Saturday, October 04, 2014

Ice

Place: Taco Pronto
Lunch: Two tacos (mild sauce), cheese enchilada, Coke

It's National Taco Day and, being favorable of the medium, I am sort of obligated.

Wichita has many local options thanks to being the hometown of Taco Tico, a once giant of the midwest.  There are many Taco Tico copycats and knockoffs around town that do business exactly the same way.  They're close enough in style that I have coined the term "Wichitacos" when referring to them.

For today's tacos, I chose Taco Pronto.  Taco Pronto has perfectly fine food, though not my favorite Wichitacos.  The reason everybody comes here is for the ice.

Taco Pronto has an ancient ice machine that makes soft shaved ice.  They give you a cup filled with ice, you fill it with soda, then you sip it from the cup sans straw (though they do have straws if you're an idiot) and take in ice with the soda and chew on it.

It's a wonderful thing.

Apparently they don't make this style of machine anymore, and parts are hard to come by, but they've managed to keep the thing (and the one at their other location, I assume) hobbling along.

So if you are a fan of ice and find yourself in Wichita, check out Taco Pronto.

Even if it isn't National Taco Day.

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Supreme

Place: Hibachi Grill & Supreme Buffet
Lunch: Buffet, Pepsi

A new Chinese buffet ("the most elegant Chinese, Japanese, and American Buffet in the state" according to their website) opened this week in the building that used to be Lone Star Steakhouse.

Did I ever tell you about the one time I've been to Lone Star Steakhouse?  Some of you who have been creepily stalking me since my radio days might remember this story.  Wife #1 and I came to this very Lone Star at around 4 or 5pm on a weekday.  We were greeted and seated.

And that's it.

No server.

We sat there twenty minutes.

We walked out and had dinner at Red Lobster.

No staff member asked why we were leaving, and there must have been five servers available for every table of customers at the time.

So it's no wonder this building has been abandoned for two years.  The Hibachi Grill people did an extensive and beautiful overhaul of the building.  Nothing about this structure will make you think of Lone Star.

The interior is also very nice.  Nice and dark.  When I left, I had trouble adjusting to the sunlight and almost fell down the stairs at the entrance.  They might want to paint yellow stripes on the edges.  But the dining areas...there's several divided up...are pretty dark.  They have a nice big lobby area with an extensive water feature and big sitting area with what looked like copper couches.  I should have tried them out.

The food area has colorful LED accent lighting glowing on the ceiling and the buffet stations themselves are well lit so you can see what you're getting.  And there's a lot to get...Hibachi Grill claims there's over 250 items.  Plus there's the namesake "Hibachi Grill" where you can create your own raw concoction and have the grill guy cook it for you.  We have a couple of Chinese buffets in town that also offer this, but nobody ever seems to take advantage of it.  But here, people were using it.  Maybe because these guys do a better job of making it a focal point.

Taste-wise, it was fine.  There were highlights and lowlights.  I'd put them overall third taste-wise compared to the other two Chinese buffets in town I frequent, but that doesn't make them bad.  Highlights included "Cheesy Wontons", which are a wonton-wrapped version of a Crab Rangoon.  Those were awesome.  They had a really nice smoked salmon sushi.  I'm not really a sushi expert, but I liked that.  They also had some unusual things like roast beef and "cheesesteak", which was some sort of Stromboli-ish looking thing stuffed with what simply tasted like roast beef.  Pretty rich, actually.  You could eat one piece of that and be all like "Dang, I'm full.  And I still have 249 other things to try."  The salad bar had several pre-made salads, like a Caesar.  Dessert options included the usual, but a more extensive selection of cakes and ice creams.  They even had a green tea ice cream.

But it's the traditional Chinese food items...the General Tso's Chicken, the Lo-Mein, the Garlic Beef & Broccoli...where they fall short of the competition.  It's still fine, but the others are better.

But for $9.16 plus tax and tip (lunch price), you'll certainly feel you got your money's worth.