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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Giant wren - Topeka, Kansas
Tuesday - June 1, 2021: I had lunch at Chosun Korean BBQ on Metcalf on the south end of Overland Park, Kansas. I like the restaurant a lot, but only get there every year or two. I've a few favorite dishes that I usually have, but today I made a point of trying something new - grilled seasoned chicken gizzards. I get fried chicken gizzards often, but probably wouldn't get this dish again. they weren't bad, but they were were tougher than I am used to and the meat had less flavor. The gizzards were still easy to chew because of thin slices.  The flavor all came from the light sauce with pieces of onion and pepper. 

The meal came with three side dishes, kimchi, fish cake and potato. I liked both the fish cake and the cold potato in a sweet sauce.


Chosun Korean BBQ - Overland Park, Kansas Gizzards at Chosun Korean BBQ
Thursday - June 3, 2021: I haven't been able to get out of town to explore as often as I like, but today I was on the road to Wichita early in the morning. I made just one stop on the road, getting off the Kansas Turnpike at Cassoday, Kansas to see if I could find wild horses. I drove east of town on K150 and found a large group of wild horses with some of them near the road at about the places where we had our best views last August. Although there were some horses nearby when I stopped, a group of three white horses came over from the main herd to check me out. I suspect that sometimes people offer them food.

Back on the road, I drove to Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School to view and photograph a wall display devoted to Father Kapaun, who was a chaplain during the Korean War, who died in a POW camp. He is on the road to Sainthood and the school is named for him. 

When I checked in at the office, the staff seemed surprised to have someone come to view the displays and didn't know if they should let me in, but one went in search of someone in authority. The president of the school, Rob Knapp, came out and after asking a few questions, gave me a tour of the parts of the school which are related to Father Kapaun.

In addition to several cases with relics related to Father Kapaun, there was another hall with many photos from throughout Father Kapaun's life time. There is also a wall with a nice photo of the Father in uniform and smaller photos of former students from the school who are serving in the armed forces. There is a smaller, similar wall with photos of those former students who are studying to join ministry.

Lunch was a little more difficult. I started by going to Jack's Coffee Shop. Although two signs said they should be open and there was a vehicle in front, the door was locked.

My second stop was Buster's Burger Joint which we first visited last summer and which nearly closed this past winter. I ordered a $4 single cheese burger and $2.15 small tater tots and dined in. The tater tots were fine (it is hard to make them exceptional). The burger was much more well done than I prefer, but still tasted wonderful and the slightly crispy smashed burger had a nice texture. Planning to visit one more restaurant for lunch, I had only a few tots and planned to have only two or three bites of the burger, but it tasted so good that I ate the entire cheeseburger.

It turned out to be a good thing that I did, when I arrived at Bomber Burger at about 12:15, there was a sign on the door that they were out of meat. This was the third time they have been out of meat when I went there. I really need to call first, but I didn't anticipate them being out this early in the day.

Wichita Riverfest starts tomorrow and instead of the usual Sundown Parade, there will be a drive by "porch parade" tomorrow though Sunday. I drove by several of the business and residential addresses that are participating in the parade, thinking they might have their displays up already, but none them did. 

We have had a page devoted to Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception for 15 years, but I haven't been very happy with some of the photos used on that page and stopped there to take new photos. This is the seat of the Bishop of the Catholic Diocese of Wichita.

The doors to the church were locked, but the Parish Office was open and let me in to see and photograph the interior. It turned out that all the doors into the sanctuary were also locked, I returned to the office and they electronically unlocked the door at the back. It is a handsome building!

With many things to visit, I hurried on to Riverside Central Park, where I took some additional photos of animals in the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit and people playing in the nearby Interactive Fountain.

I went on to Mid-America All-Indian Center. We once had a page devoted to the Center, but it had grown dated. It happened that a new display of art by the late Blackbear Bosin, whose most famous piece of art is the statue "Keeper of the Plain" in Wichita. The exhibit will officially open on Saturday, which is the 100th anniversary of Bosin's birth. The exhibit will run for one year. Other than the modest art gallery, there isn't a lot to see in the museum when they aren't hosting special events.

While I was in the area, I took photos and video at Keeper of the Plains and stopped at the original Nu-Way Cafe to have a root beer freeze.

Then to the northwest corner of the city to revisit the Steampunk Grassroots Art of Gary Pendergrass. The clever science fiction inspired art environment is in the back yard of a home in a residential neighborhood, but open to the public. I was delighted to the see that the door to the workshop and a gate to the rest of the yard were open this time. This is the area where this wonderful, mostly metal art is created. I could hear a table saw in use and rounding a corner, discovered Gary at work.

He continued to work while I took a few photos, then took a break so we could talk. It was interesting to learn how e started and some aspects of the creative process! The most impressive thing was learning that for the past year, Gary has set up a studio at McAdams Academy, an alternative, trauma informed private school located in Wichita, Kansas. He is a volunteer who works with high risk youths in middle school or high school, helping them acquire the skills to create their own three dimensional art.

Continuing to check out as many restaurants as possible, I went to Tad's Carryout, and takeaway only restaurant in a small storefront on Hillside Street. I first visited Tad's in November and was impressed with the food. This time I wanted to try their gator or frog legs. but they were out of alligator until the next week and the frog legs were not in season. I ended up with three chicken wings and fries. The fried wings have a spicy coating and were quite good. The fries are just made from frozen, but are heavily seasoned with hot pepper. Not bad, but it was easy for me to taste just a few of the fries, to leave room to eat food one more time. I got the peach cobbler, but took the large cobbler home to try at another time (it was excellent).

I started on the way home, stopping in Emporia, where I wanted to get some photos of David Traylor Zoo. The zoo was closed for the day, but portions of the zoo with the largest animals have been drive through and open in the evenings, but construction is taking place in that area and it was marked closed.

At the other end of Emporia, I went to Do-B's for the final meal of the day. We visited Do-B's in October and were impressed with the sandwiches we had then. Today I had the Hot Wing sandwich (Chicken, Onion, Blue Cheese Crumbles, Chef's own Wing sauce and American Cheese on a bun). The flavor was excellent, particularly from the blue cheese, but I had ordered the 1/4 pound version for $10.25 would like to have a little more meat and would rather have the 1/2 pound size for $12.75. Ideally it will be on the same size bun.


Wild Horses - Cassoday, Kansas Wild Horses

Kapaun Mt. Carmel High School - Wichita, Kansas Father Kapaun relics

Buster's Burger Joint - Wichita, Kansas Cooking at Buster's

Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception - WIchita, Kansas Cathedral of the Immaculate Conception

Mid-America All-Indian Center - Wichita, Kansas Blackbear Bosin

Steampunk Art - Wichita, Kansas Gary Pendergrass

Do-B's - Emporia, Kansas Do-B's hot wing sandwich

Friday - June 4, 2021: Linda and I tried out Chosun Korean BBQ 2. this new 2nd Chosun location has only been open a few weeks and is presently only open evenings. The menu is identical at both locations. Linda had a full order fried shrimp appetizer for $11.99. The shrimp were tempura style and there were 8 long shrimp. I went with the Ojingeo Bokkeum, which is a spicy squid stir fry. I didn't think it was as good as I have had at the south Metcalf location, but the leftovers were better a couple of days later.


Chosun Korean BBQ 2 - Overland Park, Kansas Chosun Korean BBQ 2
Saturday - June 5, 2021: We were going to try out the brand new KC Daiquiri Shop Bistreaux in Overland Park, but learned that is is not open until evening. We drove several miles south to revisit Tabard's Kitchen instead. We had enjoyed their food in the past, but it had been several years since we dined with them. The are one of the growing number of restaurants that does not offer paper menus, having a QR code on the table to send you to one. It did not work with my phone and after several minutes we were able to convenience our server to bring a paper menu.

Linda had the $11.95 Club Quesasilla. The "club part was three layers of tortilla. I had the $12.45 Crawfish and Andouille Melt, which tasted good, but needed more meat.



Tabard's Kitchen - Overland Park, Kansas Crawfish & Andouille Melt

Tuesday - June 8, 2021: I revisited Roscoe's BBQ in Edwardsville, Kansas, which already had a listing on our Kansas City BBQ Restaurant Guide, but did not have a page of its own. A new page devoted to Roscoe's was added this afternoon. Roscoe's has one of the shortest menu's and limited open hours of any Kansas City Barbecue Restaurants and isn't even open at all on the weekend.

I had a jalapeno sausage sandwich and French fries. The sandwich was served lightly sauced and there was no sauce on the side or additional sauce available in the dinning room. Although it is "jalapeno" and the counter person made sure I knew that, it really wasn't very hot and I don't believe that most people would find it to be too spicy.

The fries were crinkle cut and were not house made, but they were very crispy and I enjoyed them much more than I remembered.

At supper time we checked out Seafood Island, a Cajun restaurant which opened in Shawnee, Kansas last year. We had tried some fried items by carry out a few months back, but had not had their "build your own seafood boil. It is much like a seafood boil that I had at Mr. & Mrs. Crab in St. Petersburg, Florida last month, you order meats by the half pound and for each pound ordered, get two potatoes and a corn on the cob. You get a choice of seasoning (Cajun, lemon pepper, garlic butter seasoning, garlic butter only or house special). There is no description of the house special.

You also choose spice level (none, mld, medium, spicy, extra, super) We ordered head off shrimp and sausage prepared with mild garlic butter seasoning and head off shrimp and blue crab with spicy garlic butter seasoning. The half pound was just one crab though it had been two crabs at Mr. & Mrs. Crab. The boil comes in large, sealed plastic bags which the seafood was cooked in. You open the bag and pour the contents on your plate. Their is a pail for the shells.

Generally the food was good, with the sausage being out least favorite. It takes a lot of effort to get fairly little meat out of the blue crab and I would not get it again. I liked the spicy broth and would have sopped some of it up if bread had been provide.

The meal came to $46 including one iced tea and tax. The dining room was rather warm and I'm not sure how comfortable it will be on a really hot day.



Roscoe's BBQ - Edwardsville, Kansas Sausage sandwich & fries

Seafood Island - Shawnee, Kansas Seafood boil

Wednesday - June 9, 2021: I'm off on an overnight trip, exploring central Kansas. I began in Topeka, with brief stops to photograph a bison statue, the large Wren statue which once sat on top of the WREN radio station and the nearby 6' tall Russian Egg. There was road construction next to the later two and the photos of the egg are not very appealing. 

Next stop was the "fire hydrant garden, a home with old fire hydrants all along the edges of the yard and lining the edges of the building. I had taken some photos of the hydrants before, but they were inadequate for making a page devoted to the art environment. In the same block, I also photographed a handsome old service station building and the John Nelson House which was built in 1889.

I had called Porubsky's Grocery to alert them that I was planning to get 4 pints of hot pimento spread today, but they did not have additional and I settled for the 4 smaller containers which they had. They just opened the adjacent Porubsky's Tavern for dine in last week and I took several phots of that area.

Lunch was at Prize Package a small carryout restaurant and store on the east side. The restaurant was opened by Dee and Harold E. Cromwell in 1951. Harold passed away in 1992 and Dee continued to operate the restaurant until she passed away in 2004. There is only a small space for customers, surrounded with an unusual variety of small items and they ask what type of vehicle you are driving and bring your food to your car,

I ordered a chili dog, double cheeseburger and French fries. the burgers are not very large, but a double is only $3.45 and they offer up to 4 patties. The bun acted like they were once frozen, but tasted fine. Both sandwiches were good and they grilled the onions as I requested. The fries were decent for made from frozen.

The owner had noticed my taking pictures and came outside with her daughter to see me taking more photos and we had a nice chat.

I stopped in Alma, to check out a waterfall south of town at Alma City Lake, but there was no water flowing. Since I was already off the freeway, I also drove north to Wamego to take photos of some of the finishing touches on the new murals which have been going up along an alley which is called the Yellow Brick Road. Six artists have been painting a total of seven murals.

We followed up the Wamego murals with a couple in downtown Abilene, Kansas,

Back in the car, I called the new St. John's Military School Historical Museum in Salina, Kansas. I was told that the curator was at the museum and would remain to show me around. The academy operated from 1887 to 2019 and the museum just had a grand opening on May 14.

I was met at the museum by Kent Tretheway (Class of 1971) who gave me a very through tour which included associating photo and artifacts with over 100 students, faculty and staff. The museum has about 7 galleries, each associated with certain years and having class photos of all but a few of the oldest classes. Each gallery has social areas with plush chairs & sofas, making the building into a nice club house for the "Old Boys." as the alumni are known.

Our tour took about an hour and 20 minutes. Someone with a connection to the school would probably taken more time. Those without a connection will probably be satisfied with less than a 30 minute visit.

Before leaving Salina, I stopped at 99 year old Cozy Inn to have a couple of ounce burgers and the Kansas Fishes Exhibit at the Central Mall. The 15,000 gallon aquarium is nearly empty and the fish are moved as they are waiting on parts. The sign said there was a turtle in the tank, but the lights were off and I could not see it.

Supper was at Öl Stuga, a bar with deli sandwiches in Lindsborg, Kansas. Wanting to sample more of their menu, I ordered two sandwiches and took half of each away with me. I got a $7.50 Reuben, which had a very generous serving of thin sliced corned beef. The rye bread had a strong rye flavor, holding its own with the corned beef and their was enough cheese to balance them. There was only a hint of sauerkraut and I couldn't really taste the kraut. I also didn't taste the sauce and didn't learn until later that you have to request it.

My other sandwich was the $7.50 "Brent Nelson" (sausage, BBQ sauce, smoky sharp cheese, hot pepper cheese & onions served on a warm bun). It is a good sandwich and is the one they are famous for, Former President of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Gorbachev, had one when attending and event at the Anatoly Karpov International School of Chess across the street. In 2012, the Brent Nelson was a finalist for Good Morning America's "Best Bites Challenge: College Edition."

I missed the "trays" on the menu and need to return to have a smoked oyster, pickle herring, sardine or knacklebrot and cheese tray.

I spent the night at the Best Western in McPherson.


Giant wren - Topeka, Kansas WREN wren statue

Porubsky's Tavern - Topeka, Kansas Porubsky's Tavern

Prize Package - Topeka, Kansas Prize Package

- Wamego, Kansas Wamego Mural

St. John's Military School Historical Museum - Salina, Kansas St. John's Military School Historical Museum

Íl Stuga - Lindsborg, Kansas Brent Nelson

Thursday - June 10, 2021: I contacted the Inman Museum a couple of days ago and arranged to see the museum this morning. They are normally only open on Sunday, but are so serious about trying to open the museum to everyone that they have a list of 11 names and phone numbers on the door to call to see museum. I was met by the curator, Ralph Vogel. 

The museum occupies a large former former store front, but includes many out building, both next door and across the street to the back. Ralph pointed out the 1875 Wilke Homestead & Farm, across the street, but none of the other buildings were included in the tour. He is a former educator and the one who built many of the exhibits, which are very well done. He gave me a tour of the main building, which had several highlights, including a large collection of antique, toy circus wagons, a couple of which were actually carved by Ralph 50 years ago.

Driving on to Hutchinson, I started with a short revisit of the Cosmosphere, a science and space museum. I've visited the museum multiple times and didn't have time to see a show and tour the Hall of Space Museum today. I limited my visit to photographing the public areas which can be seen without purchasing admission, They include a replica Apollo lunar lander, a flown SR-71 Blackbird, a restored Mission Control console, exhibits about each of the planets, a Saturn H-1 engine, gift shop, Cosmosphere Cafe and more. Someone with a love of space could easily spend a half hour enjoying the free parts of the Cosmosphere.

While driving across town, I photographed the 13th Avenue & 6th Avenue home where Grandparent of four members of the rock group The Beach Boys lived. Murry Wilson, the father of Brian, Dennis and Carl Wilson, was born in the 13th Avenue home, and Edith Wilson, mother of Mike Love, was born in the 6th Avenue home.

I stopped at Roy's Hickory Pit BBQ on the west side of Hutchinson. Wanting to try multiple restaurants, I got pork ribs, brisket and two kinds of sausage to go. The line at the counter was at the door when I arrived a little after 11AM. Every customer, but one, was getting their food to go. It took about 20 minutes to get through the line. When I asked for plastic bags instead of paper, since the meat was going in a cooler, the lady at the counter took extra care with the packaging and even gave me a couple of extra bags, "Just in case."

I called in advance to 72 year old R-B Drive In, ordering a quarter pound cheeseburger and small order of fresh cut French fries. The order was ready when I arrived and dined at the counter. The food isn't just good, it is quite reasonably priced. The cheeseburger was $4 and the fries were just $1! Planning to try another restaurant, I had just a couple of the fries.

Before leaving Hutchinson, I stopped at the Hutchinson Zoo, which has been undergoing construction for what seems like forever. The work continues, but several of the new exhibits are open including much larger places for beaver and otter.

My 2nd lunch was at The Barn in Burrton, Kansas. I ordered the shotgun shrimp and chicken fried steak, eating a little of both and then packaging the rest to take home. The shotgun shrimp is battered and fried shrimp tossed in house sweet & spicy shotgun sauce. It wasn't as spicy as I expected, or really that sweet, but it was good. I enjoyed it even more with hot sauce at home.

The chicken fried steak had a very flavorful coating, which was almost over cooked. The Barn had several house made desserts and I decided on something I had never heard of before, Banana cream cheesecake, but when I got home, I discovered that it was banana cream pie.

My server, Saah McMillan is also a photographer and we talked about Kansas locations which we love to photograph. She told me about Certies Lavender Farm, a few miles south of town. I drove their next, but the lavender had not grown very large this year and I took a couple of photos and continued on to Halstead, and photographed a Gary Pendergrass's steam punk sculpture which was recently installed at Springdale Art and Nature Center.

I finally visited Crystal Springs, which provides Florence, Kansas with its water. It and Florence Water Plant 49 are located a few miles northeast of town. There is a monument and where the water flows out from the water plant, there is a short waterfall down to a creek.

A few miles east, I stopped at the Drinkwater & Schriver Flour Mill in Cedar Point, Kansas. The mill is being slowly stabilized and restored, but I couldn't see any change since I was there last summer.

Then on to Chase Lake Falls in the spillway of Chase State Fishing Lake, west of the community Cottonwood Falls. The beautiful series of falls was little known when I first photographed it in 2008, which left me surprised when there were 8 cars parked on the road. I found a couple of families picnicking near the top falls, with the children in the river and continued to find people all the way to the bottom where several teen girls were doing a photo shoot.

I drove into town to take new photos of the falls which Cottonwood Falls is named for, then headed to Emporia, Kansas for supper at J's Carry Out. In addition to carry out, there is a drive through window, counter and a few tables.

I ordered a $7.19 mushroom Swiss burger, $3.09 regular coney dog and $2.98 curly fries. Yes those are somewhat oddly priced items. The food was all fine, and I would be happy to get it if I was in town at meal time, but it isn't food that I would drive there to get.



Inman Museum - Inman, Kansas Ralph Vogel with toy circus wagons

Cosmosphere - Hutchinson, Kansas Saturn H-1 engine

Beach Boys Wilson home - Hutchinson, Kansas William & Edith Wilson home

R-B Drive In - Hurchinson, Kansas Cheeseburger & fries

The Barn - Burrton, Kansas Shotgun shrimp & chicken fried steak

Chase Lake Falls - Cottonwood Falls, Kansas  Chase Lake Falls

J's Carry Out - Emporia, Kansas J's Carry Out

Saturday - June 12, 2021: We had lunch at Knub's Pub in Shawnee, Kansas. I tried this restaurant its first year, but it has been open several years now and is getting strong customer reviews and I wanted to give them a second go. 

Linda ordered the "Brother Burger." substituting chicken for hamburger, topped with seasoned cream cheese, smoked gouda and bacon crystals. All the elements were good and so was the sandwich, but they didn't come together quite the way she hoped. In particular the candied bacons didn't compliment the rest of the sandwich.

I had the "Shroom Attack" topped by grilled mushrooms & onions, smoked gouda and cream cheese. Another good sandwich, but for me the total was less than the sum of the ingredients.


Burgers at Knub's Pub in Shawnee, Kansas Brother Burger & Shroom Attack
Tuesday - June 15, 2021: We left on a 9 night trip to northern Michigan, to take literally thousands of photos for our sister web site MightyMac.org. Highlights of the trip included a glass bottom boat shipwreck tour, a helicopter flight over the Mackinac Bridge, renting a self drive horse & carriage on Mackinac Island and visiting Oswald's Bear Ranch near Newberry, Michigan. I've prepared a 10 page trip report and the links above go to the pages with that part of the trip. Mackinac Bridge at night Mackinac Bridge in the moonlight
Friday - June 25, 2021: I had lunch at Mr. P'z Bar & Grill, which is at least the third BBQ restaurant at this storefront on 103rd at US69 in Overland Park, Kansas. we had carry out from here once in the past year, but this was my first time dinning in. I had BBQ before, so today I tried the stuffed burger of the week. "The Surf & Turf" stuffed with a smoked cream cheese & crab meat mushroom and topped with smoked cream cheese remoulade and fried shrimp. It didn't really come across as a burger. In particular, it was like the mushroom was between two small patties, rather than stuffed, but I enjoyed it and the $13 price including fresh cut fries seemed fair.


Mr. P'z Bar & Grill - Overland Park, Kansas The Surf & Turf
Sunday - June 27, 2021: We visited Papagallo Italian & Mediterranean Express in Lenexa for lunch today, having a chicken kabob dinner and shrimp diablo. The $16.95 chicken kabob tasted great, but we would have liked a little more chicken, it seemed like there was a high ration of sweet pepper to meat.

I selected the $16.95 shrimp diablo because it was one of the few dishes the server suggested and because I like spicy food. I enjoyed the shrimp, though it tasted about like something I might have cooked at home. There was nothing to make the dish special. There was a lot of sauce for the few shrimp.

The small store front restaurant is run by two brothers, with one in the kitchen and one at the counter, handling the to go orders and the few tables.


Tuesday - June 29, 2021: I finally made it to the new Monkey King BBQ & Noodle restaurant in Lenexa, which opened last winter. This is a great new venue for authentic Chinese food in Johnson County and a good counterpoint to ABC Cafe, a few miles away in Overland Park. The dishes are uniquely different and the setting is larger and more comfortable. The food and experience are enough different that although I believe that both restaurants will appeal to the same audience, they should hurt the business for the other restaurant.

I ordered the $7.95 spicy duck wings and $13.95 salt & pepper pork belly. The duck wings are a shade of dark brown that I am not used to seeing in savory dishes. There were six or seven large wing flats & tips with very little meat. I am used digging the little bits of meat off wings and this was mainly somewhat tough skin. The sauce was mild enough to not be too much for anyone who would consider ordering a dish with "spicy" in the name. I would be fine sharing an order with someone who want to have them, but wouldn't be likely order it again myself.

The salt & pepper pork belly was slightly crispy and more enjoyable.


Duck wings - Monkey King BBQ Spicy Duck WIngs
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