Kansas City Connection: Providence New American Kitchen a welcome addition

Vote Tuesday.

I have very, very, very strong opinions about Tuesday’s election. But for your sake and mine, I’m not going to share them here. What I am going to do is remind you that Tuesday isn’t just the day when all of those terrible political ads will finally stop airing; it’s also time to vote! It’s time to share your opinions.

So before you read any further, make sure your voter registration card is in your wallet, Google your polling place (if it’s not on the card), and set a reminder on your iPhone to actually go vote on Tuesday. Not registered where you live? Check out longdistancevoter.org right this minute to request your absintee ballot.

A New American downtown dinner

Given my last experience at a new restaurant in a boutique hotel in Kansas City’s downtown area (which shall not be named, but don’t order the deviled eggs whatever you do), I was skeptical about trying Providence New American Kitchen inside the Hilton President (1329 Baltimore, Kansas City, Mo.). But I was pleasantly surprised when I visited for lunch the first week it was open.

Just a few steps down (literally) from the historic Drum Room bar, The Providence New American Kitchen is a welcoming space with light-wood-paneled walls, no stuffy tablecloths, and a warm staff — just the kind of place that makes it easy to settle into a booth and stay a while as you stuff your face.

After the deep-fried, potato-filled pierogies with bacon ($6.90) and the hefty smokehouse Cobb salad (beef tenderloin, Maytag blue, bacon, smoked tomato vinaigrette, $16.90, $15.90 lunch), my lunch date and I probably didn’t need the applewood smoked meatloaf ($15.50, $10.50 lunch) or the smoked chicken ravioli with Campo Lindo chicken thighs on top ($14.50, $11.50 lunch). But we ordered them both anyway. And we cleaned our plates. I was sold.

A week or two later — not long after I mentioned my lunch on KCUR’s Central Standard Food Critic’s edition — I was invited back for a comped dinner. And what kind of idiot would turn down a free dinner? Not this idiot.

I returned with my fiance, and we made our way through much of the rest of the rest of the menu, starting with the Dungeness crab cakes ($12), the smoked tomato bisque ($3 cup) and the BBQ Glazed Pork Belly ($8). I ordered the seared Maine sea scallops ($23.50) for my entree, and Kyle got the Vintage Farms “Providence cut” filet ($25.90).

Aside from a few tiny nitpicks (the scallops probably didn’t need the faro, the crab cakes needed more of the caper remoulade), the dinner was great.

Not being a dessert person, I could take or leave all of the desserts I’ve tried (carrot cake, a s’mores-like thing, and tiramisu parfait), but the wines and cocktails were very nice and did exactly what they were supposed to.

My favorite part of my experiences there was that I was treated just as warmly when I was somebody walking in off the street for lunch as I was when I went back as a “special guest.”

Bonus: Free parking. So, if you have other plans downtown, and eat at Providence New American Kitchen first, you can park there and leave your car for the rest of the night.

Reservations are available at (816) 303-1686 or opentable.com.

But to be honest, you probably won’t need one for a few months.

Ice skating at Crown Center

With all of the warm weather we’ve been getting in the Midwest and tropical storms hitting the Northeast, it’s hard to believe it’s already ice skating season. But on Friday, the Crown Center Ice Terrace (Crown Center Square, 2425 Grand Blvd., Kansas City, Mo.) opened for the season. For the rest of this year, the rink is open 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. Sunday through Thursday and 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Friday and Saturday. Admission is $6 (unless you’re older than 60 or younger than 4, in which case you get in for free).

If you, like me, have to hold on to the edge the entire time you’re doing any kind of skating, there are group lessons available at the rink. An $80 lesson package includes seven weekly lessons, seven additional skate passes and free skate rental on lesson day, and begins Dec. 1 at 8:45 a.m. (a 9:15 class is available for kids).

Before you start sewing sequins onto your favorite yoga pants, call 816-274-8411 for more information.

Regina Spektor at the Music Hall

Russian-born singer-songwriter and pianist Regina Spektor plays the Music Hall (at the Kansas City Convention Center, 301 West 13th St., Kansas City, Mo.) on Wednesday.

Tickets for the 7 p.m. show range from $35 to $45 and are available at ticketmaster.com. Only Son (otherwise known as Jack Dishel, Spektor’s husband) opens.

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