Kansas City, opinion, cocktails, snark.

August 21, 2008

Yael Abouhalkah’s jittles must be all tingly at the thought.

Filed under: kansas city, Local Bars, Local Restaurants, religion — Tags: — akcb @ 3:17 am

KCK will be discussing the future of smoking within its own bars and restaurants. I keep trying to support local bars, but smoking outside’s a drag what with the homeless hitting you up for change and people in passing cars screaming “Queer!” as they drive by. Can’t a guy wear a kilt and platform sneakers without all the judgement? I guess there’s always Riverside.

Has anybody looked into that whole “private club” theory?

August 18, 2008

Stuff we did today.

Bought a Dyson Slim. The phrase ‘sucks like a Hoover’ should immediately be replaced with ‘sucks like a Dyson.’ This is probably the most well-designed thing we’ve ever owned. Even the box is a marvel of invention.

Hung a print I bought & framed. The artist, James Amerson, took pictures of drag queens during Mardi Gras & Southern Decadence, painted portraits from the photos and auctioned the portraits to benefit Habitat for Humanity. Now he’s selling prints. This is Fonzie Martini and she has pride of place in our dining room, just above the liquor cabinet.

I had brunch at Avenues Bistro with Leigh Anne & Joe. Wow. This place is good and provides a cheap brunch. For $12.95, you get your choice of a couple dozen entrees and as many trips to the brunch buffet as you like. The buffet is divided between an antipasto section consisting of various meats, cheeses and pickled vegetables and a section of cold salads & various breads and pastries. We had 10am reservations but didn’t need them, though it was beginning to fill up when we left shortly after 11. Of course, people were standing 10 deep outside of Sharp’s. If you’re a Sharp’s Sunday devotee, save yourself some wait time and a mediocre meal and make a reservation up the street. The food & service are way-betta.

May 1, 2008

Taco-not-so-Bueno.

Filed under: Food, kansas city, Local Restaurants — Tags: — akcb @ 1:27 am

After a repugnant “meal” at Jose Pepper’s a number of year’s ago, you’d think I’d learn not venture off the Boulevard for Tex-Mex (or away from the divine Tienda Casa Paloma for a more authentic Mexican experience…and a Google search tells me TCP has recently been sold; Lisa, what happened?), but tonight I found myself telling The Husband I wanted to try Taco Bueno near North Oak and Vivion as we made our way back from a harrowing rush-hour trip to Jos. A Bank (seriously, the suburban school districts must be amazing considering how many people are willing to put up with Broadway traffic at 5pm).

If you have the opportunity to try Taco Bueno, don’t. The food is mediocre at best and so incredibly salty that I downed three glasses of water after. While you may find slightly fresher lettuce and tomatoes than you would at Taco Bell, it’s just not worth the trip even if you live just around the corner which I don’t.

April 27, 2008

Justus Drugstore: a reason to go to Smithville.

Filed under: Food, kansas city, Local Restaurants — Tags: — akcb @ 6:40 pm

I’m not a food writer; bear with me.

Ladybird & Maureen have been going on and on about Justus Drugstore in Smithville for a couple of months now. So it was with much excitement that we packed provisions and saddled up the horses last night for our dinner club’s excursion to the Great White North.

While we had 8:30 reservations, we weren’t seated until nearly 10 as other diners lingered over dessert & coffee. This was to our benefit for two reasons. It gave us ample time to thoroughly sample the cocktail menu (the Sazerac d’Oise & the Silver Elder Fizz receive my highest recommendation). Also, it gave our Baldwin City stragglers, LAB & Joe ample time to put the pedal to the floor and show up just as we were being seated.

Here’s the thing about the food at Justus. It’s amazing. It’s some of the best food I’ve ever had in this city. As a first course, I ordered the Foie Gras Terrine. The terrine is chock full of pecans & figs and served with fresh pear slices, a ginger pear port syrup & cinnamon brioche french toast. While excellent, it was my least favorite dish of the night. I had a chance to sample Mo’s Crawdad Cakes with a delicious remoulade and they were a revelation. Even LAB, who can’t stand the thought of mudbugs, gave them a rave review.

For my salad course, I ordered the Curly Endive Salad. It’s a bed of curly endive with a mustard vinaigrette, bacon lardons, smoked trout roe, truffle oil and a terribly beautiful breaded soft-boiled egg. It is heaven on a plate. The helpful waiter explained that its meant to be eaten with a bit of everything in each bite. I don’t think I’ve ever had a better salad. The interplay between the salty bacon, the creamy egg, the crunchy breading, the sharpness of the endive, the sweet smokiness of the roe and the tart vinaigrette…beautiful. I could have ordered half a dozen more.

By the time the main course arrived, I was starting to get a bit full. I ordered the Berkshire Pork Ribeye served with a small piece of braised pork shoulder, fig sauce, green beans and a house-made pasta with Maytag blue cheese sauce. Formerly known as Pork Two Ways, this dish had been hailed by both Ladybird & Fi as the Best Thing on the Menu. It did not disappoint. The ribeye was cooked to perfection, perfectly seasoned and paired beautifully with the fig sauce. The sauce on the noodles was sublime, creamy and slightly sharp perfection. I love this dish. I want to marry this dish.

Some advice:

If you go, and have reservations, still be prepared to wait a bit. This is not a meal you want to rush through, nor should you expect others to rush.

Do not go with a large party. Stick to four or fewer. They aren’t set up anything more and the bookish hostess with the frizzy hair will not push the tables together. Well, they wouldn’t for us. They pushed two tables together for another large party, but I think the owner’s mom was in that group. So I guess it’s who you know. We finally managed to push ours together once they stopped seating folks at 11.

Go with your wallet full. Expect to come home with it empty. It’s rare that I spend $100 dollars on dinner, but it was easy to do at Justus. It’s even rarer that I feel like I actually got my money’s worth. Justus did that in spades. So put your affairs in order, hire an Indian guide and make the trek to Smithville. You’ll be glad you did.

April 4, 2008

Lidia, o Lidia, say have you met Lidia?

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

lidia.jpg

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.

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