The Paris of the Plains
About a week later, I arranged a second date with Kansas City. Like anyone excited by such a great first date, I was eager to become even better acquainted with this new city I now called home. This time the date would be a Sunday brunch in historic downtown Parkville- the local restaurant of choice was Café Des Amis. After a seemingly never-ending winter, a light brunch at a fine French restaurant on a perfectly sunny 85 degree day felt like medicine for my soul. It was merely coincidental that we chose another French restaurant, but Kansas City was beginning to feel more and more like its nickname: The Paris of the Plains.
We parked just a few yards away from where a large French flag was whipping happily in the wind, welcoming us. Once inside, we were seated by an authentically French man near the window overlooking downtown Parkville. The tables were draped with a clean black tablecloth placed cockeyed on top of a clean white tablecloth. Natural sunlight poured in through the tall windows illuminating the fully bloomed fresh red roses in the glass vases at each table. Overhead, French music filled the room with the soothing melodies of an accordion and mandolin. It was easy to pretend that we were not actually in Kansas City at all, but that we had somehow miraculously found ourselves transported to a small town in rural France on a Sunday afternoon.
The Maitre d’ handed each of us a menu and brought us a basket of bread wrapped in a cloth napkin. Accompanying it was a square bronze dish with butter that was cut into two long obtuse triangles stacked neatly on top of each other. I commented to Chad how impressed I was with their attention to detail. As we pulled the cloth napkin apart to reveal the bread, steam arose with a heavenly scent that could only come from bread that was literally fresh from the oven. It tasted as glorious as it smelled. Chad and I both smiled at each other knowingly without having to say it out loud – we had just found a French diamond in the roughs of Kansas City.
I decided to order the French toast. Everything on the menu was technically French, but it seemed fitting to me at the time to try something made at an actual French restaurant that is called “French” in everyday American household kitchens.Chadordered the Omelette Provencal. Neither of us was disappointed. My food arrived looking like a masterpiece of art crafted by Claude Monet himself! The French Toast was stacked around a ramekin of almond honey, with grapes split down the middle and paper-thin slices of apples neatly arranged around the edges and sprinkled with powdered sugar. This was not your mom’s French toast. I closed my eyes and breathed deeply as the first bite permeated every taste bud in my mouth. I looked at Chad and whispered to him excitedly, “Someone is making love inside of my mouth!”.
Who knew Kansas City held at the center of its metropolis a small piece of paradise hidden away waiting to be discovered? Food may be fuel for the body, but exquisite food is nourishment for the soul. Getting to know our new home of Kansas City was now no longer a process so much as a pleasurable journey. We had quickly gone from a blind first date, to becoming much more intimately acquainted with our new home by the end of the second date. After that exquisite French toast, I felt proud to call Kansas City my new home and to commit to this relationship permanently.
To be continued…
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