*Up to five toppings or specialty
"He wanted a piece of meat, so I gave him a whole chicken," Cody James Wyatt says. "The next thing I knew, Ted Nugent was inviting me to have lunch at his table."
A decade later, he's still washing rock stars' dishes. But Wyatt, 27, also cooks their meals, as the chef and co-owner of Cool Guy Foods.
"I grew up backstage at concerts," Wyatt says. "I played with David Crosby's kids and stuff. I love music and I love food, and I guess that's where it all started."
At least for me, who roasted the turkeys in much the same way that Lucy Ricardo might have done on I Love Lucy - utterly incompetently. There are rules for defrosting a big bird, you know, and then keeping the turkey moist through the cooking process by brining - now there's a chore - or injection. So much work! I once considered deep-frying a turkey but quickly came to my senses; I would have probably burned down the house.
Richard McPeake, the former executive chef for the Gilbert/Robinson restaurant chain and now a culinary instructor at Kansas City, Kansas, Community College, says he's not a big fan of fried turkeys anyway: "Most people overcook them, and the meat is far too dry."
In fact, that's the problem for most home cooks, even the ones with years of experience roasting a fat turkey in their own ovens, McPeake says. "Almost everyone overcooks their turkey."
The rumor is true: Illinois-based Jimmy John's Gourmet Sandwiches is planning to open a drive-thru building next to the historic Majestic Restaurant (built as Fitzpatrick's Saloon in 1911) at 931 Broadway; the red-brick building to the north of the restaurant is currently being demolished.
Not everyone is happy with the decision, including Ann Brownfield, the executive director of the Garment District Museum. The Jimmy John's restaurant will be located in the heart of the historic Garment District, which is on the National Register, but has no restrictions or tax incentives for developers.
Denise Phillips, a contract administrator for the Kansas City Parks and Recreation Dept., confirms that the project has been approved.
If the month-old Vietnamese restaurant, Café Hà Tiên at 1032 West 103rd Street (located inside a former frozen-yogurt venue), is using a form of team-waiting to serve the patrons in its intimate purple and baby-blue dining room, it either needs a new team or a different coach. One server took our drink order, another took our food order, another cleared the appetizer plates away (long before the entrées arrived) and asked if we were ready for a check. None of the servers wrote down orders - a difficult gambit for even veteran waiters and waitresses - and I wasn't surprised when our waiter, totally flustered, came out of the kitchen and asked: "Did you order the No.12 or the No. 21?"
Because most of the dishes served on the menu here are listed by their Vietnamese names, they're also numbered for people (such as myself) who might be too reluctant to try to pronounce Thit bo xao bong xanh. Asking for No. 16 is so much more efficient for all concerned.
Chicago has two champagne bars. St. Louis has one. And in December, Kansas City will join the list with Ça Va, the brainchild of chef Howard Hanna, executive chef and co-owner of the Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange; Justin Norcross, bartender and restaurant veteran; and Jim Coley, wine director of the midtown branch of Gomer's Fine Wines & Spirits.
It won't be a true restaurant, Hanna says, but an intimate bistro - the 740-square-foot space was formerly the Nikki Grant Boutique - at 4149 Pennsylvania, across the street from the Thai Place. It sounds like it could be pretentious, which makes Hanna laugh.
"We have gotten that from people," Hanna says.
Jim Coley pipes in: "We'll have lots of good, affordable sparkling wines - and a full bar."
And food, but nothing too elaborate. Hanna envisions a limited menu that includes a charcuterie plate, marinated olives, and house-made potato chips with crème fraîche and "Missouri caviar" - paddlefish roe.
When chef Peter Castillo (Tenerife Cafe, Great Plains Catering) decided to call his new restaurant Eat Me, he got some flack immediately.
"This one lady told me that the name was crass," Castillo says. "But I asked her, 'Doesn't food - delicious-looking food in particular - talk to you? I think it does. When food looks really enticing, it's saying, 'Eat me.'"
Eat Me customers will line up outside the old Torre's Pizza window, in the alley off Pennsylvania in Westport. The carryout menu is heavy on sandwiches (including a chicken-and-waffles sandwich). Castillo's kitchen is also providing the food for the Westport Saloon, in the former Dark Horse Tavern at 4112 Pennsylvania.
Three weeks ago, the owners of Simply Breakfast, the restaurant at 4120 Pennsylvania, abruptly closed the doors to the three-year-old Westport breakfast-and-lunch business. A handwritten paper sign stating, "Simply Breakfast is now closed" was posted with duct tape to the front door.
Local artist James Sawyer wrote a response to the note: "I want my paintings."
A number of Kansas City restaurants are known to have patrons or former tenants materialize from beyond the grave, apparently unwilling to pass gently into the Great Beyond. Most of the haunted are older buildings with long and colorful histories.
There's Pierpont's, for example, the upscale steakhouse carved from the bones of a former women's seating lounge inside 99-year-old Union Station. Back in 2010, owner Rod Anderson insisted that he had heard unusual noises, late at night, when he was closing up the dining room. "I'm not one who believes any of that," he said at the time. "But there are nights, when I'm closing up, that I really do hear some weird noises. I guess it could be the sound of the refrigeration equipment, but I'm telling you, I never heard any refrigerators sound like that."
The sounds might have unnerved Anderson, but when Zak Bagans and his team from the Travel Channel's Ghost Adventures investigated the Pierpont's space last year, they came away empty-handed. The only spirits they could conjure in the marble-tiled lounge were behind the bar - in bottles.
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