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.
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.
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."
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Oh, great - another abortion story to bring "Jack" crawling out from under his rock.
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