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Thursday, April 22, 2010

Recession Relief: Milano's Mixerini Bar

Posted By on Thu, Apr 22, 2010 at 11:30 AM

Fill up a plate, Italian-style
A "Mixerini Bar" sounds like something where alcoholic beverages are prepared and consumed. It's booze-free at Crown Center's Milano Italian Dining restaurant, but if you're hungry and budget-conscious, it's a potent deal.

The Mixerini Bar is what Milano's calling its express lunch bar, where

different Italian dishes -- squares of panini sandwiches, slices of

freshly baked pizza, small calzones, a fine prepared Caesar salad

or a make-it-yourself salad and custom-created pastas -- can be mixed and

matched, buffet-style. The $10.95 price includes a loaf of bread for

the table and soda or iced tea. And yes, you can go back to

the bar until you're stuffed.

Milano offers the Mixerini Bar seven days a week: from 11 a.m. to 3

p.m. Monday through Saturday and all day Sunday (the restaurant is open

Sundays from noon to 5 p.m.)

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Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Recession Relief: All-You-Can-Eat Maki Rolls

Posted By on Wed, Jan 6, 2010 at 1:30 PM

​If your idea of heaven is a quiet Sunday with a newspaper, a cup of hot tea and a plate of maki sushi rolls, Ann Ai, the owner of Edokko Restaurant -- 8615 Hauser Street in Lenexa -- has a deal for you. On Sundays only, from noon until 9 p.m., diners can order as many maki rolls as they want for $24.95. The list includes traditional favorites like the California Roll, Philadelphia Roll, shrimp tempura roll and a Dynamite Roll along with her chef's own creations, like the Green Devil Roll made with spicy crabmeat or a competely different roll named in honor of Lenexa that's made, interestingly enough,with imitation crab.

Ai says that so far, the record for maki mayhem goes to a table of burly guys who come in to watch the football game on TV, down a couple of beers and gorge on maki rolls. "They've eaten eight rolls each," Ai said. "That's a lot!" And since the rolls average about five bucks each, they got their money's worth.

(Image via Flickr: Sifu Renka)

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Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Recession Relief: Kids Eat Free

Posted By on Tue, Dec 29, 2009 at 2:15 PM

Free...the magic word
We love little kids in Fat City. In fact, Jonathan Bender now has one! But the best children -- in the restaurant world, anyway -- are the well-behaved kind. And the best way for kids to learn restaurant etiquette is to actually take them to restaurants. And the most practical way to take little ones to restaurants, especially in this economy, is to find places where, on certain nights, kids eat free.

Boston Market restaurants are currently offering a "Two Kids Eat Free" promotion through January 31, 2010 -- no coupon required, but you do have to bring along the tykes -- even if you're taking the food to go. On Saturdays and Sundays, parents ordering a minimum $6 adult purchase can receive two free kids' meals (the children must be under 14) and four free kids meals with the purchase of a Family Meal. More details here.

The Waid's Restaurant in Prairie Village (6920 Mission Road; 816-362-2882) lets children ages ten and under eat free from the children's menu on Monday and Tuesday nights beginning at 4 p.m. One child per paying adult. (The Missouri location at 103rd Street does not have a kids eat free night.)

The lavish Italian buffet at Cinzetti's Italian Market Restaurant lets kids eat free on Monday and Tuesday nights. The children must be between the ages 4 and 12 (toddlers ages three and under always eat free) and there's a limit of two children per adult.

And on Monday nights from 5 to 9 p.m., children ten and under eat free at the Red Robin Gourmet Burger joint in Independence (188810 E. Highway 40; 816-795-5678), though there's a two-kid limit per paying adult. Same Monday-night deal at the Overland Park location (7111 E. 95th Street; 913-642-9800).

(Image via Flickr: Asile13)


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Tuesday, August 18, 2009

There's something about a name...

Posted By on Tue, Aug 18, 2009 at 4:19 PM

"How about 'Good Food?' Too vague? Well, how about 'Pretty Good Food?' No?"

Kansas City has had a long history of restaurants with names that sort of say it all. In the first half of the 20th century, most of the restaurants in town -- according to the City Directories of the period -- didn't even have names: most were listed simply by the names of the owners. This tradition continued well into the late 1930s, when Mrs. Fairie Myers -- whatever happened to her? -- ran her namesake restaurant at 924 Winchester. In the 1930s, a lot more little eateries and diners had names that said a lot about the cuisine in three words or less: Sanitary Lunch, One-Minute Lunch, Nifty and Dandy, Jolly Made Shop and my own favorite, the Roasty Toasty Sandwich Shop, which once served roasty toasty sandwiches at 2456 Troost. I wish it was still there, but it's long gone -- like most of this neighborhood, actually.

The sign, above, for Nice Food, a Chinese take-out restaurant at 7557 State Avenue in Kansas City, Kansas is short and to the point. The joint, which is tiny, serves nice food. Cheap too. The menu features 22 different combination plates, all including an egg roll and pork fried rice, for $6.50. For big appetites, the place sells most of its dishes by the quart: a quart of Kung Pao Shrimp sells for $9. There are also Chief's Specialties. That's right, Chief's, not Chef's. Those are the costly specials here, like Seafood and Beef for $10.95.

One of the nice things about Nice Food is that it still serves classic Chinese-American dishes that have been dropped from a lot of modern Chinese restaurants: Chow Mai Fun, Egg Foo Young, and Chow Mein -- and a Pu-Pu Platter that includes one egg roll, one spring roll, two crab rangoon, two pieces of teriyaki chicken, two fried chicken strips and two pieces of shrimp toast for $7. The appetizer selection also includes buttermilk biscuits and French fries. That sounds nifty and dandy to me.




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Thursday, August 13, 2009

Recession Relief: Taqueria Camecuaro

Posted By on Thu, Aug 13, 2009 at 3:34 PM

The tacos at Taqueria Camecuaro are only a buck on Wednesdays, but always inexpensive.
  • The tacos at Taqueria Camecuaro are only a buck on Wednesdays, but always inexpensive.

I'm so sorry that I didn't discover the delectable tacos at Taqueria Camecuaro -- located at 309 N. 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas -- until after Jonathan Bender and I had completed our list of the Top Ten Cheap Tacos last month. I'm not saying that this combination taqueria and market would have pushed our numero uno choice off the list (El Camino Real, which is at 903 N. 7th Street in Kansas City, Kansas), but for terrific, really cheap tacos, this little joint has it going on.

Spaces food writer and video producer Darren Mark took me to the restaurant last night -- Wednesday is $1 taco night -- warning me that the place would look closed -- and it did. But the adjoining carniceria was bustling (the meat looked great, by the way) and after I nearly tripped to my death stumbling down the startlingly shallow stairs that lead to the restaurant, we found a table -- we were with Bob and Leslie -- in a very spartan, tile-floored dining room, where ice is stored in a former lard bucket near the tubs of horchata and vibrantly-colored Mexican soda pop.


Bob, always the grande eater, ordered tacos carnitas, a burrito and a thick, cheesy quesadilla (the total came to less than ten bucks) just for himself. I ate -- and loved -- the corn tortillas folded around carne asada, which I sprinkled with chopped onion, fresh cilantro and an avocado-based salsa that looked harmless enough, but Darren warned me to use it sparingly. "You'll see after the first bite," he said.

He was right: even a few drops were almost nuclear in intensity. But very, very good. The tacos al pastor even better!

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Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Penny Pinchin' Mama's Real Savings (Part 2)

Posted By on Tue, Jul 28, 2009 at 10:42 AM


The trick to saving money in Kansas City turns out to be asking for deals and doing a bit of advance planning. The KC Penny Pinchin' Mama, aka Tracie Fobes, laid out some of the simple ways you can keep more money in your pocket while shopping and eating in the City of Fountains.

The first place to look for deals is online as restaurants and destinations (like the Legends at Village West in Kansas City, Kansas) have newsletters or deals sections.
"Many times, by being a member, you can get notification of great deals and can even get coupons e-mailed to you," says Fobes. Many of the coupons are specials limited to the Web site or newsletter.

Even if you haven't thought ahead, Fobes has a trick for when you're waiting in line for a table on Friday nights.

"Ask the manager. Sometimes they will just hand you a coupon for asking. You never know what you can get until you ask," says Fobes.

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Monday, July 27, 2009

Real savings with a 'Penny Pinchin' Mama'

Posted By on Mon, Jul 27, 2009 at 10:38 AM


With everybody focused on saving more and spending less, it's easy to get caught up in clichéd axioms or shopping strategies. It can be difficult to know which suggestions to take, so Fat City turned to Tracie Fobes, who blogs about coupons and sales at The Kansas City Penny Pinchin' Mama, for her opinions on a recent article on how to save on everyday purchases. Fobes tackled three of the main tips offered in the article.

CNN says: Purchase oranges, onions and potatoes in a bag.

"If you can not consume the items before they will go bad, it will end up costing you more money," says Fobes.

In other words, you can get sick of trying to live on oranges and onions in a hurry. Fobes also recommends doing a cost comparison between singles and bags, as the price differential might not be as great as you think.

Continue reading »

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Monday, July 13, 2009

Free coffee at McDonald's today

Posted By on Mon, Jul 13, 2009 at 9:30 AM

For many years, when you mentioned McDonald's and coffee in the same sentence, there was usually a joke about burning your lap. But not anymore, McDonald's is serious about getting customers to like its coffee, even if it has to give it away -- which is what the chain is doing today and every Monday until August 3.

From 7 a.m. to 7 p.m., you'll get a free seven-ounce iced mocha or eight-ounce hot mocha.

With chocolate syrup is added to the espresso and steamed milk, a mocha is a gateway fancy coffee drink for those who might then graduate to lattes and cappuccinos. That's probably why McDonald's chose to give away mochas rather than other drinks. 

The chocolate they use in the mochas is the same as the chocolate on the surprisingly addictive hot-fudge sundaes, and for those watching their weight, the hot version does come in a nonfat option.

Be warned, though -- seven and eight ounces ain't much (a normal small is 12 ounces) and you only get one. (Though if you go to another McDonald's....)  Also, the offer is only good at locations with McCafe's, which not all McDonald's have. You can find the closest McCafe here.

Despite all the caveats, the company estimates it will be serving around 10 million samples. Meanwhile, we'll sit back and wait for Starbuck's counter-promotion.

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Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Recession Relief: Stables Bar & Grill

Posted By on Wed, Jul 1, 2009 at 12:30 PM

Last week, an astute reader e-mailed Fat City with an idea we'll call the Change Pub Crawl. The idea is to see how long and how far you can drink using only as many quarters as you can fit in your pants pockets. When you run out of quarters, you stop drinking.

The perfect for starting such an endeavor is Stables Bar and Grill, downtown at 813 Walnut. As we mentioned in last week's dining newsletter Pitch Forks, the bar is now open Saturdays until 1:30 a.m., but it's during the week when things get exciting. Stables offers a happy hour that "cheap" doesn't begin to describe. The beer specials are good -- domestic beer is $1.25 for a mug and $1.75 for a pint -- but the well drink special is extra great.

Not only are all well drinks mark
ed down to $2.75, but they're two-for-one. That's two well drinks for under three bucks!

It gets better. While the special was originally only two hours long, from 4-6 p.m., since Pitch Forks went out, Stables has extended its happy hour until 7 p.m. That's three hours of incredibly cheap drinking each and every weeknight.

At those rates, you could go all night and still have a quarter or two still in your pocket.

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Thursday, June 18, 2009

Recession Relief: Sunday night dinner at Cafe Europa

Posted By on Thu, Jun 18, 2009 at 3:24 PM


I'm embarrassed to say that I hadn't dined at Cafe Europa, the intimate little bistro at 323 E. 55th St. in Crestwood since it changed ownership in 2007. The venue is now operated by Andrew Atterbury and chef Nathan Feldmiller; in the afternoons, it's still one of the busiest ladies-who-lunch spots in town, but the dinner crowd is a lot less genteel.

Even better: on Sunday nights, from 5:30 to 8:30 p.m., Cafe Eupora is serving three-course traditional midwestern family-style dinners, including buttermilk-marinated fried chicken. The chicken dinners are a pretty terrific deal at $16 ($18 if you prefer all white meat) since the price includes a salad, the entree -- with mashed potatoes, gravy, green beans stewed with bacon and onion, and a nice fat, flaky biscuit served with real butter -- and the dessert du jour.

Last Sunday, I took advantage of the deal with my friends Pat and Julie. The small salads, splashed with a light Dijon vinaigrette, are excellent and the fried chicken, with a crunchy tempura-style coating, almost made me forget the exquisite bird at Stroud's -- still the ne plus ultra of pan-fried bird in Kansas City.

Since Julie ordered the fried chicken special (permitting me to take several bites, I'm grateful to say), I ordered the other poultry option: Amish-style roasted chicken ($16) which was very tasty, but compared to the fried chicken, nothing to crow about. Pat is a fan of Cafe Europa's pan-roasted salmon ($20), so he ordered that -- and although I find most salmon to be boring, this beautifully-prepared hunk of fish was first-rate. The other Sunday supper option is the $25 wood-fired Kobe steak.

The tiny dessert served as that night's finale was an extremely pretty little ramekin of banana pudding, made with vanilla wafers -- just like Grandma's (not my grandmother, but apparently everyone else's) -- and topped with a delicate swirly cap of meringue.

Cafe Europa, small and tasteful, can't compete with the more raucous ambiance of the new Stroud's in Fairway, but it's a delightful, comforting alternative. And the price is more than right. 


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