to eat in your hotel room, consider Rosati’s!

Overland Park – Ted’s Cafe Escondido

Ted’s Café Escondido, a small Mexican chain that started in Oklahoma City, moved to Overland Park with much fanfare awhile back. I finally got around to trying Ted’s to see how their pork is. I was excited to go, as Mexican dishes made with pork are #2 only to BBQ when it comes to great ways to eat pork in my opinion! If you’re wondering where to find Ted’s, it’s southeast of the corner of 135th and Metcalf in Overland Park, so it is VERY easy to find if you’re in the area. They also have locations in northern Kansas City, MO (west of Liberty) and in Lee’s Summit if you find yourself elsewhere in the KC metro.

I would recommend finding the place if you like Mexican food. The chips are fantastic and you get complementary cheese dip with your chips and salsa. They also give you complementary, piping hot house-made tortillas too, and they were great too. I was there at lunch and ordered the lunch #1 and chose a combo of a taco and an enchilada. Both were filled with what they call “tender pork” on the menu.

The taco and enchilada were both delicious. The meat was lean and tender (I guess its name is fitting) and seasoned just enough to compliment the all the other flavors you have going on. The nice thing about their pork is you can get it put in just about any type of dish. If you want pork in a different form, they have Chorizo bean dip and Chorizo cheese dip to go with those wonderful chips, and I plan on trying some next time I’m there!

Parsons -Ernesto’s

Those who live in Parsons, Kansas, are fortunate enough to have two Mexican restaurants in their home town to choose from. As you might guess opinions and reviews about which restaurant is best vary quite widely.

One option is Ernesto’s, which is located at 200 N. Central Avenue.

Like most Mexican restaurants, Ernesto’s is a suitable place to go if you have a craving for pork.

On a recent visit, I ordered a pork carnita quesadilla. The chunks of pork in this dish are flavorful and delicious. The guacamole, which came with the dish, was also fresh and delicious. Additionally, our orders came out quickly, and our service was exceptional.

Which Parsons Mexican restaurant is best?  I guess you will just have to try them both and make that decision for yourself.