Velvet Cream Bakery’s bite of heaven

Kelly Duggan, owner of Velvet Cream Bakery and the winning dessert maker at Saturday's Cocktails & Cookies event.

Saturday night’s Cocktails & Cookies event at the Drury Plaza Broadview once again sent me into a sugar coma, but I regained consciousness in time to gather all the pertinent information about the Chef of the Hour, Kelly Duggan.

Duggan is the owner of Velvet Cream Bakery, and her cookie truffle was the winning dessert at the event, in which local chefs try to create the best dessert using Girl Scout Cookies as one of the ingredients. This is the second year I’ve helped judge at the event, which is a fundraiser for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland. It’s a tough job…

Duggan, who started her bakery out of her home two years ago, created an amazing bite of lemon heaven she called a “cookie truffle.”

She used the Lemonades Girl Scout cookies, combining them with cream cheese for a soft center that she encased in white chocolate and topped with a limoncello lemon curd. (She’s posted the recipe on her blog.)

My fellow judges, KSN personality Barbara Baan and Old Chicago East manager Sean DiGiovanni, and I were pretty united in our love of her citrus-y creation, which packed a lot of flavor into a little package.

Duggan also told me that soon she will begin selling her cake pops and cake truffles out of W.O.W. Cakes, a wedding cake business at 2724 N. Amidon.

Cocktails & Cookies had an awesome invention called FanCam, sort of a social media photo booth. Here are me and my date, the lovely Katie Grover.

All the desserts were pretty fabulous, and other entrants included Chef Ben George of Tallgrass Country Club and Adam Courtney of AVI.

You’ll have another chance to sample Duggan’s creations at next month’s Death by Chocolate, an Exploration Place fundraiser scheduled for March 31.

I’m a judge at that one, too, so I’m already prepping for my next sugar coma.

Cafe Comotara joins the breakfast crowd

Denise and Ben Arnold, owners of Corporate Caterers and restaurants such as Cafe Comotara and AVI.

Cafe Comotara, the restaurant Corporate Caterers’ Ben Arnold opened last summer in the former Chelsea’s space at 2949 N. Rock Road, started serving a pretty fabulous looking weekend breakfast menu earlier this month.

Arnold always planned to add breakfast to the offerings at the restaurant, which is open for Monday through Saturday lunch and rented out for private functions in the evening. Breakfast is available from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturdays and Sundays. The lunch menu also is available from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. those days.

Bluebird Bistro Benny.

The menu, which you can see here, features Chef Adam Courtney’s Eggs Benedict, which I recently heard from a reader are some of the best she’s ever had. It includes several other interesting breakfast concoctions that are a step above the regular eggs/bacon/hashbrowns offered at many local breakfast spots.

If you keep scrolling down on the breakfast menu, you can see what Cafe Comotara has for lunch, too.

Speaking of breakfast, I was in Kansas City over the weekend and my sister took me to one of my favorite breakfast spots, the funky and fabulous Bluebird Bistro. Just thought I’d share a picture of the fabulous Eggs Benedict I ordered yesterday morning, made with pulled pork and polenta.

I ate it all.

A.V.I.’s official opening date: Nov. 21

A.V.I. Sea Bar & Chophouse, the restaurant that’s going into the newly remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel, has a pretty new sign — and an official opening date.

Owner Ben Arnold, who’s partnering with local chef Adam Courtney on the restaurant, told me yesterday that it will open on Nov. 21. Arnold has been waiting on an elevator from Canada that has been delayed, delayed and then delayed again. He’s decided to stop waiting and open, though the elevator is supposed to arrive in a couple of weeks.

Once open, A.V.I.’s hours will be 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Mondays through Thursdays, 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Fridays and Saturdays and 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sundays. The restaurant’s bar will be open later.

I peeked my head in while I was shooting the pic of the sign yesterday, and crews were busy finishing up the interior, which included muted, classy colors, a stone wall and a balcony overlooking the main dining room. I have plans to meet Arnold for a tour next week.

While you wait, feel free to study the menu. And check out the cool sign I shot a few weeks ago at the Broadview while hanging with the Democrats.The guy in the red coat is Courtney.

The chef shuffle explained

Shuffle-y chef Adam Courtney, soon-to-be of A.V.I.

This week’s dining story focuses on what I like to call the “chef shuffle,” which happens a lot on Wichita’s restaurant scene.

Our city has a small community of talented local chefs, who always can be counted on to cook good food — then go cook good food somewhere else.

In short, they like to move around, always on the lookout for the best opportunity and the most freedom to cook the kind of food they want to cook.

Hurry up and read it before one of the chefs featured moves and makes my story untrue!!!

A chef’s secret, shared

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Crystal and Brian Mangers

I’ve never had a non-interesting experience at the Candle Club, and last night was no exception.

I was invited by my foodie friend Bill Pearce, who’s a member of the dimly-lit, throwback supper club at 6135 E 13th St N., to come try some of the  items new Chef Adam Courtney has added to the menu.

He’d also invited Uptown Bistro’s executive chef Brian Mangers, who brought his very fun wife Crystal. Crystal has an affinity for unusual foods, and at her request, our dinner included frog legs and a big, huge plate of chicken livers, which she enthusiastically drowned with Tabasco before gobbling down.

Then, Brian and Crystal shared an (I’m assuming) little-known food fact: The best chicken innards  in town, they say, are the fried chicken gizzards served at Jezebel’s, an “ahem” gentelman’s club at 4520 E. 47th St. south.

“I would shut my eyes and go to Jezebels just for the gizzards,” Brian said.

See? Never not interesting at the Candle Club.