Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Kansas City Aniversary

It's hard to believe, but Vivian and I have spent two wonderful years together as husband and wife. To celebrate, we decided to take a little shorter trip this year and head down to Kansas City to enjoy some of the sites of our neighbor to the south over the weekend.

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Our first stop, naturally, was for some KC barbecue at Fiorella's Jack Stack. Vivian and Jenny found this place by accident when searching for a place to eat other than the nauseatingly ubiquitous likes of Cheesecake Factory, P.F. Chang's or Kona Grill. We had a couple gigantic onion rings as an hors d'ouevre and then dove into a couple plates of dinosaur-sized beef ribs. We topped it all off, of course, with the legendary hot carrot cake that Vivian and Jenny remembered best (partly because they got it for free when the chef made it by mistake).

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Vivian and I spent the rest of the afternoon exploring the Country Club Plaza, which was the nation's first shopping center designed for people traveling by car (ironic considering it was just a few blocks from our hotel). I always love walking the streets and admiring the elaborate Spanish-style architecture, even when it happens to be a muggy 97 or so degree outside. I did a little research on Yelp before our trip and found a lovely little cheese shop for Vivian to explore called The Better Cheddar — we spent a good hour or two there digging through hundreds of different cheeses, including some Limburger (though we weren't quite brave enough to buy some). We finished off the afternoon dropping into the theater to see Twilight Eclipse together. Vivian and I had actually watched Twilight and New Moon together in the week or two previously, so I can safely say we got our fill of sparkling vampires (and I'm personally looking forward to the upcoming parody film, Vampires Suck).

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We stayed at the Embassy Suites just a few blocks away from the Plaza and had a good time there as well. There was an adult swim after ten o'clock, so Vivian and I were able to enjoy some time in the pool without a hundred screaming kids splashing around with us. We also got to try out our waterproof digital camera, which we are happy to report works quite well even when submerged. We dropped by World Market afterward to get some salmon pate and wine to enjoy back in our room. It's a shame they no longer exist in Omaha.

We both got a free breakfast downstairs the next day that kept us going until well after lunch, which was an added bonus. We also brought our own real maple syrup from the World Market to use on the pancakes — after tasting the real stuff on our honeymoon, I don't think either of us could go back to artificially flavored "pancake syrup."

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On Saturday, we visited the Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, which was also located just a few blocks from our hotel. As an art major, I enjoyed being able to see works by Rembrandt, Caravaggio, and Monet up close and personal with Vivian (who incidentally discovered that she's a fan of Impressionism). They had plenty of other works in various media from different periods, but we were only able to see a portion of the museum before our feet started giving out. I did find time to give a brief lecture in the auditorium about the artistic freedom of not wearing any pants.

Vivian and I enjoyed a quick game of badminton outside before heading back to the hotel.

P1070869.JPG Lobster Dinner at the Savoy Grill

That evening, Vivian and I enjoyed a romantic seafood dinner at the historic Savoy Grill in downtown KC. In memory of our trip to Bar Harbor, we both ordered giant lobster dinners and lobster bisque, all of which was magnificent. Neither of us had actually eaten lobster since our honeymoon two years ago, so it was a joy to break out the crackers and enjoy some of that soft-shell goodness once again. The staff at the Savoy Grill definitely made the dinner an experience — we even had the owner stop by to sing us an Irish blessing before we left. It was a splurge, but I'd definitely go back.

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On the day of our anniversary, Vivian and I beat the summer heat by heading up to Oceans of Fun for the day. I had been to this water park just once back in middle school, and it was even more fun now than I remembered. This might have to do with us visiting on a Monday with much smaller crowds than there would have been on the weekend. We were able to visit just about every water slide we liked without much of a line, and I gave our waterproof camera a pretty good endurance run filming myself shooting down one slide after another (and then trying to stay upright as I hit the water at the bottom).

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That evening, we dropped by Oklahoma Joe's — another local barbecue place I'd found via Yelp — and enjoyed some brisket together as we changed a few personal gifts (one of which Vivian will mention in a rare blog update of her own). We took a trip down to the Plaza one last time to pick up a few mementos and some more cheese before making the long drive back home.

When we arrived, we found Vivian's parents had left us a nice table setting along with dinner for the next day. It's definitely nice not to have to worry about making dinner when you're on vacation.

Thus concluded two wonderful years with the most wonderful bride I could ever imagine. People still occasionally ask us, "How's married life?" Honestly, it keeps getting better and better. I love you, Vivian! I'm lucky to have you.

Highlights from our trip

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