Guys, the Kansas City airport is literally the weirdest airport I’ve been to. It’s in the process of being completely overhauled which really adds to the feeling of being in an ~alternate dimension~. We walked off the plane and basically immediately exited the airport. MCI is basically just a big circle that was clearly designed back in the day when you could just walk in, walk to your gate, and go – there are odd security checkpoints for every seven gates or so, and (at least in the gate area our flight left from) there was a single Starbucks and a tiny bar with two taps after security. So – if you’re flying through Kansas City, bring your own snacks.
This all came about because we went to KC for a wedding back in April. Neither of us had ever been before, and I wasn’t sure what to expect out of Kansas City – vibe, weather, general activities, etc. I’m not a big fan of BBQ (as in, I don’t like it at all…) and that’s about the only thing I knew about KC. And, of course, we missed being able to see a Royals game by a day or two.
Anyways. We managed to find a direct flight from SFO (woo!!!). We had recently upgraded to the fancy American Express travel card which gives us access to a bunch of lounges #bougieAF – importantly, the Centurion Lounge at SFO. What a difference that makes in terms of airport experience. I’m used to finding a bar in the terminal, spending twice as much as I would normally on a beer, being unsatisfied with the food offerings (though, SFO has some pretty great airport food options – I learned that when we spent six hours at SFO trying to get to DC), and then rushing to get to my gate only to discover my flight isn’t boarding for another half hour. In the lounge, you 1) eat and drink for free; 2) can see a monitor that has all the flight info on it; and 3) the people working there will come get you if your flight is about to board. Now, we screwed it up a little bit since we left the lounge, saw a brief delay in our flight, went back to the lounge and then apparently the delay got much shorter so we had to rush back to our gate. But we got there, and all was well.
We arrived in Kansas City around 1AM and Uber’d to our hotel, and our Uber driver was lovely and gave us plenty of tips on where to go – almost none of which we actually did (but we appreciated them anyways!). We got to our hotel and promptly crashed.
Saturday morning, we met up with my husband’s family for brunch at Beer Kitchen No. 1, which reminded me a lot of our beloved Engine Room back in Mystic. We had some incredible breakfast cocktails – I had some delicious gin and cucumber concoction that was everything Max hates about cocktails – and started with an order of their Drunken Doughnuts. I’m a sucker for donuts of any sort – these were basically donut holes/beignets with a chocolate dipping sauce. They were vaguely banana flavored, which isn’t really my jam, but they were delicious nonetheless.
And then – Behold, the glory of this sandwich:
Triple cheese grilled cheese with avocado, and a side of truffle fries. Take me to church.
I can’t even tell you what anyone else ordered because I was so enamored by my sandwich. I paid dearly for it later when the amount of dairy came back to haunt me, but it was worth every minute.
After we finished eating, our group split up and Max, his brother, and I went over to Westport Ale House to grab some brews and hang out. I had tried a couple of Boulevard Brewing Co.’s beers the last few times we’d been in Missouri, and from what I’ve had so far I’m definitely a fan. We drank a few beers, watched whatever sports were on television, and spent some time catching up since we hadn’t seen my brother-in-law since Thanksgiving. It was really good to catch up -especially since at the time we had no idea when the next time we’d see him and his girlfriend would be (but you’ll learn more about that in a future post…). After a few beers, we headed over to Mills Record Company to browse a little bit since it was Record Store Day, and to meet up with my brother in law’s girlfriend since she had been part of the group that split off when we went for beers. I exercised a lot of self restraint by not buying any records…ok, and maybe because I was afraid they’d get broken since we didn’t really have appropriate baggage to transport records back to California. After my music nerd was satiated, we went to HopCat for a couple more drinks and snacks (and because it was named after cats…), and discovered they were doing a Dogfish Head event. I LOVE Dogfish Head – they are one of my top three breweries but please don’t force me to pick one – and while we can get most of their major releases on the West Coast, the pickings can get slim. I got a Romantic Chemistry IPA – one of my faves and also not one I’ve seen much of on the West Coast – and a bunch of sweet DFH stickers that now adorn our beer fridge. To prepare for the evening’s wedding festivities, we hopped over to Broadway Cafe to caffeinate appropriately, and then went our separate ways to get ready for the evening.
The wedding was at the Madrid Theatre – as a former musical theatre major, I’m always down for an event in a theatre space – which was really cool. Shoutout to all of our friends for having diverse wedding locations: of the seven (!) weddings this year, none are at the same type of place. We’ve been to a wedding at a winery, this one in the theatre, a dedicated event space, a brewery, and we’ve got a restaurant/banquet hall, a Naval Academy, and a boxing gym wedding left to go in 2018. I love weddings, y’all, so thanks for giving us the opportunity to go to so many. 😉
Sunday morning we spent with the family at the post-wedding brunch, and then the rest of the family headed out while Max and I had some time to kill before our early evening flight. We checked out the City Market, which was pretty cool even though it was a little rainy which made the open-air aspects of it not great. From there, we did some exploring around the riverwalk area while I enjoyed my coffee and pastry and some fresh air. It was gray and gloomy, but the area was pretty cool, and I’m always a sucker for locks on bridges.
Now, my carnivore husband wasn’t going to leave Kansas City without getting some barbecue in him, so we took the many recommendations we received and went to lunch at Q39. As previously established, I’m not a fan of BBQ, so I got myself some mac and cheese and cornbread and a chicken tortilla soup. Max went ahead and ordered this pile of meat:
…and according to him, it was delicious. I had a chicken tortilla soup which was a pretty standard soup. Still good! But as I’ve learned over years of being a picky eater…if you’re going to a place that specializes in something you don’t like, your meal will likely be just okay in comparison to the main draw.
After lunch we walked over to Prospero’s Bookstore where I took zero pictures but I promise you is the best kind of place – a nice old bookstore with that smell of old books that I just love. I didn’t have any room in my suitcase, so I didn’t buy anything…unfortunately! But if you’re a bookworm and you find yourself in the KC area, definitely check it out.
Since we were close by, we took a small jaunt a few blocks down so we could say we’d been to Kansas…which was state #32 for me! Only a handful more to go! And then we headed back to our hotel area, stopped in again at Broadway Cafe (I’m a sucker for a good coffee shop) and made our way back to the airport where I got some Starbucks and watched my Penguins win a hockey game.
So, while we didn’t get to do a ton of exploring – we got to try some local beers, eat some BBQ, and see some sights. Kansas City reminded me a lot of my hometown of Syracuse, NY; so I look forward to getting a chance to go back and visit (and hopefully catch a baseball game next time!).