Thursday, May 6, 2010

oh, lawrence

So this will be old news to Lawrence, Kansas residents. And it might be old news if you've been reading my blog for awhile, since I've posted about Dempsey's before. In any case, The Burger Stand at Dempsey's makes a great burger and fries.

Dempsey's was just a bar when we moved away from Kansas. Not a bad place to get a drink, but just a bar. When we went back for a visit last year, Dempsey's had brought in a chef to develop a menu and started getting what seems to be a lot more business. There are standards on the menu like the Kobe Burger (Matt's favorite), plus new selections occasionally (seasonally, maybe?). Matt got the Kobe again and I had a new one, the Fire Burger. Covered with habanero- cactus jam, my burger was surprising sweet and predictably spicy. Very good, but I'd try something new next time we go.

fire burger with habanero-cactus jam, avocado, & microgreens
poutine: fries with chunks of cheese & brown gravy

Yes, that is poutine in that basket. Dempsey's knows how to make some incredible sides as well as burgers, but the gravy on the poutine was overwhelmingly salty. Because of the gravy, the poutine didn't quite stand up to classics like the duck fat fries or truffle fries. It would be hard to choose between those two for my favorite fries there. Unfortunately, I neglected to photograph any other fries but my own. But take my word--they're amazing.

steak taco with chimichurri sauce & veggies
chicken taco with salsa verde, tomatillo sauce, & almonds
pork taco with mole rojo & pineapple pumpkin-seed salsa
(from left to right)

The crew that runs Dempsey's also opened a new Mexican place in Lawrence called Esquina. We ordered three tacos, all of which were creative and tasty, but none were standout. I preferred the chilaquiles (a favorite dish of mine anyway), which were topped with a fried egg instead of the scrambled that I'm used to. It also featured a thick white queso fundido plus queso fresco, which I thought was a very tasty addition. I also really enjoyed my taste of my friend's chicken enchiladas.

chilaquiles con huevos

chicken enchilada platter

Esquina has a considerably larger menu than what is posted online, including many special meat or enchilada platters. There were also some impressive-looking cocktails sitting at the bar when we walked in. I would definitely like to try Esquina again the next time we head south.

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