Eating Our Way Through Kansas City!

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Greetings from the other side of KC – I had the best time on my 30th-birthday weekend getaway! (Thank you so much for all your well wishes on the blog, and elsewhere, too. Sure know how to make a gal feel special!)

As I mentioned on Friday, I haven’t been to Kansas City in years and years. Both Ben and I love Minneapolis from living there after college and tend to just head up when we’re in the mood for a short trip, but hellooo, KC is closer and, as we found out this weekend, insanely delicious.

As soon as Ben told me to pack my bags, I texted my girl Ali from Gimme Some Oven – a KC resident and fellow foodie – for all her restaurant recommendations. We ended up eating our way through nearly her entire list and the meals just kept getting better and better. We were so impressed with the restaurant scene in KC, and I was so pumped to spend dinner on our last night with Ali! : )

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We hit the road bright and early on Friday morning. The hem on the dress I planned on wearing on the car ride got a snag so we hopped over to my parent’s house real quick so my Mom could fix it (I know) plus they wanted to see the birthday girl. Done!

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3 hours later we arrived in the city, parked, and walked into LuLu’s Thai Noodle Shop.

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Thai food might be my number 1 favorite food category, so this was an easy birthday lunch choice from Ali’s list. Located in a historic neighborhood called the Crossroads, LuLu’s is super cute and funky. Loved the low-key Bangkok vibe that’s cozy and welcoming.

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Ben and I split fresh spring rolls served with a coconut-peanut dipping sauce to start. Crazy-fresh, and that SAUCE, omg that sauce. It was thick and peanutty with a hint of sweet coconut. So clever.

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Polished off with a bowl of Pad See Eiw! LuLu’s lunch menu prices can’t be beat, and the portion sizes were just perfect. Every tray that passed our table looked utterly delicious too.

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You can’t go wrong with any of the noodle dishes at LuLu’s me thinks!

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Afterwards we checked in at our hotel – the Hampton Inn – which is one block off Country Club Plaza, famous for it’s shopping. The hotel was clean and parking was free. ‘Nuf said. : )

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After freshening up, we hit said plaza for an afternoon of shopping!

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One of the stores we were most looking forward to visiting was Restoration Hardware. The furniture and decor in this place fits both Ben’s and my taste (which is an absolute miracle) and we’re in need of some furniture for the new house.

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We think we may have found at least once piece! This couch is seriously everything we’ve been dreaming of. Long, cozy, and FORTY NINE INCHES DEEP. Four people could spoon on this baby!

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It was a hot day, so we stopped at Starbucks for refreshments later on. Only noted because I tried their new Valencia Orange Refresher – a lightly caffeinated juice/tea drink. It was so awesome. Sweet and tart. Loved it.

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Later that night we headed to Kona Grill for mocktail hour. Kona is a chain but they had a great happy hour, and my virgin Mojito was perfection. I enjoy virgin mojitos just as much as the alcohol version. They are the ultimate in summer refreshment, and this one (ok two) was perfectly crafted.

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Dinner was next at The Westside Local, a locally-sourced (whenever possible) farm-to-table type restaurant on the westside of Kansas City.

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Ali described this as one of her favorite restaurants in town and Ben and I both immediately knew we were in for an experience as we walked in the front door. The decor was minimalist with earthy, sweet touches.

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We wanted one of EVERYTHING on the menu!

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Instead we settled on a martini for the man, with a lemon smile twist.

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And a customized cheese plate, to start with. The Westside Local has pre-selected cheese plate options, or you can build your own, which we thought was pretty cool. An array of fresh fruit, house pickles, prosciutto, smoked gouda, and gruyere was a fine little appetizer to start the meal with.

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Now when I say I wanted one of everything on the menu, I was not kidding. My entree decision was nearly impossible to make! Finally (finally!) I settled on the Kale Salad: kale, shaved brussels sprouts, slivered almonds, grated parmesan cheese, fried shallots, brown sugar bacon, maple-tahini vinaigrette topped with seared salmon. It was the maple-tahini vinaigrette that did me in. Ok and the bacon. The fried shallots too. All the things, really!

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Ben inhaled his tenderloin topped risotto without breathing. The Westside Local totally nailed this fresh, light, local dinner. Highly recommend. (Make reservations via the website if you’re going for dinner!)

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Afterwards I was craving something sweet, natch, so we stopped by Glace for an icy treat. Despite the little cardigan I’m wearing here, the heat raged into the night in Kansas City.

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Nothing a little blueberry + caramel pecan ice cream couldn’t fix! Glace was great. Packed and free samples of their dozens of luscious, high-quality ice cream made with all-natural ingredients. So yummy.

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The next morning we slept in (bliss) then hit up KC’s famous City Market. Saturday mornings are for farmers’ markets, and just because I’m not home doesn’t mean I don’t want to go!

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This. Place. Was. HUGE!!

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The packed farmers’ markets stalls are flanked by a year-round permanent market and there was fresh produce, baked goodies, and more for blocks and blocks.

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Although we couldn’t really get anything, it was fun to check out another city’s version of the farmers’ market. KC’s was seriously legit!

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Just a hop + skip over from the market is Quay Coffee, which Ali is always raving about, so we strolled over next for a refreshing pick me up.

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It took a few minutes to get, since the place was absolutely packed, but the iced vanilla latte was totally work the wait. Super smooth. And the place couldn’t be cuter. Must try if you’re in the River Market area.

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Ben and I took a few hours to explore the city via car next (if you’ll notice in the photo above, my feet were practically swelling around my flip flops,) and ended up at McCoy’s Public House for lunch.

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McCoy’s is in the Westport neighborhood and has a can’t miss outdoor patio. Every seat is shaded by lush trees or big umbrellas. Perfect for a hot summer day when it’s, well, hot, but you don’t feel like being sequestered indoors.

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McCoys’ beer menu looked absolutely outstanding. I was seriously drooling for a gulp! Instead I settled for an Arnold Palmer and a sip of Ginger Shandy Ben got a small glass of. Soooo good.

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Talk about more tough decisions – I needed 15 good minutes to decide what to get off of their incredible menu. This never happens to me! After a year and half, I settled on the Barrio Salad: cumin-seared chicken, avocado, pepper jack cheese, charred corn, egg, pico, crispy tri-colored tortillas, tomato-chipotle vinaigrette. Perfect choice for the hot day. The smooth, fresh avocado was killer with the creamy pepper jack cheese and smoky tomato-chipotle vinaigrette.

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Ben did the damn thing and ordered McCoy’s signature mac and cheese.

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Like, 1,000 different types of cheese, accompanied by peas, bacon, and crispy bread crumbs. He declared it the best thing he’s ever eaten. I would…concur. So loved McCoy’s!

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Ben and I had a blast hopping from district to district all over the city this weekend, and were totally impressed with the array of local-restaurant options (ps we tried multi times to go to Oklahoma Joe’s but the line was 1+ hour long and I was sadly too PG to stand that long!)

The city itself was really easy to navigate (we sort of felt like old-pros within a few hours) and has no shortage of beauty between the hundreds of fountains, Spanish-inspired plaza, and gorgeous river walk. The cocktail culture also seems to be off the charts and I cannot wait to come back soon and partake.

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We will definitely be back to Kansas City!

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Comments

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  1. What a great weekend! That city is just adorable!! I drove through Kansas City when I moved to Dallas but I never had a chance to stop there. Definitely going on the bucket list!

    You look adorable in that orange/pink/coral dress! Perfect color on you!

  2. Looks amazing, what a fun weekend. Reading yours and other American based blogs is giving me such a long list of places to visit! Love your dresses too by the way, you look like you’re rocking being pregnant :-)

  3. Jeanie 07.08.2013

    We live in Wichita and KC is a favorite destination! We were just there and I wish I had seen your Lulu recommendation first! We drove by it multiple times. We always stay at the Hotel President downtown. Beer Kitchen across from McCoys is yummy! This trip we hit Bristol Seafood and Lidias for Saturday Brunch. Lidias brunch was awesome! We have enjoyed a little Vietnamese place that is on a corner near the River Market…cant remember the name. Another must shop is River Bottoms first weekend. It is only held the first weekend of the month but amazing antique, junk and cute accessories. You can google the website that advertises it. There is truly nothing llike KC, with its architecture, fountains, parks and charm. It is utterly addictive!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.08.2013

      I should have mentioned – we ate at the Beer Kitchen for our last dinner there (had another awesome Kale Salad!) What a fun place that was!

    • Jen Jen 07.10.2013

      You’re probably talking about the Vietnam Cafe…so yummy!

  4. Andi 07.08.2013

    My birthday was Saturday, we ate at west side local on Wednesday for it. Their grilled cheese is to die for!!! Kona grill is one of my fave places on the plaza. I work close to city market love going their for lunch the bakery and Italian Place so good. I’ve lived in kc for 6 years now and just discovering all these awesome local places which makes me sad. Close to west side local is an amazing vegan place füd.

  5. Katie 07.08.2013

    My husband is from Kansas City, so we drive down several times a year. He always wants Gates barbecue, but last time we were there, we tried Gram and Dun on the Plaza and loved it. Great outdoor seating, and they had the BEST scallops in the world (weird, I know, in a landlocked city). Also, fries cooked in duck fat. Hallelujah.

  6. Vera 07.08.2013

    Wow! I really loved this post! As a lifelong KC resident, it was so great to learn of new places to try in my beloved city! Thanks.

  7. Tom T. 07.08.2013

    Ginger Shandy sounds great. I’m always looking for new tasty beer. McCoy’s seems like my kind of place, gotta love a beer joint that has great food.

  8. Lindy Vorrie 07.08.2013

    Crazy! We went to KC to celebrate our anniversary this weekend too! We also fell in love with Restoration Hardware.

  9. KC has some seriously good restaurants! That kale salad sounds incredilble and totally worth a recreate!
    And that couch…wow.
    Looks like you had a nice little baby moon together!

    • Sarah @ Making Thyme for Health 07.08.2013

      Btw, what kind of lens do you shoot with when your out and about?

  10. Dani 07.08.2013

    OK Joe’s is great food – the best way to avoid lines is take out, then go enjoy in a park or somewhere else inside. I’ve been pressed to find a time when the inside wait isn’t ridiculous! We also brought some home and stuck it in the freezer, the pulled pork was just as good after a month!

  11. Rachel S. 07.08.2013

    Next time you come, if you really want to go to Oklahoma Joe’s try the one at 35 and 119th. It’s not the original but there is more seating and you get in quicker.

  12. I have been reading your blog for almost a year now and it is such a fun way to break from work :) My girlfriends and I are meeting up in KC this weekend and I’m wondering if you could share a few more things from Ali’s list?

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.08.2013

      You bet! Here are the ones we didn’t get to from her list:

      Lunch/Dinners:
      Oklahoma Joe’s (Mission)
      Spin Pizza (Plaza)
      Blanc (Plaza)
      Extra Virgin (Crossroads)
      Blue Koi (Westport)

      Breakfasts:
      Chez Elle (Westside)
      Bluebird Bistro (Westside)
      The Farmhouse (River Market)

      • Lara 07.08.2013

        There’s also a Blanc Burger in Leawood, multiple Spin locations (Overland Park, Olathe, Lee’s Summit) and a Blue Koi in Leawood if you’re not in KC proper.

  13. How fun! And you may not feel it at the moment but you make pregnancy look like a fashion statement. Love the couch you guys were looking at! I giggled out loud trying to visualize four people spooning on it. “Hey, do you guys want to come over to our house to spoon on our couch? We can fit two more.”

  14. This is so fun! Lulu’s is one of my favorites, ever. Ali did give you some amazing recommendations. Now I’m craving all of my KC favorites!

  15. E. Sue S. 07.08.2013

    I’m really glad you had such a good time in our great city! Quick question, in the last picture is that chicken and waffles in front of your husband, and if so where did you get that? Would love me some great chicken and waffles! Thanks!

    • Iowa Girl Eats 07.08.2013

      Definitely was – from the Beer Kitchen! McCoy’s had a version that looked TO DIE for too!

  16. Yay! Glad you had such a fun birthday weekend! We were considering relocating to KC and we agree, it’s a beautiful, fun and tasty city! :D

  17. YAY! This just completely made my morning!!! :)

    It is so fun to see more pictures from the weekend, and hear about all of the dishes you tried. Holy cow, now I need to run to try that salad at McCoy’s!! And I vote yesyesyes on that couch. Looks unbelievable!

    More than anything, it was so great to get to spend time with you both! Can’t wait to see you again soon with the little one! :)

  18. Andrea 07.08.2013

    I love this post…as a fellow mid-westerner I love hearing about great cities that are not so far away! We love RH too and just took advantage of their amazing friends and family sale…20% off through tonight:)

  19. Lindsay B. 07.08.2013

    I just love Kansas City. It’s not too far from Tulsa, so always makes for a fun weekend trip. I’m super excited to try out some of those restaurants next time. And I’m also really sad for you to have missed out on OK Joe’s. It really is the BEST! I am 100% coveting that couch. They have a RH in Tulsa, and I like to go in and visit my couch on weekends, but sadly a one-bedroom apartment just does not have the room for it. Maybe one day. Sign up for their newsletters though – 20% off EVERYTHING right now, and they always send out $100 off $500 or more coupons. Which basically equates to everything in the store ;) Glad you had a wonderful mini-vacation!

  20. Bev @ Bev Cooks 07.08.2013

    Nice! You hit ALL my favorite spots. Seriously. And it’s just the tip of the iceberg.

    So glad you had fun in my city!

  21. erin 07.08.2013

    you guys are soo so freakin’ adorable! and everything you ate looks so delicious!

  22. Noelle 07.08.2013

    Are you sure you’re pregnant? I swear, in most of those pics you look as teeny tiny as ever!

  23. It warms my heart to see you had such a great time in my city!

    I have a few more restaurants to add to my list. Thanks!

  24. Anna 07.08.2013

    As a Kansas City resident, I love this post :) I haven’t been to some of these restaurants, and I will have to check them out per your recommendations! I’m glad you enjoyed our city!

  25. Yum! What a fun way to “eat your way through the city” Looks like Ali but together a great list! *Happy Belated Birthday!*

  26. Joanna Gehrke 07.08.2013

    Happy belated B-day, Kristin!! Looks like KC was a fabulous way to celebrate! You look great, btw.

  27. Jen 07.08.2013

    I’m a Chicago resident and have never given KC a thought as a weekend getaway! I’ll have to make my way down there with my sweetie!

  28. Erin 07.08.2013

    LOVE Kansas City. Haven’t been there in a few years, but it was my first vacation with the boy. Special heart place for that trip. :)

    You are looking amazing, by the way. Pregnancy looks good on you!

  29. Celesta 07.08.2013

    Oklahoma Joes is way, way overrated. Best BBQ in town is Jackstack or Woodyard (which was featured on Diner, Drive-in, and Dives, Best ribs in town!)

  30. Elle 07.08.2013

    I live in Kansas City and it makes me so happy to see people visit and love it! A lot of people don’t think of KC as a destination, but there’s so much to see, do and eat here. I’m glad you loved it and I’m happy to have a few more restaurants to check out.

  31. Emily S 07.08.2013

    pinned this – great resource if we get to KC at some point.

    that kale salad….PLEASE say you’ll recreate it for the blog??!

  32. Katrina 07.08.2013

    Looks like you had a blast! And I love your necklace! Kate Spade?

  33. Lauren 07.08.2013

    So glad to see you had fun in our city!! I fall in love with it all over again every time I go exploring. I would add Julian in Brookside and Woodyard BBQ in Merriam to your “must eat at” list. You will LOVE Blue Koi! It’s a favorite. Actually, most of the places on Ali’s list are favorites. :o) First Friday’s in the Crossroads is so much fun, and you should check out the 39th Street West area (by the original Blue Koi) next time you’re in town. There are some great restaurants, coffee houses, and vintage stores.

  34. Denise 07.08.2013

    She sent you to all the best places . Glad you enjoyed our city!

  35. Kristin 07.08.2013

    The only thing better looking than the eats is you! Seriously, you are glowing and look so pretty. The swollen feet are sonot fun … Happy belated birthday!

  36. that couch is what my husband’s dreams are made of. and all your salads are mine. holy crap.

  37. Tracy 07.08.2013

    Yay! So glad you had fun in my home city! And thank you for making KC look as awesome as we think it is! So many people give it a “cowtown” reputation.

    Ali did a wonderful job with her recs. You definitely hit some of my favorite spots. Next time you’ll have to hit Spin! and Blue Koi for sure though!

    Also for next time, if you don’t mind heading out to the suburb of Leawood (my ‘burb), there is another OK Joe’s without the long wait. I think it’s fun to check out suburbs of cities anyway!

  38. DessertForTwo 07.08.2013

    Thank you so much for this! We just moved to the area, and we have been in a serious restaurant funk. We needed new places to try.

    PS You look great! :)

  39. Great post! I live in Omaha, NE so KC is a natural go-to for us when we want a quick weekend getaway. We tend to go to all the same places though so I will definitely be consulting this list the next time we go!
    BTW, you look super cute pregnant! I can totally relate to the swollen feet as mine were super bad with both pregnancies. They go away pretty quickly though once the little one arrives. Not too much longer now!

  40. brittany 07.08.2013

    Well, looks like the Birthday Girl had quite a lovely time :) And between seeing Ali’s many yummy pictures of places in KC and now you…I may have to make a blasted trip!! I am finding myself visually in love with everything you two have captured via photo! :D

  41. Teri Buchanan 07.08.2013

    I lived in KC years ago and it was a great food town then. Nice to see it still is. You made me homesick!

  42. Amy 07.08.2013

    I have only been to Kansas City once…..in 2006 but had a great time and have wanted to go back—-now I know why—great places to eat at. It was so culturally diverse and we toured the Hallmark Card Co. what fun….I didn’t know it was based there. Glad you two enjoyed so many things!

  43. jad18 07.08.2013

    We also went to KC for a long weekend for my birthday (in March, though) and had a great time. Since the weather was not the best (cold and rainy) we went to the WWI museum and the art museum (which is free!). We stayed close to the Plaza at a wonderful B&B (the Southmoreland).

  44. Lynn 07.08.2013

    LOVE all your food pics!! I just want to reach in and take a bite! Also you are such a cute pregnant woman!!! You look fantastic. And I’m so happy you are still able to eat. It wasn’t something I could do much of my entire 9 months!

  45. Chef Amber Shea 07.08.2013

    Ahh, you came to my town! I live right in the heart of downtown KCMO (I actually live right next door to Lulu’s) and love it here. You hit up some great restaurants and sites; excellent choices! I seriously adore every single place you mention here. Next time, be sure to also hit up Chez Elle, Little Freshie, and Blue Bird Bistro in the Westside (same intersection as Westside local). Also try a glass of McCoy’s home-brewed root beer – best ever! :) Come back soon!

  46. love that pink/orange maxi on you – cute!

  47. Jill 07.08.2013

    Looks like a great pre-baby break? I’ve never been to KC, but this post is bookmarked for whenever we make it out that way. :)
    And, as a fellow preggo, where did you find that blue and white dress? I’m on the hunt for comfy dresses to get me to my September due date. :)

  48. Oh goodness, that mac-n-cheeeeese!!! I would never think of KC as a food destination but you might have just proven me wrong. yum scrum

  49. Lisa L 07.08.2013

    Happy Belated Birthday! Looks like a brilliant weekend. I have to say, that mac-n-cheese looks amazing. Great and fun pictures. Thanks for sharing.

  50. Jill 07.08.2013

    All of the places you guys went are on my list of faves too (including the Beer Kitchen brunch, which I recognized from that last pic!). I actually live a block from City Market and Quay Coffee, so you guys were right in my neighborhood – and I was up in Des Moines! :) Glad you loved KC!

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