The suburbs southwest of Kansas City haven't always been known as a hot dining destination.
By Sarah Gish
But this year, Johnson County restaurants racked up a lot of impressive national honors. Among them:
Colby Garrelts, chef and owner at Rye in Leawood, won a James Beard award, and his fried chicken graced the cover of Saveur magazine.
And the barbecue ribs at Oklahoma Joe's -- which has locations in Olathe and Leawood -- were named "America's Tastiest" by USA Today.
But those aren’t the only restaurants worth the drive south on I-35. Here are eight of the best things I’ve eaten in Johnson County.
What’s the best dish you’ve had in the ‘burbs? Email firstname.lastname@example.org or tweet @chowtownkc.
The caramel budino dessert ($6) at North Italian Farmhouse, 4579 West 119th St. in Leawood. Homemade butterscotch pudding topped with caramel sauce, creme fraiche and flaky Maldon sea salt.
Sweet potato roll ($4.25) at Edokko Japanese Restaurant, 8615 Hauser Court, Lenexa. Strips of tempura-fried sweet potato rolled into sticky rice and seaweed paper.
Pastor tacos ($1.49 each) at Bonito Michoacan, 1231 E. Santa Fe in Olathe. Spicy pork nestled into doubled-up warm corn tortillas and topped with chopped cilantro and onion.
Chicken with creamy sun-dried tomato sauce ($6.49 at lunch or $9.95 at dinner) at Holy Land Cafe, 12275 W. 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa. A generous portion of sliced chicken breast in a creamy sauce with sweet sun-dried tomatoes, served over rice with grilled vegetables, pita and your choice of Greek salad or lentil soup.
Dinosaur egg ice cream ($2.60 for a junior scoop) at Sylas & Maddy's, 11925 S. Strang Line Road, Olathe. Turquoise-colored vanilla malt ice cream dotted with chopped and whole Whoppers.
Pan-fried shrimp dumplings ($7.25) at Blue Koi, 10581 Mission Road in Leawood. Fresh pockets of dough filled with shrimp (or chicken, pork, veggies), sauteed to perfection and served with an addictive sauce.
Pupusas at El Pulgarcito ($2.35-2.50 each), 5921 Merriam Drive, Shawnee. Handmade corn tortillas stuffed with your choice of filling (pork, cheese, zucchini, etc.) and topped with curtido, a lightly fermented cabbage relish.
Salted caramels by B&W Confections, $12 per dozen at We B Nuts and Stuff, 9429 Mission Road in Leawood. Locally made salted caramels dipped in dark chocolate and sprinkled with sea salt. They’re also available at Wheatfields in Lawrence.
Enterprise reporter Sarah Gish writes dining columns for Ink and 913. Contact her via email at email@example.com or tweet @sarah_gish.