First Friday in the Crossroads District of Kansas City

Friday evening began at El Patron, continued to Gallery 19, and ended with that ubiquitous Kansas City activity, driving down a many-laned road.

El Patron Cocina and Bar is located on Southwest Boulevard, El Patron exterior KC Nov 2009across the street from Ponak’s. My friend and I sat on the roof, even though it was a breezy night in November, and the tequila master came out and helped me choose a tequila. The one he recommended, Clase Azul blanco, surprised me. I usually prefer aged tequila, but this blanco was really smooth.

I ordered Los Tres Grandes, and my friend had rather bland but creamy guacamole and a tostada. Of my three tacos, El Patron Los Tres Grandes KC Nov 2009my favorite was the carne asada (left), which was spicy and a little burnt, followed by a tasty taco al pastor (right), and then the taco marinera, which had a sweet and spicy sauce. The fish was cooked properly, but the entire package didn’t come together for me.

By the time we finished, we were glad to get off that roof and into a warm car. We drove northeast to Crossroads, and I was stunned to see people filling galleries, crowding the sidewalks to listen to the bands scattered about, and tumbling into the streets. What a change from my weekday visits!

I’ve been to one or two First Fridays in Denver, but I don’t remember crowds like this, perhaps because Denver has several such events every month.

The only difficulty was finding a parking space (and then remembering where it was at the end of the night).

At the first gallery we visited, the theme for the night was established: brightly colored abstract art. First Friday 1st gallery KC Nov 2009We visited several galleries, including Blue Gallery, where a William Rainey painting reminded me of Denver-area artist Catherine Carilli’s Abstract Symbolist phase; Elements of Green, featuring countertops made from recycled material Elements of Green countertops recycled KC Nov 2009and an anemone by Margie McDonald;Elements of Green Margie McDonald anemone KC Nov 2009 and Kemper Gallery, where the minders in shockingly blue shirts reminded me of the line from Firefly or Serenity (I can’t remember which), “Two by two, hands of blue.”

My friend commented about Side Show 2009 by Keltie Ferris,Side Show Keltie Ferris Kemper Gallery KC Nov 2009 “I’m seeing a really advanced form of tagging here.”

My favorite artists were twin brothers Paul and Phil Gayter. Gallery 19 Paul Gayter card KC Nov 2009I liked the self-conscious, playful aspects of their work.Gallery 19 Paul Gayter KC Nov 2009

Five galleries were my friend’s limit after a day spent watching six toddlers. But driving from Crossroads to Overland Park turned out to be a breeze. I can see why so many people live in Kansas and commute downtown; it took less than half an hour.


On an earlier trip to Crossroads, I visited Hilliard Gallery at 404 18th Street and loved this found-object horse by Guinotte Wise.Hilliard Gallery Guinotte Wise How I Roll By KC Oct 2009Turns out it’s a great way to get a weapon across state lines.Hilliard Gallery Guinotte Wise detail 2 KC Oct 2009
El Patron on Urbanspoon