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Food Critics: The Best Signature Desserts In Kansas City

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.

Charles Ferruzza, The Pitch:

  • Hot dessert souffles at Café Provence (served only on Monday nights).
  • London Fog pie at Ladybird Diner in Lawrence. It's a lavender cream pie flavored with lavender and Earl Grey tea. Ladybird also serves a basil-blueberry pie and an ancho cherry pie.
  • Chocolatta del Morta ("death by chocolate") at Jasper's. It's a chocolate mousse surrounded by chocolate brownie covered with chocolate sauce on a bed of chilled Grand Marnier zabaglione. It's a good dessert to share; it's so rich it really almost has to be shared.
  • My favorite dessert at Jasper's is the strawberry cake, which is now made with strawberry syrup (instead of strawberry liqueur). Also, Jasper's is one of the last restaurants that I can think of in Kansas City that has a gigantic dessert cart.
  • Affäre has lovely, lovely desserts.

Jill Silva, The Kansas City Star:

  • Pionono is a Peruvian specialty available at Antojitos del Peru in Lenexa. This thin sponge cake is spread with dulce de leche and rolled, sliced and served with powdered sugar sprinkled on top. It is simple, but it reminds me of a Peruvian neighbor and dear friend who brought us a log of pionono every Christmas. Another friend in KC perfected the original recipe and it has become a New Year's tradition for a new set of family and friends.
  • Brigadeiro is a Brazilian specialty available at Taste of Brazil in the City Market. Cocoa powder, gobs of butter and condensed milk are cooked to a sticky, carmel-y consistency and then scooped and rolled in chocolate jimmies to create a bonbon.
  • Crème brûlée is a high-end dessert that has almost become down-home and sadly, ubiquitous (but not always good). The crust MUST shatter when knocked with a spoon. However, it is a refreshing twist on the theme when it is a food truck specialty. That's all Torched Goodness out of Lawrence does. And they offer a lovely version, torched on the spot. And who needs vanilla when you can try such unusual flavors such as sea salt, lavender, rosewater.
  • Christopher Elbow is the master with both unusual chocolate and ice cream flavors, and he admits he's been on a "vegetable kick" as of late. He has a new flavor coming out for Häagen Dazs' artisan series: Spiced Pecan Turtle. I bet you'll soon find it served on restaurant menus, along with his Glacé flavors.
  • I also tried Glacé's carrot-ginger-pineapple sorbet. There's a lot of ginger zing to it; it's tingly and kind of hot on your tongue.
  • Jax Fish House has deconstructed s'mores; it looks like a painting.

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Here are some Central Standard staffers sampling a skyscraper at Winstead's:

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