Kansas City

I work as a freelance consultant, which means that my office is my home or a good coffee shop. I’ve sampled my share of coffee shops in Kansas City and my favorite is … The Roasterie in Brookside. This is also a locally owned company with an interesting story.

The most important criteria for judging a coffee shop is the coffee and the brew rocks. I’ve never had a bad cup of coffee here — my favorite is the Vanilla Latte. While you’re at it, order one of their amazing pastries. The cinnamon or blueberry scones are particularly good.

Best of all, the atmosphere is conducive to getting a lot of work done. One wall is entirely windows so the light is terrific, and if you are particularly lucky, you can snag a table on their outdoor patio. You’ll find a laptop on nearly every table because this is a favorite haunt of both the self-employed and the students at nearby UMKC. I’ve written half an e-book at this place! Judging by my lagging work output in recent weeks, I need to visit the Roasterie again soon! 

If you need to take a break from work, visit the cute shops right around the corner … The Dime Store, World’s Window, the Reading Reptile and the best gift shop/artist emporium in Kansas City — STUFF.

Leave a comment and tell me YOUR favorite coffee shop in Kansas City. I need to find some additional work locations!

(Photos courtesy of Man Seeking Coffee.)



Cool Kansas City Events: October

by Cathy on October 1, 2012 · 0 comments

in Kansas City

Kansas City has slowly moved beyond its “fly-over-state” status to become a fairly interesting place to live. With that spirit in mind, here is the first monthly calendar of interesting things coming up in and around Kansas City. I plan to roll this out at the beginning of each month, with occasional updates. Check back often and send me any additional “cool kid” activities.

Oct. 2, 11:30-1:30: The Culinary Institute of KC’s “Staff” Lunch – Join the Culinary Institute on the first Tuesday of every month from 11:30-1:30 for a “open to the public” Staff Lunch where you get an incredible lunch at a great price. You eat whatever the chefs want to make (and they are VERY competitive!) It’s a full lunch including drink and dessert. They  serve until the food is gone and don’t take reservations.

Oct 5, 2-8:30 pm, First Friday at the Crossroads District – the granddaddy of all art districts. In addition to the usual gallery open houses, the night includes the Contemporary Autumn Showcase that highlights new artists Nina Irwin, Jeff Robinson and PMK. There will also be new works by returning artists. The showcase will play with the swirling light of dreams, the dark fantasies of humanity and the blending of reality with the surreal.

Oct 5, Owl City, the Beaumont Club — The doors open at 7 pm and the show begins at 8 pm.

Oct. 6, Noon – 9 pm, Parktoberfest — October festival at English Landing Park in Parkville, Mo. featuring food, drink, music and family fun.

Oct. 12, 3Oh!3, the Beaumont Club — Doors open at 6:30 pm and the show begins at 7 pm.

Oct. 12, Seinfeld Live, the Midland Theater – Doors open at 6 pm and the show begins at 7 pm.

Oct. 13, 12-2 pm, Farm to Table Kitchen Cooking Class at the City Market (River Market area): The Culinary Institute will teach a cooking class that uses the abundance ingredients found in the City Market including imported spices, Italian products and winter produce. Sign up early to ensure your spot. The price includes the cooking class, recipes and a market bag filled with produce.

Oct. 14, 7 pm, District Rhythyms: The Sequel — Free concert on the KC Live Stage in the Power & Light District

Oct. 26: Final Fridays, Art in Downtown Lawrence: Art, music and performances by hundreds of artists all over the downtown area as well as the new Warehouse Arts District. Maps can be found the evening of Final Friday at The Lawrence Arts Center, the Warehouse Arts District and many local galleries and venues. Events are free and open to the public from 5 until 9 pm, so pick up a map and start walking!

Ongoing Fun:

La Bodega Happy Hour ( two locations: Southwest Boulevard and Leawood): 50 percent off tapas, sangria, wines by the glass, well drinks, draft beer and domestic bottles. Monday-Friday, 2-6 p.m. and Saturdays, 2-4 p.m.. The Leawood location has a lovely outdoor seating area with fireplaces, cushy seating, and plenty of tables.

Homer’s Coffee House Weekend Live Music Live music every Friday and Saturday night, 7:30-9:30, no cover charge. Oct. 6: Moon City Big Band; Oct. 12: Charles David Smart; Oct. 13: Hallelujah Cowboys; Oct. 20: Sky Blue; Oct. 26: Brent Lee.

Leave a comment and let me know of other things going on around town. We’ll add it to the page. Thanks!




Kansas City has become a rich stew of flavorful local artists but when we visited Art Westport a few years ago, we found it, well, a bit bland. Last night, though, we sampled the various art from local artists and found it quite tasty. The funky Westport area was alive with artists’ booths full of photography that makes you want to travel the world, crafted jewelry that makes you want to blow your paycheck in one night and paintings that are so varied, I couldn’t begin to describe them. Here’s just a brief sampling:

(Photography by Karen Geisler of Photographic Escapes)

(Work from artist Nyle Gordon)

(Jewelry by Michelle Babcock of Michelle’s Enamels)

Then we ate a late dinner at the Beer Kitchen, where we split a Reuben sandwich that a reviewer on Yelp.com said was “the best reuben you will ever eat. Period.” It was pretty darned tasty. We also split a “build-your-own mac and cheese” that we topped with burnt ends and bacon. It was so bad for ‘ya that it was GOOD. This place had over 200 reviews on Yelp — I know, 200! I don’t even like beer but this place is great. I did have a blackberry pear cider, though, and I liked it — a lot.

So, if you head over there today during this gorgeous weather, you can catch Art Westport on its last day. If you don’t make it this year, be sure to mark your calendar for next September. It was a winner.




When we ate at the tasty City Coffeehouse and Creperie in St. Louis in July, I lamented the fact that we didn’t have a good creperie in Kansas City. Boy, was I wrong! This morning, we ate brunch at Chez Elle Creperie Coffeehouse. Not only was it amazing, but it was also located in the up and coming Westside neighborhood at 17th and Summit. Local foodies may know that Westside is also the location of the celebrated Blue Bird Bistro and Lill’s on 17th.

Chez Elle is located in the renovated Summit Theater building, location of the first movie theater in Kansas City that showed movies with sound. The decor reminded me of the wonderful restaurants in Asheville — artsy, urban hippie and European.


But let’s focus on the stars of the show — the crepes. My husband and I split the savory Bonjour crepe filled with bacon and cheese, and topped with scrambled eggs. We also split the Citron crepe filled with lemon curd and strawberries topped with fresh whipped creme. Both crepes were surprising light and bursting with flavor.

I wish there was space to describe all the rest of the crepes — twenty two in all. The Suisse with Black Forest Ham, asparagus and Hollandaise sauce, the Mon Cheri Amour with cherries, vanilla ice cream and fresh whipped cream in a chocolate crepe … all I can tell you is that you will have a heck of a time choosing.

Even the ladies’ restroom is cute at this place!

Chez Elle has wonderful French decor, an interesting history, an urban neighborhood, wonderful food and coffee that just makes me happy! What else could a person possibly want in a restaurant?

Chez Elle Creperie Coffeehouse on Urbanspoon



ARTichokes Makes for a Fun Friday Night

by Cathy on February 19, 2011 · 0 comments

in Ideas

If you are looking for a fun way to spend a Friday night in KC, head over to ARTichokes in Mission Farms. This creative art space has it all … much of it for free! Most Friday nights include free music, wine and appetizers and a couple of artists on hand to chat about their art on display.

And if that isn’t enough fun for you, then you can also participate in their open studio from 3-9 pm.For just a few dollars, you can purchase a canvas, borrow their amazing paints and brushes, and paint your little heart out. There are several studio artists on hand to show you the ropes or you can just dig in! The best part is that you don’t need to be an artist to have fun. This is a totally relaxed studio where you don’t need to be intimidated.

We wandered into ARTichokes  last night and were totally inspired. Gayle Schlagel’s gorgeous jewelry was on display,

as were paintings by Barry Thomas and several other wonderful painters, ceramic artists and other creatives. You will be inspired! So if you are looking for some inspired Friday night fun, you know where to go!



Need to jump start your creativity so you can see your life in fresh ways? I’ve found that the best way to do that is to get out and explore! It really doesn’t matter where you go — perhaps an art gallery, music event or to hear a speaker in the community. The point is to get out the door and expose yourself to new ideas.

Treasures await you at Good JuJu

That was my point when I joined my sister, the original “dumpster diver and thrift shop shopper extraordinaire,” on one of her expeditions this past Saturday. She had this amazing place she wanted to show me at the end of the 12th Street Bridge in Kansas City. We wound our way around old buildings in the West Bottoms and stopped at Good JuJu, a wonderful space with exposed brick, high ceilings and old wooden floors. The place was packed with shoppers looking through an interesting assortment of re-purposed furniture, decorative items , original art and vintage clothing. I bought a restored side table and some lovely pottery but I could have gone hog wild!

"Melted Sound" by Derek Combs ... Some of the art featured at Good JuJu

In addition to acquiring some unique pieces for my home, I felt inspired visiting a new part of the city surrounded by an interesting collection of people all exploring together.

You may think you are just too busy to explore but my sister’s example begs to differ. She is a single mom with a very demanding job. But she still makes time for adventure. On a recent business trip to Chicago, she took time to visit some inspiring stores. Find remnants of time in your schedule — your lunch hour, an occasional weekend or date night with your spouse — to go on an adventure.

Need help coming up with ideas? Here’s what’s on my list for the for the month:

Be sure to jot down the new ideas and inspiration that result from your adventure. You may also want to have a camera with you.

What’s on your adventure list?



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