Pantry Essentials: Everything You Need to Know About Fish Sauce

Man, I love this stuff. I sneak it in a lot of things I cook including my pasta sauce. Three Crabs brand is my favorite (pictured above).

Learn about fish sauce here.


How To Be A Snob: Drinking Alcohol

How To Be A Snob: Drinking Alcohol

You know who you are. This is some funny stuff.


Breakfast - Midtown Style


Breakfast has always been one of my least favorite times to partake in eating out.  I mean, if I want a hearty breakfast I'd rather whip up some eggs and bacon in my pajamas at home.  But there are a few main choices for Midtown folks to feed their breakfast desires.  I decided to try each of them and rate them on a simple scale.  One to five stars for Quality (Quality of the food itself), Service, Price (or more specifically what you get for what you have to pay), and general decor.  Decor is a sticky one because it isn't just a rating for how pretty the walls are.  It's a general vibe of the joint coupled with the general cleanliness of the environment as a whole. 

So let's check out the lineup:


Quality - 3
Service - 3
Price - 4
Decor - 2

Overall, Chubby's is a classic breakfast joint.  As far as greasy spoons go, this place serves some solid grub with a smile.  The service is no-nonsense and the place is generally clean as long as the previous booth tenant remembered to shower this week.  You can't go wrong with this choice but there is better options out there.

First Watch - Westport location:

Quality - 2
Service - 3
Price - 2
Decor - 2

While perhaps one of the most popular breakfast options around the place seems stuck in the 80's.  The food is generally bland, the decor is drab and the prices are the only thing that haven't remained in step with the 80's.  The menu sounds great but trust me, the kitchen will find a way to suck every bit of seasoning out the dish you were previously salivating over.

Sosa's (Former Mama's and Nichol's Diner):

Quality - 3
Service - 1
Price - 2
Decor - 4

This is one of the new kids on the scene and from early reviews it has a bit of catching up to do.  In all fairness to Sosa's they bill themselves as much more than just a breakfast destination.  They have a liquor license and actually serve some pretty tasty Mexican fare.  (If this review was for overall food selections they would receive a higher score).  Just be warned... the service is among the worst I've ever seen at a restaurant.  Not rude or anything, just extremely unorganized and clueless.  A restaurant relies on the Kitchen staff and the waitstaff working in perfect harmony, and this team is dysfunctional.

Huddle House:

Quality - 4
Service - 4
Price - 3
Decor - 5

Ok, I get that us KC folk don't like chains.  I support that mission as well.  But this Southern based chain knows how to serve up a good breakfast experience.  The food is pretty swell and the layout of the small restaurant is cozy and clean. 

In all, breakfast in the Midtown corrider can be a nice experience.  Everyone has their favorite and they are loyal to that choice so understand that my evaluations are just that... mine.


There is some great news for fans of the 39th Street corridor, the awful Minsky's located there has finally shut down.  That place was awful.  Awful food, awful service, awful building.  But on the bright side, kids could chase the numerous mice in the place around for entertainment while waiting on the food.

Well, the place has been completely gutted and it will soon open as the Hi-Dive Lounge.  I got a sneak peak of the newly refurbished insides the other day and the place looks great.  Nice and clean without feeling like your in some sort of fancy Plaza bar.

The food will be classy yet approachable bar fare and the beer menu will feature everything from standard yard brews to tasty select irish whisky.  And while I didn't yet see any TV's plastered on the walls, it's sure to become the sports viewing destination for 39th Street neighborhoods.  The place should be up and running within a month and I'll be sure to provide a good review after I've has a chance to try it out a few (dozen?) times.  I have a tough job writing for this blog, but I will endeavor to drive on.

Occasionally I run across a great new food location and I'm actually reluctant to post about it.  Because it's just that good.  I don't want my new favorite place overrun with thousands of readers of our blog (There's thousands that read this thing... right?).

But the Broadway Butcher Shop, located next to Gomers at 3828 Broadway, is a super place.  Better than super, it's a candy store for adults.  They are a real, old fashioned butcher shop that will cut meat to your specifications.  They feature any type of protein you need to get your dinner started right.  The prices are just a tad more than what you would expect to pay a grocery store, but the quality can't be beat.  Take the meaty challenge!  Grab a KC strip, knock the ice off of your grill, cook that bad boy up, and be hooked for life. 

Restaurant week has swept across the frigid Midwest plains recently and it presents an opportunity to review new finds and old favorites alike.  My personal experience was relatively limited as I've found that the deals, while convenient, are often not that great of deals.

Such was the case at one of my favorite midtown locales, Room 39.  The lunch menu boasted, among other options, scallops.  While the starter featured a stunning mushroom soup, the main dish was anemic in portion size.  Two medium sized scallops and a half of cup of mashed potatoes left our lunch group yearning for a McDonald's run.  The lunch also took approximately 2 hours from start to finish.  I love Room 39, but they clearly dropped the ball on this one.

My next restaurant week adventure brought me to The Beer Kitchen.  On the positive side, this deal featured some tasty options.  The House-Cured Salmon Salad was a nice starter and the Homemade Gnocchi had a fresh feel.  It was a nice presentation of a solid lunch time meal and the portions were at least filling.  It always helps when a tasty Saison is being featured in draft as well.

My final foray into the KC Restaurant experience was at the revered Capital Grille on the Plaza.  I was especially excited about the three course offering at lunch and meal size did not disappoint.  The appetizer featured a fantastic Potato and Leek soup that was definitely the highlight of the meal.  My lunch mate had an uninspiring Lobster Roll and I dined on a sirloin salad (which was a substitute for the much anticipated Dry Aged Sirloin advertised).  The salad featured a cold bean salad that while tasty, lacked the pizzaz one would expect from this fine dining location.  The third course was represented by two tasty chocolate cookies.  All in all, a fine dining experience but perhaps not at such a level as to cause a massive amount of repeat business.

The Restaurant Week experience in KC continues to be a great mid-Winter voyage that fills local Restaurants during an otherwise downtrodden season.  Let's just not forget that most of the prixe fix deals could be had at similar price levels without the Restaurant Week in place.