One more rule I forgot to mention: eat locally. And in KC, that means barbecue.
Tonight I went to the Gates BBQ, in Independence, Mo., as reccomended by the hotel's driver, Martin. Interesting. The pit-fired meat fell right off the bone, with a crunchy outer shell from the intense heat they use. The sauce, though. Hmmm. It wasn't what I expected.
I always associated KC-style ribs with a sweet-tangy, tomato-based sauce. Gates uses a tomato base but their sauce has more heat and less sweet, almost like a Memphis-style barbecue. Plus, the meat seemed awfully salty.
So, not the best ribs I've ever had—those would be the ones my brother and stepmother make as a team—but not too disappointing.
Almost forgot, I drank locally, too, having a Boulevard Pale Ale with dinner. Good clean finish, light flavor, decent beer. This one I'll have again.
Follow-up, 6:15 pm: I just had an enlightening conversation in the hotel gift shop*. It seems that there are two different cultures in Kansas City, and Gates BBQ belongs firmly to one of them. I'm proceeding delicately here because I think I'm a little offended, and I don't want to offend anyone else. Apparently, those in Kansas City who look more like me than Martin does avoid Gates because, well, it's not their style of BBQ on the one hand, and on the other, it's still 1958.
I have to think about this some more.
* Despite planning to have ribs for dinner, I neglected to pack dental floss.
I have a little time before I go off in search of a slab of ribs to explain why I'm in Kansas City.
One of my friends decries people who say "I've always wanted to [insert relatively accessible activity here]..." but who haven't actually done [activity]. For example, on more than one inauspicious first date the guy has said, "You lived in Europe? I've always wanted to go there!" Since she's dating single men who are over 30 and over the poverty line, "always wanted" is obviously not true, becuase they would have gone already.
To honor that, I will say I've not always wanted to see a baseball game in every major-league (and American League ;) park—but I've always mused about it.
Therefore, as a single man over 30 and over the poverty line, I've decided to do it. Since I've already been to five (in order: Wrigley, Dodger Stadium, Shea, Enron Field, and Miller Park), this gives me almost three full seasons to get the last 25 before I turn 40. Here are the rules:
- Spend as little as possible on the quest. This means, among other things, bunching games up geographically and looking for the cheapest airfares available.
- In any park other than U.S. Cellular Field, if the Cubs are not playing, root for the home team.
- In any park where the Cubs are not playing, when a hat must be worn, wear a Cubs hat to American League parks and a Red Sox hat to National League parks, on the theory that the hat would therefore be neutral.
- If the Cubs are playing, wear a Cubs hat and root for the Cubs, obviously.
Which brings me back to Kansas City. I'm here because I had a previously-scheduled trip to San Francisco anyway, and this was the least-expensive option.
Photos to follow. Now, I'm going to get some sizzlin' baby backs.
The Cubs and the other team are both in first place, causing the Tribune to froth about a—wait for it—Subway Series in Chicago this year:
It has been 102 years since both teams were in the playoffs at the same time, with the White Sox winning the only all-Chicago World Series in 1906.
If the Cubs hold off St. Louis for another few days, this could be the first time in 31 seasons the Cubs and White Sox have both been in first place at the end of May. This, however, might not be the greatest harbinger of good times. The "South Side Hit Men" Sox slid to a third-place finish, 12 games behind division winner Kansas City that 1977 season, while the Cubs finished 81-81 and in fourth place.
Funny that mention of Kansas City: I'm going to Kauffman Stadium tonight on my way to California. The Royals, sadly, are tied for last place, having dropped their last nine in a row. I anticipate a riveting evening of baseball.
The UK humor site Daily Mash has a different take than, say, the Chicago Tribune:
THE price of a bushel of wheat rose yet again in the markets of Flanders yesterday presaging a monstrous tribulation and a grave rise in the price of mead, the Lord High Guardian of the King's Purse has warned.
The noble lord forewarned that a time of privation would surely be visited on the kingdom, when the peasant would find himself cast from his wretched midden and the knight dispossessed of his estates by the grubby moneychangers of old Lombard Street.
From the Onion, via Marc Andreesen:
CHARLESTON, SC—After spending two months accompanying his wife, Hillary, on the campaign trail, former president Bill Clinton announced Monday that he is joining the 2008 presidential race, saying he "could no longer resist the urge."
Clinton also noted that, if elected, the timing would be perfect for his family, as his wife has recently expressed a desire to move back to the D.C. area.
A priest, a rabbi, and a giraffe walk into a bar.
Bartender says, "Is this some kind of joke?"
Via security guru Bruce Schneier, an actual, real-world Trojan Horse that gets in...well, almost everywhere.