Here’s what Star reporter Ian Cummings is into right now:
Breakfast at Beignet
Not everybody is willing to wake up at 9 a.m. on a weekend to get in line for brunch somewhere. Not everybody is up by noon, or even 2 p.m., by which time a lot of breakfast places have closed. That’s when I head to Beignet, the New Orleans-style cafe at the northwest corner of the City Market, 307 Main St. And not just because it’s convenient and stays open late (till 8 p.m. most days, 6 p.m. Sundays and Mondays). The little eatery serves creole coffee with a chicory kick; rich, cheesy breakfast scrambles; and, of course, more than a dozen kinds of fried pastries, both sweet and savory, and covered in powdered sugar.
“The Best Show”
For three hours starting at 8 p.m. every Tuesday, “Best Show” host Tom Scharpling goes live to take phone calls from anyone anywhere. People call to talk about the best and worst robots of all time, or “Macho Man” Randy Savage or the Beach Boys. Some, Tom hangs up on. Some he slowly drowns out with the song “Bad Company” and then hangs up on them. Sometimes the caller gets 25 minutes into a bizarre, meandering description of a phony Bruce Springsteen biography before you are certain it’s actually Sharpling’s comedy partner, Jon Wurster, calling in the guise of one of his joke characters. Formerly on the radio, the New Jersey-based show is now available at thebestshow.net. It’s one big rabbit hole, and I like jumping into it.
I’ve been on a real otter kick lately. Just watching otter videos online. Maybe because they are mischievous animals. And they have a lot in common with people: They use their hands a lot, and they use stones for opening mollusk shells. They have expressive faces. If I could do it all over again, maybe I would work with otters in some capacity. An otter trainer? I learned, in the course of doing a story a few weeks ago, that otters are native to the Kansas City area and were wiped out a century ago by development. Recently, they were reintroduced to area rivers. It’s nice knowing they’re out there, doing their thing.
As a longtime teetotaler, I’ve come to appreciate a good ginger beer. You ever notice the phrase “ice cold ginger beer” sounds a lot like “nice cold ginger beer”? A few kinds are available in Kansas City — Reed’s is sold in local supermarkets, and you can get Gosling’s at the liquor store. Costco sells Bundaberg, which is a pretty good Australian brand, also served at Beignet. If you want to branch out, the Mass Street Soda shop in Lawrence sells tons of ginger beers among what it advertises as 1,300 varieties of soda.
Museum at Prairiefire
It’s no big secret this museum in Overland Park has dinosaur exhibits, but I like to talk up how good they are. The special presentations of the T. rex and the current one on the huge sauropods (think long-necked brontosaurus) are organized by the American Museum of Natural History in New York. So it’s a chance to see something you otherwise wouldn’t around here. The exhibits are organized to educate us on some point of evolution — it’s not just, like, “Here’s a cool-looking dinosaur.” They teach you about why the creature’s lungs or heart or jaws worked a certain way and how that illuminates something about the history of life. If the New York museum ever brings its recent exhibit on dinosaurs and birds here, I’ll go see that again, too.