Tag Archives: barbeque

Kansas City – Westport Cafe and Bar; the West Bottoms Warehouse Shops

It’s been too long since we explored Kansas City so last weekend while there for a lovely family wedding, we revisited Arthur Bryant‘s for barbecue (no change there, still great fries and ribs although the burnt ends weren’t as good as remember – more manufactured chunks slathered in sauce rather than the random scraped up crusty scraps I remembered from years past). We also had an excellent family brunch (light omelettes with thin crusty fries; a good Eggs Benedict with poached eggs and smoked salmon, although the Hollandaise sauce was cold) with a special guest (Uncle Kenneth!) at Westport Cafe & Bar.

Le Lou Flea

A highlight was explored the vintage, antique and design shops in the West Bottoms, which not long ago was just a bunch of abandoned gloomy towering brick industrial buildings where I gather, the Mafia got up to no good. Now there are vintage shops (Le Lou Flea) – all four rickety floors) and design stores (Varnish and Vine)  here and there, plus a cool coffee shop (Blip Roasters) and more I’m sure to come given the growing popularity of once-dying post-industrial former dead zones in Rust Belt cities. A few I wanted to visit weren’t open on a Sunday afternoon including the the Gathering Place and Goldie & Myrtle’s. (Next time!) Some kids-in-the-know at Varnish & Vine also recommended some restaurants in the area including Voltaire, Stockyards and Rock Star Burgers.

We stopped briefly nearby in another west side neighborhood nearby (that reminds me Des Moines’ Sherman Hill) at West Side Storey (geddit) across from an artisan bakery (Fervere) and Bluebird Cafe/Bistro that we used go to. (Nearby, we also happened upon the FBI office in KC in a suitably hidden location).

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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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Great recommendations for next trip to St. Louis!!

My stepdaughter E had a great time recently in St. Louis. Here are her recommendations/impressions!

  • – a stay at the Renaissance, formerly the Statler, which is the oldest hotel in downtown St. Louis.
  • – Downtown St. Louis is beautiful with 200 year old buildings that looked like they haven’t been touched.  We walked into the train station, an Art Nouveau masterpiece, and I was astounded at how well it had been preserved.
  • – Drive around the Soulard,  the old French district.  It is extremely similar to New Orleans and in fact, we just missed the big Mardi Gras celebration going on this weekend.  Soulard has lots of cute blues and jazz bars.
  • – We went to a great Thai restaurant, The King and I in the Tower Grove neighborhood.  Grand in Tower Grove seems to have a long strip of ethnic restaurants, Ethopian, Middle Eastern, Korean, etc, all in a row.  After dinner we went to the Gelateria del Leone where they had homemade gelato and coffee. It was outstanding.
  •  -On Monday, we tried to go to a cafe in Lafayette Square, but unfortunately it was closed.  Lafeyette Square has big beautiful houses that are probably from around the late 19th century.
  • –  lunch at Pappy’s Smokehouse, in Midtown, near SLU, known for the brisket.  It was some solid BBQ, but the best thing was probably the fried corn on the cob.  It tasted like popcorn.
  • – We drove around the Central West End, near Forest Park, where private gated drives were filled with century old mansions.  We stopped in a mystery book store called the Big Sleep.
  • – We finished the day in a new trendy area called Cherokee.  We had some serious mochas ( a hot chocolate drink) at the Mudd Cafe on Cherokee street (the food looked really good too).  The  street was lined with vintage shops and serious taco stands that I definitely want to hit up when I go back.


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Detroit’s new cool…

It’s not often that I read a story that makes me want to rush back to my old hometown of Detroit but one in the NYTimes food section yesterday did. It was about a young Detroiter, a former male model no less, who has a bunch of entrepreneurial projects going on downtown including a barbecue place called Slows Bar B Q, in the Corktown neighborhood.

(Slows was also named by Budget Travel as one of the ten best bbq spots in the nation this year – and had good company, including two other places I’ve been to –  Abe’s in Clarksdale, Ms. and Arthur Bryant’s in, of course, Kansas City.)

Other groovy new places in Detroit mentioned by the Times include Supino Pizzeria, serving artisanal pie near Eastern Market, and Roast, a restaurant in a luxury hotel downtown. Soon to open – SLOWS TO GO,  at the corner of Alexandrine and Cass Avenue in Detroit’s  Midtown district and Sugar House, a classic cocktail bar opening next to Slows.

see: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/10/20/dining/20Detroit.html?pagewanted=1


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