Porto De Sul

Brazilian Steakhouse

Harvest Table

lunch, happy hour or dinner

Porto offers a menu

in the bar area

Best choice for traditional

Brazilian Steakhouse

Monday, December 16, 2013

Final Cut - Hollywood Casino


I love steak, but secret confession: I usually don’t eat steak out, thinking that other dishes sound so much more interesting and are a better test of a chef’s skill. However, we went to the Final Cut Steakhouse at the Hollywood Casino on a recent Friday night and I was pretty much blown away.  They are running a promotion currently called Friday’s Feature and the word feature doesn’t do it justice.

Before I describe this fabulous feature, a word about the Hollywood Casino.  You have to (get to?) walk through the casino to the restaurant, which faces the Kansas Speedway.  Once inside the restaurant, you totally lose the casino – it’s just not there anymore.  The restaurant feels like a classy steakhouse – which, believe me, it is.  A cozy bar is the entrance and there are true Hollywood artifacts sprinkled throughout the place – from Dorothy’s blue pinafore to Celine Dion’s dress to a James Bond tuxedo – not that all the artifacts are clothing as there’s much more.  The environment is truly interesting – a rarity in new dining establishments I’d say.

So, this feature is for just 50 bucks.  Two people can dine, each choosing an appetizer, entrée, and splitting a dessert.  I had filet, spouse had wild caught salmon, our friends copied us (breaking my You- Must –Eat-Something-Different–than-I-Eat rule.)  The selection varies each week.  I had probably the best French onion soup I’ve ever had with a very different presentation; the steaks were perfect; the chocolate dessert just decadent and also beautiful.  We tasted a couple other desserts as well, and all were exceptional.

Now, this next sentence is only for bourbon aficionados and it may not still be available.  The Final Cut received one of four shipments delivered to the entire state of Kansas of Pappy Van Winkle.  You’d better hurry.

The restaurant has two other remarkable events going now I’m anxious to try:  Wednesdays they have “Hit the Strip” where for only $20, you can get a strip steak, loaded baked potato, Caesar salad, and fresh baked bread.  Thursday nights they have Surf and Turf for $24.95 which features a petite filet and Maine lobster tail with the Final Cut Salad (yummy) and fresh grilled asparagus.

The Final Cut is doing these specials, but honestly, it’s pretty special on any night.  I’m definitely going back! On a Wednesday through Saturday.

777 Hollywood Casino Blvd.,
Kansas City, KS 66111
913-287-9761 - Menu
Final Cut Steakhouse on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

Ring in the New Year

Ring in the New Year at
Kansas City's Biggest NYE Party!


Get your all-inclusive tickets now for just $89 before prices go up!

Ticket Includes:

-All-inclusive and top-shelf bar package from 9 p.m. - 1 a.m. at 14 different venues
-All Access to 14 different bars and clubs
-Complimentary food from 9 p.m. - 11 p.m.
-A live band
-Midnight celebrations including a spectacular fireworks show,
confetti cannons, party favors and the Midwest's biggest ball drop!

Thursday, December 5, 2013

Webster House


Ever since Webster House opened, way back in 2002 when the Kauffman Center was barely a glimmer in someone’s mind, I’ve loved eating (and shopping, alas) there.  A recent evening with a large group of hospitality professionals was no exception.  The food is always exceptional: meticulously prepared, flavorful, and pretty – that night even a relatively simple dish like roasted pork loin medallions was executed with flair.  The asparagus was crisply tender, just as it should be, and the mashed sweet potatoes were plate-licking good.  Our house salad was fresh greens from Two Sisters Farm with an excellent champagne vinaigrette and of perfect size.  The petite tiramisus were the final delicious finishing touch.  The fact that my table was full of fun people (not that the others weren’t of course) made for a terrific evening.

The restaurant is always doing something new and interesting, besides serving excellent meals consistently to diners and groups of all sizes (their special rooms cater to all size groups).   And there are deals to be had as well:  on Wednesday nights, their 20/20 is really special.  This is a two-course dinner special with a featured entrée and your selection of soup (which are always killer!) or salad for only $20.  AND – they offer a selection of wines by the bottle for only $20 more.  What I’ve discovered since eating there is that you can go to their Facebook page on Wednesday and see what’s being offered. 

One reason I like this 20/20 idea is that it can get you out of your own personal dining comfort zone and allow you to try dishes and preparations you might otherwise not have chosen.  Important, too, for me sometimes is that you only have one simple decision to make, really, if you’re into minimalist that night  – soup or salad?  Oh yes, maybe another decision: which wine?  The meals have ranged from braised short rib pasta to boccalone (pork roulade) to cioppino to grilled flat-iron steak.  You never know, unless you go to Facebook (or old-fashioned questioning by telephone).  Personally, I’d have to order a dessert to split – but I’d let my companion make that decision since every one I’ve ever tried has been wonderful.

Another thing I really like here are the happy hours – but I don’t think I’m going to tell you about those because they’re too good, too reasonable, too delicious – and too many people already know about them.

That reminds me: I love the bar area here, too.  It’s cozy, comfortable, and inviting.  And the drinks are excellent.  Not to mention the caramel corn.  

Whether it’s just for drinks, for lunch, dinner, Sunday Brunch (yum!), or Wednesdays, you need to make this place a regular stop.  And if I were writing about the shopping – oh, my!
1644 Wyandotte, Kansas City, MO 64108Located just south of the Kaufmann Center for Performing Arts
816-221-4713 or online
 
Webster House on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, December 3, 2013

Eating Your Way Around the World While Staying in Kansas CIty

Is this the year you’re eating your way around the world?  Unless you’re the editor of a travel/food magazine, probably not.  Our suggestion? Take a quick virtual trip with us instead, with many of the cuisines and none of the travel pain.  So get ready for the non-traveler’s quick guide – just the basics of foods and flavors.

 Mexican is one of the oldest ethnic cuisines in Kansas City with Southwest Boulevard at one time being about the only stop.  Not so anymore. Like all foreign meals, flavors vary depending on the region. It is impossible to condense the culture and history of Mexico (or any country) and its impact on food, so suffice it to say that the Indian basics of corn and cactus were inculcated with European (especially Spanish) reflections of additional fruits, vege-tables, meats, grains and spices of the Old World.

 For instance, today you’ll find differentiation based on meat (beef) in the northern portions of Mexico; in the southeast, you’ll taste lots of chicken and spicy vegetables. “Veracruz” style for preparing fish just means a tomato-sauced based baked fish.  Still further south, a quest-ion:  What is the difference between Brazilian and Argentinian foods? Much of South America does share similar ingredients, even if they use them differently. Brazilian beef quality, since their market is not as regulated as Argentina’s, may be more variable.  Argentina has had heavy influence by the Italians and the Spanish, resulting in pizzas, pasta, lasagna and ravioli as part of the diet.  Grilled meats are common – and white bread and tortillas.
 Next, over to Asia where again, variety is emperor.

 In Thailand, it’s all about balance – three of four general tastes:  spicy, sour, sweet, and bitter.  Complex flavors are important, each different from the other based on the specific area of Thailand and its neighbors.  You’ll notice influences of coconut milk and turmeric in the south and more lime used in the northeast (Laos and Burma). Some curries reflect Indian influence.  You’ll taste Chinese in fried rice noodles, wok use, and deep and stir frying. 

Chinese techniques and spices have influenced the world.  Spices such as five spice powder and ginger, mushrooms, braised foods, soy, duck and oyster sauces, and flowers used to flavor dishes are likely Chinese contributions. Its focus on color, flavor, and taste are important to all eight or so regions of the area. 

Japanese food differs pri-marily from Chinese because its flavors may be more subtle (other than Cantonese) and there are five key condiments (sake, salt, mirin, soy sauce, and dashi, a fish or kelp stock).  There is more citrus in Japanese cooking; more noodle types in Chinese as well as more dough use – like pastas. Originally fish were the primary protein in Japan; where China has always had more land to raise various farm animals. 

 Back on our journey, the trip to Europe is – what?  Way too brief but with many choicesl.  Most of us think we know all about French, Italian, and Greek food.  Perhaps we do.  But if you had to summarize, what would you say?  Yikes.  Here goes. 
 French food is still about the sauces – cream and butter and delicate nuances and elaborate combinations perfectly executed.  It’s where “haute cuisine” comes from.

 The Greeks can (and do) take credit for many of the foods we think of as Italian: pizza, lasagna, and all kinds of cheese-based dips just for three examples. Their small country serves dishes filled with fresh fish, octopus, poultry, rabbit, pork, goats and lamb.  The Italians are proud of their more simple preparations with fewer ingredients.  In the north, rich cream sauces, stuffed meats like veal, butter, salamis and polenta are common; in the south, there’s more Mediterranean influence – tomatoes, olive oil, steamed seafood. We shouldn’t forget Austria – or Viennese cuisine as the country’s food is known.  With a wide influence from Hungary, Bohemia, and more lately northern  Italy, this gastronomy is all about quality and flavors made rich with butter, vanilla and chocolate sauces, and paprika (not, perhaps, in the same dish).

 And if you’re really adventurous and would like to make the food from a few of these “foreign” places, go to kcrestaurantguide.com for recipes from Thai Place, Tasso’s and Grünauer.  Don’t worry – we asked for authentic flavors but relatively simple prep. Go to the recipes

You can taste the world right here in Kansas City.  Pick a nationality, pick a restaurant, hop in the car and head off.  No airport required.