TRAVEL THERE: A VISIT TO OLD TOWN IN WICHITA KS WITH DINNER AT JASON FEBRES’ TASTE AND SEE:GLOBAL CUISINE
The drive from OKC to Wichita has to be one of the most boring in the world. About the only excitement we had was gathering up change for the toll road. Things got more fun in Wichita. We found Old Town and then ate at a restaurant owned by a famous TV Chef, Taste and See.
Rolling Into Town
The first thing we had to do when we got to Wichita was find our hotel. Then we had to figure out how to get to the Intrust Bank Arena at 9 AM the next morning. I was hoping the hotel would be taking a vanload or two, but no such luck. We chatted with the bellman, but didn’t like any of his suggestions. It looked as if I’d have to drive down there and park. So as soon as we dumped our stuff in the room, we went back out.
Intrust Bank Arena in Wichita is not the American Airlines Center in Dallas, but I was paranoid about it all. (Am I the only one who hates having arenas named after businesses?) I didn’t want to be stuck outside trying to park while Beth Moore was inside the arena blessing the socks off everyone. I programmed Nancy the Navigator to find the arena and headed downtown. Deb tried to help Nancy and kept urging me to go ahead and turn left, but for once I ignored her. Come to find out, Deb had been trying to get me to the Convention Center rather than the Intrust Bank Arena. Nancy had it right.
I drove around a little more to convince myself that parking was not going to be an issue. Then we decided to explore Wichita a little bit. This time we turned Nancy off and I followed Deb’s instructions. She found a gas station and then got me to a parking lot in Old Town.
Discovering Old Town
Like Bricktown in OKC, Old Town in Wichita is an entertainment area. While much of Bricktown is new, most of Old Town is old. The first place we happened upon was Mort’s, which is a happening sort of a place, but it’s also a cigar-smoking place and my eyes wanted no part of that.
So we followed the map around to an area with several restaurants and landed at Taste and See: Global Fusion. Confession: We had no idea we had arrived at THE hot foodie spot of Wichita. For that matter, we had no idea Wichita was supposed to be a foodie destination. We just got lucky.
Taste and See
The hot foodie spot was not much into decor. Bare tables, concrete floors – a sort of diner vibe. At the back of the restaurant was an open kitchen with a lot of chefs. I’ve heard of too many chefs in the kitchen, but watching these guys seemed like a demonstration of just that phenomena.
Deb was in the mood for a steak and I just wanted to nibble a little bit, but first we wanted drinks. I chose Sangria. Deb ordered a glass of wine, but the waitress didn’t like her choice. After a bit of tasting Deb decided the waitress was right about the pinot being sub-par. I think she ended up with a merlot. My sangria was great.
Then there was the ordering. The tasting menu sounded amazing, but it was $35 and to get the paired drinks was another $45. I’m into a little splurging, but that was beyond my keen. So instead I picked out a couple of tapas. Deb chose a steak and she ordered it rare. The waitress took her order, but then a chef came and discussed the wisdom of rare and suggested medium rare.
The conference was a success and Deb loved her steak. I loved one of my tapas, the Cornucopia, but the Pizzettes had too much dough – as in the toppings were just about right, but sat in the middle of too much bread.
All the while we kept our eyes opened for Jason Febres, the famous chef we knew nothing about. Lo and behold, he showed up, but after chatting up a few other tables he landed at a large group about two tables away. He stayed there for the rest of the time we were there, so I never got the chance to help him out with his Pizzettes.
Of course we had dessert. It was some Oreo Cookie thing, which was delicious, but didn’t begin to compete with the not-so-trendy Lava Cake we’d tackled in OKC.
Time to Call It a Night
I’m glad we happened upon the ultimate Wichita foodie experience, but I have to confess that it was not my favorite meal of the trip. In fact, if we were handing out foodie awards, we’d have to give it to OKC, not Wichita.
We took another route back to our car. For a Friday night the area was actually pretty tame. Mort’s was rocking, but we could smell the cigar smoke long before we heard the live band on the patio, so I’m not sorry we missed that hot spot. Nancy the Navigator took us back to the Doubletree and we tucked ourselves in for the night.
Here’s a few more pictures from our foodie experience. Come back next week and I’ll tell you about the hotel.