Five Kansas City food hacks you need to know right now

Shatto-0107141. The many uses of Shatto milk. Most people drink Shatto milk and stop there. And their life is good, perhaps even great. But you should start applying Shatto milk to everything in the same way that Windex once solved the problem of a Greek diner owner in “My Big Fat Greek Wedding.” Here are two ideas to get you started. Add a bit of Shatto root beer milk to your morning coffee for a root beer latte (you can get the pro version at the Parisi Cafe) or substitute Shatto pumpkin egg nog for your egg and milk bath when making Sunday French toast.

2. The Murray’s ice cream sandwich. This one you’ll have to wait until March, when Murray’s Homemade Ice Creams (4120 Pennsylvania Avenue) reopens for the season, to enjoy. But walk into the Westport scoop shop, ask what cookies are fresh baked and then figure out which of the weekly ice cream flavors is the best match (something like banana cream pie with chocolate chip). It’s the highest of high-end Chipwiches.

3. El Pollo Rey and San Antonio Tortilleria. This one is a homemade collaboration. El Pollo Rey (901 Kansas Avenue, Kansas City, Kansas) serves up smokey, moist chicken by the half or whole (entero for $12). They’ll give you everything you need for rolling your own tacos — corn tortillas, pinto beans, salsa and rice. But here’s where you tweak what they hand you in a white styrofoam box.

Head across the street to the San Antonio Carniceria y Tortilleria (830 Kansas Avenue) and pick up some avocado salsa or pico de gallo. The bright green condiment will open up your sinuses while the pico is a bright burst of onion and tomato for those who can’t handle as much heat.

4. BobKat-Dan Smoked Cheddar burgers. If you’re not ready to join the legions of men and women that smoke meat in Kansas City, you can still pretend that you spent eight hours tending the wood and flame of your backyard box. A nice slab of BobKat-Dan smoked cheddar (Bob Kiefer’s locally smoked cheese), carefully placed over a standard hamburger patty, will impart the flavor of smoke without the labor on your part. And best of all, there is no learning curve, so you and your guests won’t have to suffer through a series of dinners that taste like an airport smoking lounge.

5. Houston’s off-menu chicken fingers. [I have to credit Owen Morris here, the original writer for The Pitch’s Fat City blog, for telling me about this hack.] Houston’s on the Plaza (4640 Wornall Road) uses chicken tenders on its club salad. And since we live in a city where boys and men of all ages order chicken fingers when they go out, it’s worth knowing that Houston’s will dish you up a plate of their house made chicken tenders. The crunchy chicken will likely have you stealing bites off your kids’ or date’s plate.

[Image via Facebook: Shatto]

Jonathan Bender

Jonathan Bender is the founder of The Recommended Daily.

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