Wednesday, January 16, 2013

New Restaurant Wednesday: Kansas City Edition

What a view: The Kansas City, MO skyline from the top of the Liberty Memorial. 

A few weeks ago, I visited Ruthie for a long weekend in Kansas City (KC), MO. The last time I visited KC, I was a wee diva and traveling with my family, so I was excited to see what the “City of Fountains” had to offer me as an adult and as a foodie. Aside from touring the National World War I Museum and visiting the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, (hello extensive Picasso collection and Shuttlecocks) Ruthie took me on a culinary tour of KC that included Vienna, Paris, and even a little sufferin’ Succotash.

As a former student who ate and drank my way through studied my way through Austria, I’m always ready to take a walk down memory strasse. With traditional dishes like Wienerschnitzel and Käsekrainer served with a bottle of Salzburger Stiegl, I felt right at home at Kansas City’s Grünauer. The interior space has the feel of an Austrian ski chalet with exposed wood beams and dark wood accents. And while I enjoyed my Traditional Wienerschnitzel, I wish I would have opted for Ruthie’s Hungarian Beef Gulasch which was hearty, rich, and sehr gute!

Aixois Bistro (55th Street location)
By far, my favorite stop on our tour de Kansas City was the cozy and classy French bistro, Aixois. Named after the region in southern France where owner Emmanuel Langlade called home, Aixois is the epitome of Kansas City joie de vivreWe started with the cheese plate which came with an assortment of imported cheeses, fresh fruit, and the tastiest little sampling of jam. If you’re stopping by Aixois before a visit to one of Kansas City’s 200 fountains (as the Parisians would do) or if you’re simply enjoying lunch like we did, the cheese plate is an absolute must. After two glasses of Vieux Papes Vin Blanc each (as the Parisians would say, When in France…or Missouri), my lunch of soupe á l’oignon gratinée (traditional French Onion Soup with Cheese Crouton) and Croque Monsieur Sandwich arrived and it was très délicieux.
 A cozy French bistro in the heart of KC? We'll drink to that!

If Aixois is my top spot for dining in KC, then The Rieger (as locals know it) comes in a very close second. From the moment we were greeted by the friendly hostess to the open kitchen concept to our delicious dinner, this historic restaurant in Kansas City’s Crossroads Art District lived up to my lofty expectations. While the restaurant is fairly new, opening in 2010, the building itself has been part of downtown KC since 1915 and many of the interior features are original to the building. Using local and seasonal ingredients, chef and owner Howard Hanna has brought this “Kansas City classic forward in time” with such dishes as my dinner entrée, the Winter Squash Fettuccine. From my perfectly concocted French 75 to our superb service, The Rieger is proving that it will be as much a part of KC’s future as it was its past.     

*No photos of this meal exist because we were too busy eating and drinking and loving the service at The Rieger.

Succotash Catering and Bruncheonette
Succotash is every hipster’s dream: Organic food, repurposed furniture and funky wall art. Ruthie took me to Succotash for my last meal in KC – Sunday brunch. Located in the Dutch Hill neighborhood, Succotash is the essence of the “farm to table” movement. Their eggs are delivered weekly from a local Amish community, their produce comes from a farm in Wathena, Kansas, and their coffee is brewed at Oddly Correct Coffee Roasters in KC. Owner Beth Barden is a former sex education teacher and Succotash, originally opened in 2001 in the River Market district, is a reflection of her sassy and bold approach. Ruthie enjoyed her breakfast sandwich, but my Wild Blueberry Pancakes were enough to feed the entirety of the Jackson County Juvenile Detention Center – Succotash’s neighbor (a word to the wise – order the short stack!). 


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