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Grateful for This Grub

A tip of the fork to these great plates...and bowls...and cups

Arthur Bryant plate of meat We're thankful for this. All of this. (Photo: Jonathan Bender | Flatland)
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This is the time when we bow our heads and give thanks. When we take a moment to remember why we need an awl in our lives and a stain stick by the laundry machine. When we look at our credit card statements and wish that we worked at a job with an expense account.

We want to give thanks for the great meals past and the repasts yet to come. So right now, in the spirit of Thanksgiving, here are the treats and sips that we’re thankful for in Kansas City.

We’re thankful for… the counter man with the steady hand at Arthur Bryant’s. The one who takes that cream-colored plastic plate and piles it high with lean, perfect slices of beef. The one who passes it back with the understanding that the forthcoming meat coma is the sweet reward for those with the courage to eat everything between the two slices of white bread.

We’re thankful for… Tom Nichol deciding that his career wouldn’t be complete without making a gin in Kansas City. Master distillers are as rare as unicorns in these parts and the Midwestern Dry Gin that the former Tanqueray gin wizard created for J. Rieger & Co. should inspire the same kind of love as the mythical-horned creatures. It’s got spice from coriander and juniper, and a bit of citrus from dried orange peel that makes it a welcome addition to any home bar.

…the spicy fish bowl — a rice bowl with a spicy chili sauce that has a pleasant lingering heat — at Bob Wasabi Kitchen. This new spot on 39th Street is Bob Shin’s first restaurant after decades of working for someone else. This bowl alone was worth the wait.

…the London Fog at The Roasterie. It’s like a big cup of Cambric-esque tea with steamed milk and a dash of vanilla. This and a hot whiskey toddy will get you through flu season.

…the Oink & Cluck Burger at Q39. They swap bacon for chipotle sausage and add a runny egg over a cheddar-cheese topped burger. It’s the whole barnyard in each bite and the reason that every burger spot should offer an over-easy egg as a topping.

…the Bun Cha Gio at Vietnam Café. This one is like a color wheel in a bowl. Rice vermicelli noodles are topped with bean sprouts, pickled carrots and daikon and snipped pieces of crispy egg roll (a great little bit of crunch). You can add tangy fish sauce and Sriracha to your heart’s content before diving in with chopsticks.

…the vegan donuts at Mud Pie Vegan Bakery & Coffeehouse. For years, we’ve been saying that vegans and vegetarians don’t have to settle in Kansas City. Mud Pie’s desserts help make that case. Everybody needs a donut.

…the Dark & Stormy at Harry’s Country Club. A proper cocktail made with rum, ginger beer and lime juice that was cool before the Moscow Mule started making copper mugs trendy.

…the Italian beef at Mo’s Italian Spot, where they dip the bun in beef juice and let you top it with everything from sweet and hot peppers to an Italian sausage. This is the kind of sandwich that makes Chicagoans’ sweaters tight in the middle and hearts stop with satisfaction.

What dish or drink are you thankful for in Kansas City? Comment below or on Twitter @FlatlandKC.

— Jonathan Bender writes about food trends for KCPT’s Flatland, and is the founder of the Recommended Daily.

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