Tuesday, December 16, 2014
Road Trip: Kansas City
Earlier in my career as a management consultant, I traveled (a lot) more. It's tapered off over the last few years - I don't mind this, although maybe I'm nostalgic for a few more trips per year. However, last week's trip to Kansas City reminded me of some of the better ones - in fact, I'd go as far as to say that this trip matched up to the Seattle trip I took in 1999 from a "knife and fork" perspective!
It wasn't my first trip to Kansas City - I'd passed through on the way to and from business school in LA in the late 1990's, and there was a business trip to Topeka at some point. But none of those trips involved a stay in the city itself - we were headed out for a three-day small business conference and trade show. The trip turned out to be productive and fun.
I have three or four posts to make in total - so we'll start with this one about the restaurants. I have a couple of friends from there who sent along some recommendations, reminding me that KC is not just about barbecue - although it certainly knows how to do that well.
Still - a barbecue place was our first stop: http://www.jackstackbbq.com/jack-stack-plaza.aspx. We were seated fast and those plates were huge. It made for a good start to our trip.
On our second night, we met up with some business partners who wanted to go to Novel, The restaurant name is a commentary on current American cuisine, meant to emphasize an evolution from "New American" by emphasizing the basic ingredients in a dish and enhancing their taste with complementary ingredients.
What we find in parallel is an emphasis on foods that a few years ago would have been very hard to find - the pork bellies, the face meat, etc. - it's something you'll pretty much encounter coast to coast, but I was also pleasantly surprised to encounter it in Kansas City.
http://www.theriegerkc.com/. This may well have been my best ever business trip meal, and the most happening business trip restaurant as well. Although the photo doesn't do it justice, I snapped an Instagram of the striped bass plated with spaghetti squash and bok choy. I started with a fantastic smoked trout appetizer...taking a break out there in the midwest from all the pork and beef.
Afterwards, we went downstairs for a cocktail at the speakeasy, where they have an extensive menu and knowledgeable staff to steer you in the right direction for some libations. The web page offers its own friendly advice, which I've taken to heart: "Civility is not a sign of weakness. Be kind to each other, and be strong in your convictions.
I guess for as long as I remember it, that will be my motto for the Kansas City trip.