Art and Nourishment in Kansas City, Part 1

A week ago Friday, after hauling my dad to the lawyer, where nothing much was accomplished for a couple hundred bucks an hour, and then hanging out at Dad’s apartment doing his laundry, I needed a break. I headed down to the Plaza Art Fair, a three-day event on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City.

Food was my first priority, and my famished state may excuse my inability to remember exactly which restaurant sold me these Cajun Rice Fritters, Kansas City photos, Kansas City restaurants, Kansas City travel, Plaza Art Fairwhich were hot and light and laced with herbs. Because I thought I’d bought them at Figlio’s booth, I compared them to the arancini I had at Panzano in Denver, much more dense and infused with cheese.

I even offered one to the couple who joined me at a table, one of whom had grown up in Denver. They liked them as much as I did.

Continuing on the Cajun+rice theme, I then turned to my Gumbo Z’Herbs, thick with okra and tomatoes and greens and offering just a little spiciness.Kansas City photos, Kansas City restaurants, Plaza Art Fair, Beth Partin's photos

It’s also possible these snacks came from Starker’s Restaurant, one of the last privately owned restaurants on the Plaza. Certainly Starker’s menu has more Cajun food in it, though Figlio’s catering offers a Bourbon Street selection.

Once nourished, I left the KC couple behind and headed down to Brush Creek to sit under this bridgeKansas City photos, Brush Creek, Country Club Plaza, Beth Partin's photos on top of which a band was playing.Plaza Art Fair, Country Club Plaza, Beth Partin's photos, Kansas City photos

At least I know where this lemon truffle came from: Christopher Elbow chocolates, sold at Hall’s Department Store. chocolate, chocolate truffles, Kansas City candy, Christopher Elbow chocolatesIt wasn’t identified as Meyer lemon, but the cream and gel filling certainly tasted like it. Of the caramel infusions I bought with it (raspberry, rosemary, and ginger), the ginger was my favorite.

Eating a handful of sweets should decompress anyone, but I think variety really helped me that Friday night. During my last two visits to Kansas City, I spent most of my time out south, in the deadening suburbs that seem to stretch to the western end of Kansas.The Plaza has fallen victim to the chains as well, but during the art fair it’s not so noticeable. Plaza Art Fair, Kansas City photos, Beth Partin's photosIt was good to walk in a crowd interested in individual expression instead of sameness.

And good hair doesn’t hurt either. Tyson Leslie here, playing bass in the band 90 Minutes, Plaza Art Fair, 90 Minutes, Kansas City photos, Beth Partin's photosreminds me of a character in Reservation Blues: Junior, president of the Native American Hair Club.

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Another post, with closeup pictures of the art at the 2010 Plaza Art Fair, to follow soon.