Monthly Archives: April 2014

‘Cutthroat Kitchen’ episode featuring Febres airs on Sunday

jason2DVR alert: The episode of  “Cutthroat Kitchen” featuring Taste & See chef and owner Chef Jason Febres  is scheduled to air at 9 p.m. Sunday on the network, which is on Cox Cable Channel 40 and 2040 in Wichita.

The show is hosted by famous food personality Alton Brown, and though Febres can’t share details of the show, Sunday’s description reads: “One chef must prepare French onion soup using serving ladles as cooking vessels; blackened fish challenge, making a banana split with pulverized bananas.”

This will be Febres’ third go-round with televised food shows. Last yearFebres appeared as a kitchen coach on an episode of Spike TV’s “Bar Rescue.” Then, in December, he was on “Guy’s Grocery Games”  hosted by food celeb Guy Fieri.

“Cutthroat Kitchen” premiered on the network in August, and each episode pits four chefs against each other cooking gourmet dishes for a celebrity judge. But there’s always an element of kitchen sabotage to keep things interesting.

Febres will watch the show at a sold-out watch party at Taste & See, 255 N. Washington.

Ben George the new chef at Siena Tuscan Steakhouse

Ben George, right, competing in a local chef competition

Ben George, right, competing in a local chef competition

Siena Tuscan Steakhouse, the restaurant inside the Ambassador Hotel at 104 S. Broadway,  has hired a chef to replace Marshall Roth, who left the restaurant earlier this month.

And the new chef’s face is familiar to Wichita foodies.

It’s Ben George, who most recently worked as the executive chef of Treat America at Beech Activity Center. Before that, he was at Tallgrass Country Club, and he also has worked at The Anchor. (Interesting trivia: George was in the running for the Siena job when the restaurant first opened. When the restaurant hired Roth, George took his old job at Treat America.)

George, famous for the magic he works with smoked pork and for his willingness to participate in all the various chef competitions around town, said he is planning major overhauls of the breakfast, lunch and dinner menus. He’ll make the changes in about a month, he said, and he’ll focus on the type of food Wichitans wants at prices they want to pay.

Stay tuned for news on the new menus.

Park n Pork BBQ food truck is rolling

Hungry people wait in line to sample the new Park n Pork BBQ food truck.

Hungry people wait in line to sample the new Park n Pork BBQ food truck. Photo by Park n Pork.

As promised, Jennifer and Brad Vieux got their Park n Pork BBQ food truck on the road last weekend.

The truck’s grand opening was on Saturday at the Red Barn outdoor market in Benton. Owners followed that up on Sunday with a turn at the monthly Food Trucks at the Fountain rally at WaterWalk.

Now, the truck is serving at various spots around town, and the Vieuxs are updating its location on its Facebook page.  The truck will be at Senior Aerospace, 2700 S. Custer, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Wednesday and at Cypress Surgery Center, 9300 E. 29th St. North, from 11 a.m. to 1  or 2 p.m. on Thursday.

On Friday, it’ll be at Parklane Shopping Center, 1081 S. Glendale, from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. And on Saturday, the truck will park from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Paramount East Antique Mall, 10187 U.S. Highway 54 in Augusta.

The truck serves smoked meat items such as pulled pork, brisket, ham, ribs, chicken, and specialty sandwiches plus homemade sides.

A cheesy report from the Midwest Winefest

Just look at all that cheesy goodness. Photo by Douglas Avenue Chop Shop.

Just look at all that cheesy goodness. Photo by Douglas Avenue Chop Shop.

I survived another Midwest Winefest, and it was a good one.

The event’s Grand Tasting on Saturday night filled two big halls at Century II with an abundance of wine and good food from local restaurants.

The most popular newcomer award definitely goes to the Douglas Avenue Chop Shop, whose booth had the longest line all evening. I kept going back hoping it would get shorter, but it never did.IMG_0328

Owner Schane Gross and head butcher Josh Rathbun also served an impressive spread of gourmet cheeses from its cheese case.

They also had samples of beautifully grilled meats throughout the evening. Rathbun ran back and forth like a crazy person from a grill set up just outside Century II.

Among the other memorable foods I sampled: Delicious oysters on the half shell from the Lakeside Club, a giant bacon-wrapped shrimp from Abuelo’s, a butterscotch pudding creation from the Marriott, some salted chocolates from Dean & DeLuca and a wonderful bite of flour-less chocolate cake from Il Vicino.

Brunch for a cause on Sunday at Sabor

10173769_10152160511074565_1554355234615479451_nIt’s that time of year when Wichitans determined to win the title of Man of the Year or Woman of the Year for the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society are out raising money.

You’ll notice fundraisers all over town, and several involve food.

One is being put on this Sunday as part of Naomi Arnold’s bid for the title. It’s a brunch at Sabor, 309 N. Mead, that will last from 1:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. (Usually, Sabor offers brunches only during holidays.)

For $20 a plate, brunchers will get eggs, bacon, sausage, potatoes, pastries, smoked salmon, fresh fruits, etc.

All proceeds will benefit the Leukemia & Lymphoma Society.

For more information, call 316-201-4880.

It’s Midwest Winefest weekend in Wichita

SOMMELIERSThe big weekend for Wichita wine fans has arrived.

The 19th annual Midwest Winefest, a fundraiser for Guadalupe Health Foundation, starts tonight with the Old Town Walkabout, an event that invites ticket holders to roam from restaurant to restaurant in the downtown entertainment district, sampling wine and food at every stop. I have somehow never managed to attend this event. The 400 or so available tickets always sell out within a day, and they did again this year.

Also sold out: The fancy Friday-night wine dinners planned at Chester’s Chophouse, Wichita Country Club and DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport.

But there are still tickets available to what I consider to be the can’t-miss part of the event: Saturday evening’s Grand Tasting at Century II. The tickets are only $60, and attendees can sample food from local restaurants and more than 350 different wines. And if you have some extra pocket change, you can bid on some expensive bottles of wine, a trip to Napa Valley or even a live puppy.

Read more about the event in my story, which will be printed int he Go! section on Friday but already is available for Internet savvy readers such as you.

Some Wichita Paneras getting drive-throughs, remodels, new ordering systems

New Market Square Panera Bread asst. manager Chris Dumbauld, rings up  customers Jackie Ehresman (L) and her sister Joan Bauer of Colorado Springs.     photo by brian cornLocal Panera franchisee Randy Simon has been busy working on plans to reconfigure some of his stores in Wichita to add drive-through windows and help simplify the ordering system. By this summer, Wichitans will begin noticing those changes, he said.

The plans include a remodel for the Central and Hillside store and the addition of drive-through windows at both the Rock Road and Ridge Road stores. Some of the locations may close down for up to five days early this summer to complete construction, but none will be closed at the same time, Simon said.

Following is a look at some of Simon’s summer plans:

Panera in College Hill, 3333 E. Central: Simon has determined that a drive-through will not work at the Central and Hillside Panera, but the store will get a significant remodel over the summer, both on the interior and exterior. When it’s done, the College Hill Panera also will test out the chain’s new “Panera 2.0”  ordering system, which allows customers to order online with their mobile devices or with touch-screen tablets in the store. Customers who aren’t comfortable with the new ordering system still will be able to order their food the way they always have, Simon said.

Panera at 1605 N. Rock Road: Simon is in the midst of final negotiations and design approval to add a drive-through to this location, which he thinks he can complete by July 4. The Rock Road Panera also will adopt the new Panera 2.0 ordering method.

Panera at 420 S. Ridge Road: Wichita’s newest Panera, which is attached to Freddy’s near Ridge and Maple, also will get a drive-through, though its cramped lot is presenting challenges. Simon says he’s working on getting additional parking for the restaurant and considering an addition to the south side of the restaurant that would add space onto the dining room. The drive-through would be on the east side of the restaurant and could be the type of double stall design that has helped the neighboring Freddy’s make a drive-through work on the small lot.

I’ll keep you updated as plans and dates are finalized.

Annual Lions Club pancake day is Thursday

FOODThe 56th annual Downtown Lions Club pancake day, an event that attracts about 2,000 people to Century II’s Exhibition Hall for all-you-can-eat pancakes plus sausage and coffee, is schedule for 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. Thursday.

Tickets are $6 in advance by calling 316-264-1610 and are available at the door. Money raised goes toward supporting free and assisted child care programs at the YMCA.

I went a few years ago, and it was delicious, though I’m still trying to wash the aroma of freshly flipped pancakes out of my clothes.

All-you-can-eat (and listen to) Mudbugs

Poor little fella

Poor little fella

The sixth annual Mudbug Madness, an all-you-can-eat craw fish extravaganza featuring music from the Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band, is this weekend at Prairie Pines, 4055 N. Tyler Road.

It starts at 5:30 p.m. both Friday and Saturday nights and offers ticket holders access to an old fashioned craw fish boil and Cajun buffet followed by Cajun music that has historically inspired a mega dance party.

And if you don’t know how to eat craw fish, don’t you worry. The band sings several instructional tunes.

MudbugMadness06

Tickets are $32.95 if purchased online by 5:30 p.m. Thursday and also can be purchased at the door for $37.95.

Ticket holders get access to the buffet plus non-alcoholic drinks. There will be a cash bar on site, and the band will play from 8 to 10:30 p.m.

For more information, call 316-303-2097.

An updated list of Easter brunch options

Last week, I published a list of restaurants in Wichita offering special Easter brunches, from lavish ham-and-prime-rib-laden buffets to plated breakfast dishes with $5 mimosas on the side.

Since then, I’ve learned of several more and have updated the list to include them.

Use it to make your Easter dining plans, and do it soon.

The big dining event is now only about 72 hours away.