Happy Friday and welcome back to Let’s Dish, your one stop for all things Kansas City eating.
This week’s dishes prove that nostalgia comes in many forms, from a classic, inexpensive KC eatery to an upscale German restaurant: I sample cheeseburgers at Town Topic, a childhood favorite, and my editor Hannah recalls the rich Affäre duck breast.
Also, look forward to a mouthwatering tip from one of our readers.
Cheeseburgers at Town Topic
More than eight decades have passed since then Topic City first opened at Crossroads, but not much has changed.
A cheeseburger, croquettes and a Town Topic malt.
Famously 5 cents then and $4.75 now, Town Topic’s Cheeseburger they are undoubtedly the best in town. Medium-sized meatballs sizzle on the grill right in front of you, mashed over grilled onions, then layered with pickles on a toasted bun and adorned with just the right amount of ketchup and mustard.
It’s just better than your average burger. Even Chiefs coach Andy Reid, a man who loves his cheeseburgers, said Town Topic serves the best in town.
“The process hasn’t changed one iota,” explains Misty Waite, the diner’s manager of 13 years. “It’s simple, but it’s always worked.”
Simple is perhaps the best description of food. It’s greasy, sure, but miles better than greasy fast food. The grilled onions enhance the juiciness of the burger and each bite is a perfect medley of cheese, meat and seasonings.
Read more about my favorite restaurant in town here.
Audience Development Editor Hannah Wise loves traditional German cuisine. Schnitzel, frankfurters and spicy sauerkraut are all wonderful. But she says Deala modern German restaurant in the Crossroads, it truly excels at showcasing the KC region’s best local and seasonal ingredients in thoughtful and unique dishes that go far beyond what many Americans imagine from European cuisine.
Affäre’s Gebratene Etenburst, which is German for roast duck, features a lacquered Pekin duck breast, citrus gingerbread glaze, orange peppercorn sauce, sweet carrot puree, greens and duchess potatoes.
Get the Gebratene Entenbrust ($38) – that’s German for roast duck breast.
The lean and succulent Peking Duck is glazed in a citrus Lebkuchen glaze and served with an orange peppercorn sauce, sweet carrot puree, greens and duchess potatoes.
It’s tangy and rich, and the natural sweetness of the ginger carrot puree adds a refreshing balance to the duck breast. Lebkuchen icing is infused with notes of cloves, allspice, cardamom and orange, just like a traditional German Christmas cookie. The duck breast sits on a bed of demi-glace sauce made with duck breast trimmings and white peppercorns.
Hannah says she simply hasn’t had a single dish in Kansas City that provides the same surge of joy, nostalgia, and relief that she felt during her first meal at Affäre.
Read more about his experience here.
My main dish of the week
Last Sunday, as my colleagues and I were hunkered down in the newsroom to watch the Chiefs’ magnificent Super Bowl appearance, Hannah brought over some pizzas from Valdo Pizza to sustain our energy during what turned into a long (and incredibly exciting) night.
Now, I’m a big believer in pineapple on pizza. And of Valdo Hawaiian pizza just solidified that. It’s served topped with pineapple and Canadian bacon, of course, but the real star here is the cream cheese.
I’ve never tried cream cheese on pizza before, but it’s a winner. Creamier and richer than other cheeses, it adds dimension to every slice, perfectly balancing the saltiness of the ham and the sweetness of the pineapple in every bite. It was a meal worthy of celebrating the end of a majestic Chiefs season, and we did.
Your top eats
Reader George Costello answered our poll asking readers for their favorite local dishes with a review praising the Chicken skewers TO By Johnny Cascone.
Marinated chicken slices, skewered and grilled over a traditional amogio sauce and pasta sauce, Costello says the blend of flavors is “pure magic.”
“Cascone’s marinara tomato sauce (Sicilian inspired) on pasta is simply the tastiest red sauce available anywhere. It’s my all-time favorite dish (and in my 80s, I’ve tried them all),” says Costello.
Do you have a favorite 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
A fried chicken joint in Johnson County, a classy bar in the Plaza and an Italian coffee shop in Crossroads: at least 14 new places to eat or drink have opened in KC in the last month. Check out the new spots, plus what’s closed and what’s coming soon.
Two lifelong friends are opening another pop-up of their Bay Area inspired sandwich shop. This is where you’ll be able to grab a sandwich on their beloved Dutch Crunch bread.
If you’re looking for a different area of KC to explore, check out our 18th and Vine neighborhood guide. From black-owned restaurants to centuries-old barbecue, the neighborhood’s cuisine is steeped in history.
Five Subway restaurants, including a family-loved breakfast spot in JoCo and a KCK taco shop, were cited with seven or more priority or critical health code violations in recent inspections.
Alison Booth, Audience Growth Producer
Hungry for more?
Enjoy your meal! I’ll see you next week.