Photo by Katy Ryan
I admit it. When Guy Fieri walked past me after taping the “Diners, Drive-Ins and Dives” segment at Columbus Park sandwich shop Happy Gillis, I was sorta definitely starstruck. And then promptly berated by a couple of lurking onlookers for not taking a picture.
I’m so excited to (finally!) see the episode air at 9 p.m. on Monday, Aug. 30. OK, OK – so I’m definitely curious to see if I make the segment while I’m destroying the delicious steak sandwich. But more than that, I’m so excited for more people (especially those outside of Kansas City) to be introduced to what is, without a doubt, one of my favorite restaurants in the city.
I’ll be sure to head back this week and enjoy the calm before the DD&D storm, but don’t worry – I’ll brave a line down the block for what I’ve declared the best biscuits and gravy in Kansas City. Seriously. You’ve got to try them.
So be sure to tune in live or set your DVRs! And while we’re talking about KC restaurants on TV, a huge congratulations to Julian mastermind Celina Tio on her selection as a competitor on “The Next Iron Chef.” As if I needed another reason to love the Food Network!
As you may or may not know (since I cannot seem to talk about anything else right now!), Moon Kansas City was scheduled to publish Tuesday. Accompanied by two of my best friends, Jamie and Naina, we made the rounds of Kansas City bookstores, eagerly searching for copies only to be told that a delay with the distributor meant the books wouldn’t be arriving for several days.
Despite the setback, our celebratory mood couldn’t be deterred, and we commemorated Tuesday’s significance with a delightful lunch at Kona Grill.
Philadelphia roll, Kona Grill
Macadamia nut chicken, Kona Grill
Later that day, my friends and family “surprised” me with a book release party at one of my most favorite Kansas City restaurants: Happy Gillis. I use the term “surprise” loosely because I knew there was to be some sort of gathering, and thanks to a Facebook error the day before, I discovered the party location. Despite those two hints, Lisa, Jamie and Rob managed to conceal the biggest surprise of all: they arranged for one of my best friends from childhood, Naina, to fly in from New Jersey the Sunday before and stay until Wednesday. Needless to say, when I walked into Latteland at Briarcliff on Sunday and saw her, I was stunned into silence, which was followed by shrieking, laughing, and, of course, crying.
Jamie, me, Naina
Having almost all of the people I love in the same room was an experience I can’t quite put into words. The months of hard work, anxiety and sleep deprivation instantly melted away when I stepped into Happy Gillis. I feel privileged to be able to share my favorite Kansas City venues and landmarks with others around the country and know that this is only the beginning of this crazy ride. As we were leaving the coffee shop on Sunday, Naina said to me, “You should write books more often so I can come into town and surprise you!” That’s inspiration enough for me, which leaves only one question: What in the heck do I write about next?