Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

Esther Honig/KCUR

Kansas City's food truck scene has exploded over the past few years.

If you crave international fare, like Australian meat pies, Cuban sandwiches or Spanish tapas — or more down-home grub, like barbecue, tacos or waffles — you can get it from one of our local food trucks.

Truckin'

Oct 2, 2015
Esther Honig/KCUR

The popularity of food trucks has soared in Kansas City, especially over the past few years. We visit a truck that serves boneless chicken wings that are stuffed with fried rice, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best food truck offerings in Kansas City.

Guests:

It's just the second network TV show that features an Asian-American family. We invite our resident film critic, a lawyer and an actress to review Fresh Off the Boat — and to share their perspectives on Asian-American life in Kansas City.

Guests:

Courtesy photo / Nature's Own Health Market

Before it was a grocery store, the small space at the corner of 43rd and Main streets housed, over the years, a drugstore, a coffee shop that hosted live music, a Whole Foods and a Wild Oats.

For the past five years, it’s been the home to Nature’s Own Health Market.

The corner grocery store holds a special place in the hearts of many Kansas Citians, as Mary Jo Draper recently discovered.

Arnold Gatilao/Flickr -- CC

Arepas, pupusas, pão de queijo … there’s more to Latin American food than massive burritos and hard-shell tacos.

Beyond Burritos

Sep 18, 2015

We explore KC's diverse Latin American food scene. A local chef shows us how to prepare cactus (and cooks his specialty dish, chicken with cactus, in the studio), then KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Latin American dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Shelf Life

Sep 11, 2015

Before Will Leathem opened Prospero's Books in Midtown, he was a Republican political consultant and a touring musician. On this Portrait Session show, Will talks about poetry, politics and the first book he published: 'Leavened 911, a compilation of stories and essays by Kansas Citians about the September 11 attacks.

Guest:

From high-end restaurants to drive-through eateries, fried chicken is a staple on local menus. And some places are putting a spin on that nostalgic comfort dish. We invite the chef from Blvd Tavern to talk about his Korean fried chicken, then the Food Critics uncover the best fried chicken dishes in and around KC.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

What’s not to love about fried chicken? There’s the crispy, crackling exterior and a juicy interior. It’s portable and best eaten with your hands, making it the perfect picnic fare — especially for this holiday weekend.

It can be served hot or cold, and don’t forget the sides: Mashed potatoes, green beans, pasta salad, fresh corn and tomatoes, biscuits and so much more (cinnamon rolls, anyone?).

“It’s the ultimate comfort food,” Food Critic Charles Ferruzza told Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

And don’t worry the health factor, despite what Ferruzza says —“It’s a guilty pleasure because you should feel guilty eating it!”

On Friday’s Central Standard, chef Derek Nacey from Blvd Tavern told us about his Korean fried chicken dish, then the Food Critics searched out the best fried chicken in and around Kansas City — here's what they came up with.

A tale of betrayal, brother vs. brother and rags-to-riches ...  the spirit of Shakespeare lives on in Straight Outta Compton. We invite a film critic, a local rapper and a Shakespearean scholar to share their thoughts on the rap biopic.

Sylvia Maria Gross/KCUR

Sweet tomatoes served with soft mozzarella cheese, an arugula salad with a watermelon vinaigrette, even an ice cream made with sweet corn ... the best of summer's bounty is ripe for harvesting.

Garden Bounty

Aug 21, 2015

Summer is winding down, and the garden is flourishing. We learn how to make a sponge corn cake in the microwave at Affäre (and we got the recipe, too), a plant sciences professor talks about the agricultural side of corn, then our Food Critics search out the best corn and seasonal vegetable dishes in Kansas City.

Kelly/Flickr -- CC

Charlie Parker was one of the most influential musicians to come out of Kansas City. But how did Kansas City shape him?

“He’s definitely a Kansas City person,” jazz historian Scott DeVeaux told Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

“I mean, Kansas City has a rich enough jazz tradition before him, but he’s the one who combines aspects of the local scene, like the local blues scene, in a way that, I think, makes bebop what it is,” DeVeaux said.

Paul Andrews

According to Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, the digital divide is the civil rights issue of the 21st century.

“Having internet access is essential. It’s not a luxury,” she says.

Kositany-Buckner, the deputy director of the Kansas City Public Library, has been working to bridge the digital divide in Kansas City. And the library is the place to do it, she says.

“We provide access to digital content — whether it’s e-books, audio books or research tools you can access online,” says Kositany-Buckner.

Open Book

Aug 14, 2015
Paul Andrews

What is the role of the library in the 21st century? The Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library discusses her efforts to bridge the digital divide and to archive information — as well as her dream of being a jewelry designer.

Guest:

  • Cheptoo Kositany-Buckner, Deputy Director of the Kansas City Public Library.

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.

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