Food And Drink | KCUR

Food And Drink

White plate with baba ganoush on it.
Flickr

When he was in college, Kansas City author Adib Khorram taught himself to make Persian food.

Khorram, who grew up in Gladstone with an Iranian-born father, hadn't always felt comfortable embracing that part of his background when he was kid. The struggle to find cultural belonging would later be mirrored in his semi-autobiographical young adult novel. Another thing that found its way into his book, "Darius The Great Is Not Okay"? Iranian cuisine.

Three jars with amber liquid. The gradient starts with the lightest on the left.
Kathleen Pointer / KCUR 89.3

Segment 1: The seasonal nature of honey. 

Like wine, honey a product of the world around it -- weather, region, time of year all impact the crop. Today, we chat with some beekeepers about the varieties their bees in Raytown produce.

The Secret To Kansas City's Most Popular Pita Bread

10 hours ago
Celisa Calacal / KCUR 89.3

Located just a few hundred feet away from The Olive Cafe restaurant in south Kansas City is an unassuming, medium-sized warehouse — the Olive Cafe’s bakery. Filled with a number of strange machines, the bakery serves a singular purpose: making pita bread.

Salah Mansi is the owner of the Olive Cafe and has been overseeing the daily operations of the bakery since its opening in 2003.

“I do this for 15 years,” Mansi said. “It’s hard work, it’s not easy work.”

Food Critics: The Best Sauces In Kansas City In 2018

Sep 30, 2018
Nicole Lee / Flickr

Sure, you know Kansas City has barbecue sauces, but is there more?

Central Standard's host Gina Kaufmann has a theory: This place is a sauce town, and not of just one variety.

She came to the conclusion last year when Central Standard's Food Critics chatted about guilty pleasure foods. During that segment, many listeners chimed in to say that their guilty pleasures weren't main dishes, sides or even desserts, but the sauces that come with those things.

c/o Born With Seoul

 Segment 1: Twist on a Korean hot sauce available throughout the Kansas City region.

Angela Hong grew up watching her mom make the Korean hot sauce, Gochuchang. As an adult, she started making it for her family, but had to adjust to accommodate her daughter's food allergy. Today, that recipe adjustment has made it into bottles and onto shelves around the city. 

Segment 2: Food Critics

Catapla / Facebook

If you've listened to any of our previous conversations with the Food Critics, you know that there isn't a shortage of top-notch food options in the Kansas City metro area.

Sometimes, though, you want a change of scenery during dinner.

"It has to have something special that makes you want to get in the car and go," said Food Critic Mary Bloch. 

Food Critics: The Best Pork Dishes In Kansas City In 2018

Sep 2, 2018
A sandwich with meat, cheese, pickles and mustard on a wooden surface.
Pigwich / Facebook

Located in the heart of the Midwest with some of the most famous barbecue joints in the world, it's no surprise there are lots of meaty meal options to be found in Kansas City. 

"Since the dawn of Kansas City I would say pork's been having a moment," KCUR Food Critic Jenny Vergara said. "It's definitely on the menu."

But what menus have the best pig dishes around?

Michelle Tyrene Johnson / KCUR 89.3

Some restaurants just have a corner on the market for a particular dish.

In this case, that would be Kitty’s Café and its pork tenderloin sandwich. The longtime Kansas City establishment is on 31st Street, just east of Martini Corner and just west of the longtime non-profit Operation Breakthrough on Troost Ave.

It's more diner than restaurant, with six stools tightly together at the counter tops. Outside, there's some patio seating, but Kitty’s is not a destination-stop kind of place. Most of the orders are take-out and you can only pay with cash.

Segment 1: Local chef brings Samoan family tradition of the pig roast to celebrations in Kansas City.

We chatted with Chef Howard Hanna, of The Rieger and Ca Va, about pork's place in Midwestern food culture. He also told us about the significance of pig roasts in Samoan culture and about what it takes to throw a successful one here in Kansas City. Then, we heard a piece by KCUR's Michelle Tyrene Johnson about a beloved sandwich shop that's been serving up pork tenderloin sandwiches for decades. 

Stephen Koranda / Kansas News Service

The self-proclaimed largest craft brewery in Kansas is shutting down. Tallgrass Brewing, based in Manhattan, will close its doors, at least temporarily.

Tallgrass Brewing was founded in 2007 and expanded in 2015 to a 60,000-square foot facility, which the company said quadrupled its capacity. Tallgrass has been distributing beer in 18 states, according to the website.

When reached by phone, an employee at the Manhattan facility confirmed that the brewery is suspending operations immediately. She couldn't provide any other details.

Food Critics: The Best Sandwiches In Kansas City In 2018

Aug 11, 2018
A Reuben sandwich wrapped in white wax paper.
Stu_Spivak / Flickr

Sure, Kansas City is a food town when it comes to some dishes, but are we a sandwich city?

Yes, according to KCUR's food critic Charles Ferruzza. 

"It really is a meat and potato town — but it's sandwich meat and french fries."

That's because of the Stockyards and the people who spent time there.

"Cowboys could eat them with their hands and just wipe their hands on their jeans," he notes. "They were very easy that way."

Specifically, a "loose meat" (i.e., Sloppy Joe) was likely the most common one.

Trevor Hook / KCUR 89.3

Brown and Loe is an upscale bistro in the heart of the River Market, with a large, open interior with checkered black-and-white floors. They carry high-dollar wines and cocktails, but something on the non-alcoholic side of the menu jumps out: their phosphates.

Before I was assigned to this story, I had absolutely no idea what a phosphate was. Josh Eaton, assistant general manager at Brown and Loe, explained it me.

Aviva Okeson-Haberman / KCUR 89.3

Almost two months after President Donald Trump placed tariffs on imported steel and aluminum, several major businesses in the Kansas City area are calling for the trade war to end, although many of them have yet to feel the full effect.

The Best Frozen Treats In Kansas City In 2018

Jul 28, 2018
The display case at an ice cream shop. It shows various brightly colored tubs of ice cream
Jpellgen / Flickr

Was the Choco Taco, a concoctation that nestles vanilla ice cream and fudgey swirls into a sugar cone-turned-shell, a part of your childhood summers? It was for Central Standard host Gina Kaufmann.

Turns out the treat isn't something that can only be found in the halls of one's memory! You can recreate those summertime vibes of youth (or, at least, Gina can) by picking them up in boxes of four at the Roeland Park Price Chopper.

Food Critics: The Best Tacos In Kansas City In 2018

Jul 17, 2018
A pile of soft corn tortilla tacos on a bright blue plate.
Ricos Tacos "Lupe" / Facebook

A decade ago, when Guadalupe Marcela Banuelos moved her taco operation to Southwest Boulevard, her grandmother was worried that the authentic, soft shell street tacos Banuelos planned to serve at Rico's Tacos "Lupe" would be too different from the  hard shell tacos many people in the region were used to eating. 

Her response?

"You know grandma, they're going to have to get used to it."

And, they did. These days, Banuelos has a loyal following, especially from those who crowd into her restaurant on Tuesdays for the $1 taco special. 

Segment 1: Tomato season is upon us. Here's everything you need to know.

James Worley blogs about growing and eating tomatoes in Kansas City. He also organizes the annual "totally tomato weekend." Hear his growing tips and favorite recipes as he makes the case that all local menus should revolve around tomatoes right now.

A piece of funnel cake, dusted in powdered sugar.
Jamiesrabbits / Flickr - CC

Summer in Kansas City means braving the heat and humidity for the metro's many outdoor festivals, where snack offerings are so plentiful and varied that we asked our food critics for guidance on navigating the options.

"Sometimes in those festivals, you can get foods that you can't find in any restaurant in Kansas City. It's a real treat," said Charles Ferruzza.

Restaurant Owner Brings Mom’s Brazilian Cooking To Kansas City

Jun 29, 2018
Anna Yakutenko

Cristian Maciel’s mom laughed when he called her asking for help creating the recipes for a restaurant.

“She was like ‘what?’ Because I never, never cooked in my life,” Maciel said. “You know, so like 'Cristian are you sure you want to open a restaurant?’”

Maciel was sure. After struggling to find authentic Brazilian food in Kansas City, he opened Taste of Brazil with his partner in 2013 and expanded his business last year with a food truck.

Segment 1: The family that rocks together, stays together.

Radkey is a band of three homeschooled brothers hailing from St. Joseph, Missouri. The band shares how their upbringing shaped the shreads, riffs and kicks of their rock n' roll style.

Pirate's Bone / Facebook

Vegetarian options pop up on a lot of Kansas City menus, from high-end restaurants to brand-new coffee shops … and yes, even at barbecue joints.

“Now, it’s just part of everybody’s diet. You don’t have to ask for something vegetarian. It’s just a dish without meat or fish or whatever,” KCUR food critic Mary Bloch told host Gina Kaufmann on Central Standard.

Seg. 1: How to cut vegetables.

At the Overland Park Farmers' Market, after you buy your vegetables and fruit, you can get them chopped up by a professional ... for free. The Vegetable Butcher stops by with some tips on how to cut produce.

Seg. 2, beginning at 16:02: The best meat-free dishes in town.

Italian Food In Kansas City (R)

Jun 4, 2018

Hear the story behind a classic Kansas City restaurant, then visit a new cafe that's located inside an antique mall. Plus: we revisit our Food Critics' search for the best Italian food in and around KC, from beloved old-school favorites to interesting new takes on the cuisine.

Guests:

Aixois Bistro/Facebook

Kansas City might be known as a meat-and-potatoes town, but fried chicken has long been popular here.

“Fried chicken is popular because it’s inexpensive, usually, and it tastes good,” Charles Ferruzza told guest host Brian Ellison on KCUR’s Central Standard.

Besides that, Ferruzza said, “It travels well — it’s just as good cold as it is hot.”

Segment 1: How to grill sausages and burgers.

It's almost Memorial Day weekend, and many Kansas Citians will be pulling out the grill for backyard cookouts. The owner of a butcher shop/restaurant shares his tips on the best way to cook sausages and burgers on the grill. Plus, a local chef on how he went from cooking in fine dining restaurants to opening a fried chicken joint.

715 Restaurant / Facebook

Noodles are having a moment Kansas City.

“There’s an awful lot of chefs in the city right now with small pasta menus within their main menu,” Jenny Vergara told host Gina Kaufmann on KCUR’s Central Standard. “It’s because they’re making it in-house and they’re very proud of it.”

Vergara, along with fellow food critics Mary Bloch and Charles Ferruzza, searched out the best noodle dishes in and around town.

Segment 1: How to prepare trout.

Chef Martin Heuser is a fan of trout; he grew up fishing and eating it in Germany and Austria. Plus, it's the only dish on his menu that hasn't changed since he opened his restaurant six years ago. Now that it's trout season, he tells us why it's so versatile, and he shares tips on how to cook it at home.

  • Martin Heuser, chef/owner, Affäre

Segment 2, beginning at 10:44: Noodle dishes in Kansas City.

Laura Ziegler / KCUR 89.3

With the help of a rented plane, Jerry Eisterhold found the perfect place to start a vineyard with grapes native to the Midwest, grapes that no one had cultivated for more than 150 years.

Café Provence/Facebook

Many people consider French cuisine to be the ne plus ultra in the culinary world. And French culinary techniques are considered to be standard in many restaurant kitchens.

Whether it's hearty stews or delicate fish dishes, airy pastries or baguettes with crackling crusts, French-inspired dishes are on menus all over town.

On KCUR's Central Standard, our food critics searched out the best French food in and around Kansas City.

Here are their recommendations:

Anna Yakutenko / KCUR 89.3

Tatsuya Arai has been serving beef Bourguignon in Prairie Village in the suburbs of Kansas City for almost 40 years.

That’s when he opened his Tatsu’s French Restaurant in 1980. (Arai's nickname is Tatsu.)

Beef Bourguignon is classic French dish consisting of braised boneless short ribs with onions and mushrooms.

It takes more than five hours to braise the beef in the separate pot, and many more hours to make a special wine sauce that goes with the meat. Finally, when the dish is ready, Arai serves it with boiled beans, broccoli, and brings a loaf of the baguette.

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