Kansas City, opinion, cocktails, snark.

April 4, 2008

Lidia, o Lidia, say have you met Lidia?

Filed under: booze, kansas city, Local Restaurants — akcb @ 4:49 am

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Prior to our near expiration from boredom, Ladybird & I decided to visit our favorite bartender at City Tavern. Unfortunately, he was not behind the bar tonight and we couldn’t find two seats together. At sixes & sevens, we decided to stroll down the way to Lidia’s. Both of us had reservations, as neither she nor I have ever had more than an average meal there, but since were just having a drink & appetizer we decided to chance it.

We walked in and found the bar in total disarray with stools scatter hither & yon and unbussed tables apparently the norm. A bored looking bartender lounged behind the bar chatting up an equally bored looking waiter. I ordered a Negroni. The bartender gave the cocktail shaker the most perfunctory of shakes resulting in an unpleasantly lukewarm cocktail. Ladybird requested a French 75 resulting in a blank stare, so she switched to a Campari & soda. After consulting a menue, we ordered a frico stuffed with sausage & chard and when it arrived it was absolutely delicious. I find most of the food at Lidia’s to be overly seasoned and generally bordering on the salt-lickish, but this was a really good appetizer & there was quite a bit of it (good, since it was 9.95).

After leaving we encountered a group of out-of-towners near City Tavern. They asked us if Lidia’s was nearby. We suggested if the wanted a really good meal and weren’t set on Italian, they should definitely drop Lidia’s and hit the Tavern instead. I hope they had a an awesome meal.

So we did a good deed and will probably go directly to heaven for it, totally erasing any past instances of sodomy, taking Jeebus’s name in vain or coveting my neighbor’s ass from the recordbooks. Hurray.

March 26, 2008

Shawn Moriarty is the best bartender in the city.

Filed under: booze, kansas city, Local Bars — Tags: , , — akcb @ 2:41 am

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Ladybird, Scoots & I went down to City Tavern in the Freight House District last week and we’ve been talking about it ever since. We used to stop in fairly regularly for oysters & smart cocktails, until I had an unfortunate encounter with a bad oyster. Twenty-four hours of toe-curling stomach cramps with the dog laying beside me praying I didn’t die (she knows which daddy likes her best) kinda put me off my game for several months.

But a few night’s back the scheduling stars aligned and we made our way back to the Tavern. Nothing’s changed, not that we really expected it. There are still the same amazingly well-crafted happy hour appetizers priced crazy-low for the quality of the ingredients. Oysters are still $1/each from 4-6 (though I gave them a wide bearth; I’m not quite ready to climb back up on that particular horse) and Shawn Moriarty is still making some of, if not the best cocktails in the city.

Mr. Moriarty is cocktail nut and it shows in his craftsmanship. He’ll make any drink you like exactly as you like it and if you don’t know what you want, after an appraising look, he’ll rattle off a few suggestions. His Corpse Reviver No. 2 is a revelation, his Negroni sublime and his Jasmine rocks all ass. Plus he dresses like an old-school barkeep with a vest and armbands and tie. Also, he’s quite easy on the eyes.

If you haven’t tried the City Tavern bar, I recommend a trip post-haste. Stick around for an awesome dinner, too. Ladybird & I are already planning another trip this week. If you see a couple of folks tossing back Rusty Nails & cackling like mad, stop by & say hey.

March 25, 2008

Carcinogens like to turn in early.

Filed under: booze, kansas city, Local Bars — Tags: — akcb @ 2:29 am

Kansas City’s council-approved smoking ban began today. I guess. The downtown bar/restaurant where I enjoyed happy hour this evening wasn’t bothering to enforce the 9pm rule. I enjoyed several of the few Camel Special Lights left in the city along with a number of rather smart martinis with my dear friends, C. & K.

If we have to protect the children, I humbly submit we ban children from anyplace where adult activities (like smoking, drinking, working, talking, etc) take place. Plus, I suspect children cause cancer.

March 13, 2008

A Kansas City PSA: Avoid Original Juan Bloody Mary Mix.

Filed under: booze, kansas city, Local Shopping — Tags: , , — akcb @ 4:09 am

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I had been really looking forward to trying this ever since I read about it in some Pitch ‘Best of’ issue a year or two back. I finally made it down to the Original Juan factory store on the Boulevard last week and picked up a bottle. My friend C. (of bum shit fame) and I decided to give it a whirl this evening while we watched a couple of episodes of “The Whitest Kids U Know.” We’re both huge fans of Zing Zang, but thought supporting a local product would be kinda nice. Lesson leard. While pain may be good, Originial Juan Blood Mary mix is unspeakably vile.

First of all, it’s thick. Too thick. It sat atop the vodka like a large red dump. Even a thorough stirring failed to integrate it fully. The mouth-feel was heavy & chewy and generally unpleasant. I could have overlooked these characteristics if it weren’t for the taste. The primary flavor is, of course, tomato, but there is a very heavy beef bouillon note, and it ain’t good. It’s a canned beef stock flavor, tinny & sharp. The spice was nice, but I couldn’t get past the tinny artificial meat flavors. We finished our bloody mary’s and fixed a couple of Herbsaint & Cokes to take the taste out of our mouths. I’ll be pouring the rest down the drain and running back to Zing Zang.

I also purchased bottle of hot sauce on my visit and have the highest of hopes. I highly recommend visiting the factory store as it’s a very cool place. They have samples of all their products (and I suggest you take advantage of it; I didn’t and that’s $3.50 I won’t see again soon).

March 7, 2008

My favorite martini.

Filed under: booze — Tags: , — akcb @ 11:41 pm

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Man, this week has sucked. Here’s how I’m unwinding on a Friday evening.

  • 2.5 oz Beefeater’s gin
  • .5 oz Noilly Pratt dry vermouth
  • 2 dashes Fee Bros. orange bitters

Combine over ice in a cocktail shaker and shake for 20-30 seconds or so. Strain into a cocktail glass over 2 Hy-Vee Garlic Stuffed Olives (seriously, I’ve tried a dozen brands and the Hy-Vee store brand is awesome. I import them from Independence; thanks Chas!).

Enjoy.

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