Whenever I go visit family and friends, no matter where on this planet they happen to be, I love finding a great place to take them as a splurge. My most recent discovery was in Wichita, KS - home to my beloved in-laws and a fabulous, rather high-end European bistro called Ya Ya's European Bistro. (Apparently this is a small chain with a restaurant in Denver, Little Rock, Kansas City, and St Louis as well, but for some reason when they came to Wichita, they dropped the "i" in Yia Yia's.) My friend came to the in-laws house, gushing about this wonderful place (for a not-so-wonderful flop of a date). I knew this place would be a perfect fit for my treat - well outside of their comfort zone for food, but not too highbrow. (After all, it is Wichita... right?) So I announced that I was kidnapping everyone, with my husband's consent, and we all loaded into the car for the ride across town. There would be six of us total - me, hubs, Mom-in-law, Dad-in-law, and Sis-in-law, and the friend that tipped me off.
When we arrived at YaYa's, we were immediately shown to a table. It was half-off bottle Tuesdays (apparently one of the great drink specials they run), so we ordered a bottle of Auslese from Mosel, in honor of my friend. She's spent a ridiculous amount of time in Germany over the course of her life and LOVES the Trier and Mosel region, including its wines. I'm so glad she loves it, because that was one dang delicious bottle of wine.
I left the selection of an appetizer up to my sweet Mom-in-law. She adores calamari, so that was simple. It was wonderful - lightly crusted without being too heavily breaded, sweet and tender, with just the right amount of chewiness that didn't cross over to rubbery. It came with two amazing dips, a gazpacho aioli, which is basically a fancy smoky mayonnaise, and an amazing dip called agrodolce. I've never had this miraculous bit of nonsense before - an amazing blend of onions, garlic, red wine, and raisins - but I'm now a great fan of this Italian sweet and sour sauce.
When my Mom-in-law announced that she'd never had duck before, I started raving about my favorite cut - the breast - and explaining the taste as dark chicken meat on steroids. She was completely intrigued and ordered the Duo of Duck - a duck breast and duck confit, served with mushrooms, roasted squash puree, anda glaze of golden raisins and apples - as did I. I can never pass up an opportunity for some good duck. My Dad-in-law ordered the Wood Oven Roasted Chicken, which has to be among the juiciest chicken I've ever tasted, served with Yukon gold potatoes, and a mix of red onions, garlic, and red chilis with capers. I was so involved with my dinner that I honestly can't remember what my Sis-in-law, friend, or husband had for dinner!! My mind was that blown from my own dinner! :)
Their dessert is straight up evil. They had a trio of amazing creme brulees - a regular, chocolate, and one made with Bailey's Irish Cream. Yum. Although they were small, there was just enough for all of us to have a bite or two of each one... just enough to tame the sweet tooth and bring a warm, satisfying end to an altogether delectable meal.
For six of us, the bill was a bit steep. However, it was worth every single penny. I don't know that I'd do this again the next time I visit, but it's certainly worth a trip at least once a year or so... and probably much more often if you're not paying for six!
Why follow a compass that's lost? The Lost Compass is for people who can't stop travelling, who always seek out the next destination. It's for those who'd rather take a backroad than the Interstate; who wonder what happens when you get off the beaten path and look up an odd nook or cranny. It's about finding the little gems, wherever they may be hidden. It is for those who embrace travel as an experience - not stopping just at a tourist trap, but finding a local cafe, bookstore, or dive bar to stop and talk to the people who make up the town. What happens when the compass' needle spins off you the beaten path? Keep reading to find out.