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Aaron Deacon

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Everything posted by Aaron Deacon

  1. Also, there is a table at the OP market on Saturdays (but not Wednesdays) that has Thai basil, Thai eggplant, bitter melon, Thai chiles, long beans, and a few other goodies. Everything's cheap and the girls behind the table are very friendly too. They're in the eastern third, on the southern side. Worth seeking out if shopping for Asian produce in the area.
  2. I also like the meat at Costco, though that's probably not what you're looking for. There's a halal market and butcher around 87th and Quivira in Lenexa, I think right next door to Holy Land Cafe. I haven't purchased from there, though I've browsed once or twice. According to the Turks at Mediterranean Market (also a good source in its own right for some nuts, spices, middle eastern canned goods, Olive Bakery pita, and freshly prepared savory pastries) on Metcalf, they have the best lamb in town. There's a Korean grocer on the north side of Shawnee Mission parkway a bit east of Antioch for your kimchee and frozen Asian seafood needs. We mostly use it to stock up on pocky for the kids. There's a Russian import store on 79th just west of Metcalf with some interesting deli items, like Armenian basturma. And there's Werner's on Johnson Drive between Nall and Lamar, an old German/Scandinavian sausage shop (they make their own), deli, and a limited but decent butcher counter.
  3. I really need to try El Taco Nazo, because I heartily agree with all other recs here...I've posted at some length on El Pulgarcito and Mi Rancho. LC's is my clear BBQ winner, and I think Town Topic is right up your alley. Fritz's Chili is one-of-a-kind, and of course, there's Stroud's, too. There are a bunch more reviews at the link in my sig. Also, send a PM or email if you're on the lookout for dining company. Cheers, Aaron
  4. I would disagree. I think Mindy Segal's Hot Chocolate got a LOT of buzz in its fledgling days from local press largely due to her recognition from mk. Gale Gand - I totally disagree. I think Gand could easily, if she wanted, make a success out of her own dessert-only establishment - on name alone. Yeah, totally in Chicago, but I meant I didn't think those names alone could carry a dessert-only place in KC. I do think either would stand a reasonable chance of doing something like Hot Chocolate in KC, simply because the shock of leaving Chicago and starting up shop here would generate some serious buzz. My point though, is that if Gale Gand would have a decent chance but still challenging time coming here and opening a dessert-only bar, that the idea that you need a "rock star pastry chef" to succeed is simply impossible. I realize that all of these chefs (except perhaps Elbow) have gotten attention from the Beard Foundation and are well-respected chefs, but I think Lidia's on a different level (star power-wise rather than cooking talent-wise) because of her media presence and NY locations.
  5. Lutz is quite a different concept than what the original poster is talking about...an Old World bakery--with all that implies--around for about 50 years known mostly as a place for whip cream cakes. They have a full-service cafe and brunch. They close at about 9:00 on weekends (or earlier). They do do a lot of things JWest describes, but the end result is quite different. The point in bringing up Tru and the Peninsula is precisely as you say--that the first two things that come to mind when I think about special dessert affiars in Chicago are not dessert specialty places at all. KC does not strike me as a "rock star chef" kind of town, not that one wouldn't do well, but I'm not sure how much benefit it would add, especially since there aren't too many "rock star" pastry chefs. I doubt Mindy Segal or Gale Gand would carry a place on name. On the other hand, Lidia Bastianich's place here seems to do quite well with what I've found on a couple occasions to be merely decent food.
  6. I guess my point, more broadly, is that (in answer to the very first question) I don't think a dessert bar would be successful in KC if it was relying solely or primarily on desserts to generate profit. It may work as a hook to draw people in, but even that would be tough. It seems like most concepts like this either use desserts as their calling card but offer some savory items as well (like Hot Chocolate or Kyotofu); or close (like Sugar and Room 4 Dessert). Another alternative is to have a to-go/retail component, like The Chocolate Bar in Houston or ChiKalicious. I can't actually think of any dessert bars in Chicago, even...the Peninsula has a weekend Chocolate Bar, Tru has a prix fixe dessert menu, there are bakery/cafes like Angel Food, and "chocolate lounges" (Ethel M), but a straight-up dessert bar? I hope JWest's right about the food scene here (and the rest of the development scene), but I wouldn't bet on a dessert bar here right now.
  7. I don't claim to understand the economics of the food service business, but I would think that, even moreso than a regular restaurant, a dessert bar would be heavily dependent on alcohol sales for profitability. You may also want to pose this question over on the KC development forum, for an informed, market-specific, but non-foodie take: http://forum.kcrag.com/
  8. Better luck than this place. Sugar in Chicago has since closed. I didn't go, and I don't regret it.
  9. You can get it at the Trotter's to Go on Monroe between Franklin and Wells. You used to be able to get it at the State Street Marshall Fields (now, who knows). I feel like I've seen it a few other places, but can't think of any at the moment. ← I know Fox and Obel has carried it.
  10. Great posts, dividend! I ordered the BLT yesterday at bluestem, and immediately told my wife to make reservations for next week (if she hasn't had the baby yet) to go with her mom. Really a superlative BLT, with perfect, thick-cut tomatoes, top-notch bacon, and a little smear of mayo with a surprising hit of tomato jam. Divine. Thanks for the brunch opportunity. Good to see you all again. Cheers, Aaron
  11. We're not big soda drinkers, but my wife has become a much bigger one with pregnancy. The Dry Crimson Grape (or something) GuS is really quite lovely. In KC, in addition to The Better Cheddar, it is available at McGonigle's. Actually, I don't think that flavor is any longer, because I bought it out on clearance a couple months ago (30-40 bottles at $2/four-pack). They also sell Fentiman's, and the seville orange jigger is terrific.
  12. Thanks, I may get down to check it out sometime, but my in-laws bought a house in KC last weekend, so my occasions for visiting Tulsa are reduced dramatically. Which is too bad, as I usually enjoyed visiting.
  13. Good point, on Aixois, though interesting comment on the service. I don't know if it was here or somewhere else, but I was just mentioning that the sullen, bored, and completely disinterested girl who told us we couldn't get a cup of coffee when house hunting one afternoon has really put a damper on our desire to visit Aixois for a meal.
  14. Sorry, Judy, I should have sent you a PM...don't mean to seem (be?) obtuse. I'm rather enthused by that prospect but didn't want to gush too much in lieu of your concern about getting overrun. I definitely thank you for sharing. Regarding the cheese plate...it doesn't specify on the menu how many you get, and there are about 10-15 listed on the menu. My wife and I gasped in puzzlement, wondering how they could possibly serve that much cheese on one plate. We saw elsewhere that you choose between 3 and 5. It's a pretty good cheese list. Once my wife delivers and is back off the wagon, I can see this becoming a more frequent stop. Especially if we can convince the in-laws, moving up from Tulsa, to buy in the Northland rather than SoJoCo or western Shawnee. Cheers, Aaron
  15. It's worth pulling Big Country's post out, as it got a little lost in the quote:
  16. More so than MelBee's, I'm surprised Le Fou Frog doesn't have its own thread. Tried Le Fou Frog this past Tuesday and enjoyed it rather well, even as it seemed like the sum added up to perhaps more than it’s parts. Hadn’t read too much about the place, though it seems to have a pretty good rep. We both laughed when pulling up to the outside. The River Market area proper is pretty cute, but this location a couple blocks west looked dismal, and the windowless building looked like a strip club, surrounded by construction, chain link fences, and parking lots. Such is the life of a developing downtown, I guess. The inside was very cute, consciously French-kitzsch decoration. Not at all bothersome though, and rather enjoyable, all told. It was a lovely night, and we might have sat on the patio out back, but the chairs looked incredibly uncomfortable, especially for a woman with child, a mere couple months from delivery. Our meal began with an amuse that I don’t quite recall, a very small sort of crescent-shaped pastry, some honey butter, a smidge of prosciutto. I was pleasantly surprised to receive an amuse at all, though I can’t say this really startled my palate, and the butter was too cold. Still, a nice touch. The food was enjoyable, good even, but only one dish approached exceptional. For starters, my wife had a salad with fresh chevre and a fig honey compote. Quite nice, with generously portioned condiments. I had the soup du jour, which was some frog leg/morel soup. The broth was really terrific (approaching exceptional). The frog legs were in the form of a puck in the middle of the bowl. I’m not sure if I’ve had frog legs before or not, and I was beyond surprised to note that, whaddya know, it did kind of taste like chicken. The morels were good enough, though they seemed to me reconstituted from dried. It strikes me as a bit too late for fresh, but I’m no expert. I really enjoyed this soup, but was slightly disappointed that the solid accompaniments added relatively little to the experience. For mains, my wife had three very large prosciutto-wrapped prawns. I should know more than that, but I don’t. Served with fried polenta, a bit of some brown sauce, and some token veggies…a baby carrot (!?), a cherry tomato, something else perhaps. A poor description, I know. She seemed to like it just fine, and I enjoyed my taste well enough. For me, it was a luxurious-sounding monkfish preparation…wrapping asparagus, rilettes of pheasant, and “truffle foie gras.” I suspect this latter was the D’Artagnan product mousse truffe, which is a truffle-flecked or flavored pate, good in its own right, but not quite as luxurious as it sounds. Unadvertised was an excellent and creamy risotto upon which the meal was served. While I again enjoyed the dish and happily cleared my plate, the monkfish was a little overdone and didn’t have the delicate butteriness that it can. And the accents to the dish ended up a bit muddled. Had I not read the chalkboard, I doubt I would have picked truffle or foie gras flavors out of the dish. Cherry clafoutis was the dessert du jour and again, while good enough, noticeably inferior to what I can produce at home when I’ve got good cherries in the freezer. Now these may seem (and I feel) like I’m picking nits with bistro food. Sure, it can be great, but I can be quite happy with a bistro experience where the food is just “good enough.” Our service was charming, I enjoyed the space, and I didn’t feel like I was someplace (see MelBee’s) that just couldn’t hang in a better food city. But Le Fou Frog is not quite bistro prices. At $26 per, our entrees were among the cheapest on offer. They offer some pretty tony stuff (a wagyu and ahi surf & turf for $50), which is fine. But more typical bistro fare, like veal sweetbreads or braised lamb shank, is pushing $30. The entrée prices are more typical of a Chicago 3 star, which would be one thing if you could get commensurate quality. I’d love to see a menu like Le Bouchon here. This is the kind of thing I’m talking about when I say the cost of living for a food geek is higher in KC than in Chicago. The price is mitigated somewhat by a reasonable value wine list and pretty easily available (modest) discounts through the KC Originals, PowerCard, those coupons you can buy every quarter, etc., saving you $15-20 for a meal. Still… Ultimately, would I go back? Probably. There are enough places in that price range (and that’s a rare enough occasion) that it won’t be soon. But it’s pleasant enough and good enough that I wouldn’t rule out a return. Le Fou Frog 400 E 5th Street Kansas City, MO 64106 816-474-6060 http://www.kansascitymenus.com/lefoufrog/
  17. There are a couple places we've tried in our time here that don't seem to have their own thread. One is MelBee's. MelBee’s is not too far from us, walkable even for suburban KC. I love having a place like MelBee’s on Johnson Drive, in that old school Main Street strip a few blocks away. I would love it even more if it were someplace like MelBee’s but not actually MelBee’s. It was either December or January when we ate dinner there, many months now. We’ve also eaten there for lunch a few times. I’ve tried to write a post about this place several times, and it’s just not easy to do. They showcase the works of local artists. They have regular wine dinners. They're doing some joint promotion with the Lyric Opera . They change their menu seasonally. They try so hard, they mean so well, I feel like they’re very earnest about what they’re trying to do….and yet the food just falls flat to me. It’s been long enough that I can’t recount specific dishes, but I just get the feeling there’s not a very deft hand, not much finesse in the kitchen. It’s hard to say how much this is to accommodate Johnson County tastes. When we got our four or five course tasting menu, we couldn’t believe how much food was included. In response to customer demand, they’ve now added “hearty portions” at something of an upcharge. What are you gonna do? There were some good bites, to be sure, but more that were just a little confusing. Plates were covered in sauce. The menu reads well. I was excited to try dinner here. But the flavors don’t pop on the plate like they do on the page. They’re the kind of dishes that, on first bite, you think, “Hey, that’s pretty good”…and by the end of the dish you’re worn down to the point of “What were they thinking…this is a really weird dish.” I’m not sure if that makes sense. It’s certainly an odd thing to experience. And the desserts are flat-out not very good, small, and expensive. Despite everything above, I have been back (and will continue) to be back for lunch. There is somewhat less damage you can do to a sandwich. There was a simple pan-fried fish special that was quite good. The soups (like the entrées) can similarly overpower you by the end, but the bowl that you get at lunch is small, so the problem is not so great. I’m attracted by the changing daily lunch special of a “two-course prix fixe” for $8.95 (soup or salad and fixed entrée, changing daily). Really actually a pretty good deal. But mostly, I feel an obligation to support the existence of this type of establishment on Johnson Drive, in Mission, KS. I really love that it’s there. I wish it were someplace else. MelBee's 6120 Johnson Drive Mission, KS 66202 913-262-6121 http://www.kansascitymenus.com/melbees/
  18. Thanks. I haven't been to the one in Merriam yet this year, though it is quite charming. They don't seem to be any worse than the OP market, which means, yes, they certainly have some pretty good produce getting further into the summer. That was my standby last fall after arriving. OP just gets too crowded to be enjoyable for me anyway. Plus the kids like playing around Turkey Creek. The all-organic of Brookside is moderately appealing to me, but much more so is that they just have a much better selection, even though the number of vendors is relatively few, both in terms of say, varieties of pear or tomato, or even whole categories not represented elsewhere. Picked up some pea shoots one weekend, for example. Has anyone ordered meat from the Amish folks at Brookside? I do need to get out to the Lawrence market sometime, too.
  19. I've been to Overland Park three times and Brookside once or twice. Brookside just seems to me a much, much better market, though quite expensive. Overland Park just leaves me depressed. Lots of asparagus on Saturday, Texas onions, Nebraska tomatoes, potatoes from who knows where, Dricscoll's strawberries, etc. I feel like I'm at Marshall's, picking through a bunch of crap to find something worthwhile. I got a pretty good bunch of arugula and a bit of mint. I got some great spring greens at Brookside on opening weekend (when no one showed up for OP's opener. I hope it's the frost that's kept the markets down, and not just business as usual, since this is my first spring market season here.
  20. My only Don Chilito's experience has been street fair food, but it was such that I was persuaded their in-store food was not even worth a shot. There are a lot of things you can blame on serving street food, but serving pretty much straight ground beef, with roughly zero seasoning...that's not one of them. Given Don's proximity and seemingly healthy business, I have lately been entering the "reconsider phase," which usually lasts for several months before actual retrial. Thank you for postponing that affair.
  21. Second that...I really dig the atmosphere at LC's.
  22. Welcome to KC, corprip! Sounds like your in a similar situation to me...moved to Mission from Chicago about six months ago. I wouldn't hurry to Johnny's...that's the worst BBQ place I've been since we got here. On the other hand, I didn't care for Oklahoma Joe's either...meat seemed pretty bland all around to me, not much smoke, not much spice, and they somehow took the porkiness out of the pulled pork. And the sauce tasted strongly of liquid smoke. The place is held in such high esteem, I'm sure we'll be back. For other points of comparison, I've greatly enjoyed LC's burnt ends, had a killer meal at Arthur Bryant's a month or so back. RJ's is tough for me...I really like the place itself. It's so close, the people are friendly, they've got a corner devoted to John Wayne, and they just put in a nice big bar front and center. The BBQ always falls a little short, unfortunately. But it's so close to me, that I'll surely end up there more often than other places. In fact, just last Wednesday I tried the KC Strip special for nine or ten bucks. Surprisingly, a heck of a deal. The steak was quite good, especially at that price. Cooked perfect medium rare, served with a loaded baked potato. A couple Boulevard Pales washed it down nicely. Also, they're country breakfast on the weekends is quite good. Haven't tried Gates (because of reports like yours) and don't know about Wyandot. I like Jack Stack's okay, but the corporate atmosphere is off-putting to me. I might recommend you try Woodyard BBQ (linked to more detail). It's close and at least pretty good from a single pass. Others relatively nearby and on my list are Jones in KCK and Rosedale on SW Blvd. A little further afield is Lil Jake's Eat it and Beat It, but you better get there quick as it's being taken down by eminent domain in the P&L District. Look forward to more of your explorations. Some of us get together once in a while to eat too, but it's a little tricky to navigate on the board, so send me an email or PM if you want to get on the email list. (Same goes for anyone else too, of course.)
  23. A well made beef salad is truly a thing of beauty. Did you go for the Thai New Year festivities? I had really planned to check this out, but things got in the way. I believe they had a special menu available last week. Aaron
  24. Uh, well, Overland Park is sort of ahead. One vendor, yep, just one, showed up, with some stock tomatoes, California strawberries, frozen local berries, and local pecans and black walnuts. It was cold early, and rainy, but still no excuse for such a pathetic opening weekend. We jaunted over to Brookside, where the urban co-op had a nice little array...some beautiful spring greens, pea shoots, young turnips. Good stuff. The Amish-ish meat folks were there, the bread people, and maybe two or three others. Not a lot, but enough to make me happy I went.
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