changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith's exploration
& photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals
and art. Contact him.
- April 1, 2019: I a new page about Outhouse Grove, in Elk Falls, Kansas,
which I visited yesterday morning. Elk Falls is the self proclaimed Outhouse
Capital of Kansas and hosts an open house and Outhouse Tour on the Friday
and Saturday before Thanksgiving each year. This new grove gives people
a handy photo opportunity year around.
- April 2, 2019: I had supper at Mass St. Fish House & Raw Bar
in Lawrence, Kansas, which opened 2 years ago in the old space which was
once occupied by Buffalo Bob's Smokehouse. The menu lists many small plates,
but only 7 entrees.
went with a small plate (grilled oysters) and an entree (Mass fish &
chips). There were 6 small oysters in the $15 small plate. I was expecting
the grilling to have added something to the appearance and flavor of the
oysters, but though the server warned me that the shells might be hot,
it was more like slightly warm raw oysters on the half shell.
$15 wild Alaskan cod with French fries was much better, The fresh cut fries
were not crispy, but still tasted fairly good and the deep fried cod had
come out just right. At that price points, I would have liked there to
have been one more piece of cod than the two small pieces on this dish.
service was very good and there were definitely other items on the menu
that looked interesting to me. I would like to try them again, though the
menu will probably have rotated before I will get there again.
my way back to the car, I spotted a mural on the side of one of the buildings
on Mass. I photographed that mural, along with two which I found on Vermont
Street on the way to Public Library, one of which was actually on the outside
of the library.
also took photos of the beautiful 1904 Carnegie building, which is the
former Lawrence Library. Today the building is operated by the Lawrence
Parks and Recreation Department as an event and meeting space.
was on my way to the current library to see a presentation, "If These Walls
Could Talk: Kansas Murals" by Dave Loewenstein, who had photos and talked
about some of the 1,000 murals that you can find throughout Kansas. I was
a little surprised at how many of the ones which he featured, I had already
seen, but got leads on 2 I hadn't known about and one I have neglected
seeing and really should.
Mass St. Fish House
fish and chips
- April 3, 2019: At lunch time, I revisited Toni's Italian Restaurant
which opened in Olathe, Kansas last year. My previous visit was in November.
There are a variety of $8, $9 and $12 lunch specials and I had the $9 Chicken
Diavolo (Sautéed mixed vegetables in fresh garlic and basil, served
over spaghetti and spicy sherry wine sauce). That dish was fine, but what
really impressed me were the house salad and warm, fresh rolls with oil
& vinegar with herbs for dipping. The salad was simple but had plenty
of good blue cheese dressing and I would have been happy with a meal of
the bread and a larger salad.
supper time I checked out the new Fireside BBQ and Bar which opened in
Overland Park, Kansas last Thursday. This the same location as the Fireside
BBQ which closed last fall and is using the same sauce, but is otherwise
changed. I was told that the owner lives a few blocks away and has other
local businesses. This is his first restaurant. Fireside is a sports bar
which serves BBQ.
burnt ends and cheesy corn were both quite good. The burnt ends needed
no sauce. They had good texture and flavor without being as fatty as many.
I felt that the pork ribs and turkey did need sauce. The ribs were tender
without falling off the bone and pared fairly well well with the sweet
sauce. The turkey was a little dry and also benefited from a little sauce.
were three sauces on the table. The original and Embers (hot) sauce were
both sweet and thin. The "Sweet" sauce was thicker and had a more
complex flavor. I expected a little more food at the price point oil. I
usually have food to go, but ate all of the $17 combination dinner.
Rib & 2 meat combo with 1 side
- April 6, 2019: I drove to Leavenworth, Kansas to visit the two National
Cemeteries and Fort Leavenworth.
first stop was Leavenworth National Cemetery, a 129 acre cemetery on the
south side of Leavenworth, next to the Dwight D. Eisenhower VA Medical
Center. It has well over 30,000 interments. While photographing the cemetery,
I spoke to a security guard and learned that the Chapel
of the Veterans is closed due to safety concerns and there are no current
plans to reopen it.
through Leavenworth, this seemed like a good day to revisit Homer's
Drive In. It had been several years since I last dined at Homer's and
the review of the 88 year old restaurant was over due for an update. After
confirming that their had been few changes to the menu, I ordered Mac's
Homemade Chili. It is meaty, but not very spicy, probably a better choice
on a hot dog or French fries, than as a bowl on its own. The server brought
hot sauce at my request.
rules for gaining admission to Fort Leavenworth
had changed since the last time I was there and while our pages about the
fort had been updated with current information, I felt I needed to actually
experience the changes.
to Fort Leavenworth who do not have a Department of Defense issued ID card
must now stop by the Visitor Control Center. It is near the Grant Gate
and home Monday through Saturday. The building feels a little unwelcoming,
but there was only one person in the waiting area and I soon saw someone
who checked my identification, finger printed me, photographed me and ask
detail question about where I would be going. In about 10 minutes I was
on my way, with a one day pass which had my photograph on it.
the pass at the gate, the process was much quicker than the past. The guard
scanned the bar code on the pass and waved me through with no questions
or inspection of the vehicle.
stopped at the Buffalo Soldier Monument, which had greatly changed since
I first photographed in it in 2005. At that time, there was mainly a large
bronze statue of a mounted Buffalo Soldier and a fountain, overlooking
Merritt Lake. Now there is a "Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area" and the
Buffalo Soldier Monument has been joined by the Circle of Firsts and the
Walkway of Units.
Circle of Firsts recognizes significant "firsts" by African-American soldiers
and units in the U.S. Army and the Walkway of Units recognizes units which
were the first to make certain achievements.
way around Lake Merritt is a reminder of the Cold War, the Berlin Wall
Monument, with a section of the Berlin Wall, from near Checkpoint Charlie.
It was given to the nearby Command and General Staff College by President
3 slabs have been mounted to represent the wall crumbling (right), fallen
(left), and Democracy remaining (center).
stopped briefly at the Frontier Army Museum to take some current photos
and also photographed several of the oldest most interesting buildings
on the post.
most interesting discovery was the Military Prison Cemetery for the burial
of the unclaimed remains of prisoners who died or were executed while incarcerated
at the United States Disciplinary Barracks (USDB). 14 German prisoners
of war are buried in a separate row at the rear of the cemetery, and I
am amazed that I had never heard their story before.
was getting well into the afternoon and I took a break to leave Fort Leavenworth
for lunch. It was approaching 2PM and the first two places I wanted to
try were closed. I finally arrived at Baan Thai Restaurant. I have been
very impressed with this Thai restaurant in the past, but it has been 10
years since the last time I dined there. I don't know if they have change
or my tastes have changed, but I was disappointed with both the garlic
ribs appetizer and chicken pad Thai. Not terrible, but it didn't wow me
like it did 10 & 11 years ago.
on the post, I finished the day taking a lot of new photos of Fort Leavenworth
National Cemetery. It was much harder locating specific graves in this
cemetery than at the other national cemetery in town. I wasn't the only
one having trouble, I encountered a couple who had been search for a grave
for a long time and who finally gave up.
spent much more time at the cemetery than I had planned and by the time
I finished, it was time to call it a day.
Leavenworth National Cemetery
Mac's Homemade Chili
Buffalo Soldier Commemorative Area
Berlin Wall Monument
Military Prison Cemetery
- April 7, 2019: Added a new page devoted to the Military
Prison Cemetery at Fort Leavenworth, which I discovered just yesterday.
- April 9, 2019: This evening we had supper at Heather Beez in Kansas
City, Kansas. Although neither Google, Facebook or the social reviews sites
have figured it out, Suzie Q's
Restaurant in closed October 2017 and was replaced by Heather Beez,
with a similar menu.
were out of several items this evening, including the giant port tenderloin
Suzie Q's was famous for, though it is still listed on the menu as "Biggest
hand breaded Tenderloin in KC!" We had a grilled ham steak that was huge
and very good.
western burger (Swiss burger with BBQ Sauce and bacon) was ordinary. The
Suzie Q's were fresh cut and good, but not crispy enough to be great like
they were before.
a new page devoted to the Grenola
Elevator Museum in Grenola, Kansas. It is a neat museum occupying an
old grain elevator and two one room schoolhouses which were moved to the
Grenola Elevator Museum
- April 11, 2019: Mary and Nicholas joined us in revisiting El
Pulgarcito Restaurant in Merriam, Kansas. Although I had been there
more recently, its review had not been updated since 2015 and it was over
due. El Pulgarcito was the first Salvadoran food I ever had, and taught
me to love it. The menu has grown since that first try in 2009. It still
includes a few Mexican dishes, but the burgers sre gone and it is mostly
food from El Salvador.
had a variety of dishes, including pupusas, every variety of taco on the
menu, carne asada,
than menu changes, there is little to update in their review.
- April 13, 2019: It had been a few years since I had visited Davenport
Orchards & Winery in Eudora, Kansas and on an impulse I stopped there
on my way to Lawrence this morning. I didn't know the hours, but when I
pulled in the drive, there was an "open" sign on the door.
door was locked, but a smaller sign said to ring the bell twice and someone
would be along in a couple of minutes. Greg Davenport came out of the house
and opened the shop in less than a minute. We are fond of Davenport's non
grape wines and I tasted the three that were available for tasting today.
The apple was very sweet, much to my taste. The first "Peche" was also
quite sweet and Greg recommends it for an after dinner wine, taking a sip
and holding it in the mouth until the sweetness goes away. The third wine
was "Peche Black Label," which is fortified with peach brandy made from
their wine. It was my favorite.
Davenport Winery has fine art labels and that is a selection of the grape
wine labels at the right.
trip to Lawrence was to photograph more of the public art and I started
with a drive by the 4-1-1 Studio of Dave Loewenstein, the artist who made
the presentation about murals earlier this month. I drove on to photograph
two other murals before stopping for lunch at O Cafe Korean Restaurant.
dinning area is bright with lots of windows and quite attractive. The menu
had photos of the dishes, which was helpful, as there were many unfamiliar
dishes on the menu. I went with the Jjajangmyeon (pork belly with black
bean paste sauce with noodles, topped with an egg). I chose the thin noodles
and spicy. It had just the right amount of heat and was also slightly sweet.
I had intended to take some home, but it was so good I couldn't stop.
came with just 3 banchan (side dishes). I like two of these a lot, but
their servings were very small. There was just one server and the restaurant
was pretty busy. She never came back to my table after bringing out the
food, so I couldn't ask for more of the banchan.
neat thing about this restaurant was the collectable items on sale, such
things as framed memorabilia from the Tom Mix Circus and Emmet Dalton,
as well as autographs from actors who portrayed munchkins in the Wizard
of OZ, Jack Haley (the Tin Man) and automotive pioneer Charles Duryea.
lunch, I drove north of the Kansas River to the Visitors Center in the
old Union Pacific, where I picked up some brochures to plan future Lawrence
exploration. Heading back to the south side of town, I photographed several
more murals and art installations.
the west side of Lawrence, I visited the new Leeway Butcher, in the same
building as Leeway Franks. I bought some chorizo to take home. After putting
the meat in the cooler, I stopped at Leeway Franks and ordered a chili
frank itself was very good, with a great flavor and the casing offering
just the right amount of snap as I bit into it. The chili was mild and
they don't offer crushed red pepper or hot sauce with the condiments, but
after I asked, they gave me a little paper cup with some hot sauce from
the kitchen. The fresh cut fries are thick cut and were not cooked as much
as I like. A couple of the fries were smaller and cooked much more to my
I was already on the west side of town, I stopped at Pioneer Cemetery,
165 year old Civil War cemetery on the University of Kansas campus. Several
of the grave markers in the cemetery are from the burials of victims of
"Quantrill's Massacre" on August 21, 1863.
- April 14, 2019: Added a new page about the Salter
House Museum in Argonia, Kansas. Updated the reviews of Smokin'
Joe's BBQ in Olathe, Beef Burger Bob's
in Neodesha, and Homer's Drive In, in
- April 27, 2019: At lunch time, we made our second visit to Heather
Beez, a diner in Kansas City, Kansas, which replaced Suzie
Q's Restaurant. Today they were not out of the pork tenderloin, It
is still huge and still very good. They did a nice job on a BLT as well.
bad news is that they have cut way back on hours and now close at 2PM every
day except Friday, when they close at 8PM. The other bad news is that while
the Suzie Q's weren't bad, they haven't mastered making them crispy and
they are going to drop them entirely, going to just the frozen French fries.
is a first look at the new Sinbad's Grill at 7002 West 83rd Street, Overland
Park, Kansas, which opened April 14. This Mediterranean restaurant occupies
the strip mall storefront that previously held Icing on the Cake. It is
right across Metcalf from the 35+ year old Mr. Gyro's and will benefit
from having a local clientele which is familiar with this type of cuisine.
order at a counter, then take a seat. The food is made to order.
had a lamb kabob sandwich ($9.95 with a side and drink), shawarma classic
sandwich ($7.95 alone), and lamb kabob platter with rice, salad & choice
of sauce ($9.25). All were excellent. The spices give the dishes a complex,
delightful flavor. The shawarma included (apparently) house made pickle,
which the person who ordered the sandwich did not want, but the other two
of us fought over those pickles. The taziki sauce was excellent, with lots
of garlic and no noticeable cucumber. They could sell it by the bottle.
the food first came out, there ware only two dishes. They had forgot to
make the lamb kabob sandwich. The meat is cooked to order, so it was 8
more minutes before the third dish came out.
battered fries were nothing special.
had mixed opinions about the baklava ($1.99), which contained honey, but
was not soaked in it. One of us enjoyed the baklava a lot, while the other
found it tough and less flavorful they anticipated. They still finished
all liked this food a lot. Allowing for the rather small selection, I enjoyed
this food more than any other Mediterranean restaurant in Johnson County.
Eating there was a real treat!
lamb kabob sandwich
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