Thursday, March 27, 2008

Wheatfield's Eatery and Bakery

Restaurant: WheatFields Eatery & Bakery
Address: 1224 South 103rd Street - In One Pacific Place
Genres: epic, bakery, fusion
Check Constraints: None known.
Chain: No. | More Omaha Locations: No.

  • SugarMill Sampler ($3.59)
  • Cup of Mango Chicken Soup ($3.59)
  • Egg Plant Romano ($10.99)
    • Swiss Hotel Salad
Let's just get one thing straight, right off the bat. The term for this meal was "epic". It was a tale the bards could have sung about, that should be passed down via the oral tradition for centuries to our children; in pretty much every way, this meal was larger than life. I could not have felt more epic had I come home from a hard day slaying ice dragons on the frozen tundra, gone into my Valhallan castle, hung my great sword Haarkskaagen on the mantel hooks, took off my horned hat, and had a warm glass of mead thunked on the table in front of me. All of that connotation should be considered to be part of this review.

Finding parking in this place is pretty much an epic quest right off the bat; it's next to a California Pizza Kitchen (we'll go there later) and parking in One Pacific Place isn't what you'd call sprawling to begin with. At lunch, the place is packed. We only found a spot due to vigilance and some luck when a guy pulled out right in front of the restaurant. Once inside, you're left to deal with the next epic quest - the menu.

Clocking in at 6 double-sided pages, the menu is practically a novel. The fact that it comes with no less than three additional pages of specials, drinks, and appetizers turns the whole process of figuring out what to eat into something a little more difficult than figuring out the dependency tree of a Red Hat installation package. It honestly could have used an index, or better yet they should just hand out little PDAs with a hyperlink menu on it. Deciding on what to eat took us nearly a half hour. Once that was done came the next part of the epic quest - the food.

The SugarMill sampler is 6 "tiny" cinnamon rolls, two of whatever they happened to be making today. We got two caramel, two caramel pecan, and two orange rolls. They were epic because for Wheatfield's, "tiny" means "normal sized cinnamon buns". They were also absolutely fantastic. The dough and cinnamon portions had almost no sweetness at all, leaving the whole task up to the particular coating of the roll. The caramel were delicious, the addition of pecans took the caramel up a degree on the scale of awesome, and the orange rolls (though perhaps a little strong) were good enough to eat singly for breakfast. I'll let ND and Mecha tell you about the cinnamon rolls they had. Suffice it to say that eating here is a lot like doing battle with the food; you want to get through all the delicious things you ordered, and the food wants you to become full.

After that came the soup; chicken and mango is not a flavor combination I've had in liquid form before, but it worked just as well as it would have for a grilled chicken and mango chutney dish. You have to not mind a sweet and sour soup, but it was an excellent flavor and didn't sit too heavily. They're supposed to be served with a ButterBun but the waitress apparently spaced it. We didn't mind, because by this point in the meal we noticed that we were already slowing down on food consumption, and the appetizers hadn't even come yet. I'll let Mecha and Moogle talk about those.

I had forgotten that the Eggplant Romano came with a salad, so when it was trotted out I stared at it blankly. It stared back, ready for us to do battle. Turns out I won, but only barely. The salad was, more or less, a caesar salad, with peanuts and bacon. The bacon pretty much overwhelms the other flavors, so it's a creamy bacon salad. It would be a lot better if you asked them to cut back on the bacon just a tad. Also, I have seen meal salads at other places of the same size this side salad was.

Sensing a trend on size here? You'd be right; the portions here are enormous. We'd expected the marginally on the high side prices to just be accounting for atmosphere inflation, etc, but honestly I don't feel like we paid for more than we got. When the Eggplant Romano came out I knew I'd be defeated. It comes on a large platter, and I was already feeling the hit from that salad. I like all the pieces of the dish - portobello mushrooms, fried eggplant, marinated grilled chicken, tomatoes, and mozzarella - but I wasn't certain how they'd meld. Turns out it was delicious, and the takehome box is currently sitting in the fridge. Definitely give this a try if you like eggplant, but skip appetizers or soup so you can enjoy it all.

Despite being defeated by the food, I really enjoyed my visit. The place gets a little loud around lunch, but is otherwise a good place for a good meal. Our waitress was chatty, and though she didn't have an answer when I put her on the spot about what she recommended, she suffered the question with aplomb. She seemed a little rushed; all the servers did. They're hiring at the moment, so you might cut yours a little slack when you go eat.

And you should definitely go eat. Bring your great sword.


  • Cup of Cream of Potato Soup ($3.59)
  • Quiche Lorraine (Special, $8.99)
    • Cinnamon Roll (normally $2.00)
I could not feel more epic right now if I was a viking ninja. I was the only one of our quartet that avoided defeat, and I escaped only after a harrowing battle that took me down to my last few hit points. The opening salvo was Cham's Sugarmill Sampler, which I made him buy, on account of him owing me money. This was then negated by us splitting the check evenly, so he still owes me money. Along with that came the cinnamon rolls that Mecha and I got as sides to our meal.

Allow me to first express my appreciation for these orange rolls. I have adored orange rolls since I was a very young child, approximately six years old, and my mother worked at another local restaurant. I would beg her, every time I remembered, to bring home more orange rolls. I tried the orange rolls, and my immediate thought was "I should have asked for an orange roll instead of the cinnamon roll. This orange roll, in spite of Cham's lack of appreciation, raised my ancestors from the grave to congratulate me on having tasted it.

And then I tried the cinnamon roll. This cinnamon roll cannot adequately be called a "roll", really. I have large hands, and this roll was as big as three of my fists, -before- the topping. It is a gargantuan piece of pastry that will attack you with gusto if you do not subdue it vigorously. There is little or no sugar in the roll itself. Instead, this monster is topped with fresh, hand-made whipped heavy cream, which is then dusted with a light powder of confectioner's sugar.

As I said earlier, I thought, when I tasted the orange rolls, that I should have got one of those instead of the cinnamon roll. If the orange roll brought back my ancestors from the dead to congratulate me, this cinnamon roll went back in time and retroactively made my entire life a little better. The blend of cinnamon, sugar, and whipped cream is absolutely perfect, and as soon as I tried it, I realized that thinking that I should have had an orange roll instead was a horrible nightmare, and I had clearly never thought any such thing. Do not, under any circumstances, fail to get one of these cinnamon rolls when you are here.

After the cinnamon roll, nothing could really be quite as good, but the cream of potato soup was very good. The taste seemed to change dramatically to me as I got closer to the bottom of the bowl, but it's probably because I was getting used to the flavor. There's really not much in the soup besides potato and cream, so don't expect anything else, but it wasn't bad at all.

And then there was the quiche lorraine. This dish isn't sure whether it's a breakfast, a lunch, or a dinner. Honestly, neither am I. It comes with toast and hash browns, both of which are forgettable. The portion of quiche, though, is immense, fully a quarter of a fairly large pie. It's topped liberally with a lemon-hollandaise sauce, which they seem to be pushing heavily right now. I can't judge the quality in relation to other sauces, but it was quite tasty, and went well with the quiche, and also with the bacon and green onions atop the whole thing. For nine bucks, it's a heck of a main dish. Just remember to save the cinnamon roll for -afterwards-.

In addition to your greatsword, don't forget your buckler and your mail coat. You might want to make sure you can let the coat out, though, your waist will be a couple inches bigger when you leave.

  • Crispy Cheese Smorgasbord ($6.00)
  • Monterrey Chicken Sandwich ($10.99)
Epic indeed. I had been warned earlier in the day that the cinnamon rolls were massive, but I took it as standard exaggeration. Three fists is a fairly good approximation. All of the flavors were very good, very gooey, and they all were fall-apart soft. The orange rolls were impressive. They were sweet, quite tangy and no fake orange flavors involved. I believe the tangy-ness was where Cham thought it was too much. They'd be awesome with breakfast.

Luckily, I skipped on the extra soup, salad, etc. I did taste the chili and mango soup though. The chili seemed pretty spicy, but a little too tomato-y for me. The mango was quite different, but I wouldn't have minded a cup of it. Definitely a sweet and sour type deal.

The Crispy Cheese Smorgasbord was a good sized portion of fried cheese sticks. Compared to what we had just eaten, they were just not that impressive. For the price, you actually get a lot. Other places, you'll get maybe six smaller sticks for about $4. There were six or seven regular breaded mozzarella, maybe 10 smaller breaded cheddar bites, and six or seven mozzarella breaded with pretzels. The sauce it came with wasn't so much marinara as it was salsa. It had a lot of bite to it, but it wasn't lingering heat. It was interesting, but I wonder if it was a mix-up. The pretzel coated ones were interesting, but like I said, overall they just didn't stack up. The other appetizer was a spinach and artichoke dip served with fried won ton chips. The chips didn't impress me, but the dip itself was good. I even tried a bit of it on my waffle fries, which was quite good.

The sandwich was also a mighty beast. It had a butterflied chicken breast, several thin slices of ham, and cheese dripping out everywhere. This was a real grilled, seasoned chicken breast with real ham, and a lot of cheese. It was simple, gooey, and tasty. The fries were lightweight waffle fries with a bit of seasoning on them. I didn't bother with the ketchup, but the artichoke dip was a good choice (even if it was too thick to effectively dip into with structurally weak fries). I ended up saving half my sandwich and fries for another day. I may have been able to finish it, but I didn't want to do that with another four hours of workday ahead of me. In fact, I'm just now coming out of the feast-induced daze I was in after three hours. It would have been a coma, rather than a daze, if I'd tried to finish.

This may have been a bigger defeat for most involved than Jonsey's, but it was well worth it. There are so many options and different styles of food to try. We may have to go back a time or five.
  • Hot Spinach & Artichoke Dip (w/Wontons) ($6.50)
  • Cup of Soup (Chili) ($3.50)
  • Chubby Checker's Omlette ($12.95)
    • W/Caramel Roll
Oh man. The appetizers may have been average, but their bakery and main dishes are just beyond good. As a quick explanation, the 'fusion' tag is on this because it has a lot of dishes from various ethnic sources, although the core of it is what most people think of as 'American' or 'Family Dining'. But much better than your random place. Let's get into it.

After the 30 minute trek through the menu, we got our rolls. My Caramel roll, the Orange roll from the sampler, and ND's Cinnamon roll were all built on the same solid cinnamony base, but mine was a lot denser than either of the other options, as the caramel and pecans really weighted the entire thing down into a super-sticky mass. Unlike the wonderful cinnamon roll ND got. I've still got half of it as leftover.

The Chili was not amazing, but it did have pleasant spice and heat, and was pleasant to eat. I would not say it was better than, say, Paradise's soup, but it was solid. Not a bean chili, though, which Cham complained about. I could have also gone for Cham's soup, as I also like mango chicken.

The fried cheese platter was indeed stunningly standard, which is a shame. The pretzel covered cheese sticks were actually sorta like fishsticks to me, and they came with Salsa of all things. Weird. The Spinach and Artichoke dip was solid, and it came with some nice wontons, but also was not standout. Servicable, but there are so many other things one could get for the money. That leaves us with the basic appetizers in general not being too great. Can't be sure if we just picked the bad ones, or if it's a trend, but.

All that portion talk? It came through with the Chubby Checker omelette. Everything I got was so dense that, frankly, getting about 5 good forkfuls into the omelette (perhaps, uh, 10% of the omelette?) I was so far past done it was stupid. That said, the omelette had some nice meat throught, and was just covered in cheese. I could have loved it if I weren't so damn full. Luckily? Boxes!

All in all, the place is just awesome. Maybe you do want to skip the appetizers, but everything else seems to stand up nicely. And the menu is so, so, SO freaking huge that you could go back for every meal for a month and still not try ti all. But it'd be a fine thing to try.

No comments: