Tag Archives: bluestem

Join the Westend Stampede This Saturday

This weekend, merchants of Westport’s west end are collaborating on a fun event to showcase the great business of the area and to raise money for charity. Running roughly from Roanoke to State Line along Westport Road, this part of town houses some wonderful restaurants including two of my favorites, Bluestem and Potpie.

But the rest of the lineup is pretty impressive too: The Filling Station, Cupini’s, Boozefish, The Point, Recordbar and the Westport Flea Market will offer food and drink specials for attendees as well as tastings of “a new beer from Boulevard Brewery.”

I like that the westenders are establishing an identity for themselves distinct from the more youthful, raucous and occasionally douchey vibe of some of their neighbors to the east. More importantly, this is an affordable, small scale charity event that seems like it will be fun and low key.

You can purchase tickets ahead of time at the Recordbar website or in person (cash only) at the Recordbar or Boozefish.

KCPT’s Local Supper Overcomes the Elements

Last Thursday, local PBS affiliate KCPT hosted one of many food and drink-oriented benefit dinners. The action took place at the Roasterie plant, underneath a huge tent that protected diners from the steady drizzle that fell most of the evening. This was also my first visit to the Roasterie and I was duly impressed.

KCPT Local Supper

The big draw for me was the cooking of Michael Smith, Colby Garrelts and Megan Garrelts who teamed up to provide appetizers, dinner and dessert. While not much to look at, Smith’s Pan Con Tomate & Cured Ham starter was delicious. If I didn’t know better I’d call it bruschetta, which normally doesn’t float my boat, but the deep, rich tomato brought this to a new level.

Dinner was buffet fare with no real revelatory dishes, but it was well-prepared and tasty for the most part. Colby Garrelts’ hangar steak was perfectly cooked and served with sweated onions. His brussel sprouts were great too.

KCPT Local Supper

Representatives from Boulevard Brewing and the Missouri Wine & Grape Board were on hand, plying everyone with alcohol. I had a few glasses of wine and recall liking the Norton premium claret and Chardonel from Le Bourgeois winery in Rocheport quite well.

The Roasterie also had a mobile coffee service trailer set up in an Airstream in one corner of the tent. Diners could saunter up to the window as if they were on the street and order coffee. This was a cool touch.

This dinner was pretty much my introduction to the benefit dinner scene here in Kansas City. There are opportunities galore to attend events like these. The ticket prices vary but are fairly high; that’s the nature of the beast. But benefits do provide an opportunity to meet other food-minded people in town and to eat good food prepared by great chefs.

Dining out for Valentine’s Day in Kansas City

In the dominant American culture, couples are almost required to eat dinner out on Valentine’s Day. Picking a restaurant can be daunting but Kansas City chefs have really kicked it into high gear this year with special menus, prix fixe affairs and little extras to entice local diners. Take a gander at some of the options.

The northland’s Trezo Mare has a very good deal going for Valentine’s Day, a 4 course menu for $75 per couple. Actually it is a five course meal if you count the spanakopita amuse-bouche. This place does seafood quite well, so the seared scallops with cauliflower puree and pomegranate gastrique seems quite intriguing, not to mention the presence of raw oysters on the appetizer list.

One this city’s finest restaurants, Blue Stem, is offering a 3 course meal for $65. Considering how much money you could spend there on a normal night, this has all the makings of a steal. You will need to sign up for one of three seatings (6, 7:30 and 9 p.m.) or you can take your chances by stopping by the lounge which operates on a first come, first served basis. They are also hosting a Valentine’s Day tea on Saturday for $25 per person.

Classy Korean joint Sobahn in Mission will be closed for regular business but is open to customers who RSVP for their multi-course Valentine’s Day extravaganza. They offer 4 courses for $25, 5 courses for $30 or 7 courses for $40. Meat, vegetarian and seafood preferences will be honored. If I was inclined to head out on Sunday, this is the place I would try.

Swoon-worthy Cafe De Amis in Parkville has a nice, special menu (PDF) for the holiday including fresh oysters, several cocktails and a number of rich, French inspired entrees and appetizers. This could make for a very romantic getaway for the evening. But bring your wallet: entrees range from $53-85.

McCormick & Schmick’s on the Plaza is jumping on the affordable bandwagon with a 3 course Valentine’s menu (PDF) for $29.95. Diners can choose between filet mignon or lobster tail, and between crabcake, salmon or shrimp which, along with vegetable and salad sounds like a mighty fine if traditional spread.

Also for the plaza-bound, Re:Verse has a 4 course Valentine’s meal for $60 per person, $70 with wine pairing. You get a choice between 2 items for each course.

On Martini Corner, The Drop’s Kelli Daniels has put together a delightful five-course meal in memory of her chef father who passed away this time last year. The menu is $100 per person and will be the only food offered on Sunday evening. This is sure to be a tasty and emotional evening.

Oft-overlooked Californos in Westport is offering its Valentine’s Day menu on both Saturday and Sunday. If you are feeling more adventurous you can shell out $10 for their roaring 20s themed St. Valentine’s Day Massacre Masquerade bash on Friday, which will feature gaming tables, appetizers and a costume contest.

Popular Tapas joint La Bodega has a four course menu with a selection of soup or salad, tapa, entree and dessert for $60 per person. Seafood is well-represented here with samon, clams, lobster, scallops and swordfish all making an appearance.

I admit to being lulled by the delicious sounding menu at Pierpont’s in Union Station. While prix fixe at $65 a head, you can choose among tuna, filet mignon, salmon or lobster for an entree. The Valentine’s menu is also available on Friday and Saturday.

Chaz at the Raphael Hotel off the Plaza has another set price menu at $60 per person. It gets extra points for names and descriptions that tread the line between jaunty and cheesy. Courses are titled Beginning, Prelude, Embrace and Endearment. Also, menage a trois for dessert anyone?

This list doesn’t even begin to enumerate the Valentine’s Day possibilities. Some other options include Michael Smith, NoRTH, Bristol Seafood Grill, The Majestic, Lidia’s, JP Wine Bar, Tannah’s, not to mention all the other fine restaurants simply offering their regular menus.

Regardless of where you choose to eat on Valentine’s Day, be sure to call ahead and make a reservation. This holiday is stressful enough without having to go hungry for lack of planning.

originally published on KCFreePress.com, 2010