Food And Drink | KCUR

Food And Drink

Ca Va/Facebook

If you appreciate your own company but dining solo in a restaurant intimidates you, you're not alone. But it doesn't mean you shouldn't give it a try.

"I love dining alone. I'm almost evangelical about it," Liz Cook said on KCUR's Central Standard. "One of the reasons I love it is that I'm alone so seldom in my daily life.... This is a time to completely carve out for yourself."

File photo by Julie Denesha

Kansas City journalist and bon vivant Charles Ferruzza, known to newspaper and radio audiences for his restaurant reviews that were infused with a deep knowledge of the city’s history and idiosyncrasies of its high- and low-society denizens, died early Tuesday. He was 62.

A frequent guest on KCUR’s Central Standard food critics panel, Ferruzza’s role as a radio personality dated back to the days of The Walt Bodine Show.

"I clicked with Kansas City right away," Ferruzza told KCUR's Gina Kaufmann.

Colombus Park Ramen Shop/Facebook

Kansas City can sometimes be a city of extremes. It has more than 100 barbecue restaurants and counting, yet it's also seen an explosion of more plant-based and vegetarian cuisine, including restaurants that are completely free of meat.

But as people across the country eat more vegetables for the benefit of their own health as well as that of the environment, it's spurring creativity on the culinary scene.

Segment 1: Meet Kansas City's Veggie Burger Artist

Zaid Consuegra at Pirate's Bone is known for the colorful veggie burgers he's painstakingly developed to be both pretty and tasty. He was recently profiled in Bon Appetit with his photo next to a headline that identified him as "The Undocumented Chef." He shares the story of his life and his burgers.

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.

Segment 1: Council rookies relate what the first month on the job has been like.

In her first weeks on the Kansas City City Council Andrea Bough realized, "it puts you in the position of ... making a decision based upon what's good for the city as a whole." She and other fellow first-timers talk about learning how the council operates, and the urgent issues, like gun violence, that were waiting for them when they arrived.

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.

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