Westport

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What sets a truly great happy hour apart?

Well, delicious food and drinks, for one. There’s also the vibe of the place.

“The social aspect of this cannot be discounted, even in the discounted world of happy hour,” Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Plus, she added, it’s just good way to get to familiarize yourself with a new cuisine or try a restaurant that might normally be out of your price range.

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There once was a time when "sausage" meant links or patties served with pancakes.

Not anymore, especially in Kansas City. We’ve seen a lot more sausage variety over the past few years.

“I think it’s part of the butchery trend,” Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “We have more and more chefs who are opening great butcher shops. With this return to artisan do-it-yourself butchery, sausage is a really incredible way to use up all the pieces and parts.”

Kansas City, Missouri

Another apartment project in Westport moved forward Thursday after gaining approval from the Kansas City Council. 

The plan, which includes 215 apartment units, a 120 room hotel and retail and office space, sits on about 4 acres between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, north of Westport Road. 

The project would wrap around the existing Manor Square garage between Mill Street and Pennsylvania Avenue, and Char Bar at 4050 Pennsylvania.

Lexi Churchill / KCUR

Development groups have tallied another win in the Westport area.

The Kansas City Council Thursday unanimously approved a plan to expand the QuikTrip on Westport Road.

A number of proposed projects in the area have seen strong opposition from neighbors who fear the historic character of the district will change. 

The green light from the council comes after more than a year of negotiation between QuikTrip and neighborhood groups.

Lexi Churchill / KCUR 89.3

Another conflict over a Westport modernization project brought out hours of testimony Wednesday in front of the Kansas City Council's planning, zoning and economic development committee.

The proposed projects have seen strong opposition from neighbors who fear the historic character of the district will change. 

Courtesy Lindsay Adams

When did we stop telling folk tales? The days of white-haired elders sitting by fires under the stars recounting local legends might be over, but storytelling and oral traditions aren't. 

In fact, Kansas City playwright Lindsay Adams has created her own folk tale.

"I just had this image of the woman crying and the river flowing and keeping all the wheat alive. I wrote it down in a notebook," she says. "And then I came back to it, started writing and it just sort of came. It was pretty magical."

Courtesy Opus Developement Group

The Kansas City Council approved Thursday a development plan for a controversial 256-unit apartment complex in Westport by a vote of 8 - 2.

The modern six-story building will replace the building occupied by a Bank of America branch at the corner of Westport Road and Broadway.

Stacy Spensley / Flickr -- CC

Once, our idea of healthy eating revolved around the salad bowl.

But we’ve discovered that some salads can be deceptively unhealthy … and that there are other satisfying options on local menus.

On Friday’s Central Standard, KCUR's Food Critics explored what “healthy eating” really means.

“I believe there are so many personal definitions of what ‘healthy’ is,” Lisa Murphy told host Gina Kaufmann. “Every individual has to make their own choice and have their own personal philosophy.”

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On KCUR’s Central Standard, our Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara — have been keeping an eye on the latest news from KC’s restaurant scene.

They shared some of the highlights from this past spring with host Gina Kaufmann:

video still, courtesy of John McGrath / KCPT, Kansas City Public Television

The Kansas City comic book community is reeling from the tragic loss of Jim Cavanaugh, the larger-than-life owner of legendary Clint’s Comics in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood. Cavanaugh died Friday after being injured in a confrontation with a fleeing comic book thief in the store’s rear parking lot.

“It makes you think about how fragile life is,” said Chris Jackson, a friend of Cavanaugh’s for more than 20 years and the promoter of Planet Comicon, the region’s largest comic book and pop culture convention.

The Marmot / Flickr -- CC

Summer's on the horizon. And as temperatures start to rise, our thoughts turn to the drinks and dishes that'll help keep us cool.

From an old-school shrimp cocktail to spring rolls — and, of course, don't forget ice cream and shaved ice — KCUR's Food Critics searched out the best iced and chilled dishes in Kansas City on Central Standard.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Courtesy Opus Developement Group

New projects in the works for historic Westport are prompting a grassroots effort to survey the district’s buildings to help provide a solid planning base for future development decisions.

Plans for two apartment projects and a hotel are being reviewed at City Hall for a district that’s been popular destination since before Kansas City was born.

Julie Denesha / KCUR 89.3

Updated: 2:11 p.m. 

A painter, sculptor, and muralist, Arthur Kraft was an artist who, as he put it, wanted to be "left alone to create." Kraft died in 1977 at the age of 55 after struggles with alcoholism and cancer. 

With its short brick buildings and narrow alleyways, Westport is one of the iconic places in town — it's where the city began. But two new proposals have people worried: there's one for a six-story apartment building, and there's also talk of privatizing some Westport streets at night.

What is the character of Westport, and to whom do those streets belong?

Guests:

stu_spivack / Flickr -- CC

It’s hard to go wrong with fries.

They come in all sorts of shapes and textures, and they’re a great vehicle for dipping sauces, seasonings or even gravy.

Whether you prefer thin and crispy, thick and pillowy-soft inside — or waffle-shaped, crinkle-cut or curly — on Friday's Central Standard, KCUR’s Food Critics searched out the best fries in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Erin / Flickr -- CC

Brunch can take on many different forms.

There’s the all-you-can-eat buffet, complete with waffle and omelet stations.

And don’t forget the boozy brunch — quite possibly the only time of the week where one could have a drink in the morning without feeling too guilty.

On Friday's Central Standard, KCUR's Food Critics took their annual look at the best brunch dishes in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Chicken isn't the most exciting protein.

“It’s like the vodka of the food world,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR's Central Standard. “It takes on the flavor of whatever you put in it or put with it.”

But that’s the beauty of chicken — and why it’s a beloved staple in many cultures. Whether you like it fried, roasted or grilled, in strips or shredded (and, for the kids, in nugget form), you can find chicken at all price points.

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Forget the sad desk lunch. The lunch break is a time to get out and explore new restaurants.

Whether you’re looking for something fast and affordable or luxurious — or something to grab and take to a nearby park (hi, spring!) — KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best lunch spots in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Bonjwing Lee, The Ulterior Epicure:

Michael Korcuska / Flickr -- CC

From the old classics to “interactive” cocktails — and don't forget mocktails — there’s a drink for everyone in KC.

Whether you like your drinks fancy (made with local spirits, fresh herbs and juices and more) or something more simple (usually involving just one type of liquor), KCUR's Food Critics searched out the best cocktails in and around Kansas City in our annual look at libations.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Mid-Continent Public Library / http://www.nelson-atkins.org/calendar/film-step-plaza/

You've probably driven through this cute little neighborhood between Westport and the Plaza, with its bungalows with stone porches. But you may not know that this neighborhood used to be called Steptoe — and it's where freed slaves built new lives for themselves. Hear more about this historic area and the project to collect and preserve its oral history.

Also: Remembering Latino civil rights leader Gilbert Guerrero.

Guests:

Lara604 / Flickr -- CC

Many Kansas Citians are familiar with hummus by now. Available at Costco and other area grocery stores, this chickpea puree has become as ubiquitous as guacamole.

But what are some other Middle Eastern dishes that are on local menus?

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Happy new year! KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara — have been keeping up with the latest news from KC’s restaurant scene.

They shared their picks with guest host Brian Ellison on Friday’s Central Standard.

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When it’s cold out, a big, hearty bowl of pasta really hits the spot.

Whether it’s a creamy mac and cheese or something a little more sophisticated (squid-ink noodles, anyone?), KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best pasta dishes in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

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In light of what will likely be his final televised address as president, we remember Barack Obama's greatest speeches and dissect the rhetoric behind them. Then, a conversation about whether the historic buildings and eclectic personality of Westport can survive in the modern economy.

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As a contestant on the Food Network's “Cutthroat Kitchen: Tournament of Terror,” local chef Janet Ross had to cook with tools that wouldn’t be out of place in a horror movie.

“The dishes themselves you think, ‘Well, no problem.’ But it’s a problem if you’re wearing claws that are barely sharp enough to cut and totally curved to where you are just ripping at food,” she told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / File photo

One person is dead and eight others were injured in two separate shooting incidents in the Kansas City metro this weekend.

Around 3:20 a.m. Sunday, a gunman fired into a crowd of people walking in Kansas City's Westport district, injuring six people, one critically. The Westport gunman used a semi-automatic weapon, Kansas City police chief Darryl Forte said in a Tweet.

Dutch Newman / Facebook

Hila “Dutch” Bucher Newman, a leading figure in Missouri Democratic politics for decades, has died. She was 95.

The morning after Hillary Clinton officially became the first woman to head a major party ticket, the news of Newman’s death was announced to the Missouri delegation at the Democratic National Convention Wednesday.

Newman would have reveled in Clinton's moment. She wrote in a Facebook post in 2014, "I am so excited for a Presidential run by Hillary Clinton, I can hardly stand it!"

Pixabay

I remember getting rid of my cassette tapes.

Through the early 2000s, when my journalism career was just beginning, I drove a beat-up used car built in 1991. The bonus was, it had a tape deck. And I had a great collection of music on tapes.

Hannah Copeland / KCUR 89.3

There is a little enclave at the RecordBar called "the snug." It's not much bigger than a bathroom. It’s often mistaken for V.I.P. seating. But it’s actually more like V.I.F. seating: Very Important Family. On Saturday night, Sondra Freeman was there, dabbing her eyes with a square white cloth, while the band Your Friend performed behind her on stage.

“What I’m going to miss the most about the RecordBar is that the napkins absorb tears really well,” Freeman said.

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Few will argue against the notion that the Royals' recent run to a World Series title has been a good thing for Kansas City. The New York Times is lauding the metro's "resurgence" and newfound "swagger." Deadspin is fawning over the record-breaking turnout at Tuesday's victory parade. 

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