Explore Your Hometown—Destination Unknown

The tan has long faded; the photos still haven’t been uploaded and the mind-numbing grind of work has obliterated most of your vacation memories. To make matters worse, the weekend is quickly approaching and you are chomping at the bit to do something, anything different.
Stop the whining and put on a happy face; I’ve got a plan. Get out of your five-mile radius (aka the comfort zone), drive right by that familiar restaurant, and explore your hometown instead. Sandwiched between the analogous strip centers one finds in every city is a smattering of locally owned and operated restaurants. These hidden gems are your ticket out of the doldrums and can transport you—or at least your taste buds—to a land far way. Take my hometown (Kansas City) “When in Rome” eating experience as an example…

El Salvadoreno

On one recent adventure, I discovered El Salvadoreno, a family-owned restaurant. Tucked away in a quaint little neighborhood, they were doing a booming business. Open for breakfast, lunch and dinner, they served Salvadorean cuisine (well, duh), which was inexpensive (bonus!) and as I found out—way good.


My flash got the menu, but my waiter was so nice I didn’t want to leave it out.

We ordered shish kabobs of marinated beef, chicken and shrimp that were simply presented with beans and a little side salad. Far from ordinary, the meat was tender with subtle flavors of citrus and red chilies—not hot—just good.
If this is what authentic Latin food tastes like, I think I’ve found my next vacation destination—and I can’t wait to go back for breakfast!

They can definitely include me on their “friend” list!


Jazzed about my new find, the next weekend I ventured out even further and came upon Haus, a funky little brew house in trendy midtown.
Part beer garden, part restaurant, Haus serves up old world style Belgian and German beer in the proper glass—mind you—and an intriguing array of sausages. The classic bratwurst is the headliner, of course, but smoked chicken and apple, duck ginger sage and lamb cumin oregano wursts are a few that grace the menu also. They even had a roasted eggplant and feta number for the vegetarians in the house.


My bun was falling apart, but it didn’t stop me!

Their meat is sourced from the Local Pig, an all-natural butcher shop in town, which guarantees its sausages are always fresh, never frozen and the pretzel bread buns are sourced from another local establishment, Farm to Market Bread Company.
The place had a great vibe, it made me feel like I was on a European holiday. Once the weather breaks, I’m heading back to check out the beer garden.
Travel isn’t the only way to become a citizen of the world and experience other cultures. When your next scheduled days off are barely a twinkle in your eye and “Rome” is months and months away, get out and explore your own city. You might be surprised at what you find.
Have you discovered any unique eateries in your hometown? —Karen

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1 Comment
  1. Kasey says:

    This is SUCH great advice! I’ve lived in three major cities in the past four years, and I have learned to keep a rolling list of ideas for things to do/see/eat. It’s so fun to “vacay” in your own town! 🙂

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