Kansas Travel Blog
October 2008

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Friday - October 31, 2008:  Visited the new location of The BBQ Shack in Paola, Kansas. I really hated to see them leave the wonderful old dive the BBQ Shack was located in but the food is still worth the trip.

Added new pages fo Bangkok Pavilion in Overland Park & Pickering's Restaurant and Pub in Olathe. Reworked the page devoted to the BBQ Shack, replacing most of the photos.


The BBQ Shack in Paola, Kansas The BBQ Shack
Thursday - October 30, 2008:  Revisited Bangkok Pavilion Thai Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. I enjoy the large lunch buffet. The items on the buffet are a but more mild than I would choose, but there is a nice selection of spices to pep it up. I particularly like the Thai fresh chili pepper in fish sauce. Salty and very hot. It only takes a tiny amount.


Bangkok Pavilion Thai Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas Bangkok Pavilion
Monday - October 27, 2008:  Still on vacation, but added a page devoted to Sylas & Maddys Homemade Ice Cream in Olathe, Kansas.


Friday - October 24, 2008:  On vacation in Florida for a long weekend, but added a page devoted to Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue in Olathe, Kansas while changing planes in Atlanta, Georgia.


Thursday - October 23, 2008:  With the recent launch of the Olathe and Overland Park Restaurant Guides I have been visiting or revisiting a larger number of restaurants in the two cities. 

Today a friend joined me for lunch at KC Masterpiece in Overland Park, Kansas. Although I have dined at KC Masterpiece many times over the years, my last experience was not very good and it had been over a year since the last visit.

This visit was much better. The service was almost too attentive and the food was all very good. We split a sparerib combo and a small order of onion straws. We had burnt ends, a half slab of pork ribs, French fries and baked beans.

All of the sides were great. I thought the ribs were only average, but loved the burnt ends. My friend thought the ribs were the best.

This evening, I continued to sacrifice for this website:-) Supper was at Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue in Olathe, Kansas. I dine at Oklahoma Joe's about every other month, but have been in a rut, always having 1/2 smoked chicken and unseasoned French fries. I enjoy them both and they are a generous meal for only $6.49.

But tonight it was time to try something different. I ordered the Z-Man Sandwich, unseasoned French fries and a small side of smoked chicken gumbo. The Z-Man is brisket, smoked provolone topped with two onion rings on a kaiser bun ($5.99). The huge order of fries is $2.39 and the gumbo is $2.79

The gumbo was good, as always. It may be too spicy for some. The Z-man may have been the best sandwich I have had any time in Kansas City.

Looks like I won't be getting chicken the next time.

After diner I drove across the street to Sylas & Maddys Homemade Ice Cream. This is the second location for the ice cream parlor that started business in Lawrence, Kansas. Sylas & Maddys makes 150 flavors of homemade ice cream, and features 40 of them each day. I've only tried a few flavors, but have liked every one that I have tried. A single dip of ice cream in a homemade waffle cone is $3.19 and includes a 1/4 pound of ice cream. Be sure to check the bottom of the cone for a surprise. 



Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue - Olathe, Kansas Oklahoma Joe's Barbecue

Sylas and Maddys Sylas and Maddys Homemade Ice Cream in Olathe, Kansas

Wednesday - October 22, 2008:  Had lunch at Fred P. Ott's Bar and Grill in Olathe, Kansas. It is one of a small local chain owned by Kansas City, Missouri's Haddad Restaurant Group. Haddad also owns Winstead's, the Plaza III, and Timbercreek Bar and Grill in Louisburg, Kansas.

The formula hasn't changed at this restaurant in many years. They have a nice variety of daily specials and several standbys including Fred P. Ott's "Biggie," a 10 ounce hamburger. The meat served at Ott's is the same as the Plaza III, but I am afraid that the cooking is not the same. No matter how I have tried ordering the Biggie, it always comes well done.

Added pages devoted to the Quayle Rare Bible Collection and the Midland Railway. Added a short review of Fred P. Ott's to the Olathe Kansas Restaurant Guide.


Fred P. Ott's Bar and Grill - Olathe, Kansas Fred P. Ott's Bar and Grill
Tuesday - October 21, 2008:  Visited Papa Keno's Pizzeria for lunch, with a friend. The pizza and sandwich shop has been operating in old town Overland Park, Kansas since 1995.

My friend ordered a calzone. They run $6.50 or $7.50 with a regular drink. But that includes only sauce and cheese. Other fillings cost 75 cents each, which quickly adds up. Still, the calzone was good and nearly 12" across.

I ordered a campinella sandwich: cream cheese, turkey, sun dried tomato, provolone, onion, lettuce, tomato, oil and vinegar. It was also large, at least 8" across, and the roll (which I assume was baked on premises) was good. There was lots of cream cheese. $7.50 or $8.75 with potato chips and a drink.

We would both order the same thing again. But I guess I better try the pizza next time.


Papa Keno's Pizzeria - Overland Park, Kansas Papa Keno's Pizzeria

campinella sandwich at Papa Keno;s Pizzeria in Overland Park, Kansas campinella sandwich

Monday - October 20, 2008:  Visited Overland Park's newest Indian restaurant - Masalas Authentic Indian Diner - located across the parking lot from Cinzetti's Italian Market Restaurant. Masalas has the nicest dining room of any Indian restaurant I have visited in the region. Modern, attractive, with a small fountain. The service was great and the lunch buffet has a very large selection.

So what is wrong? The food did not impress me. The chef made choices that I don't care for. In particular, he uses very little dairy in preparing the dishes.

My favorite dish was one I have never had before - shrimp masala. Perhaps because I don't know how it would taste if it was prepared by another. The buffet was $10, but did include my beverage.

Added short reviews of Masalas, D' Bronx Deli, & Choga Korean Restaurant to the Overland Park Restaurant Guide, plus a longer separate page devoted to Choga Korean Restaurant.


Masalas Authentic Indian Diner - Overland Park, Kansas Masalas Authentic Indian Diner 
Sunday - October 19, 2008:  Visited two restaurants: Ingredient in Lawrence, Kansas and Choga Korean Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas.

Ingredient's name comes from the option of choosing which ingredients go into your sandwich, salad or pizza. A bit pricey, but not bad.  But they also offer items they have designed. I had a Sausage Grinder, which was a little milder than I would choose again. My friend had a Apple Wood pizza with smoked chicken sausage, and gouda cheese. The personal pizza came in only about 5 minutes.

I have been to Choga before, but not for 2 or 3 years. I was encouraged to try them again, by a review in The Pitch by Charles Feruzza. I have never met Charles, but feel like I know him after years of hearing his restaurant reviews on The Walt Bodine NPR radio show.

The food was pretty good, perhaps a little better than I recall. I had a sweet and spicy octopus dish that I liked a lot. The meals come with the chef's choice of 6 side dishes and there were three kimchi, tofu, sprouts and a kind of scrambled eggs. They didn't have the crispy, tiny anchovies that I really liked when eating there years before.

The servings were generous, but I still managed to eat almost all. 

One nit to pick with Charles Feruzza's review. He said, "may be the most unattractive dining room in Overland Park." Charles must have never visited Chung's Rainbow Restaurant, which is only a block away. 


Ingredient in Lawrence, Kansas Ingredient

Choga Korean Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas Choga Korean Restaurant


Saturday - October 18, 2008:  Visited the 51st annual Maple Leaf Festival in Baldwin City, Kansas. The leaves hadn't changed colors yet, but the weather was beautiful and there was a large crowd.

We started by touring the crafts and food vendors. I was surprised how many Kansas families have started making jellies and butters for sale. Every one of them seem to offer a hot pepper jelly. One of them had 3 different varieties.

The parade began at 11AM and lasted about 50 minutes. There were more bands than I expected, at least 7 or 8. But there were fewer floats and most of those were just people standing on a trailer. There were many politicians - no big surprise.

We followed watching the parade with lunch at Hickory Creek Bar B Que. With the huge crowd in town for the Maple Leaf Festival, they were serving only three meats and two sides. They offered a sandwich, side and drink for $7, but we had coupons for only $5 that were given to us by another vendor.

So we tried pulled pork and brisket sandwiches, along with baked beans and coleslaw. The coleslaw was good, but the beans were better. The pulled pork was as good as I have ever had. I need to return when Hickory Creek is offer its full menu.

Next we stopped by the 160 year old Baker University campus to tour the Quayle Rare Bible Collection. I found the bibles for the blind, and the autographed bibles the most interesting.

We also tried to visit the Osborne Memorial Chapel, which was moved to the campus from England in 1995. But although the University's brochure says it is open, it was all locked up both times we tried.

The last stop of the afternoon was the Midland Railroad on the west side of Baldwin City. For only $5/person, they offered a 50 minute excursion ride, including an old West gunfight along the way.



Maple Leaf Festival Maple Leaf Festival Parade in Baldwin City

Quayle Rare Bible Collection Quayle Rare Bible Collection at Baker University

Midland Railway - Baldwn City, Kansas Midland Railway in Baldwin City

Friday - October 17, 2008:  Added short reviews of Santa Fe Cafe and India Palace to the Overland Park Restaurant & Attraction Guide.


Thursday - October 16, 2008:  Revisited Sam's Tastee Treat in Olathe, Kansas. This cool little dive has been open since 1963. All the drive-in style food is good, though not as interesting as the atmosphere. 

Added a new page to the Olathe Kansas Restaurant Guide devoted to Sam's, a separate page devoted to the Olathe Go Chicken Go, and a page devoted to the Greensburg, Kansas 5.4.7 Art Center.


Sam's Tastee Treat - Olathe, Kansas
Sam's Tastee Treat
Tuesday - October 7, 2008:  Visited J Gilbert's Wood Fired Steaks in Overland Park, Kansas with two friends. I had the bone in ribeye steak. Usually I have to order medium rare, to get medium, but the waiter confirmed what I wanted and they brought a perfect medium. My acorn squash soup was interesting. Glad I tried it, but probably would go for the classic Caesar salad or Crab Bisque.

The chocolate Pompeii soufflé which requires 15 minutes preparation time was good, but I like the similar dessert without the dried cherries at Cinzetti's Italian Market Restaurant (across the street) better.

For a steak house, the prices were reasonable. The three of us got out for $120 before tip, with no alcohol. The service was impeccable.

Added J. Gilbert's to the Overland Park Restaurant & Attraction Guide.


J Gilbert's Wood Fired Steaks - Overland Park, Kansas J. Gilbert's Wood Fired Steaks
Monday - October 6, 2008:  Launched new Olathe Restaurant & Attraction Guide.


Sunday - October 5, 2008:  Launched new Overland Park Restaurant & Attraction Guide.

Stopped at Luther's Jerky in LeRoy, Kansas to stock up on summer sausage, jerky and Pemican. I am a particular fan of Luther's buffalo pemmican which is slightly sweet from dried fruit used in its preparation.

After a family gathering during Homecoming weekend in Fredonia, Kansas we visited "The Mound." Actually it is one of two twin mounds that rise up in the community. This South Mound has long had an observation deck, lighted Christmas Star and is a popular location for couples to park. 

In 2000, the community raised funds to place a 40 x 60 foot American Flag on a 100 foot flagpole at the to Fredonia's South Mound. The flag has become a symbol for the community.

With few restaurants open on a Sunday evening, we went to Western Diner for supper. A big disappointment.

When we entered the Western Diner, there were many empty tables, but none that were cleared and clean. We stopped to talk to friends that were finishing their diner. After 10 minutes, there were still no clean tables so we sat a one that had been at least cleared. This story could go on for several more paragraphs, but suffice to say, it was one of the poorest restaurant service experiences I have ever had. So bad I could only laugh about it. With mediocre food, to boot. 


Luther's Jerky in LeRoy, Kansas Luther's Jerky AKA: JerkeyUSA

South Mound - Fredonia, Kansas Fredonia's South Mound

Saturday - October 4, 2008:  Started the day with a visit to Artisan Francais, a French bakery in Overland Park, Kansas. Artisan Francais fills much the same niche as the nearby André's Confiserie Suisse. It was too early for lunch, but I purchased a number of baked goods to sample or share. The Pain au Chocolat (Chocolate Croissant) looked great, but could have used a few more chocolate chips. The Tarte aux Abricots (Apricot Tart) was better, as was pastry called chocolate French toast. (note from December, 2009 - Artisan Francais went out of buisness shortly after this visit)

The chef, Sebastien Saint-Ouen, is from Nimes, France and came to the area because his wife is from Kansas City, Missouri.

Artisan Francais is open from 7AM until late afternoon, Monday - Saturday. In addition to baked goods and candies, the cafe serves coffees, sandwiches, crepes and soup.

After photographing a number of Overland Park restaurants and attractions for the new Overland Park Restaurant & Attraction Guide, I revisited Chung's Rainbow Restaurant, a small Korean restaurant in Overland Park. I've long enjoyed the food at Chung's.

Chung's has a new, much larger menu. I selected KanPungOhTingOh, deep fried squid with jalapenos in spicy and sweet sauce for $11.99. Very nice, and not quite as hot as the "hard core" Korean dishes I have usually been trying. It came with kimchi, steamed rice, clear broth and daan moo ji (sweet, yellow pickled radish). 

I need to start going to Chung's more often and sample more of the new menu. 


Artisan Francais - Overland Park, Kansas Artisan Francais

Chung's Rainbow Restaurant - Overland Park, Kansas Chung's Rainbow Restaurant

Thursday - October 2, 2008:  Went to Paola, Kansas, intending to have lunch at the BBQ Shack, but discovered that the old location was closed and the sign said that the new location at 1613 East Peoria Street would open the next day. A lot of work was taking place at the new location and I wondered if they would be open. (Note: called the next day and they are)

Tried Cactus Jack's on the strength of their sign saying "Home made pork tenderloins." Jack's large menu is 1/2 Mexican food,  1/2 grill. Warm corn chips and salsa are brought to the table as soon as you sit down. My food was all good, though nothing outstanding: spicy chicken wings, chicken fried steak sandwich, and "Mexican fries."  To my taste, the fries could have been more seasoned.

I was too full to try their desserts, but asked about them as I was paying my bill. The pies are not made on premises, but the cobblers are. I really need to try Cactus Jack's again.

In the evening, a friend and I had supper at Bristol Seafood Grill in Leawood, Kansas. This was the first time I had visited the Bristol in several years.

The service was impeccable and this pleasant upscale restaurant does a lot of things right. It is a bit pricey but we kept our expense down by having fixed price diners which are offered before 6PM. They consist of choice of soup or salad, a smaller serving of meat with starch & vegetable, and choice of 3 desserts. $30/each.

The house & Caesar salads were both large. The house salad included walnuts & dried cherries. I had (4) seared scallops, which were very good, as was the garlic mashed potatoes. My friend's crab cakes looked great, but she didn't share. Our desserts were Key lime pie and creme brulee. The creme brulee was a surprisingly large serving, and my second favorite part of the meal. 

My favorite part was the biscuits. A server grabs the pans as soon as they come out of the oven and comes through the dinning room serving the biscuits. They are sweat & buttery and would make a wonderful strawberry shortcake. I have to confess that I had 3!  And I rarely eat breads.


BBQ Shack - Paola, Kansas BBQ Shack

Cactus Jack's - Paola, Kansas Cactus Jack's restaurant in Paola, Kansas

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