This week we learned that Bluestem's Megan Garrelts can be won over with a classic meat-and-potatoes dish. She also wishes that savory chefs would stop stealing her ring cutters. (Parts one and two of Fat City's talk with Garrelts are here and here.) Today, our interview focuses on the food of Kansas City, and Garrelts gives her advice on where and what she likes to eat.
What would you like to see more of in Kansas City from a culinary standpoint? There are killer German restaurants in Chicago. My maiden name is Schultz, and I would always go out to eat with my grandparents at Chef Paul's [Bavarian Lodge]. You have crazy women in bibbed aprons serving huge steins of beer.
We don't have a saturation of Indian restaurants or Little Italy like in New York. Maybe a Koreatown or a couple of oompa-pah bands. I miss those kinds of places. I love restaurants that are kind of obnoxious, where the experience is the biggest thing. I want people to go out and have fun. We can take food too seriously. I want to go to Tasso's and see belly dancers and eat kebabs.
What would you like to see less of in Kansas City from
a culinary standpoint? Barbecue restaurants. That sounds terrible, but I'm just not a fan of barbecue. I don't like burnt ends or ribs. I don't
like things that require wet naps. I've got
two kids and I'm a neat freak. I don't like to get dirty. I don't want
to have clean myself.
Who's got the best barbecue in town and what are you ordering? I
love Oklahoma Joe's. I would willingly go there. The pulled pork with
fries. It's just shredded pork, braised, smoked meat on a bun.
Your favorite local ingredient? I love Green Dirt Farm's fresh sheep's cheese. It's great in desserts or for stuffing in beignets. I'll even serve it on a cheese plate with just olive oil and a crostini.
If you could steal one dish off somebody else's menu, what would it be? I love the French dip at Houston's on the Plaza. Meat and potatoes are my comfort food. The French Dip is a perfect sandwich when done right. They use real horseradish and prime [beef]. It's like the creme brulee. [Pastry chef] Nick [Wesemann] does amazing desserts at the American. Christopher Elbow's salted pretzel ice cream is pretty good. It's a great idea, I'm like why didn't I think of that?
Who is one pastry chef in town who doesn't get enough credit? Erin Reynolds at Dolce. They do really nice desserts at Café Europa, really straightforward. It just reminds you of being a kid. You get that big slice of cake; it's a simple comfort treat.
How would you change kids' menus? I would treat them more like adult menus. When I was pregnant, I had a craving for steak. We went to Hereford House, and they had a great kid's menu. It had a petit filet, potato and fruit salad. You start with an appetizer, then your kid has a steak and potato and a little sundae for dessert. It's the perfect kid's menu because it's treated like an adult's menu. Kids should have the same progression of food. Spin does a great job, too. You have pizza and a token for gelato, so that gives kids something to look forward to. It's bribery and ice cream. We don't need kids' menus. We can just make smaller dishes. We star things that are spicy or low-fat items. Why can't we just do that for kids?
Garrelts was the latest in our series of chef interviews. To see last week's interview with chef Patrick Ryan, click here.