Saturday, January 7, 2017

Weekend Getaway to Kansas City


Good morning and Happy Saturday! I hope your weekend is off to a great start. I know mine sure is. I slept in, made a delicious breakfast sandwich, and am enjoying a fresh, hot cup of coffee. Later, I'll be doing our weekly skypecast, but for now let's get down to business here. 

I mentioned recently that I would tell you all about our weekend trip to Kansas City to celebrate our 11th wedding anniversary. That happened this past weekend, and we had a great time. My husband's weekend is Friday and Saturday, and he had taken Thursday off as well, so we slept in Thursday, got ready, and made the three hour journey south to Kansas City. 

We checked into our hotel, then drove down to the Crossroads District. There, we met up with an old college friend of mine, Kevin, at the Pawn and Pint. Here in Omaha we have a place like it called Spielbound, and it's a cool place to grab a coffee or a beer, a bite to eat, and play board games. Now, I'm not talking about kid games--although they have those--but rather adult board games. There are tons of games out there of every kind: strategy, cooperative, card, and the list goes on. Anyway, we met up with Kevin, who I haven't seen in years, and we played games. I ended up in a Settlers of Catan tournament, which I've heard of but have never played, where I made it to the finals. At that point, it was getting late so we left.

From there we had a drink at the Up-Down bar, which was very crowded, so we moved on to Snow & Company, which wasn't crowded. We got a flight of blended drinks, which were freezing, but delicious. 

The next morning, after breakfast, we headed down to the Nelson-Atkins museum. It's located across the street from the Kansas City Art Institute, so we wandered the grounds a little bit. They have some sculptures and such. We spent a good few hours inside the museum, which is fantastic. If you are ever in KC, go there! It's free for Pete's sake. 



Sculpture on the grounds of the Kansas City Art Institute.



Sculpture on the grounds of the Nelson-Atkins Museum.



Egyptian coffin at the Nelson-Atkins Museum (NAM).



An Assyrian friese at the NAM.



Knight on a horse at the NAM..



Penitent Magdalene at the NAM.



Asian sculpture at NAM.



Bodhisattva of Compassion at the NAM.



Moogamhl the Four-Faced at the NAM.



Shiva Nataraja at the NAM.





Wall art at the Bloch Museum section of the NAM.

After our time at the museum, we were ready for some lunch. Of course, I wanted to find a vegan/vegetarian restaurant, and Eden Alley had good ratings. Located in the basement of the Unity Church, this low-key restaurant is spacious, open, and peppered with beautiful works of art. Their food was delicious, and I always love a place that doesn't serve soda.



Grilled Tofu Ruelke sandwich at Eden Alley.

I ordered the Grilled Tofu Ruelke sandwich, and it was so tasty! We got a hummus plate, which was great because I believe the best hummus is homemade, not the kind in the tubs from the store. We ended it with a shared piece of green tea spice cake.



A view of Boulevard Brewery's smokestack.

After lunch, we headed over to Boulevard Brewery. It was busy so the tours were full, which was fine by me. I've toured enough breweries to know that once you tour one, you've pretty much seen them all. I had been here a few years ago with my friend Audrey, and they had the tiniest tasting room. Fortunately, they built a whole new building for tasting, called the Beer Hall, and it reminded me of the Guinness Storehouse in Dublin, only not quite as large. (I think someone took some inspiration from there. *wink*)



A Boulevard flight, going clockwise from top left: Test Summer Saison, Collaboration #6, Dark Truth Stout, and Cranberry Orange Radler.

You all know how much I appreciate good beer, so we each ordered a flight. A flight, for the unfamiliar, are a popular way for breweries and specialty bars to let people sample their wares. You get a set amount of smaller sample-sized glasses to try. My husband and I each picked our preferred four drinks, and relaxed in the tasting room for awhile.

After that, we went back to the hotel to relax for awhile before heading back downtown to get dinner.



The Jacknife sandwich from Char Bar with a side of carrot slaw.

My husband really wanted to eat some Kansas City BBQ while were there, because KC is known for the Blues and BBQ. I did some research before we left home, and discovered that the Char Bar serves a good selection of BBQ, but has a few items for vegans. Their main vegan offering is the Jacknife. This sandwich is made from smoked jackfruit and topped with avocado and fried onions. I told the waiter that I was vegan, so we left off the cheese and the fried onions as they were battered with buttermilk. I also ordered the carrot slaw, which had nice heat to it, and some smashed potatoes. If you order those potatoes, make sure you request no cheese. Even though there's cheese on them, it doesn't specify that on the menu. This is something I've noticed more and more of lately. Almost everything has cheese on it, and it won't say that on the menu oftentimes. So, if you're vegan, be aware of stuff like this. Anyway, the food was delicious, and we had leftovers for later.



The Bram Wijnand's Jazz Trio + guest at the Majestic.

Being a fan of the Blues, I tried finding some live blues going on in the city. I found one act playing, but the bar was absolutely packed. On accident, we drove by The Majestic which has a sign in the window stating that they play live Jazz. Jazz is another favorite of myself, and my husband especially, so we found a place to park and went in. Downstairs in the Majestic is an old, authentic speakeasy, and it was here that we found the live jazz. We had a few great cocktails and enjoyed the show. Later in the evening, a man came and joined the trio on vocals for a few songs, which you can see in the photo.

The next morning, we packed up and headed for home. We stopped in St. Joseph, MO, on our way to grab some lunch at Gyro Paradise.


The falafel gyro with kalamata olives, sumac onions, and babganoush at Gyro Paradise in St. Joseph. 

Their falafel sandwich was crazy-good, and I enjoyed some delicious pita and hummus on the side.



A view inside a tree at Squaw Creek Wildlife Refuge.


From there we stopped at Squaw Creek National Wildlife Refuge where we took a short but strenuous hike. We needed it after all the food we had been eating!



A view down the treacherous stairs at Squaw Creek.




A view from the top of the Loess Hills at Squaw Creek. 



Squaw Creek is located in the Loess Hills, my favorite, and we made it to the top. What a gorgeous view and a fantastic end to our wonderful trip. We came home feeling refreshed and relaxed. A few days away by ourselves, without the kids, had a good calming effect and gave us some much-needed adult time.

I highly recommend Kansas City for a weekend getaway. I've provided links for all the things we did and saw, here in the blog. Use them to plan your own little trip!

Have a great weekend, and see you on Monday.

-H.A.


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