We barely survived Fat Tuesday this week -- well, intern Emily Johnson did with plenty of intense people-watching at Ra Sushi. It all started with posts about all the meat you could possibly eat -- Sausagefest, Fazenda Brazilian Grill -- and ended up seriously meatless, with a listing of church fish fry dinners.
In between, Fat City informed you of new restaurants opening; the long-awaited arrival of runza into the metro; and, of course, the opening of the Power & Light District's newest burger-and-beer bar, the Whopper Bar.
The last seven days will go down in history for the brutal blizzard that wreaked havoc on Restaurant Week (it was extended through next Wednesday), a Valentine's Day holiday market (it was postponed until tomorrow) and restaurant business in general.
Restaurant customers who frequently dine out stayed home during the worst nights -- Monday and Tuesday -- and either made a grilled cheese sandwich or poured themselves a grilled cheese-and-tomato soup martini.
It's been kind of a high-fat, high-carbohydrate week here in Fat City, thanks to the scandal surrounding the lawsuit filed against Taco Bell. Attorneys for the claimant say the fast-food giant uses a "beef" product in its Tex-Mex creations that's only 35-percent beef after you take out all the binders and extenders.
But why eat at Taco Bell at all? Kansas City has plenty of terrific small taquerias and even a few independently owned drive-ins that serve a superior taco. Read on for more about that, and other stories.
If you've ever been to Brussels, you know that the chocolate desserts served in the little cafes and pastry shops are wonderful, although Kansas City has more than its share of sensational chocolate sweets, including these Top Five.
Falafel, those tasty chickpea-batter croquettes made not one, but two appearances in Fat City this week: in a taste of the dish at the Olive Cafe and an announcement about next month's "Free Falafel Night," courtesy of Yummy's Choice and chef Kamal.
The news about Bo Ling's being voted #2 Chinese restaurant in America garnered a veritable rangoon of responses. And a local culinary mystery about a long-forgotten Italian restaurant posed to us by an out-of-town Fat City reader has yet to be solved. And on the subject of Italian food, what about this battle of Italian sandwiches?
And yes, there is a patron saint of sandwiches. He's St. Honore, but his feast day isn't until May 16.
(Image via Flickr: caramel)
|Fat City believes in higher education...|
B is for Bloody Mary.
C is for cave men.
D is for diet: The Patrick Swayze Diet!
E is for eating and not getting fatter.
F is for Farmers Feed Us.
G is for ghosts!
I is for Imperial Pilsner
and last, but not least, the letter J is for chef Jasper Mirabile, Jr.
Homework assignments will be collected after class.
(Image via Flickr: AliceL85)
|"The Absinthe Drinker," Picasso, Melville Hall Collection|
Although this week's snowfall and frigid temperatures were hard on the restaurant community in Fat City, Jonathan Bender started the the week on a warm, high note with a post about absinthe -- the legendary beverage that was banned in the United States for decades because of the hallucinogenic chemical that's still not permitted in absinthe sold in American liquor establishments. The post reminded us of the connection between absinthe and bohemian life -- or at least the bohemian life depicted in paintings like Picasso's Absinthe Drinker or movies like Moulin Rouge (the 1952 version about Toulouse-Lautrec) or Bright Young Things. To get into a truly bohemian and artistic mood, start tonight with the debut of happy hour at the Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art.
A touch of java might make the bitter taste of absinthe more pleasing and we reported on the new coffee house -- which doesn't serve liquor -- in the River Market: K City Coffee. An even more potent combination than coffee and absinthe? Hot coffee with chicken and waffles, perhaps? This week's Battle of the Dishes squared off the soul-food specialty served at the new Niecie's Restaurant on Troost and at the new Jack Gage American Tavern in the South Plaza.
On the subject of deep-fried delicacies, have you wondered where to find the best onion rings in town? Here are five top choices. And if you're ordering those onions to go, you should read about the proper etiquette for tipping on to-go orders. The debate is still going on in response to Jonathan Bender's post.
And we wave a bittersweet farewell to 2009, with a last look at the good news and bad news in Kansas City's restaurant community. Things are already looking up for the new decade, so here, have another glass of absinthe with that onion ring.
The question we didn't answer, but inquiring minds want to know, is where the hell eggnog comes from? Well, here's a very brief history of the drink. You'll never think of a noggin as a human head ever again. Still, you may want to use your noggin (the thing that protects your brains) to remember the important etiquette rules when it comes to buffets. You can use the historical noggin ("a small carved wooden mug") to sip a draught of Boulevard's Harvest Dance Wheat Wine. Or a ham daiquiri.
We discovered wine openers and wine coolers and such at the newly-expanded Function Junction store in Crown Center, which opened last Saturday and Jonathan shared a holiday wine guide. Oh, the big new Function Junction store does sell casserole dishes, which might come in handy if you plan to enter blogger Emily Farris's annual Casserole Party, like Nadia Pflaum did. She lost, but her report on the event was a winner.
Have you made your Thanksgiving reservations yet? Here are some ideas.
(Image via Flickr: Labelitlove)
|A rainbow of culinary creativity in one week!|
Well, it was colorful, anyway, beginning with white, as in White Castle -- one of the Top Five Chain Restaurants that Jonathan Bender wished were here in Kansas City. As Pitch readers know, White Castle hamburgers -- invented in Wichita -- have come and gone from Kansas City twice in the last seven decades. Maybe the third time -- if there is one -- will be the charm.
Jonathan next drew the brown crayon from his creative palette: nut brown, that is. As in the The Battle of the Nut Brown Ales. Brown is also the color of crisp bacon, but not the shade of traditional crisp envelopes. Still, the combination of bacon and envelopes may be the next big thing. Brown is also the color of pecans!
And for a splash of turquoise blue, there's the new Shabby Hattie's Tea Room in Parkville!
|More than a novel, a play or a sandwich|
The Monte Cristo is a glorified grilled ham-and-cheese which was -- depending on which story you believe -- introduced in California in either the 1880s (which would make it older than the fabled Croque Monsieur, an unlikely possibility) or the 1950s. The sandwich is probably named after the Alaxandre Dumas novel, The Count of Monte Cristo, published in 1844. Actor James O'Neill (father of playwright Eugene O'Neill) played the role many times in Kansas City in the 19th century at the old Coates Opera House, which once stood near where the Quaff Buffet (which now serves food) has served liquor since 1954.
And speaking of 1950s-style buffets: If you're planning a holiday cocktail buffet this season, you can't beat the hundreds of culinary ideas in this week's Relic Tray offering: 500 Tasty Snacks. And what tastes better with Ham Banana Rolls than a wine created by the 7-11 vineyards?
Also this week we learned that Max Chao has turned up at Nara, that Sharp's 63rd Street Grill was temporarily closed after health inspectors found cockroaches, and that people eating at home want steak, damn it! We shared the news about two restaurant benefits -- one for ReStart at Anthony's on November 18 and one tomorrow at the RecordBar for 14-year-old Sierra King.
Last, but not least: You don't need to be from Monte Cristo to count all ten of the Top Soups in town!
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Nice work, Royals.
Next season will be even more fun, I'm sure.