Initially, I had wanted to dine at JJ's in Kansas City. I had been there, before, and loved the wine list. On my last visit, I was not wowed by the food, but I loved the wine list. In my world, I wanted to fly into KC, head to JJ's for wine and small plates and drive to Lawrence.
My plan did not mesh with Casey's and so JJ's on Wednesday was not an option.
He suggested going into the city on Friday. We could go to the Nelson Art Museum, walk around the Plaza and dine at JJ's. For whatever reason, I knew our opportunity had passed. It would be a different trip. It seemed foolish to make the trip on Friday since I had to be back at the airport, early, Saturday morning.
Friday became a free day. We decided to focus on restaurants in Lawrence. There were new options and the best way to check out all of them, was to course it...you know, an appetizer here, small plate there. We decided to begin at Pachamama's, go to either 715 or Genovese, but definitely check out Angler's. We accomplished two of the four since we had dessert at Free State. It is the natural mecca when I am in Lawrence.
We arrived at Pachamama's and headed to the bar. Since we were only having small plates, we opted to dine there and not waste a table for a server. The bar, itself, had twelve bar stools and filled to capacity. They had a promotion of wine and small plates that looked interesting, but we did not explore that option. I perused the wine list and they offered two different sizes of wine glass or by the bottle. We chose the Ridge Zinfandel and waited to order the food. They had 4 male bartenders at the bar. I was surprised, given the amount of space, and believed that we would be overwhelmed by their attentiveness. We weren't.
We tried a crab roll and pommes frites. The menu was interesting and I would like to check out some of the flavor profiles. The wine list was user friendly and they carried Free State and Boulevard Beer. I like establishments that support local brews/products.
The crab roll was tasty and the fries were fine. I wanted them for the dijon mustard that accompanied them. I did like that. I believe the mustard was the highlight of the meal. The atmostphere was upscale trendy. We weren't out of place, but it wasn't as inviting as I would have liked. It seemed stuffy.
From Pachamama's, we drove to Angler's which is a few blocks away. Angler's is a new addition to Lawrence. Our friend, Dave, recommended the place. He said the oysters were awesome and that they had a fantastic beer selection. They were excellent and the place was lively. I loved the feel of it immediately.
The owner shucked our oysters and entertained us while we dined at the bar. I would have preferred to experience the entire Friday night meal, there, and skipped Pachamama's. When we walked in, we were greeted by the lobster tank. It made me laugh since we were definitely land locked in Kansas.
I had wanted to check out a third restaurant. I was full, though, and dessert sounded necessary. Free State has carrot cake. Enough said.
I had another Santa's Helper and chatted up my old co-workers and friends. I did enjoy dining in Lawrence and figure I can always go to JJ's on another trip. I will return to Angler's. When I was in school, Pachamama's was opening and it was definitely, the elite option. The location has changed, making it more available to diners like me, that enjoy coursing out the meal. Another trip, another meal, another experience.