Food Around Kansas City

“Best of” Lists

Written By: Mary Bloch - Mar• 21•16

It’s nice to have fans. In the past few weeks, several people have asked me why I don’t write on my blog anymore. I have found that my followers seem more interested in pictures than the written word and it admittedly takes less time, so I have primarily been utilizing Instagram (msbloch), Twitter (@aroundblockkc) and Facebook (Around the Block).

However, in an attempt to keep faith with you loyal readers, I am going to start posting lists from my radio gig. As many of you know, I am on KCUR’s Central Standard’s Food Critics show every other Friday morning (89.3 FM at 10am), and each time we tackle a different theme….best vegetarian, best bar food, best sandwiches, best pizza,  etc. It’s hard to sufficiently cover that topic in such a short period of time, and I don’t often get through my whole list on the air. So why not carry on the conversation right here?

Please chime in and let me know what you favorites you would add…we can learn from each other!

First up, Best Bar Food.

  1. Potatoes Bravas at Extra Virgin. A plate of those with a glass of wine or beer at the bar is all I need.
  2. Bluestem–I love their entire lounge menu but am partial to the great burger and fries (at Rye, too), shrimp and grits, and the hangar steak frites. 

    Hangar steak at bluestem.


    Shrimp and Grits at bluestem.

  3. Port Fonda–Queso fundido, either the one with grilled mushrooms, huitlacoche, chihuahua and goat cheese, or the chorizo with chihuahua cheese, poblano rajas, and oregano. Slathered on soft tortillas instead of the ubiquitous tortilla chips, it’s easy to make a meal out of these.
  4. Steamed Buns are perhaps my favorite bar food of the moment, essentially a meal in your hand. At Novel these soft Chinese buns are filled with crispy pork belly, cheek & jowl, and smoked tomato, served during Happy Hour only. Extra Virgin’s riff on them always has pork belly, though the toppings vary from ramp kimchi to cucumbers and hoisin. The most unusual (and on my “Favorites list” below) is Michael Corvino’s twist on these buns in the American‘s lounge, using homemade English muffins with pork belly, XO sauce and homemade pickles.

    Spicy Pork Buns--the American

    Spicy Pork Buns–the American

  5. While you’re at the American’s lounge, don’t miss the spicy crab fried rice with an egg on top. We’re talking real crab here, not crab sticks.
    Crab fried rice at the American lounge.

    Crab fried rice at the American lounge.






  6. Brookside’s newest haunt Plate focuses on modern Italian cuisine. One of my favorite dishes on the menu is the Brussels sprouts crostini with ricotta, honey, and preserved lemon, served at the bar or the table. When I first saw it on the menu, I had one of those I-could-have-had-a-V-8 moments…it’s such an obvious and lovely combination, I couldn’t believe I’d never thought to make it at home…but I certainly will soon.
  7. Of course, there are any number of restaurants serving up French fries that pair perfectly with a beer, but I’ll leave those for another “best of” list!

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