Monday, May 13, 2013

Chicken Wings & BLTs

Just like most of you, I have a rotation of a few restaurants that I frequent more often than others. These are the restaurants that I go to just because its Tuesday; not necessarily to try a new menu, meet a new chef, or anything like that. Every once in a while I will realize that I have not blogged about one of these places simply because its almost like second nature to go there, it is so good, yet so familiar at the same time. This post is about one of those places.

The Peanut is one of those places that seems like almost everyone knows about it (which probably subliminally contributes to the fact I have not blogged about it until now). Radio show hosts, KC Star columnists, and even ESPN beat reporters talk about The Peanut's wings. This post is not for the 90% of you that regularly read my blog, you are the type of people that have already been to The Peanut (probably more times than you can count). This post is for the 10% that have not partaken in the gloriously unsophisticated, yet culinarily accomplished, dive bar that is The Peanut. 

One of these 10 percenters (as we will call them today) was my mother, who just so happens to LOVE bacon. She loves hard, crispy, crunchy bacon. If it is a limp soggy piece of bacon, don't even bother, she is not having any of that. 

My mother travels all the time, and is often subject to hotel breakfasts, so she stays at Embassy Suites as often as possible (because they always have crispy bacon). So this is where we stayed on the night before catching our flight back from our recent trip to Puerto Rico (as it was right by the airport). Don't get me wrong, I love Embassy Suites just as much as the next guy (I stay at Hilton brand hotels whenever I can), but this bacon was beyond crispy. This bacon was so over-done, it was like it had just come out of the crematory. I was ready to hold a remembrance service for this bacon right there at the breakfast table.

When we got back, I knew I had to take her somewhere and get her some good, crispy, not burnt bacon. So for her birthday, I took her to The Peanut. This is a far cry from the party we threw her last year at Tasso's (that you can go back and read about, if you have not), but she said that she could only handle a party like that "once every 60 years", so we obliged and kept this one low key.

We ordered her the best BLT in KC, the double version. The crispy, peppery, Kansas raised bacon on perfectly toasted whole wheat bread. Top that off with fresh lettuce, tomato, and mayo does indeed yield the best BLT in KC.

Not only does The Peanut have the best BLT in KC, but they also have the best wings in KC. However, all good things take time, The Peanut's wings are no exception. The menu warns of the minimum wait that accompanies the wings, but don't let that scare you off (the wait is well worth it). The tenderness of the wings leads me to believe that the time that it takes to get the wings is used by the cook to slaughter the gigantic pterodactyl-sized chickens, soak the wings in buttermilk, then flash fry them to get the outside crispy but not dry out the inside. Cover them in spicy buffalo sauce and dip them  in bleu cheese and you have an addiction that is rivaled only by hardcore street drugs.

My wife and I usually split a dozen wings, which would be enough food to stuff a normal human stomach. However, once I have eaten about 6 or 7 of those bad boys, that is when the addiction sets in. I cannot ever stop there, I usually order another half dozen for myself.

If you need something to wash down those wings (or that BLT), The Peanut has plenty of beers on tap, or in the bottle. They have all of your standard domestics, year-round & seasonal Boulevard beers, and year-round & seasonal New Belgium beers, just to name a few. Sam Mellinger will tell you how well Tank 7 goes with the wings. My wings pairing recommendation varies by the season, but its hard to beat a New Belgium Dig in the spring.

If you were wondering how my mom liked her BLT; she finished it and even had room for half of a wing.

And if you are one of the 10 percenters that have yet to try The Peanut, there is one in almost every area of town: Downtown, Main Street (South of the Plaza), Lee's Summit, and JoCo. My personal Peanut is the Downtown version, but Main Street is the original.

The Peanut Downtown on Urbanspoon

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Dual Food Truck Friday

Monk's Roast Beef
This past weekend, the KC Star was set to host its Food Truck Friday event, during the Crossroads' monthly First Friday art exhibit.  This was to compliment the monthly KC Truck Stop event, that also takes place during First Fridays. Sadly, we set a record low for temperature in the month of May, and both events were cancelled on account of the 1.5" of snow that fell. This left thousands of food truck fans, such as myself, pining for truck food. Although the Star's Food Truck Friday will be rescheduled, and the Truck Stop is monthly, there are still multiple weeks between now and then. Hopefully this post will hold you over until then, and will also introduce you to a few area trucks that you may not have tried yet.

"Monk's is the truth!", this is what my friend Adrian replied to my tweet about trying Monk's Roast Beef for the first time. To this day, this is probably the best way that I can describe Monk's. Monk's roast beef is a juicy sliced roast beef sandwich topped with both roast beef sauce and mayo. The sandwich is so good that it should come adorned with a warning label, cautioning customers of the inevitable addiction that will ensue upon consumption. Don't get me wrong, Monk's is not a one trick pony, they also offer pastrami and chicken sandwiches. However, I cannot bring myself to order anything but the roast beef.
Monk's Roastbeef on Urbanspoon

Gary's Tenderloin Sandwich
Gary's on the Go has been serving up a variety of barbecued, grilled, and fried menu items for years, but now is poised to become the most sustainable way to get lunch in Kansas City. Gary used to slang his BBQ out of a tow-behind trailer, until a tragic traffic accident ended its life as a food service trailer. Gary's search for a new (to him) truck led him to Lucy. In a previous life, Lucy was a Frito's delivery truck that had been put out to pasture (literally). Gary gave Lucy new life and is in the process of converting her to run on spent fry oil. Retro, sustainable, food truck; this combination sounds like a hipster nirvana.

My favorite item that Gary offers has to be the tenderloin (with a side of sweet potato fries, of course). The tenderloin is not the dry, chewy, uninspired piece of meat that you will find at all too many places. The tenderloin is actually, as the name states, tender (take note country diner owners)!
Gary's On the Go BBQ on Urbanspoon

DSE Mac & Cheese
Deco Street Eats is predominantly a lunch truck, that can be found in different locations around the metro, throughout the week. However, you can also find them at such events as the Truck Stop, on First Fridays. DSE has an ever-changing menu that features sandwiches, street tacos, mac & cheese, and warm cookies (just to name a few). I believe the cookies are homemade, although I have never thought to ask (until now). The tacos are some pretty stinking good (my favorite being the Carne Asada Taco) even though they do not conform to my "corn tortillas for street tacos" rule. The best menu item: the Home-style Mac & Cheese; this is not your run of the mill "Easy Mac" or "shells & cheese", this is some serious stuff! This mac & cheese is the real deal: the macaroni noodles are held together with gooey cheddar & jack cheeses and the whole dish has a crispy top layer (from being baked) that is about as heavenly as the burnt cheese shavings that come off of the bottom of a fondue pot. Try it and you will not be disappointed!
Deco Street Eats on Urbanspoon

KC BBQ Truck
KC BBQ Truck is a Truck Stop truck that does exclusively BBQ ("duh", you might be saying). KC BBQ Truck serves up juicy, smokey meats with your choice of some delicious homemade sauces and a side. I was initially going to walk on by KC BBQ, before they came out and offered me a sample of the brisket. That brisket sold me, I knew I had to have a full helping of it. I asked which side they recommend with my brisket sandwich, they said the beans (I don't know if they knew the high standards that I have for beans). With nice chunks of meat in them and a wide variety of beans, they are not quite Jack Stack beans (then again, no beans are), but not bad at all. I suggest that you stop by and ask for a sample of the meat for yourself, you probably won't be leaving without a sandwich.

KC BBQ also has a brick and mortar in Liberty called Big Willy's BBQ & Blues, although I don't know which came first (the chicken or the egg).
KC BBQ Truck on Urbanspoon

Detroit Coney Dog
Detroit Coney is a new truck in town, it is predominantly a late night truck. It is operated by two Detroit transplants that wanted to bring the food that was recently selected as Michigan state food in the Zagat "50 Plates of America" blog post, to KC. I am not a huge hot dog guy, but I was surprised how much I loved the Detroit Coney Dog. Something about the hot dog, onions, chili, and yellow mustard really melds together well and tastes like an incredibly salty, onion-y party on a bun. Great for late night or lunch on a cold day!
Detroit Coney Mobile Food Truck on Urbanspoon

And of course, a food truck post wouldn't be complete without a shoutout to Indios Carbonsitos and how they are full time food truckers now. That is a huge milestone for any small business owner to reach, leaving security behind in hope of chasing the American Dream! But that is what food trucking is all about, the American Dream. Stop by and check them out if you haven't yet. You can also hit them up for what has seemed to be weekly tamale orders ($12 for a dozen tamales, can't beat that).