Guilty Pleasures

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Is it soup weather yet?

Posted By on Thu, Oct 17, 2013 at 1:43 PM

When the outside temperature dips, theres nothing more comforting than a steaming bowl of pho, dont you know?
  • When the outside temperature dips, there's nothing more comforting than a steaming bowl of pho, don't you know?

The weather is turning chilly. It's time to think about soup.

Kansas City hasn't had such great luck with soup-only restaurants. A popular Westport restaurant in the late 1970s, the Souper, by all accounts served very good house-made soups and freshly baked breads until (rumor has it, anyway) the owner vanished one day after hastily taping a "Closed" sign to the front door. Several decades later, another soup restaurant, Souperman, chef Rob Dalzell's clever spin on the theme, opened at 1724 Main for a few years. It was a popular lunch venue until it also seemed to disappear, all too quickly, in 2010.

The good news is that Kansas City has so many traditional restaurants serving excellent, soothing and nourishing soup, who really needs a soup-only restaurant? The possibilities range from Plaza III's legendary steak soup to the once-famous (but not so fabulous in recent days) French onion soup offered by Houlihan's; if you really want French onion soup, order it at Aixois or Le Fou Frog.

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Thursday, October 10, 2013

Farm to Market brings back chile cheese sourdough for limited run

Posted By on Thu, Oct 10, 2013 at 12:55 PM

A limited edition Chile Cheese Sourdough from Farm to Market will be available starting tomorrow.
  • Farm to Market
  • A limited edition Chile Cheese Sourdough from Farm to Market will be available starting tomorrow.

If you're a fan of Kansas City's Farm to Market sourdough loaf, tomorrow marks the opening day - of a limited 17-day run - for the company's chile cheese bread, a sourdough loaf, baked with pieces of cheddar cheese and bits of fiery jalapenos, that hasn't been on store shelves for a year. The round loaves will be featured in select stores October 11-27.

The loaves, 7 inches in diameter, feature a light crust that is slightly chewy and golden, with a soft open crumb. The cheddar and jalapeno flavors are bold but not overpowering. It's perfectly delicious toasted with butter in the morning or used in a savory bread pudding.

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Thursday, April 4, 2013

Stewart & Claire's Old Fashioned lip balm is a classic cocktail kiss

Posted By on Thu, Apr 4, 2013 at 11:04 AM

The Old-Fashioned is like a classic cocktail for your lips.
  • The Old-Fashioned is like a classic cocktail for your lips.
You can file this one under things I never expected to be writing about in this space. But I'd be remiss if I didn't share Stewart & Claire's Old Fashioned Lip Balm ($6). While aiming for a classic aesthetic, the tube is really a paean to the bourbon cocktail. It's scented with cedar, bitter orange, vanilla and cinnamon. When you open the cap, it hints at that terrific moment when a bartender slides a lowball glass across the bar and you raise it to your lips.

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Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Men's Health takes the joy out of your candy box

Posted By on Tue, Feb 14, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Let your gut do the thinking on this one.
  • Flickr: Chrisser
  • Let your gut do the thinking on this one.
The Men's Health 'Eat This, Not That' series is a juggernaut for two very simple reasons: It preaches substitution, rather than denial, and it does a beautiful job of making us simultaneously covet and feel grossed out by a 2,000-calorie bacon-cheeseburger monstrosity. For Valentine's Day, the either/or maxim was applied to candy, and our very own Russell Stover made the list. According to Men's Health, you shouldn't eat the Milk Chocolate Almond Delights because they're high in calories, courtesy of partially hydrogenated oil. Your best bet is the Milk Chocolate Whips.

Our advice? It's Valentine's Day. Let yourself go — that extra weight won't show up until later this week anyway.

Wednesday, September 14, 2011

The world's most expensive cannoli on display at Jasper's Restaurant

Posted By on Wed, Sep 14, 2011 at 1:17 PM

A gilded cannoli, priced at slightly over $26,000, is on display at Jaspers Restaurant
  • James Ferris Photography
  • A gilded cannoli, priced at slightly over $26,000, is on display at Jasper's Restaurant

Chef and restaurateur Jasper Mirabile Jr. is determined to make September "National Cannoli Month." (It's already National Biscuit Month, National Honey Month, National Chicken Month and National Mushroom Month). Mirabile, who is in the process of writing a new book, On the Cannoli Trail, about his search for the perfect cannoli, is exhibiting an elaborate and expensive cannoli creation at Jasper's Restaurant through September.

The edible cannoli — it's a cannoli cake, really — is covered with edible, but real gold leaf and was created by baker Carey Iennaccaro of Overland Park-based Sprinkled With Sugar. The item that really bumps up the price is a $26,000 diamond necklace that comes with the pastry: an Italian necklace owned by jeweler Tom Tivol.

The actual price of the cannoli cake is $26,010. The pastry is currently on display at the restaurant, but the Mirabile family is now keeping the diamond necklace under lock and key: "Our insurance company said we can either build a secure glass case for the cannoli," Jasper Mirabile Jr. says, "or lock up the diamonds."

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Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Murray's Ice Cream is open again -- can summer be far away?

Posted By on Wed, Mar 23, 2011 at 1:06 PM

It's almost officially summer when Murray Nixon opens her shop for the season.
  • It's almost officially summer when Murray Nixon opens her shop for the season.


Last week, Murray Nixon opened her namesake ice-cream and cookie emporium in Westport for her 27th season. Tomorrow she introduces her newest flavor: Red Velvet Cake.

"There's 5 pounds of cake in every tub of ice cream," Nixon says. She adds that her red-velvet cake is a vivid burgundy, but it's made the traditional way: with cocoa.

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Monday, February 14, 2011

Annedore's has the rarest chocolate, but you can't taste it ... yet

Posted By on Mon, Feb 14, 2011 at 2:56 PM

Aaron Dearinger shows off the good stuff.
  • Aaron Dearinger shows off the good stuff.

A month ago, The New York Times reported on a discovery made two years ago of a rare cacao tree, the Nacional, in Peru. The Nacional was thought to be extinct after pure varieties of the tree had succumbed to disease in Ecuador -- the world's largest producer of cacao.

The chocolate made from Nacional cacao beans is also rare -- and expensive. But local master chocolatier Aaron Dearinger, of Annedore's Fine Chocolates at 5006 State Line, really wanted to taste it.

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Monday, February 7, 2011

How to be happy in two easy steps

Posted By on Mon, Feb 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM

mint_chocolate_cookie.jpg

Step 1: Buy this ice cream, unarguably the best flavor of Ben & Jerry's ice cream ever to be packed in a carton.

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Monday, January 24, 2011

The Upper Crust Bakery's frosted banana is one weird cookie

Posted By on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 at 2:30 PM

This is one tough cookie ... to categorize.
  • This is one tough cookie ... to categorize.

If you venture into the basement level of Pryde's Old Westport, you can't escape the wonderful smells wafting from The Upper Crust Bakery. The air is thick with the homey aroma of baking, which trails fingers under your nostril pulling you toward the tiny shop in the back of the store.

"How do you avoid crossing the line and being pulled back into the store?" my shopping companion asks one of the Pryde's employees.

"I don't," he laughs, while patting the belly under his apron.

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Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Teahouse & Coffeepot proves: Great hot chocolate doesn't come from a mix

Posted By on Tue, Jan 18, 2011 at 2:26 PM

Keith Buchanan's drinking chocolate is labor-intensive, but you're worth it.
  • Keith Buchanan's drinking chocolate is labor-intensive, but you're worth it.

As the temperatures continue to drop, there's no question that one of the best ways to warm up on a bone-chilling afternoon is with a cup of hot chocolate. But Keith Buchanan, the British-born operator of Westport's Teahouse & Coffeepot, is concerned that too many Americans are too accustomed to the processed cocoa-and-sugar beverage made from a mix and stirred with hot water.

His lips actually curl when he says the words "Swiss Miss."

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