Mark your calendars for Jan. 29. Not only is it Kansas Day, it's the day tickets go on sale for this year's Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition at Abe & Jake's. And if it's as popular as last year — tickets sold out within 10 days — you'll want to get them fast.
The event is set for 4-8 p.m. March 2 at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St. (next to City Hall, in the Riverfront development). Tickets are $30, and you must be 21 or older to attend. For a list of locations to buy tickets, visit the expo's website, kscraftbrewfest.com.
About 720 people attended last year's expo, billed as the first of its kind in Lawrence and drawing about 30 regional and national beer vendors. The event, organized by the Kansas Craft Brewers Guild and Downtown Lawrence Inc., is a fundraiser for Downtown Lawrence.
Expect an afternoon of all things beer: commemorative sampling glasses and program booklets profiling the beers you're tasting, specialty glassware and other brewery memorabilia for sale, food for sale from select local vendors, guides to cheese and beer pairings from Hy-Vee, books on beer and brewing and guidelines on the Certified Beer Judge program.
If you follow my colleague Chad Lawhorn's Town Talk blog, you know something has been going on with the restaurants at the southeast corner of 10th and Mass. After a month of being closed for remodeling, The Orient, Oh Boy! Chicken and (sort of) Angler's Seafood House reopened last week — as the same restaurant.
I stopped in Friday to check it out, and Nancy Nguyen, who owns all three restaurants, said the style of the new place is more "like a bistro." Nguyen she was looking to reduce her overhead and pare down the time she spent running between all three establishments.
"One person, you can't do it," she said.
The 3-in-1 conglomeration at 1006 Mass. has signs outside for The Orient and Oh Boy! Chicken. Inside, the decor is mostly Asian with some chickens and a fish here and there. There are two separate menus, one for The Orient (with its "pho-nomenal" pho and other Vietnamese dishes) and one for Oh Boy! Chicken (which offers gluten-free fried chicken, catfish and down-home sides).
Nguyen said the cost of flying in fresh fish three times a week has gotten too high to support. Rather than have it on a daily menu, she said, she expects to serve some of Angler's specialties, such as lobster tail, as weekend specials.
If any of you have been to that little Mexican-Chinese restaurant in downtown Eudora, Jasmine, it's kind of like that. If your party can't decide what its in the mood for, everyone can sit at the same table but dine in different worlds. (Incidentally, that place has both Mexican blankets and Asian things on its walls. It's really something.)
P.S. Alleged Vermont Street BBQ-to-be, next door at 1004 Mass., still has paper over the windows and "Coming soon!" signs on the door.