Food Critics

Jen Chen / KCUR

Thick or thin crust, red or white sauce, square or triangle ... Kansas City offers a plethora of pizza choices for just about everyone.

On this week's show, Erik Borger, chef/owner of Il Lazzarone, shows our Food Critic Charles Ferruzza how to make a certified authentic Neapolitan pizza. Craig Jones also discusses pizza tips for the home cook, and the Food Critics weigh in on the best pizzas in Kansas City.

Charles Ferruzza:

I love pizza: The good, the bad and the ugly...

Jen Chen, KCUR

According to Erik Borger, the chef-owner of Il Lazzarone, there's a specific way to make authentic Neapolitan pizza. And he should know; his original Il Lazzarone restaurant in St. Joseph has been certified as authentically Neapolitan by the American Delegation of the Associazione Verace Pizza Napoletana.

Recently, our food critic Charles Ferruzza visited Borger's newest outpost in Kansas City's River Market to get the details on making an authentic Neapolitan pie.

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From nose to tail, chefs are getting creative with all parts of the animal. Whether it’s game or offal, we go beyond chicken breast to talk about the more unusual cuts of meat that are popping up on area menus.

 

On this week’s Central Standard, Ryan Brazeal, owner/chef of Novel, discusses how to prepare offal, and James Worley from the Missouri Department of Conservation talks about hunting and cooking wild game. Our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Bonjwing Lee hunt down the best creative meat dishes in Kansas City.

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On the face of it, bread is such a simple thing. But the difference between an ordinary, ho-hum slice of bread and a lovingly-prepared morsel with a crunchy crust and a melty middle … there’s just no comparison.

Whether it’s hard and crusty or soft and spongy, bread is more than just a delivery mechanism for sandwich fillings.

On this week’s Central Standard, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Lou Jane Temple weigh in on the best bread in Kansas City.

Charles Ferruzza:

Wiki

When you walk into a restaurant, there is a certain je ne sais quoi that can make or break the experience.

Of course the food is of paramount importance, but poor lighting, decor and authenticity can make even an exquisite plate of duck confit look like a soggy KFC drumstick.

Luckily, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jill Wenholt Silva know a thing or two about restaurant ambiance. Here are their picks for standout restaurants with great ambiance:

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Some like it hot, and some just can't resist a challenge. We start our exploration of spice in Kansas City by subjecting our intern and food critic to the Thai Hot Challenge at the Thai Place. Then, an Indian cooking instructor shares insights into the techniques, philosophies and health properties of spice.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Oh the heat. Sometimes it hurts so good — too much can make it hurt so bad.

If you like the pain, there are a handful of restaurants across the metro that invite you to test your limits. For the rest of you spice lovers, there are even more places that try to strike a tolerable, yet delicious balance both in heat and flavor.

Sylvia Maria Gross

Featured: Central Standard intern Patrick Quick and Central Standard food critic Emily Farris.

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Is there a smell, in all the land, like sizzling ground meat charring on the grill?

Burgers are a staple of classic Americana, as we confirmed on Central Standard.

They're a national comfort food, according to Feast Magazine's Jenny Vergara, and she says that if you're going to make cuisine in America, you're going to have to conquer the burger.

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From happy hour treats to sumptuous desserts, Central Standard's Food Critics covered a wide swath of Kansas City cuisine in 2014. And what better way to test their culinary knowledge than with a "Best-of" list?

Here are the Food Critics' choices for the best dishes of 2014 in Kansas City:

Mary Bloch:

Our food critics share their favorite meals of 2014, go over the year's restaurant openings and closings, and predict some local food trends for the coming year.

Guests: 

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Fine dining is all about the details.

Once upon a time, there were strict rules: nice white tablecloths, crystal glassware, servers in tuxedos, coat-and-tie dress code.

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With holiday vacation days in sight, many will be leaving the Kansas City area to go visit loved ones.

Instead of just eating gas station burritos that look like they've been irradiated, why not stop for something a little more refined?

This week on Central Standard, food critics Mary Bloch, Charles Ferruzza and Cat Neville discussed the best spots to eat within 250 miles of the Kansas City metro. From fried chicken to artisan chocolates, they covered a wide range of tastes and culinary styles.

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Some slurp them, some swirl them and unfortunately, some cut them up. But with nearly endless varieties (even gluten-free), everyone eats noodles.

This week on Central Standard food critics Charles Ferruza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch discussed Asian noodles of all sorts from the slurpy noodles in Vietnamese pho to the more saucy pad thai.

Here are their recommendations:

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For some, coffee is simply a quick way to perk up and start the work day. But for others, a lovingly roasted coffee with steamed milk and all the accoutrements is the source of near-religious worship. 

On this week's Food Critics, Charles Ferruzza, Emily Farris, Jenny Vergera and some callers helped narrow down which coffee houses and shops have the best cup of Joe in the Kansas City metro.

Here are their picks: 

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Little-known fact: It's chestnut harvesting season in Kansas. So what's the scene at the local chestnut orchard? And how are chefs using the overall nut bounty in area kitchens?

Guests:

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Nuts — they are in so many dishes, but they are hardly ever the star of the show. Without them so many of our favorite dishes would fall flat, but when we talk about food they rarely get their due recognition.

This week, Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Jen Chen and Mary Bloch give nuts their moment in the spotlight and pick out the 'nuttiest' dishes available in and around the Kansas City area.

Here are the Critics' favorite 'nutty' dishes:

Kansas City cuisine may be best known for the smoky taste of barbecue, but the earthy goodness of smoke isn't limited to pulled pork and brisket. 

From rich, smoked Gouda, to smoke-infused cocktails, adding smoke to a dish can add another layer of complexity to its taste. 

Central Standard food critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris and callers gave us their picks for the best smoked foods and drinks in Kansas City:

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As temperatures start to drop and fall begins, it's time to start thinking about culinary standbys that characterize the season.

From root vegetables to fresh apple cider, there are plenty of seasonal ingredients and dishes in the Kansas City area to get you in a fall mindset. 

Here are Central Standard's Food Critics' and local callers' choices for good seasonal dishes in the Kansas City metro:

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  At some point, we all get a sweet tooth. For some of us it is a little more frequently than we would like, for others its an occasional craving.

Whether you are in need of a decadent mousse or plain old fashioned ice cream cone, our Food Critics are here to guide you (and your tooth) to the sweetest treats in the metro.

Here are suggestions from the Food Critics and listeners to Central Standard:

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Brunch. Sometimes it is leisurely and relaxing, sometimes after a long night, it is just necessary. 

From upscale to fresh and light to downright greasy, the Central Standard food critics have you covered for all your mid-morning needs in the Kansas City metro. 

Here are our food critics' recommendations:

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From Southwest Boulevard to 7th Street Trafficway, it's hard to go anywhere in the Kansas City metro without running into delicious taquerias and Mexican restaurants.

On Friday's Central Standard, host Charles Ferruzza and the rest of the Food Critics came up with a large list of some of the best tacos in Kansas City.

Here are the Critics' and callers' picks:

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On a beautiful summer night, stopping by a neighborhood pizzeria for a quick slice (or five) can really hit the spot.

With a handful of exciting new pizza places opening up, Charles Ferruzza and the food critics put out a call for the best pizza in the Kansas City area. 

KCUR's food critics recommend:

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The dog days of summer are upon us and everyone is looking for good ways to keep cool. Though cocktails might do the trick, not everyone wants to get intoxicated while they sip a cold drink.

On Friday's Central Standard, guest host Charles Ferruzza is joined by the Food Critics to find out where the best refreshing non-alcoholic drinks in the Kansas City area are. 

Here are their picks:

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Many people enjoy a glass of wine or a beer to loosen up, but sometimes those just don't quite do the trick. From Moscow Mules to Brandy Alexanders, a good cocktail can be a great companion to a nice meal or a casual social event.

On Friday's Central Standard, guest host Charles Ferruzza is joined by the Food Critics to find out where the best cocktails in Kansas City are.

Here are their picks for cocktails at restaurants and bars:

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It’s difficult to imagine a life without cheese.

We eat our cheese grilled, deep-fried, cubed, shredded, baked in pastry and whipped into a tiramisu. 

On Friday's Central Standard, the food critics explored the cheeses of the Kansas City region, from Asiago to Velveeta and everything in between.

Here are their recommendations:

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It may not be football season, but chicken wings are still a popular appetizer at many restaurants and bars.

The Central Standard Food critics stopped by KCUR to give us their Kansas City favorites from traditional Buffalo wings to exotic preparations.

Here are their recommendations:

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Merriam-Webster defines pastry as "sweet baked goods made of dough having a high fat content." The definition leaves out a few key words and phrases, like "delicious" and "tasting great with tea or coffee."

The Central Standard food critics swung by our studios to guide listeners on a quest for the most delectable pastries in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Food Critics: Kansas City's Best Lunch Spots

Apr 18, 2014
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It's not uncommon for Americans to work through lunch, thoughtlessly scarfing down sustenance at a desk or —worse — in a car.

But at its best, lunch can be a time to unwind and savor the moment, getting out in the city while nourishing body and soul.

Some Kansas Citians are keeping the mid-day meal alive in all its glory. Hosted by Charles Ferruzza, KCUR's food critics led a search for exquisite lunch experiences in Kansas City on Friday. 

Here are some of their recommendations:

      

  It's Lent, and whether you observe the Catholic fast or not, it's a great excuse to eat fish.

Kansas City restaurants offer plentiful selections of the under-water variety. On today's Central Standard the food critics recommend their favorite fish entrees in town.

Will Monsieur and Madame be having osteichthyes? Yes, please. Leave the frozen fish sticks at home.

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