Subject: Kansas City report
Now that the office has calmed down I have a chance to talk about my trip to Kansas City, Missouri. I spent a wonderful long weekend on Dec 2-6. The highlight being the travelzine gtg held at Japengo's restaurant in the Country Club Plaza with Dan &Marilyn Weatherly, Ed Clancy and Andrew McGarrell. Japengo's features Pacific Rim cuisine in an intimate setting and I highly recommend it. It is located in Country Club Plaza.

During the holiday season the Spanish/Moorish Plaza, an outdoor complex of shops and resturants, is all lit up. Carriage rides can be hired and shoppers are popping in and out of the upscale stores.

For the first two nights of my visit I stayed at SOUTHMORELAND INN just two blocks from the Plaza on 46th St. I recommend this 12 room inn with period antiques and little fireplace/stoves. The service was gracious and not obtrusive. There is a full and delicious breakfast included in the room rate, evening wine and hors deuvres and off-street parking. It is expensive. Our double room with fireplace and full bath was U.S. $165/night.

SOUTHMORELAND is within walking distance of two art musuems, the Kemper Contemporary Art museum which has free admission and the Nelson-Atkins Museum of fine art which is free on Saturdays and U.S $5/adult weekdays. The Nelson features a sculture garden free to the public as well as many scultures of British artist Henry Moore. Local artist Thomas Hart Benton has a wing of very interesting paintings and the Asian arts are heavily featured as well. I was duly impressed. Check out the Nelson-Atkins.

I was visiting with my sister (we drove down from Illinois/Wisconsin) and our focus was mostly holiday shopping. So after a morning at the Nelson we hit the shops on the plaza after fueling up at one of the numerous BBQ joints in Kansas City. We talked to many people about their favorite place for BBQ and EVERYONE had a different answer :-) So I let my sister chose and we just went into K.C. Masterpiece as it was right there in the shopping complex.

The night before we tried another food item Kansas City is noted for and that was beef steak. The city has a number of well known steak houses such as the HEREFORD HOUSE, MAJESTIC STEAKHOUSE. We made reservations (a must) at THE PLAZA III STEAKHOUSE and it was excellent. The entertainment for the evening being the presentation of the various cuts of meat by the waiter. I had never been shown my meat prior to choosing a cut before. It was informative and appetite enhancing :-)

Another Kansas City landmark is HALLMARK CARDS CORPORATION. You can learn all about the history of Joyce Hall and his company at their free history 'museum' in the Crown Center at 25th Street &Grand. Parking is free on weekends. The Crown Center is also the home to a skating rink and a shopping mall and cinemas and the AMERICAN RESTAURANT. I really enjoyed the displays and film and demonstrations a the Hallmark Visitor's Center. You get freebies, too :-)

One rainy afternoon we headed downtown where we had lodging for the next two nights and stopped into CITY MARKET. This is an outdoor plaza with a 'farmers' market. A little sparse due to the inclimate weather. In warmer months it features produce, flowers, crafts, bakery, ethnic shops, etc.

We ducked into a brewpub for a bite to escape some of the rain and then wandered through one of the antique malls housed in one of the many riverfront brick wharehouse buildings dominating this end of town.

Our hotel for the next two nights was the historic Hotel Savoy. Built in 1888 by one of the now-defunct coffee producers (Folgers still brews here at 7th and Broadway - the smell is heavenly) the hotel had fallen into disrepair until the owner of the Savoy Grill bought it and is slowly renovating it into B&B suites. There are currently only 22 suites. You can wander the 'undone' parts of the floors (6 floors total) and get an idea of the amount of work and money it took to get your suite at its fabulous condition.

We were astounded at the space of this 'room' for U.S. $120/night. We had 1 1/2 baths, a bedroom with king-sized bed that closed off to the living room. A huge living room with sofa and television and desk area and a wet bar area. They provided champagne and a full breakfast which we ordered off the menu the night before. The Savoy Grill being one of Kansas City's top resturants decked out in Art Deco style. We had offerings such as lobster bisque, lamb with artichokes, seafood crepes, oysters Rockefeller - all for breakfast! If you love historic hotels - check this out.

While it took about 10 hours to drive from the Chicago area via Interstates 55 and 70 a friend told us it is shorter to go up through Missouri on I-35 and across Iowa on I-80 and hit I-88 that angles back up to Chicago in Illinois. He was right. It took us only 8 hours to drive back home.

Kansas City is a nice little get-away and there is tons to do in the summer with outdoor parks, zoos, Rennaisance fair, amusement parks and ballgames. In the winter - do the city 'thing' - restaurants, museums, shopping and if I had time there is a bit of theatre I would have liked to check out.

Cynthia Kilian in Woodstock, Illinois USA