KC’s City Market offers international cuisine, shopping


In the mood for some Vietnamese food? Maybe, Middle Eastern is more your taste. How about East Indian? You prefer Kansas City barbecue?

Well, I know a place where you can have it all. Kansas City’s historic City Market offers a variety of international food, as well as fresh produce.

The City Market has been in the western edge of downtown KC since 1857. IMG_1846

The market place was originally used for marketing, horse trading, as well as political rallies, according to its website, www.thecitymarket.org.

Today, City Market is home to more than 30 permanent shops. They range from retail shops to food vendors. There are a few restaurants on site.

We wanted to get a good look at City Market, so our game plan was to visit as many stores as possible.

We scored big with Dutch Flowers. The floral shop offers more than just floral arrangements.

IMG_1872There is a collection of Dutch shoes and figurines. The displays reminded me of a trip to Amsterdam I took while stationed in Germany decades ago.

There are paper lanterns decorated in a variety of designs.

IMG_1866One thing that stood out to us was a wood-carved Christmas tree that hangs from the ceiling. You can hang up to eight ornaments on it. We have a 7-month-old kitten that is still a bit rambunctious, so we decided not to put up a Christmas tree this year. We feared he’d destroy it and the ornaments.

IMG_1868This tree solves that concern. Lisa was excited to get to have a “tree” up in the house. We’ll see if Gus figures out a way to get to it. Fingers crossed.

The store had so many neat spots for viewing. A photographer was inside the store shooting senior pictures for a girl. Nice backgrounds were available. The store employees didn’t seem to mind.

If you are interested, please check out the store at www.dutchflowerskc.com.

Emblazon Cards and Gifts (www.emblazongifts.com) was another fantastic find for us. Lisa mentioned on a previous post about starting to collect ornaments from places we visit. Our daughter Mallory usually gets us an ornament when she travels. We’ve done it, too. Just not as often as we should.

We picked up a Kansas City ornament, as well as a Kansas one. That took care of two areas for us.

We met up with the Grinch. Though, he didn’t try to steal Christmas. Instead, this Grinch, along with Cindy Lou Who, poses with visitors at the market’s Whoville attraction. The photo opportunities are free, but most people donate canned goods or money, since it is a fund raiser for the Kansas City area food bank.

IMG_1910Since we didn’t have a kid with us, we planned to use our Elf on the Shelf, Peter. As luck would have it, Lisa noticed one of the volunteers was from Nebraska. How did she know? Well, the sash she was wearing said “Miss Nebraska.” Hannah Miller is an Omahan, who is this year’s Miss Nebraska Teen US. Hannah was gracious enough to take Peter and pose with the Grinch and Cindy Lou Who for us.

The Whoville holidays has an activity area for children to play in during their visit. That’s a fun way to burn off some energy.

After getting our photo opp with the Whoville folks, we moved on to the tenant section of the City Market. IMG_1944

As soon as you walk inside the L-shaped building, you can smell the food cooking and baking.

We checked out the Farm to Table Kitchen. There were pictures posted of a couple of KC chefs who participated on the cooking show “Top Chef.”

The first place we tried samples was at Bloom Baking. I had a sample of Italian bread. My first bite was with an olive oil mix. Quite tasty. My second bite was plain. The crust had an awesome Italian seasoning that my taste buds loved.

My second sample was honey wheat. Delicious!

We finished with a bite of bread pudding. My tummy did a happy dance.

We moved along, checking out other merchants.

IMG_2032There was fresh produce available. Everything was reasonably priced. I could see spending a weekend morning here during the spring, taking in the sunny sky, warm temps and crowd-pleasing goodies.

There is a variety of ethnic foods available. Middle Eastern cuisine. Vietnamese. Indian.

IMG_2005The Indian market had fresh spices available in the concourse. The smells just lit up the senses.

IMG_2041Nearby, a musician played Christmas carols on a flute. A little farther away was a guitarist performing classic and contemporary songs.

IMG_2012We moved along to the Farmer’s Market. It’s located in another building. You can open the side windows during warm weather.

We stopped at Little Bill’s pimento cheese table (www.littlebillspimentocheese.com). We bought a couple of flavored pimento cheese containers for family events. The samples were delicious. Lisa and I each tried the bacon cheese and jalapeno cheese.

IMG_2093The vendor told us that during the spring-fall months, the market is packed with vendors and customers. The parking lot is packed. We’ve decided this will have to be part of a warm month visit, too.

After our browsing, it was about lunch time, so we decided to try a local restaurant.

IMG_2158Winslow’s BBQ won out, because who doesn’t want Kansas City barbecue.

We were the first customers, so we had the pick of our sitting location. We grabbed a black and white booth. It reminded me of cow hide. It was the perfect spot for college football viewing on the big screen. We watched a Nebraska-connected game, featuring North Dakota State and Coastal Carolina in a NCAA 1-AA (I know, football fans, it is called the FCS). The coaches are both Nebraskans. NDSU’s coach is Craig Bohl, former Husker and coach at NU. The Carolina coach is Joe Moglia, former CEO of Omaha-based TD Ameritrade and Omaha Nighthawk coach in the United Football League.

Our server was great. She was very friendly and reviewed the menu options with us. Sauces are served on the side, because of the rub they use on the meats, she said. IMG_2144

There are four sauces to choose from: the 71 (the year the sauce was created), Maple Apple (mellow sauce), Habanera Hot (has a bite to it) and a pepper jelly sauce (my favorite). The pepper jelly has a spicy bite to it.

We ordered a combination plate, which we shared. You can choose three of six meats available. We went with ribs, pulled pork and brisket. I found the pepper jelly sauce a great match for the brisket. The HH went well with ribs.

IMG_2152The two sides that come with the combo were very good.

While the service was great, the overall experience was OK. The meat wasn’t great. But, it wasn’t bad. It was OK. It doesn’t match up well against Oklahoma Joe’s or Arthur Bryant’s. This isn’t a knock against Winslow’s. As our server said, KC BBQ differs based on what area you are in. I find myself liking the other places more than I cared for the BBQ here.

For more information on Winslow’s, please see www.winslowsbbq.com.

After finishing what we could of our meal (so much served – a great bargain for the price), we continued on our journey through Kansas City’s winter wonderland.