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Friday, February 13, 2015

Natasha's Mulberry & Mott has some candy love to share

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2015 at 9:22 AM

Lanmou Chocolates co-founder Meghan Piel shows off pralines and truffles from the new candy line.
  • Lanmou Chocolates co-founder Meghan Piel shows off pralines and truffles from the new candy line.

The last time that The Pitch caught up with  confectioner Natasha Goellner, in October, the  local sweets maven, who operates her namesake Natasha's Mulberry & Mott at 320 Ward Parkway on the Country Club Plaza, was three months pregnant and had developed an unexpected craving for sweet things. Now she's just weeks away from her due date but still working hard, getting her small shop ready for Valentine's Day on Saturday — a huge retail day — and introducing the new line of chocolates she has developed with her store manager, Megan Piel: Lanmou chocolates. 

"I'm not usually a big sweets eater," Goellner says now. "But now I keep candy in my purse. And a brownie!"

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Friday, February 8, 2013

Where are the most romantic restaurants in Kansas City?

Posted By on Fri, Feb 8, 2013 at 7:00 AM

What local restaurants are romantic when its not Valentines Day?
  • ChefMattRock
  • What local restaurants are romantic when it's not Valentine's Day?

Any restaurant - even Waffle House - can be the setting of a romantic dining experience on Valentine's Day. But what local restaurants have romantic cachet when it's not the so-called "most romantic night of the year"? (Ask any restaurant server who has hustled plates on Valentine's Day evening how "romantic" that shift is for them.)

On this morning's edition of KCUR 89.3's Central Standard Friday I'll be discussing the best places to take a date for seduction or a marriage proposal, and even the best places to begin an illicit affair - with fellow panelist Christine Becicka of Ingram's Magazine and special guest, novelist, cookbook author and former restaurateur Lou Jane Temple, and the show's listeners at 10 a.m. Feel free to join the radio conversation by calling 816-235-2888.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

The Five Hottest Restaurateurs in Kansas City

Posted By on Tue, May 3, 2011 at 9:30 AM

We confess that Westport Cafe's Aaron Confessori is a hearthrob; read more about him below.
  • We confess that Westport Cafe's Aaron Confessori is a hearthrob; read more about him below.

All right, there are more than five, come to think of it. (I just realized that we're leaving out potential candidates such as Nicholas Grunauer of Grunauer, Sam Silvio of Em Chamas, Ted Habiger of Room 39, Michael Smith of the restaurant of the same name and -- well, God only knows how many others.) And then there are the female restaurant owners, too. But that's a list that someone other than this writer should compile.

It goes without saying that every restaurant has an individual dish that stands out. In some cases, the dish might just be the owner. So go ahead and visit these local hot spots and try to catch a glimpse of one of our caliente crushes. To quote Amy Adams' incarnation of Julie Powell in the 2009 film Julie and Julia: "I read somewhere that it was bad form to say 'yum' while you're eating, but yum."

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Monday, December 7, 2009

The proper way to make potato pancakes

Posted By on Mon, Dec 7, 2009 at 12:29 PM


Bender men traditionally don't cook. Well, to be more accurate, when we cook, we make a significant mess and we don't clean.

My late grandfather taught me to cook a single dish: potato pancakes. The recipe is not complicated, nor is the preparation, but the taste is rich with the memories of watching him at the stove in his Chicago apartment.

I would sit at the kitchen table, both of my hands wrapped around a glass of orange juice. I'd swing my feet, which didn't reach the floor, in anticipation of the breakfast that would leave my tongue raw and my throat burned. Because I was so eager to eat them, I never learned to wait for the pancakes to cool.

Only after he agreed to show me how he made them did I learn that what I was tasting wasn't the ingredients -- it was my happiness at spending time with my grandfather.

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Friday, September 25, 2009

Cupcakes as a way of life

Posted By on Fri, Sep 25, 2009 at 10:30 AM


In the same way that bacon has become a self-identifier, people are apparently turning to cupcakes as a form of self-expression. Newsweek looks at how they are now a fashion statement thanks to the cupcakism movement

To be a cupcakist is to put your faith in the church of cute and sweet, to believe that childhood is a magical land accessible via a palm-size serving of sugar and fat (and the occasional sprinkle).
The worship of sugar and fat doesn't sound too bad. It kind of suggests that life be like Friday morning in the donut shop. But the author leaves little doubt of whether you should consider joining up:

There's something pathetic about creating a world view around a child's treat -- pro or con. Let's look beyond the hype, and return cupcakes to their appropriate status -- as a snack food, not a lifestyle choice.
It's a harsh dismissal, but a necessary one if it means that we'll all instead focus on creating better cupcakes rather than better cupcake peripherals. And as long as we're focused on actual cupcakes, there is plenty happening with regard to the frosted, baked goods.

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Monday, September 21, 2009

Can't stop thinking about the school lunch lady?

Posted By on Mon, Sep 21, 2009 at 12:10 PM


Not all school lunches are bad. In fact, each school has the power to make at least one great dish. Whether that dish comes from instant potatoes or grade D meat is another question.

Earlier this month, Slow Food USA staged a series of potluck "eat-ins" at public schools across the country, in an effort to lobby the government to dedicate more money to school lunch programs. This comes just a few years after a similar movement in England, led by celebrity chef Jamie Oliver, who saw an opportunity to remake his image and improve the diets of British schoolchildren.

Now, whether the school lunch program changes dramatically or not, it's worth discussing the classics: sloppy joes, taco bars, french bread pizza (before the days of Elio's frozen pizzas), and breaded chicken cutlets (Serious Eats links to a vibrant discussion on Chowhound of).

My favorite was simple, wrapped in three layers of plastic wrap. A peanut butter and jelly sandwich on white bread -- the sugary taste of the grape jelly overpowering the peanut butter against bread sweeter than either. For a side, you'd have to pick the tater tots, toasted well on the outside with an interior nuclear lava quality that rivaled jalapeno poppers from the microwave or T.G.I. Friday's.

For dessert, a chocolate milk carton and a no-bake chocolate oatmeal cookie. (The Chowhound threads links to a series of recipes, if you've never experienced the dirty joy of a no-bake cookie.)

So, how about it? What item on the school menu had you skipping to school, counting down the minutes to lunch and the nice lady in a hairnet handing you your tray?

[Image via Flickr: Cornell University Library]  

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Find your sandwich soulmate

Posted By on Wed, Aug 5, 2009 at 10:36 AM

You can tell a lot about a man or woman by his or her sandwich order. And might replace the Zodiac as your predictor of happiness in a potential relationship.

Hellman's and Best Foods sponsored a recent study to try to match lunch selections with personality types. The Smell and Taste Treatment and Research Foundation analyzed the sandwich orders of 2,747 adults -- offering them eight choices and then cross-examining those decisions with the results of comprehensive personality tests.

More surprising than the actual results might be one of the first facts in the announcement: Americans eat an estimated 40 billion sandwiches a year -- approximately 131 sandwiches per person. Forget, that's 131 chances to connect in the lunch room or a park bench! (For those who still feel they need love or condiment advice -- Hellman's has launched a companion Web site -- Build The Perfect Sandwich.)

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Monday, July 20, 2009

Love and assault with a frying pan

Posted By on Mon, Jul 20, 2009 at 10:30 AM

You might not think that novels involving food could get better than Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs, but a lot has been written since you were six.

Each month, the Kansas City Library assembles a list of recommendations tied to holidays or the birthdays of famous authors. To celebrate Culinary Arts Month, Kansas City librarian Angela Kille has put together a "Fiction for Foodies" summer reading list.

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Friday, February 13, 2009

To all the lovers out there

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 1:00 PM

Just remember, steak doesn't have legs. My favorite scene from my favorite romantic film.

Happy Valentine's Day and see you Monday!

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Congratulations to Arby's ...

Posted By on Fri, Feb 13, 2009 at 12:00 PM

... for making breasts unsexy. As I was flipping through my -- I mean my friend's -- new swimsuit edition of Sports Illustrated, one advertisement stood out amid all the cleavage and suggestive poses:


First of all, if I wanted to see breasts that look like soggy buns, I'd pick up National Geographic. And second, Arby's doesn't have the "hip" factor to pull this off. Instead of seeming cutting-edge, it comes across like an older uncle crashing a high-school party.

The ad is for a new product called the roastburger, which will be Arby's first foray into burger territory. The chain has been rolling out some odd new products lately, including egg rolls.

Unfortunately, the tag line in the "I'm thinking Arby's" ad was true. Problem was, I wanted to be thinking of something else.

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