Dish & Drink KC: Beat the heat with classics done right and some tasty, experimental refreshments

Campground Double Smash Burger Credit Jordan Baranowski

The Double Smash Burger at The Campground. // Photo by Jordan Baranowski

We all knew it was coming—after weeks of spring weather teasing us, Kansas City finally brought the heat this week. When those first hot days arrive, comfort food is always what we’re craving. Of course, after you’ve had your fill, you’ll want an ice cold beverage to keep your spirits up. Here are a few things we’re enjoying this week.

Craving a burger? Visit The Campground

Ask ten people what the best burger in town is, and you’ll get ten different answers. Ask the same person on different days, and you’ll probably get different answers each time.

While we might not be able to give you the truly definitive answer, we can promise you that a trip to The Campground in the West Bottoms will get you one of KC’s premier burgers.

There’s nothing over the top or pretentious about The Campground’s Double Smash Burger. That said, everything about it is done to perfection. The double-stacked patties are cooked to just the right temperature, and the combination of American cheese and aioli adds a creamy decadence to every bite.

The pickles and red onion are absolutely essential—you need that tang to counteract the richness of the rest of the ingredients. On top of everything, you’ve got a perfectly-sized bun to hold it all together, blackened just a bit to add the final, textural piece of the puzzle.

Whether you’re getting a full-blown meal or just drinks and snacks, everything you order at The Campground will knock your socks off. You gotta try that burger, though.

The Campground is located at 1531 Genessee St, Kansas City, MO 64102. It’s open 5-10 p.m. Thursday through Sunday.

Mission Taco Joint Blt Hot Chicken Tinga Credit Jordan Baranowski

Mission Taco Joint’s BLT, Hot Chicken, and Tinga tacos. // Photo by Jordan Baranowski

At Mission Taco Joint, any day is a good day for tacos

Like it is with burgers, Kansas City is ripe with choices for tacos. If you find yourself in the right place on Southwest Boulevard, you could eat in a new spot every day and barely move a block down the street.

Outside of that corridor, you can still find plenty of tasty taco options. Of course, you’ll want to pair them with a premium margarita—which they sling plenty of at Mission Taco Joint.

You’ll get similar vibes from either MTJ, but the Crossroads Art District location is where I tend to hang my hat. Picking through their wide range of taco options makes for a deeply personal decision.

Are you going for a more traditional option, like the beef tinga? The beef is slow-simmered in a delicious, smoky chile sauce, with creamy avocado and blackened onions adding a nice counterbalance to the flavor of the meat. What about the BLT? Mission Taco Joint’s bacon is dynamite, and the chipotle aioli has just the right spice level to elevate things.

Maybe you like the BBQ duck taco? Or you want to really bring the heat with the hot fried chicken taco? You can’t go wrong—unless you forget the margaritas.

Mission Taco Joint has two locations: 5060 Main St, Kansas City, MO 64112 and 409 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108. They are both open every day from 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Pick up a refresher at Double Shift Brewing

Another reason the Crossroads is the place to be: the breweries. No matter where you find yourself in the area, there’s a brewery close by. After filling your belly with tacos, you’ll probably crave a beer to relax and digest with. Lucky you—Double Shift Brewing is right across the street.

Double Shift Brewing Subtly Stoned Ipa Credit Jordan Baranowski

Double Shift’s Subtly Stoned IPA. // Photo by Jordan Baranowski

Like any local brewery worth their salt, Double Shift is constantly changing up their menu. A few favorites are always on standby, but their knowledgeable staff can always point you in the right direction if you’re unsure of what will be a good fit for your palate.

Their employee beer series always offers some unique options: the Subtly Stoned IPA that’s currently on tap is no exception. Even though it’s called an IPA, this isn’t a hop-bomb that’s going to overwhelm with bitterness. It’s a dangerously crushable brew with strong peach aromas and a nice, clean finish.

It’s a beer where, after taking your first sip, you immediately go back for another to try to figure out what’s going on in there. The layered, subtle flavor makes it a perfect sipper for spring day-drinking.

Double Shift Brewing is located at 412 E 18th St, Kansas City, MO 64108. It’s closed Monday, open Tuesday and Wednesday 4-10 p.m., Thursday 12-10 p.m., Friday and Saturday 12-11 p.m., and Sunday 12-8 p.m.

Dessert is the Bee’s Knees at Betty Rae’s Ice Cream

Look, I know I’m not shocking anyone when I claim Betty Rae’s is delicious. You already know that. It’s one of those places you can close your eyes, pick a flavor at random, and you’ll be happy.

Betty Raes Bees Knees Credit Betty Raes

The Bee’s Knees at Betty Rae’s. // Courtesy of Betty Rae’s

What you may not know, however, is that one of their all-time favorites is back on the menu. It’s the Bee’s Knees, baby!

The Bee’s Knees starts with their creamy, delicious vanilla ice cream, and there’s this beautiful ribbon of honey running through the whole thing. On its own, just that would be enough. Once they add in the house-made honeycomb candies, though, it’s game over.

If you haven’t tried it, you need to. Order yours in a waffle cone—even with the hot weather, you’ll devour it well before it melts.

Betty Rae’s Ice Cream has two locations: 7140 Wornall Road, Kansas City, MO 64114 and 412 Delaware St, Kansas City, MO 64105. Both locations are open Sunday through Thursday 11 a.m. – 9 p.m., and Friday and Saturday 11 a.m. – 10 p.m.

Drastic Measures Culture Club And Simo Swizzle Credit Jordan Baranowski

Drastic Measures Culture Club and Simo Swizzle. // Photo by Jordan Baranowski

And now for something completely different with Drastic Measures

Drastic Measures is a bit of an outlier—located in downtown Shawnee, it’s usually going to be your destination, rather than a place you just pop into. Luckily, it is an absolute must-visit if you’re a cocktail fan, as they regularly serve up some of the most innovative and tasty drinks in KC.

They also just put out their new spring menu, so it’s definitely worth a revisit if you haven’t been in a while.

Co-founder Jill Cockson brought over some elements from her first KC spot, Swordfish Tom’s, when she opened Drastic Measures a few years back. It has the green light/red light system on the door and a menu full of experimental twists on classic faves.

Their new menu features several rum and tequila-based drinks. If you want to stick with the warm weather theme (and you like absinthe’s licorice flavor), the Simo Swizzle is a perfect choice.

It’s a big, boozy drink, despite the fact that it looks suspiciously like a red, white, and blue summer treat of yesteryear. Other drinks range from simple and delicious (the Manhattan Transfer) to bizarre and delicious (the Culture Club, featuring goat-cheese-washed tequila).

The unifying factor in all these drinks is that they’ll all tickle those taste buds. Just make sure you’ve arranged for transportation ahead of time—after a couple rounds, you’ll need someone else to take the wheel.

Drastic Measures is located at 5817 Nieman Rd, Shawnee, KS 66203. It’s closed Sunday and Monday, open Tuesday through Thursday 4 p.m. – 12 a.m., and Friday and Saturday 4 p.m. – 1:30 a.m.

Categories: Food & Drink