Lexpedition 2016: Best of the Best

Part 2: August 1 – August 2, 2016

Destination: Kansas City, MO
End of Travel Odometer: 114,739km
Progress Map:
Barbeque saga continues: while Arthur Bryant’s sauce is definitely something worth writing home about, I mean here I am writing home about it, they definitely don’t have the best of the best when it comes to meat. I find their ribs a tad on the dry side typically. They’ve got a good pulled pork, but really everyone who does proper southern barbeque usually has a pretty solid pulled pork as it’s the hardest to screw up. As I said though, Arthur’s sauce is legendary and so it’s always a stop that needs to be made. Moving forward however there are a few other restaurants that needed to be visited, along with one new one called SLAPS BBQ. It didn’t exist on previous trips I’ve made to Kansas City but has gotten some decent reviews and so we decided to make that our next stop (after all if it is great, maybe we would want to eat their again and there’s only so many meals you can eat in 2 days). Joel had burnt ends and pulled pork, John had a half-rack of ribs and I had a rib/pulled pork combo. The burnt ends were probably the best we’d ever had: fantastic flavour and much more tender and moist than any others. The ribs’ flavour profile from the rub and smoke was top notch as well however they were way too tender for my liking, easily falling off of the bone. The pulled pork was great, but you can refer to my previous comment regarding that.

 After lunch we headed over to a place we had been on multiple occasions here in Kansas City: Mission Bowl. We were looking forward to rolling a few frames and just hanging around but when we arrived we found it either under construction or being demolished. We weren’t exactly sure but the effect was the same unfortunately. We looked for another nearby bowling alley only to find that our next stop was also being demolished. Not amused, but not deterred we journeyed on to a third bowling alley. Finally we could throw on some shoes, grab some balls and roll; Joel had no socks, but he didn’t seem too upset about it. After a couple games we grabbed some White Russians from the bar and rolled our last game. I Joel won all 3 games, John bested me in 2 of the games (the second game by only 1 point, so basically a tie) and I beat him on the last game. Allowing for the rule of being only as good as your last game of course John was given the prize of shameful bronze.

The bowling alley also had an air hockey table, which was in poor shape. Chipped surface, a damaged puck and a puck return that only worked about 1 in every 10-15 goals. Still, it was mostly a fun time I guess. Nothing compared to the metal-topped table at the hotel in Florida we played on. Now that was a table.
By this point enough time had passed that we were sufficiently hungry enough to eat again and so we stopped by our favourite spot in Kansas City: Oklahoma Joe’s, recently renamed Joe’s Kansas City due to an agreement with previous restaurant partner and smoker manufacturer Oklahoma Joe’s who recently opened his own eponymous restaurant in Oklahoma. In my mind there every barbeque restaurant in Kansas City has one or two things going for it that are better than all the rest. Joe’s has the best-cooked ribs. Not the best spice rub (that honour belongs to Slaps) or sauce (that one goes to Arthur Bryant’s), but definitely the meatiest, most well-cooked ribs by far. Their brisket is likely only second to LC’s, and so it’s pretty good. Joel and I had the rib and brisket dinner, John had the pulled pork sandwich.
After supper we were definitely in need of some rest, I mean your body can only take so much meat, but on our way out we grabbed some real sugar-sweetened, glass-bottle Dr Pepper from Texas that happened to be in the fridge at Joe’s. It’s seriously good stuff; Joel and I brought back 4 cases of it after visiting the bottling plant in Dublin, TX back in 2011.
After a pretty decent sleep (John’s back may disagree, but I’m still mostly blaming the pull-out bed for that) and sleep-in, we headed out for one of our last Kansas City barbeque meals before leaving tomorrow. After careful discussion we decided the next stop would be LC’s for their amazing brisket. We all had the same thing, a beef sandwich. While pretty great, it wasn’t quite as good as it had been on previous trips, but the inside of the building had definitely been spruced up. I guess you can’t win them all. The meat was soft, moist and delicious; all things that are very hard to get out of brisket. It’s really impressive stuff.
After lunch we popped in to a local Target and John grabbed some t-shirts that he likes but can no longer buy now that Target pulled out of Canada. Single tear. It also happened to be in the same complex as Trader Joe’s and so we took a walk through and I picked up a jar of cookie butter. After washing the car (why is my car the only target for birds to poo on at this hotel?), we headed over to a park to throw around a Frisbee I had purchased from Joe’s last night. It was a Vibramdisc meant for frolf. It had some definite odd characteristics about it, but the biggest one was the pain caused by trying to catch it with your hand, and I mean really what else can you catch it with? After a quick break to get out of the heat at a nearby McDonald’s, we popped in to a Ross store and John bought a pair of flip flops to allow him the use of his shorts. It’s way too hot for pants, but apparently shorts and boots don’t go together; who knew?
And so that left us with one last opportunity to eat a meal in Kansas City. Without question we needed to get back to Joe’s one last time, and so we did. We all ordered a full slab dinner, the ribs were even better than they were yesterday, but after lunch and the heat it was a lot of food. Almost too much food in fact, I mean we all finished, but there were some tense moments while John and I finished the last 2-3 bones. It was like our bodies no longer recognized food and it was just some foreign substance we were chewing on like pork flavoured gum and this gum was mostly bones. Joel performed better, slow and steady wins the race I suppose.
We waddled our way back to the hotel to get some sleep. We’re off to Amarillo, TX tomorrow and will be stopping for lunch in Wichita at a diner that was featured in the first season of Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives. Despite leaving Kansas City we do hope to find us some brisket in Texas tomorrow night, it is after all one of the better known barbeque elements in Texas.
Day 6 Destination: Amarillo, TX

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