I’ve not always been the most fervent backer of our neighboring big city to the west. Kansas City comes off sometimes as little more than a confusing tangle of highways and strip malls – it’s pretty unsexy (as I post this police are trying to corral cattle on I-70 in KC…just saying). St. Louis has always felt more like home; Cardinals, Soulard and my first foray into big-city dining after graduating from college. For me, it’s always had more appeal.
Most of this is not Kansas City’s fault. I spend far more time in KC but because we’re virtually always staying with the in-laws and that means dining in. We eat well for sure, but the result is a near-total ignorance of the dining scene. Bluestem? Been twice over the years, and dig it just fine. But after that, I’ve had takeout pizza, middling Mexican and some pretty average bbq (Smokehouse BBQ…blech). That’s no way to explore a city’s culinary offerings.
We spent a few days there recently and made the most of it (and the free babysitter). Here’s what I found.
1414 NW 7 Hwy
Blue Springs, MO 64014
I’ll cop to finding this place via Yelp, which comes in handy when you’re already on the road and want Mexican food that doesn’t involve foil packets of sauce. Real Jalisco was highly-rated and allegedly authentic, whatever that’s worth. It’s in a strip mall not far from I-70 near Blue Springs, and that’s worth plenty. Anyway, they came through on all counts.
First, if you put a zucchini flower quesadilla on the menu, I’m gonna order the damn thing, sans hesitation. Best thing was it was delicious – we’ll be recreating it shortly via our three apparently flower-only zucchini plants in the garden. Then, Pollo Tapatio, a smoky, tender grilled chicken breast. Mariposa Jalisco was a perfectly-grilled skirt steak with bracing acidity, roasted tomatoes and Oaxaca cheese and soupy beans. A stunning winner. I ordered Chiles en Ogada, because like that quesadilla, if you put roasted, steak-stuffed poblanos on the menu, I’m going to order the thing. Poblanos, steak, walnut cream sauce, dried cranberries and cooked apple. So different, so wonderful.
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