Monthly Archives: February 2011

Palette to Palate post with pictures

On Saturday, I attended Palette to Palate, a new foodie fundraiser that was co-organized by my friend and colleague Bonnie Bing. It drew more than 200 people for a wine and food tasting and an art and wine auction at the Wichita Scottish Rite and raised a whole buncha money for KETCH.

Several interesting developments came out of the evening. One was that I finally got to meet Paul Freimuth, who recently replaced David Wirebaugh as the head chef at the Hyatt’s Harvest Kitchen/Bar. He brought some fabulous little bites of food, including a polenta crouton with shrimp and Cajun remoulade (I could have eaten the whole tray of those) and a duck canape with mango chow chow and roasted red pepper cream cheese.

Clearly, he’s a good cook, and I’m happy to see that Freimuth is going to make the same kind of effort Wirebaugh did to get involved in charity events.

Chef Paul Freimuth in polenta action.

I also spent some time talking to local restaurateur Melad Stephan, who provided over mini beef Wellingtons, hummus and more from his Uptown Bistro. He had some interesting things to say, which I hope I can elaborate on later this week.

Newport Grill had some great shrimp and eggrolls at the event, and Cero’s and Cocoa Dolce sent over lots of chocolate. The Corporate Hills Marriott sent over a massive ice scupture and put out a raw oyster bar that also included shrimp shooters (above.) And Monica of Monica’s Bundt Cakes provided a nicely decorated KETCH cake.

It also was fun to watch people bidding big money on expensive bottles of wine. Local wine expert Jamie Stratton was there, guiding people through the process.

The group hopes to make the Palette to Palate and annual event, so start saving your auction pennies now.

Melad and me.

KETCH president an CEO Ron Pasmore, Bonnie, Kathy Krumsick and her husband Herb Krumsick, who co-chaired the event with Bonnie.

Little Lebanese menu at Bella Luna

Fans of Bella Luna Cafe have been bugging chef and owner Matteo Taha to permanently add some of his rotating Lebanese specials to the menu. So starting today, he’s going to give it a try.

Taha has introduced a separate menu of Lebanese dishes at the east side restaurant at 2132 N. Rock Road. It’s separate, he says, only because it won’t physically fit on the already jam-packed regular menu.

It includes hummus, baba ghannooj, tabouleh, grape leaves, kafta, kebbi and more. Taha says he’ll start the menu at the east side restaurant but hopes to eventually offer it at the 4618 E. Central and 2441 N. Maize Road restaurants as well.

Farwell, Carino’s

In case you haven’t heard, Wichita has lost another restaurant. This time, it’s Johnny Carino’s, the Italian chain that opened in 2004 at 3213 N. Toben Road.

Don’t know where that is? Well, that was part of the problem, in my estimation. I had some pretty good meals at Carino’s in its early days, though in later visits, things seemed to have declined. But it was pretty difficult to get to the place. You could see it from K-96, but you had to find the right exit and the right twisty side-road to actually get into the parking lot. I have to believe the same problem did in neighboring Ted’s Montana Grill and Fritz Co. Grill (though another restaurant is now taking over that space.)

The exit of Johnny Carino’s, which closed on Wednesday, makes Wichita’s Italian restaurant pool even smaller, which might be good news for DeFazio’s, Marchello’s and Bella Vita Bistro.

It’s cookie time

So you somehow missed the Girl Scout cookie order forms at the office, at your kids’ school, in the neighborhood, etc.?

Impressive. But not good!

You have a chance to redeem yourself at an event called Treat the Troops, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Old Chicago at 7626 E. Kellogg.

The event is designed to allow people to purchase Girl Scout Cookies to donate to McConnell Air Force Base and Kansas National Guard troops and their families.

Attendees also can buy more cookies for themselves, and anyone who buys 10 boxes will be entered to win a $100 Old Chicago Pizza Party. Buy 30 boxes and qualify for a $200 pizza party drawing.

And speaking of Girl Scout Cookies, there’s still time to buy your tickets to Cocktails & Cookies, a fabulous desserty event I’ll be participating in Thursday, March 3. It’ll take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Wichita Marriott, 9100 Corporate Hills Drive. Tickets are $75 a person, and the event raises money for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Making “good for you” taste good

A tarragon chicken crepe from Lotus Leaf. Yum.

There was a reason I asked you all yesterday to name your  favorite healthy-eating restaurants in Wichita: My story for this week’s Go! section is about local restaurants that make healthy food taste good. (No small feat for the Kansas palate.)

You can read the story online here right now, unless you really prefer the delayed gratification of a Friday morning newspaper read.

My story focuses on two new-to-the-scene restaurants: Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie in Delano and Wild Thyme Cafe and Bakery on north Maize Road.

Question of the week

Eating healthy doesn’t sound like as much fun as eating deep fried goodness, but many local restaurants are trying to change that perception.

What’s your favorite “healthy food” restaurant in town?

Answer in the comments section below.

Come on, it’s good for you.

Da Nang closed? This does not please me

A very reliable source I’ll just call Sigrid recently let me know that one of my favorite Vietnamese restaurants in town, Da Nang at 1556 N Broadway, had closed. In fact it closed about a month ago, and there’s a sign in the window indicating that something else will soon go into the space. (A neighboring tenant says it won’t be Vietnamese food, though.)

I love Vietnamese food, and Da Nang had some of Wichita’s best. I loved their banh mi (Vietnamese sandwiches), and their crab Rangoon was the best in town. I also had an affinity for an appetizer they served made with fried shrimp and bundles of fried sweet potato straws.

It was a bright, cheery little place, and the owners were so nice. It will be missed.

Three new restaurants in town

Cheezie's Pizza just opened at 3804 W. Maple.

Three new restaurants have opened in Wichita over the past couple of weeks.

One is Cheezie’s Pizza, a chain based out of Oklahoma that’s know for its super-cheap pizza. It opened two weeks ago at 3804 W. Maple (316-945-2439). Cheezie’s is carryout only, and its large, one-topping is famously priced at $4.99. Hours are 3 p.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Fridays, noon to 10 p.m. Saturdays and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays.

Also, Fat Tony’s, the pizza place and bar I told you about a few weeks ago, opened this weekend at 417 E. Douglas (316-303-9316.). Its hours are 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. until 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

It also appears that Wazabz Sushi Bar & Grill is open on the east side at 3236 N. Rock Road (in the original Sumo space.) The restaurant has been on-the-way for almost a year now, but I’ve had a heckuva time getting anyone on the phone. The restaurant’s Facebook page was updated on Sunday and says that it’s open but because of “city qualifications” it’s not serving sushi yet. I’ll try to get to the bottom of this one before the week’s out. The Facebook page lists the restaurant’s hours as 5 to 10 p.m. daily and describes the cuisine as “hibachi food at a fast pace.” The phone number is 316-978-9009.

Lots of food fun at the Women’s Fair

Guy Bower: Willing to teach women about wine.

I sort of love the Women’s Fair, which runs Friday through Sunday at Century II.

There’s tons of good shopping, for one, and I love watching the live haircuts that Eric Fisher and his stylists do in the middle of all the hubub.

I also love the foodie fun at the Women’s Fair, mostly because the food demonstrations always conclude with samples, and there are some good cooks on the menu this year.


At 5:30 p.m., my buddy Guy Bower (who changed my life when he taught me that I preferred Sauvignon Blancs from New Zealand) will put on a wine tasting. Right after at 6:30 p.m., the Hyatt’s new chef Paul Freimuth will make his Wichita debut with a cooking show.

You will not want to miss the annual cooking show put on by Sue Chef & the Food God, also known as the Wichita Eagle’s Carrie Rengers and her food God and husband Joe Stumpe. Their always-entertaining show is at 2 p.m. Then, at 4 p.m., local chef Tanya Tandoc, who’s hard at work getting her Tanya’s Soup Kitchen reopened, will put on a cooking show of her own.

Skip lunch and go to a noon cooking show by Joe Parten, the very generous and talented chef and proprietor of Carrabba’s.

The Women’s Fair runs from noon to 8 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Saturday and 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday. Tickets are $7.75 for adults, $6.75 for seniors and $4.75 for children.

So much wine, so little time

Wine lovers will want to know about a few cork-tastic events coming up in Wichita.

One is a fundraiser this weekend, and I’ll be there helping out my friend (and the event co-chair) Bonnie Bing.It’s called Palette to Palate, and it will feature food, wine and lots of art. (I’ll be serving as a wine pourer or live auction spotter or both. We’ll see.)  The event is at 6 p.m. Saturday at the Wichita Scottish Rite, and tickets are $60 or $50 if purchased by Wednesday by calling 316-383-8889 or by visiting the web site. Money raised benefits Ketch.

Also coming up: An event put on by a new venture called WineTastingWichita, who will put on a wine tasting called A Taste of Italy at 6:30 p.m. on Feb. 23 at Corporate Caterer’s space in the former Olive Tree, 2949 N. Rock Road.

The event will feature seven reds selected by local wine expert Jamie Stratton, each of which will be paired with food created by chef Jeremy Wade.

Admission is $30 a person, and reservations are required by Friday by emailing