The Haphazard Blog


Zen Vegetarian Cuisine Review

by on Jun.19, 2010, under Dining, Entertainment

I recently went to Zen Vegetarian Cuisine (note the menu at the website is not updated, but the items are the same or similar) in Wichita, KS and had a pretty good lunch there.

The concept behind this restaurant is to provide “Asian” food without meat. So take a traditional meal that you would find at a Chinese/Thai/Vietnamese restaurant and replace the meat with soy protein or tofu. It’s really that simple and I thought it was pretty good.

I ordered a “bento box” meal. It was the “Love & Compassion” which was fried soy protein (this was really good, it was crunchy, chewy and seemed hollow), pineapples, green and red peppers, mushrooms topped with a sweet and sour sauce. It also included a choice between fried rice and steamed rice. I chose fried rice, but in retrospect, the steamed rice would’ve been better because I just mixed it all with the main course.

Also, the bento box includes a choice of a couple soups (I went with the vegetable soup since the other was egg drop soup and our waiter wasn’t sure if they really used eggs in it or not), a spring roll, a cream cheese blossom (cream cheese deep fried in a wonton wrapper) and a bunch of tempura (for all the Indians out there, this is Bhajjiya or Pakora). It was a lot of food for lunch at a very good price. I was very surprised when it came to the table.

I also had a mango milk tea which was really good. There were what I thought was some type of black berries in it, but they were actually black tapioca pearls. Finally I had the mango ice cream for dessert. There wasn’t anything particularly noticeable about it that made it better than other mango ice cream I had before.

I really enjoyed the food at Zen. If I worked or lived near there, I’d stop in a every week or two. They had a lot of pages in their menu and you could try so many different things they have to offer.

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Why Is There Fish in Bleu Cheese Dressing?

by on Feb.14, 2010, under Dining, Entertainment

Yesterday we went to Wichita to get some shopping taken care of and decided to stop at Souper Salad for a quick lunch. They are a pretty good place for vegetarians and vegans. They will mark what is vegetarian (not that what they say is vegetarian is actually lacto-ovo vegetarian) and vegan. I noticed the oddest thing. Bleu cheese dressing was not marked as vegetarian. Some other dressings I’d assume to be were also non-vegetarian. So I tried to find out why and found a nutritional guide on their web site. Here’s what it says:

  • Honey Mustard – Contains Eggs, Contains Other Animal (they do not specify what)
  • Fat Free Cranberry – Contains Other Animal
  • Caesar – Contains Eggs, Contains Finfish
  • Bleu Cheese – Contains Eggs, Contains Finfish
  • Chipotle Ranch – Contains Eggs, Contains Finfish

I wondered if “Other Animal Product” is honey, but they mark stuff with eggs in it as vegetarian.  Why in the world is there fish in Bleu Cheese dressing? I checked the dressing in my refrigerator and it doesn’t have anything listed that could be remotely considered fish. Is this an aberration or one of those items specially made for the restaurant industry like Extra Heavy Mayonnaise. I think I’m going to stick with fat-free Italian dressing. It’s better for me anyways.

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Poblano’s Mexican Grill Review

by on Oct.06, 2009, under Dining, Entertainment

We went to Poblano’s Mexican Grill in Wichita the other day. It’s very much like Chipotle. They have a couple more options like Nachos and Quesadillas. And for vegetarians, there’s one other benefit: the pinto beans are vegetarian. (Chipotle’s pinto beans are seasoned with bacon.) It’s a very simple place. You go up, tell them what you want and tell them what you want in it (and how much). You pay, eat and you’re done. So you get your food quickly and are out of there quickly as well. It’s a great place for a quick meal with better ingredients than Taco Bell. Most of the things on the menu are right around $5. It’s a place I like and will definitely go back to again.

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Pork and Bacon and Chicken Broth, Oh My!

by on Sep.19, 2009, under Dining, Entertainment

I don’t really have a favorite restaurant. Just that go to place where I can go eat at anytime. So instead I try out new places every month or so. Yesterday we went to Marco’s Cantina in Wichita. We went there for lunch and it was pretty empty. In hindsight, I need to remember to call ahead and check if their beans and rice are vegetarian. It’s hit or miss around here. Some places will put either pork or bacon in their beans and will use chicken broth in the rice. Unfortunately, this was one of those restaurants. That basically ends up wiping out almost the whole menu. Since we were already there, we ordered cheese and cheese and spinach quesadillas. They aren’t all that difficult to make so there isn’t much to say. I think the spinach was frozen because it was a bit too salty. Overall. the staff was nice and helpful. Just not a good choice if you’re a vegetarian.

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