Monthly Archives: October 2010

Hot hot dog news


I’ve two bits of hot dog news to report this afternoon.

The first: A new mobile hot dog stand started operating a couple of weeks ago on the mean streets of Wichita. The business is called Relish It! and is owned by Chris May. It serves Chicago dogs, New York dogs, chili dogs, smoked bratwurst and more. May will be stationed from 10:30 am. to 2:30 p.m. today and Saturday at the corner of Douglas and Walnut in Delano. He’ll likely  move the cart around, and fans can find him by checking his website, which will always update his location.

Hot dog news Part II: The Child Advocacy Center of Sedgwick County is putting on a hot dog eating contest from noon to 3 p.m. Nov. 2o at Louie’s Bar & Grill, 9747 E. 21st St. Organizers are asking adult participants to raise $50 and children ages 10 to 17 to raise $25. Preregistration is encouraged at 316-337-6598, but participants also can register at the door.

A taste of Italy


Luciano’s may be one of the most revered Italian restaurants in Wichita, which is a pretty big accomplishment considering that the restaurant is not in Wichita.

Fans of the Mulvane restaurant will want to await election results on Tuesday at Watermark Books, where owner Luciano Mottola will be putting on a cooking demonstration and selling copies of his new 12-pack recipe collection, which costs $12 and includes directions for making dishes such as caprese salad, tomato bread soup, fettuccine with seafood and more.

The demonstration begins at 7 p.m., and admission is free. Watermark is at 4701 E. Douglas.

FYI: Another Watermark event that might interest foodies happens at 2 p.m. Saturday when Andrea Cassell will launch her new cookbook, “Hahima’s Hands: Unique Mediterranean Fare.” The launch will include samples of Cassell’s cooking. Admission is free.

Asian feast

My story for this week’s dining page is about Saturday’s Asian Festival at Century II. More specifically, it’s about the food at Saturday’s Asian Festival at Century II.

Designed as a cultural event focusing on the customs and traditions of about 15 Asian cultures, the event has during its 30-year run turned into a true destination for lovers of Asian food. The event will feature 32 food booths, some set up by local restaurants but more manned by local cooks.

Among them is Ravi Gururajan, seen in the video above. She is the cook behind one of the festival’s star culinary attractions — dosa. It’s a crepe-like shell wrapped around a potato curry center and dipped in an exotic soup/sauce. Organizers say there’s always a long line for dosa.

I plan to eat some on Saturday, so I’ll report back whether it was worth the wait.

Ginormous sushi buffet

sushibuffetIf you’ve driven past the old Chi Chi’s building (that’s what longtime Wichitans call it) at 511 S. West St. recently, you might have noticed a bunch of ladders, construction trucks and a new sign promising sushi.

This morning on my way to work, I marched through the double doors and demanded to know the story. I met Liyong Chen, who was busy nailing tree branches to a post in the back of the giant space. The restaurant, called Hibachi Grill Sushi, is another mega-buffet, and it is quite a spectacle. Chen, who also owns Asia Town Buffet at 6160 E. Central, has added a giant fish pond in the middle of the restaurant and disco lights in the ceiling.

He’ll offer sushi, hibachi grilled food, Chinese, Mexican and American from a spread of all-you-can-eat buffet tables.

Chen plans to open Nov. 10, he said, and the restaurant will be open daily for lunch and dinner.

I’d start fasting now.

A couple of dining changes

Ever since I started my Dining with Denise newsletter, I’ve included a “question of the week” that I posed on our forums, found at

But now that I have this fancy new blog, there’s no need to spread all the dining discussion out all over the web. So I’m going to abandon this restaurant forum and move the discussion here.


Starting today, I’ll ask the question of the week here and link to it from the newsletter. I won’t be checking the old forum very often anymore, but I will start a new once-a-week “open thread” on this blog where you can bring up any ole dining topic you’d like, ask me questions, etc.

Today’s question is the same as last week’s because it somehow got lost in space when the forums were switched to a new format. Answer the question below in the comments section, if you’d be so kind, and I’ll publish some of your answers and a new question in next week’s newsletter.

What restaurant foods go best with beer? And what beer do you most like to enjoy in what local restaurant?

Ice cream social for a cause

baskinrobbinsconeOur friends at Heartspring are putting on a tasty little fundraiser tomorrow.

All you have to do is go to a local Baskin Robbins, order up some ice cream, and mention Heartspring when you do. A portion of your purchase will go toward the organization, which helps children with special needs.

A special sundae bar will be set up between 5 and 8 p.m. on Thursday to add a little extra ice-cream incentive.

Wichita’s Baskin Robbins are at 2556 N. Maize Road and 2126 N. Webb Road.

Look at the pretty poster below for more details. Read More »

Gindi adding a Thai/sushi buffet

gindi2Gindi Thai & Japanese Diner at 7010 W. 21st St. is one of those restaurants that I love but never get to.

That’s going to have to change now that the restaurant is adding a Thai and sushi lunch buffet, which will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays starting on Tuesday.

The buffet will offer a rotating selection of items from the regular menu — about 10 Thai dishes per day, ranging from Pad Thai to drunken noodles. It’ll also include sushi.

The price will be $6.95. Owners are contemplating offering it all day Sundays, too, but haven’t yet decided.

Eat and drink at Il Ponte

FOOD HEALTHWATCH  TBThe east side Le Monde Cafe at 3101 N. Rock Road didn’t last very long, but it already has a similar replacement.

Il Ponte opened in the space on Friday, and yesterday, the manager sent me the menu to peruse. It’s full of Le Monde-esque fare, including gyros, fattouch salad, pastas, sandwiches, hummus and kebabs.  There’s also a Sunday buffet.

The restaurant also will offer specials for fans of adult beverages, including half-price bottles of wine on Mondays and Wednesday, $3 margaritas, strawberry daiquiris and pina coladas on Tuesdays, and $4 specialty drinks on Thursdays.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. Call 316-425-5269 for more information.

Wichita Pizza Co.


Jeff and Lisa Hutton have owned the Dairy Queen at Harry and Webb for years and have watched pizza places go in and out of a space in a stripmall at the corner — Papa Murphy’s, Knolla’s, and most recently, Geno & John’s.

When the space came empty again, the couple decided to try their own pizza restaurant, which they’re calling Wichita Pizza Co. It opened two weeks ago at 1520 S. Webb Road and specializes in a thin-crust pizza similar to the style Jeff fell in love with at places such as Happy Joe’s, a northern pizza chain, and Tim’s in Kansas City.

The restaurant has several specialty pizzas, including a taco, a Canadian bacon and sauerkraut and a Mediterranean, and it’s becoming know for its not-at-all-skimpy topping load. It also serves salads, calzones and hoagies.

The dining room has plenty of seating and lots of televisions airing sports.

It’s open from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily. Call 316-425-1900 for more information.

Chicken champ

My big food adventure this weekend was judging the Midwest Beerfest’s brand new chicken wing competition, which was sort of risky considering it was the first food I’d eaten since recovering from the 24-hour stomach flu.

The wings were good, as were my co-judges, local television personality Sierra Scott and “The Good Life Guy” (and Beerfest founder) Guy Bower.

We gave the “Best of Show” prize to Bubba’s Nekked BBQ, which presented a wing with layers of flavor, including a hint of cinnamon and a nice kick of spice. The originality prize went to The Anchor, whose chef Ben George brought a tasty Thai wing that he punctuated with spicy Sriracha sauce.  That wing also earned The Anchor the people’s choice award.

Other worthy competitors included Hooter’s, When Pig’s Fly, Dad’s, and Fox and Hound.

My weakened stomach handled the wings fine, but sadly, it wasn’t up for much beer. Maybe next year. Cheers to my Beerfest date Jaime Green for making the above video.