Friday, December 23, 2011

Jammie Dodgers (U.K. Snacks, Part 1)

A nerd’s got to eat.

I had a list of souvenirs I needed to bring back from the U.K. -- Englandy toys for the kids, some kind of William & Kate bric-a-brac for Kelly, and so forth. But more important than all of that, I needed to get my hands on some Jammie Dodgers.

Jammie Dodgers are the Eleventh Doctor’s favorite snack, and I wanted to bring back enough to have a stash on hand -- at least enough to last me until this year's Doctor Who Christmas special. And when I found them on the shelf at Tesco, I discovered there’s such a thing as Toffee Dodgers too, so double score.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Lunch Blog in the UK, Part 3: The Prince of Wales

Monarchy eats free on Tuesdays.

It’s no secret that British food has a justly deserved reputation as being less than stellar. However, at The Prince of Wales, they will totally give you fried cheese as an entrée, and I am 100% on board with that.

But first, the appetizers. Today’s special was Haggis & Macaroni Bites, which I incorrectly took to mean as haggis served alongside macaroni bites. Since I’ve never had haggis before, I was excited to try it, but this turned out to be little nuggets of haggis and pasta fried up together.

So while I still don’t rightly know what haggis tastes like, these went to show once again that you can fry anything and it’ll taste just fine. Even more so if you put a whisky sauce on it.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

Parisi Café at Union Station

Let’s hop aboard the coffee train.

Robert and I recently attended a tasting event at Parisi Café. Located in Union Station, this is Parisi Artisan Coffee’s first venture into the restaurant business, and it opened in September. Now while I don’t know much about coffee, I do know plenty about sandwiches, so I was excited to try the food.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Lunch Blog in the UK, Part 2: Café Rouge

"Hey brother, can you spare some change for a down payment on a croissant?”

Since it’s right by the London Underground station, Chris and I stopped at Café Rouge on Tottenham Court Road for breakfast. My croque madame was tasty. I also had a rather delicious Americano, because, hey, I’m American, and regular coffee isn’t on the menu anyway.

But what I really want to talk about is the bum that was there.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

30 Rock's Buffalo Chicken Shake

All that wingy deliciousness, now with significantly less of that annoying chewing.

As previously mentioned, WGN America invited me to New York for a 30 Rock Superfan roundtable last month. However, they had an ulterior motive for extending an invitation to this Superfan in particular -- three days before I flew out, WGN America issued me a challenge.

Make the Buffalo Chicken Shake.

You read that right -- the Buffalo Chicken Shake. It's from the beginning of the 30 Rock episode "Khonani." Liz Lemon sees a sign on the door of a restaurant that says "The Buffalo Chicken Shake Is Back!" It’s onscreen for maybe three seconds. I told WGN America that clearly when 30 Rock’s writers put that sign in the show, what they were doing was daring me to make the Buffalo Chicken Shake a real thing. I accepted the challenge.

Here’s the video from WGN America of me and 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield making the shake. Keep reading after for the recipe and how I came up with it.

Monday, October 31, 2011

Fast Food Mascot Halloween Costumes That Aren't For Kids

Shaw did some new illustrations for this guest post I wrote for The Pitch's Fat City last Halloween. Enjoy...if you dare.

Ronald McDonald is a friend to all children. Ronald McDonald with an ax? Not so much. Here are five Halloween costume ideas based on fast food mascots and how to make them.

5. Wendy the Roller Warrior: Rebelling against the wishes of her father, Dave Thomas, Wendy is trading in old-fashioned hamburgers for a life on the track. Who knew she was such a badass?

Dress like Wendy, and add elbow pads, knee pads, a helmet and roller skates. Or, to go a more traditional Halloween route, just be Slutty Wendy.

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Lunch Blog in the UK, Part 1: The Jack Horner

Here we go, guv’nor.

So I got to go to London the other week for my job. I believe the official reason I was selected for the trip was because my agency wanted to send our foremost expert on both Doctor Who and British Alternative Rock of the ‘80s & Early ‘90s. (Who’s got two thumbs and is totally psyched for The Stone Roses reunion next year? This guy!)

And since I was going, of course I’d have to make a point of checking out some of the native cuisine -- even though it’s frequently described as “lousy.” Before I left for my trip, I figured British food had probably just caught a bad rap. But then I saw “mushy peas” on a menu and I realized they’re not even trying to make their food sound good.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Lunch Blog & 30 Rock on WGN America

As seen on TV!

If you’ve checked out our recipe for Cheesy Blasters, you know that we here at Lunch Blog are 30 Rock Superfans. As such, WGN America recently invited me to New York for a 30 Rock Superfans roundtable. While I was there, we filmed a bunch of spots and other stuff that'll be appearing in the next few weeks.

The roundtable was all kinds of awesome. I got to hang out with 30 Rock writer Tracey Wigfield, plus a couple of my fellow Superfans, Nancy Alligood and Michael Wandling.

And as you can see above, I also got to meet Katrina Bowden, who plays Cerie on the show. Just look at that picture of the two of us -- she’s so into me, it’s embarrassing.

More 30 Rock action is coming up here at Lunch Blog and on WGN America. Don’t you want to go to our Facebook pages and “like” them so you don’t miss any of the action?
Plus, you can subscribe to the 30 Rock Superfans YouTube Channel and be notified when new videos debut -- including a cooking segment with me and Tracey making the Buffalo Chicken Shake. Here's a preview.

In the meantime, take a look at some of Lunch Blog’s greatest hits over in the Popular Posts on the sidebar. I think we can all agree that Liz Lemon would be a big fan of Carny Surprise.

Thanks for visiting Lunch Blog!
Catch 30 Rock on WGN America! The show airs:
  • Mondays, with four episodes back-to-back starting at 7 p.m. CST  
  • Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays with two episodes starting at 7 p.m. CST  
  • Every night Monday through Saturday, with an episode at 10 p.m. CST
  • Sundays, with an episode at 6 p.m. CST
Big thanks to WGN America and Story Worldwide for flying me out to New York. I sure am happy this whole thing didn’t turn out to be an elaborate organ-thieving scheme.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Walsh’s Corner Cocktails

The shuffleboard is free. The beers aren’t much more.

The worst answer you can get when you ask what the night’s drink specials are, is that there aren’t any. Unless your server follows that answer with these four beautiful words: “It’s all pretty cheap.”

Excellent! A $1.75 Busch draw for me then, please, and keep them coming. And my good man Casey here feels like splurging, so he’ll have the Michelob Amber Bock for fifty big cents more, thank you very much.

Walsh’s Corner Cocktails was exactly what we needed for Guys’ Night this month, after fancy drinks at The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange our last time out. Adam, McHugh and Voytek were also in attendance on this Wednesday, and a good crowd was already at Corner Cocktails when we arrived.

Monday, August 8, 2011

QuikTrip’s Loaded Potato Rollers

The latest creation from the QT food Frankensteins is a garlicky monster.

About a month ago, I saw a sign at a QuikTrip for some kind of new mac and cheese something or other coming soon. First, I wondered if the rolling food geniuses had devised a way to make a Cheesy Mac Log. Second, I got frustrated that if they had made that breakthrough, they were just teasing me with it and I couldn’t try it right that very second. For the waiting, as they say, is the hardest part.

I kept checking back at the roller grill wonderland for weeks to no avail, when out of nowhere QuikTrip blindsided me with the brand new Loaded Potato Roller. While it wasn’t a Cheesy Mac Log, I wasn’t about to wait to try it.

Wednesday, July 6, 2011

The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange

They say “Drink like it’s prohibited” -- and prohibition tastes delicious.

You may remember my brother-in-law and “almost doctor” Voytek from previous entries on Lunch Blog. He’s the guy who tried to dissuade us on medical grounds from ordering the Suribachi Burger at Swagger, and later commented that “Medically speaking, the correct amount of Whatafarms is zero, for the duration of your life.”

Well, the good sir finally graduated from med school recently, and as such he could actually attend his first Guys’ Night in a while. No more staying home and hitting the books, playing Operation, watching old episodes of "Quincy" or whatever homework it is that med students do.

For his return, Voytek requested we class it up and get fancy drinks at The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange. And with many intriguing options on the cocktail menu there, each of us had a hard time deciding what to get for our first round. Voytek went with the Pendergast ($9) -- made with bourbon, Dolin sweet vermouth, Benedictine and Angostura bitters -- and dug it quite a bit.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Dog Nuvo

Best in show.

I love hot dogs. My go-to lunch when I need something quick is two dogs from QuikTrip. I crave them more than burgers. So when Groupon ran a deal for fancy hot dog joint Dog Nuvo, there was no way I was passing that action up. For once, this guy was going to eat a hog dog that didn’t have packaged condiments on it.

Dog Nuvo is in the space formerly occupied by Souperman, which was another one of my lunchtime clutchtime standards until its demise. I’d actually been to Dog Nuvo a handful of times since it opened last September, although this was Robert’s first trip.

We selected three of the gourmet dogs to try from the menu, as well as some truffle and asiago potato chips that were pretty tasty. Here’s what we thought of the dogs.

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Gold Fork at the Pitch’s Taste of KC

It’s game on for Battle: Pheasant.

Six cheftestants went head-to-head in pursuit of the prestigious Gold Fork at the Pitch's annual Taste of KC at the Power & Light District last Sunday. I was very excited to be asked to sit on the judging panel alongside Beth Barden of Succotash and Marshall Roth of Dog Nuvo.

Tonight’s secret ingredient was pheasant, and the chefs came up with some intriguing executions -- among them were pheasant meatballs, smoked pheasant, and pheasant wrapped in uncured bacon. As judges, we rated each chef’s efforts from 1 to 5 on taste, appearance and creativity.

Sampling delicious food prepared by awesome chefs -- it’s a tough job, but somehow we made it through. I think I may have tripled the amount of pheasant I've ever had in just this one sitting.

Monday, May 16, 2011

"BBQ Makes Everything Better"

The only thing that could make this book meatier is if it was printed on bacon.

I cook most of our dinners on the grill. I especially love to grill in the winter when there’s a little bit of snow. Makes me feel in control of the elements. Mother Nature’s not going to tell me when I can or can’t have a steak.

Thus, I was excited to receive a review copy of "BBQ Makes Everything Better," by Aaron Chronister and Jason Day. They’re two-thirds of Kansas City's Burnt Finger BBQ team, the duo behind, and the inventors of the Bacon Explosion.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Atacolypse

I love the smell of tacos in the morning.

Five contenders. All-you-can-eat tacos at Thirsty’s Cantina. One sweet championship belt. The Atacolypse went down last week, and it was not pretty.

It all started as an offhanded challenge to my co-worker Josh that I could eat more of the street tacos at Rico’s Tacos Lupe than him, but the battle quickly escalated. Scot, Leisha and Erick wanted in on the action, and we set the date for Tuesday, April 26, 2011.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

The Winstrosity at Winstead's

In which we go Frankenstein on the Winstead’s menu.

The Winstrosity is a sandwich consisting of a Winstead’s burger, fried chicken breast, fried egg, cheese, bacon, lettuce, tomatoes, onion rings, pickles, mustard and ketchup. It’s the Kansas City version of a Whatafarm, which I started craving big time during the NCAA tournament thanks to the relentless airing of Whataburger spots. Such a tease since the closest Whataburger is hours away.

Our server at Winstead’s was surprisingly receptive when Shaw, Dorsett and I showed her the schematic detailing what we wanted. She took it with her, and returned a couple of minutes later with an update -- the cooks were all over the Winstrosity, although they were going to have to vary the precise order of toppings from our diagram to make the sandwich architecturally sound.

I like to think they were back there in the kitchen with protractors and a chalkboard figuring out the ideal sandwich construction strategy. Good thing we nixed the idea of a chili dog layer which we’d given brief consideration to during the Winstrosity planning stages. Can’t imagine that would’ve been beneficial to the sandwich’s structural integrity.

A key difference between the Whatafarm and the Winstrosity lies in the onions. As side orders are key to the Winstead’s experience, we concluded it was necessary to incorporate them into the sandwich. Thinking fries would’ve been a bit too starchy, we went with onion rings on the Winstrosity instead of raw onions like on the Whatafarm.

Our sandwiches arrived and we dug in. The Winstrosity was scary delicious -- way more than the sum of its many, many parts. The burger patty and bacon set a carnivorous stage for the juicy chicken, crispy onion rings and an excellent fried egg. No single flavor overwhelmed any of the others. Total menu harmony on a bun. My Winstrosity plus a large soda ran me $12.20.

There’s one more big difference between the Whatafarm and the Winstrosity that we didn’t anticipate. Due to a Whataburger’s circumference and general increased heftiness, the Winstrosity isn’t quite the chunk that a Whatafarm is. This is not a bad thing -- with the Winstrosity you get all the tasty, none of the regret. Maybe a little regret. Not much. A trace amount.

Don’t get me wrong, though -- we’re still talking about a monster sandwich. Yet perhaps it is callous and unfeeling to call it the Winstrosity, for it is not the sandwich’s fault that it is such a beast. It was our creation. Perhaps the real monster…is us.

(Dramatic pause for reflection.)

Anyway, while we were at Winstead’s, we totally had a vision for a new breakfast sandwich -- The Swinestead A.M. It’ll be sausage, ham, bacon, a fried egg, hash browns and gravy on an English muffin. Who’s in?
Winstead's on the Plaza
101 Brush Creek Blvd, Kansas City, MO 64112Winstead's on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Hickok's Bar & Grill

I don’t recall the part in the legend of Wild Bill Hickok where he ordered a Flirtini.

Because any place with a happy hour featuring specials on both wings and Manhattans is a place I need to check out, Shaw, Dorsett and I went to Hickok’s Bar & Grill for Guys’ Night this month. The lure of the Monster Burger played a part as well, but we’ll get to that later.

Happy hour specials are available from 3-7 p.m. in the bar area only, so lucky for us there was one table left when we arrived. Our server brought us chips and charred tomato salsa, and we each ordered a Classic Manhattan, made here with Jim Beam ($3.90 during happy hour; $5.90 otherwise). The salsa was nice and smoky.

We also got an order of Wild Bill’s wings split half-and-half between Hickok’s two sauces -- classic buffalo and roasted garlic agave (6 for $2.90 during happy hour). Hickok’s serves the wings whole, and while the buffalo sauce wasn’t big on heat, both sauces were very flavorful and the wings were good and crispy.

Other eats on the happy hour menu include Hickok’s classic burger and Boulevard beer-battered chicken tenders. There’s queso espinaca, too, but spin dip is girl food.

Right under the wire before happy hour ended, Dorsett ordered a Classic Martini ($3.90 during happy hour; $5.90 otherwise). Later I learned the happy hour drink specials come back on at 9 p.m.

In addition to the aforementioned Flirtini, the Hickoks’s martini list has a Pomtini on it and something called a 360 Apple Tree Hugger. Neither of these are what comes to mind when I think of the wild wild west -- but truth be known, when I think of the wild wild west, what I think of is Kool Moe Dee.

With happy hour over, we switched to cans of Pabst Blue Ribbon ($2.50). Now it was time to face down the Monster Burger -- two 8 oz. patties, smoked bacon, chorizo, caramelized onions, roasted mushrooms, jalapenos, a fried egg, four cheeses, lettuce, tomato, guacamole and onion straws ($14.90).

Finish that behemoth plus a side of fries in 30 minutes or less, and you get your name on the Hickok’s Monster Burger Wall of Fame. Please note, however, that you still have to pay for your burger. Seems like you should at least get a t-shirt, especially if you manage to beat the standing record of six stomach-churning minutes. Although tonight we weren’t going for the record -- we were just curious to see how it tasted.

When the Monster Burger arrived, we each sank a knife into it and cut it down into thirds. Once you pick this thing up, it’s best to power through it -- with all those toppings of various creamy, squishy and melty consistencies, our Monster Burger quickly devolved into a soggy pile. In retrospect, this is clearly a novelty menu item, and we probably should’ve suspected as much going in. Also, it smells of socks.

We ordered Wild Bill’s Fried Burger, too. It’s a Boulevard beer-battered patty with jalapeno cheese sauce, chorizo, guacamole and onion straws ($9.40). Like the Monster Burger, it was a bit heavy on the creamy toppings, and the cheese geyser and guacamole canceled each other out. Really none of the flavors came through all that distinctly except for fried and chorizo.

Having now had Wild Bill’s Fried Burger and the Suribachi Burger at Swagger, I think I may not be a fan of fried burger patties -- which is crazy because that seems like something I’d be all over. If I could get the whole sandwich battered and fried like a Monte Cristo, that might be another story.

Considering the wings and salsa were pretty tasty, it may be unfair to judge Hickok’s based on our choice of burgers. On a different visit I tried the carnitas tacos ($9.30) and they were fine, while a couple of nights later Shaw had the Plain Ole Chicken tacos ($2.90 during happy hour) and liked them.

That said, we can’t shake the feeling that by putting the Monster Burger out there as bait, Hickok’s Bar & Grill is in fact just an elaborate scheme to trap Guy Fieri.
528 Walnut | Kansas City, MO 64105Hickok's Southwest Bar & Grill on Urbanspoon

Thursday, March 31, 2011

Archer Farms Potato Chips

If it’s a food, they’ll make it a chip.

As previously mentioned, Shaw, McHugh and I played cards at Dave’s house the other night. While Dave was supplying some growlers of beers from 75th Street Brewery, he suggested we bring some more beers and snacks. You’ll be unsurprised that nobody took us up on our offer to share in our 30-pack of Natural Light.

We brought over a few bags of intriguingly flavored Archer Farms chips from Target, too. Choosing which varieties was actually kind of overwhelming -- we settled on Buffalo Wing, General Tso and Greek-Inspired, but they’ve also got Macaroni & Cheese, Honey Barbecue Ribs, Parmesan Garlic, Maui Onion, Loaded Baked Potato, Fire-Roasted Fajita and more.

And then there’s Roasted Vegetable & Olive Oil, which we didn’t even consider for a second. I would like to posit that if you’re truly craving the taste of vegetables, maybe instead of opening a bag of chips you should think about making yourself a salad. 

The game started with 11 players. Shaw got knocked out early, after demonstrating a level of skill slightly above that as seen on Hip Hop Hold’Em -- which is to say, not much skill at all. When half the players were gone we consolidated from two tables to one and took a snack break. Here’s what we thought of the chips.

Greek-Inspired: The bag says they’re seasoned with feta cheese and kalamata olives, and that feta flavor made these far and away the crowd favorite. I think I detected a little bit of pepperoncini zing in there, as well. These were excellent.

General Tso: The back of the bag reads, “This sweet and spicy chicken dish was first served in a Chinese restaurant in 1977. Archer Farms brings you the flavors of this famous dish in a chip.” The first sentence may be true, but the second is an absolute lie. These taste like barbecue chips with a major helping of ginger and way too much salt. They also taste kind of like burnt. These were not good.

Buffalo Wing: Neither terrible nor memorable. It is time for me to accept that no wing-flavored snack will ever be a worthwhile substitute for actual wings. Chicken is necessary, although Buffalo Chicken in a Biskit or Buffalo Pork Rinds could potentially work.

Just a couple of hands after the game started up again, I got knocked out myself. The taste of bitter defeat -- it’s not an Archer Farms flavor yet, but I’d wager it probably tastes a lot like the General Tso chips.

Monday, March 28, 2011

Taco Factory

Proceed With Caution: You Are Entering a Hard Shell Area.

First things first, if you’re expecting Taco Factory to be a place like where you step up to the counter to order and then a foreman pulls a giant lever and the gears start grinding on some kind of automaton -- a tacomaton, if you will -- which then cranks out your food, you’re going to be sorely disappointed. I know this, because despite the illustration on the wall, I could totally see into the kitchen where a couple of guys were clearly making my tacos by hand. But I’m getting ahead of myself.

Since Kansas City Lunch Spots already posted a fairly comprehensive review of Taco Factory, I wasn’t actually planning on writing about it when I stopped in with Shaw and McHugh. Especially since The DLC called it “a middle of the road, cheapish whitey taco place that caters to boring people and drunks.” Still, we needed something relatively quick, and Taco Factory was on our way to play some cards at Dave’s house.

I ordered three soft baja tacos -- shredded beef, shredded pork and tempura fish (all tacos are $1.99 each). Once you place your order, you take a seat and wait for your number to appear on a monitor. It kind of feels like playing Keno, or at least it does to me, keeping in mind I’ve got a strange inability to comprehend how Keno works no matter how many times people have tried to explain it.

My number came up, and I got my tacos from the kitchen window. While the tacos here are no means authentic, I’m glad to report that I thought they were pretty delicious. The beef and pork were both well seasoned and juicy, and the batter on the fish was just light enough to give the taco a satisfying internal crunch without being too heavy.

Standard toppings include lettuce, tomatoes, Monterey Jack, cilantro, red cabbage, feta and aioli sauce. It was the feta and aioli sauce that really did it for me. Alas, the hot salsa my tacos were served with had zero heat, although the aioli sauce was so good it rendered the salsa a moot point anyway.

Tacos are available either soft or crispy, and the other filling options are ground beef, chicken, ground turkey and grilled veggie. You can also get a taco plate with two tacos plus rice and beans ($5.99), but I didn’t do that, because I will go with a third taco over rice and beans any day of the week.

We split an order of chips and salsa ($2.29), as well. Again, the salsa didn’t register, but the chips were good -- not too thick and not too thin. Shaw got his tacos crispy, and said he would’ve preferred a thinner shell that was more like the chips.

Outside of tacos, Taco Factory’s menu has burritos, quesadillas, salads and more with the same filling options. Bucking convention, McHugh got a burrito ($5.49-$5.99, depending on filling). I was impressed with the robotic precision of the queso application. Maybe instead of being an automated taco factory, this place is run by taco-making cyborgs.

Another difference between Taco Factory and actual factories is that it’s super bright in here -- and if I’ve learned anything from industrial films and various propaganda, it’s that factories are soul-crushingly dank. Taco Factory is so open and well lit, it’s almost like you’re on the set of The Max.

All in all, Taco Factory is a good bet for a quick bite. And for dessert they’ve got Choco Tacos ($2.79), which I’ve always thought are awesome. I’m glad I resisted the temptation to get one tonight, however, because we stopped at QuikTrip later and I saw they’ve got Choco Tacos for $1 less. But perhaps I shouldn’t mention that -- I don’t want the Waldo Taco Cyborg Labor Union coming after me.
7439 Broadway | Waldo, MO 64114Taco Factory on Urbanspoon

Monday, March 21, 2011

RA Sushi

Home of the very tasty, very awkwardly punctuated "RA"ckin' shrimp.

Travel back with me to late January 2011. The weather was cold, the year was new and Charlie Sheen was only annoying if you happened to be watching “Two and a Half Men.” Lunch Blog received an invitation to a special lunch preview of RA Sushi’s new menu, and while Robert couldn't make it, my fiancée Angela and I got to check it out.

Located at Park Place in Leawood, just north of Town Center Plaza, RA Sushi is very spacious and has a great modern feel. Also, I’ve been watching way too much HGTV.

We started off with Chicken Otoko Salad ($10), which features peppers, asparagus and fried noodle crunchies with strips of chicken cooked in a spicy yuzu dressing. I liked it, although getting the fried noodles from the plate to my mouth proved to be something of a challenge.

The other starter was the deceivingly fiery-looking Shishito Peppers ($7). They’re actually very mild -- after about three, you can feel a little heat starting to build, but the sauce is delicious and more than compensates.

Next up was an assortment of four new sushi rolls, each with an adventurous combination of flavors. Everything tasted fresh and looked sharp on the plate. The lineup was as follows:
Vegetable Tempura Roll ($7.50): Everything is better when it's fried, and this mix of asparagus, sweet potato and Japanese eggplant is no exception. It has a slight crunch from the tempura topping, and is drizzled with a sweet eel sauce. Besides, it has to be relatively healthy, right? It’s veggies!
Pacific Roll ($9.50): This one has a bit of spiciness within its mix of albacore, cilantro, jalapeno and cucumber. Topped with an avocado and mango salsa, red beet tempura bits and sautéed cashews, there’s a lot going on with this one but it works.
Tropical Roll ($8.50): This roll has cucumber, mango and avocado inside, and is topped with spinach tempura, masago and mango salsa and a spicy-style shrimp. Not as flashy as the other rolls, but tasty nevertheless.
“RA”ckin’ Roll ($13): This one was the Cadillac -- it's a crab and cream cheese mix that's battered and fried, topped with guacamole and crispy “RA”ckin’ shrimp, then garnished with a creamy ginger teriyaki sauce and red beet tempura bits. The “RA”ckin’ Roll was the big winner of the bunch.

For the main entrée, we were served the new Lobster with Garlic Sugar Snap Peas ($17.50). The lobster is sautéed with garlic and shiitake mushrooms, and the peas are a nice complement. I appreciated that they didn't go too crazy with the garlic -- just right.

Finally, for dessert we got to try some traditional Japanese ice cream via the Sweet Mochi Trio ($7.50). An assortment of mango, strawberry and vanilla ice creams in sweet rice cake shells, the kiwi and strawberry garnish along with whipped cream and chocolate makes it look cute on the plate. Like the noodles earlier, eating it was a bit challenging -- the rice cake was tricky to cut without smashing the rapidly melting ice cream into the plate. Well worth the effort, though, because it was a delight.

While we had the option to sample some of RA's new cocktails, due to the fact that we both had to go to back to work, we took a pass. If I hadn't, though, I would have definitely tried the Ginger Blossom ($8), a combination of Hendrick's Gin, St. Germain (an elderflower liqueur -- thanks Google!), ginger ale, muddled strawberries, and pink grapefruit and lime juices. And yes, I would have drank it like a pretty, pretty lady.

Thanks again to RA Sushi for the invitation.
11638 Ash Street | Leawood, KS 66211 RA Sushi on Urbanspoon