I have talked often of my love for very spicy food. I like to eat things so chili-hot that my eyes water and I get a sort of sparkly endorphin rush. I don’t like heat for heat’s sake, though, so the dish itself has to be delicious and well made, and the chilies need to enhance rather than obscure the flavors within. You aren’t going to see me judging jalapeno eating contests any time soon. I’d much rather be slurping up Thai noodles and curries at Chiang Mai.
I have been curious about the new Delish Deli at Food For Thought since they opened a few months ago. Food for Thought is a locally owned natural food store that’s been in business since 1971, so they know what they are doing in the healthy food department.
Oh, tacos! They are one of nature’s most perfect foods. I love just about everything about them. I’m talking about authentic Mexican soft corn tacos filled with earthy meats, not the crispy fried fast food ones (although there’s nothing wrong with those, either). I just adore those soft corn tortillas, the drippy sauces, the wonderful, rich meat fillings, and little squirt of lime that cuts all the richness and balances the whole.
Last year was a miserable year for gardeners and produce lovers. Everything dried up and died, dashing our hopes for juicy BLTs, sweet cucumber salads and fried zucchini blossoms. I’m a pathetic gardener and notorious killer of plants, but even master gardeners watched their efforts shrivel up and waste away in the brutal heat.
I was on a judging panel for the Orpheum’s annual “Celebrity and Chef Cook-off” a few days ago. I have graduated from contestant to judge in the last few years, and I have to say that judging is no less stressful, but it is less sweaty, and I smell better when it’s all over. As a general rule, I dislike cooking competitions, particularly the ones on TV, but the live ones are exciting, with ingredients flying around, and the smell and sizzle and quiet cursing just adding to the party.
I have just returned from a wonderful vacation to Sebastopol, California, in the heart of Sonoma County. My dance partner Marta and I went up for a huge bellydance event called Tribal Fest. We’ve been before, so we knew the food would be great, but the ante had been upped since were there last. I have never been anywhere where everything was so fresh and delicious. Even the rest stops had organic offerings, perfumed strawberries, and gluten-free cookies. It was like being on another planet.
I am thankful every day that I am able to afford to buy the food I want to eat. I haven’t always had that luxury. I ate a lot of beans and tortillas when I was in my 20s, and have had to make the choice between gasoline and groceries many times. My financial situation has improved considerably since then, but I know what it’s like to be worried about food.
I finally got a chance try out The Flying Stove, one of Wichita’s non-taco food trucks. I have been web-stalking them since they opened, drooling over their yummy-looking pictures and Facebook posts. I’m happy to report that the food tastes even better than it looks.
Wichita has never been known as a city that favors healthy food. We are most famous for Pizza Hut, delicious beef, and huge portions. Meat is king here and won’t soon be dethroned, but recently a couple of brave, vegetarian-friendly restaurateurs have been making health-conscious dining a whole lot easier.
I was a judge at the Death by Chocolate event this last weekend at Exploration Place. To some, it might have sounded like heaven—table after table covered with beautiful, inventive chocolates, cakes, and cookies. To me, it looked like an uphill marathon I hadn’t properly trained for. We had to taste everything, and that meant about a hundred individual sweets. My teeth hurt after the first 10 offerings. I got the sugar shakes after the 30th truffle. My vision blurred by the time we had finished the gauntlet and I had to sit down. By the time I got home I was as ill as I could be.