Chinese Kitchen and Coffee Grinder Espresso Bar & Gelatoria

Grabbed a late lunch today at an established chinese buffet, Chinese Kitchen, on Valley Mills, and after doing some shopping (including food and supplies for my new canine companion) had a quick dessert and coffee at a new coffeehouse, the Coffee Grinder, at 824 Hewitt Dr.

Chinese Kitchen has a cozier atmosphere than the Summer Palace, which I have also been to a couple of times now. Both have a good variety of entrees, including non-chinese items. Chinese Kitchen had warm, fresh servings, even in the middle of the afternoon, unlike Summer Palace.

During my first visit to Chinese Kitchen, I liked the fried oysters, but today, they were made special for our party, perhaps in a rush, and I actually didn’t enjoy them due to the oysters being a bit slimy. But their Lo Mein Noodles are really fantastic — I could really just have that each time and be happy. The rice noodles are also excellent. I also had Pepper Beef (?) and while it was a tad spicier than I prefer, it was tasty. The Sesame Ball was an odd thing, and I took one bite and left the rest. Not bad, but not for me (what’s in there anyway?)

I had Vanilla Cake for dessert — not really a cake, more like a firm pudding — which I really recommend. It’s a light, not too sweet confection that is appropriate when you’ve really already eaten too much.

At Coffee Grinder I had to ask what a gelatoria was and the young, friendly staff answered my question without making me feel like an idiot; I appreciate that since I guess I’m the last to know about this particular food treat. It’s Italian ice cream. But they didn’t have any, as the place is new and the freezer isn’t working. Probably better for a warm day, anyway. So, today, I had a slice of key lime pie, which was really perfect, very smooth, not too tart, not too sweet. I got a cup of Moka Java (yes, that’s how they spell it), one of the daily featured blends, but wasn’t impressed with it. Could have been smoother and mokier.

The prices for the coffee drinks here are quite reasonable, so I’ll definitely be back by there, as the Hewitt area is where I do most of my Waco shopping.

By the way, these reports of my food experiences should not be interpreted as anything but personal accounts of where I’ve eaten and how I felt about it. I’m not by any stretch of the imagination a food critic, or even especially adventuresome.