Monthly Archives: November 2011

Question of the week: Your favorite sushi roll?

The number of sushi restaurants in Wichita just keeps multiplying. The latest is a second location of Wasabi, which opened last week in the former Bossa Grill space at at 3242 N. Rock Road. It has essentially the same menu as its sister restaurant at 912 E. Douglas, though owners have added a few new appetizers, salads and rolls. Hours are 11:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; noon to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

The opening inspires the question of the week: What’s your favorite sushi roll served in Wichita? Describe the roll, and tell us who makes it. To add my two sushi cents: I love love love the Flat Land Dream served at Kanai and featuring a creamy crab center plus scallops, shrimp and cream cheese with a topping of albacore, avocado, tataki sauce, mayo and sriracha.

Let me know you favorite in the comments section below.

Lotus Leaf turns 1, hires new chef

Lotus Leaf, the little creperie and healthy eating spot at 613 W. Douglas in Delano, turned 1 on Nov. 22. Around that same time, owner Jacquelyn Keefer hired a new executive chef. James Butler is gone, and in his place is Beau Franklin, a veteran of several Wichita kitchens, including Ya Ya’s, Oeno, Uptown Bistro and Sabor.

The two are working on additions to the menu, which is now a mix of crepes, salads and sandwiches. Within the next two weeks, they plan to add several dishes, including a Thai peanut curry bowl, a spicy turkey meatball crepe and a veggie burger on a vegan bun.

They’re also working on a little first birthday party. It’ll be staged from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday to coincide with the Christmas in Delano event, which will include a 5 p.m. clocktower lighting. During that time, Lotus Leaf will serve free carrot cake and appetizers to those who stop in.

For more information, call 316-295-4133.

DiTullio’s Piano Bar won’t happen after all

We’d planned a story for last week’s Go! section about DiTullio’s Piano Bar, which was to feature the ivory tickling of local crooner Steve DiTullio. It was supposed to open on Wednesday of this week in the former Fairchild Interiors and Design space at the Waterfront, 13th and Webb.

But at the last minute, the project fell through. The owners were not able to secure financing, said Timirie Shibley, whose husband, Patrick, was to manage the bar. Patrick is a former co-owner of Gaslamp Grille and also was a manager at Ya Ya’s. He’s now looking for a local restaurant job.

Happy Turkey Day

Me and my No. 1 pal Jaime at Tuesday's Thanksgiving lunch at my daughter's school. We wore rubber gloves and worked the line, dishing up gravy and corn like nobody's business.

I’m off work! I’m off work!!!! I’m off work until next Tuesday!!!!

You may or may not care about my exciting statement above, but it’s relevant because you aren’t gonna see anything new on this blog until then, if you don’t count the sure-to-be-entertaining comments.

Have a happy Thanksgiving. And eat lots.

A promise to Les

Les Anderson

I always said yes to Les Anderson when he asked me to speak to his journalism classes at Wichita State University. In fact, I rarely said no to Les Anderson because he never said no to me. The list of things he helped me with are too long to mention.

So I also did not say no back in September when Les called me with an idea he’d had. He wanted me to talk to his students about restaurant reviewing. Then he wanted me to help his students come up with a list of ethnic restaurants they could review. Then he wanted me to publish those reviews.

Sure, Les.

In Late October, my inbox became flooded with e-mails from Les, each one containing an attached review and a whole bunch of photos. Every couple of days, I’d get another e-mail from Les. “Had a chance to look at those reviews yet?????”

A photo of some yummy looking Zaytun kebabs, taken by one of the WSU students on her visit

A couple of weeks ago, Les died of a heart attack at age 62. And since then, all I have been able to think about is finishing the little project I started with a man who advocated for his students like no one I knew.

I enjoyed the reviews, and I think they offer a few ideas for new Asian, Italian, Mexican and Indian places to try in and around Wichita.

Here is the result of the last time I said yes to Les.

Two restaurant openings

Two more reasons to give thanks this Thanksgiving week: Wichita is getting two new restaurants.

A.V.I. Sea Bar & Chophouse, Ben Arnold’s and Adam Courtney’s new restaurant inside the Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel, is now officially open. Hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant’s bar will be open later. You can view the meaty, seafoody menu right here.

Also, La Fiesta Mexican restaurant opens Saturday in the former La Mesa space at 6960 W. 21st St. Hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 10:30 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Good news: My friend, Jaime, regularly dines at the La Fiesta in Wellington and says it is muy bueno.

Ruben’s now offering a Mexican buffet

The dining room at Ruben's Mexican Grill

Several times a year, some hungry reader writes wanting to know who in town offers a Mexican buffet. I just discovered a new one.

A little more than a week ago, Ruben’s Mexican Grill at 520 W. Douglas started a three-day-a-week Mexican buffet. It’s offered from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Tuesdays and Thursdays and from noon to 7 p.m. on Saturdays. The price of the buffet is $7.99 a person.

The staff serves the food from metal trays set up on a table in the corner of the restaurant. The choices are different each day but often include items such as tamales and enchiladas.

Ruben’s is one of my regular lunch stops. It’s close to work, and its flour tacos, chips and salsa landed on my “approved” list years ago.

As for other Mexican buffes: Cortez Mexican Restaurant at 344 W. 29th St., also does a buffet on Wednesdays and Saturdays. There’s also a Mexican lunch buffet at La Tradicion Tortilleria, which is at 1701 N. Broadway. It’s served from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Nine restaurants shared recipes for “official” Wichita cookbook

If you’ve lived in Wichita for very long, you’ve either sampled or cooked a recipe from the Junior League’s popular and well-circulated 1995 cookbook, “Women of Great Taste. It has a picture of the Mona Lisa spearing a tomato with a fork on the cover and many very good recipes inside.

Now, the Junior League has a new cookbook out. It’s called “Pinches & Dashes: Recipes & Life Measures” and includes recipes for everything from special-occasion dinners to fast weeknight meals.

The formerly most popular Wichita cookbook

It also includes recipes provided by nine local restaurants: Caffe Moderne, Chester’s Chophouse, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Newport Grill, Luca Italian Kitchen, River City Brewery, Sabor, Watermark Books & Café and YaYa’s EuroBistro.

The book is $28.95 and is available at places such as Watermark Books and The Plaid Giraffe or online at jlwichita.org. Proceeds will go toward organizations that combat child abuse.

And get this — Mayor Carl Brewer has named the book the official cookbook of Wichita. This is a relief to me because I have always wondered what our city’s official cookbook was.

Now open: Shoeless Joe’s Old Fashioned Burgers and Phillys

David Chaffin, who just opened Sholess Joe's Old Fashioned Burgers and Phillys.

Restaurateur David Chaffin, known for founding Player’s, opened Shoeless Joe’s Old Fashioned Burgers and Phillys on Tuesday at 2315 W 21st St. in the space that most recently held a Jimmy’s Egg.

I drove past the restaurant, and it looks sorta like a mini-Player’s, full of wood and sports memorabilia. The menu looks familiar, too. It’s full of old Player’s dishes and was created using the same font from the old Player’s menu.

The most popular menu item so far, Chaffin said, is the Philly cheese steak sandwich. He’s also serving salads, burgers, wings, nachos and more.

Food is served from 11 a.m. until 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays. The bar stays open until people go home or 2 a.m., whichever comes first

Starbucks giving away free drinks through Sunday

I always get excited each year when the red holiday cups return at Starbucks. Why, that’s a more sure sign of Christmas than anything I know of.

But this might be even more exciting.

From 2 to 5 p.m. today through Sunday, customers who buy one holiday beverage at Starbucks can get one free. Holiday drinks include the peppermint mocha (my favorite), the gingerbread latte and the caramel brulee latte. I shot this photo of the promo sign while waiting in line at the Kellogg and West street Starbucks drive through just a few minutes ago.

Although drinking coffee after noon is generally a bad idea for me, not getting free Starbucks is an even worse idea.