Food And Drink

Luke Runyon / Harvest Public Media

America's dairy farms are doing more with less. There are fewer dairy cows today than just a few decades ago, but today’s cows are churning out more milk than ever.

Part of the increase is due to genetics. Dairy cows have been bred to be larger, hungrier, and more productive. But that focus on genetics to produce more milk has some prominent livestock advocates ringing alarm bells.

The Top 1 Percent

When it comes to milk production, no other cow tops Gigi.

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Italian food isn't just pasta in red sauce or hearty slabs of lasagna.

From fish that's served very simply to bucatini alla gricia (pasta with pork jowl), Kansas City's Italian restaurants range from the old-school to places that veer towards lighter fare.

On KCUR's Central Standard, the Food Critics discussed the difference between Italian and Italian-American food — then they searched for the best Italian food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Red

Feb 5, 2016

From red hearts to red sauce: In this Valentine's Day-inspired show, we start out at V's Italiano Restaurant, where many Kansas Citians have gotten engaged. Not feeling it? We also have tips for what to do when you're about to cry in a restaurant (and yes, we've all done it). Then, KCUR's Food Critics uncover the best Italian food in Kansas City.

Guests:

Courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Company

Boulevard Brewing Company will open a new visitor center this summer to accommodate high demand for tours and tastings.

Boulevard’s Jeff Krum says that while some 60,000 people toured the brewery last year, thousands more were turned away, especially on busy Saturdays in the summer.

“If you are not here and in line by 10 o’clock when we open the doors and begin to give away passes for that day’s tours, you’re out of luck because once we get to the end of that long line, all the tour passes for that day are gone,” Krum says.

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Warning: The following recommendations are going to make you really, really hungry. But that’s OK because it’s Restaurant Week here in Kansas City, and there’s plenty to eat at an affordable price.

Before I hand it off to the critics, they wanted me to remind you to tip your bar and wait staff and, of course, have fun. 

And now, here are the recommendations. Try not to drool on yourself ...

Mary Bloch:

Missouri Valley Special Collections, Kansas City Public Library, Kansas City, Missouri

In December, an often-called iconic Kansas City steakhouse shut its doors.

The Golden Ox Restaurant & Lounge, which was one of the oldest restaurants in Kansas City, will see new life next fall under new ownership

But what makes a Kansas City restaurant iconic? It depends on who you ask.

Tom's Town / Facebook

It’s a new year, and KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Mary Bloch and Jenny Vergara — have their eyes on what’s new and noteworthy in the Kansas City restaurant scene.

They shared their picks with host Gina Kaufmann on Friday's Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When it’s cold and snowing — or if you’re feeling under the weather — there’s just something that’s so comforting about a hot bowl of soup or stew.

From pho to pozole to chicken noodle and chicken pot pies, KCUR’s Food Critics uncovered the best soup and stew dishes in Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Charles Ferruzza:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

If soup is the answer to your cold weather woes, you're not alone. A doctor explains why soup makes us feel better, then our critics guide us to the best soups and stews in town, including insights into the new ramen craze. Bonus: what's new and noteworthy in the Kansas City restaurant scene? Our critics let us in on the people and places to watch right now.

Guests:

Wikipedia

Eating locally during the summer is easy, but how do we eat local during a Midwestern winter?

Inspired by Harvest Public Media's series, Feasting on Fuel, we explore the history of eating locally when it's cold out, the environmental impact of obtaining fresh produce and why a grocer is stocking local products on his shelves.

Guests:

Gina Kaufmann / KCUR

The Savoy, Putsch's, the Westport Room at Union Station... even Dixon's Chili. How have the stories of Kansas City's iconic restaurants intersected with our own stories? The conversation begins at the Golden Ox; it's coming back to life as a West Bottoms steakhouse, with a few updates.

Guests:

  • Charles Ferruzza, food critic, The Pitch and KCUR
  • Monroe Dodd, journalist and historian, KCUR

Courtesy photo / Dean Realty

 

Perhaps you’ve seen the six-story abandoned building off of Interstate 35 at Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City — it towers over its neighbors.

 

There’s a website displayed on the side in huge font: imperialbrewery.com. Beer isn’t brewed there any longer, and you won't find any for sale on their website.

 

But what is the Imperial Brewery and where did it go?

 

Jen Chen/KCUR

From coffee to cocktails, Kansas City’s drink options exploded in 2015.

“I just think this year had been really incredible in terms of the number of distilleries, wineries, breweries and roasteries that have popped up on the scene,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard on Friday.

“2015 feels like the Year of the Drink,” Vergara added.

With a Twist

Dec 11, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

According to KCUR's Food Critics, 2015 will go down as the Year of the Drink.

Andy Rieger talks about bringing back his family's distillery, a local bartender makes us a seasonal holiday drink, we visit the Imperial Brewery building, and our Food Critics search out the best drinks of 2015 in and around KC.

Guests:

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR

According to environmental journalist Simran Sethi, indulging in the sensual side of food can be revolutionary. How taste and sustainability go hand-in-hand, including extended discussions about karah prasad (holy bread in the Sikh tradition) and chocolate.

Guests:

Kyle Palmer / KCUR

Let's be clear, pierogi is not a Thanksgiving food. But you may notice that in some spellings of the word (like the one used in the previous sentence), it has the word 'pie' in it.

That's not a sorry joke. The Slavic origins of the word pierogi, or pirogi (as it is also commonly spelled) yields the translation "pie." Really, they're dumplings but consider them little Slavic pies, too, and they become an eminently appropriate Thanksgiving dish. 

I wasn't introduced to green bean casserole until I was in my twenties. 

The dish won me over immediately, and I wanted to make it for my family one Thanksgiving. But dumping canned soup, canned green beans and a tin of crunchy fried onions into a casserole dish felt like cheating — as far as "cooking" goes. Particularly on a holiday that's about celebrating the season's bounty.

So I made a from-scratch version.

What Is The Carbon Footprint Of A Typical Thanksgiving Dinner?

Nov 24, 2015
Jack Amick / Flickr -- CC

Mike Berners-Lee may not be an expert on the American Thanksgiving. A native of the UK, he’s never actually had the pleasure of experiencing one. But as one of the world’s leading researchers on the carbon footprint of—well—everything (he even wrote a book subtitled “The Carbon Footprint of Everything”), he’s plenty familiar with the impacts of the foods that star in the traditional Thanksgiving Day spread.

Beth Lipoff / KCUR

It's a well-known saying that America is a melting pot, and with each wave of immigrants, more tradition, foods and other things made their way into the mix.

On this edition of Up to Date, we talk about how different wines, ciders and ales made their way to our shores and which ones you might like to put on your Thanksgiving table.

Guest:

  • Doug Frost, master sommelier and master of wine

The wines and ciders we tasted on the air are:

Green bean casserole is specifically a staple of the rural Midwest. What characterizes Midwestern cuisine, and how did it come about that a food-producing region celebrates the season's bounty with a recipe based entirely on canned foods?

Guests:

  • Lucy Long, director, Center for Food and Culture
  • Judith Fertig, local cookbook author and "foodista"

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

If you’ve ever wondered what food tasted like 100 years ago, Dixon’s Famous Chili on Highway 40 is like a culinary time capsule.

With its red décor, bar stools and historic photos, it looks like a 1960s-style diner, and that’s when this particular restaurant opened near the stadiums on U.S. Highway 40.

In 1919, Vergne Dixon opened the original location at 15th and Olive streets just east of downtown, which makes it one of the oldest family-run establishments in the Kansas City metro; Dixon’s Chili eventually became a chain of 13 restaurants, including one in Minnesota. 

Jeffreyw/Flickr --CC

Cold weather and chili go hand-in-hand.

Hot and hearty, and eminently customizable, it’s an American classic and a perfect winter meal.

But what is chili? There are many recipes that vary by region, including a Kansas City loose-meat assemble-it-yourself style of chili.

“I think it’s chili if you think it’s chili,” Food Critic Jill Silva told guest host Sylvia Maria Gross Friday on KCUR's Central Standard.

We visit Dixon's Famous Chili, a KC institution since 1919; a hot sauce expert recommends the best way to add heat to chili; then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best chili dishes in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Flesh And Bone

Nov 6, 2015
Paul Andrews

Lee Meisel, the owner of Leeway Franks in Lawrence, discusses his approach to butchering — and how his time working at an old-school butcher shop and going to Haskell University helped him find his direction in life.

Layers

Oct 30, 2015
Jen Chen/KCUR

Crunchy vegetables, tangy dressing, melted cheese, warm and tender meat (or not), encompassed in soft, chewy bread ... sandwiches have it all.

A grilled cheese expert shows demonstrates the art of cooking them low and slow; we visit a kitchen that pickles all sorts of things in-house; then KCUR's Food Critics search for the best sandwiches in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Jen Chen/KCUR

Sandwiches — they’re portable, and practically anything can go between two slices of bread (or even atop just one piece of bread).

From banh mi to Cubans to Reubens, local restaurants are offering traditional versions and riffs of the good ol’ hand-held.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

Pickling is a trend picking up all over the country, and Elise Landry, sous chef at Ça Va in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood, is pickling everything. Turnips, husk cherries, shallots … you name it, she’s pickled it.

“The other day I was called a pickled petunia by a customer, which I’ll always remember,” she laughs.

Initially, Landry started pickling to keep the seasonal produce she got from the Brookside Farmer’s Market fresh. But it’s gone far beyond practicalities.

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