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Dispatches from Kansas City

Dispatches from Kansas City
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  • Dispatches from Kansas City

    Post #1 - February 2nd, 2007, 5:34 pm
    Post #1 - February 2nd, 2007, 5:34 pm Post #1 - February 2nd, 2007, 5:34 pm
    Shortly after we moved last August from Chicago to Kansas City, my wife revealed to me a distressing truth:

    Image

    My theory is that I’ve got to live someplace for about 5 years to give it a fair shake. This theory is based mostly on the 5 years it took me to sort of appreciate Dallas, which I still rejected a second dance with when faced with the prospect of leaving Chicago. Chicago, on the other hand, had me from, if not quite “hello”, at least the first “Welcome! Richard M. Daley, Mayor.” My first week with my young wife, freshly graduated, in a palatial Hyde Park 1 bedroom apartment with no AC, Pizza Capri just outside my front door, Valois, Rajun Cajun, Dixie Kitchen, 3 Thai restaurants, Café Corea, Cedars of Lebanon, the Cove, Jimmy’s…you could actually walk to all these places!!!! Farmer’s Market out my front door. Hyde Park Produce. Hell, I loved the Co-op. And one major factor in our housing choice was its proximity to the Hyde Park Chalet. I was lovin’ it.

    Kansas City’s a nice place, but it ain’t love at first sight.

    But what it lacks in no longer hidden gems and urban culture, it makes up for in virgin territory, at least when it comes to me and food. No, not never-before-seen Thai language menus (at least not yet); but the number of adventurers on LTH, and Chowhound before it, have done such an impressive job of uncovering little treasures around Chicago that my limited resources were largely spent, for the most part, following up these leads rather than setting out to explore the still significant unknown. Here, the unknown seems a whole lot bigger, and I’m excited to dive in.

    I’ve been kicking about how to post on LTH about Kansas City, now that I live here and I’m not just visiting. “Just visiting” posts have a different character and utility, for both the poster and those reading along, than posts about where you live. But what does that mean, exactly? No one here’s going to care much about the Korean-Chinese place on Shawnee Mission Pkwy that may or may not be any good but looks worth exploring. Or, hey, I found a good place to get frozen paratha. It’s easy to say to expats, “Just post!” Sure, I can post on a way out of the way Mexican fast food restaurant that does a Malaysian menu Wed-Fri. Or a “chili” parlor only Rene G could love. Or killer tacos al pastor, and so I guess I will.

    I envision three kinds of threads. One will be the type directly above, particular places of interest that I think deserve to be singled out, followed up, and are worth your time if you’re coming to town. Or at least have a good story.

    Second, I plan to start some “theme” threads: KC Mexican, KC Thai, KC burgers, etc. These will include some data points on the food scene here, even when it’s not destination food. I don’t recommend, at this point, that anyone come here from Chicago and visit a Thai restaurant. But if you’ve got family in the area, and they’re pushing hard for Panda Express, Thai Place might be a very good alternative. Of course, I hope others join in and add to these threads. But since I expect there won’t be too much extra info, I see more benefit in keeping categories together than not. We’ll see how this works out.

    Finally, there are some more general posts and observations that I think will help put all of the above in context…grocery stores are a little different here, the eat local movement is surprisingly strong, and is Johnson County really the Lincoln Park of the KC metro area.

    We’ll see how this all plays out. I don’t want to bombard Beyond Chicagoland with a bunch of KC stuff no one needs. But we’ve got a pretty good little thing going at LTHForum, and if we can spread the love a little further, I’m all for it. And I’ll start by following up on an LTH tip.

    Cheers,

    Aaron
  • Post #2 - February 2nd, 2007, 8:10 pm
    Post #2 - February 2nd, 2007, 8:10 pm Post #2 - February 2nd, 2007, 8:10 pm
    Aaron, I guess I wasn't paying attention. I didn't realize that you were an ex-pat. I thought you were a KC native. My goof.

    Mrs. Roadhouse is a native of St. Joseph and KC prior to my dragging her up to the frozen north of Chicago 28 years ago. Since then we have been very regular visitors, sometimes three or four times a year, back to that land just to the east of Oz.

    I think your instincts are correct in breaking down KC cuisine into themes (along with the obvious choices, Mexican and Thai are particularly strong there). If you need any more suggestions based on nearly three decades of KC dining, or if you just want to chat about the local food scene (you have no idea how right you are about the differences in KC grocery stores versus their Chicago counterparts), feel free to contact me anytime.

    Maybe we'll give you a holler next time we're heading down your way!

    Buddy
  • Post #3 - February 2nd, 2007, 9:47 pm
    Post #3 - February 2nd, 2007, 9:47 pm Post #3 - February 2nd, 2007, 9:47 pm
    Aaron, I'm glad you'll be posting on KC, cuz I'm from there and visit it several times a year. There's at least one other person on here who does as well, so that makes 3 of us! Are you in Kansas, or MO? I haven't explored much of the Kansas side of things, but i know there's a lot to try. I think in KS or MO the ratio of tasty/not-that-good is generally pretty large. I used to view the whole town as one big food wasteland(besides bbq, i guess), but it does have some good stuff, and a lot of potential, too. There are always new little places opening up.

    Somewhere I'm interested in trying is a Cuban cafe opening in Westport, on Broadway just south of The Broadway Cafe(near Westport Road). The first Cuban place I've heard of in the area. I don't think it's open yet, they were still putting it together last time I was by there, about a month ago. Hopes aren't that high, but u never know... It's taking over the space of a short-lived specialty hotdog place called Relish.

    It would be nice if KC had a board like this. It would start out small, but like you say there is a lot to explore. It might even help improve things somehow in some small way.
  • Post #4 - February 4th, 2007, 1:23 pm
    Post #4 - February 4th, 2007, 1:23 pm Post #4 - February 4th, 2007, 1:23 pm
    I, too, am looking forward to your KC posts. I have children in Overland Park and Lawrence. They don't draw me to KC, but my grandchildren do.

    There are many interesting places in the area - just not enough time to try them all.
  • Post #5 - February 5th, 2007, 6:39 am
    Post #5 - February 5th, 2007, 6:39 am Post #5 - February 5th, 2007, 6:39 am
    Aaron,

    Very much looking forward to your KC posts. I'm planning a road trip to KC and it'd be nice to round out the BBQ and fried chicken with something aside from beer and antacids. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
    Hold my beer . . .

    Low & Slow
  • Post #6 - February 5th, 2007, 9:00 am
    Post #6 - February 5th, 2007, 9:00 am Post #6 - February 5th, 2007, 9:00 am
    Aaron, I'll be looking forward to playing the chow know-it-all with my uncle and his family the next time I visit them in Mission Woods. Thanks. I will, of course, credit the source.
    Man : I can't understand how a poet like you can eat that stuff.
    T. S. Eliot: Ah, but you're not a poet.
  • Post #7 - February 7th, 2007, 1:03 pm
    Post #7 - February 7th, 2007, 1:03 pm Post #7 - February 7th, 2007, 1:03 pm
    Aaron, go for it! Clearly, you will have lots of interested readers.

    I lived in KC for 4 years, though I have been in Chicago now for 10. I lived in the Quality Hill area and then in apartment-hell corridor in Mission. If I could move anywhere other than Chicago right now, I would probably buy a bungalow in Brookside, or if I suddenly came into money, perhaps just across the state line for the school district thing. KC is really a great place, and I hope you'll come to love it.

    My sister lives in the KC area (Leawood) and is always on the lookout for new places to impress me with when we visit. We have great friends in KC, many of them are actual foodies(!!), and tell us all about the new ethnic spots and dives we have to try. I will pass along those recommendations to you when I nget new dispatches.

    Your immediate assignment, if you choose to accept it: explore the 39th Street area, near the State Line/KU Med Center area.

    First, check out Saigon 39 (a block East of State Line Rd.) for great Vietnamese lunches. Also, please try d'Bronx Deli (39th & Bell) for great sandwiches or the amazing meatball pizza! There are other good+ restaurants in that area alone. I'm not sure if Otto's Diner is still there, but they made a killer mac & cheese and pistachio milk shake.

    Cheers!
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #8 - February 7th, 2007, 5:03 pm
    Post #8 - February 7th, 2007, 5:03 pm Post #8 - February 7th, 2007, 5:03 pm
    Susan wrote:Also, please try d'Bronx Deli (39th & Bell) for great sandwiches or the amazing meatball pizza!


    I have been to d'Bronx Deli a couple of times. I'll say two things:

    1) It's probably the best deli in KC
    2) I haven't thought enough of it to post anything
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #9 - February 7th, 2007, 5:11 pm
    Post #9 - February 7th, 2007, 5:11 pm Post #9 - February 7th, 2007, 5:11 pm
    Well, then, you must not have tried the meatball pizza. Seriously, you must, and then post.

    Perhaps my recollection has been obscured by the haze of thousands of pizzas eaten since my last slice of d'Bronx meatball pizza, but I am salivating now just thinking of it.
    "Whatever you are, be a good one." -Abraham Lincoln
  • Post #10 - February 7th, 2007, 6:47 pm
    Post #10 - February 7th, 2007, 6:47 pm Post #10 - February 7th, 2007, 6:47 pm
    Susan wrote:Well, then, you must not have tried the meatball pizza.


    Of that, you can be sure.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #11 - February 7th, 2007, 8:30 pm
    Post #11 - February 7th, 2007, 8:30 pm Post #11 - February 7th, 2007, 8:30 pm
    1) It's probably the best deli in KC


    There isn't much going on in kc in this area, but d'bronx really isn't good(in my opinion). The sandwiches are heartier than a chain place, but the ingredients are regular processed nothing special. The pizza is less processed tasting than a chain, and really big, but its still not good- bland crust, cheese and toppings(I haven't tasted the meatball pizza, though). They do have a couple of very tasty desserts. Some big cake like brownies(I prefer the fudgy type, but these are good for cake style), and they order in some gigantic cream puffs that are addictive. The cream puffs sell out quickly though.

    The only decent pizza I've had in town was from Grinders, downtown. They try to emulate a more New York style crust with higher quality toppings, and it shows.

    I know that a lot of people give praise to the New York Bakery and Delicatessen on Troost, and say its a favorite jewish style deli. I don't know what its compared to, though, and haven't tried it myself.
    From The Pitch:
    Although this combination Kosher-certified bakery and deli is currently housed in its third location, the business dates back to 1905. Few local restaurants can say they’ve been serving sandwiches since Roosevelt — Theodore — was in office. Breads and flaky pastries are baked daily (try to get there early, when they’re still warm), and sandwiches are thick with deli meats, including fresh corned beef. There’s no grill, so most sandwiches are served cold. And in true New York fashion, there’s still a smoking section.

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