“And Saturday I learned a thing or two….”
(from Oklahoma! the musical)
I made the trek (pilgrimage??) to Kansas City last Friday to visit with my lovely niece, who lives there. Due to the magic of the internet, I had excellent and detailed instructions for the drive and arrived after about four hours on the road, without incident.
The fun began immediately. First we had a fairly decent dinner at an Indian restaurant. Their food was good. But, I felt that they did themselves a disservice. When the description of the lamb vindaloo says “Very spicy, not for the faint at heart” I expect the dish to have recognizable heat in it. Unfortunately, while it was a nicely seasoned curry, there was next to no heat whatsoever, and I sent it back to the kitchen to acquire some. When the vindaloo returned to my table, it more closely resembled actual vindaloo.
From there we proceeded to The Phoenix, one of the better jazz clubs of the city. Got there in time to hear the ending of one performer’s gig, one Lonnie McFadden by name. This guy has a velvet voice and a hot trumpet, was backed by excellent drums and keyboard. Very enjoyable indeed. After hearing a few tunes from the group that followed, we decided that watching them get set up was the most interesting part of their act, so we went on home. We were tired anyway, both of us had driven a long way that day.
We arose the next day with a full agenda. After a light breakfast at the hotel we were staying in, we went off to the KC Farmer’s market. The day was cold, there was snow falling intermittently, and the farmer’s market was a huge disappointment. It took us about four minutes to walk by the offerings of the about 10 vendors that had braved the weather. I was able to find a nice rosemary plant to bring home, since the putatively hardy one I planted in the herb garden last summer proved to not be hardy enough to take what was dished out last winter.
We visited a little bakery that was open, and my niece treated me to a lovely French macaroon — double chocolate. Nothing like the coconut macaroons I make at holiday times, this was some sort of small chewy meringue cookie with a chocolate filling. Very tasty. Very expensive too — they are very labor intensive, I hear.
Suitably fortified, we went off across town to visit the Whole Foods grocery store. Some people might think that we only went there to shop, but I claim to be checking on my investments, since Jim and I have seen fit to buy stock in the corporation, thereby shamelessly joining the capitalist system.
I found plenty to buy there, including freshly ground peanut butter and almond butter (I know they were ground fresh because I did it myself). I was heartened to find that the company I have put money into is engaging not only in selling organic food and goods, but they also find time to provide easily accessible educational opportunities for the customers. (Some might call this engaging in propaganda, I suppose.)
I always knew there was a reason I really liked braised kale. However, I’d like to know why raspberries don’t have a higher score. There is something just wrong with that.
After all that, we were very hungry, so we went to lunch at Oklahoma Joe’s Barbecue.
If Anthony Bourdain has it on his list of 13 places you need to eat at before you die, I guess perhaps it is worth visiting. Certainly it is way more in my budget than the French Laundry, which is also on his list. Jim wants to eat there, so I guess I’ll be saving our pennies for that!
The restaurant itself is in a gas station, and yes, you can buy gas.
Yes, the food was actually VERY GOOD. So often, restaurants that make it onto those lists can be so inundated with customers that they lose their focus on quality. That had not happened in this case, and the total bill for lunch for two was quite reasonable.
After that we did a bit more shopping, visiting an inspirational store called The Paper Source, amongst others. Exhausted, we went on back to our room for a bit of rest. Actually, my niece rested, I walked a few miles on the hotel’s treadmill, very much missing my dog and the park where we usually exercise.
Then we went to a movie at a very cool theatre where you could sip a beer while relaxing in a very excellent recliner while taking in the flick. We saw “The Adjustment Bureau”, which I enjoyed very much. After the movie we had some wonderful Thai food, and then settled in for the evening.
The next morning we went to Sunday Brunch at the Cafe Europa, a wonderful little place that makes ALL the bread served there including the hamburger buns and the english muffins. If you are ever in Kansas City, I recommend that you look this place out if you are looking for somewhere to nosh. Just perfect is the only way I could describe the eggs Benedict that I had for my breakfast.
I will leave you with an image I captured of giant shuttlecocks on the lawn of the Art Museum in Kansas City, part of their sculpture garden. The artist perceives the museum building as the badminton net, the lost shuttlecocks are not only in front of the museum, there is also one behind. If you walk on the lawn and get too close to the sculpture, a disembodied voice tells you “Please step away from the shuttlecock.”
Aside from being squired around and regaled with some of the best that Kansas City has to offer, I was amazed and enthralled to observe my niece putting her iPhone and laptop through their paces. I swear, she could make them sit up and beg for a dog biscuit if that was her purpose at the moment.