Kansas City, Missouri.

Our friend Liz, she lives in Kansas City.   I’ve talked about our unique friendship before but a fast reminder: we started talking online in 1999, met in 2005 and will be living together Fall 2011.   She is a world traveler, and has always been the one to come East to visit me.  After we lost a very close mutual friend, it was time for me to step it up.    I couldn’t stand the fact that I hadn’t seen Liz’s home, met her friends and most importantly, seen her perform! She is a very talented actress and works so hard at her craft.   She had one of her biggest parts yet approaching,  I had to be there to see it.  I really wanted to surprise her, but that might have been too much on her plate, so I let her in on my pseudo-plans.  She was totally psyched! Of course! Icing on the cake, it fell on Joe’s Birthday weekend.  Perfect.  I convinced him to go (didn’t take much convincing) Then,  my tax return was deposited and I booked the tickets immediately.

Neither Joe or I  have spent much time in the Mid-West.  I was nervous, excited and ready for some fried chicken!  Our flights were painless. I think.. I slept through take off and landing (I usually want to barf through both)  Our layover in Detroit .. we were total zombies, we still hadnt slept! After picking us up, Liz brought us to coffee immediately  (it’s one of our shared obsessions) I finally got to meet her Mom, who I feel like I’ve always known.  I cuddled her kitty girl, Paris.  Saw the trinkets she kept throughout her home and I obviously raided her closet.  Joe! don’t let me pack at midnight when I have to leave for airport at 2 a.m. Bad News, nothing made sense- wardrobe wise.

Liz’s performances were flawless.  She blew me away! Joe was very hesitant to be attending the “Kansas City Women’s Playwrighting Festival” – but, he LOVED it.   The selection of pieces made us both laugh & cry.  In the Playbill, she dedicated her performances to Rachael.  Extremely fitting because not only was Rach into theatre, but the first performance was a story about young love. (Promises to Keep – video)

Earlier in the day, we had a meal at Jack Stack’s BBQ.  HOLY DELISH!  The Beans, Burnt Ends, Coleslaw, Ribs, Chicken, It was all delicious. Our meal was obviously paired with the Local Beer- Boulevard.  Very impressive, we enjoyed the Long Strange Tripel and a Spring Ale.  After the performances at Union Station a stop to a beer store was imperative.  Ended up choosing a  sample of Boulevard and went home to drink up.  It was nice, I got to know Liz’s boy, Bryce. We ate all of our leftovers and relaxed.   I’m pretty sure we passed out one by one, but it was probably just me- first. As always.

The next morning we decided to stop by Westport Flea Market . Joe’s friend Erik is not only well versed in food areas, but a native of the Kansas City area.  He recommended a few places- Westport was one of them.  Thank YOU Erik! Delish, grubby, greasy, burger.  Exactly what we needed.  It was a fun experience to boot, tables set up amongst a flea market with a cute tattooed chick behind bar that took your beer & food order, and  mean looking cooks behind the window. Growling your name out on a loud speaker to pick up your food while arguing with the waitresses.   Aaah, to work in a restaurant.  I miss that dynamic.  You fixed up your own burgers with every condiment and topping.  I chose pickles, tomatoes, onions, mushrooms and BBQ sauce.  Heavenly!  After we stuffed ourselves silly we went back inside to shop.  I picked up a few items, and talked to the man who ran one of the shops.  He was so interesting and gave me a free Michael Jordan card and vintage Boy Scout pins!! He hooked Liz up with some Princess Diana Beanie Babies.  We also came away with a Spanish NBA card game, an ashtray and a set of brand new vintage champagne glasses.

Before closing night of the Festival, naps took place.  During closing night of the Festival, Liz rocked it! Go Liz! I took shaky videos of both this night (Promises to Keep was linked above) and the closing act, Eva’s Evolution.  Liz plays Eva! Afterward, Joe and I waited for Liz and the rest of the cast to clean up the stage and we joined them all at a local bar for drinks.

Without saying, the next morning brought a few lazy, slightly hungover folks.  The remedy?  Stroud’s BBQ.  I can say.. without hesitation- this is one of my favorite meals I’ve ever had.  It was Mother’s Day, so we were nervous about having to wait for a table- but! the bar was empty! I ordered a Bloody Mary- it might be the most delish one I’ve ever had.  The barkeep was amazing and let me ask a million questions.  I wanted their house specialities so he steered me in the direction of a Broiled Pork Chop, 3 pieces of Fried Chicken, side of Mashed Potatoes, Green Beans and Applesauce.  You guys, oh my.  I can’t even begin to describe the gravy they served with the meal.   I need to learn how to make that (and then eat it on it’s own!)  After the meal, they presented us with a basket of Cinnamon Bread.   Decadence. They were warm, heavy and full of perfect rich cinnamon flavor.  This place needs a cookbook! Pronto.   We were so full, there was serious strain involved in lifting ourselves from our seats.   Of course, we had an abundance of leftovers… more for later!  It was so good. I highly recommend/demand  going there if you are EVER in the area.

The next morning we just took our time waking up.  It was Joe’s Birthday, and our flight was at 4:35.  We said our goodbyes to Paris Kitty. We had some biscuits and gravy, Starbucks and shopped around for some souvenirs.  Our flights home were a success.  The only problem was we got back to Brooklyn around 2 and we both had to be up at 4:30 a.m. for work.. ouch!  It was well worth it, as always.

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