Kansas City’s traditional,

hickory-smoked barbeque

Barbeque favorites can be

catered or delivered

Dine at any of the three Smokehouse locations

in Gladstone, Kansas City or Overland Park

Private banquet rooms

are also available at each location

Thursday, May 29, 2014

Al Fresco by Chris Becicka

Who is Al Fresco anyway and when can I meet him? 

Em Chamas
After our so-called spring (really, snow forecast for April 14th?), it’s time to dine outside. Any time you can, in Kansas City, you should.

No, you must. Even if you are in the anti-outside contingent, therefore likely a member also of the “I hate picnics” cabal, at least once a season you should choose to dine under the stars, among the cars, outside the bars. Why? you ask. For goshsake’s why?

Meet Al Fresco. Actually it’s a what, not a who. Sometimes written hyphenated or as one word, alfresco, it originated in the 1700s in Italy: literally meaning ‘in the fresh’ and it often referred to mural painting, on fresh and not-so-dry plaster. The English adapted the fresh part and added it to air, hence dining outside or in the open air.

Several reasons come to mind. First, in our beloved Kansas City, chancing
McCormick & Schmick's
upon a day that’s still glorious when you have chosen to eat out is almost like winning the lottery. The sheer fact of limited opportunities makes the rarity more precious. (From the other side: inaccurate weather forecasts can lead to inaccurate staffing – sometimes you have to be patient.)

 Second, despite humidity, heat, cold, and wind, there exist many great, mostly umbrella-ed, restaurant outdoor spots that make the meal seem more special and taste even better. Third, until you become part of the outdoor crowd, eating outside somehow seems more exotic and glamorous. “Look,” you’re saying to the world, “Look at grown-up me, having fun as an adult, doing something a little bit different and yet still acceptable and I’m in my grown-up clothes, too.” Fourth, the air is not stale air conditioned or reheated molecules, it’s fresh.

Oh, I could go on and on. So I will. Another nice thing about dining al fresco in Kansas City is that a number of restaurants have really gone above and beyond to create a wonderful, relaxing ambiance, usually one where it’s not so easy to hear your neighboring diners’ conversations and the vibe is a bit more relaxed. (From the other side: this also means people may linger . . . and patio seating is really luxury seating.)

Sasha's Baking Co.
Several restaurants have brand new accoutrements – or have redone their patios entirely. Em Chamas north of the river with a skating rink (in winter) beside it, has a brand-new, secluded patio next to its lounge which is ready for this summer. It’s covered, saving you from blazing sunlight. Heaters (necessary too long this year), fire pit, live music, string lights all help create a European-style courtyard. Sasha’s Baking Company, a coffee shop, bakery and lunch spot downtown in the “Library District,” has created a homey, intimate space for 10-14 people with a striking lion’s head fountain, bistro tables, and abundant flowers. Ninth Street and traffic noise disappear as you relax with some of the best baked goods or sandwiches in any town. BD’s Mongolian BBQ in Independence has a patio located right off its taproom (w/over 200 craft beers) as well as misters, couches, fans, and a pellet stove for heating on cool nights. Oh yeah, and 70” HD TVs . . . what more could you wish for?

People dine al fresco for other reasons than ambience – a big one is to people watch. A long-time fave for that? The Classic Cup, where the sidewalk dining is the ultimate in interactive viewing and whose vine covered patio in the back offers a different kind of respite. Other people-heavy views (not to be confused with heavy people views) can be yours at Bo-Lings in the Market, several of the KCP&L restaurants, and Thai Place in Westport. Among others.

Grunauer - Biergarten
Rather look at trains? Go to Fiorella’s Jack Stack and Grunauer’s Biergarten across from Union Station’s active tracks. Can’t leave home without your dog? Try Westside Local downtown or take Fido on a little vacation to Lawrence where both La Parrilla and Pachamama’s cater to canines – or at least let them on the patio.

I have to add that I’m anxiously awaiting the new patio (attached to his new restaurant) that Jimmy Frantze is building. JJ’s will have a prime location in the Plaza Vista (aka Polsinelli) building, and the city scape overlooking Roanoke will definitely be an intriguing one.

Like I said, I could go on and on. But I can’t – so definitely see our complete chart, including who has live music, heaters, which have what views, which are covered, and much, much more. Detailed chart of amenities that each patio offers.
 Al Fresco rocks!

Friday, May 9, 2014

Join Coach Dick Vermeil at The Majestic

Vermeil Wine Dinner at The Majestic Restaurant Wednesday, May 14th 2014 6:30pm


Join Coach Dick Vermeil of Vermeil Wines at The Majestic on Wednesday, May 14th at 6:30pm for a four course wine dinner featuring Vermeil Wines and a paired menu prepared by Chef Liz Huffman.  Coach will be on hand to talk about the wines during the meal and autograph bottles for sale after the dinner.  
$60 per person - reservations required.  Call 816-221-1888 or Online Reservation

First Course
 Poached and Chilled Wild Maine Mussels, Green Curry Aioli, Sugar Snap Peas, Red Bell Peppers, Romaine Hearts

Vermeil Sauvignon Blanc 2012

Second Course
 Savory Duck Confit Tart, Braised Leeks, Red Chard, Herbed Velouté

Vermeil XXXIV Red Blend 2009

Third Course

Grilled Petite Filet, Shiitake Mushroom Risotto, Fried Spinach, Roasted Garlic Oil

Jean Louis Vermeil Frediani Vineyard Cabernet Sauvignon 2009

Fourth Course 
Baked Gougeres, Red Wine Aged Goat Cheese, Fresh Blackberries, Pear Reduction

Vermeil Frediani Vineyard Zinfandel 2010

Monday, May 5, 2014

Food, parties in conjunction with race weekend


HOLLYWOOD CASINO GEARS UP FOR KANSAS SPEEDWAY'S FIRST EVER NIGHT RACES
Driver meet-and-greet; patio post race party; live music; and Turn 2 Sports Bar specials are all celebrations at Hollywood Casino in honor of the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race weekend.

Chefs and staff at Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway have created a full weekend of activities for race goers as well as those looking for an exciting way to celebrate gaming, racing, food and nightlife throughout the venues at Hollywood Casino.


Kansas Speedway will host its first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race on May 10. In addition, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series will run under the lights the evening before for the first time on Friday, May 9. Festivities are planned throughout the weekend at Hollywood Casino to coincide with the races debut.


"We've scheduled a variety of specials, restaurant events and parties that will appeal to race goers, casino guests and local Kansas Citians alike. Many people during a race weekend might be curious about the fanfare or race goers may be looking for a great after-party. We've got something for everyone," said Dean Doria, Vice President of marketing.


Hollywood Casino Race Weekend Events:


Thursday, May 8
Brad Keselowski, NASCAR Driver Meet-and-Greet at Turn 2 Sports Bar & Restaurant, Hollywood Casino The public is invited to Turn 2 Sports Bar between 7:30 and 9 p.m. to mix and mingle with NASCAR Driver Brad Keselowski, who will sign autographs and pose for photos with fans. As the driver of the No. 2 Miller Lite Car, all Miller Lite 16 ounce aluminum bottles will be on special for $3.


Turn 2 is inside Hollywood Casino in Kansas City, Kan. The bar and restaurant is situated along the second turn of Kansas Speedway. Guests access the bar/restaurant from the escalator off the casino floor, and it offers sweeping views and a balcony of the entire Kansas Speedway. The sports-themed restaurant features dozens of TVs, a lounge setting, and a superior casual menu. Guests must be 21 to enter the casino.


Friday, May 9
• Turn 2 Sports Bar & Restaurant will be open during the day for viewing of the time trials and driver's practice runs.
• Marquee Cafe, a casual contemporary cafe featuring traditional American favorites, will be open until 11 p.m. Friday for late night dining following the race.
• Final Cut Steakhouse, located just off the casino floor at Hollywood Casino, is the fine dining steakhouse restaurant with an intimate, romantic, upscale ambiance and spectacular views of Kansas Speedway. Open until 11 p.m. on Friday.


Saturday, May 10
Following the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series night race, the band, Outlaw Junkies, will take the stage for an after party on the patio overlooking the Speedway. This is the first time the patio has been open to the public during race weekend. Drinks will be for sale on the patio and food will be served until 1 a.m. inside Turn 2 Sports Bar. (the post race patio party is subject to weather cancelation)


Sunday, May 11 (Mother's Day)
Moms love racing and gaming too. Why not conclude the weekend with a trip to Epic Buffet at Hollywood Casino? Between 10 a.m. and 9 p.m., the buffet goes all out for this special day honoring mothers. For $32.99, those 21 and up can enjoy the best of the best from snow crab legs, peel-and-eat shrimp, baked salmon filets, orange glazed baked ham, country fried chicken, barbecue ribs, sushi and hundreds of other delicious items including housemade desserts such as New York Style Cheesecake, chocolate torte and flan.


Hollywood Casino at Kansas Speedway, which opened in February, 2012, is located at 777 Hollywood Casino Blvd., near Kansas Turnpike I-70 and I-435 in Kansas City, Kansas.