KC BBQ DO with a stop in Nashville

Discussion in 'Trip Reports' started by violist, Aug 14, 2012.  |  Print Topic

  1. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    UA3708 BWI ORD 1930 2036 CR7 1C

    The plan was to camp out at the Airspace Lounge, but I found
    that McDonald's offers free wi-fi; and looking around I then
    found that my most recent home away from home, Bateman's,
    was rumored to have closed. I didn't have my United boarding
    passes, and the two combined to make me want to go out into
    the public area and see what was what. First - the United
    machine said it was taking volunteers for the Nashville
    flight, so I volunteered. Second - Bateman's has now become
    a Sam Adams Brewhouse, the decor being pretty much the same.
    I remembered there was a fake Duclaw at the Southwest
    terminal, and the beers there are good.

    The walk from D to A is more desolate than usual, which is
    bad indeed, owing to construction. The observation deck,
    which I never thought I'd miss (all you see is blue and
    orange anymore), I missed.

    I ordered a burger "as rare as you'll make it" with double
    onion strings ($1 per order, so $2). The bartender didn't
    look too interested, and I didn't hold high hopes. What
    came was in fact a rare burger with lots of onion strings,
    not stellar in either the taste or the texture departments,
    but quite acceptable. Euphoria, a brown ale billed as having
    flavors of toffee, almond, and coffee, went pretty well but
    was kind of cloying after a bit, with so much caramelliness
    that I wonder if it was artificially flavored.

    After a bit of a wander I resubmitted myself at the D pier
    for security, which was pretty fast.

    UA5917 ORD BNA 2120 2246 E45 12C

    Stupid Continental lost my 12A seat assignment and replaced
    it, apologetically, with 12C. Harbinger of my next flights,
    where my seat assignments were totally screwed up, extra
    annoying as I had tried to coordinate with lili for these.
    Random delay on the incoming, mostly made up for by the
    miracle of modern schedule padding. I called the hotel for
    a shuttle and was promised one in 15 minutes; it came in
    a bit over half an hour, close to midnight. The driver was
    chatty and informed me that there were 62 hotels in the
    immediate vicinity.

    The DoubleTree BNA gave me a quite nice suite with one
    signal issue, which I didn't discover until I got up in the
    middle of the night and walked around in bare feet - the
    space between the living room and the bedroom was a swamp,
    no doubt owing to defective drainage from the air
    conditioner. Too late to do anything about that, but not a
    huge big deal. What was a big deal was housekeeping trying
    to come in when I had the do not disturb sign on. It turns
    out that they had failed to put late checkout in my record,
    despite the fact that the person who checked me in had
    verified and granted my request.
  2. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    lili came in on AAs usual. We got a rental car and went
    to the Hampton Hickory Hollow, Antioch, where I'd gotten a
    pretty good deal. It took twice as long as we thought, as
    it was pushing rush hour. The staff were quite nice but had
    that good ole southern manana attitude, so it took a long
    time to check in three parties. We got a smallish room, the
    quarters perhaps a bit closer than we are accustomed to, but
    in good repair. There was nothing better available - the
    joint was sold out. I am confronted with sold-out hotels
    much of the time these days. What th'? It's not as though
    it's easy to manipulate things by cutting capacity the way
    the airlines do. Maybe they're lying? But the parking lots
    are always full, too.

    As we were going to Q it for much of the rest of the week,
    we went to the one of the fried chicken meccas of this
    universe, the Loveless Cafe and Motel. We got there in the
    middle of a big thunderstorm, but even then they quoted a
    45-minute wait. Turned out to be closer to 30, which was
    good, as I hate thunder. It was close to the end of the
    dinner hour, so they put us in a nice comfortable 4-top.

    I ordered the fried gizzards and livers combo with mashed
    potatoes and brown gravy and fried green tomatoes, the
    taters for lili, the tomatoes for me. Both sides were no
    better than I can make but quite good. The lizards and
    givers were very salty and heavily battered and about as
    good as the ones I used to get at Kentucky Fried Chicken
    back in the 1960s, which means good enough to make one
    come back for more but actually not all that great. They
    come with a nice chicken gravy (the brown is good as
    well, tasting sort of like pot roast gravy).

    lili's fried chicken was very nicely cooked, but the chicken
    itself was of varying degrees of freshness - the thigh sort
    of stale, the breast sort of fresh, the drum and wing more
    like what I'd expect of a place where hundreds of platters
    fly out of the kitchen every day.

    Excellent biscuits with house-made peach, strawberry, and
    blackberry preserves, in descending order of delectableness.
    Butter from a packet. Sorghum and/or honey available upon
    request. I reiterate: excellent biskits. The texture wasn't
    that mouth-coating grossness, the taste wasn't that nagging
    bitterness. I ate everything in the basket except ceded one
    to lili to taste.

    A Gerst's, a malty amber ale made by Yazoo, was nothing
    special; followed that up with a Yazoo pale ale that was a
    hop monster only by comparison. The house red wine was red.
    Sweet Willie likes this.
  3. eddie

    eddie Silver Member

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    Judging from your trip report ... In BWI, Southwest/AirTran are in Concourses A/B and that is also accessible airside from Concourse D? If true, that would also mean that while flying AirTran I can access the Airspace Lounge if I make the trek, right? Would you offer a guess on how long it takes to walk? Cheers! -Ed
  4. eddie

    eddie Silver Member

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    Definitely NOT accessible from concourse A/B. They will connect A/B to concourse C eventually. Perhaps violist was able to enter through security with a boarding pass for a different gate. This is a tactic I'm not willing to try now that I'm airside at B. Bummer, I wanted a free sandwich.
  5. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    I am, given a sufficiency of time, willing to go through security
    multiple times.

    In addition, you may wish to know that most times, if you give a
    plausible reason, you are allowed to enter a different pier than
    that to which your boarding pass entitles you - or, at some
    airports with clubs and similar meeting places, even if you have
    no boarding pass at all. The reason has to be plausible, bear in
    mind: I thought of going to the Phillips Seafood in A while having
    a D boarding pass, but on further thought that probably wouldn't
    be considered a plausible reason.

    DuClaw is outside security next to the AirTran counter, by the way.
  6. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    When on food tour, I plead with my companions not to have
    breakfast, but free has its charm. I acquiesced in joining
    lili for the Hampton offering, as I needed a banana for the
    potassium and some juice for the pills. The bananas were
    unripe so I took one for later; made my quota with a couple
    bowls of really good fruit cup. lili was enthralled by the
    waffle machine, as was some kid we'd met on the elevator
    the night before - between floor 1 and floor 3 we'd
    discovered that we'd been born in the same hospital, only
    about 45 years apart. The meat and egg offerings - poultry
    sausage and hard-curd scrambled - were eschewed by all.

    Our sightseeing destination was Cheekwood, the home of the
    Maxwell House family, now turned into an arts center and
    public gardens. The gardens are pretty nice and manageable
    in size; currently installed there are a project of artists
    and architects reimagining the concept of the treehouse,
    resulting in six or eight thankfully temporary buildings
    ranging from the whimsical but dated to the outlandish but
    dated to the just thrown together for the sake of getting
    grant money. On the whole fun but nothing your kid couldn't
    design with some sheets of kraft paper and some Crayolas.

    I liked the Japanese garden best, though I didn't see much
    Japanesity about it.

    The sculpture garden, well, whatever its appeal might have
    been was lessened by it being in the mid-90s with similar
    humidity numbers, and our tour of it was truncated

    I thought the permanent collection sort of worthwhile, with
    the most interesting bits being a room of Red Grooms
    paintings (apparently Nashville's most eminent artistic
    citizen) and the Jamie Wyeth and Andy Warhol portraits of
    each other, with Warhol clearly seeing Wyeth as a young
    god and Wyeth seeing Warhol as a confused and dirty old man.
    There's an atypical Inness and a very atypical Sargent also
    - the latter brooding and rather disturbing; also in severe
    need of cleaning. The contemporary gallery in the next
    building had an exhibit of photos of trees in danger mostly
    from urbanization. It was all in all a good way to spend a
    couple hours mostly away from the oppressive heat.

    We could have gone to lunch at the Loveless again, but it
    hadn't earned that kind of love, so we found a Q place on
    lili's Garmin to go to. It was an empty shell. Tex's didn't
    seem too out of the way, so we went there - an authentic-
    looking shack with a smoky smell about it. I asked for a
    pound of moist brisket, and the counterman said "all our
    brisket is moist" and promptly gave me a pound of pulled
    pork (which I didn't notice until we sat down). I inquired
    about beer and discovered that Miller Lite was all there
    was. And so it was. When I discovered about the meat, I
    moseyed back and asked for a small sample to see what we'd
    missed. It was okay, but in fact the pulled pork was both
    cheaper and better. A slice of pretty standard pecan pie
    rounded out the meal.

    Frist Center is a peculiarity, but a creative one. Housed in
    the former main post office, it has no permanent collection
    but rather hosts eminent traveling exhibitions. On display
    now were some really cool folkish stuff I was unfamiliar
    with - Gee's Bend quilts and the multimedia work of Thornton
    Dial, as well as works by artists I'd heard of - Bill
    Traylor, the self-taught ex-slave who became one of the most
    appreciated (but not by me) primitivists; Edward Burtynsky,
    the environmentalist photographer, in a sadly circumscribed
    mini-show; and a stunning set of Constables from the V&A.

    We decamped to the Sheraton Music City, where we split a
    corner "junior" suite on the 31st floor - it could have
    slept 5 easily though technically was one big L-shaped room.

    The club lounge seemed a little below average but worth
    maybe another visit later in the evening. I had a couple
    mini-empanadas to tide me over; they were not bad for having
    come from a freezer. lili had some cheese that could have
    been made fresh yesterday.

    I'd sort of wanted to go to Jack's, said by many to be the
    best place for brisket in the city, and who can resist the
    appeal "Pick any four of Jack's bar-b-que famous sauces and
    get a free hand rub!" But we weren't at all hungry, and
    instead we dined on a bottle of the Woolundry Rd McLaren
    Vale Cabernet 2010, a plum bomb that Parker rated as one of
    the bargains of the year; aside from its being a tad sweet,
    I enjoyed the licorice-plum-spice combined with just enough
    wood to make it interesting.

    Well, around 2130 a line of huge thunderstorms appeared and
    parked just north of us; it stuck around until the 3 range,
    and shortly after its arrival all power went out and wasn't
    restored until about 0500. So much for the club lounge.
    During the dark I called UA and found that our original
    flight had been cancelled, and of course we'd been
    rescheduled via IAH and assigned to random places, one of
    hers in row 18, which is the worst place on about any
    aircraft that isn't a CRJ. Some negotiations ensued.
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  7. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    As we didn't have to get to the airport until two hours
    later than planned, we did check out yet another free
    breakfast, where I found ripe bananas and watery juice.
    I saved the still-unripe Hampton banana for later.

    UA4369 BNA IAH 0835 1036 E45 3AC
    4307 IAH MCI 1132 1231 E45 3CD
    5966 BNA ORD 0654 0838 E45 12BC
    5592 ORD MCI 1015 1144 CR7 1CD

    It was hard to figure out which was the priority security
    line, but that was not a big deal as there were about 3
    people in each line, and the process took about as long as
    the time it took to type this sentence, so we had plenty of
    time to visit the cute little Admiral's Club and have a cup
    of coffee and a chocolate muffin or two (no booze at this
    hour) before going across the airport to our gate.

    We ended up with seats across the aisle from each other,
    so we could shout over and pretend we were an old couple
    who like to be near but not too near and who furthermore
    get up every five minutes and both need aisle seats! Not
    far from the truth, actually.

    We got in early enough so lunch at Pappadeaux presented
    itself as a possibility, as we'd get to Stroud's (this had
    been plan A) late enough that we'd ruin our appetite for
    Jack Stack - the trials of a food tour! Oysters, even Gulf
    ones, are a truly fine invention and not filling at all.
    I think to feed her liliness, lili had a burger. Good beer.

    The next leg, on the same type of aircraft, we at least
    got to sit next to each other. It was a really short flight.

    Got a car, sped southward to Crown Center, found free
    parking by the park across from the Westin - it is rumored
    to be hugely difficult to get from the Sheraton garage to
    the hotel, owing to the lobby undergoing a full reimagining,
    which is understandable as I suppose this particular space
    should be cleansed periodically physically and psychically.

    We got a large suite, very impressive. My quarters were
    exceedingly comfortable.

    Jack Stack is a 2/3 mile nearly all indoor stroll from the
    hotel via The Link. Not having had communication all day,
    we didn't know that the plan had been changed, but when we
    arrived at the empty patio, the 100-degree heat made it
    clear where people must have gone, and so it was - the bar
    next door, whose name escapes me. A few beers, and time to
    head back, where JayhawkCO had arranged a private room for
    us. I asked for half a pound of fatty brisket; what came was
    a nice-size block of what is generally called burnt end,
    sided by bbq beans. Turns out I had been charged for a
    platter rather than bulk, not a problem, but then I should
    have got a second side, also not a problem as there was
    enough food. I also tried the beef ribs, meaty, fatty, and
    nice; creamy cole slaw (ecch); and the famous cheesy corn,
    which JayhawkCO had touted as the best side in the house
    - this was kernel corn in a Velveetoid sauce, simple,
    sinful, silly, stupidly caloric, but actually quite tasty.
    Even lili, who had had a bad experience with it before,
    agreed it was worth getting. Walked home with ConditionOne
    past a peculiar art exhibition in Union Station featuring
    works by people who daylighted in 9 to 5 jobs. Some of the
    stuff was really good.
  8. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Having tried most of KC's famous BBQ joints (Bryant's, Gates etc) I found Jack Stack to be the best by far in my opinion.
  9. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    Jack's Bbq in Nashville has some of the best ribs I have ever eaten.
  10. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    Another BBQ enthusiast! Excellent.

    Last time but one in KC I ate 3x at Jack Stack in 2 days and discovered
    the half-price appies at happy hour. Most enjoyable.

    What do you think about Oklahoma Joe?
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  11. Sweet Willie
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    Sweet Willie Gold Member

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    OK Joe was better overall in the opinion of myself & Mrs Sweet Willie.

    However we are both lamb fanatics and each time we are in KC, make at least one stop at Jack Stacks in order to get the BBQ lamb ribs.
    marcwint55, violist and NYCAdventurer like this.
  12. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    The Hampton banana was still unripe though rotting. I ate
    it anyway.

    In the morning we dithered about a bit and showed up at
    Oklahoma Joe's just after 11, by which time the line snaked
    all the way to the end of the building. We didn't see our
    colleagues when we got in the door nearly at noon, so lili
    called gvdIAD to see what was up. It turns out that everyone
    had finished and repaired to Stroud's. As the prospect of
    moist brisket prevented us from abandoning our hour's
    investment, we waited patiently; after what seemed like an
    eternity we arrived at bbq nirvana. I asked for our brisket
    extra fatty, and the counter guy showed me a fistful of
    presliced - this is the way it comes, he said, you'd be
    better off getting the burnt ends special; so that's what
    we did. The only problem is that the burnt ends are
    presauced, which neither of us favors. They were moist,
    fatty, excellent, and not oversauced. Also pretty abundant.
    Beverages: a Boulevard pale ale and a Rolling Rock.

    We succeeded in catching up with the rest at Stroud's, where
    they were just finishing - luckily there are lots of miles
    and points to talk about, so everyone kept us company as
    we gnawed on our chicken (and me, a half order of gizzards
    and livers, which was so gigantic that a good bit of it went
    back to susiesan's husband for his lunch). The Sterns claim
    that Stroud's makes the best chicken in America, and as my
    mother is no longer living, I tend to agree. It's simple -
    seasoned flour, hot oil, great chicken, there you have it.

    The Trou K.C.: Some went in search of joint-sport chocolate,
    others to the war museum; lili and I went northward to the
    Four Points to dump our stuff and freshen up. A tentative
    suggestion of visiting the other Stroud's was met with
    incredulity, so straight back south for more bbq.

    Next stop LC's, another burnt ends joint, where we had been
    blown away by the quality a year or two ago. These were as
    everyone expected also excellent, though also presauced.
    After we'd been there an hour, there seems to have been an
    accidental malfunction in the venting system, so we were
    smoked out of the place.

    Because the Stroud's detour had been successful and filling
    it was decided to punt Arthur Bryant's and Gates and go
    direct to Foo's Frozen Custard. I don't generally eat
    frozen custard, but I am told it is excellent. Goodbyes were
    said, and back northward we went. By the time we got there,
    I could have eaten another dose of Q, but there wasn't much
    around, and we were tired anyway.
  13. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    lili dropped me off at oh dark hundred. I was especially
    glad of our fanaticism about not checking bags, as the bag
    check line was easily a hundred people long.

    And security was a mess. At our area, they were pulling
    women over for the secondary who were wearing dresses - an
    older woman who was thus inconvenienced asked, and that
    was what she was told.

    The gate area was jampacked, the air con insufficient, the
    experience (pardon, proud KC natives) sort of third world.

    lili later reported similar conditions down in the AA
    terminal, where the oasis of the Admiral's Club was soon
    to be shuttered forever, shame on you AA.

    My upgrade cleared, but the gate agent didn't tell me.
    On a whim, I asked, and lo and behold. The flight went
    out with a bunch of empties in the front cabin. I think
    there were only 4 or 5 of us up there.

    DL4940 MCI DTW 0625 0923 CR7 3A

    A gorgeous model-slim model-beautiful FA, very agreeable
    as well. The CR7 isn't so horrid in first class. All in
    all, an okay flight, but it landed way at the end of the
    A terminal, and my next flight took off from way at the
    end of C.

    DL4134 DTW ITH 1031 1151 CRJ 2A

    The gate agent thanked me by name, funny as I am not a
    Delta flyer but rather was traveling on the strength of my
    Alaska status. A somewhat bumpy flight that came in a bit
  14. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I was not a big fan of Oklahoma Joe. One of the companies I do business with there ordered delivery from them, and the food was not at all tasty.
  15. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    I agree. I didn't buy into the hype on my last trip to MCI last November. The Mrs. and I had Gates the next day and were blown away. We will certainly go back to Gates on our next visit.
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  16. violist
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    violist Gold Member

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    In years past we really enjoyed the moist brisket at OJ's but
    found that now they've streamlined the operation by preslicing, a
    no-no. But the burnt ends were among the best, even presauced
    as they were this time,
  17. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I'm curious if the employees were yelling at you as they took the order?
  18. servo

    servo Silver Member

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    Given what I've learned about them since visiting, I think I'd be surprised had they NOT yelled at us. HIMAYIHELPYOU?!?
    marcwint55 likes this.
  19. violist
    Original Member

    violist Gold Member

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    Funny, when the Do itinerary included Gates, I decided not to
    eat; went over to the bar side and had a couple of Buds and
    counted myself lucky. And I don't like Bud.

    This year, it was left off the itinerary on purpose.

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