Saturday, March 30, 2019

What's New In Kansas City - 2018/19 Edition

Hey all! It's hard to believe we're sliding into April on Monday - mostly for those of us in Kansas City who witnessed snow this morning, will it ever end? Anyway, I know people are always looking for new spots to try out in Kansas City, whether you're a local or someone coming in for a visit. No matter if you're going out to dinner for the first time in forever (date night!) or you come in for business once a month, you know that our little city is growing up and getting cooler by the month. I still can't believe how much has happened not only downtown, but in all the 'burbs around it, since moving here 17 years ago. Without further ado, here are a few places that have opened in the last year or so (it's been 14 months since my last KC-themed post, okay, it was a two-parter, here's the other link):

For those of you who know me personally, you know I work from home (for more on that, you can read my Medium post). From time to time, when I am not traveling for work, I get a little squirrelly in my basement office and need to get out. Parlor to the rescue! This was my little spot working from there recently, which I realize doesn't give you an idea of what it really is, so I will tell you more. Parlor is a food hall in the Crossroads of Kansas City. It hosts six fast casual restaurants and two bars. There is a ton of seating and it's a great place to work for the afternoon (the wifi is fast) or meet up for drinks after work.
The Savoy was built in 1888 and has had a long history as a hotel and a restaurant (click here for more info). After suffering a major fire in 2014, it was sold to the 21c Museum Hotels and reopened in 2018. Downtown Kansas City now has a wonderful, renovated hotel, restaurant, and (best of all) bar all lined with art that you can explore at 21c Kansas City
If you're looking for a killer brunch spot, or a cozy dinner locale, look no further than The Campground. In the former home of Genessee Royale (I know, sad), this new restaurant is a treat - from the food to the drinks. I love the decor the most - which you have probably already seen on my IG feed - all retro and dark.
For those of you still mourning the loss of Justus Drugstore this year (I KNOW!), you can still enjoy Chef Justus at Black Dirt. You will find great food, as you might expect, just south of the Country Club Plaza.
If you are looking for the coziest spot to sip a glass a wine and read a book, you have to check out Afterword Tavern & Shelves (also, this is their photo). This adorable bar meets bookshop is right at the corner of 18th & Grand is not to be missed. I went for the first time to a bookclub meeting (we didn't know that there was sort of a quiet rule there) and it was great. One thing to note is that you need to order at the bar - I have been seated and served once and another time I waited until I figured out the deal.
Made in Kansas City Marketplace is up to six locations now, but I am obsessed with the Country Club Plaza location. If you are looking for gifts for yourself or others, this is the best destination for all things Kansas City - from books to food to clothing. I love that the Plaza location also has ice cream and crepes and beer and coffee - yum!
Along with the growth and the changes in Kansas City, we're also getting more kinds of cuisine. I am sure I am not the first excited Kansas Citian to hear of the opening of Freestyle Poké in the River Market (also their photo). This make-your-own poké spot is perfect for lunch, although it gets busy, so leave yourself some extra time on a weekday.
So, that's what I've been enjoying that's shown up in Kansas City over the past 14 months or so. Where have I missed? I know I need to check out kobi-Q soon, anywhere else? Happy traveling!

Friday, March 22, 2019

Spring in PDX - Day 2 & 3

No trip to Portland is complete without a trip to either Salt & Straw OR Whiz Bang Bar (Salt & Straw's soft serve version). After a productive day of meetings, we headed to Whiz Bang Bar. I ordered this insane Rocky Road Hot Fudge Magic Cone - a house-made black cocoa waffle cone with a dollop of marshmallow fluff, a swirl of chocolate fudge soft serve, topped with hot fudge, homemade brownie bites, and party nuts (candied and toasted macadamia nuts). It was super sweet and insanely delicious.
Between a bit more work and a walk back to my hotel and dinner at my colleague's house, I stopped by the classically Portland bar Doug Fir Lounge (right next to my hotel). I had the "No Love" - Jim Beam Repeal, hibiscus, house-made falernum, angostura amaro and bitters. Not too bad for $5!
My colleague made the best dinner - chock full of local ingredients and delicacies - including a yummy local pinot noir rosé, local cheeses, and a locally baked black sesame and turmeric bread. 
Another not to miss spot in Portland is Stumptown Coffee. I also love that they have Bee Local Honey Syrup that I can add to my latte (for free!) on my way into the office.  
After a solid day of work, I stopped off at the Teardrop Lounge for a cocktail before heading back to my hotel and walking to dinner. I had this tasty happy hour special - Thirty Pieces - tequila, chipotle agave, pineapple, lemon, and soda.
I headed back to my hotel, dropped off my bags, and headed to Canard for dinner and a yummy drink. I had the Sage Wisdom - rose & peony tea infused gin, byrrh, sage, grapefruit, lemon, and soda. Super light and refreshing.
The Market Greens Salad with crunchy quinoa and honey herbs-de-Provence was simple and delicious. The fact that it is also healthy didn't hurt.
The Albacore Tartare was fantastic - super flavorful and complex - with edamame guac, a zingy chili-citrus relish, and crispy wonton chips.
After dinner I headed back to my hotel and had a little dessert at the hotel bar, Hey Love. This bananas foster pudding shot was the perfect way to end two great days enjoying the Spring weather in Portland before heading home tomorrow. Thanks for stopping by the blog!

Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Spring in PDX - Day 1

Despite this week's work trip to Portland not being my first, I have never taken a photo of its iconic sign before. I love it!
After work, I headed to my hotel to drop my bags before happy hour and dinner with colleagues and friends. I just thought my bed at Jupiter NEXT was too cute not to take its photo.
For happy hour, we went to Palomar, a fairly new Cuban bar and restaurant in Portland. I ordered the 'Flip' - madeira, brandy, rootbeer, whole egg - and (like the cool kid that I am) carefully carried it upstairs to take its photo against this amazing wallpaper.
After drinks we headed to Shalom Y'all for dinner. Their hummus & pine nuts with fresh hot pita was to die for - so creamy!
And the Albacore Tuna Skewer with grapefruit, potato, crispy shallot, cured lemon, smoked olive oil, and green chili yogurt was delicious!

Thursday, March 14, 2019

Dinners in Denver

After spending a lovely weekend in Broomfield with Brian's grandparents, he headed home and I came down to Denver for a work conference. Luckily one of my teammates was also attending the conference so we decided to have dinner together at Linger (thanks for the recc Molly!). Self-described as Denver's finest "Eatuary" (it used to be a mortuary), it did not disappoint. I started off with this delicious dark cocktail - the Corpse Reviver - gin, ginger liqueur, Lillet Blanc, absinthe, lemon, and activated black charcoal (hence the color).
With a menu best described as "global fusion" I was quickly overwhelmed with tasty choices. I finally selected the Fried Cheese Curds and Shishito Peppers with orange-habanero jam - because why wouldn't you want Wisconsin and Japan together in a dish? It was delish!
My only regret about this tofu boa bun (cooked in Korean fried chicken style with kimchee, pickled fresnos, and Korean chili aioli) was that I only ordered one.
Our second night, a group of us headed to dinner at Chow Morso Osteria in the LoDo area of downtown Denver. I started my meal with this simple and delicious cocktail - the Sea to Sea - Moletto Gin, from the Veneto, distilled with San Marzano tomatoes from served on the rocks with a fresh rosemary sprig alongside a Fever Tree Mediterranean Tonic.
Although the waiter said that the salads were large enough to share (hence the tongs), I had no problem taking care of most of the panzanella salad - torn ciabatta bread, cucumbers, heirloom cherry tomatoes, red onions, capers, baby arugula, basil + roasted shallot vinaigrette. So yummy!
While maybe not the most colorful, the potato gnocchi with creamy herbed crimini mushrooms and parmigiano cheese was rich and delicious. I ate all but one bite, because I have my limits.
Following dinner, I headed back to my hotel room to pack for my early morning flight. My original flight was cancelled in anticipation of weather - and what ended up being a "bomb cyclone" which is basically a hurricane of snow over land - totally nuts! I was on one of the very last flights out and while we had more turbulence than I would have liked, we landed safely yesterday morning. Thanks pilots! Stay safe out there y'all, I'll see you again next week from Portland, OR.