New York, New York

I guess the hard hitting economy is even rough for one of America's most iconic eating joints. The Tavern on the Green is facing massive debts and planning to shut down (perhaps just temporarily). Most folks have at least stopped into this place while visiting NY.

Although the reviews are mixed on the place, it was widely recognized in NY tourist circles.


Hitler received a pizza with shrimp on it... he's pissed.

Funny stuff!

"What kind of sick f*ck would have the balls to put boiled shrimp on a pizza?!


NYE at the Hyatt

The Hyatt just sent me an invite for NYE to watch the catwalk ball drop. I think I'll pass on this one, the Tower seems a little more safe.


Prime Rib Grill? Meh

I know, I know, I shouldn't knock it until I've tried it.

"A new restaurant  opened in the two-story, glass-enclosed space at 100 E. 20th St. that housed Paddy O’Quigley’s until that bar closed in mid-2008. "The Prime Rib Grill by Hereford House, a new concept by the famed Kansas City steakhouse chain, opened quietly three weeks ago.""

I'm leery of anything The Hereford House folks attempt. I've had so many bad meals there I've learned to stay away. Look how they prepare ruin their Prime Rib..............

"More about the prime rib: This juicy cut of beef is served up eight ways at the Prime Rib Grill. We tried – but failed – to polish off the loaded version ($22.95), piled high with mushrooms, onions, artichokes, peppers and bacon bound up in melty mozzarella. The meat, brined for 28 hours in root beer, brown sugar, mustard, garlic and other secret ingredients, explodes with flavor, but the slab is almost too much for one person to finish,"

WTF? This reminds me of the Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, topped and diced hash browns at the Waffle House! It's brined in rootbeer? Wait.... what? Don't f*ck with the meat! Age mine and pass the salt and pepper. I'm guessing you won't see me there.

Update: I just looked at their menu. Can I have a surf-and-turf with the barbecued scallops and the batter fried prime rib?

Lightly barbecued and caramelized with honey

Lightly battered with special seasonings and flash fried

Coated with garlic, fresh herbs and panko bread crumbs

Topped with crimini mushrooms, caramelized onions,
artichokes, mozzarella, peppers and smoky bacon 10oz.

"Medium Raw" soon to hit the shelves

"I guess I'm less interested in being cruel or malicious just for the sake of a laugh. I mean ... Sandra Lee is pretty low hanging fruit. On the other hand, one of the reasons I've been so unpleasant on the subject of Alice Waters is that I suspect she's right about most things — in principle, anyway. The disconnect between message and messenger seems to be what drives me batty."


Menu Mind Games

Now I know why I ordered the $115 seafood platter. I was in the mood for a burger.

"In his new book, Priceless: The Myth of Fair Value (and How to Take Advantage of It), author William Poundstone dissects the marketing tricks built into menus—for example, how something as simple as typography can drive you toward or away from that $39 steak."

Protected Designation of Origin (PDO)

 DOOR - Database of Origin and Registration is a cool database full of all your favorite foods.
"Foods such as Gorgonzola, Parmigiano-Reggiano, Melton Mowbray pork pies, Asiago cheese, Camembert de Normandie and Champagne can only be labelled as such if they come from the designated region. To qualify as Roquefort, for example, cheese must be made from milk of a certain breed of sheep, and matured in the natural caves near the town of Roquefort in the Aveyron region of France, where it is infected with the spores of a fungus (Penicillium roqueforti) that grows in these caves."


Stretch on stage with Guy Fieri at the Midland?

It's a veritable who's who of who cares! I can't think of two people I'd rather not see on stage than these two clowns. After party at Grinders! I'm out.

from Fat City


Not too fancy...

Often on this blog I write about fine dining options in the KC area. And those places are great. But sometimes you just need a quick bite and a beer (and maybe check the score of the big game).

It is with that goal in mind that I stopped into a TGIF near Oak Park mall this past weekend. While I didn't get the deep fried heart stopping shrimp shown above, I did get some tasty BBQ chicken wraps and some tostada nachos. The service was great. The food was solid. And the price was reasonable.

For those of you wanting top notch service, they even employ two high school kids to do nothing but open the doors for people (a little odd given our economic times that two employees at a chain place would do nothing but open the inner set of doors for people, but hey, it is two more jobs out there).

The point is that sometimes it's alright to just hit a chain for a quick bite without feeling guilty. The experience was good. Try one today.


Food trends for 2010

 Read about it here. Most of these trends are already in full swing.

"The National Restaurant Association has the latest predictions of next year’s trends, via their annual chef’s survey. Besides the obvious stuff (locavorism, sustainability, simplicity, blah blah blah), they see a rise in “superfruits” (acai, goji berry, mangosteen, purslane), “non-traditional fish” (branzino, Arctic char, barramundi), and “newly fabricated cuts of meat” (Denver steak, pork flat iron, Petite Tender)."


Want a badass lunch?

If you haven't been to The Drop for lunch.... do it!
Here is the lunch special from the other day. $8 are you kidding me? Yum.

"Croque madame: (croque monsieur with a fried egg) berkshire ham, white cheddar w/ sauteed asparagus $8. Soup: Potato with garlic and truffle"

And don't forget about their Prix Fixe – Sundays!

"Looking for the Deal of The Century? Find it, Sunday nights at The Drop! Grab a dinner date and hit The Drop on Sunday nights for our exclusive Prix Fixe dinner for two. Enjoy four (4) courses and a bottle of wine for just $50 per couple."

Go say hi to Eddie and the rest of the sexy staff today!

Steakhouse or Gay Bar?

Really, it's harder than you think. Tee Hee. Play here.

Rusty Spurs? Gay bar!
Hindquarter? Steakhouse!

My favorite little Korean finally has a website!

It's Nari Kye, her website is Nyam Nyam and she has a few very odd instructional cooking videos. Cute alert!

Here is her video on making Fermented Soybean Stew.
Here is one for making Kim Chee which she calls "Buried Treasure".


Greatest Advent Calender ever?

I think it is. Thanks to the folks at Bristow Fresh for the post..

Welcome to Salon Food!

Here is the official introduction by Francis Lam.

"Food is the thing that connects us, the thing that can give me and a man whose circumstances I will never understand a reason to stand together and share our lives for an hour. It’s the thing that reminds you, when you taste something new, or better yet when you taste something old again for the first time, how much bigger and better and more wonderful the world can be than we ever realize."

Introducing chumps!

That's right folks, the people over at Salon started a food section. I suspect some people from Gourmet have found work here.

Here is a great article by Francis Lam about Michel Bras.

"Michel Bras was just another chef I was supposed to respect, until I realized why."

Richard Branson to Open New Jersey Culinary Resort

Hell yes! Here is the story.

"The resort, located in Peapack-Gladstone in Somerset County, is called Natirar (the reverse of Raritan, the river that runs at the edge of the property). A restaurant, Ninety Acres, will be open to the public, along with a cooking school run by Viking, the kitchen appliance company, and a wine school."

Here is the official website.

Here is the Wiki.

"Natirar 491 acres (2 km²) is an estate spanning Peapack-Gladstone, Far Hills and Bedminster, New Jersey. In 2003 it was sold by the estate of His Majesty, Hassan II, late King of Morocco, to Somerset County, New Jersey, and is now administered by the Somerset County Park Commission. Approximately 90 acres (360,000 m2) of the estate have been leased to the Virgin Spa at Natirar, an entity controlled by Sir Richard Branson of the Virgin Group, which plans to develop that portion of the estate (which includes the mansion, stable/carriage barn and most of the other outbuildings) into an exclusive hotel, spa, restaurant complex."

Tripe the next sushi?

Thomas Keller the King of American Cuisine thinks so.

Chef Tats

Chef Tattoos are pretty cool. I like the Sirracha logo and the 6 year old chef's back tattoo.

The best jerky ever

I just ordered some jerky from this little place in Le Roy, Kansas. It's been years since I've had some. It's the best. Order some! Jerky USA!


How would I know?

"How would I know?" is the common response I give to people when they pose the question of whether Westport is dying off. From the new P&L competition to the increased violence of the area, everyone seems to have a theory on why this one time party destination seems on the brink of extinction.
I just don't know. I rarely venture anywhere during the late night party hours anymore. And I assume that is when Westport can be judged the best. I did make it there on a recent Thursday night and every bar seemed about as busy as the tourist office in Bixby, Oklahoma (sorry, obscure reference to a J.D. Mercer prank phone call).
The beer was cold, the pizza still relatively warm and tasty, but the inside of Kelly's on that night looked absolutely barren. The Foundry fared no better. Even America's Pub looked lonely bumping its techno sounds as if beckoning drunken 19 year olds to please give it a chance.
So is Westport dying? And if so, why? I don't buy the P&L theory. It's a different crowd. Besides isn't competition the very thing that drives our great bar loving nation?
I think it's staleness. We all love that special place that stays the same and we love it for refusing to change with the times. But we also know that most of the places in Westport have long ago lost any allure or charm which made them so special.


Recipe for an Outrageous Cookbook

You guessed it... I dig this guy. Here is a article about his cookbook Momofuku. Here is video of David in the kitchen.

"Chef David Chang's first cookbook is long, laced with profanity and full of complicated, labor-intensive recipes, many of which require obscure ingredients like kochukaru (Korean chili powder) and sliced country jowl. In food circles, it's one of the most highly anticipated books of the year."


VICE Launches Food Video Series

 Someone is wasted, and its David Chang talking shop. This guy's pretty cool. I'm looking forward to more of this "Munchies" series from VICE.

"The first episode follows chef David Chang as he dines on Korean fried chicken in Midtown Manhattan and hosts chef Jose Andres for a late-night dinner at Ssam Bar. Tune in for lots of self-deprecation, swearing, drinking, and pork buns."


A Magical Sight

Magic Hat is a Vermont based brewery known on the East Coast for producing some highly sought after beers. During my time living in the D.C. area Magic Hat #9 became my "go to" beer. This yummy elixir was constantly on hand in either my kegerator or in the bottle form. Their aptly named #9 (for how many I want to have when I start drinking them) is a a light Pale Ale infused with apricot, but unlike normal fruit beers, the apricot mixes well with the drink and provides a subtle fresh taste without the obvious fruit flavor. In fact many people will drink a few of these before they even realize it contains any fruit.

When I moved back to KC I went on a manhunt for this brew. Despite repeated e-mails to the friendly Vermont brewers, Magic Hat refused to cross the Mississippi River due to the fact that they were unable to keep up with demand out East. Chicago (East St. Louis) was the closest area that provided this beer. A friend of mine recently picked me up a case from Chicago and while the bottle version satisfied my #9 cravings it clearly wasn't the same as sipping this beer on draft.

With plans of a Chicago visit in my head, I recently found myself at the Westport Flea Market for a burger (I know... totally unrelated but that's how my mind works). I was impressed that the Flea Market now boasts a beer sampling tray were one can try four different 5 oz samples of their taps. But more importantly, as I left I noticed a sign advertising Magic Hat #9 on draft. Unfortunately, they had yet to tap it that day as it had just arrived.

But now it's on! On like Donkey Kong. Suddenly I have a daily urge to play Keno and sip (or chug) #9. Magical indeed.

100 Things Restaurant Staffers Should Never Do (Part 1)

Pretty good list part 1. Part 2

I personally hate it when anyone calls me "Boss" or when they say, "What can I do ya for?"


Giada De Laurentiis

As you've never seen her. Yummy.

Midtown Food Guy's dinner bill from last night

Check out the tab he racked up! I wish I had a nickle for every nickle my fellow blog contributor has.

Update: I found a breakdown of the bill here.


Confidence Shaken

For those of us that live in the Midwest, we were blessed by some great weather this past weekend. When the weather heats up during the Fall or early Spring I jump at the opportunity to eat outdoors. This past year, my new favorite outdoor eating destination has been Grinder's (417 E. 18th St., KCMO). I love(ed) heading over to Grinders to grab some pizza or a Philly while I sampled their impressive beer offerings.

In KC, Grinders has been one of those places that foodies either really love or really hate. I had been in the really loved group. "Had" is the key word. Sometimes one or two things go wrong with your meal and you can simply chalk it up to playing the odds. Like a roulette wheel, even if you bet both "black" and "red" one of those pesky "green" zeros is occasionally going to pop up.

But this past weekend I experienced a monumental bad run of luck. The service, usually cheerful and hard working was slow and unfriendly. Grinder's typically awesome beer list was filled with out-dated and flat offerings (such as the Emphemere) and a general lack of availability. It got to the point where you would have to pick out four beers before the server made her once every 20 minute visit in order to find one that may have been in stock.

Our food order was messed up and we had to wait 20 minutes to get a follow-up server visit (Note: food is delivered by the cooks so before we could notice this mix up he was gone and we were left to the mercy of waiting on one of the servers).

The pizza slices were very sub-par. Lacking in toppings and sauce the mushroom pizza featured fresh, uncooked mushrooms and the amount of pepperonis gracing the flat slab of dough on our pepperoni slice ensured that few pigs were harmed in the pizza making process at Grinders.

In short, I'm distraught. I want my old Grinders experience back. I want to be part of the KC crowd that likes this place. Unfortunately, I'm not sure I can bring myself to spend any more money at this joint. Any other outside seating suggestions?

The 50 best things to eat in the world, and where to eat them

"From cake, steak and tapas, to oysters, chicken and burgers, Killian Fox roamed the world to find the 50 best things to eat and the best places to eat them in, with a little help from professionals like Raymond Blanc, Michel Roux, Ruth Rogers and Rose Gray"



'Things only go forward. Technology has no feelings.' Do you have a hobby you wish you could do all day? An obsession that keeps you up at night? Meet Gary Vaynerchuk, a 33-year-old self-trained wine and social media expert who has revolutionized the wine industry.


Brussel sprout time

I rarely post recipes, but here are some suggestions on how to prepare one of my favorite veggies! Also... get down to Pizza Bella and give their brussel sprouts a try.


Great Discovery!

Throughout history there have been examples of great discoveries. From that guy Chris Columbus and his stumbling upon America to Afrika Bambaataa's discovery of Rap Music (or was it that DJ Kool Herc guy?), finding that hidden treasure is important. A few months ago I started the search for the perfect cheese plate. Armed with some blog comments from my original cheese post and a yellow hat (just like that great world searcher "the man with the yellow hat" from Curious George) I took to the streets of KC.

I think I finally found it at Extra Virgin (1900 Main Street, KCMO). They offer an awesome array of cheeses that you can actually select yourself. During Happy Hour (M-F 11:30 am - 6 pm) you can get a sampler of four different cheeses for 8 bucks. And I'm not talking about velvetta slices here. From a Spanish Manchego to a Italian Robiola (kind of like a brie with more flavor) the options are plentiful. When you pair the cheeses with their $2.50 bottle beer special during Happy Hour it's .... "Legend"... wait for it..."dary".

After drinking a nice Estrella Galicia with my Spanish Manchego I felt as though I was back in downtown Madrid. For the price and the selection this cheese plate is my choice for KC cheese lovers. And with pony-tail clad Michael Smith himself roaming the kitchen I knew the ingredients would be top notch.

This discovery almost ranks up there with Al Gore's discovery of the internet. Almost.

Oh no he didn't!

Kimball has lost it. Cook's Illustrated has world-class, tested and proven recipes, but can it win a recipe-off against the entire internet? I don't think so. I think he is "on tilt" from the demise of gourmet.

"Yesterday on his blog, Chris Kimball (editor and founder of Cook's Illustrated) proposed a recipe challenge to "any supporter of the WIKI or similar concept," specifically mentioning Amanda and food52 as potential opponents. (This morning, the reference miraculously disappeared -- perhaps Chris got nervous we'd actually accept?)"

"The saga of Chris "Broccoli Casserole" Kimball and his war against the internet continues: Kimball has challenged crowd-sourced recipe sites — calling out Amanda Hesser's Food52 in particular — to duel it out against his immaculate test kitchens. Like a jealous older sibling, Kimball's attention-getting techniques just aren't gonna hack it against the newer, shinier, cuter internet.
While the recipes Cooks Illustrated churns out are no doubt perfection, how on earth can his team of scientists compete against, um, the entire internet? It's not just yahoos out here, Kimball. Some of us have the skills, credentials, and now, thanks to you, the motivation to beat the best you've got. We've got your back, Hesser. [via The Food Section]

Update: Food 52 responds and notices that Kimball removed the reference to Amanda Hesser and Food 52. It originally read (Google cache will get you, Kimball): "Should be fun! Who is interested? Amanda? Anyone else?" later changing it to "Should be fun! Who is interested?"

Update #2: Even Gawker gets in on the action, calling Kimball the "trolling cook."


Dipping Areas - A serious dilemma no doubt.

Ridiculous plate and a hilarious skit!

Also.... love the comments.
" I don't know why everyone thinks this is so funny. Maximizing the effectiveness of dipping areas is a very serious issue."

Where does the plate end?

This the best idea ever! Grant Achatz of Alinea (my favorite chef of the moment) is pushing dining to heights unknown. This would save us from passing plates around at Justus. You gotta watch the video!
Dining together is an intimate act, but sharing a plate (or in this case, a tabletop) with the right person is definitely foreplay.

"Depending on the number of people in the party, the chefs are dispatched in the dining room armed with various tools and utensils to aid in the presentation. The ingredients can be composed in different styles depending on the desired effect. With our boundaries expanded to a scale never before possible, we have the option of forcing the guests to interact with each other in unique ways.

For instance, perhaps we create one giant plating of a concept. A blown-up version in the style of a typical Alinea presentation. Since the entire table surface is utilized, some components may be out of the immediate reach of some members of the table. The guests are supplied with service ware, and a family-style eating event takes place; dining companions asking others to "Please pass a dollop of puree, a dusting of powder and portion of protein."

In some cases we showcase the individuality of chefs. Four cooks converge on a table of four diners. While each chef is using the same foodstuffs, each presents the dish in front of a guest based on his personal whimsy. Same flavor profile--yet an example of independent imagination."

More about American Gins

If you know me, you know I like the Gin. Junipiro FTW!

"But while the guards in the furry hats might be loath to admit it, Americans also make some pretty decent gins these days. They're distinct, inexpensive, and, as Alex Trebek might say, potently potable."

When a Chef Gets Famous

"Does it have to come from the hands of the master? Or is coming from the mind of the master through the hands of his disciples enough?"

What if Food Changed Mid-Meal?

This could be really cool.

"What if a course could change right before your eyes, and your palate, while you were eating it? The interjection of a temperature, texture, aroma, or ingredient would morph the course into two distinctly different ones. With this idea we explore how we can drastically change the identity of a course during mid-consumption."

Article by Grant Achatz, chef and owner of Chicago's Alina and Culinary Badass.

You ate where?

I'll admit that our recent "blah" weather has kept our posts at a minimum. It's hard to get excited about local products when the weather outside reminds me of a dreary Michigan summer day. (Not that we are ripping on our friends from the north, but hey, it's Michigan).

It did get me thinking about all of the unusual places I've been to grab a bite. Places that may not normally be associated with fine dining, yet they pack a true meal value with fine nutrition. When I was in the Army I loved eating at places like this. Uncle Sam is good about spending 500 bucks on a hammer, but he's also good at providing low cost food options. The Hospital at Ft. Rucker was the place to be at breakfast. For 3 bucks you could get a made to order omelet, some cheesy grits and a side of bacon with a cold chocolate milk.

On any military post you could head to the DFAC (Dining Facilities Administration Center, or "chow hall") for a great low cost lunch. Sure, this grub was going to be packed with fats and salt, but that's the purpose of food for a soldier. At nights the NCO club or O Club would pair your German beer with some standard, but cheap, pub fare.

Outside of the Army, places like Hospital cafeterias and office building cafeterias also provide quick food options on a budget. So... where are some unusual non-restaurant eating places you've been to?


Could the Healthiest Food Also be the Deadliest?

This is why you should only eat pork.

The consumer watchdog group CSPI published a provocative list of 10 healthy foods that have been involved in large scale contamination in the past few years.

#1 = Leafy greens!

America’s Dirty Secret: We’re a Dangerous Place to Eat

This is why your tummy hurts. Some eye-popping food-safety stats.

A Happy Pig Makes a Beautiful Ham

More than you wanted to know about Jámon Serrano and Jámon Ibérico. This stuff is truly the best ham you can put in your face. Go over to Marky's and get some @ $161.80/lb

"To be sure it´s the real Jámon Ibérico you have to look at the foot and and the shape of the leg. The foot is smaller on the real one and a Jámon Ibérico shall look like a violin in shape, not like a guitar,” says Javier Fernández."

Pucker up... time for lesson in lemons.

 Not quite more than you want to know about lemons.

"When you think about it, the lemon is the only really important fruit that nobody actually eats. It’s one of the most popular flavors in the world, but no one sits down and bites into a nice, juicy lemon. But that’s not the only odd thing about lemons."

Gourmet Magazine to Close

Someone call the Whaaaambulance, print media is dead!

"After nearly 69 years of good tastes, Gourmet Magazine will close after its November issue, the New York Times reports.

The magazine, owned by Conde Nast, has been published since December 1940. Cookie, Modern Bride and Elegant Bride are also slated for closure, the paper said."

Chefs mourn Gourmet. Click here to learn how chefs are morning the loss of Gourmet. I like what David Chang said below. He's a f*ing rockstar because of Gourmet.

David Chang, Momofuku Ko: “Losing Gourmet is fucking sad. It’s fucking horrible.”


The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

So recently I had my first chance to visit Michael Smith's upscale eatery. This place definitely was the "Good" portion of my eating day. With economical lunch time meals, the place was perfect. I had the venison. Don't give me crap about Bambi because this stuff was good. I almost grabbed a gun and headed out to Johnson County to help them deal with their deer over population problem. The other meals had by guests at my meal were equally great. From the scallops to the halibut, the food was spot on. It was also obvious that they didn't dial back the fine dining fare on account of lunch. As Gordon Ramsey would say, "Hey you F*** Face, you are only as good as your last meal you serve." This place gets that.
The Ugly portion came next as we visited the American Royal cattle drive down to the P&L district. I love me some cow, but to see thirty of them penned up on Grand crapping up a storm, it was... well "Ugly". The only satisfaction came in knowing that some 21 year old from Olathe was sure to be lying in that same spot drunk as hell later that night.
The "Bad" portion came with service provided in the P&L district. I ducked into Johnny's Tavern for a beer (they have a pretty good selection with unique items like Moose Drool on draft). There was maybe 8 people in the whole place and one lonely customer at the bar. It was pretty clear by the fact that I was standing at the bar that I was looking for a quick drink to go. Instead, the bartender walked in front of me and said "I'll be back in a minute." She then proceeded to have a conversation with another patron who had just strolled in and then after a few minutes she headed back to the kitchen. She could still be in that kitchen for all I know as I finally headed back out and grabbed a beer from another one of the 20 something places serving a cold one down there.
It was 4 pm on a weekday, not 1 am on Saturday night, so no need to give me the "just wait because I can make you wait" line. In short, I have a memory like an elephant and Johnny's won't get another dime from me after that fiasco. (I know I'm a prick. She could have a valid reason for stiffing me. I don't care. When there are 20 different places to get a simple beer the least they could do is serve me one in a timely fashion).


Congratulations Richard!

My buddy Richard Strong was voted Best Server 2009 in the Pitch! I met him years ago when he was with Ray at Papagallo. If Richard has ever waited on you, you would remember him. If Richard has not waited on you, get over to Cafe Trio and request him. He is hilarious!

Hail Caesar—The Birthplace of the Famous Salad Closes

I went to Caesar's in TJ when I was a kid. I can't recall if they prepared the salad table side or not. I DO remember many places in the 70's and 80's making it table side in huge wooden bowls.

"This time, Brutus had nothing to do with the death of Caesar. Instead, it was a drop-off in tourism—partly due to fears about swine flu and escalating drug violence, on top of a bad economy—that hastened the demise of the Tijuana restaurant credited with inventing the Caesar salad."


Cheese Anyone?

Looking at the masthead of our site got me thinking about one of my favorite meal experiences: The Cheese Platter. Many years ago I discovered the best cheese plate experience in the world (it is the best... Trust Me!) at 2941 Restaurant in Falls Church, Virginia. Located just outside of D.C. this place had the best post-dinner cheese options. (
From Italian Brunet to Spanish Roncal you could pick and choose which cheeses you wanted to sample. As if that wasn't enough, they then brought you a heap of home-made cotton candy to fully finish the meal. (Who knew that cotton candy could be associated with fine dining?)
My point is not to fondly look back at one of my favorites in another place I lived, but rather to get some feedback from the savvy foodies who check out this site for suggestions on where to go in KC for a good cheese plate. I know that in recent years the beloved cheese plate has often fell out of favor in fancy meal spots, but surely it remains somewhere. So to all four readers of this site... hook me up with some options!