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! : )
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!
3 hours later we arrived in the city, parked, and walked into LuLu’s Thai Noodle Shop.
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.
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.
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.
You can’t go wrong with any of the noodle dishes at LuLu’s me thinks!
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. : )
After freshening up, we hit said plaza for an afternoon of shopping!
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.
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!
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.
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.
Dinner was next at The Westside Local, a locally-sourced (whenever possible) farm-to-table type restaurant on the westside of Kansas City.
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.
We wanted one of EVERYTHING on the menu!
Instead we settled on a martini for the man, with a lemon smile twist.
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.
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!
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!)
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.
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.
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!
This. Place. Was. HUGE!!
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.
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!
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Ben did the damn thing and ordered McCoy’s signature mac and cheese.
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!
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.
We will definitely be back to Kansas City!