Kansas City Connection: Uncorking Tannin’s top wine list

As much as I love drinking, one might expect me to frequent wine bars. But that’s simply not the case.

It’s not that I don’t enjoy wine — I do! In fact, my very-soon-to-be husband and I belong to Cellar and Loft (525 Walnut), an unpretentious wine club in Kansas City’s River Market district that hosts regular tastings for members and delivers two moderately priced bottles to our doorstep for $30 a month (they deliver to Lawrence; check out their beer offerings). With that, and my frequent swings through the grocery store booze department (sorry, Kansas!) our Ikea shelf-cum-liquor cabinet is always well-stocked.

I just consider myself an equal opportunity wine consumer, and most of the time I’d rather not spend my hard-earned dollars on wine when a $4.99 bottle of Jacob’s Creek Shiraz does the trick. Truth be told, I doubt I could tell the difference between a $5 bottle or $50 bottle of dry anything.

Still, I appreciate those who can identify the unique characteristics of a particular wine. And I understand what goes into making a good bottle. I even get why people pay good money for good vino. I’m not telling you to take my word for it when I say that if you love good wine, or want to impress someone who does, you should visit Tannin Wine Bar and Kitchen (1526 Walnut, Kansas City, Mo.). But you should take the Internet’s word for it.

Users of OpenTable, the online reservation system, recently named Tannin’s wine list among the top 100 in the country. According to OpenTable.com, “The list of winners is based on more than 5 million restaurant reviews submitted by OpenTable diners for more than 15,000 restaurants in all 50 states and the District of Columbia.”

Not too shabby.

While I’m certainly not a regular, I have been to Tannin more than once, and each time, I left with a reasonable tab, a happy palate and a full stomach. I’ve always enjoyed the wines (though I guess that isn’t saying much), and as a true connoisseur of french fries, I can tell you the pommes frites with truffle aioli are totally worth the $6. Tannin offers a full lunch and dinner menu and is open until 1:30 a.m. Fridays and Saturdays. Visit tanninwinebar.com for more information.

David Sedaris at the Kauffman Center

If you’ve ever wanted to ask David Sedaris a question, Tuesday is your chance. The sardonic storyteller is coming to the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts (1601 Broadway, Kansas City, Mo.) for one night only. The author of the best-selling essay collections such as “Naked,” “Me Talk Pretty One Day,” Sedaris will present all-new work — maybe even from his upcoming title “Let’s Explore Diabetes with Owls” (April 2013, Little, Brown & Company). Then he’ll do a Q&A; and sign books. Tickets for the 7:30 p.m. show range from $43 to $52 and are available at tickets.kauffmancenter.org.

First Friday in the Crossroads

My fellow Kansas Citians might hate me for saying this, but I feel like First Fridays in the Crossroads Art District are the few times a year Kansas City feels like a real city. Don’t get me wrong — Kansas City has a ton to offer with its restaurants, arts and wine (see above). We just drive too much, and having lived in New York City for nine years, I’m convinced that people in great cities like ours could and should walk more.

But on the first Friday of every month, we walk. People of all ages, from all parts of the metro area emerge from their cars and wander in and out of the galleries and shops surrounding 20th and Main to take in street art, fine art and boutique shopping.

I hate myself for suggesting this before Thanksgiving — before Halloween, even — but if you want to get a head start on unique Christmas gifts, this is the time and place to do it. Stop by Hammerpress for (110 Southwest Boulevard, Kansas City, Mo.) for letter-pressed holiday cards, concert posters, gift tags, calendars, notebooks and more. And be sure to swing by the Honeytree Gallery (504 E. 18th St., Kansas City, Mo.), which is always packed with local vendors’ handmade accessories, including jewelry.

Strong Ale Festival

Attention, beer nerds: If this cold weather has you down, head to Westport on Saturday for a false sense of warmth at the second annual Strong Ale Festival. This ode to bold ales goes down outside of McCoy’s Public House (4057 Pennsylvania, Kansas City, Mo.) from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m.

The list of participating breweries is impressive and includes Deschutes, Firestone Walker, Great Divide, Schlafly, Stone, Sierra Nevada, New Belgium and, of course, local favorites Free State, 75th Street, McCoy’s and Boulevard.

Tickets are $30 in advance (etix.com) or $35 at the door and include a commemorative tasting glass — and samples of as many of the nearly 80 beers your heart and mouth desire. Proceeds benefit AIDS Walk Kansas City. (Remember when I told you last week that Kansas Citians really like to drink for good causes?)

— By day, Kansas City native Emily Farris is a cookbook publicist. The rest of the time, she can be found eating food or writing about it. Find her recent ramblings at feedmekc.com.

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