Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration & photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact him.
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Tuesday - March 31, 2009: This time Linda joined me for supper and we went to Quick's BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas. I dined there several times last year when writing its review and had been wanting to give Quick's another try for some time.

Service was still very good and Linda enjoyed her rib dinner. I had a quarter pound of sausage, French fries and the Big Dog. The sausage was good, something that appeared to be made at Quick's, rather than just a sausage that they smoked.

But the dog was the big treat - a 1/2 pound spiral cut, deep fried hot dog with chili. The dog had great flavor. I think they smoked it before frying. The chili was all meat, almost dry with good flavor. I'm getting hungry for another one as I type this.


Quick's BBQ - Kansas City, Kansas Quick's BBQ

Quick's BBQ Big Dog Big Dog

Monday - March 30, 2009: Linda joined me for lunch at the Copa Room at 14944 West 87th Street Parkway, Lenexa, Kansas. The Copa room moved to this storefront location from Kansas CIty, Missouri, about 4 months ago. 

Named for the Copa Room which was in the Sands Casino in Las Vegas, it is more of an night place than lunch, but there was still a good sized crowd. The Copa Room has live entertainment 4 nights a week.

Linda had the Italian Sausage Sandwich (Italian sausage in sugo, topped with provolone cheese, on a toasted hoagie roll) which came with the choice of pasta, soup or salad for $6.99. I had the Eggplant Sandwich (grilled eggplant, roasted red peppers, mozzarella cheese and fresh basil on a toasted ciabiatta bun). There are 11 lunch sandwich combinations for $6.99.

Linda liked her sandwich, while I was only so-so about either her sandwich or mine. Service was good, and I did like my Caesar salad.


Copa Room - Lenexa, Kansas Copa Room
Sunday - March 29, 2009: Two friends joined me for supper at Johnny C's in Shawnee, Kansas. The St. Louis style pizza restaurant has been open since 1985 and it had been at least 20 years since I dined there. We sat in the restaurant portion, there is a separate bar room.

I prefer St. Louis style pizzas. The thin crust serves mainly as a platform for the toppings that are my reason for getting pizza. I also like the flavor of the provel cheese (mixture of provolone, swiss, and white cheddar). Mozzarella is available for those that do not want the provel.

We split an order of Fire Crackers ( homemade crackers topped with melted provel and jalapenos) which was fairly good - it kind of grew on me and I liked the last one better than the first. Then we split a 14" 3 meat pizza. That plus the appetizer would have left some pizza to take home at a place serving thick crust pizza, but without the bulk of the dough we managed to eat it all.

I like this pizza more than most in Johnson County, but not as much as some of the other thin crust pizzas.

Continuing a nice recent trend. The service was very good.


Johnny C's Pizza - Shawnee, Kansas Johnny C's Pizza
Saturday - March 28, 2009: There was freezing rain when I went to lunch today at Flavor of India in Lenexa, Kansas. When I walked in just after noon, I was the only customer in the restaurant, but there were a few other parties by the time I left.

Flavor of India has been only open 5 months, replacing Kabob & Curry Indian Restaurant, which was only open for a few months. I think the food is better at this second restaurant, but man people may have visited the first restaurant and not realize that the name and ownership has changed.

Flavor of India is open 7 days a week with a large buffet from 11:15AM-2:30PM and and 80 item menu from 5-10PM.

Four items stood out for me on the buffet: chili chicken (a Manchurian dish), imly baigan (egg plant), aloo papri chat (a cold dish of flour crisps mixed with potatoes and chick peas), and a chicken and mushroom dish whose name I didn't catch.

Added a new review devoted to Subway Kosher Deli in Overland Park, Kansas and added both it and Adam's Rib to the Overland Park Restaurant Guide.


Taste of India Restaurant - Lenexa, Kansas Taste of India Restaurant
Friday - March 27, 2009: While Driving along K-4 to Dover, Kansas last Saturday, I noticed an outsider art sculpture with several twisted bicycles. This particularly got my attention, as I had seen and photographed another much larger sculpture with a giant creature eating a bicycle on another stretch of K-4 last winter.

Since then, I have discovered that a local artist (reportedly J. Blodget) has created this grassroots art as a response to resentment at sharing the local roads with cyclists. I also found an online photo of another work where a bicycle is being shoved into a toilet.

Any details about this art or artist would be appreciated.


Wrecked bicycles sculpture.

Monster eating bicycle in Kansas

Thursday - March 26, 2009: I had lunch today at the Subway Kosher Deli next to the Overland Park Convention Center. It is nearly unique. The first kosher Subway restaurant opened in suburban Cleveland in 2006 and there are only 6 cities in the US that have them.

The most obvious difference from other Subway restaurants is the lack of cheese. Kosher dietary rules prohibit the mixing of dairy and meat in even the tiniest quantities so there are no dairy products in the restaurant. Even the fresh baked cookies have no dairy.

And, of course, there is no pork, ham or shellfish. There are also restrictions on what parts of the animal are used.

But the most important difference is that in observing the rules, the product is high quality and fresh. The pastrami sandwich that I had, was the first pastrami that have really liked. The corned beef looked good too.

But there are no $5 foot longs here.

Most of the sandwiches are about $3.50-4.30 for 6" and $3-4 more for a foot long. The pastrami and corned beef are $5.49/$9.49. 

In the evening, three friends joined me to try Adam's Rib Original KC Barbecue which opened just yesterday in Overland Park. Adam's Rib was originally an Overland Park BBQ and brew pub in the 1990's, and I was anxious to try this reincarnation.

There were no other customers at Adam's Rib when we arrived at 6:30PM, but by the time that the four of placed our orders, there was a line at the counter. At least 12 tables were occupied when we left.

All of us ordered combination platters. I ordered a 3 meat sampler platter which comes with one side and bread for $14.99 - choosing spicy smoked Buffalo wings, sausage, pork spare ribs and French fries.

When our food came out, I pointed out that the wings were missing, and after they consulted the kitchen, they realized that they were out of the wings.

Between us, we also tried, baby back ribs, brisket, BBQ baked beans and cole slaw. No item really stood out, and we all wished the meat had been warmer, but the only item that wasn't particularly cared for was the cole slaw.

Although Adam's Rib offers bottled beer, they carry no interesting local brands.


Subway Kosher Deli - Overland Park, KS Subway Kosher Deli

Adam's Rib - Overland Park, Kansas Adam's Rib

Tuesday - March 24, 2009: Linda and her brother joined me for lunch at Haru's Steak & Sushi in Olathe, Kansas where we tried the Hibachi Grill. There are 3 double grills in the restaurant, but there was only one other party of three dining on this side of the restaurant. The chef's performance and food were typical of this style of Japanese restaurant. The only things distinctive were the inclusion of carrots in the mix of grilled vegetables and yogurt in the mustard sauce.

Lunch meals including soup, salad, vegetables and steamed rice run from $8.50 to $15.95. Fried rice instead of steamed is an additional $1.95. Dinners include a shrimp appetizer and run from $12.95 to $30.95.

For supper I visited Blanc Burgers & Bottles at Mission Farms in Leawood, Kansas. The small trendy restaurant and bar has a line waiting every night of the week, but I was lucky and they had a table with just one chair ready right away. The tables & chairs are small, close together, and Blanc is noisy.

I ordered a chocolate malt made with Foo's frozen custard ($5), truffle fries ($5) and the 8 ounce American Kobe burger ($12) - port wine onions, truffle butter, mustard aioli, watercress, salt & pepper brioche bun.

The malt was OK, but could have used a bit more chocolate syrup. I had a long time to savor it - the burger took over 40 minutes to arrive. Although my server checked on me a couple of times during this wait, she wasn't the one that brought my food and I never saw her again until I was paying.

The fries are delivered in a paper bag in a cute little shopping cart. They were greasy and cold. The "shopping cart" exposes the very thin fries to the room temperatures, with nothing to retain heat..

I flagged down a server for silverware and a napkin. I wish I asked for salt & pepper and more than the tiny dollop of mustard at that time, but kept expecting that my server would be along at any minute.

I was never asked how I wanted the thick burger cooked and it was served medium rare. Fine for my tastes, but I think most people want their burgers cooked more. It was pretty good, but I think I would have enjoyed it more with the missing salt, pepper & mustard. A little more onion would have also been nice.

Over all, it was not worth the money. I can get a burger and fries that I enjoy more, for half the price in a more pleasant setting. But I would consider returning to try some of the large selection of mixed drinks made with custard, fresh fruit and vodka or rum.

No one ever asked what I thought of the meal.

Added a new review devoted to Sommerset Hall Cafe in Dover, Kansas.



Blanc Burgers and Bottles - Leawood, Kansas Blanc Burgers & Bottles

truffle fries at Blanc Burgers and Bottles truffle fries

American Kobe burger $12 American Kobe burger

Monday - March 23, 2009: This evening I had supper at Gates BBQ on State Line Road in Leawood, Kansas. It has been at least 4 years since I have been to any of the Gates locations, but little has changed in that period. Gates is an old Kansas City, Missouri BBQ chain with 6 locations in the metro area, including this one and one in Kansas City, Kansas.

The counter where food is ordered forms a "T" with two cash registers, and shortly after getting in line, you hear a shouted "Hi, may I help you?" It can still be a long time before the people in front of you get their food and you are served, but at least you are greeted right away.

I ordered the Combination plate - three ribs, beef brisket, ham, French fries, bread and pickles for $15.50 (the menu at Gates web site is out of date and shows the price as $14.99). It is really too much meat for one person (I didn't eat it all), but no smaller combination meals are offered.

The brisket was the best I have had in some time, with good flavor, appearance and texture. The ribs were above average, with a lot of flavor from the smoke, but a bit tough. I rarely eat ham, so I can't compare it to other places. This ham was bit dry, but quite tasty.


Gates BBQ - Leawood, Kansas Gates BBQ
Sunday - March 22, 2009: Linda and I had lunch at Daniel's BBQ on Johnson Drive in Shawnee, Kansas. This is a recently opened location for a restaurant that previously or presently has locations in Tonganoxi and other communities just outside the metropolitan Kansas City area.

This Daniel's BBQ restaurant was formerly a Margarita's restaurant and is mostly in the basement of a strip mall west of Quivira Road. The main entrance has a long, narrow flight of stairs and walking around to the side when leaving, I didn't see anywhere for people who can't do stairs to enter.

Linda had BBQ ribs & beans, while I had the sausage and two meats combo (sausage plus the choice of two meats and one side, plus pickles and bread for $6.99). I selected French fries, brisket and pork. 

The pork was my favorite of the 4 meats we tried. Linda's favorite was the sausage, which had a distinctive flavor, reminding me a bit of a hot dog. Rather than sliced, the sausage was short strips. The French fries were not fresh cut, but were perfectly cooked. Neither of us cared much for the beans, which didn't  have any meat.

We took advantage of the Sunday slab special to buy a full slab of pork ribs for $11.99. They were very meaty and we took home enough leftover ribs to feed at least 3 people.


Daniel's BBQ - Shawnee, Kansas Daniel's BBQ
Saturday - March 21, 2009: Linda and I had a full day of Exploring today, starting in Topeka, Kansas, where our first stop was Aaron Douglas Art Park. The park is devoted to the early African American settlement in Topeka and particularly to artist Aaron Douglas. 

Aaron Douglas (1899-1979) was a muralist, illustrator and scholar who was born and grew up in Topeka. He studied at the University of Nebraska and other places, before moving to New York and becoming the first President of the Harlem Art Guild. One of his murals is recreated in the park.

Just a few blocks farther west, we visited Glass Expressions, a fine art glass gallery. Although the art here doesn't fit my lifestyle, I enjoyed the glass work that was on display - particularly some vases, "balloons," and the jewelry. I noted what items Linda liked, and may be back alone sometime. (She doesn't usually read this:-)

We drove southwest of Topeka along the Native Stone Scenic Byway to Dover, where we had lunch at Sommerset Hall Cafe. Last fall, Good Morning America Weekend announced that Norma Grubb's Coconut Cream Pie won their Best Slice Challenge and I have been wanting to get to Dover and try Norma's pie since then. The old building occupied by the Sommerset Hall Cafe is neat.

Really, I was impressed by everything but the food - which I thought was ordinary. Linda had a BLT, onion rings & strawberry pie. I had a cheeseburger, sweet potato fries and coconut cream pie. The BLT was the best of the lot. My burger was on a pretty good toasted bun, but was over cooked and dry. The pie wasn't even my favorite coconut cream pie - let alone something to be nationally recognized.

From Dover, we drove south on K-99 to Emporia, where we first stopped at the Lyon County Historical Museum. The museum is in a lovely old building, the galleries don't fill the building, but are attractive, with my favorite gallery being devoted to old signs and a gorgeous school stage curtain.

But 15 minutes was plenty of time for me to see all that interested me.

With a little extra time before our 2PM appointment, we made a brief stop at the David Traylor Zoo - a fun little free zoo on the south side of Emporia.

The appointment was nearby, at the Richard Howe House & Welsh Farmstead on Logan Avenue. The earliest parts of this house were built in the mid 19th Century. It was occupied by three generations of the Howe family, and turned over to the historical society (including all of its contents) when the last member of the family died in the 1990s. Presently it is open on Sunday afternoons in June and by appointment during the rest of the year.

The next stop was at the Chamber of Commerce Office in Cottonwood Falls, where, for $3/person we were able to tour the Chase County Courthouse. The Chase County Courthouse is the oldest operating courthouse in the state and was recently renovated. The tour was conducted by two nice teenage girls, who were friendly, but didn't really have a lot to say about the magnificent old building. The tour took less than 15 minutes including the walk to and from the courthouse.

Then we went around behind the courthouse to the Roniger Memorial Museum. The museum was built by Frank and George Roniger as a memorial to their mother, Elizabeth Roniger and was dedicated in July of 1960. The limestone building and collection of arrowheads and assorted other artifacts was built on the courthouse grounds and presented to Chase County Board of County Commissioners.

We were greeted at the door to the museum by a nice lady and her little corgi dog. It took about 20 minutes for me to see all of the one room museum, but I suppose that someone with the right interests might spend an hour or more.

With time to kill before our dinner reservation, we had two more brief stops. The first was the Cottonwood River Dam & 1914 Arch Bridge. I've been there several times, but Linda had not seen it before.

But then we decided to head toward Kahola Lake, where one of my readers (Greg Mitchell) had told there was a neat waterfall in the dam spillway. We had trouble locating the lake, but (after flagging down a local couple) found the waterfall. It was handsome now and we plan to return when there has been more rain.

The final stop of the day was back in Cottonwood Falls where we had supper at the Grand Central Hotel. This is the only AAA 4 Diamond facility in rural Kansas.

The setting was nice, but our server was very young and inexperienced. The food was average for a upper scale restaurant.

We began with "Ranch Hand Rings" - huge, heavily breaded onion rings which were impressive to look at, but I was less impressed with the flavor of the coating.

My prime rib was good but not outstanding. The steak fries were more like large wedges, slightly undercooked and covered with a vary heavy seasoning which was not indicated on the menu. I would have requested them without the coating, or else tried a different side dish, if I had known.

Linda was unwilling to order steak at a restaurant where the menu says, "We are not responsible for steaks, prime rib and pork chops ordered well done," figuring that was a signal that the chef does not know how to properly prepare a well done steak. But she did enjoy her kabob and the baked potato that came with it.

We split the Ultimate Chocolate Lovers Delight - a very rich chocolate cake with chocolate syrup.


Aaron Douglas Art Park - Topeka Aaron Douglas Art Park

Glass Expressions - Topeka Glass Expressions

Sommerset Hall Cafe - Dover, Kansas Sommerset Hall Cafe

Lyon County Historical Museum - Emporia, Kansas Lyon County Historical Museum

Canopy bed in Richard Howe House in Emporia Canopy bed in Richard Howe House

Chase County Courthouse - Cottonwood Falls, Kansas Chase County Courthouse

Roniger Memorial Museum - Cottonwood Falls
Roniger Memorial Museum

Kahola Lake Spillway waterfall Kahola Lake Spillway waterfall

Grand Central Hotel - Cottonwood Falls, Kansas Grand Central Hotel

Friday - March 20, 2009: Tonight's supper was at KC Masterpiece Barbeque & Grill in Overland Park, Kansas. I had a half slab of BBQ pork spare ribs, baked beans and French fries. The baked beans were a lot like Bush's Best baked beans, but that was OK with me - I like Bush's Best.

The ribs were tender and had good flavor. There was no need to add BBQ sauce.

I followed it up with bread pudding with whiskey sauce. The bread pudding was great, but too large a serving for one person.

Added a new review devoted to KC Masterpiece Barbeque & Grill to the Guide to Overland Park Restaurants.


KC Masterpiece Barbeque and Grill - Overland Park, Kansas KC Masterpiece Barbeque and Grill
Thursday - March 19, 2009: I had lunch today at Wood Yard Bar-B-Que at 3001 Merriam Lane in south Kansas City, Kansas. Many serious BBQ fans include Wood Yard among their favorite BBQ restaurants.

For unique character, the Wood Yard gets high marks. It is in an old home on the grounds of a real wood yard. But I haven't been as impressed with the smoked meat. On previous visits, I fond the meat to be just to smoky, like eating charcoal. That was not the case today. I had the Ultimate Combo - 2 ribs, hot chicken leg, sausage & brisket.

I thought the ribs, chicken and sausage were all average. The brisket was dry and not quite as flavorful.


Wood Yard Bar-B-Que - Kansas City, Kansas Wood Yard Bar-B-Que
Monday - March 16, 2009: Friends joined me for dinner at the original Oklahoma Joe's BBQ location at 47th and Mission in Kansas City, Kansas. The dinning space is fairly limited, since the restaurant is in a working gas station.

My friends had never been at Oklahoma Joe's before, but all said they liked it. One said she had the best chicken sandwich that she had ever had.

My Z-Man sandwich was good, but the pork rib that Linda shared with me was better.

After dinner, we attended a live performance of the Breakfast Club at the Westport Coffee Shop in Kansas City, Missouri. Every Monday night, the Breakfast Club is performed by the cast from the Coterie Theater. It was a lot of fun. I recommend it.

Tickets ar only $12.


Dinning room at Oklahoma Joe's BBQ in Kansas City, Kansas Oklahoma Joe's BBQ
Sunday - March 15, 2009: I attended the annual St. Patrick's Day Parade in Shawnee, Kansas. The family friendly parade is held at 1PM the Sunday before St. Patrick's Day. The parade consisted mostly of walking units handing out candy, plus a fair number of floats. There were only a couple of units that had any type of music.

The Shawnee St. Patrick's Day Parade starts on Johnson Drive at Monrovia Street and runs east to King Street. It is easy to find a place to watch the parade without arriving early.

The parade was followed later in the day by the 21st annual Great Duck Race - a fundraiser for the Shawnee Sister Cities program. At 4:30PM the plastic ducks are dropped in Turkey Creek at Nieman and 61st Street. It is free to watch, or for $5, you can have a duck in the race.

Shawnee Kansas St. Patrick's Day Parade

biker dog

Saturday - March 14, 2009: In the morning I went to Oak Park Mall in Overland Park, Kansas to take some photographs, but I was only about half way through the mall when Security told me to stop - that taking photographs was forbidden.

Linda joined me for lunch at Rice and Beans Cafe in Kansas CIty, Kansas. I have been to this restaurant 3 times in 6 months, and (although ownership has not changed) this is the third name. It was originally Cafe Venezuela, then Cafe Colao.

The South American menu appears unchanged and we thoroughly enjoyed our meal. Linda had tripleta (signature Puerto Rican sandwich with roasted pork, grilled steak, ham, caramelized onions and swiss cheese) and I had red snapper. We both liked the fried plantains.

My red snapper was served with the head on and was a little intimidating at first glance

In the evening, we had supper at Barley's Brewhaus in Shawnee, Kansas. I had a salmon club sandwich. I was unimpressed with it, but think it was just a poor choice on my part. The French fries were good. 

Linda had the Caramelized Onion Goat Cheese Tart (Petite quiche of caramelized onions and goat cheese baked in a flaky pie crust topped with baby arugula, and finished with chive oil), which she said was good.

We were on a tight schedule and told our waitress when we arrived. She did a good job of seeing that our food was brought promptly and we were able to leave well within our schedule.


Carousel i Oak Park Mall Oak Park Mall Carousel

Red Snapper Red Snapper

Friday - March 13, 2009: For lunch, I made a second visit to Haru's Steak & Sushi in Olathe, Kansas. I still think the lunch special, with the selection of two rolls and choice of salad or soup os a good deal, but I was disappointed to learn that a third roll would be full price.

The serving of miso soup was generous, but didn't do a lot for me. I repeated the BBQ eel avocado roll which was just as good the second time. The salmon cream cheese jalapeno roll pretty much just tasted like the cream cheese.

I still need to try the Tappan Yaki where the meal is prepared on the Hibachi grill.

For supper, a group of friends joined me to try Blanc Burgers & Bottles, which recently opened in the Mission Farms center in Leawood, Kansas. But the wait was going to be 45 minutes.

So we settled for the Blue Koi, next door, where the wait was only 25 minutes. Blue Koi specializes in noodles and dumplings. I sampled two dumplings - chicken and pork. They were fine, but nothing special.

My entree was Fire Bird (Boneless roast duck sautéed with chili pepper, scallion and bamboo strips) for $13 served the choice of rice or noodles. I had the noodles. Although this dish was marked with three hot peppers on the menu, I (and another member of the party that had it) thought it was only somewhat hot.



Fire Bird served at the Blue Koi in Leawood, Kansas Fire Bird

Thursday - March 12, 2009: Added a new review of the Thai Treasure Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. For both food and value, Thai Treasure is my pick for the number one Thai restaurant in Kansas and metropolitan Kansas City, Missouri. 


Thai Treasure Restaurant
Wednesday - March 11, 2009: I revisited the Double Nickel Diner and added a brief review to the Olathe Kansas Restaurant Guide. I learned that the Diner has been open for only a month. The couple operating the diner took over the kitchen at the Double Nickel Bar & Grill in October and has expanded the menu that is used by both businesses. 


Tuesday - March 10, 2009: Added a new review devoted to The Pizza Man in Lenexa, Kansas.


Sunday - March 8, 2009: It rained most of the night. I enjoyed hearing the rain strike the Mule Skinner Lodge roof just a few feet over my head.

The breakfast was good - wonderful pancakes with La Vencedora (homemade vanilla syrup) and Caroline's own frozen peaches. Also sausage and some spicy scrambled eggs which probably had a fancy name, but I forgot to ask. We were also offered cereal.

Before leaving Denison, we drove up and down the streets. The most interesting things were the Denison Museum and a witch on a bicycle (out of the Wizard of Oz) in a nearby backyard. Actually the museum wasn't that interesting - located in an old church building, there is no indication of when the museum is open, or how you contact the folks that run the museum.

Passing through Mayetta, we turned west 5 miles to check out the Prairie Peoples Park on the land of the Prairie Band of Potawatomi Nation. The sign at the entrance to the park is pretty spectacular and I was impressed by the Veterans Memorial. There is supposed to be a nearby buffalo heard, but none were visible. An observation tower was started two years ago, but was never completed.

For lunch we stopped at Timberline Steakhouse and Grill. Timberlane has five locations, all in Kansas.

My brisket sandwich was OK, but I was disappointed when the French fries came out heavily seasoned and totally unappealing. When I complained that there was no indication on the menu that fries would be seasoned, a second order was brought out, but not until my meal was nearly finished. There was also a serious service miscue - Linda was never brought her salad and we had to insist on speaking to the manager to arrange for a credit.



Flying Witch in Denison, Kansas Flying Witch

Prairie Peoples Park - Mayetta, Kansas Prairie Peoples Park

Saturday - March 7, 2009: I started the day by visiting the Kansas City Travel, Adventure & Culinary Experience in Overland Park, Kansas. I was late getting there - it was at the Overland Park International Trade Center and I went to the Overland Park Convention Center.

There were only a few Kansas Exhibitors, most of the show was cruises, tours, or Missouri (much of it Branson), but I did visit the Kansas booths and learned of two restaurants which I will want to visit, Brothers Railroad Inn and Feed Bunk.

Brothers Railroad Inn is an Italian restaurant in Independence, Kansas, right across the intersection from uncle Jack's Restaurant which I like so much. The booth for southeast Kansas had some of Brothers' bleu cheese dressing and dip. Although only open in Kansas since 2003, this is the second location for a restaurant that has been operating in Bowie, Maryland since 1950.

I was told that the Feed Bunk will open on the square in Yates Center, Kansas in a couple of weeks. "Good Home Cookin' like Grandma used to make."

The only speaker I was interested in on Saturday was Arthur Frommer, but shortly after finding a good seat for his presentation, I was told that the Expo had just learned that he would not be there. I hope all is well for this travel industry giant. His Blog doesn't note any problems or apology for the cancellation.

At noon, I picked up Linda and we head west, stopping first at the University of Kansas to take a friend to lunch at Ten Restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas' historic Eldridge hotel. It was my first time in the Eldridge since they remodeled. I think the Ten dining room is lovely, including the All American Room with its walls fun of photographs of University of Kansas sports' figures.

Although slightly pricey, the menu reads very well and we ordered a spinach & artichoke dip appetizer, peppercorn blue cheese burger, turkey bree sandwich, and grilled chicken foccacia. The presentations were all lovely - particularly the seasonal fruit side dish that one of had, but with the exception of creme brulee, none of the dishes stood out. It is a bad sign when a college student eats only half of her sandwich and doesn't care to take the other half back to the dorm.

Continuing on, our next stop was Campbell Vineyard & Winery, east of Holton, Kansas. When I first stopped at Campbell Winery a few years ago, I had little cash with me, and they did not accept credit cards. I was ready with cash or check this time, but they now accept credit cards.

When we entered the tasting room, I was surprised and pleased to find two couple already trying the wines. I was guessing that we night be the only customers on this early March afternoon.

Campbell Winery's sales must be going well, the small winery had only 5 wines currently available for sale at this time. I selected Geisenheim (a semi-sweet white wine) to take with me, and Linda selected Chambourcin (a red French hybrid) & a sweet glaze that wasn't produced at the winery.

Leaving the winery, it was just a 6 mile drive to the Muleskinner Lodge in Denison. The Muleskinner Lodge has only officially been open since early December. It is a one room B&B in a small 70 year old barn which belonged to the son of Caroline Kerns. Tim died about 12 years ago and Caroline has spent several years 100% renovating it into a unique retreat. The lodge has a spectacular porch which wraps around two sides and an unique bathroom with a woodland pool shower stall with a natural rock water fall, hollow log sink, and a stone floor which looks as if a creek is flowing between the stones.

There are many other nice features, including a 4 person hot tub, and an intercom which can bring the sounds of the outdoors into the room. The Muleskinner Lodge website had not mentioned there was a TV, so Linda was pleased to discover there was a TV, and that an antenna brought in a weak signal that let her watch the final half of KU's victory to win the Big 12 conference men's basketball championship outright. There is also a DVD player, but only 3 movies on hand.

Caroline's enthusiasm can be a bit overwhelming. Expect to spend some time being shown all of the loving things she has done to the property.

The lodge is 10 miles from the closest restaurant, so guests have the options of cooking in a modest kitchen, or having Caroline prepare supper. for only $15 additional for two people, We took that option and were pleased with the meal. It started with salads, that were more of a chopped relish tray, with a sweat dressing on the side. The meal continued with wonderful country fried potatoes and slices of stuffed pork tenderloin. Best of all was the Mango/Apple Galette (pie). We were left a whole small pie, which we enjoyed warmed in the microwave, with ice cream.

Beverages are limited to coffee, water or apple cider, so you would probably want to bring something of your own.



All American Room at Ten Restaurant in Lawrence, Kansas All American Room at Ten

Campbell Vineyard and Winery - Holton, Kansas Campbell Vineyard & Winery

Mule Skinner Lodge - Denison, Kansas Muleskinner Lodge

Bathroom at Mule Skinner Lodge Bathroom with hollow log sink

Friday - March 6, 2009: Linda and I visited the Double Nickel Diner in Olathe for lunch. It is a new separate dining room sharing the kitchen and menu with the Double Nickel Bar & Grill. Linda had a bacon cheeseburger and fries for $6.99, and I had one of the daily specials - a prime rib sandwich and fries for $7.99.

Even though it was thin slices of meat, rather than the single thicker slice I would have preferred, my prime rib sandwich was very good and Linda was happy with her burger. The French fries were not fresh cut, but at least were well cooked.

The Double Nickel has a challenge sandwich which they call the "Bet-Cha-Can't" Burger: 3 one lb. patties of meat, 2 eggs, 3 slices of ham, 9 slices of cheese, 8 slices of bacon, 1 cup of chili, topped with sour cream, on a 10" bun. Eat the burger and 2 lb. of French fries in 30 minutes an it is free. Otherwise it is $25.

For supper, I revisited The Pizza Man - this time having a personal pizza and the Italian beef sandwich. A deluxe personal pizza is $6.75. It is very thin crust and has plenty of topping, including pepperoni, sausage, onion, mushroom and green pepper. I had them leave off the green pepper, but the pizza still had a lot of flavor.

The Italian beef sandwich (thin slices of Italian roast beef with melted cheese on a good hoagie bun) comes with jus and giardiniera (Chicago condiment with pickled sport peppers, jalepeno, celery and possibly other vegetables) on the side. I liked the Italian sandwich a lot.

I wish the Pizza Man offered something besides potato chips for a side, but even so, if this place was just a little closer to me, I would become a regular.


Double Nickel - Olathe, Kansas Double Nickel

The Pizza Man - Lenexa, Kansas Chicago sports wall at the Pizza Man

Thursday - March 5, 2009: Chuck Barnett who has operated a number of restaurants in the Lawrence, Kansas City area took me to his favorite place for Chicago style hot dogs - The Pizza Man at 10212 Pflumm Road in Lenexa, Kansas.

I tried both a Chicago style dog and a chilly dog (Coney Island). Both were made using real Vienna beef hot dogs. The Chicago style dog was my favorite by a small margin, but both were very good.

Now I need to go back and try the pizza, meatball sandwich and Italian beef sandwich.

Added a new Guide to Hutchinson, Kansas Restaurants and Attractions.


The Pizza Man - Lenexa, Kansas The Pizza Man
Wednesday - March 4, 2009: Added a new page devoted to the Dillon Nature Center in Hutchinson, Kansas.


Tuesday - March 3, 2009: Lunch was a second visit to the China Buffet & Mongolian BBQ in Olathe, Kansas. This gave me a chance to try the balance of the items on the huge buffet. Today, China Buffet didn't do as good of job of keeping all of the items fresh, but that is a problem at almost any mega-buffet.

My favorite items on this visit were the Mongolian pork, Marlay chicken, and crab Rangoon. But my very favorite item was something I hadn't had in years, shrimp egg foo young. I would consider having this again on a day I wasn't visiting restaurants for this web site.

The meal was $8 including iced tea and sales tax.

Added a new page devoted to the Salt Discovery Well in South Hutchinson, Kansas. This recently created combination of the well head where salt was discovered in Reno County, historical markers and a 1260 pound salt block is worth a brief visit and would make a nice break for travelers on US Highway 50. A review was also added for the Anchor Inn, a Mexican restaurant in nearby Hutchinson.


China Buffet in Olathe

Salt Discovery Well - South Hutchinson Salt Discovery Well

Monday - March 2, 2009: Linda and I had lunch at Greek Cuisine, a Greek fast food restaurant located at 11811 College Boulevard in Overland Park, Kansas. Their gyros have a great deal of meat, but could have had a little more flavor. The small Greek salad that came with the $5.99 gyro & small salad lunch special was large and flavorful. The French fries were just average.

The item I liked best was a hummus appetizer (garbanzo beans, tahini, olive oil & lemon juice) with a little pita bread for $4.99. Extra pita was another 80 cents. The hummus was very good and came in a serving large enough for us to both have all that we wanted and still take more than half of it home.

My biggest complaint is minor - the 25 cent charge for refilling a beverage. I would rather pay more for the beverage to begin with.

Added a new review devoted to the Stone Gallery in Hays Kansas. 


Greek Cuisine - Overland Park, Kansas Greek Cuisine
Sunday - March 1, 2009: Added a new review devoted to the Broadmoor Bistro in Overland Park, Kansas and added it to the list of Unique Kansas Restaurants, and the Guide to Overland Park Restaurants.
Broadmoor Bistro - Overland Park, Kansas Broadmoor Bistro
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