It’s time to form your Easter eating plan

hamIf you stop eating now, by April 20, you should have just about enough stomach space available to survive a visit to one of Wichita’s lavish Easter Sunday buffets.

Easter is just a little more than a week away, and it’s time to start planning.

Many of Wichita’s very nice restaurants are offering extra-fancy versions of their Sunday buffets, including Ya Ya’s Eurobistro and Newport Grill. Others who aren’t in the brunch business will have them for that special occasion, including Siena Tuscan Steakhouse.

Diners also can get Easter milkshakes at Jimmie’s Diner or fried chicken with a side of shrimp and ham at Stroud’s.

Peruse my annual list of Easter buffets and make your plans — and your reservations — now.

Doo-Dah Diner coming in September

Patrick Shibley will be the chef and owner at Doo-Dah Diner.

Doo-Dah Diner is a breakfast, lunch and coffee place scheduled to open next month in the spot at 206 E. Kellogg recently vacated by Jade Garden Cafe, which was open for about a month and a half before the owner had to close it because of a family health issue. Other recent tenants have included Cathy’s Diner, Lili Mae’s and R&S BBQ.

The owners are Patrick and Timirie Shibley. Patrick has had a hand in many restaurants around town — he was manager at Ya Ya’s for a while and was one of the people who helped open Gaslamp Grille.

In addition to breakfast and lunch, the restaurant will offer coffee drinks and milkshakes. Patrick will be the chef, and Timirie will run the restaurant.

“We’re going to do some really cool, whimsical stuff,” Patrick said. “It’ll be a fun little energy place.” Hours will be 6 a.m. to 2 p.m. Tuesdays through Sundays. Patrick promises to share menu details soon

Two beer dinners and a wine dinner

Three more chances to sample beer, wine and food for one price are approaching over the next couple of weeks.

On Thursday, Mike’s Wine Dive at 4714 E. Douglas is putting on a “Luck of the Irish” Bushmills Irish whiskey and beer tasting. It will start at 7 p.m. and will 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.

On Sunday, Bocconcini Italian Eatery at 4811 E. Central is offering a wine dinner that features five courses paired with five wines. The main entree course is a porcini rubbed filet with grilled asparagus and risotto, paired with an Allegrini Palazzo Delle Torre. It starts at 6 p.m. and is $65 a person. For reservations, call 316-613-2523.

Then, on March 27, Ya Ya’s at 8115 E. 21st St. is having a “Be Green” Anderson Valley beer dinner. The restaurant will offer five courses, each paired with an Anderson Valley beer. It’s $60 a person, and reservations can be made by calling 316-634-1000.

Lotus Leaf losing crepes, adding chef

By March 20, Lotus Leaf Cafe & Creperie at  613 W. Douglas, will become just Lotus Leaf Cafe.

Owner Jacquelyn Keefer, who has been struggling for a while to find a way to make her restaurant fit her original vision, said she has hired a new chef — kitchen veteran Rebecca Gold — and will likely soon drop crepes from the restaurant’s menu and name.

When Lotus Leaf turned 1 in November, Keefer announced that she’d hired a new chef, Ya Ya’s and Uptown Bistro veteran Beau Franklin. But that partnership didn’t work out, Keefer said. She wanted to find a chef who would be on board with her vision of healthy food with natural ingredients, and she thinks she’s found it in Gold.

Rebecca Gold, back in her Uptown Bistro pastry chef days.

Gold, who has worked at Uptown Bistro, Cero’s and Chester’s Chophouse, starts on Monday.

“She has more of an idea of what I really wanted from the beginning,” Keefer said. “I’m tired of conforming to chefs’ ideas of what healthy options are.”

Keefer and Gold have agreed that crepes will no longer be a focus on the menu, though it’s possible that a crepe or two will be on the new menu that they’ll debut on March 20. It’ll feature more salads, more soups and more menu items made with ingredients such as quinoa and cous cous.

“I’m really looking forward to having a woman in the kitchen,” Keefer said.

Until then, the current menu will remain in place, she said, though Gold will likely add her own touches.

Wine dinners at Ya Ya’s

Ya Ya’s Eurobistro, the fine dining restaurant at 8115 E. 21st St., will be the site to a couple of fancy, libations-based dinners over the next two weeks.

The Wichita chapter of the American Institute of Wine and Food is putting on a Van Duzer Vineyards wine dinner at 7 p.m. Thursday at Ya Ya’s. It’ll feature five courses paired six wines from the vineyard, an Oregon winery known for its Pinot Noir and Pinot Gris. Admission is $55 for AIWF members and $65 for non-members. Call 316-682-5502 for reservations, which are due by noon on Monday.

Ya Ya’s also is putting on a $95-a-person champagne dinner on Feb. 13 that will include a five-course meal, each course paired with champagne. The entree is pan-roasted duck breast with smoked gouda polenta. Call 316-634-1000 soon for reservations since it’s Valentine’s Day eve and all.

Nine restaurants shared recipes for “official” Wichita cookbook

If you’ve lived in Wichita for very long, you’ve either sampled or cooked a recipe from the Junior League’s popular and well-circulated 1995 cookbook, “Women of Great Taste. It has a picture of the Mona Lisa spearing a tomato with a fork on the cover and many very good recipes inside.

Now, the Junior League has a new cookbook out. It’s called “Pinches & Dashes: Recipes & Life Measures” and includes recipes for everything from special-occasion dinners to fast weeknight meals.

The formerly most popular Wichita cookbook

It also includes recipes provided by nine local restaurants: Caffe Moderne, Chester’s Chophouse, Freddy’s Frozen Custard, Newport Grill, Luca Italian Kitchen, River City Brewery, Sabor, Watermark Books & Café and YaYa’s EuroBistro.

The book is $28.95 and is available at places such as Watermark Books and The Plaid Giraffe or online at jlwichita.org. Proceeds will go toward organizations that combat child abuse.

And get this — Mayor Carl Brewer has named the book the official cookbook of Wichita. This is a relief to me because I have always wondered what our city’s official cookbook was.

Yia Yia’s is now Ya Ya’s

Good news for people who could never remember how to spell Yia Yia’s.

It’s now officially spelled “Ya Ya’s.”

The fine dining restaurant opened in Bradley Fair in April 1995  and was named Yia Yia’s, which roughly translates to “grandmother” in Greek. Owners had always intended it to be spelled without the i’s, but another restaurant already had dibs on that spelling. Now that that business is out of business, Ya Ya’s owner PB&J is free to spell Ya however they want.

The change is already reflected on the menus in the restaurant and in the website’s url. Eventually, the outdoor signage also will be replaced.

Now you know. And now I need to alert the Eagle’s copy desk.