Shtrokin’

•April 13, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Roger the alien from American Dad was voted Gayest Cartoon Character of All Time by the Logo channel, beating out such luminaries as Thelma from Scooby Doo, Peppermint Patty from Peanuts, and Vanity Smurf from The Smurfs. Roger, that’s Quite Nice. But time is not over, and there will be many gay cartoon characters in the future. Do you think you can remain gay enough to hold your title? [Cartoon characters don't have sex.--Eds.] {Umm. Tentacle pr0n.–Jack Jackson}

Seth Rogen said Zac Efron looks like something a gay guy designed in a laboratory. Seth, Go Take a Nap! Zac was designed by the ever-loving hands of God! [Whoa. Didn't see that coming.--Eds.]

Paul Stanley of KISS was born with a stumpy deaf ear, and he was bullied as a child. Oh, Really? I wouldn’t never guessed that people in KISS were hard of hearing. [Zing!--Eds.]

And James Cameron said he’s almost done writing the next three Avatar movies. James, Go Take a Nap! You can’t keep giving us blue balls like this! [What if they're 3-D blue balls?--Eds.]

Play off

•April 6, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Tom Daley said he is full-on gay now and no longer “fancies” girls. Tom, that’s Just Nice. But once you go gay, you never go back. [Maybe he's happier now.--Eds.]

Miranda Kerr said she dated Orlando Bloom for 6 months before she even kissed him. Miranda, Go Take a Nap! Guys can’t handle blue balls that long. [They usually just masturbate all the time.--Eds.]

Miley Cyrus said she’s not pregnant. Miley, that’s Just Nice. You’re probably not ready to be a mother yet. [Give it a few years.--Eds.]

After a non-attending Justin Bieber won Canada’s Juno Fan Choice Award, the audience booed. Justin, Go Take a Nap! When you win awards, you accept them in person. [We thought Canada was full of nice people.--Eds.]

And the mayor of Miami asked for the Ultra Music Festival to no longer be held in Miami after a security guard was trampled and in critical condition. Mayor of Miami, Go Take a Nap! Festivals gotta have a little blood! [There's got to be some way they can have the festival without all the trampling.--Eds.]

Wuttup

•March 30, 2014 • Leave a Comment

LeAnn Rimes had to cut a performance short in Oklahoma because her jaw popped out and she endured pain and hearing loss. LeAnn, Go Take a Nap! You gotta play through the pain! [It's hard to sing with your jaw loose and you can't hear.--Eds.]

James Franco said he did not have sex with Lindsay Lohan, even though he’s on her list of past lovers. James, that’s Quite Nice. But you would’ve had the most beautiful babies. [All babies are beautiful.--Eds.]

Skidmore College will offer a new class called The Sociology of Miley Cyrus: Race, Class, Gender, and Media. Skidmore College, Go Take a Nap! You can’t just offer one course about Miley! You’ve got to create a major! [And an M.A. program.--Eds.]

And Zac Efron got punched by someone in Skid Row, saying it was the hardest he’d ever been punched. Zac, that’s Just Nice. But if you’ve been punched a lot at the age of 26, you might be doing something wrong. [We would be his life coaches, if he would just ask.--Eds.]

Gates Bar-B-Q (Kansas City)

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

You can’t visit KC and not load up on some smoked meat, and wouldn’t you know that DJ Strawberry Musk just also happened to be in town after hopping a train down and he wanted to try Gates as well. I had eaten Gates at a Royals game before, and their BBQ sauce is still my #1.

A KC BBQ KO.

A KC BBQ KO.

DJ Strawberry Musk and I split a two-meat combo with ribs, but just had brisket for both meats. I know it’s traditional to have white bread, but I’m not eating it. You can. Go ahead. I’m just going to sit on my side of the booth and eat a bunch of meat, thank you.

The brisket was thinly sliced and tender, and I wonder if there’s a way to inject it next time, to speed up the process of getting it into my body. The ribs were a little dry, a little overdone, but very meaty, and did I mention the Gates BBQ sauce is my #1?

The fries are fine, they came out hot. I vastly prefer a shoestring fry. The combo platter is probably big enough to have a three-way.

Gates Bar-B-Q on Urbanspoon

Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop and Satay Bar (Kansas City)

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lulu’s was close enough to walk to from the Crown Center, and I love Thai food and walking, so it seemed like a big dummyhead thing if I didn’t give Lulu’s a shot.

A very yummy tom yum.

A very yummy tom yum.

It was packed to the gills at lunchtime and I sat at the bar. The service was prompt and friendly, and everything I saw served to the customers around me looked great and I wanted to try it all, but settled for Mussamun curry with tofu and added a bowl of tom yum soup. The soup was pretty amazing, featuring a great rich broth and a citrus zestiness that went well with the cilantro and straw mushrooms. It’s almost as if they knew I was battling a fierce hangover. The soup might be my new favorite hangover killer.

A Mussamun nuttiness.

A Mussamun nuttiness.

The entree’s jasmine rice was cooked perfectly, which was a nice surprise because it’s so often overcooked and chewy at so many Thai places. My only mistake was not requesting the peanuts on the Mussamun curry. I really don’t like nuts or fruit in entrees. But the tofu was cooked right, although it surely could’ve been cut into smaller chunks. I ordered the dish as medium spice, but it was pretty mild. It also features onions and potato slices, but the potato slices were surely undercooked and a bit, shall we say, al dente?

But overall Lulu’s was an excellent experience and I would gladly return to try out their other dishes (and kill a hangover).

Lulu's Thai Noodle Shop & Satay Bar on Urbanspoon

Pierpont’s at Union Station (Kansas City)

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I was fortunate enough to be invited to eat with some of Ripshaw’s colleagues at Pierpont’s. Union Station is a cool place and I heard a mobster got whacked there a long time ago. Probably had it coming.

Filet 'n' beans.

Filet ‘n’ beans.

I started with a Campari/soda (no stickiness on the glassware at Pierpont’s! I’m looking at you, Lidia’s!) and we opened with some beef carpaccio and oysters on the half-shell. The beef carpaccio was good but the oysters had pretty much zero flavor (nah, they had actually zero flavor), and it was only after adding horseradish, lemon juice, and some soy-sauce-based sauce that they became worthwhile to eat. Well, what do I know? I don’t even really like raw oysters.

The bread was baked fresh and came with good butter. It was a little Hard to Eat because the outer crust was so hard, but I guess people like that, and crumbs explode everywhere when you tear into it, so maybe that’s the attraction.

My filet was cooked perfectly medium, and it was a very good cut. The green beans were cooked perfectly as well, with a tender crispness that was highly enjoyable. I asked for Worcestershire sauce, which I consider a sine qua non for grilled steak. Also, we enjoyed our beef with a Really Quite Nice Sandrone Barbera, an excellent pairing.

If you have the desire for an Old School steak experience, I highly recommend Pierpont’s.

Pierpont's at Union Station on Urbanspoon

Korma Sutra II (Kansas City)

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I always try to find good Indian food in other cities to compare it with Lincoln’s excellent options of The Oven, Sher-e Punjab, and the Tandoor. I usually avoid buffets, but I’ll make an exception for Indian buffets because I like trying all the different dishes.

It was a good sign when I walked in that it was a busy lunch at Korma Sutra in the tragically hip Westport area of Kansas City. Everyone was opting for the buffet, so I followed the herd.

Korma, meet Vindaloo. Vindaloo, meet Korma.

Korma, meet Vindaloo. Vindaloo, meet Korma.

For $11.95, it’s a good bargain, and the buffet was aggressively filled by the staff. Also, the service was very efficient when it came to removing used plates and refilling my water glass. I hate it at Indian buffets when the plates pile up and you don’t get water. It makes me angry.

When I said I would be having the buffet, I immediately got a mango lassi and a basket of naan. I’m not normally a lassi fan, but I drank it. I wouldn’t order one, but it was a nice freebie. The bread was hot and baked properly. The basmati rice was cooked perfectly as well.

I had a plate of chicken korma and vindaloo, both of which were fine, but the vindaloo was certainly nowhere near as hot-spiced as I would’ve liked. Sher-e Punjab’s is by far better, and The Oven’s chicken tikka korma is also by far better than Korma Sutra’s chicken korma.

I also had some vegetable pakoras and some vegetarian dishes, all of which were good. I can safely recommend the lunch buffet, although I still think the best Indian food I’ve had is in Lincoln, which is a pleasant and weird revelation.

Korma Sutra Cusine of India on Urbanspoon

Lidia’s (Kansas City)

•March 29, 2014 • Leave a Comment

Lidia Bastianich is one of the few TV chefs I respect, so I was eager to try her restaurant in Kansas City. But I was possibly expecting too much by comparing it to the excellent Frontera Grill of Rick Bayless in Chicago or Emeril’s Delmonico in Las Vegas.

A nice opener by a gas log.

A nice opener by a gas log.

I was flying solo and sat at the bar and started with a Campari. The bartender was friendly and quick, but the cocktail glass was covered in sticky Campari, making it a less-than-pleasant experience, and I had to ask for a glass of water, which irked me. I guess I can forgive the sticky stemware, because I’ve gotten Campari everywhere in a drunken rage before.

Starch me up.

Starch me up.

I chose the prix fixe Tuscan Grill which came with four courses for a very reasonable $34: polenta, daily pasta, choice of a grilled plate, and a mixed dessert. In general, all of the plates felt like they weren’t made with excellence, but more with a banquet dinner in mind. None of the dishes came out hot, merely warm. I’ve said many times I’d rather be served food Way Too Hot than Not Hot at All. I can wait for the food to cool or choose to burn my mouth, thank you.

The first plate was a polenta wedge with a grilled eggplant slice and a cream sauce. The polenta was a bit chewy and not served nearly hot enough. Also, it was Hard to Eat because you couldn’t really cut the eggplant with a fork, and you aren’t provided a proper knife for cutting it. I managed. Then came an empty plate. Then came a heaping of spaghetti bolognese. Then came a heaping of fettuccine with shrimp. Then came a heaping of ricotta and spinach ravioli. Holy crap, that plate is enough to make two meals.

A pasta blur.

A pasta blur.

Hey, I like starch. But polenta followed by a pasta bomb is not the bomb, as kids these days might say. My favorite was the fettuccine with shrimp, even though I’m ever-weary of seafood in the Midwest. The spaghetti and fettuccine were cooked perfectly al dente, but the ravioli was woefully undercooked, and where the filling met the dough, it was arguably not even cooked at all, just a gooey doughy mess.

But I suppose it’s okay that some of the pasta was essentially inedible because no one should be eating all that food, anyway. I ate most of the fettuccine, half of the spaghetti, and one of the ravioli that had actually gotten cooked. I was verging on full before the grilled lamb chops arrived. I commented to the bartender that the pasta plate was a ridiculous amount of food, and she agreed. Guess I’m right.

Lamb CHOP!

Lamb CHOP!

The lamb chops were served with far too many tart cherries, and I’m generally against fruit in entrees, but it would’ve been pretty good had the chops been served hot, and had the chops not been overcooked. They were three meaty and tender chops, but I’ve definitely had far better preparations. Also on the plate were cipollini onions with a fried breading crisp on top. These might have been excellent had they come out piping hot, but instead they had clearly cooled and showed little (failed to menace, even).

Sweet pile.

Sweet pile.

I know what you’re thinking: where’s dessert after all that? The candied pistachios were fine but possibly burnt in spots. And I don’t understand why you would put lemon sorbet next to vanilla ice cream. It’s a jarring combination. I would’ve far preferred to just have one or the other.

Ultimately, I was disappointed. The atmosphere is fine and the food is reasonably priced for what you get, but it was much too much food and I felt I was eating banquet fare, not the excellence of Italy I expected. I wonder what Lidia would’ve said about my dinner.

Lidia's Kansas City on Urbanspoon

Dangus

•March 23, 2014 • Leave a Comment

George R.R. Martin said that Game of Thrones is such a big story that it might need a big-budget feature film to finish. George, Go Take a Nap! Tevee shows don’t need movies, and movies don’t need tevee shows! [We like the movie and TV show M*A*S*H.--Eds.]

Amanda Seyfried says she enjoys filming sex scenes and likes getting with sexy guys. Amanda, that’s Quite Nice. Now we know. [Knowing is half the battle.--Eds.]

And Sarah Michelle Gellar said she was going to cancel her subscription to Vogue after the Kanye West and Kim Kardashian cover. Sarah, Go Take a Nap! You can’t judge magazines by their covers! [Embrace the inner beauty.--Eds.]

The Normandy (Lincoln)

•March 22, 2014 • Leave a Comment

I was excited to try The Normandy, because we don’t really have a good French bistro here and it went into the old El Sitio (El Shitty-o to locals) spot. The food was great but the service and atmosphere need some work.

Maybe they’re trying to be too casual, like La Buvette, where service can be so casual you’re not even sure you’re getting any. Although the servers were friendly, we were there at lunch when it wasn’t all that busy and I kept having to ask for my water to be filled (which is going to happen when you use such small water glasses). And we each get one small paper napkin? That’s not going to cut it. And the step up to the 4-top that begs for disaster? Not good. And the window that’s got a crack running through it and a pellet-gun dent? Not good. And my chair, the back of which kept popping out? Not good.

And getting bread to start with no butter? Not good. And putting plastic salt and pepper shakers out instead of a pepper mill and sea salt? Not good. And having a beer brought to our table we didn’t order? Well, that would be good if it were gratis, but it was just a mistake by the server.

So now that we’ve gotten all that out of the way, let’s talk about what is good: the food.

An haute dog?

An haute dog?

I had the Gruyere puff pastry and something called a “fancy French hot dog.” The puff pastry was nice, served warm. It was a little dense and could’ve been a little lighter or flakier, but it passed the test. And I’m not sure what it is with fancy hot dogs these days (maybe Vega inspired this dish), but it was a nice sausage served on a baguette. However, this is Hard to Eat. The baguette is too hard and crunchy to make it a real thing, and by far too much bread for what’s on it. It did taste good, though, and the small side salad was fresh with a good vinaigrette.

Others at the table were happy with their dishes, especially the beef bourguignon and the chicken a la creme. The prices are reasonable and I’ve heard there is no corkage fee.

But the service and basic table settings need some work. I’ll definitely go back, but I hope they iron out the kinks.