You may remember our coaching tip from February where we shared how we selected restaurants to visit in our trip to Fayetteville, Arkansas, along with our reviews of those restaurants.
In that coaching tip, we also mentioned one of our visions was to give you a resource to find the some of the best REAL food restaurants all across the country.
You know, the ones where they use the best and freshest local, in-season ingredients and the ones that you would love to go back to!
In response to that coaching tip, we are so grateful several of you shared some of your "I wish we could go back" restaurants. These restaurants clearly have the passion and creativity to transform local quality ingredients into outrageously delicious and nutritious meals...in states like Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana and Pennsylvania.
You can now find these restaurants in the "Travel" category in our Coaching Tips!
Please keep telling us about these hidden gems, whether in or near your hometown or ones you discover during your travels!
We Found More Hidden Gems in Kansas City!
We are excited to share more on this topic based on a recent trip to Kansas City. We previously have told you about one of our favorite restaurants in Kansas City - The Westside Local. Their meals have provided inspiration for at least two recipes on Eat REAL America - the Kale Chopped Salad with Maple Almond Vinaigrette and the Jalapeno Burger with Pineapple Salsa.
We are always so tempted to return to The Westside Local when we visit KC, but we were on a mission for this 3-day trip to find more amazing restaurants to share with all of you. So, we turned to our trusty resources to find restaurants that meet our criteria of being locally owned, the right type of food, great reviews, along with our desired cost and location.
Meal #1 (The Russell on Main)
3141 Main Street; 816-492-7557
For our first meal, we visited The Russell on Main.
This restaurant kept coming up in our search and was the highest rated when we searched for "farm to table" on Yelp. It met all our criteria and happened to be less than a mile from the Airbnb apartment we were renting.
We would highly recommend it to anyone and everyone! The menu included salads, veggie-loaded bowls with meat and seafood options, sandwiches and toasts, tacos and some great-looking appetizers and sides. They also had some incredibly tantalizing baked goods and desserts, which we were too full to try.
The atmosphere was very comfortable, with beautiful rustic furnishings and tables to accommodate parties of all sizes. As usual, we split a couple meals - the Green Pear Salad and the Russell Bowl.
The salad was served in a large bowl, loaded with fresh greens, spiced pears, blue cheese, candied walnuts, dried cherries and a bourbon pear dressing. This was one of the best salads we have had in a long time, so keep your eyes peeled for the inspired version on Eat REAL America!
The Russell Bowl was a delicious combination of spiced ground brisket, quinoa, arugula, red onion, cherry tomatoes, spiced garbanzo beans, olives, feta cheese and a charred onion tahini sauce. We also got a side of grilled veggies, which were perfectly charred and crisp-tender. This meal was so good - and we saw so many other fantastic items on the menu - we seriously considered going back the next day.
Could we really find something else as good? We decided we were up for the challenge!
Bread Pickup (Ibis Bakery inside Messenger Coffee Co)
1624 Grand Blvd; 877-334-7660
And, trust us, this is no ordinary bread.
It is made by Ibis Bakery (and sold inside Messenger Coffee Company) and they refer to it as "real bread" (small batches, with a natural wild yeast and ingredients that aren't genetically modified, refined or bleached). Their breads are made over a 30-hour period using freshly-milled organic flour, sea salt and a wild yeast starter. They then add ingredients like nuts, seeds, fruits and herbs sourced from local farms whenever possible. We picked up a loaf of their Orchard bread (which is packed with apricots, apples, golden raisins and toasted walnuts) and their Rosemary Heirloom Polenta bread.
We highly recommend them both, especially the Orchard loaf!
Meal #2 (lunch at Billie's Grocery)
3216 Gillham Plaza, Suite 100; 816-237-1128
For lunch, we found a locally-owned restaurant using Google Maps and a couple of posts from local food bloggers. After our amazing meal at The Russell, we were cautiously optimistic about Billie's Grocery.
It's more of a restaurant than a grocery store, although they do have a few grocery items for sale. They also have a small teaching kitchen, which we would love to be able to use! The restaurant is comfortable and bright, with high ceilings, huge windows and a ton of light.
The menu had some delicious sounding salads, bowls and sandwiches. We decided to split a couple of things (notice a trend here?!), including the Sautéed Caesar Salad and the Tuna Conserva Bowl. The salad was served in a large bowl and included organic baby kale, grilled romaine, preserved lemon, goji berries, crispy chickpeas, a brazil nut parmesan and a cashew Caesar dressing.
The tuna bowl included wild caught tuna, fresh organic greens, caper berries, roasted tomato, sautéed sugar snap peas, pickled red onions, sliced radishes, avocado, crispy chickpeas, preserved lemon, fresh herbs and a spicy balsamic dressing. Both were absolutely delicious!
Mission accomplished...we met our challenge to find something as good as dinner the night before!
Meal #3 (dinner at Grünauer)
101 West 22nd St.; 816-283-3234
For dinner that evening, we decided to try a locally-owned Austrian-inspired restaurant called Grünauer. It was a beautiful night in KC and their patio was perfect to enjoy some food and drinks.
After ordering an Austrian beer, we started with their charcuterie, which included a variety of meats and cheese, along with pickles, nuts, grapes, grilled rye bread and mustard. Yes, we were strategically making sure we each got our fair share of this deliciousness.
We also ordered the Rübensalat, which included roasted red beets, pickled golden beets, sliced Chioggia beets, arugula, gorgonzola, spicy toasted walnuts and an orange marmalade dressing. Talk about delicious! This is definitely on our list to help bring a version of this to your dinner table!
Then, we split an entrée that included Scottish salmon served on a lovage risotto with a red wine reduction and blistered cherry tomatoes. We wondered if that was the right call instead of ordering a schnitzel or sausages...let's just say we had zero regrets and were still talking about this salmon and risotto the next day!
Sweet treat (at Paleterias Tropicana)
Four locations in KC; one in Wichita, KS
Even though we were stuffed, there was a local Mexican restaurant nearby (Paleterias Tropicana) that serves all kinds of sweet treats, including homemade ice creams and some items loaded with fresh fruits. We just knew had to stop by.
We decided to split the Dulce de Leche, which was a large cup loaded with banana, strawberries, mango, pineapple, apple, melon and granola, and the mixed with some dulce de leche. The fruit was fresh and it was delicious!
Hint: if you're ever looking for a sweet treat or a refreshing snack, don't sleep on the local Mexican restaurants. Good quality Paleterias are great places to find refreshing popsicles, ice cream, fruit-based snacks and sweet treats, along with agua frescas and all kinds of refreshing options.
Meal #4 (back to Billie's Grocery for breakfast)
3216 Gillham Plaza, Suite 100; 816-237-1128
For breakfast the next morning (the last meal of our trip), we had three options we were debating. Based on the menu options and reviews, Billie's Grocery was at the top of the list, but could we really go back to the same place we had already been?
The menu and reviews were just too powerful...it was back to Billie's for breakfast! The coffee was great and - no surprise by now - we decided to split a couple meals.
We shared the Green Shakshuka (after all, we have a delicious version of this dish on the website) and Billie's Bowl. The Shakshuka was loaded with organic kale, sugar snap peas, basil, dill, mint, onion, garlic, preserved lemons, green tahini and avocado, and then was topped with a couple poached eggs and served with a slice of sourdough toast.
Billie's Bowl included two "creamed eggs," roasted potato, mushrooms, bacon, onion, organic kale, brown rice, quinoa, avocado, sriracha sea salt, and then served with a slice of sourdough toast. As we were enjoying these dishes, we looked at each other and said, "there is no way we would have gotten a breakfast like this at the other places we were considering."
Without hesitation, we would recommend all of the restaurants and meals we enjoyed during our few days in Kansas City!
I WISH WE COULD GO BACK!
And, now we have some work to do to bring some of this deliciousness to your table...be watching the weekly meal ideas for our versions of these KC-inspired meals!
Keep the recommendations coming!
Please share more of your favorite hidden gems so we can bring them into the light for all the Eat REAL America members!