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KC Volleyball Tourney Journey — Lunch Edition | Special to Calinfluence

Mildred’s, For Breakfast at Lunch: Day 2 in Kansas City brought a late start, but a full day of volleyball games. The team convened in the hotel lobby for lunch, then readied for the rest of the day. They head to the tournament site at the KC Convention Center, one block away, to sync up with the vibe of tournament play before they play at 3 this afternoon. Then, they won’t wrap up until after 8.

I decide to expand my bounds beyond the lobby and past the storefronts merely in view from the hotel curb. I do map search “lunch” on my iPhone. Pass up burgers. Pass up ribs. Pass up fancy places that don't quite seem to open until just before 5.

Oh, and coffee, I need coffee. It is nearing noon, and I’m still abiding, more or less, to that intermittent fasting regiment that has me basically skipping breakfast. But I still want a breakfast. So I’m on the hunt for coffee and breakfast for lunch.

Enter: Mildred’s, a breakfast and lunch cafe with two locations in Kansas City — both fairly equidistant from the hotel. I land on the one at the “Historic 9th St. District.” As a cafe, Mildred’s infuses an industrial / modern aesthetic into the old-time charm of its surrounds. The ceilings are high and ornate. The windows are huge. And the rest of it rings of a tidy and a bit-hipster sandwich shop and coffee house.

I pre-ordered online: a steamed egg with bacon and Swiss on my choice of bread (marble rye), which they call “The Standard Sandwich.” And since this will be The Meal until after 8 pm, I add a side of breakfast potatoes, and a cup of tomato soup. Oh, and that coffee I’ve been craving since I woke up. A short walk over, Mildred’s is busy with both the lunchtime crowd and specialty coffee crew. Still there’s some seating. I pick up my order and grab a seat at the L-shaped bar.

First up — the ubiquitous drip coffee. Among iced drinks and espressos is the straightforward coffee. I loathe the watery and weak. I am happy to report, Mildred’s drip coffee is dark and rich and hot. It competes with the best of the Starbucks-es without falling into the trap of tasting like an ash tray. I got the 12 oz, and now rue my reasoning. Should have shelled out for the 16 oz instead.

Now for the food: The “Standard Sandwich” gives us steamed eggs, which I was somewhat foreign to, but imagined them to be akin to scrambled. They were. The eggs rose high, to nearly an inch, and the Swiss cheese (with mayo sauce) oozed subtlety from the edges. With bacon in the mix, too, all within marble rye bread, this made for a tasty breakfast at lunchtime. My only want would have been for the bread to have been toasted, even momentarily so, to lean back to the breakfast underpinnings that this sandwich was created from.

Next was the tomato soup. I was surprised to find it had a consistency of pasta sauce — but I mean that in the best of ways. This soup, it wasn’t soupy. Instead, a right amount of body and flavor. Then finally, a cup of the breakfast potatoes: crispy and seasoned, soft potato cubes that rounded out the meal well. Out the door, this meal with tax and tip cost $21.84, with the two side dishes, plus coffee, adding to the cost of an $8 sandwich.

As a forager of good food in faraway places, I rate Mildred’s with high regard. 4.5 stars out of 5. Website:

Jason James Barry is an award-winning journalist and essayist. His travel and restaurant reviews appear in and Great Pacific Review’s features page.


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