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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Stoltenberg Christmas Light Program - Lawrence, Kansas
Saturday - January 29, 2011: Added a new page devoted to the Holley Museum of Military History in Topeka, Kansas.

 

 
Friday - January 28, 2011: This turned into a great day for exploring. My first stop was at Danny Edward's Boulevard BBQ on Southwest Boulevard in Kansas City, Missouri. For years this restaurant was operated as Lil' Jake's Eat It & Beat It, but it was moved and renamed because of the development of the Kansas City Power and Light District. This was my first visit to this new location.

I sampled a wide range of Danny Edward's products. The meats had had excellent flavor from the rub and smoking - there really was no need to use the sweet sauce. My favorite was the beef brisket, which was as good as I have ever had. The ribs were also very good and the chicken & ham were above average. The only meat which disappointed me was the burnt ends which this restaurant is known for. They were juicy and tender, but didn't have the great flavor that I found in the other meats.

The fresh cut French fries were also good and the onion rings were superior. There are a lot of good things to be said for the food at Danny Edward's. 

The restaurant was busy. There was a line ordering at the counter the entire time I was there. Almost every table was occupied, but I never saw a party have to wait for a table.

I went on to attend the Mid-America RV Show in Bartle Hall. It was nice seeing the large crowd, I think the economy is recovering.

Later in the day, I drove to Topeka to tour the Holley Museum of Military History. The free museum is housed in the Ramada Inn. No one was watching the museum, but it was unlocked. It is open 10 AM to 8 PM, seven days a week.

The Holley Museum fills 5 small galleries and features dioramas, photographs, many models of air craft & vehicles and a few artifacts. Over 2/3s of the museum are devoted to World War II.

We were going to have supper at the Plantation Steak House, but they were not answering their phone. The Plantation Steak House answering machine said that they were closing for the holiday but would reopen a month ago. Doesn't sound good.

Instead, we revisited Chez Yasu French Restaurant. one of the most reasonably priced French Restaurants I have ever dined in. The escargot was my favorite part of the meal, but the  Boeuf Bourguignon was also good. It was described in the menu as braided boneless beef short ribs with onion & mushrooms cooked in red wine sauce. Ti me, it was a pot roast.

 

Danny Edward's Boulevard BBQ - Kansas City, Missouri Danny Edward's Boulevard BBQ

Combo Plate - Danny Edward's BBQ Beef, Ham, Chicken & Ribs
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Holley Museum of Military History Holley Museum of Military History
 

Chez Yasu French Restaurant - Topeka, Kansas Chez Yasu French Restaurant

 
Wednesday - January 26, 2011: I returned to McGuire's Smokehouse in Olathe to try the chicken wings. The smoked wings have a great flavor from the smoking and come with BBQ, hot BBQ or hot Buffalo sauce. They are some of the best wings in the Kansas City area.

 

McGures Smokehouse - Overland Park, Kansas
Tuesday - January 25, 2011: We took a break from Restaurant Week and went to a James Beard Dinner
at the Broadmoor Bistro (Shawnee Mission Schools) in Overland Park on Tuesday night. It was a scholarship benefit meal with many courses. The visiting chef was John Currence, who has three restaurants in Oxford Mississippi and was Beard's 2009 Best Chef of the South.

The menu was:

  • hors d'oeuvres
  • Amuse: pate de foie gras, crispy chicken skin, pear caviar
  • Course One: "Pearls and Swine" - ragout of Caw Caw Creek Ossabaw ribs, morel mushrooms, truffled pearl cous cous and chestnut foam
  • Course Two: caramelized garlic cauliflower puree with chive oil, toasted pecans and county ham powder
  • Course Three: collard green raviolis, ham hock consomme and roasted grape tomato relish
  • Course Four: pan roasted Florida Gulf Coast scallops, gingered carrot puree, baby lima bean succotash, preserved Meyer lemon and pink grapefruit gastrique 
  • Dessert: double chocolate pecan dacquoise, Maker's Mark chocolate mousse and Louisiana satsuma gelle.
I attended another Beard Dinner last year and really loved it, so I booked two in this school year. Unfortunately, this chef didn't have as much personality at the previous James Beard Chefs or spend as much time with the attendees. The food didn't appeal as much to me and the pace was very slow.

The garlic cauliflower puree had little taste, though the two pecans which garnished it were great. The desserts were good, but not great. The raviolis were better and made from greens which The chef I picked from his own garden. I also enjoyed the appetizers which included steak tartar and cracker with apples and blue cheese.

The scallops were my favorite item by far - the carrot puree worked with them very well.

We shared the table with the mother and grandparents of one of the students. The conversations about travel were interesting and the grandfather shared stories of his being a Leawood City Council Member. 

 

James Beard Dinner - Overland Park, Kansas Chefs addressing the guests at the James Beard Dinner
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

scallops - Broadmoor Bistro scallops

Monday - January 24, 2011: Our third Restaurant Week meal was last night at Fogo de Chao - the Country
Club Plaza location for the national Brazilian steak house chain. They have made the generous move of making the regular all you can eat meal the $30 special so for 10 days everyone in the restaurant is getting the discount from the usual price in the mid 40s.

The salad bar had some good items. I particularly liked the marinated, sun dried tomatoes and one of the cheeses. The service was very good.

But none of the 15 meats really stood out for me. I didn't care at all for the two types of chicken, the parmesan crusted pork loin, or the pork sausages. This is the 5th Brazilian Steakhouse I have tried and it is tied for 4th place. It was OK as part of this week (I'm glad that we didn't pay full price), but I wouldn't pick Fogo de Chao again.

One little thing which the Kansas City Fogo de Chao does struck me as cheesy. The sodas are served in small (10 or 12 ounce) bottles and cost $3/each.

 

Fogo de Chao - Kansas City, Missouri Fogo de Chao
Sunday - January 23, 2011: Our second Kansas City Restaurant Week meal was at the new second location of La Bodega in Leawood, Kansas. The original location near downtown Kansas City, Missouri is a lot of fun and a very popular place for Tapas.

Jesi and Mary joined us in trying La Bodega. I'm not sure that we saved anything on this meal because of restaurant, but I have been wanting to try this restaurant and it was still a benefit for Harvesters. 

We did started with one additional item which ws not on the Restaurant Week menu: Pintxos de Higo (Roasted red peppers, goat cheese and a fig coulis on grilled bread) for $7. It was OK, but had a little less flavor than I expected.

With 4 of us, we were able to sample every dish on the Restaurant Week menu. The first course was Torilla Espanola (Spanish omelet of potato & onion with red pepper aioli), Pincho de Pollo (Skewered chicken with garlic cumin aioli) and Judias Verdes (Green beans, roasted potatoes and figs tossed in a walnut-fig dressing).

The entrees were Paella Valinciana (Chicken, pork, shrimp, mussels, clams, chorizo & green beans), Txerrikia (Boneless pork chop stuffed with Majon cheese, wrapped in pancetta topped with a pear-zinfandel sauce) and Rollos de Pollo (Sautéed chicken breast stuffed with Prosciutto ham served with Championes olives in a spicy garlic sauce, with arroz and expinacas catalanas).

The desserts were a little different from listed in the online menu: Creme de Catalan (Traditional style flan with an orange citrus flavor, topped with caramel and garnished with a fig coulis) and Chocolate Torte (Flour less chocolate cake with espresso cream filling). I substituted a salad for my dessert.

Over all, I wasn't as impressed as I expected to be. I did like the torte (which I could only taste because of all the carbs), but these weren't the items I would have selected from the regular menu. 

 

La Bodega tapas restaurant in Leawood, Kansas La Bodega
 
 
 
 
 

Rollos de Pollo and Txerrikia at La Bodega Rollos de Pollo & Txerrikia

Friday - January 21, 2011: Kansas City Restaurant Week began today and runs through this January 30th. Participating restaurants offer a minimum of 2 courses at lunch for $15 or 3 courses at supper for $30. 10% of the cost goes to harvesters - enough to provide 6 meals to hungry people. About 100 restaurants participate and we dined at three of them the first year (2010).

We kicked off Friday night by visiting my favorite Restaurant Week spot from last year, the Capital Grille in Kansas City, Missouri. I started with clam chowder, while Linda had filed greens & spring vegetables with shallot vinaigrette. Both were fine, but nothing special.

Our second courses were much better. Linda had seared citrus glazed salmon. My 14 OZ bone in Kona crusted dry aged sirloin with shallot butter was one of the best steaks I have ever had. Each bite was a nice experience.

They were accompanied by mashed potatoes and fresh creamed spinach. The spinach was so good that even Linda (who doesn't care for spinach) liked it.

We finished the meal with a very good creme brulee and a house made peanut butter ice cream which was just
OK.

Much as I enjoy the food and service, there is a good reason that I only go to the Capital Grille during Restaurant Week. Off the regular menu, the food would have run $110 plus the cost of the desserts. 

 


 
 

Capital Grille - Kansas City, Missouri Capital Grille

Wednesday - January 19, 2011: We revisited the Other Place American Sports Grill & Pizzeria in Olathe. It had been nearly a year since my last visit and I needed to update the restaurant's review. The onion rings were the best item sampled, by far. The Cajun chicken Pepperjax cheese wrap which I had enjoyed so much before was only average. The French fries were very ordinary frozen, crinkle cut fries.

Linda was served the wrong sandwich, an Italian sub instead of the spicy Italian sausage sub, and did not care much for the meat or roll.

 

Other Place Restaurant - Lenexa, Kansas Other Place American Sports Grill & Pizzeria 
Tuesday - January 18, 2011: The weather was much nicer (mid 70s) Tuesday, In the morning, I borrowed a fat tire cruiser and bicycled about 6 miles in the morning. Far enough this time of year on that type of bike. For lunch, Sherry and I returned to the Latin Bakery, which I enjoyed so much the last time I was in Naples.

I had the paila marina (seafood soup) on the strength of the photo in the menu. It had a nice mix of clam, mussels, fish, krab and calimari, the broth wasn't that special. The fresh baked bread was very good. But the highly was Sherry's Churrazco Argentino. The chimichurri was even better than earlier in the week. So much garlic! 

My final activity in Naples was a long walk along the shore at Vanderbilt Beach - photographing birds and occasionally dipping our feet in the cold ocean water.

Latin Bakery - Naples, Florida Latin Bakery

Royal terns and ring billed gulls Royal Terns (Thalasseus maximus), Ring Billed Gulls (Larus delawarensis)

Monday - January 17, 2011: Monday was a rainy day. I had planned a sunset pontoon boat cruise of the estuary
at Marco, Island, but that day was rainy and it was canceled. We substituted two movies that day, True Grit, which I thought was good though not likely to become a classic like the early version, and the Black Swan, which wasn't really my kind of movie.

The only meal out this day was at Hurricane Grill & Wings in Naples, which had over 30 flavors of chicken wings. They bring a rack with small squeeze bottles od the wing sauce, so customers can sample the flavors of sauce before ordering. After trying several, we selected Hot, Thai ginger & garlic, Fire & Ice and Jamaican Jerk. The hot and Fire 7 Ice were the best when actually on the wings.

But the best part of the meal was the $7.99 smoked fish dip with mahi-mahi and wahoo blended with savory spices and herbs and served with sliced jalapenos, diced onions, tomatoes and fresh cooked potato chips.

 

Hurricane Grill and Wings - Naples, Florida Hurricane Grill & Wings

Hurricane sauces sauce samples

Sunday - January 16, 2011: Much of Sunday was spent with my brother and sister in Englewood, Florida - just sitting around their porch filled with blooming orchids, talking and getting caught up on each other lives. Oh, and we ate - fried alligator, escargot, shrimp cocktail, hamburgers, and homemade smoked salmon, salmon spread & jerky. 

We enjoyed watching the wild egret which recently adopted my brother and sister. It was also fun picking honeybell oranges and lemons to take home with us.
 
 

 

Great Egret Great Egret (Ardea alba)

picking oranges

Saturday - January 15, 2011: I was up early this morning and off to the Kansas City Airport for a 6AM flight to Fort Myers, Florida. It was a chance to check out some more of the Naples restaurants and enjoy the warmer weather.

First meal was at Fernandez The Bull, a Cuban restaurant where we steaks smothered in garlic. Sherry & Joe had Churrasco - a seared flank steak with chimichurri, a sauce made with fresh parsley, oregano, garlic and olive oil. With extra sauce, it was very good.

I had the palomilla steak (translated as old clothes) - a shredded flank steak cooked in light Spanish Tomato Sauce with onion & green peppers. The sides were mostly ordinary, with the exception of the yucca, which was boiled until soft and covered in fresh seared garlic sauce. This was the first time I have had yucca and it was a nice surprise. 

Supper was a seafood feast at Randy's Fish Market. There was a 25 minute wait for a table, but we had drinks and the bar and were patient. We started the meal with fresh mussels in garlic butter and a lobster dip which was so good, that we bought more to take home. Our main dishes were fried oysters, grouper and scallops.

It was mostly a case of boring side dishes, with the exception being a baked sweet potato. We were too full to have the Key lime pie (which Randy's ships around the country), but took one home. It was quite good. 

Randy's neglects to list any prices on their web site, so let me list a few here: lobster dip & crackers $9.95, mussels $8.95, and Captain's Platter (shrimp, grouper & scallops) $27.95. Many of the other fresh seafood items are at market price and constantly changing.

 


 

Fernandez The Bull Restaurant - Naples, Florida Fernandez The Bull
 
 
 
 
 

Randy's Fish Market - Naples, Florida Randy's Fish Market

Randy's Fish Market dining room

Thursday - January 13, 2011: Added a new review of Freddy T's to the Olathe Restaurant Guide.

 

 
Wednesday - January 12, 2011: Linda and Mary joined me to have supper at Freddy T's Bar & Grill in Olathe. Service was a little slow but we had a nice meal of Surfin' Turkey (smoked turkey, guacamole, tomato, onion, bacon, lettuce and ranch dressing served in a honey wheat tortilla), Swiss burger (1/2 pound burger topped with mushrooms and Swiss cheese), and Frisco BBQ burger (1/2 pound burger topped with cheddar cheese, bacon, onion straws and Barbeque sauce). We sampled three sides: homemade fries, waffle fries and onion fries. All were good, but I thought the fresh natural cut fries were the best.

It was nice having a meal for three people including beverages for under $30 before tip.

 

Freddy T's - Olathe, Kansas Freddy T's
Thursday - January 6, 2011: I had lunch at the newest place for sushi in Olathe, Kansas - Domo Sushi and Japanese Grill. It open in early October.

Domo II (Domo is in Brookside) offers several nice lunch combinations from $8.50 to 9.50. I selected a spicy tuna roll, shrimp tempura, miso soup and a salad for $8.50. The roll was a little disappointing but the miso was very good. There were two shrimp along with two pieces each of squash and bell pepper. It was just the right amount of food.

 

Domo II - Lenexa, Kansas Domo II
Wednesday - January 5, 2011: We had supper at Cafe Augusta in Lenexa. It had been a year since our last visit and there have been a number of changes.

The best change is that the menu is now printed rather than on a board behind the counter. Cafe Augusta's menu is complex and it wasn't convenient ordering at the counter. 

My favorite entree was the wild mushroom cannelloni stuffed with porcini, callampa, oyster, shitake, and button mushrooms blended with assorted cheeses & spinach, topped with Alfredo sauce.  It was served with baguette and the vegetable of the day (corn). Really a very nice dish. The kassler ripchen (cold smoked bone-in pork chop with a mirepoix accented cream sauce) was served with mashed potatoes and the vegetable of the day.  Both dishes were $17.

 

Cafe Augusta - Lenexa, Kansas Cafe Augusta
Tuesday - January 4, 2011: Starting to work at updating the restaurant guides on this web site, today I tried two Johnson County restaurants. The first was Lucky Wok a Chinese restaurant in Lenexa.

The dining room was cold and the hot food on the buffet was luke warm. The food wasn't bad, but nothing made me want to hurry back to try this restaurant again. About the only thing I can say is that it is the only Chinese restaurant in the neighborhood or anywhere in Lenexa.

Supper at Dickey's Barbecue Pit was better. Dickey's is a Texas based chain with two locations in Kansas. It has a lot going for it: an interesting atmosphere including good music, reasonable prices, and large selection of good side dishes. But there is one big failure: the meat had no flavor from BBQ process. The ribs tasted like they had been boiled then baked.

Leaving the restaurant, I circled around the back and confirmed that there was no smokestack. In Kansas City, I can't really consider this a BBQ restaurant.

 

Lucky Wok Restaurant - Lenexa, Kansas Lucky Wok Restaurant
 

Dickey's Barbecue Pit - Overland Park, Kansas Dickey's Barbecue Pit

Sunday - January 2, 2011: The first restaurant meal of the new year was a to go order from Stroud's Restaurant in Fairway Kansas. Although it was about 1 PM on a Sunday afternoon, the Kansas City Chiefs were playing and the restaurant was only about half full. Although I called ahead to place the order, it still was a long wait - 45 minutes from when I placed the order until it was ready. 

The fried chicken and fried chicken gizzard meals were good, though not worth that long a wait. Stroud's serves a lot of food and there was enough food for four meals. I love the gizzards and cottage fries with gravy and hot sauce.

 

Stroud's - Fairway, Kansas Stroud's
 
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