Food And Drink

Matt Hodapp / KCUR

If you've been to Macken Park in North Kansas City recently you may have found yourself suddenly surrounded by food trucks. That's because of a of trial food truck "pod" program the city hopes will bring new tastes and visitors to North Kansas City.

The Northland News reported last week that not everyone from North Kansas City is excited about this new gathering spot.

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.

Elle Moxley / KCUR

Everything Bryce Schaffter needed to brew beer commercially, North Kansas City had.

“Mostly industrial buildings work the best, along with the utilities that come to the building,” says Schaffter, Cinder Block Brewery founder. “You need a lot of gas power, electrical and obviously, water.”

North Kansas City has what Schaffter calls “flat” water. He got used to working with it back when he was a homebrewer who lived north of the river.

Lisa Rodriguez / KCUR

Back in the 19th century, Missouri winemakers were experiencing success while today's domestic wine behemoths, like California, were struggling. After prohibition however, the state was slow to recover. 

As the wine landscape changes and Missouri begins to again come into its own, we compare how the Show-Me State compares to the rest of the world. 

Master Sommelier and Master of Wine Doug Frost brought some selections to taste. Each of these is available locally, though you may have to search :

Courtesy photo / Snow and Co.

If your stomach is grumbling in the Kansas City area, the Missouri River plays a big role on how to satisfy those hunger pangs.

“It’s very much a psychological thing, you think you’re crossing into another country (when you cross the Missouri River),” said Jerry Nevins, co-owner of Snow & Co., an upscale frozen cocktail bar that started in the Crossroads Arts District. “Most everybody goes south.”

Just south of the river, you’ll find a plethora of dining options at independent restaurants in Kansas City on both sides of the state line.

A KU professor discusses the history of Japanese desserts, and how they contain less sugar than their Western counterparts.

A food historian discusses why we prefer bold, dry wines like Cabernet and Chardonnay — and how Missouri grapes saved the French wine industry.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

An up-and-coming trend has hit the Kansas City craft brewing scene — sour beer.

Characterized by a distinctly tart flavor, sour beer is full of bacteria and microorganisms, has a higher level of carbon dioxide, and is reminiscent in taste and smell of underripe fruits and overripe cheeses. Sound appealing? For some, it's a delicious refreshment. For others, it is unpalatable.

When it comes to refreshing summer drinks, sour isn't a characteristic that usually comes to mind. We invite two local brewers to guide us through the sour beer trend, and our in-house expert samples their wares (for research purposes, of course).

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.

Kansas Citians often overlook destinations north of the Missouri River when thinking about where to dine. Hear Northland restaurant recommendations from our listeners and food critic Charles Ferruzza. 

Guests:

  • Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch
  • Alyson Raletz, social media editor, KCUR
Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

Sometimes, it’s just not the right time for an alcoholic drink.

As luck would have it, bartenders and bars across Kansas City are beginning to offer options for non-drinkers, from the Berry-tini at Eden Alley, to the Mango Tango at The Brick.

The mixology movement has picked up over the last few years, and as a result mocktails — cocktails without the booze — have become increasingly available, more popular and without a doubt, more tasty.

Brian Seifferlein / Harvest Public Media

Walk down a grocery store aisle today and you’re likely to find lots of food…and lots of marketing claims. Whether a product’s label says its low in fat, produced without hormones, or a good source of protein is largely governed by consumer demand and corporate profit.

Amy Mayer / Harvest Public Media

The packaged foods found in supermarkets, convenience stores and vending machines are full of ingredients you often can’t pronounce.

They’ve been carefully developed and tested in a lab and likely have been shipped long distances. They can hold up to weeks or even months on the shelf. But most of them began with fresh food you might cook with at home.

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

Wikimedia/Creative Commons

Larger demand for distinctive craft beers is opening up opportunities for smaller breweries.  And the Kansas City, Missouri  city council has taken action to make it easier to open a "nanobrewery."

Eleanor Klibanoff / KCUR

It's no longer enough for restaurants to offer roasted chicken or braised beef shank on their menus.

They need to be able to tell customers exactly where that chicken came from and how the cow was raised. If they can remember the pedigree of the produce? All the better. 

But serving locally sourced food is a challenge for chefs, and the farmer-foodie connections aren’t always easy to come by.  

Charvex / Wikimedia -- CC

Every Kansas Citian has a list of out-of-towner attractions — barbecue, the Nelson-Atkins, a stroll through the Plaza. But we have been wondering: what should Kansas Citians be putting on our own to-do list? What hidden gems are right next to us that we need to see (or do) at least once?

We asked you to give us your suggestions, and we got a ton of them!

Here we present the incomplete "Kansas Citian bucket list" — a list of things every person in Kansas City should do at least once. Feel free to add additional items in the comments.

Oonagh Taeger / Flickr

  

You can learn a lot from a sip of tequila. Explore tequila's history, taste, origins and pairings, and learn about other beverages in the mezcal family. Just in time for a citywide tequila-tasting workshop and culinary event

Guests:

  • Grisel Vargas, Chamber of Tequila
  • Berto Santoro, Extra Virgin
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:

Daniel Boothe / KCUR

The first thing you notice when you walk into Thou Mayest in the east Crossroads district of Kansas City, Mo., is the eclectic décor. It’s got cozy corners with funky furniture. Exposed brick and recycled wooden tables. Fishing poles and Boy Scout badges from the 1950s. You feel like you are in a high-end flea market, inside a cabin in the woods, located in a bustling downtown neighborhood.

The whole place is one gigantic conversation starter. With coffee.

Humble beginnings and a chance meeting

Americasroof / Wikipedia

Westport has always been at a crossroads. So says urban design specialist Daniel Serda, noting that the historic neighborhood has been changing since its beginnings. But news of three chain restaurants entering the neighborhood where prime parking spots now stand has sparked a heated response, not just from Westport residents and business owners, but people throughout Kansas City who are passionate about the entertainment district.

Guests:

A Kansas House committee has approved legislation that would let convenience stores sell full-strength beer and allow grocery stores to sell beer, wine and liquor. The proposed changes, which would take effect in 2018.

Republican Rep. Scott Schwab says this change will be convenient for Kansas consumers. He says in his family, his wife doesn’t want to go to a liquor store while out shopping.

Wiki

When you walk into a restaurant, there is a certain je ne sais quoi that can make or break the experience.

Of course the food is of paramount importance, but poor lighting, decor and authenticity can make even an exquisite plate of duck confit look like a soggy KFC drumstick.

Luckily, our Food Critics Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jill Wenholt Silva know a thing or two about restaurant ambiance. Here are their picks for standout restaurants with great ambiance:

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

Oh the heat. Sometimes it hurts so good — too much can make it hurt so bad.

If you like the pain, there are a handful of restaurants across the metro that invite you to test your limits. For the rest of you spice lovers, there are even more places that try to strike a tolerable, yet delicious balance both in heat and flavor.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR

1. Thai Place in Westport, Kansas City, Mo.: The "Demon Gapow" is made with 10 habanero peppers, 25 thai chili peppers, 10 fresh jalapeno peppers, 10 serrano peppers, and two large tablespoons of house-made dried chili.

Patrons must eat the entire plate in 30 minutes, and they get it for free, plus a t-shirt, a $50 gift certificate and a photo on the restaurant's "Wall of Fame." (Note: the Thai Place Hot Challenge has taken a winter hiatus and will return in the spring)

Sylvia Maria Gross

Featured: Central Standard intern Patrick Quick and Central Standard food critic Emily Farris.

Patrick Quick / KCUR

In a city known as a cowtown, what are the tastiest burgers around? Enjoy debates about cheese on a burger, house-made ketchup, bun preferences and what to order on the side (hint: it's hard to argue with french fries). We take a trip to an East Bottoms food truck to meet a new burger on the block. Plus, our friends at Harvest Public Media tell us what going on in the industry that brings us burgers: the beef industry.

Guests:

KC Ale Trail is a guide to the craft brewing industry in our region. Inspired by the 25-year milestone since Boulevard Brewing Company got its start, author Pete Dulin has expanded our palate by adding several smaller startup breweries to the local must-try list. Plus, a young beer-preneur shares his insights into what makes Kansas City's beer scene unique. 

Guests:

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