Tag Archives: restaurant

Vivilore in Independence, Missouri has it all. It’s a must eat and see

It’s not every day that you’ll find a fine art gallery, restaurant, bar, gorgeous courtyard and stunning antiques in one location.

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But at Vivilore in Independence, Mo., you’ll find all of that, delicious food, and an interesting dose of history.

Located in the Englewood art district, this restaurant is refreshingly unusual.

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Independence is just outside Kansas City, so on our last trip to K.C., we made a quick detour to the restaurant which was voted best patio in Kansas City.

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I was not disappointed. In fact, I was stunned at how beautiful it was.

Vivalore is owned by brother and sister by Whit Ross and Cindy Foster, two Independence natives who spent two years renovating this building.

They had no experience in the restaurant industry when they decided to open Vivilore. He had worked in catering; she was a pilot for 23 years.

They bought the historic brick building in 2010 and opened in 2012. They expected renovations to take six months, but it was two solid years because it was an historic building.  The building used to be the Sermon-Anderson interior design/antique business.  Before it closed, the business partners provided window treatments for Harry Truman’s home. One of the owner’s fathers was a close friend of Truman.

The building is 7,000 square feet and started as a private house built in the 1920s.

“It was a rather small house, but they started adding on the back, the front, they raised the roof, made it into a rather large house. In 1951, they built the front part of Vivilore which is the street side,” said Foster.

Because of the history of the building and its expansions, the restaurant feels like a home, but an elegant one. There are magnificent murals on the wall; antique plates; oil paintings; chandeliers, stained glass windows.

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Ross has a flare for interior design, gardening and arts and he is responsible for the elegant table settings, white linens, collection of vases and overall theme of the restaurant.

Art and antiques adorn the walls and all the art is for sale, said Foster.

As beautiful as the interior was, we chose to sit outside the courtyard.

Ross and his mother tend to the gardens daily and their hard work shows. This courtyard is lush and feels like a spa escape: there are statues, various annuals, shrubs, birch trees, a fountain, and a large Weeping Willow tree provides shade. It was a colorful backdrop to an excellent meal.

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My husband and I like to sample so we ordered two appetizers, one main course and one dessert, all to share.

We started with the Beef Tenderloin Tips ($14), which was Angus beef with peppers and onions and a garlic-sherry demi-glaze. These were the most tender beef skewers I’ve ever had. The meat melted in my mouth. We toyed with the idea of ordering a second, but we decided against it as we had dinner plans, too.

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Next, we had the Smoked Salmon Bruschetta ($12) with pickled onions, herbed cream cheese, capers and goat cheese. It was so refreshing on a hot day and the goat cheese elevated a traditional salmon dish. This is one of the best sellers, Foster said.

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The Lobster Roll $14 was our main course and very good, but I used to live on the East Coast so I don’t think it quite compared to some of those but I am a tough critic when it comes to those rolls.

We had a flourless chocolate cake for dessert that was rich, intense and incredible.

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We didn’t stop into the art gallery, but it’s housed upstairs in the restaurant. Foster said they didn’t plan to open an art gallery initially, but five years ago this are became designated as an arts district so they opened a gallery upstairs with its own curator.

Vivilore is a wonderful experience and well worth the quick detour from Kansas City.

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Want to go?

Vivilore, 10815 E. Winner Road, Independence, Mo. Hours: 11a.m. – 9 p.m. Tuesday – Thursday; 11 a.m. – 10 p.m. Friday – Saturday. For reservations call: 816-836-2222. Online: http://www.vivilore.com/

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Quick Chicken Marsala (with rotisserie chicken)

One of the beauties of the rotisserie chicken, is its amazing versatility. You can shred the meat and use it for quick enchiladas, chop it for salads, or make something a little more sophisticated like chicken Marsala.

If you’ve never attempted chicken Marsala, you have to try my easy recipe. Now I admit, this isn’t as good as what you’d order in a restaurant, but it’s also on the table in 15 to 20 minutes so there isn’t as much time for the flavor to infuse, but it’s still delicious. For an at-home version using rotisserie chicken, it’s pretty impressive.

I’ve been tweaking this quick Marsala for a while and am finally happy with this dish.

This week, I am focusing on the chicken’s versatility.

I have insanely easy Southwest style stuffed bell peppers. I

Quick Chicken Marsala

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons butter

Half a large red onion

1 tablespoon flour

8 ounces sliced mushrooms

1 cup chicken stock

1 garlic clove, chopped

1/8 teaspoon dried oregano

1/8 teaspoon Italian seasoning

2 rotisserie chicken breasts

2/3 cup Marsala wine

¼ cup heavy cream

Salt and pepper to taste

Couscous or rice for serving

Parsley or basil to garnish (optional)

Place onion in food processor and chop.

Heat oil and butter in a large skillet over medium heat. When hot, add the onion and cook for 4 minutes. Then add flour and mushrooms and cook another 5 minutes. Add salt and pepper to the vegetables as they cook.

While that cooks, remove chicken breasts from rotisserie chicken and cut into four pieces.

Add stock, garlic, oregano, Italian seasoning and chicken breasts and increase heat to medium-high. Cook 4 minutes until stock reduces and thickens. Add Marsala and heavy cream and cook 2 minutes. Serve over couscous or rice. If desired, garnish with fresh parsley or basil.

Serve over rice or couscous.

Tusk and Trotter in Bentonville, Ark.

I didn’t make this chocolate, caramel, date piece of HEAVEN, but I can tell you where to get it.

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This dessert is worth every calorie. It’s called  Trot on Over Here and it’s sticky pudding cake flavored with coffee and medjool dates topped with chocolate sauce, caramel and maple bacon brittle ice cream. The ice cream was scrumptious!!! This smooth buttery, caramel ice cream had lovely chunks of maple bacon brittle adding perfect contrast to the texture.

The fried mint on the side did nothing for it and actually distracted from it. I pushed it aside.

This treat was voted Best Bacon Dish in the South by Southern Living Magazine.

It’s available at the Tusk and Trotter in downtown Bentonville, Ark. http://www.tuskandtrotter.com/

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We stopped Sunday for brunch there and  had a good meal. The main courses (Eggs Benedict and eggs gratin) were just ok, but the appetizer of risotto balls was fantastic. Creamy risotto, was mixed with ground meat, homemade sausage, herbs and cheese and then rolled in balls and fried. FAB-U-LOUS. Don’t these look good?

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We had a nice mimosa. I did not like the Bloody Mary because it was thin, but my husband prefers thin mixes so he liked it. They have an array of Bloody Mary’s to choose from from pickles to bacon to ghost pepper. That’s just personal taste.

The Pomme Frites covered in Herbs de Provence were also fantastic. They had a sticky sauce on them and I didn’t think I’d like it, but I did.

But the dessert was the highlight! And they have a biscuit covered with “chocolate gravy” and served whipped cream and strawberry ice cream. That’s on my list next time. I was stuffed! Next time, I will order the risotto balls, a salad and go for two desserts. I am not kidding. I don’t eat a lot of dessert, but when I do, I go all out!

Here is the interior of the restaurant.

We took a day trip to Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art and had brunch in Bentonville. Both are fabulous!