Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 featured an array of restaurants that gave foodies a chance to visit old favorites and try new ones in Kansas City, MO.

My Best Moments of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017

Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 featured an array of restaurants that gave foodies a chance to visit old favorites and try new ones. As always, Kansas City’s finest culinary talents offered a variety of mouth-watering lunches and dinners. Kansas City Restaurant Week has long been considered a 10 day highlight of one of the best dining scenes in the nation. Here are just a few of the delicious dishes that I enjoyed during the 2017 event.

Cafe Trio

Mac Daddy from Cafe Trio in Kansas City, MO. Voted KC’s Best Mac & Cheese! Day One of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 for My City Adventures. - Kiara Watts

First Course

Brussels Sprouts
Pan seared with bacon, sweet potato purée, pecans, dried fig, and red wine vinegar.

Second Course

Mac Daddy
Voted KC’s Best Mac & Cheese! Creamy gourmet mac & cheese with bacon, green onion, bell pepper, cherry tomatoes, bel paese, fontina & romano cheeses.

Third Course

Gooey Chocolate Cake
Served with pecan praline ice cream and caramel crème anglaise.

and…

Lemon Cake
Served with carrot curd, elderflower syrup, carrot brown sugar, and mascarpone.

Yardhouse

Nashville Hot Chicken from Yardhouse in Kansas City, MO Power and Light District. Day three of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 for My City Adventures. - Kiara Watts

First Course

Kale Caesar Salad
Romaine lettuce, brussels sprouts, pistachios, raisins, sweet baby tomatoes, and shaved parmesan.

Second Course

Nashville Hot Chicken
Served with fried sage, sweet potato pancakes, pickles, ranch dressing, and honey hot sauce.

Third Course

Banana Berry Rum Macadamia Nut Crumble
Topped with toasted coconut ice cream

Gordon Biersch

Lobster and Shrimp Tacos from Gordon Biersch in Kansas City, MO Power and Light District. Day Five of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 for My City Adventures. - Kiara Watts

First Course

House Salad
Classic style served with signature Marzen balsamic vinaigrette.

Second Course

Southwest Egg Rolls
Stuffed with pulled chicken, black beans, corn, roasted red peppers, carrots, zucchini, and pepper jack cheese.

Lobster and Shrimp Tacos
Prepared with house-made Cajun rémoulade, pepperjack cheese, lettuce, and pico de gallo. Wrapped in crisp blue corn tortillas and in soft flour tortillas. Served with their signature garlic fries.

Fourth Course

Triple Chocolate Brownie
Three different chocolates mixed together, topped with fudge, caramel and ice cream.

Spin! Neapolitan Pizza

Roasted Potato Pizza from Spin Pizza in Kansas City, MO. Day eight of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 for My City Adventures. - Kiara Watts

First Course

Spinach and Goat Cheese Salad
Fresh baby spinach, criminis, pancetta, caramelized onions, roasted grape tomatoes, glazed pecans, goat cheese, and Chianti vinaigrette.

Second Course

Roasted Potato Pizza
Pancetta, roasted red peppers, goat cheese, and scallions on whole wheat.

Third Course

Gelato
Dark chocolate and raspberry.

The Jacobson

Salted Butterscotch Pudding from The Jacobson in Kansas City, MO Crossroads Art District. Day ten of Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 for My City Adventures. - Kiara Watts

First Course

Tuscan Tomato Caprese Salad
Roasted plum tomatoes, fresh mozzarella and lightly dressed artisan field greens, finished with aged balsamic reduction.

Second Course

Bucatini Pasta
Tossed with roasted garlic marinara. Finished with Pecorino cheese & fresh basil.

Third Course

Salted Butterscotch Pudding
Served with fresh cream and shaved chocolate.

I had a blast during Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017! If you enjoyed it as well leave a comment about what you liked best. You can also find more delicious photos at My City Adventures on Instagram. Thank you for reading!

Blurb believes in the power of books: making, reading, sharing and selling them. Learn how their new BookWright tool can increase your blog income.

Increase Your Blog Income with Book Wright

Disclosure: I have been compensated for this post, sponsored by Blurb’s BookWright. It contains affiliate links featuring products I think you’ll love. I will also receive compensation from any purchases made from clicking through these links. Thank you for supporting My City Adventures.

What is BookWright?

Blurb believes in the power of books: making, reading, sharing and selling them. Learn how their new BookWright tool can increase your blog income.

Just in case you don’t know what BookWright is, I’ll explain. It’s a free desktop software you can use to create beautiful books, magazines, and ebooks. The software contains high quality design templates found in the most popular books and layouts to start fresh with your own ideas. There are also videos, instructions, and tips built right into the application so you’ll have everything you need right at your fingertips. Once your project is finished, one file makes print ready books, ebooks, and PDF output. BookWright also has printers with a custom built color profile to produce your book at the best quality.

How Can I Make Money from BookWright as a Blogger?

Blurb believes in the power of books: making, reading, sharing and selling them. Learn how their new BookWright tool can increase your blog income.

Blurb has created an exciting feature that is a game changer for bloggers! You can now use their new blog import tool in BookWright to turn digital content (such as your fantastic website) into a beautiful book. This new feature accepts just about any blog building tool, including Blogger, Squarespace, and WordPress to name a few. It easily pulls text and images directly into any project you want to create.

Blurb believes in the power of books: making, reading, sharing and selling them. Learn how their new BookWright tool can increase your blog income.

I’m sure that you as a blogger always work hard to do what you love and earn a living while doing it. Right? Well, with the help of BookWright you can convert blog pages into your own ready to print layouts. This new tool is a great opportunity to create a revenue stream from content you already have by making a digital or print book to sell. This is also a great opportunity to increase your brand. Hey, all you food bloggers out there! Imagine taking your most delicious blog posts and converting them into a one of a kind cookbook. Or if you’re a fashion blogger, creating a collection of your best outfits for a highly stylized look book.

Blurb believes in the power of books: making, reading, sharing and selling them. Learn how their new BookWright tool can increase your blog income.

Here’s how it works. First, download and install BookWright on your desktop computer. Next, start a new book project in your desired size and format. After that click on the site import icon inside the software. This will pull up a series of prompts to take content from any public website. Finally, get ready to let your creative juices flow! Find your content under the text files and photos tabs. Then choose from read page layouts or create your own. Last, auto create your book, or drag-and-drop to place content in layouts.

Blurb believes in the power of books: making, reading, sharing and selling them. Learn how their new BookWright tool can increase your blog income.

BookWright is an amazing tool to create your self published works. To learn more, please visit www.blurb.com/blurbbookwright. Thank you for reading!

What God taught me in 2016 is that faith in Him brings light to the darkest of days. Here's how God's extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016. - Kiara Watts, My City Adventures

How God Carried Me Through 2016 with Extraordinary Love and Grace

Cheers to 2017! Also, as of January 1st, I’ve been a blogger for three years! Everyday I am so amazed and excited at all the richness that blogging brings to my life. What amazes me even more is how blessed I am, by God, to do what I love. Last year was full of growth, challenges, love, and lots of beautiful moments. It seems like a cliché to say that 2016 had its ups and downs, but it did. However, with the roller coaster that it was, I learned that faith in God can bring light on the darkest of days. Here’s how God’s extraordinary love and grace carried me through 2016.

Out with the Old

The year started off with me seeking a new church to call home. After moving across town in 2014, it became a struggle to keep up regular attendance at my former church. I choose to use public transportation so the commute was increasingly hard to keep up. Sadly I realized it was time to move on. Leaving the church I loved and all the meaningful relationships I had formed with fellow brothers and sisters in God was heartbreaking. The time I spent there was a groundbreaking part of my life as a bible based follower of Jesus Christ. I miss them.

Without the security blanket of constant love and fellowship from my old church, feelings of loneliness, resentment, and anger began to form. Loneliness because I needed people in my life who I felt truly loved and cared about me but had lost that. Anger because I thought that it should have been easier to keep up those connections when it wasn’t. Resentment because of the season of life I was in at the time which caused to have to move. In 2014, I separated from my husband of four years.

Terry and I got married in 2010. The foundation for our marriage wasn’t as good and strong as it should have been but we managed to make it work. I gave birth to Lilyanna in 2012, which, as it should have, completely changed my life. And my way of thinking. Terry and I both had fierce tempers. Our arguments were mentally and physically abusive. Eventually we sought counseling and things got better. But not for long. After Lily was born I began to think about how I conducted myself as a woman, wife, and mother would affect her.

Then, with the fighting already too much to handle, Terry told me he had cheated on me. This revelation left me devastated. We ended up separating that spring. It just so happened that the lease for the house we were living in was also set to end that summer. At the time I was a stay at home wife and mother. I had no income of my own. I no longer had a husband to support me. And soon I and my daughter would have no place to live.

Finding Comfort in the Word of God

Matthew 6:31-33. Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all. But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.

Those words had never rang truer for me. My church family really came through during that extremely difficult time. They rallied behind me, helped me get a job, provided counseling, and were just plain and simple a wonderful support system. Not to say that I didn’t worry because I did. But God certainly used all that to show me that everything in my life works according to His will and in His time. I started my new job just in time to afford a deposit and first month’s rent. In August of 2014, I became a full-time working mom with a job outside of the home for the first time in a little over two years. 

Fast forward to 2015. After several months of still being married yet living life as a single parent I learned a few things. I learned that the fear of being stigmatized as a “divorced Christian” was not worth the trauma I had subjected myself to. I learned that in order for me to really be committed to having a successful marriage I would have to let go of demanding that things go my way. (This may seem like a forgone conclusion but you’d be surprised at the things that being married will show about your natural inclinations.)

I learned that through God, I can do amazing things. I went into marriage with the belief that I would fight and stick it out, no matter what. Marriage is for life. Period. However, as I grew a woman, I realized that the circumstances rendered me unable to thrive as the wife and mother. I know I could have stayed. God had certainly given me enough strength to endure. But what existence would it have been to merely survive being married? Instead, I had to let go of my ideals of what marriage should look like and trust God in leaving a broken and abusive relationship. I had to trust God that I would be okay even though I had no idea how.

Starting a New Chapter

I Thessalonians 5: 16-18. Rejoice always, pray without ceasing, give thanks in all circumstances; for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus for you.

I got plenty of experience at learning the art of contentment with where I was in life. Not just content, as in satisfied, but happy. Back then, I felt as though I shouldn’t feel happiness considering what I was going through. Being Happy is still a situational juxtaposition I grapple with at times. But I didn’t wallow in self-pity. Instead I sought the good out of my circumstances. I found joy and peace in living in a home where I was safe. My daughter now had a mother who was able to live out the best her possible everyday. I continued to take pride and excitement in my hometown.

Thankfully I had moved to a wonderful neighborhood in which I slowly began to grow new roots. For the first time in my life, I became friends with my neighbors! And I found a new church body of believers. Most important of all, I received continuous lessons in trusting God for everything that I needed.

The change of atmosphere in my home was immediate. The air of tension and anxiety was gone. My focus shifted from being ready for whatever battle might arise to enjoying my home life. Lilyanna may not have known exactly what was going on between Terry and me but I could tell she noticed the change too. She adjusted well to life without a two parent household. Our relationship as mother and daughter was also refined as I became the sole provider of the household. Being responsible for the first and most important example Lilyanna has of womanhood is something I take quite seriously.

Terry and I managed to get on good terms with each other for Lilyanna’s sake. Which was and is a huge blessing. I was also in counseling for guidance on this transitional phase. On one hand, divorce was a serious consideration. On the other hand, reconciliation with my husband wasn’t out of the question. My former beliefs on an ideal marriage still had a strong place in my heart. After time in prayer and meditation, bible studies, and counsel; I reconnected with my husband.

Change Is Good

Unfortunately neither of us could have foreseen how much we would change and grow in opposite directions during our time apart. I wasn’t the same person as a year earlier. I had come to a place in which I knew that my life could still be meaningful, valid, and fruitful without the coveted titles that society made me believe I should work to keep. Wife. Stay at Home Mother. I knew that God wouldn’t cast me away if I wasn’t married to Terry. Our life as husband and wife went downhill once again. The old yet familiar destructive patterns resurfaced and I discovered he had been unfaithful again. The difference this time was that there would be no period of reconciling our marriage. I am no longer the kind of woman who will accept being abused, cheated on, and undervalued.

Throughout my days of being a blogger I have always loved sharing my stories of adventures in Kansas City. Hence, the name Kiara Loves KC. However I began to long for exploration outside of the norm. Halfway through 2016, I started thinking of ways I could join writing about other cities and places with a blog dedicated to Kansas City. The answer was I could but it wouldn’t make much sense. In November of 2016, I re-branded as My City Adventures.

Blogging is a great passion of mine but it isn’t always easy. I sometimes struggle with comparing my blogging to someone else’s who I admire. But again, as with many areas of my life, I have learned that I am enough. There are and will always be bloggers who could be deemed better than me. I can’t blog with them in mind. Comparing myself to others won’t do anything except cause me to downgrade my ability as a writer and photographer. All I can do is produce the best work I possibly can.

One fact remained constant in 2016. My life would not be what it is without God. In all the good, bad, and ugly that transpired God showed me that my life is in His control. I am so appreciative of who I am and how God is transforming me. I love the new friendships that are forming at my new church. I’m grateful for the relationship Lilyanna has with her father and I cherish every single special moment I have with her. The opportunities that blogging and photography will bring in 2017 are thrilling. Through God’s amazing love and grace I can and will thrive!

Thank you for reading! Please subscribe to My City Adventures for adventure stories, special giveaways, and more!

Kansas City Restaurant Week is the premier dining event in Kansas City! The 10 days of dining will spotlight local restaurants and support local charities.

Dine Out and Do Good for Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017

Kansas City Restaurant Week (KCRW2017) presented by US Foods kicks off Friday, January 13th, 2017, with 180 participating restaurants across the metro area. The 10 day event, concluding with dinner service on Sunday, January 22nd, marks its eighth consecutive year in Kansas City.

Sicilian Caprese Salad from Johnny Cascone’s Italian Restaurant

Kansas City Restaurant Week 2017 participants will offer lunch and dinner menus under two price tiers – $15 and $33. For the first time in KCRW history, the two prices are interchangeable. This will allow each participating restaurant to customize a lunch and/or dinner menu that best represents its dining experience. To browse menus or make reservations, visit KCRestaurantWeek.com. You can also download the new and improved, free Kansas City Restaurant Week app for iPhone and Android. Both platforms continually update with new participating restaurants and available menus. Additionally, both the KCRW website and app feature a search option for special dietary restrictions such as gluten-free, nut free, vegan, and vegetarian. Plus a recent menu updates feature allows visitors to track newly added Kansas City Restaurant Week menus.

Gumbo Pasta from O’Neill’s Restaurant and Bar

Continuing its commitment to the Kansas City community, 10 percent of proceeds from all KCRW meals between January 13-22 will benefit five local charitable beneficiaries. Over the course of its first seven years, Kansas City Restaurant Week has raised more than $1.4 million for local charities.

2017 Kansas City Restaurant Week Beneficiaries

BoysGrow (www.boysgrow.com)
Founded in 2010, BoysGrow has a mission to teach entrepreneurial-ism to urban male youth in the Kansas City area through farming and agriculture. The organization operates two working farms maintained by male youth, ages 14-16, from throughout the metro. Participants use fruits and vegetables grown at the farms to create products such as ketchup, salsa, barbecue sauce, and hot sauce that are sold in local restaurants and food stores. BoysGrow will unveil its 2015 product, Tzatziki salad dressing in mid-August of 2017.

Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired (www.ccvi.org)
Founded in 1952 in an area church basement, the Children’s Center for the Visually Impaired has grown to serve nearly 400 children with visual impairments annually from birth to age eight in the Kansas City metro. The center offers programs for children and their families including a food program designed to teach children with visual impairments positive eating habits, leading to developing good health and positive social skills.

Cultivate Kansas City (www.cultivatekc.org)
Founded in 2005, Cultivate Kansas City works to grow food, farms, and communities for a healthier local food system in the Kansas City area. Beginning in 2015, the organization took ownership of Beans & Greens, a program to offer incentive to those receiving government assistance to shop at local farmers markets. The program matches dollar for dollar EBT, SNAP or other assistance program monies spent at farmers markets. Thereby, low-income families are effectively able to double their budget when purchasing healthy, locally produced items. This also brings new customers to local farmers.

Kansas City Regional Destination Development Foundation
Administered by Visit KC, the foundation focuses primarily on the identification, development, and advocacy of tourism products in Kansas City and its surrounding communities. The KCRDDF oversees the Heartland Tourism Ambassador training program and provides career development opportunities in tourism. The KCRDDF takes a specific interest in at risk populations, including youth, minorities, and seniors.

Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association Educational Foundation
Administered by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association, the foundation seeks to promote the restaurant industry in the greater Kansas City area. Scholarships are offered to students pursuing a career in the hospitality industry.

Kansas City Restaurant Week is Kansas City’s premier dining event founded by the Greater Kansas City Restaurant Association and Visit KC to support the regional restaurant community. For more information and a complete list of restaurants visit KCRestaurantWeek.com. Also, follow along as I share my delicious dining experiences and some special KCRW 2017 surprises at My City Adventures on Instagram.

Thank you for reading!

A meet up with a local family community inspired an amazing walking tour full of picturesque landscapes, beautiful gardens, and Kansas City,.

Walking Tour Exploration Day 11-25-16

In recent years, the Watts family has spent the day after Thanksgiving (aka Black Friday) shopping sales at local places in Kansas City. But… This year I was over holiday shopping before the season began. So I searched for another way to keep us entertained. Enter Thrive Wild + Free KC meet up at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center. With nowhere to be and nothing to do, this jump started an amazing walking tour exploration day.

Thrive Wild + Free KC is a casual all-ages community family group that meets at Kansas City metro nature venues twice a month. It's associated with two faith-based communities: Wild + Free and Thrive Moms. Their mission is centered around learning through play and exploring in nature.

Thrive Wild + Free KC is a casual all-ages community family group that meets at Kansas City metro nature venues twice a month. It’s associated with two faith-based communities: Wild + Free and Thrive Moms. Their mission centers around learning through play and exploring in nature. This is a great morning play group for families who want to connect with their neighbors. Meet-ups are the second and forth Friday of each month. I found out about Thrive Wild + Free through Instagram several months ago. However, I’m usually at work during their group times. This was actually our first time at a meet up and I’m so glad it was at Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center.

Educators with the Missouri Department of Conservation imagined the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center to be a place in urban Kansas City where children could connect with their natural environment and where conservation services could be provided to an urban audience.

The Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center is located just south of the Country Club Plaza on Troost Avenue. Educators with the Missouri Department of Conservation imagined a place in urban Kansas City where children could connect with their natural environment and where conservation services could be provided to an urban audience. I was blown away the first time Lily and I ventured through the doors of the center From the street, it looks like any other building in the area. Yet it is much more than meets the eye! Anita B. Gorman Conservation Center hosts tons of educational programs and events for children and adults. We’ve attended nature story times and seed saving classes there. The building demonstrates natural processes to provide energy efficiently, has live animal exhibits, and a nature play area. Outdoor landscapes feature small versions of upland and lowland forests, prairies, and wetlands. Specialty planting areas include hummingbird, butterfly, wildflower, and water gardens. Events also include workshops and scout programs that are used to teach the basics of Missouri wildlife and the natural environment.My energy levels were pretty high after an unseasonably gorgeous morning  spent getting in tune with nature.

Kauffman Legacy Park is located in Kansas City, Missouri. This two acre memorial park features a serene pond and seasonal gardens with vintage and modern plants.

With no pressing agenda, we continued to explore. We crossed past the teepee and stream at the Anita B. Gorman Conservation Discovery Center to the pond at the beginning border of Kauffman Legacy Park. This two acre memorial park features a serene pond and seasonal gardens with vintage and modern plants. It also encompasses the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden. More on that later. Turning west, we headed down a path toward Brush Creek.

Brush Creek is a 10.5 mile long stream that begins in Overland Park, Kansas and drains to the Blue River in Kansas City, Missouri. Near the Blue and Missouri Rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed.

Brush Creek is a 10.5 mile long stream that begins in Overland Park, Kansas and drains to the Blue River in Kansas City, Missouri. Near the Blue and Missouri Rivers, it is part of the Mississippi River watershed. Brush Creek got its name from the brush that once lined its course. The waterway was constructed to help control flood waters following heavy rains. Thanks to its design, Brush Creek provides a safe and picturesque location for joggers, walkers, and bicyclists to exercise without the danger of traffic. Ramps and steps on both sides lead down to the wide concrete walkway lined with plants and park benches for seating. It played a significant role in American history. The Battle of Westport, the biggest battle in the American Civil War west of the Mississippi River, was fought on either side of it. Brush Creek is also home to several festive events in Kansas City. The Dragon Boat Races take place in the spring and Water Fire occurs in October.

The scenery of Brush Creek eventually drew us back up to street level where we wandered into the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden.

The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden, in Kansas City, Missouri, draws inspiration from the world travels of Ewing and Muriel Kauffman. Design of the garden is similar to parks throughout Europe.

Influence of Ewing and Muriel Kauffman can be seen throughout Kansas City, MO. From Kauffman Stadium to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts, their enduring legacy of graciousness has left its mark on the city. The Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden draws inspiration from the couple’s world travels. Design of the garden is similar to parks throughout Europe. Fountains are a signature element of Kansas City’s landscape and the Memorial Garden reflects that as well. A fountain in the Parterre Garden features bronze sculptures by Tom Corbin. Over 7,000 plant varieties that include vintage and modern perennials, annuals, shrubs, bulbs and trees can be found within the stone wall of the garden. Lily was thrilled to see a plethora of flowers that bore her namesake! On this particular day, gardeners were planting tulip bulbs in preparation for next spring. The Memorial Garden is also the final resting place for Ewing and Muriel Kauffman. Sightseers can enjoy this beautifully lush garden year-round.

Fountains are a signature element of Kansas City's landscape and the Memorial Garden reflects that as well. A fountain in the Parterre Garden features bronze sculptures by Tom Corbin.

Exiting the iron gates of the Ewing and Muriel Kauffman Memorial Garden concluded our walking tour exploration day. Our grumbling bellies called for a search for food. Thank you for reading and share this with someone you know loves to explore!

Final Thoughts for Walking Tour Exploration Day 11-25-16

“Walking, ideally, is a state in which the mind, the body, and the world are aligned, as though they were three characters finally in conversation together, three notes suddenly making a chord. Walking allows us to be in our bodies and in the world without being made busy by them. It leaves us free to think without being wholly lost in our thoughts.” – Rebecca Solnit

A meet up with a local family community inspired an amazing walking tour full of picturesque landscapes, beautiful gardens, and Kansas City, Missouri legends.