Category Archives: Vegetarian food

New food truck will serve healthy, vegan fare

1457488_618788678181233_1852091059_nRochelle Collins lost both her parents to cancer over the past five years.

It was a horrible experience, she said, and it caused her to become a bit of an expert in holistic healing and clean eating.

Collins plans to mix that knowledge and her own culinary skills to open a new food truck, which she’ll call Kind Kravings. (She already has a Facebook page up and running.)

“It’s become my passion to try to bring that to Wichita,” she said.

The business, which will be set up in a vintage trailer she found, should be open by late spring or early summer. It will serve the kinds of healthy, vegan fare Collins has been eating since her parents got sick.

Menu items, she said, will include dishes such as lettuce wraps, bean wraps, rice bowls and vegan manicotti.

The vintage trailer Rochelle Collins will use for her new food truck.

The vintage trailer Rochelle Collins will use for her new food truck.

“It’s a healthy spin on fast food,” she said.

She also plans to use disposable plates, forks and napkins that are all biodegradable.

Collins said this is her first foray into the restaurant business. For the past several years, she said, she’s been hosting vegan dinner parties for friends, who urged her to start some kind of restaurant.

Her initial plan is to take the truck to festivals and events where funnel cakes and Pronto Pups usually are the only options. If she gets e big enough following, she said, she’ll start taking the truck out over the lunch hour, Flying Stove style.

I’ll keep you updated on her progress.

d’Sozo chef still planning new place

Chef Miguel Larcher

When Chef Miguel Larcher bought vegan restaurant d’Sozo from former owner Larry Cook back in December, his plans were to close it and reopen it with a new name.

He did — briefly. Larcher called the restaurant Miguel’s Eat-In Cafe, and he said he’d continue to operate at the original location at 1812 S. Seneca until he found a new location.

That didnt’ last, and he ended up closing to devote himself to the search. He thought he had a place picked out last week in downtown Wichita, but at the last minute, the deal fell through. Larcher now says he has a line on a few other spaces that look good. He hopes to be reopen by the end of this year.

In the meantime, Larcher is about to publish a new cookbook. It’s called “Three Olives – Of the Sea” and will be ready in July. It’ll feature vegan recipes and will be avaialable in local bookstores.

I’ll let you know when he finds a spot.

The crepes remain at Lotus Leaf

I told you a few weeks ago about changes planned at Lotus Leaf,  the restaurant at  613 W. Douglas.

Owner Jacquelyn Keefer had just hired new chef Rebecca Gold and was rededicating herself to her original vision for the restaurant, which inlcuded the healthiest of health food dishes. She was considering eliminating crepes all together.

Keefer and Gold now have completed the new menu, and some crepes made the cut. There are also several tempting sounding vegetarian dishes, including a sweet potato crepe and a black bean and quinoa burger.

Hours are 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays, 11 am. to 8 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays, 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Thursdays and Fridays and 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Saturdays. For more information, call 316-295-4133.

Zen Vegetarian adding meat, changing name

Two years after opening as one of Wichita’s first meat-free restaurants, Zen Vegetarian Cuisine at 3101 N. Rock Road is changing its approach — and its name.

Starting on May 1, Zen will be known as Oh Yeah China Bistro and will add meat dishes to its menu. Owner Shu Tsao, who previously operated Chinatown out of the space before remodeling it and adopting a Chinese vegetarian menu.

Tsao bought out her partner, Alan Hsu, so her daughter will move to Wichita from Houston to help manage the restaurant. Her husband, Robert Liao, will remain in the kitchen.

There just weren’t enough customers to support the business, said Tsao, who is a vegetarian. “It’s just not big enough,” she said of the vegetarian community in Wichita. “But they said, ‘We’ll still come if you keep our favorite dishes.’”

Tsao says she will keep many of Zen’s most popular meat-free dishes on the menu but will add back more traditional, sweet-and-sour-chicken type dishes plus Korean, Thai and Vietnamese fare.

Tsao also will add beer and wine to her offerings and will deliver within a four-mile radius of the restaurant.

For more information, call the restaurant at 316-425-7700.

Chef Chat: d’Sozo’s Miguel Larcher

I spent the afternoon yesterday with Miguel Larcher, the fascinating head chef at d’Sozo, the year-old vegan restaurant at 1812 S. Seneca.

Larcher is a Martinique-born cook who trained both at home and in Nice, France. His food is strictly vegan, and his talents are in high demand.

On Friday, we’ll publish this story, which contains the conversation I had with Larcher. What I couldn’t fit in the paper (he’s just too interesting) is information about his candlelight dinners and cooking classes, which he puts on regularly in the cavernous restaurant.

The dinners happen on the first and third Tuesdays of each month and feature a menu of fancy vegan dishes. A recent Tuesday night dinner featured a beef dumpling served with a curry emulsion, a stuffed cucumber gazpacho, a three-frut granita and saffron tamale with a fricasse of oyster mushrooms. Dessert was infused lime and apple Streusel caramel crepes. Yum. The dinners are $30 a person and are staged in a separate room with candlelight, harp and violin music and a rose. Call for reservations.

Larcher also puts on a variety of cooking classes covering topics such as knife skills and bread baking, and there are classes for kids, too. For more information, call the restaurant at 316-295-4498 or visit the website.

Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie opening in Delano

lotuslogoThere’s a new healthy, crepe-y place going in the former Palette spot in Delano.

On Monday, local acupuncturist Jacquelyn Keefer will open Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie at 613 W. Douglas in Delano.

The restaurant will serve breakfast, lunch and dinner, including sweet and savory crepes, panini sandwiches, soups and dinner entrees such as tandoori chicken and salmon nicoise. About half of the menu offerings are vegetarian/vegan, Keefer said, and she’ll also serve natural juices and wheatgrass.

“Delano is fabulous for a place like this,” Keefer said. “The people down here are a little more alternative new-agey.”

Once open, the restaurant’s hours will be 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays. For more information, call 316-295-4133.

Showering in public

I love me a good steak, but how can I say no to a video of a couple of vegans showering in public?

Thanks for the effort, Jaime Green. Burgers later?

Vegetarian dining

20070613 Fresh foodA reader named Barbara wrote over the weekend to pose a commonly asked question: Where can vegetarians find the best dishes in Wichita?

Barbara noted that she loves the vegetarian offerings at The Anchor, where juicy portobello sandwiches are on the menu, but she wondered where else she should try.

Following are a few of my suggestions. By all means, chime in if you can think of others.

1. D’Sozo, 1812 S. Seneca: This restaurant isn’t very old and opened in sort of an unexpected area. But it has a trained vegetarian chef preparing very good vegan and vegetarian dishes. When I reviewed it a few months ago, I was impressed with some fresh and fabulous soups and sandwiches, and the chef offers daily specials as well.

2. Zen Vegetarian Cuisine, 3101 N. Rock Road: This vegetarian Asian restaurant does a great job of preparing food that eliminates meat but not flavor. The chef experiments with lots of meat substitutes and fills dishes full of fresh veggies. I’ve heard they updated their menu recently, but I need to investigate.

3.  Maharaja, 3008 W. Central: Indian food is a good choice for vegetarians, and Maharaja offers several exotic uses of the green and leafy-s. The chefs care about vegetarians, so much so that they recently put on a special all-vegetarian dinner.

What am I missing?