Monthly Archives: September 2011

It’s live chat day

Please join me here at 1:30 p.m. today. And please bring everyone you know.

Happy National Coffee Day

I celebrated National Coffee Day (which is happening RIGHT NOW, FYI) by pulling into a Starbucks drive-thru, cursing at the unusually long line of cars, going inside to order and then begging for half-n-half because of course the dispenser is always empty when I’m there. (I’m feeling a little less edgy now that I’ve had a few sips. Whew. The magic of coffee.)

If I’d had time to drive out east, I could have gotten a free 12-oz. cup from Krispy Kreme, which is treating its customers in observance of the day. Anyone know of any other free or cheap coffee out there today? I hear that 7-11 and Caribou Coffee stores also are giving away free coffee, but we don’t have those in these parts.

Coffee is certainly something worth celebrating, and I feel that way even more now that I know that my morning cup may be the only thing keeping me from total and utter depression.

Insert your ode to coffee in the comments section below.

Question of the week: Best little-known gem

The dining room at the delicious but tiny Manna Wok.

This week’s reader question on my Dining with Denise newsletter comes from Frank, who wonders if I’ve ever tried Cafe Asia at 6546 E. Central. (I haven’t, but according to Frank, I need to change that.)

It got me thinking about all the little-known restaurants I’ve come to love, many based on reader recommendations. Manna Wok at 4865 E. Central comes to mind, as does Malaysia Cafe at 7777 E. 21st St. N.

My question of the week: What’s your favorite little-known restaurant in town? They’re not all Asian. I’ve heard from readers over the years about several teeny tiny Mexican places and underrated burger joints, too.

If you don’t mind your little-known place becoming a bit more well-known, would you mind nominating it in the comments section below?

Lizzie’s Delights offers near-downtown lunch

Elizabeth Navrat has been catering in Wichita for 10 years, the last three out of the building at 3238 E. Douglas that previously housed Creative Catering. A couple of months ago, she started serving lunch at her Lizzie’s Delights Catering and Deli and plans to enhance her offerings in a few weeks by adding a hot lunch buffet.

For now, Lizzie’s Delights is open from 11 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Mondays through Fridays serving New York Deli-style sandwiches, cold sandwiches, wraps, salads, soups and daily specials. You can see the menu here.

In mid-October, she plans to add Saturday hours and also will begin offering a hot lunch buffet that will have different offerings each day — Southern fried chicken, Mediterranean food, Italian food, etc.

Navrat’s space has seating for about 50 and an order-at-the-counter system. For more information, call 316-250-8618.

Free catfish fry at the Artichoke

Artichoke owner Pat Audley appreciates his customers so much, he fishes for them.

Accomplished bar owner and fisherman Pat Audley is putting on his 28th annual fish fry from 6 to 11 p.m.-ish on Saturday at the Artichoke, 811 N. Broadway.

Every year, Audley fries up the fish he wrangles out of the Arkansas River (with the appropriate license, he is quick to point out) and serves it as part of a customer appreciation party. On Saturday, patrons can enjoy catfish, red beans and rice, hush puppies and coleslaw. The meals are free until the food runs out.

Also on Saturday, the bar will host an open mike night  in association with the Kansas Acoustic Arts Association and Stage 5 Sound. The music starts at 6 p.m., but performers should arrive to sign up at 5 p.m.

For more information, call 316-263-9164.

Flavors of fall keep keep coming

Several local chains are putting fall-friendly foods on their menus, and I, for one, approve.

Some of the dishes are new. Others are old favorites that the hungry masses wait for every year.

IHOP's Scary Face pancake is too cute to be scary, if you ask me.

I already told you about the glorious return of the pumpkin spice latte at Starbucks.

IHOP will return its fabulous pumpkin pancakes to the menu on Monday and serve them until Halloween. During that time, the breakfast chain also is offering all-you-can-eat buttermilk pancakes, and for children 12 and under, “Scary Face” pancakes made with whipped cream mouths, strawberry noses and Oreos and candy corn for decorating. On Oct. 28,  children can get a free Scary Face pancakes, and parents even can sign up on ihop.com for a wake-up call on October 28 from Count Spatula reminding them about the free scary pancake day. Bwahahahahaaaaaaaaaaa.

Panera also has added several fall items to its menu, including a roasted turkey artichoke panini, a chocolate pecan babka pastry, a cherry vanilla bagel, steak chili with cornbread, pumpkin cookies and pumpkin spiced lattes.

Know of any others?

Downtown Chili Cookoff results

My bud Travis Grover was on a chili cookoff team on Saturday. His team didn't win, but I'm told it produced a heckuva pot of green chili.

The Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff on Saturday may have set a new attendance record, organizers say. Though they don’t have final numbers in yet, they’re speculating that a record-breaking 9,000 people attended, sampling chili and watching crazy chili-centered contests and activities. (Sadly, the fire-eaters failed to break the world record, but it was an interesting spectacle nonetheless.)

The Grand Champion title, which comes with a $1,000 prize, went to Cindy Harmon and her Chili Cocineros. Cindy and co. also were grand champions in 2010.

As promised, here are the results from the competitive portion of the day.

Grand Champion:
First place: Chili Cocineros — Cindy Harmon, Whichita
Second place: Jeepers Creepers — Kelly Zehr, Wichita

ICS Salsa:
First place: Flatland Dreamers – Bill Spellman, Wichita

ICS Chili Verde:
First place: Toucan Chew 1 –  Bill Dudzik, Omaha

ICS Red
First place: Sterling Silver — Larry Bulla, Wichita

Anything Goes:
First place: American Family/ Dan Beat Agency – Brent Melroy, Wichita

Best Booth Award:
Security First Title: Jason Wasinger, Wichita

Team Spirit Award:
City of Wichita – Mayor Carl Brewer, Wichita

A look at the AVI menu

AVI will open in about a month in the newly remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.

Ben Arnold just shared with me the new menu for AVI, the fine dining restaurant he plans to open in the newly remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.

Created with input from new chef Adam Courtney (who replaced Jeremy Wade), the menu includes high-end dishes such as steak, veal and duck. There’s also a delightfully long list of entrees based around fish and seafood. (Maryland blue crab-stuffed flounder? Yes, please!)

Check it out by following this link. Arnold says that the restaurant is still on track for a mid-October opening. He offered me a tour, which I’ll take soon and report back.

Discount for military famillies at Abuelo’s

Abuelo’s, the Mexican restaurant at1413 N. Waterfront Parkway that recently honored teachers with a dining discount, now is honoring members of the military and their families.

On Monday, diners who show a valid military ID or dependent ID when placing their orders will receive a 20 percent discount. The deal is good from 4 p.m. to 10 p.m.

For more information, call 316-634-2230.

Question of the week: Good Wichita chili

Saturday’s Wichita Wagonmasters Downtown Chili Cookoff will fill Douglas with the aroma of cumin and chili powder and bubblin’ beef and pork and beans.

A couple of restaurants will enter this year’s competition: Both Old Mill Tasty Shop and Fizz Burgers & Bottles will have booths at the cookoff.

This week’s question: Which Wichita restaurant serves up the best chili? I’m sure there will be plenty of votes for NuWay, but throw my vote in for Old Mill’s green chili served with a gigantic warm flour tortilla and several pats o’butter.

Give me your nominee in the comments section below.