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|Tuesday - April
2, 2013: Linda drove to Olathe to join me in trying the brand new Sweet
T's Soul Food Buffet. Despite the name, it isn't a buffet. You go to the
counter where the food is being kept warm and they serve it up. The least
expensive meal is $9.95, with one meat, one side and one solid.
They have just three
meats: chicken, catfish & brisket. The side are greens, corn sweet
tater yams, and green beans. The solids are beans & rice, Macaroni
& cheese, or masked potatoes & gravy. The chicken and catfish are
both pretty good. I was less impressed with the sides, though the mashed
potatoes and beans & rice were both pretty good.
After we had ordered
and paid for our food, we learned that cinnamon rolls and corn bread were
also available, but they were not offered or listed on the menu.
Serving counter at Sweet T's Soul Food Buffet
|Friday - April
12, 2013: This evening I drove to Hutchinson. After checking in to
the Fairfield Inn (nice hotel, but Internet so bad that I wouldn't go back),
I drove to the State Fairgrounds to the Kansas Mennonite Relief Sale. I
had been wanting to visit this for the web site, since I learned about
it a couple of years back.
The Kansas Mennonite
Relief Sale is the largest church bazaar that I have ever seen. It is put
on by 70 Mennonite, Brethren in Christ, and Amish congregations and fills
7 large buildings. There are multiple silent and live auctions with items
as diverse as candy, old tractors, hand crafted furniture and an all original
1942 Studebaker Coupe. One auction was devoted to over 200 hand made quilts.
There is food available in every building, but the biggest feed at the
Feeding of the Multitude, serving cafeteria style German food to 7 - 10,000
I limited myself to
sampling raisin pie, donut hole like "New Year's cookies" and cherry moos
made with cherries, flour, sugar & cream. Good, but not great. They
are having to mass produce these items.
Supper was fairly late.
It was a revisit of the Airport Steakhouse, which I hadn't been to in about
10 years. As the name implies, the restaurant is in the Hutchinson Municipal
Airport, filling more than half of the terminal. The steakhouse is dated,
but still in good shape. One wall is lined which huge picture windows looking
out at the tarmac. The 26 ounce bone in Cowboy ribeye, could have stood
some aging, but was cooked the way I ordered (medium rare) and very reasonable
at $24.99 with salad and starch. The skin on fresh cut fries were under
The line for Feeding the Multitude
|Saturday - April
13, 2013: This morning I stopped to buy a styrofoam chest and returned
to the fairgrounds for more photos. My breakfast was verenika & sausage.
The sausage was nothing special, but the Ukrainian verenika (cottage cheese
filled pasta dumpling served with rich ham gravy) was very good. It was
the best dish which I tried at the Relief Sale. New
page devoted the Menonite Relief Sale.
For lunch I dined sparingly
at two restaurant which I have already reviewed. Roy's
Hickory Pit BBQ and Sacks 5th Avenue. Sacks is a decent burger joint
in a neat old building, but Roy's is a real standout, a 25 year BBQ place
with great meats. It is only open from 11AM - 3PM, or until the meat runs
Before leaving town,
I stopped by the Hutchinson Art Association gallery. The last time I had
been in Hutchinson, the gallery was closed when it was scheduled to be
open, but this time I lucked out and it was open when it was scheduled
to be closed. The most interesting part of the gallery was the quarter
of the building devoted to art for sale.
After a quick revisit
of the small display at the Salt Discovery Well on the south side of town,
I drove out to Yoder to fill the styrofoam chest at Yoder Meats. They offer
samples of so many items, that you could have a small meal. I kept telling
myself that I wouldn't try anymore, but then would discover elk sausage
or an unusual cheese.
From Yoder, I drove
west and north, stopping to take photos at Quivira
National Wildlife Refuge and in several small towns. In Stafford, I
was surprised to find a snowdrift remaining in the shadow of a building.
In Larned, I toured
the Central State Scout Museum, which wasn't much more interesting than
I thought it would be. The nice man who runs the museum is also on the
board of directors of the restored 1940s State Theatre. He took me there,
and I found that building much more interesting. The community can be proud
of bringing it back to life.
Supper was at Mom's
Bar & Grill in Seward. It had been 5 years since my last visit.
Seward has about 4 streets an all of them are dirt. The restaurant isn't
much to look at, in a sheet metal building with a poured cement floor,
but the food is so good. The chicken fried steak sandwich was one of the
best sandwiches that I have ever had.
After checking in to
the Best Western in Great Bend, I drove out Cheyenne Bottoms, the largest
inland marsh in the United States. Unfortunately, in the second year of
a drought, it is all dry land.
verenika & sausage
Sacks 5th Avenue
chicken fried steak sandwich
|Sunday - April
14, 2013: This morning, I was up at 5:15AM and drove out to the Kansas
Wetlands Education Center to meet a guide and 5 other people for the
Greater Prairie Chicken Lek Tour. By 6:15, we were in place in a blind
where we spent the next three hours watching male prairie chickens dance
and drum. There were only two males and no females, but it was still interesting.
It helped that we saw other species such as harrier and upland sandpiper.
My good camera is in the shop. The old camera that I was using, wasn't
really up to doing a good job at this distance. It only has about a third
of the zoom and a third of the pixels. Four more weeks waiting on the other
Other than taking a
few stock photos in Ellinwood, the only stop on the drive home was at Ad
Astra in Strong City. Open only Friday through Sunday, they serve innovative
dishes with food from local providers.
I started the meal
with Elk Union, a pita pizza topped with fig jam, goat cheese, caramelized
onion and a drizzle of garlic oil and fried shallots. It was pretty good,
but I would like it better with more garlic and no jam. I finished with
the Smoked Trout Plate, house smoked rainbow trout, herb goat cheese, capers,
red onion and hard boiled egg served with grilled crostini.
Not necessarily the
food you would expect to find in a small, rural community.
greater prairie chickens (Tympanuchus cupido)
Smoked Trout Plate
|Monday - April
15, 2013: I revisited two Olathe restaurants today, to update their
Lunch was at The
Other Place. The sports bar & grill is part of a small, Iowa based
chain. I had chili and hot chicken wings. Both were good, though not outstanding.
The food at The Other Place is consistent and the service is very good.
Linda joined me for
supper at Oklahoma Joe's BBQ.
There are now three locations for this Kansas City, Kansas based chain.
All of them are in Kansas. We had pork ribs, smoked chicken and onion rings.
All three were very good and the servings were generous. I had left over
ribs to eat the next day.
The Other Place
Oklahoma Joe's BBQ
|Thursday - April
18, 2013: I paid a second visit to Sweet T's Soul Food Buffet in Olathe.
It was a chance to try the third meat - beef brisket. It did not impress
me as much as the catfish or chicken had. There were two other meats being
offered today, pork chops and hot wings.
The restaurant is still
experiencing growing pains. I expect it to get better in a few months.
Sweet T's Soul Food Buffet
|Friday - April
19, 2013: I returned to Wai-Wai
Thai Place Express in Overland Park for a second meal for updating
its review. This was the best meal that I have had there so far,
the "Seafood Lovers" with the choice of salmon, catfish, mussels or shrimp
with the choice of three sauces, served with steamed rice, choice of soup
or house salad and two small crab Rangoon for $11.95. I went with the salad
which was dressed with a delicious sweet mustard sauce. The mussels turned
out to be a perfect match for the Thai Sweet Chili Sauce.
For supper, Linda and
I made a first visit to Ricky's Pit Barbeque in the Quindaro neighborhood
of Kansas City, Kansas. This is the third and smallest location the Mom
& Pop restaurant has occupied, with just 5 booths and a counter. Mr.
& Mrs. Smith were both working and a delight to get to know. We sampled
many of the meats along with beans and chili. Sweet was the theme, with
the sauce, beans and chili all being fairly sweet.
The fries were just
frozen crinkle cut, but were at least perfectly cooked. The chili was well
spiced, but not that hot and meaty with few beans. The chili and fries
go well together.
It appears that the
meat was cooked early and just heated for serving. This worked very well
with the ham and brisket, a little less well with the sausage & burnt
ends, and not so well with the ribs.
Seafood Lovers Mussels
Ricky's Pit Barbeque
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