Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

Jeremy Thompson / Flickr-CC

One local music venue is in a narrow storefront and it doesn’t have a stage. The other is in the East Bottoms.

You’d think these locations wouldn’t work, but the Green Lady Lounge and Knuckleheads Saloon have succeeded in carving out a niche in Kansas City’s music scene — even to the point where Knuckleheads has opened the Garage, a mid-sized venue, next door.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Quantity over quality used to be the mantra for brunch spreads in the past. And who can forget the decorative ice sculptures that presided over a seemingly endless row of buffet tables?

Not anymore.

From chilaquiles to chicken confit hash (along with coffee and cocktails) — that leisurely, mid-morning meal gets a makeover on local menus.

On Friday’s Central Standard, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Emily Farris uncover the best brunch dishes in Kansas City.

Long and leisurely and sometimes boozy, brunch is a delicious mid-morning ritual. A food historian talks about how the egg became an American breakfast staple, and our Food Critics search out the best brunch dishes in Kansas City.

Emilian Robert Vicol -- Flickr/CC

In his book, Understanding Modern Money, Randall Wray wrote that the way the eurozone was structured would likely cause a financial crisis.

That was in 1998.

Wray, a professor of economics at UMKC, is just one of a handful of economists who predicted the current crisis in the eurozone (the countries in the European Union that use the euro as currency).

In Inside Out, emotions are personified into characters — just like in Greek mythology. A critic, a local mom and a scholar of Greek myths discuss the drama of human emotions.

Bake-Off

Jul 24, 2015
Katie Knight/KCUR

We explore the landmark case of pie vs. cake. Two baking experts — one pro-pie, the other pro-cake — defend their desserts in a lively debate, then our Food Critics search for the best pies and cakes in Kansas City.

Katie Knight/KCUR

It’s an age-old question: In the battle of pie vs. cake, which is superior?

Some contend that cake is a great vehicle for frosting. Others say that pie can incorporate more seasonal ingredients, like fresh fruit.

The Shield

Jul 17, 2015

As she's about to take her seat on the Kansas City, Missouri Council, Katheryn Shields talks about her political career — how she got her start, her accomplishments and how she dealt with with adversaries and scandal.

Fork-Free

Jul 10, 2015

Chocolate hazelnut sea salt, pimento cheese, cilantro pesto aioli ... dips and spreads have gotten fancy on area menus. We talk with a local hummus purveyor, then our food critics uncover the best dips and spreads in Kansas City.

Abdulla Al Muhairi/Flickr -- CC

Dips and spreads are possibly the perfect accompaniment to any meal. They’re relatively easy to make, they’re crowd-pleasers at parties and they’re great showcases for fresh herbs. And really, who doesn’t like a grown-up version of Fun Dip, that candy where you used a chalky tablet as a vehicle to scoop flavored powder into your mouth?

From hummus to pesto to pimento cheese, Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Bonjwing Lee search out the best dips and spreads in Kansas City.

Courtesy photo / Village of Claycomo

Last week, Jim Stoufer went to the Walmart in Liberty at 1 a.m.

He had just gotten off his shift at the Ford Motor Co.’s Kansas City Assembly Plant in Claycomo. The plant had closed for the week for its annual summer maintenance, and local businesses were feeling the effect.

It's a show about a women's prison — and it looks like nothing else on TV. We invite a critic, a federal public defender and a professor of film and media studies to give their reviews of Orange is the New Black.

The DLC / Flickr-CC

Whether you're craving Malaysian almond chicken, French duck confit or even hot dog fried rice, head north of the Missouri River — the Northland has become a dining destination.

Maureen Didde/Flickr -- CC

“Happy hours are the early-bird specials of the 21st century,” said Food Critic Charles Ferruzza. “If you eat early enough, you get an inexpensive meal.”

Paul Andrews

When Kansas City Mayor Kay Barnes came in for her photo shoot for the cover of Camp Magazine, she had no idea that she’d be styled as a 1950s housewife holding a rainbow layer cake.

John Long, editorial director of Camp Magazine--KC's monthly publication for LGBTQ and allied communities--talks pride in Kansas City, the emergence and development of his magazine, and the transformation of the scene over time.

The Westside Local

On this week's Central Standard, we discussed the best herb-scented dishes in Kansas City. To kick off the start of summer (and herb season), we asked The Westside Local to share its recipe for one of its warm-weather drinks, which the restaurant makes with basil from its garden.

Lay, Lady, Lillet

Smabs Sputzer/Flickr -- CC

It’s almost officially summer, which means it’s time for fresh herbs from the garden. From lavender-scented lemonade to basil chocolate chip cookies, local chefs and mixologists are finding ways to add a kicky punch — or a subtle depth of flavor — to savory and sweet dishes, drinks and dessert.

On this week’s show, our Food Critics Mary Bloch, Charles Ferruzza and Jenny Vergara put together their ideal herb-friendly meals — and explore the best herb dishes in Kansas City.

April showers bring May flowers ... and herbs. We take a trip to Powell Gardens, then our food critics uncover the best herb dishes in town.

horslips5/Flickr -- CC

Missouri Senator Claire McCaskill recently tweeted that she's done with Game of Thrones. Are you? We invite a critic, a medieval scholar and a political scientist to review the controversial show.

Guests: 

  • Loey Lockerby, media critic
  • Misty Schieberle, associate professor of English, University of Kansas
  • Jack Reilly, assistant professor of Political Science, New College of Florida

Katie Knight/KCUR

From hot dogs to merguez, nearly every culture in the world has its own spin on sausages. Here in Kansas City, we have a plethora of meat markets and restaurants — old-school and new — that are hand-cranking them out, link by link (or patty by patty).

On this week's show, our Food Critics Mary Bloch, Charles Ferruzza and Duane Daugherty weigh in on the best sausages — and sausage dishes — in Kansas City.

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

We wanted to see the sausage being made. A trip to The Store, a lesson in seasoning, and our critics' recommendations for the best sausage in town. 

Guests:

randychiu/Flickr -- CC

Food trends come and go, but some dishes cycle back, either in traditional or updated form. Like meatloaf — would you like it with a ketchup glaze or topped with Marsala sauce? Whether you consider it retro, classic or timeless, these old-timey dishes are making a comeback on local menus.

Dirk Duckhorn/Flickr -- CC

La Crosse, Kansas is serious about barbed wire — it's the home to the Kansas Barbed Wire Museum and it even trademarked the phrase: "The Barbed Wire Capital of the World."

This weekend, La Crosse hosts the Antique Barbed Wire Swap & Sell, an annual event where collectors gather to buy, sell and trade the spiky, thorny wire.

The Kansas Barbed Wire Museum — the first barbed wire museum in the country— has a special relationship with Kansas: It's where the collecting hobby really took off in 1967. According to Brad Penka, president of the museum, there are so many different varieties of barbed wire and some are unique.

Robert Viglasky/The Weinstein Company

What happens to art during and after wartime? And what happens when that painting that you're trying to reclaim is considered the Mona Lisa of Austria? We invite a curator, a relative of Holocaust survivors and our movie critic to discuss the new film Woman in Gold.

Guests:

  • Antonia Bostrom, director of curatorial affairs, Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art
  • Russ Simmons, movie critic
  • Karen Pack, past president, Jewish Federation of Greater Kansas City

Mayra Chiachia/Flickr -- CC


Niecie's peach cobbler, Glacé's sweet corn ice cream, Winstead's skyscraper milkshake ... what makes for an unusual dessert that you can only get at a specific place in town? Is it in the presentation, an interesting take on a traditional classic, something totally original — or all of the above?

 

On this week's show, KCUR's Patrick Quick reminisces about the Peach Nehi float, a treat from Osceola, Missouri, and then our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza and Jill Silva weigh in on the best signature desserts in Kansas City.

Edwin Olson/Google Images -- CC

    

Whether it's the sound of the wind rustling through the tall grass, the crackling spectacle of a controlled burn or just the sheer enormity of this swath of land, the prairie has inspired authors for hundreds of years. We discuss the best books about the prairie with our Book Critics Jeffrey Ann Goudie, Mark Luce and Kaite Stover.

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...

Sylvia Maria Gross -- KCUR

For nearly 20 years, Rex Hobart and the Misery Boys have created songs about love, love lost and heartbreak. This Saturday, the band releases its first album in 10 years, "Long Shot of Hard Stuff."

After a decade-long hiatus, Scott Hobart (Scott is his real first name) didn't think they'd have a new album.

"I just thought we'd kind of ride our own western-cut blazers into the sunset or something, but we did it," he said. "When the opportunity came up, we just said, 'well, why not, let's try it.' The worst thing that can happen is that we get three songs out or something."

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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