I’m back, sunburnt, and still full of BBQ.
Kansas City was really fun. We ate BBQ for four meals out of nine [five out of ten if you include the chicken and rib I ate at the tailgate before the game]. Portions being gigantic, I couldn’t eat three square meals a day like normal. My stomach just wouldn’t allow it. Between all of the coffee and BBQ, my guts were absolutely baffled for most of the trip. It was amusing.
Let’s detail, shall we?
We got in pretty late Thursday night. Delays are pretty much expected these days. I literally dropped my bag at the hotel and headed to Gates BBQ because it was the only BBQ open after 10pm. Pork on bun + fries? Don’t mind if I do. It was my least favorite BBQ I had the entire trip, and it wasn’t bad at all. It rivaled what we have in PDX at any rate. They have an armed security guard outside. He offered to get us a cab. Wild.
The next morning we hit up Happy Gillis to break our fast. Ham biscuit with cheddar, grain mustard, and apple rosemary jelly for me, please. It’s a super cute corner diner with a creative spin to what you’d expect on a diner menu. It’s no BBQ, but it was still super good. You absolutely must go to Quay Coffee if you’re in KC. It’s a beautiful shop with some of the best coffee in the city. There is all kinds of beautiful brick in this city. Seriously, it’s everywhere. It’s huge, there’s a ton of sprawl, and it has an abundance of history and charm. We drove around a ton, getting the lay of the land.
The Liberty Memorial is a must just for the view of the city. You can pay the admission to check it out along with the WWI museum, but I didn’t. I like museums, but I prefer to spend my limited time out and about in the city. You can park and walk up to take in the view without having to pay admission. You may even get to see a sweet rollerblader making laps. Thomas Hart Benton’s house anyone? This was just a drive by again, but it’s in a super cool neighborhood. Did I mention walking in this city sucks?
Oklahoma Joe’s for lunch. If you only have time for one thing when visiting KC, this is it. It’s in a gas station. Weird, right? That only adds the charm. Unless you get there when it opens on a weekday, there will probably be a pretty large line. It moves pretty quick in the scheme of things. I think we spent 30ish minutes in line in order to get a Z-Man [brisket topped with smoked provolone and onion rings], a Carolina Pork Sandwich [pulled pork topped with slaw and sauce], and an order of french fries. All of it was perfect. You spend so much damn time staring at the menu that you’ll change your mind a million times.
Independence, MO: home of the Truman Family Home [sadly closed until Memorial Day], the 1827 Log Courthouse, and the Truman Library & Museum. For being the fourth largest city in Missouri, it feels small. Even on a Friday afternoon, you just didn’t see anyone really out and about. It was really kind of eerie.
We went to Boozefish Wine Bar in hopes of something spectacular in fermented grape form, but was sorely disappointed. Don’t bother. It feels like in Irish pub with a novice wine list and overpriced appetizers. $15 hummus plates are not the jam. All disappointments were banished with Town Topic Hamburgers. It’s a tiny, dirty diner that serves food 24 hours a day. They win no awards for cleanliness, but holy hell is the food totally ridiculous. Double cheeseburgers and chili cheese tator tots were had. I seriously wanted to cram in a piece of pie when I was done, but it wasn’t happening. We finished the night at Johnny’s Tavern in the Power & Light District for a “Welcome to KC” meet up with their soccer team’s supporter group, The Cauldron. I would have never gone otherwise. It’s a cheesy sports bar full of people I would never want to hang out with, especially on a Friday night. I drank beer and my stomach hated me for it.
Breakfast didn’t happen on Saturday. Surprise! So. Much. Food. I had a cappuccino from The Roasterie Cafe instead. It’s in a more affluent part of town, was absolutely packed full of families, and had really good coffee. I still think Quay is better, but this wasn’t a bummer. LC’s BarBQ for lunch. This pushed me over the edge. It’s intense BBQ. Good, but intense. Their spin was more smoked, felt a little drier, and had a lot more char. How we mowed through an order of short ribs, a burnt ends sandwich, baked beans, and most of a pile of fried okra, I’ll never know. It was a gut busting pile of food. It’s also worth visiting just for the change of pace compared to the other BBQ places in the area. It’s much more down to earth and gritty. The guys hooking you up with food are pretty funny, too. You will not be hungry for the rest of the day. It was like that.
The City Market [farmers market] invoked a ton of jealousy. Their produce is unbelievably cheap. There are little stores and restaurants surrounding the market. If I hadn’t been so full there was a cannoli with my name on it, along with a pineapple, bell peppers, and big bunches of asparagus. Seriously beautiful produce.
Confession: we totally tried to go to the KC humane society to get a dog fix because we were missing Roma. I say try because they basically take appointments only, so we drove out for no reason.
Want to be creeped out? Go to Sauer Castle.
Timbers game! Pre-game tailgate with a piece of BBQ chicken, a rib, and some beer! Watch Timbers win their first away game this year! Lose your voice! Don’t get back to the hotel until after you’ve found celebratory frozen yogurt [that I shouldn't have eaten, but I did anyway]!
Lawrence, KS: a college town that has way more going on on a Sunday compared to the city; WheatField’s Bakery for a sandwich with butternut squash, apples, and pesto on it because you need a vegetable; a macchiato at The Bourgeois Pig in the sunshine; a sweet v-neck sunburn from walking the main little strip of shops and camping out in South Park for a bit.
Check out the sculpture park at the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art because everyone needs to see the largest shuttlecock in the world; eat a
vegetable salad and meat on a pizza at Spin! Neapolitan Pizza; collapse in bed for a few hours and watch TV because you just can’t be bothered to go anywhere [Anthony Bourdain's new show, Part's Unknown, is awesome. I love it.]; venture out of the hotel just to get a Chipotle chicken bowl because your stomach wants something normal.
Packing; more coffee at Quay; one last sandwich from Oklahoma Joe’s; a delayed flight home.
It was a great time. I highly suggest checking out KC if you have a reason to go. The change of pace and scenery from PDX was great. So much styrofoam and manners.
[Photos by Andrew]