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GIVEAWAY!

giveaway

Who loves a giveaway? We sure do!

For a chance to win, tell us how many times a week you eat pork!

Winner will be chosen on Tuesday, February 16, so check back! See you then!

Topeka – The Burger Stand

A Yelp search for top restaurants in Topeka, Kan., will bring up a place called The Burger Stand. This name sound familiar to foodies, because there has been a very popular location of the same name in Lawrence, Kan., at the Casbah for several years. The Topeka location is located at 1601 SW Lane St., in the historic College Hill neighborhood near Washburn University.

Being curious as to if one of the top rated Topeka eateries would have any pork on their menu, naturally, I checked the place out! As expected, The Burger Stand offers a bacon cheeseburger, but deliciously unexpected, they also offer bourbon bacon cheddar cheese fries! Available in either a side or a basket, they make a bacon cheeseburger meal even better.

According to their website, “The Topeka location features outdoor patio seating, seating for over 150 and two fully stocked bars – one of which is in the back dining area referred to as ‘The Pong Bar.’ The Pong Bar offers Ping Pong Tables, Pool Tables, Foosball Table, a pinball machine and digital bar gaming.”

The Burger Stand is fun and the food is good. Check it out yourself the next time you’re in the capital city. Bring a big appetite and add an order of bourbon bacon cheddar cheese fries.

Kansas City – Big Q Bar•B•Q

If you’re looking for a “hole in the wall” BBQ joint around Kansas City, consider trying “Big Q Bar-B-Q” in the Maple Hill area. It’s a bit off the beaten path (2117 S 34th St, Kansas City, KS 66106) but is not far from either Hwy 69 or I-635 and isn’t all that hard to find. I don’t think you’ll ever have to fight crowds to get into the place because it’s not in a high traffic area, but the owners must be doing something right because they just celebrated 30 years of business back in 2015!

 

Unlike some BBQ places, you do get table service at Big Q. It’s a nice place that was clean and I found the server to be friendly and helpful. I had the pork shoulder (sliced) and pork ribs the time I went, along with waffle fries and beans. The ribs were meaty and had good flavor. The beans were excellent and had plenty of meat in them, and the waffle fries were crispy and fresh. The house BBQ sauce had good flavor and would go well with any of their meats I think.

The pork shoulder quality was great. I thought the meat was nicely cooked and had a pleasant texture. It was served “wet” with a sauce on it (not the regular BBQ sauce they serve though) that I didn’t particularly love, but it was still pretty good. From what I understand, the rest of the meats are served “dry” so you can add the sauce on your own, which means I need to go back and try more things there!

Overall I found eating at Big Q to be a pleasant experience, and I would like to get back to and try it again during peak hours. It has a nice sunroom on the west side of the building that a large part of the dining area is under and I found it to be especially nice on a cold but sunny January day. The menu has everything you could want without being overloaded or confusing. If this place was in a busier part of town it might be more popular, but it perhaps would lose its “BBQ Joint” charm if more people knew about it, so we’ll just let it be our secret!

Until next time,

Mike

Kansas City – The Sundry

The Sundry, part grocery store, part restaurant, located at 1706 Baltimore Avenue near downtown Kansas City, bills itself as “the modern expression of a time proven tradition: the local grocery.”  They ask customers to “drop in for a tasty bite or shop for later. Discover something new or take home a familiar favorite.”

The Sundry is a new business providing locally grown and produced upscale goods and services to the Kansas City area. They have an eclectic mix of hard to find products and a changing variety of menu items inspired by different regions around the world. One day you might get Carolina inspired barbecue and the next day Brazilian style foods.  One thing that you will find at the Sundry every day is pork. In fact, they source their pork, as well as many of their other products, from a 4-state radius around Kansas City.

During my visit, I picked up some chocolate made locally fresh in Kansas City and purchased a shredded pork meal served on a large roll. The store also had an ample supply of locally ground pork and fresh bacon.  Some of their other fine swine meal options include one of my favorites, the Cuban. Which is described on their website as “Of The Earth Farm roasted pork & house cured ham, house-made half sour pickles, swiss cheese & dijon mustard on a Le Monde Bakery baguette.”  Another menu option is described as “Of The Earth Farm Berkshire pork sausage with house made sauerkraut on house made focaccia.” Sounds delicious!

Additionally, the store offers classes like making your own cheeses and making your own bacon. How can you not want to be a straight A student in classes like these?!

Until next time,

Chris

Kansas City – The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange

The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange, located at 1924 Main in Kansas City is, in my opinion, one of the coolest restaurants in the Kansas City area. The beautiful restaurant is in the lobby in a once very posh twenties era hotel. It’s been said that even famous gangster Al Capone was there at one time. My cousins and I ventured in just as the restaurant opened at 3:00 p.m. on a Tuesday. Since the place was fairly empty at this time of day, we got exceptionally phenomenal one-on-one service from the staff. Our server was obviously very passionate about the place and she shared with us many fascinating details of the historic location.

We learned that The Rieger Pork Soup takes as long as three days to create, as the flavorful pork confit takes a tremendous amount of time, skill and love to produce. Any meal that takes this much time to create is worth savoring! Some of the other pork menu items include a mini pork tenderloin, and Carolina style pork sliders served on a plank.

The Reiger Hotel is also a great place for libations. In fact, they have their own brand of locally produced “Kansas City whiskey.  The basement of the historic building houses the very trendy and upscale Manifesto, a speakeasy style establishment.

I would recommend making date night reservations to both Manifesto and The Regier Hotel Grill and Exchange.  Try the pork. I don’t believe you will go home disappointed.

Until next time,

Chris

Wichita – Pig In Pig Out BBQ

In a big city with a small number of barbecue restaurants, only a few really stand out. Pig In Pig Out BBQ located at 1003 East 13th Street
in Wichita, KS is one of the good ones!

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One of the reasons that this place is so good is because they are constantly honing their craft on the competition barbecue circuit, competing regularly in Kansas City Barbecue Society sanctioned contests. In fact, they have been competing since 1993, and opened the doors to their restaurant in 1996.  Competition team owned barbecue restaurants are somewhat of a rarity outside of Kansas City, so finding one in Wichita is a real treat. You can see from their décor that they have had their share of successes, and as a contest judge, I can attest that Pig In Pig Out BBQ is above average. On my last visit I had delicious ribs and pulled pork.

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They are open Tuesday – Friday 11:00 am – 7:00 pm,
and Saturday 11:00 am – 5:00 pm, and according to their website have been voted the best in Wichita. They are certainly one of my top picks in Wichita. Are they the best? I would encourage you to check them out and decide for yourself.

Until next time,

Chris

LeRoy – Pizza Parlor

A town the size of LeRoy wouldn’t normally have many food options, but as isolated as it is, you get some unique options. One such option is The Pizza Parlor in downtown LeRoy. It is a nice little store front on Main Street that packs a nice selection of pizza and Italian foods. The place was clean and the service was good, so you can’t ask for much more except good food, and they seem to have that covered as well.

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In order to get as much pork on my pizza as possible I tried a small one with ham, bacon, and pork sausage and it did not disappoint. The meats tasted great, the sauce was good, and the crust was just the right combination of crispy and doughy. Paired with a salad it was a very good lunch. They sell pizza by the slice and have many other Italian options on the menu besides pizza so I don’t see how you can go wrong with this place if you happen to be going through LeRoy!

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Kansas City – Ponak’s

Here at “In Pursuit of Pork” we’ve touched several times on how many places there are to eat along Southwest Blvd in KCMO, but eating there and writing about it never gets old so I went back for more. My most recent trip took me to “Ponak’s Mexican Kitchen and Bar” (2856 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Missouri 64108).

Ponak's photo courtesy of Ponak's Facebook page

Ponak’s has been located in the food hotbed of SW Blvd for about 40 years, and once you eat there you can see why it has staying power. Looking at the menu you’ll find pork served in several great ways, including shredded pork tacos, pork tamales, pork burritos, and the “Huevos Con Chorizo” if you’re in the mood for breakfast food at lunchtime.

While those would have all been excellent choices, I chose to try the “Carne Con Chile”, which is a generous serving of slow-cooked pork hunks in spicy red sauce, served over refried beans, all in the confinement of a bowl. You get that and a pile of corn tortillas to eat it with! It is overly simple yet totally delicious and satisfying. Throw in some tasty margaritas served by the pitcher along with some chips and salsa and you have about all you need in life!

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Until next time,

Mike

Kansas City – Pizzabella

Pizzabella, one of Kansas City’s very best locally owned pizzerias have two locations in the area serving up some serious pizza pork. The original location is in the hip Crossroads district just south of downtown Kansas City, and the newest location, opened in 2013, is located in the Mission Farms area of Overland Park, Kansas. The name is French for beautiful pizza.

The story, as it was relayed to me, is that the owner, a small-town Kansas guy, always wanted to be in the restaurant business. He was able to buy the Crossroads location from his former employer and has been fortunate enough to expand to a second location. Whatever the story, the wood fired pizza is excellent; but then again, I’m yet to find a wood fired pizza that isn’t!  I shared a delicious chorizo pizza with my cousin Sterling, a Kansas City pizza aficionado. We ate at the original location which features garage door design that allows nearly the entire front end restaurant to open up during favorable weather.

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Our pizza included fresh tomato, basil pesto, pork chorizo, roasted red peppers, ricotta cheese and parsley.  Some of the other pork menu options include a charcuterie plate, a sausage pizza and a Prosciutto pizza.

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The name of the restaurant was certainly reflected in our beautiful and delicious pizza. For more information on other great Kansas City area pizzerias’ check out our blog entries for Spin Neapolitan Pizza and Grinder’s Pizza.

Until next time,

Chris

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Lawrence – Ramen Bowls

Ramen Bowls, located on a downtown Lawrence side street at 125 E. 10th, was recommended by my friend Bekka as a place to find good pork in Jayhawk country.

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As the name suggests, Ramen Bowls features bowls of ramen noodles. However, these are not the starving college student cheapo pack varieties you are probably familiar with. These are humongous steaming bowls of oriental noodles that come in many varieties and flavors not found in bulk at the big box store. One of the possible additions to your noodles includes pork.  Ramen Bowls also has free pork wontons during happy hour (beginning at 2:00 p.m) and pork tacos.

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For the adventurous (and heat tolerant), they have a ghost ramen challenge. The official rules state “You have exactly 30 minutes to finish the challenge. If you puke you are disqualified and YOU clean it up! And you owe us ONE MILLION DOLLARS (kidding about the dough). If you share your bowl or secretly pour your broth into someone else’s bowl you will be disqualified and forced to wash dishes for two days. There is no milk. No trips to the bathroom or outside.” 

I’m not that brave, so I ordered pork belly tacos instead. The three tacos were so pretty to look at that it was almost a shame to eat them….but only almost.  My friend Phillip and I did devour them and they were as delicious as they were pretty. The pork was spot on and the sriracha aioli drizzled on top was the perfect complement to the tasty meat.

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Ramen Bowls in not where you would expect to find good pork, but it certainly a good option.

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Until next time,

Chris

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