Margarita's Mexican

KC's Best Mexican Restaurant

3 Ways to enjoy

lunch, happy hour or dinner

Serving original family recipes

favorite in Kansas City since 1985

Margarita’s Salsas

available in your favorite grocery stores

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

Downtown’s Almost Secret Breakfast Spot

If you’re not a visitor to Kansas City and staying there, your first thought for breakfast may not be the historic President Hotel’s Walnut Room. But whether you ARE a visitor to K.C. or a resident, your first thought should be, let’s eat here. This beautifully redone hotel opened in 1926, closed in 1980, and then reopened as a Hilton in 2005. The memorabilia in the hallway downstairs make it worth your trip all by itself in my opinion. The restoration of the Walnut Room to “high 40s glamour” makes it easy for that eggs benedict or the standard American breakfast or the omelette (that’s the French spelling you know) you’ve created for yourself to be enjoyed. That’s after the coffee has been delivered – my first priority in a breakfast place. 

I tend to go to divish places for breakfast so this was a nice diversion. The problem with the aforementioned dives is that the coffee is always bad. In fancy places, the meal is always pretty expensive. I think I’ve found an alternative here – pancakes are ten bucks and full meals range all the way to steak and eggs for $15 – pretty darn good for any decent restaurant, much less a hotel. Coffee arrived quickly, with the cream pitcher beside it, hot, good, and replenished frequently. Ahhhh. 

Seeing no biscuits and gravy on the menu, my portly companion opted for the buffet where they did reside, along with scrambled eggs (could have had them made to order), bacon, sausage, fruit and lots of other good stuff. That was $16.95. 
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The hotel is on the National Register of Historic Places (one of five or six hotels around K.C.) and it’s just a fun place to see. Don’t forget to eat breakfast, the most important meal of the day, there, too.

Providence New American Kitchen
1329 Baltimore 
Kansas City, MO 64105 
Ph. (816) 303-1686 
Located in The President Hotel

Friday, September 30, 2016

Celebrate our 20th with a $35 3-Course Menu!

From October 1st thru October 20th we are celebrating our 20th Anniversary for Sullivan's Steakhouse nationwide. We have a special menu we are featuring in order to celebrate 20 years.

On Thursday October 20th we will be having a finale party in our bar and lounge, so save the date!!

Check out their menu! 
4501 W. 119th Street 
Leawood, KS 66209 
Ph. 913-345-0800 

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Meet Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market new pastry chef!

Welcome Frederica!

Frederica has lived in the United States for four years. She is from Castelvetrano Sicily and comes from a family of cooks. Frederica was raised on an Italian farm that produced Olive Oil

Delicious Pastries 

Frederica began cooking at a very young age and is passionate about food.  Before arriving in America, she worked in Milan and Venice.
Her pastries represent every corner of Italy and are baked in the Pezzettino kitchen several days each week.

Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market
2101 Broadway Blvd. 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-612-8333 

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Herb Crusted Venison Loin

One Great Dish VII:  As told by Martin Heuser

By Chris Becicka

Chef Martin Heuser at Affäre is known for, among other dishes, his savory meats of all kinds, from sausages to bison, usually with a new German flair.  So when I received this recipe, there were two things I thought of immediately.  The hardest one is, not being a hunter like he is, where does one get venison? Turns out McGonigle’s often has it, or will order for you, as will several of the local butchers around town. 

The second thing:  like all great chefs, he weighs rather than cups.  But I’ve put both in so you don’t have to translate. He tells me this is a simple recipe, one even I could probably do.  I think it’d be perfect this fall!

Herb Crusted Venison Loin (printed version)

Herb crust:
250 g butter (soft-room temperature) [1 c. butter]
1 egg
1 yolk
100 g mie de pain (bread crumbs from white bread without crust) [2 cups]
1 tablespoon each of finely chopped rosemary, thyme, parsley and chives

Whip butter in mixer to pomade stage (white and fluffy), add eggs, herbs and mie de pain. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Season venison with salt and pepper. Sear venison loin in hot frying pan with oil for about 3 minutes on both sides. Remove meat and cover with the herb crust, about 3/8 inch thick. Bake at 400ᴼF until the crust is golden brown (about 5-8 minutes). Let the meat rest for 5-10 minutes before slicing it

This meat goes well with a wild mushroom medley or a blueberry gastrique.

Blueberry gastrique:
3.5 oz sugar [1/2 cup]
2 oz red wine vinegar [1/4 cup]
1/2 cup frozen or fresh blueberries
Caramelize sugar, deglaze with vinegar. Add blueberries and let it cook until blueberries are broken down to a slightly syrupy consistency.

Despite the fact venison is usually a stronger flavored and tougher meat, it also occurs to me this recipe might work on a pork loin.  Or, there’s always the option of just going to Affäre and letting him fix it for me!  And if you’d like to know more about Chef Heuser, check him out in my earlier post.

1911 Main street 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-298-6182  

Friday, September 9, 2016

The Meaning of Local in KC

The Meaning of Local in KC

Anyone who has eaten a home-grown tomato from his or her own garden knows at least one advantage of locally raised food-taste. Big science, big business, big farming has changed the way we eat, often not for the better.  In many ways we don’t even think about it: for instance, strawberries and bananas year round?  Fresh caught shrimp in the dead of winter?  New potatoes in February?

There’s both good and bad to that source-ability. And there is another way. Perhaps.
Gift baskets of heirloom tomatoes from Kurlbaum’s Heirloom Tomato Farm

For years now, we’ve all been hearing about all the reasons to only eat locally produced foodstuffs.  And by that, people usually mean food grown in smaller farms, outside, and preferably without pesticides, hormones, or any of the nasties that have made our food bigger, easier to transport longer distances, cheaper usually -- and probably more tasteless.

For restaurants in the Midwest, it’s a dilemma.  Kansas City chefs want great tasting ingredients to make better tasting dishes all year round.  But what if at least six months of the year, just not that much is growing?  Is the local food mania largely more hype than reality?  Is it just a California dream?

The Meaning of Local

For starters, you need to know that “local” has not been precisely defined. Five hundred miles and truckable?  Ten miles?  Many seem to have settled on a 100-mile radius.  From 12th and Main in Kansas City, that gets us past Topeka but not to Manhattan on the west; not to Columbia on the south but does include Sedalia and Marshall; to Clinton on the east; and to Falls City but not Omaha on the north.  Not a huge change of climate or land in that definition and NOT a giant variety of foods.  We’re good on flour, though.   
But local devotees, or “locavores,” mostly TRY to eat food that is local, sustainable, and healthier (due to its typical organic nature) than packaged foods or fruits, veggies, and meats from all over the country.  The word didn’t even exist before 2005 and in 2007 was chosen as the “Word of the Year” by the Oxford American dictionary, just demonstrating how fast this trend has grown.  Martin Woods, an executive chef for PB&J Restaurants at Newport Grill and Paradise Diner, says his guests are so much more educated today, they ask for local foods, and “It will never go back to what it was.”  Local is here to stay.

Hitching Up to the Local Bandwagon

Eating local is really a dilemma for starters, due to our location. Our growing season is short; our weather conditions are harsh.  Woods points out that sourcing local can be really challenging – especially if your restaurant is more than 20 seats.  He recently did a dinner at Powell Gardens – which was comparatively simple to do given their plethora of fresh produce.  But like the majority of restaurants, most of us don’t can, preserve, or freeze large quantities of foods in season that will see us through the winter.  We don’t have root cellars.  We already throw away copious amounts of food.  According to the United Nations Environmental Programme, in the U.S., organic waste is the second highest component of landfills, which are the largest source of methane emissions and 30-40% of the food supply is wasted, equaling more than 20 pounds of food per person per month.  Locavores try not to waste food.
Going local at CHARISSE:  Everything on the plate is locally sourced –  Duroc pork tenderloin with Roots,Fruits & Greens Farm onions, potatoes and herbs; the beans are from Holland's Organic Garden.

An additional reason locavores join the movement is the effect of greenhouse gas emissions.  They want to reduce the environmental effect of their food – transportation over long distances which contributes to pollution and climate change.  But these claims have to be carefully weighed – for instance, some studies have demonstrated that trucking may have less effect then trying to grow organically in a greenhouse.
Another important rationale is that people want the money they spend to improve their local economy.  The number you often hear is that farmers average 20 cents per dollar while the rest goes for transport, packaging, processing, refrigeration and marketing. If you’re buying your veggies from a farmer, those costs are hugely reduced and he gets more the money himself and can pay his employees more.  And the thinking goes, as the farmland remains profitable, urban sprawl is held back, at least a little.  Spend local, stay local is a huge economic incentive.

Smaller, local farms who sell within a small area often tend to use less pesticide and chemicals even if they do not tout organic – and this is in contrast to the large, commercial farms.  To put this in perspective, there were just over four million farms in the United States in 1959, and that number had been halved by 2011.  The trend continues today. But farm size has exploded as farms have consolidated and industrialized.  This may make food cheaper as it eliminates farms and farmers, but it also has created a system in the long run that may not be the best for our world, at least according to some.  

Paying Attention to the Locavorish Persuasion in Your Restaurant Choices

So the reasons for eating local as much as you can are pretty persuasive.  But how do you do that in restaurants?  It’s not as hard as you think.  You can do it if you:

Tend to buy foods you know are in season around here.  This means white asparagus dishes from Affäre in May or heirloom tomatoes in July at JJ’s (from Powell Gardens who supplies many local restaurants) or Classic Cup or Pig & Finch (Kurlbaum’s), or scrumptious peach dishes from Café Trio co-owner Chris Youngers’ tree in summer.

Ask your server where the food is from and look for them on menus.  The better restaurants’ staff will know.  Waldo Pizza uses The Local Pig for several meats and Scimeca’s for sausages, while Chef/Owner Martin Heuser of Affäre buys his bison from the Lazy D Bison Ranch in Westmoreland, Kansas, about two hours west of here, just outside that 100 mile boundary.

Get to know some local names like Farm to Market bread (Ruins Pub, Providence, Ophelia’s) or Benish's Bakery who makes the biscotti for Pizzabella. Or Green Dirt Farms for sheep’s milk cheese and yogurt (Harvey’s, Westside Local, JJ’s, Café Provence, Affäre or almost anywhere with a great cheese board) or  Campo Lindo free-range chickens at Story, Pierpont’s, Room 39, Classic Cup, Providence.  One cool note:  you can find these providers in some grocery stores as well.

If you find a great product out there, tell your favorite restaurant(s) about it.  It could be the tortillas from La Fonda El Taquito served at District Pour House or the cheesecake from Ronnie D’s at JJ’s or rum cake from Jude’s at Café Trio.  Scimeca’s famous Italian sausage (since 1935) or Cupini’s homemade pasta  or Louisburg Cider for instance, can now be found in some restaurants.  Smart restaurateurs are always looking for the best providers and sometimes they are from outside the restaurant but still inside the area. We’re pretty sure that’s why so many places began serving then local Boulevard Beer and certainly the surge of local craft beers speaks to the same mentality.  And don’t forget the now rather large number of distilleries around town.

• When you’ve enjoyed something local off a menu, thank the manager, chef or owner.  Tell him or her that it’s important to you that they are sourcing as close to K.C. as possible.  That just increases their efforts to continually find closer-to-home foods, which is not always an easy task.  Every manager or chef in this town listens to their guests if they want to stay in business.

There are, of course, many other restaurants who source as much as they can locally.  Finding those sources is yet another challenging task of executive chefs.

Where Does “Local” Go in the Midwestern Winter?

Brandon Strick, managing partner of The Westside Local, puts it simply: “Wintertime is tough.”  Since not everything can be sourced locally, he does use local purveyors like Liberty Fruit and may focus more dishes on mushrooms which are available all year from Wakarusa Farm or hydroponic or micro greens from Two Sisters in Lawrence.  “There are good alternatives now,” he says happily.  (But it’s still tough.)

There are “hoop houses” which are basically greenhouses without glass – an alternative to permanent structures.  These are created usually of PVC pipe or galvanized steel poles with a special greenhouse grade plastic covering them.  They can be completely enclosed or not.  A farmer like John Goode of Goode Acres Farm in Wathena, Kansas (near St. Joseph) can manage the climate inside, protecting produce from varmints of all kinds and controlling the temperature, thus extending the season.   During winter, he also sells specialty fire woods.  Some local farmers also have greenhouses.  And some, like Kurlbaum’s Heirloom Tomato Farm in Kansas City, Kansas, have decided to simply live with an extremely short growing season and even shorter selling season.

Winter is a good time for heartier meals.  A local meats distributor like Arrowhead Specialty Meats delivers both local and even international game and meats year-round.   Steve’s Meat Market in DeSoto, now in its third generation, has been providing local meats and poultry since the 40s in their shop, at markets, and to restaurants.  The steakhouses, like 801 Chophouse or Sullivan’s or Hereford House, as do the barbeque places like Jack Stack and most of the better restaurants, use meats and poultry from the region.  Fish (other than lake) may be a different story, but given the transportation available today, it is at least still fresh here.  Restaurants look for local companies as either distributors or end-product suppliers, too, like Roasterie Coffee or DiCapo Foods Italian cookies or taco shells from Perez Food Products or Liberty Fruit Company, all Kansas City family based.

The End of the Story

Living in the Midwest is clearly more limiting than California. Duh. But no one place can really supply everything we eat, unless we limit and change our food habits and cravings drastically. No coffee?  No orange juice? No chocolate? Yikes. 

It’s daunting to contemplate a truly local farm to table dedication in this environment – and think what it must have been like even in pioneer days when food came only by river and horse. Or you shot, caught, or trapped it yourself.  But for any number of good reasons, we should do more than fantasize about eating local, even if we don’t go all the way to becoming true locavores.   

Don't call it California dreamin' though, because in Kansas City, farm or ranch-to-table is reality.

Uncommon Local Foods...

We’re listing just a few – there really are many products you can find in stores, markets, 
grocery stores, and of course, great restaurants.


Goddard Farms goat cheese

Green Dirt Farm cheeses and yogurts 

Ever so many barbeque sauces

Shatto milk, ice cream,
 cheese, butter

Local Pig meats and sausages

Farm to Market breads

Borgman’s Farmstead Dairy for goat cheese, caramel, 

Peaceful Hills Farm (dairy, pork, eggs)

Strawberry Hill povitica 

Chocolates from Christopher Elbow, Annedore’s or Andrés

Goode Acres Farm

ValoMilk or Chase’s Cherry Mash 

Local and Hermann, MO wines 

25 or so local beers

Holladay Distillery for bourbon

Tom’s Town Distillery for gin, vodka, whisky, rum 

J. Rieger & Company’s whiskey, vodka, gin 

Check out  

Local Stars...

Lots of restaurants get some items locally.  But if you’d like to eat mostly local, be sure to put these luminaries on your list.

Blue Bird Bistro
Café Provence
Café Verona
Classic Cup
The Farmhouse
Room 39
Webster House
The Westside Local

#KC #Local #food #products

Sunday, September 4, 2016

7th Annual OKTOBERFEST - Grunauer


Happy Wanderers

Friday/Saturday, Sept 30th/October 1st


Festhaus Musikanten 1-4:30pm



The Bavarians - 6-9pm

The Happy Wanderers - 9-11:30



Festhaus Musikanten 1-4:30
The Polka Dots - 9-11:30

Techno Terry
101 West 22nd St. 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-283-3234 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

What's going on in September!

What's going on in September! 

Harvest Dinner at JCCC

This local foods dinner supports sustainability scholarships will showcase products from our campus farm.

Friday, September 2, 2016

Regnier Center - Capitol Federal Conference Center on the JCCC Campus (map)
6 p.m. – Reception
7 p.m. – Dinner and Program
Free Concert following - Nerman Museum of Contemporary Art Lawn
Purchase Tickets


2016 menu is inspired by historical recipes, ingredients and traditional preparations from the Kansas City region. Menu will be dependent upon the harvest and updated as they are confirmed.
Three courses will be prepared by Chef Aaron Prater, JCCC Hospitality Management Program.
1st Course - Mixed Green Salad with Campus Farm vegetables and local grain crisps
Main Course - Smoked Bison Tamale with local Sorghum BBQ sauce
Dessert - Mixed Berry Cobbler from JCCC's Open Petal Farm
Dietary Restrictions - email with any dietary restrictions or requests.
Dr. Andrea Broomfield, JCCC English Professor and author of "Kansas City: A Food Biography," will make brief comments about the courses and Kansas City culinary history." Read more about Kansas City Food History.
$55 per person
$440 per table (seats 8)
$25/ticket, $200/table will benefit a scholarship fund for JCCC students pursuing sustainability agriculture.
Email Sustainability for more information.


September 2-4
Kansas City Irish Fest
Crown Center Square and Musical Theater Heritage (Crown Center Shops,
Level 3). Commemorate Kansas City's proud Celtic heritage with three days
of music, dancing and exhibits. The festival will feature more than two
dozen locally and nationally known bands, playing traditional music and
Celtic rock. Irish comics perform at Musical Theater Heritage. Festival
hours: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m., Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m., Saturday and Sunday.
Call 816-561-7555 or visit for ticket information.


Evita is coming to Kansas City!

One of the theater's most famous and enduring plays is the musical story of Evita! It's a legendary tale of romance, politics, womanhood, the struggle for life and fame.

All this is captured by writer Tim Rice and composer Andrew Lloyd Webber in the story of Evita that's being performed by one of America's leading theatrical groups, The Kansas City Repertory Theater. The show dates are September 9th to October 2nd. Performances are nightly, Tuesday through Saturday, with two performances on Sundays.

We're delighted to let you know that Piropos Restaurant located in Briarcliff Village will also be at each performance offering for sale our famous Argentine empanadas before the show and during intermission. There'll be a typical Buenos Aires food cart just in front of the main Spencer Theatre entrance where Piropos will have a selection of Argentina's favorite "finger food". We hope you'll join us for great entertainment and music, a magnificent theater environment on the beautiful UMKC campus and a Taste of Argentina.

For ticket and performance information click here or call 816-235-2700

Jax Fish House and Oyster Bar will add 13 new items and two cocktails to its happy hour menu on Labor Day, Sept. 5.

2016 Festival of the Lost Township + Brewtopia Tickets


September 10-11
Kansas City Chalk & Walk Festival
Crown Center Square. Artists start with empty squares of pavement and by
the end of the weekend, these squares will be transformed into magnificent
pieces of artwork. Open 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. on Saturday, 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. on
Sunday. No admission fee. Visit for more
information. 816-274-8444.

Monday, August 29, 2016

Tour the Farmer’s Market with an Expert

Chinese, Please 

Last week I was fortunate to go on a tour of the Chinatown Food Market on the north side of the City Market. What made it wonderful was that the tour guide was Teresa Ng, co-founder with husband/chef Richard, of six Bo Lings restaurants. We learned lots about foods I would never buy (a skills issue I fear) but certainly enjoy tasting. We tasted moon cakes, a special celebratory treat and a small round fruit, about the size of a large grape, that you peeled and popped into your mouth called a longan fruit. But the best part was still to come. Les Dames d’Escoffier Kansas City arranged for the tour and meal. 

 But Chef/owner Richard Ng made our meal fabulous. Up at the crack of dawn, he scoured the market for the best, fresh ingredients. The edamame were in bunches on the stem – I’ve only ever seen the ones previously frozen. There is a “tastable” difference. A vegetable soup filled with veggies and mushrooms sang a savory song to us. The tiny round eggplants and the okra each with their special sauces, the garlic spinach – ah, just the start. The steamed flounder, the shrimp with crispy noodles (almost like ramen to me), a new recipe they’re working on for the restaurant with braised pork, kabocha (a sister squash) chunks, leeks, and other veggies, which we all said they should start serving, and more – it just kept coming. I hated that I could only eat such small portions – of course of everything – because I just ran out of stomach room. 

 The City Market’s Bo Lings is casual and entertaining. You can sit outside in their covered patio and watch overloaded suburbanites trek by on the weekends. Getting there now is easier as the streetcar can dump you off right in front of the restaurant. No parking issues. 

Even if you’re not a part of a special group like we were, the Ngs and their staff will treat you in a friendly, courteous manner and your food will be great – as befitting a local “chain” that’s been around since the 80s. 

Just this blogger’s opinion but If you’ve eaten at any of the other Bo Lings (Plaza, Corinth, Zona Rosa, and two in Overland Park), you really should try this one, too! Please.

#Chinese #Food #Restaurant #KC #KansasCity

Thursday, August 25, 2016

Buy your KC Beer Fest Tickets!

Flying Saucer presents the 8th annual KC Beer Fest!
Enjoy more than 200 quality hand-crafted beers procured from local breweries and others around the world, rare keg tappings, games, live music and gourmet food booths from 3-6pm!

GA tickets: are $35 and include a 2016 souvenir tasting glass and access into the festival with unlimited samples.

VIP tickets: are $60 and include access into the festival an hour earlier beginning at 2pm, an exclusive VIP hospitality area with a gourmet food booth from 2-4pm and private restrooms, a 2016 souvenir tasting glass and t-shirt, and access into the festival with unlimited samples.

A portion of the proceeds from KC Beer Fest benefit genKC’s work in Early Childhood Education in Kansas City.


Monday, August 22, 2016

Chef Spotlight – Martin Heuser

Chef Spotlight – Martin Heuser

So born in Austria as the 9th generation of chefs in a family restaurant, beginning at 16 where he served an apprenticeship away from home, earning a master’s degree, emigrating to Vancouver in 1994 where he worked in a French restaurant, working his way up to exec chef in Quebec, moving to the Sheraton in Vancouver, then serving as the Westin’s Executive Chef who moved him to K.C.

That’s a long, incomplete sentence.  But lucky us.  In Kansas City, he decided to stop, stay and open his own restaurant:  Affäre.

I’m talking about chef/co-owner (with wife Katrin) Martin Heuser. 
I spoke with him recently and learned some interesting stuff about him, his life, and his new German flair restaurant.  It’s not traditional German at all – their website does say it correctly, “local fresh cuisine with a German twist.” There are a few famous dishes tweaked, like jägerschnitzel or his fabulous home-made brats, but the menu is extensive, and creative, deliciousness.  Once I had a seven or so course meal there in which there was bison in every course.  Amazing.

We talked about transitioning from employee to owner and he said there was much less to worry about as a hotel chef.  “Now I have more issues, including accounting and training.  It’s more challenging.  And also more interesting.”  Open since 2012, his menu, approach, and presentation has changed quite a bit from when they opened, as he began with more of a “tapas” approach. 
He’s thrilled about the streetcar line completion, after months (years?) of tribulation, for there is definitely more traffic.  As his restaurant is on Main, right on the line, he endured months of no parking, construction blocking his entrance, and much confusion.  Now that’s cleared up, business has rebounded, and he is serving a terrific brunch menu on Saturdays and Sundays.  “People seem to be more willing to brunch here, rather than lunch here,” he laughs, noting that he is no longer open for lunch.

Chef Heuser has always been about local, hunting, and using every part of the animal.  He makes his own sausage; his meats are always fresh. He buys bison near Manhattan at Big D Bison Ranch. He barbequed over a thousand lobsters in six weeks this last year.  His white asparagus special is Kansas City famous in May.  In September, look for his wagyu beef (from Nebraska and Australia) party.  He’s going to do barbeque.  In August, it’s oysters.  In October, it’s venison or game meat.  Whatever it is, it’s always inventive.  And I can say honestly, it’s delicious.    
Bison tenderloin, morel crust, sweet corn emulsion 

I’ve had lunches here, dinners, a great happy hour, but never had brunch.  That’s next.  I am hoping to have it on their very secluded, greeny patio which so few know about. It’s a little, quiet enclave back there. And I love the fact there’s two parking lots just north of the restaurant which, if I don’t take the streetcar, still keep it simple.

Citizen/chef Heuser is a definite addition to Kansas City.  If you haven’t been here yet, go now.  If you have, go again.  I may see you there.

1911 Main street 
Kansas City, MO 64108 
Ph. 816-298-6182 

Affäre Menu, Reviews, Photos, Location and Info - Zomato