Food & Drink | KCUR

Food & Drink

Café Sebastienne/Facebook

Weekend brunch with its fancy avocado toast and creative cocktails has become an institution for many Kansas Citians over the years, even if not everyone is a fan.

In response to the haters, food writer Jenny Vergara recently had this to say on an episode of KCUR's Central Standard: "How can you not like breakfast with booze?"

"It's an approachable way to get into these higher end restaurants, too, at a bit more of an affordable price point," agreed food writer Liz Cook.

Segment 1: The cure to January might be going to a coffee shop inside of a greenhouse. 

We're starting off the first food show of the year at Cafe Equinox at Family Tree Nursery. It's a place where Kansas Citians can experience lush greenery and beautiful sunshine—even if it's 20 degrees outside.

Segment 2, beginning at 2:33: What's going on in the restaurant scene in Kansas City right now?

Segment 1: A Kansas City musician rocks the violin in her new EP.

Tina Bilberry, known to fans as K'Tina, is a KCK-native who fuses international sounds in Crossed Conversations. Here's her story.

Segment 2, beginning at 21:24: Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski is in town with a cookbook.

J.I. Downum/Extra Virgin/Facebook

  

Macaroni and cheese is universally beloved. That's not just due to its winning combination of creamy cheese and noodles, though. It's comforting in a nostalgic kind of way.

How to impress this holiday season without driving yourself nuts.

Our expert Kansas City hosts include a restaurateur who feeds people like they're her personal dinner guests and a bartender who makes strangers feel like friends.

A Wine-Tasting Lunch With Doug Frost

Dec 3, 2019

Kansas City-based wine expert attributes his expansive knowledge to his "drinking and reading" habits.

Seated in Room 39, Master sommelier Doug Frost guided a group of KCUR supporters through a tasting of six distinctive wines. A number of his selections underwent unique growth, harvesting or barrelling processes like the sauvignon blanc from Napa Valley which was harvested at night. Chef Ted Habiger also offered insight into how he selects wines for his restaurant's dishes.

Noah Taborda / KBIA

“There is no real bad duck,” says Charles D’Ablaing, the chef and owner of Brookside Poultry Co. “But there is really good duck.”

D’Ablaing is among several Kansas City chefs using fun and unique duck preparation to steal the show this Thanksgiving.

Freshwater/Facebook

Yes, Kansas City is known for its chicken — whether it's fried, barbecued or one ingredient of many.

What about the other birds out there, though? On the Friday before Thanksgiving, KCUR's food critics took a moment to consider not just turkey but also grouse, quail, pheasant and duck. Especially duck.

"Pheasant, quail and squab should all be on this list," said Mary Bloch. "But duck seems to be more favored."

"I like to refer to ducks as beef that fly," said wild game expert James Worley. "Duck breast is very similar to a steak."

Pirate's Bone Burgers on Facebook

As evidenced by recent openings, closings and bankruptcies, the Kansas City restaurant scene is extremely competitive right now.

"Lots of players are competing for the same dollars, employees and customers," said KCUR Food Critic Jenny Vergara. "Only the strongest operators will survive."

Friday on KCUR's Central Standard, Vergara, Liz Cook and Mary Bloch shared the most important food stories in Kansas City from the past few months.

Segment 1: Thanksgiving's got us thinking about turkey (and duck and quail and pheasant).

Hunters and chefs are making plans for fall birds. From the key to a good brine to the effect of flooding on duck season, we get the inside story. Plus, the food critics help us find the best places to go in Kansas City for the fowl-less-eaten.

Sura Eats/Facebook

The Kansas City food scene is more international than it used to be, and whatever else might be in those global dishes, the key to a lot of them is rice.

Leanna Bales / Many States of Coffee

After seeing national "best of" coffee lists skipping the entire Midwest, coffee blogger Leanna Bales started a website Many States of Coffee.

Those lists, she said, "didn't really reflect what I was seeing in Kansas City, which was just this really beautiful coffee culture where I think there's a lot of movement between coffee shops and community."

Segment 1: A Kansas City avocado toast tutorial.

Avocado toast is very popular. We get explanations, tips and recommendations from a local fan, who also happens to be a nutrition expert.

Segment 2: A search for great neighborhood coffee shops.

Segment 1: New research on how climate change coverage varies from country to country.

A KU journalism professor is at the forefront of research into how climate change stories are framed by journalists based on where on the globe they are working. The greatest divide occurs along the lines of relative wealth and economic development.

Andrea Tudhope / KCUR 89.3

When Katie Currid and her husband Tyler Jackson returned from four years in Vicenza, Italy, they came with two new babies in tow — one, their son Fox, and the other, though not a real baby per se, the bones of a new business venture.

A Prosecco truck. Like a food truck for bubbles. A way to deliver the bubs any time of day, in true European fashion.

KCplates

Some desserts are secrets. Some aren’t necessarily desserts. Others, still, make you rise up and confidently declare that you are rich or beautiful.

Food writer and personal chef Lou Jane Temple says she recently decided to retaste-test the tiramisu at Bella Napoli and did not see it in the display case. When she asked, she received a sort of hushed reply that it was behind the counter.

White Castle Dreams

Sep 16, 2019

If fast food is an American ritual, the hamburger is our "secular wafer." That's according to the author of a new book, Drive Thru Dreams. He says the story of fast food begins with the invention of the hamburger in Wichita, Kansas.

Laura Norris

Whether you begin a meal with "buon appetite" or "tuck in," Central Standard's Food Critics can point you in the direction of a hearty dish personalized to your palette.

Segment 1: Artists are reviving the shopping mall experience.

There's a new trend in malls. Whereas the spaces artists were transforming a couple decades back tended to be abandoned warehouses in industrial parts of town, now the suburban shopping mall's providing that canvas. 

  • Dave Claflin, marketing consultant for area shopping malls

Segment 2: Queer Eye's Antoni Porowski is in town with a cookbook.

Shanley Cox / Facebook

It's still summer, which means it's hot dog season. But for all the democratic appeal they can rightly claim, hot dogs — also known as weiners — don't get much respect. 

"They're cheap. They have notoriously been cheap. They're just a filling, inexpensive way to get something in your tummy," says Jenny Vergara of Feast Magazine.

But The Pitch's Liz Cook thinks we need to reconsider the hot dog. 

As Labor Day approaches, the food critics recommend great hot dogs in Kansas City, and an expert offers advice on how to grill unexpected foods, such as pound cakes and apricots.

  • Mike McGonigle, McGonigles Market
  • Jenny Vergara, contributing editor, Feast Magazine
  • Carlton Logan, KCFoodGuys.com and the Kansas City Eats Facebook group
  • Liz Cook, food critic, The Pitch

Segment 1: New distilleries revive the past, with a twist.

Why was 9th street, in the West Bottoms, once known as the "wettest block"? Why did a spirits industry thrive here in the 19th century and then fade even before Prohibition? And what's it like to ride the slide at the new East Bottoms facility for J. Rieger & Co.?

Q39 / Facebook

More Kansas City restaurants are offering small plates, appetizers and snacks that cater to diners who are looking for shareable experiences instead of big meals.

“We used to go out in groups and we would all just get our own entree, and our own salad, and our own appetizer,” says Jenny Vergara of Feast Magazine. 

Sometimes, that requires reaching in a basket or peeling shrimp and getting your hands dirty.

The longer a restaurant stays open, the more concerned it needs to be with keeping up its quality. 

Segment 1: Kansas City Classics

Among the new and noteworthy restaurants populating Kansas City, let’s not forget those that came first and have stuck around for a while. We talk about the classic restaurants of Kansas City, which have set the standard for diners across the metro.

Food Critics: The Best Patios In Kansas City In 2019

Jul 13, 2019
Tribe Street Kitchen / Facebook

Summer is the time to enjoy food and drinks outside on the patio for breakfast, brunch, lunch or dinner.

When it comes to eating outdoors, Kansas City area restaurants have a different atmosphere than traditional sidewalk cafes in Europe, says Jenny Vergara of Feast Magazine.

“We have much more of a patio party thing happening in Kansas City,” Vergara says. 

Kansas City area restaurants have their own atmospheres when it comes to patios. Some boast views of downtown, others have rooftop games and some are suitable for the kids. 

Friday Food Show

Jul 12, 2019

Our summery food odyssey begins with a trip to a fruit orchard, where blackberries and peaches are now in season, before heading back to the studio for ideas from a chef for how to use these tasty fruits in the kitchen. The food critics then join us on a search for the best restaurant patios in Kansas City.

Food Critics: The Best Salads In Kansas City In 2019

Jun 29, 2019
The Mixx / Facebook

Salads might be simple ingredients prepared simply, but they can be so much more than that. A salad must have more vegetables than grains, but from there the ingredient possibilities are endless.

That includes meat, especially in Kansas City.

“We are a meat and potatoes town to begin with,” says Jenny Vergara of Feast Magazine. “So what better way to eat your vegetables than to put a little steak with it?”

Segment 1: The City Market, then and now.

The City Market continues to provide local produce to individuals and nearby businesses in Kansas City, but even those businesses have changed dramatically in the last decade. We go to Estelle’s Diner to see these changes firsthand, and talk with a historian about the stories behind them.

Segment 1: Investors invited to consider five areas in Kansas City, Missouri, in need of development capital.

The Greater Kansas City Chamber of Commerce is hosting a summit to introduce potential investors to federally designated "opportunity zones" that are ready for revitalizaton.  Participants explained the plan that focuses on establishing more jobs and more locally-owned businesses in economically disadvantaged communities. 

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