Travel

missouri-kansas-city.jpg The state line runs down the middle of Kansas City, one part in Kansas, one in Missouri.  And even though most of the famous barbecue joints are in Missouri, because of the proximity, you can easily vote in Kansas and eat barbecue for lunch in Missouri, or visa versa.  A little thing like the state line doesn’'t divide barbecue lovers.  Here then, is a quick run down of my favorite barbecue joints in two states and one metropolitan area.

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ImageLast week, when Saveur Magazine arrived, I immediately started reading the many articles on "greatest meals ever" with great curiosity, all the while thinking what would be my greatest meal? A meal of a life time. What makes a great meal different from all the other wonderful meals that you have eaten?

I decided that a great meal is about all the minutes of your experience that are saturated with tastes, smells, the room and the people lovingly cooking it with only you in mind. My memory flashed back to a dinner that I had almost fifty years ago in Madrid that had shaped my life as an eater and a cook by being jolted by the intense smell of food cooking, but that wasn't the meal of all meals. That meal took 30 more years to happen...

The meal of all meals was lunch in a tiny little town in the mountains of the South of France, a village that is nameless, but that seems unimportant as I am sure that it could never be relived. It just wouldn't happen that the restaurant would be empty and the same women Chef and son would cook it all in the same way again. It's is best preserved in the past.

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honolulu-hawaii.jpgNew Year's eve has got to be the most over-rated holiday of the year. I'm all about celebrating any holiday, even the ones I have never heard of but I always dread New Year's eve. Something about being forced to stay up late, wearing a sparkly, tacky hat and tooting a horn, trying to be cheerful and chatty when I am actually dog tired from the Christmas holidays. Otherwise the option is to stay home and feel depressed that everyone else is out having a good time except for me.

I discovered several years ago that the answer to all of my New Year's eve trauma was to go to work. Since I work for a major airline and the 'Senior Mamas" (our semi-affectionate term for the stews who have been flying for 35+ years) don't want to work on any holiday, I can pretty much pick up any trip I want. I debated on a 5 day trip to Prague or Stockholm but decided it was too cold. I looked at long layovers in Rio de Janeiro, Santiago, Chile, and Buenos Aires but decided I wasn't in the mood to always be looking over my shoulder. Bingo, 50 hours in Honolulu popped up on my computer and I took it immediately.

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sanfranciscocablecars.jpg The trouble with San Francisco is that there are way too many fabulous places to eat. Regardless of how much over-eating a person chooses to do, enjoying more than 3 meals a day may be the digestive limit. Just two days in which to eat in the city by the bay upped the ante for my family. Our weekend in San Francisco was to visit with our adult children. What a difference from those early years when only a small selection of beige foods would cross the little lips of our youngest. Now he’s 6’5”, so that early limited palate clearly didn’t stunt the kid’s growth. He and I plotted for months about where to eat, and at first we thought we’d go to one of the recent James Beard award winners, but all were booked four months in advance. How frustrating. But the depth of eating possibilities in the city and beyond left no time for sulking. Rock, paper, scissors, and plans were made.

On this perfect Saturday, we started the day at Tartine, the fabled bakery. A long line of hungry eaters surrounds Tartine every morning and evening, so we planned our arrival at the opening bell. Long lines in that neighborhood are pretty common because there’s such an abundance of good eating in so many places. If you are in the Castro/Mission area of San Francisco, just cruise the streets and jump into a line spinning out of one or another of the local food joints, and you’ll be well-fed.

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hominygrits2.jpg I think I stopped giving grits a chance many years ago when Lucy became our family pet. She's an amazing bird, a Yellow Naped Amazon parrot that has an unbelievable vocabulary, an infectious laugh, can tell my identical twin brothers apart and eats grits every morning for breakfast. Sounds charming but think about being awakened by a bird with a loud, piercing voice calling my name every morning demanding her grits.

By golly, you better get them right or she gets mad and starts screaming. She likes her grits a bit runny, butter, salt and pepper with a sprinkling of cheese. They need to sit for a few minutes so they won't burn her beak because that really makes her mad. Get it right and she turns into this loving soul who will say in her lovely southern accent "Praise the Lord" and "You're a very pretty girl." Gee thanks.

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