When Jordan was invited to speak at a conference in Joplin, MO, we thought it would be fun to extend the trip and spend a couple days exploring Kansas City. Neither of us had been to Missouri, and we really hadn’t experienced much of the midwest outside of Chicago.
So in a whirlwind 36 hours, we checked out as much of Kansas City as we could, mainly by trying as much barbeque as we could, driving through different neighborhoods, and checking out a few of the city’s museums.
Jameson is getting to be quite the travel pro (this was his fifth round trip flight). He loves people, so anytime anyone around the airport or on the plane interacted with him, he was all in. And even if you’re not interacting with him, if he thinks you should notice his cuteness, he’s coming for you.On our first night in town, we arrived around the time of Jameson’s bedtime (7 p.m.), eager for dinner. We put him in his pajamas, bundled him up in his stroller, and pushed him to Jack Stack BBQ, which was a short walk from our hotel, and prayed the whole way that he’d fall asleep. Of course when we got there, he was wide awake, and we were ready to file this under ‘horrible parenting decisions.’ But thankfully, loud restaurants are kind of like white noise to Jameson, and he fell asleep in his stroller long before our food hit the table.And let’s talk about this food for just a second. I’m not a huge fan of red meat, but the beef I had that night wasn’t like anything I’ve had before. The flavor and texture were seriously out of this world. I saw the light and was totally bought in to the hype that surrounds Kansas City barbeque.
The next morning, we went to a mom and pop diner called The Mixing Bowl Noshery for breakfast. The quaint restaurant with random country decor served up delicious food, with many of the recipes having come from the owner’s grandmother.After breakfast, we drove to the 18th and Vine historic jazz district to check out the American Jazz Museum and the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum. This little neighborhood has a lot of historic charm, including an old theater and painted storefronts that replicate mid-century businesses.
The two museums are housed in the same building and charge one admission price to see both. Jameson napped like a champ as we made our way through the exhibits and were inspired by the indomitable human spirit and the way we often create to overcome our deepest pains.The Jazz Museum was particularly fun, given the connection of jazz to the place we call home, Harlem. We loved seeing photos from the 1930’s of streets and restaurants we frequent. In fact, if you’re ever in Harlem and want to relive some of those jazz days of old, check out the revived Minton’s, which is known as the birth place of Bebop.
For dinner we went to Q39 in the Westport neighborhood and had yet another delicious meal. I had barbeque salmon (because I really can only take but so much red meat), and Jordan had a ground brisket burger with burnt ends on top. Whoa, that was amazing. I’d share a photo, but Jordan was about halfway through with it by the time I got a pic of my meal. But if you find yourself in KC, find your way to that burger!
We had dreams of going out that night and catching some live music, but we were all exhausted and tucked it in pretty early.
On our last morning before flying home, Jordan suggested we cross the border and have breakfast in Kansas, so that we could add another state to the list of ones we’ve visited. :-) So we drove to Sawnee, KS and ate at First Watch. I’d never heard of or visited this chain before, but I loved it! (Maryland/D.C. peeps – are you on to this?) This cucumber cooler number was on the money.Jameson liked sharing my eggs and avocado hash too. This is a face he makes often these days, and the sound that goes with it is, “Eeeeeeeee!” You can also get a look at what eating out with Jameson typically looks like: my required coffee and his assortment of toys.And just like that, it was time to head back to NYC. We’re grateful for the opportunity to travel and explore new places together. We’re grateful that Jordan gets invited to speak in places we otherwise wouldn’t visit.
And here’s my favorite little excerpt from his message at the conference in Joplin:
Most people look at the cross and say, “Oh, we’re forgiven.” And while that’s true, the grace we receive goes much further than that. Forgiveness says, “You may go. I’m not going to punish you.” But grace says, “You may come. You are welcome to all my love and presence. I want a relationship with you.”
Another reason to be grateful.
We got a lot of great recommendations for barbeque that I think are worth sharing. Unfortunately, we only had but so many meals in 36 hours, but if I’d had more time, I would have visited all of these: Arthur Bryants (we actually stopped there on the ride from the airport to Joplin and scarfed down ribs in the car), Gates, Jack Stack, Joe’s KC, and Q39.