Highest rated barbecue restaurant

in the country by the Zagat

4 Locations

Remarkable barbecue experiences every day

New Location!

Restaurant opening in Lee’s Summit, MO

Kansas City barbecue at its finest

mouth-watering side dishes

Monday, January 26, 2015

Chateau Avalon Specials

February is the perfect time of year to remind that special someone just how much they are loved and appreciated!  What could be a better gift than a romantic night away at the Chateau Avalon? So celebrate the “Month of Love” by giving the gift of romance! Trust us...she'll love you on Valentine’s Day, and again when you stay with us!
Book your stay by January 31 and stay by February 28 to get the best possible prices!

  • $50 off any Adventure Room plus receive a $10 hotel credit
  • OR $60 off any Luxury Room plus receive a $10 hotel credit
  • Hotel Credits can be used for Romantic Packages, Spa Treatments, food & beverages
  • Use discount code "LOVE" when booking online, or call us at 913-596-6000.

Sunday, January 4, 2015

Flourless Chocolate Cake - Ophelia's Restaurant

One Great Dish #1:  When Easy Just Happens to Be Delicious
This is one of Chef Robert Stearns’ recipes from Ophelia’s Restaurant and Inn.  If you’re slightly addicted to chocolate (and if you’re not, I am so sorry for you!), here is something slightly (?) decadent to end a dinner with a flourish.  Or begin one.

Flourless Chocolate Cake
4 oz. fine quality bittersweet chocolate
1 stick (1/2 cup) unsalted butter
3/4 cup sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup unsweetened cocoa powder
Preheat oven to 375°, line baking pan and butter the paper.  
Chop chocolate into small pieces. In a double boiler or metal bowl set over sauce pan of barely simmering water, melt chocolate with butter, stirring, until smooth. Remove from heat and whisk in sugar.
Add eggs and whisk well. Sift 1/2 cup cocoa powder over chocolate mixture and whisk until well combined. Pour batter into pan and bake for 25 minutes or until top has formed a thin crust. Cool cake in pan for 10 minutes and invert on to serving plate.
Optional: Cover cake with warm ganache or whipped cream.

I used only slightly sweetened whipped cream when I made this last Saturday night for a dinner with friends; we swooned on cue.  Truly.

Ophelia's Restaurant
201 North Main
Independence, MO 64050
Ph. 816- 461-4525

Saturday, December 27, 2014

Salmon with fennel in crust and sauce with anise


2 puff pastry rolls
1.5 pd fresh salmon
4 slices of raw ham or prosciutto
2 fennel
1 shallot
1 lemon
15 cl of white wine
1 egg 100 g butter
10 cl cream
4 pinches of anise
salt, pepper

Melt the chopped fennel in a little butter with 2 pinches of anise and lemon juice. Salt and pepper, and cook 20 minutes. Add the cream and let reduce.

Preheat the oven to 420. Fill the pan with puff pastry, place the slice ham in rosace, half of the salmon, the fennel and the left of the salmon. Cover another with the second puff pastry, cut to the size of the pie. Brush with beaten egg and bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 360 and cook for 35 more minutes.

Reduce the white wine with chopped shallot. Filter and bring to boil. Remove from the heat and add the butter and pepper.


Tuesday, December 23, 2014

Spotlight on: Chef Bobby Stearns of Ophelia’s

You probably don’t think of Independence Square as the dining mecca of the Kansas City metro area.  But one talented guy is doing his best to make you think of taking the short trek to Independence if you’ve not been there before. 

Chef Bobby Stearns has been serving up fine cuisine in very contemporary surroundings at Ophelia’s for the last two plus years.  He started really young (junior high!) and worked in several restaurants in every possible capacity, from washing dishes to serving to frying.  The works, in other words.  That includes corporate owned restaurants, a country club, local places from KT’s Fried Chicken to head chef of Taste in Overland Park.  He says a good chef needs all that experience in all those different places – they are where he learned attention to detail, cooking clean as he goes, and meticulous organization.  

He also went to Broadmoor Technical Center in high school where he studied in their culinary program.  From there, he attended the Johnson County Hospitality and Culinary Academy.   Basically, he’s been cooking since he’s 14 – and another 14 years later, he says he has no regrets.  “I like the variety and the creativity” in “cheffing” at Ophelia’s he says.   “There’s always something going on, with seasonal menus, brunches, and special occasions. I am constantly creating new dishes for our extensive catering requests and now I’m working on all the menus for all our restaurants out here.” 

Christmas season is frenetic for this chef, so there’s not much time to indulge in his favorite sports.  When he does manage to kick back, he might be in his own kitchen, making a pasta dish as he watches football or basketball.  But he also says he’s REALLY happy if he’s being served and NOT cooking.  A self-proclaimed sports nut, he also admits to being fond of partying a bit in Westport or Power and Light.  But mostly, he works.

Growing up on the Kansas side, Chef Stearns had never been to Independence before taking a job there.  “We do get people from Blue Springs and Lee’s Summit all the time,” he says.  “Places like the Plaza and downtown are pretty corporate.  That’s fine.  But if people want something local, something different, they should come here and be surprised.”   

And if the 20 or 30 minute drive is somehow too long for you, you could reserve one of seven rooms and one suite at The Inn of Ophelia’s – it’s just up the stairs above the restaurant in this historic building.  But as Chef Bobby points out, the drive is only five or six songs away . . . or you could always call your mother on the way.

Ophelia's Restaurant & Inn
201 North Main
Independence, MO 64050
Ph. 816- 461-4525 

Thursday, December 4, 2014

Gaslight Grill December's Wine Dinner

Gaslight Grill

December's Wine Dinner
Cain Cuvee and Peppercorn Crusted Ribeye
Not your typical Napa Red Wine; no big, inky, oaky blockbuster here.  Our Cuvee is intended to sit lightly, refreshingly (dare I write, lovingly?) on your palate.  There is all the fruit that you could want, but the Cain Cuvee is not fruit juice.  It is, most assuredly, fine wine for serious wine-lovers who value complexity, balance and finish.  The Cain Cuvee is for those who know that wine doesn't have to be big to be good.

Paired with

14oz Certified Angus Beef Ribeye
Crusted with Green Peppercorns
Brandy Veal Demi Glaze with Rosemary Roasted Potato

Enjoy this pairing during the month of December for $50

          (913) 897-3540
               Reserve Now!

Monday, December 1, 2014

Twelve Days of Fondue!

Twelve Days of Fondue Deals

The Melting Pot

Monday, December 1
Ugly Holiday Sweater Night- Show us your most awful Holiday sweater!  Everyone wearing a Holiday sweater tonight will receive a card good for a free chocolate fondue on your next visit!

Tuesday, December 2
Free split of champagne with the purchase of 2 four-course combinations.

Wednesday, December 3
Sing your favorite holiday song and receive a prize!

Thursday, December 4
St. Jude double bonus… Donate $10 and receive two St. Jude $20 Donate and Dine Cards

Friday, December 5
Double bonus day!  Receive 2 $30 bonus certificates with the purchase of $100 in gift cards.

Saturday, December 6
50% off any bottle of wine with the purchase of any 2 four-course dinners

Sunday, December 7
We will be offering our Family Feast special all day – cheese fondue, entrée and chocolate fondue for $25 per person.

Monday, December 8
Girl’s night out ornament exchange

Tuesday, December 9
Groups of 6 or more will receive free chocolate with a four course dinner.

Wednesday, December 10
Purchase 2 retail items; get the 3rd free – special $5 holiday drink special

Thursday, December 11
St. Jude double bonus… Donate $10 and receive two St. Jude $20 Donate and Dine Cards

Friday, December 12
Ugly Holiday Sweater Night- Show us your most awful Holiday sweater!  Everyone wearing a Holiday sweater tonight will receive a card good for a free chocolate fondue on your next visit!

450 Ward Pkwy 
Kansas City, MO 64112 
Ph. 816-931-6358 

What’s in a Name? Or Word? Or Pronunciation? by Chris Becicka

In grade school, I was a voracious reader and I loved books where fancy people ate “hors de vors” before dinner.  It was years before my mom told me, laughing, that I meant hors d'œuvre and this was simply  “orderve.”  Thankfully, I’ve become a bit smarter the older I’ve gotten and the more I’ve eaten.  Still not sure I like someone laughing over my pronunciation, however.

Realistically in Kansas City, it’s probably not terribly necessary to know what poutine is (fat hand-cut fries, cheese curds, with hot gravy poured on top) or how to pronounce it (peu-tin, kinda like the Russian president) since we don’t live in Quebec.  (However, I just must add I can think of three or four restaurants and a food truck that do serve a mean poutine.  But then, I’ve never been to Quebec.)

Back to my point, have you ever felt intimidated, shy, or just plain reluctant to ask what something is in a restaurant?  Or worse, have you pretended you know, only to have your pronunciation tell the world, or at least your companions and your waiter, that you really don’t know what you’re talking about?  Or even still worse, just not order something for those reasons?  Sad to say, I’ve been on this trip with you.
Cioppino (cha peen oh) Italian fish stew with shellfish and tomatoes801 FISH

We at The Guide are determined to help you down that path more quickly than I have traveled it.  Some words in this article and boxes may make you shake your head, but believe me, we’ve talked to waiters about what they’ve heard and tried not to eye-roll about.    

Robert Gutierrez, senior professional staff member at The American Restaurant for the last 16 years, doesn’t ever roll his eyes because he knows how much there is to learn.  He says not only is food more sophisticated today and techniques more advanced and often even scientific, his patrons know more – thank you, Food Network.  He welcomes questions but when he sees the possibility of someone being uncomfortable with a food or technique, he readily explains.  “The server,” he says, “is the one relating to the diner’s needs and desires.  I learned long ago, at Jasper’s, to make the customer a guest in my home.  I’m their host and it’s my job to make them feel terrific.”  Most good waiters should have the same attitude – so ask away, diners.
Ceviche (sah veet shay) Raw fish marinated in lime or lemon appetizer

But if you still don’t want to ask, you could read.  One suggestion is The Food Lover’s Companion by Sharon and Ron Herbst which is available at Pryde’s in Westport – both the book and the store provide a great compilation of food related items.  This book has 6,700 words all defined and pronounced for you.  Every cook, too, should own it for all its useful information. 

Many foreign words have made their way into our eating compendium and I’ll not deny foreign language fluency could help many of us.  The French have contributed more than a soupçon (soup-saaw, means a little bit) of terminology.  Some of these words everyone knows now, like café which we’ve moved from just coffee to a small place which serves coffee along with other food.  Café au lait (kuh-fay oh-lay, coffee with steamed milk) is known to almost everyone originally due to New Orleans’ Café du Monde and later to Starbucks and other coffee shops.  Most know a baguette (bag-et) is a long crusty loaf of bread, à la carte (ah lah kahrt) means priced individually and à la mode of course is ice cream but really means “in the manner of.”  But quenelle (kuh-NELL, a 3 sided scoop of something soft enough to mold) hasn’t exactly made it in yet.  And, let’s be honest, fleur de sel (fler duh sel, flower of salt) sounds so much better than just large crystals of salt, even if they are hand harvested near a sea.

The Italians have sent us many, many terms other than pizza (peet-za) and pasta (pahz-tuh) and spaghetti (spa-getty). (Sorry, I’m really getting into this non-phonetic spelling.)  We now know lots of different kinds of pasta besides macaroni.  Rissoto (ruh soat oh) is a creamy rice dish that can be adapted a bunch of ways, but if they say they can have it out to you in five minutes, don’t order it.  It should be made from scratch each time.  Focaccia (foh cau she a) is a white pizza or flatbread.  Most of us learned minestrone (minnah-strone-ee) from Campbell’s vegetable soup cuz that’s what it is.  Semifreddo (semi-fraydoh), a group of half-frozen desserts, often similar to ice cream (or gelato (ja lot toe) I suppose). Oh, there’s so much more! 

I haven’t even gotten to Mexican additions we mostly know like empanada, flauta (flout ah), queso (kay so, white cheese), pozole (pah so lee), tortilla (tor tee ah) and ohsomany more.  Then there are words like ghee (khee, clarified butter) from India or borscht (boreshst, a beetroot soup) from Russia.  When you start looking, it’s amazing how many foreign words and dishes have become part of our culture. 

Techniques, methods, styles are also adding to our vocabulary constantly. Culinary jargon is not just for chefs anymore.  It’s our job just to learn some of them, pronounce them correctly, and ask others (or read) if we don’t know.  A chiffonade (sheff fa nad) is just thinly sliced shreds of herb leaves.   En papillote means your fish usually will come packaged in parchment paper, which keeps it moist. If that poultry or pork has been brined, it just means it has been soaked in water, salt, and possibly a sweetener and herbs.  We may not even be talking molecular gastronomy but sometimes the techniques are almost as important as the freshness of your food. 

Believe me, this salmagundi (sal muh guhn dee, a mixed salad dish including chopped meat, anchovies, eggs, onions, lemon juice, and oil and whatever else you want) of foods, techniques, and cultures can be such a complete language that even dedicated foodies make errors.  So, don’t worry, I guarantee that you are not the only one who doesn’t know, or can’t say, all the terminology. 

But remember, we all can: Learn. Read. Eat. Ask. Grow.

We’ve put some words in boxes, normally just giving the most common or most country-correct pronunciations.  Would you spell the sounds the same way?

Something’s Fishy

Anchovy (an choh vee) Small silvery fish
Bouillabaisse (boo ya bess) Stew with Mediterranean fish, tomatoes, etc.
Branzino (bran z no) Mediterranean seabass
Calamari (kal lah mar ee) Squid
Ceviche (sah veet shay) Raw fish marinated in lime or lemon appetizer
Escargot (ess car go) Snail

Cioppino (cha peen oh) Italian fish stew with shellfish and tomatoes

Where’s the Beef?

Andouille (an doo ee) Not beef, it’s a spicy, smoked sausage used in Cajun cooking
Beef bourguignon (boor geen yon) French beef stew made with red wine
Carpaccio (car pauch chee oh) Very thinly sliced raw beef served with a sauce or now, anything thinly sliced
Charcuterie (shar coot ter ree) French store or tray of meats, pates, etc.
Chorizo (chor ree zo) Spanish sausage
Foie gras (fwaw graw) Liver of force-fed fattened geese or ducks
Mole (mo lay) A thick, rich sauce
Osso buco (oss-oh boo-co) Braised veal shanks in wine, vegetables, etc.
Pancetta (pan chet tah) Italian pork belly
Pâté (pa tay) Paste or spread made of puréed or finely chopped liver, meat, fish, game, etc., served as an hors d'oeuvre
Tartare (tar tar) Finely chopped and served raw (often beef)
Torchon (tor chon) Towel.  Usually refers to how foie gras is wrapped for a bit of herbed aging

Vegan Delight

Arugula (aah ru goo la) Leafy vegetable with pungent flavor
Cipollini (chip po leeny) Small wild onion
Crêpe (krep) Thin, light pancake
Escarole (es ka roll) Broad leaf endive
Frisée (free zee or frees say) A curly edged form of endive
Gnocchi (noke ee) Small potato or flour dumplings
Hummus (hoo mus) Chick pea paste or dip
Jicama (hick kuh ma) Large tropical root eaten raw or boiled
Kohlrabi (coal rab bee) Cultivated cabbage with bulb on top of soil
Mesclun (mess klen) Salad with young, tender mixed greens
Peppadew (pep pah doo) Sweet but slightly spicy pepper grown in South Africa
Quinoa (keen wah) A seed served like rice
Ratatouille (rat tah tu ee) Not the movie, this is vegetable stew
Thyme (time) A herb
Tomatillo (toma tee oh) Mexican green tomato

Sunday, November 16, 2014

The real Italian recipe pasta carbonara

My friend is calling me all the time, when he is in town, for this recipe. Now the French people changed the recipe. We started to add "lardon" (bacon) and cream.
But where in Italy did you eat it like that? Tell me that I complain and that is jail time guaranteed!  We insult generations of Roman mammas doing that . We have to stop immediately . And you're going to read what follows , because I 'll give you the one and only recipe for Pasta alla Carbonara . You love Carbonara ? Me too.

1) 1 egg per person - so 2 people = 2 eggs
2) You throw away the bacon and you take only the pancetta ( or Arrotolata affumicata )
3) Parmigiano Reggiano , as much as it makes you happy
4) Salt, pepper and olive oil

And be careful, listen - THAT IS ALL!

You put the pasta in large volume of water because they need to swirl in the water, they want to dance.  You love to go on a packed dance floor where you can not even move? No ? Well, pasta are the same. It has the color of gold , it is not for nothing. It is precious , you cover and wait for boiling water. NO Salt.

Meanwhile, in a bowl you break and you separate the egg white from the yolks. In Carbonara, you use only the yolks. In yolks you put a little salt, a little pepper . Then you put your grated parmesan, mixed gently until creamy. Meanwhile, heat the olive oil in a deep skillet over medium flame, cook the pancetta that you have previously cut roughly. When the pancetta is golden, reserve it for later.

Then, when your water is boiling, you add salt.  The water needs to boil all the time. The quantity of pasta needed it is: 100 - 120 grams per person. Your pasta should be al dente.

Now you add the mixture of eggs and Parmesan, and the pancetta, mixed gently. Gently I said!

Very simple but delicious!

Viva Italia!

Thursday, November 13, 2014

The Cheeriest of Times – A Continuing Compendium of Happy Hours

Part I

The joy of happy hour is comprised of several elements: excellent food, great atmosphere, prompt and friendly service especially as time runs out, and cheap(er) food and drink.  Pierpont’s shines in all categories.

Pierpont’s has probably one of the best atmospheres in town, for starters.  Beautiful bar – where, in the past, I’ve been guilty of ordering a whiskey up high, just to watch the (male) climber.  Very complete lounge menu, from a filet, crab cake and fries for $13 to mussels for $6 and homemade chips for $5.  Several kinds of sliders for $6.  More of course. There’s wine and 8 cocktails to be imbibed at $5.50, Boulevard drafts at $4, and others as well.

This is not a huge bar, but there’s usually room. And it’s such a beautiful and cozy bar.  Go this week and tell them Chris sent you.

Pierpont's Poutine

Just part of the poutine – my portly companion started without me! 

Two perfectly delicious fish tacos.

Pierpont’s Happy Hour:  Most of week from 11a.m. to close, Friday 11am-7pm, Saturday 4-6pm, and even on Sundays, 4-9pm.
30 West Pershing
Kansas City, MO 64108
Ph. (816) 221-5111  
Check out their menus - click here          

Monday, November 10, 2014

Genovese does pizza perfectly — and everything else, too

After a trip to Topeka for soccer, we decided to stop at Genovese Italian in Lawrence. Owned by Subarna Bhattachan and Alejandro Lule — proprietors of Lawrence's popular La Parilla and Zen Zero dining spots — and Mexican-born chef Armando Paniagua. It's located in the three-story building, Genovese features seasonal rustic Italian cuisine from the Liguria region of North West Italy by the Italian Rivieras. The restaurant imported Italian made wood-fired rotisserie and charcoal grill. Additionally, another cooking feature is the gas/wood fired pizza oven. The menu features hot and cold antipastis, soup & salads, crisp thin pizzas, homemade fresh pastas --ravioli, fettuccine, pappardelle and gnoochi, and wood-fired rotisserie meats.

We were seated on the second floor and the dining room was noisy and upbeat, with high ceilings. The people can afford to become regulars here; the prices are modest. Diners can also choose from a wide range of wines from the wine list whether the $20 list, premium or reserve list. It is rare these days to find a bottle of wine for $20.

We started with an appetizer: Grass Fed Local Beef Carpaccio with Arugula, Capers, Parmesan & Extra Virgin Olive Oil - $7.5
The night's special was Sea Scallop with Truffles and Risotto. At $28, it's one of the least costly dishes on the dinner menu, and it's memorably satisfying.

The service at Genovese is low-key but gracious and observant. Over all, not surprising that the restaurant was packed.

941 Massachusetts Street.           
Lawrence, KS 66044
Ph. 785-842-0300
web site        
Genovese on Urbanspoon