Category Archives: Dining events

One-day sale on Mudbug Madness tix

A typical Mudbug Madness feast.

Wichitans don’t get a lot of chances to eat crawfish until they’re sick.

Prairie Pines finds that unacceptable.

From 5:30 to 10:30 p.m. on April 29 and 30, the venue at 4055 N. Tyler will host its third annual Mudbug Madness crawfish boil. Ticket holders will get all the crawfish they can eat plus homemade jambalaya, and music will be provided by local Cajun band, The Mudbugs. A cash bar also will be available.

Prairie Pines owner Kip Scott is testing Facebook effectivness today only by offering a ticket sale. The normal ticket price is $31.95, but anyone who calls  316-303-2037 and mentions “the Facebook deal” can get tickets for $24.95. I’d pick up the phone and call now, if I were you.

I’ll be there on Friday the 29th helping my friend Jaime, the Mudbugs drummer, sell her CDs. See you there. Aiiieeeeee!!

WWRE? (What will Republicans eat?)

The Gov. and her guy at the ball.

Tomorrow, I’ll head for scenic Topeka for a very exciting assignment: Covering the inaugural ball of Governor-elect Sam Brownback.

In preparing for the assignment, I revisited the story I wrote the last time I covered an inaugural ball: When Kathleen Sebelius first took office in 2003.

Always a food critic, I was a little harsh on the inaugural meal. A passage from my story, published on Jan. 14, 2003.

Soon, the dinner began arriving. The menu, which was top-secret until Monday night, had been rumored to include “Kansas comfort foods.”

But few guests were comforted by the main course.

Following a salad of “winter greens with sand plum honey dressing and toasted sunflower seeds,” inaugural attendees dug into large hunks of meat loaf made with a combination of buffalo and beef.

The verdict: Not too tasty.

Many said it was too dry, and one Wichitan, who insisted on remaining anonymous, described the dish as “high density.”

Dessert seemed to go over a bit better. The pear mincemeat tart – served with cranberry jalapeno sauce and sunflower brittle – was a recipe from Sebelius’ mother’s cookbook.

There’s no word yet on what the Brownback team plans to serve at the event, but you can count on me to not only describe it but also to do my level best to photograph it. Look for the story in Sunday’s paper and a food report on this blog on Monday.

Burger boy update

donavandugginsMaybe his burger is just THAT good. But I like to believe it’s the power of the Dining with Denise blog that has catupulted local burger boy Donovan Duggins to first place in Red Robin’s Kid’s Cookoff fan favorite award.

I reported last week that Donovan, a Robinson Middle School seventh grader was one of 10 finalists in the annual contest with is recipe for a spicy Mt. Vesuvius burger. The actual competition will take place a week from today in Colorado, but in the meantime, fans have been voting online for the peoples’ choice winner. And Donovan is in the lead!

Let’s keep it that way. You can vote for him once a day, every day at I’ll let you know how the contest turns out next week.

A sneak peek at Newport Grill

oeno1We’ve scheduled our second On the Town with Carrie and Denise event, and this one is big time.

The owners of Newport Grill, a fancy  new seafood restaurant that’s opening Monday, Dec. 6, in the old Cibola space at Bradley Fair, have agreed to let us in for an opening day preview. They’ll provide some appetizers and a cash bar, but this time, admission is $10 at the door. Proceeds will benefit the Kansas Food Bank.

I’m pretty sure it will be worth it. The owners of Newport Grill are the same people behind Yia Yia’s Eurobistro, and the interior of the new restaurant — which has been totally remodeled — was already pretty stunning.

The fun lasts from 5 to 7 p.m. Will I see you there?

Free food Tuesday

pancakesI’m back from my dreamy but way-too-short jaunt to Arizona, where I amazingly ate in very few restaurants. Instead, I did a whole lot of cooking and made some of my favorite recipes, including guacamole, Harvarti lavash, and this amazing steak.

But I digress.

I’m back and ready to blog, starting with a report about two ways to eat for free tomorrow.

The first is at local Jimmy’s Egg restaurants, which celebrates two years in Wichita on Tuesday. As a thank you to customers, the restaurants will offer a free short stack of pancakes, either buttermilk or whole wheat, all day on Tuesday. Wichita has five Jimmy’s Eggs.

Also, Cold Stone Creamery at 3000 N. Rock Road and 2441 N. Maize Road, is offering free samples of its eight-layer cakes from 5 to 8 p.m. on Tuesday. Quilted coffee caramel and cake batter layers are among the flavors offered. To see pictures of these tempting towers of ice creamy goodness, visit the website — or the store.

Deli Day deliciousness

Potato latkes are on the menu at Deli Day.

Potato latkes are on the menu at Deli Day.

First the Asian Festival and now this?

Food gods, what have I done to deserve this?

Sunday is the annual Deli Day at Congregation Emanu-El in Wichita. It’s a fundraising event that offers New York deli-style food, including matzo ball soup, corned beef sandwiches, brisket platters, latkes, challah, Israeli tomato and cucumber salad and more.

Attendees pay $14 and are seated and offered a choice of entrees. The meal includes sides, dessert and a drink. Diners also can shop a take-out area for food to-go. Tours of the temple will be offered from noon to 2 p.m, and singer/actor Shaun-Michael Morse will provide live entertainment from 5 to 7 p.m.

Deli Day lasts from 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday at Congregation Emanu-El
7011 E. Central. For more information, call 316-684-5148.

Paradise found

Saturday night’s Asian Festival was even more amazing than I thought possible. We were overwhelmed with deliciousness, and it was hard to choose what to eat. Jaime made this little video showing some of our dining adventures.

My favorite thing I ate come from the booth of the folks who made the much-hyped dosa. It was some type of a lentil soup with all manners of vibrant, spicy chutneys and sauces on top.

I can’t believe this was my first time at the festival, but it won’t be my last.

Chicken champ

My big food adventure this weekend was judging the Midwest Beerfest’s brand new chicken wing competition, which was sort of risky considering it was the first food I’d eaten since recovering from the 24-hour stomach flu.

The wings were good, as were my co-judges, local television personality Sierra Scott and “The Good Life Guy” (and Beerfest founder) Guy Bower.

We gave the “Best of Show” prize to Bubba’s Nekked BBQ, which presented a wing with layers of flavor, including a hint of cinnamon and a nice kick of spice. The originality prize went to The Anchor, whose chef Ben George brought a tasty Thai wing that he punctuated with spicy Sriracha sauce.  That wing also earned The Anchor the people’s choice award.

Other worthy competitors included Hooter’s, When Pig’s Fly, Dad’s, and Fox and Hound.

My weakened stomach handled the wings fine, but sadly, it wasn’t up for much beer. Maybe next year. Cheers to my Beerfest date Jaime Green for making the above video.

Sample the Shockolate

Shockolates_Horiz_optLocal chocolatiere Cocoa Dolce has partnered with Wichita State University for a very tasty new project with a very clever name — Shockolates!

It’s fun to say, especially of you say it with a French pronunciation (like the movie starring Juliette Binoche.)

Cocoa Dolce owner Beth Tully, who went to WSU, has created three ways to enjoy Shockolate — in milk chocolate bar form, as a solid chocolate “Wu on a Stick,” or (my preference) in a little variety box that includes six pieces, including the famous champgange ball and a chocolate bite meticulosly painted with a the image of WuShock. I taste tested them, you know, for quaility control, and can report with confidence that they taste as good as they look.

They’re available at the Cocoa Dolce store in Bradley Fair, online at, in the WSU Bookstore and at concession stands in Charles Koch Arena during WSU athletic events.

On Saturday, Cocoa Dolce will put on a launch party from 1 to 3 p.m. at the Bradley Fair store. Attendees can have their pictures taken with WuShock, sample Schokolates and get WSU mementos. Admission is free.

Ahem, Beth Tully, how about Jayhawkolates next?

Fish fry!!!!

friedcatfishThe Artichoke, the bluegrassy bar with a killer sandwich menu at 811 N. Broadway, is showing its customers appreciation this weekend with a good ole fashioned fish fry.

This is the 27th annual customer appreciation fish fry, and the bar will be serving up free catfish, hushpuppies, red beans and rice and fixings starting at 6 p.m. on Saturday.

The event lasts from 4 to midnight and also will feature a benefit auction for the Kansas Acoustic Arts Association and an open mic from 4 to 11 p.m. For more information, call 316-269-2784.