Friday, April 15, 2011

Dave in KC: the whirlwind tour!

   My ol' college buddy, Dave, drove all the way from Los Angeles just to see me... JUST KIDDING! He's actually moving from SoCal back to Ohio to go to grad school and figured he's stop for a night 'cause I'm right on the way. But it turned out he liked Kansas City so much that he decided to hang out for a bit. As in a week. Yay! I don't get too many visitors out here, and I love to show people why I love it here so much.
   I started the whirlwind tour with a trip to beautiful Loose Park, which was alive with budding magnolias, redbuds and more. I enjoy it every time I visit. (However, the grass was getting tall and proved to be treacherous... more on that in another post!) We walked Aki and Taylor all around, and when we got hungry we headed to...
   Blanc Burger on the Plaza! It's one of my favorites, and everyone I've taken there has loved it too. We drove around the Plaza, the Nelson, and Hyde Park. And when we were finally a little hungry again we stopped at...
   Glace´ artisan ice cream! I had salted pretzel, with goat cheese with honey. Dave had salted pretzel, with root beer.
   Dave met me at Hallmark for lunch on Tuesday and I showed him the Crown Room (that's him, posing as a column):
   We started the tour on the 9th floor with the Creative Library and the Art Materials Center. Then we worked our way from 9 back down to the lobby, stopping to see all the noteworthy pieces of artwork along the way, including my favorite Mucha poster on the 8th floor. Sometimes we take for granted that we basically work inside a giant art museum, with great works everywhere. Having someone visit for the first time gives you great perspective!
On Wednesday I took the day off and we spent it hiking in Weston:
   Then had drinks and black-and-tan beer-battered onion rings for a snack at O'Malley's:
   Then we visited the home of Jill, a coworker, to evaluate her home as a potential Shiba adopter. She and her husband have a big, beautiful three-year-old German Shepherd who needs a buddy. And then, since we just so happened to be in the Northland anyway, we had a fantastic dinner at Kato. Check out this palette of unearthly delights:
   I had to work on Thursday, so Dave was on his own. (I also had come down with laryngitis, so everyone I worked with got a little peace & quiet for a change!) Dave spent the day at the Thomas Hart Benton house/museum. That night we met up at Crown Center and went to eat at Oklahoma Joe's (hey, if Anthony Bourdain considers it one of the 13 places to eat before you die, how could I let Dave miss it?!) We went to the original location in the gas station on 47th & Mission, and it was packed as always:
But the full slab of ribs was worth waiting for!
Well, they WERE, until Dave hogged them all:
   So then we went & walked off the BBQ in downtown KC. The Liberty Memorial looks really cool at night, and offers a great view of the whole cityscape.
   I took another day off on Friday, and we spent hours and hours enjoying the Nelson-Atkins Museum. Anyone who reads my blog knows that I think it's the jewel of Kansas City, and it's always fun to experience it with first-timers. (More photos in an upcoming post!) We ate lunch in Rozzelle Court (I am still dreaming of the Kalamata olives in my grilled Canadian salmon salad!)
   After an extensive day at the museum, we headed downtown to Extra Virgin to indulge in drinks and some of the best tapas in KC. Michael Smith himself was in the kitchen, so the Lebanese hummus, plum-glazed pork belly, grilled tiger shrimp in tomatillo sauce, and wood-fired hanger steak tasted especially good!
   And to make the day totally off the hook, we walked down to Manifesto for some fancy cocktails in the hippest place in town. It was a great toast to a whirlwind week in Kansas City, in which Dave was the tourist and I got to feel like one again.
   Here's hoping that Dave comes out to visit again soon. We hadn't seen each other in probably eight years, but it was just like old times again. And besides, Aki and Taylor are lonely sleeping on the couch without him!