Homeward Bound

Is there a place you always visit when you go home? Perhaps a park, or a restaurant, or just a spot in town that reminds you of a special moment in time.

For me, it’s the library. I have a routine. One month before I’m scheduled to go home, I go onto the Wichita Public Library website, search for all of the books that I’ve been wanting to read, and add myself to the waiting list so that I’ll (hopefully) be at the top of the list when I arrive. Seriously.

Being incredibly indecisive, though, I do have more than one home “must-see.” Well, okay, it’s actually more like a list. And, not surprisingly, besides the Rockwell Public Library and the Barnes & Noble Booksellers, all of the places serve food. Braum’s for a chocolate soft serve or cookies n’ cream (or, better yet, both!) waffle cone. Dog n’ Shake for chicken rings and a 50/50. Freddy’s for frozen custard and fries. QuikTrip for a diet vanilla coke. Mega yum. I think I just drooled.

But anyway. It seems that I’ve also managed to develop a few favorites in Oxford, which I’ve been fortunate enough to seek out in the past couple of days. Here’s the rundown:

Number 1: Ben’s Cookies.

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Oh my goodness. Now with shops across the UK and beyond, this cookie heaven actually started in the Oxford Covered Market, which is where I go to satisfy all of my cookie needs. So, what’s so special about this particular cookie shop? They bake their delicious cookies fresh all day long, and you can actually see them coming hot out of the oven!

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That also means that there’s a good chance that any cookie you order will still be hot and melty. Now, you could leave it up to chance and hope your favorite cookie is being pulled from the oven as you speak…but I like to cover my cookie temperature bases and ask about the meltiest options.

Unfortunately, I struck out with my plan of action. My favorite cookie – classic chocolate chip – was not one of the piping hot cookies at the moment, but I forged ahead with my choice. I couldn’t have been happier. Even slightly cooled, a Ben’s chocolate chip cookie is nothing to scoff at. And by chocolate chip, I actually mean chocolate disk – at least quadruple the size of a “chip!”

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After my stop at Ben’s (chocolate chip cookie checkoff), I moved onto…

Number 2: Moo-moo’s

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Moo-moo’s serves moo’s. No, actually, milkshakes! Moo-moo’s, also located in the Oxford Covered Market, is extremely popular, and for good reason. They offer tons of different flavors for their super delicious milkshakes, and they’re always willing to mix multiple flavors.

Check it out:

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I decided on a fresh strawberry milkshake to balance out the chocolate chip cookie. Mmm delish.

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After the milkshake, it was time for…

Number 1: Ben’s Cookies.

No, that’s not a typo. Having eaten only a light breakfast about 2 hours earlier (and I really do need to eat quite often), my famished self decided that a second cookie was quite necessary.

This time, I struck gold. In the form of super melty chocolate. I again asked about the freshly baked cookies, and learned that the double chocolate cookie had only recently been removed from the oven. So…

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yeah. It was pretty good out of this world.

Another one of my favorites which I visited was…

Number 3: Maison Blanc.

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My first trip to Maison Blanc (about 8 years ago) was an early morning sojourn after an extremely early morning swim. Needless to say, the box of French pastries (well deserved, I thought) did not last long in my post-workout haze.

This time, though, my relatives and I first enjoyed a wonderful breakfast!

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Baked Eggs topped with Hollandaise and Spinach, accompanied by Multigrain Bread:

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Cappuccino

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Then, of course, the pastries!

Strawberry Tart – lovely crust topped with the perfect amount of pastry cream, and then sweet, ripe, strawberries

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Chocolate Éclair – bursting with chocolate filling, and topped with decadent chocolate glaze

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And lastly, another of my favorite stops…

Number 4: Shanghai Restaurant

Oh yes, here comes the Chinese food. Savory, mouthwatering, unforgettable Chinese food. Shanghai owned by a family friend, and we go almost every time I visit Oxford.

Love these appetizers:

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Of course, no meal – even delicious Chinese – is completely without dessert. Luckily, Shanghai offers some very special desserts.

Exhibit A – Orange Ripiena, which is orange sorbet served in a real orange. Tangy, refreshing, and pretty darn cool.

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Exhibit B – Bombed by Chocolate. If the name doesn’t already excite you, then take a look inside. This chocolate dessert is made of chocolate ice cream with a delicious fudgy center, all surrounded by an excellent chocolate shell.

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Excellent, delicious, chocolatey…all three of those adjectives go a long way in describing my European trip. Other words to include might be incredible, eye-opening, and intensely special. As I type, it’s Saturday night, and come Monday morning, I’ll be heading for the airport. This time, I’m flying home. But, as I said before, it’s definitely not over. Look out for more updates into my world of cooking, eating, and general debauchery.

See you soon,
Tiffany

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