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 - May 22, 2010: Finally getting back into my Kansas exploring routine, today began we a quick stop at  Steve's Meat Market in De Soto, Kansas. I picked up some smoked sausage and Steve's own beef jerky, but the main reason I stopped was to get a couple of jars of Steve's pickled tongue. It makes a great quick, low carb snack.

Then on to Lawrence for the annual Art Tougeau wheeled art parade. It is one of the coolest small town events that I have found in Kansas.

On the way back to Kansas City, I stopped in Bonner Springs at the Great American Barbecue Festival , which moved to Sandstone this year. It was a big disappointment - the first Kansas BBQ contest that I didn't enjoy visiting. It was very hot and windy and the smoking teams were mostly closed off from the outsiders and not talking to people & offering samples the way they do at better events like the American Royal. The other food options were just carnaval food.

Leaving the Great American Barbecue Festival  still hungry and wanting BBQ, I made a second visit to Roscoe's Barbeque on Kaw Drive in Edwardsville. I am still not ready to give this restaurant a strong recommendation, but it is coming along well for a new operation.

 


 
 

Art Tougeau parade - Lawrence, Kansas Art Tougeau 

Sunday - May 16, 2010: This was the final day of our Florida Space Coast trip.

We had the best meal of the trip at lunch on our way out of Cocoa Beach, at Rubio's Cuban Café. The The Cuban Creole sauce was so good that I had to fight myself not to lick the plate.

 

Rubio's Cuban Café - Cocoa Beach, Florida Rubio's Cuban Café
Saturday - May 15, 2010: Lunch was assorted appetizers at Grills Seafood Deck & Tiki Bar in Cape Canaveral, Florida with the afternoon spent photographing wildlife such manatees and osprey in the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge which surrounds the Kennedy Space Center. This page has more of my wildlife photos from Merritt Island.

That evening was the Nebula Awards presentations at the Hilton Cocoa Beach. Although I am not saying much about it here, I really enjoyed our time at the Nebula Awards Weekend. Our highlights this evening were my good friend, Joe Haldeman, being inducted as Grand Master, and my receiving the Service to SFWA Award for the 12 years that I wrote and ran the news section of SFWA's web site.
 

 

roseate spoonbills (Platalea ajaja) roseate spoonbills 

Linda Lipp, Keith Stokes Linda & I at the Awards

Friday - May 14, 2010: Today was the final launch of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. SFWA (Science Fiction & Fantasy Writers of America) had secured a few passes for the Banana Creek VIP site, located near the Saturn V center. Since I was being honored for Service to SFWA at the Nebula Awards, we were blessed and Linda and I were invited to Banana Creek.

I was surprised at how long we could view the shuttle;. At one point the announcer said that Atlantis was 80 some miles down range and over 40 miles up, but we could see at least a dot representing the shuttle Atlantis for a long time after that.

My photos and description of the launch

In the evening, we attended a mass autograph signing and reception back at the Nebula Awards Weekend.

 

STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis launch STS-132 Shuttle Atlantis
Thursday - May 13, 2010: Today's highlights were a VIP briefing for the launch of Space Shuttle Atlantis at the Kennedy Space Center, meeting my brother for lunch at the Hard Rock Casino in Tampa, and supper at  Milliken's Reef Restaurant in Cape Canaveral, Florida. 

We checked into the the Hilton Cocoa Beach Oceanfront Hotel where Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America would be having the Nebula Awards Weekend.

 

Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden Kennedy Space Center Rocket Garden
Wednesday - May 12, 2010: In the late afternoon, Linda and I left Kansas City on Delta Airlines with a change in Atlanta for the flight on to Orlando. We had supper in the Atlanta Airport at Paschal's, which is part of a small local Atlanta chain. The fried chicken and southern side dishes were good, but the standout was the fabulous peach cobbler. Anyone going through ATL should give Paschal's cobbler a try.

We got into the Orlando Airport about 30 minutes late, but all seemed fine until we got to the Dollar rental counter. There were only about 7 or 8 parties in line to pick up rental cars, but the clerks were going to great lengths to try to get people to pay for upgrades and additional products. Even though a 3rd clerk came on duty, it took over an hour for us to get away from the Dollar rental counter and it was after midnight before we left the airport.

 

Paschal's - Atlanta Airport Paschal's
Saturday - May 8, 2010: I had wanted to have supper at 75 Cafe in Shawnee earlier in the week, but no one had answered the phone when I called to confirm hours. Today we were win the neighborhood at lunch time and stopped to check. 75 was open, so we had lunch. We learned that they are no longer open for supper, and that they haven't been able to update their web site because their computer had been stolen in a break in.

But the food was still excellent. I had an Italian beef wrap that is new to the menu and very good. So were the fresh cut French fries.

The owner made several errors with our order, but he was too good-natured and were were having to much fun to mind. He did give us a cupcake to make up for it.

 

75 Cafe - Shawnee, Kansas 75 Cafe
Friday - May 7, 2010: I had lunch at New Fortune Chinese Restaurant on Santa Fe in Olathe. It had been several years since I last visited New Fortune and it has changed for the better. The dinning room has been remodeled and reduced somewhat in size.

But more importantly, I think the food as significantly improved. When I previously visited the Chinese restaurant at this location, I found a number of the items odd, and nothing that stood out as special.

This time there were several good options, with the best being a crispy, fried shrimp with onions and peppers that was very flavorful. When I asked its name, the server said they just call it spicy shrimp. 

There were actually several good shrimp dishes on the buffet.

 

New Fortune Chinese Restaurant - Olathe, Kansas New Fortune Chinese Restaurant
Wednesday - May 5, 2010:  Linda and I tired the new Victor's Chicago Pizza in Lenexa, hoping for a place that would give the Pizza Man a run for its money. But the Pizza Man is safe. The pizza was just "OK" and the Italian Beef sandwich at was nothing special and didn't even have the giardiniera relish that might have spiced up. Although Victor's web site and menu's both list Buffalo chicken wings, they have eliminated them and there were really no low carb options for me on the menu.

 

Tuesday - May 4, 2010:  For supper, I revisited Go Chicken Go in Olathe. The fried chicken and chicken gizzards are still a real treat. The mashed potatoes and gravy are more what you might expect from a fast food restaurant.

 

GO Chicken Go - Olathe, Kansas
Monday - May 3, 2010:  Today was our return travel day from London. We had a nice ride to the airport, going down Baker Street and through Hyde Park on the way to the airport. The flights home were uneventful.

 

Sunday - May 2, 2010:  We began the day by worshiping at St. Martin-in-the-Fields church on Trafalgar Square. After a short visit to the National Portrait Gallery, we went on to purchase show tickets from the TKTS booth in Leicester Square, have lunch at Andalucia Tapas Restaurant, shopping for chocolates and cheeses at Fortnum & Mason, saw the French Canadian circus Psy at the Peacock Theatre, and finished the day with supper at The Magdala pub.

 

The Magdala pub - London The Magdala
Saturday - May 1, 2010: Linda's niece who is living in France joined for the day. Highlights of the day included visiting Montmartre, the highest point in Paris and touring the Sacré-Coeur church at the top; touring the Pere Lachaise Cemetery with the graves of Jim Morrison & Frédéric François Chopin; and touring Notre Dame and some of the shops in the Latin Quarter.

Lunch was at L'été en Pente Douce in Montmartre. Supper was bread wine and cheese along the shore of the river Seine near Notre Dame. 

We returned to London on the Eurostar this evening.

 

Sacré-Coeur church - Montmartre, Paris Sacré-Coeur church
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