Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

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.

House of Cards is one of those shows that you can’t watch without discussing. It’s so dark, so addictive and so dramatic. Plus, the worldview it establishes ties into real world issues and dynamics in a way that makes you wonder, what if this is kind of maybe a little bit accurate? We invite a politician, a media critic and a Congressional reporter to give their reviews of House of Cards.

Guests:

Bill Walsh / Flickr--CC


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.

juttazeisset / Pixabay

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:

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