Wichita has never been known as a city that favors healthy food. We are most famous for Pizza Hut, delicious beef, and huge portions. Meat is king here and won’t soon be dethroned, but recently a couple of brave, vegetarian-friendly restaurateurs have been making health-conscious dining a whole lot easier.
One of these veggie paladins is Jacquelyn Keefer, proprietor of the Lotus Leaf Café in Delano. She’s been open for a while, but recently hired a new chef to create a menu that reflects her interests in natural, minimally processed food. Chef Rebecca Gold has taken a menu that once relied heavily on crepes with creamy sauces and transformed it. Some crepes remain, but the rest of the menu offers many more vegan and vegetarian options, and even some raw food cuisine.
I had lunch there the other day with a friend and we had a delicious broccoli-cauliflower soup with cashews and curry. It had a marvelous, smooth texture and flavor that managed to seem creamy without any dairy at all. I had the portabella pizza, a giant mushroom topped with sweet roasted vegetables, tangy tomato jam, and crumbly almond “cheese”, and a side of pesto orzo salad. Both were lovely. My friend Lee had the Lotus Leaf crepe, a robust buckwheat crepe filled with veggies and real cheese and a side of quinoa salad. I loved the texture of the salad and the crepe was unusual and tasty. After a slice of flourless chocolate cake, we immediately made another Lotus Leaf date for Monday so we can eat our way through the menu.