Grace Kertz and Erin William
On July 2nd, a number of patrons eagerly loaded onto a tour bus to the sounds of steady drum beats. Once on the bus, with “passports” in hand, the participants in this year’s Taste and Tour sat eagerly, excited to sample a variety of foods down Independence Avenue.
The first stop on the tour was an introduction to the event at the Chamber of Commerce. Dozens of tourists lined up to get access to a few “adult drinks” and to sample savory spring rolls paired with a delightful peanut sauce, courtesy of Pho Bowl. As a part of the introduction, tourists learned about the mission of the Chamber of Commerce and their impact to the community along Independence Avenue. Such efforts include weekly cleanups and the hosting of events to bring in consumers to local businesses such as the Taste and Tour.
Upon stopping at Charritos Plaza, guests were welcomed to take a seat, and offered beef or pork tacos for sampling. These were served with lime and cucumber slices for the table. This sit-down stop was a chance for attendees to wind down. We talked one-on-one with Paige and Brett, a couple on the Taste and Tour who moved back to Kansas City two weeks prior. Regarding the Tour, Brett remarked, “I love Mexican food.” But their love for the city itself was also evident.
Paige and Brett were drawn back to Kansas City because of the people, and are eager to take part in events in the city. They shared that there are lots of events coming to Kansas City that are widely advertised, thus drawing people. Paige and Brett weren’t the only ones who have seen growth in the city. Tub, an attendee who grew up in the Northeast, noted that, “they’re starting to redevelop it again.” He was glad to get a taste of the restaurants on Independence Avenue, which weren’t around when he was growing up.
One of these new places was Core Coffee, which has been open 4 years, but changed owners about a year ago. Those on the Tour had the privilege of trying a Vietnamese coffee from Core Coffee not currently on their menu. This iced drink was made with condensed milk, half and half, a double shot of espresso, complete with hazelnut, and prepared for us by the owner, Deanna. Baked goods at Core Coffee are made in house, and they feature some goods from Blackhold Bakery. The highlight of the coffee shop, however, is the atmosphere. Deana shared about her art background, explaining that, “showcasing local artists is really important to me.” Core Coffee also welcomes diversity, encouraging the community to come, and providing students with a space to have a drink, bite to eat, and a change of environment to work. Core Coffee is preparing to add things to the menu, so be on the lookout for new items, and possibly the coffee sampled on the Tour!
Though not an official stop on this month’s “Taste and Tour,” Elvira’s is a destination on the September tour. In years past, the local pandería offered tour members jello cups to promote the business. Jessica, niece of the owner, Elvira, recalled the first year they participated in the event claiming, “it was cute to see adults holding jello cups.” Jessica shared the story of Elviras and how the business growing in popularity allowed them to increase the size of the store. At Elviras, they look forward to expanding the store again in the near future.
Whether tasting spring rolls, pork or beef tacos, Vietnamese coffee or jello cups, the “Taste and Tour” gives a taste not only of mouth-watering dishes, but showcases what the Northeast has to offer, while supporting the businesses along Independence Avenue.