I’ll pour your Blarney coffee on Friday

Friday will be my first time ever at the Blarney Breakfast, a 38-year-old tradition that feeds Wichitans wearing green and raises money for a good cause — Rainbows.

The organizers have asked me to be a “celebrity coffee pourer” and offered me the choice of two time slots: 6 to 7 a.m. or 9 to 9:30 a.m. I’ll be there at 9 a.m.

The breakfast lasts from 6 to 9:30 a.m. Friday at the Old Chicago at 7700 E. Kellogg, right by Towne East. For a $12 ticket ($5 for kids), attendees get a choice of an egg or pancake breakfast plus access to Old Chicago’s “breakfast pizza bar,” which I’m told includes an invention called biscuits and gravy pizza. There’s also “bottomless coffee,” which is where I and the other pourers come in. The event will include bagpipers and Irish dancers.

Tickets are available at the door. The first 500 people get a free Blarney Breakfast coffee mug, and attendees can buy $10 chances to win a 2013 Chevy Spark from Parks Motors of Augusta.

The event usually draws about 1,000 people.

Where to eat like you’re Irish

St. Patrick’s Day is Saturday, and several restaurants are offering Irish-esque specials or meals designed to celebrate the day. I’m starting the list of them today and hope to have it complete by Friday. E-mail me if there’s a St. Patrick’s Day dining opportunity I’m missing.

Shamrock Lounge, 1724 W. Douglas: The bar will open at 9 a.m. Saturday for a breakfast of “Potatoes O’Dave” and Irish soda bread for $6. The Shamrock’s annual corned beef and cabbage dinner will be served from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. and from 6 to 10 p.m. and is $7 a person. The Shamrock will have a courtside seat to the Delano St. Patrick’s Day parade at noon and will have bagpipers in the bar throughout the day.

Bierocks, Brats n’ BBQ, 1225 W. Douglas: The Delano restaurant will offer Rueben bierocks and Rueben sandwiches and corned beef and cabbage starting today, Guinness Irish stew and Bailey’s chocolate chip cheesecake starting on Wednesday and a pre-parade green eggs and ham breakfast from 7 to 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. For more information, call 316-393-9580.

Pumphouse, 825 E. Second St.: The bar is putting on an event called Kegs & Eggs that starts Saturday morning with an all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet, offered from 9 a.m. to noon. It’s $5, or for $20, patrons can get the buffet, a T-shirt and a wrist band that’s good for admission all day. Also planned for St. Patty’s Day at the Pumphouse: The Underhill Family Orchestra, a southern folk-rock band, at 1 p.m. and local band Faded from 5 t0 9 p.m. plus gallons and gallons of green beer. For more information, call 316-265-6080.

IHOP: On Saturday only, local IHOPs will serve a St. Patrick’s Day breakfast of green eggs scrambled with spinach, two pancakes, two bacon strips or pork sausage links.

Port of Wichita, 1548 S. Webb: The Port is serving a brunch of green eggs and ham at 11 a.m., along with corned beef and cabbage throughout the day Saturday. There will also be drink specials and live music from Uche, Bus Station Brown, Poultry in Motion and others.

Larry Bud’s Sports Bar, 2120 N. Woodlawn: In addition to  kegs of green beer, Larry Bud’s will be serving corned beef and cabbage, with appearances by bagpipers scheduled for 2:30 p.m. and 5:30 p.m.

Heroes Sports Bar, 117 N. Mosley: Heroes is featuring corned beef, “Fighting Irish meatballs” and drink specials, with bagpipers expected to play about 6:30 p.m.

British Banger Company, 1713 W. Douglas: The restaurant, which serves British and Irish-style foods, will be open from noon to 3 a.m. on Saturday. After 5 p.m., entrees will be $5.

Piccadilly, 7728 E. Central: The restaurant will have corned beef and cabbage dinners for $10.99 through Sunday.

Walt’s Great American Sports Bar & Grill, 7732 E. Central: Walt’s is serving its traditional corned beef and cabbage dinner for $9.99 a person from 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Call 316-691-8800 for more information.

Toni D’s, 650 N. Carriage Parkway: The restaurant is offering several St. Patrick’s day specials, including a corned beef and cabbage dinner with new potatoes and bread, Reuben sandwiches and decorated cookies. The specials are available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday and are available for eat-in or carry-out.

Mike’s Wine Dive, 4714 E. Douglas: Mike’s is putting on a “Luck of the Irish” Bushmills Irish whiskey and beer tasting at 7 p.m. Thursday. It’ll feature Irish hors d’oeuvres plus samples of several Bushmills whiskeys plus beers such as Smithwicks, Harp and Guinness. Admission is $30 a person, and reservations are required by calling 316-613-2772.

Newport Grill, 1900 N. Rock Road: The restaurant is offering a free appetizer from 11 a.m. t 5 p.m. Saturday to anyone who can prove his or her name is Patrick, Pat, Patty or Patricia.

Blarney Breakfast: The annual Blarney Breakfast, a fundraiser for Rainbows United, is scheduled for 6 to 9:30 a.m. Friday at Old Chicago, 7626 E. Kellogg. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and can be purchased at Old Chicago east or at the door the morning of the event. For more information, call 316-721-8226.

Burger King: Wichita Burger Kings will be among those nationwide offering a free small order of fries with a side of green ketchup on Saturday and Sunday. Limit one per customer.

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.

Restaurants feeling the Fourth

…or at least using it as an excuse for some specials.

In honor of July 4, Wichita-area Chipotle restaurants are honoring members of the military by offering them a free burrito, burrito bowl, salad or order of tacos between 2 and 5 p.m. Tuesday. (Note: That’s actually July 5.) Those seeking the special must arrive in uniform or display a valid military ID.

And Old Chicago has introduced the America’s Beer Mini Tour, which will run through July 17 and feature eight beers from iconic American breweries. Among the selections on the tour: Miller High Life, Sam Adams Boston Lager, and Rogue American Amber. Old Chicago’s World Beer Tour members who complete the tour will receive a t-shirt with a specially designed patriotic graphic on the front.  Anyone 21 and older can sign up to become a World Beer Tour member at Old Chicago for free and register online for members-only benefits.

Irish eatin’

It’s St. Patrick’s Day week, which means that soon the green beef will be flowing and the cabbage will be simmering.

Several restaurants and bars in town are offering Irish-flavored specials this week in honor of the greenest of holidays. Among the specials you might consider checking out:

Bierocks, Brats n BBQ at 1225 W. Douglas is offering corned beer and cabbage, shepherds pie and Irish creme cheesecake today through Thursday.

Toni D’s, 650 N. Carriage Parkway is offering several St. Patrick’s day specials, including a corned beef and cabbage dinner with new potatoes and bread, Reuben sandwiches and decorated cookies. The specials are available 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Thursday.

The Artichoke at 811 N. Douglas will serve mulligan stew as a special all day on Thursday and will feature the music of my harmonizing pals Erin and Alan Craddock in the evening. She’s very Irish, FYI.

Old Chicago’s St. Pat’s Mini Tour: The restaurant known for its beer selection is offering its annual tour of Irish beers, including Guinness Irish Stout, Killian’s Irish Red Lager and Odell Myrcenary Double IPA. The tour started last month and is available through Thursday.

The annual Blarney Breakfast, a fundraiser for Rainbows United, is scheduled for 6 to 9:30 a.m. Thursday at Old Chicago, 7626 E. Kellogg. Tickets are $12 for adults and $5 for children under 12 and can be purchased at Old Chicago east or at the door the morning of the event.

Know of anything I’m missing?

It’s cookie time

So you somehow missed the Girl Scout cookie order forms at the office, at your kids’ school, in the neighborhood, etc.?

Impressive. But not good!

You have a chance to redeem yourself at an event called Treat the Troops, scheduled for 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 26, at the Old Chicago at 7626 E. Kellogg.

The event is designed to allow people to purchase Girl Scout Cookies to donate to McConnell Air Force Base and Kansas National Guard troops and their families.

Attendees also can buy more cookies for themselves, and anyone who buys 10 boxes will be entered to win a $100 Old Chicago Pizza Party. Buy 30 boxes and qualify for a $200 pizza party drawing.

And speaking of Girl Scout Cookies, there’s still time to buy your tickets to Cocktails & Cookies, a fabulous desserty event I’ll be participating in Thursday, March 3. It’ll take place from 6:30 to 9 p.m. at the Wichita Marriott, 9100 Corporate Hills Drive. Tickets are $75 a person, and the event raises money for Girl Scouts of Kansas Heartland.

Summer eats

TGI Friday's food

T.G.I. Friday's focused on Caribbean flavors this summer.

During the past few weeks, I’ve received several e-mails from chain restaurants touting special menu items they’ve added for summertime. Several of them look pretty tantalizing, so I thought I’d share some here.

At left, you’ll see one of the specials from T.G.I. Friday’s Caribbean-inspired summer menu — a plate of fire-grilled chicken wings glazed with Captain Morgan rum sauce. Friday’s summer menu includes 14 new appetizer, salad, sandwich, entrée and combo dishes, all inspired by the flavor of the islands. (Whatever you do, don’t forget your flair.)

Over at Old Chicago, the summer special is an invention called Pizzini Pockets, featuring the restaurant’s famous pizza dough stuffed eight different ways, including sausage and meatball and spinach and Feta.

And Denny’s restaurants are celebrating summer with new items such as red white and blue pancake puppies, a collection of new skillets (including a bananas Foster French toast skillet), and a bunch of $2 ice cream floats.