I'm sure there are many definitions of "the perfect weekend" but allow me to describe one. And it just so happens that this particular description comes from my own experience and it starts on Thursday.
Double Booked Thursday
Let me begin by saying, this is highly unusual for me. After work, I met my friend, Rania, for an early dinner. We had both skipped lunch and were starving at 5:00 so we met on The Country Club Plaza since it was the central location. However, we did not consider the possibility that all of Kansas City would be there shopping their little hearts out, therefore, making the usual convenient parking experience, a complete nightmare. So, we opted to leave the shopping haven for a simple dinner at the one and only, Planet Sub. I hadn't been there in a while so it was fun and we chatted about life, jobs, family, cultures, traveling, NYC, etc.
We parted and I took The Max home, changed clothes, walked to the downtown transit center, and took the 57 to the fabulous, JP Wine Bar where I was meeting my friend, Kelly. Every couple months, we meet there to catch up over wine and cheese flights. It's divine. We talked about life, family, charity, values, the holidays, international travel, friends, etc. In this conversation, we discovered that we both had a favorite sweet spot that the other had never been to so we decided that we would meet on Saturday to introduce each other to these tasty treats. What a fun thing to look forward to!
Financial freedom, that is. December 14, 2007, will go down in history as one of my favorite days ever. Most of us have debt of some kind, and while it may be good debt, it can still feel like imprisonment. I've been excitedly nearing the end of one such sentence but I wasn't exactly sure when I'd be paroled. On Friday, I looked at my bank account that included a recent payroll deposit and I realized my freedom day had arrived. Barely able to contain my joy, I gave myself the most fantastic early Christmas present I could imagine and submitted my final student loan payment! I am no longer owned by Houghton College! God bless us, everyone.
I had a hard time falling asleep the previous night, perhaps too excited over Freedom Friday, so I slept in on Saturday morning. At noon, Kelly picked me up and we began our afternoon tour of some new and old favorite KC spots. Our first stop was my opportunity to introduce Kelly to the lovely and delicious, Baby Cakes, which I experienced for the first time this summer. After perusing the delightful shop and talking with one of their employees, Kelly chose the traditional vanilla cupcake with vanilla frosting to be enjoyed later.
Since we knew we would be indulging in quite the sugar-filled afternoon, we thought it best to stop for lunch so we didn't end up sick! We settled on the new Pizza Bella on Baltimore and 18th, in the Crossroads District. We had both been wanting to check it out and this was the perfect oportunity. It comes as no surprise to most, that I'm often sceptical about pizza in KC since it's so different from the pizza I grew up with in WNY. However, as long as I order something in the gourmet realm, I won't be disappointed. Pizza Bella offers wood fired pizza and I ordered the Biancoverde (fresh mozzarella, ricotta, pecorino romano, & arugula)- perfectly satisfying. Plus, the restaurant itself has been beautifully designed to include interesting textures, clean lines, fun red chairs, an argyle wallpapered wall across from the restrooms, and large windows that allowed us to watch the falling snow.
We put our To Go boxes in the car and decided to visit the snow-covered shops that are on the same block. Did you know that you can buy local and handmade underwear? I often try to buy local and handmade products and food whenever I can but it never occured to me that it would be possible to do this with underwear! This was one of the many things I learned while talking with the very sweet, enthusiastic and bored (due to the lack of customers on this snowy day) employee of Birdies. I highly recommend a visit. We continued down the block talking with shop owners and clothing designers happy to have a distraction from the quietness of their afternoons. Some sold clothing made from recycled fabrics, others offered local art, handmade soaps and lotions, high end silk gowns and quirky things like bright yellow and orange horizontally striped unitards! Talk about an eclectic shopping experience.
Next, it was Kelly's turn to introduce me to her favorite local sweet spot, Christopher Elbow Artisanal Chocolates. All I can say is "Wow!" You truly must visit this magnificent gallery of chocolatey goodness. It was overwhelmingly beautiful. The space is beautiful but the chocolates, oh, the chocolates! They are without a doubt the most exquisite chocolates I've ever seen or tasted. Yes, the website includes pictures but they don't do them justice, they must be viewed in person. We ordered the most intense and rich hot chocolate, which they call "drinking chocolate," ever to have graced our taste buds. Let me warn you, do not order chocolates AND drinking chocolate at Christopher Elbow. It is not possible to consume both. However, you can order the drinking chocolate, sip it slowly while sitting at the window, again watching the snow fall, and take chocolates home to be enjoyed at a later time...a much later time. And just to clarify, the drinking chocolate is delicious! The flavor is deep and dark and the texture is smooth and thick making you savor it slowly, which I'm convinced, is how hot chocolate was meant to be experienced. This was a truly decadent afternoon! Thanks, Kelly!
On my way home, Rania called and we made a plan to hang out. I thoroughly enjoyed the snowy walk home, dropped off my afternoon purchases, picked up my Netflix movie that had thankfully arrived, turned around, headed back to the bus stop, took The Max to Rania's house, catching up on a few phone calls along the way. We watched the independent film, Waitress, which was an excellent recommendation by my friend, Laci, had a fantastic bottle of red wine and delicious chili that Rania made earlier in the day. A perfect way to top off this snowy day of complete indulgence.
Outside of volunteering at the Kansas City Reperatory Theater this evening and finishing the large mug of coffee sitting next to me, I have no plans. I not sure I could handle anything else, some recovery time is in order.
So, that is the description of my weekend. While a perfect weekend, I'm glad these are not regular occurrences. I guess their rarity is part of what makes them perfect. Thank you friends, thank you local shop owners, artists, designers, sommeliers, bakers and chefs, thank you KCATA, and thank you Mother Nature. If you made it to the end of this post, you deserve a prize! To adequately relay the events and experience of these four days, fewer words would not do.
May a perfect weekend be in your near future.