Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sage of Anthos

Drink: Sage of Anthos
Type: Alcoholic
From: '37 Steak
Description: Refreshing

I couldn't help but give this review on what has probably been the most refreshing summer cocktail I've ever had from '37 Steak at the North Kansas City Harrah's. The head bartender, Mike Strohm, is incredibly friendly and informative, not to mention completely talented!

The drink: cool, light, herbal, aromatic.

Named for Greek rosemary, Mike starts off with lighting Green Chartreuse on fire along with the rosemary to release some seriously awesome flavors and aromas before adding the sage, rhubarb, and lemon juice. The result is a cool, herbal, and refreshing cocktail that makes the absolute perfect summer drink.

Check out this other great cocktail from '37 Steak!

The Monarch

Drink: The Monarch
Type: Alcoholic
From: Julep
Price: $11
Description: Ambrosial

Breaking out the fancy words for fancy drinks; this is my favorite drink at Julep in Westport. It's fragrant and served perfectly cooled in this gorgeous bar on Pennsylvania. Opened this spring by Beau Williams and his wife, Keely, the whiskey cocktail club is full of talented bartenders, southern food, and some seriously great cocktails.

The drink: sweet, citrusy, refreshing, different.

Made with Rittenhouse Rye, Luxardo Maraschino, Cocchi Vermouth di Torino, and Olive Heights Braeburn Belle Bitters, it's smooth and full of great taste without anything but delicious lingering flavors.


Drink: Columba
Type: Coffee
From: Black Dog Coffeehouse
Price: $1.80
Description: Rich

Black Dog Coffeehouse in Lenexa serves locally based and roasted Messenger Coffee. This fair trade sourced dark roast was well-roasted and had a great deep flavor to it and a somehow sweet bitterness.

The drink: deep, rich, dark, earthy.

Despite being 100* outside the day I went, it was nice and cool in the large space with lots of comfy chairs and tables and even a space for live music. The coffeehouse had plenty of variety of drinks and snacks, lending itself to a great atmosphere to hang out and work, read, or fiddle with a phone. Also, get some toast while you're there.

Thursday, July 24, 2014


Drink: Rebubula
Type: Alcoholic
From: '37 Steak
Description: Warm

I was fortunate enough to get a sneak preview of '37 Steak's new cocktail menu by the wonderful Mikey Strohm, which was released on Monday. Located in Harrah's in North Kansas City, the venue is contemporary and comfortable with a friendly staff and great food (spicy candied bacon? Yes, please!)

The first drink Mike crafted for me was this awesome whiskey-based cocktail with Applejack, Dolin Rouge, Luxardo Maraschino and house-made citrus bitters, named for the song that was playing when he first made it.

The drink: light, clear, fresh, warm.

The other cocktails off the new menu I got to sample included The Pocket Square, a floral, lemony drink (Mike's favorite), and Ayurvedic Medicine, a Negroni-like gin drink. Everything I tried, from the flatbread pizza to each cocktail was delicious and well-worth a trip to someplace I wouldn't normally frequent. Can't wait to head back for more!

Fast Focus Juice

Drink: Fast Focus Juice
Type: Tea
From: t. Loft
Description: Fresh

I finally had the opportunity to go back to t.Loft after the Caffeine Crawl and I was not disappointed. The clean-eating and gluten-free shop was full of great summer drink options from teas to juices to smoothies. The freshly pressed Fast Focus Juice was both refreshing and energizing. I spent the rest of the afternoon feeling pretty good thanks to my tea-based juice (and peanut butter protein ball).

The drink: flavorful, cool, filling, naturally sweet.

What I liked most about this drink was the mix of flavors from pear, cucumber, pineapple, and apple and how the black tea cut through it making it light and smooth. The tea adds a lingering flavor and keeps the drink from being overly sweet from the fruit. It was both filling and delicious.

Blueberry Matcha Latte

Drink: Blueberry Matcha Latte
Type: Green Tea Latte
From: Headrush Roasters
Price: $4.49
Description: Unique

 While not technically coffee, this beverage is made as a latte complete with frothy smoothness. It's made with matcha - a very fine Japanese green tea known for it's health benefits and natural ability to work well in cooking and beverages. Traditionally it was served in ceremony, but with a burgeoning popularity has found itself in cookies, smoothies, scones, and lattes.

The barista at Headrush, located on North Oak Trafficway, suggested this due to it's overall popularity, and after tasting it I can see why.

The drink: fruity, sweet, light, warm.

The blueberry aroma and the greenness from the matcha is the first things you notice before even sipping the sweet froth and enjoying the smooth and light green tea and blueberry flavors. It wasn't heavy or too strongly flavored (and went really well with my chocolate chip orange scone). I imagine it would be awesome iced. Next time I think I'll try it with the lavender syrup (I am a sucker for lavender).

Thursday, July 17, 2014

French Connection

Drink: French Connection
Type: Alcoholic
From: Cafe des Amis
Price: $8.50
Description: Good

Located in historic downtown Parkville, Cafe des Amis is a wonderfully authentic french restaurant with an extensive wine list and great views looking over the quaint street.  It's a great place for cocktails and appetizers north of the river, especially if you're looking for a romantic spot.

The drink: sweet and spicy, tart, syrupy.

Made with Camus Cognac VSOP, Amaretto Disaronno and cherry garnish on ice, this cocktail has a warm flavor with a sweetness from the marachino cherries that pairs well with the amaretto with the added spiciness and tartness from the cognac. It's smooth, strong, and great for sipping.

Love of Paris

Drink: Love of Paris
Type: Black Tea
From: Anna Marie's
Price: $4.75 per oz.
Description: Light

Wonderful weather this week means lots of time spent on the porch drinking tea. This particular type of black tea makes an awesome iced tea. It's subtly fruity from the lemony bergamot and naturally sweetened by vanilla -making it light and refreshing.

The drink: aromatic, floral, vanilla, smooth.

Anna Marie's Teas in Liberty is one of my favorite places to purchase loose-leaf teas because of their high quality and natural ingredients. This tea is no exception. This particular tea is decaffeinated, which makes it great for late summer nights.

Need more tea in your day? Check out the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Iced Raspberry Mocha

Drink: Iced Raspberry Mocha
Type: Coffee
From: Scooter's Coffee
Price: $3.25
Description: Fun

I was driving through North Kansas City and saw the cute little Scooter's Coffee hut off Burlington and just couldn't resist grabbing a treat. If you're still going to that sub-par National chain "on every corner" for your fun, flavored coffee drinks, you're doing life wrong. Scooter's coffee is delicious, and they have a way of flavoring their specialty drinks so that they still feel coffee-based rather than milk-shake based. Which is a win-win in my book!

The drink: mocha-y, smooth, delicious.

This drink was recommended to me by the barista, and I loved the good coffee flavor with a hint of raspberry in the finish. It wasn't overwhelming or syrupy, and sweet without being "too" sweet. I love that Scooter's has different latte flavorings as well as fruit and espresso smoothies, tea and tea lattes.

Need other coffee suggestions? Check out the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram!

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Martini Moretto

Drink: Martini Moretto
Type: Alcoholic
From: Pezzettino Italian Deli & Market
Price: $12
Description: lemony

Coming from a Sicilian family, I tend to be hard to impress when it comes to Italian food. When I was in college, my then-boyfriend-now-husband and I used to frequent this awesome Italian market in Warrensburg called Tony's. So when I saw an Italian market was coming to The Crossroads, I was definitely intrigued.

I'd be lying if I said I wasn't obsessed. Seriously - they have the best turkey sandwich EVER. With loads of piadine, panini, piatti, and fresh insalate made-to-order and an awesome selection of gelato it makes for the perfect lunch spot. Pezzettino also offers Apertivo - or Italian Happy Hour every day.

The drink: light, citrusy, strong, cool.

Made with vodka, fresh squeezed lemon juice, chambord and limoncello this cocktail is frothy, with a strong lemon flavor and sweetness from the limoncello that balances well with the tartness.

Need more cocktails in your life? Check the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Blackberry Lavender Soda

Drink: Blackberry Lavender Soda
Type: Soda
From: Little Freshie
Price: $3.25
Description: Fresh

So while this doesn't fall into the spirits/beans/leaves category - it was too delicious and local to pass up! Little Freshie started out in a trailer selling fresh snowcones, and now works out of a quaint shop at West 17th street. With indoor and outdoor seating, and an abundance of freshly made espresso, soda, slushies, and snowcones, it's perfect for summer.

The drink: light, aromatic, effervescent, refreshing.

Homemade soda is really the only way to go: it wasn't sweet or syrupy, just unbelievably refreshing and just slightly bubbly. Weekly flavors like green tea pear, raspberry rose, and mango ginger along with house made herb and lemonade flavors can be hand crafted into sodas, snowcones, or slushies. They all pair well with fresh sandwiches and made-from-scratch scones, hand pies, and cookies. Need more convincing? Check out all these reviews!

Need more local beverages in your life? Check the Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram


Drink: Kyoto
Type: Coffee
From: PTs At The Crossroads
Price: $4.00
Description: Chocolatey

Kyoto is a specific system where coffee is cold brewed in large glassware devices, giving the coffee a fuller flavor. The coffee is served cold, without ice or embellishment, allowing the drinker to experience a deeper coffee taste. The newly remodeled location in The Crossroads has the glassware on full display and the staff is knowledgeable and happy to answer questions. 

The drink: sweet then bitter, earthy, chocolately. 

Unfortunately, I missed what brew was used in that day's Kyoto, but the fullness of the flavor is what sets Kyoto apart from other cold brews and toddies, and is available daily at all PTs Coffee locations. If you're looking for something complex, cold, and flavorful this is worth a try. 

Want more coffee? Check imbibe: [kc]'s Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Leap of Faith

Drink: Leap of Faith
Type: Alcoholic
From: The Jacobson
Price: $11
Description: Fruity

The combination of rye whiskey with red and white wine, lavender, and blackberry makes for the perfectly refreshing summer cocktail at The Jacobson in The Crossroads Arts District. There's a deep flavor and spiciness that matches the floral and citrusy fruitiness in this icy cold drink served up in a wine glass.

The drink: sweet, spicy, citrusy, cold.

Sitting inside in the industrial modern restaurant or outside on the breezy patio, the cocktail and food options at this restaurant are superb. They have a great happy hour menu available Monday - Friday 3-6 and great daily specials.

Honey Almond Toddy

Drink: Honey Almond Toddy
Type: Coffee
From: Kaldi's Coffee
Price: $3.80
Description: Light

Kaldi's Coffee (a Saint Louis original) has been on my radar for some time, so I was pleased to discover one near me in Zona Rosa. Recently, Kaldi's bought out the six area Latte Land shops and are slowly making the change over. According to the barista, Latte Land had been brewing Kaldi's coffee and the change made logical sense. Make sure you #FollowTheGoat and check out this unique iced coffee drink:

The drink: smooth, clean, refreshing, semi-sweet.

The signature summer drink is toddy shaken with honey and almond milk, giving it a very subtle hint of sweet and nuttiness. I couldn't get enough, and nearly ordered a second one.

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Roasterie

The Roasterie is a Kansas City original, started by the Bean Baron, Danny O'Neill, in his basement in 1993. It has since grown into one of the most recognizable brands in the metro area. It's well known for it's DC3 plane on top of its downtown Factory facility just off Southwest Trafficway.

If you're at all interested in coffee - drinking it, roasting it, the history of it...- I definitely recommend taking the free factory tour.

They know how to run with a theme.

Anna, our tour guide, showed a brief video before demonstrating quality testing and leading the tour through the production floor (the only one in the franchise).

What makes Roasterie coffee unique is that it is air-roasted, meaning it's cooked through the use of hot air, like a convection oven, rather than in giant drums, leading to a more evenly roasted bean. The Roasterie also only roasts what the company needs for that particular day, providing some of the freshest coffee around.

Roasting on the Production Floor

The coffee, which is hand-picked from the highest altitudes (top 2%), is dried and the green seeds are harvested from the pods, which are then sent to California. Once sent to KC, 80% of it is sold in the metro area. The other 20% is split primarily between universities (i.e. KU uses Roasterie coffee exclusively) and online sales.

Dried coffee cherry (left) and green seeds (right).

The Roasterie has 3 certified coffee cuppers, who test for quality and consistency by using worksheets to determine ten points on 12-14 cups at a time, all day long. Cupping is a test done by brewing the coffee in a manner similar to using a French Press (only without pressing it), with water that is 200 degrees for four minutes. The cuppers then remove the grounds from the coffee and slurp the coffee like a wine taster would in order to get the best flavor.

During our tour, The Roasterie sampled their coffee of the week: the Brazil, along with two of their reserves: the Democratic Republic of Congo (my personal favorite) and the Ethiopian.

The history of the company along with the straightforward method of air-roasting coffee daily and using on the highest quality of beans makes The Roasterie stand out. Even if you don't make it to one of the tours, or missed it during The KC Caffeine Crawl, I definitely recommend stopping in one of their cafes for a fresh cup, or by your local grocery store for a bag of beans or box of single serves in order to enjoy the Bean Baron's great product.*

*Side Note: The Roasterie Professor Bean, Simeon Bricker, recently won the U.S. Latte Art competition in Seattle and competed in Australia for the world title.