Sunday, February 24, 2008

Early Birds Love Hereford House Happy Hour

In an attempt to create traffic when there is normally little or none, lots of restaurants are offering an "Early Dining" option. Often this takes the form of a Happy Hour special in the bar only, but not always.

Melbee's, for example, has a $25 fixed price, 3-course meal, provided you can get there before 6:00pm. * Their normal offering is a $38 fixed priced, 4-course meal. That's quite a big savings if you can make it there in time!

My current favorite for "eating early" is Hereford House. I've visited the new Shawnee location (435 & Midland Drive) and taken advantage of this offer. Often. From 4:00 - 6:00pm, in the bar only, their offerings include:

for a measly $4.50:

  • 1/2 pound steakburger w/ fries
  • Boneless buffalo wings (very good ones!) w/ fries

for a frugal $6.50:

  • KC Strip Sandwich (grilled onions and mushrooms) w/ fries
for a miserly $8.50:

  • 8 oz. Kansas City strip w/ fries
  • 4 oz. filet Oscar (crab and Bearnaise sauce) served w/ asparagus spears

NOTE: There are more options. I'm only listing this ones I've tried and liked (I haven't disliked any). Also, options and prices appear to change slightly at different Hereford House locations.

Want an adult beverage with your early dinner? How about a $3 house Cabernet or Chardonnay? Or a $3 Boulevard brew?

This is a great meal (it is Hereford House, after all) for a great price. See you there!

Hereford House:

* Call ahead to confirm that they still offer this special. I'm not seeing it listed on their website.

Monday, February 11, 2008

Lill's on 17th - Can you keep a Secret?

UPDATE - 5/20/08: Due to low attendance, these Monday night dinners have been cancelled. If I hear of them starting again, I'll post.

A secret dinner, that is. Lill's on 17th is officially closed on Mondays. If you drive by the house-converted-to-a-restaurant and look at the sign out front, there are no Monday hours listed. However, that's not really true....

There's a Secret Dinner on Monday nights at Lill's. Anyone is invited, but not everyone knows about it. In fact, there is no mention at all of this on Lill's website. I was lucky enough to get a flyer from a shop owner in Lill's neighborhood.

There are a few rules regarding Monday night dinners:

  • No choices - there is only one set menu each week. (there is always a vegetarian option)
  • The menu changes each week.
  • Food is served family style.
  • There are two seating times: 6:00pm (recommended for parties with kids) and 7:30pm.
  • Only cash and checks are accepted
  • Cost is $10 adult; $5 kids under 10 (Drinks, tax & tip not included)
  • Reservations are required
Last week's menu had the theme of "Comfort Food" - Mac & Cheese, served with sides of mushrooms and broccoli, with homemade biscuits and frosted brownie for dessert. If you think this is a bland menu, then you would be wrong. The Mac & Cheese was not to be confused with the stuff from the blue box - penne pasta smothered in a wonderfully rich cheese sauce and topped with a golden brown bread crumb topping. Let's just say I had thirds of it!

On the side were sauteed mushrooms and bright green steamed broccoli. Whether you mixed these in with your mac, or had them as sides, you couldn't go wrong here.

They aren't kidding about the family style - Lill's is not a large place, and our party of six ended up sitting at the same long table with a younger couple. It didn't take long before we ended up striking up a conversation with them and found that we knew some people in common - the whole small-world thing, you know.

Just tonight, I went back again. Tonight's theme was "Breakfast for Dinner" (one of my personal favorites). The menu was pancakes, eggs, bacon, cheese grits, hash browns, biscuits & gravy, fresh fruit and cinnamon rolls. Whew! You had me at "pancakes"!

Tonight it was just me and my four-year-old son going for dinner. We shared a table with four other ladies that my son happily flirted with.

I should mention that this dinner at Lill's is pretty laid-back. This is no fancy-pants dining experience. It's more like going to a good friend's house for dinner. For example, we got our biscuits and were happily munching away when someone noticed, "where's the gravy?" Oops. That was quickly remedied. Then there was some bad news about the cinnamon rolls. They did not rise in time to be baked for dinner. I took the news in stride, but my son was a little peeved. Another biscuit soothed his pain.

In summary, Lill's on Monday night is a casual, comfortable, easy dinner. You will get some wonderful food - plenty of it - and you might even make a friend or two.

website: (but you won't see any mention of this dinner there! Call or email for details about Monday night dinner: 816-421-4441 or

Saturday, February 9, 2008

The Upper Crust: Quiche + Pie = Dinner

The Upper Crust is a pie bakery, located in the lower depths of Pryde's in Westport (a kitchen and home store), that is only open on Fridays and Saturdays.

I called The Upper Crust about their pies. While on the phone, the kind lady mentioned that they also have two weekly quiches. I figured quiche + pie = easy dinner, so I took her up on the offer.

My quiche choices were Italian Cheese or Bleu Cheese Tomato. The Blue Cheese Tomato made me say "yum" out loud, so I ordered that one. They have too many choices of pie to list - see their website or call them.

The pies I chose were All American Apple and Lemon Meringue. I got two petite pies (1-2 servings), so I could try several flavors.

Fast-forward to dinner...

We had a friend over for dinner to sample the goods. The quiche was difficult to heat up. As suggested by The Upper Crust staff, I heated it for 10 minutes at 350 degrees, but it still felt cold in the middle. If I left it in the oven longer, I feared that the crust would cook too much. Finally, I resorted to the microwave (20-30 seconds per slice) and that worked wonderfully.

Friend and I had two pieces of quiche each. As I expected, it was yummy. Hubbie only had one slice, but I suspect he was saving up for pie. It was unanimous...good quiche!

When time came for the pies, Hubbie chose Apple, while Friend and I chose Lemon Meringue. It was thumbs-up all around for both pies. Not one to miss out on pie, I tried the remaining Apple pie for breakfast the following morning and it was indeed a good choice!

The All American Apple had a perfect crust (the most difficult part of the pie to get right, in my opinion) and the apples inside were sugared and baked to the perfect consistency.

The Lemon Meringue was a thing of beauty to look at. The meringue was a delightful tan color and stood up in curvy spikes a couple inches above the pie! Inside of being gooey, the meringue was springy. This resulted in a good mix of gooey lemon filling with springy meringue combined in every bite. This was seriously a great pie!

The Upper Crust also has a good selection of cookies and seasonal items (they had heart-shaped cookies for Valentine's Day the day of my visit).

I would suggest ordering ahead to make sure you get your first choices. My next choice will be German Chocolate Pie - I eyed it in the store and it looked delish!


Friday, February 8, 2008

Sarah's on Grand!

I visited Sarah's last night for dinner. I had heard from no less than three independent sources that I absolutely had to go check this place out. Never one to ignore a good restaurant recommendation, I made reservations for 8:00pm on a Thursday. When we got there, it was obvious that reservations were not needed during the week - we were one of two tables occupied in the very trendy dining area.

After talking to Sarah post-dinner, she told us that dinner hasn't quite caught-on yet. Lunch is very busy though.

Our dinner started out with a brisk discussion of the decor, including all the interesting art on the walls, the orange flourescent lights that face the street and especially the interesting placemats, which were black metal and looked like many different-sized washers had been welded together.

Then the food came, and we forgot the decor entirely.

I ordered the Gorgonzola Pasta w/petite chicken meatballs. Once I read "petite chicken meatballs" I knew this was the entree for me. I had to see what "petite chicken meatballs" were! Let me tell you, they were delicious. The dish was comprised of corkscrew pasta, roma tomatoes, spinach, mushrooms, and the aforementioned meatballs. All happily bathed in a gorgonzola cream sauce that was rich, but still light, if such a thing is possible. Mmmmm....

My two male companions both opted for the Chicken Under a Brick. One was surprised when the entree arrived sans brick. However, they both devoured the somewhat flattened (from the brick, I suppose) chicken breast and the mashed potatoes and asparagus that accompanied it. A light cream sauce was drizzled across the entire thing. Clean plates for both of these two! I was only allowed one bite!

My female companion went for the Trout, which came with a little "belt" of cubed sweet potatoes, drizzled with a balsamic dressing. I got a bite before she dug in and found both the trout and the sweet potatoes very flavorful and yummy.

Our male companions wanted dessert. Since Sarah is the former pastry chef from Capital Grille, I was interested, but just too darn full from the Pasta. But when the Flourless Chocolate Cake, drizzled with raspberry sauce arrived, I caved in a tried it.

Most if not all Flourless Chocolate Cake that I've had (and I've had a lot, okay?) is somewhat dry. As you eat it, you have to "cleave" off bitefuls from the main cake. Not this one. This was the most moist and gooey Flourless Chocolate Cake I've ever had. It has ruined me forever. In a good way, of course. Again, I was slow and only got two bites this time. Drat!

So, in a nutshell....try Sarah's! It's a grand place for dinner.