Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith Stokes' adventures while exploring and photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact Keith at sfreader@sff.net.

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Saturday - August 14, 2010: We started the day at Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory & Sanctuary in Louisburg. After taking the regular tour, the staff gave me an opportunity to approach the cages and take some photos where the bars on the cages wouldn't obstruct the camera. We ended us staying 2.5 hours more, taking photos from spots where the public isn't permitted.

I was accompanied by one of the staff who often got into the cages with the animals, or petted them from outside the cages. I particularly liked the wolves, leopard and two young African lions. I was close enough that I had to be careful that the animals didn't swipe at me or the camera. I was careful and the only animals that I actually touched were some wolves who I scratched and allowed to lick my hands. 

Lunch was a revisit of Beethoven's 5th in Paola. The German restaurant is only open three days a week and this was my first time back in a year and a half. Linda had the zigeuner schnitzel (breaded, pan fried pork loin topped with sautéed onions, peppers, mushrooms and a red wine sauce) and I had the Jaeger Schnitzel with a creamy mushroom sauce. It was good, but not the plate licking odd that I thought it was before. Linda really liked the rolls.

They have many German dishes on the menu and I really should get back there again and try some more. 

In the evening, we drove to the Legends in Kansas City, Kansas, to check into Chateau Avalon - a boutique hotel with themed rooms, nestled on a treed hillside.

We had the two level Castaway Room with a Jacuzzi on the main level and the bed tucked into the prow of a boat that is for some reason lodged in the trees. I liked the hotel, but the two level room didn't work. It seemed that what one of us wanted was always on the other floor and there were too many trips up and down the stairs.

A bottle of the house sparkling apple cider was waiting on ice when we arrived. They offer a number of "late night indulgences" and later we enjoyed the chocolate covered strawberries with whipped cream

Our supper was at the Savoy Grill in Kansas City, Missouri. 

I love the traditions of the 107 year old seafood & steak restaurant, that was a favorite of Harry Truman. The service was very good, but we have been to too many fine restaurants in the past year and nothing really stood out. Linda had a fried seafood platter and I had steak poivre (a huge sirloin strip which was peppered, seared and served with cognac and red wine sauce). The steak had good flavor, but was fairly tough.

My favorite part of the meal was the lobster bisque, but even though it was very good, I have had better a couple of times recently.

Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory and Sanctuary - Louisburg, Kansas Cedar Cove Feline Conservatory & Sanctuary

Chateau Avalon - Kansas City, Kansas Chateau Avalon

Savoy Grill - Kansas City, Missouri Savoy Grill

Friday - August 13, 2010: I drove to Paola, Kansas to have lunch at The BBQ Shack. I hadn't been to the SHack in about a year and a half. The ribs and chicken wings were still good, but this was a chance to try some more of the side dishes. The BBQ Shack has a wide variety of interesting sides and I have only had a few of them.

This time I had Fletch's spicy corn on the cobb and the atomic buffalo turds (cored jalapeno peppers stuffed with cream cheese & marinated water chestnuts and wrapped in bacon). They were both very good. The corn reminded me a bit of the elote corn that I had in Cozumel.

Supper was at a new restaurant in Shawnee - Waxy O'Shea's Irish Pub. We were greeted by a gentleman at the door who appeared to be the incarnation of the (presumably) mythical Mr. O'Shea. That was the high point of the meal. My fish & chips and Linda's shepherd's pie were both OK, but I will try something else the next time. The menu appears to have more Irish dishes than most of the area's Irish pubs.

There is a second Waxy O'Shea's in Branson, Missouri.


The BBQ Shack - Paola, Kansas corn on the cobb & ABTs at The BBQ Shack

Waxy O'Shea's Irish Pub - Shawnee, Kansas Waxy O'Shea's Irish Pub

Thursday - August 12, 2010: I had lunch at Johnny's BBQ in Olathe today. Johnny's Mission, Kansas location was featured last month on Diners, Drive-ins and Dives and I wanted to try the chicken that was prepared on the show. It is smoked, then finished for a couple of minutes in the deep fryer. Quick's BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas does something similar, but I didn't care for the result at Quick's.

Johnny's chicken was OK, but unlike the way it was shown on Triple D, they served it with sauce on the chicken. I think I would have enjoyed it much more with the sauce on the side. The half chicken diner came with French fries, coleslaw & baked beans and was a good value at $9.69.


Johnny's BBQ - Olathe, Kanas Johnny's BBQ
Wednesday - August 11, 2010: Two friends joined me for supper at a new Olathe Restaurant - Zepi's Pizza and Pub at Ridgeview and K-10. This is the second location for Zepi's. The original location is on State Line Road in Leawood, Kansas.

The pizza was just average, with a sauce that made me think of straight tomato paste without spices. Zepi's is probably a good choice for a party that has some people who do not want pizza. The rest of the menu is fairly varied. 

The onion rings were just something popped out of the freezer, but the chicken wrap was pretty good. I liked it that they offer a choice of dressings for the wrap and included additional dressing on the side.


Zepi's Pizza and Pub - Olathe, Kansas Zepi's Pizza & Pub
Sunday - August 8, 2010: I made a second visit to Joy Wok in Overland Park. The large Chinese restaurant is definitely doing a superior job in an attractive setting.
Saturday - August 7, 2010: Today's lunch was at a new place to me in Overland Park - the Caspian Bistro, which serves a variety of Persian, Middle Eastern and Mediterranean dishes. We had the restaurant to ourselves when we arrived, but I was glad to see several tables filled before we left. 

Linda had the shish kabob (marinated filet mignon, skewered with onions, tomatoes and green peppers) for $18.69. The meat had a distinctive flavor which she enjoyed. She did wish the tomatoes had been cut into pieces so the cooking was more trough the vegetable.

My $19.99 lamb rack had 6 chops and was some of the best lamb I have had in a long time. I had the same complaint about the tomatoes.

The entrees came with the choice of two of basmati rice, baked potato and vegetables.


Caspian Bistro - Overland Park, Kansas Caspian Bistro
Thursday - August 5, 2010: Although 75 Cafe in Shawnee discontinued supper hours for a while, I recently learned they are now open for supper 6 nights a week. Tonight seemed like a good time to check on other changes. I was considering using 75 to host a private event.

The food is still good, but  there continues to be service issues. There was a problem on our last visit in the Spring, but we still had a good time and lived with it.

When our food was brought out this time, they brought 2 meals for 3 people. The person taking the order had missed one order entirely. It was a long wait for the other meal to be prepared.

At 75, you pay when you order. So after eating the meal, we ordered a cobbler for dessert and paid for it at that time. And were then told it would take 10 minutes. It would have been better if they had said that before we paid, but OK.

So we waited. When the cobbler was finally ready, they couldn't figure out who had ordered it. Even though there were only two other tables with customers, we overheard the server asking another table if they had ordered dessert and had to get there attention.

I do like the food at 75, but it just isn't worth the server problems.


75 Cafe in Shawnee, Kansas 75 Cafe
Wednesday - August 4, 2010: This evening we tried another restaurant for the first time this year - Cozy's Cafe in Overland Park. I like the little family restaurant, but it needs just a little more something. Perhaps a few more Mediterranean influenced dishes.

The best items at Cozy's Cafe may be from the breakfast menu, which is available all day.


Cozy's Cafe - Olverland Park, Kansas Cozy's Cafe
Tuesday - August 3, 2010: Tried a new place for supper tonight - Tailgater's Bar and Grill in Overland Park, Kansas.

I went with high hopes. The online menu listed burgers made from buffalo & elk, and when we waked in, I liked the interesting seating using old theater and airline seats in part of the restaurant. I was more than willing to overlook the too loud music.

But the food was nothing special. The onion rings and the buns used for the sandwiches were were sub par. The pork tenderloin tasted OK, but was mostly breading. The elk and buffalo burgers were so tough that it was difficult to stick a fork in them. I think they had gone straight from the freezer to the frying pan. 


Tailgater's Bar and Grill - Overland Park, Kansas Tailgater's Bar and Grill
Monday - August 2, 2010: Added two new reviews of places visited in July. Both places are special and deserve to receive more attention.

The first new page is devoted to Geary Lake Falls, which is about 6 miles south of Junction City at Geary State Fishing Lake.

The second new page is about the new Michael Steven Gallery in Lincoln. The Gallery occupies part of the space at the Village Lines shop and keeps the same hours.


Geary Lake Falls - Junction City, Kansas Geary Lake Falls
Sunday - August 1, 2010: For lunch we tried the Sunday Brunch at Gaslight Grill in Leawood. It was OK, but not the special treat that ordering off the menu was earlier in the week. The service wasn't as good, either. 

Not that the brunch was bad, but there is no reason to make a special trip for it. The biggest pleasant surprise, was the fruit smoothies.


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