Wednesday, March 6, 2013

5 Things That Make Kansas City (Missouri) Awesome

This year's Winter Institute took place in Kansas City, MO, a place I've never had reason to believe I'd visit.  Spending a few days there reminded me of what non-destination cities have on Miami; with so much to recommend it, The Magic City doesn't try all that had to impress.  When you've got hundreds of cities above you on the "must list" of places to visit, you work a little harder to move up that list.

In the few days I was there, this is Kansas City, putting in work.

5: Rainy Day Books

Rainy Day Books is in Fairway, a suburb of Kansas.  It's gorgeous inside; beautifully displayed, full, and well-mapped.  The staff knows what they're doing.  And what's a place to visit without a decent bookstore?

4 is for $4 Guinness

I don't know from whence you're reading but to a guy living in Miami, paying less than $6 for a beer is a revelation.  Most times, it's $7-$8 ($9 or $10 if you're stupid enough to go to a club).  At $4, I almost expected to see a wee shot glass.

I won't say every bartender knew how to pour it perfectly, but the search for a perfect Guinness pour is a rant for another time.

3: Cab Scholars

A cab ride in Kansas City is like a free history lecture.  You want to know which mob boss rode FBI bullets to the great beyond in front of what building?  You want to know where Lewis and Clark bought slaves for their journey?  You want to know not just the historic landmarks and the lay of the land, but how the landmarks became historic and why the land is laid out the way it is?  Take a cab.

2: This is Not the Library

It's the garage next to the Central Library, called the Community Bookshelf.  It's a solid indication of how Kansas City celebrates literacy and the arts.  Fountains, sculptures, galleries, bookstores; it's all happening.

With all the snow when we visited, tracks told us which books people posed in front of the most.  Least surprising?  Gabriel Garcia Marquez got no love.

1: Burnt Ends

You know the edge of the meat that got crisped up on the grill and captured all the flavor?  Smoky and delicious, charry-chewy on the outside and juicy-tender on the inside, Burnt Ends have all of that, and nothing else.  One bite and I wanted to move to Kansas City.

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