Sometimes it’s all about the food. And two weeks ago, when we sojourned to Kansas City for a mid-summer vacation, it was all about the food. As you may or may not know, Kansas City is world-famous for its bbq: burnt ends, brisket, pulled pork, sliced meat, etc. I was moderately excited, given that my favorite food items are milk, pasta, ice cream, vegetables, and fruit, the Kansas City food seemed exciting, but not overwhelmingly so.
The first night, we headed over to Fiorella’s Jack Stack bbq restaurant. Zagat says that it’s the number one bbq place in the country. We decided we had to have a little bit of everything. As you can see by the picture, we munched on absurdly enormous onions rings and burnt ends as an appetizer–Kansas City, it turns out, is most famous for its burnt ends bbq. To try both, we got beef and pork, accompanied by thick slices of texas toast and an entire dish of bbq sauce.For dinner, we got a half slab of baby back pork ribs, brisket, pulled pork, cheesy corn (a very strange Kansas City dish consisting of cheese, corn, and bbq) coleslaw, baked beans (more bbq than beans), and potato salad. The ribs were out of this world, as was the pulled pork (especially when I put it on top of the texas toast for an open-faced sandwich); the brisket was fine. The second night, we couldn’t stomach the thought of so much meat again, so we had to head to Kansas City’s best pizza place for some traditional plain cheese pizza. It was, as most pizzas are, delicious.
The third night, we were ready to try out the meat again, so we headed to Gates, Kansas City’s version of fast-food bbq. Gates was sublime. Just like at a fast food restaurant, we stood in line to order at the counter, and the food came right away: two absurdly large, stuffed full, heaping sandwiches of pork and beef bbq, topped by two pieces of white bread (I don’t think you’re allowed to use wheat bread for a Kansas City sandwich). As you can see by the picture, it was a lot of meat. It was also absolutely delicious.As much as we had enjoyed Gates and Fiorella, by the last night we had to go a new direction. So we headed over to Westport, the so-called Hipster part of town to a restaurant called “Potpie.” We sat down immediately, and studied the menu, cutely inscribed on a large chalkboard on the wall. I’m not sure why we bothered studying the menu, for we were there for chicken potpies ($7.99 a piece).
The waiter nodded approvingly as we both ordered the chicken potpie. “Two pies,” he said, “coming right up.” Not ten minutes later, two steaming, beautifully crusted chicken pies arrived at our table. The crust was buttery, flaky, and golden–everything one wants in a potpie crust.Underneath the crust, there was the absolute perfect ratio of chicken to vegetables to sauce: It was the best chicken potpie I’ve ever had. (And I lived in Scotland for six months where meat pies are dinner every day.) The pies were gone in minutes.
In the end, the bbq was great, but nothing beat the pie. Had we gone there the first night, we might have gone back every day.