Swiss Family Bollier
Main Street, just south of the Plaza between Ward Parkway and 51st Street, has evolved into a first-rate dining destination. The latest addition, the Coffee + Wine Bar at André’s Confiserie Suisse (5018 Main Street), is set to open this month. Six years in planning and development (and waiting for the appropriate financial climate—how Swiss), the sleek, modern space seats 24 with additional sidewalk patio space in good weather. The bar features items made popular over the 60-year history of this Kansas City dining landmark. Imagine varieties of sweet and savory stuffed puff pastry, beef popovers, ham and cheese croissants (and they do make the best, most buttery and flaky croissant in K.C.), their famous quiche with its comforting fillings, or the classic creamy chicken vol-au-vent. Those in the mood for a sandwich will enjoy their ham or salami and gruyere on pretzel braids, or chicken salad on golden brioche. Charcuterie and cheese plates, quiche, soups and salads will round out the menu. And of course, you can always order some of the tastiest and most tempting pastries and chocolates available, delectable sweets crafted in the Swiss tradition by three generations of the Bollier family. A light Swiss-style lunch will still be available in the Tearoom Tuesday through Saturday. Experience the new space and cuisine at a grand opening event for André’s Coffee + Wine Bar to be held on October 18, a benefit supporting Kansas City Young Audiences. Tickets are $75 for the flavor-filled extravaganza. For more information, visit andreschocolates.com.
Thou Mayest Enjoy This the Mostest
They had me at the name. Fans of Steinbeck (specifically East of Eden) will get it. The rest of you will have to pick up a book and read. Thou Mayest Coffee Roasters is a relatively recent addition to the scene, but has been roasting coffee beans for several years and now has a super hip new retail space next door to Grinders on 18th Street. In fact, their open-air patio looks out onto the Grinders’ stage. The interior is Retro Rocky Mountain Cabin on the Lake chic, with interesting bits here and there to capture the eye. But it’s not just a coffee shop for cool people. They also serve wine, beer and interesting cocktails. We sampled the Basilia, a refreshing combination of gin, guyabano (some unfamiliar, spikey-looking tropical fruit from a can) and basil seed. It had a very drinkable balance of acidity, and the basil seeds were a little like the tapioca in bubble tea. I always try to sample an establishment’s most popular items, and I was surprised to find it was the Tortuga. I couldn’t really pull the flavors together in my head (rum and espresso? definitely; espresso and tonic? maybe; espresso and something carbonated? probably not). But it worked. And the burst of orange from the garnish really pulled it all together. Don’t forget the coffee that started it all, and they have a small case of baked goods for those feeling a bit peckish. thoumayestcoffee.com 419 East 18th St. (Just look for the giant numbers 419 on the south side of the street.)
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Lidia Bastianich is Back in Town
Fans of public television chef Lidia Bastianich will have the opportunity to dine with her here in K.C. at two upcoming events. Bastianich will host the 16th anniversary of her Kansas City restaurant on Wednesday, October 15, from 5 until 9:00 p.m. The special menu will represent classic regional Italian and Italian-American dishes, favorites from Lidia’s 40-plus years sharing the foods she loves most. The following night, Thursday, October 16, she’ll host the Boys Grow farm benefit dinner—out on their new farm! Boys Grow is an agricultural entrepreneurship program for inner-city boys. The multi-course extravaganza, held right off Highway 71 in Grandview, will feature cocktails and passed appetizers down by the pond, food raised by Boys Grow, hayrides, risotto, twilight dinner with paired wines, strolling guitarists and a live auction. Proceeds go to establish the organization’s own culinary center where students will learn valuable culinary and life skills. Tickets are $175. For more information, call 816-221-3722 or visit lidias-kc.com or boysgrow.com.
Russ Constans began by selling hand-crafted, chilled soups made from great seasonal ingredients in local supermarkets, and Soupe Glacee was born. What he never envisioned was that the demand wouldn’t stop when the weather changed. The grocery stores were so enamored that they asked for more, and Constans’ win of the People’s Choice Award at the Lenexa Chili Challenge gave him the idea of a way to fade from the chilled soups of summer into ChiliLicious. His newest line of soups embraces a love for all things chili. If you need a way to shake off the first chills of autumn, check out his ChiliLicious Winter Blend-Red (beef-based, and the winner of the Lenexa prize) and the Winter Blend-White (a turkey-based warmer-upper).
The chilled soups are generally available mid-May to mid-October, and then it switches over to chili. Dates are fluid, and if we have an Indian summer, the chili might be delayed until it starts to get cooler. For more information about their soups and chilis, Constans’ food blog, product availability and store locations, visit soupeglacee.com.