Entries from blogs tagged with “food”

What came first, the chicken or the egg? Cracking a mystery at Frank’s North Star Tavern

Frank's North Star Tavern is going to the birds. One bird in particular, actually.

A chicken, thought to belong to one of the bar's neighbors, has been hanging around Frank's parking lot for months, says tavern owner Frank Dorsey. He hadn't seen the little red hen for a while, he recalls, until stumbling upon evidence earlier this week that his fine-feathered friend may have paid another visit.

Dorsey says he was doing routine yard work behind the bar, 508 Locust St., when he spotted nearly a dozen undisturbed eggs nestled in a thicket of foot-tall grass near a couple shipping containers.

Frank Dorsey, owner of Frank's North Star Tavern, was doing some yard work behind his bar at 508 Locust St. earlier this week when he discovered these eggs nestled in the tall grass.

Frank Dorsey, owner of Frank's North Star Tavern, was doing some yard work behind his bar at 508 Locust St. earlier this week when he discovered these eggs nestled in the tall grass.

"At first I thought someone was getting rid of them," he says. "Then I realized none of them were broken, so that didn't make sense."

As for the fate of the eggs — and the chicken they came from — Dorsey's not certain. Not knowing how old the eggs were by the time he'd found them, Dorsey ended up throwing them in the dumpster.

He's been "half-jokingly" telling folks that the bar should start making whiskey flips (a cocktail resembling eggnog minus the cream), though he admits "using raw eggs in recipes can be kind of problematic" from a health-code standpoint.

If you'd like to try out the whiskey flip at home, Dorsey shared a recipe with us. In the meantime, keep an eye out for this chicken. Who knows, you may get some free eggs out of the deal.

This little red hen has been a frequent visitor to Frank's North Star Tavern in recent months.

This little red hen has been a frequent visitor to Frank's North Star Tavern in recent months.

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As morels spring up, so do restaurant specials

None by 715 Restaurant

It's springtime in northeast Kansas, and for the past few weeks, the Journal-World newsroom has been abuzz with talk of a very special fungus: the morel mushroom.

Journal-World photographer and resident mushroom hunter Richard Gwin is particularly enthused, and every few days he'll show off iPhone snapshots of his most recent morel haul. You may remember this gem of a video from 2011, in which he illustrates how to track down and cook morels.

A number of restaurants in town share Richard's appreciation for the elusive (but richly flavored) mushroom, serving up a variety of morel-centric dishes while they're still plentiful along Lawrence-area river banks and hillsides.

At Merchants Pub and Plate, chef/owner T.K. Peterson has been foraging for morels for about a week now, though he estimates it'll be another week before the mushrooms start popping up on the Merchants menu. The plan is to rotate morel specials for the duration of the season, Peterson says.

Right now, he's got a few ideas: a simple pasta with shallots, wine wine, butter, garlic and maybe a bit of cream; perhaps a flatbread with fresh herbs and cheese. He's also made a jam from the mushrooms and served it with grilled meats in the past.

Rick Martin, chef-owner of Limestone Pizza, plans to offer a morel pizza topped with Gruyere cheese and cream. It was a big hit last year with customers, he says.

Last Tuesday, Genovese offered a lunch special of house-made spinach ricotta gnocchi with locally foraged morels and beef short ribs. I also saw a Facebook post from 715 on Monday advertising a dish of shiitakes and morels. Hank Charcuterie introduced a morel special of its own: sherry agave cream, poached egg, charred carrot and roasted pepitas via Facebook last Friday.

Have you tried any of these specials yet? Any I missed out on? We've still got at least a few weeks until morel season ends — when temperatures hit 80 degrees, from what Richard tells me — so I'll keep an eye on social media to see what dishes pop up at local restaurants.

A morel from one of T.K. Peterson's recent mushroom-hunting jaunts.

A morel from one of T.K. Peterson's recent mushroom-hunting jaunts. by Photo courtesy of T.K. Peterson

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Sunrise Project fundraiser draws prominent local culinary talents

Some of Lawrence's best and brightest culinary minds are coming together to raise money for the Sunrise Project.

The Lawrence organization, which garnered its nonprofit status earlier this year, aims to "provide education and community engagement around the intersection of food, the environment and social justice," according to its website.

A Chefs' Table Dinner fundraiser, scheduled for May 12 at the Lied Center Pavilion, will entail a "seasonal, locally sourced and inspired five-course menu" created by Lawrence chefs.

The roster of participating chefs includes T.K. Peterson of Merchants; Vaughn Good of Hank Charcuterie; Rick Martin of Limestone Pizza; Zach Thompson of 715; Jay Tovar-Ballagh of Hank Charcuterie and Limestone Pizza; and Ken Baker of the now-closed Pachamamas.

No details yet on what will be served, but we'll keep you updated. To receive an invitation for the meal, email info@sunriseprojectks.org.

Meanwhile, Liberty Hall is hosting a special screening of "Growing Cities," a 2013 documentary about the role of urban farming in America, at 4 p.m. Sunday as part of the Sunrise Project’s fundraising efforts.

Sunday's screening will be followed by dinner from 23rd Street Brewery, after which attendees can stick around to hear a panel discussion with leaders from the worlds of food and social justice.

Proceeds from the event will go toward the establishment of Sunrise Project and securing space at the former Sunrise Garden Center, which organizers envision as the site of a community greenhouse and educational workshops.

The garden center, located near 15th and New York streets, has been vacant since 2013.

(You may remember hearing this first from Chad Lawhorn, who chronicled the group's beginnings in his Town Talk blog last month.)

Tickets for Sunday's screening event, which cost $40, can be purchased at the Liberty Hall website or box office, 644 Massachusetts St. For more information about the group and its fundraising efforts, check out Sunrise Project's Facebook page.

Rick Martin, executive chef and owner of Limestone Pizza, is one of several local culinary professionals participating in the Chefs' Table Dinner, a fundraiser for the Sunrise Project slated for May 12.

Rick Martin, executive chef and owner of Limestone Pizza, is one of several local culinary professionals participating in the Chefs' Table Dinner, a fundraiser for the Sunrise Project slated for May 12. by Nick Krug

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Johnny’s Tavern named most iconic bar in Kansas by Thrillist

Johnny's Tavern, pictured here in 2013 with owner Rick Renfro, has been named the most iconic bar in Kansas by the website Thrillist.

Johnny's Tavern, pictured here in 2013 with owner Rick Renfro, has been named the most iconic bar in Kansas by the website Thrillist. by Richard Gwin

"Serving Up Tradition Since 1953." So reads the weather-worn, metal sign outside Johnny's Tavern, the north Lawrence establishment that men's lifestyle website Thrillist recently named the most iconic bar in Kansas.

Thrillist praised Johnny's, located across the river at 401 N. Second St., for its colorful history and ability to attract a diverse crowd of "local townies, bank presidents, and college kids."

And, from the looks of Thrillist's roundup, the Lawrence bar has some pretty good company. The list includes gems from every state (plus Washington, D.C.), like Chicago's Green Mill (reportedly one of Al Capone's favorite hangouts) and a 239-year-old Connecticut tavern that used to function as a Redcoat command center during the American Revolution.

Johnny's, of course, boasts a pretty interesting history of its own. Originally built as a hotel/grocery store back in 1910, the building evolved from a pool hall to a Prohibition-era gin joint to eventually, in 1953, the Johnny's Tavern we know today.

The bar-restaurant has another location in west Lawrence, at 721 Wakarusa Drive, as well as seven Kansas City-area branches.

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Customers eat up Torched Goodness creme brulee cart in downtown Lawrence

Smoke rises off a freshly torched creme brulee from the Torched Goodness food cart at Seventh and Massachusetts streets on Friday afternoon.

Smoke rises off a freshly torched creme brulee from the Torched Goodness food cart at Seventh and Massachusetts streets on Friday afternoon. by Nick Krug

It's just past 3 p.m. Friday, and Eric Ireland, owner and operator of Torched Goodness creme brulee, has some bad news to deliver to a few customers who have just ambled up to his cart outside of Liberty Hall, 644 Massachusetts St.

After two hours on its first day open, he's down to his last creme brulee, which the trio of patrons agree to share.

"It's a good problem to have," says Ireland, a Le Cordon Bleu-trained chef who co-owns Torched Goodness with his wife, Julia.

The pair started out in Phoenix, where they served up the French custard dessert from the Torched Goodness truck for four years before relocating to Lawrence in 2014. They've still got the truck, mostly bringing it out for special events like the upcoming Kansas Food Truck Festival, but have shifted their focus to the cart now.

Eric says the goal this season was to "pull back the reins" and focus on "what we do best" — torched-to-order creme brulee.

You may remember the Irelands' first cart, a cheesesteak station called Goodness Steaks, parked outside Foxtrot at 823 Massachusetts St.

"I think we're getting more visibility now," Eric says of the new location at the northeast corner of Seventh and Massachusetts streets.

For now, Torched Goodness is serving the standards (traditional vanilla, sea salt caramel and chocolate) for $4 each, with $5 weekly specialty flavors (Eric's thinking lemon-raspberry and zesty orange for summertime) on the way. There's also locally roasted cold-brew off to wash down that creme brulee.

Eric says he and Julia are still trying to figure out regular hours of operation for the cart, though you'll most likely find it in the afternoons and evenings Wednesday through Sunday, he says, adding that folks can stay posted on Torched Goodness' whereabouts via Facebook and Twitter.

Torched Goodness will also hang around the Farmers' Market on Saturday mornings.

"That's our bread and butter," Eric says. "People love the farmers market."

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Mass Street Soda expanding to KC, celebrating anniversary with free soda

Mass Street Soda will be expanding into Kansas City this summer, and celebrating the one-year anniversary of its store in Lawrence on April 7.

Mass Street Soda will be expanding into Kansas City this summer, and celebrating the one-year anniversary of its store in Lawrence on April 7.

Matt Baysinger and Lucas Thompson, the self-described "soda dorks" behind downtown Lawrence's Mass Street Soda, are taking their love of sweet, fizzy drinks to the Kansas City area.

The space, located in the Legends outlet mall in Kansas City, Kan., will be directly under Dave and Buster's at 1847 Village West Parkway, suite C127.

At approximately 1,600 square feet, Kansas City Soda Co. will be similar in concept to the Lawrence flagship store, says Baysinger, a Kansas University alum and Johnson County native.

"It's essentially identical to our Lawrence store," says Baysinger, who expects the new branch to open by June 1. "We're building it from the ground up. It might just look a little more polished."

Mass Street Soda, 1103 Massachusetts St., has generated a following for its seemingly endless inventory of premium craft sodas since opening last April. The place boasts more than 1,300 varieties, including offbeat picks like Beefdrinker Teriyaki Beef Jerky Soda and Olde Brooklyn Birch Beer, and ships products to online customers across the country.

Now, Baysinger and Thompson are at work launching their own line of sodas, with plans to roll out the first four varieties (Baysinger says they'll include "staples" like root beer and cream soda, plus a few surprises) in the next four to six months. The duo hope to launch an additional four flavors by the end of the year.

It'll bear the name of the K.C. branch, but Baysinger says day-to-day operations will remain here in town.

"We're excited to expand in Kansas City, but our roots are in Lawrence and they will always be in Lawrence," he says. "This is our home."

In addition to opening a new business in Kansas City, Mass Street Soda will be having another grand opening of sorts next week to celebrate the one-year anniversary of the Lawrence store.

"Because we never had an official grand opening, we figured it would be a perfect time to go ahead and celebrate," explains a Facebook post. From 4:30-9 p.m. Tuesday, April 7, at the store, there will be a ribbon-cutting, live music, a photo booth and, naturally, free soda. There's no word on if they'll be giving out complimentary samples of the beef jerky flavor.

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Taco Zone returns to Replay Lounge patio; storefront opening soon

Looking for something to pair with that Shamrock Shake — or beer, if green dairy products aren’t your thing — during tomorrow’s St. Patrick’s Day festivities?

The much-hyped Taco Zone has returned from its winter hiatus, and will offer up some decidedly non-Irish munchies at the Replay Lounge patio (946 Massachusetts St.) all day starting at noon.

The eatery, which got its start serving tacos on the Replay patio last March, has earned something of a following for its upscale riffs on the humble street food. Taco Zone’s brick-and-mortar location with an expanded menu at 13 E. Eighth St. is set to open later this month, according to its website.

You can check out the rotating menu on Taco Zone’s Facebook page.

Assorted Mexican street tacos from Taco Zone

Assorted Mexican street tacos from Taco Zone

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Merchants chef serving up food-beer pairings at That Dam Beer Event

Listen up, beer lovers: We're going to let you in on a little secret.

If you missed out on securing tickets to Friday's That DAM Beer Event, you may still have another chance. There are still 10 to 15 tickets up for grabs at Merchants Pub & Plate, 746 Massachusetts St., says chef-owner T.K. Peterson.

After the first wave sold out, organizers decided to release a second set of tickets. They're all gone except for the precious few left at Merchants, which can only be purchased with cash.

The event will take place from 7 to 10 p.m. Friday at Abe & Lake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., the day before the sold-out Kansas Craft Brewers Expo at the same location.

That DAM Beer Event — named for its proximity to the Bowersock Dam along the banks of the Kansas River — will feature 11 breweries and 24 limited releases or specialty offerings, says Peterson, who has created eight food-beer pairings for the shindig.

"The idea behind the food is, there's no theme at all. That's reflective of our menu at Merchants," Peterson says. "We have everything from Maine lobster rolls to duck carnitas to Thai glass noodles. We're trying to pack as much flavor into every plate that we can."

In addition to the more savory pairings, which will kick off the evening around 7 p.m., Peterson and his crew are also serving up some sweet creations — such as a chocolate and raspberry trifle with the Rogue Voodoo Raspberry and Pretzel & Chocolate Ale. They'll bring those out about an hour into the evening, Peterson says.

He describes the event as a "walkabout," where guests can wander up to stations and sample the menu as they please.

"We want it to be easy, mobile food," Peterson says. "Something that can be portable so people can really socialize without having to sit down at each station."

Tickets for That DAM Beer Event cost $50, and can be purchased at Merchants. For a full list of the food/beer pairings, check out Merchants' website.

Menu courtesy of Merchants Pub & Plate

Menu courtesy of Merchants Pub & Plate by Joanna Hlavacek

Menu courtesy of Merchants Pub & Plate

Menu courtesy of Merchants Pub & Plate by Joanna Hlavacek

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Vote for your local food and entertainment favorites in Best of Lawrence

What's the best burger in Lawrence? The best margarita? The best menu that's not on a menu? Now's your chance to make your voice heard.

Voting for this year's Best of Lawrence contest, sponsored by Lawrence.com, kicked off Sunday and will be open until March 31.

Of course, voting's not just limited to the hotly contested dining and entertainment categories. In total, we're asking for your input on 160 different topics — from barbers to clothing retailers to plumbers and gyms.

This year, it's easier than ever to vote. Voters can make their choices in specific categories without having to go through the entire ballot.

To vote, head over to Lawrence.com and click on the Best of Lawrence icon at the top. Fill out the ballot all at once or come back later to finish. If you change your mind, you can swap out your vote all the way up to the March 31 deadline.

Last year, more than 8,000 people helped us select the Best of Lawrence winners. So, join the party. Let your voice be heard, especially in regards to that mysterious best secret menu category. That's one I'm certainly curious about.

Best of Lawrence winners will be announced at a special event June 18 before they're published in a Best of Lawrence magazine that will hit newsstands June 21.

Eggs Benedict from The Roost, which was named best place for breakfast in last year's Best of Lawrence

Eggs Benedict from The Roost, which was named best place for breakfast in last year's Best of Lawrence by Journal-World File Photo

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The Bourgeois Pig named one of the country’s best college coffee shops by Travel + Leisure

Is the Bourgeois Pig really “the best of both worlds?” Travel + Leisure seems to think so.

The Pig, 6 E. Ninth St., is one of 14 establishments nationwide to make the magazine’s list of greatest college coffee shops in America.

The in-no-particular-order lineup praised the Pig for offering “a smooth passage from coffee to cocktails.”

Travel + Leisure also recommends the Pig’s Soft Picasso, a hot chai latte made with Bärenjäger, Frangelico, and Aztec chocolate bitters.

Though the article came out this weekend, Pig owner-manager Ryan Pope received the “great news” a few weeks ago via email.

“We received an email asking for pictures, and they let us know that they were going to do a write-up,” Pope says, admitting his initial surprise. “Travel + Leisure is a pretty big deal, and I didn’t realize that we were on their radar.”

Right now, he’s trying to spread the word about the honor while it’s still fresh. After all, it’s not every day your coffee shop is named one of the best in the country.

“We’re going to try to do something,” Pope says. “Maybe we’ll put it on a special board.”

The Horsefeather at The Bourgeois Pig, 6 E. Ninth St.

The Horsefeather at The Bourgeois Pig, 6 E. Ninth St. by Sara Shepherd

Soft Picasso, aka alcoholic chai, $9, at Bourgeois Pig.

Soft Picasso, aka alcoholic chai, $9, at Bourgeois Pig. by Nadia Imafidon

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Pachamamas: The last supper

I took an extra-long pause, may or may not have sighed out loud, and lifted my fork. A mouthful of smoked chocolate shortcake and a sip of port later, I’d had the last bite of the last course of my last meal at Pachamamas on Saturday night.

After 15 years in Lawrence, Pachamamas ran its last dinner service on Valentine’s Day, and I’m a little misty about its closing. For me, and I’m sure a lot of other people in this town, Pachamamas was not only about fine food but also an experience.

As fellow restaurateur Matt Hyde of 715 noted this week, Lawrence’s food scene owes a lot to Pachamamas and chef/owner Ken Baker. “The whole idea of thoughtful, local, regional cuisine?...The notion of a refined dining experience that was still fun? That’s Ken and Pachamamas.”

The foodie movement has gotten big in the past couple of years, but the things people love about it have been happening at Pachamamas for a long time.

Baker was doing amuse-bouche before it was cool. Plates were always meticulously presented to show off the colors and textures of food. Pachamamas menu changed with every season, and Ken’s dishes maximized the variety of ingredients and flavors the world (often specifically our part of the world) had to offer. He combined sometimes lengthy lists of unexpected things — the kind of combinations some newer restaurants that are trying a little too hard attempt but can’t quite make work — and always hit it on the head.

For example, take the second course of our Valentine’s Day dinner: Compressed Beets and Ember-Roasted Strawberries with Fried ‘Milk,’ Hazelnut, Candied Bacon. We were blown away — these things were clearly meant to be. Especially when the pinot noir got involved!

Pachamamas had great burgers and affordable lunches, but for me that kind of attention to detail and thoughtfulness made it a favorite place for take-your-time dinners or more special occasions.

That’s where I went in college when my parents came to town to take me out for a meal to celebrate my birthday; where I met some of the most interesting people sitting community-style during Scotch, wine or Free State Beer dinners; and where my husband and I surprised my mom with the news she was going to be a grandma.

Last week my husband surprised me when he told me he’d arranged for grandma to watch that baby because we had Valentine’s Day dinner reservations — at Pachamamas.

We had the best time, part of which was oohing and ah'ing over our food. With the combination of last day, Valentine's Day and the news it was closing being out for a while, there’s no doubt Pachamamas could have booked more reservations, squeezed people in shoulder to shoulder. But they didn’t, and that was nice. Pachamamas, after all, has a dining experience to maintain, the kind that makes good memories.

Valentine's Day menu

Valentine's Day menu by Sara Shepherd

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Pachamamas to help celebrate customer’s 100th birthday before it closes

For the last five years, Topeka resident Betty Jane Moore has celebrated her birthday with dinner at her favorite restaurant: Pachamamas in downtown Lawrence.

This year, she's turning 100, and though the big day officially falls on Feb. 24, Moore and her family have scheduled reservations at Pachamamas for Saturday.

The iconic Lawrence eatery will close its doors for good this Valentine's Day, and the soon-to-be centenarian was more than willing to have her birthday dinner there a few weeks early, says Hilary Edwards, Moore's granddaughter.

"We've been calling it bittersweet," Edwards says."It's so wonderful to celebrate her birthday there, but to never be able to go again... What are we going to do next year when she turns 101?"

Edwards, who started the tradition when Moore turned 95, says the staff at Pachamamas has always treated her grandmother "like royalty." Former Pachamamas pastry chef Jay Tovar-Ballagh, now at Hank Charcuterie, made her a special dessert every year and always stepped out of the kitchen to wish Moore a happy birthday.

On Saturday, Ken Baker will also create a special dish for Moore based on her favorite flavors (probably a mixed grill of beef, pork and salmon, he says) as will current Pachamamas pastry chef Sam Hupp.

Knowing that Moore and her family chose to celebrate her 100th birthday at his restaurant, despite its closing weeks before the actual day, is "amazing," Baker says.

"It's difficult for me to hear that, but at the same time, it makes me feel pretty good about what we've been doing the last 15 years," he says. "From the outside looking in, I've realized there's a lot of people who really care about this place."

Betty Jane Moore, shown here with former Pachamamas pastry chef Jay Tovar-Ballagh on her 97th birthday, is celebrating her 100th birthday at the restaurant a few weeks early this year.

Betty Jane Moore, shown here with former Pachamamas pastry chef Jay Tovar-Ballagh on her 97th birthday, is celebrating her 100th birthday at the restaurant a few weeks early this year. by Photo courtesy of Hilary Edwards

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Port Fonda officially coming to Lawrence

After months of speculation, it's finally official: Port Fonda is coming to Lawrence.

The popular Mexican eatery has generated quite the buzz since turning a food truck into a restaurant two and a half years ago in Kansas City's Westport neighborhood. Now, Port Fonda will expand into Kansas with a location at 900 New Hampshire St., slated to open in late summer 2015.

Jamie Davila says he and fellow co-owner Patrick Ryan signed the lease Thursday morning. They "peeked around in some places in KC," but ultimately found Lawrence to be the best fit.

"We're really excited about the growth in Lawrence and what's happening there," Davila says, pointing out the Ninth Street Corridor project. "It's a cool city that we're both familiar with."

Kansas City-based architect and KU alum Matthew Hufft of Hufft Projects has signed on to design the space, which will sit inside the newly constructed Marriott Towneplace Suites building at Ninth and New Hampshire streets.

At just over 5,000 square feet, the Lawrence location is just about the same size as its predecessor, but will have a "completely different" look, Davila says.

Enchiladas de Pollo at Port Fonda

Enchiladas de Pollo at Port Fonda by Landon Vonderschmidt Photography/Contributed Photo

Of course, there will be a large bar" serving up margaritas, Mexican beers and hopefully, Davila says, some products from Lawrence's Free State Brewing Co.

As for the food, expect some small tweaks to Port Fonda's KC menu. Davila says they'll probably offer more casual fare like sandwiches and tacos.

"The menu will be a little different, but at the core will be the same," he says. "I think it translates really well to a college town."

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Just in time for Valentine’s Day, Boulevard brings back Chocolate Ale

Back by popular demand, Boulevard Brewing Co. is re-releasing its limited-edition Chocolate Ale this month.

A collaboration between K.C. chocolatier Christopher Elbow and Boulevard brewmaster Steven Pauwels, the exotic brew incorporates nibs of, or crushed, roasted cocoa beans.

Originally intended as a one-time release back in 2011, Chocolate Ale has since developed something of a cult following. In fact, in 2014 and 2015, Boulevard brewed as much of it as possible without interfering with production of other seasonal and year-round beers, the company says.

Hundreds of kegs containing the chocolatey stuff will start arriving at Kansas City-area bars and restaurants today. Deliveries to liquor stores will begin Tuesday.

The Burger Stand already has it on tap, from the looks of this Facebook post. No word yet on where else to find Chocolate Ale in town, but we'll keep you posted.

Update: Merchant's Pub & Plate plans to tap several kegs of Chocolate Ale, but probably won't be able to begin serving it until later this week, says Merchants chef and owner TK Peterson. The following bars and stores are confirmed to have Chocolate Ale in stock/on tap right now: Cork and Barrel (both locations), On the Rocks, Dempsey's, Red Lyon Tavern, Six Mile Tavern and Frank's North Star Tavern.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

Boulevard Brewing Co.'s popular Chocolate Ale will return to restaurants, bars and retailers in early February.

Boulevard Brewing Co.'s popular Chocolate Ale will return to restaurants, bars and retailers in early February. by Photo courtesy of Boulevard Brewing Co.

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Craft beer expo tickets go on sale Thursday

Update: Well, that was fast. Tickets for the expo sold out after just a few hours Thursday night, according to a post on the event's Facebook page. Downtown Lawrence Inc. tweeted that 500 tickets were sold in about a minute. Cheers to the lucky folks who snagged their tickets.

Original post: Mark your calendars, beer lovers: The Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition is returning to Lawrence on March 7, and will once again be held at Abe & Jake's Landing, 8 E. Sixth St.

The expo will offer two sessions that day: noon to 3 p.m. and 4:30 to 7:30 p.m.

As Chad Lawhorn reported in his Town Talk blog, the expo brings more than 30 craft brewers to downtown Lawrence. In addition to beer samples, this year's shindig features food, music, T-shirts, glassware and informational and educational displays.

Downtown Lawrence Inc. and the Kansas Craft Brewers Guild, along with Free State Brewing Company owner Chuck Magerl, are the main organizers of the event, which is now in its fourth cycle.

If previous years are any indication, these tickets, which are $35 apiece and only available online this year, should sell pretty fast. Snag yours starting Thursday (Kansas Day, coincidentally) at 6 p.m., via www.kscraftbrewfest.com/tickets. The event is only for those 21 and older, for obvious reasons.

For more information, visit www.kscraftbrewfest.com or shoot an email to brenda@freestatebrewing.com.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

John Bourneuf, left, of Lawrence, and Maria Vopat, of Mission, have a taste of the Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition on Saturday at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., among hundreds of other beer enthusiasts. About 30 regional and national beer vendors were at the event, which sold out within 10 days of going on sale.

John Bourneuf, left, of Lawrence, and Maria Vopat, of Mission, have a taste of the Kansas Craft Brewers Exposition on Saturday at Abe and Jake’s Landing, 8 E. Sixth St., among hundreds of other beer enthusiasts. About 30 regional and national beer vendors were at the event, which sold out within 10 days of going on sale. by Richard Gwin

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KC Restaurant Week gems to eat up while you still can

As local foodies might already know, Kansas City Restaurant Week ends Sunday. This year's event features more than 150 KC-area restaurants, where customers can enjoy multi-course meals for $15 per lunch and $33 per dinner.

Growing up, I split my childhood between Wichita and its larger, more cosmopolitan neighbor to the northeast. So, in scouring the list of participating restaurants, I was happy to see quite a few of the places I enjoyed as a kid and still like to visit when I'm back in my old stomping grounds.

Check them out while you still have time, or if these don't sound good, there are plenty more options to peruse at kcrestaurantweek.com.

Either way, reservations are recommended, and can be made at OpenTable.com.

Blue Bird Bistro, 1700 Summit St., Kansas City, Mo.

This charming eatery, housed in a historic 1880s-era building, focuses on "upscale organic" food. Standouts from the lunch menu include a grass-fed meatloaf served on house-made bread with horseradish aioli, arugula and gravy. As for dinner, the "warm winter pie filled with Wakarusa Farm mushrooms" has my tummy growling, despite my distaste for fungi.

Classic Cup Cafe, 301 W. 47th St., Kansas City, Mo.

The Classic Cup touts itself as an "icon" of the Country Club Plaza, and I'm sure many Kansas City natives would agree, based on the restaurant's reputation as a breakfast hotspot. Restaurant Week offerings include shrimp and grits, mushroom ravioli and creme brulee.

Genghis Khan Mongolian Grill, 3906 Bell St., Kansas City, Mo.

In a town famous for its barbecue, Genghis Khan stands out as Kansas City's original Mongolian 'cue joint, at least according to its website. Stop by its flagship location in Midtown and enjoy comforting Asian favorites like the "house crispy beef wrap," seafood noodle soup and General Tso's Chicken.

Lulu's Thai Noodle Shop, 2030 Central St., Kansas City, Mo.

Located in the heart of KC's Crossroads Arts District, Lulu's serves up tasty Thai dishes (think fiery curries, noodles, satays and rice dishes) in a cozy, eclectic atmosphere. This weekend, the dinner menu (Lulu's isn't offering lunch for Restaurant Week) includes "heartbreak soup," a rich chicken broth with pork, cabbage, tofu, cellophane noodles and "lots of love." Dessert sounds particularly intriguing: a Thai spin on creme brulee flavored with lemon grass and lime.

Manny's Mexican Restaurant, 207 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo.

If you're looking for unpretentious, affordable Mexican food, this family-owned Kansas City favorite is the place to go. During Restaurant Week, diners can enjoy a two-person dinner for $33, complete with drinks (mini margarita pitcher, anyone?) and dessert. I'm not sure about its Mexican authenticity, but that maple cheesecake sure sounds good.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Culinary collective Lawrence Local Table to host first dinner event

Lawrence Local Table, a collective of area culinary professionals, is slated to serve up its first dining event, "The Cellar Supper," next month at 715 restaurant.

Billed as a "celebration of Midwestern Winter Fare," it's the first collaborative meal from the group, which includes Vaughn Good and Juan Carlos Tovar-Ballagh of Hank Charcuterie, Louis Wigen-Toccalino from Decade, and Zach Thompson and Katrina Weiss of 715.

As of now, the seven-course dinner will feature locally sourced delicacies such heirloom corn levain with whipped lardo and fermented bean, and will be held at 715 (715 Massachusetts St.) on Feb. 3.

Guests are invited to show up between 5 and 6 p.m. for an open-bar reception, and the first course should be on the table by 6:30 p.m., says 715's Zach Thompson.

Tickets cost $75 per person, including drinks. To reserve seats, shoot an email to lawrencelocaltable@gmail.com, call 715 at 856-7150 or purchase tickets online through Lawrence Local Table's website.

Cellar Supper menu

Cellar Supper menu by Contributed Photo

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Chefs to host tribute to Pachamamas on Thursday

"Soigne as Fudge," Pachamamas' sold-out dinner slated for Thursday evening, isn't farewell, promises Ken Baker.

The event, billed as a "tribute to Pachamamas" comes on the heels of the announcement of the restaurant's likely closing. Last month, chef/owner Baker told the Journal-World he would close Pachamamas if a buyer isn't found.

"I’m not trying to say goodbye," he says. "It’s a different era."

Nor is it a eulogy to the restaurant, as its name suggests.

He sees the seven-course dinner (priced at $125 per person, including wine pairings, plus tax) as a celebration. Nine of Baker's foodie friends helped create the menu, and come Thursday, will make the trip to Pachamamas to cook it.

"It's a tribute to all the people who have worked here, all the customers, all the chefs who are passionate about food," says Baker, who is excited to reunite with Pachamamas alums and culinary peers.

The list of participating chefs includes some pretty big names from the area's restaurant scene. James Beard Award winner Colby Garrelts (Kansas City's Bluestem and Rye restaurants) and chef Howard Hanna (Ça Va and The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange in K.C.), are among those preparing food. Former Pachamamas sous chefs Vaughn Good (Hank's Charcuterie) and Quillan Glynn (Pizzabella in K.C.) are also participating.

Thursday's soiree will include a reception with the chefs at 6 p.m., followed by dinner at 7 p.m. If you didn't snag tickets, Baker says to make sure to stop by Pachamamas sometime soon. The restaurant will remain open full-time until Valentine's Day.

"Our client base is really important to me," he says. "I'd like to see as many of them as possible."

Pachamama's chef Ken Baker.

Pachamama's chef Ken Baker. by Nick Krug

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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Hank Charcuterie hosting free butchering demonstrations

In case you’ve forgotten, that burger you’re eating came from a living, breathing animal.

Obvious, we know, but in this day and age, when you can pick up a bag of precooked chicken tenders from the grocery store or chow down on paper-thin slices of turkey at Subway, it’s easy to forget how meat makes that journey from the farm to our tables.

The folks at Hank Charcuterie, 1900 Massachusetts St., are inviting the public to experience part of the process with free butchering demonstrations.

Demand for classes has been so great that owner Vaughn Good decided to simply make the shop’s regular butcherings open to visitors.

“It’s something we do anyway. We’re always breaking down whole animals,” Good says. “People can ask questions and request certain cuts directly off the animal.”

Good and his sous chef, Jay Tovar-Ballagh, supervise the demonstrations at 6 p.m. every other Tuesday and at 3 p.m. every other Saturday. On Tuesdays, they butcher a whole hog; on Saturdays, a whole lamb and/or goat.

They’ve only hosted two classes so far (the next are scheduled for this evening and Saturday) but Good says the response has been positive. People, it seems, are curious to know where their food comes from.

The first demonstration drew just one visitor, while the second attracted a diverse “mix” of about eight people, he says.

Last week, Vaughn hosted the young daughter of one of his regular customers. It was her idea to watch the butchering, and she had her father bring her along.

“She did pretty well,” Vaughn recalls.

Hank will also run specials on food items and products from the counter during the demonstrations. For more information, including a full schedule, check out their Facebook and Twitter pages.

Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

Vaughn Good opened Hank Charcuterie just over a week ago at 1900 Massachusetts St. The shop — specializing in charcuterie products made from Kansas-raised animals that are butchered in-house — offers meats including lamb, goat, duck, chicken and pork. Hank also offers daily sandwich specials.

Vaughn Good opened Hank Charcuterie just over a week ago at 1900 Massachusetts St. The shop — specializing in charcuterie products made from Kansas-raised animals that are butchered in-house — offers meats including lamb, goat, duck, chicken and pork. Hank also offers daily sandwich specials. by Richard Gwin

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Free State Brewing Co. owner reflects on success with induction into Kansas Restaurant Hall of Fame

Free State Brewing Co. owner Chuck Magerl, seen here in this 2010 photo, was recently inducted into the Kansas 
Restaurant Hall of Fame.

Free State Brewing Co. owner Chuck Magerl, seen here in this 2010 photo, was recently inducted into the Kansas Restaurant Hall of Fame. by Richard Gwin

At first, Chuck Magerl was surprised to hear the news.

The longtime owner of Free State Brewery Co., 636 Massachusetts St., is the newest member of the Kansas Restaurant Hall of Fame.

“It was completely unexpected,” Magerl says, remembering the congratulatory phone call from Adam Mills, president of the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association. “And then I thought, ‘Well, I guess I have been in business at Free State a little over 25 years now.'”

In the winter of 1989, Free State Brewing Co. became the state’s first legal brewery in more than 100 years.

Much like the pioneers of Kansas' early years, Magerl says he didn’t know what to expect in the beginning.

“When we opened, there was nobody between Chicago and Denver doing what we were doing,” he says. “We were out there in the wilderness.”

In those days, there wasn’t as much familiarity here in the Midwest with the more flavorful varieties of beer popular in Europe.

The public’s “widespread embrace” of craft beers and microbrews over the past quarter-century has contributed to Free State’s success, he says.

“It’s been gratifying to see what had been seen as perhaps bland American food culture become one of the most diverse and encompassing in the world,” Magerl says.

Free State’s flagship brews (Ad Astra Ale, Copperhead Pale Ale, Oatmeal Stout and Wheat State Golden) have since become legends of the Lawrence dining scene. And, with the recent start of distribution in Iowa, Magerl has “no intention of resting on the past.”

At the induction ceremony last month in Wichita, Magerl received a hand-blown glass sculpture from the Kansas Restaurant and Hospitality Association. He hasn’t found a secure place to display it at Free State, but he hopes to sometime soon.

“It’s a really beautiful piece of art,” he says. “I’d be proud to show it off.”


Tips welcome!

Try something unusual or know of something interesting going on at a Lawrence restaurant? Send me an email at jhlavacek@ljworld.com or contact me on Twitter @hlavacekjoanna. For more local food and restaurant news, click here.

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