Postcard from Kansas City
We live by certain rules. One is this: if you are or will be in driving distance of a city with an MLB team, you should try to plan your trip such that the team will be playing at home during your visit. And that's how we ended up in Kansas City on a recent visit to St. Louis. After being sure to stand in both Missouri and Illinois over on the east side of the state, we headed to Kansas City and promptly planted our feet in Kansas.
Our first stop in KC was Arthur Bryant's.
Arthur Bryant served up the best barbecue I've ever had. The burnt ends brisket sandwich (open-faced) was more than enough for J and I to share on our particular outing. We'd stopped at Panera off the highway (boring! But fun fact, closer to St. Louis it's called the St. Louis Bread Company) for breakfast, and we were having an early, pre-Royals game dinner, so that's why we had to share. There is only room for so many many meals per day, unforch.
This place was hopping on a weekday lunch hour. You wait in line, order, pay, then sit. They've got sauces for sale, but don't worry, you can buy online if you're not checking your bag (or are afraid of sauced clothes). We had yummy (read: worth it) fries with our deeelectable slightly sweet, slightly spicy, tangy sauced brisket. Everything I love in life: barbecue sauce, brisket (and burnt ends at that), and my main squeeze (bottle of sauce).
Dinner was a different adventure. I had thought about making a reservation at Bluestem, with its chef all fancy and nominated for a James Beard for Best Chef - Midwest. But then I looked at Yelp and the menu. We figured we'd do the $60 three course option, but then on Yelp the lounge happy hour offerings were all the rage. Sixty smackers for three courses just didn't seem like a good deal when we could pay less than that for a whole dinner for two. And I didn't want to be too late to the game, but I wouldn't want to rush a drawn out expensive meal.
So we lounged it (again), and I'm glad we did. First we enjoyed some honey roasted spiced nuts that J is still talking about. It can be seen below with my wheat beer/ginger beer/limoncello situation.
Hangar steak was on the lounge menu for $14. Cooked sous vide in an extremely generous portion and served with chimichurri sauce and amazing (once again: worth it) fries, this baby clocked in at $7 because it was half off for happy hour (which lasts until 7). OK, maybe the 3-course would have had an amouse bouche, and a little plate of treats at the end, and a sauteed this or pureed that alongside the steak instead of frites, but $7?!?!? I'll write it out. SEVEN DOLLARS?!?!? Incredible food for that price. At $14 it would have been a steal. Look at the portion.
Then there was the pulled pork barbecue sandwich. The same ridonculous fries on the side, a ginger slaw that was refreshing and bright (I'd add more ginger...obviously). The only disappointment on the plate was the pickle. It just wasn't my type.
I can, without reservations (literally), absolutely recommend the Bluestem lounge. You don't need to spend a lot of money to have delicious, carefully prepared food in generous portions. The service was really friendly, everyone around us seemed to be having a great time, and there's a hilarious truck/wagon that looks like a sandwich parked at the joint across the street.
I highly recommend KC if you are nearby. The lovely, shiny,spacious Nelson-Atkins museum is somehow free, and the nearby gardens are lovely.
Game time, and we out.