#WRW16 skinnyshae Preview

Wichita Restaurant Week starts today!

I already have lunch plans with a friend next week to eat for the first time at one of the participating restaurants downtown — you’ll have to wait and see!

Unfortunately, I will not be able to make it to every restaurant. Full-time job, full-time house, full-time not leaving my house very often…

(Some day I’ll write a blog about how much I love being in my house and not in public.)

Since I can’t eat at every restaurant this week, I have a preview of restaurants I’ve eaten at in the past and can say  for certain that I love the food and support them with all my food-loving self.

Delano Barbeque Company

If you know the Midwest, you know about our barbeque. If you know about me, you know I love barbeque.

Evidence (again): This bucket of ribs.

Ribs

One of my favorite places to get barbeque and my absolute favorite place in Wichita is Delano Barbeque Company.

It’s on my list for Wichita Restaurant Week — I’ve never met the pit master, and it’s about time I had another Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich. During #WRW16, at lunch, it comes with two onion rings and choice of side. (Hint: I’m getting cole slaw.)

Jon and Michelle Suddeth, owners
Jon and Michelle Suddeth, owners

Here’s hoping I can find some BBQ-loving friends to go with me!

The Monarch

Not the butterfly, but I love those, too.

The Monarch is chill, has a great patio, great sandwiches made with smoked meat and cheese THAT THEY SMOKE THEMSELVES and a fantastic beer selection.

They have Gutch on tap. I love Gutch.

They also have this giant cheese ball — not on tap, on the menu.

Monarch Cheese Ball

While the cheese ball isn’t on the #WRW16 menu, all of the other greats are:

  • Peppadew Hummus (recommend)
  • Fried Green Beans (seriously recommend)
  • ANY OF THE SANDWICHES — My favorite is The Roundabout.

And, apparently, on Monday, it’s $2.75 Mystery Beer, and that sounds like the most fun game in the world.

It’s $30 for two people, excluding drinks (get the Gutch), tip and tax.

Public at the Brickyard

Oh, Public, I love you — as a restaurant.

Public at the Brickyard
…because without beer, things do not seem to go as well…
I have about 3,000 pictures of this drink. You know, about.
I have about 3,000 pictures of this Bloody Mary. You know, about.
Salmon Benedict at Public at the Brickyard
I have eaten this dish approximately 3,000 time. Pretty sure on this number…
And I've read "user comments" in their ticket books too many times to count :)
And I’ve read “user comments” in their ticket books too many times to count :)

I. LOVE. Public.

It’s my favorite public place. Hah!

My husband and I are deciding where we want to go together to dinner, and Public is at the top of the list. It’s always on the list. Every day.

I MEAN HAVE YOU HAD THE PICKLES?

You should. (They’re not on the special menu, but just remember that you need to go during #WRW16 AND again just for the pickles.)

Wine Dive

Wine Dive is in my neighborhood. So, of course, I’ve eaten there. Often.

For #WRW16, they’re featuring an Italian tasting menu with wild mushrooms, arugula salad and tiramisu with a choice of one of two entrees — and the Tuscan Grilled Strip Steak sounds like a little piece of food heaven.

I’ve also eaten at The Hungry Heart, The Hill Bar & Grill, AVI, Chester’s Chophouse, Playa Azul and River City Brewing Co.  (another favorite).

There are 25 participating restaurants on the list, and I think I’m going to get to five.

Ugh. Decisions…

I am taking non-biased recommendations.

Wichita Restaurant Week #WRW16 #ictdining

Last night, I attended the launch party for Wichita Restaurant Week 2016 by Visit Wichita to benefit Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas.

So.

Much.

Fun.

During Wichita Restaurant Week, local chefs and restaurants serve a special menu – for example, a three-course dinner for two for $24 – and 10 percent of the meal goes to Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas.

Boys & Girls Clubs across the country “nurture young people’s self-esteem by instilling in them a sense of belonging, competence, power and influence, and usefulness.” They do this “by providing young people with one-on-one relationships with caring adult professionals and fun, age-appropriate, well-rounded programming.”

Not only do children have a safe, secure place to go after school and during the summer, they also get a meal at the end of the day, help with homework  and experience in performing arts, computer training and sports.

An amazing cause supported locally by some seriously amazing restaurants.

See the complete list of participating restaurants and pricing >>

Wichita is the foodiest, eats-loving city in the world – OK, at least in Kansas – and, starting Friday, Jan. 22, I cannot wait to blog about all the food I’m about to consume – with no kitchen effort on my part. I will select a handful of restaurants to visit during Wichita Restaurant Week 2016 and post my reviews on skinnyshae. Media and other Wichita foodies will also be posting to social so follow along with #WRW16 and #ictdining!

PHOTOS FROM WICHITA RESTAURANT WEEK 2016 LAUNCH PARTY

20160119_202749
L-R: Guy Bower and Beth Bower of The Good Life; Paul Freimuth, executive chef at Hyatt Regency Wichita; Denise Neil, reporter and columnist at the Wichita Eagle; and then me… (and I make this same face in every photo).

 

Debra Fraser and Sarah Jane Crespo of my favorite public radio station KMUW 89.1
L-R: Debra Fraser and Sarah Jane Crespo of my favorite public radio station, KMUW 89.1

 

L-R: Me, Cindy Kelly of Two Olives and Phillip Warren of Chain Free Eating
L-R: Me, grad school bud Cindy Kelly of Two Olives and Phillip Warren of Chain Free Eating

 

Brook Russell, co-owner and the woman behind the Public Pickles at Public at the Brickyard
Brook Russell, co-owner and the woman behind the Public Pickles at Public at the Brickyard

 

Stacy Ward Lattin and Torrey Lattin, co-owners of Hopping Gnome Brewery
Stacy Ward Lattin and Torrey Lattin, co-owners of Hopping Gnome Brewery

I failed #justonejanuary last night with these crafty brews…

Hopping Gnome Saison
Steampunk Saison was my favorite.

 

20160119_185631
John David Payne, the chef behind the Ahi Tuna Nachos at The Hungry Heart

 

Delano Barbecue Co.
Jon Suddeth and Michelle Suddeth, owners of Delano Barbeque Company

 

Andrew Gough of Reverie Coffee Roasters
Andrew Gough of Reverie Coffee Roasters

 

Tia. She's a SAINT.
AND TIA – the woman who saved my sanity once when I was in grad school – she found and returned my lost wedding ring – and now she’s supporting Boys & Girls Club of South Central Kansas as a member of the board. Saint.

 

J.D. from Visit Wichita, Dena from Foodie Wichita and me
J.D. from Visit Wichita and Dena from Foodie Wichita

Finally, I would like to say thank you thank you thank you to J.D. and Jamie (not pictured) from Visit Wichita for inviting me to the event!

If you want to review a Wichita Restaurant Week participating restaurant for skinnyshae, contact me!

 

Eat organic: Why I switched

Did anyone notice all the organic fruits and vegetables in last week’s (sorry, only three) smoothies?

Sunday Smoothie Preparation for the Week

There were lots, right? Go me!

Now, who remembers when organic fruits and vegetables were too expensive and overrated and I refused to pay for them?

Not that long ago, I wholeheartedly believed that I could eat non-organic fruits and vegetables and get all the same nutrition and health benefits organic food offered. Then, I stayed up way too late watching documentaries about vitamins and minerals and chemicals and pesticides and what the chemicals and pesticides were doing to my hormones and fat cells.

It was so bad, you guys.

In college and graduate school, the budget was a little tight so I didn’t spend money on fancy fruits and vegetables…

…which were a shocking 50 cents more a pound.

I was satisfied to eat regular apples, potatoes and greens. I was A-OK with consuming FDA-approved pesticides. Well, I’m not satisfied or A-OK anymore.

I got over the 50-cent expense, and I switched.

Here’s why:

  • Non-organic apples are one of the worst offenders. Want to know why they’re so shiny?
  • Non-organic potatoes are so soaked in chemicals and pesticides that the people who farm them won’t eat them. I mean… potatoes are supposed to sprout.
  • Leafy greens are not only super awesome for us; bugs love ’em, too! They get sprayed with pesticides so the bugs can’t eat them and we can.

Plus, pesticides accumulate in fat cells… and, just, sorta, hang out. Making me more fat.

Awesome sauce.

Switching to organic fruits and vegetables on my last grocery run cost me:

  • 50 cents more per pound for apples
  • 40 cents more per pound for potatoes
  • $1 more per bunch of greens (Romaine, spinach and kale)
  • 50 cents more (per bunch?) for broccoli
  • $1 more per pound for leeks
  • $1 more per avocado for avocados…
  • 10 cents more per pound for bananas
  • Pears and kiwi were on sale!

I think I can live with that.

Eat food, lose weight

Sensa, a scent-based weight loss product, is inhaled to reduce appetite before meals, or, in this case, during the meal.

According to the commercials, a person can sprinkle his or her food with Sensa and lose weight.

I think that the commercial a tad misleading.

I mean… she’s eating an ice cream cone… with Sensa on it. Is that healthy ice cream? Probably not, friends.

You have to do more than eat the food you sprinkle with Sensa to lose weight. And, technically, eating Sensa will not help you lose weight. You have to… smell it… I don’t know. It doesn’t make any sense to me.

My vote: A healthy diet and regular exercise win again! Smelling won’t make you lose weight unless you’re very sensitive to smells and you vomit a lot. You’ll most likely lose weight if you vomit a lot, but then you’ll have another problem.

POINT BEING. (Sorry.) You can totally lose weight by eating, but not by eating Sensa. You have to eat the right kind of food, and ice cream is generally not the right kind of food.

For example, high fiber foods help with weight loss. Apples, sweet potatoes and chickpeas are nutrient-rich and loaded with fiber. Fiber fills you up and nutrients keep you healthy.

And, as I have said before, apples are the cracker of the fruit family. I eat an apple every day. Sometimes with peanut butter, sometimes with cheese.

Eat apples. Smoked Gouda tastes really awesome with apples.

In addition, cooking with canola oil, eating whole grains and beans and drinking low-fat milk can shrink your waistline.

What apples, canola oil and low-fat milk have in common is the fact that they’re full of nutrients that promote health.

Certain nutrients, such as calcium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids, have been proven to burn fat if eaten in the correct portions and manners of cooking. (Fried meat might have protein, but it’s still fried meat.)

How?

The body needs calcium, protein and omega-3 fatty acids to run efficiently. An efficient body is a healthy body. A healthy body more readily burns fat and leads to weight loss. (You need to exercise, too.)

So…

Eat an apple every day.

Try these delicious baked chick peas.

And don’t eat, or smell, weight-loss products that are not known as “healthy eating” and “regular exercise.”

Homemade pizza FAIL

I tried to make pizza.

I tried to make Sweet Pepper, Corn and Turkey (Chicken) pizza. Notice how my pizza does not look like the pizza in the picture.

I failed pizza, you guys. I failed pizza hard.

Sigh.

The preparation of the dough was fine. The raw dough was fine. I’m really good at dough, but something always goes wrong with baking the dough…

The sauce was not homemade, which did not help, but it wasn’t the only or the biggest problem. Maybe I used to many peppers, too much onion, too much corn?

Probably too much cheese…

Blargh.

Jimmy John’s saved the day.

Jimmy John’s and Shock Top.

The pizza is still sitting on my counter. I don’t have the heart to throw it away yet, but I can’t eat it.

It’s just awful.

On a lighter note…

I went to a conference on Thursday and had to eat lunch at a *gasp* restaurant! I almost never leave the office for lunch unless someone invites me to go out with them.

Almost never.

But I was halfway across town and only had an hour for lunch. I asked Twitter, “Waterfront lunch: Where should I go?”

One of my Twitter friends* recommended Ciao!, an Italian restaurant, and I do love Italian… food.

*I refuse to use the word “tweeps.”

So… the BEST Tomato Florentine soup I have ever had, but the pasta was so-so. Alfredo was never my favorite.

Ciao in Wichita Kansas

Ciao in Wichita Kansas

Last thought of the day…

Dogs are better than kids

Who needs kids?

Fresh or frozen: Fruits and vegetables

I prefer eating fresh fruits and vegetables.

Strawberries taste better fresh. All berries taste better fresh. Asparagus and green beans cook better fresh.

My everyday fruits -apples and bananas -don’t freeze well.

I might prefer eating fresh, but, sometimes, frozen is better. Peas, corn, chopped broccoli and mixed veggies are so much easier to cook. Frozen berries are also much easier to turn into flavored mustard or barbecue sauces.

So much easier.

Frozen fruits and vegetables are also much cheaper. In a bag, I can get eight ounces of frozen broccoli for $1. I have to pay at least $2 for eight ounces of fresh broccoli… that I’m not so good at cooking.

Both fresh and frozen fruits and vegetables have pros and cons, but which are better?

Amy Keyishian for Recipe.com votes buying frozen berries over freezing berries, but the verdict for taste and freshness always goes to fresh from the farm or shelf. I agree. Fresh, fresh, fresh!

Of course, if you grow your own, you might end up with a surplus of fruits and veggies you won’t be able to finish before rotting. (I dream about this dilemma.) What do you do when your garden overproduces?

Freeze, can or store! Freezing fruits and vegetables at home is not an easy adventure, according to Keyishian, but it is not impossible.

First, fruits and vegetables must be prepared. Chopping broccoli and onion, slicing strawberries, peeling potatoes, etc.

Second, most vegetables, such as broccoli and Brussels sprouts need to be blanched before spending any time in the freezer.

Third, unlike bananas, which come in their own wrapper, most fruits and vegetables will freeze in clumps. You have to lay them out on a cookie sheet and freeze flat.

Note: Only freeze a banana if you’re making banana bread or a smoothie. Frozen bananas don’t taste that great thawed.

After the produce is frozen, you can store it in a bag so it takes up less space. When you’re ready to eat, the microwave and a steam bag are your best friend.

Eatingwell.com provides quick guides for freezing and storing 16 fruits and vegetables.

What do you do with your surplus veggies? Farmer’s market or freeze for later?

Sharing my food with you

It has been forever since I have shared a food failure or culinary success on my blog!

Here are some of the relatively eatable recipes I’ve made lately:

Bean salad recipe

 My favorite summer time snack! Beans, corn, scallions and tomato salsa with tortilla chips.

Add Romaine, croutons and hot peppers.

bean salad with croutons

Yummy salad!

baked chicken tenders with cornmeal

Baked Chicken Tenderloins with Blackberry Sauce and Sautéed Greens – I baked the chicken, and sautéed the greens in fish sauce. Delightful!

blackberry sauce recipe

That sauce was so awesome…

Drunk Chicken Recipe

Drunk Chicken Recipe

Husband did some cooking, too! The chicken is one of his delicious creations. Cayenne pepper, hoisin sauce and a slew of stuff he doesn’t remember.

He’s creative sometimes.

I got creative, too!

homemade frosting

Suzy Q cake

I made a Suzy-Q cake! (Well, I made the frosting. Cake mix confession.)

Husband preferred an ice cream dessert treat…

guiness float recipe

That’s not a root beer float.

That’s a beer float.

A Guinness float to be exact.

 Pretty tasty, even for a girl who likes Belgium whits.

Pad Thai recipe

Last week I made Chicken Pad Thai! Too many noodles, and I added extra bean sprouts, Romaine lettuce and carrot sticks.

topped with chopped peanuts

Very tasty!

School steals your soul and the ability to remember to take pictures. Just recipes below!

Chicken Pad Thai

Ingredients

  • 8 ounces  rice noodles (Vietnamese bahn pho or Thai sen-mee)
  • 1/4 cup  salted peanuts, finely chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon  grated lime peel
  • 3 tablespoons  fish sauce
  • 2 tablespoons  fresh lime juice
  • 2 tablespoons  packed brown sugar
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons  rice vinegar
  • 1 tablespoon  Asian chile sauce with garlic
  • 3 tablespoons  cooking oil
  • 1 pound  boneless, skinless chicken breast or turkey, cut into bite-sized strips
  • 1 tablespoon  finely chopped garlic
  • 1   egg, lightly beaten
  • 1 cup  fresh bean sprouts
  • 1/3 cup  sliced green onion
  • 2 tablespoons  snipped fresh cilantro

Directions
Place noodles in a large bowl. Add enough hot tap water to cover; let stand for 10 to 15 minutes or until pliable but not soft. Drain well in a colander.

Meanwhile, for peanut topping, combine peanuts and lime peel; set aside.

In a small bowl combine fish sauce, lime juice, brown sugar, rice vinegar, and chile sauce; stir until smooth. Set aside.

In a 12-inch nonstick skillet heat 1 tablespoon of the oil over medium-high heat. Add chicken and garlic; cook and stir for 6 minutes until chicken is tender and no pink remains. Transfer to a bowl.

Add egg to the hot skillet and cook for 30 seconds. Turn egg with spatula and cook for 30 to 60 seconds more, just until set. Remove and chop egg; set aside.

In same skillet heat remaining 2 tablespoons oil over high heat for 30 seconds. Add drained noodles and sprouts; stir-fry for 2 minutes. Add fish sauce mixture and chicken; cook 1 to 2 minutes more until heated through. Divide noodle mixture among four plates. Sprinkle each serving with egg and peanut topping. Garnish with green onion and cilantro. Makes 4 servings.

Smoked Sausage and Bean Soup

Ingredients

  • 1 medium onion, finely chopped
  • 1 teaspoon bottled minced garlic
  • 2 tablespoons margarine or butter
  • 6  cups water
  • 2 medium potatoes, chopped (2 cups)
  • 1 pound fully cooked smoked turkey sausage, sliced
  • 2 15-ounce can red kidney beans, rinsed and drained
  • 1 teaspoon instant beef bouillon granules
  • 2 cups chopped cabbage or packaged shredded cabbage with carrot (coleslaw mix)
  • 1/4  cup tomato paste or catsup
  • 3 tablespoons vinegar

Directions
In a 4-quart Dutch oven or large pot cook the onion and garlic in margarine or butter until tender but not brown. Add the water, potatoes, sausage, beans, and bouillon granules. Heat to boiling. Reduce heat; simmer, covered, for 15 minutes. Add the cabbage or coleslaw mix, tomato paste or catsup, and vinegar. Simmer, covered, 10 minutes more. Makes 6 servings.