New chefs Cooking at Bonnie’s Place

Bonnie Aieschliman regularly schedules local chefs to lead classes at her Cooking at Bonnie’s Place at 9747 E. 21st St., and she’s had several loyal teachers over the years, from Bocconcini’s Nathan Toubia to Carrabba’s Joe Parten.

Now, Bonnie has persuaded a new batch of chefs to come share their skills.

YaYa’s chef O.J. Moore will lead a cooking class at Cooking at Bonnie’s Place on Thursday.

The first class will be led on Thursday night by O.J. Moore, who took over last summer as executive chef at YaYa’s Euro Bistro, 8115 E. 21st St. N. 

He will be demonstrating how to make several of the dishes he’s recently added to the YaYa’s menu, including a pan-seared diver scallop with saffron orzo and lemon beurre blanc as will as a brined Yoder pork chop over spatzle.

Then, regular guest teacher Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder from Bella Vita Bistro at 120 N. West St. will do an Italian menu featuring seafood crepes at 6:30 p.m. on Monday.

And at 6:30 p.m. on  March 12, Pietro DeFazio, owner of DeFazio’s at 2706 N. Amidon, will show how to make dishes such as potato gnocchi and beef braciole.

Each of the classes cost $50 a person and includes food.

Visit Bonnie’s website or call 316-425-5224 to make a reservation.

Take mom out for Mother’s Day

Larkspur offers a brunch buffet only on Mother's Day each year.

I’ve rounded up my annual list of restaurants putting on special meals for moms on Sunday.

It has the usual list of hotel buffets and restaurants offering all manners of brunchy overindulgence.

I wrote the story when I was hungry, and I was most intrigued by the special Mother’s Day menus being offered at Bella Vita Bistro, which is offering dishes such as an andouille-stuffed pork loin and prosciutto and basil-wrapped chicken breast, and by the special brunch menu Sabor is serving up. Biscuits and chorizo gravy? Yes and yum.

Diners also will want to pay attention to the fact that Larkspur is offering a Mother’s Day buffet. This is the only time of year they join the holiday buffet foray.

Peruse my list and make your Mother’s Day reservations pronto.

Bella Vita, Chapada both add lunch

Two west-side restaurants have recently added lunch to their list of offerings.

Just yesterday, Bella Vita Bistro at 120 N. West St. began offering a four-day-a-week lunch. On Tuesdays, Wednesdays, Thursdays and Fridays, the Italian restaurant will open from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., offering a special lunch menu that includes salads, soups, sandwiches, wraps and pasta dishes  for around $7.95 to $9.95. Call 316-941-4500 for more information.

Also, Chapada Chophouse & Churrascaria at 2142 N. Tyler also has started opening for lunch. The restaurant offers its regular menu from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Mondays through Saturdays, adding the churrascaria (tableside shaved meats) option at 4 p.m. The meats and the regular menu are both available all day on Sundays. Chapada’s hours are 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Sundays through Thursdays and 11 a.m. to midnight Fridays and Saturdays. Call 316-201-4694 for more information.

Bella Vita expansion is complete

Lory Wooley, left, Crystal Prud Homme DeLodden and head chef Adrian Prud Homme DeLodden.

Bella Vita Bistro, the Italian restaurant that’s one of West street’s best-kept secrets, just finished an expansion that’s added a bar and 32 more seats.

Owner Lory Wooley, who along with her daughter, Crystal, and Crystal’s chef husband Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder, opened Bella Vita in early 2010, took over the space next door formerly occupied by a nail salon and spent the past six weeks feverishly remodeling it.

The expansion, which doubled the size of the restaurant to 2,400 square feet, will allow it to cut down on sometimes long weekend-night waits,

“We were turning too many people away,” Wooley said. “I hated to do that.”

The expansion also will give Bella Vita the ability to host small events such as business meetings and wedding rehearsal dinners.

In other Bella Vita news: The restaurant is putting on a special plated New Year’s Eve dinner, which will include five courses for $50 a person. It’s taking reservations now.

Bella Vita Bistro is at 120 N. West St. For more information, call 316-941-4500.

Little bites of restaurant stuff

Check out Bella Vita's new sign. Hopefully, it'll make the restaurant more visible to passers-by.

I’ve been collecting little restaurant details that I thought I’d better share. Consider this entry to be blog tapas, if you will.

1. Bella Vita’s new sign: For a long time, I’ve thought that Bella Vita Bistro, a good but previously hard-to-find restaurant at 120 N. West St., could use better signage. It sits way back off the road in a strip center, and if you didn’t know it was there, you wouldn’t know it was there. I noticed the other day that the restaurant now has a new sign — a big one, right up next to the street. Good move.

2. Seal Team Six at Wichita Brewing Co & Pizzeria: Owner Jeremy Horn called today to tell me about a special beer he’s brewed and titled “Seal Team Six,” a nod to the Navy Seals team that captured Osama Bin Laden. It’s a black IPA, which he describes as “dark like a Porter, without the roasted character, and hopped.” (Sounds strong.) He’s brewed only five barrels of it, meaning it should be available for another month. Today, in honor of Veteran’s Day, he’s serving goblets — normally $5.50 — for $4.50.

3. Adrian’s menu update: George Matta from Adrian’s at 2121 N. Rock Road asked me to let people known about some of his new menu items, including a 14 oz. T-bone steak served with roasted potatoes and vegetables; a stuffed pork tenderloin filled with spinach and walnuts and topped with an apple Brandy cranberry sauce; and a grilled chicken Parmesan served with vegetables and spaghetti or roasted potatoes. Matta also says he’s considering adding a Sunday brunch to his offerings.

4. Bonnie’s latest chef classes: Bonnie Aeschliman of Cooking at Bonnie’s Place, 9747 E. 21st St. N., has two more chef classes on her schedule. There are still a few seats left for Tuesday’s session with Tallgrass Country Club chef Ben George, who will be demonstrating “West Coast Fusion” style cooking. And speaking of Bella Vita, the restaurant’s chef, Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder, will be teaching an Asian cooking class on Nov. 29. Both classes start at 6:30 p.m. and cost $45 a person. Make reservations here.

Question of the week: Best family-owned restaurants

Family members of the late Connie Lopez, who still run Connie's Mexico Cafe at 2227 N. Broadway.

I’ve written over the years about several restaurants that are owned and run by members of a family. Some that come to mind: DeFazio’s, Bella Vita Bistro, Old Mill Tasty Shop, Connie’s Mexico Cafe, Saigon and La Galette, who’s 25th anniversary I wrote about this week.

What’s your favorite family-owned, family-run restaurant in Wichita?

Answer in the comments section below.

Farwell, Carino’s

In case you haven’t heard, Wichita has lost another restaurant. This time, it’s Johnny Carino’s, the Italian chain that opened in 2004 at 3213 N. Toben Road.

Don’t know where that is? Well, that was part of the problem, in my estimation. I had some pretty good meals at Carino’s in its early days, though in later visits, things seemed to have declined. But it was pretty difficult to get to the place. You could see it from K-96, but you had to find the right exit and the right twisty side-road to actually get into the parking lot. I have to believe the same problem did in neighboring Ted’s Montana Grill and Fritz Co. Grill (though another restaurant is now taking over that space.)

The exit of Johnny Carino’s, which closed on Wednesday, makes Wichita’s Italian restaurant pool even smaller, which might be good news for DeFazio’s, Marchello’s and Bella Vita Bistro.

It has to have A FLAVOR

Carter Green loves food as much as I do, or maybe more. Not sure I would have eaten this head-on fish he devoured on his honeymoon last year.

Carter Green loves food as much as I do, or maybe more. Not sure I would have eaten this head-on fish he devoured on his honeymoon last year.

I love people who love food as much as I do, and one of those people is my best friend Jaime’s husband, Carter Green.

He loves food. No matter what you make him, he acts like it’s the best thing he’s ever tasted, and I think he’s being totally sincere every single time.

Carter also loves to update me when he’s tried a restaurant he loves. In his book, a restaurant gets top marks if it has a mysterious quality he calls “a taste,” as in, “It HAS to have a taste.” To him, the equivalent of a four-star experience is a restaurant that has not only “a taste” but also “a flavor.” Having “a flavor” is a big deal.

On Friday, I got this voice mail from Carter with his 30-second review of Bella Vita Bistro, a local Italian restaurant at 120 N. West Street. I’ve already reviewed it, but his summary was so delightful, I didn’t even mind that he didn’t know that.

Carter Green’s 30-second review

The singing chef

Remember the waiters that used to break into opera at Macaroni Grill?

The new Bella Vita Bistro, a family-owned Italian restaurant at 120 N. West St., features a singing chef. He’s normally very busy in the kitchen, but if you time it right, you can get Chef Adrian Prud Homme DeLodder to come out and belt one for a special occasion.

The special occasion when Bonnie, Carrie, Lori and I visited was the restaurant’s first ever Friday lunch service, but he sang us a birthday song anyway.