Monthly Archives:

February 2020

Javaholic/ Kansas City/ Wanderings

Coffeeshop Love: Messenger Coffee Co.

February 25, 2020
messenger coffee kansas city

If you’re in the Kansas City area and haven’t been living under a rock, chances are you’ve heard of Messenger Coffee. Honestly, I’m a little late to the party here (this one has been lingering on my coffeeshop list for a while), but seeing as how it’s in my neighborhood and I go there fairly frequently, I couldn’t pass up mentioning it here. Messenger has become something of a KC darling and gotten a lot of hype in the last few years, and for good reason. Though the roasting company was established in 2013 and supplies many local coffeeshops, they opened their flagship roasting facility and café in 2017 in the Crossroads district. As such, they’re first and foremost a roaster, focusing on farm-direct beans roasted right here in KC (in other words, they know their coffee). That said, the café has become a hotspot in its own right.

messenger coffee kansas cityIf hip and sleek is your coffeeshop jam, then Messenger has you covered. Their Crossroads café is hyper-cool and modern — think clean white palette, chic minimalist furniture, soaring ceilings, and lots of light. The décor is unfailingly hip. As an added bonus, there’s an open kitchen with views into the bakery and coffee roasting areas (so you know both your croissant and your java are fresh and homemade). And unlike many coffeeshops, there’s plenty of space and seating here, in the bustling first floor area or upstairs in one of the more studious enclaves. There’s even a much-Instagrammed rooftop patio with amazing views of the downtown KC skyline. The only downside to this is that it sometimes gets a bit loud — it’s never not been busy when I’m there — though there’s enough room that you can usually find a private corner.

messenger coffee kansas city

messenger coffee kansas city

messenger coffee kansas city

For all the hype about Messenger, the baristas know their stuff. The coffee is always delicious, and they’re particularly on-point in the latte art game (even when it comes to my almond milk lattes). I have photographic proof — I’ve never received a less-than-gorgeous latte, and they taste as good as they look. And thanks to Ibis bakery, the menu is worth drooling over as well. The amazing baked goods are all made in-house (in fact, you can see them coming out of the oven in the open kitchen), and the menu is actually fairly extensive, which isn’t a given for coffeeshops. Good luck choosing between the range of carefully handcrafted breads, both classic and creative pastries, and a hot menu of toasts, tartines, eggs, and other breakfast yummies. Sacrilegious though it is, I’ve yet to test the pastries — though they always look incredible — but I can vouch for a decadent chocolate truffle. Considering Ibis’s rising fame, it’s probably safe to say the food is awesome.

messenger coffee kansas city

messenger coffee kansas city ibis bakery

All in all, I have to admit that smaller, slightly shabby cafes are more my style, but there’s no denying that Messenger Coffee is a cool spot, and definitely worth a visit. You know you’ll get a great cup of coffee (and likely a killer bite to eat as well), and really, it’s worth going just to check out the space. You’ll feel cooler just stepping into the café.

messenger coffee kansas city

Musings/ Wanderings

A New Project

February 23, 2020

Hey, I have a new baby (as in creative project — geez)!

Are you a history nerd? A traveler? A lover of wandering curious places? Perfect — you’ll fit right in. I’m launching a new project — If Walls Could Talk is a weekly(ish) newsletter/posting/project exploring incredible places around the world and the stories behind them. The posts will go up weekly (ok, when I manage that) on Twitter, IG, and via newsletter. Follow me on Instagram/Twitter and sign up for the newsletter here for more (you know you want to)!

slains castle scotland

(Psst… here’s a sneak peek at the first posting location. Quite a beaut, isn’t she?)

 

Kansas City/ Wanderings

5 Things To Do in KC When It’s Freezing

February 14, 2020
kansas city to do winter cold

We’re getting to that point of the year when the snow and chilliness has ceased being charming and magical and started to be … well, just cold. Or is that just me? After single-digit temps and negative wind chills this week, I’m officially ready for spring. But in true Kansas City fashion, the weather will probably flip-flop between balmy and frigid until May, so I’m gearing up for weathering more wintery days. Luckily, Kansas City has some excellent foul-weather friends — I rounded up my top five picks for passing the chilly days. Bring on the winter weather (I’m kidding, please give us spring).

Wander the Nelson-Atkins Museum

You’ve probably gotten the memo by now that I’m a tad bit obsessed with the Nelson. But hey, it’s justified. And when you’re itching to get out of the house but it’s frigid outside, wandering the grand halls of the museum is a perfect option. Whether you’re into Asian artifacts, classic medieval paintings, or a slice of ancient Greek life, there’s a little something here for everyone. And when you’ve exhausted your wandering, there’s the lovely Rozzelle Court restaurant or cozy Quay Coffee for an extra bit of yummy fuel.

Visit the Kansas City Aquarium

If you can’t actually take a trip to the beach, why not at least pretend you’re somewhere exotic? With everything from vibrant tropical fish to sharks to a starfish petting tank, the Kansas City aquarium is a great way to transport yourself to the sea (even better when it’s decidedly less than tropical outside). And trust me, it’s not just for the kids. The aquarium is surprisingly impressive and entertaining for ocean-lovers of all ages. Wander through and pretend you’re on a snorkeling expedition — you may not get a fruity cocktail in a coconut at the end, but I promise you’ll have a good time anyway.

Enjoy a Cozy Brunch

I’m not sure if the brunch craze has quite hit KC the way it has NYC and Philly, but it’s getting there. In any case, what could be better on a bone-chilling winter day than a cozy cup of coffee and fluffy pancakes (or whatever yummy treat floats your boat)? Plenty of restaurants in KC could satisfy this craving, but I highly recommend Blue Bird Bistro or Our Daily Nada (or both — go wild). It might be due to a snow day mother-daughter brunch in high school, but I’ll always associate Blue Bird with snowy days. The Westside eatery is part rustic, part hip and thoroughly charming, with scrumptious organic, locally sourced food. If you’re a bookworm, Our Daily Nada serves up homemade bites and creative drinks to enjoy as you peruse a carefully curated selection of books in a warm brick-walled River Market spot. The best part of winter is cozying up inside, right?

Explore Crown Center, Union Station, and the Link

When it’s freezing out, you want to minimize your outside time. Luckily, with the Link — a glass walkway — you can walk all the way from Union Station to Crown Center without ever setting foot outside. On top of that, Union Station and Crown Center are both definitely worth visiting in their own right (and offer plenty of warm inside fun). Built in 1914, Union Station is worth visiting simply for the Art Deco grandeur of the old train station, but it also offers Science City (again, not just for the kids!), a planetarium, a movie theatre, restaurants, and Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory (enough said). Then make your way over to Crown Center for shopping, theatres, and more yummy eateries (did I mention there are multiple candy shops there also?). You can have a full day of wandering without risking frostbite.

Go Ice Skating at the Crown Center Ice Terrace

Ok, so this one doesn’t exactly keep you out of the cold. It’s undeniably festive, though, and a not-to-be-missed winter activity. When you’re finished perusing Crown Center, stop by the ice rink out front, rent a pair of skates, and spend a while gliding away. There’s always music playing, and when it starts to get too chilly, you can grab a cup of hot chocolate at the snack bar to warm up.

Kansas City/ Wanderings

Wandering Recap: A Night at the Museum

February 6, 2020
nelson-atkins museum party arty egypt kansas city ballet

It’s probably the history nerd in me, but I’ve always been fascinated by ancient Egypt. The storied history, the incredible achievements, the mysticism — something about it captivates me. Unsurprisingly, Egypt is high on my travel bucket list. I haven’t made it there yet, so haunting the Egyptian exhibits at museums in my second best option. Given this Egyptian obsession, it’s probably not surprising that when I heard the theme for this year’s Party Arty was the current Queen Nefertari exhibit, I knew I had to go. I’m not an especially big party person, but I am a big museum person, and well, I mentioned the Egypt obsession, right? The Queen Nefertari exhibit in of itself is worth visiting (if you’re in the Kansas City area, definitely check it out), with an astonishing array of artifacts and information on Egyptian tombs. But I digress — we were talking about a party. Party Arty is an annual gala hosted by the Nelson-Atkins Museum for its Young Friends of the Museum, and it’s a go-all-out sort of deal. This year, the theme followed the Queen Nefertari special exhibit, so it was an Egyptian extravaganza. I happen to be a Young Friend of the Museum (and clearly an ancient Egypt nerd), so I obviously couldn’t pass this up. A party might not exactly be wandering, per se, but it was definitely an experience — and great people-watching — so I’m calling this a wandering recap of sorts.

First of all, and most importantly, as I noted before, anything goes at Party Arty. People were decked out in everything from ball gowns to full pharaoh costumes to gold lamé dress suits. Think lots of gold and glitter, fancy headdresses, ankh and eye of Horus accoutrements, even an Anubis head. Add to that the Quixotic dancers weaving through the crowds in their slinky gold outfits, and it was quite a scene. As with all wanderings, people-watching is a must, and this definitely didn’t disappoint. It was an eclectic, artsy set, and simply observing was enough entertainment in of itself.

Now, to set the scene. The Bloch building lobby (the new-ish modern addition to the museum) became an energetic dance area full of club-like beats and moody colored lights, a DJ spinning tunes throughout the night. Set against the stately columns and Art Deco grandeur of the museum itself, the entire scene was somehow a bit surreal. In the main hall of the museum, exotic Egyptian music from a live band echoed in the grand columned hall. Throughout the night, Kansas City Ballet II (the junior ballet troupe) put on performances in the hall. With heavy drum beats, trippy lights, and dancers in foamy white gowns, the spectacle was all a bit like a (very graceful) sacrificial dance, which added even more exotic gravitas to the scene. (If you’ve ever been in the main hall of the museum, you’ll understand how this created quite a dramatic setting — if not, visit the museum immediately).

And of course, we mustn’t forget the refreshments. In keeping with the Egyptian theme, the museum’s Rozzelle Court restaurant served gyros and little Egyptian date cookies (a 1000-year-old recipe, we were told). The open bars also had themed drinks going, courtesy of Tom’s Town distillery — slightly wicked ones, to my taste, but then I’m a booze wimp.

All in all, it was a night to remember. Perhaps a bit different from a true trip to Egypt — we’ll keep that on the bucket list — but the Nelson certainly knows how to throw a party. I’m not sure what the Nelson Party Arty theme is for next year, but it’s safe to say that will be quite the affair as well (I would highly recommend going if you can). In the meantime, the Nelson museum is consistently on my list of top-recommended things to do in Kansas City, so if you’re in the area, don’t miss it. The Queen Nefertari exhibit is showing until March 29, 2020 and is definitely worth a visit, especially if you’re an Egyptophile like me (yes, I made that up). As always, happy wandering!