It's time for the August edition of Local Love: A Kansas City Roundup! Let's just jump right in, shall we?
FIRST STOP: FRESH AIR
It's summer and the weather has been blissfully easy lately. I've been trying to get outside as much as humanly possible so it only makes sense to head to the park with the pooches. One of my absolute favorites in town is Loose Park. It's 75 acres of beautiful rolling hills with walking trails, play areas for the kiddos, lots of mature trees and a beautiful pond that is always full of ducks. There are runners, picnicers, dogs and families galore here. You'll also find your fair share of weddings and family photo sessions sprinkled all over as the park offers great scenery for photography.
NEXT STOP: A SCAVENGER HUNT
Todd and I signed up for Breakout KC's Breakout & Seek event and can I just say this was an absolute blast! Breakout KC has some of the best escape rooms in the country and they've taken their challenges to the streets. I signed up with my cell number and a couple hours before the hunt we were sent a clue. If we solved it we found the registration location and got instructions to follow for the game. Once the race started (and I say race but we decided it would be way more fun to experience some new KC locations rather than worry about solving the puzzles before other people) we went to a locked URL and followed the clues to each location in order to get the answer to get the next clue, so on and so on. This round took us all over the Westport area which I'm fairly familiar with—thank goodness because some of those clues were tough! It took a few hours to complete but that may have been because we took our time stopping in at a few favorites.
Like this little gem which I am IN LOVE with...Doughnut Lounge. Newer to Westpot and something to obsess over, they have tons of yummy and different signature flavors and seasonal specialties to choose from. BONUS: Noduts. Like the Chicken Fried Nodut, a glazed doughnut, crispy fried chicken, fried jalapenos with honey sriracha sauce. I mean seriously...I'll take 3.
Or an old favorite Murray's Ice Cream. Open for more than 30 years, this is a must stop staple in KC with all kinds of fun creations and revolving flavors. Stick with a traditional scoop in a waffle cone or try something new and different. My go-to is always a fresh limeade with a scoop of sherbert in it. There is NOTHING better on a hot day that one of those suckers. And of course I got one during the scavenger hunt!
NEXT STOP: BRUNCH
I am not-so-secretly obsessed with brunch. It's the best of everything. You can get a salad or scrambled eggs and it's totally acceptable to drink. I didn't partake in any hair of the dog this particular morning but I did sample the super tasty Almond Joy Mocha at Baked Kansas City. ABSOLUTELY DELISH! I followed it up with this super delicious BKC Breakfast Bowl...creamy roasted garlic polenta, sausage, bacon, fried egg, sweet red pepper salsa and parmesan. Holy bowl of breakfast, Batman. This sucker is so good. It was a kind of dreary, cool morning for August and this 100% hit the spot.
NEXT STOP: EDUCATION
The BF and I decided to stop into the Bodies Worlds exhibit at Union Station. This was super interesting and eye-opening. It may be a bit much for some viewers, but I can tell you that everything is handled with great care and nothing about this exhibit was disgusting or crude. It is a really cool window into how insanely intricate the human body is. The really exciting part? Seeing all the mechanisms in place that help us do something as simple as moving our arm or bending a finger. If you have time to make it down before this exhibit leaves town I'd highly recommend it.
NEXT STOP: A NIGHT OUT
It's not often that I hit the town like this anymore but a girlfriend of mine had her crew in town for the weekend so it was on us to show them some of downtown. We ended up at Power & Light District. PNL, as it's referred to locally, has around 50 different establishments over a 9 block area from retail to restaurants. At the center of it all is a large outdoor mall sort of area that has bars and restaurants where once you enter you can walk around with an adult beverage and go from bar to bar (careful, they do not let you take glass outside each individual establishment but will happily give you a plastic cup so you don't have to waste you beer). The "Living Room" as it's called also hosts a serious number of live events and concerts throughout the year. Sports watch parties (the Royals winning World Series there was insane!) and live music are almost always going on. On this particular night, my group ended up at the piano bar Howl at the Moon. And shoutout to these fine folks on stage who put on a heck of a show...this killer lady on the piano played literally every instrument and had a crazy-awesome voice.
NEXT STOP: A DAY AT THE MUSEUM
The Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art has been around a long time. It's a beautiful building full of wonderful art and historical exhibits. Best part, admission is always free. Special traveling exhibits do usually cost money but it's a nominal fee considering how many amazing things are held inside this museum. The outside is just as wonderful, though. Recognize the orange and white thing? It's called a shuttlecock and they're used in the racquet game of badminton. The larger than life installments were designed to be placed on either side of the museum so that, from an aerial view, they look like fallen game pieces on either side of the net. These are beloved around KC so if you see the icon on a shirt you'll be in the know. On a beautiful August day there is no better place to go than the grounds of the museum. People are sprinkled around the landscape playing soccer, having a picnic, playing with their children, relaxing with a book, strolling the shady paths, sitting on a bench reading or relaxing on the museum steps enjoying the day. There are outdoor sculptures to take in and a few interactive features like this glass maze.
NEXT STOP: BBQ
Back in Westport we stopped in for some BBQ at Char Bar. This is a newer spot on the scene but definitely holding it's own. It's got a vintage industrial feel that's very laid-back and casual. There are some really awesome choices on this menu. For example, when you think BBQ you rarely think of a vegetarian but they have an impressive number of choices for one. I try to avoid meat in general but live in a BBQ city so I don't always win that battle. Here, however, they had such interesting options that I was able to stay on track AND have a BBQ experience. Meet the Jackknife Sandwich. Smoked jackfruit, melted provolone and avocado. When they brought this out to me I thought they'd brought me pork by accident. The jackfruit is cooked the same as the meat would be; marinated to make it super juicy and fork-tender. This sucker was insanely delicious!!! I also ordered the Jalapeno Cheesy Corn Bake and Kale Slaw—if you're not a kale believe this may change your mind if you're willing to give it a shot. I'd highly recommend you stop in. Don't forget to check out the Beer Garden with croquet, bocce ball, ping pong and cornhole!
NEXT STOP: ICE CREAM
Last but not least I finally got to stop in and try Betty Rae's Ice Cream! I've been eyeing this place all summer and had never made it in. I pass this place twice a day on my drive to and from work and I've never stopped. Now that I've made it through the door I can say that it was definitely worth the wait. Betty Rae's has some revolving flavors just like Murray's but theirs are a little more experimental like Maple Donut or Brown Butter Toasted Pecan. This concoction, for example, is called a Cold Fusion which is your choice of any flavor ice cream + Coca-Cola + a shot of espresso. Coffee lovers be warmed—it packs a punch! But it's delicious. The shop has a very friendly, local feeling and the staff are super interested in ice cream creations and completely willing to give you sample after sample or figure out what you're craving. If you're 21+ don't miss the chance to try one fo the Boozey Shakes like the Mint Chocolate Julep or Not-So-Dark and Stormy.