A few posts ago I threw out the fact that Jürgen and I are in Kansas City, but I didn’t even both to explain why. As Stephanie Tanner would say “How Rude!” (yes i did just make a Full House reference).
On October 14th, Jürgen and I along with our two kitties, Stanley and Toaster, packed our little Prius to the brim and made the eight-hour trek to Kansas City. The only city in the Union (that I know of) which spans two states. We are living on the Kansas Side, but we have been rehearsing on the Missouri side. It can be slightly disorienting but we are getting the hang of it.
We are working on a murder mystery comedy called The Game’s Afoot with The New Theatre Restaurant. It runs through late January, so we will be here for a while. I am actually quite pleased to be able to settle here for a bit, it feels good to know that we have time to really get to know the city and discover what makes it unique. As you now know I like to explore and discover new places so this is a perfect opportunity to get to know a city I otherwise may never have traveled to.
As we crossed over the bridge into downtown Kansas City (MO) I was struck by how much the city reminded me of Louisville, KY (my hometown). It’s what I would call a mid-sized city, but it has a lot to offer. Particularly in the way of the performing arts. I had no idea there was such a vibrant theatre community, but there really is. We are lucky to be working with three local KC actors in this production and its been quite fun learning about the “scene” down here. I am excited to continue exploring over the next two and a half months. It shouldn’t surprise you at all that I have a spreadsheet going…I gave you fair warning.
Here are some other fun KC experiences we have had so far
When in Kansas City do as the Kansas Citians do….and that is BBQ. There are Barbecue restaurants everywhere, and most of them claim to be the best. Well from my research, Arthur Bryant’s is one of the handful of KC Establishments that has truly earned the title of being on of the very best. Once we arrived in KC it only felt appropriate for our first supper to be Barbecue. We hope to try several places before we leave here, and I will let you know which ends up being our favorite.
Arthur Bryant’s is authentic as they come. They have four outposts but we went to the original location. It’s not fancy, and honestly I think the floor was a bit sticky, but who wants fancy decor when BBQ sauce is running down your hands? Not this gal. You order at the counter, they slap your grub onto a styrofoam plate with a few slices of white Wonderbread and off you go. Jürgen ordered a sausage sandwich and I went for a plate of burnt ends. I have never had a burnt end before but I seemed to be in the right place to give them a try.
To be honest, I wasn’t crazy about them. Burnt Ends are supposed to have a nice char on them, therefore making them a bit tough, but I found these to be a tad too tough. Also the sauce had an odd balance of sweetness and spice which I couldn’t quite figure out. Jürgen’s sausage sandwich was great though. I am also fully willing to admit that I know nothing about BBQ so my opinion should be taken with a big grain of salt.
We were given a tremendous opportunity by our director when he bought us tickets to Carmina Burana featuring work by the Kansas City Ballet and the Kansas City Symphony and Chorus. The Kaufman Center is a world-class, stunning half a billion dollar complex which just opened it’s doors last year. Built by world renowned architect Moshe Safdie, the building has redefined the city skyline with its unique roof. The camera on my phone doesn’t do the inside much justice but I will try.
On our first day off in Kansas City we decided to start it at the Nelson Adkins. It was a cloudy day and it seems appropriate to start exploring a city by checking out its art collection. The Nelson Adkins is in a beautiful area of the city and has a wonderful sculpture park out in front of it. I mean where else can one find ten foot tall Birdies? In Kansas City that’s where!
The majority of the museum is free, except for their special exhibition which currently is a photography exhibit by Terry Evans we did not pay extra this time to check it out, but it runs through January 20th so I hope to make it back before we leave. Otherwise it is a lovely art museum with a wide array of collections to explore. It’s sizable enough that one could spend several hours taking in all of the artwork, but still intimate enough to make your way through the museum if you only have a little extra time on your hands. There is a beautiful atrium courtyard in the center where you can get lunch as well.
It’s always exciting to find out about an event that is unique to a specific area, and if you are in KC in the fall that event is Water Fire. It’s held down by the Plaza Shopping Center (the first ever out outdoor shopping mall) and runs the length of the brush creek river. 55 floating bonfires run along the river while gondolas float by with various performing acts. Kansas City really turns out for this festival.
There was a nice chill in the air, and I kept myself warm with the help of a puffy coat and a cup of spiked apple cider.
Which honestly should just have been called rum with a splash of cider.
Why…what have you heard?
You know that I like fancy food, but give me a good burger, hot dog or slice or pizza any day and you can color me a happy gal. And when these classic bites can be given a little twist and dressed up a little bit, then all the better. Blanc Burger is the place to go in KC for not just good Burgers, but some fancy burgers. We have been twice now (thanks to a Groupon we purchased) so we have had our chance to try a few of their creations. Our two favorites have been the American Kobe burger with port wine onions, truffle butter, mustard aioli and watercress on a salt and pepper brioche bun. And the “100 Dollar” which is a red wine braised short rib stuffed patty with fois gras butter, onion marmalade, balsamic glaze and watercress on a rosemary brioche bun. We are also big fans of their boulevard Beer Battered Onion rings which they served in a mini(!) shopping(!) cart(!).
I don’t just like to eat. I also like to drink. Blair is my name, Food and Beverage is my game. Jürgen and I have a penchant for craft cocktails so when I found out Kansas City had its own Speakeasy style cocktail bar we knew it was one of the first places we needed to check out. They serve prohibition-era inspired cocktails in the basement of a Restaurant called The Rieger Hotel Grill and Exchange. The space is small (only 48 seats) and dimly lit where the focus is all on the drink. We have been twice already, and while I have to say this place won’t be replacing any of our current favorites (PDT, The Violet Hour, The Office) it’s definitely a spot worth imbibing. They change their menu seasonally so I think we will definitely have to pay it a visit in the future.
And that brings us to the present at this point. I think we have covered pretty decent ground so far. In my own humble opinion.
So in case ya’ll were worried whether or not things were up to date here in Kansas City, rest assured they are doin’ just fine!