Thursday, March 29, 2018

The Road Trip - Kansas City

I have often thought I wanted to be a travel writer. I love to travel, I love to eat, I love to research places and what to do in new areas. I can't afford to travel and can't write well either. Even now what I thought sounded good in my head once written is a bit short and boring.

I have been saving places on Kansas City Google map for a while. I like the new feature in Maps where you can save places to a list. It is then easy to share the map list with others. The older MyMaps had similar features but did not mesh with Maps well. My Kansas City Map. We went to Kansas City for the weekend. It was our first time using AirB&B. Typically we stay in small unique boutique hotels, like Hotel San Jose in Austin or the Belmont in Dallas. We found a old hotel that had been converted into apartments in the Pickwick in the Financial District not far from the City Market at the Riverfront. It was a nice place. Photos of the room were better then the room itself. 

The way it seemed was people are living in the Pickwick and then they own places in the building they sublease or use for AirB&B. In talking with another guest he had a great room. Well furnished and hip. Our room looked like the furniture was bought at a dent and ding sample warehouse sale. It sounded like an appealing setup for the owner in they are there. Side income coming in. I don't know if it would be possible to have a mortgage on the rooms but it would provide a pretty good side income being able to rent out your rooms. Drawbacks for renting this way were the amenities; no new towels, no fresh sheets, no soap in the shower, no second key. Bonuses, it was quieter then a hotel of similar design, free parking, and the indoor pool was great. 

Kansas City was a nice town. It seemed very diverse. The buildings were older. The houses were tall, like three floors and narrow. Old construction. Lots of remodels happening. Parts of the city were being revitalized. Parts were modern and clean. It was a bit trashy in places, and seeing so much trash around was a bit depressing. Traffic was never really all that bad and it was pretty easy to navigate.

Food. Everyone says Burnt Ends... That is the thing KC is known for on the culinary scale. Our burnt ends are crunchy, gooey things. The KC burnt ends we had at Que39 were cubed fatty goodness. The brisket was tender and juicy with just thin layer of fat. The beans were good and had a few good bites of the burnt ends mixed in. We got there around 4:00, after our mani/pedi at Nail Spa 39, the little nail place in the same strip mall, and sat at the bar, by 5:00 the line was out the door. There were some other places on 39th street I wanted to try like the Meshuggah Bagels and MudPie but time did not allow. 

We started the Saturday at the City Market with coffee at City Market Coffee. We sat right in front of the small batch roaster. It was great smelling the coffee cooking. It was a nice cup. Busy place but we were there before the big crowds hit the market. Mara took a Yoga class at KC Yoga on the second floor of the building with Brown and Low restaurant. The elevator was wicked cool. While she was in yoga I had some good french toast at the City Diner. We walked through the market and split a sandwich at The Bite. It was tasty, a cross between a Latin and Vietnamese sandwiches and the potatoes was full of flavor. Houndstooth in the market area is a great clothing store. Nice high end styles with some sports coats I would of purchased if I had been in the market for a new one. we picked up some soap and a bag of chichronnes for the drive home. From City Market we went to the Crossroads area. We circled back to this area of town quite often.

I found a couple of new sketch books/journals at the art supply store (
artistcraftsman.comin the Crossroads, this was one of the best local art supply shops I have visited. Lots of great stuff. Across the street we had a cup of coffee at PT's coffee shop. Mara says it was the best cup she had in Kansas City. She picked up a tshirt at The Flying Pig Local Mercantile. I wish I had picked up some soap here instead of the City Market vendor. After that we dropped into RayGun, a Kansas City knickKnack store with tshirts and magnets, and quipy sayings. That's when we made our way to the 39th street area. 

After first dinner we headed to the Country Club Plaza district for shopping. They had some cool stores including a Telsa dealer/showroom. I found some Howler Bros. at the Moosejaw. The Tommy Bahama store had some great shirts but I am trying to maintain a budget and could not swing it. 

For dinner we decided on the Rieger. The small plates here are super. The fellow next to us ordered the bone in steak and I wish I had more room as it looked spot on. The kitchen is open and had bar seating. For a small room it was very loud and had a good crowd but we were able to get right in with reservations. Searching the Instagram location was great to see the place and the food. It was cool looking at the chef bookshelf out in the dining room. It is a great way to see influences and what the chefs are inspired by in their craft. 

Sunday Morning we had coffee at the Messenger Cafe and Ibis bakery. It brought up thoughts of Neil Gaiman and American Gods. Ibis I guess. Great flaky croissant pastries, nice smooth latte. I ordered a large but should have got medium so it would have been in a real cup. After breakfast we went to the Nelson-Atkins Museum. It is huge. I think going everyday would have been a good idea. Entry is free so it would be a neat place to spend an hour or two every day. There is a coffee shop there and they had a breakfast buffet on Sunday morning, we did not eat as we wanted to return to the Cafe Gratitude for lunch before hitting the road around two. We were pretty tuckered out after the trip and decided on Tuckers for dinner before heading to the house. The ride home seemed to go quickly. We listed to Marc Maron podcasts and really enjoyed the Tracy Letts interview. 

Friday was busy. We had a check engine light come on the Jeep coming into town. Mara got up early to head to the Jeep dealer to get it checked out. I went over to Kaldi's Coffee for a latte. It was really foamy, one of the foamyist lattes I can remember. It was nice but geared toward the city crowd they did not have anything but to go cups. I walked around the area quite a bit. The Power and Light District is nearby and there were theaters on every other corner. For Ingress players it was really nice to see Level 8 blue portals everywhere. Mara got a rental and found we wandering near the Folly Theater. We dropped into Made in KC a local artisan hub with some great coffee. Right next door was Tavernonna and we had a nice breakfast. The omelette looked great and they will do one made to order instead of having been limited to the menu choices. We headed to the Crosswroads area and Josey Records. Neat vinyl record store and it looked like there were more in the area. From there we went to the Kemper Museum, another free entry museum. With some permanent displays and rotating rooms it is a nice museum for an hour visit. The print works on display by Nkame were so impressive. If anyone is into print making you need to take a weekend and visit before the exhibit leaves. After the museum we stopped into Oddly Correct coffee for a Gibraltar. I do like a bit of sugar in my short espresso drinks but they do not have sugar, nonetheless it was a really nice cup. We scooted over to Monarch Glass and just missed them making works. It was great to get a tour of the studio and catch up with Jonathan Bolivar and to see his progress. We had to get to Landmark in Independence to pick up the Jeep. Jonathan suggested the Local Pig for a bite so we finally found it. Driving with Maps is difficult sometimes as I focus on the map and forget to look at streets. This is a butcher shop. What a selection of meat. I wish we had this place at home, if I lived in KC I think I would be at the Local Pig two or three times a week for picking up dinner. They even offer classes in the process. We decided we wanted to sit down place for supper so went over to the Jack Stack - Freight House. There was about a twenty minute wait so we sat at the bar and had some of the wings. That was some tasty chicken. We had beef ribs for dinner and sides. The cole slaw was a bit too finely chopped for my liking, more like long john silvers texture. The corn was wowza. After supper we drove around the city a bit and ended up in the BrookSide Neighborhood. It is a neat little part of town. We shared a Foo's frozen custard and called it night. 

Thursday we got up early to head to Kansas City. Our first stop was the Goat Hill Coffee shop. Wonderful first stop. We walked around the neighborhood and really noticed the architecture differences in OKC and KC. There were a couple of restaurants in Goat Hill that looked good and I wish we had time to swing back up there. We wanted to try the vegan Cafe Gratitude and were not disappointed. We found our AirB&B at the Pickwick and got settled in. We walked up to the riverfront and the City Market but were late for most of the stores in the market. The river was cool and it looked to be a great walking trail. I think some local boy scout troops could make a good Eagle project to find a way to clean up the area from all the trash. Wondering about supper and not being able to decide we finally got on Google Maps and that led us to Anthony's. That was some good classic Italian dining. Full of flavor and lots to eat. I had the spedini and it was great. Very different then what I get at Vito's at home. Trying to not eat dessert, I could not pass up the Canoli. It was so worth it. 

I know I went a little backwards in the timeline but oh well. I certainly highly recommend a trip to Kansas City. Like one of the t-shirts said it is "too much city for one state".

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