Monthly Archives: December 2010

Where would you like to go eat?

Ok.  It is about time I post a list.  About places I have ate since I have been here in KC.  I will try my
best to remember the places and give honest reviews.  If you have a different opinion, I would love to hear it. 


The best/first thing that pops into my mind is the vegetable quesadilla from Mi Ranchito.  Soft, not soggy or too crunchy squash, zuchinni and brocolli ( I know! of all things) filled a flour tortilla with an assortment of cheeses (not just your standard ‘mexican mix’ out of the shredded cheese bag.  They also have coupons for free white cheese dip, and I have yet to meet a white cheese dip I didn’t like.

This is Lawrence, but Esquina was amazing.  Best fish taco I have ever had.  Fresh, not fried white fish topped with pineapple/mango salsa and a touch of coconut in a soft corn tortilla.  The second time I got the salad which was huge but had lots of flavor and included perfectly ripe, not too crunch jicama. 

I know the hype about Jalapenos and I smell the aroma of (most likely grease) freshly cooked mexican food whenever I walk by so I tried it out.  I guess my expectations were too high, because the food is just your standard mexican food.  Nothing special.  The guac didn’t have any zing, the tacos and enchiladas were average.  If you want standard, no frills mexican food, I guess this is your place.

The ever so frequented Chipotle and Qdoba are still great.  Fresh ingredients, you know what is going on what you are ordering and there is no questions.  Chipotle surprisingly has good margaritas, too.  Chipotle still has my favorite guac.  I tend to crave it, often.

Manny’s downtown is great.  I had a burrito that was covered in white cheese sauce (once again, what can be bad) and they had plenty of room for our whole nursing class to go out to eat and were quick with our food.

Buca di Beppo has huge portions.  There restaurant is a maze and one of the tables is in the kitchen.  That bothers me, a lot.  I have had the sampler which consisted of manicotti, ravioli, stuffed shells (all of those were just filled with cheese) and chicken cannelloni- I was not impressed.  My favorite was the spicy chicken rigatoni which is surprising since I usually don’t like hollow tube shaped pastas.  The mixed green salad was unimpressive as well.  The Limoncello Martini was fantastic, it tasted like the white part of a bomb pop on the 4th of July 🙂  Overall, ok atmosphere in that is in the basement in the plaza but the whole place is a maze and the food is decent.

Lidia’s is known for their fine dining.  Beautiful, artsy place but the waiting staff was pretty awkward.  I got the pasta sampler which gives you as much of whatever their specialty pastas are that night.  Most of the pastas were just that, pasta with very little sauce.  They gave us plenty of bread- and not just the standard breadstick, there was an assortment of it with a weak hummus and olive dip.  My favorite part about pasta usually is the sauce or the meat, which the sampler lacked in.  I would possibly go back but would order a specific dish but even so they are pretty pricey.

Zio’s can kind of be compared to an Olive Garden/ Johnny Carinos.  I got the vegetable lasagna and Meagan got the chicken artichoke pasta.  Hers was heavy on the sauce, but had a great flavor.  Mine was ok.  The vegetable were sliced too thin so they didn’t have that satisfying fullness to them.  The salad was the standard iceberg joke (can someone tell these italian chains they need to upgrade to some romaine at least?) and the bread was a hard loaf with an olive oil/herb mix.  Decent, not too impressive.

Brio’s Tuscan Grill had a nice atmosphere and a great menu with lots of unique options.  The lobster ravioli was amazing, as it should be it is pretty expensive there. 

Cinzetti’s aka an Italian Feast is delicious.  Everything from antipastos, lasagna, specialty pastas and crepes they have it all.  You have to try the carrots- they have a honey glaze on them, the tomato soup is awesome, as well as the ribs ( I know!) and the bread pudding.

La cucina de mama/Bella Napoli in Brookside is an authentic lunch/dinner Italian place.  For lunch, they have the BEST sandwich.  Fresh mozarella, tomato and balsalmic.  For dinner?  Homemade gnocchi was awesome!!

UMKC campus has a place called Sahara that I always run by.  It displays pictures of falafel, hummus and other great looking things on their windows so I finally went.  I got the tabouli salad which I was a first and last.  It consisted of tabouli, parsley, olive oil and way too much lemon juice.  The lemon juice really overpowered the rest of the salad.  I would definitely go back to try anything else.

La Bodega has great tapas.  and sangria.  Fun atmosphere but parking is underneath the interstate bridge, so be prepared for that.  The roasted mushrooms, pan con tomate and tuna were great.  Skip the chicken and chorizo skewers.

 Korma Sutra which is called sensuous eating, is an intimate little Westport eatery.  We got the sampler, and the danger in that (and the fact that our waitor knew minimal english) was that we didn’t know most of what we were eating.  So far, my experience with Indian food is that it is either mostly fried and covered in a cream sauce.  Our menu consisted of Chicken samosas, coconut soup, lamb saag, basamati rice, chicken tika masala, naan, and galub jamun.  I am not too fond of lamb, the coconut soup was interesting, the galub jamun was a first- a donut like ball in a sweet syrupy sauce.  The naan was tasty, but not amazing.  So, so.

Bo Ling’s off the plaza is similar to PF Chang’s but much better atmosphere.  Family style serving with everything you could ever want.

PF Changs has been bashed several times in this blog but because of the atmosphere and staff not the food.  The lettuce wraps are awesome, the mongolian beef is amazing and served with green onions and rice. 

Bd’s Mongolian Grill is very similar to HuHot.  More of a salad/soup buffet there and different sauce options.  They give free birthday meals!

The Thai Place was something I had heard about for a while.  We went to the one in OP which was a very traditional chinese restaurant set up.  Our dishes were tasty, but a warning the spicy is SPICY.  I could not taste the flavors because the heat was too extreme.  Also, pretty expensive.

Best pad thai?  Pei Wei, a smaller version (and much better atmosphere) of PF Changs.  Awesome sauce with fresh cilantro and lots of peanuts.  Great edamame and lettuce wraps here too!

Lulu’s Noodle House has pad thai, but not as good as Pei Wei.  Fun atmosphere in the Crossroads district with lots of noodle options (obviously).

Zen Zero in Lawrence.  I know I will catch grief about this, but yuck.  I have tried THREE different things and still didn’t find anything that was good.  The pad thai there has a ketchupy taste, the curry was too runny.  The spring roll salad was the only thing I enjoyed eating.

Domo in Brookside is a walk away so Carina and I tried it out.  Maybe I am not too picky of a sushi eater, but I honestly cannot tell a big difference between places.  I usually stick with a yellowfin/salmon/some kind of tuna roll.  Pickled ginger is such a fun addition. 

Nara probably has the best atmosphere for a sushi bar.  I went after First Fridays and the low lighting/crowd was fun.  I really recomend the seaweed salad- seaweed with a peanut/ginger oil.  And when we were there we saw the art of Nyotaimori- google it 🙂

Kona Grill is known for their great happy hour and I have to say it was reasonable.  The spicy tuna was a hit, just as it was at Nara.

Yokohama in Lawrence is the only sushi place that stands out, because they had extravagant sauces and huge portions.  So many options and you leave feeling full, which is rare with sushi.

 Best pizza, if you want standard cheese?  D’Bronx.  I got a standard piece of cheese pizza, but something about the herbs on top and the way it all went together was just perfect. 

Spin.  You know, another of those too high expectation places (who would have guessed).  I got the sun dried tomato/some kind of margherita pizza.  Everything was too dry about it.  They are personal sized pizzas and the sauce was lacking.  Fun topping options but nothing too extraordinary.

Grinder’s.  Ok, gross.  I know, I am sure you have seen it on Food Network or like going there for drink specials and good bar food.  But when I went, I was so very disappointed.  We got the margherita pizza and they had specials on their mimosas.  The pizza was greasy and not fresh and the mimosas were sour.  I will not be going back.

Tom Foolerie’s might have the second worst Margherita pizza (can you tell it’s my favorite?).  It had goat cheese on it, which always makes me a little sick. They had pretty good chicken quesadillas and pico and do have a hamburger with peanut butter on it- a first try for that, and honestly what doesn’t go well with pb?

Papa John’s for delivery is the way to go.  Their bbq chicken pizza is really good, and that garlic dipping sauce is dangerous.

Blue Grotto outside and inside has a great atmosphere.  Outside in the summer you can sit on cushioned booths with big pillows while in the winter you can sit on the upstairs balcony inside.  I was impressed with their margherita (finally!) and funghi pizzas.  You can buy wine by the bottle, which they have a wonderful Riesling.  This was the first time I unknowingly had foie gras, and possibly last 🙂  Pay attention to what is underneath the name of what you are ordering though.  A 30ish yr old guy ordered the “pepperoni’ which underneath said tomato, oregano, mozarella.  It came with no pepperonis on it, so he literally threw a fit and while they were preparing him a different one, he “suffered” through the one he had by salting each piece liberally.  We ended up trying the foie gras because my dad ordered the “pastrami”.  I also recommend the bruschetta sampler, not just your standard tomato bruschetta, so good!

 Blanc is popular for their hamburgers, homemade buns and sweet potato fries.  They have every kind of hamburger you could ever want.  Pretty tasty!

Westport Flea Market is also known for good hamburgers.  I would get the chicken sandwich.  I did get to try Kelly’s and it was pretty tasty.  Great patio. 

Hamburger Mary’s is a fun, upbeat place where there motto is to Eat, Drink and be Mary.  We listened to 80’s and 90’s music videos and got our check in a high heel.  Our waitor was really nice & I got a laugh when he exited the woman’s bathroom right before I went in.  Good hamburgers for sure as well as salads and sandwiches.

Mixx  is probably my favorite sandwich/soup place other than Panera.  It is similar to Ingredient (which is another favorite I first had in Lawrence) and has such fun seasonal stuff.  When we went we got the salmonsliders and an autumn salad which I recreated later. 
Cheesecake Factory  not only has good cheese cake, but good food as well!  I have tried Evelyn’s Favorite Pasta:  Penne Tossed with Broccoli, Oven-Dried Tomato, Roasted Eggplant, Peppers, Artichoke, Kalamata Olives, as well as some kind of a chicken picatta and Wasabi Crusted Ahi Tuna: Fresh Rare Ahi Topped with a Spicy Wasabi Crust. Served with Julienne Vegetables, Miso Sauce and Rice. 

With the BBQ Brisket pizza from McCoys

McCoy’s has such a wide variety of things, and everything I have tried has been great.  From vegan wraps to buffalo burgers to pizzas and black bean quesadillas.  Y-u-m.  They even have a cigar room to buy any kind of cigar you could ever want, unique. 

Dean & Deluca’s is a specialty food store/cafe.  Sherri & I like tasting the made fresh daily hummus, salads and other fun things- quinoa salad, seaweed salad, crab salad.  They have great sandwiches and make them freshly in front of you with lots of fresh mozarella and have sweet potato and even truffle fries ( I am not a fan of). 

Jeruselem Cafe has a nice sampler plate if you are new to Greek food.  It comes with stuffed grape leaves, falafel, hummus, gyro meat, chicken and lamb, plenty of pitas, lentil soup, and your choice of dessert.  Don’t get the halva- it tastes like peppermint chalk.  I was impressed with the falafel and would probably get that again.  The grape leaves were covered with almost a marinara sauce which didn’t seem to fit.  The lamb was kind of tough and the hummus was covered with a chili paste which was interesting.
The Sweet Guy in Waldo is another sandwich/salad place that also has gelato. 

Granite city has the best brunch ever.  Just don’t eat for a while beforehand so it is worth it.  They have the most amazing caramel cinnamon rolls.  I could eat them daily..  As for their food it is great too.  I have had pasta, pulled pork and breakfast and enjoyed them all.

Gate’s is a place where you need to be decisive, quick.  And if you know me, i am definitely not.  Besides that, I like their sauce a lot.  Some people think it is too vinegary but I tend to like that more than a savory dark sauce (say KC masterpiece-like). 

Arthur Bryant’s had a long line because of all the famous people that have frequented it.  Sauce was a little less vinegary than Gate’s but a little more expensive.

Jack Stack has catered many nursing school picnics for us and it has been amazing.  I went to the actual restaurant on the plaza and was equally impressed with the kabobs. 

Choga Korean was a traditional chinese restaurant set up again and with each entree purchase you get 5 chef’s choice appetizers.  Ours included of kimchi, egg vegetable wraps, spicy tofu, seaweed bean sprout salad and some spicy radish concoction.  I got the short ribs, and Carina & Levi got some beef dishes.  Authentic Korean beer too.


Bluebird cafe has great breakfast and everything is organic.  We tried the tofu scramble breakfast which was not my favorite, I am not a big tofu fan.  The granola was good  and I had the best jam that was so fresh.  The french toast is made with ciabatta bread!  and the syrup is amazing.

Eden Alley on the plaza has the best sweet potato burritos.  I had a squash potato melt that was great too.  Highly recommend.
Hope you have enjoyed!  I know I missed lots, but that will be for another day.  Merry Christmas 🙂