I like a man who knows what he wants

This nearly made me choke on my Panera coffee.

My colleaugue Lori Buselt forwarded me the below e-mail exchange between her and her hilarious husband, Brian.

She asked him to look at my Father’s Day dining story and choose where he’d like to go.

Wine and beer and food

Wichitans will have three opportunities over the next week to educate themselves on wine and beer and the food that makes them sing.

The first is tonight’s Gusto Social Wine Tasting, a monthly event at Gaslamp Grille and Lounge, 550 N. Rock Road. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and is $25 a person. Participants will be able to sample four different wines and have access to some light appetizers. Credit card reservations are required in advance by calling 316-260-1432.

Then, on Tuesday, Yia Yia’s Eurobistro at 8115 W. 21st will offer a $65-a-person wine dinner featuring the wares of the Paraiso winery. It’s a four-course dinner, and each course is paired with a Paraiso wine. It starts at 6:30 p.m. Call 316-634-1000 for reservations.

Wednesday is the day for Newport Grill’s Tallgrass Beer Dinner. The restaurant at 1900 N. Rock Road will charge $50 a person for the five-course meal, which will pair Tallgrass beers with dishes such as butter-poached halibut and cocoa-glazed beef tenderloin. The dinner starts at 7 p.m. Call 316-636-9555 for reservations.

Eat like you’re Irish: Part II

Turns out there’s a whole lot more Irish eating out there today than I originally thought. A few more restaurants offering corn beef and cabbage and other St. Patrick’s day specials have come to my attention since I wrote this post earlier this week.

Among them:

Old Mill Tasty Shop, 604 East Douglas: The downtown lunch favorite is offering corn beef and cabbage and Irish cream shakes today.

Heroes, 117 N. Mosley: The sports bar is offering corn beef and cabbage, bierocks, Irish stew and more today.

Yia Yia’s Eurobistro, 8115 E 21st Street N.: The fine dining restaurant is offering several Irish specials for lunch and dinner, included corn beef and cabbage, fish and chips, lamb stew, shepherd’s pie and more.

British Banger Company, 1713 W. Douglas: The carryout lunch spot is making Irish cottage pie plus bangers and mash  and will stay open until around 8 p.m.

The Shamrock, 1724 W. Douglas: The pub is serving corn beef and cabbage over the lunch an dinner hours today.

Orange Leaf Frozen Yogurt, several Wichita locations: The yogurt chain is offering 25 percent off to customers wearing green.

River City Brewery, 150 N. Mosely: Though they’re not doing any food specials, River City is serving $2.50 green beers all day and is throwing a St. Patty’s day party starring awesome local cover band Lucky People, starting at 9 p.m. Cover is $3.

If wine dinners are too tame…

Wichita has plenty of wine dinners on the horizon. But for those who prefer their wine and food pairings a bit more hardcore, a couple of restaurants are planning HARD LIQUOR DINNERS!

The first is a single malt Scotch dinner planned for Monday night at Mike’s Wine Dive, 4714 E. Douglas. Chef Brad Beyer will prepare a five course meal, each course paired with a different Scotch. It’s at 6:30 p.m. Monday and costs $50 a person. Call 316-613-2772 for reservations.

The second dinner is a Jim Beam’s small batch bourbon dinner at Yia Yia’s Eurobistro, 8115 E 21st St. N. It’ll also feature five courses paired with Jim Beam bourbon. It’s at 6:30 p.m. on Jan. 24 and costs $75 a person. Call 316-634-1000 for a reservation.

Ohhhhhh pretty

ng-barI, for one, am already excited and saving my extra quarters $50s for the opening of Newport Grill, the upscale seafood restaurant that’ll open in the old Cibola space at Bradley Fair this fall.

The Cibola space was beautiful and plush, with gorgeous woodworking, dim lighting, gorgeous furniture and the most incredible patio in Wichita. So it’s interesting to me that the Newport folks (the same K.C.-based company behind Yia Yia’s) have gutted and are completely redoing the place.

But from the look of the artist’s rendering here, it appears it’ll be just as awesome. Designers are using aged wood, green sea glass, metals and shells to ocean-up the place. A curved bar will sweep from one room to another, and the dining room will feature a “Red Booth” for special seating.

It’s supposed to open in November. Not sure I can wait that long.

Wine and dine

oenoIt’s my job to keep you updated about approaching wine dinners, and I take that job very seriously.

Two worth checking out are coming up over the next seven days.

The first is Saturday at Oeno Wine Bar, 330 N. Mead. The dinner is called Savor the Summer and will feature a five-course dinner, each course paired with a corresponding wine. (Pork scaloppine over fettucine is among the entrees on the menu.) The cost is $40 a person, and it starts at 7 p.m. Call 316-440-5000 for a reservation.

Then, on Aug. 31 (next Tuesday) Yia Yia’s is putting on a Spanish wine dinner that’s $65 a person and will feature five courses and five wines. It starts at 6:30 p.m. and will include dishes such as wood oven roasted quail. Call 316-634-1000 for reservations.

My work here is done.

Tequila!

Two restaurants are planning two interesting dinners in the next several days, and one is centered around one of nature’s most dangerous substances: Tequila.

On Tuesday, Yia Yia’s Eurobistro at 8115 E. 21st St. N. is putting on its first ever tequila dinner, featuring samplings of Jose Cuervo and Don Julio tequilas paired with a five-course dinner prepared by chef Dave Varner. Among the dishes he’s creating: A trio of shrimp shooters, a black bean encrusted tuna, and anejo-lacqured wild boar ribs. The dinner is $55 a person and starts at 6:30 p.m. For reservations, call 316-634-1000.

And Uptown Bistro at 301 N.Mead still has space for tomorrow’s Opera wine dinner, a four-course meal that will include seared sea scallops, braised short ribs and four unique wines. It’s $50 a person, plus tax and a 20 percent gratuity, and it starts at 6:30 p.m. For reservations, call 316-262-3232 as soon as possible.

Wine winners

FOOD WBS-UNCORKED TBTwo local restaurants have gotten word this week of some vino victories, and they want local wine enthusiasts to know about them.

One is Chester’s Chophouse, the fine dining restaurant at 1550 N. Webb Road, which has been granted Wine Spectator magazine’s Award of Excellence for the fifth consecutive year. Chester’s is the only restaurant in Wichita and one of only seven in Kansas to earn the distinction, which will be noted in the Aug. 31 issue of the magazine.

The other is Yia Yia’s Eurobistro, 8115 E. 21st St. N., which now has four certified sommeliers on staff. Yannic Dozier, Alicia Elleman and Brian McIntosh, all in their 20s, trained with Yia Yia’s resident sommelier John Michael, took an intensive two-day course then passed a rigorous exam earlier this month.

Bottoms up!

Patio dining in Wichita

Larkspur's dreamy patio. Look! There in the background! It's The Eagle!

Larkspur's dreamy patio. Look! There in the background! It's The Eagle!

One of the things I most love to do when the weather’s even in the vicinity of decent is to sit on one of Wichita’s gorgeous restaurant patios and enjoy a glass of wine and a plate of deliciousness.

Sadly, Wichita’s not much of a sidewalk cafe town, but the patios we do have are very nice. Since this weekend promises reasonable temps, I thought I’d share my nominations for Wichita’s most fabulous outdoor dining spaces. Add yours below if you think I missed one.

1. Chester’s Chophouse, 1550 N. Webb Road: The covered patio at this upscale steakhouse is something to behold: Secluded seating, gorgeous stone accents, comfortable tables, a glowing fireplace in the corner and a view of a pond — and an office building. But it’s still a great place to wine and dine.

2. Yia Yia’s Eurobistro, 8115 E 21st Street North: The landscaping is gorgeous at this Bradley Fair restaurant, and the patio — filled with pumped in jazz or sometimes live music — has a special feel.

3. Larkspur, 904 E. Douglas: Larkspur’s patio is fun because it offers prime Old Town people watching — and it’s right across the street from the Wichita Eagle. In the spring, it has gorgeous wisteria dropping from the lattice covering, and it offers a nice mix of short and tall tables.

4. Redrock Canyon Grill, 1844 North Rock Road: The cozy, covered patio at Redrock is tucked into the side of the restaurant, and despite its parking lot views, it’s beautiful and comfortable. A highlight is the glowing fire pit that separates it from the front of the restaurant.

5. Pho Hot Bistro, 306 N. Rock Road: Owner Danny Nguyen serves upscale Vietnamese food out of his restaurant, which offers a pretty patio complete with gorgeous plantings and built-in misters.