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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Big Grill and More - Kansas City, Kansas
Friday - April 6, 2018: At lunch, I visited Other Place American Sports Grill & Pizzeria in Olathe, Kansas to update its review in our Olathe Restaurant Guide. The Other Place has some great lunch specials like unlimited slices of one topping pizza and your choice of soup or salad for $7.99. The hand breaded country fried pork tenderloin is no longer offered at a discounted price a lunch, so I went with a 1/4 lb mushroom Swiss burger for $7.95, upgraded to onion rings for $2. The rings were very good, but the burger was well done, not the medium that was ordered and not a standout. I wouldn't go there for a burger. 

We added a new page devoted to Memorial Park Cemetery in Hutchinson, Kansas, which has many chain-saw carved tree trunks and a Petland pet graveyard.


Saturday - April 7, 2018: Linda and I drove to Aladdin Cafe in Lawrence, Kansas for lunch. Aladdin Cafe has a review on our site, but the last time we dined there was in 2015 and a review may be completely wrong after that period of time. Really, Sunday lunch with its Mediterranean buffet is my favorite time to dine there, but that hasn't been working out. 

We split a grilled shrimp & feta appetizer, which was described as selected feta cheeses, rosemary seasoned shrimp and grilled vegetables, but were a little taken aback when it arrived and had only a few small bits of feta, not what the description implied. Still, the shrimp was quite good.

We also split a meat kabob combo featuring lamb, kifta, beef, gyro and chicken kabobs with cucumber and potato garlic sauces, Again we were surprised with its appearance, the meat had been removed from the skewers. Most of the meat was good, but several individual pieces were badly overcooked. The cucumber sauce was good, but the potato garlic sauce was a potato puree with little flavor.

We went with two desserts - Baklava and Kunafa. The baklava with its layers of phyllo dough, honey and crushed walnuts not as sweet as some, which was fine with me. The serving was generous for $2.99. I have never had kunafa before, so I can't compare the sweet Arabian cheese topped with shredded phyllo. crushed pistachios and sweet sauce with others, but it was not very sweet. The $3.99 serving also seemed generous.

Our next stop was at The Museum of Odd, which is in a private residence a few blocks away, but there were no signs on the building and we decided to save it for another visit.

The next stop was the Murphy - Bromelsick House, which was constructed in stages from 1866-869 and moved 300 yards to this location in Hobb's Park in 2000. The back of the house has 4 or 5 doors of different sizes and at different elevations, all without steps. The main floor of the building is empty, but it appears that the basement may be used for storage.

We stopped at the Lawrence Visitor Center in the historic Union Pacific Depot to pick up research material for future trips to Lawrence, then went to the Kansas Riverkings Museum in the bottom floor of the Spring Hill Suites hotel on the Kansas River. "Museum" is a little misleading. There are just a few photos, a couple of tiny exhibits and a few small paintings which are offered for sale.

Our final stop was at the small children's cemetery at Haskell Indian Nations University. There are 103 Native American children buried in the cemetery from the years they were forced to attend the American Indian boarding school at this location. We prepared a page about the cemetery a few weeks back, but while researching the material for the page, learned that an 8' fence has been erected around the cemetery to prevent vandalism since the last time we had been there.

With the additional photos a new page devoted to the Haskell Indian Nations University Cemetery was added tonight.



Baklava and Kunafa - Aladdin Cafe, LawrenceBaklava & Kunafa

Murphy - Bromelsick House in Lawrence, Kansas Murphy - Bromelsick House

Haskell Indian Nations University Cemetery - Lawrence, Kansas Haskell Indian Nations University Cemetery

Sunday - April 8, 2018: Mary & Nicholas joined us in a revisit of El Pulgarcito Restaurant in Merriam, Kansas. We have had a review of the Salvadoran restaurant since 2009, but it had been several years since our last visit. My cheese papusa was even better than I remembered, with a crispy outer edge and the curtido (spicy cabbage slaw), which I added from a small bowl. Papusas are the quintessential Salvadorean dish, made from thick corn tortilla stuffed with a savory filling.

My pollo guisado (chicken in a season sauce) was less flavorful than I remembered and good have benefited from some salt, but there is no slat on the tables and I didn't ask for any. The platano frito (fried plantain) was very good.


El Pulgarcito Restaurant - Merriam, Kansas. El Pulgarcito Restaurant
Saturday - April 14, 2018: We spent the middle of the day in Kansas City, Kansas, starting with a revisit of Christy's Tasty Queen in the Turner district. The walk in restaurant has no seating, just a few picnic tables and customers sitting their cars and eat in poor weather. My pork tenderloin tasted as good as it has in the past, though there was some gristle and some of the mouthfuls were pretty chewy.

Christy's still uses the same recipe the original owners used in 1932. Many people feel the tenderloin sandwich is the best in the Kansas City metro area, though I rank it second to the pork tenderloin at Susy Q's, 3 miles away.

Our next stop was on a dead end in a nearby residential area in Argentine where there is a marker for White Feather Spring, which is in a nearby ravine and about this land being the burial spot for the Native American spiritual leader Tenskwatawa, The Shawnee Prophet.

While we were photographing the marker, a neighbor (Ernesto Arvizu) introduced himself and asked if we would like to see the mural. He walked us around the fence and back to the ravine. Along the way, Ernesto told us about his wife Lupe Arvizu and him moving into the house next door over 20 years earlier, that he had started mowing the grass, was contacted by the Shawnee who own the land and that the couple are now its caretakers.

After showing us the spring and the relatively new mural on the wall where the creek passes out of the property Ernesto invited us to come back whenever we wish. He said the fence would soon limit access, except though their house, but to just knock on their door to gain access.

We continued east, to the 20 foot tall, 220 yard long Anthology of Argentine Mural. I had no idea it was so large! It was the work of 7 artists, 3 from the neighborhood, 2 from Kansas City, Missouri and two from Mexico. It tells the history of the Argentine community from the Native Americans, to the generations of immigration, to development, to racism, to the 1951 flood, to the people who live in Argentine today.

Our final stop was farther east, on Southwest Boulevard in the Rosedale district of Kansas City, Kansas. Original Juan Specialty Foods began production in 1997, creating specialty sauces, salsas, snacks and dips for wholesale, retail and private label customers. There is a factory outlet store and parts of the factory can be viewed through windows near the store. Original Juan produces 150 of their own products under 13 brands and over 1500 private label products for companies throughout the world.

We got lucky. A BBQ crawl group was being led on a tour of the facility and we got to tag along. There was the opportunity to taste just a handful of items at the conclusion of the tour and then a bachelors party who were part of the crawl tried the tiniest drop of "The Source." It is rated at 7.1 MM Scoville Units, one of the hottest sauces in the world!


Christy's Tasty Queen - Kansas City, Kansas Christy's Tasty Queen

White Feather Spring, Kansas City, Kansas White Feather Spring & Ernesto Arvizu

Anthology of Argentine Mural - Kansas City, Kansas Argentine Mural

Original Juan Specialty Foods - Kansas City, Kansas Original Juan Specialty Foods

Friday - April 20, 2018: Linda and I had supper at Bangkok Pavilion Restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas. I really love their lunch buffet and stop in for it at least 2 or 3 times a year, but I have only been in to order off the menu once or twice in many years. 

We started with Thai style crab rangoon. They are folded differently than any crab rangoon which I have had elsewhere. They have a lot more filling, though the filling is a little bland compared to others. Still. it was enjoyable. Linda had the Basil Fish, flounder in a garlic basil sauce for $14.95. She ordered her dish "mild," but it still had a lot of flavor.

I had the $13.95 Pad Thai Seafood with shrimp, squid, imitation crab, scallops, eggs, cabbage, bean sprouts, scallions and finely chopped peanuts, stir fried with rice noodles. I asked for my dish to be a 4 on a 1-5 scale for heat. I could have stood hotter, but that was about perfect to be the most flavorful for me.


Bangkok Pavilion Restaurant - Overland Park, Kansas Bangkok Pavilion Restaurant
Sunday - April 22, 2018: I drove to Kansas City, Kansas to have lunch at Mad Jack's Fresh Fish in Kansas City, Kansas. It had been nearly 3 years since the last time I had been there. 

I was going to have fried oysters and frog legs, but there were out of the frog legs and I went with red snapper instead. The lady at the counter asked me if I wanted the oysters soft or hard, something I had never been asked before. After a few second's thought I said soft. That was a good choice! I really liked the oysters, ore than some that I have paid three times as much for.

The red snapper was tough and I wouldn't get it again.

Lunch was followed by a visit to some nearby sites associated with Charlie Parker, the great jazz saxophonist who was born in Kansas City, Kansas. I photographed the now vacant lot where the house he was born in was located, the memorial at Big 11 Lake, and Douglas Elementary School. Actually, I only photographed the memorial from a distance. A homeless person was sleeping next to it and I decided to leave it for another visit.

Linda and I had supper at Burnt End BBQ in Overland Park. I had not dined there since before they moved to this 119th Street location from 135th Street, years ago. At that time, they were OK, but not one of the top places, and I quit going there after a bad service experience (the person bringing our food to our table dropped a rib on me and neither replaced it or gave much of an apology.)

I really wasn't prepared to cut them a lot of slack this time and was unimpressed with the sauces, beans, burnt ends and fries. However, the chicken really was quite good. The skin was crispy and slightly sweet. I would like to have their chicken again.


Mad Jack's Fresh Fish - Kansas City, Kansas Mad Jack's Fresh Fish

Charlie Parker Memorial - Kansas CIty, Kansas Charlie Parker Memorial

Burnt End BBQ - Overland Park, Kansas Half chicken & 2 sides for $11.99

Wednesday - April 25, 2018: I revisited Taste Of Africa in Overland Park, Kansas, to update its listing on our Overland Park Restaurant Guide. It opened in 2014 and it had been nearly that long since our last visit. The restaurant has grown more polished in the intervening time, more professional in many tiny ways. The prices have also gone up over 20%.

I had the the Ng'ombe (beef stew), which came with Corn Meal Mush (Ugali), sautéed cabbage and fried plantain. The food a little bland, compared to what I remembered from before, but there was a huge bottle of hot sauce on the table and a little of that made all the difference. My favorite part of the meal was the plantain.

At supper time, I revisited another Overland Park restaurant, Wyandot Barbeque 2. This isn't one of my most favorite restaurants, but I do enjoy there food, which comes in large servings at a low price. I had my usual, a generous mixed plate of beef, ham, ribs and fries for $11. It is more meat than I like to eat in a sitting, but the ribs reheat well later. The fries are just frozen crinkle cut, are crispy and golden, about as good as you can make with cutting fresh.


Taste Of Africa - Overland Park, Kansas Taste Of Africa

Wyandot Barbeque 2 - Overland Park, Kansas Wyandot Barbeque 2 mixed plate

Friday - April 27, 2018: I finally made it to the Clendening History of Medicine Museum at the University of Kansas Medical Center in Kansas City, Kansas. I've known about it for several years, but it is only open 9-5, Monday to Friday.

Actually, it is open less than that. Although the current exhibit, devoted to realities of science and medicine in Frankenstein's lab is very well done, there wasn't much else to see. There are more displays in the Clendening History of Medicine Library (which is accessed through the museum), but it is only open Monday & Wednesday from 9-1 and Tuesday & Thursday from 12 - 4. I recommend only visiting the museum during those timex.

Following the visit to the museum, I revisited the fairly nearby Danny Edward's BLVD BBQ. It had been over a year since my last visit. I had a quarter chicken with fresh cut French fries and fresh cut sweet potato fries. 

Although I prefer the French fries, there may be the best sweet potato fries I have ever had!


Clendening History of Medicine Museum - Kansas City, Kansas Clendening History of Medicine Museum

Smoked chicken and sweet potato fries at Danny Edward's BLVD BBQ Smoked chicken and sweet potato fries

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