Three Stop Hop is a series from Recommended Daily and Visit KC that lets you experience a neighborhood or corner of the city in three unique stops. This edition takes us to the South Plaza, where a selection of savory American dishes and sweet desserts await you past Brush Creek.

Stop 1: Underdog Wine Co.

Underdog Wine Co. makes the case that everyone should have a neighborhood wine shop. Bright and well-stocked with more than 400 wines, the shop is long and narrow like the orange dachshund on the sign out front. Wines from across the globe line the shelves that stretch to the ceiling while a central bookcase holds craft spirits and serves as the counter for weekly tastings.

Ryan and Jenny Sciara opened their store in 2014 to highlight small, “underdog,” wineries. Underdog is like an independent book store, full of stories of winemakers and vineyard owners who often lead the weekly tastings held at that central bookcase.

Literally surrounded by wine, you’ll find yourself drawn into conversations about how place impacts the taste of what’s in your glass. Origin matters at Underdog. And not just with wine. You’ll discover artisan chocolate, Bloody Mary mix and pickles from across the country. Each has been hand-picked by Ryan Sciara, and you'll reap the benefits of the time he has spent learning about small batch producers.

Snag a glass of wine and pull up a stool at the concrete counter in the back of the shop. It’s here that you can plan future picnics and discover why sparkling wine makes everything better.

Underdog Wine

Underdog Wine Co. | 327 East 55th Street, KCMO | underdogwinekc.com

Stop 2: Black Dirt

Only a few blocks away, Black Dirt is a spot firmly rooted in the imagination and ingenuity of chef and co-owner Jonathan Justus. Once inside, you’ll see the world through his eyes. Start with the Billy Cloud County, a cocktail made with bourbon, vermouth, black walnut and chocolate bitters, all served to you in a corona of cherry wood smoke. For Justus, the art of presentation is as important as the flavor combinations.

Black Dirt serves primarily small plates, inventive blends of spices and ethnic influences. The beet salad pulls in Middle Eastern echoes with Za’atar; and gets a bright pop from pickled pine nuts and sherry vinaigrette. An octopus dish dazzles due to cured trout, which gives it an umami, earthy quality.

The delicate balance of what’s familiar and just off the tip of your tongue is the lifeblood of Black Dirt. You’ll find yourself still thinking about the dishes even as you walk out onto Main Street.

Black Dirt | 5070 Main Street, KCMO | blackdirtkc.com

Stop 3: Glacé

Less than two blocks toward the Plaza, Glacé beckons with cool blues and a modern white interior. The understated colors make your eye go to the case lined with ice cream that pops with luscious purple from blackberry or the pale golden color of sweet corn.

Glacé, an ice cream shop from chocolatier Christopher Elbow, is a study in how to distill the very essence of a flavor. Fleur de Sel Caramel (salted caramel) is both Elbow’s most popular chocolate and ice cream creation, and with good reason. It’s rich, without being cloying, and it’s where you should start with your sample spoon. Once you’ve landed on a scoop or four, order the malted milk waffle cone.

The ice cream shop is also influenced by Elbow’s background as a savory chef. Beer and bourbon (the coffee bourbon malt is made with house syrup) regularly feature into specials; and herbs find their way into all kinds of scoops: cucumber mint sorbet or peach and thyme ice cream. And sundaes become a place for him to play with flavor combinations. Case in point: lemon curd ice cream with raspberry sauce, whipped cream, and chocolate-covered blueberries.

If you want to try a little of everything – and you will -- Glacé recently started offering flights of six ice creams. The mini scoops are righteous for sharing and go beautifully with a Lost Trail root beer float featuring salted pretzel ice cream. Grab a hand-packed pint (hint: strawberry balsamic) before you leave, just in case you need second dessert.

Glacé | 4960 Main Street, KCMO | glaceicecream.com

Jonathan Bender (@jonathanbender) is a food content editor at KCPT. Founder of Recommended Daily. Author of Cookies & Beer, Stock, Broth & Bowl, and LEGO: A Love Story.

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