Wednesday, July 24, 2013

The UT Tyler Debate Team Food Tour: Kansas City, Missouri

The UT Tyler Parliamentary Debate Team (the nerdy thing that Carver and I are a part of) consists of a group of hardworking students, constantly pushing to improve our craft and be successful in the national circuit in which we compete.  With the amount of dedication we give to the event, we often feel we deserve a reward, generally in the form of ridiculously good culinary experiences.  We travel to various places in the US, such as Kansas City, St. Louis, San Diego, Portland, and many others, and they all have different restaurants with amazing food for us to try. After each tournament, I will dedicate a blog post to detailing the food tours from various cities.  The first city is Kansas City, Missouri.

From July 7th to the 13th, our debate team took part in the Midwest Parliamentary Debate Cooperative, hosted by UT Tyler’s own Patrick Muenks.  If you do not know, Kansas City sports a huge array of restaurants that specialize in different things, all of which are worth trying at least once.  Preferably, however, they should be enjoyed multiple times.

Our first stop was Arthur Bryant’s, one of the original joints to make Kansas City famous for its BBQ.  Known to be the “King of Ribs” in Kansas City, Arthur Bryant’s has become one of most nationally recognized restaurants for BBQ enthusiasts.  Renowned author Calvin Trillin called it “…the single best restaurant in the world…” A bold statement, but perhaps accurate to what it offers its customers.  There is even an episode of Food Wars dedicated to the ribs at Arthur Bryant's.  I personally had the burnt ends the first night I was in Kansas City, and they were outrageously delicious.  Definitely, a good start to the KC debate team food tour.  

Chicken Spiedini with
Garozzo and Diabolo Sauce
The next night, we decided to go for Italian food, another famous genre of food in Kansas City.  The best restaurant in town for Italian is Garozzo’s, located in the Columbus Park neighborhood in Kansas City.  The restaurant carries with it a feeling that Frank Sinatra hangs out with the staff, showing the Italian heritage of both the restaurant and the entire neighborhood.  Their chicken Spiedini dish is well known to culinary enthusiasts, which the prestigious Zagat National Restaurant Survey called …”among the best dishes in town.”  This place is a regular stopping point for the UT Tyler debate team every time we visit the city.

Gates' Spicy Sausage
The next restaurant on the food tour is Gates, another famous barbecue joint in Kansas City.  Out of all the restaurants we visited, this place definitely provides the best service to its customers.  The moment you walk in the door, counter personnel call for your order, even if a dozen other people are in front of you.  They receive special training with the cooks and other workers to keep track of each order without missing a beat.  The only thing more impressive than the service is the spicy sausage, the burnt ends, and the ridiculously good barbecue sauces they offer.  Another must have for the Kansas City barbecue tour.

Oklahoma Joe's Burnt Ends
 and Beef Brisket Plate
Out of all of the food joints in Kansas City, top prize goes to Oklahoma Joe’s.  There is often a debate over which barbecue joint reigns supreme in Kansas City, but OK Joes is the undisputed champion of consistently strong barbecue goodness.  Famous for their ribs, burnt ends, and beef brisket, Oklahoma Joe’s makes the other barbecue restaurants in the city seem obsolete.  You do not have to take my word for it either.  Anthony Bourdain, host of the Travel Channel’s No Reservations, named Oklahoma Joe’s one of the 13 places you should eat at before you die.  It is the recipient of dozens of national barbecue awards, and barbecue fanatics consider it across the entire country.  Watch them make the burnt ends here; it is amazing!

Kansas City is obviously a favorite tournament location for the UT Tyler debate team, because the food spread is phenomenal.  Next trip to KC will be in September, and these places will hopefully be revisited! 

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