Mexico: Land of Enchantment

Mexico: Land of Enchantment

I have always enjoyed traveling, and I’ve been fortunate enough to visit some of the most beautiful places in the world.

One such place would undoubtedly be Mexico.

As you may have read in my previous post about traveling, there are some benefits to doing the touristy things when you travel; things like seeing the famous sites, going to museums, etc.

But then there are times to go rogue and truly become immersed in this foreign and wonderful place that you find yourself in. There are times to avoid the popular destinations to get a full perspective. Well, if you find yourself in Mexico – my advice is to do just that (within reason).

The Beauty of the Desert

Mexico is a fairly large country with a wide range of scenic coastal towns, bustling metropolises, dense forests and of course – grand deserts.

Cancun may be the best bet for spring-breakers and MTV, and Mexico City is a great place for food and culture. Yet there is something special about the isolated and calming nature of the Mexican desert.

Located in the state of Chihuahua, the Chihuahuan Desert is an almost spiritual place. It’s the single largest desert in North America and spans well into the United States and is home to many mountain ranges.

What I like most about the desert is how remote it feels. No people hustling around, no Kansas City traffic, no rush – just the soothing sound of the wind.

Small Towns

As I mentioned, if you really want to see Mexico for what it is – you have to stray away from the tourist zones and check into some of the lively small towns and villages that dot the countryside.

This is where you’ll see just how different life is in other parts of the world. The days and nights pass more slowly and people seem to be more relaxed, almost happier. You feel completely disconnected from the world for just a little while and content with a simpler kind of life.

It’s a sort of therapeutic experience.

One city that I would recommend visiting is Guanajuato. It’s a very vibrant medium-sized city with multi-colored rows of buildings, cobble stone streets and a town center where city dwellers exchange goods at a market. There also happens to be a very interesting “Museum of Mummies.”

South of the Border

By far one of my favorite aspects of our southern neighbor is the different expectations that they have of businesses and services. It is eye opening and interesting to see how different the world operates in their day-to-day.

In some rural parts of Mexico, it’s not uncommon for businesses to close up shop for a couple of hours in the middle of the day; “siesta.” This is one of those aspects of their culture that I wish I could bring back to Kansas City, and I don’t think I’m alone on that.

It’s also not uncommon for prices to change depending on the mood of the shopkeeper and whether or not they can be talked down. Although you won’t need to necessarily talk down too many shopkeepers because the American dollar can go a long way down there.

See It for Yourself

There are so many differences between the U.S. and Mexico that you have to see it for yourself to truly understand the difference in feeling.

Mexico is a wonderful country that offers a lot in the sense of adventure, natural beauty and fun. My advice if you go is to take your time, enjoy the slower pace and really enjoy the experience.

~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City, Missouri

Michael Gortenburg’s Top Three Cars of 2018 – 2019

2019 is just barely over the halfway mark, but the results are in.

By now, almost every car manufacturer has given us their latest creations – the good, the bad and the embarrassing. As an unabashed car enthusiast and having basically grown up inside of Kansas City repair shops, I know a little about cars.

While we all stop to look at sports cars and fantasize about opening them up on an open highway, knowing the anatomy of a car and what exactly goes into the process gives someone the ability to fully appreciate a well-crafted end product.

So, with that in mind I thought I would share my unofficial list of the best newly-introduced cars of 2019 (subject to frequent change):

1.) Lamborghini Huracan

Lamborghini is a name well-known to car buffs, and for good reason. The brand is about as exotic as it gets.

Some people like to get sucked into the age-old Lamborghini vs. Ferrari debate, but that’s sort of like comparing apples and oranges. If I were to weigh in personally, I prefer the Lamborghini’s decidedly futuristic look over the Ferrari. An argument could be made that Ferrari has a similar look to Corvette – whereas nothing looks like a Lambo.

And 2019’s Huracan carries that tradition into the present. Aside from the obvious style, it’s also a joyride. Sitting low, geared for speed and gifted with superior handling; it has all the ingredients of a top performing vehicle.

2.) Rolls Royce Phantom

Typically, I don’t go all in for the overly formal (sometimes stuffy) nature of “legacy brands” like Rolls Royce or Cadillac, but the Phantom is one of those truly stunning vehicles that you have to admire when you see it.

It’s worlds apart from the flashy, loud sportscars. Known for its boxy shape and large grill, there’s a quality of timeless sophistication in its design. It’s the type of car that looks all the more striking with classic colors like black, or dark grey.

One of the more impressive aspects of the vehicle is its size – it is a very large sedan. It measures over 18 feet long. Yes, that’s 18 feet in length and 6.5 feet wide, with a total weight around 5,500lbs. And even with all of that mass, the 563hp V12 engine moves this car from 0-60 in around 5 seconds.

Between the impeccable style of the car and the equally extraordinary specs, this car certainly deserves a ranking somewhere on anyone’s list of top luxury vehicles.

Aston Martin Vantage

Lastly, we come to somewhat of a compromise between the exotic and the luxury camps of car enthusiasts; the Aston Martin Vantage. Neither too sporty nor too ceremonial, the Aston Martin Vantage strikes a nice balance.

You may know Aston Martin from the James Bond movies, as it is a regular favorite for the spy. The Vantage sits low and comes exclusive as a coupe, but still has that sense of reserved elegance that you would expect in a luxury vehicle.

Due to the unique aesthetic, the Vantage looks just as sharp in a bright lime green as it does in a muted grey.

It’s a noted “fun car.” With the light weight (3400lbs) and the 500hp – it would be hard not to zip around town, perhaps a little too fast.

While there are too many wonderful cars to list them all here, these are my top 3 for 2019. Again, it’s an unofficial list and there are so many options.

Let me know your top picks down below.

~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City Knows BBQ!!

Michael-Gortenburg-Kansas-City
Kansas City, Missouri BBQ

There are many areas of the country where you can find great barbecue, but there’s something special about Kansas City.

One of the reasons Kansas City stands out is the high concentration of amazing barbecue restaurants we have in a relatively small area. Today, there are over 100 area barbecue establishments, each boasting its personal house specialty – ribs, pork, ham, mutton, sausage and even fish.

But few people know that the Kansas City barbecue tradition actually started with a man named Henry Perry in the 1920’s. Perry had a stand in downtown Kansas City where he served smoked meats to nearby workers. Using an outdoor pit, the man who is simply known today as the “The Barbecue King,” sold slow-smoked meats wrapped in newspaper for 25 cents in the Garment District.

Perry’s stand was an instant success and the barbecue trend quickly caught on. He later opened what many people believe was the first barbecue restaurant of its kind in North America. The restaurant, a converted trolley barn, quickly emerged as the city’s major cultural point during the 1920s and 30s.

Over a period of more than 100 years, the city generated its own style of barbecue, which is commonly known today as Kansas City barbecue. Often described as the “world’s barbecue capital,” Kansas City is home to large, well-attended barbecue cooking contests – the two most notable being in nearby Lenexa, Kansas and at the American Royal.

Barbecue in Kansas City is more than just a menu item or a method of preparation. It’s an institution, rich with history and culinary tradition that has shaped the city’s dining landscape since the early 1900s. For decades, visitors from across the globe have traveled here, drawn by the smoky aroma, just to get a sample of KC’s acclaimed cuisine.

~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City Missorui

Life is Better in Kansas City

I’ve lived in Kansas City, Missouri for my entire life. While I’ve spent extensive amounts of time traveling abroad, I always find myself happy to come back to this beautiful city with its rich culture and history.

Here are few reasons why I think Kansas City is such a special place:

City of Fountains

Michael-Gortenburg-Kansas-City
Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City has over 200 stunning fountains within its city limits. This distinction places it as the 2nd city in the world with the most fountains, just behind Rome, Italy.

The city is also commonly referred to as the “Heart of America” due to its close proximity to the geographic center of the United States. And while this may be the obvious underlying point in the name, this really sums how residents here truly feel about their home.

Aside from the numerous fountains, there are other unique designs that give Kansas City a unique charm. Renowned fixtures like the Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts and the Kansas City Star Building give the downtown area a contemporary feel with their striking features – while the historic New York Life Building remains a tribute to the city’s rich past.

There are also a slew of tremendous museums and attractions to visit across the city, such as the National WWI Museum and Memorial, the American Jazz Museum, and the famous Kansas City Zoo. Of course, we also have the Kansas City Chiefs and the Royals for our second-to-none sports fans.

Whatever your personal style or interests, this town has it all.

The Full Menu

Kansas City, Missouri

Kansas City has some of the best restaurants in the nation, with more barbeque restaurants per capita than any other city. And while the historic connection between the Missouri city and BBQ is well documented, there are tons of amazing options for residents and visitors.

Eddie V’s Prime Seafood is an exquisite upscale seafood establishment that provides the best cuisine of the sea along with nightly jazz. In addition, there’s the distinctive Austrian restaurant, Grunauer, paying homage to the immigrants who helped settle the area in the 19th century.

My personal favorite would have to be Bluestem. Winning a James Beard award in 2013 – this restaurant is the epitome of fine dining. From the moody atmosphere to the decadent seven-course menu, this place is an unconditional must if you’re in the Kansas City area.

A Balanced Life

Ultimately, Kansas City is about balance. It’s a vibrant world-class destination that attracts educated, driven people who like the bustle of a large metro area. But the city also holds on to its Midwestern values that set it apart from cities on the East and West coasts. And Kansas City is a place where you can truly enjoy life and experience everything without feeling rushed or frustrated by traffic.

For me – and the half-a-million people who live here – it’s absolutely perfect.

~ Michael Gortenburg Kansas City Missouri

Welcome!

by Michael Gortenburg, Founding Principal of Eighteen Capital Group (18CG)

Welcome to the blog!

My name is Michael Gortenburg and I’d like to welcome you to my new blog.

This is the first post in what will be a collection of insights from a lifetime spent as an entrepreneur, businessman, investor and real estate enthusiast.

I also hope to share a little about myself and the lessons I’ve learned over the course of my career.

I’m just getting started, so stay tuned for more. Subscribe below to get notified when I post new updates.

Cheers,
Michael