Thursday, May 12, 2016

Where we stayed, shopped and ate in KC

“Being born in Kansas City, Missouri and raised in the very rural parts of Kansas led me to believe that everything was simple, everything made sense and that anything was possible.” — Chely Wright, American country music singer and gay rights activist

HERE'S more about the Kansas City leg of the birthday trip — places you'll love and one to avoid.


Instead of opting for a hotel, Paul and I chose Hawthorn Bed and Breakfast. Located in Independence, it made for a bit more driving while we were there, but it was such an upgrade in experience. The breakfasts were huge and delicious, the hosts were welcoming and cheerful, and the cost was much less than a KC hotel of comparable style and grace.

This was our room


When we came to Kansas City to get Paul’s trombone customized at BAC, we discovered Legends Outlet Mall. It isn’t anything particularly special, but it has a store called Charming Charlie that I’ve since come to refer to as The Cheap Purse Store. It’s a toy store for grown girls. Half of the one in KC is chockablock with sale purses, jewelry, tops and shoes — but mostly purses. I bought three. We popped across the walkway to Off Broadway shoes where Paul got a couple of pairs, and I bought a stylin’ pair of sandal pumps for $8.00. Shoot, score.


We would have loved to have had time to have dinner at our favorite near-Kansas City restaurant, Justus Drugstore, but their location in Smithville and our limited schedule didn't allow for it. We knew that would be the case before we left town, so we selected an alternate restaurant to try the night of our arrival, called Eden Alley Vegetarià, but we stayed so long at Nelson-Atkins that it was too late to have dinner there. 

We ended up making a last-minute decision — and as it turned out, a bad one — to try Eat Me Gourmet. The website description made it sound appealing: southern cooking all made from scratch. Don't go there!!

It's located in a tavern, which wouldn't be bad in itself, but in addition to food, it serves up LOUD, second-rate, live country music and the food takes f-o-r-e-v-e-r. I ordered mango chicken. When I did, I specifically inquired as to whether it was particularly spicy, and I was assured that it was not. When it finally arrived (emphasis on finally), it was so completely covered in cajun spices that I couldn't eat more than literally two bites. 

We sent it back, and I ordered chicken soup instead. Now one would have thought that since you already had a customer who had to wait a really long time for food she couldn't eat, you'd make sure the soup came out quickly. You would be wrong. I waited and waited and waited. It took 15 or 20 minutes to arrive. Oh yeah, and Eat Me Gourmet is right next door to a cigar emporium, and that's what you get to smell all through your meal . . . when it eventually arrives. So do yourself a favor; don't go there! 

The following day we made it to Eden Alley located in the lower level of Unity Temple in the Plaza. It was a perfect day, so we sat outside to eat. I had the Avocado Sammy, described on the menu as "toasted local farm-to-market, eight-grain garlic bread baked with tomatoes, avocado and lemon basil coconut aioli, with gooey mozzarella, greens and pickled onions." 
I shared bites with Paul, and we both loved the complex flavors, plus it was big enough for two people or two meals. 

Paul had the Falafel Platter, and he said it was the best falafel he's ever had in his life because the falafel is soft all the way through, not cooked hard on the outside like usual. All of their food is also available as vegan, and much of it can be had gluten-free. This restaurant is the opposite of Eat Me Gourmet in every good way!

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