Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Update: Overland Park's Taste will become The Peanut

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 3:30 PM

After three years, downtown Overland Park will be Taste-less.
  • Owen Morris
  • After three years, downtown Overland Park will be Taste-less.
Yesterday, Fat City reported that chef-owner Jonathan Dallen's three-year-old Taste restaurant would be closing after Friday night.

Today, the current executive chef of the restaurant, Bobby Stearns, called us to say that soon ("Maybe as soon as next week," Stearns says), the restaurant will become yet another location of The Peanut, the bar and grill that has four locations in the metro.

"Jonathan got a great offer and decided to sell," says Stearns, who is now looking for a new job, preferably in a sophisticated venue like the restaurant formerly known as Taste.

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Chef Ali Shirazi loves testing his limits daily at Original Juan

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Chef Ali Shirazi loves his test kitchen.
  • Chef Ali Shirazi loves his test kitchen.
The concoctions arrive in jelly jars and glass bottles — barbecue sauces and brining mixtures that have been in the family for generations. The recipes are handwritten, typed or never put down to memory at all. Still, each comes with the same plea. You are the first to see this outside of the family. Please help me bring this to market.

Chef Ali Shirazi runs the test kitchen for Original Juan, the specialty-foods manufacturer at 111 Southwest Boulevard, where he has developed thousands of products over the past three years.

"I always say, 'Yes, I can do that.' It just sometimes takes a few tries," Shirazi says.

In his defense, it's not that easy to make harvest apple barbecue sauce, salsa that rings in at over 1 million Scoville Units (the scale to determine whether something will incinerate your tongue), and hot sauce from pumpkin seeds.

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The Kansas City Royals are due for an all-timer

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Itd be nice to see the face behind the mask stay the same for a while.
  • Royals
  • It'd be nice to see the face behind the mask stay the same for a while.
The Boston Red Sox are expected to lose another link to the 2004 World Series team tomorrow when catcher Jason Varitek announces his retirement.

"Tek is somebody, I think, this organization is going to need forever," slugger David Ortiz told ESPN.

The same day the news broke about the Red Sox's captain of the past seven years, the Royals announced the signing of catcher Sal Perez to what could be an eight-year contract. The Royals are hoping they've found the same kind of guy who can be penciled into the lineup, day in and day out.

It will be 20 years next spring since George Brett retired, and while he still dons a jersey now and again, it's been too long since he has launched line drives into the gap at Kauffman Stadium. Bret Saberhagen hasn't worn Royal blue for more than a decade. It's time for the Royals to find the next guy who's got a shot at the Baseball Hall of Fame — and not just the one at 1 Royal Way.

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Google exec Eric Schmidt takes cheap shot at KCK (Update)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Update: Unified Government of Wyandotte County public information officer Edwin Birch contacted The Pitch late this afternoon to say CNET got it all wrong. Birch sent along the above clip (it isn't publicly listed in YouTube searches) and described it the following way: "As you can see, he's being completely earnest: He thinks people will want to move to Kansas City. No joke, no punch line at Kansas City's expense! ... The article totally misrepresents Schmidt’s statement about Kansas City, Kansas. We believe there are many opportunities in Kansas City, Kansas for people and businesses looking to relocate."

There's a smattering of laughter from the audience, but the guy asking the question seems to honestly agree with Schmidt's assessment — joke or not.

Eric Schmidt: Comedian.
  • Charles Haynes
  • Eric Schmidt: Comedian.
Original post: Perhaps we should have seen this coming. Ever since Google announced that Kansas City, Kansas, would be the first city to get ultra-fast fiber Internet service about a year ago, most national media outlets have gently chided the decision to start in a relatively small city in the middle of the map. Wizard of Oz and barbecue jokes aside, of course.

But Google itself couldn't hold back anymore this week at a tech conference in Barcelona.

Google executive chairman Eric Schmidt was speaking about the fiber project, and someone asked him about the impact that the speedy Web access could have on technology. We'll let CNET's Stephen Shankland take it from here:

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Scenes from the Syria Freedom Rally in Kansas City (Slideshow)

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 10:03 AM

A rally to call attention to the plight of the Syrian people and to protest the actions of President Bashar al-Assad's regime was held Sunday, February 19, at 47th Street and J.C. Nichols Parkway on the Country Club Plaza. Click here or on the picture above to see the photos by Angela C. Bond.

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Listen Before the Show: Rusko, tonight at Liberty Hall

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 8:52 AM

Is this dubstep, or is this just dance music with a hot name thrown on it to make it sell? Either way, Rusko's new album, Songs, due out March 27 on Mad Decent, is hyped to do pretty well. Catch a slew of those new tunes when he hits Liberty Hall tonight (Wednesday, February 29), as part of the tag end of his tour pimping the new record in advance of its release. Check out "Somebody to Love" from Songs (above) for a taste of what to expect. For those not inclined to watch: make-out sessions galore, people losing their shit, and confetti cannons.


No Liquor? No Problem. Order a Mocktail.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 8:45 AM

Fuds Heidi VanPelt-Belle will make your liver happy.
  • Jaimie Warren
  • Fud's Heidi VanPelt-Belle will make your liver happy.
That first cocktail of the night is the best. Your senses are still collecting data, and your taste buds have yet to be muddled. That third cocktail, though? Boy, howdy. There you sit, piping blue slush down your gullet, ruining tomorrow in advance. Alcohol abstention is in your immediate future. You need a new drink, and not some uninspired soda or cup of burned coffee — you’re taking a break from booze, not style. It’s time for a mocktail. A well-crafted nonalcoholic beverage can still be refreshing, even bracing. And it can still taste and look as complex as the mess-you-up liquor mixtures you’ve sworn off.

But where do you find them? Many local watering holes don’t include nonalcoholic drinks on their menus, and finding a place that has put some thought and craft into its mocktails is a time-consuming, frustrating task. (Don’t even try a Google search with the words virgin and drink, an errand that yields unfortunately eye-opening and soul-crushing results.) Bartenders often are up to the challenge of de-boozing a favorite drink, though, so sitting at the bar helps.

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Oils, Fake Natives, CS Luxem celebrate the leap year tonight at the Replay

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 8:24 AM

CS Luxem
  • Chris Cunningham
  • CS Luxem
Oils, Fake Natives and CS Luxem will most likely present some interesting new music at the Replay tonight (9:30 p.m., cover at door). That hunch is fueled by these facts:

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What have you eaten lately that's been amazing?

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 8:00 AM

This is beer that is truly cold.
  • This is beer that is truly cold.
We're on the cusp of spring, which means that a lot of restaurants are in the process of turning over the menu. A healthy part of the reason for Fat City's existence is helping you determine what you should be eating right now in Kansas City.

One idea? The BLVD Two Jokers Sorbet at Glace. The double-wit Smokestack seasonal will not be coming back this summer (although a future return hasn't been ruled out by Boulevard) — so this might be your last chance for a while to savor the kind of beer that is worth a wait in line. What have you eaten lately that was amazing?

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Mr. Ptacek Goes to Washington: KSHB’s Russ Ptacek lands his dream job — and it isn’t here

Mr. Ptacek Goes to Washington.

Posted By on Wed, Feb 29, 2012 at 6:00 AM

Photo by Brandon Vogts
  • Photo by Brandon Vogts

A year ago, a middle manager at KSHB Channel 41 was making reporter Russ Ptacek miserable. So Ptacek hired an agent to get himself out.

The job offers didn’t come quickly, and the manager left KSHB. Meanwhile, Ptacek, Keith King and Ryan Kath molded themselves into Kansas City’s finest TV investigative team.

But the agent eventually found an offer that Ptacek couldn’t refuse. By the time you read this, he’ll be in Washington, D.C., searching for tips as the leader of a newly formed investigative unit for WUSA, a CBS affiliate in the nation’s capital.

“I’m sad to leave,” Ptacek says. “I never thought I’d say that.”

The man this paper once dubbed “Best Bulldog” didn’t turn into a lame duck once he signed the WUSA contract. Ptacek’s investigation into exploding glass bakeware aired Friday, February 17. The following Monday, KSHB broadcast his six-month investigation into the disappearance of Belton teenager Kara Kopetsky. A cadaver dog hit on a scent in a home, and a feud erupted between secret sleuths and the Belton police. And on the day of his exit interview with The Pitch, Ptacek was breaking news that the General Services Administration would move employees out of the Bannister Federal Complex — the facility whose history of deadly toxicity Ptacek helped uncover.

“It’s crazy,” Ptacek says. “It’s like there’s a magnet here that will not let go of me.”

In a wide-ranging conversation, Ptacek talks of his unfinished business, where to get a good cheap suit, and his biggest fear about the move.

Continue reading »

  • Mr. Ptacek Goes to Washington.

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