It’s that time of year. Time for stuffed bears, candlelight dinners and heart-shaped everythings. But being the bachelor that I am, this year I’ll celebrate my own way … with my own dearest love … food. Introducing a love letter to five local joints that are on my mind lately. These are the ones I crave about, fantasize about … and yes, [heart] the most this lovey-dovey time of year.
Avenues Bistro – Brookside is easily one of Kansas City’s most charming neighborhoods—and I rarely drive by this great local restaurant without swooning. If food is the way to a man’s heart, then this place hit the motherload. The menu here ranges from the delicious and familiar (lobster mac) to the more adventurous and European house specialties, like the Black Forest Jaeger Schnitzel. Those who like speed dating will probably enjoy the tapas. Small plates of ceviche, crab guacamole and bacon-wrapped jalapenos let you enjoy the bistro’s best, without the commitment of a full entrée. Read more
All across Kansas City, schools and businesses take time to recognize the contributions of African-Americans as February is Black History month. Several area attractions pay tribute to African Americans this month and all year long. Below is list of special celebrations for the month and on-going exhibits that commemorate KC’s black history.
Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City
- Feb. 1 – Poetry Slam, local artists, 6 p.m.
- Feb. 23 – “Separate to Equal,” this documentary screening chronicles the history of African- American health care in Kansas City. Panel discussion to follow, 3 p.m.
All events held at The Black Archives of Mid-America in Kansas City, 1722 E. 17th Terr. More information available at www.blackarchives.org.
The National Archives at Kansas City
- Feb. 8 – Genealogy workshop, “United States Colored Troops During the Civil War,” discusses African-American ancestors and their contributions to the Union during the Civil War, 10 a.m.
- Feb. 20 – Genealogy workshop, “Exploring Civil Rights in the Holding of the National Archives,” will explore the vast array of civil rights court cases that document the struggle for civil rights and demonstrate the wrongs that took years to overcome in the holdings of the National Archives, noon.
- Feb. 21 – Genealogy workshop, “African-American Census Research,” discusses the challenges of tracking free and slave African-American ancestors in the 1880s, 1 p.m. Read more
It’s a new year of Yelpiness, and the Elite community started things off with a tasty bang! Over 100 Yelpers came together at Yelp’s First Look for Foodies, a delicious sneak preview of Kansas City Restaurant Week. One of the most unique event spaces in the city, host venue The Bean Hangar opened its doors to the Yelp community as some of the city’s best restaurants sampled out selections from their upcoming Restaurant Week menus.
Earlier this year, Budget Travel magazine named Kansas City one of its Top 10 Budget Travel Destinations for 2012, touting the region as a “hotbed for high culture.” And while the year may be drawing to close, it certainly doesn’t mean the buzz for KC is subsiding.
Here are 10 reasons why the excitement for Kansas City will continue well into the New Year.
Ask anyone what are some of their favorite things, chances are they can rattle off four or five items without hesitation. Sometimes it’s a favorite blanket to something as distant as a favorite destination but we all have them.
As passionate Kansas Citians, we have our list favorite things – some quirkier than others – but none the less, these unique gift ideas can satisfy any sweet tooth or add some extra KC style into your life.
Baby’s First Bib
Baby’s First BBQ Bib – locally printed and universally cute, these clever catch-alls by Normal Human recognize one important truth – you’re never too young to start enjoying KC’s signature food.
Long Shot Whiskey – handcrafted in Lenexa by Dark Horse Distillery, this artisanal white whiskey uses a sour mash recipe that it is a little oud and a lot bold
Catnip Cigars – you’re right. The top-selling item at Gatos Cat Boutique is this conversation starter. Made of “world’s strongest catnip,” your feline friend is sure to look like a boss.
Of course, we don’t want you to shop until you drop, but it’s truly possible with the distinct shopping districts available in Kansas City. The city’s shopping areas offer fashion’s favorite labels, fun and funky gifts, high style and affordable prices. But what sets Kansas City apart as a shopping destination is the experience each district creates for the visitor, making finding the perfect gift fun for everyone! Whatever your tastes, we have it all in Kansas City.
Downtown Kansas City
The Crossroads Arts District for unique stocking stuffers like handmade stationery from Hammerpress or artisanal chocolates from Christopher Elbow. In the Power & Light District, look to Envolve for chic women’s styles or shop eight stores in one at The Garment District—a hip fashion collective with a bar nestled inside.
A little further north of downtown and straight out of the mind of Dr. Seuss, City Market transforms itself for Whoville Holidays, a yuletide celebration featuring The Grinch, art activities and a Cindy Lou Who look-alike contest.
After a long afternoon shopping the avenues of downtown KC, it’s time for a light meal. Venture off the beaten path to the Westside area. Popular picks range from small plates at Lill’s on 17th and savory crepes at Chez Elle, to farm-to-table fare at The Westside Local.
As the weather cools in Kansas City, thoughts of the Crown Center Ice Terrace, Kansas City’s only public outdoor skating rink, begin to enter our minds as way to embrace Midwest winters. The Country Club Plaza is also a favorite destination throughout the year, but perhaps most so in the evenings between Thanksgiving and mid-January when the miles and miles of holiday lights outline the Spanish architecture. Nothing beats an evening horse-drawn carriage ride on the Plaza, snuggled under the blankets, followed by a warm nightcap at any of the Plaza’s great restaurants and coffee bars.
But where else can you discover a hot cup of Joe or even better a seasonal festive adult beverage? Whether you prefer an artisan swirl in your espresso or an artisan twist in your cocktail, we’ve got several places to your warm the core and take an edge off the day.
A LOCAL CUP OF JOE:
“Fast, friendly service and a great menu. The liquid sunshine and breakfast burrito are amazing” (Britt S. on Yelp! http://ow.ly/fimf0) – Coffee Girls in Waldo
The Filling Station
“Love this place as a work spot. You can usually find an outlet, the light is wonderful, the food and coffee are consistently great and really reasonably priced. Bonus points: the staff has pretty good music taste and it’s always at a reasonable volume” (Meli I. on Yelp! http://ow.ly/fimNW) – Filling Station on 2980 McGee
“Scooters is very affordable, they have a large selection of beverages and light fare, are centrally-located downtown, and friendly staff makes this a great coffee spot” (Jose C. on Yelp! http://ow.ly/finl4) – Scooters Coffee Read more
Ask any barbecue lover, not just here but almost anywhere in the world, and they’ll tell you that Kansas City is the place to find the best barbecued bovine. But the city’s culinary palate is much richer and broader than its finger-licking ’cue, encompassing culinary adventures deeply rooted in its Midwestern food and drink culture. Ranging from simple, homemade comfort food fare at charming neighborhood cafés, to high-end multi-course culinary indulgences, you are sure to find it here.
On more than one occasion the city has taken center stage on your favorite foodie programs like Food Network and Travel Channel. Two of the most well-known are seeker of the savory Guy Fieri’s Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives and jet setting restaurateur Anthony Bourdain’s No Reservations; when they visited KC they left no samples un-sampled and no plate unclean. But where do such refined palates find adventure? More places than you think!
Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives – Grinders: Guy Fieri raved about the Bengal Tiger, a tandoori chicken pizza inspired by the flavors of Northwest India that he called “funklicious.”
Stumble through a foggy werewolf forest, come face to face with the world’s largest anaconda in captivity, feel what it’s like to be buried alive—it’s all possible this Halloween season in Kansas City. These eerie exploits and more have solidified KC’s place as the Haunted House Capital of the World but Kansas City also holds other haunted secrets – a few choice locations around the city where a creak in the floor or a cold draft may be more than you think.
One of the oldest ghostly residences is the John Wornall House. Completed in 1858 by John Bristow Wornall, he was one of the most prosperous farmers in Jackson County farming more than 498 acres. The historic Civil War Battle of Westport occurred just a few blocks from the house and became a main medical hub. Many soldiers from both the Confederate and Union armies were treated at the house and many also died. Employees of the John Wornall museum and guests have reported seeing ghostly armed soldiers guarding the doors and patrolling the balconies.
Home to the nation’s top professional auto racing since 2001, Kansas Speedway is a 1.5 mile tri-oval racetrack in the booming Village West development at LEGENDS Kansas City. This coming weekend the 81,000-seat speedway will host its second NASCAR event of the 2012 as the Chase for the Cup continues!