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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Monday - June 29, 2009: Linda and I returned to Taste, a restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas, which we last visited in October. We each went with the $11 tasting menu which has a choice of three small items from a fairly long and interesting list. We sampled piquant tempura shrimp tossed in a spicy garlic chili sauce, mini grilled mahi mahi sandwich with homemade tarter sauce, mini bleu cheese burger with caramelized onions, mini steak sandwich with caramelized onions & horseradish sauce, traditional hot wings, and fresh mozzarella & tomato salad with balsamic glaze.

The shrimp and mahi mahi were our favorite items.

 

Taste Restaurant - Overland Park, Kansas
Saturday - June 27, 2009: Today's early lunch was at a wonderful, little Wichita dive: Bomber Burger. I've been wanting to try Bomber Burger for about 3 years, but it has limited hours and took this long. Open since 1952, it has been in the Rickard family since 1985.

Bomber Burger has a counter with five booths and four small, two person tables. The (original) grill and fryer are 5 feet behind the counter and I took a seat where I could watch the meals being prepared. Other than beverages, the only items on the menu are fresh cut French fries and a variety of large (8 ounce?) hamburgers and double burgers.

Watching the food preparation, the first thing that I noticed was how often Chris Rickard cleaned his hands. Every time he touched anything other than the food and utensils, he would immediately wash his hands. Often within a minute of the last time. Later in the meal, when Chris and I got to talking, I learned that his constantly washing his hands instead of wearing gloves has been a source of confrontation with state health authorities. He told an interesting story which ended with the state agreeing that he might be right, but that it violated their rules and he was fined $1,000. Which he paid in dimes.

My burger was grilled slowly, so it stayed very moist. It was cooked with a little garlic powder and was the best hamburger I have had in Wichita. The fries were every bit as good.

I enjoyed Chris' stories so much that I was an hour down the road before I realized I forgot to leave a tip.

Driving north, my next stop was in McPherson, Kansas at the McPherson Museum & Arts Foundation. I was delighted to discover that unlike many local historical museums, this one had interesting collections devoted to minerals, fossils, and Native American pottery.

Around the block, almost directly behind the museum, the Mid Kansas Model Railroaders have a Model Train Display that is open to the public on Saturday and Sunday afternoons. They are temporarily in an former nursing home that needs a lot of repair.

My next visit was to Marquette, Kansas. I don't have much interest in motorcycles and had put off the visit for several years. But discovered an interesting short main street with several interesting places.

The one that looked the most interesting does not appear to keep regular hours - The Gas Pump - which is a lovely collection of old gasoline service station memorabilia. Though closed, the signs & pumps outside, and what I could see through the widows, looked very interesting.

In addition to visiting the Kansas Motorcycle Museum, I toured the small Marquette Museum and the adjacent one room school and old railroad depot.

With more miles to go before the day was over, I continued north with a stop at the outlet from Kanopolis Lake to photograph the waterfalls, and the nearby Information Center with its exhibit on Native American Petroglyphs. 

On around the lake and a bit farther west, I visited the Faris Caves. which were excavated by a Colorado miner in the 1880s. He lived in them briefly. They were later used as a spring house, storage room, generator room, and a school. The mosquitos were kind of bad, so I took a few quick photos and was back on the road.

Finally headed east, my next stop was to take a few photographs of Detroit and Enterprise, Kansas. I was expecting to see a waterfall in Enterprise, but couldn't find it.

Continuing east on I-70. I stopped for supper at Seoul Oriental Supermarket & Restaurant in Junction City. This was my second visit to the restaurant and the first time when they had their buffet operating. But I'm afraid I like the other Korean restaurants in Junction City much better. It probably wasn't a good sign, that no one else eating in the restaurant appeared to have Asian heritage.

Continuing home, I listened to an MP3 of Friday's Walt Bodine radio show and got several restaurant leads in the KC area. Making a spur of the moment decision, I added a stop in Lawrence to try one they talked about - the Burger Stand, which is located in Dempsey's Irish Pub. I sampled a classic cheeseburger and duck fat French fries. While I didn't enjoy it as much as the burger that started my day, the burger was fairly good, but didn't think the fries were anything special.

 

Bomber Burger - Wichita, Kansas
Bomber Burger
 
 
 
 
 

McPherson Museum - McPherson, Kansas McPherson Museum

Mid Kansas Model Railroaders - McPherson, Kansas Model train display

The Gas Pump - Marquette, Kansas The Gas Pump

Kansas Motorcycle Museum - Marquette, Kansas Kansas Motorcycle Museum

Kanopolis Lake waterfall Kanopolis Lake waterfall

Faris Caves Faris Caves

Burger Stand in Dempsey's Irish Pub - Lawrence, Kansas burger & fries to go from the Burger Stand

Friday - June 26, 2009: This morning, I started a two day trip, exploring south central Kansas. As usual, the best parts of the trip were the people I met.

My first stop was in El Dorado where I visited the Kansas Oil Museum and Butler County History Center. The museum has attractive well labeled displays, a Legacy Wall (Hall of Fame), oil industry equipment and the start of a recreated oil boom town main street. I stayed only about 30 minutes, but could see where someone with the right interests might spend a couple of hours.

2 friends met me for lunch in Wichita at Brint's Diner. I love the atmosphere of this lovely old Valentine Diner, but found the food average. However, I didn't try the dishes Brint's is known for and may need to go there again. The best item sampled were the home made potato chips.

On my way out of town heading west, I stopped briefly at the original Nuway Cafe, getting a root beer frostie for the road.

The next stop was an hour west in Pratt at the Wildlife Education Center and Aquariums. The curator, Chris Shrack, was the first person I saw as I approached the museum building and he ended up taking time to show me show me an 80 pound  they were temporarily keeping in a rest room, some of the ponds used by the hatchery, and introduce me to a biologist who gave me a thorough tour of the (very warm) building where they hatch the fish. There were several tanks, each holding  about 200,000 nine day old channel catfish.

Amongst the ponds (there are 80 acres) we saw great blue heron, green herons and a mink.

Then farther west to Kansas Meteor Museum (midway between Haviland and Greensburg). Although the museum and gift shop occupy just one room, the owner, Don Stimpson started showing me exhibits and demonstrations, and 90 minutes were gone before I knew it. I had already purchased some tiny fragments from the famous Brenham meteorite, but at the end of my visit, he gave a larger polished piece of the Brenham which has a lot of iron and nickel.

The Meteor Museum is a little known attraction that will thoroughly interest those that like space or geology.

After a long drive back to Wichita, my final stop of the day was at Olive Tree Bistro. Which had been a nominees for the recent 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine. The bread came with a small plate of olive oil and three small spread samples. All three were good, but my favorite seemed to be nearly all garlic.

I ordered another spread as an appetizer, Eggplant Makdous (ages puree of eggplant, garlic and walnuts), and Blackened Ahi Tuna with tempura vegetables. I loved the tuna, which I ordered rare, as recommended by my friend from lunch earlier in the day. The vegetables were mostly zucchini with a little onion and bell pepper. The sweet red pepper was the best.

 

Kansas Oil Museum - El Dorado, Kansas Kansas Oil Museum and Butler County History Center

Brint's Diner - Wichita, Kansas Brint's Diner

Kansas Wildlife Education Center and Aquariums about 800,000 catfish

alligator snapping turtle alligator snapping turtle

Don Stimpson and Brenham meteorite Don Stimpson and recently found piece of the Brenham meteorite

Olive Tree Bistro - Wichita, Kansas Olive Tree Bistro

Wednesday - June 24, 2009: The Model T Fords crossing the United States as part of the Ocean to Ocean tour arrived in Olathe, Kansas this afternoon. The main time for viewing them will be tomorrow, but I took some photos and added them to the Ocean to Ocean tour page.

Added a new page devoted to the grassroots art environment the home of Cindy and Nick Schmiedler in Lawrence, Kansas.

 

Monday - June 22, 2009: Today is my birthday and tonight Linda took me to Soho 119 in Leawood Kansas. Soho is a  retail concept by Three Wildcats LLC, a New York based holding company that may take the concept nationwide. It has been open a little less than one year.

Soho 119 combines a retail clothing floor,  119 The Restaurant (which features an antipasto bar and formaggeria, as well as paninis and salads, homemade sorbeto and gelato and a full bar), and 119 Vinotherapy Medspa.

I was a little surprised when we entered the store. I had assumed that the restaurant would be tucked away in a corner, but it was in the front right next to the entrance. The restaurant area is a bit stark and could use a little more decoration. The menu and location is more oriented for mid-day visitors, and we were the only customers in the restaurant the entire time we were there.

For an appetizer, we split a cutting board of mortadella, gouda and drunken goat. Mortadella is a cured pork product from the Bologna region of Italy. It was served in very thin slices and went well with the Queso de Cabra al Vino (drunken goat) which is goat cheese that has been soaked in wine. But the smoked gouda was our favorite.

For diner, Linda had feta cheese, bell pepper, onion and farfalle pase with a sun dried tomato cream sauce. The prevailing flavor cane from the sweet peppers.

I had smoked salmon added to a salad of candied walnuts, gorgonzola, candy beats and mixed greens with blush vinaigrette. I enjoyed my meal thoroughly.
 

 

Soho 119 in Leawood, Kansas Soho 119
Sunday - June 21, 2009: I returned to Lawrence, Kansas today to have lunch at Aladdin Cafe on Massachusetts Street. On Sunday's from 11-3 Aladdin offers a buffet with a modest selection of Mediterranean foods.

I'm not an expert on food from this region of the world, but I liked the moussaka (beef, herbs and eggplant in tomato sauce) and loved the meat loaf like Sultan's Kifta Platter (lean ground beef mixed with cilantro, onion ad potatoes in tahini sauce).

Added a new page of photos of the USCGC Mackinaw museum ship to www.mightymac.org. I like that the engines are named "Jake" and "Elwood."

 

Aladdin Cafe - Lawrence, Kansas Aladdin Cafe
Saturday - June 20, 2009: I drove to Baldwin City this morning for the Planes, Trains, and Automobiles Father's Day Weekend Celebration. A bicycle tour of the historic sites around Baldwin was taking place at 8:30AM, but their literature and the Chamber of Commerce said that maps could be picked up to do the tour by oneself anytime during the day.

I first went to the Antiques on the Prairie antique mall where the tour starts and maps were supposed to be available. They didn't have maps for that tour, and after speaking to several people, I was directed to talk to a woman down the street. That woman directed me a couple of blocks away to the Chamber of Commerce office, but no one there knew about the maps either. 

Before leaving town, I took a few photos of the vendors and displays in the street, but there didn't appear to be much of interest to me and I headed out of town to Lawrence.

Lunch was at Terrebonne Carry-Out on Vermont Street in Lawrence. They were out of oysters, so I selected an alligator po-boy. The sandwich wasn't large, but came with a generous side of French fries for $1.

I dined at the only table available at the restaurant, a picnic table in the alley beside the kitchen. They provided Pepperdoux's tabasco hot sauce to spice things up.

Then on to Missouri Street where the home of Cindy and Nick Schmiedler has been turned into a grassroots environment. I had no appointment, but spent several minutes photographing the various folk art statues and mobiles. It looks like there might be even more around the back of the home.

It was starting to rain, so I called it a day.

 


 
 

Planes, Trains, and Automobiles - Baldwin City, Kansas Planes, Trains, and  Automobiles festival
 

Terrebonne Carry-Out - Lawrence, Kansas Terrebonne Carry-Out

Schmiedler garden and grassroots art - Lawrence, Kansas Schmiedler garden and grassroots art

Friday - June 19, 2009: The Kansas Sampler Foundation has just announced the winners the
8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine. I have visited all of the 8 Wonders of Kansas Cuisine winners and recommend many of them.

 

Thursday - June 18, 2009: We tried the new Cafe Augusta in Lenexa, Kansas for the second time. While I still like the concept, there were still a significant service error and the food isn't quite what I hope for. My cobb salad was dry and plain.

Added a page devoted to the 2009 Ocean to Ocean Tour, where 55 Ford Model Ts are retracing the 4106 mile, 1909 Ocean to Ocean Endurance Contest from New York to Seattle. The cars will be spending 4 days in Kansas next week.

For supper, three of us traveled to Lawrence, Kansas and joined a party of 53 people at Jade Mongolian Barbeque on 23rd Street. Like most Mongolian BBQs, Jade does well with large groups. Jade's Mongolian BBQ is combined with a large Chinese buffet which includes sushi.

I chose to stay with the buffet items, since Jade does not have a selection of spices to add to the raw ingredients and you give the chef cards with the names of the sauces you like, rather than mixing them in your own proportions.

 


 
 
 
 
 

Jade Mongolian Barbeque - Lawrence, Kansas Jade Mongolian Barbeque

Wednesday - June 17, 2009: Had my second meal at at El Pulgarcito, the Salvadoran restaurant in Merriam, Kansas last night. camarones rancheros (ranch style shrimp) came with rice and salad. There was no dressing on the salad, but the stewed tomato sauce from the shrimp had merged with the salad and flavored it well.

I'm still experimenting there and also ordered a pupusa - corn flour flat bread stuffed with pulled pork. It came with a large jar of curtido (Central American kimchi) to eat on top of it or on the side.

It was wonderful and quite reasonable (about $12). The pupusa was only $1.95 and two or three of those with the curtido would make a nice lunch. They can also be filled with cheese, loroco, beans or a combination at the same price.

I added El Pulgarcito to the list of Unique Kansas Restaurants.

 

Tuesday - June 16, 2009: Updated some of the details on the page about the Sternberg Museum of Natural History in Hays, Kansas. Also added a new page of photos devoted to the newly restored McGulpin Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City, Michigan to www.mightymac.org.

 

Sunday - June 14, 2009: Attended the 47th Annual Greek Food Festival at Saint Dionysios Greek Orthodox Church in Overland Park, Kansas. I hadn't been there since the 1980s when I lived a few blocks away. 

The festival is mainly about food, with some entertainment and a very few craft and souvenir items for sale. I had lamb ribs, rice, green beans, potatoes and pita bread. Although the food was only luke warm it was tasty, with the lamb and potatoes being my favorite items. 

For dessert I had melomakarona, a spiced nut cookie dipped in honey. I didn't care much for it. Friends that had the baklava were much happier with it.

After the food, my favorite part was viewing the dozens of painted and stained glass icons in the church.

 

Greek Food Festival - Overland Park, Kansas
Saturday - June 13, 2009: Thanks to Andrea Repinsky, I was able to add many more details about the entries in Lawrence, Kansas' Art Tougeau.

 

Wednesday - June 10, 2009: Traveled several days to northern Michigan for family matters, but while there, had several good meals of whitefish and perch.

Attractions visited included the magnificent tunnel of trees along a cliff beside Lake Michigan M-119 between Cross Village and Harbor Springs, the museum ship Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw, and the newly opened to the public McGulpin's Point Lighthouse in Mackinaw City. I will soon be adding photos to my pages at Mightymac.org.

 


McGulpin's Point Lighthouse - Mackinaw City McGulpin Point Lighthouse
Monday - June 8, 2009: Today's lunch was at Paradise India in Overland Park, Kansas. This was my first visit to the Indian restaurant since last summer.

I wasn't that impressed with Paradise India last year, but I think the flavor of the dishes has much improved. I liked almost every dish that I tried, and was most impressed with the Chicken Malai Kabob. The only disappointment was that the papadum (thin flat bread) was soggy.

Added Paradise India to the Overland Park Restaurant Guide.

 

Paradise India - Overland Park, Kansas Paradise India
Sunday - June 7, 2009: I added a new page devoted to Bourbon Lake Falls, near Elsmore, Kansas. There are now 15 waterfalls on the Kansas Waterfalls page. 

Also reviewed the proof of my article on Chase Lake Falls, which will appear in Kansas Traveler magazine latter this month.

 

Bourbon Lake Falls - ELsmore, Kansas Bourbon Lake Falls
Saturday - June 6, 2009: I started the day photographing the lovely Clarice L. Osborne Memorial Chapel at Baker University in Baldwin City, Kansas. The building was constructed in 1864 and was the home to the Methodist congregation of Sproxton, England for 124 years.

When the congregation could no longer support the chapel, it was closed and stood in disuse for seven years. In 1995 it was acquired by Baker University, dismantled and shipped to Baldwin City where it was reassembled. Lady Margaret Thatcher assisted in the dedication at Baker University on October 23, 1996.

Follow attending the retirement and appointment service of the Kansas East Conference of the United Methodist Church at the Methodist University, I took other photos around Baldwin City. iI was only able to photograph the exterior of the Old Castle Museum Complex which has never been open on days when I have been in town.

Lunch was at El Pulgarcito, a Salvadorean restaurant in Merriam, Kansas. Linda and I both tried chicken dishes: pollo en crema (chicken in a cream sauce) and pollo gusado (chicken in a seasoned tomato sauce. I was pleased with my pollo gusado, but liked Linda's dish even better. Both meals came with rice and salad. Linda's dish also included a mixture of onions, sweet peppers & celery and mine came with potatoes & carrots - one of the few times I have ever enjoyed carrots. Each generous dish was $9.89.

We will be returning to El Pulgarcito soon.

 

Osborne Chapel - Baker University Osborne Chapel
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

El Pulgarcito - Merriam, Kansas El Pulgarcito

Friday - June 5, 2009: Several friends joined me for dinner at Tres Mexicanos Mexican Grill & Cantina in Lawrence, Kansas. Although the restaurant was pleasant and the service nice, we were underwhelmed by the food. The favorite items tried were the the chips and salsa. The prices on the fairly large menu were quite reasonable, with most meals priced between $7 and $13

 

Tres Mexicanos Mexican Grill and Cantina Tres Mexicanos
Tuesday - June 2, 2009: I posted three new pages of photos from the Art Tougeau wheeled art parade in Lawrence, Kansas which I attended in May. It is one of the coolest Grassroots Art events I have found in Kansas.

Kansas is one of the top three states in the United States for grassroots folk art. 

 

Art Tougeau - Lawrence, Kansas Art Tougeau
Monday - June 1, 2009: Hosting of www.kansastravel.org moved to a new server today, allowing for more bandwidth and adding more material. It had been bumping against the space limit for the past month.

Linda and I had lunch at Adrian's Cafe, a sandwich and soup shop on Santa Fe Trail Drive near Old Town in Lenexa, Kansas. Adrian's has nothing to really distinguish it for me, but is good for a quick meal if you are in the area. 

 

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