Monthly Archives: October 2012

Specials for costume wearers, voters

No sooner will Americans have recovered from the excitement of Halloween than they’ll head to the polls to elect a president.

They’re going to need fortification.

Luckily, several restaurants are offering food promotions in observation of the two big days.

On Halloween, Chipotle is putting on its Boorito promotion, which offers a $2 burrito, burrito bowl or order of tacos to anyone who comes in wearing a costume between 4 p.m. and close. Wichita has five Chipotles.

At Krispy Kreme, 7777 E. Central, customers who show up in costume on Halloween will get a free Halloween or pumpkin spice doughnut.

A few days later, Taco Bueno is putting on an event called “Guac the Vote.” Anyone who votes on Nov. 6 will be entitled to a free 2.5-oz. serving of guacamole and tortilla chips all day. No proof of voting is required. Taco Bueno is going to take your word for it. The event is designed to encourage voter turn-out, the company said. Wichita’s Taco Bueno restaurants are at 3530 N. Rock Road and 427 N. Hillside.

Two new restaurants for the west side

The west side has one new restaurant as of today and will get another one on Nov. 5.

Wichita’s newest Chipotle is officially opening today at Maple and Ridge. The restaurant took over the spot at 7130 W. Maple that once held Scrapbook Garden.

It’s Wichita’s fifth Chipotle, and it joins the restaurants at Kellogg and Rock, at 29th and Rock, at 21st and Maize and at Central and Hillside. Its hour are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily, and its phone number is 316-942-0263.

Another anticipated chain will open nearby on Nov. 5. Wichita’s first Mooyah, which will be operated by former KSN anchor Anthony Powell and his wife, is almost finished in the former Blockbuster spot at 352 S. West St.

There’s a Mooyah in Garden City that opened in May, and more are planned for the Wichita area. It specializes in burgers, fries and also has a long list of shakes, including chocolate chip cookie dough and peanut butter.

I called Powell this morning and interviewed him while he huffed and puffed on a stair master. He’s a health nut and said that Wichitans will be pleasantly surprised by the restaurant’s turkey burger and veggie burger, which he said both are unusually delicious.

The restaurant also will have several flat screen television sets mounted, so customers have the option of eating quickly and leaving or staying for a while to linger over a shake, he said.

Mooyah’s hours will also be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. daily.

Dash and Dine was delicous — but hot

I wish I could the moves these pizza slices had. From left, Pizza Slice No. 1, Jill, me, Pizza Slice No. 2.

About 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, I seriously regretted pre-registering for the Dash and Dine 5K Run/Walk, a first -year event that started at 2 p.m. in Sedgwick County Park.

It was Oct. 21, but it was HOT (nearly 90 degrees), and it was 2 p.m. The race itself was sweaty and somewhat miserable.

But the after-race was a lot of fun. Several restaurants and food vendors were gathered out the park passing out delicious food. I sampled a healthy brownie from Green Acres, tried a hot dog from Relish It, gobbled down a no-bake cookie from Cake Face, and had my photo taken with dancing Papa Murphy’s slices. I also finally got to try one of Panera’s pumpkin bagels, which was totally worth the sweaty run.

It was a small race, but the crowd was fun. The race shirt was quite attractive, and my friend, Jill, won a medal for placing second in her age category.

I hope the run, which raised money for United Way of the Plains, returns next year. I’d definitely run it again, though I’d prefer some more October-like weather next time.

Usuluteco Restaurant will double in size

A plate of pupusas, photographed by Andrew Gough

The pupusa business is good.

It’s so good that Usuluteco Restaurant, the popular El Salvadoran restaurant at 1714 E. Northern, near Hydraulic and Wassall, is about to double in size.

Owners have taken over and remodeled the space next door, which will increase the restaurant’s capacity from 49 to 100. The new spot is ready to go, but the owners are still waiting to clear up some red tape with the city. They hope to start using the space sometime in mid-November.

Pupusas, for those who don’t know, are dense, handmade corn tortilla shells stuffed with various meats, cheeses, beans and roasted peppers, then grilled.  They’re amazing and should be consumed regularly. You can read all about the restaurant in Wichita Eagle Dining Panel member Andrew Gough’s review, which ran in July.

Usuluteco’s hours are 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays and 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sundays.  For more information, call 316-409-3820.

The tale of the ‘Big Night’ timpano

Back in 1996, I watched and loved the acclaimed Campbell Scott/Stanley Tucci movie “Big Night,” about a pivotal evening in the life of an Italian restaurant.

The dish the whole night hinged on was called “timpano,” and it was a layered, dramatic, everything-but-the-kitchen-sink creation that wowed the restaurant’s guests.

I’ve wanted to eat timpano ever since, and 16 years later, I have. In honor of my colleague/friend Katie Lohrenz’s departure from the Eagle, I made the “Big Night” timpano using this recipe from the New York Times. It was fun, and it was good.

Please compare and contrast our two scenes:

Kimlan Sandwiches is yum yum yum

The Kimlan No. 6.

Last week, my co-workers and I took a Friday lunch field trip to the new Kimlan Sandwiches, the banh mi place at 1035 N. Broadway.


It was so good, we went back again this week. Just look at the beautiful colors in that sandwich.

We tried the No. 3, made with pork that’d been marinated in a lemongrass-soy dressing, and the No. 6, made with sliced Chinese barbecue pork and topped with mayo.

Both were fabulous. The sandwiches are served in cute little sub sandwich bags with just the meat stuffed into the crusty French bread. The beautiful toppings, which include pickled carrots, jalapenos, cucumber and cilantro, come on the side in a tiny plastic bag, and the sandwich eater is responsible for piling them on.

Kimlan doesn’t have many side options, but we tried their spring rolls, which are giant and delicious, and they serve egg rolls, too. The best part — everything is so cheap. Our Friday to-go order, which included three sandwiches, an order of spring rolls and two egg rolls, was just $15.

Kimlan has altered its hours slightly since opening. They’renow open from1 0 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays and from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Fridays through Sundays.

Me with two of my conversants, Tim McKee, center, and Tad Patton.

Incidentally, I gave Kimlan and my other favorite Vietnamese restaurants lots of lavish praise at last night’s Great Conversation, a neat event put on by Friends University. It was at the Wichita Scottish Rite, and it included a catered dinner served to about 15 tables of 10 people each. The tables all had moderators and assigned topics, and those assembled at the tables spent a couple of hours conversing about the topic.

I was the moderator at my table, where the topic was dining out in Wichita. I met several nice people, including a trio of lawyers and their wives from the law firm of Triplett, Woolf & Garretson, LLC. I’ve now been invited to their office Thanskgiving lunch, where they promise me a hunk of homemade goat cheese. Now THAT was a conversation worth having.

The Great Conversation is an annual event, so look for it again next year.

Nathan Toubia on the mend, back at work

It’s been more than six weeks since the Labor Day weekend motorcycle accident that seriously injured Bocconcini Italian Eatery chef and owner Nathan Toubia and his manager/friend Abby Brookshire.

Both are on the mend, and Nathan — who broke both ankles, crushed his pelvis, and fractured his legs in the accident — is back on his feet. Though he’s on crutches and moving slowly, he’s been able to return to the restaurant in a limited capacity. He expedited service last weekend, and he’ll also be helping with prep work at Sunday’s wine dinner at Bocconcini. (You can see the menu below.)

I ran into Nathan at Dillons last night, and he looked good. He won’t be able to put weight on his right leg until early November but says he has “every intention of showing my face as long as the pain is tolerable.”

Abby, meanwhile, also is making progress, according to a Facebook page set up and maintained by her family called “Love for Abby.” She’s also back on her feet and has returned home to Texas with her family to continue her rehab.

Bocconcini’s next wine dinner is at 6 p.m. Sunday and costs $65 a person. Nathan has created a fabulous fall menu that includes lamb shank, apple crumble and something called “wedding pillow ravioli.” Keep reading for the menu. Reservations can be made by calling 316-613-2523.

Read More »

Question of the week: Best Halloween candy?

Halloween is almost here, which means the stores are overflowing with candy.

Everyone has a favorite.

Some people are candy corn connoisseurs.

Others stick strictly to chocolate.

I raid my daughter’s Halloween bag for Heath bars and anything made by Reese’s. I also always have a Baby Ruth hankering come Halloween, and I’ll eat a Twix bar any month of the year.

What’s your favorite Halloween candy?

Answer in the comments section below.

Cake Face: Highway terror and free lunch

The Cake Face food truck and its owners, Summer Schoenhals and her husband, Dave, had a pretty terrifying Monday.

It was before 7 a.m., and they were hauling the trailer on I-235, en route to the Royal Caribbean offices, where they planned to set up for the day.

They hit a bump, and somehow, the trailer detached from the pickup. It was a terrifying few seconds as the trailer drove itself down the highway, headed for the median. Dave thought quickly and pulled his truck in front of the trailer, slowing it down to a stop. Although his truck was only slightly dented, the trailer’s plumbing, flooring and hitch were pretty severely damaged.

The Schoenhals spent the past few days fixing things up, aided by Espresso To Go Go owners Warren and Ann Tandoc. They’ll be back on the street on Thursday, which brings me to my second bit of food truck news.

Cake Face and B.S. Sandwich Press are teaming up with Cox and Verizon for a publicity event that will provide free lunches to visitors.

The events, which are Thursday and Saturday at various Cox stores, are designed to promote a partnership between Cox and Verizon Wireless. Those who visit will get vouchers for free food truck food (available on a first-come, first-served basis) and also can register to win prizes, including an iPad.

Cake Face will be serving from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Thursday at the Cox Solutions store at 1636 N. Rock Road in Derby.  Also on Thursday, B.S. Sandwich Press will serve from noon to 2 p.m. at the Cox Solutions Store at 21st and Maize. And from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturday, Cake Face will be at the Cox Solutions Store at 21st and Rock.

Fun food events happening this weekend

A sampling of the chili bowls to choose from at last year's event.

The Dash and Dine 5K isn’t the only fun food even going on this weekend.

There’s also the annual Chili Bowl Sale, which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Saturday outside of Kirby’s Beer Store, 3227 E. 17th St. N. For $10, diners get their choice of a handmade ceramic bowl crafted by Wichita State University Ceramics Guild filled with a choice of 10 different types of chili. Proceeds benefit Envision. The event will be outside on Kirby’s patio, so children and families are welcome.

Another event is the is the Taste of Home Cooking School, which is in its third year at Hartman Arena. An Expo is is from 3 to 7 p.m. and the cooking school is from 7 to 9 p.m. on Friday. Tickets are $15 at the door. For more information, visit