Monthly Archives: August 2013

Adios, amigos. See you on Martes



My sister is getting married.


I’ll be eating Mexican food, but not writing about it for a few days.

See you next week.

Wichita Buffalo Wild Wings the ‘Smartest Bar in North America’

Apparently, Wichita wing eaters are the smartest wing eaters.

On Tuesday, the  Buffalo Wild Wings restaurant at 3236 N Rock Road became the Smartest Bar in North America, according to Buzztime’s 2013 Smartest Bar competition.

Trivia players at the bar beat out trivia players at 3,300 other bars in the United States and Canada, including two-time defending champion The Mezzanine Lounge in Houston, for the title. The players in Wichita scored the highest points answering a series of sports, art, history and pop culture bar trivia questions. The competition started in April.

The restaurant will get a championship trophy, banner and $500 cash.

It’s Iron Chef time at the Old Town Farmers’ Market

Chef Paul Freimuth

This weekend is Labor Day weekend, meaning that it’s time for the annual Iron Chef Competition at the Old Town Farmers’ Market. The event, now in its 11th year, is scheduled for 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the market at First and Mosley.

The competition pits local chefs against each other, cooking live with a secret ingredient they learn about just as the competition begins.

This year’s contest has an interesting twist. Instead of chefs from several different restaurants competing, Harvest Kitchen/Bar’s executive chef Paul Freimuth will compete against his executive sous chef and two assistant sous chefs. The restaurant inside the Hyatt is known for its use of local ingredients. Freimuth was a competitor last year and worked his way deftly around the secret ingredient: long beans.

Celebrity judges Guy Bower and Joe Stumpe will choose a winner around 10 a.m. It’s free for spectators to watch the showdown.

The Old Town Farmers Market is open from 7 a.m. to noon.

The winner: Hatch green chile hummus

Saturday’s Chile Fest and Food Truck Iron ChileHead Cookoff at Johnson’s Garden Centers was as fabulous as it was sweaty.

The winning dish

I sat on a judges’ panel that also included local foodies Guy Bower and Joe Stumpe.

Our job was to choose a winning dish from among several created by a group of food truckers using Johnson’s roasted Hatch green chiles.

It wasn’t easy, but we picked a winner: The Hopping Pita chef Roni Attari’s Hatch green chile hummus served with pita chips coated in Hatch green chile oil.

Chef Roni Attari and his ChileHead trophy.

The dish was spicy and flavorful and fabulous. My second-favorite dish: A peanut butter cookie sandwich filled with chocolate ganache spiked with Hatch green chiles. The amazing Cake Face bakers were responsible for that one.

We also had a great green chile pizza made Hopperoni Express, and MMM Sandwiches made an MMM taco that was full of all kinds of meat and green chile flavor.

Me, my mini-me Alexis, Guy and Marty Johnson broadcasting live Saturday at the Johnson’s Garden Centers Chile Fest.

I took home a bag of the green chiles Johnson’s was roasting on spot and on Sunday night whipped up my own amazing batch of chile verde, using the chiles plus tomatillos and pork. Here’s the recipe I used.

Johnson’s will have the chiles on sale at least through mid-September at all three of its locations: 2707 W. 13th St., 6225 E. Shadybrook and 802 N. Ridge Road. A bag of peppers costs $7.99.

The green chile pizza created by Hopperoni Express


Talkin chiles live on air with the Good Life Guy

Dinner last night, which I made using a bag of Hatch green chiles I got at the event.

Soft opening for Birds on the Roof

Thao Luu has opened her pretty Birds on the Roof Bakery & Cafe — but only sort of.

The restaurant at 550 N. Rock Road is in the midst of what she calls a “soft opening.”

For now, it’s open from 6:30 a.m. to 2:30 p.m. Tuesdays through Saturdays serving a limited breakfast and lunch menu, plus some baked goods.

Within the next couple of weeks, it will be open late hours, too, as well as on Mondays and Sundays.

It’ll also offer everything it had planned to originally, including lattes intricately decorated on the top and fanciful decorated cakes.

I stopped in a week ago and was impressed by the interior, done up in pinks and whites with modern, playful decor.

Reach Birds on the Roof by calling 316-558-8288.

One restaurant opens, another closes

Good news for west siders: YOLO Grill, a restaurant owned by Aaron and Cindy Cline at 803 N. West St. that specializes in made-from-scratch food such as burgers, hand-cut fries, pork sliders, Reuben sandwiches, hot dogs, onion rings and more, is open.

Its hours are 11 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call 316-260-8008.

But bad news for Derby-ites. It appears that Wheat State Pizza, a family-owned restaurant with a good reputation at 236 W. Greenway, has closed. Its last day in business was Tuesday, according to the restaurant’s Facebook page. The restaurant had been open since February of 2011.

Lollabake sells not-to-sweet cookies

My story last week about an amazing baker and her amazing bread — Sharon Entz of Newton’s Crust & Crumb Co. — caused quite a stir at Saturday’s Old Town Farmer’s Market.

Entz messaged me after she got home on Saturday and said that the line at her booth was long and constant and didn’t go away until she was completely sold out of bread.

Lollabake’s “Wake Me Up” cookie.

The line caught the eye of another baker who booths at the Farmer’s Market, which lasts Saturday mornings from 7 to noon at First and Mosely in downtown Wichita. She called this week to tell me about her sweet but not-too-sweet offerings.

Lilibeth Carter is the owner of Lollabake, a cookie company she started out of her house last year. She specializes in gourmet cookies that are flavorful, she said, but not overly sweet.

Her most popular offering is her “Wake Me Up” cookie, made with chocolate chips and coffee flavoring, and her Kamron cookies, which she invented with and named after her grandson. It’s full of M&M’s, Kit-Kat bars and Reeses Peanut Butter Cups.

Kamron cookies from Lollabake

Carter also offers several cookies made with tropical flavors such as coconut and pineapple, a peanut butter chocolate chip cookie, a sugar-free strawberry pecan and a gluten-free chocolate chip cookie.

She packages the cookies in clear boxes shaped like Chinese takeout containers, which sell for $8.10 apiece.

“I want people to be happy, and I want them when the bite into my cookies to get a big smile,” she said.

Cookie lovers can find Carter at the Farmer’s Market or can place orders by calling 316 258-2732.

Taco Town offering deals at grand opening

Rosemarie and Larry Ross are the tac-o the town.

Taco Town , the family-owned fast Mexican place that recently opened in the old Taco Tico building at 11333 E. Central, is celebrating its grand opening on Saturday with buy-one-get-one deals.

From 10:30 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturday, customers who buy one free enchilada, flauta or crispy flauta will get one free.

The restaurant is owned by Larry and Rosemarie Ross, who operated a Taco Town previously in Scottsbluff, Neb. They decided to move themselves and the business to Wichita to be closer to their daughter and her family.

For more information, call 316-719-2241.

Dine Hutch-style, meet astronauts

Hutchinson can claim some good restaurants too, including places such as Anchor Inn and nearby Carriage Crossing in Yoder.

Hutchinson also has the Kansas Cosmosphere, a space museum capable of attracting real-life astronauts.

On Saturday, Hutchinson will combine those two attributes for the second annual Fly Around Dine Around reception at the Kansas Cosmosphere, 1100 N. Plum in Hutchinson.

Attendees at the event, which lasts from 6 to 9 p.m., offers tastings of food from Hutchinson restaurants including the above mentioned plus Carlos O’Kelly’s, Dillons Chinese Kitchen, Dillons Marketplace, Fairfield Inn & Suites by Marriott, Girst’s: Catering For You, Hog Wild, Hutchinson Town Club, Jillian’s Italian Grill, Pizza Ranch, The Raz Smokehouse, Serendipity Cupcakes, Spangles, Starbucks, and Sunflower Supper Club and Catering. Beverages will be provided by City Beverage and Egbert Liquor.

It also will be attended by eight famous astronauts — Buzz Aldrin, Walt Cunningham, Joe Engle, Richard Gordon, Fred Haise, Jeff Ashby, Steven Hawley and Bruce McCandless II.

They’ll share memories of missions and mingle with guests — but they won’t pose for pictures or sign autographs.

The reception lasts from 6 to 9 p.m. Tickets are available by calling 620-665-9312. Tickets are $40 for Cosmosphere members, $50 for nonmembers.

Clifton Square’s French restaurant not happening after all

A new French restaurant is opening in the old John Brown’s space this summer.

Au Paris-Bruxelles, a French and Belgian restaurant planned for Clifton Square, isn’t going to happen after all.

Owner Jo Zakas said she recently heard from Florence and Didier Fraikin, who had been in the process of moving to Wichita from Belgium to open the restaurant.

On their way to Wichita from California, their car broke down, and they ran out of money, they told Zakas. Despite having paid on their lease at Clifton Square, the couple decided they had to scrap their plans.

It’s the second deal to fall through for the space that last held John Browns. Previously, Kevin Brown and Tracy Fahrbach had announced they’d open Mortimer’s Piano Bar there then changed their minds.

Clifton Square is on a dining upswing, though. Both Ziggy’s Pizza (one of my favorite places to eat in Wichita) and College Hill Creamery drew big crowds throughout the summer.