While I don’t have a lot more pictures to share of things we did in the US, I will share a series of entries about some of the food we ate. I’m a big believer in the value that a good meal adds to your life. Not only quality food and careful preparation but also good company, all of which are necessary to really eat well. This first entry is about Lidia’s Kansas City, the first location of several restaurants opened by Italian grandmother and public broadcasting celebrity Lidia Bastianich.
Andy already wrote about this meal, so if you read his blog as well, you’re in for a rerun especially as his camera is better than mine. Nonetheless, humor me with this entry.
Lidia’s was the location of our wedding reception last August. It is a charming space in a converted freight warehouse adjacent to the rail yards across from Union Station. Service is great and the food is prepared with a lot of attention and love. Just the kind of place to celebrate our union. In fact, the waitress who served us on our most recent visit turned out to be one of the waitresses who had worked our reception. She was very excited to see us back and took good care of us during our meal – a good reminder of why it is always a good idea to treat servers very well.
Andy and Sugi made the drive down from Omaha to visit us and spend the night in KC. While I grouse in my entries about the feeling of having to make lots of appointments and visits with people while we’re in the US, that really doesn’t apply quite as much when we’re in Kansas City, where most of the people we know are family. Andy and Sugi feel just like part of the family and seeing them was one of the highlights of our trip, and a reminder of how much we miss close friends while we live overseas.
A Friday evening, it seemed appropriate to begin with drinks before moving on to a really nice bottle of wine. I’ve recently decided that Campari and soda is my new apéritif of the moment – the bitters are nicely refreshing.
Lidia’s features a nice selection of homemade bread, including some of the lightest breadsticks I’ve ever enjoyed. The menu includes seasonal selections with an emphasis on locally grown produce and meat. There is a three-course fixed price menu for $32 which is a good value given the quality of the food.
Choosing from three “primi” or first-course offerings, I enjoyed the Montasio Cheese Frico. Kind of like a quesadilla made without the tortilla, the frico has potato, leek, and in this case lump crab fried with melted cheese until crisp. It is then topped with a light salad. Very refreshing and flavorful start to the meal.
For my “secondi” I chose the Battutina of Veal. As the name implies, it is a battered (pounded) veal steak that is fried and served with broccoli, prosciutto, and a Taleggio sage-tomato sauce. Despite its tenderizing, the veal wasn’t all that tender. It was very flavorful, though. In hindsight, I should have enjoyed the risotto with Gorgonzola and pear instead.
Andy enjoyed a wild boar ravioli. Lidia’s gets bonus points for all of their pasta being homemade. An excellent touch that makes all the difference in terms of taste and texture.
Another option on the menu is the bottomless tasting of a trio of pastas, the selection of which changes daily. Servers bring pans around, refilling as long as you’d like more pasta. Of course, no obligation to take seconds, but if you want just a few more bites of your favorite, of course that’s okay!
Today’s trio included a spinach linguini with shrimp and tomato sauce, a rigatoni with butter and herbs, and a wild mushroom ravioli. All were very nice – my favorite was the mushroom ravioli.
Why is it important to treat your servers well? Because when you come back next time they treat you well in return. After we ordered dessert, our waitress brought us a plate of homemade cookies, candied orange peel, and vanilla gelato. Yummy.
We split two desserts including this very good tiramisu.
We also had this Torta del Mascarpone, a Mascarpone cheesecake with pistachio crust, vanilla rhubarb, and salted pistachio brittle. I’m a sucker for anything with rhubarb in it. Beebop-a-reebop rhubarb pie, if you know that reference.
After dinner Tawn, Sugi, Andy, and I posed for a picture against the original brick wall of the freight warehouse. Interesting artwork on the wall, eh?
It was a wonderful dinner with wonderful company, followed up by some more wine and conversation at the Trio Cafe on the Country Club Plaza. As we called it a night, the freezing rain was coming down. By the time Andy and Sugi dropped us off at my sister’s house, the first flakes of snow were falling.