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Entries from blogs tagged with “food”

Tasting notes: More palate teasers from Merchants, craft beer dinner, free sweet tea

Here's a couple of food- and drink-tasting opportunities to be had this week in Lawrence.

Tonight

La Parrilla this week will play host to its second tasting event in the wine cellar beneath the restaurant’s new location, 724 Massachusetts St. A dinner featuring beer and food pairings is planned for 6:30 p.m. today. Leading the event is Steve Wilson of City Wine Market who has selected a lineup of American micro-brews and some European samplings. Cost is $48 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 841-1100. There were still spots available as of late Tuesday.

Thursday

McAlister’s Deli is celebrating its fifth-annual Free Tea Day on Thursday, and according to a press release from the restaurant’s corporate office, nationwide the chain expects to give away more than 320,000 32-ounce glasses of their "Famous Sweet Tea." That’s a lot of free tea! The Lawrence McAlisters is located at 2108 W. 27th St. No purchase is necessary to get the free tea, but if you’re hungry the fast-casual restaurant is known for its sandwiches, soups, salads and desserts.

Friday

Merchants Pub and Plate, the new gastropub scheduled to open next month in the space formerly home to Tellers, will again serve samples from its menu at Final Fridays. Owners said they served more than 600 samples to Final Friday-goers at the Phoenix Gallery in June. This week, Merchants is setting up shop at 5 p.m. Friday at the Cider Gallery, located at 810 Pennsylvania St. in the Warehouse Arts District.

“We’re having a lot of fun sharing our concept and getting ready for the opening through these tasting events,” chef/owner TK Peterson said in an event announcement.

A note for those interested in more than just the food: This week’s Final Fridays reception at the Cider Gallery will feature large-scale photographic works by Lawrence artist Tim Forcade and indigenous-inspired paintings by Colombia native Majo.

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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New breakfast restaurant The Roost now open, just in time for sidewalk sale

Barista Chelsea Rae stamps the restaurant's logo on coffee cups behind a plate of giant marshmallows at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St.

Barista Chelsea Rae stamps the restaurant's logo on coffee cups behind a plate of giant marshmallows at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Talk about just in the nick of time. The Roost at 920 Massachusetts St. had its final city and fire department inspections Wednesday — sidewalk sale eve — and opened for breakfast this morning, owner Manda Jolly said.

The restaurant is serving until 2 p.m. today and starts regular hours Friday, from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. Today, only the breakfast menu is available, but Jolly said she expects to roll out the lunch menu within days.

The Roost’s artisan cocktail menu got off to a running start. It features five specialty bloody marys and a variety of other libations made with fresh ingredients. “People started ordering off our cocktail menu right after 9 a.m.,” Jolly said. “We were hoping they would.”

The breakfast menu has build-your-own omelets, breakfast “sammys” (sandwiches), “bennys” (eggs benedict) and corned beef hash. The lunch menu features more sammys, salads, soups and mac and cheese four ways — with roasted chicken, pork and beef meatballs, roasted portobello or tomatoes and bacon.

Breakfast menu at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St.

Breakfast menu at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Lunch menu at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St.

Lunch menu at The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

A grab-and-go pastry case includes savory hand pies, biscuits, gluten-free cookies and a to-die-for cherry almond coffee cake (sorry, yours truly took the last piece this morning), so there are options for both breakfast and lunch, Jolly said. There’s also fluffy, hulking, palm-size homemade marshmallows, for snacking or to drop in coffee.

The Roost is located in the spot formerly occupied by Milton’s. Jolly, who worked at Milton’s 12 years, co-owns The Roost with her husband, Sean Jolly, and Lawrence resident Kenny Pingleton.

The restaurant is named after Jolly’s family farm in Western Kansas, and she said her mission for The Roost fits with the attitudes about hard work and dedication she learned there. Jolly said she hopes to provide a good, fun work environment for her staff as well as clean, quality food for diners. “It’s definitely food I think everyone can relate to,” Jolly said.

The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St., opened for business the morning of the sidewalk sale.

The Roost, 920 Massachusetts St., opened for business the morning of the sidewalk sale. 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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Two Lawrence wine lists get awards from Wine Spectator

Journal-World file photo by Kevin Anderson

Journal-World file photo by Kevin Anderson by Sara Shepherd

Wine Spectator included two Lawrence locations — both hotel restaurants — in its 2013 Restaurant Wine List Awards, announced this week.

The winning wine lists — which the magazine says “offer an interesting and diverse selection of 100 or more wines that are well-presented and thematically match the restaurant cuisine” — are at Ten, inside the Eldridge Hotel at 701 Massachusetts St., and Five 21 restaurant, inside the Oread Hotel at 1200 Oread Ave. According to Wine Spectator’s listing, Ten has 200 wine selections, with California wine being a particular strength. Five 21 also has 200 selections, with a list strong in French and California wine.

Wine Spectator’s list includes more than 3,700 restaurants from across the globe, plus a few cruise ships. Outside the Kansas City metropolitan area, which has 21 restaurants listed, the other Kansas restaurants on this year’s list are 4 Olives Wine Bar in Manhattan, Chester’s Chophouse and Wine Bar in Wichita and Mike’s Wine Dive in Wichita.

Wine Enthusiast also announced restaurant honors this week, but in a much more exclusive list. The nearest restaurant named in that magazine's America’s 100 Best Wine Restaurants 2013 is Niche in St. Louis.

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Wining and dining diversions for July: 250 wines in one room, Manhattan beer, fancy meal with French wine

Inevitably July will start acting like July any day now, and it’s going to get hot. A few adult-beverage and food-tasting events in the coming weeks promise to be refreshing diversions. Here’s what’s on tap.

Salute! Grand Tasting

Salute!, Lawrence’s annual wine and food tasting festival to benefit Cottonwood Inc., is next week. The Grand Tasting and Auction is set for 6:30 to 10 p.m. July 13 at the Oread, 1200 Oread Ave. Tickets are $75 per person and include a souvenir wine glass, butler tray and tote bag. Purchase tickets and find more details online at salutewinefest.com.

The event will feature more than 250 wines and food from local restaurants and caterers. Salute! 2012 netted more than $114,000 for Cottonwood, a nonprofit organization that helps people with disabilities.

Salute! Winemaker Dinner

The much-less-expensive Salute! Mass St. Mosey — a $40-per-person wine walk in downtown Lawrence — is sold out (again). But if you can afford it, a more climate-controlled option with fancier fare is the $150-per-person Salute! Winemaker Dinner.

French wine from multiple growing regions highlights this year’s dinner July 12 at the Oread. A reception with hors d'oeuvres and wine begins at 6:30 p.m., and the four-course dinner at 7 p.m. Reservations are required. Purchase tickets and see the full wine list and dinner menu at salutewinefest.com.

Tallgrass Brewery Beer Dinner

Manhattan-brewed beer will boldly breach sports-rivalry lines for Genovese’s annual beer dinner. The five-course Tallgrass Brewery Beer Dinner is scheduled for 6 p.m. July 18 at the restaurant, 941 Massachusetts St. Cost is $49 per person, and reservations can be made by calling 842-0300.

Planned courses include duck confit crostini with 8-Bit Hop-Rocketed American Pale Ale, barbecued pork pizza with Velvet Rooster Belgian-Style Tripel and, for dessert, chocolate Kahlua panna cotta with Buffalo Sweat Oatmeal Cream Stout.

Fun fact — a few years ago Tallgrass abandoned bottles and went all-can, all the time. The “Tallgrass Canifesto” on the company’s website decrees: "Cans seal better than bottles and totally block sunlight, which keeps our beer tasting fresher, longer. Cans are more fun. You can take cans to the pool, concerts, lakes, stadiums, hot tubs, golf courses, and anywhere else you can’t take glass. Last, but not least, the aluminum can is WAY better for the environment than bottles. Cans are 12x lighter than glass, which means it takes less energy to ship the same amount of beer. But the biggest advantage is how easy it is to recycle cans. A recycled aluminum can will be made into another can and back on the shelf in about 60 days."

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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A taste of what’s on the menu for Merchants Pub and Plate (quail panzanella!)

Philip Wilson, left, and chef T.K. Peterson, co-owners of Merchants Pub and Plate, offer samples of menu items from their new restaurant, opening in August at 746 Massachusetts St.

Philip Wilson, left, and chef T.K. Peterson, co-owners of Merchants Pub and Plate, offer samples of menu items from their new restaurant, opening in August at 746 Massachusetts St. by Sara Shepherd

Co-owners of the soon-to-come Merchants Pub and Plate, Philip Wilson and chef T.K. Peterson, were chatting up potential customers while whipping up appetizers Friday evening in the back room of the Phoenix Gallery.

Final Friday-goers got to try two items expected to be on the menu at the new gastropub-style restaurant, on track to open in mid-August in the building formerly home to Teller’s, 746 Massachusetts St. (Previously, Wilson was the operating manager of Teller’s, and Peterson was executive chef at the Oread.)

On the table at Phoenix Gallery were samples of Black Pepper Mascarpone Crostini with Peach Basil Preserves and little boats of Grilled Quail Panzanella Salad, a mix of tender quail slices, arugula, diced tomatoes, fresh onions and bread cubes that soaked up a bright vinaigrette (a decidedly non-woodsy take on quail, and, unlike some at-home versions around these parts, birdshot-free!). I thought both were pretty to look at, fresh, flavorful and season-appropriate — and of course even better with a sip of the sauvignon blanc and IPA they were serving next door at BIAO Designs.

Black Pepper Mascarpone Crostini with Peach Basil Preserves

Black Pepper Mascarpone Crostini with Peach Basil Preserves by Sara Shepherd

Grilled Quail Panzanella Salad

Grilled Quail Panzanella Salad by Sara Shepherd

That’s good, because one of Merchants’ main goals is making seasonal food that goes well with beer, Peterson said. “It’s just kind of the food I want to cook,” he said. “Our restaurant’s going to be heavy on the beer side of things ... we’re beer enthusiasts.”

Merchants plans to have 30 beers on tap — all craft varieties, including Free State and other area beers — with no duplicate handles. Owners say that’s easily the most beers on tap of any place in town.

For updates on the restaurant’s anticipated opening, keep an eye on Merchants at Twitter.com/MerchantsOnMass or like them at facebook.com/MerchantsOnMass.

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Burger Stand lands on another nationwide ‘best burger’ list

Lawrence isn’t one of the 21 big cities the website Thrillist usually writes about, but somebody on their staff has been here — and been very impressed with one of our burgers.

The Burger Stand’s “Hamburg Burger” (which I'm pretty sure is one of their inventive specials, but not on the regular daily menu) made Thrillist’s list of “the 33 best burgers in the entire country,” published this week. Here’s what they said:

Originally started in the kitchen of an Irish pub in 2009, the burger stand has reached cult status in and around the college town thanks to their custom blend of tenderloin, strip steak, and ribeye; their housemade sauces (cherry pepper or chipotle cocoa ketchup, whole grain guinness mustard); and their duck fat fries. If you're feeling bold (and hell, you're in Kansas, why wouldn't you be?!?), get the Hamburg burger -- a German take with braised red cabbage, whole grain mustard, and homemade pickle relish.

Check out the Hamburg and the other 32 burgers — and find a printable PDF checklist if you have a wild hair to travel around the country and try them all — here. Burger Stand has been voted Lawrence's best burger three years running, and also got a shout out on Zagat's "best burgers in 25 cities" list earlier this year.

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Taco John’s now selling build-your-own burritos, $1 off with our secret code

Santa Fe Burrito and Santa Fe Bowl, new items at Taco John's

Santa Fe Burrito and Santa Fe Bowl, new items at Taco John's by Sara Shepherd

This post is for Taco John’s fans, or couponing types who might consider eating there if they're getting a discount.

The “West-Mex” fast food chain is giving Lawrence diners a sneak preview of two new menu items, Santa Fe Burritos and Santa Fe Bowls (you choose your own meat, salsa and other toppings, Chipotle-style but without as many options). They won’t be offered nationwide until July 8, but they’re available in Lawrence starting today.

Taco John’s shared a code for my Lawrence.com readers to get coupons for $1 off the new offerings. To get the coupon, text VIP19 to 35880. The code is valid through July 1. (Starting on July 8, though, it looks like Taco John’s may be offering some items for free, according to their website.)

Lawrence’s three Taco John’s locations are at 2309 Haskell Ave. (23rd and Haskell), 1626 W. 23rd St. and 1101 W. Sixth St. (Sixth and Maine). Taco John's announcement didn't include the price of the Santa Fe items, but I assume that even at full price they'll go for cheaper than the ones at go-to build-your-own burrito joints Chipotle or Freebirds.

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Upscale meal in peach orchard to showcase the fine-dining side of agrotourism

Richard Gwin/Journal-World Photo

Richard Gwin/Journal-World Photo by Sara Shepherd

Think “agrotourism,” and pick-your-own apples and winery tours probably come to mind, at least in the Midwest. But another take on it is becoming increasingly popular (and hard to get tickets to): fine dining on the farm.

Gieringers Orchard has scheduled its second Feast in the Fields event for 6 p.m. July 13 at the orchard, which has an Edgerton address but lies on the Douglas County-Johnson County line. Orchard owner Melanie Gieringer said today that tickets are still available for the event, which takes place outdoors between rows of peach trees.

In Weston, Mo., Green Dirt Farm has already sold out all but one of its wildly popular farm-to-table dinners through October. Each features acclaimed Kansas City area chefs, including Pachamama’s chef/owner Ken Baker on Oct. 5 (Yes, that one’s sold out, too. Sorry.).

River Creek Farms near Manhattan also has played host to dinners in its barn and cornfield — where one of Baker’s dinners earlier this month filled up as well.

Pachamama's chef Ken Baker. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo

Pachamama's chef Ken Baker. Nick Krug/Journal-World Photo by Nick Krug

The Gieringers Orchard dinner will feature Kansas wine and an all-local, four-course menu, also prepared by Baker. Tickets are $100 each (includes gratuity) and can be purchased online at gieringersorchard.com or by calling 913-893-9626.

Gieringer said it’s hard to put her finger on exactly what’s so special about the experience, which attracted about 50 people last year.

“It’s not every day you get to actually have all local food and it’s actually eaten out in our orchard,” she said. “It’s so neat.”

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Upcoming tasting event to break in La Parrilla’s new wine cellar

La Parrilla has planned a South American-style christening for the wine cellar in its new, bigger digs at 724 Massachusetts St., the space that formerly housed Tapas.

The cellar, which has been in the building since 2000, belongs to Steve Wilson of City Wine Market, who will lead La Parrilla's first tasting event there. The evening will feature four Argentinian wines paired with South American influenced, small-plate style dishes from chef Alejandro Lule (a Peruvian shrimp and octopus ceviche with a glass of torrontés gets the menu started).

The event is scheduled for 7 p.m. June 19 at La Parrilla. Cost is $48 per person. Seating is limited, and reservations should be made by calling 841-1100.

La Parrilla owner Subarna Bhattachan, in the event announcement, describes the cellar as an intimate space featuring exposed hardwood beams and decorated with Persian rugs. He said he plans to collaborate with Wilson on more cellar tasting events in the future, highlighting primarily Spanish, Portuguese and South American wines to complement the restaurant’s Latin American cuisine.

Tips welcome!

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

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On National Donut Day, try a doughnut-bacon sandwich … or just get a normal doughnut for free

Even as fast-food chains tout their healthy offerings, they're also coming up with fatty new treats to keep customers interested. Case in point: Dunkin' Donuts is adding a doughnut breakfast sandwich to its national menu beginning June 2013. (AP Photo/Dunkin' Brands, Inc., James Scherer)

Even as fast-food chains tout their healthy offerings, they're also coming up with fatty new treats to keep customers interested. Case in point: Dunkin' Donuts is adding a doughnut breakfast sandwich to its national menu beginning June 2013. (AP Photo/Dunkin' Brands, Inc., James Scherer) by Sara Shepherd

Dunkin' Donuts is now on board the making-new-things-with-bacon train. This year on National Donut Day, which is Friday, the chain is launching its new creation, the Glazed Donut Breakfast Sandwich.

It's got smoked bacon and a fried egg with a sliced, glazed doughnut for a bun. The executive chef for Dunkin' Donuts says this in a Q&A on the company's website: "The glazed donut is light and fluffy and gives you just the right amount of sweetness. Combined with the lightly salted, smoked bacon, the texture and flavors marry together in a wonderful way. It’s a delicious bite of the perfect harmonization of sweet and savory flavors."

OK then. And if a plain ol' doughnut is good enough for you, Lawrence Dunkin' Donuts locations are celebrating National Donut Day by offering a free doughnut of choice with purchase of a drink all day Friday. Stores are located at 521 W. 23rd St. and 1400 W. Sixth St.

According to the definitive source on all things Donut Day, donutdayusa.com, the celebration — always the first Friday in June — was created by the Salvation Army in 1938 to honor the women who served doughnuts to soldiers during World War I.

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 @KCSSara. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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West Coast wine pairings coming to a restaurant near you

West coast wineries — one in Oregon, one in California — will provide the wine part of two upcoming wine dinners in downtown Lawrence.

On June 5, the Eldridge is playing host to a dinner featuring wines from Jax Vineyard in Calistoga, Calif., at the foot of Mt. St. Helena. The planned five-course menu includes roasted duck breast with ginger-glazed carrot and slow-braised beef cheek with Iwig buttermilk mash.

The Jax Vineyard Wine Dinner starts at 6:30 p.m. at the Eldridge. Cost is $60 per person, and reservations are required. Contact Lindsay Robinson at 785-749-1005 or lindsay@oliviacollection.com.

Genovese’s June wine dinner will prove that seafood and red wine can go together, especially when you’re talking about pinot noir. Each course will be paired with wine from Oregon’s Willamette Valley Vineyards — two whites and two pinot noirs. Planned dishes include a parmesan breadcrumb crusted diver scallop and pancetta-wrapped seared ahi tuna.

The Willamette Valley dinner is set for 6 p.m. June 6 at Genovese, 941 Massachusetts St. Cost is $45 per person. Call the restaurant at 842-0300 for reservations.

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Brits Big Lunch celebrates coronation with Scotch eggs, custard tarts

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, Thursday, May 23, 2013. (AP Photo / Chris Radburn, Pool)

Britain's Queen Elizabeth II during a visit to the Medical Research Council in Cambridge, England, Thursday, May 23, 2013. (AP Photo / Chris Radburn, Pool) by Sara Shepherd

God save the queen ... and Scotch eggs and custard tarts!

Queen Lizzy’s the restaurant closed in December, but Scotch eggs and sausage rolls will once again be available when Queen Lizzy’s the catering service makes its public debut this weekend at Brits Big Lunch.

The event — celebrating the anniversary of Queen Elizabeth II’s coronation — takes place from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday on the back patio of Brits, 929 Massachusetts St. In addition to the Scotch eggs and sausage rolls, Queen Lizzy’s will be selling Cornish pasties, chicken tikka, coronation chicken salad and cucumber sandwiches and strawberries and cream.

Another food component of the Big Lunch is a custard tart contest. Novice and expert cooks alike are invited to enter any size or variation of this classic British dessert. The entry fee is $10, which will be donated to Just Food, the Douglas County food bank. Entry forms are online at britsshop.com.

Other Anglophile-fun planned for the event: the Lawrence All-British Car Club’s rides on display in front of the store, a royal baby guessing game and an open invitation for all corgi owners to bring their dogs.

Royal geek-out moment: Check out the BBC’s June 2, 1953, “On This Day” feature on the coronation and all its opulence and fanfare — orbs, sceptres, jewels and everything! Also, for anyone who's still geeking out with me, here is the latest AP photo of mother-to-be Kate Duchess of Cambridge.

Britain's Prince Charles, left, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, centre, and Kate Duchess of Cambridge attend a Garden Party hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, central London Wednesday May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/ John Stillwell/PA)

Britain's Prince Charles, left, Camilla Duchess of Cornwall, centre, and Kate Duchess of Cambridge attend a Garden Party hosted by Queen Elizabeth II in the grounds of Buckingham Palace, central London Wednesday May 22, 2013. (AP Photo/ John Stillwell/PA) by Sara Shepherd

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Morels popping up on Lawrence menus

Pizza Bianca with morels, Maggie's Farm purple asparagus, fresh spinach, Crescenza cheese and truffle oil was one of the May 14, 2013, lunch specials at Genovese.

Pizza Bianca with morels, Maggie's Farm purple asparagus, fresh spinach, Crescenza cheese and truffle oil was one of the May 14, 2013, lunch specials at Genovese. by Sara Shepherd

It’s the time of year when morels are popping up in Kansas woods and in the news feeds of those foraging-types you’re friends with on Facebook — not that that does us non-foraging-types any good.

Luckily, a few Lawrence restaurants have secured sources for the elusive mushrooms and are plating up the pungent (in a good way!) fungi in various forms.

I got my fix today at Genovese, where the lunch specials included a Pizza Bianca with morels, Maggie's Farm purple asparagus, fresh spinach, Crescenza cheese and truffle oil. In the past week I’ve also seen morel specials advertised at 715 — where they’ve offered the mushrooms at dinnertime, sauteed with pancetta and served over grilled WheatFields bread and Maytag polenta — and at Pachamama’s — where they showed them Friday on Facebook atop pan roasted walleye, along with roasted cauliflower and dill and onion bubble and squeak.

To buy morels to cook yourself, Pendleton’s Kaw Valley Country Market also has advertised morels in their newsletter, although in limited amounts. For availability call 843-1409.

Watch social media feeds and keep an eye on downtown sandwich boards to catch any remaining morel specials before what's left of the season is gone. And maybe it wouldn’t hurt to try and make more of those foraging types more than just Facebook friends — they're probably more likely to share than to give away their secret hunting spots.

The true morel (left) is distinguishable from false morels (right) by its hollow core. False morels have cottony or other weblike structures inside their stem and cap.

The true morel (left) is distinguishable from false morels (right) by its hollow core. False morels have cottony or other weblike structures inside their stem and cap.

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What’s on tap for Craft Beer Week? Two new collaborative brews and more

John Dean of Blind Tiger Brewery (left), Bryan "Bucky" Buckingham of 23rd Street Brewery and Geoff Deman of Free State Brewery after a day of brewing in Topeka. Photo from www.facebook.com/TheBlindTigerBreweryandRestaurant

John Dean of Blind Tiger Brewery (left), Bryan "Bucky" Buckingham of 23rd Street Brewery and Geoff Deman of Free State Brewery after a day of brewing in Topeka. Photo from www.facebook.com/TheBlindTigerBreweryandRestaurant by Sara Shepherd

Lawrence brewers are ringing in American Craft Beer Week with two envelope-pushing creations I got to sneak-preview this morning. (Though neither one of these contains mint...)

For the second year, head brewers from Lawrence’s Free State and 23rd Street breweries and Topeka’s Blind Tiger Brewery collaborated to create a new beer in honor of the week, being celebrated nationwide Monday through May 19.

They named this year's concoction “Smoke on the Wheat." Light as straw and crisp as Perrier but with a roguish smoky overtone — and as 23rd Street head brewer Bryan “Bucky” Buckingham notes, a little baloney on the nose (...or maybe it sounds better to say charcuterie?) — Smoke on the Wheat is in the style of a 14th century Polish Grätzer ale. The beer, made with oak-smoked wheat and Polish yeast, is low-alcohol, high-carbonation and pours with a big, fluffy head.

A second collaborative brew, created by 23rd Street and members of the Lawrence Brewers Guild, will be tapped Monday at 23rd Street.

“LBG Collaboration No. 2” is a Belgian-style IPA. Or, if you want to get specific, an “amber-Belgian-wheat-IPA-Trappist-specialty-beer-kind-of-thing,” Buckingham says. “It’s got a lot going on.” Higher in alcohol, honey colored and slightly sweet smelling, Collaboration No. 2 surprises with a super-dry, hoppy finish.

These two brews and many others will be the focus of all kinds of activities next week. Here’s a rundown:

Monday

• Smoke on the Wheat tapped at 23rd Street, 3512 Clinton Parkway, Free State, 636 Massachusetts St., and Blind Tiger, 417 SW 37th St. in Topeka. (Each brewery held back a keg of Full Kimono, the result of last year's collaboration, to tap during the week, too.)

• LBG Collaboration No. 2 tapped at 23rd Street

Tuesday

• Five-course Free State beer dinner at so-hot-right-now Kansas City, Mo., restaurant Port Fonda, 4141 Pennsylvania St. Cost: $55. Reservations: 816-216-6462 or michaela@portfondakc.com.

Wednesday

• Beer Trivia Night at the Burger Stand, 803 Massachusetts St. With a Free State tap takeover on the lower level — and prizes!

Thursday

• Free State beer flowing (as usual) at Cottin’s Hardware Farmers Market, 4 to 6:30 p.m. at 1832 Massachusetts St.

(Firkin) Friday

• Firkin tapping for LBG Collaboration No. 2 with orange peel added, 6 p.m. at 23rd Street

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Lawrence chef cooking up fine dining event in Kansas cornfield

Photo from feastofthefields.net

Photo from feastofthefields.net by Sara Shepherd

Pachamama's executive chef and owner Ken Baker is preparing the menu for a four-course en plein air dinner next month on a Kansas farm.

The fourth-generation River Creek Farm, about nine miles east of Manhattan, will host its annual Feast of the Fields event June 8 in a growing cornfield. The event aims to promote awareness of agriculture by serving meats, produce and wines from the Flint Hills region in a natural setting. 

The cost is $100 per person. Event organizers say any proceeds will be reinvested into educational agrotourism programs and to assist local culinary students.

For more information or to reserve a seat, go online to feastofthefields.net.

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Cinco de Mayo dinner to highlight refined side of tequila

There is a tequila world beyond “lick, shoot, suck” (and, inevitably, burn), and an upcoming event provides a good opportunity to foray into it.

Genovese’s annual Cinco de Mayo Tequila Tasting Dinner is planned for 6 p.m. Sunday at the restaurant, 941 Massachusetts St.

Genovese plans to serve a selection of Avión and Familia Camarena brand tequilas — silver, reposado and añejo, all produced in the highlands of Jalisco, Mexico — paired with a four-course dinner menu. Geneovese chef and co-owner Armando Paniagua’s Mexican heritage is reflected in his planned dishes: shrimp and octopus cocktail, grilled mahi mahi tacos, barbacoa and chocolate Kahlua panna cotta.

The cost of the dinner is $50 per person, not including tax and gratuity. For reservations, call Genovese at 842-0300.

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Boulevard’s new experimental brew is minty-fresh, on tap in Lawrence

Boulevard's Tripel Julep

Boulevard's Tripel Julep by Sara Shepherd

There’s only a handful of kegs (sixth-barrels at that) in town, but Boulevard Brewing Company’s Kentucky Derby-inspired Tripel Julep — a very limited, experimental release not planned for bottling — is on tap in Lawrence.

Mariscos has one keg, and Dempsey’s says they have two — one tapped and one backup. (There may be more, most likely bars that routinely serve Boulevard's Smokestack Series brews. Feel free to add sightings in the comments section below.)

This is easily the most unusual beer I’ve had. (Maybe the most unusual beer anyone has had?) Boulevard took some of its Long Strange Tripel, aged it in bourbon barrels and infused it with mint. You’ll taste a lot of mint, the banana and citrus notes Belgians are known for, a little bit of sweetness, plus a hint of oak and bourbon.

Boulevard used 15 first-use barrels from the Four Roses Bourbon distillery to age the Tripel for about three months, according to tasting notes from the distributor. Brewers then added mint and filled about 50 kegs by hand. For having an alcohol content of more than 11 percent, it’s deceivingly light and easy-drinking.

Naturally, Kansas City has the lion’s share of Tripel Julep. For those of you venturing that way, The Pitch today published a list of restaurants where it’s on tap in KC.

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The Lasso: Final Fridays, film fest, Farmer’s Ball finals, Haskell fashion, beer name-change, baby chicks

Troy Moth photo

Troy Moth photo by Contributed Photo

Miscellanea from this week on the web, including links to read before hitting this weekend's three F's: Final Fridays, Free State Film Festival and Farmer's Ball Finals.

Final Fridays

There’s big things planned for this month’s Final Fridays, including the grand opening of the new Cider Gallery in the Warehouse Arts District. Here’s our Final Fridays preview, featuring stunning black and white nature photography by Troy Moth (former shooter for GQ and Rolling Stone) at the Invisible Hand and paper bathing suits at where else but Wonderfair. The Final Fridays blog has a nifty gallery map and more gallery event summaries.

Free State Film Festival

The annual Free State Film Festival is this weekend, and its going to be a film geek's dream. According to the event website, expect “films, short films, panel discussions, staged readings, live music performances, an experimental film and music video showcase and a revival of the multimedia stage production, 'On Screen Offspring' featuring new original short plays by area filmmakers.” Our film critic says there will be plenty of the kind of films that are sure to get people talking.

Farmer’s Ball Finals

Loud and Local has teasers from the four bands that made the cut to play in the finals on Saturday. Larryville Chronicles also has a Q&A with their “dark-horse” pick, Brain Food, the headline for which includes the phrase “like electronic angels giving birth to a dark velvet thundercloud."

Beer name-change

It seems Boulevard has changed the name of its Boulevard Pilsner to KC Pils. Here are photos of the new bottles. (I haven't heard the theory behind the name change, but the photo description says something about hometown love. Could there be more name changes on the way?)

Haskell fashion

A fashion show was part of Haskell Indian Nation University’s recent Indigenous Empowerment Summit. Mark & Tree photography took great photos of all the styles, bold jumpsuits and bustiers included. (Hat tip to Ditto Resale Boutique for sharing the link on their Facebook page)

Baby chicks

My Bit of Earth blogger Meryl let her new chicks out in the yard for the first time ... and kindly took pictures so the rest of us can see how adorable they are.

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Latest on the Roost: New breakfast restaurant aiming to open in May in former Milton’s location

Photo courtesy of the Roost

Photo courtesy of the Roost by Sara Shepherd

The lead story in today's new Going Out section — Rise and shine: Lunch and dinner spots give breakfast a shot — focused on some of the more unexpected places you can now have a morning meal. While I didn't include it in this article, talking about downtown breakfast spots made me wonder, "What's the latest on the Roost?"

The Roost is the new breakfast and lunch restaurant planning to open in the former Milton's location, 920 Massachusetts St. I checked with the owners this week, who said their current target opening date is May.

They're working on renovations, getting all the proper permits, kicking off a Kickstarter project to raise money for a new hood system and testing and tweaking recipes for the menu. Once they do open, the plan is to serve from 7 a.m. to 4 p.m. seven days a week. When they have a firm opening date, I'm sure they'll share it on their Facebook page, where, in the meantime you can get a glimpse of those aforementioned recipe tests — morning-appropriate cocktails included!

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Lawrence native lands lead role in new TV series

"Granite Flats," featuring Lawrence native Annie Tedesco

"Granite Flats," featuring Lawrence native Annie Tedesco by Sara Shepherd

Lawrence native and Kansas University grad Annie Tedesco landed a lead role in the new BYUtv series “Granite Flats.”

After earning a degree in psychology with an emphasis in cognitive neuroscience, Tedesco made her way to Los Angeles, where she successfully auditioned for the comedy troupe the Groundlings, and has appeared in print ads, TV commercials and shows. In the past few years, Tedesco has had cameo appearances on shows including “Modern Family,” “The Mentalist” and “Bones.”

“Granite Flats” — set in 1962 and described as a family-friendly period drama with a sci-fi twist — premieres April 7 on Dish Network, DirecTV and select cable systems, and will be available online at byutv.org.

Here’s what viewers have in store, according to producers:

Granite Flats tells the story of a recently widowed single mom, Beth Milligan (Tedesco), and her 10 year old son Arthur, who move from California to the rural town of Granite Flats, Colorado to start a new life after the untimely and mysterious death of their Air Force pilot husband and father. From the moment of their arrival at the military base where Beth will be employed as a hospital nurse and Arthur will get a post-tragedy restart on life, the wholesome community is quickly revealed to be much more complex than at first glance. Standing alone outside on his first night in Granite Flats, Arthur is the sole witness to a fiery object hurdling across the sky, landing in the nearby hills. Is it a comet, like the budding young scientist believes, or something far more complicated? The spiraling consequences of what Arthur sees and the subsequent explosion that sets the stage for the plot to unfold propels Granite Flats into motion. Under the town’s wholesome surface, a sinister element is brewing that will challenge the faith and humanity of the show’s quirky characters, threaten to shatter any residual innocence left from the past decade and reveal the ubiquitous fear of nuclear attack which defined that era.

Here's a teaser:

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