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The Burger Stand at College Hill – Review

The Burger Stand at College Hill – Review

I had the opportunity to spend another day with my mother recently. Of course we had to eat lunch, and we try to eat at locally owned places. We chose to have lunch together at The Burger Stand in Topeka.

This trip to The Burger Stand was far from our first. My family has been stopping in since they opened in Topeka. There is also a Burger Stand in Lawrence. I have eaten there as well.

The Burger Stand, as the name implies, is a place to get burgers. That’s why my mom loves it. She loves a good cheeseburger. It might surprise you that I enjoy The Burger Stand since I don’t eat red meat. This place is great for all types of eaters!

My favorite thing hands down to order at The Burger Stand is their Truffle Fries. They are a regular French Fries tossed in Truffle Butter and doused with Parmesan cheese. The rich flavor and crisp bite is heavenly. Their Sweet Potato Fries are also some of the best. The house made sauces are also outstanding. The marshmallow sauce is a delicious compliment to the Sweet Potato Fries. Some of the other sauces are a Jalapeno Ranch, Garlic Aioli, and a Cocoa Chipotle Ketchup (catsup?).

Truffle Fries

Truffle Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

Sweet Potato Fries

The menu offers several gourmet burgers. Soft, buttered buns hold the burgers and fixin’s nicely. All of the burgers are made with quality ingredients and many offer locally sourced toppings, as well. The combination of flavors works well on every burger and sandwich.

While my mom typically orders a burger I have tried many of the vegetarian offerings. My favorite sandwich is the Falafel. The Burger Stand has mastered the art of the Falafel with a moist but not too crumbly inside and a crisp outside. This is served on a bun with Tzatziki sauce and pickled red onions and cauliflower. The pickled veggies are a crown of glory on the Falafel. I would probably just munch on the pickled cauliflower if it was offered.

Another reason mom and I enjoy The Burger Stand is the excellent beer selection. The Burger Stand always has great beers on tap and does a stand up job supporting local Kansas breweries. In addition to the draft beer they have a wide range of bottled beers to choose from. If you aren’t into beer you can also get a great milkshake; Boozy Milkshakes for the grownups.

The Burger Stand at College Hill in Topeka is located close to Washburn University. It is the perfect distance for the college crowd to come hang out. However, the location is also great for people to come from all over town for lunch or dinner. In fact, if you’re planning on eating lunch my suggestion is to show up between 11 and 11:45 before the crowd really builds.

There is plenty of seating in the main room or the back room, called the Pong Bar. There are many game tables including Ping Pong and Foosball in that area. When the Kansas weather is nice enough there is a patio with ample seating also.

Parking might be harder in the evenings, but for lunches there seems to be ample parking in front or on the side street. Food and drinks are ordered at the bar. Your name is called when the food is ready and you pick it up at the window.

The friendly staff can assist you in making a food or drink decision of you are stymied. They all seem to enjoy working here. They are upbeat, and never overbearing.

The décor is fairly standard for a bar. It’s not too dark and tables are spaced nicely, so your conversation doesn’t have to be everyone’s conversation. The music playing in the background also allows for conversation, which is a plus.

The Burger Stand is definitely somewhere you should try if you haven’t. Whether you’re looking for a place to have lunch or an evening out with friends I recommend The Burger Stand at College Hill in Topeka.

 
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Posted by on April 23, 2018 in Restaurant Review

 

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Augustino Brewing Company – Restaurant Review

Augustino Brewing Company – Restaurant Review

Sometimes the best adventures come out of chaos. This fun food adventure and restaurant review is the product of chaos. It is also the product of flexibility and strength in the face of adversity. Let me tell you of how my mother, Daughter Number One, and I came to eat at Augustino Brewing Company in Wichita, Kansas.

The entirety of this adventure could be a novelette, but I will spare you all of the details. D1 has had several surgeries on her foot and ankle. Her most recent surgery was done with very short notice. She was told to be off of work for at least one week post-op. To fight off boredom she asked mother and me to come keep her company.

My mother cleaned out her attic recently and we discovered that I had stored all of D1’s baby clothes there. Additionally D1’s childhood table and chairs were also being stored at mothers. This seemed like a good time to take these to my daughter. I had also heard of a relatively new Brewery in Wichita that I wanted to try; Augustino Brewing Company.

Now starts the chaos. Apparently D1’s foot had swollen up and landed her in the ER the night before we were going down. Daughter One sent me a text in the middle of the night to see if we were still coming. I said that we were and she apologetically asked if we could take her to the Doctor’s office. They had some concerns.

Mother and I made good time getting down to Wichita. We helped D1 into the car. She was obviously worried in addition to being in pain. If that wasn’t enough her stomach was upset (probably nerves).

We got her to the Doctor’s office and she was called back. Shortly my name was called to come back. Apparently even adult daughter’s need their mom’s sometimes. As the Doctor was explaining the situation I could see the positive change in D1’s attitude. When the Doctor stepped out for a minute she asked if we were going to be able to go have lunch. She hadn’t eaten and was very hungry.

I popped onto the map app on my phone to see what was close to us. As luck would have it one of the closest establishments to our location was also a brewery! So we headed over to Augustino Brewing Company.

It was easy to find the location, and the establishment was well marked. Upon entry we found it to be a fairly open seating plan, with plenty of light. Inside the front door there was ample signage promoting their beers and food.

Our server was helpful and friendly. As we were there for a significant amount of time, he became even friendlier. That may not have been a plus.

The food menu was intriguing. We chose a fondue appetizer which was really just queso and chips. In addition to their usual menu they had a special menu for one day only. It was a Mexican style menu which included my favorite Mexican sandwich; the Torta. Mother ordered the Flauta platter off of the special menu and D1 ordered some wings off of the main menu.

Mother and I ordered beers, of course. I started with the Pinhead Oatmeal Stout, a very impressive craft beer. I would be hard pressed to find a comparable stout in a local brewery. Mother’s first beer was the Mad Squirrel Nut Brown Ale. Also a nice beer, this nut brown ale was malty and sweet. I would definitely drink either of these two beers again.

It took longer than I would have thought to deliver our food. Upon arrival the wing plate looked good and the flauta platter was very nicely plated. I was concerned about the Torta before even trying it. The bread was not traditional, nor had it been pressed.

Torta

Augustino Brewing Co.
Torta

The Torta: Using the wrong bread wasn’t the only problem. The shredded chicken was not excellent. Now, the positives were the refried beans being used as a base and the fresh avocado. Also, when I asked for something spicy I got a delightful blend of habanero and onion with some fresh lime juice.

Torta

Augustino Brewing Co.
Torta

The Wings: Bone-in and heavily sauced they were on the spicy side of mild/medium. They are served with blue cheese traditionally, but D1 likes Ranch like all good Kansas Girls. She asked for two sides of Ranch.

The Flauta Platter:  Three flautas garnished with crema and avocado, served with side of rice and beans. This had excellent presentation and tasted good.

We ended our food adventure with 2 more beers, the Sleeping Car Porter and the Bayern Munich Dunkel, which I believe was recently tapped. The porter was not my favorite of all porters. It had some of the qualities I love in a porter, but did not blow me away. The Dunkel was very smooth and had the beautiful near ruby tone that a Dunkel should.

We all enjoyed lunch as a whole, even though the Torta was a disappointment. Augustino Brewing Company is definitely somewhere I recommend locals go for some good craft beer and decent food. I personally will try it again when I visit my daughter in Wichita again.

 

 

 
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Posted by on April 13, 2018 in Restaurant Review

 

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Bourbon and Baker – Restaurant Review

Bourbon and Baker – Restaurant Review

As mom and I were on our shoe finding adventure we took time out for a food adventure. I had heard of a restaurant, Bourbon and Baker, in Manhattan, Kansas. Not only is this a restaurant and a bar, but there is also a bakery. Of course I needed to try it.

The food adventure was wonderful. We pulled up right outside of Bourbon and Baker. The parking was great, at least on this day.

Upon entering we were offered seats at high top tables or the bar. The booths were all full. We chose the bar.

There is some interesting and fun lighting in the restaurant, which added to the overall ambience for me. The décor is not too down-home or too upscale so anyone should be comfortable. Also, the bar has one of the most important things for women: purse hooks.

We ordered some drinks to celebrate the shoe success. Because the name flaunts the abundance of bourbons I did have a whisky drink, Redundant Redhead. My mother had a Kansas Territory brewery beer. We both enjoy craft beer and local is always a good choice.

The menu is small, but offers a good variety of foods. We shared some small plates, which were all excellent. The flavor profiles in each thing we tried was well thought out and well executed. We had asparagus fries, truffle popcorn, shrimp and grits, and grilled cheese with tomato soup.

Not that I can do justice, but let me try to break it down a bit more.

The asparagus fries are lightly battered in a Pale Ale batter, fried, and served warm. It is laid on an unobtrusive poblano tartar sauce and topped with a cool shitake relish. The brightness of the relish, with celery seed to add an earthy taste, is excellent. There is no oiliness or sogginess to the asparagus. It is delightful.

With the truffle popcorn I was expecting much more powerful truffle flavor. The olive oil and foie gras butter added more dimension than I was expecting. It was buttery, like good popcorn should be, but did not leave me feeling greasy. The truffle salt gave a hint of truffle without overpowering the other flavors. Also, the Manchego shredded on top added a nice bit of creaminess.

Truffle popcorn

Truffle popcorn

As a huge fan of shrimp and grits that was a must try. The flavors in the grits were spot on. I was disheartened to find only three shrimp. Honestly, I would have not thought much about it if there was even one more. The shrimp was cooked well, though.

Another food favorite of mine is tomato soup and grilled cheese. Again, the flavors in the tomato soup were outstanding. This is not a bisque, so expect some texture. The Gruyere and Red Rock cheddar paired nicely with the soup, although the sliver sandwich could have been doubled. Between the size of the grilled cheese and the excessive oiliness this was my least favorite part of the meal.

For dessert we split a cinnamon roll. Actually we attempted to split a cinnamon roll. The Bourbon frosted skillet cinnamon roll, baked in an individual cast iron skillet, was enormous. It sits in a wonderful caramel sauce and is slathered with a Bourbon frosting. The flavors are all very complimentary and the presentation is great. I personally prefer a softer, lighter cinnamon roll, but wouldn’t turn one of these down for sure.

Bourbon frosted cinnamon roll

Bourbon frosted cinnamon roll

The service was also magnificent. As it was our first time at the restaurant our server / bartender explained a bit about the menu and offered suggestions. There was no rush to order and we did not feel pushed into any certain food. Also, he provided answers to our questions and was never overbearing. A good blend of helpful without being too present.

In all this was excellent food at reasonable prices.

The Baker part of Bourbon and Baker comes from the back of the house. Yes, there is a bakery onsite that makes specialty cakes, brownies, cookies, and cast iron skillet-baked bourbon glazed cinnamon rolls.

While I did not go crazy with the baked goods I did buy a few to share with my family later. I got a Snickerdoodle, Molasses Cookie, and a Snack Attack Cookie as well as a brownie. The Hubs and I both liked the Molasses Cookie the best. A close second was the Snack Attack. I believe the girls liked that one the best. Huge, moist, and delicious cookies that really are reminiscent of childhood.

If you are in the area I highly recommend stopping in to Bourbon and Baker for a treat or a meal. It is a wonderful local addition to Northeast Kansas and made for a great food adventure!

 

 
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Posted by on March 29, 2018 in Restaurant Review

 

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