The Westside Local

Last week the Westside Local announced 4 new menu items for Autumn. 

1.  Chipotle Glazed Salmon
2.  Crispy Pork Belly
3.  Grilled Portobello Mushroom 
4.  Autumn Quinoa

All four sounded great to me, so I couldn’t wait to get there and try them.  On this trip, I took my son and met a friend.  We started off with a Goat Chorizo and queso fresco flat bread, the goat chorizo had been made by Local Pig.  This was the perfect pick to start off the evening; we all really enjoyed it, the chorizo was just spicy enough and was balanced out nicely by the queso fresco.  I don’t think that this is a regular menu item, but I wish it were.  I definitely want to have this again.

 I decided to have the Autumn Quinoa, sweet onions, brussels sprouts, diced sweet potatoes, roasted cranberries, sautéed kale greens, port reduction, rosemary goat cheese and pecans.  Oh my gosh this was good, all of these ingredients really blended nicely together.  It was such a large portion that I couldn’t even eat it all.

My friend had the Chipotle Glazed Salmon, which is served with mushroom wild rice and an arugala-walnut pesto.  All of us agreed that the chipotle glaze really made this dish and was nicely complemented by the arugala-walnut pesto, both really nice toppings to the sushi grade salmon.

I wanted my son to try either the Crispy Pork Belly or theGrilled Portobello Mushroom Sandwich, after all, we were here to sample the new menu items.  But he ordered the Macaroni and Cheese with sweet potatoes and bacon.  The pasta was very large rotini and it wasn’t very creamy and turned out a little dry.  He disliked the presentation, he thought it looked like it had been spooned into the bowl and reheated. He didn’t like it and managed to eat only about 6 bites.  In his defense, he has sampled mac & cheese from many establishments and he was expecting it to be more like the mac & cheese from Bin Wine Cafe in Wicker Park (Chicago).  Oh well, c’est la vie.

For dessert we each ordered a cup of Rosterie blend coffee (I love that they use local suppliers) and shared a Chocolate, Double Espresso Pot de Creme served in a small ramekin with a dolop of fresh whipped cream on top.  We were each given a demitasse spoon to eat this with.  You could taste the graininess of the ground-up coffee beans in the rich mousse-like chocolate.  I have to have this again.  It was great and we all loved it.  It was a perfect way to end the evening together.

I’ll be back again soon to try the two remaining new menu items.  Maybe I’ll see you there.

The Westside Local
1663 Summit Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone:  (816) 997-9089

The Westside Local on Urbanspoon

Uncommon Stock

A good friend of mine called me on Friday and asked if I’d like to meet him for lunch at a new soup place called Uncommon Stock.  He told me it was a new venture by the guy behind Happy Gillis’ Cafe and Hangout and the Genessee Royale Bistro.  I really like both of the other restaurants so I said sure.  One of the things I have always liked about Happy Gillis was the soup.  At times I’d see some concoction on the menu and think, huh, I wouldn’t have thought to put those ingredients together, I’d order it and it would be great.  I’ve even actually thought, “I wish I could take some of this home for dinner”. 

Uncommon Stock is located in the garage behind Happy Gillis’ Cafe and Hangout, on Gillis Street just a few steps away from Happy Gillis’ entrance.  You walk in through the brightly painted red door and see the selections for the day handwritten on craft paper, taped to the wall with blue painter’s tape.  There were 3 soups to choose from.

  1. Oven Roasted Tomato Soup with Fresh Basil;  Vine ripened tomatoes, onions, garlic and fresh basil. $11
  2. Roasted Mushroom Soup with Sherry and Fresh Thyme;  Roasted mushrooms, sherry, olive oil, poached garlic, and fresh thyme. $11
  3. Lentil Soup with Autumn Vegetables and Sausage $12

You buy the soup by the quart, take it home and reheat it.  This week I chose the Tomato Basil and the Lentil.  My son and I had the tomato basil with a grilled cheese, our comfort food when the air gets chilly.  He described it as “very herb-y”, I’d agree, you could really taste the basil.  We loved it.  It went really well with our Co-Jack grilled cheese sandwiches on Friday night.  On Saturday evening, we tried the Lentil.  The sausage was cut up into miniscule chunks, as were the majority of the vegetables which were still slightly firm and hadn’t been cooked to mush.  It had a great flavor, we tried to figure out what all of the vegetables were.  We found eggplant, sweet potato and was that pumpkin or squash?  We weren’t certain.  It also had a bit of hot sauce in it which gave it a kick, not enough of a kick to make your nose run, but enough to let you know it was there.  We really liked this soup also and I’ve decided to buy it again the next time it is available. 

You see, different soup is prepared for each weekend.  It won’t be the same each time.  You can find out what’s been prepared by checking out their Facebook page or their own webpage.  You can also sign-up to receive notices of what’s cooking.

Uncommon Stock is only open from 10am to 4pm Friday and Saturday and from 10am to 2pm on Sunday.  It’s going to become one of my winter go-to places, maybe I’ll see you there.

Uncommon Stock
549 Gillis Street
Kansas City, MO 64106
Phone:  816-510-7790

Uncommon Stock on Urbanspoon

New Menu items at the Westside Local

Autumn is here with a bang and The Westside Local has introduced four new menu items.  

  1. Chipotle Glazed Salmon, served with mushroom wild rice and an arugala-walnut pesto for $24.  
  2. Crispy Pork Belly, served with a creamy roasted butternut squash-white cheddar polenta, braised fall greens and garnished with tobasco-onion straws for $17. 
  3. Grilled Portobello Mushroom sandwich, with roasted bell peppers and caramalized onions topped with an olive tapenade, fresh arugala and their house-made Shatto ricotta.  All of this is served on a toasted Farm to Market baguettini with your choice of side for $10!   
  4. Autumn Quinoa, sweet onion, brussels sprouts, diced sweet potatoes, roasted cranberries, sautéed kale greens, port reduction, rosemary goat cheese, pecans for $15.

I can’t wait to go and try them all (not all at once of course).  See you there!

The Westside Local
1663 Summit Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone:  (816) 997-9089

American Guide to Scotch Brand Name Pronunciation

Scottish actor Brian Cox pronounces the names of 40 Scotch brands for Esquire Magazine.  I found this very fun, although his cadence becomes slightly annoying by the end.


(Almost) White Pizza

I like going out to wine bars, I’ve been continuously educating myself about wine for years. One thing I’ve noticed is that almost every wine bar has a version of white pizza on the menu. I decided to try my hand at making one at home.  I call this the “Single Dad’s (almost) White Pizza”.  Single Dad is in the title because it’s easy for guys to make who don’t like, or are afraid, to cook, almost white because… well, you’ll see in a moment.

  1. One ready-to-bake pizza crust.  (my son and I like Freschetta’ Artisan Pizza Crust)
  2. 3 teaspoons of roasted garlic.  (make sure you buy roasted garlic, it has a much more mellow flavor, if you use regular garlic you won’t be able to eat the pizza)
  3. 1 cup ricotta cheese
  4. 4 tablespoons of pesto (pesto is green, that’s why this is almost white pizza)
  5. 1 bag pre-cooked chicken breast (Tyson has a whole line of pre-cooked heat and eat chicken breast, we prefer the oven roasted variety for this recipe)
  6. 2 cups shredded mozzarella

Preparation instructions:
  1. Remove the crust from it’s package.
  2. Open the jar of roasted garlic, smear about 3 teaspoons of it around the crust
  3. Open the ricotta, smear about a cup on top of the garlic that you already put on the crust
  4. Open the jar of pesto, stir it because the oil has probably come to the top, dab 4 tablespoons of pesto on top of the ricotta
  5. Add thawed pre-cooked chicken breast to the top of the pizza until covered, we tear, or chop, ours into smaller pieces
  6. Sprinkle the 2 cups of mozzarella on top
Baking instructions:
  1. Pre-heat oven to 375 degrees
  2. Place the pizza directly on the oven rack
  3. Bake for 11 to 14 minutes (or until done)
  4. Remove from oven, cut and serve immediately
Total Prep Time:  10 minutes
Total Bake Time: 12 minutes
You can have a really great tasting meal in under 30 minutes.  It goes equally week with beer as it does with wine.  I like to serve it when the guys come over on Sundays to watch the game.  They are all amazed, but they don’t know how easy it is.

Lidia’s Italy – Kansas City

Lidia’s is one of my favorite places to eat in Kansas City.  It has everything you want in a restaurant, great food, great atmosphere and great service.  Even though I’d been to Lidia’s several times, I’d never brought my son who’d been begging me for years to take him here.  It was fun to see Lidia’s again for the first time through his eyes. 

He loved the wisteria covered trellis that you walk under before entering; it sets the mood for what’s to come.  The dining room is so inviting and cozy, it sets the mood to sit and talk about life’s events and about hopes and aspirations.  He thoroughly enjoyed the miniature bread sticks, and the pesto we spread across the house made bread. 

For an appetizer we started with Lobster Risotto Balls.  You receive 5 golf ball sized balls sitting in a Corn Puree with a drizzling of Basil Oil.  These are very good, and loaded full of lobster.  There is more lobster than risotto in these and even though they are fried, the crust is very thin and is not even slightly oily.  Nate loved the corn puree so much that he took a piece of bread and scooped up the puree with it, as a farm hand might with remaining gravy on his plate.  I joked with Nate that the kitchen would probably pour some in a glass so that he could drink it, he seemed excited by this idea but I quickly kyboshed it.

We both decided on the daily pasta trio.  Today’s pastas were corkscrew pasta in a simple, light, red sauce with tiny chunks of sweet sausage in it.  (This was Nate’s favorite).  A fettuccine with pesto and very tiny shrimp; the shrimp were cooked perfectly, they weren’t tough or chewy.  This should be a given, but most restaurants don’t seem to be able to pull it off.  Lidia’s did.  The third pasta was four cheese ravioli in a light cream sauce.  Each of these three pastas were delicious. 

We finished our meal with a chocolate torte that we shared.  It consisted of a moist chocolate cake covered with chocolate mousse, topped with a layer of white chocolate ganache and plated with a few dark cherries and black walnuts.  We both enjoyed it with with a cup of very good coffee. 

We had such a wonderful evening and Nate made me promise to bring him back here soon, which I will, because I like it here too.  He also informed me that he is taking his date here before his upcoming Homecoming Dance.  Good for him, (and for her). 

Lidia’s Kansas City
101 West 22nd Street
Kansas City, MO 64108
Phone: (816) 221-3722

Lidia's Kansas City on Urbanspoon

Remedy Food + Drink

Waldo seems to be Kansas City’s Bar and Grill / Tavern Mecca.  This summer Remedy Food and Drink opened on 75th Street just one block west of Wornall Road.  This was a stroke of luck for me, because I normally like to meet people for beer or cocktails on the roof of “The Well”, which is basically a block away, but with the scorching 100+ degree heat this summer, I wanted to take it inside.  We ended up landing at Remedy.  Remedy is a Gastro pub, so even though much of its food is still fried, it is a step up from the food served at The Well (which is good pub fare as well).          

The bartenders here are considered “mixologists”.  They don’t just make the same old standbys out of the bartender’s bible; they are supposed to be experts in the art of cocktail making.  I like to have them concoct something different for me each time I go in.  They will ask a few questions (Bitter? Sweet? Savory? Gin? Rum? Vodka? etc.), and will go about creating their masterpiece.  Some of the creations have been really wonderful while others have been really hard to swallow, but it’s always fun.  

 Remedy still feels very bar like.  For me, it would be better if they would remove the bar height tables and chairs and replace them with lower tables, sofas and soft chairs, making it more lounge like.  For me, that would take this place way over the top, and make it hard for me to decide if I wanted to sip cocktails here, or on the roof at The Well. 

My two favorite appetizers here are Eggplant Fries and “Pig Tails”.  I don’t believe anyone else is making eggplant fries.  They are great.  Long strings of eggplant (some of them still have the purple skin on them), lightly breaded and fried.  They are salty and slightly sweet.  A waitress told me that the sweetness comes from the fact that they are drizzled in honey.  I order these every time.  They quickly become limp and soggy as they get cold, but they are so good that this is rarely a problem for my friends and I.   The pig tails have a center of diced carrots, surrounded by pork, which is then breaded and fried.  These are served with slightly spicy pureed celery. 

I have tried the much lauded Pork Shoulder; it is served on a bed of Kale.  I really like kale and the flavor of this pork is really great.  It’s very tender although not exactly juicy.  I’ve also tried many items on the “Specials Board”.  These are one time, or once in a while items that are prepared based on whatever was fresh that day, following the farm-to-table trend.  Everything that I’ve had from the specials board was good, mostly in-season fruits and vegetables.  I’m curious what they will have on the board during the winter.

 I’ve tried two desserts here, the chocolate brownie waffle and the fried pies.  The chocolate brownie waffle was just okay, I like the novelty of it more than I liked the flavor and texture, but in full disclosure, I’m not exactly a fan of brownies.  So, don’t let my ho-hum review prevent you from trying one if you’re a brownie fan.  Instead I’d rather have the fried pies.  You receive three small fried fruit tarts, (apple, pear and mixed berry), served hot with a small scoop of Mascarpone Ice Cream. 

 Remedy is a good place to unwind with friends and an interesting addition to all of the other bar and grill establishments in Waldo.

Remedy Food and Drink
500 West 75th Street
Kansas City, MO  64114
Phone:  (816) 361-9788
 Remedy Food and Drink on Urbanspoon
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