Archive | August, 2010

Decade Anniversary Date: Round 2: The Farmhouse

29 Aug

Decade Anniversary Date: Round Two

Ever since our ill-fated evening at the R-Bar, we had been toying with the idea of giving it another go.  When I won tickets to a sold out Alejandro Escovedo concert at the Record Bar (no relation to the similarly named R-Bar), it seemed like the perfect opportunity to tackle a kid-free outing again.  This time around, we made some minor modifications to the “footloose and fancy free” formula. 

First, we took a risk and took the baby to dinner with us. We were betting that having her right there in our laps would be better than having an ominous phone call cut our meal short.

Second, we went back home and tucked both kids into bed before heading out to the 10pm show. We relaxed and enjoyed the concert, knowing that everything was under control on the home front. Alejandro gave a terrific high-energy performance.  And the aging hipster crowd turned out in force; the Record Bar was packed!

Third, we saved ourselves and our pocketbook some stress by settling on a “stay-cation.” Instead of booking at a boutique hotel for the night, we asked my parents to stay overnight in our guestroom. With grandparents “in the house,” we didn’t have to worry about returning at a decent hour to relieve a babysitter, and I was able to take care of the baby’s frequent nighttime feedings myself (avoiding formula misfortunes ;) When the kids woke up at 6:30am, Grandma Joy staggered out of bed with them while Mark and I reveled in a long forgotten luxury called Sleeping In. All in all it was a very enjoyable (but admittedly a bit unorthodox) anniversary celebration. 

Our Round Two restaurant of choice was The Farmhouse. It was a lovely evening, and since we had the baby in tow, we requested a seat on the patio. 

The Rivermarket location ensured a parade of interesting characters on the sidewalk nearby (I think we saw 3 different neon hair colors pass by, all reminiscent of our bygone raver days :).

 Mark ordered the evocatively named “Moose Drool” beer (my teetotaling mother says that she thinks all beer tastes like moose drool, haha), which paired nicely with his burger and house-cut fries.  They make their own delish sweet ketchup and spicy mustard at the Farmhouse – both highly recommended. I had the Farmers Salad with warm polenta croutons, which literally melted in my mouth. When Mark tasted those croutons, he wanted to trade! 

 We shared an artfully arranged cheese plate, with two offerings from Green Dirt Farms in nearby Weston, MO. 

All of the cheeses were amazing.

The rinds were all edible, which was a surprise. Mark half-jokingly said that we should order a second plate. 

For dessert we had a scrumptious slice of the peach and strawberry pie flanked by a scoop of blueberry ice-cream. It was tangy, refreshing, and gone in 60 seconds! Do as their website commands: Eat At The Farmhouse.




The Farmhouse on Urbanspoon

Decade Anniversary Date, Round 1: The R Bar, West Bottoms.

29 Aug

Decade Anniversary Date: Round One

A few weeks ago, Mark and I reached a milestone: 10 years of marriage! Now, I know that many couples pull out all of the stops to celebrate a decade of matrimonial bliss, but with a new baby and a tight budget, our options were limited.  We decided that a grown up dinner and a night free from baby feedings would be merriment enough. In anticipation, we booked a dreamy hotel room at The Raphael and perused sophisticated dinner menus online. 

The day of our anniversary outing, I hit upon the “awesome” idea of giving the baby her first formula ever – the plan being to “tank her up” and make things easier on my parents, who would be watching both kids overnight.

Our dinner at the hard to find R-Bar started out well-enough.  The drive there was an adventure in itself. I didn’t have an exact address, and we meandered around The Bottoms in the early evening light. The setting sun caressed broken windows and crumbling brick, giving the abandoned warehouses a distinctly romantic glow.  We were especially taken by the deserted Ship Via building, with its evocative sign and vintage air. 

Through the partially boarded glass entry, we caught a glimpse of untamed vines snaking through a heap of discarded office furniture piled ceiling-high. 

Tree branches sprouted from shattered windows. A veritable jungle seemed to be launching from the decay.

The surreal feeling continued when we finally reached the R-Bar, which was dark, atmospheric and bursting with antique eccentricity. 

We didn’t have reservations, and the hostess seated us directly by the front door. It was by far the worst seat in the house – noisy, hot, and high traffic. However, it was fun to watch the eclectic Friday night crowd trickle in. We demolished an appetizer, ordered our dinners, and toasted 10 more happy years to come. 

The food was creative and consistently good.  The menu boasted innovative items like “chipotle buttermilk sauce, lemongrass sausage” and a dessert made from Mr. Pibb! Our BBQ Terrine appetizer was an artfully displayed slice of sweet cornbread with smoky pulled pork baked inside, garnished by tangy slaw and sweet fruit. The marinated feta in my salad was fabulous, and Mark’s high end “Campo Lindo” fried chicken was a sight to behold (served on a polenta waffle!).  And we practically inhaled the savory chipotle donuts that came as R Bar’s version of bread service.

We had just settled in with the main course when – you guessed it – my phone rang.  “Something is wrong with the baby; she won’t stop crying” came my Mom’s frantic voice on the other end of the line.  The scrumptious salmon suddenly stuck in my throat. We flagged down the waitress to tell her that we would be forgoing dessert and sprinted through the rest of our dinner in fretful silence.  The baby turned out to have nothing more than a brutal case of indigestion (which we all now shared); presumably from the formula that I so shrewdly decided to introduce to her diet that morning (how was I to know that it takes breastfed babies several weeks to adjust to something new in their diet??).  She calmed down significantly after we had been home for about an hour, and my parents seemed confident that they could handle things from there. However, the enchantment of our free-wheeling evening had been broken, and when Expedia offered to refund our hotel money, we went for it. 

A few pics of the West Bottoms:


R Bar and Restaurant on Urbanspoon

Lawrence, KS: Busker Festival & 715 Restaurant

22 Aug

Brunch at 715

 I love Lawrence, KS. It is the genuine historical article and has a fascinating past (Bleeding Kansas, Quantrill’s Raid, etc.).  Mass. St. is full of quirky independent shops and restaurants. A few of my favorite retail haunts are linked below.  I find the youthful college town vibe energizing – my husband says it just makes him feel old (waaay waaay back in the day he used to go clubbing in Lawrence – techno night at the Granada, woot woot ;)

We were in Lawrence yesterday to check out the Busker Festival. Merriam Webster defines a Busker as someone “who entertains in a public place for donations (probably from Italian buscare, to procure).” Be that as it may, I didn’t see a great deal of donating going on at the Busker Fest.  Perhaps the stingy onlookers were merely underwhelmed by the level of entertainment. 

 The festival promised “wild and weird” oddities for adults, as well as “energetic and creative performances” for kids.  Street side, we saw a sprinkling of mediocre magicians, musicians, and mimes.   I think the big acts (strong-woman show, sword swallowing, etc.) were on a main stage somewhere else.  It was oppressively hot and I was worried about the baby being out too long in the elements (what else is new?).  So, we didn’t seek out the top-billed performers; and settled instead for a souvenir from the balloon animal man, who made Elliott a knotty looking Spiderman dangling from a fishing pole. Elliott was thrilled. Mark was crabby about parting with his $2 donation.  And I wished that we’d had a chance to see Mama Lou the strong-woman crush a pair of chopsticks with her glutes!



We had lunch at a spendy place simply called “715.”  The décor was right up Mark’s alley – stark, modern, and uber-hip.  The menu looked fantastic; it was full of locally sourced, handmade ingredients.  There weren’t any other kids in the restaurant, but they cheerfully seated us towards the back and moved tables to make room for our double-wide stroller. It turned out to be a very family-friendly eatery.  The heavily tatted waitress produced a kids menu with nary a fried food to be found on it!  And when she brought out our waters, she gave Elliott a teeny tiny tea cup and set down a bright orange pot full of ice water just for him. It was extremely cute.

Of course Emma had an exploding poo halfway through the meal and I was dispatched to the bathroom to change it.  I figured that a sleek place like 715 wouldn’t be caught dead with a baby changing table in their Dwell-worthy bathrooms (and was steeling myself to change her on the floor). Boy, was I wrong!  Both the men’s and women’s bathrooms contained designer (stainless steel clad) baby changers. Who knew that such things existed? I was suitably impressed.

It’s the perfect place for design-conscious/foodie parents to eat with their kids. While the décor and menu may be off-putting at first, trust me – they do a great job of catering to customers with children. Highly recommended.

Brunch at 715

 715 Restaurant


Fave Shops


Exploring the offbeat and unique in Kansas City with kids in mind and in tow

22 Aug

I am the kind of parent that childless people hate. I take my kids to hip restaurants and am not deterred by the complete lack of booster seats, high chairs, or chicken fingers on the menu.  I wheel our mammoth double stroller into petite boutiques and carry my cooing baby into austere galleries.  We boldly go where no family unit has gone before.   I am simply not content to while away my weekends at home or limit our outings to places that have designated stroller parking.  My children benefit from exposure to arts and culture, and I keep myself from disappearing into monotonous mommy obscurity.    Admittedly, some offbeat adventures do prove to be too unwieldy with children. In an effort to share what worked for us and what you couldn’t pay me to try again, I will document our noteworthy family outings online.  I promise to give both successes and dismal failures equal billing, from the highs to the ho-hum (and with plenty of impassioned meltdowns in between).