KCMO vs. BALTO -- A mostly culinary face-off
My former trivia-night opponent and Scrabble victim, the graphic designer and native of Kansas City John Hathaway graciously agreed to contribute this piece on the relative culinary advantages of his hometown and adopted town.
Kind of like I said here, it's hard to really get riled up about the opposing team in this Sunday's game, much less the fine city they're representing. May the better team win.
Here's Hatha's Way:
Baltimore has crabs. I don’t like crabs.
I love the way they taste when they’re all rolled up in a ball with some breadcrumbs and Old Bay and mustard and everything else. I love the way they look when they’re served on a roll because it reminds me of how we eat our food in the Midwest.
Just don’t ask me to pull the little guys apart. It’s a brutal, mind-numbing task that yields too little food in return. Neither I nor the crab has any interest in being a part of this grizzly affair. And I’d rather not talk about how closely related crabs are to the vile insects we pay good money to have exterminators remove from our homes.
In the end, it’s no comparison. Baltimore has a ton of great seafood (that isn’t crabs). KC has steak. But steak’s not seafood. If it was, I would love seafood.
BEEF AND BBQ: Advantage—Kansas City
Baltimore is a harbor town, and the beautiful Chesapeake Bay and Atlantic Ocean are just a few hours away. This is why Baltimore is so much better at seafood. Kansas and Missouri have land. Lots and lots (believe me) of land. Land that they grow stuff like plants and grains on. Land that they use to feed animals (big, hulking, meaty beasts) that eat all the stuff they grow on all that land. They’ve been doing this for a long time. They do it better because they don’t have a choice.
When your dinner options are beef, pork or beef, you learn how to get really good at cooking beef and pork and beef. Baltimore pit beef and BBQ are just fine. It’s almost darling. But in KC, it’s an art form. And every time I go back home, I look forward to getting a huge, properly prepared steak and some true BBQ. It’s bliss.
EVERYTHING ELSE: Even
Baltimore has more to offer in terms of dining options. I love finding new places I’ve never heard of and new tastes I’ve never dreamt of. There is a true sense of creativity and adventure to the Baltimore culinary landscape, and it is always surprising.
But what KC lacks in creativity, they make up for in quality. Here’s something you may not know: Chinese and Japanese food, for example, is much better in KC than anything you’d find here. I think the difference is that in KC, there’s not a whole lot to do besides eat and drink (and go to Chiefs games). It’s also why Kansas and Missouri are always at the top of the list of the most obese states in the Union.
FINAL SCORE: Even
I may be taking the easy way out here, but I love the food in both cities equally. Of course, Kansas City’s Boulevard Brewing Company makes the best beer you’ll ever have, but that’s a topic for another day.
As for the game on Sunday, I already know who’s going to win…
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