The swirling circles made by perfectly formed sushi rolls aren’t complete unless they’re accented by the bright spheres of tobiko. These candy-colored beads are part of what make the platters at Kansas City sushi restaurants so aesthetically appealing. But what are they?The eye-catching embellishments are actually the roe of the Japanese flying fish, a sleek and swift dynamo that earns its name by breaking the water’s surface and soaring over the ocean for up to 200 meters before plunging back down. Although these acrobatics are striking, the flying fish’s vibrant roe are what draws in diners. Their natural flaming-orange pigment creates a stunning contrast against dark strips of nori and white rice. However, because they absorb color and flavor well, artful chefs often infuse roe with various ingredients to alter their appearance, creating tobiko that range from squid-ink black to wasabi-inspired neon green.Aside from their beauty, the tiny eggs pop pleasantly on the tongue once bitten, and their texture—not to mention their brine and umami flavors—are difficult to imitate. This doesn’t mean that restaurants don’t try for cheaper substitutes; masago, roe from the unremarkable capelin, is often dyed orange and swapped for tobiko, but the lack of crunch should distinguish it from tobiko.However, many restaurants in Kansas City, including Sakura and Drunken Fish, insist upon the real thing, garnishing their sushi rolls with the beautiful roe. But the roe is a delicacy in its own right, and has no issue taking center stage, whether cradled in a sliced cucumber or piled on a bed of sushi rice.Photo: Christmas Maki by Quinn Dombrowski under CC BY-SA 2.0Read More
The Tan Co. - Lawrence
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The Tan Co. - Lawrence
When it comes to losing weight or building muscle, it’s best not to go it alone. “Start slow and hire an expert,” said Milwaukee-based CrossFit instructor Dan Martin. Luckily, Kansas City gyms are filled with trainers experienced in everything from yoga to boot camps, all hoping to make their city one of the fittest in America. These six in particular make exercise one of the most rewarding activities in Kansas City.1. City Gym | 7416 Wornall Rd.Fitness specialties: They offer group training during classes for cycling, Pilates, boot camp, and other disciplines.Instructor spotlight: Hailee Bland-Walsh is the gym’s owner and a former professional soccer player. She holds several ACE certifications and specializes in TRX suspension training.Pro tip: Join the outdoor running club for even more exercise camaraderie. 2. Zona Yoga | 8741 N. Dixson Ave.Fitness speciality: You’ll find vinyasa and hatha yoga classes for adults, children, and expectant mothers.Instructor spotlight: Co-owner Kelly Colln has completed 1,000 hours of education and is certified to teach therapeutically.Pro tip: When the instructor says “take a vinyasa,” she means to go through three poses (maybe plank, chaturanga, and cobra) as part of a sun salutation. 3. TheGYMkc | Multiple LocationsFitness specialties: Get more personalized attention in small-group personal training, with class options ranging from boxing and self-defense to Zumba.Instructor spotlight: Mike Dale, a former college football player, now teaches self-defense and serves as a motivating personal trainer.Pro tip: Membership grants access to all three locations and their facilities, from the showers to the vending machines. 4. Brookside CrossFit | 701 E. 63rd St.Fitness specialty: This gym features a 2,700-square-foot CrossFit “box” filled with fitness equipment and open space for strength and endurance training.For beginners: They’ll learn proper form and technique for constantly varied exercises, such as weightlifting.Pro tip: The gym schedules six classes Monday–Thursday, five classes on Friday, and one class on Saturday. 5. HealthRidge Fitness | 17800 W. 106th St., OlatheFitness specialities: Enjoy the 1/8-mile indoor track, outdoor pool, racquetball courts, and cardio machines, plus more than 80 exercise classes a week.Instructor spotlight: Learn from master trainer Chris Branham, who holds a bachelor’s degree in motivational psychology along with certifications in CrossFit, personal training, and more.Pro tip: After a workout, visit the onsite spa for a hot-stone massage. 6. Boulevard Yoga & Healing Arts | 215 Southwest Blvd.Fitness specialities: Three classes are designed to ease stress and increase flexibility: beginner’s yoga, gentle yoga, and vinyasa yoga.Instructor spotlight: Jennifer Kieltyka, who’s practiced yoga since 1990, has followed her studies to Colorado and India.Pro tip: Boulevard supplements its yoga practice with massage therapy and acupuncture.Read More
Kansas City Mexican restaurants run the gamut from the traditional to the experimental. And while there are plenty of arguments on both sides for what makes the best Mexican restaurant in Kansas City, authenticity is another matter entirely. But what makes a restaurant “authentic,” exactly? Well, let’s use the taco as a barometer. A great authentic taco should be nearly indistinguishable from a taco you could pick up from any street vendor in Mexico City. The key lies in its simplicity—all you need is marinated meat, onions, and cilantro wrapped in a soft corn tortilla. Here are a few taquerias in Kansas City that nail the basics:El Camino Real | RiverviewWhat makes it authentic: The chefs at El Camino Real know that the tortilla is the foundation of a great taco, which is why they wrap all their tacos in a fresh, made-from-scratch corn tortilla. What to order: Try tacos with four different preparations of beef: asada (steak), lengua (tongue), picadillo (ground beef), and cabeza (head).Guadalajara Finest Mexican Cuisine | Overland ParkWhat makes it authentic: Guadalajara specializes in the local flavors of, you guessed it, Guadalajara. Aside from the wide range of traditional tacos, the margaritas draw inspiration from Guadalajara’s proximity to Mexico’s tequila-producing region. What to order: Pair the house-special tacos de pescado—fish topped with pico de gallo and mango—with the signature Guadalajara margarita.Bonito Michoacan | RiverviewWhat makes it authentic: A focus on delivering basic, traditional flavors in a wide range of dishes. You can order 11 different preparations of beef, chicken, lamb, and pork in taco, burrito, or torta form. What to order: The tacos al pastor, stuffed with marinated pork, pineapple, and onions in the perfect blend of sweet and savory.Rico Tacos Lupe | RockhillWhat makes it authentic: Rico Tacos Lupe’s street tacos are tacos in their most basic form—your choice of meat topped with onion and cilantro, wrapped in two corn tortillas. But they’re endlessly customizable thanks to a wide range of sauces and salsas. What to order: Stick with a basic taco, such as carne asada, and fine-tune your personal sauce and salsa combination before branching out.Carniceria El Torito 2 | RiverviewWhat makes it authentic: You can count on everything being fresh at Carniceria El Torito 2 because it’s actually a combination taqueria/grocery store. After you eat, pick up all of the separate ingredients from your meal at the adjacent store since, who knows, maybe the best tacos in Kansas City are homemade. What to order: A large, diverse menu makes this a good place to try less common options, such as shrimp or fish tacos.Read More