Local Eats: Thai Traditions

Today I headed to Thai Traditions with a few friends.  Its a local lunch spot I like to frequent so I thought I would share it with you.

Its located in East Wichita at 650 North Carriage Parkway #120.  Basically, its off of Central between Woodlawn and Edgemoor Street. Its tucked away from the street...but aren't those the best finds?   It's a great little lunch and dinner restaurant for Thai food.   Lunch prices for an entree are between 7-9 and it gets a couple dollars pricier at dinner time.  Check out the inside

I don't know if it counts for much, but in my honest opinion, Thai Traditions is the best Thai food in Wichita.  First up on the order were two appetizers.  I always get the Crying Tiger appetizer.  It is delicious marinated beef served with Thai Traditions salsa.  
The Crying Tiger is just so good that I cannot bring myself to try another, but since I was eating with friends I ordered the Chicken Satay.  The Chicken Satay is traditionally marinated chicken breast served with some seriously good peanut sauce with a side of cucumber relish.

Then our entrees came out.  Here was lunch today.

If you don't know about Thai food you don't know that you can pick your spice level.  Thai food can be "knock your socks off", "I am sweating bullets as I eat" hot. If that is your thing...you can order every dish this way. Some are naturally spicy but you can tell in the order, you know, when it uses the word "spicy". They ask you at your order your intensity level. If you like spicy you can order it.  If you fear spicy, you can avoid it.  My friends and I... we avoided it.  I think we disappointed our chef because he brought their spicy tray to challenge us to try it.
Top to Bottom/Left to Right:  Jalapeno Vinegar, Crushed Red Pepper,  Chili Fish Sauce, Chili Sauce

One of us dared to try the Jalapeno vinegar on his entree.  He avoided the Jalapenos but added the vinegar sauce.  It made his entree a little sweeter.  Speaking of entrees, lets talk about what is sitting in my belly right now.

I ordered traditional Pad Thai.  It is my favorite.  It has noodles, Thai Traditions really great peanut sauce, chicken, shrimp and lots of other good stuff.  You can have spring rolls or you can switch them out with crab rangoon...which is what I did.  If you are a tentative Thai food eater.  Pad Thai is always a safe but delicious option.

My friend Doug ordered the Spicy Peanut Chicken.  Doug was the strongest of us all, ordering a naturally spicy item on the menu.  It has chicken, peanut sauce, peanuts, veggies and pepper.  They do a good job of spreading out the spice to make it not blazing hot. The next lunch entree we tried was Pad See Eew
Pad See Eew has pan fried flat noodles, chicken, and broccoli in a light sauce.   Flat noodles are a staple of Thai food so this one is worth a try.  
If you like Mushrooms you should try the Mushroom dish.  It has all different kinds of mushrooms and onions sauteed in a light Thai sauce. Any or all the entrees you can choose chicken, beef, shrimp or tofu as an add in.  If you are a vegetarian that doesn't like tofu, you can choose none!

If you like Thai food, head down to Thai traditions.  The service is great and you will get your food in the perfect amount of time.  If you don't know if you like Thai food...try Thai Traditions because it's the best in Wichita and you can use chop sticks.

...or feed others with chop sticks.

Not sure what is going on behind us....

Thai Tradition on Urbanspoon


New Local Italian Restaurant: The Albero Cafe

Last week I decided to go to lunch at a new restaurant in East Wichita called the Albero Cafe. Its located at 4811 East Central Avenue which is on the corner of Oliver and Central. It just recently opened and I have seen it every day on my drive to work.  It has been on the list to try and Friday was the day. I should have gone earlier.  Wow...it's good.

First a little info....meet the owner Hassan Ballout
Mr. Ballout has a little over a decade of food service experience.  He has worked for the Hyatt Regency, Latour Management, and for the past 10 years at Bella Luna Cafe.  His dream was to run and own his own restaurant.  He has made the switch to Italian food because it is his passion and I am glad he did.  So, if you didn't know...Albero Cafe is Italian food.  So, lets get to it.  Here was my lunch last Friday.

I started off with the Blueberry Pomegranate Tea.  It was a great mixture of the two fruits.  It was the perfect kind of sweet, yet not too sweet.
I ordered the Hungry Jeff.  They might as well call it the hungry Jake.  I devoured this thing.  The Hungry Jeff is filled with Italian meats, provolone, lettuce, tomato and a great Italian spread. The bread was super fresh.   The chips at Albero Cafe are homemade.  My litmus test for homemade chips is their crispiness.  These chips had no sogginess and they were not too oily.  "Yum" is what I say
Of course I food stalked other people.  Here is what nice lady at the next table had for lunch.  

The Chicken Saltimbocca and the Garden Veggie were to other sandwiches my waitress recommended. To keep in good standing with my YMCA membership I couldn't try them all but I will soon enough.
There is an entire menu of lunch and dinner entrees waiting to be tried. Albero Cafe is a great lunch place where you will spend $7-$10 for a sandwich or their lunch entrees.  At dinner it gets a tad bit pricier ($9-$12).   Its a great date night place or night out with family and friends.  The dining atmosphere is fun and always full.
If this summer heat will ever die down you might even want to sit outside.
The service is great and you can even watch them preparing your food behind the scenes.
Okay lets get serious....lets talk dessert.
The Italian Cream cake was someone else's desert.  It looked really great and I had to show you,  but I want to tell you about the cannoli.  The Albero Cafe likes to pronounce it "Cane"-oli because it is a little different than a traditional cannoli.  Albero Cafe's cannoli has nuts in the cream cheese.  This is the most decadent cannoli I have ever eaten...and I mean this in a very good way.  It was so good.  Get out and try Albero Cafe.  Its on my list to go to again.  Its places like this that make Wichita a great place to live.


Picasso's Pizza by the Slice

If you venture past downtown, over the river you will find the Delano District.  Its a quaint little part of Wichita that is truly up and coming. If you want a great pizza slice head to Picasso's Pizzeria.  Welcome to Picasso's Pizzeria

Picasso's is located at 621W Douglas Avenue in the Delano District of Wichita.  It is located in the row of stores and restaurants between the round about and Oak Street.  There is also a Picasso's Pizzeria located at 620 N. Rock Road in Derby.  My visit to grab a slice was in Delano.
Left Photo Source:  Google  Right Photo Source:  Picasso's Pizzeria
Picasso's is a locally owned and run pizzeria that specializes in New York Style thin crust pizza.  The common order is a piece of pizza by the slice.  Believe me, a slice is enough.    You walk in the door and you immediately feel in your in a fun place.

Its an "order up" style of pizza place with an industrial feel.

When you walk in the door you stand in line to order.  While you wait you have to make the tough decision of what slice you want to eat.  They consider their pizza "slices of art" and there are many "masterpieces" in their gallery. The slices range from $4.95-$5.95, which might seem like a lot until you realize the slice is as big as a small personal size pizza. Lunch for right around $5-6 is great for the pocket book.

When you finally pick your "piece of art", you order your slice.

You grab you soda and find a seat while you wait, or you can watch the artists at work.

These pizzas are massive and you can tell by the size of pie pan.

He didn't know I was taking this shot and I caught him smiling.  Its great to eat food prepared by people who love what they do.
After the pizza is topped and ready to go they place it in a large brick oven.
When its ready it comes out like this massive pizza. You can actually order a pizza this size.  They call it the "Ginorma'.  Since each slice can be cut into 5-6 small pieces, this will serve (my guess) 8-12 people...depending on size of appetites of course.

Your order comes to you by the slice  And they slice the massive pieces of pizza's into manageable slices

My lunch consisted of four slices.
Each one of them is unique and has a great flavor. Picasso's bakes a great slice of pizza.  Yeah, I basically ate four mini pizza's for lunch.
If you are needing something sweet after your pizza, save some crust and grab some honey.  Their pizza crust dipped in honey is delicious.  It may sound weird but give it a try.

I snuck in a few shots of other people's choices.

For those who love or need to eat gluten friendly you have options...good ones.  Here is an example of of their gluten free pizzas.
For those of you who don't love pizza but love salads and sandwiches there are many choices for you.  Check out the entire menu here.

If you are craving pizza then try out Picasso's Pizzeria.  Don't mind me, I still finishing my four slices.

Picasso's on Urbanspoon


The Cow and Sow

Last week I headed down to Old Town to try out a new deli I had heard about.  I walked into the Cow and Sow Deli and found a local treasure.

The store front faces Douglas right in the middle of the row of store fronts between the bridge and St. Francis Street.
Every day there are daily specials and soups of the day.   The best part of the Menu is that they use all local produce and products.  You can be healthy or your can choose not to be,.  If you are vegan or Gluten Free you need to drop what you are doing and run to this place.  This is your dream deli.  Those who could care less about that stuff you should do the same.  Everything tastes awesome.
Going inside and you will just feel local.  The place has a constant stream of people.
It also has some sweet architectural character.

You will for sure meet the owner Tracey and I can guarantee you 100% you will get a hug from Tracy when you walk in the door. Tracy is the owner and creator of this awesome place.  She grew up on a dairy farm run by her family for generations.  She truly knows the local produce heartbeat because she lived it!  She loves Wichita, cares about supporting local and most of all cares about people.
On top of all that she can make some pretty serious sandwiches, soups and desserts.  So lets skip all the fluff and get to why you would go to the Cow and Sow.
From Left to right, top to bottom:  Moofaletta, Smoked Turkey BLT, Henhouse Chicken Salad, The Garden Gate, Raw Cheescake, Upside Down Dessert, Homemade Ice Cream, The Signature Cow and Sow Treat
Click Here to see the full menu of Sandwiches.  Click Here to see the menu of treats and desserts.  You can go full meat or full veggie.  Here is a close up of the Smoked Turkey BLT that I had.

Here is me eating this best seller at the Cow and Sow.

Don't have time for lunch?  Stop in for a dessert.  The homemade ice cream is fantastic.  Tracy grew up on a dairy farm...she knows what she is doing.  I got to try blueberry, and the cacao nibs flavors. Both where amazing.  Meet Lindsay, who makes the most amazing raw cheesecake
I needed explanation and she explained that a raw cheese cake means its Vegan, Gluten Free and Refined Sugar Free.  It tastes amazing and is good for you. If you are in the mood for a good salad, go to the Cow and Sow and check out their Salad bar. I personally love how Tracey converted an old feeding trough to a salad bar.
The word on the street is that the cinnamon applesauce is the "go-to" salad bar item. I cannot ignore a popular item so I tried it.  It is really good.  While you are getting your lunch or dinner pick up some local produce.

Or treat your co-worker to a goodie from the bakery.
Whatever you do....don't miss out on the lavender lemonade.  Wow...get a refill on the way out...its that good!
Need a unique food gift.  Yep, Cow and Sow is the place. Check out these handmade chocolate truffles.

The Cow and Sow is more than just a lunch place.  Call them for your next catering order.  It's also a great place for family get-togethers, business meetings, birthday parties, rehearsal dinners, and showers.  Food and venue taken care of!  You can rent this seating area out for your next small event.
The Cow and Sow Deli is a local treasure.  You should check out soon...lunch today?  You might find me there.

Cow and Sow Deli on Urbanspoon
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