Jen Chen | KCUR

Jen Chen

Associate Producer, Central Standard

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At the beginning of May, during finals week at KU, an art project flashed across buildings on campus at night.

Miguel Calderon, who was a senior art student at the time, wanted to start a conversation about guns on campus.

Char Bar/Facebook

Because we’re Kansas City, we automatically associate ribs with barbecue. But other cultures have their own ways of serving those succulent bits of bone, fat and meat.

From hefty slabs (sauce optional) to lighter seasonal short rib dishes to a Mexican-Korean fusion sandwich, KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best ribs in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Mary Bloch, Around the Block:

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

Ribs. In KC, we think barbecue when we hear the word, but there are so many other ways of fixing them. We visit a Mexican-Korean fusion restaurant that serves a short-rib sandwich, then a primer from a butcher on different cuts of meat (spare ribs vs. short ribs and more).

Then, our food critics search out the best ribs in and around KC.

Guests:

Courtesy of Arionne Yvette Williams

 When Arionne Yvette Williams first heard “Formation,” the lead single of Beyoncé’s album, Lemonade, one of the lyrics inspired her to start a Bible study group for women.

“I just love the song; it just resonated with me as soon as I heard it,” Williams told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Her new album has stunned her fans ... along with people who might not have paid attention to the pop star until now. We explore some of the themes and images in Lemonade, Beyoncé's visual album.

Guests:

Pop

May 20, 2016

We explore the latest in pop culture news with our panel of critics.

Guests:

  • Loey Lockerby, freelance writer
  • Shaun Hammontree, video director, motion graphics designer and composer
  • Natasha El-Scari, poet

Infrogmation of New Orleans / Wikimedia Commons

It’s the sweet spot of the year. The weather is generally perfect (not too hot; not too cold) and it's not too buggy or humid just yet.

It’s time to eat outside.

From restaurant patios to parks and summer festivals, we explore the world of alfresco dining. Our food critics search out the best spots in and around Kansas City — plus, their picks for the best KC food to bring on a picnic.

Here are their recommendations:

Jenny Vergara, Feast Magazine:

Getting Out

May 13, 2016

It's one of the best times of the year to eat outside. A visit into the kitchen of one of the cooks for this summer's Greek Festival, and how a food truck becomes a brick-and-mortar restaurant.

Then, KCUR's Food Critics search out the best alfresco dining spots in and around KC, from parks to rooftop terraces and more.

Guests:

Courtesy of Tim Harte (photo by Ruby Sue Hanson)

When some people think about a conservatory of music, they might conjure up images of students playing the violin or piano and studying the works of Mozart and Beethoven.

That's about to change.

For the first time, the UMKC Conservatory of Music and Dance has admitted a student whose instrument is a computer. Tim Harte will be starting in the Conservatory’s composition program this fall.

KC To Paris

May 6, 2016

She’s an acclaimed singer-songwriter who has been compared to Nina Simone and Roberta Flack. Rufus Wainwright has called her "one of the greatest living singers at the moment." From her base in Paris, she tours the world ... yet one of her favorite spots is still the Midtown porch of her 8th grade teacher. Meet Kansas City native Krystle Warren.

Guest:

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From bagels to doughnuts to cookies, there’s a lot going on in KC’s baked-goods scene.

“A lot of people tend to forget that bakeries, in the olden days, were a once-a-week, once-a-day stop,” Food Critic Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

And with locally-baked goods, she said, some people are puzzled as to why things don’t last on the countertop at home.

Oven And Hearth

Apr 29, 2016

A chat about spring produce (including rhubarb jam) and a quick review of a new bagel shop. Then, KCUR's Food Critics search out the best bakeries in and around Kansas City.

Guests:

Wikipedia

Does the Kansas we see in The Wizard of Oz have anything to do with the Kansas on this side of the rainbow? From tornadoes to costumes to politics, we explore the different interpretations of this classic American film.

Guests:

This post was originally published in April 2016.

It’s been a mild winter, which means we’re getting a jump on ice cream season.

Whether it’s served in a cup or cone, ice cream (and its friends: custard, gelato, sorbet, soft serve and more) is the classic treat that feels like an indulgence.

On Friday’s Central Standard, KCUR’s Food Critics search out the best ice cream in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

We visit the kitchen of a local chef to learn how to make ice cream if you don't have an ice cream maker (hint: it involves bananas ... and some liqueur, if you're so inclined), then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best ice cream in and around KC.

Guests:

Jen Chen / KCUR 89.3

His music has been described as “guitar and growl” and “avant-garde folk.”

He also plays a mean kazoo on his new album, Theatres.

But Nicholas St. James says that “folk” is probably the easiest way to characterize his music — with a lot of blues influence as well.

Paul Andrews / paulandrewsphotography.com

Meet a prominent thinker who's a Kansas farm boy and "prairiebilly" turned geneticist, and hear the story of how and why he became a leader in the sustainable agriculture movement back in the 1970s. Jackson is retiring as president of the organization he started: The Land Institute in Salina, Kansas. 

Guest:

Krokstrom Klubb & Market / Facebook

It's starting to warm up, and Kansas City's food scene is changing.

KCUR’s Food Critics — Charles Ferruzza, Bonjwing Lee and Pete Dulin — have been watching what’s going on. They shared their news with host Gina Kaufmann on Friday’s Central Standard.

Bob Wasabi Kitchen / Facebook

When KCUR Food Critic Charles Ferruzza moved to Kansas City in 1984, there were “lots and lots” of Chinese restaurants, but very few Thai, Korean or Vietnamese places.

That has changed.

“People have no idea what a plethora of options they have now,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

We visit a Filipino restaurant in Grain Valley, and we hear more about a French-Korean bakery that set up shop in Overland Park. Then, our Food Critics search out the best Asian food in and around KC.

Guests:

It's an animated Disney film about the first rabbit on the police force. But it also addresses issues of politics, race, gender, stereotyping and xenophobia. We hear how the politics of Zootopia mirror Kansas City, and how the first Latina columnist for The Kansas City Star relates to that bunny cop.

Guests:

Meat-Free

Mar 18, 2016

A visit to a local kitchen to learn how to make cashew cheese, vegetable gardening tips, then KCUR's Food Critics search out the best vegetarian (and vegan) food in and around KC.

Guests:

Plate / Facebook

“I’ve always maintained that the best vegetarian food you can find anywhere is deep-fried,” joked KCUR Food Critic Charles Ferruzza.

But Kansas City’s meatless food scene has blossomed over the past few years. In addition to vegetarian and vegan-only restaurants, chefs at restaurants of all stripes are getting creative.

“I think people have such an unfortunate misunderstanding that vegetarian food is bland,” commented guest Food Critic Lisa Murphy. “And when done properly, it’s absolutely not. It’s every bit as flavorful and as delightful as food made with meat.”

Cody Newill / KCUR 89.3

Growing up, Tony Berg remembers the excitement of getting the newspaper.

"That was how we got news. I remember every day, go out to the driveway and it was like Christmas," he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR's Central Standard.

And for Berg, being the new publisher of The Kansas City Star is a dream job.

“I feel like this is my hometown and this is my hometown paper,” he said.

Sylvia Maria Gross / KCUR 89.3

When Bruce Winter moved to Kansas City in the late 1970s, he didn’t understand why the gay clubs here didn’t have drag performances.

“The gay clubs kind of shunned it and felt like it was an insult to their masculinity or something, I don’t know,” he told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Paul Andrews

He's a self-taught cook (from the classic cookbook, The Joy of Cooking) who's a semifinalist for "Best Chef: Midwest" in the 2016 James Beard Awards.

Meet Jonathan Justus — a former bike messenger, repo man and gallery-represented painter — whose restaurant has put Smithville, Missouri on the culinary map.

Guest:

Bruce Winter brought his Melinda Ryder persona to Kansas City in the 1970s, when all was quiet on the drag-queen front. A 60th-birthday profile of this leader within Kansas City's drag scene, who feels more free in costume. 

Guest:

  • Bruce Winter, AKA Melinda Ryder

Pittsburgh Craft Beers / Flickr

Bar food: it's salty, it's starchy, and you can usually pick it up with your hands. Beyond that, we make up our own rules. Whether it's by breaking the rules at the speakeasies of yesteryear, or enjoying a sandwich called a fluffernutter that's like a late-night pre-teen cabinet raid. A visit to Tom's Town Distilling Co., a spring-cheese tasting with a certified cheese expert and a critics roundtable on the best bar food in town.

Guests:

https://www.facebook.com/PrettyInPinkMovie

Pretty in Pink, the classic John Hughes film, turns 30 this Sunday. We talk about class differences, high school culture, the mystique of the record store ... and prom (of course).

Guests:

Jessica Spengler/Flickr -- CC

We visit the production facility of Meshuggah Bagels, which will open a storefront in Westport this Spring. Then a local maven weighs in on Jewish delis — and whether a New York-style bagel can be replicated outside of NYC.

Guest:

  • David Seldner, bagel and deli maven

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