March 22, 2012

Field Trip

Not long ago, we took a wonderful weekend trip to Kansas City.  We wanted a little adventure, but not too far away, and what a good pick it was!  Above you can see a bit of the really amazing architecture near the Country Club Plaza area of KC. According to a Wikipedia article, "The architecture of Kansas City, MS and the metro area includes major works by many of the world's most distinguished architects and firms...including Frank Lloyd Wright. Municipal Auditorium, the Kansas City Power and Light Building, and Jackson County Courthouse have been called, three of the nation's Art Deco treasures."

 Also in the Country Club Plaza area were numerous carriages for hire - including these "Cinderella" coaches!  Too funny.  I'm not sure I would have imagined these outside of Disney World. You can see a little more architectural detail here as well, and though I failed to photograph any, there were lovely fountains and statues everywhere along these streets.  This area had some very upscale retail stores, restaurants, a theater, and a number of outdoor entertainment spots.We enjoyed a long stroll and the window shopping only!

On our first evening we had to partake of some famous KC barbeque of course!  This was a much recommended restaurant, and we found that there is a fierce debate about BBQ in this city - no surprise.  While this was good, and a very nice atmosphere,we found we preferred the more rustic flavors at Oklahoma Joe's Barbeque.  This was a place that Anthony Bourdain chose as one of the 13 places to eat before you die - check this off our bucket list!  It was memorable and worth the 40 minute wait in line to get to the order station, then jockey for a table the minute someone stood up, and fight your way up to get another drink.  Yes, worth every savory little bite!

picture from Chez Elle website

And since finding recommended restaurants makes up a big part of our itinerary when we plan a trip, I wanted to share two more spots that stood out.  The first is Chez Elle, which prides itself on French crepes and coffee - rightly so!  It's another spot with a line and a challenge for a table.  You would do well to know what you're doing before you step up to order too.  We ordered one savory and one sweet crepe dish and shared them.  Yummy! 
picture from Yelp website
The second stand out was the Vietnam Cafe.  They have no website, just fabulous food.  This was by far the most crowded and crazy of all the places we ate.  But it was an experience worthy of any hassle.  And they're used to handling crowds with methods like taking your order while you stand at the door!  They hustle you to a table when it opens and I suppose you might feel they were being brusque if you weren't being a sport about it - ha!  It has a very small dining area, doesn't look like a place you would choose without knowing about it, and serves some of the most amazing food we've had in a long while. Go for the Beef Pho (soup), and the Vietnamese pancakes - ya, ya, ya!

  Museums made up a good deal of our entertainment while in KC.  There is a wealth of them and we just scratched the surface.  The first we visited was the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art.  It was free admission - amazing!

There is a gorgeous view of the museum lawn and the city from the steps.  The grounds are dotted with sculpture both traditional and not so traditional...

 I researched a little but remain confused about the significance of all the "birdies"! There are four of these sculptures around the grounds and each one weighs 5500 pounds - whew!

The interior of this neoclassical museum is stunning.  

 Did I already mention that admission is free?  Incredible.

Among the many art displays is an Egyptian gallery.  We found this collection of Ushebtis really fascinating. Translated into "the one who answers", these were buried with the deceased to be servants in the afterlife. This wall was lined with these figures, which were from 6 to 12 inches high.

You may not think of knights in shining armor as art, but take a look at the close up below.

This Medieval armor originated in Milan around 1565.  These craftsmen were true artists, don't you think?!

This lovely view of KC was taken from the top of another amazing museum we visited - The National WWI Museum.  In the foreground is the Kansas City Union Station.  This will be on our list of places to explore when we return one of these days.

 This is the Liberty Memorial Monument, which sits in between two of the exhibit buildings on the upper area of the WWI museum site.  We took an elevator ride to the top and enjoyed beautiful views.  At night, this monument is lighted at the top and fog is produced to billow out, giving it the look of flames.  I took no pictures inside the main exhibit of this museum. Needless to say, it's a very sobering experience, but one not to be missed.  The sacrifices made by service men and women in this country can hardly be put into words, but the artifacts, pictures, and personal stories left their mark on us.  It seems so inadequate, but all that you can think when you leave here is, thank you. Thank you.

Kansas City, we'll be back!  More to see and more BBQ to compare!

1 comment :

  1. Looks like you really saw the sights! And it looks like you had a great time!