I first learned of Waltzing Kangaroo from my ex-husband’s long-time girlfriend who is one of my favorite people on the planet. No–you read that right. She has a tendency for grand gestures and gifted me their baked treats as a thank you for something I did that was so small, I don’t even remember what it was.
She presented me with a plate adorned with a Profiterole ($3), a Coffee Infused Chocolate Ganache Tart ($4), and an Apple Turnover ($4) wrapped up with tissue paper and bows like the gift it truly was. I ate them all in a night (in my defense, I had a little help and an entire gallon of milk) and then texted my ex-husband:
Even after that experience, Waltzing stayed low on my priority list. For one, ever since Sprouts started carrying ground kangaroo meat, I’m a little freaked out by Australian Food. I get that these marsupials are a bit like cattle Down Under, but they are just so cute. Tell me how I can eat something that was carried in a pouch as a baby? Also, let’s be real: beyond Foster’s beer, can any of us actually name an authentic Australian culinary delight? Because the Bloomin’ Onion at Outback doesn’t count.
Then my friend Julie came to town. I get to see her once a year for one meal so I want to make it count. I gave her 4 dining options hoping that she would pick the one that I am counting on to be terrible–I’m so ready to write a one star review and stir up this pot a bit and I just know that will be the place. But, alas she thought “meat pies with some kind of Australian twist” sounded interesting and didn’t share my fear of kangaroo as an ingredient.
If not for the well-appointed décor and sparkling clean surroundings, Waltzing Kangaroo could pass for a hole in the wall in the Campus West Shops strip mall. The seating is minimal and the atmosphere is stark. The staff is both helpful and kind, telling me how to save money by ordering a Tucker Box (a combo plate of sorts-$10), and then complimenting my purse with sincerity.
Both the menu and the availability are straightforward: savory pies and rolls are kept in a bakery case right in front. I ordered the Chicken & White Cheese Sauce Pie ($6); my lunch date opted for the Steak & Gravy, and we shared sides of Mashed Potato and a Sweet Potato Mash ($3, if purchased separately). I ordered a Boylan Soda because I got confused and she asked for water that entailed getting a tiny dentist office cup and filling it herself. All of this was brought out to the table with little fanfare and no garnish. Which is fine, though makes my food photography slightly more challenging.
Have you ever had a frozen pot pie? This is so not that. These meat pies make me sad that I ever warmed up a Marie Callender’s in the micro and called it a meal. I deserved more. So do you. My chicken and cheese pie was so velvety delicious, it was downright seductive. Yeah, I said it. The house-made flaky puff pastry topper and shortcrust outer ring is comfort food at it’s finest. The seduction continued with the Sweet Potato Mash that was smooth and creamy and not overly sweet. If I ever have to have my jaw wired shut for some reason, I will drink this Mash out of a straw and I swear I won’t tire of it. The standard mash was good as well but is a little cold there in that sweet potato shadow.
Julie’s Steak & Gravy wasn’t quite as tasty to my palette, but in fairness I get flashbacks to my nursing home volunteer days whenever beef and gravy combine. Once we were done with this meal we ordered a second lunch. Do you know how many times I’ve done that? Once now. We happily sat there through two rounds while other customers wished us to be done with staring eyes so they could have our table—by noon it was crowded enough that it looked like people might cop-a-squat on the floor.
For Second Lunch we split a Veggies & Thai Peanut Sauce Pie ($6) that I believe even a dedicated carnivore would enjoy. Squash, potato, broccoli, cauliflower, and carrot combine uncompromising and unapologetically in an authentic sauce. We bucked tradition and ordered a Salted Caramel Slice ($4) and a Chocolate Pecan Tart ($4) for sides. Picking my favorite dessert at Waltzing Kangaroo would be harder than picking my favorite kid. And I’m not just saying that because I went to parent-teacher conferences tonight and came home to Google “how to sell a middle school aged boy”. I can find a fault in practically anything (yet another charming bit I bring to my dating life) and I can find nothing to even passive-aggressively mention; these desserts are made-from-scratch perfection. I’m leaving instructions for when I die, everyone who attends my wake gets a Coffee Infused Chocolate Ganache Tart. And boy howdy, will you remember me and remember me well after that.
With 13 savory pies to choose from (including the Pie of the Month), 3 Savory Rolls (Sausage, Cheese & Bacon Sausage, and Spinach & Feta, all $4), plus several breakfast quiches and pies ($5-6), it would be easy to eat every meal here for a week and never repeat your selection. Because I am nothing if not thorough and selfless, I felt I owed it to you all to try the Chicken, Avocado & Bacon pie as a take-out lunch yesterday. In the same velvety cheese sauce it was delightful and nap-inducing, though I would have preferred chunky bits of crunchy bacon over what appeared to be something more of the Canadian variety. I was incredibly tempted by the Mushy Peas ($3) side dish, but I just wasn’t able to channel my British side and it doesn’t feel like long enough since I was making baby food that I titled the same. Next time I am there I will have no problem channeling my Irish side though and order a Guinness Steak & Mushroom pie.
I realize I have made a few minor complaints in this review. And then given it five stars. How, pray tell, do I justify it? Easily; this is true made from scratch cooking with top tier ingredients and incredible imagination. You will not find anything like it anywhere else in town. This is to say nothing in that they could just offer their 8 dessert selections and still run a hopping business (see what I did there?). Plus, since it’s truly affordable, it’s not Once In A Lifetime Meal, but rather an I Eat Meat Pies On Tuesdays Because I’m Worth It Meal.
And to be clear, the only kangaroo you’ll find on the menu is in the logo.
1109 West Elizabeth Street
Parking: Strip Mall Parking.
Healthy Options? Several salads and Vegetarian options.
Recent Health Inspection: Excellent.