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AJ’s in Macon, Mo

If you’ve spent much time in Northwest or Mid-Missouri, you’ve probably heard of that tiny little amazing restaurant called The Pear Tree. And if you’ve been lucky enough to make the road trip to “don’t blink or you’ll miss it” Bevier, Missouri for a special-occasion dinner then you know what everyone else is missing.

Well, today’s post isn’t really about that storied little place at which people travel hours to eat. It’s about another spot just down the road, unlikely on your regular route, that’s worth finding BECAUSE with the same owners as the Pear Tree it offers some of the same popular but less fancy fare.

I was headed to Macon Mo for a work meeting, and my colleague suggested we meet for lunch at AJ’s. Although it sounded like a corner diner that had been the local “meetin’ spot” for 20 years or so, I agreed. I figured it was slim pickins in Macon.

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Indian in a Box

It’s pretty rare that I eat something out of a box these days, especially a frozen dinner. But lately there’s one ethnic dish – straight from the freezer section – that I just can’t get enough of.

Most of my meals fit into one of two categories – foodie meals to write about OR fresh, low-cal basics aimed at limiting the negative impacts of the other category’s indulgences. However, for the last couple years, I can’t kick the craving for frozen individual servings of Chicken Tikka Masala!

Ethnic Gourmet chicken tikka masala

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Jerusalem Surprises

Anytime you travel its natural to anticipate the food you will enjoy. Whether it’s seafood by the coast, Creole in the South, a slice of gas station pizza (Casey’s is pretty good if you haven’t tried it) or the unfamiliar tastes of a foreign land, there are always some expectations no matter how open-minded you set out to be.

fresh cucumber saladb

Before leaving for the Holy Land, I talked with friends who had been there and felt like I had a good sense of what we would encounter. But as you know, one can’t be what he’ll be eating on a road trip in the states…let alone another country.

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Monster Cinnamon Roll

We’ve all heard of the “burrito as big as your head” phenomenon and some of us likely enjoy such gluttony. I can’t say I’ve experienced one of those, but I received a very thoughtful gift from friends last month along the same lines. It was a CINNAMON ROLL as big as your head!

It was my souviner, of sorts, from the Iowa Caucuses. I’ve heard of The Machine Shed in Des Moines before, but just assumed it was a local version of The Cracker Barrel. Little did I know that this place produces some lethal pastries! These big boys are dangerous in a few ways, 1)  if you throw it at someone’s face, you might knock them out, and  2) the sugar and calories in ONE cinnamon roll could probably meet my nutritional needs for a week!

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Corner Cafe

Sometimes a little down home cookin’ is just what you need. But if you don’t wanna do the work, just head on over to Corner Cafe. With locations in Riverside, Liberty and Independence, they’ve got a good portion of the Missouri side suburbs covered.

I recently visited the Riverside location with my parents on a late weekday morning. The breakfast crowd wasn’t quite gone and the lunch crowd was rolling in strong. That’s how it is most of the time, especially on weekends. The comfy “country-style” restaurant packs ’em in by offering delicious basics for breakfast, lunch and dinner.

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KC Foodie Connections

If you watch food tv, or maybe just enjoy a show with a mouthy or sometimes smug host, then you know who Anthony Bourdain is. Well even the best food shows depend on locals connections to help highlight the right spots.

Kansas City’s own Bonjwing Lee, a food writer, photographer and national critic, is the guy Bourdain recently tapped to help with an upcoming episode. Bonjwing is the author and photographer behind the stellar bluestem cookbook. (If you don’t have a copy get one! And be sure to try the butternut squash risotto…it is heavenly).  

Check out this KCTV5 story where Bonjwing’s reporter sister gives us the scoop on how our home-grown food aficionado made it to the national stage.

Some Bad Bottles, but Draft Rules

Last night I sat, once again, at the bluestem bar where I first tasted Boulevard Chocolate Ale and had a sip of this year’s batch. This time from a keg. It was fantastic! Even better than that first glass I thoroughly enjoyed a year ago.

With the announcement today from Boulevard that some batches of the bottled chocolate ale had “unintended aromas and flavors”, my experience last night made perfect sense.

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Drink Your Roses

If you missed the boat and didn’t get any Valentine roses for your sweetie, there’s still hope. Tell her you held off on the flowers for something a little more creative and “handmade”, in fact – a rose cocktail!

Just last weekend I had this fantastic Rose Martini. The pink-tinted concoction was just a touch sweet with an amazingly light freshness only rose water can provide.

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Engagement Chicken

Perhaps you already have dinner plans for Valentine’s Day. But, many of us don’t and might just opt for a romantic night at home. Well if you’ve really got your hopes up for a milestone kinda meal, maybe you should try the recipe for “Engagement Chicken”.

I heard about this magical meal sometime last year, but it’s apparently been bringing men to their knees, literally, for almost a decade. It’s a little crazy to read about the number of ladies saying this simple homemade chicken dish had their boyfriends proposing within a matter of days.

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For the Girls

For many women, meeting up with your girlfriends for lunch or dinner is often something anxiously anticipated for days. For you guys, it might be a special meal with mom or the ladies in your family, or just a dad on duty the morning after a slumber party.

Westport Cafe & Bar

Well, Kansas City offers some wonderful spots for a girls get-together and, of course, gab-fest. Below is my list of recommendations for your next ladies lunch, girls night out, or simply a special meal with a special lady in your life.

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