Tag Archives: anthony bourdain

Best resources for planning our Portugal trip

Hard to believe that in my youth, I rarely planned trips and never used guidebooks. In middle-age, with limited time to travel, a slightly bigger budget and advanced pickiness, I’ve taken to booking lodging and sometimes meals in advance using an array of guidebooks and travel articles. Here’s what’s come in handy for Portugal:

Lonely Planet guide – Got this from the public library and have used primarily to find lodging and bone up on cultural activities.

Rick Steves’ guide – It’s not as detailed as the Lonely Planet guide but Rick was helpful in narrowing down where to go during a two-week period. His guide is not as encyclopedic as Lonely Planet – with info on far fewer locations and for the locations it does list, offering fewer options. I didn’t use his lodging suggestions much – Lonely Planet had a wider range, more interesting off-the-beaten-track places and good subtitles like “rural inn” to help narrow things down. I don’t like big hotels or resorts. I prefer smaller family-run places where you can sort of get a feel for what real life is like and connect a little with locals/local life. But I think Rick’s guide will be helpful for actual sight seeing, with some good walking tours in places like Lisbon and Porto…

Newspaper travel stories – The NYTimes has a few including a story on The Other Algarve (which I found a bit late, after I’d spent considerably time trying on my own to figure out the least touristy places to visit) and a 36 Hours Lisbon; But I also found some really helpful stories from the Travel Channel (Anthony Bourdain’s show), the British press including some stories from  the Telegraph and the Guardian, plus Afar magazine.

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Filed under guidebook, Portugal

Big Step – trying out a new BBQ join in Kansas City! Oklahoma Joe’s

HomeScreen_8-21g short bottom.jpgAfter considerable family debate, we have decided to try out a new BBQ joint tomorrow in Kansas City during our annual Christmas drive to western Kansas. This is a big deal since the debate for years has been solely between Gates and Bryant’s – with Gates usually winning.

Not that we aren’t happy with Gates, but we’ve been hearing considerable buzz about Oklahoma Joe’s which contrary to the name was actually started by two Kansas City champion amateur bbq-ers. The Oklahoma name comes from their initial partnership with the owner of something called Oklahoma Joe’s Smoker Company (the owner’s first/middle name was “Joe Don”…classic) and their decision to open their first bbq join in 1996 in Stillwater Oklahoma, home of Oklahoma State University and not incidentally, where my stepdaughter spent her early childhood. Apparently the second Oklahoma Joe’s opened soon after beside a gas station in Kansas City. The first one closed, and additional Oklahoma Joe’s restaurants opened in Kansas City. (I guess by then it was too late to call them “Kansas City Joe’s.) Stillwater seems to have an affinity for restaurants that include the name Joe’s — the only other restaurant I remember there was called Eskimo Joe’s, which opened in 1975 and vowed to serve the coldest beer in Stillwater. Hence the name.

Here’s more about Oklahoma Joe’s below. Wish us luck!

Oklahoma Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has earned local, regional, national, and even international attention for the quality of its barbecue and the uniqueness of its original gas station location.

Oklahoma Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has earned local, regional, national, and even international attention for the quality of its barbecue and the uniqueness of its original gas station location. It has been featured in The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, USA Today, The Denver Post, The Chicago Sun-Times, Vanity Fair, numerous airline magazines, local magazines, and The Kansas City Star.  

Oklahoma Joe’s has also been featured on local and national television programs, including Anthony Bourdain’s “A Cook’s Tour” and “No Reservations”, the Travel Channel’s “Man vs. Food”, among many others.

In 2009, Anthony Bourdain named Oklahoma Joe’s as one of “Thirteen Places to Eat Before You Die” in an article for Men’s Health magazine.

Oklahoma Joe’s Kansas City Bar-B-Que has been the Zagat #1 Rated barbecue restaurant in Kansas City every year since 2004. Zagat also named Joe’s famous sandwich, the Z-Man, the Best Sandwich in Kansas in its “50 States, 50 Sandwiches List”. In 2013, The Daily Meal website and USA Today both named Oklahoma Joe’s Kansas City’s ribs “America’s Best Ribs”.

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Filed under DINING, Kansas City, Oklahoma

town topic, savoy grill, oklahoma joes, Lulu’s, chez elle in Kansas City


My stepdaughter reports that there was a recent episode of No Reservations in Kansas City featuring some great looking BBQ places including Oklahoma Joes. She was also intrigued by Town-Topic Hamburgers and the Savoy Grill. (see: www.travelchannel.com/tv-shows/anthony-bourdain/episodes/kansascity)

It would be hard for my husband and I to give up Gates or Bryant’s BBQ for the great unknown but Oklahoma Joe’s has been on our radar. We haven’t been to the Savoy Grill in years but it’s a place-that-time forgot, a Mr. and Mrs. Bridge-era restaurant that’s probably worth revisiting. (Fun wiki facts: The restaurant’s fantastic murals were painted in 1903.  The restaurant is KC’s oldest. The Savoy Hotel is the nation’s oldest continuously operating hotel …west of the Mississippi River.)

And Town-Topic – never been but always liked their  neon sign (more authentic relic than retro, I think.)  Some other relatives in Kansas City also recommend Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop and Chez Elle, a creperie/coffee house at 1713 Summit St., near the new Kaufmann Performing Arts Center.)



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