Restaurant deals make Tax Day hurt less

Tax Day is Tuesday.

Uplifting thought: A few restaurants offer specials on Tax Day to help ease the pain.

0411-arbys_full_600Depressing thought:

Here’s a list of just a few. Let me know if you hear of any others.

Schlotzsky’s: The sandwich chain is offering a free small original sandwich with the purchase of chips a 32 oz. drink on Tuesday.

Arby’s: For the fourth year in a row, customers can get a free snack-sized serving of curly fries with a coupon

Sonic: The drive-in is offering half-price drinks and slushes all day on Tuesday.

Spangles: The local restaurant chain is offering a free 16 oz. cyclone ice cream treat with the purchase of another 16 oz. cyclone.

Papa John’s: Papa John’s is offering a large, five-topping pizza for $10.40. Use the promo cod M414 Tax. The special is good today and Tuesday.

Newport Grill: On Tuesday only, diners can deduct $3 from their lunch bills and $5 from their dinner bills.

More restaurants offering Halloween specials

A few more restaurants are offering special deals on Halloween. They join the ones I told you about last week that are selling doughnuts, burritos and more for cheap tomorrow.

Outback Steakhouse, which has Wichita restaurants at 2020 N. Rock Road and 233 S. Ridge Road, is offering a free kids meal to children 10 and under who accompany a paying adult. The offer is valid for curbside takeaway and dine-in.

Local Papa Murphy’s restaurants are serving Jack-o-Lantern-shaped pizzas, made with pepperoni and cheese, for $7 through Wednesday.

And Sonic Drive-Ins are selling corndogs half price all day on Halloween. They’ll be 50 cents.

Know of any others?

Question of the week: Best refreshing beverage?

I don’t know if you’ve noticed, but if you go outside these days, you’ll melt. Into a puddle. On the ground.

This calls for a frosty beverage.

This week’s question: What’s your favorite thirst quencher in Wichita?

I have a few favorites, including a diet vanilla Coke from Sonic, an iced coffee with cream from any ole coffee shop, and McAlister’s giant iced tea, unsweetened. My favorite fountain is at QuikTrip, and I really can’t wait to give this Coca Cola Freestyle machine a whirl.

What am I missing?

Question of the week: Best restaurant ice?

I love Sonic ice so much, I buy it by the bag in the summer. This Sonic employee thought I was crazy when I asked to snap his picture.

I love ice. Especially ice that chews well. Sometimes, a restaurant has ice with such a perfect texture, I’ll go just for the ice.

I know I’m not the only one. There’s a whole Facebook page dedicated to “liking” Sonic ice. (Which I do. And which I have.)

Even more than Sonic ice, I love the ice at Taco Pronto, which is so very crushed, it’s the texture of a sno cone, which pairs perfectly with a diet coke. Or even with water.

QuikTrip’s crushed ice is nice, too, and I always fill my cup allllllllllllllllll the way to the top. And Freddy’s Frozen Custard recently announced that it had swapped out its old ice for chewin’ ice.

Here at The Wichita Eagle, our ice machine died several months ago. A large number of employees still bemoan this fact daily. At the moment, I’m chomping away on a cup of ice from my lunch at When Pigs Fly, and I’m pretty sure it’s driving my neighbor Katie insane.

My question this week is directed at my follow ice lovers. Which Wichita restaurant’s ice is best? What makes it so good?

Let me know in the comments section below.

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.

Chompers rejoice: Freddy’s adds chewin’ ice

Very few things make me happier than the soft, crushable ice pellets that some convenience stores and restaurants serve in their drinks. I could crunch, crunch, crunch that stuff all day. (One close friend has threatened to un-close friend me over the noisy habit.)

In my circles, it’s known as “Sonic ice” because Sonic is the place that so famously serves it. But you can get something similar at Quik Trip and at several other restaurants around town. Sonic, as you may know, sells it by the bag.

Now, Freddy’s Frozen Custard owner Scott Redler tells me that his chain is spending big money to add chewing ice to its list of offerings. Customers prefer it, he said, and each Freddy’s will spend between $12,000 and $14,000 adding new ice machines that produce the stuff. The Wichita Freddy’s have already made the switch, and other stores across the chain will soon follow.

Studies have been done showing what texture of ice makes customers most happy, Redler said, and even though it sounds strange, he’s a student of those studies. “It’s one of those things where we had to justify the expense,” he said. “We know our guests want it.”

(In other Freddy’s news, Redler told me that within the next 60 days, his company will begin construction on a new free-standing Joplin store to replace the one destroyed in the May 22 tornado.)

By the way, I also love love love the ice served in the drinks at Taco Pronto at 8385 W. 21st St. N. It’s shaved ice, almost sno-cone-ish in texture, and although it melts quickly and makes your cola a bit too watery, it’s pure chomping heaven.

Who else in town offers great chewing ice? Tell me in the comments section below.

Question of the week: Best icy drink

It’s so hot outside, it’s ridiculous.

Thanks goodness for icy colas, iced coffees and other cold concoctions.

The question of the week: What’s your favorite non-alcoholic cooling-off beverage sold in Wichita? I’m a sucker for a Sonic diet coke with vanilla and extra ice.

Tell me what you like in the comments section below.

Ice, ice baby

Sonic sells goooood chewin' ice.

Sonic sells goooood chewin' ice.

I’ve always been a big fan of crushed ice — the stuff that’s kind of watery and gives in easily when chomped. The kind that absorbs all the goodness of your vanilla diet Coke and allows you to munch on its sweet goodness even after it’s gone. My friend Alan used a term the other day that perfectly describes what I’m talking about: “Good chewin’ ice.”

BIG NEWS, PEOPLE: Sonic not only makes good chewin’ ice, they also sell it by the bag. Just drive up, press the button and tell them you want a bag of ice. (Or five, as I recently did.) It’s $1.69 a bag and worth every cent. I’ve been eating it for dessert every night this week.

(Update: I just found a Facebook group called “I Love Sonic Ice,” which has 3,188 members. I am now proud member No. 3,189.)

Hot diggity dog day

linkhausdogDo you realize that at this very moment you have LESS THAN 24 HOURS to prepare for National Hot Dog Day?

Don’t panic. There’s still time to map out a strategy for tomorrow. I have a few suggestions for how you might choose to celebrate the frankest of holidays

You could go to Linkhaus, the new hot dog restaurant and bar at 7817 E. 37th St. N. They’ll have hot dogs on special all day — $1 for regular dogs and $2 for quarter-pounders.

You also could visit Dog House Carryout, a little to-go hot dog place at 707 N. Mount Carmel, that’s getting a lot of buzz from local wiener aficionados who seem to especially like its Cincinnati dog.

There’s also Let’s Be Frank Get Franked And The Wiener Is, a restaurant that’s undergone more name and location changes than can be counted in the time we have here. It’s now open at 2322 E. Douglas, selling all the dogs that made it famous.

Or you could participate in one of my favorite hot dog traditions — driving into the nearest Sonic and demanding a chili cheese dog with all the fixins.

Any other dog suggestions out there?