Posts tagged with Restaurants

Sherry gets less granny, more chic behind select Lawrence bars

If you look in the right spots, sherry suddenly seems a lot less stodgy than stereotypes would have you believe.

As such places have for eons, a handful of Lawrence’s nicer restaurants have a sherry or two on their drink menus, usually grouped with dessert cordials. A small few are following a trend from the coasts by increasing sherry offerings, even incorporating the Spanish fortified wine into craft cocktails.

One is Pachamama’s, 800 New Hampshire St., which is planning it’s first-ever sherry dinner Wednesday night — though chef/owner Ken Baker says he’s not sure what’s taken him so long to do one. (See menu below, and call the restaurant at 841-0990 to reserve a seat. There were a few left late this week.) Another is 715, 715 Massachusetts St., where bar manager Margie Hogue said guests can choose from about five or six sherries by the glass or order one of several craft cocktails featuring the wine.

On 715’s cocktail menu now is the Jerez, made with Campari, cream sherry, sweet vermouth and orange. A featured drink Hogue hinted may land a spot on 715’s next cocktail menu is the Imperial Suitor, with Guatemalan aged rum, aged sherry (about 25 years on both) and blood orange liqueur, stirred with ice and served with a cherry.

The Imperial Suitor at 715, 715 Massachusetts St. Contributed photo from 715.

The Imperial Suitor at 715, 715 Massachusetts St. Contributed photo from 715. by Sara Shepherd

“We really liked how rich and raisiny it (the sherry) was, so we used that instead of a sweetening agent as a variation on the old fashioned,” Hogue said. “It’s rich, and sherry gives it a nice nutty nuance.”

Admittedly, I’m a sherry newbie (it turns out there are styles and levels of sweetness, just like champagne or German rieslings — who knew?). Baker kindly answered some questions this week to help bring me up to speed. Now, about those stereotypes...

Sara Shepherd: Convince me sherry is not just for people of the 1800s (or for soaking the spongecake in my grandmother’s trifle recipe)?

Ken Baker: Sherry has a long and storied history. It’s a drink that travels well, and it has resilience. But the most important thing about it is that it’s super versatile — it has so many different flavors. Everybody identifies sherry with the sickly sweet after-dinner drink, but most of your best sherries are bone dry, umami-rich, very savory. Those are the kinds of wines that blow court out of the water, and they go with so many different foods.

SS: My cabinet’s always stocked with a bottle of bottom-shelf sherry I use for cooking. I’ve tried drinking it (even in a cobbler with muddled fresh fruit), and it’s not good, not good at all. What kind of sherry is actually worth sipping?

KB: I don’t want to say cooking with sherry is a terrible idea, but it’s a terrible idea. I come from the standpoint that beer and wines are for drinking! You’re going to spend a little bit more money, but with sherry — aside from being versatile and having a huge range of flavors — the prices are all over as well.

SS: So if you’re really trying to appreciate this wine, it’s worth paying for something from higher than the bottom shelf?

KB: Yeah, absolutely.

SS: Any tips for pairing sherry with food?

KB: For the fino or manzanilla sherries, the first thing that comes to mind is olive spreads or nuts. The manzanilla is going to have more of a briny, salty component to it so it’s just awesome with seafood. The more full-bodied sherries take on super nutty caramelized notes. They have such a strong backbone, these wines are really good with game meats and sausages, a wide variety of foods. Amontillado up to oloroso, then the super-sticky ones like moscatel or Pedro Ximinez, that’s the kind of stuff you can pour on a bowl of ice cream and it’s unbelievable.

SS: Have you noticed more people ordering sherry at your restaurant?

KB: It’s not a top seller, but there’s definitely an upswing. I think part of that is because my bartenders are getting into it more, taking it away from the old-ladies-playing bridge image. The Midwest is always a little slow on the uptake, but it’s definitely huge in New York, Charleston and out on the West Coast — they have bars where that’s what they do.

Menu for the March 12, 2014, sherry dinner at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire St.

Menu for the March 12, 2014, sherry dinner at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire St. by Sara Shepherd

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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‘All-natural’ burger chain coming to former Chutney’s space (via Town Talk)

My colleague Chad, our city reporter whose Town Talk blog brings us the scoop on all kinds of businesses before they even open, today reports that an "all-natural" hamburger chain is coming to the space formerly occupied by Chutney's Indian Diner and Bar, 918 Massachusetts St.

According to Chad's latest post:

Franchise owners Josh and Michelle Kurzban plan to open their restaurant, called BurgerFi, by mid-spring. The Florida-based chain has 36 restaurants nationwide but expects to have 75 by the end of 2014.

The restaurant says all its hamburgers are made of free-range, hormone-free, never-frozen Angus beef. Also on the menu: a brisket burger made from dry-aged ground brisket; five different styles of hot dogs; hand-cut fries that can be ordered regular, well-done or limp; beer and wine; and frozen custard desserts made with sugar cane. One especially unique item to watch for, Chad notes, is the Breakfast All Day Burger, with hickory bacon drizzled with maple syrup, a fried egg and hashbrowns.

A screenshot from the BurgerFi website, burgerfi.com.

A screenshot from the BurgerFi website, burgerfi.com. by Sara Shepherd

The BurgerFi website is splashed with phrases like "locally grown" and "farm to tray." Since it's a national brand, I'm interested to see whether they'll serve food that's actually local to us (Remember Local Burger? All their various meats came from named farms within a few hours drive.) or "local" to some other place. One last notable I spotted on their menu: bottles of Mexican Coke.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Gluten-free wine dinner planned at Merchants (and other Tasting Notes)

Merchants Pub & Plate will highlight its less-glutenous side (recall, this is a gastropub that hangs its hat on having 30 craft beers on tap) next week by offering a special gluten-free wine dinner.

“Inherently we’re a beer place, but we do offer within our menu several conveniences for people with dietary restrictions,” chef/owner TK Peterson said. “We’re taking it one step further by kind of dedicating a night to those people.”

The dinner is at 7 p.m. March 6. Cost is $70 per person. Reserve a seat by calling the restaurant at 843-4111. The planned menu includes appetizers, three dinner courses and dessert (sticky toffee pudding cake, FYI) paired with Chilean wines from Emiliana Organic Vineyards.

Merchants’ regular menu notes items that are gluten-free or modifiable to be, which Peterson said helps diners feel more comfortable ordering them without having to ask for special favors or feeling like they’re disrupting the whole table.

“They don’t want to be the people that show up and say, ‘I can't do this and I can’t do that,’” Peterson said.

Find Merchants Pub & Plate at 746 Massachusetts St., 785-843-4111, merchantsonmass.com.

Find Merchants Pub & Plate at 746 Massachusetts St., 785-843-4111, merchantsonmass.com. by Jessica Pauly/Special to the Journal-World

Other upcoming drinking/dining events:

Thursday: Tuscan wine tasting, 6 p.m. at Genovese, featuring a five-course menu paired with selections from Brancaia Winery. Cost is $59 per person. Call 842-0300 to reserve a seat.

March 6: Exploring Argentina wine dinner, 6:30 p.m. at the Eldridge. Cost is $65 per person. To reserve a seat call 749-1005 or email lindsay@oliviacollection.com. (Here’s the menu)

March 8: Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition at Abe & Jake’s Landing. Tickets are long sold out, but if you nabbed some, don’t forget to go!

March 11: Rogue beer dinner, 7 p.m. at Mariscos. Oregon-based Rogue Ales is known for some off-the-wall brews, even for craft beer. The planned menu for this dinner includes duck-fat-seared scallops paired with Morimoto Soba Ale, roasted carrot and almond soup with Hazelnut Brown Nectar, steak and ale samosas with Brutal IPA and cherry and stout upside-down cake with Double Chocolate Stout. Cost is $65 per person; to reserve a seat call 312-9057.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Thursdays only, the Roost transitions from day to night

You can’t get the Roost's full breakfast for dinner, but now you can get the restaurant’s signature breakfast-y cocktails, beers, baked treats, coffee drinks and a handful of bar snacks into the evening hours one night a week.

The Roost, the breakfast/lunch spot that opened last summer at 920 Massachusetts St., is now open until 8 p.m. on Thursdays. The restaurant stops serving its regular food menu at 3 p.m. (when it normally closes for the day), gets all kinds of laid-back (no lines for tables, no loud crazy bar scene) and starts serving a limited menu with featured drinks and small plates that change from week to week.

Soft pretzels with beer-cheese dip from the Thursday night small plate menu at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St.

Soft pretzels with beer-cheese dip from the Thursday night small plate menu at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Tonight’s drinks, for example: The Amore Latte (latte with vanilla-infused vodka, chocolate sauce, strawberry syrup and a heart-shaped shortbread cookie), Boulevard Chocolate Ale, Free State Burroughser Weisse, Boulevard Rye on Rye. And snacks: Meatballs, kale chips, roasted nuts, soft pretzel sticks with beer-cheese dip. The Roost’s usual cocktail concoctions, bloody marys, coffees, juices and sweet treats are always available, too. (Pictured: Today's pretzels with a glass of cucumber-apple-pineapple-kale juice — yours truly was still on the clock.)

Staying open late on Thursdays is a way to participate in a downtown tradition and highlight, in particular, some of the restaurant’s creative adult beverages, co-owner Kenny Pingleton said. “Thursday nights are kind of traditionally a downtown night. It gives us a chance to do our bartender thing.”

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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And the next restaurant in the Sixth Street gas station will be …

The Basil Leaf Café is the most recent restaurant to occupy the Phillips 66 Gas Station.

The Basil Leaf Café is the most recent restaurant to occupy the Phillips 66 Gas Station. by Richard Gwin

Basil Leaf Cafe has barely launched out of its original home inside the Miller Mart at 3300 W. Sixth St., and plans for the gas station’s next restaurant are already underway.

Basil Leaf left Miller Mart in August and opened about two weeks ago in its first standalone home, the former Joe’s Bakery spot at 616 W. Ninth St. (More on that Thursday — watch for it here on Lawrence.com.)

Robert Douglas took over the lease for the entire convenience store and closed the building for renovations last week. The convenience store half should reopen this weekend, he said, and he hopes to open his planned restaurant in November.

The name will be D-Lux Southern Fried Chicken, and in addition to fried chicken (obviously) Douglas plans to cook up comfort food such as braised greens, pickled beets and baked macaroni and cheese. He’s moved the counter formerly home to the convenience store’s frozen drink machines to significantly increase the size of the dining room, and he plans to reopen the restaurant’s drive-thru window.

Douglas said he’s worked at hotels, restaurants and private clubs — including a golf and recreational property where one of the seven dining outlets was a pizzeria in a convenience store — in several other states. While living in California, he said he met Jeff Stehney, owner of Kansas City’s famous Oklahoma Joe’s Bar-B-Que (yep, their original location’s in a Kansas City, Kan., gas station), who suggested he check out our area.

Originally, Douglas said, he and his partner were looking at spaces in Kansas City. But the Sixth Street Miller Mart with it’s little restaurant on the side — where before Basil Leaf, Tortas Jalisco and Biemer’s BBQ also started before successfully moving into standalone properties — piqued his interest.

“That’s what drew us here, because we think it’s pretty cool,” Douglas said. “This thing’s a gold mine — we love this place.”

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Coming soon (very soon): Merchants Pub, new-and-improved Basil Leaf Cafe

Interior of the new Basil Leaf Cafe. Contributed photo from Basil Leaf Cafe.

Interior of the new Basil Leaf Cafe. Contributed photo from Basil Leaf Cafe. by Sara Shepherd

UPDATE (2 p.m. Tuesday): Pushed back again! A new press release from Merchants says that instead of Thursday, they'll open at 11 a.m. Saturday.

UPDATE (4:30 p.m. Monday): Merchants will open for business at 11 a.m. Thursday, according to a press release that just came in. Reservations can be made online at www.OpenTable.com or by calling the restaurant at 785-843-4111. “At Merchants you’ll find an upscale pub atmosphere featuring food inspired by the region,” co-owner Philip Wilson said in the announcement. "Our doors are open to all who wish to eat and drink well."

Merchants Pub and Plate, the new gastropub in the former Teller’s location at 746 Massachusetts St., plans to open this week. Merchants has one inspection down and two to go, according to an update today on the restaurant’s Facebook page.

Merchants originally hoped to open in mid-August, but as restaurant openings are wont to do, that date got pushed back. Owners said last week they are now hoping to open Wednesday (see "UPDATE," above), as long as the final inspections go as planned.

Philip Wilson and chef TK Peterson, formerly chef at the Oread, own the new restaurant. See their latest updates at facebook.com/MerchantsOnMass, where I’m sure they’ll post the firm opening day as soon as it’s official.

Meanwhile, Basil Leaf Cafe is putting finishing touches on its new location in the old Joe’s Bakery storefront, 616 W. Ninth St.

“If we’re not open by the weekend, we’ll be open the first of next week no matter what,” owner Brad Walters told me today. Basil Leaf stopped serving in its old home, a corner of the Miller Mart convenience store on Sixth Street, last month to prepare for the move.

Walters has completely transformed the old Joe’s space — for one, knocking out the wall that once confined the public area to the doughnut counter and just enough space to walk back and forth in front of it. It’s now a cozy sit-down restaurant full of rough-hewn wooden tables, pendant lights made of wine bottles and a bar (with a liquor license). In the new, bigger restaurant, Walters plans to expand his menu offerings as well.

Basil Leaf also is posting daily updates on its Facebook page if you want to tune in, facebook.com/TheBasilLeafCafeKS.

P.S. While we’re talking restaurant musical chairs, if you’re wondering why the big yellow Blissful Bite food truck isn’t serving lunch today at 11th and Massachusetts, they — like a lot of Lawrencians soon will be no doubt — are in Winfield. Any hungry folks reading this from the Walnut Valley Festival, be advised, the Blissful Bite is on the ground now.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Tasting notes: Sandbar Subs, grape stomp, wine dinner, Free State fries and squealers

The newly opened Sandbar Sub Shop: 745 New Hampshire St., 785-842-0111, sandbarsubs.com

The newly opened Sandbar Sub Shop: 745 New Hampshire St., 785-842-0111, sandbarsubs.com by Jessica Pauly/Special to the Journal-World

A few notes from Lawrence's food and drink scene.

Downtown Sandbar Sub Shop

The new, downtown Sandbar Sub Shop is up and running at 745 New Hampshire St., across the street from the Sandbar. Mrs. Mass checked it out for this week’s edition of CheckOut and gave the shop’s fresh, unprocessed ingredients a thumb’s up. Besides sandwiches with names like The Cyclone and the Pirate Steak, Sandbar Sub Shop has mini-mart stuff downtown-goers might need (gum or aspirin, anyone?).

Rock Chalk grape stomp

Kansas University’s student body president, Marcus C.L. Tetwiler of Paola, will represent our town at this year’s Kansas Grape Stomp, according to an announcement from the Kansas Department of Agriculture. The annual stomp — designed to celebrate and highlight the state’s grape and wine industry — goes down at 3 p.m. Saturday at the Kansas State Fair in Hutchinson. For the first time this year, the stomp also will be open to fair visitors who want to give it a whirl.

Wine dinner

Genovese’s September wine dinner is set for 6 p.m. Sept. 17 at the restaurant, 941 Massachusetts St. Cost is $49 per person, and reservations should be made by calling 842-0300. Featured wines will come from Dierberg Winery of Santa Barbara, Calif., and be paired with a four-course menu of shrimp, scallops, salmon and squab.

Fry switch-a-roo and Free State 'squealers'

Larryville Chronciles reports that Free State has changed its fries. And Chip is less than thrilled about it. Change is tough! In a change probably no one will complain about, Free State is now selling 32-ounce beers to-go — these adorable mini-growlers of beer are called "squealers."

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Kansas! magazine food edition features Lawrence favorites, lesser-known outstate eateries

Kansas! magazine's food issue features several favorite Lawrence restaurants and more outstate eateries.

Kansas! magazine's food issue features several favorite Lawrence restaurants and more outstate eateries. by Sara Shepherd

The fall issue of Kansas! magazine, its food edition, features the mag’s 20 favorite restaurants statewide, and four of them are in Lawrence. Locals won’t be in for any surprises here; those four restaurants are the oft-touted 715, Free State Brewing Co., WheatFields and the Burger Stand.

But get a few hours away, and there are plenty more spots the magazine promises are worth a try. I’ve been to a handful, but here’s a few of the ones I hadn’t heard of and would totally stop at on my next road trip: Gella’s Diner & Lb. Brewing Co., a craft brewery and pub in Hays; Pho Hoa One, an authentic Vietnamese spot in Garden City; the Brookville Hotel, serving legendary skillet-fried chicken in Abilene; and Beethoven’s #9, a southern German restaurant in Paola (what?!).

The magazine also has a story on Wichita’s food truck scene — the city has nearly a dozen, enough for a monthly food truck rally — and features on three Kansas natives and restaurant chefs nominated this year for James Beard Foundation honors — Scott Benjamin of 4 Olives Restaurant and Wine Bar in Manhattan, Carl Thorne-Thomsen of Story in Prairie Village and Colby Garrelts of Rye in Leawood.

P.S. Kansas! magazine is sold at bookstores and museum gift shops across the state. For more information or to subscribe, go online to travelks.com/ks-mag. Sunflower Publishing publishes Kansas! magazine and is owned by the World Company, which also owns the Journal-World.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Tasting notes: Lawrence bar guide, Spanish wines and a ‘handy’ beer dinner

The Float Trip at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire St.

The Float Trip at Pachamama's, 800 New Hampshire St. by Sara Shepherd

A few notes from Lawrence's eating and drinking front — a little heavy on the drinking side this time.

This week

Kansas City’s Ink magazine has a Lawrence watering hole on the cover of its latest edition, and more Lawrence inside. Ink released its first Lawrence Bar Guide this week, with a cover photo shot at Frank’s North Star Tavern, a story about our potpourri of a bar scene and spotlights some of our more notable adult libations.

Mentions include daytime cocktails from The Roost, the Basil Rickey at 715, Pachamama’s glorious Float Trip and Frank’s Grape Drank. (To quote the article, that last one is “made with a healthy pour of vodka and a top-secret ingredient that may or may not be grape Kool-Aid. OK, it’s grape Kool-Aid. From a plastic jug in the fridge.”) Cheers to Lawrence!

Next week

Cava, albarino, mencia, rioja and tempranillo are among the wines to be featured at La Parrilla’s Spanish Wine and Food Tasting event next week. Spanish native Josu Galdos of Wine Imports will speak about the featured wines, paired with food courses inspired by chef Alejandro Lule’s trip to Madrid this summer. The dinner begins at 6:30 p.m. Wednesday in the Wine Cellar at La Parrilla, 724 Massachusetts St. Cost is $48 per person. Seating is limited, and reservations should be made by calling 841-1100.

Sept. 3

Mariscos is planning a craft beer dinner with quaffs from Left Hand Brewing Co. of Longmont, Colo. The four-course menu includes hearty food and beers with fun names. My favorites: the ginger-kissed Good Juju (paired with crab and goat cheese pizza) and an IPA called 400 Pound Monkey (with buffalo and bacon meatloaf). The event is set for 7 p.m. Sept. 3 at Mariscos, 4821 W. Sixth St. Cost is $49 per person, and reservations should be made by calling 312-9057.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Food truck on the move: Blissful Bite now serving lunch downtown

Jason Hering, one member of the co-op that owns and operates the Blissful Bite food truck, takes lunch orders Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, in the parking lot at 11th and Massachusetts streets.

Jason Hering, one member of the co-op that owns and operates the Blissful Bite food truck, takes lunch orders Friday, Aug. 9, 2013, in the parking lot at 11th and Massachusetts streets. by Sara Shepherd

The Blissful Bite, Lawrence’s only active food truck, is getting more active. The bright yellow mobile kitchen is now serving lunch from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Monday, Wednesday and Friday in the parking lot at 11th and Massachusetts streets. The truck rolled out the new lunch service last week.

Blissful Bite’s fresh, all-vegetarian offerings have health in mind and are studded with local produce (the Blissful Burrito I ordered Friday contained local free-range eggs and greens, and had I chosen potatoes instead of rice, those would have been local, too).

My Blissful Burrito, with rice and avocado, from the Blissful Bite.

My Blissful Burrito, with rice and avocado, from the Blissful Bite. by Sara Shepherd

In addition to the burrito, regular offerings include Red Lentil Curry and a Sprouted Grain Taco (both gluten-free), the Hassome Avocado (Hass avocado half with amino acids, beet relish and sesame seeds — it actually is pretty awesome!), Haymaker’s Punch and Three Mint Water.

Last week's offerings at the Blissful Bite food truck, now serving lunch Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11th and Massachusetts streets.

Last week's offerings at the Blissful Bite food truck, now serving lunch Monday, Wednesday and Friday at 11th and Massachusetts streets. by Sara Shepherd

The county subleases the parking lot from Allen Press, and the Blissful Bite is sub-sub-leasing space there for a month, said Jason Hering, one of the members of the co-op that owns and operates the food truck. If sales are good enough and things run smoothly, the co-op hopes to extend that lease, Hering said. The Blissful Bite also can be found at the Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market on Thursdays and the Downtown Farmers Market on Saturdays.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at sshepherd@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @saramarieshep. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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