Thursday, July 25, 2013

McGonigle's Meat Market

In this cow town that we call Kansas City, McGonigle's Market is revered for the high quality meat cuts that they sell. You will find meat that passes through McGonigle's on the menu at nearly all of the hottest eateries around town (Westport Flea Market, Beer Kitchen, even James Beard award winning Debbie Gold serves it at her Red Door Grill, and that is just the tip of the iceberg). However, in this same cow town (the land of Arthur Bryant's, Jack Stack, Gate's, and Oklahoma Joe's), McGonigle's is probably the most slept on established BBQ place around.

Sure, they are at a bit of a disadvantage because they don't have a typical dining room. They served their smoked meats out of a trailer, that sits in front of their store, before it was fashionable. And if that wasn't enough, there are really only enough parking spaces for about a dozen cars, before you have to get creative. Yet still, it baffles my mind that you do not hear the name McGonigle's on the Travel Channel or even in the heated arguments between friends about where to get the best burnt ends in KC.

As I recently stated in INK Magazine's Summer Dining Guide, McGonigle's is a must eat, especially when you have great weather outside! You walk inside the market, pay for your meal (I suggest to go with whatever the special of the day is). Then you walk outside to the trailer, hand them your receipt, and then they hand you a box/sack of  smoked awesomeness. There are tables set up in the adjacent strip of grass where you can eat beneath the shadows of umbrellas and shade trees. Admittedly, this system may seem a little convoluted to a first timer, but trust me, it's well worth the wait!

You can get anything from ribs to half chickens, and everything in between: brisket sandwiches, burnt end sandwiches, burgers, and of course the best smoked sausage in KC. Despite what the above linked INK dining guide may tell you, I was misquoted in saying that they have the best Italian sausage, the best sausage in town is a casing-less smoked sausage (think long skinny meatloaf) that comes in many different varieties and levels of heat. The sandwiches are piled so high with meat that, no matter how skilled of a sandwich eater you are, you will be unable to fight off the forces of gravity that pry the meat from right between the two buns (so make sure you grab a fork when they hand you your food).

The meats have a great rub caked on them. A rub in which you can taste slight hints of each of the components that you find in a good rub: salty, peppery, garlicy, and a little bit of sweetness, but no one of them overpowers the others. They are served dry but I love to put a couple spoons of the Blues Hog BBQ sauce (that is essentially spiced molasses) on my sandwich, despite the fact that Blues Hog is made in Memphis, and top it off with a couple house made pickle slices. That is a sandwich my friends!

So swing by and enjoy the weather, or grab and go, but no matter what you do: You have to stop sleeping on McGonigle's!

"That sounds great, but where do I get my McGonigle's fix in the winter time?" you ask. Go inside and get it from the deli counter, of course.

McGonigle's Market on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Guadalajara Cafe

Photos on the wall
If you have been reading this blog for any length of time, you probably know the story of how my wife and I came to spend a few frantic (yet awesome) hours in Guadalajara, Mexico. That unplanned excursion turned out to be a life changing event. Guadalajara was the first place that I tried an authentic street taco (on the street), which in turn led to me starting this blog. And as they say, "the rest is history".

With all of that being said, a place called Guadalajara Cafe seems like a logical place for me to check out. It is owned by one of the part owners of Frida's Contemporary Mexican Cuisine, so you know you are in for authentic Mexican food (it is more to the traditional side than Frida's). I actually think that Guadalajara Cafe is better than Frida's, despite the fact that GC has no atole ice cream.

When you walk into Guadalajara (the cafe, not the city), you are greeted by the smell of an authentic Mexican kitchen and photos of small tortillerias. The homemade chips and salsa are phenomenal, although (for the millionth time) is never a reason to choose/not choose a Mexican restaurant.

Enchiladas en Mole
Every time that I have been to GC, I have been nearly incapable of ordering anything but the Enchiladas en Mole. The lunch version of this entree is two traditional chicken enchiladas (made with corn tortillas, as they should be) smothered in the most delicious mole that has a light, but distinct essence of cocoa. - To those of you who are unfamiliar with moles: A mole is a traditional Mexican sauce, there are all different varieties of moles (spicy moles, sweet moles, more moles than you can shake a stick at). This one is a savory mole that has a hint of chocolate in it. - If you have never tried a mole before, you are in for a treat. If you are a seasoned mole veteran, you will agree with me that GC has the real deal. The beans and rice that accompany the enchiladas, that I would normally just toss aside at most Mexican restaurants, are quite enjoyable at GC. These beans, like the mole, have been slow cooked and tended to with love (you can tell when you taste them).

Steak Picado
The last time I was there for lunch, however, I did stray from my unequivocal favorite and tried out the Steak Picado. This is a dish of slow cooked carne asada steak and sauteed mushrooms, served in a mushroom sauce, with tortillas on the side. (The tortillas that come with this particular dish are of the flour variety, but corn tortillas are available by request.) The steak picado was a delicious change of pace, especially if you enjoy a good mushroom sauce. I got so overzealous and overloaded my first two tortillas so badly that I almost didn't have enough steak left for my third tortilla. The beans and rice were still delicious as well.

I have never been for dinner, but have only heard great things about any dinner entree that friends have here. This is one of my favorite lunch spots and I can only imagine that they turn it up at dinner time. I recommend GC to anyone that loves authentic home-style Mexican food!

Guadalajara Cafe on Urbanspoon Guadalajara Cafe on Urbanspoon