Wednesday, April 25, 2012

The Winery

741 North 98th Street (Clocktower Village, near JC Penny side of Westroads Mall)
Omaha, NE 68114
Deli open Mon-Fri 7am-3pm, Sat 10am-3pm, closed Sunday
Wine Shop Mon-Sat 10am-9pm, Sun 12pm-5pm
See Facebook for info on Saturday wine tastings
The Winery on Urbanspoon

BLT on white toast with mayo.
Protein, carbs, fruits and veggies all on one 'wich.

I'd rather not hide the fact that I know most of the people who work on the deli side, so attempting a proper "review" would be dubious. Here you've got one of the largest wine selections in the city, with beers and liquors as well. Forget shopping for gifts at the nearby mall; presents in bottle form are always preferred, don't you think?

I'd also advise you to steer clear of Panera Bread and the like when you rustle up a hunger from shopping/working/whatever it is you do around there. The Winery has daily soups, fresh breads, and an array of chicken, pasta and veggie salads, all for a very respectable price. That bulging-with-bacon-lettuce-and-tomato up there? Four bones. And that's all I have to say about that.

Santa Fe Chicken Salad on Marble Rye--
Crunch of scallion, mild chipotle spice and not dripping with mayo. Win. 

Aerial view, with Chicken Nood and Cream of Sherry Mushroom Soups

Le menu

Thursday, April 19, 2012

Wraps & Crepes

617A North 114th Street (Namaste plaza)
Omaha, NE 68154
Open daily for lunch and dinner, closed in between meals, closed Sundays
Wraps & Crepes on Urbanspoon

#13 Chicken Dosa, side of Sambar and cilantro chutney ($8.99)

If you ask me, "wraps" might be the most overrated food to come out of the '90s, and their unwavering popularity generally bugs me. This generic restaurant name might at first lead you to believe they're serving up California-turkey-in-a-spinach-wrap-with-a-side-of-ranch-dressing-and-Sun-Chips. As it turns out, the proprietors of this tasty southern Indian fast casual concept were just really lazy coming up with their name. The tunes weren't strategically chosen, either: There was a very short loop of '80s hits on piano from the bottom of the Walmart bin, and that was it.

"Duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh," went the stereo. I couldn't quite place the song but I think it might be on TLC's A Baby Story.

Yes, the space feels a lot like Q'doba and Co., but at least it's clean and organized, if that's what you're into. Many of us will experience dosas -- a type of crispy crepe made with rice flour -- and uttapas -- the thicker pancake version -- for the first time here. They were out of mango chutney, but the cilantro chutney was a burst of flavor that tasted good poured on everything. The chicken in my dosa was served in large, juicy cubes, red with seasonings and smeared with creamy goat cheese. Spinach and roasted tomatoes rounded out the colossal monster of a crepe, which had more of a cracker-y texture due to the rice flour.

In the wrap, the tender lamb pieces blended well with the stewed green peppers and onions. The wrap itself was somewhat like a stretchy, high-quality tortilla. Still, I favor the more adventurous dishes and would probably ditch the wrap next time.

#1 Wrap with lamb ($7.99)
"Duh duh duh duh, duh duh duh." The same song was playing a fifth time. The neon green walls with informational placards about garlic were closing in. The rest of the lamb wrap was a soupy mess, and I had stringy okra from the Sambar (in this case a take on lentil soup) stuck in my teeth. I will go back to Wraps & Crepes if I'm in the area, especially to try the mango lassi drink and samosas appetizer. But I might opt to take it to go, since in my experience the atmosphere didn't have much to offer. In fact, it made me a little crazy.

Staring down the barrel of a dosa.

Dosa Unwrapped:
chicken, spinach, goat cheese.

Should you want to learn about garlic and other health foods on your lunch break,
this is the place.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012


Everyone knows that when your car tragically and suddenly breaks down, you're forced to slack a little on your food blog. Busses really only cover the well-traveled territories of our great town, and until the fatmobile is fixed, I have to stick to eating "local." Super local. 

However, I do sometimes borrow the roommate's car and pay him in Taco Bell. On the menu today was the Doritos Locos taco, a finger staining delight that combines two downright dirty pleasures. 

Here's to getting my car repaired before I get too skinny from walking everywhere:

...because an extra cardboard taco holder advertising the Facebook site really is necessary.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

J. Coco

5203 Leavenworth Street
Omaha, NE 68106
Open weekdays 11am-2pm, Mon thru Sat 5pm-close, closed Sundays
J. Coco on Urbanspoon

Wagyu beef burger, white cheddar, pretzel bun ($11)--
The most pleasurable jaw dislocation of your life

New restaurants are going to feel a little sterile. They need time, at least to acquire a few creepy old regulars. At lunch last week in this spankin' new establishment, no one knew quite what to expect, and from what I could tell, the servers didn't either. A few confusing moments regarding a bread refill and my entree order can be excused for now, though. Sure, the food took an exorbitant amount of time, but I'd be surprised if they didn't get that worked out within a few weeks.

The menu is "American," but more like what would happen if there was a cook-off on 19th century Ellis Island, since it pulls from several distinct cuisines but doesn't really attempt to fuse much. The closest thing to fusion would be the Korean Style Short Rib Tacos -- a dish that's oh-so-popular on the streets of L.A. The pulled meat was plentiful and tender, but the kimchee was far less pungent than some. In fact, a dip into the bold sweet chile sauce totally masked the subtle fermented cabbage flavor. Dip at your own risk.

Korean Style Short Rib Tacos ($11)--
Big trends, little tasty tacos

It just wouldn't be a restaurant in the 2010s without a burger on the menu, now would it? As much as I love the idea of a fried egg on my burg, I urge you to minimize the add ons, so as to experience the full flavor and texture of the exquisite Wagyu beef patty. I love trendy stuff as much as the next guy, but fans of authentic "pommes frites" will be disappointed by the herb-sprinked shoestring fries. Though they are tastier than the stragglers at the bottom of the McDonald's bag, they are nothing like the thick-cut and crispy potato dish indigenous to Western Europe.

Burger pre-assembly, and the "pommes frites"

Greek Style salad ($9)--
Missing the advertised heirloom tomatoes and meyer lemon.
Bitter arugula and creamy vinaigrette still a fantastic combo.

The interior, with its modern contemporary and quasi-edgy feel, might be better suited for western West Omaha, and thus it will be a challenge to feel very hip sipping on one of their ultra-hip craft cocktails at the bar. But like many others, I live within walking distance, and I look forward to more meals here. Once they get a little more comfortable in their space, we should expect more daring and creative dishes from Jennifer Coco and friends.