The last leg of our journey…

I have said this before and I will say it again—love, LOVE, LOVE Kansas City.   I would move there in a heartbeat.   We made KC the last part of our Midwestern trek and our first stop had to be  Grinders.   My husband is totally enamored with this joint and introduced my brother-in-law to Grinders at our recent family reunion in KC.   (We did not see them after that for quite some time! :))  I had my first taste of their pizza—a simple slice with bell peppers and peperoncini.   It was delicious.  (Cold beer, too!)

As I stated earlier,  I always have a destination dining experience in mind when we travel.   We had already visited Michael Smith’s so I was dying to go to Extra Virgin,  his tapas bar next door.

It was around 2:00 p.m. on a Friday when we arrived for a late lunch.   It was not crowded at all and even suffered from a lack of staff.    We wanted drinks and a light lunch.    OK—let me just get this out there—my husband is a beer snob.  He likes his beer on tap, in an extra cold glass, and local when possible.  We noticed nothing was on tap at the bar so we asked our frou-frou waiter what beers they had.  He promptly replied, “What don’t we have?”  Could you be more vague, please?

After more vague responses, my husband asked for an IPA.  “The closest we have to an IPA is a PBR.”

“OK, bring me one of those.”  What?   Did he really realize he was ordering a Pabst Blue Ribbon?

Who knew that Pabst has become a hipster trend?

He was not impressed.  But, I am pleased to report that the food was MUCH better.  We had Smith’s version of Chickpea Frites.  (They were tasty, but I think I liked Izard‘s Chickpea Fritters better.)  We also had the hummus and Spanish meatballs.  All were good.  (But, unfortunately,  I,   for some weird reason,   had the old country song  “Red Neck, White Socks, and Blue Ribbon Beer”  running through my head the rest of the day!)

Even though service was a bit spotty (and I think our waiter and the bartender were not seeing eye to eye), I would return.

After we left Extra Virgin, we went to Pryde’s of Old Westport, a “hardware store for cooks.”  I LOVE this place.

Check out their whisk chandolier.

We were greeted upstairs with a cup of coffee or tea and were left to browse and browse.  Downstairs is a wonderful bakery, The Upper Crust.  I had heard that we must try the cookies so we ordered an old beloved standby, a Snickerdoodle, and a decadent looking frosted banana cookie.  OMG!  These were the best.   We tried a bite from each and then headed out to explore the rest of Wesport, an eclectic and funky area.

Other places I would recommend were:

  • McCoy’s Public House, a cute microbrewery with a nice beer garden.  We were fortunate enough to witness some interesting people watching here.
  • Beer Kitchen had lots on tap.
  • Westport Cafe & Bar (WC&B), a true gem.  I wish we had had the inclination for dinner but we were stuffed at this point.  We did have the most sublime pea puree raviolis!

We are already trying to think of another excuse to head north to KC soon!

I immediately came home and tried to replicate those wonderful banana cookies though.

Here is what I came up with.    The Upper Crust’s were a bit less cakey, but I think I got the frosting down!

Banana Cookies with Browned Butter Frosting

3/4 c. butter
3/4 c.  firmly packed dark brown sugar
1 c.  ripe mashed bananas, 2-3 depending on size
1 egg
1/4 t. ground ginger
1/2 t.  vanilla
1 1/2 c.  all-purpose flour
1/2 c.  whole wheat flour
1/2 t.  baking powder
1/2 t.  baking soda
1/4 t.  salt

Heat oven to 350°F. Combine 3/4 cup butter and 3/4 cup brown sugar in large bowl. Beat at medium speed, scraping bowl often, until creamy. Add bananas, egg, ginger, and vanilla; continue beating until well mixed.

In a separate mixing bowl, combine dry ingredients and mix with a hand whisk.

Reduce speed to low; add dry ingredients. Beat until well mixed.

Drop cookies onto a lined baking sheet using an ice cream scoop (about 1 ½ tablespoons full.) by rounded teaspoonfuls, 2 inches apart.  Bake for 8-10 minutes or until edges are lightly browned.  Cool completely on wire racks.

For frosting:

1/3 c.butter
3 c. powdered sugar
1 t.  vanilla
2 T.  milk (more may be needed)

In 1-quart saucepan, heat  butter over medium heat, stirring constantly, just until light brown. In mixing bowl of a stand mixer, place powdered sugar, 1 teaspoon vanilla and 2 tablespoons milk.  Mix with the whisk attachment to just incorporate.

Pour browned butter over powdered sugar mixture. Beat on low speed about 1 minute or until smooth. If too thick, add more milk, ½ T. at a time until it becomes spreadable. Generously frost cooled cookies.



I  made 21 cookies with this recipe.


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