Monthly Archives: April 2012

Next week’s menu: Burgers, bottles and Bloody Marys

A cool shot I grabbed of my girls and me at Saturday's Midwest Winefest. Can you tell which one is me? We're like the Charlie's Angels of wine.

I’ve just now, at 3 p.m. on Monday, recovered from Saturday night’s Winefest enough to tell you a little bit about some more adult beverage-based events coming up next week.

I didn’t get too crazy at the Winefest, mind you. But the trip across the street to hang out at the bar of AVI probably was the opposite of what my group needed. (Amiright, Ben Arnold?) At least we were on foot!

The Winefest is one of my favorite food and beverage events of the year, and I never fail to have a great time. One of the highlights of this year’s events for me: The Dillon’s Marketplace booth, which was set up with a whole array of fabulous cheeses from the fancy Dillon’s cheese case. I sampled Merlot-flavored cheese, espresso-flavored cheese and raspberry-flavored cheese. The table also offered piles and piles of shaved Parmesan, which is only one of my favorite things on earth to nibble with wine.

And only two tables away, one of the vendors was serving up samples of Kim Crawford, one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs. At some point, the kind pourer at the table wondered if we had sampled it enough to have decided whether we liked it. Woops.

Two more fun food and beverage events are coming up soon.

One is called Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys and doubles as Botanica’s 25th Anniversary Kick-Off Party. The event will include a beer tasting by River City Brewery and a Bloody Mary competition among local bars and restaurants such as The Anchor, The Candle Club, Heroes, A.V.I., Newport Grill, Scotch & Sirloin and The Vagabond. The event also will feature food by The Flying Stove and music by Spirit of the Stairs. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on May 4, and tickets are $40 a person. Make your reservations here.

Chester’s Chophouse chef Bobby Lane is putting on a VinoBurger Cookbook tasting event at 6:30 p.m. on May 1. The event will be on Chester’s patio and is $40 a person. Lane will prepare two burgers of his own as well as two from the VinoBurger cookbook. The event includes five wine and four burger samples. RSVPs must be e-mailed to

Now open: Walt’s Old Tyme Hamburgers

Photo by Jeff Butts

Several readers have asked me about the new Walt’s Old Tyme Hamburgers, which opened a few weeks ago in the former Smashburger spot at 3570 N. Woodlawn.

It’s owned by Heather Kent, whose father Larry Doss has the Walt’s Great American Sports Bar & Grill at 7732 E. Central.

The new business features burgers, hand-cut fries, shakes, malts, hot dogs and more. It’s open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Kent says she’s made the space more homey from the days when it was Smashburger. The chain opened in Wichita in 2008 and closed it last year.

For more information, call 316-260-2526.

Wichita Ribfest details coming together

The pieces of the Wichita Ribfest at Intrust Bank Arena have been slowly coming together over the past several weeks. And today, the arena announced its Friday, May 18 musical lineup, which includes headliners Gloriana, a country act that opened for Taylor Swift when she performed at the arena in 2010. Local bands The Watchers and Nobody’s Business also will perform that night.

The Wichita Ribfest is an outdoor barbecue festival featuring music and national rib vendors that originally scheduled for last August, but the arena canceled it citing “unforeseen conflicts.”  The annual BlackTop Nationa event was scheduled in the same area the same weekend. Arena officials announced in February that they were rescheduling the event for May 17-19 in Lot D, a city-managed parking lot east of the arena at 777 E. Waterman.

Gloriana will entertain Ribfest crowds on Friday, May 18.

The arena previously announced the Saturday, May 19, musical lineup: Former American Idol contestant Casey James, Mexican musician and singer Kareem Lopez and local groups Conjunto Anonimo, Poultry ‘N Motion and Pretty Ugly.

The lineup of six rib vendors also has been announced: Cowboy’s Barbecue & Rib Co. and Texas Thunder, both from Texas; Chicago BBQ Company; Uncle Bub’s BBQ from Westmont, Ill.; Johnson’s BBQ out of Virginia; and Porky Chicks BBQ out of Arkansas.

Wichita Ribest also will feature a beer garden and kids’ activities. It’s scheduled for 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Thursday, May 17, through Saturday, May 19. Admission is $4, free for children 12 and under. Half-price admission wlil be offeree from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Thursday and Friday. Those with a Wichita River Festival button will be admitted free.

Dragon City open — but with a different name than it planned

Originally, Zhiyong Liu planned to call his new Chinese restaurant at 3008 W. Central Beijing.

But there’s already a Beijing in town, he discovered, so he decided to call the new restaurant Dragon City.

Liu, whose brother is Great Wall founder Benny Liu, opened Dragon City in the former Lexi’s Restaurant and Bar/Maharaja space a little more than a week ago.

It offers Great Wall-esque Chinese dishes available for both dine-in and carryout. You can see the menu here.

Dragon City’s hours are 10:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 10:30 p.m. to 10 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11:30 a.m. to 9:30 p.m. Sundays.

For information or to place a carryout order, call 316-941-9966.

Mudbugs, meat pies and battling chefs

By night, the lovely Mudbug Erin plays triangle. By day, she eats crawfish.

Several very fun food-related events are on my calendar, and I think you should add them to yours, too.

One is just around the corner. Mudbug Madness, the annual Prairie Pines event that features Cajun tunes by the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band, an all-you-can-eat crawfish boil and a Cajun buffet provided by Two Brothers BBQ, is April 27 and 28. That’s NEXT WEEKEND! Dinner is served from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., and a cash bar is available. The Mudbugs perform from 8 to 10:30 p.m. at Prairie Pines, 4055 N. Tyler, in Maize. My crew and I are planning to be there Saturday night. Tickets are $32 at or by calling 316-303-2037.

The following weekend is the annual St. Mary’s Mediterranean Festival. It’s put on at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church at 344 S. Martinson and is scheduled for May 5 and 6. The public dinner and bake sale features a la carte servings of authentic Lebanese, Greek and Serbian foods such as kibbe, baklava and meat pies. It’s from 4 to 8 p.m. May 5 and 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. May 6. Customers also can preorder items until Monday at 

At the Celebrity & Chef cookoff with a couple of fun girls two years ago.

Then, in June, the Celebrity & Chef Cookoff is back. I’m scheduled to serve as a judge at this annual fundraiser for The Orpheum, which pits teams of local chefs paired with local celebrities against each other in a cooking competition. Attendees sample food and drink and watch the battle go down. This year’s event is at 6 p.m. June 12 at the Wichita Marriott, 9100 E. Corporate Hills Drive. Tickets are $75 a person at

It’s chat day

Great news! It’s chat day! We can talk about wine, people we hate because they get to go to the Winefest Walkabout tonight and we don’t, and any other dining item you want to discuss.

Log on here at 1:30 p.m. I swear I’ll remember this time.

Question of the week: Favorite wine?

With all the wine tastings and wine dinners and Winefests Wichita has, we all ought to be grape experts by now.

My question this week: What’s your favorite variety of wine? And what food do you like to pair it with?

I’m a Malbec/Cabernet Sauvignon girl when it comes to red, although I also appreciate Pinot Noir. I love to drink all of the above with rare steak and with dark chocolate. As for white, I’m addicted to Sauvignon Blanc from New Zealand’s Marlbourough region, and I’m always on the hunt for bottles on sale in local liquor stores for $9 or less, so if you see a Cupcake, Nimbus, Nobilo, Starborough or Monkey Bay bottle on sale in this price range anywhere locally, you’d better call me. Ya hear?

What are your nominees? Answer in the comments section below.

What’s to eat at Winefest

There’s just not room in the Go! section to list some of the most important information about Winefest – what each of the restaurants there will be serving.

So as a public service, I’m listing them here. Warning: Reading past here will result in hunger. (P.S.: If you’re going to the sold-out Winefest Walkabout on Thursday, you can see a list of what they’re serving here.)

Abuelo’s: Sauteed chicken zucchini with penne pasta, Mexical rice, papas con chile and chile con queso

The Wichita Marriott: Mediterranean shrimp skewers and international and domestic cheese tower with lavosh and flatbreads

Carrabba’s:  Chicken Marsala and shrimp scampi

Granite City: Shrimp Asian salad on a fried wonton

Hyatt Regency: Braised short rib with homemade BBQ sauce in a bread cup

Mike’s Wine Dive: Wild boar ragu with crostini and roasted red pepper hummus

Newport Grill: Bay scallop ceviche and olive and ricotta tapas

P. F. Chang’s China Bistro: Chicken lettuce wraps

Redrock Canyon Grill: North Coast salmon filets served chilled with garlic toast points and Millionaire sauce

Sweet Basil: Penne pasta primavera with chicken and strawberry daiquiri fudge brownies

Wild Thyme Gourmet: Chili bacon grisini and caprese appetizer

Dillon’s Marketplace: Sartori’s Bella Vitano Merlot cheese, with new flavors espresso, salsa and raspberry

Café Maurice: Assorted sweets

Monica’s Bunt Cakes: Bundt Runts in red velvet, chocolate sour cream and crazy carrot

Sweetly Scrumptious: Sweetly Scrumptious Cuppy Cakes

The Chocolate Fountain: Tuxedo fountain with strawberries and sweet dippers

Bomber Burger tornado report: Not open, but not damaged

Bomber Burger, the popular burger joint at 4860 S. Clifton, has survived its second tornado.

The restaurant itself is fine, reports owner Chris Rickard, though he’s been unable to reopen since Saturday night’s tornado because the building (and the entire Oaklawn neighborhood) is still without electricity and gas service. He’s hopeful he can reopen by Thursday but says Friday is more likely.

Rickard, who rode out the storm at his sister’s house in Derby, tried to drive to the restaurant after the storm to see how the building had fared, but the streets were all closed down. He found out late Saturday that the restaurant was fine, even though he wasn’t able to see it until Sunday afternoon. His bread guy, a longtime friend with a key to the place, was at the restaurant when the tornado hit. He scrambled into the walk-in freezer to ride out the storm. “When it hit, he heard that freight train sound,” Rickard said.

Today, Rickard is driving around town buying dry ice to keep his products chilled. Nearby businesses are in worse shape, he said. Several across the street lost windows, though Bomber Burger’s stayed intact.

Rickard said the building, which has been in his family since 1985, also survived the famous 1991 tornado that passed through Haysville before ravaging Andover. That storm ripped the air conditioner units off the roof and tossed them all the way to K-15.

I’ll check back with Chris later this week and update you on Bomber Burger’s status.

The crepes remain at Lotus Leaf

I told you a few weeks ago about changes planned at Lotus Leaf,  the restaurant at  613 W. Douglas.

Owner Jacquelyn Keefer had just hired new chef Rebecca Gold and was rededicating herself to her original vision for the restaurant, which inlcuded the healthiest of health food dishes. She was considering eliminating crepes all together.

Keefer and Gold now have completed the new menu, and some crepes made the cut. There are also several tempting sounding vegetarian dishes, including a sweet potato crepe and a black bean and quinoa burger.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, 11 am. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 316-295-4133.