Outdoor Dining

This weather sucks. Point blank. So it's time for me to think about warm spring days on the horizon. It's time for me to fondly day dream about where I would rather be eating at. It's time for my unscientific list of the top places to eat outdoors. Hopefully, our two readers can help present some new ideas I can add to my list. By the way, this list isn't a ranking, just a general guide.

1) Thomas Restaurant - The rooftop area is great and the 39th street location allows me to eat in relative peace without gunshots or crappy buildings blocking my view (KU Med is across the street though). They have good food and good solid drinks.

2) Jaywalkers - The outside deck is actually pretty cool. The food is always pretty average but the beers on tap are relatively diverse featuring a ton of Free State offerings.

3) McCoy's - This deck is prime real estate in the middle of Westport. I won't go on about what you'll find at McCoy's because there are a million reviews of this place, but suffice it to say, this place is yummy. It's sister restaurant next door, The Foundry, also features a cool deck setting.

4) Pizza 51 - Part neighborhood Pizza joint, part kid's romper room, this UMKC area pizza place has three times as much seating space outside as it does inside. Good value and good pizza.

5) Sol Cantina - The great thing about 31st Street neighbors Sol and the Velvet Dog is their ample outdoor dining area. Probably more of a bar setting that a food setting but the space works for both.

6) Any Place with the sliding windows that open up. From All-Star Pizza to The Flying Saucer to Extra Virgin. I love the sliding window concept and it allows me to act as though I'm dining outside while still enjoying the vibe of the restaurant.

I know I just mentioned a few of the many great KC outdoor spots. Some places try to market the outdoor feel but they fail miserably. It your outdoor location is just a glorified smoking/cell phone area you don't count in my book (see Tower Tavern and the Westport Flea Market as examples). Likewise, you don't count if a few tables are thrown outside by a crowded street or sidewalk (see M&S Grill, Room 39, nearly every place in the Power and Light District, and La Bodega).


It's like a pasta quiz

Just click on the pasta shape and you get the name of the pasta and a description. I think this chart represents only 1/200th of the worlds pasta shapes, but it is pretty cool anyway. I think I guessed one or two. Pasta shapes are hard.


The Great Chocolate Ale Hunt

Recently our local hometown brewery joined forces with local chocolate guru Christopher Elbow to create a Chocolate Ale. While fans of Boulevard know that they have embarked upon an aggressive "smokestack series" designed to highlight beer full of flavor and high octane punch, this brew has created a frenzy of sorts.

This brew features a soft tone of chocolate mixed with a soothing ale mouthfeel. At least thats what I think it tastes like. You see, this beer has some major mass market appeal. And everywhere it shows up at it is quickly snatched up. Gomers sold their multitude of cases within hours. Other places jacked the price up like it was the last gallon of water on a Sahara Desert tour. Still others had the gall to charge 10 bucks for the first bottle and 20 bucks for the second.

All in all, capitalism won out and it seems as though the entire supply of Chocolate Ale has been snatched up. Maybe it's a ploy by Mayor Funky to keep metro residents focused on something besides the upcoming election?

If there is any good news on the horizon it is that the Chocolate Ale will be hitting taps around the city soon. And maybe then the Great Chocolate Ale Hunt will be over... until Boulevard pairs up with The Peanut for BLT Beer. I can dream can't I?