By Jeff Game
The tale of two cities: The World Series invades San Francisco and Kansas City this week. San Francisco looking for their third world title in five years and Kansas City is back the fall classic for the first time in twenty-nine years.
San Francisco is one of my favorite cities in the world to travel, hang out, experience, explore and of course eat. Kansas City I have not traveled to for many years and so I locally sourced some information from a fellow writer friend, Jacqueline Friedhof, and got her take on the “Paris of the Plains”, Kansas City.
Take a spin through Kansas City and San Francisco to see what these two Americana cities have to offer, as the World Series invades their baseball borders.
San Francisco -The City With A Heart
City of Blinding Lights
The Bay Bridge does not have the glamour or share the same prestige as its sister bridge, the Golden Gate. Artist Leo Villareal is trying to cast a new light on the Bay Bridge and making the world take notice of the beauty of the bridge. Villareal has created the Bay Lights, an art exhibit celebrating the 75th anniversary of the Bay Bridge and is estimated that upwards of 50 million people will view this LED wonder of lights.
One undiscovered gastro gem is located at the rock-n-roll boutique hotel, the Phoenix, the very hip and delicious Chambers-Eat-Dink. Decorated with cases of old vinyl records, not only is the décor of this fine eatery swank, step into the bar lounge area and you would almost think that Don Draper himself would be sitting at one of the barstools.
Chambers Executive Chef Trevor Ogden (formerly of Umami) is trying to create a rock-n-roll atmosphere, with warm and friendly service by his staff. You get that same sense with the ever changing and locally sourced menu. Go to Chambers-Eat-Drink, all the cool kids do it!
Land of a Thousand Spices
Eating at the House of Nanking is a station of the cross and an absolute must in the city.
No fancy guidebook words can describe the House of Nanking, more than just likely the best Chinese food you will ever have in your lifespan. The dishes that founder and head chef Peter Fang churn out are simply sublime and they have established themselves as an important stop on any culinary tour of San Francisco.
There is nothing to recommend, because everything is amazing. Get out of your comfort zone, be bold and ask your server to bring you what the chef recommends and you will be truly dazzled.
Hunt For Orange October
One of the best and all time classic joints to hit before any Giants game is member of the San Francisco burger hall of fame (the hall may or may not exist), is Red’s Java House, located steps from AT&T Park. Since 1912 Red’s has been the perfect neighborhood staple for some burgers and beers. Pair a double cheeseburger on a sourdough baguette with an Anchor Steam beer and you have yourself a real San Francisco treat!
Shakespeare In The Park
The city by the bay is loaded with parks and green spaces throughout the city and Golden Gate Park is the grandest one of them all. One oasis I like to escape to for some quiet and relaxing time is Shakespeare’s Garden in the middle of Golden Gate Park. After walking through the iron gates and reading the lines from Shakespeare’s plays etched on each park bench, you may not be able to tell if you are still in San Francisco or living in Downton Abbey.
Kansas City – The American Landscape
More Than Jazz
The Arvest Bank Theatre at Midland is a Kansas City institution and has rocking the Power & Light District since 1927, showcasing some of the biggest names in jazz, rock, comedy and much more. After going through many name and venue changes, today the theatre hosts such classic rock bands as Judas Priest and modern hit makers like Milky Chance.
Did some one say free beer tour? Since 1989, this “award winning” local brewery , Boulevard Brewery has steadily become the largest specialty beer make in the Midwest and now averages about 600,000 barrels a year. Of course, the Royals are big buyers of the Boulevard brand and what a better way to spend a crisp October night, than with cold, cold beer in your hand. The brewery also hosts many beer tours through the facility, including a 40-minute free tour that concludes in the tasting room.
Crossroads of America
The Crossroads District shopping area has given birth to a convergence of art, food, design, fashion and music in what was once a rundown industrial area of the downtown area. Today, the Crossroads District has become an eclectic, artistic and hipster friendly area of town. A great place to stroll, get your culture on and grab some great food.
Kansas City Royalty
You can’t talk about Kansas City without finding the best BBQ in town and according to my local expert Jacqueline, she claims, “Your life will never be the same after eating this BBQ.” Oklahoma Joe’s BBQ(formerly Joe’s BBQ) had humble beginnings of starting out in a gas station and now hosts the likes of such big BBQ lovers as President Obama when he is in town. Not even the leader of the free world can resist such BBQ legends as the Z-Man brisket sandwich.
Some great tailgating outside of the Royal’s Kaufman Stadium is an epic Kansas City tradition and no other place to grab your meats for than the grill is better than the Local Pig butcher shop. This local butcher shop and charcuterie sources all their meats from local farms and can tell you where each pig, cow or duck came from and how they were raised. You know you are dying to grill up a few beer and cheddar stuffed bratwursts before the boys in royal blue hit the diamond for the World Series. Now I see your mouth watering.
Take Me Out To The BallGame
Baseball and two great American cities inspire this trips playlist.
Royals – By Lorde, covered by Bruce Springsteen
- Kansas City – The Beatles
- Pig Meat Papa – Ledbelly
Boys of Summer – Don Henley, covered by Greg Gale
- San Francisco Days -Chris Isaak
- Glory Days – Bruce Springsteen