Wednesday, May 29, 2013

The Art of Eating (and Drinking) at the PV Art Fair

Don't miss out on fresh crepes created by Nadine
before your eyes in front of Cafe Provence.
So, what's the best part about art fairs? You might say, "the art" but c'mon... isn't it just another excuse to mill around with a couple hundred people, have drinks-to-go with old friends, and eat some high-end street food?

The Prairie Village Art Fair is this weekend and as it's practically in my backyard I thought I'd share some eating and drinking information to help make it worth your while.

Foodwise this art fair has come a long way. Not only do you have nationally acclaimed French bistro Cafe Provence (previous review) right in the middle of the action but add to that Story (2013 James Beard semi-finalist chef), Tavern in the Village (locals love this place), and newcomer STANDEES (bar/restaurant/movie theater - seriously).

Information below was provided by the establishments themselves (with a couple of comments added from me). All restaurants will be cash-only for outside, patio, and tent purchases.

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

First Impressions: Voltaire

❝Nothing would be more tiresome than eating and drinking if God had not made them a pleasure as well as a necessity.❞ 

~ Voltaire

Give God his due but I would also send proper respect to chefs and bartenders - especially the kind you find at Voltaire's namesake restaurant newly opened in the West Bottoms. Fans of R Bar, which closed just over a year ago, will be happy to learn that its replacement tenant appears to be living up to some important standards - namely an interesting and tasty menu as well as imaginative quality cocktails.

Thursday, May 23, 2013

Sofa King: Earthy - Mushrooms From "The Morel Man"

"Mushroom Man" Rick Simpson (pictured) is still selling his freshly picked morels in the parking lot of McGonigle's on Thursdays. $25 gets you a half pound bag - about 35-40 mushrooms. They're not cheap but they are good. I bought my bag this afternoon. Rick is pretty certain that he'll still be selling next Thursday as well. After that, it depends on the weather.

He sells them in a Ziplok bag for convenience but make sure you don't keep them sealed up for long (or at all) as this will trap moisture and speed the rotting process.  Keep them in an open container in the refrigerator and they'll last at least 4-5 days. Mine should be gone by morning.

$25 worth of morels

Thursday, May 16, 2013

The Little Airstream That Could (and Did) - Port Fonda

This is the only photo of mine I could find
of the original Airstream-based Port Fonda. 
I've only been at this blogging thing for about five months but already I feel like I'm neglecting some of my very favorite places to eat and drink in Kansas City. Fitting squarely in that category is Port Fonda - a not-your-abuelo's Mexican joint that would be a good fit in any major urban center (thankfully it's in mine). Much good has been written about this Westport gem and I'm not better than The Star, The Pitch, Bonjwing Lee's Ulterior Epicure or The New York Times so you can read their reviews by following those links. I'll spend my time talking about why I love this place and why I think some misguided souls don't get it.

Like many lucky Kansas Citians I discovered Port Fonda several years ago when it was based out of an Airstream that parked in a few strategic locations around the city. My favorite spot was the parking lot at the Rieger Hotel & Exchange for the simple reason that Airstream Port Fonda didn't serve alcohol and some of the best drinks in town can be found at both The Rieger and Manifesto (same building, in the basement). Outrageously good street tacos in the parking lot followed by a drink or three at one or both of these places and it's a good evening.

Friday, May 10, 2013

Sofa King: Sweet - New Desserts at Cafe Provence

A little eye-candy to jump start your weekend.

Café Provence has a new spring menu that includes two new and decadent desserts that must be tried.

My personal favorite is the Passion Fruit Tarte. It's pretty. It's sweet. It's tart. The whole package.

Chocolate addicts will appreciate the new Chocolate Bombe. get your chocolate fix without an actual overdose. Chocolate mousse center keeps it light

Tarte aux Fruits de la Passion
Passion Fruit Tart with raspberry coulis, chantilly

Bombe au Chocolat
Chocolate ganache covered chocolate mousse with raspberry coulis center,
flour less chocolate cake and creme anglaise

Missed Connections: What's That Scent You're Wearing?

You were a trendy Plaza hotspot with a big patio. I was at the bar enjoying several of your hand crafted cocktails. Suddenly the unmistakable aroma of bleach was subtly wafting through the bar area. Moments later it wasn't so subtle.

Coco Chanel once said, "A woman should wear perfume wherever she wants to be kissed.” I say leave the bleach in the bottle until after the place is closed.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Rejected (But Not Bitter): Battle Burgers @ BRGR

Close your eyes and imagine this burger:
The Braxton
Layered from bottom to top: Buttered/grilled potato bun, BRGR-style hamburger patty, Provolone cheese, smoked beef brisket (texture almost like pot roast), small squirt of BBQ sauce, cheddar cheese, buttered/grilled potato bun.

Keep imagining it, because the only way you're getting one is by invite to my house some weekend this summer.

Burger Battle Menu
Click to enlarge
The Braxton was my submission to the BRGR Burger Battle - where ordinary citizens submit burger recipes to be culled by their top chefs. Make it through that first pass and your burger is placed on a special Burger Battle menu (pictured) during the month of May. The burger that is ordered the most will be placed on BRGR's permanent menu and the associated entrant gets a burger a week for a year (yikes).

I didn't make the cut. And I swear I'm not bitter (though loyal readers are free to petition, march or otherwise let your voice be heard). What am I going to do with 52 burgers this year? Anyway, I like their choices. BRGR owners Bread & Butter Concepts continue to experiment with ways to keep their diners engaged. Some things work, some don't. I appreciate the effort and the risk taking.

Mama's Meatloaf Burger
by Beth Anderson
I did have a chance to sample one of the selected burgers this week - Mama's Meatloaf Burger by Beth Anderson (pictured at left). This baby goes like this: Meatloaf Patty (onions, celery, carrots, peppers, well-seasoned), BRGR ketchup glaze, mashed potatoes and crispy onions on Texas toast.

Nice work Beth. More than I should be eating for lunch but 'twas good.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

First Impressions: Peanches - Don't Judge This Book By Its Cover

[This restaurant is no longer open - KM]
Do you ever check Google or Bing Maps and use their street view feature to see what a place looks like before you venture out? I do it all the time and have convinced myself that I'm pretty good at making accurate snap judgements based on curb appeal alone. This time I was dead wrong. What you see here is Bing's Street Side View of a strip mall on 39th Street just about a block west of Southwest Trafficway. The tenant on the far right side is Peanches - a decidedly underwhelming looking restaurant with a culinary surprise hidden behind a depressing facade. I've personally driven past this place dozens of times and never even paid attention to it. That changed for the better last Saturday night.