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The Five-Point Weekend Escape Plan

Uncover Urban Cool in Kansas City

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2. Where to Eat


Once served out of an Airstream trailer, Port Fonda's rustic twists on Mexican food now have a proper brick-and-mortar home.  

Reserve in advance at lively Port Fonda, helmed by Rick Bayless protégé Patrick Ryan. The industrial-chic room is usually filled with a diverse crowd of suburbanites, young professionals, and hipsters who thrill to the thumping music ranging from Pink Floyd to House of Pain. Start with a tamarind margarita ($10.50) and the chicharrónes with chile and lime ($5); then try the gooey queso fundidos with unusual mix-ins like chipotle-braised octopus with bacon ($12.50). Entrées skew hearty, like menudo, a soup of braised and fried beef tripe with beer broth, hominy, and a fried farm egg ($9); and sopa with pork belly, braised pork butt, and bacon-chile broth ($12). Pair the filling fare with one of over 35 mezcals, like the smoky small-batch Pierde Almas Espadin ($12).

Feast at intimate Novel, helmed by native chef-owner Ryan Brazeal, who earned his stripes as sous-chef at David Chang’s Momofuku. The narrow Westside Victorian house feels more like a warm cabin—perfect for digging into the adventurous, meat-centric menu. Begin with the pig-head pie, filled with cheek and jowl meat, smoked apple, mustard seed, and pickled raisin ($8); then hunker down with the savory Duroc pork chop, served with pork-belly ragout, rice spaetzle, and baby bok choy ($20). Cut all that porky unctuousness with desserts like the sweet honey semifreddo with pear, chai cake, and pine nuts ($7).

Break bread in a sophisticated space at Story. James Beard semifinalist Carl Thorne-Thomsen’s elegantly plated dishes, like perfectly smoked duck empanadas with avocado puree ($10), get the spotlight in the cozy, minimalist space. Sample buttery ravioli with braised venison ($12) and fish specials like halibut with potato puree, chanterelles, artichokes, and tomatoes ($38). Leave room for the fresh doughnuts filled with vanilla cream, salted caramel, and passion-fruit syrup ($7), or the fluffy tres leches cake spiked with ancho chile caramel ($7).


Published on Dec 4, 2014 as a web exclusive.

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