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Stewart Lane at Morningside

The details on the Facebook event page sounded wonderful – “Modernist Twist on Classic French Fare”. But it was the last name that really caught my attention. Locally renowned caterer Lon Lane was hosting this pop-up restaurant to present his son Stewart and his culinary talents.

Lon Lane’s Inspired Occasions is one of the best catering companies in town. In fact, they were my choice for our wedding reception a few years ago, so their food holds a special place in my heart….and in my belly!

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Cod en Papillote

After all the fantastic dishes I sampled during Restaurant Week, dinner at home sounded a little underwhelming but at the same time appealing in its simplicity. Cod en Papillote would be a light, easy dinner, I thought. (En Papillote is the French term for “in parchment”.)

I had a few errands to run after work, including a stop by the grocery store. Meatloaf was on my mind, but the hour-long baking time would result in a pretty late meal. I didn’t want to cook on the grill since it was cold and had been drizzling most of the afternoon.  So fish in parchment paper was just the right decision – not too many ingredients, minimal prep work and a short time in the oven.

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Grunauer

On these frigid winter nights, the hearty and meaty dishes plated up at Grunauer might just awaken your appetite and warm your soul.

I dined there this week with three friends and found the inviting bar and dining room to be a great backdrop to some relaxing conversation and catching up. Upon arrival, I found a spot at the stately bar and asked for the drink menu. I had read the cocktails at Grunauer were pretty unique. After telling the bartender I was a fan of the traditional cocktail Negroni, he suggested I try the Nichol’s Folly. It was a brassy orange colored cocktail served on the rocks with a wide twist of lemon. As I brought it to my mouth the bouquet was stunning. Made with a wonderful tequila, aperol and bitters, this was a stiff drink.

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Cafe Verona

If the only thing you learn here about Cafe Verona is that you MUST try the Almond Cream Cake, then you will have been a good student in my book. Right now as I write this, another piece of that lustfully delicious cake sits downstairs in my refridgerator. It’s taking nearly all the will power I can muster not to go pop open that box and have a couple heaping bites of heavenly goodness!

Ok so more about the cake later, let me tell you about this quaint yet unique little spot just off the town square in Independence. As I drove down the street looking for the sign, I did a double take when I encountered the beautiful, intricate wrought iron gates and windows adorning the exterior of the building. A large sign of elegant letters across the top told me I was in the right place.

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EBT Dishes Out Some TLC

Even before I had ever experienced true fine dining or great food, EBT was on my radar. For more than 15 years, this Kansas City upscale eatery with three fancy script letters adorning an otherwise obscure building has been on my list of places to hit. And while I always wished that college-era crush had actually taken me there after describing how fantastic it was, my ultimate arrival at EBT could not have been better timed.

EBT’s location is likely overlooked by many as it sits at the corner of I-435 and State Line Road, in a bank building with really no other retail, dining or attractions to draw in diners. Despite the curb appeal challenge, the restaurant has a warm and inviting atmosphere with a staff that truly cares about the food, their image and your experience.

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Cafe Sebastienne @ Kemper Museum

How in the world has it taken me six years to make it to Cafe Sebastienne!? I’m almost mourning those wonderful meals not enjoyed all this time.

The restaurant had been mentioned on occasion the last few years and I knew Restaurant Week would be a great excuse to get there. Now I know why those friends were such big fans of the place.

The first thing you  notice upon entering Cafe Sebastienne is the atmosphere. For someone like me who focuses on the food, ambiance often takes a backseat. But it is such a different and wonderful atmosphere here that it truly sets the tone for an exceptional experience. The restaurant is divided into two areas. The dining room is a smaller cozy area with beautiful bright art lining every inch of the walls and tables placed closely together. The other atrium-like area mimics outdoor dining – airy and open – with vaulted sky-light ceilings and a huge pronounced piece of art running nearly the length of the room.

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Tannin Wine Bar

My visit to Tannin Wine Bar was my first of many reservations I made for Kansas City Restaurant Week. While it was moderately good, I hoped I had saved the best for last.

Excited to try some new places during Restaurant Week (KCRW), I met up with friends for a weekday lunch at Tannin. I had enjoyed JP Wine Bar when it was at this downtown location. An easy stop with a great wine list, it always made for wonderful happy hours. I was sad when restaurant closed and was unsure why since I knew so many people that loved the place. So when I saw that Tannin had opened and heard it was a similar concept, I put  it on my list to try. I was hoping it would be just as good.

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Justus Drugstore

I promise the drive is really shorter than you think. In fact, a certain chef tells me you can get from the center of downtown KC to Justus Drugstore in just 22 minutes. More importantly it’s completely worth stepping off your beaten path. It’s food you don’t find anywhere else. Each trip there can be so different from even your last visit…but the new creations taste just as amazing as you remembered it all.

It’s hard to believe Justus Drugstore has been going strong in Smithville for five years, now. Last Saturday night, it was as packed as I’ve ever seen it. With Restaurant Week in full swing, a special dining area had been put together to hold those who came for a taste of Chef Jonathan Justus’ four courses for a mere $30. The small eatery was already booked full with diners asking for the regular menu; additionally, every space was taken on the tented and heated patio that night for the Restaurant Week steal-of-a-deal!

We dined at a small table near the busy bar, anxious to take a look at the entire menu and find what was new since our last visit. Having made a late reservation (we’re probably some of the few people I know comfortable starting dinner at 9pm) and knowing that a meal at Justus Drugstore is an “event” (aka 2-3 hour gluttonous celebration), we scanned the menu and ordered it all right outta the gates.

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Saffron Street – A Place I Wanna Live

Food should be an adventure, a journey to a place of enjoyment and delight, a little peek into a faraway land. At least for me, experiencing the tastes of another culture and country are one of the most rewarding parts of my gourmand pursuits. Friday night was one of the highlights in that pedantic voyage of tasting, living and embracing food experiences as part of my education in life.

From the moment I read about Vagabond’s pop-up restaurant Saffron Street, I wanted to go. In fact, the date couldn’t get here fast enough. I’m always enthused about any new culinary offering in KC, as it’s fun to sample the handiwork of whomever created the concept. With a pop-up it’s not just the food, it’s capturing the moment – the daring menu selection, the mood of the room, the pace of the meal, the whole of a dinner that can I never experience again because in just a few days it will disappear! It’s like catching a butterfly as a child. You know there are others out there – but as you hold this one in your hands, you want to draw it close and examine each and every color, the design, its antenna. Once it is gone, you may never find that exact beauty again.

Saffron Street was just that – an experience to treasure  because it could only be had once, in this time and place with this precise food. Lucky for you, Saffron Street is here this coming weekend and it’s a scene you don’t want to miss.

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It’s Here….KC Restaurant Week!

Just a quick post before I head out to start my weekend (and the following week) of KC culinary indulgences! Today is the beginning of ten-day event highlighting our city’s chefs and eateries.

Last night someone dismissively told me that “Restaurant Week is just for inexperienced diners…to get them out to try some sub-par fare and fill seats at a slow time of year”. Well I completely disagree with this Negative Nancy and hope she cheers up sometime soon so she can start enjoying life.

Restaurant Week is a celebration of the huge gains KC has made in its dining prowess and the fact we are becoming a culinary destination! This is a time for food-snobs, cocktail kings, food-network newbies and the occasional diner, alike, to support the KC restaurant community and go experience something new or settle into a table at their all-time favorite. This is our town and this is our Restaurant Week. Make the most of it!!

I’ve got nearly as many special food events coming up on the calendar as I do Restaurant Week lunches and dinners. Last night I enjoyed a fantastic dinner featuring Siduri Wines at Starker’s Restaurant on the Plaza. They have an enticing Restaurant Week menu if you’re looking for a romantic spot this week.

Tonight I’m heading to the Vagabond pop-up Saffron Street, featuring Moroccan food. Next week, I will start checking off my Restaurant week visits with lunches at both Tannin and Cafe Sebastienne. Thinking I might try to the burger and mushroom soup at Tannin, or just go off the pre fixe menu and make my own meal! And I’ve heard nearly everything is wonderful at Cafe Sebastienne….so that might be some tough choosing.

As for dinner, I can’t wait to make it back to Gruneaur for some warm, wintery German fare. I’ve only dined there once and look forward to going back to try more dishes. And a spot I’ve had on my list for nearly 15 years!! (That’s so sad to say…). I will finally make it to the storied EBT Restaurant. I’m already torn between the Kobe Beef Pot Roast or the Truffle, Balsamic and Honey Glazed Pork Chop! Wow!

So much wonderful food to be enjoyed! Hope you have plans as fun and as filling as mine! Happy Friday….and may you find your Perfect Bite this weekend!