Good wine can be inexpensive, if you know where to look

Folks, I need help. I’m an avid wine fan but paying $10 or more for a glass of Cakebread Sauvignon Blanc in a restaurant prevents me from enjoying the wine.

And there are many glasses offered in this city north of the $10 mark. We are not too far behind the coasts when it comes to wine pricing. So I looked around for wine bargains.

Now I need a calendar to keep track of them all. And I hope you will let me know about your favorite wine bargain. That way I can drink more wine.

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Mac and cheese wars: KC has good contenders

Let me just say, upfront, that I make the best Macaroni and Cheese in town.

It was a popular menu item at Café Lulu and many folks remember it to this day.

I’ll share the recipe with you in a minute. The secret is to keep the macaroni, the sauce and the topping apart until you are ready to pop it in the oven.

Same goes on the other end. Try to take your mac out just before serving for maximum sauciness. Pasta absorbs the sauce after time and you end up with dry mac and cheese.

But if you don’t want to take the time and heat up the kitchen to make this dish, mac and cheese has become a favorite in Kansas City restaurants. It seems to be on all the chic menus.

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In praise of Mark Bittman

I loved Jill Silva’s interview with Mark Bittman in the Star magazine June 9.

And although I’ve never been tempted to become a vegan, his argument for eating vegan until 6 in the evening was interesting and well thought out.

This old planet of ours is rapidly filling up with people and meat is very expensive to produce.

We, and the planet we live on, will probably be better off if we eat more plants and grains and fewer steaks.

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Break out the grill, it’s time to make paella

Picture this: You’re on wind swept beach in Spain. You gather driftwood and make a fire. You just happen to have a paella pan with you plus all the ingredients for a great meal.

You cook your paella over wood flames with the sounds of the surf as a sound track. Very romantic, right?

It’s the way many folks in Spain and France will enjoy that dish this summer.

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Don’t sweat the wines this summer, it’s the company that matters

When I wrote about wine for the Kansas City Star in the past, my column was about enjoying wine and food together.

But summer is different. The rules of wine and food pairing don’t seem very important on a picnic. The food should be good and the wine tasty but enjoying the moment, the day, the company, is what you’ll remember.

And many times we have no idea what the food and wine combinations will be. We are asked to bring potato salad and a bottle or two of wine.

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KCK’s Kansas Avenue is a foodie’s delight

Kansas Avenue in Kansas City, Kan., doesn’t look much like a food Mecca.

Tall, deserted grain elevators loom at the intersection of Kansas Avenue and Seventh Street Trafficway. Everything seems slightly decrepit, vaguely industrial, definitely blue collar.

But there is life here — auto repair garages, used appliance stores, truck parking lots and some of the most authentic Mexican food in our metro area.

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Books about food aren’t necessarily cookbooks

As any writer of cookbooks sadly knows, cookbooks aren’t used much any more.

We still buy them for our favorite author, the celebrity chef attached to them or if the food subject is something close to our hearts.

But most of these books end up on our bedside table for nighttime reading. Or when the photography is especially beautiful, they find a space on our coffee tables.

If we want a recipe we can access millions of them through our computers. And we can prop up our iPad right there in the kitchen and read the directions easily.

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