Monthly Archives: April 2012

Church eats this weekend: Kibbe, high tea

A pan of baklawa consumed at a recent Mediterranean Festival.

If you’ve read this blog for long, you know that I love a good church-sponsored feed.

This weekend has two such events on the calendar, though both are probably a bit too civilized to be called “feeds.”

One is the annual St. Mary’s Mediterranean Festival. It’s put on at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church at 344 S. Martinson from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday. It’s a public dinner and bake sale features a la carte servings of authentic Lebanese, Greek and Serbian foods such as kibbe (some of the best I’ve sampled), baklawa and meat pies. For more information, call 316-264-1576.

Also on Saturday: The Old English Tea at St. James Episcopal Church, 3750 E. Douglas. This is the 83rd year for the fundraiser, which features dainty tea served in dainty cups along dainty tea cookies and sandwiches. People dress up daintily (or not) and can enjoy a fashion show at 10:30 a.m. or 1 p.m., a bake sale and a silent auction. The event is from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m, and admission is $12 cash at the door. For more information, call 316-683-5686.

The Cinco De Mayo countdown is on

Cinco de Mayo falls on a Saturday this year — this coming Saturday, to be specific.

That can only mean one thing: Unbridled margarita sipping and chips-n-salsa devouring across the city.

I’m working on a roundup of Cinco de Mayo events being put on around Wichita, in restaurants, clubs, parks, etc. I have a muy bueno list going already, but if you know of any others, please let me know.

You can either post your tip here or e-mail it directly to me.

Ole!

Reader recommendations: I take them seriously

Readers often write in to tell me how awful a given restaurant they tried was. But it’s more rare when they write in to say how fabulous one was.

When they do, I take it seriously.

Over the past several weeks, I’ve received three such reader endorsements.

The first comes from a reader named Steve, who raved about Yellow River Restaurant, a small Chinese restaurant at 328 E Pawnee. It’s in the corner of a little strip center, and according to Steve, is run by an elderly couple originally from China. The moo goo gai pan is great, says Steve, who used to live in southern California and knows good Asian food.

Yellow River is open from 11 am. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 4 p.m. Sundays. For more information, call 316-267-7030.

Jim Hull e-mailed me and encouraged me to “whiz your sweet little self right down to D’Cruz, at 2716 E. Central.”  He and his wife Judy recently sampled the food at the teeny tiny restaurant, which includes items such as carne asada tacos, burritos and more. The owner was nice, and even though service was’t speedy, it was worth the wait, he said. The restaurant is a year old and is open from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mondays through Fridays and 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sundays.

Also, I heard this morning from Ryan, who suggested I write a story about Clifton Square’s Fresh Roast Coffee Company, a little hut that serves up some seriously strong brew. “It’s a tiny little shop, but makes very good coffee, as well as flavored drinks and such,” Ryan said. “The owner learned roasting from Alfred Peet, of Peet’s Coffee fame in California (and elsewhere). He is also a unique and funny guy, and roasts his own coffee on-site with a very expensive roaster which takes up half the shop almost.”

Of the three suggestions, Fresh Roast Coffee is the only one I’ve visited, and that is some strong brew. It was a bit much for me, but I have plenty of coffee friends who would find it just right.

It’s at 3700 E. Douglas and is open from 7 to 11:30 a.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call  316-778-0846.

Yen Ching is closed — but just for a while

I heard yesterday from a concerned reader, who noted that longtime Chinese restaurant Yen Ching at 430 N. Rock Road  has looked fairly deserted for several days now. She feared the worse for the restaurant known for its sizzling rice soup.

So I stopped by this morning and am happy to report that the owners are just on a little vacation. Yen Ching will reopen on May 10.

Bite Me BBQ moves downtown

This place is big. And by big, I mean huge.

Bite Me BBQ just finished its long-planned move from Goddard to downtown Wichita and re-opened on Monday in a ginormous space at 132 N. St. Francis.

Owner Coleman Lockett announced his plan to relocate last year. He closed his restaurant at 151st Street West and Kellogg in March and has been busy since then relocating. I stopped in the new space on Wednesday and was surprised by how cavernous it was. I was struck by the big bar, the number of tables, the shiny cement floor and the smell of new paint mixed with smoked meat.

Bite Me’s menu includes traditional barbecue favorites plus a few unexpected items (deep fried lobster! mountain oysters!).

While it waits for its liquor license, the restaurant is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. Once the license is obtained, which Lockett predicts will take a couple of weeks, he’ll extend the hours to 11 a.m. to midnight Mondays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to 2 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays.

For more information, call 316-729-2904.

Wichita food trucks gathering for a cause

The only problem with the cooperative agreement worked out by three Wichita food trucks: How am I supposed to decide which one to patronize???

On Sunday, The Flying Stove, MMM Sandwiches and B.S. Sandwich Press will gather in one place to help raise money for victims of the recent tornado in Wichita.

All three will be set up in the parking lot of the Wichita Ice Center, 505 W. Maple, from noon to 3 p.m., when they’ll participate in the center’s Thunder Tailgate Party.

Here's what The Flying Stove will be serving. I have it on good authority that it's ALL delish.

That event lasts from noon to 4 p.m. and also includes a live band. The three food trucks will donate a portion of the day’s proceeds to tornado relief efforts.

Attendees are encouraged to bring canned food items, which will be gathered and donated to victims.

Actually, I’ll probably choose MMM Sandwiches on Sunday, simply because I’ve already dined at the other two trucks and one blog reader has informed me that MMM Sandwiches’ Cuban is “the best thing that has ever been in my face.”

UPDATE: I’ve just learned that all three food trucks also are teaming up with Johnson’s Garden Center on Thursday (4/26) for what the business is calling “Food Truck Thursday.” From 11 a.m. to 2 p.m., one of the food trucks will be serving at a different Johnson’s around town. The Flying Stove will be at 21st and Woodlawn. MMM Sandwiches will be at 2707 W. 13th. And B.S. Sandwich Press will be at 802 N. Ridge Road.

Question of the week: Best crab rangoon?

Pei Wei calls its crab rangoon "crab wonton."

All the Chinese food eating I did for this week’s dual dining review has me thinking about one of my favorite Chinese delicacies — the crab rangoon.

Every restaurant makes them differently. Some shape them like flowers. Others fold them in triangles. Some fill them with mostly cream cheese. Others use actual crab.

Which Chinese restaurant in town makes your favorite crab rangoon? I’m sort of partial to Great Wall’s, which are big and perfectly crunchy/creamy. And Pei Wei’s actually taste like crab!

What about you? Answer in the comments section below.

Candle Club adds non-smoking option

There's nothing like an adult beverage under the ceiling star at the Candle Club.

I’m not a member of the Candle Club, the throwback private supper club at 6135 E. 13th St. N., but I have several friends who are and have spent many an enjoyable evening there.

The only thing that could have made those evenings more enjoyable: a little less cigarette smoke in the atmosphere. Now, that’s an option. The Candle Club, which has been able to get around Wichita’s restaurant smoking ban because of its private club status, has just added a non-smoking section to the restaurant.

Perhaps a bid to compete with the new private, non-smoking Lakeside Club, the Candle Club just transformed a room that formerly served as a cigar bar into a non-smoking bar and grill. Customers enter from the new patio, meaning they can avoid cigarette smoke all together. In an e-mail to customers, managers said that customers have been requesting such an option, and the room also can be used for private parties, business lunches and Bingo games.

For more info, call the Candle Club at 316-684-7281.

Fine dining nearby: El Dorado Chop House

A dish from the new El Dorado Chop House

El Dorado, the community 30 miles northeast of Wichita, has a new fine dining restaurant.

El Dorado Chop House opened last week in a building at 2529 W. Central, which sits in front of the Best Western Hotel. The building previously housed Double D’s Family Restaurant.

Owner David Key, who also owns the Huddle House in El Dorado, remodeled the restaurant, adding booths and linen-covered tables, a glowing bar and more. He hired executive chef Owen Moore, who grew up in the area but worked at Vail Resorts in Colorado.

The menu is a mix of appetizers, salads, pastas and entrees such as steaks, pork chops, chicken and more.

The interior of the El Dorado Chop House

Hours are 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 9 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays; 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 5 to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays; and noon to 9 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant takes reservations and can be reached by calling 316-452-5004.

Is Doc’s Steak House haunted? Local blogger thinks so

Late last night, when my house was all dark and the weird, shifty noises that come along with a 100-plus-year-old house started, I came across this very scary restaurant video.

It was made by local foodie Tony Brueski, an afternoon disc jockey at KFDI, who also runs a pretty schmancy food blog called NewTasteToday.com.

The video focuses on Doc’s Steak House at 1515 N. Broadway, one of Wichita’s oldest restaurants. It opened in 1952 and is famous for its garlic salad. In the video, Brueski interviews Doc Steak House’s current owner, Brian Scott, grandson of founder Louis Scott. Last year, Scott took over the restaurant and remodeled and revamped it.

Tony Brueski

He and Brueski have decided, it seems, that the strange shadows and weird noises Scott occasionally hears while he’s alone in the restaurant might JUST be coming from the ghost of his grandfather, who apparently likes to smoke under the creepy staircase in the creepy basement.

Brueski is hoping to make a whole web series of videos about haunted restaurants, which he’ll call “Haunted Restaurants: Back for Seconds.”

“I have a passion for both food and ghosts, so this brings it all together,” Brueski told me.

He also has a fun video about the unhaunted Wichita Food Truck, The Flying Stove, on his blog.

Check both the videos out, but I’d advise doing so during the day.