Wednesday, August 31

Unexpected Joyce

Where are we?
Where can you find James Joyce hovering in the doorway?
Don't forget to check here for last week's answer and winner!
Leave your answer in the comments section below or
send us a message via facebook or twitter @ELoungeKC.
This version of Joyce can be found at Spivey's in Westport.
Jess you were absolutely right and are the winner!
Email us with your address so we can send you a prize.

STL Cocktail

St. Louis, Missouri » Central West End
I went on a little road trip this weekend and stopped overnight in St. Louis. Since we had three bartenders from STL in the Greater Kansas City Bartending Competition, it was easy to find a place we could stop in for a good drink. We're sorry we missed Chad from DeMun Oyster Bar though. It was harder to get out of town on time than we thought!

We tried three drinks at Taste Thursday night: Beachfire, Goodfella Flip and the Ab-Duck-Tion. All cocktails on their menu are $10. Just like at Manifesto, each drink is shown with icons of what kind of glass it is served in and how it's prepared. The Ab-Duck-Tion was our hands-down favorite, it was rich, creamy and tasted like ice cream. I loved how it looked like a fried egg in a glass. According to barman and beverage director Ted Kilgore, it's the third best-selling cocktail at Taste. There's a great patio out there too.

--- {Ab-Duck-Tion} ---
Duck Fat Infused Grand Marnier, Domaine de Canton Ginger,
Lemon, Mascarpone, Pepper, Lavender Bitters, Absinthe

Photo by Linh Trieu

jeanne r.

Jeanne R. | Housekeeper/Organizer
Serenity Now!
Service Industry Detour
Disclaimer: This is not what Jeanne wears when she's cleaning,
but she does get all glammed up like this to entertain.

Jeanne Rohner may have grown up in the Midwest, but says she was raised to have "Southern manners, ways and appetite." Whether it's cooking a meal, setting a proper table or getting dressed for dinner, Jeanne was taught a "proper" way of doing things. That meant the table was never set with jam jars or cracker boxes and especially not cookware, particularly when you're having guests over for a dinner party. "There was always a special tray or container that made even a simple peanut butter and jelly sandwich elegant and special," she said. "A party is no place for sweat clothes, sleeveless t-shirts or paper plates and plastic sparks. The simple extra effort of putting on nice clothes and using real china is worth it."

That philosophy and mindfulness of etiquette is what makes Jeanne so good at her job. Although she is not technically on the restaurant side of the service industry any more, she still coordinates private, catered parties and makes sure everything runs smoothly, just like she did when she was hostessing. In addition coordinating events, Jeanne's business also includes organizing and housekeeping.

"From a young age, I watched my grandmothers cook, entertain, and take pride in their abilities as a hostess," she said. She likes the traditions of the past, when women were skilled in the home. "I consider myself a modern day housewife." Albeit, a housewife who is independent and runs her own thriving business.

Before Jeanne started Serenity Now!, she worked for an automotive shop while hostessing on weekends at her first and only restaurant job, La Bodega on Southwest Boulevard. She said she picked up this part-time job because "the children were needing dental work. Then I stayed for five years because I loved it." 

Learning is something Jeanne continues to do all the time. If you don't know how to set a proper table, learn how. She asks for help when she needs it, whether it's having her children lend a hand with the dishes or calling a friend to help bake a cake. Over the years, she has found out that you can never have too much food or too much ice. Coordinating special events is very stressful. Even though she loves to entertain and throws her own parties often, making sure that someone else's special event goes perfectly is another story. "Someone's happiness depends on your performance and that is a big deal," she says.

To make sure her events go off without a hitch, Jeanne actually keeps a running checklist as a way to stay organized and to remind herself of the basics. Some things have become second nature: keeping things simple, preparing as much ahead as possible, cleaning as she goes, and giving herself enough time to relax so she can enjoy time with her guests. "It doesn't have to be perfect," she says. "What fails is just a learning tool. The point is to be together and laugh and create memories and traditions."

To contact Jeanne, send us a message and we'll pass it on.

  Make KC Better » Fix the schools and improve mass transit

Tuesday, August 30

pick two

Kansas City, Missouri » Brookside
Tina and I sat on the patio and enjoyed a really nice lunch after a morning at the zoo a few weeks ago. The insane heat had just broken, and although it was still warm out, the shade and breeze outside were beautiful.  It was so nice, we decided that's it, we're done for the day. Why ruin a perfectly good meal with going back to work? Am I right? Julian has three lunch options: Pick 1, 2 or 3 ($9, 12, $14) items from their menu. Tina and I both opted for two and washed it all down with glorious ice water.

--- {1}---
Tina's Pick Two, $12
Julian Chicken Salad Sandwich grapes, celery and walnuts
In House Fries housemade zingy ketchup

--- {4+5} ---
Linh's Pick Two, $12
Pork Sandwich (not on the on-line menu at this time and oops, I forgot what was in it)
Macaroni & Cheese Boulevard Pale Ale cheese sauce, bacon

joy j.

Joy J. | Server
Years of Industry Service: Lifer
Joy is a music fanatic. She grew up learning to love music, works mainly to be able to see her favorite bands, keeps every ticket stub of every show she's ever been to and writes and promotes the music scene in Kansas City. Joy's first concert was Michael Jackson's Victory Tour in 1984. Her aunt and brother, however, taught her to love rock and roll, The Rolling Stones, The Who, Pink Floyd. This summer, Joy has been to at least 50 shows, Phish, Mötley Crüe for the sixth time and U2 in St. Louis which changed her world. Mötley Crüe, Joy says, "was the top show of the year. It blew me away. Beautiful girls, a roller coaster, pyrotechnics. It was the best rock-n-roll party ever."

"Music makes me feel good," Joy says. "I've maxed out a lot of credit cards to see shows. I love music, but it doesn't pay shit." So she does what the rest of us have to do to follow our passions, she has to work. In addition to running, writing and promoting local artists for the non-profit Central Plains Jamband Society, which she helped start in 2001 and recently celebrated its tenth year this month, Joy has also been steadily working in the service industry all her life. She grew up in the restaurant world. Her great-grandfather was the maître'd at the original Harvey House in Union Station for 43 years. He waited on every president from Truman to Reagan. Her grandfather was the food and beverage director at the Hilton.

Although Joy studied political science in college, the service industry "ended up being a career for me." Her stint at Ponak's began nine years ago. "When I was hired, I didn't even have scheduled shifts. I got up every morning and called and waited for someone to give up their shift." She loves her job because it's such a fun, family environment. Every morning and afternoon, the staff eat together. And there are so many customers who fit this Kansas City Mexican restaurant into their regular dining schedule. "Friendly faces make the place," Joy says. "If you're from Kansas City, you have a story about Ponak's." Go see Joy and ask her for one of their Liquid Attitude margaritas. Then enjoy the show in the parking lot.

  Make KC Better » Bring great rock-n-roll bands to Kansas City

Monday, August 29

tomato water

Tomato Water Martini
The first time I tasted tomato water, I was sitting at Pachamamas Star Bar in Lawrence, Kansas. It was a clear with a hint of yellow, not at all what I expected when I thought of your average red tomato. Since then, I've tried to replicate it and have tried it whenever and wherever it's available. Recently, Vann at Bluestem made a Gazpacho Martini for me. After dinner and catching up at Pot Pie with old neighbors, we popped on next door for a quick après drink. With only a couple short weeks left for tomatoes, this delicious cocktail will be off the menu soon. This photo is of the Tomato Water Martini at Pachamamas. When we interviewed chef Ken Baker and shared my drink-changing experience with this cocktail, he brought some out from the kitchen so the bartender could whip something up for me. In Kansas City, you must, must go to Bluestem before it's all gone. Theirs had such beautiful, complex flavors that I seriously want to drink it without any vodka in it at all. But I think they call it a soup when that happens.

Friday, August 26

boom goes the dynamite

Kansas City, Missouri
Boomerang, a vintage (and new) clothing and housewares shop recently celebrated its two year anniversary at their new location on the corner of 39th Street and Pennsylvania. Previously and for many, many years, Boomerang was situated further west on 39th Street, kitty corner to Mr. Z's In and Out. Boomerang started out as a vintage housewares shop, but has grown to include vintage clothing and costumes, both for purchase and as rentals. They don't have the same foot traffic as they once enjoyed, but the space they're in now is much better. Big windows let in tons of natural light. The space is wide open so it seems bigger and nicer. The layout definitely works better for shopping. The owners of Boomerang and Colfax bought this corner property together and have created a wonderful vintage/handmade/boutique shopping haven on 39th Street, which also includes a bakery and hair salon. There was so much great stuff at Boomerang's that we wanted to buy: the tutu skirts, 1940s-era peep toe heels, vintage silk kimonos, a hunting cardigan and at least three pairs of cowboy boots were on my list. Everyone we talked to that day was super, super nice (including Amanda at Mash Handmade, Brenda at Chop Tops and Terry at Colfax). Stop by and visit them sometime. We have more posts about this great shopping area coming up. (I was a regular shopper at the old Boomerang's but this was my first visit since they moved! The owner of the shop said that was the case for a lot of people. So they've been drawing a different customer base. Isn't that weird? We are such creatures of habit!)

Wednesday, August 24

Say Cheese!

Ryan asked us to help out with the "photo booth" and you know what you say to your friends when they ask you for crazy shit at the last minute, "Sure, why not!" 'Cause we're cool like that. I called my friend Beth (she has lights, a tripod AND a camera with flash) because Tina already had a previous event. The only sign we had was a sketch I did on a cocktail napkin. I taped it to the door and hoped for the best. Even though everyone mostly wanted to drink, we had fun playing around at our makeshift photo booth on the steps at the entry of The Uptown. When we got bored, I took all the cucumbers they were using for decorations and turned them into the stars of the photo shoot. That got people back into our booth real fast. Beth and I took lots and lots of pictures of ourselves too. But we won't make you suffer through too many of those. 

These are my favorite pics from the bartending competition. You can see the rest on our facebook page. Thanks to Demun Oyster Bar for RIDING OUR ASSES about the photos or else we would have never gotten them done. Seriously though, thank you!!! Beth edited all the photos and I added a fake Instagram look and our watermark to all these images. You can do the same to your photos if you check out this free Photoshop action that Tina found here. It was so, so great meeting all of you at the event, especially Brian A. and Megan S. who are our readers and who I finally got to meet. 

Until we meet the next time!

radial art

Where are we?
This is the most beautiful door to a Kansas City business.
Name the business - it's on a side street off a major thoroughfare.
Leave your answer in the comments section below or
send us a message via facebook or twitter @ELoungeKC.

This door is on the street west of Broadway that you have to jog over to, in order to make a left turn onto 39th Street. And just like Carlos Chaurand said in the comments, it's the George P. Reintjes building down from Mama's. Carlos, email us with your addy so we can send you a thank you gift for knowing your city!


Trey | Resident Artist
Service Industry Detour
Trey works for food. After being a customer at Chez Elle for a year, he struck up a deal with owner Ellen when he tried to sell her his art. She said no, she couldn't afford to buy his drawings, but Trey wasn't deterred. Let's trade he says, a drawing for a crêpe, and thus started a patron-artist relationship that has grown into a mutually beneficial relationship. Trey gets to eat as many free crêpes as he can draw. He said Ellen probably didn't think that he would come in every day, sometimes twice a day, but Chez Elle has become part of his daily routine. A drawing, his morning meal and then it's off to his studio to work and teach. For Ellen, it's about supporting art in Kansas City and promoting her business.

"The idea is not making money," Trey says about his art-for-food project. "But building up a great client base. Ellen is such a great patron. The point is, I'm making a book about my experience here." In three months he has drawn hundreds of images of Ellen's business, from their front steps to the day-to-day life of a restaurant, their staff and of course, their regular customers. These daily drawings have given him the chance to observe human behavior, like how women like to take the lead in ordering, develop his illustration style and promote his art. Ultimately his goal is to travel and work with bands to visually record a moment in their lives, on stage and on the road.

Trey is a self-taught banjo player and a pen fanatic. He also paints but finds more satisfaction in the immediacy of journal-style illustrations. He draws everywhere he goes and it invites interaction and conversation with people who are curious about how he sees the world. He does house portraits and knocks on people's door and sells them for whatever they want to pay. He works with a DJ, projecting his drawings on the walls while they dance and sells the transparencies. He trades his art at bars for cocktails. No matter what he's working on, he's always thinking of a way of using art to support himself.

Trey will be showing his collection of Chez Elle drawings during the month of September with opening receptions on September 2nd and 18th. Ellen is creating a special crêpe in honor of her resident artist called the Trey Très Magnifique. See more of his work here.

  Make KC Better » More open to artist ideas