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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Wilcox Classical Museum - University of Kansas
Wednesday - September 1, 2021: Continuing to revisit Overland Park Restaurants which we have reviewed, but not visited in more than 2 years, I had lunch at André's Confiserie Suisse & Rivaz Tearoom in south Overland Park. I first dined at André's flagship location in Kansas City, Missouri in 1985, when it was already 30 years old. This Overland Park location opened in 2005.

Open only for lunch, the menu at Andre's changes daily and today's choices were cauliflower ham cheese casserole, chicken or tuna salad entree salad, turkey & gruyere sandwich, salami and provolone sandwich, quiche Lorraine, cheese pie, The meal is served all inclusive with sides, bread desert, and coffee or tea. for $17.53. 

I had the cauliflower ham cheese casserole, which is described as florets of cauliflower, diced ham and shredded Gruyere cheese baked in a cream bechamel sauce and was served with the choice of two sides. I rarely eat cauliflower as an entree, but was quite happy with this dish and particularly enjoyed the flavor of the ham. 

The four sides offered were all salads and I chose the cucumber salad and green salad. I would have have liked onion in the cucumber salad, but it was still quite good. There was no choice of dressing for the salad and it was served dressed with a Swiss version of creamy vinaigrette Franzosische Salatsauce or French Salad Sauce which was invented in house in 1955. It was thin light colored dressing which  did not cling to the greens. To my taste the dressing was almost non existent. Yet it is popular enough that bottles of the dressing are sold to take home.

The bread was crusty, slightly warm and served with unsalted Grassland grass fed butter. I'm not that big a bread eater, but thought this was very good.

Dessert was the choice of nine different pastries or one of several cookies, including 6 gluten free options. I went with Matterhorn, a blend of chocolate cake and chocolate butter cream with a butter cookie base. Although the dessert was small, it was was very rich with a really wonderful chocolate flavor. I took small bites to savor every bit of it and was quite satisfied.

You  pay at the candy counter, instead of the table, so that you are exposed to the many chocolates, pastries and heat-at-home entrees. Wanting to sample more of André's dishes than I could at one meal, I got frozen chicken spinach shrimp lasagna and cod casserole with rice to take home.


André's Confiserie Suisse and Rivaz Tearoom - Overland Park, Kansas André's Confiserie Suisse & Rivaz Tearoom

Cauliflower ham cheese casserole - André's Confiserie Suisse and Rivaz Tearoom Cauliflower ham cheese casserole

Matterhorn - André's Confiserie Suisse and Rivaz Tearoom Matterhorn

Thursday - September 2, 2021: Union Pacific's historic Big Boy steam locomotive No. 4014 started its third and final 2021 pass through Kansas this morning and I was waiting near De Soto, Kansas while it traveled on its way from Kansas City, Missouri to Lawrence, Kansas. 

There were quite a few people waiting near the tracks, but I found a spot across a field where I could see it longer and have time for a short video and some photos.

After the train passed, some people headed toward Lawrence where they might see Big Boy stopped for a half hour, but I drove to the University of Kansas campus, where the Wilcox Classical Museum has reopened after a year and a half closing due to Covid.

The Wilcox Classical Museum first opened as the Classical Museum of the University of Kansas in 1888, making it the oldest museum at KU. It was located in old Fraser Hall, but that building was closed in 1965 and the museum was placed in storage until this 1,500 square foot space became available in 1985. The museum also serves as a classroom, but I was permitted to continue touring the museum when a class began during my visit.

There are two galleries and the larger one which doubles as a class room is filled almost exclusively with plaster casts of Roman and Greek art. The smaller gallery has ancient artifacts from around the Mediterranean, including coins, lamps, pottery and small sculptures. Both galleries display student designed proposals to remodel the museum. The plans include making it more open and removing the screens which cover the original windows of 117 year old Lippincott Hall.

Having noticed The Wagon Wheel on my way to the campus, I returned to the 66 year old bar, better known as The Wheel for lunch. The dark bar is covered everywhere with the KU souvenirs and student graffiti and lighted by chandlers built from wagon wheels, which gave The Wheel its name. This popular place is more bar than grill, but serves burgers during the day and pizza at night.

I had their best known item, the Wang Burger which is topped by fried egg, bacon and cheese and has been mentioned on air by ESPN commentators who dined there before calling a game. It tasted good and didn't really need any condiments. It isn't very big, but large enough for only $6. 

My only real complaint with The Wheel was the lack of a lock on the door of the small men's restroom.

Before returning home, I drove south to Wells Overlook County Park, an attractive scenic lookout point about 3 miles south of Lawrence. Our 2017 page about the lookout tower talks about the tower not being accessible and that the trees block the view from the ground, but a there is a new ADA compliant lookout which was built by students of Dirt Works Studio, a University of Kansas School of Architecture and Design studio.


Big Boy steam locomotive - De Soto, Kansas Big Boy

Wilcox Classical Museum - University of Kansas Wilcox Classical Museum

The Wagon Wheel - Lawrence, Kansas The Wheel

Wells Overlook County Park - Lawrence, Kansas Wells Overlook

Friday - September 3, 2021: We were on the road at 3PM, heading west on I-70 and driving straight through got Lindsborg, Kansas and the Peterson Farm Brothers Sunflower Trails. We had learned of this sunflower farm last year and wanted to add it to our Kansas Sunflower Field Guide, but they didn't grow sunflowers in 2020.

This year the field is located outside Lindsborg, about a half mile south of the Peterson Brother's The Heights Wedding Venue. Considering that the Peterson Far Brothers are internationally known and have a huge social media presence, we were surprised to find only one other party at the field at 6PM in the evening. The flowers were nearly perfect for viewing at this time.

There is just a small parking area, but it was far too muddy to use and we parked on the road. Admission is $5/person or $10/per family, with additional charges for professional photographers. You can leave check or cash in a box fastened to a telephone pole by the road or follow the instructions at the entrance to use Venmo. There are trails through the field and you are asked not to leave the trails.

One more party arrived as we left the field to go on into Lindsborg for supper at at Öl Stuga, a bar with deli sandwiches. I dined here in June, but haven't had a chance to try enough of the dishes on the menu.

Tonight I started with one of their "trays." I went with the "Swedish Delicacy Tray" which has 7 oz. of pickled herring, knacklebrot and bond-ost. Not that I knew what knacklebrot & bond-ost are when I ordered. Turns out that bond-ost is a mild Swedish cow's milk cheese which is aged only 6-8 weeks. knacklebrot is a Swedish cracker usually eaten with toppings. This was the first pickled herring I have had in several years and I really enjoyed it. It was in a particularly sweet brine.

I also had a German sausage made with sausage, Swiss cheese, Dijon mustard and sauerkraut on a submarine bun. It was served with chips and was a good sandwich. One I would definitely have again. Linda had the famous Brent Nelson, but without hot pepper cheese, just sausage, BBQ sauce, smoky sharp cheese and onions served warm on a submarine bun. The pain rippled potato chips served with the sandwiches mainly added crunch. I wouldn't mind some flavored potato chip options.

It was a nice meal for only $26 before tip.

We spent the night at the Best Western Plus Midwest Inn & Suites in Salina, Kansas.



Peterson Farm Brothers Sunflower Trails - Lindsborg, Kansas  Sunflower Trails

Swedish Delicacy Tray - Ol Stuga in Lindsborg Swedish Delicacy Tray

Saturday - September 4, 2021: The morning started out with rain, so we waited until about 10AM to start today's explorations. The first stop was just a short drive from the hotel, Fossett Plaza at the Salina Regional Airport. The centerpiece of the Plaza is a 16 foot tall monument to Steve Fossett’s 2005 around the world, solo, nonstop flight in the Global Flyer. The 22,936 mile, 67 hour flight started and ended at the Salina Airport.  The runway Fossett used can be seen from the small plaza which also has almost illegible etched metal panels with info about Fossett, the flight and other history of the airport.

We crossed town to Oakdale Park where the 3rd day of the Smoky Hill River Festival was taking place. We paid $10 each to enter the festival and were given a color coded wrist band for admittance that day. Admission was by cash only and no receipts were available.

One of the first things we spotted in the festival was World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the World's Largest Things Sideshow Extravaganza, created by Erika Nelson from Lucas, Kansas. Erika was just finishing set up and we checked out the displays and they watched as she cave out fortunes from a booth reminiscent of a Zoltar machine. After a brief chat with Erika, we got our own fortunes and moved to see more of the festival.

We visited most of the more than 100 crafts booths, the 3 out of the 4 stages where there was live entertainment in the morning, and other outdoor art installations. We purchased lawn art from AJ's Copper Garden in Homestead, Iowa. There were many food vendors with items which looked good and we had frog legs and popcorn shrimp for lunch.

In the afternoon we drove to Manhattan, Kansas to a farm market called Britt's Garden Acres, At the market we each paid $5 for a wristband and they directed me to their sunflower field a couple of miles away. I would have had a hard time finding the field from the directions, but they had also provided an address and I put it in the GPS. The sunflowers were a little down from heavy rain but still looked good. There were Guinea fowl in the field from a nearby farmstead.

After being closed for a year and a half due to Covid, the Marianna Kistler Beach Museum of Art reopened earlier this week. We stopped to get some fresh photos of the galleries, as the photos we have been using on the museum's page have been over 10 year's old. Unfortunately, two of the museum's galleries were empty and other galleries were closed for a September 7th opening.

Since we were just a half mile away, we went to the Call Hall Dairy Bar. This is where the  ice cream, milk, cheese, from the KSU Dairy Processing Plant are sold to the public. Mask wearing is currently required in all buildings at Kansas State University and everyone at the Beach Museum was wearing masks, but despite prominent sings on the door, almost all people in the long, packed line to get ice cream were unmasked.

It looked like they had sold a lot of ice cream today and they were sold out of the flavors we would have really liked, so we went with vanilla crunch and peanut butter chocolate nut.

We had one more sunflower field to visit and drove just south of Manhattan to another farm market, A & H Farm. The grounds around the market have things for children like slides and a pen of goats. They are not in very good condition. A small sunflower field was at the far end of the property and we couldn't get to the sunflowers without wading through a few inches of mud and water. The plants were small, sparse, small and not very attractive, though there were a few things set up to provide photo props. There was a $10 charge, which is high if (like us) you are there without children and just there to see the sunflowers but is more reasonable if you are there to see goats and do other things. The produce is nicer than what is outside. We bought some great peaches from Idaho.

Our final stop of the day was for supper at The Wheel Barrel in the NOTO district of Topeka, Kansas. The Wheel Barrel serves soup, salads and grilled cheese sandwiches. We had the Not-Yo-Mama's BLT (sharp cheddar, goat cheese, bacon, mixed greens, tomato and sriracha aioli on sourdough) and the Kansan (cheddar, mozzarella, grilled onions, mushrooms and roast beef on sourdough with a side of jalapeno ranch). Both were good, though the ranch did noting for me. I would like the restaurant even more with a selection o condiments to select from after the sandwich comes to the table.


Fossett Plaza - Salina Regional Airport Fossett Plaza

World's Largest Collection of the World's Smallest Versions of the Largest Things Getting my fotrune from Erika Nelson

Britt's Garden Acres - Manhattan, Kansas Britt's Garden Acres sunflower field

A and H Farm - Manhattan, Kansas A & H Farm


Thursday - September 9, 2021: For lunch I went to Sneed's Bar-B-Q in Belton, Missouri. I want to add a listing for Sneed's in our Kansas City BBQ Guide. I ordered a 3 meat combination with sausage, brisket and pork ribs plus baked beans and fresh cut French fries for $20.99 All of the servings were generous.

I didn't find much smoke flavor in any of the meats and wanted sauce on all of them for additional flavor. The meat brisket and ribs were well trimmed and had little or no fat.

The main house barbecue sauce was on the table and was a little sweet. The server brought the hot barbecue sauce. which had a distinctly different flavor, primarily black pepper. I kind of liked the hot sauce on the sausage.

Fresh cut fries are usually my favorite side with Kansas City barbecue, but the sweet, meaty, smoky beans were the star of the meal. As good of beans as I have had in a restaurant.

Three of us has supper at Queen of Mediterranean Restaurant in Lenexa, Kansas. We had lamb biryani, grilled shrimp with veggies, chicken shawarma sandwich with fries and baklava. Almost all was good, it not outstanding. Two of the dishes had a lot of carrots, most of which were undercooked, though the smaller pieces were more cooked and better. I enjoyed the seasoning on the fries.


Sneed's Bar-B-Q in Belton, Missouri 3 meat combo

grilled shrimp with veggies - Queen of Mediterranean Restaurant grilled shrimp

Saturday - September 11, 2021: Linda joined me for a second meal at Sneed's Bar-B-Q in Belton, Missouri.

I was much more impressed with the meats today. Sneads calls their burn ends, "brownies" and the beef burnt ends are great. Wonderful flavor from the smoking and very little fat. I actually would like a little more fat, but this is healthy and probably more popular. The sausage brownies are sliced sideways and thicker than the lengthwise that Sneads' regular sausage is cut. This much the way Jack Stack sausage and sausage burnt ends are cut and all of our family prefers the sausage this way, which seems to be more tender and the flavor we like.

The smoked chicken was a little small, but tasted good. Better than the meats I had Thursday.

The fresh cut fires were hot an much better today. Thursday's fries must have been a fluke. The onion ring appetizer was crispy and very good with a mile batter which let us enjoy the flavor of the onion. They were so good, that at the end of the meal, the cold ones still were very good.



Brownies - Sneads BBQ Half order of mixed beef & sausage brownies

Wednesday - September 15, 2021: Lyle joined me in revisiting the original location of Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que in Kansas City, Kansas. I was last there in January 2019 and I couldn't believe how much this popular restaurant has changed. Joe's shares a building with an operating gas station and has had a small dining room. The size impacted the experience more than you might expect, because they slowed down the food preparation so that dine in customers wouldn't receive food until a table was ready.

In the past year, Joe's has taken over half of the space the gas station was occupying, letting them expand the dining room. Outside, they took over half of the space occupied by the gasoline pumps, so that cars can only get fuel on the far side of the pumps, while an outside dining area goes right up to the pumps on the building side. In addition, they have added curb service with about 10 of the parking spaces. 

This was the first time I have dined at Joe's KC when the line waiting to order didn't go all the way across the building. There were maybe 10 people in line in front of us.

We had a half chicken and a Smokie Joe (chopped smoked beef and pork in barbecue sauce). Both we very good.

Over all the experience is much improved!


Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que - Kansas City, Kansas Joe's KC Dining Room

Outdoor dining - Joe's Kansas City Bar-B-Que Outdoor dining

Thursday - September 23, 2021: I had lunch at Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue, which opened last week in the former Ignite location in Lenexa, Kansas. This is their 6th location in the Kansas City, Missouri area and the second on the Kansas side of the metro.

I've dined at other Jack Stack locations many times, so this time I made a point of having two dishes which I have not had before, I had the $14.50 Fire-Kissed Wings appetizer and a $5.50 side of Cheesy Potato Bake.

There were 10 wing thirds which had been rubbed with Cajun spices and grilled over a hickory fire. They were spicy and quite good. The potatoes were thin slices, cooked like scalloped potatoes, flavored more with black pepper, than with cheddar cheese.



Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue - Lenexa, Kansas Cheesy Potato Bake & Fire-Kissed WIngs

Friday - September 24, 2021: I had lunch at Snack Shack on Santa Fe in Overland Park. It was the first time I have done dine in, since 2019. I had a "Bob," a $6.50 1/4 pound version of the $8 Bobby Burger which is 1/2 pound with American cheese grilled onions and grilled jalapeños. Quite good and really large enough. I may no longer do the Bobby.

The downtown Overland Park streets were closed and vendors were setting up for this weekend's Fall Festival.

Linda and Lyle joined me for a second visit to the new Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue in Lenexa. The price points are a bit higher than I like, but the food was all good. We had burnt ends, beef ribs and pork ribs. 

I like the beef crown ribs at the other locations, but this time had regular beef ribs. They were a little tough, but still tasted quite good, particularly the fatty portions. There were four ribs. Three were enough to fill me and I took one home. We had leftovers of all three meats

Sides sampled included Cheesy Corn, Cheesy Corn Bake, Baked Beans and French Fries. 



Fall Festval - Overland Park, Kansas Fall Festival Vendors

Fiorella's Jack Stack Barbecue - Lenexa, Kansas Beef ribs


Saturday - September 25, 2021: It has been several years since I have returned to the Kansas City Renaissance Festival, so I took advantage of a free ticket from Kansas Public Radio to visit the Bonner Springs, Kansas theme park this afternoon. The parking and the crowd inside appeared to be down this year, but with fewer of the food vendors open this year, the lines looked longer than ever. In particular, the turkey legs booths each had 40 or more people in line.

This was the "Shamrocks & Shenanigans" theme weekend, but I didn't notice more of an Irish theme in the activities that caught my eye. My favorite part of the festival was people and pet watching, with so many customer in costumes.


Kansas City Renaissance Festival - Bonner Springs, Kansas Fire Dancer
Thursday - September 30, 2021: We are off for a short visit to southwest Kansas. We got away from Lenexa about 4 PM and drove straight through to Wichita, Kansas to have supper at the Headz & Tailz Whisky Bar, a Cambodian influenced seafood restaurant which opened in May. We called ahead for a reservation and were told it wouldn't be necessary, but they would mark us down.

We arrived about 6:25PM and the dinning room was empty except for a part which walked in right after us. The owner, Pauleen Riel, let us sit where ever we wanted. She said they were out of a couple of dishes which she hadn't had time to prepare this day.

We ordered Riel Saucy Lobster (a whole lobster with ginger, scallions, jalapeno, lemon grass and onions) and a Khmer-Cajun style create your own platter, selecting shelled shrimp, corn and potatoes. It also came with sausage, which we did not order, but were charged for. As with most seafood boil style corn on the corn, we did not not care for the corn which we felt was overdone. Linda found the mild to be more spicy then she wanted, though I didn't think it was very hot unless I bit into one of the jalapeno sliced. It was good and garlicky. The leftovers which we took with us really were noticeable in the car and in the motel refrigerator. They were good for breakfast the next morning.

The lobster also had plenty of spice. The meat was hard to cut into, to make bite sized chunks, but was tender enough when chewing. The issue may have been with the knife not being sharp enough.

Pauleen asked where we were from and then asked if we were in town for Riverfest. We had not known about the mini fall edition which was added to this year's Riverfest and looked up what was happening this evening. After we visited the Fountains at Riverwalk and found out they were not running this night, we drove to the part of Riverfest that is called Ackerman’s Backyard which was hosting Phlox Kansas fire dancers and actually along the Arkansas River. We purchased $10 buttons to have access and entered Ackerman’s Backyard to find the lights out and no activities going on. There were other people wandering around and we finally found passing through who had learned that the activities had been shut down because there might be thunderstorms. (There were none)

Since we had already purchased admission we walked through the part of Riverfest around Century II. The only thing happening was a sparsely attended concert inside by Flatland Cavalry. Oddly, the outdoor food vendors were still open.

We spent the night in a nice suite at Best Western Plus Wichita West Airport Inn.



Headz and Tailz Whisky Bar - Wichita, Kansas Riel Saucy Lobster

Flatland Cavalry - Mini Riverfest Flatland Cavalry

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