Beer Me

Of late, I am unable to partake in one of my favorite pastimes: drinking.  My husband has been very generous over the last few months by allowing me to smell his beer and wine, but even the heady aromas can’t fulfill my desires.   The past few days, though, have offered some beer -related distractions from my forced ascetic state.

We lunched at the relatively new Beer Kitchen (Penn St. and Westport Rd.) on Monday, only because our favorite Indian buffet was closed, unheeding of this pregnant lady’s need to stuff her face with curry.  I had abstained from trying out the place in defiance of their unceremonious closing down of 180 in the same location.   My favorite sandwich, their Monte Cristo, with its mustard challah french toast and apricot chutney, had reached a height of sandwich perfection to which all other sandwiches will henceforth be held: perfect melding of flavors, new and interesting additions to a traditional style, creative presentation, and a frickin’ apricot chutney.  

I also really liked their French Dip and the accompanying fries.  Crunchy, salty, and plenty of ’em.  Sad to see them go (though a pretty awesome substitute can be had at Westside Local).  And let’s not forget the cheesey gnocchi.  I have got to track down that chef.

But on that fateful day, we were feeling adventurous. Also, my hunger and disappointment outweighed my principle and it was just down the block. 

After perusing the menu, we both settled on the lunch special combo: a choice each from a selection of sandwiches and sides.  He got the hamburger with slaw, I got their Creole Chicken with French onion soup.  And they were good.  The meat was firm but tender, the buns toasted, yet soft.  My chicken had a tangy, spicy sauce and Chipotle cheddar, but neither overpowered, leaving just a simmering zing on my tongue.  Along with tomato and avocado, a delightful summer sandwich.  The soup was rich and beefy and had a lot of Guyere on it, a plus in my book.

The only weird aspect was the deviled eggs we had for an appetizer.  These were a perfect example of how making something fancy doesn’t make them better.  The filling used wasabi instead of mustard and had cavier and smoked salmon for garnish, and the final product was too overblown and not as satisfying as an old school mustard/relish/paprika version from the traditional pot-luck.

Since I can’t drink beer I didn’t bother to look at  the drinks menu, but a wide chalk board with their rotating menu filled the wall across the room.  I’d say there were about forty offerings, along with the standard fair.  One of my fellow beer lovers had complained that the Beer Kitchen doesn’t have the greatest selection on tap, but it seemed as though there was quite a bit of choice.  A Saison with honey did intrigue me, and I’ll have to check it out in July.

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The Special Collections and Marr Sound Archives have teamed up to present a beer paraphernalia exhibit on the ground floor of Miller Nichols Library of the UMKC campus.  With items gleaned from their collections, as well as the personal collections of staffers in those departments, they filled up three cabinets with advertisements, LP covers, quotes and anecdotes.  Maybe not as compelling as the genocide exhibit of last month, but interesting to read about the social importance of beer and see how advertisements of the product have changed over the years.

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