Monthly Archives: August 2011

Question of the week: What would the kids pick?

Red Robin is all kinds of kid friendly.

My dining story this week outlines a list of places parents can take their kids for free meals.

In that spirit, my question this week for parents. If you gave the kids their absolute choice of where to go out for dinner, what would they choose? What do you think would influence their choice most — food, atmosphere or something else?

Fingers crossed that all my answers aren’t “McDonald’s.”

Post your thoughts in the comments section below.

Hibiscus and Hurricanes at Botanica

With a title like that, there’s really almost no doubt where I’ll be tonight.

The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band will be performing at Botanica tonight as part of the gardens’ “Tuesdays on the Terrace” series. The music lasts from 5:30 to 7:30 p.m., and Two Brother’s BBQ will be selling food. There will also be a bar serving fabulous cocktails such as hurricanes.

Attendees also are free to bring picnics, chairs and blankets. Dancing is required. Not really. But it’s recommended.

Admission is $7 for adults, $6 for seniors and $5 for ages 3 to 12. See you there.

Opening today: Holy land Mediterranean Grill

Opening today: Holy land Mediterranean Grill

Today is the opening day for Holy land Mediterranean Grill, the latest restaurant to take over the oft-occupied, oft-vacated space at 217 E. Douglas. (Onyx Bistro was the most recent tenant.)

The restaurant features a menu of Mediterranean specials, such as falafel, kebabs and hummus, as well as some more exotic sounding dishes. (Quail platter, anyone?) You can view the full menu here.

The restaurant, which has been nicely redecorated inside, will feature indoor and outdoor seating and will offer hookah smoking outdoors in the evenings.

Ashraf Jaradat works at the new Holy land Mediterranean Grill.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Wednesdays, and the restaurant is hoping to attract an after-bar crowd with 11 a.m. to 3 a.m. hours Thursdays through Saturdays.

For more information, call 316-265-5393.

A taco for the teacher

My child is only a first-grader, but so far I’ve seen MULTIPLE examples of teachers who more than deserve a giant plate of enchiladas, smothered in queso, washed down with a giant margarita, for all they do.

This week, Abuelo’s Mexican restaurant at 1413 N. Waterfront Parkway is acknowledging that fact with a special Teacher Appreciation Week. Today through Friday, teachers who visit the restaurant and present a valid teacher ID will get 20 percent off their meal.

The discount is valid for a maximum party of four and excludes tip and alcohol. (So much for that giant margarita.)

For more information, call 316-634-2230.

Kids eat free…where?

School is back in session, which means that stressed out parents may often find themselves opting for a meal out now and then rather than face the kitchen.

For next week’s dining page, I’m thinking of listing places in town that offer discounts or free meals for kids. Do you have a favorite place you like to take the family that offers a particularly good dining deal on a particular night?

Share it with me, please. I don’t want to miss any good ones.

The comments section below would be a good place to submit yours. Or you can e-mail me.

Squeezer’s Palace a bright spot in Riverside

I’ve gotten a lot of e-mail  over the past few weeks from new-found fans of Squeezer’s Palace, a colorful and whimsical new walk-up ice cream shop that opened a few weeks ago at 11th and Bitting, right across the street from the Riverside Perk.

The shop, opened by Kirk David, is a take-off on the Squeezer’s Palace that operated about three blocks away back in the 1970s. David’s version offers ice cream or yogurt and a variety of toppings, such as fruit, candy and granola. He also serves frozen bananas dipped in dark or light chocolate, with or without nuts, and a variety of fresh-made fruit smoothies.

David hopes to remain open through the winter, despite his original plans to close during December, January and February, and is considering adding coffee drinks and make-your-own s’mores to menu. He’s also working on a patio.

There was a little drama a few weeks ago about the fact that David was using the Squeezer’s Palace name, displeasing the original Squeezer’s Palace owner. He briefly considered changing the name but was urged by several people to go a head with it. He never heard from the displeased former owner and decided to keep to his original plan.

I drove past the building last week and loved the way it looks, covered in playful murals created by local artist Rick Regan.

Hours are 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 10 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays.

Gooseberry fervor

In yesterday’s Dining with Denise newsletter, I answered a question from a reader name Elizabeth who wanted to know where she could find gooseberry pie, which she said was easy to get in Missouri but not so much in Kansas.

I called around to all the popular pie purveyors in Wichita: Spears, Jeanne’s Cafe, Fat Ernie’s, even Carriage Crossing in Yoder. None of them have gooseberry, and none knew who did.

After the newsletter was sent out on Wednesday afternoon, I was deluged with gooseberry e-mail. Apparently, Elizabeth is not the only person interested in the sweet-and-tart dessert.

A reader named Linda wrote to point out that MarCon pies in Washington, Kan., sells gooseberry pies, and they’re even available for order online.

Debbie wrote to say that she and her husband recently had good gooseberry pie at the Emma Chase Cafe in Cottonwood Falls. I confirmed this report with a phone call this morning. The cafe almost never runs out of gooseberry pie, the excited lady on the phone told me.

And a reader named Marci told me that the Bontrager family sells baked goods, including gooseberry pies, at the Kansas Grown Farmers’ Market at 21st & Ridge.

I also received a nice e-mail from Glaine Russell, a local foodie, reminiscing about his gooseberry days.

“The question on gooseberry pie brought back many fond memories.  My wife is from Carthage as well as her parents and grandparents.  Gooseberry pie was a favorite around her house as she was growing up.  I was born near Gainesville, Mo., and moved to Wichita as a small boy.  The only time I got gooseberry pie was when we visited my grandparents and we helped grandma pick the berries.  But I digress. The best I ever ate was made by my wife’s mother in the form of a cobbler.  Of course it would not be complete without some homemade ice cream to top it off.”

Attention pie makers in Wichita: I think I know a flavor that might be a good seller…

Question of the week: Best sports bar food?

Tis the season when football fires back up, followed closely by all sorts of basketball action. That means that sports fans across Wichita will be jockeying for seats in local sports bars where they can watch their favorite teams surrounded by fellow fans.

This week’s question, which is inspired by my review of Fat Tony’s Grill & Sports Bar: Which local sports bar serves the best food to enjoy while you watch the game? What do you order?

Answer in the comments section below.

Scotch aims for after-church crowd

Scotch & Sirloin, the popular steakhouse at 5325 E. Kellogg, wasn’t getting very good crowds for its Saturday lunch hours.

So about three weeks ago, they cut out Saturday lunch and added Sunday lunch, hoping to lure an after-church crowd. The new weekend hours are 4 to 11 p.m. on Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Sundays.

The Scotch is offering both its regular dinner and lunch menus during Sunday afternoon service.

For more information, call 316-685-8701.

Sloppy Joe’s is finally open

The Sloppy Joe's man.

Back on a cold, cold day back in January, I stopped by Sloppy Joe’s, a business Mark DeMoura and his wife, Windy, were busy working on in the old Si Senor/Takhoma Burger/Sonic space a 803 N. West Street.

It took the couple longer to get the place ready than they thought it would, but Sloppy Joe’s opened last month and serves, of course, sloppy Joes plus sloppy dogs, sides, and a burger known as Jake’s special, made with two quarter-pound patties, barbecue roast beef, bacon, cheese, lettuce, tomato, pickle, onions, ketchup, mustard and mayo.

It’s open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily and has a few tables in the small dining room. Though the former Sonic drive-in stalls are not hooked up, if customers park in one, someone will come out to take their to-go order.

For more information, call 316-941-3730.