Monthly Archives: September 2012

See you in October

I won’t be ’round these parts for a whole week, dining friends.

When I return to work, it’ll be the first day of my favorite three-month period (October to December) and I’ll (hopefully) have a cleaner basement and an improved late-season tan.

See you on Oct. 1.

New Chipotle at Maple and Ridge has opening date

Wichita’s newest Chipotle at Maple and Ridge is almost finished, causing many burrito fans to ask me when it’s opening.

The answer: Oct. 23.

The restaurant is going into the spot at 7130 W. Maple that once held Scrapbook Garden. It will be Wichita’s fifth Chipotle, joining the restaurants at  Kellogg and Rock, at 29th and Rock, at 21st and Maize and at Central and Hillside.

A whole lot of wine events come up

It feels good to give to charity — and it feels even better with a glass of wine or mug of beer in your hand.

Several events are coming up over the next few months that will allow charity-minded people to imbibe while they give. Here are a few to mark on your calendar:

Hulas and Harleys: This second annual event, scheduled for Saturday, is a fundraiser for Families Together, Inc. It will be from 6:30 to 11 p.m. at the Kemp Garage, 1018 N. Battin, and will include a pig roast, beer and wine, hula dancers, a silent auction, dinner music by Joe Stumpe and a performance by classic rock and roll band Crisis. It also will include a silent auction with motorcycle driving lessons, photo sessions and more. Tickets are $35 in advance or $40 at the door and can be purchased online or by calling (316) 945-7747.

Boo & Brew Bash: The annual Halloween party will feature food and drink, music by Lucky People, a costume contest and more. It’ll be at 7 p.m. Oct. 20 at the Beech Activity Center and raises money for Dress for Success. Tickets are $75 each or $600 for a table of eight. They’re available by calling 316-945-8779 or at

Wichita Wine Opener: The third annual Cystic Fibrosis Foundation Wine Opener is scheduled for 6 to 9 p.m. Oct. 25 at Abode Venue, 1330 E. Douglas that will feature wine and food. Tickets are $50 and can be purchased by visiting the event’s website. 

Brew Ha Ha: The sixth annual event, a beer tasting that’s a fund-raiser for Big Brothers Big Sisters of Sedgwick County, is scheduled for 6:30 to 10 p.m. on Friday, Nov. 2, at the Flint Hills National Clubhouse, No. 1 Flint Hills National Drive in Andover. The event will feature beers paired with food made by local chefs such as Scott Redler of Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Terry Johnson of Chapada Chophouse and Churrascaria, and Adam Correa of the soon-to-open Kansas Star Casino Woodfire Grille. Tickets are $100 each or $800 for 10 by visiting the event’s website.

The flavors of fall have arrived

Panera's pumpkin pie bagel. Holy yum.

I always, always love it when September rolls around and restaurants start rolling out their pumpkin flavors again.

You know the long, hotness of summer is almost over when Starbucks starts serving its pumpkin spice latte again. (They brought it back extra early this year — on Sept. 1.) And more places every year are adding pumpkiny, spicy flavors to their menus. I was just in Panera the other day and noticed a PUMPKIN PIE BAGEL. Calories shmalories. I’m havin’ one of those.

Have you spotted any other places selling pumpkiny goodness? Let me know in the comments section below.

Question of the week: What’s your beer?

It’s Midwest Beerfest week, a great time to talk about a great topic.

Everyone has a favorite beer… or two. I’m a fan of Blue Moon Belgian White with an orange or Corona with a lime. and I always get excited when pumpkin beers come back in season.

I have friends who are addicted to Sierra Nevada Pale Ale or anything from New Belgium Brewing.

My question this week: What’s your favorite beer? What do you order most often?

Answer in the comment section below.

Bierocks, Brats n BBQ moving out of Delano

Mary Isbell-Hansen, owner of Bierocks, Brats n BBQ

Just like she always does, Mary Isbell-Hansen closed her Bierocks, Brats n’ BBQ at 1225 W. Douglas in Delano to go run her longtime food booth. Roadhouse Bar and Grill, at the Kansas State Fair.

The difference this year: She’s not reopening. At least not in Delano.

Isbell-Hansen, who opened the restaurant in November of 2010, said the customer volume in Delano hasn’t been high enough to sustain her business. She’s looking for a different space, preferably in northeast or northwest Wichita, to move the business. But she has to move quickly. One of her busiest seasons in Thanksgiving, when she sells smoked turkeys and hams, and she wants to have a space in time to get to work on those orders.

She promised to let me know when she finds a new spot. For now, she’s headed to the Tulsa State Fair.

Free doughnuts for pirates today

I know a couple of people who could pretty much cater a doughnut party today.

Yes, the rumors are true: Today is “Talk Like a Pirate Day,” and if you play along, Krispy Kreme will give you free glazed dougnnuts.

All day today, anyone who visits the Krispy Kreme at 7777 E. Central and talks like a pirate gets one free Original Glazed doughnut.  Those who walk in wearing full pirate attire get a dozen for free.

I was amused by the list of rules Krispy Kreme shared in a press release. Here they are:

Come to a participating Krispy Kreme location in full pirate costume for one FREE dozen Original Glazed doughnuts. NO WEAPONS ALLOWED!

Talk like a pirate or wear an eye patch to a participating Krispy Kreme shop for one FREE Original Glazed doughnut.

Offer good for one free doughnut per customer who wears an eye patch or talks like a pirate to a Krispy Kreme team member at a participating shop.  One free dozen Original Glazed doughnuts per customer who wears a full pirate costume into a participating Krispy Kreme location. 

Krispy Kreme is open 24 hours, so the offer is good until midnight tonight. For more information, call 316-618-3688.

An update on Nathan and Abby

Abby, left, and Nathan, center, at the Old Town Farmers Market Iron Chef competition a few weeks ago. At right is event emcee Mark Davidson from KSN.

A couple of weeks ago, I told you about a terrible motorcycle accident that injured Bocconcini Italian Eatery chef Nathan Toubia and his passenger, Bocconcini manager Abby Brookshire. The accident happened over Labor Day weekend, and both Toubia and Brookshire were thrown from the motorcycle.

I’m following a Facebook page set up by her family to track Abby’s healing process, which is slow and painful but steady, the page reports. She suffered several serious injuries. Her friends and family are planning a fundraising dinner for her, and I’ll report the details when I get them.

I reached out to Nathan earlier this week to find out how he was doing. Toubia broke both ankles, crushed his pelvis, and fractured his legs. In an e-mail, he said that he spent a week in the hospital and another week in rehab. He’s now at home but is using a wheelchair to get around.

His team of cooks is going ahead with Bocconcini’s monthly wine dinner, even in their bosses’ absence, he said. He met with them yesterday to map out the wine dinner menu, which he says has come together nicely.

“Abby is still in all of our prayers,” he said.

“I thank everyone for their support, prayers and thoughts. It has meant a lot.”

The five-course wine dinner will be at 6 p.m. Sunday at the restaurant, 4811 E. Central. It’s $65 a person and features dishes paired with wines, including a main course of wild boar. For reservations, call 316-613-2523

Sample the mayor’s sauces on Saturday

Mayor Carl Brewer, left, showing off his barbecue skills to Dale Goter, the city's government relations director.

Mayor Carl Brewer, who also is a competitive barbecue chef, is releasing his own line of bottled barbecue sauces and is putting on a public tasting on Saturday.

He’ll be cooking barbecue coated the Brewer’s Best Bar-B-Que sauces in the north parking lot of The Spice Merchant, 1308 E. Douglas, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. or until the ‘cue is gone.

Starting on Saturday, the sauces will be available for purchase at The Spice Merchant, at All Things BBQ, 615 W. Douglas, and at Holmes-Made Salsa, 2252 N. Coolidge.

I’ve judged barbecue competitions with the mayor and have heard tell that he knows his way around a smoker. His sauces come in several flavors, including hot, sweet and mild.

Playa Azul at 21st & Tyler will close in two weeks

The Playa Azul at 8760 West 21st St. will close in two weeks, manager Daniel Rodriguez said today.

The business just isn’t getting enough traffic, he said. The last day in business will be Saturday, Sept. 29.

Derby’s Plaza Azul at 311 N. Baltimore in Derby closed in January of this year for the same reason. The Playa Azul in Old Town will remain open, he said.

The about-to-close space has held several restaurants since I’ve lived here, including Semolina, Dino’s, Italian Garden and Senor Tequila. Playa Azul opened there in January of 2011.

For more information, call 316-722-2929.