Monthly Archives: October 2013

Local restaurants offering Halloween treats

If you feed’ em first, they’ll think you’re Smurfy.

If you and your little goblins have time to get to a restaurant today (I know I don’t), there are many deals to be had. I have a quick roundup, but if you know of any others, let me know.

Pasta Piazza, 217 E. Douglas: Get one free kid meal with each regular entree purchased

Tanya’s Soup Kitchen, 1725 E. Douglas: Free dessert for diners in costume

Outback Steakhouse, 233 S. Ridge, 2020 N. Rock Road: Get one free kid meal with each regular entree purchased

Krispy Kreme, 7777 E Central: Wear your costume in the store, get a free doughnut

IHOP, 3505 N Rock Rd: Free “Scary Face” pancake for kids

Red Lobster: Free kids meal with coupon found on the restaurant’s Facebook page

Olive Garden: Free kids meal with the purchase of each adult entrée by clicking here and downloading the coupon.

Longhorn Steakhouse: Kids meal free with purchase of adult meal with coupon from the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Chipotle: Visit Chipotle in costume from 4 p.m. to close and get a $3 burrito.

McAlister’s Deli: Kids dressed in costume get a free kids meal

New lineup of chefs at Bonnie’s Place

Chef Kevin Gillenwater of Crown Uptown will be Cooking at Bonnie’s Place.

Bonnie Aeschliman, who owns Cooking At Bonnie’s Place at 9747 E. 21st St N., has signed up a new batch of chefs to offer classes at her cooking school.

Among them is well-known local chef Kevin Derks, who heads the kitchen at Newport Grill, 1900 N. Rock Road. His class, scheduled for Tuesday, is called “A Taste of Provence Ala Newport Grill” and will include a demonstration of French cooking skills. The menu will include Provencal scallops, and Derks also will make banana pecan bread pudding.  Admission is $55, and the class starts at 6:30 p.m.

Aeschliman also has added Kevin Gillenwater, who leads the kitchen at the Crown Uptown Dinner Theatre, to her roster. His class is called “Four Season Dinner” and will include a four course dinner with one course representing each season. His class is $50 a person and starts at 6:3o p.m. on Nov. 12.

O.J. Moore also will return to Bonnie’s on Nov. 10 for a class focusing on tips and techniques he uses in his roll as executive chef at YaYa’s Euribistro at 8115 E. 21st St.. His class is at 6:30 p.m. and is $50.

The school also is offering a long list of classes that Aeschliman will cook herself focusing on topics such as appetizers, making hot rolls, Christmas dinner and Thanksgiving dinner.

To make reservations for any of the classes, call 316-425-5223.

Bocconcini lives again at Bocco Deli

Nathan Toubia closed his delicious Bocconcini Italian Eatery at 4811 E. Central in August, and it was a sad day for fans of Italian food.

But some of Bocconcini’s recipes are being revived at Toubia’s other surviving restaurant — Bocco Deli at 3010 E. Central.

That restaurant is a lunch-only place, but on Thursday, Friday and Saturday nights, Toubia is opening it up for dinner, serving many of his Bocconcini favorites.

Each weekend, he plans to set a multi-course menu, with two choices for each course. The courses will be sold a la carte, so diners can pick and choose what they want.  Last week, Toubia included on the menu Bocconcini’s famous frico appetizer, which features fried cheese filled with leeks, potatoes and sausage. Other choices included potato leek ravioli and pork and mushroom ragu. This weekend, he plans to include butternut squash ravioli.

Toubia will skip this Thursday becuase of Halloween but will serve dinner on Friday and Saturday. Each week, the dinner will start at 6:30 p.m., and he’s requiring reservations.

To make one, call 316-558-8412 and leave a message. Watch for the menus on Bocco Deli’s Facebook page.

You can drink your art when it’s on your latte

You can look at art. Or you can drink it.

Several coffee shops around Wichita of late are embracing latte art — a fun trend in which coffee artists sculpt pictures in the top of drinks using foam. Mead’s Corner at 430 E. Douglas has been doing it for a while and will commonly add hearts or rosettes to the tops of drinks. And Birds on the Roof Cafe, which recently opened at 550 N. Rock Road, has a resident latte artist who works after 4 p.m. and creates intricate drink drawings.

Last week, I persuaded Espresso to Go Go’s Teresa Nguyen to show me how it’s done. Espresso to Go Go doesn’t usually do latte art for customers, mainly because all their cups are to-go cups and the pace at the shop is too fast. But during downtime lately, artist Nguyen has been creating some scary Halloween latte art. On Friday, she demonstrated how she created a coffee-top replication of Edvard Munch’s “The Scream.” 

Missed you at the Wichita Wine Opener

I was a judge at last night’s Wichita Wine Opener, an annual fundraiser for the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation. My job was tough. I had to sample alllllllllll the food and help decide which was best.

The big winners were the students from the new culinary program at Butler Community College. 

Here’s a little video I produced out of the event.

First rule of restaurants: They take (way) longer to open than you think

Jetty’s Pizza’s thissssss close to opening.

When a restaurateur tells me that he plans to have his restaurant open on a certain day, I always add a month or two.

I have almost never seen a restaurant open when its owner said or thought it would, and the most common reasons are construction and inspection delays. At the last minute, something doesn’t arrive or doesn’t work properly. And even if that doesn’t happen, city inspectors work at their own pace, and it always takes longer to get the green light than owners anticipate.

Take Jason Febres, who originally said he would open his new Taste & See Global Cuisine last Monday, Oct. 21. He encountered a variety of the above-mentioned problems, which were beyond his control, and he still isn’t open. The last time I got him on the phone, he said he was hoping for early next week.

Construction issues have also slowed down Ruben’s Mexican Grill, which owners Ruben and Anita Acosta started relocating from Douglas and McLean to a new spot at 915 W. Douglas back in April  The original plan was to reopen by May. About a month ago, they said they were aiming for Oct. 15. Now, Ruben says, it’ll be early November.

Wasabi west has a sign and a finished interior… but no opening date.

Jetty’s Pizza, the new arena-side restaurant being opened by businessman Mickey Lynch, is another example. He had hoped to open on Oct. 1, but now, he’s looking at the first part of November. The interior is nearly done, and Lynch has posted a billboard recruiting workers. He’s in the hiring process now and says he’ll have an update for me next week.

The most classic example of a delayed opening is Wasabi, the sushi restaurant at 912 E. Douglas. Back in 2010, owners said they’d open in January, which turned into February, March then April. The restaurant finally opened in late July of that year.

Owners have been working on a west-side Wasabi at 2402 N. Maize Road for even longer. Owners initially said it would open last December. Then, they said June. I drove by recently and the sign is up and the interior appears almost finished, but when I checked today, I was told that the opening date is now “in a month or so, but nothing is for sure.”

It happens.

I’ll keep you updated on all of the above restaurants.

Twin wine dinners at ICT/KC Ambassador hotels

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse Chef Marshall Roth is partnering with Justin Winery — and with his counterpart at the Kansas City Ambassador Hotel — to put on a special wine dinner.

Roth and Shaun Brady, the executive chef at The Reserve at Kansas City’s Ambassador, both are putting on the same wine dinner, one day apart. Brady’s will be on Monday in Kansas City, and Roth’s will be on Tuesday at Siena, 104 S. Broadway. Both dinners are $90 a person and include a martini reception at 6 p.m. followed by a dinner with wine pairings at 6:30 p.m.

Among the dishes on the menus: Prime Creekstone Farms KC Strip with wild mushrooms and bone marrow red wine butter honey roasted root vegetables. (Thatsa lota adjectives.)

To make reservations for the Wichita dinner, call 316-239-7110. Or, if by chance you are reading this in Kansas City, call 816-298-7700 for reservations.

Saturday’s Asian Festival is a food-lover’s paradise

If you love Asian food, exotic food, spicy food — really, if you love food — you should make a point to visit Saturday’s Asian Festival at Century II.

The event, now in its 33rd year, is intended as a peek into Asian culture in Wichita, but the main attraction is a giant food court featuring 40 different vendors serving cuisine native to 12 different countries.

New this year is Sri Lankan food. Two brothers representing Wichita’s 200-strong Sri Lankan community will be serving several native dishes, including one called koththu roti — a popular Sri Lankan street food made with curry and chopped meat and vegetables.

“It’s my favorite Sri Lankan food ever,” said TJ Jayaratne, who will be raising money for a planned Sri Lankan Buddhist temple for Wichita. “It’s so good. Back home, you would find a koththu store or two every half mile or so on the roadside.”

Admission to the festival, which lasts from 5:30 to 10 p.m., is free, and several local restaurants will be represented, too. Read my story that’s going in Friday’s Go! section for more details.

New Dining with Denise Facebook page will make it easier to connect with fellow foodies

In the highly, highly unlikely event that you sometimes forget to check this blog, I’ve started something that should simplify your life.

Yesterday, I launched a Dining With Denise Facebook page. It’ll be an accessory to the blog and will link you to new blog posts and it will also contain pretty pictures, restaurant tidbits and — I hope — discussions among local foodies. I also plan to resurrect “Question of the Week,” which used to be a part of my Dining with Denise newsletter.

I also want you to go to the page to share recommendations and to ask questions. You also are not only allowed but are INVITED to share photos of what you had for lunch. Or dinner. Or breakfast. Or on vacation. This is the page where no one will make fun of you for talking about what you ate on Facebook.

Go to the page and Like it to get the information showing up in you Facebook stream. See you there.

Monthly Wichita food truck gathering is on Sunday

This turkey burger slider will be among the items on the Flying Stove’s menu at Sunday’s Spooky Food Trucks at the Fountains event.

The local food truckers are continuing their tradition of gathering in one place on the final Sunday of the month.

The October gathering has a Halloween theme and is called Spooky Food Trucks at the Fountains. It’s scheduled for 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday at the fountains at Waterwalk. The truckers have invited a live band to perform, and kids are invited to attend in costume and collect free candy at the trucks.

On the roster: The Flying StoveLet’m Eat Brats, B.S. Sandwich PressCake Face and the new pizza truck The Rolling Dough.

The Waterwalk is at 515 S. Main.