Truffle fries are the new sweet potato fries

See up there? In the upper right-hand corner? Those are The Flying Stove's truffle fries, and they're fabulous.

I think I have a problem.

I can’t stop eating truffle fries. I had them THREE TIMES this weekend without even meaning to. This can’t be good.

For a while in Wichita, sweet potato fries were all the rage. Everyone was making them, from bars to fast-food restaurants. They’re still a thing, as evidenced by Sonic’s new sweet potato tots.

In Wichita, truffle fries are the new trend.

I had them Friday at lunch at AVI.  I had them Friday night, where they were among the many fabulous things being served by The Flying Stove at Botanica’s Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys.  And I had them again Saturday night in the Hyatt’s bar. Mike’s Wine Dive has them, too, only theirs are SWEET POTATO TRUFFLE FRIES, a heart-stopping mash-up of French fry trends.

Truffle fries become truffle fries when they’re tossed in truffle oil, an incredibly aromatic ingredient that’s hard to mistake. The smell and taste both are earthy, almost mushroomy. Nothing is worse than a dish doused in too much truffle oil. Nothing is better than a dish doused in just the right amount of truffle oil.

Anybody know of any other local restaurants with truffle fries? It’s been more than 36 hours since I last had some, and I need a fix.

Next week’s menu: Burgers, bottles and Bloody Marys

A cool shot I grabbed of my girls and me at Saturday's Midwest Winefest. Can you tell which one is me? We're like the Charlie's Angels of wine.

I’ve just now, at 3 p.m. on Monday, recovered from Saturday night’s Winefest enough to tell you a little bit about some more adult beverage-based events coming up next week.

I didn’t get too crazy at the Winefest, mind you. But the trip across the street to hang out at the bar of AVI probably was the opposite of what my group needed. (Amiright, Ben Arnold?) At least we were on foot!

The Winefest is one of my favorite food and beverage events of the year, and I never fail to have a great time. One of the highlights of this year’s events for me: The Dillon’s Marketplace booth, which was set up with a whole array of fabulous cheeses from the fancy Dillon’s cheese case. I sampled Merlot-flavored cheese, espresso-flavored cheese and raspberry-flavored cheese. The table also offered piles and piles of shaved Parmesan, which is only one of my favorite things on earth to nibble with wine.

And only two tables away, one of the vendors was serving up samples of Kim Crawford, one of our favorite Sauvignon Blancs. At some point, the kind pourer at the table wondered if we had sampled it enough to have decided whether we liked it. Woops.

Two more fun food and beverage events are coming up soon.

One is called Blooms, Brews & Bloody Marys and doubles as Botanica’s 25th Anniversary Kick-Off Party. The event will include a beer tasting by River City Brewery and a Bloody Mary competition among local bars and restaurants such as The Anchor, The Candle Club, Heroes, A.V.I., Newport Grill, Scotch & Sirloin and The Vagabond. The event also will feature food by The Flying Stove and music by Spirit of the Stairs. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on May 4, and tickets are $40 a person. Make your reservations here.

Chester’s Chophouse chef Bobby Lane is putting on a VinoBurger Cookbook tasting event at 6:30 p.m. on May 1. The event will be on Chester’s patio and is $40 a person. Lane will prepare two burgers of his own as well as two from the VinoBurger cookbook. The event includes five wine and four burger samples. RSVPs must be e-mailed to whitney@jacobliquor.com.

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 look at the AVI menu

AVI will open in about a month in the newly remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.

Ben Arnold just shared with me the new menu for AVI, the fine dining restaurant he plans to open in the newly remodeled Drury Plaza Broadview Hotel.

Created with input from new chef Adam Courtney (who replaced Jeremy Wade), the menu includes high-end dishes such as steak, veal and duck. There’s also a delightfully long list of entrees based around fish and seafood. (Maryland blue crab-stuffed flounder? Yes, please!)

Check it out by following this link. Arnold says that the restaurant is still on track for a mid-October opening. He offered me a tour, which I’ll take soon and report back.