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Tuesday, February 24, 2015

KANSAS CITY--PART III THE END OF A DELICIOUS VISIT

Broadway Brewery, Columbia, Missouri
Great place to tour and taste
OK, it’s SMILE TIME because Kansas City, Missouri is also home to the Boulevard Brewery.  Though only established in 2009, this Brewery sees itself as rivaling that other Missouri brewery, Anheuser-Busch.  In fact, for a short while after Anheuser-Busch was sold to InBev, an international company, Boulevard was the largest independent brewery in Missouri

But Boulevard has since been sold to a Flemish company, so it only retains the title of being the largest craft beer brewer in the Midwest.  It is the 12th largest craft brewer in the country.  BTW, the sale price was reputed to be 100 million dollars, quite a return for a man began by delivering his beer in his pick up truck to the local Mexican Kitchen restaurant.

Broadway Brewery, Columbia, Missouri
As it grows, Boulevard is a combination of the old and the new

Boulevard is famous enough that Ben Affleck wore a Boulevard t-shirt in the movie Gone Girl!  When I spotted that, I was really elated.  I love when stuff like that happens!

But enough with background, we went to tour and to taste, and that is exactly what we did.

The original brewery, an old brick factory building was updated and redesigned and among other areas of growth and improvement, eight huge 300 barrel fermentation tanks replaced the six 105 barrel tanks.  There’s nothing old fashioned about Boulevard, and the tour took us through areas of shiny, gleaming metal, a hospitality atrium, glass walkways, and ended in the tasting room where any additional questions could be answered as we tasted the different beers. 

Broadway Brewery, Columbia, Missouri

While we didn’t have lunch there, Boulevard also maintains a restaurant.  It did have an interesting gift shop, however, and you could even mix and match your own 6-pack.

Broadway Brewery, Columbia, Missouri

It was a good informative tour and a good tasting, so if you are in Kansas City, this should be on your hit list too.

Broadway Brewery, Columbia, Missouri

And finally, how could we come to Kansas City and not go for Kansas City-style Barbecue?  The city has one of the highest concentrations of barbecue restaurants imaginable, and it would be a high crime to ignore the specialty of the area.

Two aspects of KC “cue” that differ from other types are that it is famous for its burnt ends, the chunk at the end of the meat not really sliceable.  It’s cut off, cut into chunks, dipped in sauce and devoured!!!!  The second difference is that Kansas City barbecue sauce is a little sweeter, and so the entire flavor of the meet changes. 

I admit we tried to go to Oklahoma Joe’s, re-named Joe’s Kansas City Bar-b-que, the Zagat rated #1 “Cue” joint and arguably the most famous one.  We knew about it through Anthony Bourdain and Man vs. Food both on The Travel Channel. Oklahoma Joe’s began life as part of a gas station (begun when the gas station owner closed his chicken shack and leased it out for a barbecue place) and in partnership with a famous maker of smokers, Oklahoma Joe.  The original gas station location is still open, but it has some brother restaurants around town as well, and the Kansas City partners have long since bought out Oklahoma Joe. 

When we called to ask about waiting times, the answer was about 2 hours.  Just too long a wait for us.  Joe’s will have to wait for another visit.  But we have to remember that burnt ends are Tues. and Wed. for lunch and Sat. for dinner?  They go fast.

Kansas City, MOWe headed to the Zona Rosa area of Kansas City, Missouri and SmokeHouse BBQ.  You might have seen this restaurant featured on Good Morning America.  We waited there too, but this place is cavernous, and we were soon seated. 

We ordered some appetizers:  “Zucchini Slabs” and “Battered Onions” and “Cheddar Dipped Cauliflower.”

Then platters:  Baby Back Ribs or Pork Spare Ribs Combo – with choice of one: 2-pc Bone-in Chicken or Burnt End or Pulled Pork served with choice of 2 sides.   Here was our introduction to Burnt Ends.

Kansas City, MO
Those lovely chunks of meat are the burnt ends
I thought everything was scrumptious!  Jen and Michael said this was nothing next to Joe’s.  How delicious could that be?!!!!  But I did learn why burnt ends are so incredibly popular.  Wow!  Are they good!

We’ve had barbecue in, among other places, North and South Carolina, Virginia, Memphis, and Texas.  This was different.  We had great barbecue in St. Louis, MO too, but I didn’t know enough then to compare.  And St. Louis is about 250 miles away.  Do they serve KC style?  I’ll have to visit and check it out.

Some similarities and some differences here.  One was bread.  Corn bread and rolls in some places, white bread in Memphis, and white bread here in Kansas. That just looks odd to me.  French Fries in some places, but here, in Missouri, creamed corn was an option.  This addition really struck my fancy because are we were in the mid-west, the Corn Belt, and that’s exactly what our meal reflects.  I liked that a lot.

But those big chunks of burnt ends.  That was a grand difference.  And I liked the sweeter barbecue sauce too. 

I recommend SmokeHouse BBQ, but there are wiser and more experienced taste buds than mine.  I am anxious to do a “flight” of KC BBQ.

Before we left Zona Rosa, we drove around to see the buildings outlined in lights in this section of Kansas City.  It was the crowning part of the evening, so to speak.

Kansas City, MO
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