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Kansas City Rampage: 2 Chowists, 10 Hours, 7 Meals (PICS)

Kansas City Rampage: 2 Chowists, 10 Hours, 7 Meals (PICS)
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  • Kansas City Rampage: 2 Chowists, 10 Hours, 7 Meals (PICS)

    Post #1 - October 17th, 2004, 7:58 pm
    Post #1 - October 17th, 2004, 7:58 pm Post #1 - October 17th, 2004, 7:58 pm
    When the United States was still largely unpopulated, Kansas City was a gateway to the west. The well-beaten trails of Sante Fe, California and Oregon all originated in Kansas City. Today, Kansas City by Chowist standards is a BBQ mecca recently explored in a one-day seven-stop BBQ marathon trail lead by Yourpalwill with Cathy2 riding shotgun.

    Will and I left on a 7 AM flight to Kansas City, which allowed for enough time to arrive to Arthur Bryant's 30 minutes before opening at 10 AM. To kill time, we drove about the neighborhood in search of coffee. We returned to Arthur Bryant's just after 10 AM to be their second customer of the day. The first customer was a lanky salt & pepper bearded man eating BBQ with ear pods stuck in his head.

    Deferring to Will's research and our desire to have the reputed best of each place we visited, our game plan was to order a single serving and split it. For Arthur Bryant's, the must-have was their brisket sandwich with french fries, which with 2 drinks and 2 bottles of sauce to take home cost $19.98. Brisket ordered by the pound: $10.75, which we bought to take home.

    Image

    Immediately one is struck by the reddish smoke ring circling each slice of totally relaxed and tender brisket. The texture of the meat was simply smooth and the taste smokey satin. The French fries were hand cut, cooked in lard to extra crisp. Rarely can one find such a good fry.

    Since our next quest didn't open until 11 AM, we read some articles on the walls. There was a framed handwritten letter from a widow whose husband used to work nearby who ate lunch at Bryant's every day. Reluctantly, they moved from the area then shortly afterwards he died unexpectedly at a young age. She wanted her husbands image on the wall at Bryant's because it was one of his favorite places. Eternal love and devotion to fine barbeque is a sentiment, which no longer surprises me. It's the highest compliment reflecting the respect and love Arthur Bryant's puts into their barbecue craft everyday.

    Would you return to Arthur Bryant's? Yes, in retrospect I'm sorry we didn't return the same day for another round.

    Arthur Bryant's Barbeque
    1727 Brooklyn Avenue
    Kansas City, MO 64127
    816-231-1123

    &&&

    Our next stop was to Gates, which has a reputation of shouting at customers and especially tough on uncertain newbies. It was also my turn to order and I did not want to even begin to smell like a newbie. So as Will drove, I read aloud the information Will had gathered from LTH as well as from local KC barbeque mavens. All sources pointed toward ordering the 'small ends' (pork) ribs with regular sauce and baked beans.

    We walked in to a rather perfunctory half-hearted shout from a girl whom this was a command performance rather than a heartfelt desire to intimidate. Already a first clue this place was more marketing hype than authentic.

    While I ordered our small ends ribs and beans, which set us back about $10, Will collected their three BBQ sauces. When we sat down, Will indicated #1 was hot, #2 was regular and #3 sweet. Later as we tasted and dunked our food, the sauces were spinning around the center like a shell game. Yet, Will knew each time which sauce was which. In a moment of dim wits, I finally asked how did he always know which was which sauce: #1 had one cup, #2 had 2 cups stacked and #3 had 3 cups stacked. I pride myself in being observant but clearly sometimes I miss the mark.

    Image

    My first bite of these ribs was the tiny, cooked tip without much sauce. It may be tiny but there was a very heavily applied rub rendering my first taste so salty and overwhelming it sucked the moisture out of my mouth. To dilute the experience, I dunked my other bits of meat in the recommended regular sauce, but these sauces somehow did not compliment the meat as they should.

    The beans were very good, but who comes back for a side dish? The beans were cooked long in a sweet sauce, though there was a porky flavor I did not see any meat. I really enjoy BBQ places that drop some charred bits and pieces of BBQ pork in their beans. In this case, you had to buy the meat if you wanted it in your beans.

    Would you return to Gates? What for? The beans? No.

    Surprisingly, Brisket at Gates was $12.75 per pound as opposed to the much better Arthur Bryant's charging $10.75 per pound. Gates was steeped in marketing promising it was Kansas City's preferred BBQ. We speculated maybe because they have several more locations, than Arthur Bryant's current two, maybe on this thin line of distinction they would claim most popular. Unfortunately, their food didn't convince us. In fact, we left several ribs on the plate because it was pointless eating bad BBQ when we had so much more to explore.

    As we were leaving, the guy with the ear pods from Arthur Bryant's was walking out ahead of us. He turned to us and said something vaguely like, "Nice to see we're on the same BBQ trail," then quickly moved on to a bus stop. I wonder if we should have offered to bring him along with us. We never did see ear pod guy again.

    Gates Bar-B-Q - Kansas City Missouri
    1221 Brooklyn Avenue
    Kansas City, MO 64127
    816-483-3880

    &&&

    Our next stop was to the Aaron Deacon recommended burnt ends at L.C.'s Barbeque. When you walk in you are in the immediate presence of their cast iron smoker, which dominates the room:

    Image

    Will ordered Burnt Ends ($8.99) and two large drinks for $12.74. Take-out brisket was $12. per pound. We had heard so many raves about these burnt ends, and from such well qualified sources, we were quite eager to eat BBQ gold. Our plate had some burnt ends, which we appreciated, and lots of interior cut meat with no burnt crustiness, which gave us pause. In fact, some of this interior meat was no different than eating a fatty pork roast, no smokiness, nothing special. We began to reason maybe this is a very local favorite, something like rib tips in Chicago, which may not always dazzle an outsider because they don't have the accumulated good will feeling. We finished our plate when I realized I forgot an important detail: no picture!

    My head swiveled around looking for someone digging into a fresh order of burnt ends. The table immediately to my left had a group of gentlemen just settling down to their meal. My immediate neighbor had a plate of burnt ends, which looked unlike ours: it was entirely burnt ends and not a bit of interior meat. I inquired if these were burnt ends and may I take a picture? I received an affirmative on both.

    Image

    I immediately turned to Will to complain we were given the non-local treatment! We learned the guys at the next table regularly visit several times a week. They pointed to an adjacent round table to indicate that's where the owner holds court, though he wasn't present. These guys dug into their plates and gave us a regular customer sampling of burnt ends. We now belatedly learned the raves of burnt ends aficionados. While Will chatted about our one-day BBQ mission and LTHforum, I went to visit the serving crew. I informed them we had come from Chicago for a day of BBQ sampling. If it were not for the kind intervention of their regular customers to acquaint us with real burnt ends, then we would have walked out puzzling what was special about burnt ends. Of course, they just stood there looking surprised and mute. I did the best I could to smooth the path for the next non-local visitor.

    One of the guys at our table was a former Chicagoan. He was thrilled to talk Chicago restaurants. He even claimed there is a secret menu at Maggiano's on Clark. He would visit there with a friend who always ordered a soup, which was not on the menu yet it was always available. Anyway, we provided our screen names and LTHforum contact information. I was pleasantly pleased to find shortly thereafter a new member: Chef Dan who later informed me "It was really fun running into you and Will. Would you believe that not 3 minutes after you left, L.C. pulled up in his big dually pickup! We hoped you guys might've left something at the restaurant you could've come back for and met 'the master' himself. Maybe next time..."

    Would I return to L.C.'s? Yes, but this time with Chef Dan doing the ordering!

    L.C.'s Barbeque
    5800 Blue Pkwy.
    816.923.4484
    http://www.lcsbar-b-que.nv.switchboard.com/?

    &&&

    At this time, we took a BBQ pause to walk around the shopping district on a hot and humid day. We ended up in a Starbuck's with lovely air conditioning, L.C.'s prominent smoker also made the place quite steamy, comfy chairs and local newspapers. We each read the papers with a running commentary about interesting tidbits observed. It was nice just having a quiet moment before charging into more BBQ. We also noted quite a bit of buildings dating back to its' pioneering past. A lot of tiled roofs suggesting a Spanish influence, though not entirely sure, we figured the answer resided in the guidebook left on the plane.

    Our pause extended longer than expected because we were challenged trying to locate our next quest: lamb rib barbeque. Actually Will may correctly insert he isn't very confident in my map reading skills. Initially, this struck me odd I could not read a map because I do most of the route planning for my family. However, then I realized I do most of the driving and leave the map reading to others. I am guilty of being out of practice, which is all I will admit. In all, it took almost an hour to find the path to Fiorella's because there was a major train station between us and where we wanted to go. Getting around this train station was simply beastly with streets disappearing or one-way in the wrong way and just plain bad instructions from a web navigation program. On the edge of dismissing this goal, we finally found their back entrance.

    We walked into an old railroad freight house, which was reworked to house a restaurant. Very tall ceilings, thick brick walls and subdued lighting gave a cool, cavern feel to the room. There were plenty of hard surfaces for sound to bounce, so I imagine this place is quite noisy when filled with patrons. In mid afternoon, we were nearly the only patrons when seated at our walnut stained table set with glassware and white cloth napkins. I ordered a combination plate of lamb ribs and beef burnt ends with beans and coleslaw and two drinks for $17.65. Beef brisket for take out was priced at $11.95 per pound.

    Image
    Photo courtesy of Seth Zurer

    The lamb riblets had a smokie flavor, which as much as I like lamb I wasn't enamored by these riblets. The burnt ends did not have a clear smoke flavor though we noticed a clear smoke ring. These lamb riblets were also quite greasy causing a slight unease in my tummy for a short while. The accompanying sauce was weak in flavor and likely not specific to this restaurant. The bread was not BBQ quality Wonder Bread but rather of a higher quality, an unnecessary expense when serving BBQ.

    We concluded Fiorella's was where locals took out-of-town guests for Kansas Barbeque in a safe white cloth napkin atmosphere. Nice atmosphere, well marketed but not our cup of tea.

    To underline our general dismay, Will fully intended to buy lamb BBQ for his trip back to Chicago. He not only didn't find it interesting enough, he did not like the ordering procedures where you paid not by the pound but by the piece. We did enjoy the prettiest waitress of the day, though admittedly she was one of only two waitresses for our day, still she was quite lovely.

    Would you return to Fiorella's? No, there are better options.

    Fiorella's Jack Stack Freight House
    101 West 22nd Street Suite 300
    Kansas City, MO 64108
    816-472-7427
    http://www.jackstackbbq.com

    &&&

    We were caught unaware at our next quest, it had closed for the day while we were trying to decipher the way to Fiorella's. What a waste! Especially as it was an easy location to navigate to, double darn! SteveZ had specifically recommended Lil's Jakes as a place to obtain burnt ends. Further, he hoped there would be some brought to Chicago for his pleasure. The exterior was a marvel of neon promise, ironically for a place open only for lunch, which means very little in the afternoon sun:

    Image

    While we are standing around licking our wounds from a missed opportunity. A delivery van pulls up to the side entrance and begins off-loading crates and supplies from a catering job. Everyone is working hard and sweating up a storm. We're on the periphery watching them and making meaningful glances into the restaurant's interior. A very perceptive worker cheerfully advised their hours for the next day. We advised there is no next day for us, we are from Chicago for the day and missed our only chance to visit their establishment. The guy offered to get us a take-out slab of ribs for $18. Will handed the guy a $20, who then proceeded to bring us two large pink lemonades, a container of ribs and a retail sized jar of sauce. More than adequate exchange of goods and services for the $20. he received. We thanked him profusely, returned to the car and packed our treasures in Will's cooler.

    Later, we parked the car and ate ribs from Will's favorite dining table on the fly: the trunk of a car. Though cold and without sauce, these were outstanding ribs. We were instantly transported into a funk missing this treasure while searching for Fiorella's, which was a relative waste of time. But how do you know these things in advance?

    Image

    Would you return to Lil' Jakes? YES!

    Danny Edwards Famous K.C. Barbecue AKA Lil' Jakes Eat it and Beat It
    1227 Grand Blvd.
    816.283.0880

    &&&

    Our last BBQ destination for the day was Rosedale. Our web generated navigation instructions pointed us first to a third destination, which we knew was already closed. However, going to the closed location provided continuity to our next destination of Rosedale. Bad karma rocked this segment of the trip. While Will's driving, Cathy the now acknowledged amateur navigator does the best she can with poor instructions. What was really irksome was the signage referred in the printout did not jive with the actual real-life signage. While trying to decipher this signage incongruency, Will was driven off the road by a pick-up truck that wouldn't allow us to merge into his lane. What excitement! Maybe this was a hint Rosedale wasn't worth pursuing, but hey we have a plan and we are going to follow it no matter what it takes!

    Rosedale is a watering hole, which serves inexpensive and according to Will's research serviceable BBQ brisket. We ordered one Brisket sandwich, Dr. Pepper and Iced Tea for $5.45. As quickly as we placed our order, the lady turned to the service window and pulled our foil wrapped sandwich. I inquired if it was a freshly made sandwich or does your kitchen respond in lightening speed. Rather humorlessly she informed us the sandwiches were just made as we arrived. There was no reason to believe this explanation, but you get an inkling serviceable may be a kind evaluation of this sandwich.

    Image

    You see the flakes of beef sprinkling the bread? This is fairly representative of the brisket throughout the sandwich. Will observed the brisket was dry, then sliced too thin it fell apart as if it had already been chewed. Will felt it was not a freshly made sandwich, maybe held on a steam table too long, sort of reminiscent of bad corned beef at Katz or an Arby's Beef sandwich. The sauce did improve the meat's condition, sort of melding it together like a Sloppy Joe. Apparently I was a bit overexcited in my dislike of this sandwich as Will asked me to keep my voice down. He felt we should be a little more reserved rather than have someone confront us over this miserable sandwich.

    Would you return to Rosedale's? No.

    Rosedale Barbecue
    600 Southwest Blvd.
    913.262.0343

    &&&

    Will had one last food quest, which was entirely unrelated to BBQ: fried chicken from Stroud's. We did not go to original, rather to a location, which was on the way to the airport. This Stroud's was situated on a hill with a swan filled pond at the bottom, a small (wedding) chapel with the restaurant in a rambling white clapboard house. Will opined it reminded him of a visit to Grandma's, though we both admitted neither of our Grandmother's had such a wonderful bucolic lifestyle.

    When we stepped inside the vestibule, I had a feeling we were in a log cabin from all the dark wood. It may have been the original homestead. In such a homey, country style setting the hostess was quite a jarring eyeful: petite with green camouflage satiny short shorts. If we had wanted no smoking, then we would have waited for 45 minutes. When I advised we could eat at the bar or in smoking, we were immediately seated at a picture window looking out to the pond.

    We ordered the family dinner $13.75 plus $6.95 to share dinner, which was fried chicken (wing, breast, leg and thigh), mashed potatoes, baked potato, green beans and choice of either chicken soup or dinner salad. Will's chicken soup looked very good with thick (apparently) homemade noodles.

    Image

    I had a dinner salad with blue cheese dressing. It was an iceberg-based salad, which was dressed in an unusual way: the arranged salad was dressed with the blue cheese, then a grated mozzarella cheese (which was tossed with parmesan to keep it loose) was heavily sprinkled on top. Certainly, nobody can suggest they were not generous but I had to carefully pick through to see there was indeed blue cheese dressing underneath. I didn't eat much of this salad due to my food saturation from the entire day rather than anything else.

    Image

    Dinner was served family style, so it was no big deal to check out the mashed potatoes with peppery cream gravy Will ordered. We never did touch the baked potato.

    Image

    The pan-fried chicken had a very thin crust, which just sealed in the chicken juices. I like it as-is though Will felt it needed more seasoning, at a bare minimum more salt and pepper. I guess if I were not drowning in a day of BBQ, I could have gotten more enthusiastic about the chicken. I enjoyed it fresh and I enjoyed it cold the next day when my senses could register the experience better. Ditto for the cinnamon sugar rolls, which came to our table with dinner.

    Image

    Overall, Stroud's was our most picked over meal of the day with lots of leftovers to be enjoyed later. Our efficient waitress still had to inquire if we wanted dessert, which was amusing considering all the uneaten food on our table. We slipped our leftovers into bags to fit into the cooler and headed off the airport.

    Would I return to Stroud's? Maybe, though I might explore what other fried chicken options reside in KC.

    Stroud's Oak Ridge Manor
    5410 NE Oak Ridge Dr
    Kansas City, MO 64119
    (816) 454-9600

    Stroud's South
    1015 East 85th Street
    Kansas City, MO 64113
    (816) 333-2132

    http://www.stroudsrestaurant.com/

    &&&

    During the day, we received a phone call from Gary inquiring about our progress. Will promised the next trip would evolve around a schedule Gary could commit to. However as the day progressed, we found only a few places we would visit again:

    1. Arthur Bryant's simply lived up to its' reputation as the premier KC BBQ destination.
    2. Danny Edwards Famous K.C. Barbecue AKA Lil' Jakes Eat it and Beat It - Cold take-out was outstanding, so a visit during working hours must be special.
    3. L.C.'s Barbeque - redeemed only by Chef Dan and his buddies generosity.

    Each of these three places did not have the marketing polish or interior design we observed at Gates and Fiorellas. Our favorites had humble interiors with serviceable Formica tables, because all their efforts, their love, was put into their food. Fortunately, people respond with their feet and cash to eat their barbeque.

    Will also observed these same places would likely arrange next day delivery to our homes, which is fair value considering our cost of air fare and car rental for a day. It does not necessitate a return trip, though my arm could easily be twisted!

    &&&

    You have to wonder how do people feel when they are continuously eating all day. Are we like the fatted goose, which has food funneled down their throats to improve the fattiness and size of their liver? Not quite. You do feel a little slow mentally because the stomach just never quite empties and the concentrated energy to digest does not abate. We really did not eat like each meal was our last, there was quite a bit of conversation over what we ate. When did we feel the most refreshed? Stepping off the plane at Midway when our last meal was several hours behind us.

    Going to Kansas City for a day to eat BBQ was quite an adventure. Thanks again Will for a truly memorable day!

    Now let's eat it an beat it!

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    Concrete mascot from Danny Edwards Famous K.C. Barbecue AKA Lil' Jakes Eat it and Beat It:

    Image
    Last edited by Cathy2 on May 21st, 2007, 7:09 am, edited 2 times in total.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #2 - October 17th, 2004, 8:24 pm
    Post #2 - October 17th, 2004, 8:24 pm Post #2 - October 17th, 2004, 8:24 pm
    Wow! The ultimate post. The bar was set pretty high by the long wait for the post, but you cleared it with ease. Thanks!
  • Post #3 - October 17th, 2004, 8:57 pm
    Post #3 - October 17th, 2004, 8:57 pm Post #3 - October 17th, 2004, 8:57 pm
    C2,

    A magnificent post, and a must-take for anyone going to KC. I haven't been there in years, and I don't believe I've ever been to the places mentioned, but that did not make reading this "guide" any less fascinating. Thanks,

    Hammond
  • Post #4 - October 17th, 2004, 10:10 pm
    Post #4 - October 17th, 2004, 10:10 pm Post #4 - October 17th, 2004, 10:10 pm
    Cathy,

    Thanks for this long anticipated post! I pretty much echo your assessment of all the places you mentioned and hope you get to go back to 'Lil Jakes onhe of these days. I've been to all the places you reviewed (plus a few more) and I'd rank Bryant's, 'Lil Jakes ande LC's my top 3 favorite places for BBQ in KC. I would add one thing about Rosedale, though. Although I agree completely that their brisket and ribs aren't worth a darn, their BBQ chicken is quite outstanding and worth the trip as long as you can remember not to be tempted by the beef and pork products.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven
  • Post #5 - October 17th, 2004, 10:51 pm
    Post #5 - October 17th, 2004, 10:51 pm Post #5 - October 17th, 2004, 10:51 pm
    Really great post.

    I used to go to Bryant's a lot, especially when Hallmark was a client of mine at Leo Burnett and I'd get flown in for the day. I once spent some time in a used bookstore digging through Playboys to find the early 70s one where some bigshot called Les Troisgros the best restaurant in the world and Calvin Trillin (in a major step forward for chowism) was given rebuttal space to say it was Bryant's (yes, that's right, I only read Playboy for the food coverage). But I found myself in the odd position of being a KC barbecue fan who had developed such a strong preference for one place that I really didn't know anything beyond Bryant's after a while. Gates was the place people would always mention as the alternative but I was never convinced that was because of anything other than having multiple locations in better parts of town. Now I need to go back some time and try some of these other spots, but it's sure hard not to just want to stuff yourself at Bryant's when you're in its town.

    One Bryant's story: I was doing a TV shoot in the Kansas City area and I dragged the crew there. Most of them were kind of scruffy blue collar types, or at least movie guys who affected blue collarness, and they dug in heartily and happily. The exception was the producer's wife, a runner and person with a very low BMI, who was aghast to find that there was nothing vegetarian on the menu to be had except the fries. She ate a few, but was clearly unhappy. That was a key moment for me in knowing that there are certain people who simply will not, when in Rome, do as the Romans do, no matter how good it looks and smells. More's the pity for them.
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  • Post #6 - October 18th, 2004, 8:19 am
    Post #6 - October 18th, 2004, 8:19 am Post #6 - October 18th, 2004, 8:19 am
    From my limited experience being dragged by a KC native, my impression was as follows:

    Arthur Bryant's - tried to find the place, but kept getting lost and never did.

    Gates - yawn - "what's the buzz" as the stuff was below average.

    Fiorella's Smoke Stack - I ate at the original in a small town on the MO side. I thought the place was outstanding, especially the lamb ribs. Thought my boss was going to take us there EVERYDAY. After three days, my clothes were getting tight...

    Stoudts - the food wasn't bad, the sides were pretty good ... but this was one of those places that the locals appreciated more than I did.

    My confession is that I prefer the NC/SC style BBQ more than the KC variety.

    I would have been interested in going with you but ... my body can't handle seven meals, especially of the BBQ variety, in one day.
  • Post #7 - October 18th, 2004, 8:28 am
    Post #7 - October 18th, 2004, 8:28 am Post #7 - October 18th, 2004, 8:28 am
    Cathy,

    WOW! pretty much sums up my thoughts on your Tour de Force of a post.

    That and I wish I was able to go with the two of you!!!

    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #8 - October 18th, 2004, 8:45 am
    Post #8 - October 18th, 2004, 8:45 am Post #8 - October 18th, 2004, 8:45 am
    By the way, the answer to the tiled Spanish roofs:

    The Plaza was arguably the first shopping mall in America. Of course there is never a first first with something loosely defined like that, but it was highly influential in establishing the idea of a developer-driven shopping district with consistent architecture and a sense of itself as the destination, as opposed to any given store. The Spanish tiles just come from the fact that it was built in that 30s period when that kind of Californian Spanish and Mission Revival look was popular. (A good example of it here is the M&M Mars plant on Oak Park Ave. or wherever it is, I forget.)

    The area that looks more like a Victorian cowtown is called Westport, it was kind of like Old Town in that at one time it was funky, a little dangerous, youth oriented, and is now quite yuppified.
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  • Post #9 - October 18th, 2004, 9:23 am
    Post #9 - October 18th, 2004, 9:23 am Post #9 - October 18th, 2004, 9:23 am
    Mike G wrote:The Spanish tiles just come from the fact that it was built in that 30s period when that kind of Californian Spanish and Mission Revival look was popular. (A good example of it here is the M&M Mars plant on Oak Park Ave. or wherever it is, I forget.)


    MikeG,

    Yes, the Mars plant is on Oak Park just south of North Avenue. It's a stunningly well-maintained building with year-round putting green-like lawns running around the periphery. Tragically, they don't give tours; they are very secretive (however, last year I had a "mole" inside who secreted out some pre-release candies to me, which gave me a forbidden thrill, and could perhaps have cost this person his/her life).

    Hammond
  • Post #10 - October 18th, 2004, 9:41 am
    Post #10 - October 18th, 2004, 9:41 am Post #10 - October 18th, 2004, 9:41 am
    Hi,

    I'm glad you are all pleased with the BBQ post. Will has in his plans to write the he-said portion of this tour, which I predict will be a fun read. I posted yesterday after Will agreed it was about time it was out there.

    Mike - thanks for clarifying the shopping district. So the Spanish tile roofs have nothing to do with any direct Spanish influence, rather architectual fashion of the period. We must of have missed Westport entirely because nothing looked cowtown about anything we saw.

    As for Gates, I'm glad to hear there are few others mystified by their claims of being KC's favorite. The food does not support the hype and may just be a game of numbers related to convenient location.

    At the airport, we heard there was another Bryant's opening near a major sports attraction. Hopefully Will will repeat the unintentionally hilarious conversation with a fellow passenger where Will kept a really good poker face. Yes, there is more to this trip than what you've learned so far.
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #11 - October 18th, 2004, 9:44 am
    Post #11 - October 18th, 2004, 9:44 am Post #11 - October 18th, 2004, 9:44 am
    David Hammond wrote:
    Yes, the Mars plant is on Oak Park just south of North Avenue. It's a stunningly well-maintained building with year-round putting green-like lawns running around the periphery.

    Hammond


    it's actually just north of north avenue, at 2019 N. Oak Park..
    Ed Fisher
    my chicago food photos

    RIP LTH.
  • Post #12 - October 18th, 2004, 1:17 pm
    Post #12 - October 18th, 2004, 1:17 pm Post #12 - October 18th, 2004, 1:17 pm
    Wow. :shock: What a post, thanks Cathy2. I'm reminded of the .sigline of a friend of mine . . . "Always late, but worth the wait!". Indeed. As much as I enjoyed the pictures and narrative, I can't imagine how I could eat 7 BBQ meals in one day . . . let alone take notes and pictures and get back on a plane. Kudos to you and Will.
    Objects in mirror appear to be losing.
  • Post #13 - October 18th, 2004, 11:09 pm
    Post #13 - October 18th, 2004, 11:09 pm Post #13 - October 18th, 2004, 11:09 pm
    Several weeks ago, Cathy2 and I ventured out to Kansas City for the first annual LTH Kansas City Barbeque Jaunt.

    First and foremost, allow me to apologize for the delay in getting this report posted. Shortly after returning from KC, I sat down to write it only for my two hour effort to be vexed by the previously unknown 'time out function' on the LTH board that times you out if you exceeds a certain period of time to author your post. After the time our vexing, I said "aw, screw it, I'll just do it later" and that moment has now arrived.

    Shortly before 5:30 am, I arrived at Midway only to have Cathy pull into the parking space right next to mine only further substantiating my paranoid delusion that Jim Leff is watching me all the time. I was equipped with soon to de damned MapsOnUs.com directions, a cooler, a coffee. Cathy, being the protypical Hound hand been thoughtful enough to allow time to stop by Jim's Original for a breakfast Dog before pulling in. She was also equipped with the bag that she once carried her testicles around in herein and after referred to as "Cathy's Testicle Bag".

    We boarded our 7am flight to Kansas City and rented a car upon our arrival.

    The Kansas City Airport is one of those throwback airports designed to allow you to drive up, park your car in the driveway in front of the terminal, and flip the safety switch on your .38 special just in case it was inclined to go off and shoot you in the foot as you boarded your flight or when grabbing a little stewardess tail in the airport lobby as well as other such things that were acceptable in 1957 that are not today. Ahhh, progress.. Over the years, the Kansas City Air Authority has done little to update the airport except to install signs directing passengers to the car rental counter that lead them to a large field at the end of the terminal. As you exit the terminal door leading to the field, you can just imagine some airport authority bureaucrat chuckling as he watches you on a monitor.

    In preparing for this trip, we did exhaustive internet research seeking qualified article on each of the 7 restaurants that we planned to visit during the day. The resource of most value in my opinion was http://www.georgeblowfish.com. Blowfish is a Kansas City internet radio DJ (whatever the heck that means) and musician who has a deep passion for Kansas City barbeque. We also relied on some very strong recommendations from LTH subscribers (special thanks to Aaron for insisting that we visit LC's).

    After renting a car and grabbing a cup of coffee, we arrived at the world famous Arthur Bryants on Brooklyn Avenue at 10:10 am moments after their 10 am opening. There, under the recommendation of the esteemed Mr. Blowfish, we ordered a beef (brisket) sandwich and an order of fries.

    There is a reason that Calvin Trillin once proclaimed this place the single best restaurant in the world. The beef at Bryant's was silky smooth, slightly firm to the bite with a wonderful smoke ring and accompanying smoky flavor. With Bryant's beef, there was no sign of dryness or excessive holding that would have made the meat gummy and prone to fall apart.. We each chose Bryant's regular sauce for our sandwich, an orange colored, gritty sauce that complemented the beef so perfectly that we sat in silence as we polished off the sandwich.

    The fries themselves were equally impressive-fresh cut and deep fried in lard. They were crispy with little bubbles of lard love pronounced upon the skins of the freshly cut potatoes. They had an incredible combination of flavor and crispness that led one to ask oneself why everyone didn't fry their potatoes in lard- only to realize-Oh yeah, coronary arrest is the reason!!. While they needed no condiments accompanying them, it was really hard to pass up dipping them in the sauce which only enhanced their perfection.

    Upon completion of our sample, we took a few minutes to take in much of the nostalgia that exists on the Walls of Bryant's. Politicians, athletes, and plain old folks all make up the body of thousands that have enjoyed this great barbeque experience. I should note that the site of Bryant's is directly across the street from what was once the site of the ballpark where the Kansas City Monarchs of the old Negro Leagues once played. Kansas City also has a fine museum dedicated to the Negro Leagues, which sadly for me, was closed on the Monday which we visited. As if I needed another reason to return to Kansas City and Arthur Bryants.

    I purchased a pound of brisket and two bottles of sauce for my cooler. Cathy opted only for a bottle of sauce to be stored in her testicle bag.

    Oh yes, and to settle a mini-dispute, Bryant's does indeed serve burnt ends on it's menu.

    Our second stop, at around 11 am, was at Gates and Sons Barbeque's original Brooklyn Avenue location, which was just a short drive from Bryant's. The week before the barbeque jaunt, a young skinny lady from Kansas City tried to convince me to try another location of Gates. However, for the sake of authenticity (and keeping firm my rule of never taking chow advice from skinny chicks), we chose to stick with the original. We agreed upon a sample of pork ribs with Gates regular sauce and a small order of baked beans. These were recommended by Mr. Blowfish as the two "can't miss items" at Gates and Sons. Now before anyone questions the scientific validity of comparisons, please let me point out that this trip was never intended to be a scientific effort so much as it was a simple exercise in pure assed gluttony.

    Gates definitely is the better marketed of the two big barbeque houses in Kansas City with locations around the city. Unlike Bryant's, which was pretty plain inside, Gates is dressed up a bit with colorful tiles, ceiling fans and stained glass in the dining room. In my opinion, that's where the positive comparison of Gates stops. The ribs that we ordered were served with both a dry rub and a sauce. Unfortunately, the overly salty nature of the dry rub really came into conflict with the sticky sweetness of the sauce. There was waaay too much going on in every bite of ribs here. The ribs were well cooked-fatty with some resistance to the teeth. But overall, I can't say that I would order them again. As a matter of fact, Cathy and I abandoned the final two of our six ribs declaring them too unpleasant to eat. On the other hand, the baked beans were outstanding. The secret of great baked beans, in my opinion, is when you take a number of different tastes, cook them together and end up with a melded fatty smooth product. That sings as it crosses your tastebuds And that's exactly what Gates and Sons Delivered.

    Our third stop was the one that I had looked most forward to based on Aaron's enthusiastic recommendation. Recently, the esteemed Mr. Deacon wrote::

    I got burnt ends, and I have never tasted anything like it in my life. The only way I could have gotten more smoke was to plant my face in front of the smoker when they opened it up to retrieve some meat and a large, fragrant cloud makes it's way behind the counter and through the ventilation system. And he does a pretty mean sauce too. I'm still dreaming about those burnt ends.

    That was LC's Barbeque. A small poorly kept place, LC's serves notice when you hit the parking lot that they are serious about their barbeque. The beautiful wafting fragrance of smoke, beef and pork fat would scintillate the nostrils of even the most damned of vegans if you ask me.

    On Aaron's recommendation, Cathy and I ordered a plate of those glorious burnt ends. When our order arrived, we dug in and all most simultaneously looked up at one another in disbelief. Where is the smoky intoxication of which Aaron wrote, we queried? Where is the face full of smoke that we had been looking so forward to on the ride over?

    Our 'burnt ends' were a bit burnt. But, were really just cubes of cooked beef with the slightest hint of charred edges. Our disappointment showed: we had been touristed. Served 'wanna be' burnt ends so that the real thing could be saved for the regular customers who were beginning to fill the dining room at lunch time.

    But, there was burnt end salvation one table over (no pun intended). As Cathy queried the diners at the next table about getting a picture of our real burnt ends, the group of Baptist ministers congregated there took interest in our plight. Having recognized that we had been slighted, they were kind enough to share a taste from their plate of the real thing with us while carefully explaining that LC looks after his regulars because there is such a big run every day on burnt ends.

    Boy, that sample was an eye opener. Smoky, fatty, flavorful and delicious. I didn't leave LC's unhappy because I had been touristed. More so, I was unhappy because I couldn't eat that delicious burnt end dinner at least once a week.

    At this point, Cathy and I needed a bit of a breather. So, we headed for Kansas City's lovely Plaza residential and shopping District where we shared coffee at Starbucks while Cathy sat on my lap, seductively hand feeding me those luscious caramels that they sell for two bucks each up at the cash register. Two cups of coffee and $28 dollars of caramels later, we departed for our next stop.

    Ha Ha. Just wanted to see if you were paying attention and see if I could make Cathy's blood pressure jump 10 or 20 points. Really, we cooled our heels for about an hour at the Dean Martin of Yuppie Coffee Shops before venturing on to our next stop and man, oh man was the next stop a disappointment.

    Thereafter, we ventured out for Fiorella's Jack Stack, a well hidden and well heeled barbeque joint located in a warehouse directly behind Kansas City's Union Station. Finding Fiorella's is no small task as a number of Kansas City Streets seem to vanish into thin air as you approach the station. After nearly 30 minutes of driving into dead end after dead end, we finally stumbled into the alleyway that houses Fiorella's Jack Stack.

    Fiorella's doesn't look like many other Kansas City Barbeque joints. It's loft like design, exposed brick walls and cloth napkins signify that you are about to enter a different realm of Kansas City Barbeque. Unfortunately, it wasn't a memorable realm. Cathy and I decided to split a combination of burnt ends and Denver lamb ribs.

    The Burnt Ends arrived at the table with all of the positive attributes of burnt ends, Dark crispy edges surrounding a beautiful smoke ring. The problem with the burnt ends is that they retained none of the flavor of the smoke that one would suspect they would. The meat was mushy and wet suggesting perhaps that the weekend burnt ends had been rehydrated and subjected to steam which had leeched all their smoky porky goodness from them.

    The lamb ribs were good with both a really tasty dry rub and an overbearing commercial style barbeque sauce. In my opinion, they would have been much better without the sauce. I scraped the KC Masterpiece-like sauce off of them and polished off all of the extras. Lamb and smoke-that's a combination that's really hard to screw up. But Fiorella's came awfully close.

    The tab was steep and the food was average at Fiorella's. Nothing to write home about.

    When we arrived at our next stop, Danny Edwards aka Lil' Jakes Eat It and Beat It, we were chagrined to find that they were closed for the afternoon. After serving a penalty half hour in the rental car trunk for reading the map incorrectly ( a common theme in our sojourn), Cathy was parched. Not to miss an opportunity at Lil Jakes, she approached the pitmaster outside and began her tale of woe in an effort to get him to sell us some of their highly praised barbeque.

    Her tale of woe won her some pity as the pitmaster consented, and for 20 bucks gave us a slab of the best pork ribs that we ate all day, two pink lemonades, a bottle of sauce, and his own opinion of the best barbeque joints in KC. Bryants good. JackStack Bad.

    The ribs were meaty and fatty with a tasty, yet not overwhelming dry rub. The rub complimented the ribs versus overwhelming them. Good enough to eat without sauce which we proceeded to do 'Lem's Style' from the trunk of the rental car. In my opinion, these were the best ribs we ate all day.

    From Lil Jakes, we ventured on, as a result of Cathy's map reading expertise, to somewhere in the middle of BF Kansas, if you know what I mean. I appreciate Cathy not noting that I screamed like a little girl when the truck ran us off the road. Clearly seeing both of Kansas City's skyscrapers becoming smaller and smaller in the rear view mirror, I ripped the map from Cathy's hands, tore it into little shreds and decided to do the only thing that a real red blooded man could do: drive based upon my natural god given directional instinct rather than specific directions.

    Approximately 30 minutes later after driving across the median and turning back toward Kansas City, we arrived at the well known and much hyped Rosedale. As Cathy has noted, this venerable institution of barbeque was noted over and over by critics for being inexpensive versus good including the esteemed Mr. Blowfish. Boy, it sure lived up to its reputation. Upon ordering the recommended brisket sandwich, the waitress turned around and grabbed a pre-made and wrapped sandwich from the kitchen window. Cathy immediately protested loudly and I grew nervous as I saw a number of the patrons flip the safety switches on their guns and reach down to unleash their pet pitbulls that were eating an early dinner with them.

    Eventually the ruckus settled down and we sampled the Rosewood Brisket which tasted, to me, like an Arby's Roast Beef Sandwich. The consistency of the meat was horrible. It was mushy and could not even hold itself into a slice. There's simply no reason to fly all the way to Kansas City for this sandwich when the same thing can be had for 20% of the price at the Arby's at Harlem and Irving Park. Plus, Rosedale doesn't have that cool drive through delivery system left over from when the Arby's on Harlem used to be a bank. I'd probably go back if they did.

    At this point we're bloated. We're miserable and we can eat no more. So what do we do? Visit a branch of the much beloved Stroud's on the way to the airport for a full chicken dinner.

    If you've ever been to Stroud's, you probably know that it's the kind of place that people skip meals all day if they know they're going there for dinner. It is really not the kind of place you go if you've already had six meals in a day (seven if you count Cathy's breakfast hot dog). That said, I'm not sure that I can give Strouds a fair review.

    Being a southern boy, I like to think that I'm an expert when it comes to fried chicken. Strouds believes in the Midwest formula of flash frying an unseasoned crust on its Chicken. I like a little seasoning. Some Salt. Some pepper. Maybe a dash of cayenne in my seasoning flour.

    That said, the place is awfully popular, with the crowd waiting 45 minutes for tables at 5:30 in the afternoon. The mashed potatoes were excellent. The sugar rolls are divine. The chicken soup tasty and nourishing.

    Cathy and I proceed back to the airport where I try to park the rental car at the gate. No go. They make me take it back to the rental agency.

    As we wait for our flight, we're approached by some local nave who wants to know why I'm not sitting next to my 'wife'. At first, I think he's coming onto me. Then, I think he's getting ready to propose a wife swap-which I would have been perfectly willing to do five hours earlier if his wife could read a map.

    We explain, no we lie audaciously, that we are food writers from Chicago and that we have just visited seven Kansas City Restaurants in a period of 10 hours to sample the best of that city's barbeque. He share where we have been and what we liked when Nave., looking completely perplexed by our entire trip, states that "Arthur Bryant's is good. But, they could never compete with Famous Dave's back in Peoria." At this point my mind automatically shuts down, I squint my eyes and feign intense interest in the paint peeling from the ceiling in this dinosaur of an airport so as not to emote the beginnings of a fist fight with Nave.

    Nave soon walks away as a result of my weird squinting and staring. I need to remember that tactic.

    When we arrive in Chicago, Cathy and I depart by wishing that it is a long time before we see each other again and head on our merry way. I strongly suspect that she had another hot dog on the way home and got lost a couple of times.

    This is my report on how I spent my summer eating barbeque in Kansas City.
  • Post #14 - October 19th, 2004, 12:14 am
    Post #14 - October 19th, 2004, 12:14 am Post #14 - October 19th, 2004, 12:14 am
    Great reports, Will and Cathy. Glad you ended up with the real deal at LC's.

    YourPalWill wrote:That said, the place is awfully popular, with the crowd waiting 45 minutes for tables at 5:30 in the afternoon.


    This is probably indicative of nothing so much as the early hour at which folks from the vast Great Plains begin lining up for dinner. I'd be willing to bet Chili's had a long line at 5:30, too. When we visited Stroud's at about 8:30 on a Saturday night, I don't think we waited 5 minutes before being seated.
  • Post #15 - October 20th, 2004, 7:38 am
    Post #15 - October 20th, 2004, 7:38 am Post #15 - October 20th, 2004, 7:38 am
    Will,

    You had me laughing loud enough for Ellen to come see what the heck I was laughing about, then she started reading along and we were both laughing. Great post, really funny and informative.

    Just a thought, but maybe you and Cathy should form a Jan and Michael Stern type team and wander the countryside. :)

    Enjoy,
    Gary
  • Post #16 - October 20th, 2004, 7:57 am
    Post #16 - October 20th, 2004, 7:57 am Post #16 - October 20th, 2004, 7:57 am
    Gary,

    I would like to note this is your post 666 --- ah so, the Devil made you do it!!!

    Yeah, the she-said/he-said format is quite revealing, isn't it?

    Glad you enjoyed yourself as much as I did when I read Will's report.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #17 - December 16th, 2004, 9:58 am
    Post #17 - December 16th, 2004, 9:58 am Post #17 - December 16th, 2004, 9:58 am
    This is outstanding - I'm heading to KC over the holidays and will use this as a primer. I'll report back after hopefully eating lots and lots of BBQ.
  • Post #18 - December 31st, 2004, 12:31 am
    Post #18 - December 31st, 2004, 12:31 am Post #18 - December 31st, 2004, 12:31 am
    Just wanted to add a link to my BBQ trip around the same time this fall to several of the same places in KC (LC's, AB's, and Stroud's), along with Memphis, and a few others.

    LC's is a great place and those burnt ends were fabulous. The pork ribs could be improved, but it's a great place. The sandwich with sliced pork and beef is perfection.

    Burnt Ends
    Image

    Sandwich
    Image

    Me & Sandwich
    Image
    Unintentionally retired early by the pandemic, but without the golden parachute.
    Formerly Mi Mero Mole
    Formerly Zapapizza
    Formerly Kenny & Zuke's Delicatessen
    Artisan Jewish Deli at Home Cookbook
  • Post #19 - January 26th, 2005, 7:53 pm
    Post #19 - January 26th, 2005, 7:53 pm Post #19 - January 26th, 2005, 7:53 pm
    Enjoyed your bbq tour a whole bunch. I've lived in KC for 33 yrs, altho' now I split my time btw KC and south-central WI.

    Contrary to what one of the posters reported, in fact there IS a direct Spanish connection between the Plaza [pronounce, btw, "Plawh-zuh" !!]. The real estate tycoon who conceived the idea for a one-shot dedicated shopping 'village' had spent some time shortly before in Seville. Many of the Plaza's bldgs are direct copies of Seville's bldgs, most notably the Tower.

    KC and Seville are sister cities. Seville's main drag running right by the train station is the Avenida de Kansas City.

    I agree with all of your bbq ratings, except the one place you didn't rate: Oklahoma Joe's, the place in the gas station. Stevez didn't think so much of it, but then, he only went there oncet. Next time, give it a try.

    Gottseidank, you didn't go to K.C. Masterpiece! Yikes!

    BTW, the original Smoke Stack still exists out south of town in the (now almost suburban) Martin City. Their beans are the single best side in KC.

    The Stroud's under the Troost Ave. viaduct , the original, is the better of the two.

    Lemme know next time you come back to KC, maybe I'll let you look inside MY smoker... yee-hah!

    geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #20 - January 26th, 2005, 8:12 pm
    Post #20 - January 26th, 2005, 8:12 pm Post #20 - January 26th, 2005, 8:12 pm
    Hi Geo,

    We would love to see the inside your smoker ... and you can check out mine! Several of us here have Weber Smokey Mountains ... I'm a graduate of G Wiv's intuitive smoking school.

    Geo wrote:Gottseidank, you didn't go to K.C. Masterpiece! Yikes!


    Did we miss something special or were we smart enough to miss an obvious tourist trap?

    The Strouds location was chosen because it led us toward the airport. We were aware the original was supposed to better. In this case, we needed to consider proximity.

    Regards,
    Cathy2

    "You'll be remembered long after you're dead if you make good gravy, mashed potatoes and biscuits." -- Nathalie Dupree
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  • Post #21 - January 26th, 2005, 8:36 pm
    Post #21 - January 26th, 2005, 8:36 pm Post #21 - January 26th, 2005, 8:36 pm
    KC Masterpiece is the very worst sort of touristy place, trying to cash in on the fame of the sauce. Don't even think about it... A couple of yrs ago a good buddy--I call him "The Restaurant King of Seattle" bcz he owns several stores in that city--flew down to KC after the Chicago food show with exactly the same resolution as yours in mind: do KC bbq in a day. We did Bryant's, Gates, LC's, Smoke Stack, and KC Masterpiece. In that order. He walked out of the last, and not just bcz he was full.

    This year he came back and we drank some of my wine (I used to own a winery) and then hit Okie Joe's. Yum.

    My smoker is an ol' Texas two-barrel job, Black Mountain or something. A closely associated female person told me, as I got it set up, "Good Grief! that's big enough to fit a kindergartner in!", but as she was then teaching sixth grade, I didn't take her tooo seriously.

    Onward!

    g
    PS. Where's some good dim sum in Chicagoland?
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #22 - January 26th, 2005, 11:23 pm
    Post #22 - January 26th, 2005, 11:23 pm Post #22 - January 26th, 2005, 11:23 pm
    Geo wrote:(I used to own a winery)


    Which one?

    Geo wrote:PS. Where's some good dim sum in Chicagoland?


    People like Phoenix on weekends, though it reportedly gets rather crowded.
  • Post #23 - January 26th, 2005, 11:42 pm
    Post #23 - January 26th, 2005, 11:42 pm Post #23 - January 26th, 2005, 11:42 pm
    I owned Midi Vineyards, in Lone Jack MO, about 30 mins s.e. of KC. We closed long ago, but were fairly well-known in our heyday. Of course, we were the only winery in the KC region... :)

    14 acres of vineyard, made about 10K gallons a year. We made the house wine--apple wine--for Stephenson's Apple Farm restaurant, another old timey KC legend.

    g
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #24 - January 26th, 2005, 11:58 pm
    Post #24 - January 26th, 2005, 11:58 pm Post #24 - January 26th, 2005, 11:58 pm
    Geo wrote:I owned Midi Vineyards, in Lone Jack MO, about 30 mins s.e. of KC. We closed long ago, but were fairly well-known in our heyday. Of course, we were the only winery in the KC region... :)

    14 acres of vineyard, made about 10K gallons a year. We made the house wine--apple wine--for Stephenson's Apple Farm restaurant, another old timey KC legend.


    That's fascinating. Would you mind answering a few more questions over here?

    Cheers,

    Aaron
  • Post #25 - January 27th, 2005, 12:08 am
    Post #25 - January 27th, 2005, 12:08 am Post #25 - January 27th, 2005, 12:08 am
    Great post and pictures. Thanks!
  • Post #26 - March 7th, 2005, 3:54 pm
    Post #26 - March 7th, 2005, 3:54 pm Post #26 - March 7th, 2005, 3:54 pm
    Hi Aaron and all--

    I've tried to follow over to the new discussion on MO and TX wine, but when I click on "reply" it immediately bounces me to the top/index page for the Forum.

    Hence, I'm asking here how I can reply there, if that makes sense.

    You might best reply to me in my guise In Real Life:

    galeg@umkc.edu

    Tnx,
    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #27 - May 10th, 2005, 5:52 am
    Post #27 - May 10th, 2005, 5:52 am Post #27 - May 10th, 2005, 5:52 am
    Hi Geo,

    What is the name of that BBQ joint down the street from UMKC? It's next to a pizza place (Minsky?). This is on the side street and at the end of the corner is the library (the Plaza is to the left). I can't never remember the name of that place but ate there at least once a week as a student. My friends and I used to walk down from Rockhurst and walk back up after a full plate of ribs. :) The restaurant makes its own spicy bbq sauce and you can order bbq, ship via UPS. :)
  • Post #28 - May 10th, 2005, 9:40 am
    Post #28 - May 10th, 2005, 9:40 am Post #28 - May 10th, 2005, 9:40 am
    Hi Darly,

    It's Jake Edwards, 5107 Main. Here's a review:

    http://www.gasbbq.net/edwards.htm


    I like the place, good ol' fashioned KC-style. Sure makes that neighborhood smell good with their smoke.

    Where are you now, roaming so far from The Rock?

    Geo
    Sooo, you like wine and are looking for something good to read? Maybe *this* will do the trick! :)
  • Post #29 - July 28th, 2005, 6:41 pm
    Post #29 - July 28th, 2005, 6:41 pm Post #29 - July 28th, 2005, 6:41 pm
    Cathy2's post and the feedback in this thread were very helpful in my planning of a trip to Kansas City last week. Here are some quick notes on my meals in KC, Kansas. More detail and photos can be found at this link.

    (1) Oklahoma Joe's (47th & Mission location). The short and not-so-sweet version is, "I don't get it." The ribs I saw on a few people's plates appeared to have been soft-barked and overcooked to mush--so much so that I didn't bother ordering them. One of their employees told me that pulled pork was their best meat, so I ordered the sandwich of pulled pork and sausage (having read something positive somewhere about their links). I wasn't impressed with the look of the meat that emerged from a steam-heated bins on the prep line. And eating it didn't change that impression. The pulled pork was somewhat dry, light on smoke, bland, and lacking in brown bits. The sausage--hammy and peppery--was a step up from supermarket-grade sausage, but didn't really hit the spot. The bun, straight from a bag, was airy and flat-tasting. It wasn't a bad sandwich--just a mediocre one, even with some of the chipotle-spiked hot sauce drizzled over it. Their curious baked beans were pretty good, though I favored some of the more traditional interpretations of the dish I had in KC. I'm guessing Oklahoma Joe's is capable of much better work than what I saw on Saturday. I only wish I'd caught them on their A-game.

    (2) Rosedale. Good grief. I know I should probably have some respect for a place that's survived as long as this joint has. But a joint that serves 'cue as bad as what I got here doesn't *deserve* to survive. The brisket (or sliced beef) was so dry that it crumbled to pieces. The sliced pork stayed together, but was also dry and very salty. Ribs were greasy, overcooked, and light on smoke. Fries seemed like they were of the "freezer section" variety. Beans were better than VanCamp's (for what that's worth), but below the KC average. Wild horses couldn't drag me back in.

    (3) Quick's 7th Street Bar-B-Q. I came here on the basis of a Chowhound recommendation of "Quick's," but then later found there was an Earl Quick's on Merriam (which, it turns out, was the place I should have hit). The beef sandwich (recommended by the waiter) at the 7th Street location was bland and rubbery. Had it been better, I might have ordered something else. But that gray, unappetizing wad of meat left me discouraged, so I packed it in and moved on. That's one of the dangers of heading out without sufficient planning.

    (4) Woodyard Bar-B-Que. Ah, yes. The sight of a brick pit. The smell of smoke thick in the air. A pitmaster that's eager to show you what he's capable of. Even if the food were to fail, I could tell this would be the most enjoyable barbecue experience of the day. Fortunately, the food delivered. Baby backs were a little soft in the bark and had a slightly too salty dry rub, but had excellent smoke penetration, near ideal texture, and great flavor. Almost the best ribs of the trip. Pulled pork wasn't quite as moist as I would have liked, but also had very good flavor and smokiness--better than most of what I've had in Memphis. The surprisingly good "hot legs" (chicken legs smoked and basted with a spicy barbecue sauce) were an amusing, successful spin on hot wings. Woodyard was easily the best of the meals I had in Kansas City, Kansas.

    Scott
  • Post #30 - July 29th, 2005, 6:13 am
    Post #30 - July 29th, 2005, 6:13 am Post #30 - July 29th, 2005, 6:13 am
    Scott,

    You evidently missed my post regarding Rosedale where I warned people to skip the beef and pork products and get the chicken. I'll also agree with you on Oklahoma Joe's except to say they have some of the best pickels I have ever had at a BBQ joint. Of course, that's not reason enough to trek to the Ok J's gas station.
    Steve Z.

    “Only the pure in heart can make a good soup.”
    ― Ludwig van Beethoven

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