Year of the Dragon starts with free, discounted food

A couple of Asian chains are offering free food and discounts in honor of the Chinese New Year, which is today.

Panda Express is offering a pretty amazing deal, though I predict you’ll stand in a long line to get it. If you go to the restaurant’s website and print off a coupon, you can redeem it today for a free order of Firecracker chicken breast. The coupon is good only today, and no other purchase is required.

And starting today through Feb. 6, patrons who visit P.F. Chang’s at 1401 N. Waterfront Pkwy will get a red envelope that contains either a discount coupon or a coupon for a free appetizer or dessert to be used on a future visit.

Happy New Year!

Feed the kids without guilt

Red Robin is one of Wichita's most kid-friendly restaurants.

Parents magazine is out with the results of its 10 Best Restaurant Chains survey, and Wichita has all but three of them.

The survey was intended to gather a list of restaurants where families can get the most nutritious foods for the best price while having the least stressful experience — a trifecta that most parents would insist doesn’t exist.

Here’s the list, which will appear in the April issue, scheduled to hit newsstands on March 15.

1. Jason’s Deli: Wichita has two of these — one at 7447 W. 21st and 2000 N. Rock Road.
2.  Cosi: This sandwich and soup chain has its nearest location in Tulsa.
3. Souplantation/Sweet Tomatoes: This chain specializes in soups and salads, too, and has a store in Overland Park.
4. Red Lobster: Wichita’s are at 555 S. West St. and 333 S. Towne East Mall Drive.
5. Chipotle: We have four– at 515 N. Hillside, 2241 N. Maize Road, 3015 N. Rock Road and 535 S. Rock Road.
6. Noodles & Company: The city’s first Noodles & Company opened late last year at 3300 N. Rock Road.
7. Red Robin: Kids love Wichita’s Red Robin, which is at 9990 E. 13th St.
8. Mimi’s Cafe: This chain offers healthy home cooking and has a restaurant by Oak Park Mall in Overland Park.
9. Panera Bread: Wichita has three existing Panera’s, and a fourth will open soon at Maple and Ridge.
10. P.F. Chang’s China Bistro: Wichita’s P.F. Chang’s is at 1401 N. Waterfront Parkway.

Gluten-free dining

pfchangslogo I received an e-mail today from a reader named Deanna, whose young grandson has just been diagnosed with Celiac Disease, an inherited autoimmune disease in which the lining of the small intestine is damanged from eating gluten and other proteins found in grains. People with that disease must have gluten-free diets, and Deanna was wondering which local restaurants serve gluten-free meals.

She found a few options at Bonefish Grill, and I already knew that P.F. Chang’s had a gluten-free menu. A quick Google search turned up a list of several more restaurants that maintain gluten-free menus. Among them: Chili’s, Carrabba’s, Outback Steakhouse, On The Border and Ted’s Montana Grill.

Hope that helps, Deanna.

*UPDATE* : Thanks to an alert reader, I can add two more names to the gluten-free menu list: Carlos O’Kelly’s and Olive Garden.