Carr Valley Cheese

A few weeks ago, we road tripped up to Wisconsin for a cousin’s wedding. Good times, food, and drinks naturally followed, but one unexpected thrill greeted us on our way out of town. After we stopped at an incredible, family-owned diner, we continued our journey through southern Wisconsin and its rolling hills. As we passed through a small town, we saw something familiar up ahead. It was none other than a Carr Valley Cheese shop. We were already behind, but surely you can understand why we had to make a stop.

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

Wisconsin Cheese Pride

The store was being run by a former teacher who had decided to adjust her path to cheese curation. Her passion for it was palpable, and she guided us through her offerings, made suggestions, and left a lasting impact on us both. Beyond just the cheese, the tiny shop offered shoppers a variety of cheese-related merchandise. We were lucky to leave with cash left in the bank, and were genuinely proud we were able to even leave altogether.

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

We needed it all.

Carr Valley Cheese is one of most recognizable cheese brands in America, and arguably in the world. Their offerings are delicious and award-winning, and we always encourage you to snag something unique and funky. We learned an incredible amount during our short stay, and can’t wait to come back on our way to the next family event up north.

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

We spent more than a handful of moments here

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

Awards? Carr Valley’s got ’em!

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

Cheese runs in the family at Carr Valley

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

Please kindly take all our money.

Carr Valley Cheese, Wisconsin Cheese, Cheese Store, Cheese Boutique, Cheese tour, Wisconsin greatness, Road trip, Pit Stop

We took home as many as we could.

-D

Westside Local’s cheese plate does not disappoint.

My body was yearning for another cheese plate. And KC was yearning for a new cheese plate review. So we took one for the team (with pleasure), and rolled out with our pooch to Westside Local.

Tucked away in one of KC’s cutest and quietest neighborhoods, Westside Local’s food and signature cocktails draw people in any day of the week. Farm to table dining with trendy urban decorations— you can’t not enjoy this place.

We sat on the patio and were immediately greeted with a dog bowl of water and FREE BONES?! Our girl was in heaven. D ordered an Old Fashioned, myself – the house red wine. Cheese plate had been ordered, now we patiently waited.

Laurie delivered our plate in a very timely manner. It… was… stunning!  Westside Local gets 5 out of 5 for presentation. The fresh nature-y look of the creamy cheese, fresh fruit, crispy bread, and garnishing all atop a thick dark-wooded platter. Straight outta the Shire y’all.

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Hootie hooooo!!

So we read up on the names of the players in this cheese game going down on the patio. Our tastebuds were ready. Let’s do this.

First up:

Cottonwood Cheddar

cheese, cheese plate, cheese review, westside local, kansas city, cheddar

You cheddar believe it was amazing.

Cut into thick cubes, this dry aged white cheddar cheese was like seeing an old friend. With a creamy yellow hue, this cheese was good on or off the cracker chips. Cottonwood cheddar will never get old, thus making it dangerous for people with cheese addictions. My only qualm with this beautiful cube of cheddar was just that, it was a large cube. Making it awkward to eat with the crackers. Nonetheless, it was delicious.

Homemade Ricotta

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My favorite DIY is DIY formaggio.

I did NOT expect to see ricotta this evening, what a surprise! Westside Local makes their own peppered ricotta, shaped like mashed potatoes with a pool of olive oil in the middle. Easy to spread on a cracker, slightly cooled. I’m not the world’s biggest ricotta fan, but DIY stuff is dope. So points for that.

A Green Dirt Farm Brie-Type Cheese

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Just brie yourself.

While we were never able to figure out its exact name, we can confidently say it was a sheep cheese (if its from Green Dirt) and its consistency was that similar to a brie. This cheese desperately needed its honey counterpart, bringing the sweet to the salt from the cracker. The honey was a must— the yin to it’s yang.

Other honorable mentions would definitely have to be the fresh fruit all up in the middle of the board. Delicious, and quickly devoured. The Farm to Market cracker chips were good, but not great. I was hoping they would crumble and crack with every bite, but they weren’t as crispy as I was hoping.

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El fin!

We’re always looking for dog friendly patios around KC, and Westside Local set the bar pretty damn high. They even brought out fresh bacon for her while we waited for our check! Westside Local has been my requested birthday spot for the past few years, so my expectations were high for this cheese plater. For $14, you get your money’s worth that is for damn sure. If your looking for a filling snack in a dope atmosphere, Westside Local is where you need to be.

See where it falls on our list of KC’s Best Cheese Plates!

cheese, cheese plate, cheese review, westside local, kansas city

Midi Approved Cheese Platter.

Champagne and Cheese: Ça Va’s Got It

It has been many moons since our last cheese platter, and we apologize for that. We’re still on the hunt for KC’s best cheese plate. Our latest stop was at Westport’s Ça Va. Ça Va is a French Champagne cocktail hot spot, best known for the exclusive list of bubbles and the like. To be honest, I still don’t know how to pronounce it, but boy did we feel fancy being inside.

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Oui oui!

Our date turned into a double date. When we called for a reservation, we specifically requested a table in a corner or a secluded area. We arrived and were placed in the first table in front, stuck between the front door and the patio door. Humph. We asked to be moved: wish was granted.

The atmosphere of Ça Va is classic and chic. Very busy on a Wednesday at 7:00 PM, not many seats left empty. There is a huge French flag hanging in the window with corks everywhere for decor. Large candle castles were a nice touch, feeling like this place has been here for 100 years worth of candles. So we sit down and order our drinks from our lovely waitress, Solace. For me- prosecco and for Derek, a Dapper Sipper (don’t tell me that’s not fun to say). We put in our order for their cheese plate and waited in extreme anticipation.

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So cute.

Then…she arrived. Smaller than anticipated, we were hoping the three tiny cheeses presented in front of us would have enough bang to make us look past their minuscule size. It was pretty to look at, I’ll give them that. Our plate consisted of three cheeses, carrot paste (which I’m convinced was pickled), blackberries, and pickled shallots. Served with a side of pretzel crisps, we were locked and loaded. Hold on to ya butts…

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Isn’t she loooovellyy?

Camembert from St. Louis
This cheese looks like a love child between brie and feta. It is a soft white cheese, defined by a dusted, thick, white rind. It is fairly “stenchless” (yes, odorless is the word, but we prefer stenchless). When this camembert first hits your lips, it isn’t much, however the flavor sharpens as it makes its way towards the back of your tongue. I would recommend this cheese on a pretzel crisps and only on a pretzel crisp. This cheese is not going to impress your friends, but it won’t be a total L-7 weenie at a party. It is sort of like the second Jurassic Park movie: decent, but not life changing.

Everton
Never heard of it. SO, with my knowledge of the name and that it comes from Indiana, I hit the ol’ interwebs and I am ASSUMING this is a cheese from the Jacobs & Brichford Farms out of southeast Indiana. This cheese has a yellowish tint, semi soft, thick rind, giving the appearance of a white cheddar. To be honest, it was sort of a buzzkill. As the theme continues, it was better with a pretzel crisp. Our friend tried a bit and responded with a definite, “HUH.” Which was followed by, “If this was on a dating app, I would not swipe right.” Boom. Roasted.

Cabrales
We saved this one for last because, well, it looked the most exciting. This Spanish blue cheese is made from cow’s, goat’s, AND sheep’s milk. SAY WHAT. How riveting! All four of us agreed that this cheese is THE inspiration for the Stinky Cheese Man. With the other two cheeses proving to be the co-mayors of Bum-City, I was ready. Give me flavor or give me death. After so much anticipation, the truth was revealed. For me? I enjoyed it. It was soft and smooth, with that kick of blue veins to give it that extra HEYO– not bad, especially on a pretzel crisp. Everyone else? Nope. The other three describe this cheese as, “Your friend that shows up uninvited to your house,” “ Far more overpowering than I anticipated,” and last but not least, “I wouldn’t want that in my mouth.”

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Dominated.

So that was that. The service at Ça Va was fairly good, the ambiance was elegant, the cheese platter, however, was slightly disappointing. I would not go back to Ça Va for the cheese plate, but definitely for a celebratory drink of bubbly…and the pretzel crisps.

Check out where it falls on our KC Cheese Plate rankings.

Thanks for stopping by, and keep cheesin’.

-C

There’s a French Cheese Plate Hiding in Westport Cafe

Having essentially lived in Westport for over a year, you would think we would have hit every spot in and around its welcome arms. Realistically speaking, we had spent many, many hours within its confines, this much is true. But speaking from the heart, I’d be willing to bet 90% of those many hours were spent at Harry’s. I’m not ashamed to admit that.

Of course I’d heard of Westport Café and how delicious its offerings were. I’d always known of its existence but, for some reason, we’d never made the call to visit – and that was a terrible mistake.

Westport Cafe is nestled near the southwest corner of Westport Road and Broadway. Sitting inside, you can see passersby window shopping at Bunker or monitor the shenanigans taking place in the lot behind Riot Room and The Foundry. The scenery, regardless of which side of the spectrum it’s occurring on, is an enjoyable complement to the restaurant’s interior aura.

Inside, the restaurant is kinda shaped like this “E” without its middle phalanx. Reservations were made as a precautionary measure, but we could have walked in and sat down right away this particular Monday night. Being the cheddar recluses we are, we treated ourselves to a table near the back due to the fact that conducting cheese plate reconnaissance is tedious work, and also because Cate doesn’t like being seen taking pictures of food at restaurants, which I totally get but she started a cheese blog (¯\_(ツ)_/¯).

Anyway, we took our seats and were greeted by our waitress, Lindsey (I hope I chose the correct spelling), whose passion for the restaurant was evidenced by her extensive knowledge and pride of everything on the menu, and her sincere desire to ensure we loved it. She recommended some wine to pair with our eats, and in a delightfully succinct matter of time, a plate of cheese was sitting between my wife of two and a half years and I. It looked like this:

Gouda Life, Westport Cafe, Cheese Plate, Delicious

Really, just, look at it.

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You’re looking at five different types of cheese varying in flavor, origin, stench, and texture. If cheese were Earth, we were about to travel across the globe (which we’re about to do, actually. Stay tuned for that). Let’s dive in.

Comté AOC

This stuff, guys. The French have been making this stuff – Comté AOC – for over eight centuries. EIGHT. This easy-to-melt cheese owes its flavor to the mountain pastures from which it originates, as well as two cow breeds native to the area – the Montbéliarde and the French Simmental. These French moo moos spend their summers grazing on beautiful flowers, and it’s abundantly evident in the flavor. Learning this all after the fact was a bit of a letdown, as Westport Cafe’s was a bit mild and blank. That said, the disappointment was brief, and we moved onto the next.

Ricotta

Westport Cafe’s Ricotta sat on our plate like a happy cloud in the sky – except portions of it were doused in a honey glaze. It spreads over bread with ease and melts in your mouth. The only problem with this Ricotta is it didn’t last long. I know there’s several, uh, disciplines within the Ricotta realm, and I apologize for being uninformed. Rest assured, you’d like it.

Danish Blue

Also known as “Danablu,” it makes sense this cheese is found at a French restaurant like this one – it was created as an acceptable alternative to imported (expensive) French blues. This stuff was aromatically present, and very obviously a blue cheese. Westport Cafe served it with radishes – for more POWER. Danablu – get to know it. Get to love it.

Aged White Cheddar

Cheddar, man. It’s good as-is, and it’s rare a day goes by without me consuming it. White cheddar is even better. Add the fact it’s aged, and you’re in heaven. They served it with green apple slices, and the moment the combination graces your tastes buds, it’ll try to make its case as the best moment of your life thus far.

Herbed Goat

The herbed goat cheese gracing our plate was perfect. Creamy with a solid, goat taste and enjoyed to the last dollop.

This plate marks the second we’ve reviewed in our short existence. While it sacrificed volume for variety, Westport Cafe did an excellent job of providing an absolutely delicious experience. Comparing it to its only competition (at the moment) in The Farmhouse’s offering, it proves to be challenging to rank one over the other. Taking in the other experiential aspects of the restaurant, I do believe we’ve found our new number one KC-based cheese plate, and a great restaurant we’ll be visiting again soon.

Other Musings:

After devouring the plate, we opted to get breakfast for dinner. Just look at this omelette, because my words won’t do it justice:

Breakfast for Dinner, Gouda Life, Westport Cafe

Another thing to note about this restaurant is its bathrooms. Easily one of the top-five bathrooms I’ve experienced – ever. I have no criteria for this list, but I knew it was special as soon as I entered.

Gouda Life, Westport Cafe, Bathroom

We had our fill, and our Westport Cafe experience adjourned. We thanked Lindsey, departed, and walked directly to Harry’s Bar and Tables for a night cap. A beautiful evening, indeed. Westport continues to effortlessly prove its substantial relevance in Kansas City.

Thanks for taking the time to read this through. To see our ranked cheese plate list – head over here, and be sure to read through our Farmhouse review, as well. If you have any places for us to check out, let us know! For more frequent updates, join us on Instagram.

-D

Gouda Life, Westport Cafe

Gouda Life, Westport Cafe, Cheese Plate

Gouda Life, Westport Cafe, I have this thing with floors

#IHaveThisThingWithFloors

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Gouda Life, Westport Cafe, Gone.

See you next time.

Fromage from The Farmhouse

Spontaneity. It takes many forms and is enjoyed best in moderation. For some, it’s dreaded and avoided at all costs. For others, it’s a necessity utilized to combat the fatigue culminated from the work day. It’s likely clear which side I land on.

Friday was nearing with an absence of plans. This being the case, we seized the opportunity to review our first cheese plate. Naturally, I inquired the internet for some guidance, and I found myself conveniently reading This is KC’s brief-but-to-the-point bullet list on great local cheese plates. Cate and I don’t spend near enough time down at the River Market, so the decision was simple: We’d check out The Farmhouse.

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Dimly lit, we entered around 8:15. We were seated towards the back, obviously so we could conduct the intricate process of delicately stuffing our mouths with dairy products and  thinking deeply about each bite. Taylor, our delightful waitress, brought us our menus, but the decision had already been made. We’d be taking their Assorted Local Cheese Plate, priced just right at $13. With no idea what the assortment would entail, we anxiously awaited our plate over their house wine, Farmhouse Red. After a quarter-glass of wine’s time, the plate arrived:

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Four cheeses awaited our review, each beautifully and artistically placed – all surrounded with a wagon circle of sauce. Joining us was also a basket filled with pallet equalizers, which I enjoyed far too much. Following a brief introduction to the four, we dove in. Here’s how they tasted. We’re working from left to right in the picture.

Herbed Goat
I would categorize this one as a spreadable goat. We decorated the crackers with it, adding some crunch to the already powerful flavor. The Herbed Goat packed an addictive punch, suggesting only a few tastes would suffice. Fortunately, the portion was perfect. I would have eaten too much had there been more. Whipped and fluffy, this stuff wasn’t crumbling anywhere.

Tillamook Cheddar
Easy to cut, soft but holds its form. Soft yellow color suggests its a cheddar you’ve met before, and the taste greets you like a drink after a long day. The world would be a better place if more people were like this cheese. Cate says a good cheddar hits the sweet spot – located by taking your pointer fingers and touching  your “jaw joint,” then by moving your fingers towards your chin about one knuckle’s length. That’s the sweet spot. That’s how you KNOW. This one resided here.

Finally, a delicious honey butter enhanced the experience. Fantastic.

Dirt Lover Goat
This one looks like a brie at first until the knife cuts. Eat with the rind – that adds flavor. Dirt lover rind is coated with vegetable ash, giving it an old-world flavor and a unique look. Very easy on the eyes for a cheese platter viewer . Odorless and very soft. Just like cotton candy, it’s there and gone.

Prairie Tom Sheep Cheese
The plate finished with my first-ever sheep cheese experience. The two, small triangles are all you need. This stuff stank, but it stank just right. It’s very odd finding such an odd smell so enticing.

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The Farmhouse won us over. After finishing the plate, we sat back and enjoyed the environment. Art hung haphazardly from the walls, provoking questions and conversation. We found ourselves with another glass of Farmhouse Red. Looking around, you can tell the appreciation The Farmhouse has for it’s local partners. Proudly listed on a large chalkboard on a middle wall, we were able to see the places from which our cheese originated.

Being the first plate we’ve reviewed, The Farmhouse’s Assorted Local Cheese Plate is ranked #1 on our KC-based Cheese Plates. For how long it holds it’s dominance is yet to be seen. We’ll all find out in February, when we hit our next shop’s plate. Location TBD.

We both learned a lot during the experience, including the fact that spontaneity, at least in our lives, takes the the form of a cheese plate. We also need to get over the self-inflicted awkwardness that comes with taking multiple photos of cheese in public.

As always, thanks for taking the time to join us. Until next time.

-D

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Sense of community from farm to table.

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