Happy Friday and welcome back to Let’s Dish, your one stop for all things Kansas City eating.
This week, let’s finally dip our toes into the immense greatness that is KC barbecue and sample some gluten-free sweets at a tiny KCK bakery.
Also, look forward to a mouthwatering tip from one of our readers.
Burnt Heaven at the Char Bar
When Star reporter Jonathan Shortan walked in Coal bar in Westport last week, he could have sworn he ate there and ate the Burnt Sky sandwiches – for over a decade. As it turned out, the restaurant has only been open since the end of 2014.
Kansas City Star reporter Jonathan Shorman picks The Burnt Heaven Sandwich from Westport’s Char Bar as his favorite Let’s Dish.
But the fact that Jonathan felt like he’d been eating Burnt Heaven for so long speaks to the huge impression the sandwich left on him. Regardless of the occasion, he’ll order Burnt Heaven almost every time.
It’s not so much a sandwich as a barbecue dish between sandwiches, she says.
First there’s the sausage: pork butt and chuck tender with garlic and other seasonings. Then add the burnt ends, which have been smoked 12 hours overnight over hickory wood, said Char Bar executive chef Drew Prewitt. Add ‘slaw, fried jalapenos, and chipotle BBQ mayo, and you’ve got Burnt Heaven.
Of course, when you pick it up, half of the bun will fall out. But for Jonathan, that’s half the fun: there’s basically half a meal left after eating it.
The flavors are great. The smoke from the burnt ends, along with the spice from the sausage and jalapenos, gives it some heat balanced by the creaminess of the slaw and mayo. It’s not overly covered in sauce – the meat is the star.
Read more about classic KC barbecue here.
Gluten-free cupcakes from Emily Kate’s Bakery
You may have heard of a gluten-free diet, but do you know what it actually means?
No wheat flour. Which means saying no to pies, bagels, pizzas, sandwiches and more.
For Star reporter Matti Gellman, this proved to be one of the toughest parts of moving from New York City to Kansas City last year.
A vanilla cupcake with Chiefs-themed cream cheese frosting from Emily Kate’s, a gluten-free bakery at 3008 S. 44th St., Kansas City, Kansas. “There’s a real science to this that I won’t be able to delve into,” said cooking instructor Michaela Sewalson.
That is, until he found Emily Kate’s Bakerya small gluten-free shop with about 10 kitchen workers, tucked away in a Kansas City, Kansas warehouse at 3008 S. 44th St.
The store sells to a number of local cafes and Whole Foods, where they stock cookies, cakes, brownies, and cinnamon rolls. Matti bought his first box of cupcakes to take to a friend’s dinner.
Too often it is faced with crumbling mounds of pseudo-flour passed off as a gluten-free snack. They’re usually dense and fall apart in your hands because the dough doesn’t rise like wheat flour would.
But Emily Kate’s cupcakes are soft and fluffy. Their pie has flavor: a tart flavor cuts through the richness, another rarity in the gluten-free world. At her first bite, she was hooked.
Read more about the local bakery here.
My main dish of the week
This week I went to Kobi-Q Junction location with my colleague Irvin Zhang, who is writing about the restaurant Korean fried chicken in an upcoming Let’s Dish column. We ordered a mix of both flavours: the spicy sichuan dry rub and the sweet garlic glaze.
Their KFC (as they called it) is perfectly crispy and deliciously battered. The flavors are one of a kind, but they balance each other’s spice and sweetness. I’ll let Irvin tell you more about his favorite comfort food in his column, which comes out in a few weeks.
Your top eats
A reader recently told us about his favorite burnt ends sandwich in KC – and it wasn’t Char Bar’s. Reader Benjamin Denton is sure of that Gates Bar-BQ serves up the best burnt ends on a bun.
“With every bite, you get all that smoky, burnt, meaty, greasy, bar-b-que-y taste you expect from burnt ends,” says Denton. “The sauce is as good as the meat.”
Do you agree? Disagreement? Do you have another favorite local dish that you think I should include in this newsletter? Email me, [email protected], or fill out this form to let us know.
A la carte
After 10 years in business, this locally owned taco restaurant has closed its KCK location. However, you can still grab one of their street tacos in Johnson County.
A West Plaza pizza staple is setting up shop in the food hall of the Crossroads’ Parlor, starting with a pop-up in the space this weekend. That’s when he will officially move.
Are you thirsty? One of the largest independent fine wine retailers in the nation is coming to KC – and possibly Johnson County. Its extensive selection includes over 2,500 beers and more than 3,000 different spirits.
This celebrity-owned burger chain has closed its Olathe location, five years after opening. But its affiliate says it plans to open more than 20 new spots in an eight-state region.
Alison Booth, Audience Growth Producer
Hungry for more?
Enjoy your meal! I’ll see you next week.