I went on a short Foodie Field Trip in Kansas City with my friend Renee and her kids E & A, who are 9 and 6 years old. I thought I’d share with you a few of our stops. Should you find yourself needing something to do on a super hot day with kids in tow, you’ll find a couple of fun things below!
We started the day off with a quick visit to my friend Jenny‘s house, where I exchanged a jar of my green tomato citrus marmalade for a jar of her divine blueberry jam/sauce. I suppose I should put it on waffles or bake a shortbread to go with it, but I gotta say it’s really good just on a spoon. It’s got hints of nutmeg and cinnamon and just a touch of tart. Good stuff! I was thinking about using it on top of a vegan cheesecake but am now considering using it as a grilled tofu glaze.
From there, we went on a jaunt through KC’s Westside, going past several of my favorite restaurants and visiting two community gardens. We saw a gorgeous rooster at the Switzer Community Garden at the corner of 20th and West Pennway. The little chicks I’ve been watching all Spring aren’t so little anymore, fully feathered and scratching happily at the dirt. The sunflowers were in bloom, many planted in brightly painted tires. It’s such a treat to drive, walk or ride by this garden, lots of fun and funky garden provisions to admire.
Our next stop was a visit to Bloom Bakery in KC’s City Market. I love this bakery, even though the only thing I can ever indulge in is their macarons. I’m a bit of a stickler when it comes to macarons, I only want to eat ones made in the traditional style, prefer them to be the small size (not the size of a whoopie pie) and like them best with that airy little foot the good ones have. Bloom never lets me down.
We got a real treat as the bakers were hard at work making and filling macarons in the large window. It was fun watching them pipe out tiny bits of filling onto large trays loaded with macarons. The fella behind the counter at the bakery shared with us some information on their cakes. The budding bakers learned what ingredients were in each of their cupcakes. He also told us a little about macaron making, including how sensitive to humidity they are. That was really interesting information on a day when it is in the upper 90s with a heat index over 110 degrees. Humidity must be a real change for Midwestern macaron makers!
Next up on our list was a visit to the Chinatown Food Market. Renee and her kiddos had not been there before (don’t judge, we live in the far northern ‘burbs of town, it’s a planned trip over the river to shop here). We were on the hunt for young green jackfruit canned in water, as Renee wants to make my BBQ Jackfruit recipe for her 4th of July gathering. We got jackfruit, dragonfruit, lychees and a jicama the size of my head. E & A had fun checking out the unusual produce and found Daikon radishes that weighed more than 2 pounds each.
I left the store wondering who teaches these kids to read anyway? Label reading is truly an adventure in a store like this. “What’s shrimp paste? How do you make coconut gel? Look! More sardines, mom!” (And in all honesty, I probably am the biggest scene-maker in stores like these, exclaiming loudly at each fascinating discovery. Having kids along made me very aware of what falls from my mouth.)
Our next stop was a visit to the outlet store of Original Juan, a manufacturer of hot sauces and condiments. I scored some fun sauces from their test kitchen for $2 each, like a BBQ ketchup, a strawberry salsa and a blueberry dip mix. I’m not sure yet what I’ll do with the blueberry dip mix. It has just a touch of heat, the sneaky kind that grabs you after you’ve had 2 or 3 bites of it. Original Juan private labels sauces for many companies. It was interesting to try to identify for whom the test sauces had been made.
The final planned stop of our short Foodie Field Trip was lunch at Lulu’s Thai Noodle Shop. Lulu’s is a favorite of mine. I’ll write an “I Ate Here” blog entry about it soon. Today was the first time I had been there with kids and it went well. Both E & A tried the spring rolls and the waitress indulged them in some pad thai sauce to go with their noodles.
Walking back to the car, we made a quick detour, popping into Thistle Vintage Studio for a minute. I spotted this vintage pie and cake carrier. What a swell piece! They also had two beautiful 1950’s stand mixers, both fully functional. I needed one of those two months ago for a photo shoot and never did find one. I also noticed a lot of vintage Pyrex and some beautiful covered glass casserole dishes. I could spend all day in Thistle and probably never see everything.
When we returned home, I asked E & A what their favorite part of the trip was. A said it was the Waving Kitty at the Asian market. E said his favorite part of the trip was a Velvet Elvis we spotted while wandering around town. These two kids are going to have fabulously decorated homes in a few years. I hope they’ll invite me over, I’ll feel right at home.
While I usually go wandering around KC with adults, it was a nice change of pace to have two kiddos along. Seeing our city through their eyes reminded me just how much fun it is in this town. And they food ain’t bad either.