Food And Drink

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.

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.

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.

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. 


  • 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.

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.”

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

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.

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.  

Katie Knight / KCUR

The year Chris Pollard was born, his father Dave bought a meat market. So, of course, Chris grew up there: stocking shelves, bagging groceries and hanging out behind the meat counter.


He’s 28, now, and Chris Pollard is about to take over The Store: Old-Fashioned Meat Market in Raytown.


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:

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.

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.

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.

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


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

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.

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:

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.


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.


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.