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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Cedar Creek Falls - Olathe, Kansas
Monday - January 5, 2014: We had supper at Lenexa, Kansas' new fine dining venue, Grand Street Cafe. It is the second location for the restaurant. The original location is on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, Missouri.

It was a cold night and when we arrived, there was a sign saying that they had closed at 7PM because of the weather. It was only 6:30PM, so we went on in to see if they were open. They were, and we decided later that the sign was still up from the previous evening.

We started our meal with the $6 deviled bacon eggs appetizer. I really enjoyed the 6 half eggs, which were made with a strong Dijon mustard.

Our main dishes were the $21 pistachio encrusted ruby trout (served with Tuscan fries, artichoke hearts, pickled onion, caper and smoked trout salad, and whole grain mustard sauce) and $11 Grand Street 8 oz burger (topped with crispy fried onions and choice of cheese on a sesame seed bun, with French fires on the side). The trout was good, if not spectacular and the sandwich was a good gourmet burger. The fries were lightly coated with sea salt, but really nothing special.


Grand Street Cafe - Lenexa, Kansas Grand Street Cafe
Monday - January 6, 2014: Tonight we returned to the Longbranch Saloon in Overland Park. This long time Overland Park bar & grill will soon be added to the Overland Park Restaurant Guide.

It turned out the appetizers were half price and we started with $8 ($4 tonight) potato skins which were described as traditional skins topped with cheese, bacon bits and scallions, with the choice or ranch or sour cream. This old stand by turned out very good and brought a touch of nostalgia - the first potato skins I ever had were at the then Country Club Plaza Longbranch Saloon, nearly 30 years before.

Linda went with the $9 sweet chili glazed salmon sandwich topped with mango and green onion cream cheese and served with a spring mix garnish on a toasted sweet roll with potato chips. The garnish and bun were a little more plentiful than the salmon, but the combination went together well and it is something one of us might have again.

I decided to take advantage of the half price appetizers again and had one for my entree, the $9 cowboy burnt end chips. When I ordered them, the server said they were really special. The larger order of fresh hand cut potato chips was covered with smoked burnt ends topped with BBQ sauce, white American cheese melt, fresh jalapenos, black beans, diced tomatoes and sour cream. I liked this dish, but the BBQ sauce didn't fit well with the rest of the combination. I would have enjoyed it more without the sauce and even more with taco meat instead of the burnt ends. While I'm not sorry I had it, I would not go with it again.


cowboy burnt end chips - Longbranch Saloon cowboy burnt end chips
Tuesday - January 7, 2014: During my lunch hour, I drove to Lake Olathe to take some photos of the ice and snow on a bright sunny day. It was still cold this day and I could hear the lake making ice.

My favorite photos were not of the lake, but of Cedar Creek Falls which feeds into the lake. 


Cedar Creek Falls - Olathe, Kansas Cedar Creek Falls 
Monday - January 13, 2014: Jesi joined us in a second visit to Grand Street Cafe in Lenexa. The service was off, with the server saying odd things and making mistakes in timing that reduced our enjoyment of the meal.

We started the meal with a $13 small plate - cabernet bagna cauda (vegetables, warm garlic cabernet dip,
whipped ricotta cheese, toasted bread). It sounded great and looked very interesting, but it didn't have anchovies or the intense garlic flavor of the bagna cauda I have had before and we did not finish the dish between the three of us.

Our main dishes were $25 scampi penne, $25 roasted pork chop and $34 strip steak. The pork chop was enormous, but the steak was the best dish.

Over all, I am disappointed in the food at Grand Street Cafe. We were having a hard time selecting dishes, because each entree is locked into specific side dishes and/or starches that often didn't sound appealing.

Looking back at our receipt, I see we were also slightly overcharged for the strip steak.


Strip steak at Grand Street Cafe Strip steak
Thursday - January 16, 2014: For lunch today, I revisited Dagwood's Cafe in Kansas City, Kansas. Shortly after starting this website, I had tried Dagwood's on the recommendation of food writer, Jane Berkowitz, but at that time, the breakfast and lunch restaurant had not clicked for me. 

In the intervening years, the restaurant has changed hands and my tastes may also have changed. In any case, I very much enjoyed the large $5.49 pork tenderloin sandwich. I ordered it with a $2.99 fries / onion ring basket. The fries were about average, but the rings were much better.


Dagwood's Cafe - Kansas City, Kansas Dagwood's Cafe
Friday - January 17, 2014: We are revisiting restaurants to update the Overland Park Restaurant Guide and Olathe Restaurant Guide. Today I was going to go to Johnny's BBQ in Olathe for lunch, but there were so many people there for the Friday rib special that it was going to be a very long wait to order.

Go Chicken Go is only about a mile away, so I stopped there for lunch instead, having a $4.54 half order of their great fried chicken gizzards with the the hot "G" sauce. A couple of years ago, I learned that you can substitute a second G sauce for the fairly plane roll.


Saturday - January 18, 2014: I made a second visit to Dagwood's Cafe in Kansas City, Kansas. This time I tried the most famous dish in the restaurant - the $4.99 Dagwood breakfast sandwich. It is available with your choice of bacon, ham or sausage (or all three for $5.99) with egg, two slices of cheese, and hash browns. $1 if it is served with sausage gravy. 

This dish was OK, but I like the previous pork tenderloin much more. Many people rave about the sausage gravy, but I was less impressed with it.

A new page was added to the website today - a review of the Legler Barn Museum in Lenexa, Kansas, which is operated by the Lenexa Historical Society.


Dagwood breakfast sandwich - Kansas City, Kansas Dagwood breakfast sandwich
Sunday - January 19, 2014: Added a new review of Dagwood's Cafe in Kansas City, Kansas.


Tuesday - January 21, 2014: Added a new page about the Kansas Learning Center for Health in Halstead and the famous "Valeda: The Transparent Talking Woman."

Revisited and updated the Overland Park Restaurant Guide entry for Bangkok Pavilion in Overland Park. They have an excellent Thai lunch buffet for only $7.95 on weekdays. A slightly more elaborate and more expensive buffet is offered for lunch and supper on weekends.


Valeda at the Kansas Learning Center for Health Valeda
Wednesday - January 22, 2014: Revisited and updated the review of Mom's Kitchen in Olathe, Kansas. Also learned that Gringo's Mexican Restaurant in Olathe has closed in the past month.

Added a new page about the Frontier Army Museum at Fort Leavenworth and updated the page about Touring Fort Leavenworth.


Frontier Army Museum - Leavenworth, Kansas 1830s cannons in the Frontier Army Museum
Thursday - January 23, 2014: The updating of Olathe Restaurants continued with lunch and an extensive rework of the review of Freddy T's Restaurant and Cafe

Then for supper, we revisited another of the Overland Park Restaurants, Brobeck Barbeque, which I think is the best Kansas City BBQ restaurant which has not had national attention. I really enjoy the smoked ham salad appetizer which makes a nice meal with the crackers and house made BBQ potato chips for only $4.50.

Even more impressive, the prices are unchanged since the menu from August 2011!


Brobeck's Barbeque - Overland Park, Kansas Brobecks Barbeque
Friday - January 24, 2014: I continued the revisiting and updating of the Olathe Restaurant Guide with lunch at Tea Garden, in Olathe. The Chinese restaurant continues to have a nice attractive setting and a good, but small week day lunch buffet. The small selection means that the food turns over quickly and is high quality. At $7.50 including beverage and tax, it one of the best meal values anywhere.

Linda and I had dinner at Kanz's City Pizza & Burgerz in Olathe. This is the second location for the Kanz's City. The first one opened near Lenexa's Old Town about 2 years ago and this one opened last July.

The menu is pretty short: burgers, a few other sandwiches, salads and pizza. The beer list is longer, with 45 "Kans" of beers available.


Tea Garden - Olathe, Kansas
Tea Garden

Kanz's City Pizza and Burgerz in Olathe, Kansas Kanz's City Pizza & Burgerz

Saturday - January 25, 2014: Linda and I had lunch at Andre's Confiserie Suisse and Rivaz Tearoom in Overland Park. Andre's serves meals only at lunch on Monday through Saturday and it had been a couple of years since we were last there. The menu is limited to a Quiche Lorraine, cheese pie and a couple of daily Swiss specials. The beef goulash with polenta was really very good, though the macaroni and cheese casserole was nothing special. 

Lunch including entree, coffee or tea, vegetable, salad and dessert is $14.95 including sales tax.


Sunday - January 26, 2014: We continued our revisiting of restaurants in the Overland Park Dining Guide with dim sum at Bo Ling's Chinese Restaurant. Much as I enjoy this restaurant, I couldn't believe that the last time I was there was in 2008. It is hard doing dim sum (with its many small plates) with just two people, but we sampled 8 dishes. It was expensive ($54 for the two of us), but good.

It did feel a little like the servers and their carts descended on us when we sat down and they do have a bad habit of wanting you to decide if you want each dish before you know what other dishes are hidden in the other covered steam pans.

We finished the day at The Peanut on Santa Fe in Overland Park. This newest location of the local bar & grill chain had been overdue for its own listing in the dining guide and has one now. We sampled two of the classic Peanut dishes, the BLT and the Buffalo Chicken wings. Many people think the wings are the best in the city and despite my not caring much core the house made blue cheese dipping sauce, I agree the the meaty, spicy wings are among the best. 

I also had a grilled chili dog with house made chips. (didn't finish everything). The large 1/4 pound grilled dog was very good and the chips are better than the fries or onion rings.


Bo Ling's Chinese Restaurant - Overland Park, Kansas Bo Ling's Chinese Restaurant

The Peanut on Santa Fe - Overland Park, Kansas

Monday - January 27, 2014: This time it was lunch at Dodge City Distillery, which is in the Olathe Restaurant Guide. Although there is a still on display behind glass at the front of the bar, it is not used. Although they don't make a point of pushing it, they do produce some of their own spirits at a location nearby, but the drink menu doesn't even list them.

I had the whiskey burger with fries. It was good, if not great. Be advised that the menu on their web site is out of date, with lower prices than they currently have and dishes which are no longer served.


Dodge City Distillery - Olathe, Kansas Dodge City Distillery
Tuesday - January 28, 2014: Today's lunch was at Ruchi Indian Cuisine in Overland Park. It had been a couple of years since the last time I dined at this restaurant. When Ruchi first opened, I thought it was the best Indian Restaurant in the Kansas City metropolitan area. It is still good, bit many good restaurants have opened and this one has moved down in the pack. The lunch buffet is the best choice as Ruchi's service is not very attentive. They basically direct you to a table, leave a pitcher of water while you get your food and ignore you, not even asking if you would like something else to drink.

When you are finished, just go to the register and the person there will write up your bill.


Wednesday - January 29, 2014: Yes you can get tired of eating out, but I was back at it today with lunch at 54th Street Grill & Bar in Olathe. This the only Kansas location for this Kansas City based regional chain. The service is very good (though my server did try a little too hard to sell me more), and the food is consistantly good. I wouldn't make a special trip to dine here, but it is a very safe choice if you are looking for a meal in south Olathe. It is kind of like a more open and slightly more interesting Chili's.  
Friday - January 31, 2014: After one day off, I concluded the month with lunch at Johnny's BBQ in Olathe.

Friday's lunch speical is BBQ Ribs served with fries, bread, pickle, and regular drink for only $8.29. It is very popular and draws huge crowds on Friday. I had actually tried to dine there two weeks earlier, but found and increadably long line. The second week, I arrived at 11:25AM, only to find that the line was just as long.

Today it was sleeting and I arrived at 11:10AM. Bingo! There were only 6 people in line ahead of me. The fries were decent for cooked for frozen and the ribs were very good, as usual. This is a great buy for a large platter of food.


Johnny's BBQ - Olathe, Kansas Johnny's BBQ
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