Friday, February 26, 2010

Things We Hate: Boxing up our own leftovers

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

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Too many times, a server spoils what's been a fantastic meal by bringing me a white styrofoam container to load up my own leftovers. I understand why restaurants do this: They want to let diners decide what to take home; they want to save their servers the extra effort; they might not have room in the kitchen to dedicate a space for boxing up leftovers. But none of those logical reasons compensates for the disappointment I feel when I'm confronted with the empty styrofoam box.

Up until then, if I've had good service, I've been enjoying the experience of letting someone else take care of myself and my companions -- now, suddenly, I have to do my own work. And it's the least-pleasant work of all: paying more attention to food that's made me full, which I really don't want to look at anymore (until tomorrow, anyway, when I'll be excited about it again). C'mon, restaurants: You work so hard to make the dining experience pleasurable. Why do you have to ruin it this way? Please, please don't make me box up my own leftovers.

[Image via Flickr: America: My Personal Observations]

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Friday Book Review: Matt Baker's Drag the Darkness Down

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 11:00 AM

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Right from the beginning, there's something a little off about Odom Shiloh, the narrator of Matt Baker's Drag the Darkness Down (No Record Press, 212 pages).

When he introduces us to himself and his sister, Bridget -- everyone calls her Birdshit -- he talks in an Arkansas twang:

So my sister ran off, out of Frothmouth, with a black boy from around here. She ran away with him to north Louisiana, we think. Thirty-six years old and not married ever a once, not even any kids to boot; she falls for this eighteen-year-old boy who tied for second in the state in total high school rushing yards last season.
But 60 pages later, Shiloh uses the word opprobrium correctly in a sentence.

Clearly, Odom Shiloh isn't a regular hillbilly. He takes some pains, for example, to explain that the race of his sister's boyfriend is not the thing that troubles him about her disappearance. In fact, he says, "through the years we've managed to expel most of them violent combative racist types up north where they belong, to live their segregated lives amidst talk of peaceful reconciliation and Christian harmony."

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Incoming: Lupe Fiasco

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:53 AM

Chicago's Lupe Fiasco will throw down at the Midland on April 18, supporting his forthcoming album, L.A.S.E.R.S.  He's bringing Atlanta rapper B.o.B. (also known as Bobby Ray), and other unnamed "special guests" with him. Fiasco's label has been keeping his latest project under wraps, so there's no release date set; but L.A.S.E.R.S. (an acronym for "Love Always Shines Everytime Remember 2 Smile") is rumored to be his last album. 

Here's his "Manifesto" for his upcoming release and tour. Direct quote: "Because we're not losers. We are L.A.S.E.R.S." What?

Food Wars filming at Gates today, Arthur Bryant's tomorrow

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:00 AM

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The local barbecue debate might be decided on national television. 

The crew from Food Wars, a new show set to debut in March on the Travel Channel, is in town this weekend filming for an episode that pits the ribs from Arthur Bryant's against those of Gates Barbecue in a battle of Kansas City heavyweights.

Food Wars
(it premiers Tuesday, March 9, at 9 p.m.) goes from city to city to decide which fans are right when it comes to two local makers of a town's iconic food. Upcoming episodes will test cheese steaks in Philadelphia, Italian beef sandwiches in Chicago and hot dogs in Detroit.

But right now it's Kansas City's turn. Host Camille Ford will be at Gates Bar-B-Q (1221 Brooklyn Avenue) between 12 and 4 p.m. today. Fans of Gates are encouraged to show up to be interviewed and talk about why the ribs are superior.  

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Boozefish Wine Bar: A Saturday brunch

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Boozefish Wine Bar owner Maija Diethelm has been serving brunch for the past year (10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturdays only), but I only recently heard about it. And I

may not be an isolated case: I brought along my friends Carol Ann and

Truman last Saturday, and we were the only occupied table in the dining

room.

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Yes, it's really coffee
Now, I've been around long enough to remember when ordering a cup of hot tea in a restaurant meant getting a little "hottle" of hot water, a coffee cup and an unwrapped teabag. Today, ordering tea is a presentation. It involves a big wooden box filled with attractively wrapped teas and permitting the customer to choose his or her beverage.

Last Saturday, I simply wanted an espresso before breakfast. But I'll be damned if the beautiful server -- who happened to be Diethelm -- didn't come over to the table with a black wooden box and opened it to reveal a series of colored pellets. At first I thought they were candy! But no, instead of a traditional espresso machine for coffee drinks like cappuccino or lattes, Diethelm uses Nestle's Nespresso system, "a technically advanced espresso machine using pre-measured ground coffee capsules that protect more than 900 coffee aromas."

I had to read all the descriptions of the various blends to see whether I wanted Arpeggio or Vivalto or God only knows what. But I admit, it was a fine cup of espresso.

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The next fleece craze is the Jacketfortwo: Clothes Whores

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 10:00 AM

Shenanigans ensue with the Jacketfortwo
  • Shenanigans ensue with the Jacketfortwo
There is no escaping the Jacketfortwo
  • There is no escaping the Jacketfortwo

Clothes Whores: Enthusiastically examining Kansas City's sartorial shenanigans

The Snuggie is so last year.

Heather Searls, a bartender at The Brick and at Gusto Lounge's Topshelf, just created the Next Big Thing in goofy-ass, cold-weather wear: Jacketfortwo. It's a jacket that two people -- two people who can stand being very close to each other -- can wear at the same time

To be fair, it was Searls' dad, Dave, who came up with the idea last fall. "Everyone in my family leans toward the creative side, so we all sort of jumped in to help out," Searls says.  Her sister, Haley, made the pattern. Then, they contacted a family friend, designer Janay A, to perfect the prototype and crank out some samples. "When we saw the final product, we knew it was hilarious and functional, so we decided to go for it," Searls says. "My dad's a pretty funny guy."

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Breakfast Buffet: Friday, February 26

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

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It's time to break the cycle of addiction ... to Diet Coke. One blogger says goodbye. [Plaza Jen]

This Saturday is Open That Bottle Night -- it falls on the last Saturday of February every year, and here's a guide to celebrating properly. [The Wall Street Journal]

Esquina, the new restaurant from the Krause duo in Lawrence, is on Twitter. [Twitter]

The art of the cookie dunk is celebrated in this series of cookie splash captures -- you'll realize that cookies in coffee can be a beautiful thing. [Bon Appetit]

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Video: Hammerfall, "Hearts on Fire" (curling version)

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Sunday marks the closing ceremonies for the 2010 Vancouver Olympic games. We can think of no greater way to salute the athletes who competed than by presenting to you this video.

That would Swedish metal band Hammerfall performing "Hearts On Fire" from Rocky IV, in a video where they compete against the Swedish women's curling team.

Seriously -- this is what we consider appropriate material for a tribute. If ever we are selected to eulogize someone, we weep for their memory.

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Incoming: Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers at the Sprint Center, July 13

Posted By on Fri, Feb 26, 2010 at 9:00 AM

Thank God for Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers. While I could easily go the rest of my life without ever hearing "American Girl" again, the man's music appeals to nearly everyone. Stoners love "Mary Jane's Last Dance." Tom Cruise sang "Free Fallin'" in Jerry Maguire -- the one and only scene in that whole movie that didn't seem contrived. And, yes, every band on the face of the planet (or so it seems) has at one time or another covered "American Girl." I'm partial to Matthew Sweet's version, personally.

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Anyhow, Petty and his band are a reliable, quality concert, and they'll be playing the Sprint Center on July 13. As an added incentive to get you to go, they're offering all sorts of free stuff if you buy your tickets online.

The Heartbreakers' new album, Mojo, comes out this spring, and when you purchase your seats (onsale via Ticketmaster on Monday, March 9), you get downloads of two songs from that album, "First Flash Of Freedom" and "Good Enough." Also, when the album is released, you'll get an instant download of the entire album, "as well as a selection of live tracks recorded during the tour."

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