|Tuesday - May 31,
2011: We went to Fan's Tea and Dumplings in Overland Park for
lunch. Fan's fairly recently opened in the space which was previously occupied
by a great Greek restaurant - Olympic Village. It had been billed as a
very authentic Chinese Restaurant, but other than very low prices, I saw
nothing to distinguish Fan's from other Kansas City Chinese restaurants.
Fan's offers several
complete lunch specials for $5.99. I had the Szehuan chicken with egg roll
and hot and sour soup. The soup was surprisingly bland. They only serve
only one style of dumplings and they were fairly good with a thick, tasty
pasta covering a a sweet meat filling. 6 small dumplings were $4.50.
The best item we tried
was the chicken kabobs. Four good sized kabobs were only $3.95. THey were
heavily seasoned, but not too hot, and quite tender.
|Sunday - May 29,
2011: We took advantage of being in Kansas City's Crown Center
to have lunch at the nearby Grunauer, a fairly new, upscale Austrian and
German restaurant in an old freight house a few blocks from the hotel.
The assorted fried mushrooms was good and I liked 2 of the six sausages
in the sampler. The Käsekrainer (pork with cheddar cheese) was my
The side dishes that
came with the sausage were both very good. I'm not a big fan of mashed
potatoes without gravy, but these mashed potatoes were great. Linda never
likes cooked cabbage, but she did enjoy the sweet red cabbage.
|Friday - May 27,
2011: I returned to Mariscos
Veracruz in Olathe for the first time in a year and a half. I tend
to forget just how good this authentic southern Mexican food is. The women
who waited on me today seemed to know no English at all. The ordering was
all handled by pointing at items on the menu. The menu had not changed
I selected one of the
most expensive dishes on the menu, the $14.99 mojarra al mojo de jo, which
was a whole fish covered with a great garlic sauce. Though I reeked of
garlic for the rest of the day, I loved it.
The meal came with
chips and salsa. The chips were warm and thick (made with coarse ground
corn) and served with two salsas - red and green. The green salsa had more
flavor and heat, but both were good.
I spent the weekend
at ConQuesT 42, a science fiction convention in Kansas City, Missouri.
I participated on panels related to social networking and Star Trek fandom.
Also took many photographs and posted 15 pages of photos
from ConQuesT on the MidAmerican Fan Photo Archive.
mojarra al mojo de jo
|Thursday - May
26, 2011: Updated & expanded the review of the Russell
Stover Candies factory & store in Abilene, Kansas.
|Wednesday - May
25, 2011: Had a second meal at ABC Cafe in Overland Park. This
time it was the $2.88 stuffed green pepper dim sum and the $8.88 deep fried
intestine entree with rice. The 4 slices of stuffed pepper were pretty
traditional and came with a sweet sauce.
The fried intestine
was ovals meat with a thin layer of white meat and a crispy casing. It
came with a sweet sauce that accented the flavor of the fairly bland meat.
For supper, Linda joined
me in trying the fairly new KC Sports Grill in Lenexa. When we pulled
in, the parking lot was completely full, but the hostess said that a table
would be available in 15-20 minutes. We decided to wait, which was a mistake.
It took about 35 minutes to get a table and when we were seated, the server
said that the kitchen was backed up and the food would be slow.
Over 30 minutes after
we placed our order, the server returned to say that they were out of one
of the items we had ordered and ask for an alternative. The food ended
up taking another 30 minutes.
We sampled a grilled
chicken & strawberry salad, provolone wedges, wings, potato skins,
onion rings and a bacon, mushroom & swiss burger. The food was fine,
but nothing special. The best item was the chicken wings, which might have
been very good if they had been a bit warmer.
deep fried intestine
KC Sports Grill
|Sunday - May 22,
2011: Added a new page today about Teterville
& Teter Rock. Updated and expanded the pages devoted to Russell
Stover Candies factory & store in Abilene, and Botanica
- the Wichita Gardens.
Also greatly expanded
the section of on my northern Michigan sister site devoted to the Mackinac
Bridge 50th Anniversary Celebration.
|Thursday - May
19, 2011: Out of town family joined me for the first visit to
ABC Cafe which opened last fall in Overland Park. ABC Cafe has been building
a reputation for good, authentic Chinese food.
We began with the $5.88
hot & spicy beef tendon appetizer. The generous serving of thin slices
of meat didn't have a great deal of flavor. The taste it did have, reminded
me of pork rinds.
For main dishes, we
had salt & pepper pork chop, pork chop Peking Style, salt & pepper
squid and sautéed chicken with Chinese vegetables. The two pork
chop dishes were quite generous, but the chicken dish was a whole chicken
with a ginger sauce on the side.
The meats were cut
into small pieces and almost every piece had some bone.
The salt & pepper
squid was was the most familiar dish. Lightly coated in sea salt and pepper
seasoned flour and then quickly fried. It was very good, but my favorite
dish was the salt & pepper pork chop. The deep fried pork chop pieces
were flavored with soy and very different from the salt & pepper squid.
|Wednesday - May
18, 2011: There will not be many entries here this week. My stepdaughter
graduated tonight from Shawnee Mission High School and we have a out of
town family visiting all week long. Mary is addressing the senior class
of 2011 in the picture at the right.
Yes we are very proud!
Mary Lipp addressing the Shawnee Mission West graduating class
|Tuesday - May 17,
2011: I revisited Backfire Barbeque in Kansas City, Kansas. The
menu has physically changed. It used to have immense metal covers, but
other than prices, the content appeared to be the same. I tried three meats:
chicken, brisket and pulled pork. The brisket was a little dry and had
less flavor than I like in smoked meat. But I liked the chicken which was
tender and tasted sweet.
The pulled pork, which
was also slightly sweet, was my favorite meat. The coleslaw and fries were
both better than average, but the beans were mushy with large chunks of
rather tough meat.
Add a new review of
the Cabin where the poem that was turned into the song, Home
on the Range was penned.
Home on the Range Cabin
|Monday - May 16,
2011: Today was our third visit to 119th Street Diner in Olathe.
This was the first time trying anything but salads or sandwiches. The fish
and chips was pretty good. The fries were good, for shoestring style (not
my favorite) and the haddock was very lightly battered. The larger piece
of smoked salmon in the diner wasn't quite as appealing as the smaller
piece they served with salmon BLT sandwich.
Service was still good,
but they are still having a problem accidentally serving people Diet Dr.
Pepper instead of Diet Coke. The servers get confused by the DP label on
the soda dispenser.
|Saturday - May
14, 2011: We had lunch at the Shack
on Santa Fe in Overland Park. They are doing a consistently good job
of serving organic burgers, fries and onion rings. They are adding Sunday
hours, effective tomorrow. They want to be established as being open on
Sundays prior to the start of the Overland Park annual free summer concert
series in the adjacent park.
Snak Shack on Santa Fe
|Friday - May 13,
2011: I returned to McGuire's
Smokehouse in Olathe for lunch today. The last time I had diner there,
they had replaced the wonderful smoked corn with substandard corn on the
cob. I was delighted to learn that they had returned to the smoked cut
corn. McGuire's also serves smoked green beans and mixed vegetables.
Updated and expanded
the review of the Amelia
Earhart Birthplace Museum in Atchison, Kansas with photos taken last
Supper was at Supper
was at Shogun Sushi and Japanese Steakhouse in Lenexa, Kansas. The food
and service were typical of Kansas City area Japanese Steakhouses, though
Shogun is a bit less expensive than most. The servings were very large
and we took quite a bit of meat home with us.
|Thursday - May
12, 2011: Linda joined me for lunch as I had a second meal a
56 Family Restaurant in Olathe. The food is consistently good, if not
spectacular. The chili was the best dish sampled today.
|Wednesday - May
11, 2011: Today I made a second visit to 119th Street Diner in Olathe.
The $8.95 pork tenderloin was good, but nothing special. It came with the
choice of side dish and I went with the sweet potato fries.
I am not a big sweet
potato fries fan, but these were some of the best that I have ever had.
They were tender inside, but crispy and perfectly accented with sea salt.
The service was much better this time. There was one error, when I was
first brought Diet Dr. Pepper instead of Diet Coke, but the rest of the
service was perfect.
Added a new review
of of the Quindaro & Western
University Ruins in Kansas City, Kansas.
Pork tenderloin & sweet potato fries
|Tuesday - May 10,
2011: I flew to Denver, Colorado the night before and spent the day
at a Google Adwords Seminar for Success. This was an intermediate level
program and it was a worthwhile. I've been using Adwords for somewhere
around 9 years, but had not had any training before. It was a fairly useful
meeting, with less than an hour covering things of no use to me. I now
have more ideas than I will have the time to use.
Breakfast and lunch
were included with the seminar, so my only meal at a restaurant was supper
at Timberline Steaks & Grille in the Denver Airport. When I ordered
Rocky Mountain oysters and buffalo rib eye, the server asked if I knew
what mountain oysters were:-0
The oysters had a nice
presentation, were fairly good and the serving was very generous. The rib
eye had a poor presentation, was quite tough and came with fries that had
sat too long. But the service was good, they have free wifi and I took
my soda to an easy chair next to fireplace to use the internet while I
waited for my plane. Not a bad experience on balance.
Timberline Steaks & Grille
|Monday - May 9,
2011: I had supper at Arthur
Bryant's Barbeque at the Legends in Kansas City, Kansas. I think that
Bryant's best meats are the sliced beef and sliced pork. The beef &
pork combination sandwich with fries for $11.10 is enough food for two
|Sunday - May 8,
2011: Today was the second day of the 2011 Kansas Sampler Festival
and we drove up to Leavenworth, parking near the Chapel
of the Veterans. It was a short walk to the festival entrance and we
were arrived just before the start of the annual meeting of the Kansas
The meeting had just
started when the Executive Director of the Kansas Sampler Foundation, Marci
Penner, noticed my bride sitting next to me. It was Linda's first Sampler
Festival and Marci introduced Linda and and Karen, the new wife of Kansas
photographer and blogger, Larry
The brief meeting included
updates on upcoming Explorer activities and a presentation about next year's
Sampler Festival which will be held in Liberal, Kansas. The meeting ended
at 9AM and we had time to visit the Kansas Sampler tent to pick up our
2011 pins and purchase some Explorers' apparel before the Festival opened
at 10 AM.
The Festival included
food, crafts and entertainment, but I was mainly there to visit the booths
devoted to over 150 Kansas communities. I took along a tote bag and plastic
bags, putting the brochures from each region of the state into a different
bag. We encountered several people who I recognized from having visited
their attractions, including Erika Nelson from Lucas, Jack Crispin from
Lincoln and the curator of the John Brown Museum is Osawatomie.
There were many food
vendors at the Festival, but I haven't had many opportunities to dine in
the Leavenworth area recently, so we went to lunch at Luigi's Italian Restaurant.
Luigi's came highly recommended by WenDee LaPlant and others, and we were
The restaurant looked
small at first, but we were were lead up a flight of steps to a second,
larger, packed dining room. We started with a $.95 sliced sausage appetizer.
It was a large serving of sausage which has been sautéed in olive
oil, garlic, basil, marinara sauce & sherry. It was very garlicky and
Linda selected the
$6.95 manicotti. The pasta stuffed with ricotta cheese and topped with
marinara sauce and mozzarella was as good a manicotti as I have ever had.
I had the second most
expensive dish on Luigi's menu, the $19.95 lamb chops. The 6 grilled chops
had even more garlic than the sausage and were served with mashed potatoes
which had been lightly covered with melted cheese.
The meal also came
with some very good toasted bread with olive oil and spices for dipping.
This was a great meal!
We drove through Leavenworth
and on to Atchison to photograph a small waterfall, next to the Santa Fe
Depot which doubles as a museum and home to the Atchison Chamber of Commerce.
There are actually three, very small falls. Two of them are under Kansas
Highway 7. The narrow creek was named named 4th of July 1804 Creek by Captain
William Clark when Lewis & Clark paused near the creek on that date.
A covered pedestrian
bridge crosses the creek just below the falls in the photo at the right.
We drove across Atchison
to the waterfront to photograph the Atchison Riverfront Park with its Lewis
& Clark Pavilion, Veteran's Memorial and a small section of the aft
deckhouse superstructure of the battleship U.S.S. Arizona which sank during
the Pearl Harbor attack on December 7, 1941.
Continuing north, we
investigated another small waterfall, but it had no water at this time.
Then back a mile or
so south and west to Independence Creek Historic Site. Independence Creek
was the second Missouri River tributary visited by Lewis and Clark and
named on the 4th of July 1804 Creek.
The historic site has
a recreated Kanza Lodge which is periodically open to the public and can
be viewed through a gate at other times. It is also a trail head which
is connected to Atchison Riverfront Park by a 10 mile hiking and bicycling
Back in Atchison, we
stopped at Amelia Earhart Birthplace
Museum. I previously visited the museum before starting this web site
and this was an opportunity take photographs of the interior of Amelia
Earhart's birthplace. One of the new displays has costumes which we worn
by Hilary Swank in the movie, Amelia.
The final stop of the
trip was at Angel Falls in Lansing. There was very little water falling
on the tiny falls I don't think it will be finding its way on to the Kansas
Karen and Larry Hornbaker
Kansas Explorers' Meeting
Luigi's Italian Restaurant
4th of July 1804 Falls
Lewis & Clark Pavilion in Riverfront Park
Costumes from the movie, Amelia
|Saturday - May
7, 2011: We had an appointment to tour the Old Quindaro Museum
& Information Center in Kansas City, Kansas, but no one was there when
we arrived. We called again at that time, but got only an answering machine
and our call has never been returned.
While we were in Quindaro, we drove by the bluff overlooking
the ruins and discovered that a new overlook pavilion and plaques have
been erected. Quindaro was founded in 1856 as a port of entry for free
soil immigrants into Kansas. During its brief existence, it was an important
station on the Underground Railroad.
We stayed in Kansas City, Kansas and had lunch at Quick's
Seventh Street Bar-B-Q. Though Seventh Street is also owned by descendants
of Earl Quick, it shouldn't be confused with Quick's
Bar-B-Q, a few miles away.
We tried a wide range of items (ribs, sausage, pulled
pork, turkey, onion rings, French fries, baked beans & coleslaw), but
none of the dishes stood out as something special. My favorites were the
onion rings and turkey, but I wouldn't hurry back.
After lunch, we walked across the street to Bichelmeyer
Meats to stock up on their house made bacon and several sausages: cheese
bratwurst, old world Polish sausage, Italian sausage and BBQ sausage. We
haven't had a chance to try them yet.
We returned to Kansas City with our girls in the evening,
to have supper at Woodyard BBQ. Woodyard has received a fair amount of
attention in the press, but has never been one of my favorite spots.
The meats were better tonight than they have ever been
before. In the past, the meats have been so smoky that my mouth would still
be smoky hours later.
I do wish Woodyard offered French fries or onion rings.
To me, they are a key part of a BBQ meal. The ribs and hot chicken legs
were my favorite dishes tonight, though the girls did not care for the
It was a warm, pretty evening and dining on the patio
was made even more pleasant by a man singing and playing guitar. He said
the Woodyard now has music on Thursday through Saturday evenings.
Quindaro Ruins pavilion
|Friday - May 6,
2011: Today's lunch was at the Old
56 Family Restaurant in Olathe. It had been nearly 2 years since the
last time I dined there and I thought it was better than ever. Not just
for the food, but even more for the way that it feels like a small
town restaurant in 1956. Not like it is recreating that feel, but like
you have gone back in time.
Added a new page devoted to Veterans
Memorial Park in Olathe, Kansas.
Old 56 Family Restaurant
|Thursday - May
5, 2011: Yesterday I received four photos in an email from Earl Hooper
from Emeryville. California. Earl's father, Clearance, was born near Ellsworth,
Kansas in 1911 and these photos were from a family visit to Mushroom Rock
State Park in about 1920. These photos are great and I have added them
to the page devoted to Mushroom Rock State
We had lunch at an
Olathe, Kansas restaurant which opened just 3 days earlier - 119th Street
Diner. The building is just a few years old, but this is the third restaurant
in this location. The last one was Domo, a sushi restaurant which lasted
only 6 months.
We started with the
roasted shrimp cocktail. The roasted cold shrimp tasted pretty good, but
$8.95 seemed like a lot for 5 medium sized shrimp.
We were happier with
the other food. My $8.95 spinach salad was good, but Linda's $9.95 smoked
salmon BLT was spectacular. The bacon and salmon complimented each other
and went well on a toasted bun that wouldn't have worked with a regular
Our server was nice
but made many new restaurant mistakes. I look forward to trying 119th again
in a few weeks and seeing how they are coming along.
Mushroom Rock State Park
119th Street Diner
|Wednesday - May
4, 2011: We made our second visit to The Snak Shack on Santa Fe in
downtown Overland Park. In particular, I wanted to try the French fries
and grilled cheese sandwich.
The fries were fresh
cut. They weren't bad, but they would have been better if they were crisper.
But the cheese sandwich was a real treat. The Shack offers a $3 regular
grilled cheese sandwich, but I ordered the $4 Bobby C's Grilled Cheese
Wow, the Bobby C's
includes grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, and two slices of tomato on
Texas toast, grilled on the flat-top grill. This was a wonderful sandwich.
In the evening, I made
a review of the Shack on Santa
Snak Shack on Santa Fe
|Tuesday - May 3,
2011: I revisited the Nerman Museum on the campus of Johnson County
Community College in Overland Park and had lunch at Café
Tempo in the museum. Parking is at a premium at JCCC when classes are
in session and I had to visit several parking lots and take nearly 10 minutes
to locate an empty parking spot.
It has been two years
since my last meal at Café Tempo. The Café is no longer open
on Saturdays and has slightly reduced the scope of the menu, but the food
is still very good. They no longer offer the wonderful grilled flank
steak salad which I loved, but the cobb
salad was both attractive and made with the very best ingredients.
Added a new page devoted
to the Creamery Bridge and Osawatomie Dam
in Osawatomie, Kansas.
|Monday - May 2,
2011: I had lunch at Sam's
Tastee Treat in Olathe. Sam's began as a Tastee Freeze in 1963. The
menu includes over 40 flavors of shakes, plus items as diverse as chili
dogs, cheeseburgers, burritos, crab rangoon, and egg rolls. This is a place
I like more for what it is, than necessarily for the food.
Neither the chili dog
or double bacon cheese burger were anything special. The chili had lots
of beans. The onion rings were average, machine made frozen rings. The
best thing at Sam's is the sundaes and malts.
While I was waiting
for the food, I picked up a copy of today's Johnson's County Gazette
and found that it had a Hidden Mystery Lost Olathe Location Contest. By
coincidence, it was a small structure adjacent to Cedar
Creek Falls which I photographed just Friday. It is on the left side
of the photo at the top of this page. I called the Gazette right away and
won a free sandwich at Celebrity's Sidewalk Cafe.
For supper, Linda &
Jesi joined me at Mezzaluna Italian Restaurant in Shawnee, Kansas. Mezzaluna
serves classic Northern Italian dishes in a rather over decorated dining
Dishes sampled included
minestrone soup, spaghetti, chicken spiedini, bisteka di Vittelo con insalata
"Gorgonzola" - organic mixed green salad with grilled steak, Gorgonzola
cheese, olive oil and balsamic vinegar. All of the dishes were good, if
not outstanding, and portions were fairly good sized. The meals ranged
Sam's Tastee Treat
Mezzaluna Italian Restaurant
|Sunday - May 1,
2011: We drove to the Lee Arena at Washburn University in Topeka for
the Governor's Scholars Award Program. It was preceded by a meal of cold
fried chicken, cold beans, coleslaw. That seems like a lot of effort and
expense by the organizers for a meal that isn't going to be a treat. I
would recommend that in the future they start the day a little later and
just provide some nice cookies and beverages.
The top one percent
of Kansas High School Seniors came from across the state at the invitation
of Governor Sam Brownback. There were several brief speeches followed by
a photo opportunity with Governor Brownback with each senior. My step daughter
was one of the students recognized. Yes, I am proud of her!
2011 was the 28th annual
Governor's Scholars Awards program.
Supper was at a brand
new restaurant in Overland Park - Ruby Buffet. This is the second Chinese
restaurant at this location across from Oak Park Mall. There weren't very
many people dining in the restaurant and the food had been sitting too
long to be a treat. Some of the dishes were updated before we finished
and they were quite a bit better. The best dishes on this day were beef
with mushroom and chicken with jalapenos.
Governor Sam Brownback
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