A few weeks ago, I had the opportunity to travel to Kansas City to attend ChoppedCon, a small blogging conference with incredible speakers and attendees. It was one of the best conferences that I’ve ever been to, partly because of the location but also because the content was fabulous.
My friend Maegan from The BakerMama decided that we would take the weekend to have a fun trip and do some exploring around the city. Now when I usually get together with her, it means I’m eating a lot of sweets because she loves baking and exploring cute bakery shops. I love when I get to spend time with her because she’s always getting me to try the tastiest treats in each city!
We arrived in Kansas City on a Thursday, and it also happened to be during the week that the Royals were playing the Giants in the World Series. Everyone was wearing blue shirts, the city was bursting with energy at night and nearly everywhere we went the water was dyed a royal blue color. It was really such a great way to experience the city culture and love for their team.
After checking into our hotel, we decided that we would check out a few bakeries. The first one we stopped at was called Natasha’s. They specialize in macaroons, but for some reason I’ve never been a huge fan and either is Maegan. Thus we decided to get a few other goodies including a small banana caramel cake, a s’mores chocolate tart, a salted caramel chocolate chip cookie and a pistachio cookie.
I know this seems outrageous, but we only take a bite or two of each then save the rest for later or share it with friends.
We both loved the s’mores tart the best but wished it had a graham cracker crust instead of a regular pie crust. The salted caramel cookie was also pretty fabulous. Mostly I just loved how gorgeous and welcoming the inside of the bakery was.
Here’s a picture of everything we got. You can probably see why I loved the s’mores tart so much.
After that we walked around the city a bit and ran into Kaldi’s Coffee. I needed some caffeine after an early morning flight and sitting in Chicago traffic (THE WORST). I highly recommend a cup of their coffee if you find yourself in KC.
While we were there, Maegan noticed some treats she wanted to try and got a delicious coconut almond granola bar and a chocolate zucchini bread. We LOVED the granola bar for it’s flavor and texture and the bread was pretty good too.
Soon after we headed back to the hotel to get ready for a cocktail reception at the River Market Event Place. All I kept thinking was how great the space would be for a wedding venue. It’s modern, open and gorgeously lit!
I had time to catch up with some of my blogging friends too: Ali from Gimme Some Oven, Liz from The Lemon Bowl, Lauren from Climbing Grier Mountain and also meet some other lovely ladies as well. Every time we get together we have such a great time laughing, sharing stories and catching up on life. Please check out their blogs! Liz has some pretty amazing healthy recipes that you would all love. Ali’s blog is very family friendly. Lauren is a little bit gourmet and makes AWESOME burgers. And finally my friend Maegan from The Baker Mama, well like I said, that woman knows how to bake!
Photo courtesy of The Lemon Bowl
After an evening full of good conversation, Maegan and I were exhausted but decided that we definitely needed Mexican food in our bellies. I know, you think we would have gone straight for BBQ but Mexican is THE BEST.
Here are some delicious margaritas from a place called El Patron. First of all, if there’s Patron in the restaurant name, you know it’s going to be good. For dinner I ordered the Pollo a la Plancha, a traditional mexican dinner served with rice, carmelized onions and the creamiest refried beans. Maegan ordered nachos which looked just as delicious!
After dinner we decided to skip dessert but then ended up ordering some cookies from the hotel room service. Hehe.
The next day we were planning on walking 6 miles to the conference, but when we woke up it was pitch black and since we didn’t know where we were going we decided to just stick around our hotel and walk. We ended up trekking about 3 miles around the river then stopped for a quick breakfast at ClassicCup cafe.
Afterwards we headed to the conference to enjoy a full day of learning about all things blogging from Pinch of Yum, Minimalist Baker, Bev Cooks, TidyMom, Dessert for Two, Dine and Dish, Cookie and Kate and more! My favorite session was Lindsay’s and Bjork’s (Pinch of Yum’s) on taking your blog from good to great. I’ve had lunch with Lindsay a few times and each time I sit with her, I’m always learning something new or she is encouraging me to grow myself more. Very inspiring!
Another session I really loved was the Instagram session with Bev Cooks; I love her style ascetic and her adorable babies. I think that it is important to follow a certain photography style and understand what people are looking for when following you.
I usually try to incorporate three things into my Instagram account: food, fitness and my personal life such as traveling. Lately growing my Instagram following has been a huge goal of mine because not only is it one of my favorite social platforms but it’s also a wonderful way to connect with you all on a more personal level. You get to see behind the scenes photos, learn more about me and my interests and get a glimpse into my life as a blogger. BTW if you guys are interested in this sort of stuff, I’d be happy to incorporate social media tips on the blog!
I also got to meet Dana from Minimalist Baker. Holy crap, I love this girl. And her husband John, too! They are freaking fabulous! I’ve been a huge fan of their blog for quite a while and we’ve chatted it up on the internets for a few years so it was no surprise that we hit it off quite well.
By the way, they have a new photography school out where you can learn some pretty amazing things on food photography. Please check it out if you are interested! I’m about to make my way through it. Lord knows I’m not the best photographer.
Maegan and I ended up taking a quick break from the conference to check out Scratch Bakery. We nearly bought every cookie to sample and we LOVED them all! My favorites were the salted caramel white chocolate (middle right) and the pumpkin cookie (top left). There were all perfectly chewy and crispy and so flavorful!
While we were at Scratch, we ran into the owner who said that he would love to give us a bakery tour and of course, we agreed! We saw them baking up some cookies and delightful pastries. It was such a blast to see how a bakery is run. I don’t think I’d have the willpower to run my own; I’d probably eat all the treats.
We headed back to the conference just in time for some snacks and a coffee bar.
I’m a HUGE fan of whipped cream, seriously can’t help it so of course a lot went on top of my iced coffee.
That evening we enjoy one of the most delicious BBQs ever at Q39. I mean it was actually the first time I had real BBQ food so maybe I’m getting ahead of myself but I thought it was absolutely fabulous. I ordered the firebird chicken sandwich with spicy pickle slaw and OMG nearly died because it was simply perfect.
After dinner we stopped by an ice cream shop called Murray’s. Everyone said it was delicious but I didn’t care for it too much. But sometimes ice cream is ice cream. We got baby cones and headed back to the hotel for a good night’s rest.
The next morning I slept in and was ready for another great day. Maegan and I had decided that we would try and walk 15 miles around Kansas City going from bakery to bakery so that we could burn off all of the calories we were planning on eating. I used the MapMyRun app on my phone so that I could track everywhere we walked.
Naturally our first stop was brunch at Beer Kitchen in Kansas City. Maegan ordered the Chicken and Waffles while I got an egg white omlette. We both decided to also nibble on a delicious salted caramel pecan roll, too! Maegan let me try a bite of her Chicken and Waffles and I was surprised at how delicious it was. In fact, the combination was incredible. Whoever invented that is a genius.
After brunch our first stop was at Upper Crust Pie Bakery. I LOVED this place because not only was there a cute bakery in the back, but they also had one of the biggest kitchen stores I’ve ever been too. I was in heaven!
Maegan and I ordered a pumpkin pie, chocolate meringue and a banana cookie. The banana cookie was actually my favorite because I tend to love my pumpkin pies warmed up and served with whipped cream. And plus, the banana cookie was so soft and slightly sweet that it was too hard to resist naming it my favorite.
Next we walked to a vegan bakery called Mud Pie. I was delighted because I love checking out what others are making vegan. To my surprise they also had plenty of gluten free options. I ended up getting a gluten free cookie. It was okay but needed a little bit more moisture and flavor.
Maegan ordered a slice of pumpkin sheet cake with ‘cream cheese’ frosting and it was delicious and moist. I definitely return for another treat soon!
After our two bakery visits we ended up stopping at a few more places but I can’t remember being too impressed with them. At this point we were at 12 miles, so we headed to a local park to do a few more laps so that we could hit 15.
By the end of the day we were at 15 miles and that was before we decided to walk to dinner at McCoy’s Public House. I ordered a nice salad because I felt like I needed some greens in my life.
Once dinner was finished we headed back to the hotel and ate some of our leftover cookies.
I had such a wonderful time in Kansas City – thanks for being so sweet and delicious!
Until next time! xo.