Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Tag Archives: Manhattan

Conatser tops PoPFest Bartending Competition—again

In the weeks leading up to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition, much was made of the fact that Chris Conatser of Justus Drugstore placed every time he entered what was formerly known as the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. And last night he kept the streak alive, taking first place with his Manhattan (in)Verse.

PoPFest Bartending Competition winners lookin’ pretty happy. From left, Berto Santoro (3rd), Matt Seiter (Fan Favorite), Jenn Tosatto (2nd) and Chris Conatser (1st).
That bring’s Conatser’s tally to two first-place wins (2008 & 2012), one second (2010) and a third (2009). Not that he was the only one to reaffirm his track record.
Second-place winner Jenn Tosatto, bar manager of The Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange, is a five-time finalist who placed third in 2008. Berto Santoro, Extra Virgin’s bar manager, and Matt Seiter of Sanctuaria, St. Louis were both onstage last year. Santoro took third in 2012; Seiter was voted Fan Favorite.
Theirs weren’t the only familiar faces.  Kansas City’s Travis Stewart of Port Fonda, Paige Unger of Michael Smith Restaurant and Arturo Vera-Felicie of The Farmhouse were all returning competitors. Other finalists included Chris Burmeister, The Goose and Bramble & Hare, Boulder, Colo.; Carol Donovan, Hearty Restaurant, Chicago, Ill.; Phoebe Esmon, Kennett South 2nd, Philadelphia, Pa.; Giovanni Ferlaino, Ludivine, Oklahoma City, Okla.; and Liz Pearce, The Drawing Room, Chicago, Ill.
Did they put on a good show? Absolutely. Continue Reading

Manhattan Story: a Majestic version

It was late one Saturday, and we were tired of where we were but not tired enough to go home. So we went to The Majestic Restaurant on Broadway, slipping downstairs to catch the last of the The Bram Wijnands Trio’s last set and order one drink. I’d almost forgotten how much I love the… Continue Reading

Manhattan Story: on the grapevine

A current fascination with Manhattans dictated my order at Manifesto when we stopped by last weekend. While I love the smokey seductiveness of mezcal, and am still big on Old Tom gin, I couldn’t resist the pull of the Grapevine Manhattan. Manifesto’s interpretation starts with Maison Rouge VSOP Cognac, instead of the traditional whiskey. Lillet… Continue Reading

Manhattan Story: a first taste

My first Manhattan was a lark. I ordered it at the now-defunct Paradise Cafe in Lawrence, way back in 1991, because I didn’t want a girly drink, and my husband assured me a Manhattan was anything but girly. He was right. Made with rye whiskey, it was all muscle, with just enough sweet vermouth and… Continue Reading