Jen Chen | KCUR

Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

Ways to Connect

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.

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:

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