Although I’ve made the most of the awesome wineries in my area, let’s be honest: when you think of “wine,” you don’t typically think of the Midwest. You think of California and Washington and, um, France. There’s no doubt that there are great wineries here there and everywhere, but the really good stuff needs the right terroir. Because of this, I try to make it out to my favorite wine country area (Paso!) once a year — and I make the most of local events here in Kansas City, like tastings and hitting up wine bars.
But one of my favorite ways to get a dose of wine country in my own backyard? Cooper’s Hawk!
Yes, it’s a chain. But, guys, the food is pretty good (and they have g-free options — see the lettuce wraps below!), the environment is fun, and the wine ain’t too shabby (although, I do recommend staying away from the sweet and fruity ones). Cooper’s Hawk was first created to bring a Napa-esque feel to Chicago, and then has expanded to other wine-deprived states like Indiana, Ohio and Florida. With a tasting room, a menu with pairing suggestions and wine club, going there is kind of like transporting yourself to wine country. It may not have quite that same hometown small-person feel as some of my favorite wineries, but it certainly helps itch my scratch for all things wine. (Tasting is seriously one of my favorite things to do, ever.)
Last week, Karen and I hit up an event at the Kansas City Cooper’s Hawk to try some of the restaurant’s menu items — and its wine. Executive Chef Matt McMillin took us through some of his culinary creations (the meatballs are his fave), all perfectly paired with vino, including the new Lux Pinot Noir that just won 99 points at the Critic’s International Wine Competition. It was pretty great, guys. Just check it out.
Do you have a restaurant or bar that transports you to another foodie land? My second choice for this in Kansas City would be Il Centro. Makes me feel like I’m in a European bistro! —Jenn