19 July 2009


It is, almost certainly, a good thing that I do not live in Kansas City. I love the food here. My cardiovascular system doesn't. But I'm not here often.

So today, for lunch I went to Arthur Bryant's.Combo plate of burnt ends and pulled pork. I couldn't make up my mind if I liked the "rich and spicy sauce" or the "original" better. The burnt ends are the best I've ever had anywhere. The pork, well, I do prefer the vinegary North Carolina style, but it's still awfully good.

After lunch I went to Lawrence, Kansas, to The Raven bookstore where I sat around having a good conversation with Julie, who was working there, while I signed some books.

After that, it was off to see the KC T-Bones play ball against the Joliet Jackhammers. The T-Bones mascot is, of course, a beef steer named Sizzle.I was prepared to eat the mascot, if they offered t-bone steaks at the ballpark. Alas, they don't. (So far, the only ballpark I've been to where you can eat the mascot is in Zebulon, North Carolina where the Mudcats play and the concessions specialize in catfish sandwiches.)

So, having failed to dine at the ballpark, I decided on fried chicken - another of Kansas City's better options. I wanted to go to Stroud's, my favorite chicken fryer in the U.S. (Their slogan is, "We choke our own chickens.") Problem was, it's hard to find and I didn't want to go back to the hotel - the wrong direction - to look it up online. So, I decided on a soul food restaurant near the National Jazz and Negro Baseball League museums. To get there, I took the Brooklyn Avenue exit off I-70 and was immediately confronted with Bryant's to the right, and Gates & Son's (possibly the most famous other KC BBQ place) to the left. It did seem like a good idea to make a taste comparison. So I turned left toward Gates.It was, I hate to say, a mistake. I had ribs. They were chewy and fatty. The sauce was mundane. After the first bite I considered not finishing my meal and heading instead for fried chicken as planned.

But I didn't. There's really only so far I'm willing to go in disservice to my arteries.

I have been doing things other than eating. In St. Louis I took several walks through some of the beautiful neighborhoods near Forest Park, the gigantic park in the middle of the city.

I had a good signing at Big Sleep Books, one of the oldest, if not the oldest, mystery bookstores in the midwest. It's run by Helen Simpson, a good friend and a fellow baseball lover. My first night in town we sat around in Helen's house and watched the Cardinals game. (When the Cardinals play the Dodgers I am in torment. I am a fan of both teams.)

The second night in St. Louis we went to downtown and walked around the fun and very nicely curated new sculpture garden, then went to the new Busch Stadium for the game. It was a good game but the Cardinals lost, so it wasn't that good a game. Still, it was a great evening.

No comments: