Tag Archives: Jennifer Janesko

Jennifer: Nick & Jake’s Wine Dinner Channels Kid Rock, “Whole Barnyard”

The thought of wine dinners can spark images of stuffy food, long, intolerable discussions about pairings and hanging with people who have fat bank accounts and narrow minds…

But things are changing. 

I attribute it to many factors.  Young people have stepped up their game and their world travels and food experiences have sparked an interest in what crosses their palette.  In turn wineries have taken notice of this changing demographic.

Have you looked at wine labels lately? 

Gone are the etchings of vineyards. In their place, bold graphics and eye-catching photos and art vie for your attention.

And in this economy, restaurants are challenged to find new, creative ways to attract customers.  So food wine = a quick boost to the bottom line and repeat customers.  Great chefs can take pride in their creations, but restaurant owners know the bar is where the action is .

All of these factors have led to impromptu wine/food events popping up all over town

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Jennifer: Julian & Market Vineyards a Perfect Fit in Brookside

A couple of weeks back Julian restaurant in Brookside hosted a very special wine dinner…

It paired Market Vineyard wines with thoughtfully selected courses.  The collaboration was remarkable as both brands have locally grown roots, but share national recognition.

Julian is owned and operated by James Beard Award winning chef Celina Tio.

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Jennifer: Valentine’s Day at Bluestem: All About the Experience

Valentine’s Day is not just about the passion and romance in an intimate relationship. It’s about anyone and everyone that gives us love and warms our heart.

Bluestem recognized this fact, and on February 12, Chef Colby Garrelts and pastry Chef Megan Garrelts transformed their dining room into a tea party. For $25 guests were treated to fine teas, elegant pastries and assorted tea sandwiches. The Garrelts, who have two children of their own, made this special event available to children under 10 as well for $7 each.

Say the words "Tea & Pastries" and you immediately equate the event to a stuffy afternoon, driven by monitored etiquette and whispered exchanges. That can be true, but this event felt more celebratory.


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Jennifer: Cellar & Loft Splashes Down in Style in the Rivermarket


Years ago I was shopping in Brookside and stumbled upon a place called Cellar & Loft. 

It was a multi-story shop selling wine and craft beer.  I remember thinking what a great concept this would be downtown, among a younger crowd in an action packed neighborhood.  The universe must have grabbed onto my vibe, because that is exactly what happened.

I hadn’t been able to make it over to this new neighborhood addition yet, even though it is just a couple blocks from my pad.  One Friday night, I was headed down Walnut on the way to dinner and noticed the lights were on. I pulled into a spot right in front of the door and just like it was meant to be, left a silent street and entered into a buzzing tasting room. 

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Jennifer: Two Polacks Walk into a Cooking Class…

My mom had recently read about an upcoming Polish Pierogi cooking class in a Strawberry Hill Museum newsletter. In keeping with my "Life List" endeavor, I agreed to challenge myself to this undertaking.

Getting to the class proved to be far more challenging then mastering any cooking skill. When I called the number in the newsletter, I spoke to Cathy Kolenda-Smith who would be teaching the course (funny enough, we went to high school together but were in different classes). Back then, Cathy’s mom owned Sophie’s, a bakery that specialized in all types of baked goods, but put extra special care into Polish specialties like pierogies, golabki and poviticia. Cathy along with her sister and mom, Betty, still make their comforting creations, but now they do it privately by request and for special events.

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Jennifer: Forget the New Year’s Rez, Life List the Way to Go

I used to be that person who wrote down New Year’s Resolutions every year…

Sometimes I’d seal them in an envelope and open it on New Year’s Day the following year.  Some of my resolutions had been forgotten, some unfulfilled and others were a success.  All in all, I was experiencing the same pressure and disappointments as millions of other Americans who try to reinvent and better their lives every year.

The thing is, I’ve really never done things like everyone else. So why was I conforming to this ridiculous routine? 

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Jennifer: Rieger Hotel Grill Future Rests on Modernizing Past

Time travel is still unavailable to us, despite what we were promised growing up.

But, there’s still a way to reach back into another era.

Ryan Maybee’s Rieger Hotel Grill & Exchange is determined to take us into the past, but only on Ryan’s post-modern terms.

The past exists in the historic Rieger Hotel itself, complete with original floor tile, brick and ties to the Rieger family whisky operation.

The modern exists in a state-of-the-art open kitchen, a swift and knowledgeable wait staff and a sleek interior that includes a private wine room and a speakeasy bar downstairs.

Ryan and his partner, Chef Howard Hanna, have created a one-stop shop for guests who enjoy the leisurely pleasures of fine food, handcrafted cocktails and cozy socializing.

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Jennifer: La Bodega Leawood, the Good, the Bad & the Bobby


The opening of the new La Bodega in Leawood was exciting…

But what I really wanted was to check it out as a full service restaurant.  Last Saturday I joined some friends that live out that way and we were ready for lots of drinks and small plates of food. 

The place was packed at 8:30, which is 10:30 “out south time.”  This is a great sign. 

The energy is flowing, the bar is full.

They try to seat us at a four top right next to the kitchen and bathroom entrance, even though there is a better table up front. 

Is Frank Sinatra coming?

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Jennifer: Holiday Hatred

What’s Not To Love about the holidays?

Dealing with novices or random’s at the grocery store.  It’s the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and there is grandma, pushing her shopping cart in a zig zag pattern down aisle five. You know grandma is not cooking the family meal and it is confirmed when you look in her cart and there is some pre-packaged swiss and a couple cans of off -brand soda. 

ReallyGet the hell out of here!

The only thing worse than dealing with the person who doesn’t need to be at the store during the holidays is dealing with someone’s clueless husband.  This is the guy that the annoyed wife sent out of the house under the guise that she needed something from the store.

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Jennifer: What’s Not to Love About the Holidays?

Infinitely complex dynamics are created when mixing so many different personalities at one holiday table. 

Mix in alcohol and prepare to be entertained.  Every year the roles remain the same, but the personalities shift from person to person – grumpy, drunky, sleepy.

No guilt eating. No one scolds you for taking seconds or complains about being too full. Go ahead, look at that pile of potatoes like it’s your old high school crush!

You may feel guilty every other day of the week, but today, calories don’t count.

Oh and be on the lookout for…

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Jennifer: Meltdown at Murray’s Ice Creams & Cookies in Westport



I love Murray’s! 

They pride themselves on their creative ice cream flavors with names to match! 

Unfortunately, every year Murray’s Ice Creams & Cookies in Westport closes down during the months of December, January & February. 

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Jennifer: Holiday Stuffing at Holiday Mart

Although my initial intention was to just pick up a few holiday decor items Holiday Mart has now become one of my favorite places to pick up gourmet specialty foods…

Last year I toted home some killer toffee and this year, I really loaded up on the goods.

The Junior League of Kansas City, Missouri organizes Holiday Mart and crafters and knitted sweater lovers have been making it an event for over two decades. I’ve noticed more and more food items creeping in over the years and it is a pleasant surprise.  For me, much of the offerings might appeal a little more to my grandmother than fit in with my minimalist taste.

That said, hunting for those few really great pieces has become half the fun.

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Jennifer: Double Your Tapas Pleasure at La Bodega II

I love the downtown La Bodega for all the things it embodies that no other restaurant can offer. 

I love the high energy that maintains a constant buzz, even during the week. I love the location because it’s convenient to get to from all areas of downtown, I love that it has remained true to itself over time.

And finally, I love tapas.

But a few weeks back, I found myself driving out to the new La Bodega location out south, wondering if there would be enough love to stretch to the far reaches of 119th Street. Owner James Taylor didn’t just replace the old JP’s Wine Bar sign and call it a day. He took over the space. 

He transferred much of his well trained staff from the recently closed re;Verse on the Plaza. He also brought artist Stretch back into the mix.

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Jennifer: To Market in the River Market

Over the course of my living in the River Market area for nine years I had many a day when I wished for a place close by to pick up a gallon of milk… 

For a brief period of time, that place was Garrett’s.  Unfortunately, this corner market was way ahead of its time.  Lack of foot traffic caused Garrett’s to depart, taking with it the convenience of downtown shopping.  And it took many years before Cosentino‘s came along.  While it’s a beautiful store,  it’s still really not in “the hood.”

Then, one day it was announced that Scott Fitness was closing their outpost at the corner of 3rd & Wyandotte. 


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Jennifer: Okt-overdressed at Grunauer Oktoberfest!

When you drop some serious Euros on a dirndl in Austria and wear it for 4 hours in Munich, you’re going to find another reason to bust it out.

When I heard that Grunauer was going to hold their very first Oktoberfest, I grabbed my former Munich travel partner and headed over decked out in our dirndls. Continue reading

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Jennifer: Saucy, Sauce and Sauced at American Royal

While BBQ has never been on my top 10 list, I get a craving every few weeks…

And never is the craving stronger then when the American Royal kicks off. Continue reading

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Jennifer: re:Verse and Go, Death of a Plaza Icon

On the evening of September 26th an electric and reminiscent crowd purchased their final drinks at the Plaza’s sexiest place to meet and mingle.

At 6 p.m. the mood evoked a gathering at a great friend Continue reading

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Jennifer: Greeky Clean Fun at Kansas City Greek Festival

This fest, that fest…

Autumn in KC means food fests and it can be hard to choose. Continue reading

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Jennifer: Learning To Stir The Pot, From Sauerkraut to Caramel Creations

While in Chicago last weekend, I experienced hints of fall.

The debut of my Loeffler Randall boots aside, there were other signs of an approaching fall. Continue reading

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Jennifer: Pop(sicle) Goes the Summer

Dwindling summer days have not dampened my love affair with Fresher Than Fresh Snow cones…

If anything, thoughts of colder days have made the all natural snow cones a personal priority.

Recently Lindsay Laricks gained national attention when she was featured in In Style magazine which published her recipe for Peach Prosecco ice pops. Continue reading

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