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Always a Great Steak

Another fantastic dinner at Capital Grille on the Plaza this month. For a girl that’s somewhat hard to please, Cap gets it right nearly every time. Now that’s impressive. From the atmosphere to the service to the sommelier and of, course, the knock-out food, it is phenomenally consistent.

We always have to start with the calamari. It is hands-down the best calamari in Kansas City, and probably my favorite I’ve ever tried. The batter is just right, not to mealy and not overly fluffy. It’s the right ratio of round firm circles to delightfully stringy tentacle pieces. Add a squeeze of lemon and it cuts the heat of the peppers to the point you have just enough kick at the end.  It’s hard to leave a piece on the plate.

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This Week’s Tastings

It’s shaping up to be a delicious week with three dinners on the books and a make-ahead meal for mid-week. But I could use some help from those of you who’ve got some favorites to share.

First, the dining out! I’m headed to both SPIN! Neopolitan Pizza and Seasons 52 to meet up with friends.

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Leftovers for Brunch

Soups, sandwiches and casseroles are the typical dishes you hear about to utilize your Thanksgiving leftovers. Some sound delicious! But to break out of the normal lunch and dinner remakes, why not turn your leftovers into breakfast or brunch.

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A Favorite to be Thankful For

Perhaps it’s my instictive love of carbohydrates or maybe my obsession with hapharzardly throwing LOTS of ingredients into a recipe. Either way, one of my favorite parts of Thanksgiving dinner has always been the dressing.

There are so many versions and a multitude of ways to make it delicious. Mine is different nearly everytime. But I wanted to share my base recipe and all the “add-ins” I think make it so yummy!

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Pizza in NYC

The one thing I knew about New York style pizza is that you’re supposed to fold it over, across the short edge, when you eat it. Now, I thought this was just a tradition or convenient way to get more in your mouth. But this week, I’ve learned it’s pretty much a necessity. If you don’t want the slice flopping onto your forearm and toppings falling off the crust, better watch and do it like everyone else in the place.

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801 Chophouse

When 801 Chop House announced it would expand to Kansas City’s Power and Light District a few years ago, I was excited. Friends from Des Moines spoke highly of the flagship location and I knew it was a hot spot for politicos during the Iowa Caucuses. But after dining there more than a half dozen times, I continue to walk away wishing it had been a little better.

One might think a tasty traditional steakhouse can be found on every corner in Kansas City – the cowtown with a growing reputation for great dining. But outside of some national chains like Capitol Grille and Sullivan’s, the grandeur, nostalgia and consistent quality of such a place can be hard to come by in a local outfit. While Pierpont’s, Plaza III and Savoy Grill embody KC’s grand history and never lack for atmosphere, the food rarely beckons me back. After the departure of Morton’s from Crown Center, I had high hopes for a downright delicious steakhouse to fill it’s shoes. While that didn’t happen with 801, it is probably one of the top 5 steak places in the city.

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New York Restaurant Scene

It might take months to eat my way through New York. The city has more Michelin-starred restaurants than any other location in the US. In fact, seven NYC resaurants are rated at the three-star-level, one of the highest recognitions in the culinary world.  

The question for my trip this weekend is “how much damage can be done in 72 hours?”. Well, it seems we’ll be doing A LOT. I am super excited to have reservations at three of those top seven eateries and those are just the planned meals! We have to fit in New York style pizza, some fantastic brunch and of course a good pub or deli along the way. I know this sounds wildly glutenous, but a girl’s gotta have goals right?!

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bluestem the cookbook

In the age of internet, iPhones and information at your fingertips, many of us will type a few words into a search engine and quickly get an overabundance of recipes from sources far and wide. I will admit I use my fair share of online cooking information, but there’s something very comforting about sitting down with a hardbound, well-thought-out, beautifully photographed cookbook and letting it lead you down the road less traveled.

That’s how it felt reading slowly through my new bluestem cookbook – studying ingredients, learning the history of a dish, hungering over the photos and getting a little peek into the world of a home-grown wonder.  If you have not dined at Bluestem in Kansas City’s Westport, then pick up the phone now and make a reservation. Find a reason to go if you need an excuse, but the food is really the only reason you need.

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Casa D’Angelo Ristorante, Ft. Lauderdale

Coming to South Florida this week, I had a list of restaurants I wanted to hit and definitely not enough meals to fit them all in. I’m a gal that usually knows what I want, especially when it comes to food and dining ….“one of everything” is normally a good description. But last night, I sat down at a table in a restaurant I had never heard of with people I met just a few hours before and shared an incredible dining experience.

I must admit, first impressions are big. So when we drove up to a strip mall a few blocks off the beach in Ft. Lauderdale, I held my breath. Individually lit white letters along the roof read “Casa D’Angelo Ristorante”. Luckily I didn’t have to hold my breath for long. My first respite came immediately as I walked into a sleek, contemporary, yet warm and comfortable setting. Not what you expect for strip-mall Italian…this place was well-done. And I would soon learn the service, the wine and, oh yes, the food were too! Read more

Best KC places for Tuna Tartare

Simple raw goodness. Sometimes tuna tartare is the perfect start to a great dinner. And if it’s stacked, served or soaked with just the right accompaniments, you could find it to be your “perfect bite”.

If you’re eating at great restaurants serving high-quality tuna you don’t often find “bad” preparations (though I have encountered a few), just boring sometimes. But when you get a great tuna tartare with just the right proportion of avocado and all the goodies, you’re really in for a treat.

Here are some local suggestions for finding the good stuff. Read more