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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Smoked meats at Steve's Meat Market
Wednesday - August 1, 2012: Linda and Mary joined me to investigate Big Bam's Burgers in Shawnee, this evening. I dined at Big Bam's Burgers once about 5 years ago, but had not been back. The small restaurant has been getting some very strong reviews online.

Tonight we tried the Bacon & Blue Burger, The Backyard Burger, and Mushroom Supreme with added fried jalapeno pepper & onion. They were all good, though not over the top. They did not ask how we wanted the hamburgers cooked and all three were well done but not dry.

The onion rings were fresh, lightly battered and better than average. We will try Big Bam's again.

The web pages devoted to the Kansas State Capitol Building and its tours has been updated to reflect the changes in the tour times and to announce that the tours of the interior of the dome will not restart for another year.


Big Bam's Burgers Shawnee, Kansas Big Bam's Burgers

Kansas State Capitol Building - Topeka, Kansas Kansas State Capitol Building

Friday - August 3, 2012: Updated and expanded the review of the Sunset Zoo in Manhattan, Kansas.

We had lunch at Izumi Japanese Steak & Sushi in Overland Park. This restaurant has done a good job in the past, but it had been over 2 years since my last visit and I wanted to bring it's listing in the Overland Park Restaurant Guide up to date. We had the Teppanyaki chef to ourselves, Actually, we were the only ones in the restaurant.

At most Japanese steakhouses, the lunch time presentation at the hibachi brazier is minimal, and that was true here. The chef was courteous and professional, quickly preparing the steak, shrimp and chicken. The food was all good, particularly the vegetables, which included something unusual - potatoes. 

In the past, sushi was the very best part at Izumi and I need to return one more time and try it out again.


Izumi Japanese Steak and Sushi - Overland Park, Kansas Hibachi table at Izumi Japanese Steak & Sushi
Saturday - August 4, 2012: Mary, Linda and I had lunch at Wanda's Roadside Cafe in De Soto. It opened on New Year's Day in the space formerly occupied by Bleu Tomato. 

Two of us sampled the Country Fried Steak and one had the Chicken Fried Chicken. We had to wait a long time on the second Country Fried Steak as the fryer would only old two. THe meats were OK, but the mashed potatoes and gravy were much better. The best dish was the Peach Crisp.

I need to return and try the breakfasts which I suspect is the strongest portion of the menu.

Before leaving De Soto, we stopped at Steve's Meat Market. The full service meat market also prepares many specialty meats, including bratwurst, sausage, slim Jims, and pickled pig's feet. We got sausage, pickled Polish sausage, and a slab of fresh smoked ribs. The ribs could have been more tender, but they had a flavor.


Wanda's Roadside Cafe - De Soto, Kansas Wanda's Roadside Cafe

Steve's Meats - De Soto, Kansas Smoked meat at Steve's Meat Market

Sunday - August 5, 2012: At lunch time we checked out Great Wall Super Buffet in Shawnee. I had read some truly outstanding reviews of this Chinese restaurant. The restaurant was OK, but not as large as most "super buffets" and the food was typical of this type of restaurant in Kansas City. 

I've since learned that many of the strong reviews which I had read were actually for another restaurant which had previously been at this location - Chen's Super Buffet.


Great Wall Super Buffet - Shawnee, Kansas Mongolian grill at Great Wall Super Buffet

Monday - August 6, 2012: Lunch today was at Blanc Burgers & Bottles in Leawood. I dined there a couple of times during the first year it was open, but didn't think that the upscale burger restaurant lived up to the price and hype. 

The food was better today, and the lunch specials were reasonable. Between 11AM and 3PM, for $8.95 you can chose one of 9 sandwiches and one of 8 side dishes, salad or soup. The classic burger was served with white cheddar, bibb lettuce, tomato, house made pickles, red onion, house made ketchup, and mustard on a sesame briche bun. The bun was lightly toasted and added a lot to the sandwich.

The burger was tender, juicy and cooked medium rare as I requested. It was a good hamburger, but not the best I had this week. The house made pickles were good, but I have yet to sample a restaurant made ketchup which I thought was worth their going to the effort of making it special.

The Boulevard Pale Ale onion rings were fairly good, but 4 small rings didn't seem like much of an order. I guess it is OK on the lunch special, but I would be unhappy if I had paid $4.95 for the order of rings.

Added four photos from Castle Rock and Monument Rocks to the Fine Arts Gallery tonight.


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

Cassic burger at Blanc Burgers and Bottles Classic burger and an order of onion rings

Tuesday - August 7, 2012: Today's noon meal was at La Parrilla Restaurant in Olathe. This Latin American restaurant is just a few months old and is doing a good job. It is in front of the AMC Studio 30, in a building that was originally a Hooters. 

The chips were warm and good, but the salsa was not to my taste. It was fairly thick, which I like, but it tasted like tomato, or more like tomato juice. I wasn't noticing other seasoning.

The Sautéed Caribbean Garlic Shrimp was served in a molcajete, so it looked impressive and stayed hot through the meal. I think the sauce and vegetables were superb - onions, garlic, ginger, green onions, bell peppers, tomatoes & cilantro topped with pineapple salsa. I wasn't sure about the pineapple when I looked a the menu, but the pineapple salsa made the dish.

The only thing I would change about the dish, would be to add some seasoning to the shrimp themselves and perhaps grill them. To me they appeared to be just cocktail shrimp dropped into the dish before serving.

Several of the dishes that sounded the best are not available until after 4 PM, so I need to return in the evening with friends.

LInda and I had supper at Sweet Siam Thai Bistro. We had gone (in part) because they advertise 1/2 price appetizers before 6:30PM. But they did not automatically take them off the check and we had to return it with the discount request.

But that was the only miscue in the meal.

Both appetizers were good.  The crab angels (crab & cream cheese filled wontons) were a nice alternative to crab Rangoon. The Thai larb (ground beef spiced with mint leaves, green onions, lime juice and chilies, served with crisp cabbage) was very good. perhaps the best I have ever had.

The roasted duck with red curry and the cashew nut chicken were excellent as well.



Sautéed Caribbean Garlic Shrimp at La Parrilla Restaurant in Olathe, Kansas Sautéed Caribbean Garlic Shrimp

cashew nut chicken at Sweet Siam Thai Bistro cashew nut chicken

Wednesday - August 8, 2012: Today's supper was at Snack Shack in downtown Overland Park. We went because they are now serving hand cut and breaded pork tenderloins, but they were sold out. Still, Snack Shack has some very good sandwiches. The burgers are good, with my favorite being the $7.50 Bobby Burger which has two 1/3 pound patties, three slices of cheese, grilled onions and jalapenos. 

The $4 Garden Grilled Cheese is also a treat with grilled onions, grilled jalapenos, and two slices of tomato grilled on the flat-top. 

Following dinner, I made a new page devoted to the Snack Shack on Santa Fe.


Snack Shack - Overland Park, Kansas Snack Shack on Santa Fe
Saturday - August 11, 2012: Linda & Mary joined me for lunch at Grandstand Burgers in far north Overland Park. It had been well over a year since my last visit. The 11 year old restaurant is a tiny place with only 4 stools at the small counter, plus picnic tables out in front. The food is good, but this restaurant is about the whole experience rather than truly outstanding food. 

Our burgers were good and the onion rings were better than the fries. 

Since we were only about a half mile away, we also stopped at Waterfall Park in Merriam. We have had a dry summer and the water was way down in Turkey Creek, but Turkey Creek Waterfall still had some water flowing and was worth a brief visit.


Grandstand Burgers - Overland Park, Kansas Grandstand Burgers

Turkey Creek Waterfall - Merriam, Kansas
Turkey Creek Waterfall

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