Category Archives: Out-of-town dining

What I ate on my vacation

Me and my salmon.

Me and my salmon.

I’m back from my vacation and totally refreshed. Well, partially.

I had a good week off, and the highlight, of course, was food. The second half was spent in the Kansas City area, where my sister, Annie, lives. She “hired” me (read: volunteered me) to cater an open house at her schmancy new optometry office.

Let’s start with the restaurant headlines. The most memorable place we dined was a restaurant called Piropos Grille, a quaint South American place built at the top of a hill in Parkville, Mo . The food was great — I had lobster ravioli,  my dad had some killer pork chops, and my sister tried the grouper. But the atmosphere was what made it. Highly recommend.

Annie and I at the fabulous Piropos Grille in Parkville, Mo.

Annie and I at the fabulous Piropos Grille in Parkville, Mo.

My sister and I also had an afternoon lunch (and a couple of vacation lunchtime martinis) at the beloved Cheesecake Factory. I thought of you, Wichita, while I dined there. Though I’m still not as excited about it as I feel I should be. Annie and I split a crab cake sandwich (eh) and an order of spring rolls (ho-hum.) We also made another visit to Succotash, one of my favorite breakfast places in Kansas City.

Annie enjoying our one-martini lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

Annie enjoying our one-martini lunch at The Cheesecake Factory.

The highlight of my vacation, though, probably was my catering job, which went off without a hitch. (Except for a few too-crunchy crostini.) I served smoked salmon, chicken and black bean empanadas, roasted garlic crostini, baked brie and more.

Now that I’m well-fed and refreshed, I’m ready to refocus myself on the fine cuisine of Wichita. Starting…now.

Food worth driving for: Part II

watermarkgenos.jpg 003I’ve finally written my second installment in the two-part “Food Worth Driving For” series. (It was delayed a couple of weeks by my last-minute need to write about Taste of Wichita.)

Part II contains several interesting spots, including Geno’s BarB-Q, a restaurant built in a tiny, adorable little house that’s filled with antiques and the smell of smoky meats. Owned by Gene and Betty Washington, it has been open 16 years but only opens its doors on Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays.

The story will be sent out in my Dining with Denise newsletter this afternoon and will be published in the Go! section in Friday’s paper.

You also can re-read Part I if you so desire.

Food worth the drive

Everyone knows about Carriage Crossing in Yoder and Luciano’s in Mulvane.

But other tiny communities that surround Wichita are home to lesser-known restaurants that are worth the drive.

This week in Go! I’ll publish Part I of a two-part list of restaurants you might want to check out next time your stomach is empty and your gas tank is full. One is The Breadbasket in Newton, which Jaime and I selflessly investigated on Tuesday morning. You can see Jaime’s video of The Breadbasket’s resident baker at work if you click “play” above.

Wanted: Funky cool breakfast spot

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Any time I travel and visit a funky cool breakfast spot, as I did this weekend in Kansas City, I always wonder why Wichita does not have such a place.

Don’t get me wrong — I like our breakfast options here. The Beacon’s Traditional is one of my all-time favorite dishes, and I could live on Copper Oven’s skillets and Riverside Cafe’s breakfast burritos.

But many other cities have fun and offbeat little breakfast places that specialize in cool decor and unique dishes, utilizing vegetables, fresh ingredients and out-of-the-box recipes.

Yesterday morning, I visited Succotash in Kansas City — a fun and delicious spot with thrift store light fixtures, white pleather lounge chairs for booths and servers with beehive blonde buns piled hiply atop their heads.  And the food was killer. The above pic is of my breakfast, a banana walnut French toast made with super thick bread and drizzled in caramel sauce, served with a side of scrumptious bacon and two over-easy eggs.

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My sister, Annie,  had an omelet overflowing with veggies, including thick portabello mushrooms and fresh spinach. The toast was made from a homemade bread, laced ever-so-slightly with a garlic flavoring. She also sampled a bizarre fresh-made-juice, made of blended carrot, celery, cucumber, tomato, parsley, beet, ginger, garlic, spinach and jalapeño. I thought it looked repulsive, but she loved it.

I’ve visited other unique breakfast places on other trips, including Orange in Chicago (home of the Fruity Pebble pancakes) and Aretha Frankenstein’s in Chattanooga (home of the Waffle of Insane Greatness).

I’d love to see something like that pop up here. Hint hint hint.