Eat This Now

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Kansas City's best tamales are at Tortilleria San Antonio

The quest for the best tamales in Kansas City.

Posted By on Tue, Feb 5, 2013 at 8:29 PM

Tamales are a warm blanket for your stomach.
  • Tamales are a warm blanket for your stomach.
Forget buffalo meat. The oldest dish in the Americas may be the tamale. The name comes from the Nahuatl word tamalli, and versions of the distinctive, corn-flour-derived sustenance date back to the Aztecs and Mayans. Traditionally steamed in a cornhusk or a banana leaf, the tamale is also the first fast food, a portable dish that's filling enough to eat for breakfast before going out and hunting all day.

There are plenty of opinions on who serves KC's best tamales. Former restaurateur and cookbook author Lou Jane Temple, who frequently travels to Mexico, insists that there are no better tamales in the metro than those served at KCK's Tortilleria San Antonio.

"They're not heavy or doughy," she says, "but made with a light hand. The texture and feel of the tamales are amazingly light and satisfying."

I can't disagree, but my own vote goes to the freshly made pork tamales at El Patrón Cocina & Bar on Southwest Boulevard. They're addictive, with or without the creamy queso that accompanies the fragrant, corn-wrapped comfort food. And maybe even better than the pork tamale is the meatless version - no lard ever used, promises manager Jim Nimmo - with a fluffy, masa-dough wrapper enfolding cheese and strips of spicy jalapeño peppers. On a bitter-cold afternoon, tamales turn out to be not just nourishing but also warm comfort.

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  • The quest for the best tamales in Kansas City.

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Thursday, January 31, 2013

Shatto Chocolate Cherry Milk to hit shelves this week

Posted By on Thu, Jan 31, 2013 at 7:55 AM

If you find a bottle, victory will be sweet indeed.
Life doesn't bring you golden tickets. It brings you limited releases, specialty milk flavors in glass bottles. Shatto announced on its Facebook page that it will be unleashing five small-batch flavors this year in honor of its 10th anniversary.

First up is Chocolate Cherry milk. Shatto is making only 2,000 bottles of the flavor. Bottles will be identified with the word 'SMOOCH' on the side (a nod to Valentine's Day) and are expected to be on shelves by this weekend (stores are getting deliveries today and tomorrow). If you're committed to getting a bottle, it's in stock at the dairy farm in Osborn, Missouri, right now. Each of the next four releases will have a signature flavor and theme.

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Thursday, December 13, 2012

Local Pig, Port Fonda collaborating on X-mas tamales for you & Harvesters

Posted By on Thu, Dec 13, 2012 at 10:04 AM

Christmas tamales are coming to the Local Pig.
  • Local Pig
  • Christmas tamales are coming to the Local Pig.
Santa and the elves, a bowl of eggnog and a hip flask, and now you can add Port Fonda and Local Pig (2618 Guinotte Avenue) to the list of Christmas collaborators. Patrick Ryan, the chef and owner at Port Fonda, and Alex Pope, owner and butcher at the Local Pig, are working together to create roasted-pork tamales that will be on sale next weekend (December 21-23) in a benefit for Harvesters.

The Tamale Collaboration, as they've taken to calling it, is a different kind of buy-one, get-one offer. For every dozen sold at the Local Pig, a dozen will be donated to Harvesters to be distributed Christmas Eve.

"I was driving an order of sausage over to Port Fonda, and the idea popped in my head," Pope says, "Patrick's a big believer in collaborations, and the Christmas tradition of Latin American families having tamales just worked."

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Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Frannie Franks understands how to make a coffee cake

Posted By on Tue, Nov 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Frannie Franks pocket size cakes pack big taste.
  • Frannie Franks' pocket-size cakes pack big taste.
The words "coffee cake" are too elastic. They're as likely to end up on the side of a cellophane-wrapped, desiccated crumb cake as they are to be used. We'd be in good hands - albeit, slightly cinnamon-dusted hands - if all coffee cakes were to follow the lead of Frannie Franks. The 16-month-old cake maker out of Independence, Missouri, understands how to make a proper coffee cake.

In stark contrast to its ill-conceived brethren, the cake is not mono-textured. A rush of cinnamon in the soft buttery top gives way to a crunchy under layer that is lady-in-a-commercial-relaxing-in-a-bathtub moist. Frannie Franks' cakes (original and pumpkin) are available at the Roasterie Cafe (in Brookside, Leawood and the West Side), the City Market on Sundays (from 8 a.m. to 3 p.m.) and the Hy-Vee bakery department in Liberty. For those with a gluten allergy, Frannie Franks also makes gluten-free coffee cakes.

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Art of Pizza's garlic knots should not be missed

Posted By on Thu, Oct 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Add some knots.
  • Add some knots.
Garlic knots are a good way to tell your body to get ready because this...is...happening. They're carb precursors, more bread than cheese, and when done right, all garlic.

The garlic knots at the Art of Pizza (1801 Baltimore) are fine examples of what you should order from the appetizer menu at a pizza shop instead of toasted ravioli (assuming you're not in St. Louis). A clever use for scraps of pizza dough, garlic knots done poorly can be teeth crackers or chewy dough blobs. But these have just enough crust topped with parmesan, oregano, basil and a generous gloss of garlic oil. Just a note: Have a bit of stainless steel at the ready because the garlic smell can stay with your hands well into the next day. Grab an order on a Friday between 4 and 6 p.m. when the Art of Pizza has a cheese pizza for $12 as a to-go special. That offer isn't available on First Fridays, so you'll have to wait until next week.

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Thursday, September 20, 2012

Haus is slinging some serious sausage

Posted By on Thu, Sep 20, 2012 at 9:00 AM

Its a sausage fest at Haus.
  • It's a sausage fest at Haus.
What could be the very best hot-dog shop in Kansas City only serves sausages. The closest that Haus (3044 Gillham Road), which opened earlier this summer in Martini Corner, comes to a hot dog is a bratwurst, but the spirit is there. The ratio of pretzel bun to sausage is right, no utensils are needed, and there are four kinds of mustard (spicy, whole grain, yellow and honey) on the table to spread at your will. I opted for the lamb, cumin and oregano sausage, and my only regret is that I didn't eat it naked.

Slow down. I'm referring to the dressing of my lunch, not my attire. The sausages, courtesy of the Local Pig, outshine the house-made toppings. Two come free with your order. While the grilled onions and sauerkraut were fine, their tepid temperature and the contrast with the flavor of the sausage meant they weren't bringing anything to this sandwich.

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Monday, August 27, 2012

El Pollo Rey + San Antonio Tortilleria = Best Burrito in KC

Posted By on Mon, Aug 27, 2012 at 9:00 AM

This is the first stop.
  • This is the first stop.
The best burrito in Kansas City will require two stops. You should know this up front. You should also know that you will make these stops again. You would make 2,000 stops if that's what it took.

These two stops are only 207 feet apart, 45 seconds from door to door. And those 207 feet will seem a lot longer than 45 seconds because every second that you delay this glorious combo is a second you regret. Read on, but first get in your car because you need to be there by the time you finish reading this.

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Wednesday, June 6, 2012

The Thai chicken wrap is the gateway sandwich at Longboards

Posted By on Wed, Jun 6, 2012 at 9:40 AM

The Thai Chicken wrap at Longboards.
  • The Thai Chicken wrap at Longboards.
Somewhere between the Zone and the Atkins diet, wraps got a bad name. They were dry, thin, flavored (the color indicated the "flavor," green was veggie, red was spicy, white was bland) and stuffed full of slimy turkey or alfalfa sprouts. It was a crime against sandwiches.

Thankfully, the wrap's good name is being restored on a daily basis at Longboards (6269 North Oak Trafficway). If you haven't been, it's time you make your way north of the river and discover why ordering a wrap no longer means settling for lunch.

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Monday, June 4, 2012

Eat the chicken and the egg first at the Genessee Royale Bistro

Posted By on Mon, Jun 4, 2012 at 9:00 AM

This is no ordinary chicken sandwich.
  • This is no ordinary chicken sandwich.
The chicken and the egg no longer need to be enjoyed separately. The Genessee Royale Bistro(1531 Genessee) has figured out a way to bring together the staples of a country breakfast for lunch (it's on the menu all day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.) with its creamtop buttermilk biscuit ($10). The West Bottoms restaurant halves a house-made biscuit, inserts a crispy fried chicken breast and a sunny-side-up egg with a yolk begging to be pierced. The fork-and-knifer is then covered in a small lagoon of white, peppery gravy.

Eggs, gravy and fried poultry notwithstanding, this creation (like many of the sandwiches at the Genessee Royale and its sister restaurant Happy Gillis) walks the happy line between full and rolling out the door. The biscuit soaks up the egg and gravy, and the chicken provides the crunch that keeps the sandwich from devolving into something more akin to a scramble. Dig in and understand why it's no longer about eating from the tail to tip; it's about devouring a chicken from egg to breast.

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Monday, April 23, 2012

Shatto Ice Cream Sammiches are all about the cookies

Posted By on Mon, Apr 23, 2012 at 10:14 AM

Chocolate Chip and vanilla ice cream are meant to be together.
  • Chocolate Chip and vanilla ice cream are meant to be together.
When I grabbed a Shatto Ice Cream Sammich out of the freezer at the Prairie Village Hy-Vee, I almost put it back. A single sammich costs $3.99. At that price, unless it's filled with meat and cheese, it's hard to justify the cost. So while I like you readers, I wasn't ready to drop a $20 bill to try all four flavors (vanilla and chocolate chip, caramel sea salt and oatmeal-raisin, vanilla and chocolate brownie, and strawberry and sugar cookie). But then I opened the package, and my sticker shock turned to shock over the incredible cookies made by Erin Reynolds Brown, the owner of the Dolce Baking Co. and Shatto's partner in its latest product.

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