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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Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park - Lenexa, Kansas
Friday - January 3, 2020: With the start of the new year, we are revisiting the restaurants in our Overland Park Restaurant Guide and Olathe Restaurant Guide. We started tonight with dinner at Snack Shack on Santa Fe in Overland Park. The burgers and house cut fries were good, as always. The menu has had some more updates since our last visit. I do miss some of the items they used to do, such as the grilled cheese sandwiches.

 

Snack Shack - Overland Park, Kansas Snack Shack
 
Monday - January 6, 2020: We added a new page devoted to the Call Hall Dairy Bar at Kansas State University. It has long been on our Kansas Specialty Foods page.

 

 
Tuesday - January 7, 2020: Tonight I revisited Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Leawood. I've spent much more time at the other two locations, but have only been to this location once before and it has yet to have its own page on our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide. We had a half chicken and a rib & burnt end dinner. It had been several years since I have had the pork ribs at any of the Joe's locations and I was surprised at how good they are. There were the best part part of the meal.

 

Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que - Leawood, Kansas Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que
Wednesday - January 8, 2020: For lunch, I checked out Oscar's Authentic Mexican Grill in Olathe. The  two year old restaurant in a strip mall store front hadn't been on my radar, but as quietly accumulated a strong rating on Google and Yelp. The prices are extremely reasonable. A two taco meal with rice & beans, plus chips and queso, totaled only $8.08 plus tax.

I enjoyed the chips, queso and refried beans. The tacos didn't impress me, but perhaps the carnitas wasn't the best choice. I plan to try Oscar's again later this month.

 

Oscar's Authentic Mexican Grill - Olathe, Kansas Oscar's Authentic Mexican Grill
Friday - January 10, 2020: I revisited Patrón Pollo N Beef in Olathe for lunch today. The food truck on Santa Fe Street has a very loyal following. Originally named Pollo Patrón, the name change was in April 2018, when they went to a larger truck and added Carne Asada to the short menu. I had the grilled half chicken meal with rice, charro beans, tortillas, salsa and grilled pepper for $9.90. I really would have been happier with just a half chicken, none of the side dishes did much for me and with the exception of the grilled pepper, I didn't have more than a bit or two of anything else.

 

Patrón Pollo N Beef - Olathe, Kansas Patrón Pollo N Beef 
Sunday - January 12, 2020: A group of us made our last visit to Johnny's Hickory House Bar-B-Q in Mission, Kansas after church. Johnny White, who has operated the restaurant since 1977, is retiring and the restaurant will close on January 31. 

The restaurant has been very busy, since announcing the closing last month, but we thought that the snow and ice left over from yesterday would keep the crowd down.

They were busy, but not overly so, but perhaps they were short of staff. 40 minutes was a long time to wait for the BBQ to come out. Everyone enjoyed their meals and it is reasonably priced. The chicken, which is smoked, then finished the fryer, was the most popular item today.

The Olathe location, operated by his son, will remain open.

 

Johnny's Hickory House Bar-B-Q in Mission, Kansas Johnny's Hickory House Bar-B-Q
Tuesday - January 14, 2020: I had lunch at Thai Rice by Ritzutto, in Olathe, which I discovered on Friday when getting food at Patrón Pollo N Bee. It has been open about a month.

Walking in, I noticed a fairly strong odor from incense and a slightly unpleasant underlying odor. I'm not sure if it was the incense or something the incense was trying to cover, but it was possible to ignore and it didn't harm the experience. The prices are reasonable at dinner, but with no real lunch special that appealed to me. Most meals are $11-16 without beverage. There are three 3 pho noodle dishes under $10, but I'm in the minority which is not big on Vietnamese soup.

I ordered the $11.50 Ritzutto Special Stir-Fry, which is described as, "Our signature stir-fry with pan-fried bacon, garlic, and green cabbage slices. Deeply saturated in our super-secret sauce. Served with a side of steamed white rice." 

While waiting for stir fry, the chef came out from the kitchen with three complimentary crispy spring rolls, which she explained were made with her signature sauce and served with more of the sauce on the side. I enjoyed it, but would have liked a peanut sauce instead the thin, slightly sweet signature sauce.

The stir fry came out and it was a very generous serving, largely cabbage with many small pieces of bacon. My first couple of bites were rather bland, but then I dipped the cabbage in the sweet, slightly spicy sauce on the plate and enjoyed it much more. I had ordered hot, rather than Thai hot and that was a good level of heat for me. I don't think that Thai hot would be more than I could eat , but it is about getting the right amount of heat, not trying to test limits. The server brought out a spicy rack with four spicy options for adding more flavor or heat to the meal. I surprised myself, by eating all of the stir fry. I expected to be taking a box home when the plate first came out.

When my check was brought to the table, the server also brought a 3 ounce cup of Blue Bell ice cream and a wooden spoon. It was frozen very hard and couldn't be eaten with the wooden spoon until it had time to warm. I suspect most people take it home or back to work with them before eating.

On the way out the door, the chef stopped me and handed me a handful of small Kit-Kat in unfamiliar flavors. Kit-Kat was the only words in English and I don't know what flavor most of them were. Perhaps green tea. One was peach mint.

I look forward to returning to try their pad Thai. 

 

Thai Rice by Ritzutto - Olathe, Kansas Thai Rice by Ritzutto
 
 
 
 

crispy spring rolls - Thai RIce crispy spring rolls

Ritzutto Special Stir-Fry - Thai Rice Ritzutto Special Stir-Fry
 
 

Kit-Kat bars mini Kit-Kat bars

Wednesday - January 15, 2020: I revisited The Other Place American Sports Grill & Pizzeria in Olathe. It is part of a small chain with 7 locations in Iowa and 2 in Johnson County, Kansas. I was making a point of trying a dish I hadn't had before and tried to order the $7.95 1/4 pound Firehouse burger with sautéed jalapenos & onions, lettuce, pepper jack cheese and red-hot mayo. It wasn't until the check came, that I realized the server had brought the non lunch special, regular Firehouse with a half pound patty for $3.55 more.

The burger was OK, but not juicy, and cooked well done, rather than the medium rare I had ordered. I don't know why restaurants ask how you want your burger, if they cook them all the same anyway. The fries were made from frozen crinkle cut.

We added a new page devoted to the Parsons Historical Museum & Iron Horse Historical Museum in Parsons, Kansas.

 

Firehouse burger - The Peanut Olathe Firehouse burger
 
Friday - January 17, 2020: Today I revisited The Peanut in Olathe, Kansas, which opened a year ago this month. The Peanut Olathe, was the 8th location for this Kansas City bar & grill chain, which started as a speakeasy in Kansas City, Missouri in 1933. The Peanut locations are known for BLTs and Buffalo chicken wings. 

Today I a single BLT, which came with chips for $10. While many people get a triple BLT or extra bacon, the single is good on its own. The chips are slightly above average.

We added a new page devoted to the Mueller-Schmidt House / Home of Stone in Dodge City, Kansas.

 

Bacon, Lettuce and tomato sandwich at The Peanut Olathe Bacon, Lettuce and tomato sandwich
Saturday - January 18, 2020: I attended Cars & Coffee at the Kansas City Automotive Museum in Olathe. The small museum (about 21 cars) is well done. Admission has dropped quite a bit since it opened about 9 years ago and is now $9. The Cars & Coffee includes free admission from 8-10AM on the 1st & 3rd Saturday's of the month.

I was pleased to see America's Sweetheart, a beautifully restored Model A with a wrought iron body, which was built by Dean Weller at Grand Pa's Old Ford Garage in De Soto, Kansas.

 

Kansas City Automotive Museum - Olathe, Kansas Kansas City Automotive Museum
Sunday - January 19, 2020: We had lunch at Brown Sugar: Chicken & Donuts in Kansas City, Kansas, which opened on December 6. The lunch menu is more limited than I anticipated, just chicken wings, chicken tenders, chicken sandwich, grilled chicken sandwich and cheese steak. 

There is a very limited breakfast menu available until 10:30AM, as well as cinnamon roll, carrot cake, cheesecake and donuts until they run out.

We each had the wing special of 4 wings, fries & a soft drink for only $6.99. Refills on the soft drinks are 60 cents each. The brine, rub and breading on the wings all include brown sugar. We had the choice of classic, BBQ, cajun and lemon pepper rub, and went with classic and cajun. Both were spicy and good, but I couldn't really tell them apart. The wings were tender.

The wing servings did seem a little small, but weren't unreasonable for the price.

We added a new page devoted to the Osage Mission - Neosho County Museum in St. Paul, Kansas.

 

chicken wings - Brown Sugar Chicken and Donuts Brown Sugar Chicken & Donuts
Wednesday - January 22, 2020: I paid my second visit to the new Thai Rice by Ritzutto, in Olathe. Well actually my third. I came yesterday (a day it was supposed to be open) and it was locked. 

Today I ordered chicken pad Thai ($10.95). It was OK. It would have been better with extra spices, but the server was struggling to keep up with the other tables and there was no opportunity to request more. Once again, the server brought a 3 ounce cup of Blue Bell ice cream and a wooden spoon, which I took back to work.

 

chicken pad Thai - Thai Rice by Ritzutto chicken pad Thai
Friday - January 24, 2020: I revisited Vader's Bar & Deli in downtown Olathe, Kansas at lunch time. This K-State bar was Dub V's when we first dined there in 2018. The owner was an attorney who didn't want his name associated with a bar. Willie Vader sold out to his son, who was free to put his name on the building, 

The only dog I had tried before was the Cili Dog, so today I had The Opie Dog, a quarter pound all beef hot dog topped with grilled onions and peppers. It looked a little plain, sitting on the plate, but the grilled dog was good. It comes with the choice of potato salad, coleslaw, cottage cheese or chips, for $8. The spicy red cabbage slaw had a taste I didn't like, perhaps a variety of of wasabi or horseradish, though I usually like both of them.

The days are starting to get longer and on the way home from work, there was enough time to stop for photography in Lenexa's Old Town and in Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park. The snow on the trees around Rose's Pond were beautiful! Prints of the photo to the right are available

Sar-Ko-Par was a Creek Indian warrior who served in the U.S. military during the Creek War of 1836. He died in 1849. The land the park lies on, was part of a grant of land which was made to this heirs for his service.

For supper, we went to Strang Hall, the month old chef collective food hall in downtown Overland Park. The food court seemed very busy for a wintery Friday night. So busy that there were people asking for our unbussed table as soon as we started to get up.

We walked past every kitchen to read the menus, look at food and in a couple of cases, ask questions. We ordered a small "single pizza" with Italian sausage, pepperoni, roasted garlic pizza ($13) from Norcini. From Anousone, we ordered fried Brussels Sprouts ($10) and Coconut Braised St. Louis Ribs (13), which are described as slow braised with fish sauce, adobo, coconut mil, garlic beef peppers, jalapenos, tomatoes, yellow onions, served with white or brown rice and garnished with fresh herbs.

The two dishes from Anousone were out very quickly. Maybe too quickly. The ribs were lukewarm and the Brussels sprouts were only a little warmer. The sprouts lacked the crispy elements I expected, but had great flavor. I liked them a lot.

The ribs, not so much. There wasn't much meat from the two very small St. Louis cut ribs and the meats was so tender that it just fell part and there was nothing to chew. The flavor was much less spicy than I expected. It would have helped if there had been Sriracha sauce available.

We waited a long time for the text message that the pizza was ready from Norcini. One of us finally went to that kitchen and spotted the pizza with our name on it. It tasted good, though it didn't seem like much food for $13.

The prices seemed high for counter pickup food. Soft drinks are $3. $2 for children.

You cannot pay for food with cash. You can exchange cash for a gift card at the bar, but then you have to balance having enough money on the card to buy everything you want versus having money left on the card when you leave.

We added a new page devoted to St. Mary's Church in McCracken, Kansas. It took over 3 years, but it now has a page of its own in our Guide to Beautiful & Historic Kansas Churches.

 

The Opie Dog - Vader's Bar and Deli The Opie Dog
 

Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park - Lenexa, Kansas Sar-Ko-Par Trails Park

Strang Hall - Overland Park, Kansas
 Strang Hall

Brussels Sprouts - Anousone kitchen at Stang Hall Brussels Sprouts

Coconut Braised St. Louis Ribs - Stang Hall in Overlnad Park, Kansas Coconut Braised St. Louis Ribs

Saturday - January 25, 2020: We revisited The Junction on Santa Fe, a BBQ restaurant which opened a couple of months ago at the old Hayward's BBQ location in Lenexa. I need to prepare a page about this restaurant for our Kansas City Barbeque Restaurant Guide and wanted to try something new.

Ribs and chicken are not available before 4 PM. We had a burnt end sandwich, wedge fries spiced with their rub and the Backwoods Smokey Burger (8 ounce patty with smoked cheddar, candy bacon, BBQ sauce & fried onion). Yes, they spell it "smokey."

I'm not a big fan of the Junction's sweet, thin BBQ sauce and had already learned to order my meat without sauce. Unfortunately, it first came out with the sauce, but they fairly quickly made another burger without and took 10% off the bill.

I'm not usually a fan of seasoned fries, but I'm a fan of the Junction's deep fried wedge potatoes seasoned with their rub. The burnt ends were quite fatty, something one of us likes and one does not. The burger was very good, The sweet smoky bacon and the onion straws really made it work. This burger is a candidate for our best Kansas Burgers List.

 

The Junction on Santa Fe - Lenexa, Kansas The Junction on Santa Fe

Backwoods Smokey Burger at The Junction on Santa Fe Backwoods Smokey Burger

Wednesday - January 29, 2020: I had supper at Broadmoor Bistro in Overland Park, Kansas. The Bistro is a restaurant operated by Shawnee Mission School District students. My last time there was a little over 2 years ago, when the restaurant moved to this new, larger facility in 2017.

There have been a couple of significant changes. The price has climbed from $25 to $35 for the 4 course meal, and they have returned to offering tours of the kitchen and classroom areas.

I had a seat at one of the two, long "Chef's Tables," so I could see into the kitchen and had a good view of dishes being prepared to go the tables. 

Diners are offered the choice of salad or soup, four appetizers, 5 entrees and an assortment of desserts. I started with Reuben Chowder (corned beef, vegetables, chow chow and rye crumbles). Pretty good if not something I would make a point of repeating.

For the 2nd course, I went with my server's recommendation of Fried Chicken Lollipop (1/2 chicken leg, battered and fried, served with creamed kale and golden chipotle BBQ sauce). It was a better choice. The kale was nicer than I expected.

My 3rd course was also a recommendation from the server and it was fabulous, Duck Confit (served with sweet n' sour collard greens, sweet potato puree and apple cider beurre blanc). The duck meat was most and delicious, with a skin that tasted wonderful. I enjoyed the sweet potato a lot. It was so sweet it could have been a dessert.

My dessert was peach and white chocolate bread pudding. I was surprised when it was served chilled. The flavor was good, but I would have enjoyed it much more, warm.

My server, who is sophomore and will go into the baking classes next year, gave me a tour of the back end of the restaurant, after the meal.

 

Broadmoor Bistro - Overland Park, Kansas Broadmoor Bistro

Broadmoor Bistro interior Chef's tables are at the left
 
 
 
 
 

Duck Confit - Broadmoor Bistro Duck Confit

 
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