Category Archives: Lebanese food

Byblos is now open just for lunch

Byblos is now open just for lunch.

People who want to have Byblos delicious Lebanese cuisine for dinner are going to have to start planning ahead at lunch.

The restaurant at 3088 W. 13th St , owned by Ilham Saad, no longer has evening hours. It’s open just for lunch — from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays.

Saad said that she cut back on her hours at the urging of her daughters. They all are grown and have families and jobs of their own now, she said, and none are able to be in the restaurant. Saad and her husband and restaurant co-owner, Kamal, opened the restaurant in 1989. He died in 2009.

Saad works alone in the kitchen now and needs to slow down, she said.

“I love my job. I love my work,” she said. “But I’ve been doing this for 24 years.”

For more information, call Byblos at 316-943-3999

Mediterranean festival to become more festival-ish

Kafta will be added to the menu at Saturday’s Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church.

The annual Mediterranean Festival at St. Mary Orthodox Christian Church — a celebration of Mediterranean food — will be a little different than it’s been in the past.

For one, the festival — which is scheduled for 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday  at the church, 344 S. Martinson – will be put on for just one day rather than two. The Orthodox Easter, which was last weekend, conflicted with the preparation schedule, necessitating the change this year.

Also, organizers this year are trying to make the festival a little bit more festival-ish. In the past, attendees ordered food, ate food and left. This year, the event will feature an outdoor tent, where people can dine al fresco, listen to Arabic music and watch Arabic dancing. They also can watch and sniff as church members grill kafta and chicken kebabs. (Kafta - lean ground beef, mixed with onion and spices, then grilled and served in a pita with a garlicky minty sauce – has been added to the menu this year. Stuffed grape leaves have been taken off.)

“When people hear the words, ‘Mediterranean Festival,’ they expect dancing and music and fun, not just walking through a buffet line and getting food,” said Alison Pike, one of the orgnaizers. “We are trying to make it feel more like a true festival.”

Attendees can order items such as kibbe, baklawa and meat pies a la carte in advance by calling ll 316-264-1576. They also can show up and dine in, either indoors or outdoors, or carry out. The festival also features a “market,” which will be expanded this year, that sells items such as pita bread, salad dressing and more.

Well-known chef will staff schwarma truck

Melad Stephan has hired Roni Attari to cook in his new food truck.

Old Town Square restaurateur Melad Stephan’s long-awaited food truck should hit the streets sometime next week, and it’ll be staffed by a familiar face.

Roni Attari, who has owned several restaurants in town over the years — most recently Pitas & Paninis at 602 N. Tyler — left a job working in the kitchen at Lakeside Club to cook in the yet-to-be-officially-named truck.

The truck will specialize in authentic Lebanese fare, Attari said. It will have schwarma, hummus, Lebanese soups and rotating specials, among other things. Once launched, the truck will be stationed at a different spot around Wichita every day.

At the moment, Roni and Stephan’s son, Jordan, are working on final details for the truck. They’re designing logos and trying to choose a name from three finalists.

I’ll let you know when the truck is ready to roll.

Win two St. George Lebanese dinner tickets

A big ole tray of St. George-made baklawa

The folks putting together this weekend’s 79th Annual Lebanese Dinner at St. George Orthodox Christian Cathedral have given me two tickets to give away to Dining with Denise blog readers.

The tickets, valued at $16 each, are good for two dinners of kibba, a rice and green bean dish called ruz and yuknee, cabbage rolls, pita, salad and baklawa. They’re being served dine-in or to-go from 4 to 8 p.m. Saturday and from noon to 7 p.m Sunday at the church, 7515 E. 13th St.

For more information about the dinner, you can call 316-636-4676.

If you want to win the tickets, post a comment on this blog post. We’ll draw a winner at random at noon on Wednesday. If you win, you’ll have to pick the tickets up at the Wichita Eagle, 825 E. Douglas, during our customer service hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. weekdays.


Winner, winner, Lebanese dinner

St. George's, home of this weekend's big Lebanese dinner.

Thanks to the 33 people who competed to win the tickets to this weekend’s St. George’s 78th Annual Lebanese Dinner and Food Sale. I drew a winner at random (using this cool find-a-winner-at-random website), and it was Victoria Nguyen, who was very excited and said she’s always wanted to attend the dinner.

I thought I’d use this opportunity to share with you a couple of the other pretty pictures I took when out interviewing the St. George folks earlier this week.

Volunteer Freeda David prepared a whole bunch of butter for clarifying. Being around all that butter made me a little dizzy with excitement.

I wish I could adequately describe how good this pool of clarifying butter smelled. Has anyone thought of filling a hot tub with this stuff?

Here’s a closeup of the delicious stuffed cabbage leaves that are included in the dinner. They’re filled with a magnificent mixture of meat and rice.

Very few foods make me happier than kibbe. I even like to say the name. Kibbe. Kibbe. Kibbe.

Would you just look at all those sweet baklawa layers?

You have my permission to download this and use it as your wallpaper.

Confession: Given the opportunity, I could eat all this baklawa by myself.

Question of the week: Who makes the best hummus?

All this Lebanese dinner talk has me craving kibbe and hummus and fattouch. In fact, I had to dash in to La Galette this afternoon to grab their fattouch, which is topped with the most amazing and fabulous pink-hued dressing.

But in Wichita — which is quite possibly the Lebanese cuisine capitol of THE COUNTRY — hummus is probably the star.

Local restaurants all do their hummus a little differently. Some is more creamy. Some is topped with pine nuts. Some is sprinkled with delightfully crunchy whole chickpeas.

In your opinion, which local restaurant serves the best hummus? And what do you like about it? Answer in the comments section below.

In memory of Julia: Lebanese cooking secrets

Michael Bayouth and the famous booklet.

Michael Bayouth’s beloved mother, Julia, died on Aug. 1 of last year, and he still misses her.

As the anniversary of her death approaches, Michael was looking for some way to officially remember her. He decided he’d order up another printing of one of his mother’s most famous projects — a recipe booklet full of Lebanese recipes compiled by Julia and her sister, Helen Jabara, more than 35 years ago when both were congregants at St. George Orthodox Cathedral.

The paper booklet is called “Our Favorite Lebanese Recipes,” and over the years, thousands of copies have been sold.

Julia Bayouth

It includes instructions for making everything from tahini sauce to tabbouleh to meat pies to baklava. You might recall that St. George is the home of a popular annual Lebanese dinner, and Julia was a big part of that event in her time.

The booklets are on sale again and available for $2.50 apiece at Jabara Carpet Outlet, 1816 N. Broadway, or by calling Michael at 316-686-5104.