Freelance Food & Drinks Writer

Blithe Spirits — Your Guide to Everyday Pleasures

Eat Like a Local, 2016 Edition

Ramen! Oysters! Donuts! So shouts the cover of the May 2016 issue of Bon Appetit I unearthed while cleaning my office recently, urging us to “Devour America’s Best Food Cities.” How strange it all seems now. The cities are certainly still there, but the restaurants? Who knows. Survival is iffy at best in the restaurant… Continue Reading

Zooming in on the home bar

Zooming in on the home bar

When it comes to drinking, the real action has always been at the bar. Cocktail destinations mixing 16-ingredient showstoppers, hotel lounges, restaurants, sports bars or corner joints where everybody knows your name—it’s never mattered much so long as it was a bar. A place to gather, share, meet, commiserate, mourn, cheer and celebrate.  Until now.… Continue Reading

Toast St. Patrick with Irish Gin

Toast St. Patrick with Irish Gin

St. Patrick’s Day unleashes all manner of drinks on thirsty celebrants. Some are fantastic, like the Irish whiskies I just wrote about for the Kansas City Star. Some are, well, less so. Green beer and tepid Irish coffee come to mind. But one is entirely surprising—Irish gin. At least, I was surprised when I spotted… Continue Reading

Winter’s Strawberry Antidote

Winter’s Strawberry Antidote

It’s mid-January. The wind chill is below zero, the roads treacherous and the schools closed. It’s definitely not strawberry weather, but strawberries are what I found when rummaging through the freezer this morning. With package in hand, I realized there was only one thing to do: turn them into a shrub. There really wasn’t any… Continue Reading

New Beginnings

I love new beginnings, and 2018 will be full of them. New writing projects, new recipes and ingredients to tinker with, new books to read, new ducklings and calves on the farm and, in this case, a new blog. It’s at first glance an extension of Blithe Spirits, my long-running cocktails and spirits column in… Continue Reading

Pope Pumps it Up at CCVI Food Fight

Chefs are a competitive lot, but it was all friendly competition at last week’s CCVI Food Fight 4. Three of the city’s best gathered on stage at The Guild, cooking to beat the clock, impress a panel of judges and benefit the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired. Alex Pope of Local Pig topped the… Continue Reading

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.… Continue Reading

PoPFest Bartending Competition goes big

There’s nothing like strolling into your favorite bar, takin’ a seat and watching a great bartender go to work. Unless you go to the Paris of the Plains Bartending Competition on Sunday night, where you can see a dozen of the country’s best mix it up on Sunday night as they vie for the $1,750… Continue Reading

Paris of the Plains pops in Kansas City

In 2007, Ryan Maybee and Doug Frost started a little thing called the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition. Well, little in comparison to what that event’s grown into—the Paris of the Plains Cocktail Festival. The week-long event’s already underway, and I wrote about it in today’s Kansas City Star (KC’s cocktail culture births Paris of… Continue Reading