Hearty grilled cheese + A massive slice of pizza
Happy Friday, and welcome back to Let’s Dish — your one-stop shop for all things eats in Kansas City.
This week, Star reporters bring us their favorite hand-helds: My colleague Lisa bites into the robust grilled cheese at Best Regards Bakery & Cafe, and J.M. tells us about the giant pizza slices at The Combine.
Plus, stick around for a mouthwatering suggestion from one of our readers.
Paradise Bacon Grilled Cheese at Best Regards
Once, the employees at Best Regards Bakery & Cafe in Overland Park did a little math to figure out how many combinations of grilled cheese sandwiches they could make from all the artisan breads, cheeses and add-ons they have on hand. Grand total: More than 52,000.
To reporter Lisa Gutierrez, their Paradise Bacon Grilled Cheese ticks all the boxes of what makes a great sandwich.
Warm and hearty, this $10.50 sandwich is studded with thick-sliced bacon and made with sourdough bread, which is purposefully sliced thicker than the cafe’s first generation of grilled cheeses.
The bacon is meaty, not salty but a little sweet. It’s the star, but the cheeses are worthy supporting actors. There are two kinds — sliced havarti and shredded, aged extra-sharp cheddar. The havarti melts nicely, and the cheddar adds a little punch.
Before grilling, the outside of each slice of bread is brushed with softened European butter, which has higher butterfat than American butter and adds a slight tang. It’s packed with flavor — and a great story.
Custom Pizza Slice at The Combine
The Combine, a Black-owned restaurant on Troost, has been Star reporter J.M. Banks’ go-to place lately, for any occasion. His regular order is the Custom Slice, Buffalo wings and an old fashioned: It’s simple and it’s excellent, he says.
The Custom Slice comes with five pizza toppings of your choice. J.M. usually picks chicken, cream cheese, onions, mushrooms and roasted garlic. The massive 14-inch slice is a fantastic deal at $6.25, and way larger than both your hands. On those evenings when he’s craving more, J.M. will add on a four-piece of their Buffalo wings for $5.
The pizza is the perfect balance of hot, cheesy and crunchy, J.M. says. The crust is never too doughy or burnt, and the hot wings have a pleasant zest and spice that don’t make you reach for an extra glass of water. He’ll wash it all down with one of the best old-fashioned cocktails in KC ($10).
“I want to bring together a diverse customer base,” says owner Alan Kneeland. “Five years ago, this area was a food desert. There was literally nothing here. So for us to bring a dining experience with a menu that brings different types together.”
Read more about The Combine here.
My standout dish of the week
Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop in the Crossroads has always been one of my favorite spots in KC. When I was growing up in Johnson County, it was one of those restaurants that drew my friends and me into the city on the weekends. The ambience is decidedly quirky, and I’m always prepared to stash away leftovers from one of their giant bowls of noodles.
My go-to is the Rainbow Peanut Noodles, which are peanut buttery and spicy and laden with colorful peppers. And last week, I found another favorite in their Vegetable Rangoons, hand-folded pockets of cream cheese and veggies served with a sweet chili dipping sauce.
My friends rave about Lulu’s Crab Rangoons, but my shellfish allergy and I have found solace in the veggie version — they’re crispy where they need to be and soft where they should be, and the filling is a great mix of savory and sweet.
Your top eats
Reader Ben Coate recently suggested we try the Raja Dip at Aladdin Cafe — the “best dip/appetizer in the entire city,” he says.
A mixture of feta, parmesan and cream cheeses topped with walnuts and olive oil and served with warm pita bread, the dip is “cheesy and creamy, but still feels light,” Coate says. It’s a great snack for any weather, he gushes.
Do you have a favorite dish you think I should include in this newsletter? Email me, firstname.lastname@example.org, or fill out this form to let us know.
À la carte
✴️ After nearly a decade in business, this fan-favorite bar in Waldo is closing. But regulars won’t have to wait too long for a fix from their scratch kitchen — owners say they plan to open a smaller spot in Johnson County this spring.
✴️ This always-busy taco joint (and a personal favorite of mine) will open a third location in the metro area, this one in downtown Overland Park.
✴️ A popular food website recently recommended that diners skip these sides when heading out for barbecue. Do you disagree?
✴️ A new fine dining restaurant and lounge will make its debut in the Crossroads this spring. Its executive chef, who hails from an upscale restaurant in Miami, has curated a menu that includes lamb chops, steaks, crab legs and more.
Hungry for more?
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Happy eating! We’ll see you next week.