Spotlight: Kansas City (Home)
Seven weeks away from Kansas City & I’m finally getting around to highlighting my hometown. I think missing the city has made it a little more difficult to post. I’m currently in incubation mode (e.g. very pregnant with twins on bed rest) & that’s the only speed I know. But, it’s nice to reminisce, particularly on home.
Kansas city, a classic midwestern town with a bit of an artsy flair. To describe Kansas City in a few words: barbecue, fountains, jazz, art. It is known as the City of Fountains (my husband likes to tell people that only Rome has more) & barbecue is sort of the main course of the city (as I’m sure you’ve heard). Many people would be surprised to find Kansas City so into the arts; just head to the Crossroads district on First Fridays to see what I’m talking about. And, jazz has deep roots in Kansas City of which I have only begun to appreciate.
I’ll tell you about my favorite places to eat in KC. The challenge to eating out is making yourself try new places when you already have so many favorites. Similar to trying something different than your favorite dish at one of these places. The dilemmas of the favorites, first-world problems.
I’m sort of obsessed with breakfast, so I obviously have to mention a few of my favorite restaurants & spots for breakfast-related items in KC. My #1 breakfast place in Kansas City is Succatash. Quirky environment, delicious food, it never disappoints. I love Chez Elle, a little French crepe place, both sweet & savory, perfect for breakfast or brunch with girlfriends. Probably just your standard diner, Classic Cookie is within walking distance of my “old” house, only open for breakfast & lunch, with a yummy cookie bar. The Avenues
is was nearby with a tasty brunch. Cafe Europa, Eggtc, You Say Tomato & Classic Cup are notable mentions, too.
I could also walk to McLains Bakery, which has been around for years & has remained a staple for my husband’s family. For coffee, you must go to the Roasterie, born & raised in KC. For a little more organic feel, I recommend One More Cup on Wornall.
There are so many barbecue places in Kansas City; we love Oklahoma Joe’s so our favorite dilemma is going somewhere other than here when we want BBQ. We go to the original location in Mission – it’s literally attached to a gas station. Warning: be prepared to wait in line for an hour (you must plan to eat-in for the whole experience)…worth it. #youwillovereat. Arthur Bryant’s, Jack Stack & Gates are popular spots worth tasting, too. BB’s is a fun spot for capturing the jazz/BBQ combo.
Where do I begin with other restaurants? I don’t want to leave anyone out! Our favorite foodie spot would have to be Justus Drugstore, bar-none. Local food cooked with extra love. It’s worth the drive (north KC in Smithville) & will be a full evening of dining you don’t want to miss. Il Centro is another personal fav for my husband & I. Quaint, no reservations accepted, Italian-Spanish cuisine where I like to drink wine & eat too many carbs. I love everything I have ever eaten at Room 39 (I’m still trying to figure out how to recreate their pumpkin risotto) – they have a great brunch, too.
Looking for casual – head to the Mixx for awesome salads. Jasper’s italian restaurant is woven into the heart of Kansas City just like Garozzo’s. What would this list be without mentioning a few others, like Carmen’s, Rye, Extra Virgin, Lidia’s, Port Fonda, Glacé (ice cream!), Westside Local, Stroud’s or Blanc Burger? And there’s those restaurants that I am ashamed to admit I have not been to but are highly recommended, like Blue Stem & Beer Kitchen. Please be sure to pick up a loaf of bread from La Fervere – only open a couple hours until they sell out.
Many visitors make a stop at the Plaza for shopping & eating. Spend the day shopping & you have your pick for food. I’d suggest Coal Vines or Gram & Drum for a drink & appetizer then Cafe Trio for dinner.
Surely you would want to see the social side of KC which, like the food, varies to personal preference. There’s often a festival or fair worth visiting…we always stop by the Plaza Art Fair, Brookside Art Fair & First Fridays, whenever schedules permit.
You should check out the Kauffman Center for Performing Arts, which is brand new, featuring a variety of music, dance & theatre performers.
And I can’t talk about Kansas City without mentioning our beer, Boulevard Brewing Company. You will find it at every bar; take a tour of the brewery for the full experience.
The Peanut, Cashew & Brooksider are places most locals have been to for (1 too many) drinks. Many will tell you to visit the Power & Light district (a cluster of bars downtown)…go for it if you’re with a group or wanting a crazier late night. May I recommend Tannin for a happy hour glass of vino, Snow & Co for some hot or frozen drinks, and of course, Manifesto – a small speakeasy with intricate drinks…good luck getting in!
We have all 4 seasons – Fall is my favorite followed by Spring. Sports fans have their fill with the Chiefs & Sporting KC (there’s the Royals, too). There’s Oceans & World of Fun, Schlitterbahn, Crown Center & the zoo for kids. Head to Weston in the fall & the Berry Patch in the summer. Many beautiful parks, like Loose Park. And there’s 4 different farmers markets that I visit….the River Market has the most action, my favorite Saturday morning activity.
It goes without saying that I now sufficiently miss home. I know I will appreciate Kansas City a lot more when I return to it…as a family of 5 (!).