Two approaching wine events

1554581_10151958331917675_1336795804_nLike wine? Of course you do. Here are two opportunities coming up to drink it:

1. Capricorn tasting at Oeno, 3oo N. Mead: Oeno’s monthly wine tasting, which costs $35 a person, is at 7 p.m. on Saturday. It’ll feature three courses and three wine pairings plus a dessert. Among the items on the menu — sesame crusted ahi tuna paired with Chime Pinot Noir from California. For reservations, call 316-440-5000.

2. Dining for Friends, 6 p.m. Jan. 27, Taste & See, 255 N. Washington: Positive Directions is putting on a fundraising event that will feature five courses with two wine pairings per course. The doors open at 6 p.m. and dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. It’ll cost $65 a person and reservations are required by calling 316-263-2214, extension 105.

All kinds of adult beverage opportunities

Thanksgiving and Christmas are approaching. It’s time to prepare our palates — and our livers — with a little wine and spirits tasting.

Here are a few events coming up during the next couple of weeks:

The Wines of Fall: This event, put on by The Wichita Chapter of The American Institute of Wine & Food, is from 6:30 to 8:3o p.m. Thursday at the DoubleTree by Hilton Wichita Airport. It’s $35 a person and will offer a preview of 30 popular seasonal wines paired with gourmet food. Experts also will be there sharing entertaining tips and more. Non-members can attend. Call 316-682-5502 for information or to make credit card reservations. For more information, visit www.aiwfwichita.org.

Oeno’s Sagittarius Zodiac wine dinner: This dinner features three courses, each one paired with wine, and costs $35 a person. It’s at 7 p.m. on Nov. 30. For reservations, call 316-440-5000.

Mike’s Wine Dive wine dinner: This one has four courses and four wines and is at 6:30 p.m. on Tuesday at Mike’s Wine Dive, 4714 E. Douglas. For reservations and to see the menu, visit mikeswinedive.com 

Bourbon and Bites at Chapada: This restaurant at 2142 N. Tyler is having a bourbon dinner, pairing five bourbons with five courses. It starts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday and is $45 a person. For reservations, call 316-201-4694.

Wichita wine lovers: Get out your calendars

Wichita loves its wine, and in coming weeks, Wichita will have several chances to demonstrate that love.

The Wichita Center for the Arts at 9112 E. Central is is putting on three wine classes through October and November. The first is from 6 to 8 p.m. Tuesday and will feature wine expert Whitney Post talking about grape varieties, wine vocabulary and more. Attendees also will be able to sample six wines. Post will offer the same class from 6 to 8 p.m. on Nov. 19.

And on Oct. 22, a class from 6 to 8 p.m. called Entertaining with Wine will include tips about planning parties that include wine. It’ll also include six samples. Tickets to the classes are $45 for Wichita  Center for the Arts members and $55 for nonmembers. Enroll on the Wichita Center for the Arts website.

Also on Oct. 8, Larkspur Bistro & Bar at 904 E. Douglas will be putting on a wine dinner featuring Foley Family Wines. It’ll offer five courses and four wines and will cost $65 a person. It’s a 7 p.m. For reservations, call 316 262-5275.

Later this month, on Oct. 24, the Cystic Fibrosis Foundation will put on its annual fundraiser. The fourth annual Wichita Wine Opener will be from 7 to 9:30 p.m. Oct. 24 at Abode Venue and will feature wine tasting and food from several Wichita restaurants, including Larkspur, Freddy’s, Oeno, YaYa’s Euribostro and more. Tickets are $60 per person at this website.

Three wine and beer events this month

Wine and beer fans will have several more opportunities this month to demonstrate their preferences in public. Several dinners centered around adult beverages are planned. Among them:

Firkin Beer and BBQ at Oeno, 330 N. Mead on July 19:  Oeno’s a classy wine bar, but on July 19, it’ll be more of a beer and barbecue place. The bar will put on an event called Firkin Beer and BBQ, which for $25 a person will offer two beer tickets, access to a barbecue buffet and live classic rock from the band Back Roads. For reservations, call 316-440-5000.

Picnic Day at Grace Hill Winery on July 21: The Kansas winery at 6310 S. Grace Hill Road in Whitewater is putting on a picnic day, which will feature a menu of pulled pork sandwiches, coleslaw, cherry tomato salad and homemade brownies. Those who attend will buy picnic baskets, which are $15 apiece and include the recipes for the dishes plus a glass of Grace Hill wine. RSVPs for the event should be sent to info@gracehillwinery.com.

The Pink Party by Auburn Spirits on July 30: The liquor store is putting on a rose wine tasting from 7 to 8:30 p.m. on July 30. The event will be at Rolling Hills Country Club, 223 S. Westlink, and will include samples of six still and sparkling dry roses paired with rose-inspired hors d’oeuvres. Pink attire is encouraged. For reservations, call 316-440-1111.

Three great restaurant deals on Dealsaver

You might most definitely will want to check out the specials that just launched on the Wichita Eagle’s Dealsaver today.

You’ll find three discount coupons that can be used after the first of the year at Melad Stephan’s Old Town restaurants — Sabor, Luca and Oeno.

Ole!

Just follow this link, and for $10 you can purchase a gift certificate good for $20 at each of the three restaurants.

They’d make good gifts — or just buy them for yourself. Who doesn’t want to look forward to a fish-taco filled New Year?

Lotus Leaf turns 1, hires new chef

Lotus Leaf, the little creperie and healthy eating spot at 613 W. Douglas in Delano, turned 1 on Nov. 22. Around that same time, owner Jacquelyn Keefer hired a new executive chef. James Butler is gone, and in his place is Beau Franklin, a veteran of several Wichita kitchens, including Ya Ya’s, Oeno, Uptown Bistro and Sabor.

The two are working on additions to the menu, which is now a mix of crepes, salads and sandwiches. Within the next two weeks, they plan to add several dishes, including a Thai peanut curry bowl, a spicy turkey meatball crepe and a veggie burger on a vegan bun.

They’re also working on a little first birthday party. It’ll be staged from 5 to 10 p.m. Saturday to coincide with the Christmas in Delano event, which will include a 5 p.m. clocktower lighting. During that time, Lotus Leaf will serve free carrot cake and appetizers to those who stop in.

For more information, call 316-295-4133.

Three October wine dinners

Now that we’ve had our fill of beer, it’s time to turn our attention to wine.

Thank goodness three October wine dinners are on the horizon.

Auburn Spirits, the liquor store at 13303 W. Maple, is putting on a Spanish wine dinner at 7 p.m. Friday at Rolling Hills Country Club. Tickets are $70 a person, and reservations must be made by Wednesday by calling 316-440-1111. You can see the full menu, which includes a four-course meal with five wine parings, right here.

Newport Grill’s Iron Sommelier Dinner is scheduled for Monday and will include nine courses and 16 wines. It’s $125 a person and pits local food and wine experts, including Newport Grill’s Alicia Elleman and Jacob Liquor’s Jamie Stratton, against each other to find out who can pair wine and food best. It starts with a reception at 6 p.m., the the battle begins at 6:30 p.m. To make a reservation, call  316-636-9555.

Oeno at 330 N. Mead has whimsically titled its October 29 Wine Dinner”The Grape Pumpkin.” It will feature four courses paired with three wines, and each course includes pumpkin as an ingredient. It’s $35 a person. For a reservation, call 316-440-5000.

Mudbugs and Cajun food on Saturday

It’s one of the hoppin’-est nights of the summer each year when The Mudbugs Cajun & Zydeco Band plays its annual gig on Oeno’s patio in Old Town Square.

The group will be back there on Saturday, and the bar will be cooking up a Cajun buffet that’ll include a shrimp and crawfish boil, red beans and rice, fried catfish, chicken etoufee, creamed corn, dinner rolls and bread pudding.

The buffet is $15 a person and available from 8 to 11 p.m. The band will fire up the fiddle sometime between 8 and 8:30 p.m.

I’ll be there. See you then.

New restaurant, new patio, new owner

Luca Italian Kitchen in Old Town Square should be open in about 15 days.

There’s all kinds of news in Melad Stephan’s dining world

Stephan, who owns Oeno and Sabor and the soon-to-open Luca Italian Kitchen in Old Town Square, plus Press out east at the Waterfront at 13th and Webb, recently sold one of his restaurants — Egg Cetera, the breakfast restaurant at 242 N. Mosley that he’s owned since June of 2005. (I’m working on getting information on the new owner. So far, all I know is that his name is Manuel.)

“I just need to not worry at 6 o’ clock in the morning,” Stephan said of his desire to sell the breakfast and lunch restaurant. “I have enough worries from 9 to 2.”

I drove past Luca today, and it’s coming along nicely. Stephan says he hopes to have it open by June 14 or 15. When I visited, workers were painting shelves, and when I peeked inside, I could see that Stephan is reconfiguring the space to make it look different from its former incarnation as Uptown Bistro. The menu is coming together, created by Gianluca Sciagata, the restaurant’s new Italian chef, who moved here from Aspen, Colo. Stephan says he’s most excited about tasting the chef’s homemade mozzarella and homemade pastas.

Sabor's pretty new patio, which faces Old Town Square.

Also, Stephan finally has his patio at Sabor opened, with seating for about 25. It’s a very pretty little patio, and Stephan says he has approval to put one on the front side of Luca as well. He also has obtained approval to expand his Oeno patio all the way back past the side of his new banquet room, and once he prices fencing, he’ll get started on that project.

Once Stephan sends me the Luca menu, I’ll share more details.

Made your Valentine’s plans yet?

Restaurants and cooking schools are getting creative this Valentine’s Day. Several are putting on special wine dinners, chef’s meals, cooking classes and prix fixe menus.

If I were going to choose, I’d probably pick the sushi class with Chef Jason at Taste & See Everyday Gourmet. Or maybe the VIP dinners at Michael Gonzalez’s Metro Grill II in Andover. Or maybe the wine dinner at Oeno? Oh, I can’t decide.

Peruse my story about some of your options, and then make a phone call. These places could possibly book up once the story hits the paper tomorrow morning.