Jeneé Osterheldt

Hot new food and drinks to warm up winter

At Nguyen Pho + Grill, the chicken pho ($8.50) comes in a bowl big enough for two meals.
At Nguyen Pho + Grill, the chicken pho ($8.50) comes in a bowl big enough for two meals. The Kansas City Star

The cold may not bother Elsa, but we’re frozen in Kansas City.

Winter went hard this month as an arctic blast slapped us into subzero wind chills. As my friends try to dig me out of the warmth of my cocoon (see: couch and blanket), the only thing that will get me out is the promise of a payoff that sizzles. (And a flu vaccine.)

Be it a toddy or savory soup, if I’m taking on the cold, I’m hitting it with my best shot. A few new ways to warm up your winter nights:

Sweet heat

Artego Pizza just opened up in midtown. I went in to try the pizza soup, but it was the Sopapilla Pizza ($9) dessert that caught my eye. Warm vanilla cream cheese, cinnamon, sugar and honey atop a dessert crust? I’ll try it.

But you have to really love cream cheese to take on the richness of this treat. It’s like melted cheesecake, and I couldn’t handle more than one, beautiful bite. Have a slice at Artego Pizza, 900 W. 39th St.

If you want something a little easier to eat, Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop serves up Thai coffee and doughnuts ($6). Or you can get an order of crispy banana rolls ($5). What’s a banana roll? It’s like an eggroll ate a banana and rolled around in dulce de leche with cinnamon and sugar. Yes. Warm decadence for the win.

Shake off the winter at Lulu’s, 2030 Central St. off Southwest Boulevard.


On frigid days, a big bowl of soup is a no-brainer. But take it further than chicken noodle and heat up your life with pho, the Vietnamese soup with lots of heart. Say it with me: “Fuh” not “foe.”

There are lots of options: chicken, beef, shrimp, tofu and more. But the base almost always consists of rice noodles, broccoli and cilantro in a steaming hot broth that often has hints of ginger. You can dress it up with Sriracha, jalapenos and veggies.

At Nguyen Pho + Grill, I go for the chicken pho ($8.50), and I have enough for lunch and dinner, too. When I walk to the car, the wind doesn’t even faze me as I carry pho, the ultimate belly warmer. Try some at Nguyen Pho + Grill, 500 Grand Blvd. in the River Market.

Irish coffee

Thou Mayest is a coffee shop that draws a crowd because it’s cozy and cool while the drinks are warm. This time of year, I don’t just want a blanket. I want a drink that feels like a space heater — instantaneous warmth. Enter the Irish coffee ($9). Everyone does this bar standard a little differently, and at Thou Mayest, the whiskey puts some muscle on the coffee, cream and nutmeg in your glass. It’s strong enough to drop-kick Jack Frost and melt your frosty paws.

Try one at Thou Mayest, 419 E. 18th St., next to Grinder’s in the Crossroads.

Hot tonic

Hot chocolate and coffee are tempting, but with flu season at its peak and freezing winds blowing germs around, sometimes you need a serving of healthy in your cup. Cafe Gratitude serves up a menu of tonics created to boost the body and promote well-being. There’s the Cozy, a mix of lemon, ginger, honey and cayenne ($4.50), or you could go with the sexy-sounding Aroused ($5). It’s basically herbal hot chocolate with some extras like hazelnut milk and honey.

I chose Serene, a calming concoction of tea, Chinese herbs and coconut oil ($7.50). It smells like butterscotch but tastes a little earthy. Either way, it was hot when I was cold, so I drank it down.

Feel better at Cafe Gratitude, 333 Southwest Blvd.

To reach Jeneé Osterheldt, call 816-234-4380 or send email to “Like” her page on Facebook and never miss a column. Follow her on Twitter: @jeneeinkc.