Holaaaa. Back from KC with veins full of BBQ sauce. Here's a rundown:
Arrived into KC late night, and Gates was the only BBQ place open and on the way to the hotel.
* Ordered: To-go mixed plate with beef brisket, pork and ribs. Side of BBQ beans and fries.
* Good: Brisket and pork were really tender. Sauce was good, if a bit on the vinegary side. The cashier was great, even though it was late. She had nail polish that changed colors like a mood ring, which she showcased by pulling out ice from the soda machine and rubbing it on her nails to make them change.
* Bad: Not really bad, but the ribs didn't have much meat on them, so it was kind of a non-item.
Went for lunch. Could smell it from miles away.
* Ordered: Burnt ends (50/50). Mixed plate of beef brisket, pork and ribs. Side of fries and fried okra.
* Good: The Burnt Ends were really great. And being there was the best. It was dark and smokey and the people were great. The food was messy and exactly what you'd hope a hole-in-the-wall BBQ place would be. It felt like a real-life Freddy's from House of Cards. A guy, who someone said was LC's son, asked where we were from. We said "L.A." He asked if there was any good BBQ in L.A. We said, " Yeah, a place called Bludso's." He said, "Barf."
* Bad: So full.
Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que (Formerly Oklahoma Joe's)
Went to the gas station location. The line was well out the door, but a couple people said "this is nothing." It's amazing how a table magically opens up when you need one after you order.
* Ordered: Burnt ends. Mixed plate of beef brisket, pulled pork and ribs. Zman sandwich. Sides of coleslaw, BBQ beans and potato salad.
* Good: The ribs were the standout for me. So much meat on the bone and so tender. I didn't have the full Zman, but I did get a couple bites of one, and it was good too. It felt different, which was nice after having similar mixed plates of meat and sauce and bread.
* Bad: Maybe too much hype between people I talked to and Bourdain's old list of places to eat before you die. Still really good, but overall, kind of felt more like an attraction. Also, not inherently bad, but I found it interesting that 99% of the patrons were white. Just an observation.
Other non-BBQ stops:
Tannin Wine Bar & Kitchen
Met up with some Kansas City'ers here. It was fine enough. Had a beet salad and cheese plate to try an balance out the BBQ. People said the burger was pretty ok. It was really loud, but there was also a birthday jamboree at the table behind us, so it could have just been rotten timing.
Oddly Correct - Coffee
Was within walking distance from the hotel. Good pour-over. They're proud to not have any cream available. I don't use cream, but don't you dare ask for any.
Pryde's Kitchen - Store & Pie Shop
Seemed to have really good deals on Le Creuset shtuff and German knives. Didn't have the pie because it wasn't BBQ, but you could get a whole one for $20, which seemed like a good deal for a freshly baked pie.
Filling Station - Coffee
This is my sister's boyfriend's coffee shop, so needless to say, it's the best coffee I've ever had.
This is my sister's boyfriend's bakery, so needless to say, it's the best bakery I've ever had. (But it is a trek outside of the city.)
Shatto Milk Company
They have a bunch of wacky zanky funky LOL so random types of milk. I guess they also make cookie ice-cream sandwiches, but I didn't try any. I had some sips of the Root Beer and Cotton Candy milks. Nice novelty for a sip or two, but a pint would be a challenge. Reminded me that I haven't had a glass of milk in many moons. Maybe that's why my arms fell off while mowing the lawn.
Boulevard Brewing Company
Didn't get a change to go to the actual brewery, but I did get a bottle of the Farmhouse ale (Tank 7, I think?), and it was good. I like their beers.
The type of pizza that has the toppings nestled underneath a summer-weight blanket of cheese. Borderline deep-dish, in the realm of Beau Joe's Mountain Pies in Colorado, if you're familiar. If you're ordering delivery pizza whilst in Kansas City, MO, this would be a good option.
Glace Artisan Ice Cream
Fairly standard ice cream spot. I had PT's Coffee and Sweet Cream but wish I had been more ambitious. My fiancee got Cream Cheese & Mango because she's smarter, and it was a good combo.
Overall, good trip! Would love to try some more of the BBQ places some day. If you need me, I'll be in the corner, eating raw spinach leaves for a week.