Well after a week where we moved, re-elected a President, spent twelve-hour days in the theatre, and officially opened a show we were more than ready for a day off.
We have been in Kansas City for almost a month so it only seemed right to ingest some more Barbecue. This time we knew exactly where we wanted to go: Oklahoma Joes.
Set inside a gas station Oklahoma Joe’s also boasts a reputation of being one of the best spots in the country for Kansas City style BBQ. As soon as you walk through the door, the line at the counter only supports this theory. People are willing to wait great lengths to get their hands on their ribs, pulled pork and burnt ends. They have an extensive menu and you can tell they mean business.
I decided on the pulled pork sandwich and Jürgen went with the pulled pork and sausage sandwich (what can I say the man likes his encased meats). We opted to share a side of potato salad as we have just begun a new workout regime and are trying to be slightly aware of what choices we make when it comes to food.
I liked my pulled pork very much. The pork was very tender and the sauce had a nice depth of flavor with a hint of sweetness on the backend. I wish the bun to meat ratio favored the pork more, but maybe that’s how they do things in BBQ Country? What do I know? The potato salad was nice, it had some crunch to it for added texture but otherwise was everything you would anticipate from a potato salad.
A museum dedicated to the sinking of…wait for it….The Steamboat Arabia! It’s basically Kansas City’s version of the Titanic, if The Titanic were a Steamboat, on a river, only sank ten feet and no one died.
The gist is this: A wealthy man owned a Steamboat which he used to carry various household goods to be delivered at various ports up and down the Missouri river. Along with the wares, the Steamboat also carried passengers of various class levels wishing to travel along the river during the westward expansion movement. One fateful day the bottom of the boat hit a massive tree stump and sank to the river floor. Everyone survived, but all of the goods to be sold were now under water, including ten barrels of fine Kentucky Bourbon (represent!) and a lone mule, who was the only casualty.
Fast forward to 1987 and Steamboat Arabia is now buried below the earth. A group of five men decide they want to excavate the ship to see if they can find any buried treasure. Much to their surprise after many weeks of digging they found the ship and all of its goods…perfectly preserved. Everything from women’s cosmetics, household tools, cooking spices and children’s clothing. The only thing they didn’t find? The barrels of fine Kentucky Bourbon. Some wayward river traveller made out like a bandit on that one.
So what do you do when you come upon a plethora of late 19th century bits and bobs? Why you erect a museum to display it all!
We really enjoyed our time at the Steamboat Museum. In addition to viewing all of the items they uncovered they have built a replica of the Steamboats main deck where you can learn all about what life was like aboard the ship along with a preservation viewing room where you can witness restoration work on many late 19th century wares. It was a fun stop to make on our day because this isn’t a museum you could find anywhere else, it’s truly specific to Kansas City.
Behind the museum is the KC River Market which was closed by the time we were there but every Saturday and Sunday they have a big farmers market which we will need to check out before we leave.
We then trekked over to the Westport neighborhood which has all sorts of cute cafes, and local shops. We took a quick peek into Prospero’s Books before we sat down for dinner (at 5:30 because we are old).
We decided to dine at Room 39.
A restaurant focused on seasonal ingredients from local farmers and purveyors. I know the “farm to table” movement is pretty hip right now, but I am totally on that train. I like knowing my food is fresh, where it’s coming from and supporting local agriculture.
Ok sorry I was on a soapbox for a second.
What we didn’t know was that Monday night is also half price bottles of wine night (score big for us!) we picked a lovely 2010 Novy Chardonnay from the Russian River Valley, it was rich with a nice Oak backbone and crisp finish. We started with a Fois Gras (just know that if Fois is on a menu we will be ordering it) and some chicken livers. Our main courses were a Branzino and Pork Belly. Everything was executed well and seasoned nicely. With warm rustic flavors which were bold but not overpowering. Room 39 is also a very affordable restaurant which is always a plus. Great food at a great value…can’t beat that.
(Sorry these food pictures are Lame. Lame with a capital “L”. I will try better next time)
And with that we now begin our first full week of shows. Wish us luck (um…I mean let’s break some legs!)