Sunday, March 4, 2012

Sweet Saturday: Ponak's, Trader Joe's and KC Cakefest

It was a sweet, sweet Saturday indeed and an unplanned one to boot: K and I had planned a kick-back day at home, but leave it to the Posse gals to roust us from our reverie. A flurry of texts later and soon we were off to points downtown for an afternoon of revelry instead.

First stop was that venerable house of all things Mexican on Southwest Boulevard called Ponak's Mexican Kitchen. Ponak's has been a longtime fave of mine, however, one that I inexplicably hadn't visited in quite some time. Back when we first moved to KC and lived in Westport, it was one of the first food havens I visited. I worked at the Plaza and used to hit Ponak's with some of my co-workers. Revisiting it with K and the Posse gals nearly eight years later, I was struck with the same feeling I had every time that I previously visited: that I wished Ponak's was closer, because it clearly makes for an awesome hangout. The interior design is classic tavern with some eccentric decor twists, the service is laid back and friendly and the place seems to be always...and I mean always...packed. And still, nearly eight years later, they continue to serve My Favorite Taco; their always flavor-packed Sonoran Tacos. That tender shredded beef nestled in a deep-fried flour tortilla topped with lettuce, shredded cheddar and zesty pico de gallo is hard to beat. And indeed, those killer Margaritas, often voted the best in KC, remain My Favorite Margarita. I was way excited to find out that Ponak's is now bottling that wicked Liquid Attitude to go. Our gal Deb's such a fan that we were not permitted to leave until she had finished her Margarita.

Off to our next stop, the vast Downtown Convention Center to check out KC Cakefest; a quirky celebration of all things cake that includes some friendly competition as well. This is a unique fest that improbably marries cake with a biker sensibility. That's probably due to its founder, Mike Elder, who's a former hotrod builder as well as three-time undefeated champion of TLC's Ultimate Cake-Off. Mike is also the owner of KC's own Black Sheep Custom Cakes. KC Cakefest in indeed his brainchild and its a kick to be there and see all of those wildly-designed confections and cake vendors paired up with displays of tricked-out choppers. The crazy and eye-popping cake designs would be reason enough to visit this event, but what makes it truly one-of-a-kind is the oddball touches, from Napoleon Bakery's Madame Cupcake (the lovely girl in the ten-foot-tall, cup-cake laden contraption that she could actually DRIVE) to the house rockabilly band The Rumblejetts. The cake designs were all over the map from Alice In Wonderland to what appeared to be a platter of barbecue. Our favorites included the ones dedicated to KC and I admittedly was partial to the Zombie Hand Holding A Brain cake. We were really biased to the one from our girls at Excelsior's own Oooey Gooey Chocolates...the Dragon cake with glowing eyes with smoke literally curling from its mouth. Our gals won First Place in extreme engineering and design! Woo-hoo! I also got to see old friends Alan and Marlys of Adventures With Tea, who were there serving backstage. We missed Sunday's Cakefest events, which included a Guinness World Record Attempt at land-speed record in an edible hot-rod. The best part of KC Cakefest? 100% of the proceeds go to The Whole Person, an organization helping persons with disabilities live independent lives.

After a quick stop to pick up some more seeds from Planters in the River Market, we finished off our day with a stroll through the ever-crowded aisles of one of our recently opened new Trader Joe's stores. Clearly continuing to be uberpopular, we braved the throngs at the Ward Parkway location to find some great deals on some awesome lemon cookies, edamame hummus and that delectable lemongrass rice that Sweet Judy Greeneyes clued me in to.

A damn fine day, I daresay.


Anonymous said...

OOOH! I just love love love the cake pics!!!! I also love Ultimate Cake-Off. What a fun day!


Lisa Mandina said...

I love Ponaks! I wanted to go to the Cake Fest today, but didn't make it. Maybe next year!

Anonymous said...

I so want to come and spend a few days with you and Keith. You know how to party my friend! Party on Wayne!! MHJ

Confounded Cook said...

Girl, pack up the fam and come see us! I guarantee a good time!

Kiko said...

It was a super fun day. I am so glad you guys came with us. Another great blog.

Suzie Thomas said...

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