Monthly Archives: October 2011

When Pigs Fly’s birthday rib eating contest

When pigs turn 1, they celebrate with a rib eating contest.

On Saturday, When Pigs Fly Bar-B-Que at 7011 W. Central is marking its first birthday with a rib-eating contest featuring representatives from Wichita EMS, the Wichita Fire Department and local radio personalities. The restaurant also will be giving away prizes and balloons.

The fun starts at noon, and spectators are welcome to watch the contestants chow down.

I’d also recommend you eat lunch while you’re there. Read my When Pigs Fly review to get yourself ready.

Question of the week: Favorite fall treat?

Freddy's pumpkin pie concrete.

Coffee shops, ice cream stores and restaurants have been rolling out all their pumpkiny, nutmeggy fall-flavored treats over the past few weeks. I recently received a torturous e-mail from Freddy’s Frozen Custard touting the return of its pumpkin pie concrete, a dangerous combination of frozen custard and chopped up pumpkin pie, crust and all.

What’s your favorite seasonal fall treat offered locally? Describe what it is and where to get it.

Chapada Chophouse and Churrascaria opening today

I think Chapada's new sign is quite impressive.

The new Chapada Chophouse and Churrascaria is officially opening today in the former Ted’s Montana Grill space at 2142 N. Tyler.

The restaurant, which will specialize in grilled meats shaved tableside, Brazilian “churrascaria” style, will be open from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. For now, the churrascaria meats will be served only after 4 p.m., though managers may reevaluate that later, depending on how it goes over.

Take a look at the full menu here. It’s pretty interesting, and although I’m excited to go Brazilian, a lot of the “chophouse” dishes look pretty interesting, too, including several reasonably priced steaks, a lavosh pesto pie, a chicken and sausage sandwich and more.

For more information, call 316-201-4694.

Sign gone at Saigon

And a new one is in its place.

Fans of Wichita’s flagship Vietnamese restaurant at 1103 N. Broadway may have noticed during the past several weeks that the place was sign-less. Some killer wind attacked a few weeks ago and did the old sign in.

But a new, yellow-er one is now in place. And it looks pretty wind resistant, doesn’t it?

Incidentally, I found out on a recent visit that Saigon owner Hanh Bui is the coach of a Vietnamese soccer team that’s apparently pretty talented. There he is, the official looking one in the front row.

Hanh Bui: Master of the No. 49 and of the soccer field.

Three October wine dinners

Now that we’ve had our fill of beer, it’s time to turn our attention to wine.

Thank goodness three October wine dinners are on the horizon.

Auburn Spirits, the liquor store at 13303 W. Maple, is putting on a Spanish wine dinner at 7 p.m. Friday at Rolling Hills Country Club. Tickets are $70 a person, and reservations must be made by Wednesday by calling 316-440-1111. You can see the full menu, which includes a four-course meal with five wine parings, right here.

Newport Grill’s Iron Sommelier Dinner is scheduled for Monday and will include nine courses and 16 wines. It’s $125 a person and pits local food and wine experts, including Newport Grill’s Alicia Elleman and Jacob Liquor’s Jamie Stratton, against each other to find out who can pair wine and food best. It starts with a reception at 6 p.m., the the battle begins at 6:30 p.m. To make a reservation, call¬† 316-636-9555.

Oeno at 330 N. Mead has whimsically titled its October 29 Wine Dinner”The Grape Pumpkin.” It will feature four courses paired with three wines, and each course includes pumpkin as an ingredient. It’s $35 a person. For a reservation, call 316-440-5000.

Kanai awesomeness: New menu items, chef dinners

I haven’t exactly been quiet about the fact that I love Kanai and that I think its sushi is the best in Wichita.

Now, Chef David Kanai is offering fans like me a chance to try something new. He’s recently added 11 new items to the menu. Among them: an Umai Roll made with squid tempura and asparagus tempura; a roll called Beef29, made with red bell pepper tempura and beef tenderloin; and Hamachi Kama Shioyake, which is grilled whole yellowtail cheek in a special sauce. You can see the complete new menu here.

Chef David Kanai

Kanai co-owner Penny Ellis also told me about an interesting option for Kanai diners. Chef Kanai has started offering special chef dinners called “Omakase.” For $100 a person or more, depending on how lavish one wants his Omakase, the chef will prepare a special five-course meal full of off-menu dishes, including sushi, cooked items, and upscale ingredients such as Kobe beef and yellowtail cheek. Chef Kanai loves doing the dinners, Ellis said, because it allows him to show off his creativity step outside of the confines of the menu. The Omakase requires a reservation at least a week in advance, and the price doesn’t include alcohol or gratuity.

Kanai is at 12111 Maple, which is at the corner of 119th and Maple on the west side. For more information, call 316-719-2929

Midwest Beerfest: The most fun I’ve had before 4 p.m.

Beerfest was absolutely packed. This photo is courtesy of my co-judge, Sierra Scott.

Saturday’s Midwest Beerfest was… well, it was kind of amazing.

It was packed — so packed with loopy beer lovers that at points, it was sort of hard to move around.The afternoon had a crazy party vibe. Any time someone would drop and shatter a tasting mug (which was more frequently as the afternoon progressed), the whole crowd would stop, raise their mugs and cheer. At one point, Ronnie “The Danceman” Choy played Neil Diamond’s “Sweet Caroline,” and at the appropriate moment, all the attendees stopped and sang along: “SO GOOD! SO GOOD! SO GOOD!”

Our array of wings. Bubba's was No. 3 -- the one with the lime.

I was there in an official capacity — as one of four official judges for the chicken wing contest that organizers added last year. This year, they had us judge blind so we couldn’t be swayed by which restaurant cooked which wing. But apparently we like what we like. My co-judges (Sierra Scott, her main man Harrison Schenk, and Good Life Guy Bower, chose the same winners this year that we chose last year.)

Our overall favorite was again the cinnamon-infused, meaty wing cooked by Bubba of Bubba’s Nekked BBQ. The most creative award went to chef Ben George of Tallgrass Country Club, who cooked a nice Thai wing coated with sesame seeds and cilantro. (He also submitted a wing so horrifically spicy that several judges and crowd members were seen writhing in pain. When I gave him a good talking to later, George laughed and said, “They weren’t that hot last night.”

Sierra and I, moments before Ben George's spicy wing set our mouths on fire.

The judges: Sierra, Guy Bower and me.

Two-time defending chicken champ Bubba Leffew, owner of Bubba's Nekked BBQ. Look behind Bubba and you can see his grandson, Bubba's little sleepy sous chef.

Now open: Ciao Italian Kitchen

I’m getting a lot of questions about Ciao Italian Kitchen, the new restaurant that opened a couple of weeks ago in the space at 1720 N. Webb Road left vacant by Press. (And Sabor before that. And Piztro’s before that.)

I spoke yesterday with owner Guillermo Perez-Munoz,who told me that the restaurant opened on Sept. 29. Ciao is still waiting on its liquor license but in the meantime is serving a menu filled with Italian comfort food dishes such as lasagna, chicken Marsala, gnocchi, pizza and more. You can see the full menu here. Warning: It’s huge.

Perez-Munoz has remodeled the interior a bit, he said, moving the bar and adding booths. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays. You can reach the restaurant by calling 316-613-2426.

Can I be honest with you? With the opening of Bocconcini, Luca Italian Kitchen, Italian Bistro and now Ciao, I’m getting a little concerned about all the Italian food eating on my horizon, calorically speaking. It’s a tough job…

Two more restaurants in the breakfast biz

Rain Cafe & Lounge recently started a Friday through Sunday brunch.

The more places cooking breakfast, the better. That’s how I see it.

Two more restaurants in the downtown vicinity share that outlook.

One is Rain Cafe & Lounge at 518 E. Douglas, which recently added brunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays. Rain is serving a variety of breakfast combos, such as a two-egg breakfast with choice of meat and potato or a three-egg omelet with gyro meat and sides. Each combo is $5. Since Rain is a bar in its real life, it also is able to offer Bloody Marys, mimosas, red beers, etc.  For more information, call 316-261-9000.

Sometime before the end of the year, B&C Barbecue at 355 N. Washington will begin offering a breakfast buffet. Owner Carey Maurer says he’s close to getting it launched but isn’t sure when exactly it’ll all happen. When it does, he’ll have a buffet filled with eggs, bacon, hash browns, biscuits and gravy, sausage and more. It’ll cost around $7 a person, no tip required, and will be offered from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. I’ll update you when he gets things cooking.

Wichita’s CherryBerry now open

The self-serve frozen yogurt boom continues with the opening of Wichita’s first CherryBerry, this one at 737 N. Maize Road. The shop, which is near the corner of Central and Maize, looks a lot like Orange Leaf on the inside, with mod furniture, a wall of yogurt dispensing levers and teeny tiny mosaic tile. Only CherryBerry has a pink/red/green color palette.

CherryBerry has 14 flavors and more than 50 toppings, and customers fill their bowls themselves from dispensers on the wall. The cost depends on the weight of the creation.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays.