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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Original Rules of Basketball on the DeBruce Center at University of Kansas
Tuesday - March 1, 2022: I visited the heron rookery on 87th Street in Lenexa, which was very active last March. I could find only 2 birds present today and no good photo opportunities.

I had lunch at The Rub BBQ in Lenexa. The sausage and house cut fries were as good as they were last year. The $11.49 one meat/one side platter had a generous serving of sausage and a very generous serving of fries.

 


The Rub BBQ in Lenexa, Kansas The Rub BBQ
 
Wednesday - March 2, 2022: I drove to Downtown Overland Park to check out Upper Crust Pie Bakery. Do to Covid, their small interior dining space is not available and I purchased an assortment of items to try at home. Rather than getting slices of pie, I got three tarts called "Cutie Pies" for $9.75/each: Peach, Apple and Sour Cream Blackberry. Also cookies, each of which had a different price. I ordered shortbread ($3.95), Decadent Chocolate ($3.50), and Peanut Butter ($2.85) The woman wrapping up my purchase mentioned that they are known for their Banana Cookies ($3.65), so I got one of them as well.

The pies were good, though I wouldn't get Sour Cream Blackberry again. It seemed like they were all more crust than filling. It was a good flaky crust, but on my repeat visit I think I will go with pie by the slice ($5) which should have more filling and probably is a better buy.

The shortbread and peanut butter cookies were better and the Decadent Chocolate is definitely worth getting again. The banana cookie seemed more like a bread, than a cookie and was not my cup of tea.

 

Upper Crust Pie Bakery - Overland Park, Kansas Upper Crust Pie Bakery

Cutie Pies - Upper Crust Pie Bakery Cutie Pies

 

Thursday - March 3, 2022: On Thursday in March, Joe's Kansas City BBQ serves Rueben sandwiches made with corned beef burnends. It is a special treat and I went to their Olathe location to sample one again, as well as update our review of the the restaurant. 

It really is an excellent sandwich. I wish they would make them available year around.

Linda and I had supper at Barbwire Barbecue in Eudora, Kansas. The restaurant opened in 2020 and we had tried them in November. This was a 2nd visit to decide if they should be our our Unique Kansas Restaurant Guide. We had the "Out of the Chute" (toasted sourdough bread with chuncked brisket, smoked gouda cheese and caramelized balsamic onion jam for $11.75), "Haystack" (Pulled pork, pulled turkey, chunked brisket and onion straws on a toasted potato bun for $10.50), and onion rings ($4.50).

The sourdough bread was very good and that sandwich was our favorite. The Haystack was good as well. The onion in the onion rings kind of got lost in the the thick beer batter and we barely touched them.

After supper, we drove on to Lawrence to attend the TCU - Jayhawk makeup game which was rescheduled from the begining of the conference season. It was a great game, which Kansas narrowly won 72 - 68. After the game I took pictures of the Original Rules of Basketball as projected on the exterior of the DeBruce Center after dark.

 

Rueben sandwich - Joe's Kansas City BBQ Rueben sandwich
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Original Rules of Basketball - DeBruce Center Rules of Basketball

Friday - March 4, 2022: We made our first every visit to Story. Earlier this week, it was anounced that Carl Thorne-Thomsen, chef and owner of Story is a finalist for a James Beard award. 

The fine dinning restaurant had a a short menu, with only 7 entrees. We had the salmon and braised beef short ribs. the $34 salmon was described as coming with butternut squash, celery root purée, oyster mushrooms, and pumpkin seeds; while the $35 ribs came with potato gnocchi, green beans, bacon, onion rings, which led us to think that we didn't need to order sides. But those other items were little more than a garnish. The dishes tasted fine, if not outstanding. The meat portions were adequate, but a hearty eater would probably leave hungry. The pictures of the dishes on their web site are much more generous.

I started the meal with a $14 mushroom bisque, which was my favorite part of the meal. The bisque included goat cheese and herb bread crumbs. We finished with doughnuts. The $9 serving included two each of vanilla pastry cream, salted caramel, and passionfruit doughnut holes.

 

Salmon - Story Restaurant Salmon

mushroom bisque - Story Restaurant mushroom bisque

Satueday - March 5, 2022: We intended to have supper tonight at J. Wilson's in Lawrence, but when we arrived there, they were fully booked and it turned out the reservation which we had, was for a J. Wilson's in Texas, which does not put their address on their reservation form, or put their phone number or address on their confirmation emails.

Hard pressed to find a table on Saturday evening, we ended up eating at Torchy's Tacos, a counter service bar and taco restaurant. We quickly learned that this is a chain of about 100 restaurants, 5 of which recently opened in Kansas. The large tacos made for a reasonably priced meal.

 

Torchy's Tacos - Lawrence, Kansas Torchy's Tacos
 
Thursday - March 17, 2022: I'm off to Topeka to visit various locations of Topeka Dino Days is a four month long celebration of dinosaurs with exhibits, activities and events at various locations throughout Topeka, Kansas. It began at some venues in February and will run at others through June 2022. 

My first stop was at Topeka Dino Days Base Camp. in downtown, which Visit Topeka recommends that you start your journey at. There was a full size Allosaurus skeleton and calf, a pop up store with Topeka Dino Days swag, and information about things to see and do in Topeka and Shawnee County.

I drove to Gage Park and checked out Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs and Babies at the Kansas Children's Discovery Center. It is an exhibition of authentic dinosaur eggs & nests from around the world. It was quite interesting and is included at no additional charge with regular admission to the Discovery Center. I took advantage of being there to get some updated photos of the rest of the Discovery Center, which I last visited in 2013.

Across the park, I was fortunate to find a parking spot right in front of the busy Topeka Zoo. Dinosaurs Alive!  features life sized, animatronic dinosaurs throughout the zoo. They move and make sounds. The most popular pair are a Triceratops which faces off with a Tyrannosaurus Rex. Included at no additional charge with regular admission to the Topeka Zoo.

I drove to North Topeka to have lunch at Nannys Soul Food, but was disappointed to discover it was closed March 11 - 19. I visited their Facebook page and saw nothing about them being closed. I later revisited their Facebook page and found that they had posted about the closing weeks earlier, with several more recent posts pushing that notice down where it wouldn't be seen.

I had planned a back up for lunch and then drove to Jong's Thai Kitchen, which had a sign that they were sad to have to be closed for lunch today.

After checking for other highly rated nearby restaurants I settled on Nauling's Texas BBQ & Soul Food, which opened at the first of the year,  They moved the restaurant to Topeka from Junction City. The restaurant is operated by a husband and wife. Kim Nauling was running the cash register and bringing food to the tables, while Rod Nauling was cooking and plating the food. 

I ordered a Big Ast-ro a three meat - 3 side platter available in small for $20 or large for $23. I got the small, which had smaller servings of the sides. I selected pork ribs, hot link, beef sausage, candy yams, collard greens and baked beans. The meal included a canned soft drink, bread, pickles, jalapenos and a small serving of coleslaw. 

The sausage and pork ribs were very smoky and had lots of flavor, needing no sauce. The hot links were OK, but not smoky and I would have liked a spicy mustard on it, but there was no mustard or ketchup on the table.

The sauce was thin, not ketchup like. The regular sauce was mild and sweet. The hot sauce had a touch of cayenne. It was served on the side and Kim asked which one I wanted. Never having had it before, I wanted to try both and their was a 75 cents charge for the second sauce on side. It turned out there was a bottle of regular sauce on the tables so they only gave me one sauce on the side, but still charged for two.

The collard greens and beans were good, though not stand outs. The just slightly sweet yams were my favorite of the sides. The slaw tasted like lightly sweetened cabbage.

The Big Ast-ro was served in a basket, I didn't care for the cheep plastic utensils and small flimsy napkins which were provided.

After stopping by CW Porubsky Grocery and Meats to buy some chili and Fanestil Meats beef sticks, I went to the fourth exhibit of Topeka Dino Days at Great Overland Station, which makes a nice venue for SUE: The T. rex Experience. The exhibit is built around a cast of "Sue" the Tyrannosaurus Rex from Chicago's Field Museum. There is also a cast of a Triceratops skeleton and a replica T. rex killing a Edmontosaurus. The two halls also have exhibits telling the story of the Cretaceous forests and the finding of Sue. Admission feels pricey at $16.37 for adults and $13.10 for children and seniors.

Before leaving Topeka, I stopped by Washburn University to photograph a couple of war memorial, revisit Mulvane Art Gallery and check out the Rita Blitt Gallery and Sculpture Garden which opened in 2017. 

I added a new page devoted to Topeka Dino Days.

 


Topeka Dino Days Base Camp - Topeka. Kansas Allosaurus

Kansas Children's Discovery Center - Topeka. Kansas Tiny Titans: Dinosaur Eggs & Babies

Topeka Zoo - Topeka, Kansas Dinosaurs Alive!
 
 
 
 
 

Nauling's Texas BBQ and Soul Food - Topeka, Kansas Nauling's Texas BBQ & Soul Food

Nauling's Texas BBQ and Soul Food dinning room Counter & Dinning Room

Nauling's Texas BBQ & Soul Food
Big Ast-ro
 
 
 
 

SUE: The T. rex Experience - Great Overland Station Sue

Saturday - March 19, 2022: I traveled to Raytown, Missouri to pick up lunch at Harp Barbecue to review it for our Kansas City BBQ Guide. Harp is only open Fridays & Saturdays and the meat is brought into Crane Brewing in Raytown. They are open a total of 6 hours a week, or less if they run out of meat.

I arrived at 10:40 AM Saturday and joined the line waiting in the Crane Brewing Taproom. The Taproom and BBQ both open at 11, but there were already 14 people in line ahead of me. The doors to the brewery opened at 11 and we walked across a warehouse and into a second warehouse room where the food is sold at a counter. There are a few tables in that room, more in the taproom and picnic tables outside. If you are dinning there, the food is artfully arranged on a tray. They put some effort into making the to go boxes attractive as well.

I ordered and received my food about 11:30, about 50 minutes from when I arrived. The people who arrived later were looking at a longer wait. There were about 50 people in line as I walked out.

The menu is on a couple of chalk boards and changes daily. Saturday's menu is not the same as the night before. I ordered jalapeno cheddar link, beef brisket, pork ribs, sweet potato burnt ends and cheesy corn.

The brisket was the star of the show. Two 1/4 pound slices for $15. Some would complain that they were too fatty, but I loved that flavor. It was smoky and well seasoned by a spicy rub. I didn't want to cover up any the flavor with sauce.

The ribs were even more strongly seasoned with a layer of cracked peppercorns. A half slab for $17.50. I though the sauce went well with them as well. Sauce would not be necessary, but I felt the savory BBQ sauce went well with them. 

The $6 jalapeno cheddar link was smoky and good. I would have liked a metal knife to cut it, instead of plastic. It did not need sauce.

Sides are $4 and fried sides are not available. The sweet potato burnt ends sounded like they would be crispy, but were soft. They were OK, but I thought they looked better than they tasted. The cheesy corn wasn't very cheesy, but tasted good. The meat was accompanied by lightly pickled cucumber and onion slices.

Do not wear nice shoes to Harp Barbecue. Even though it had been a day or two since it rained, the parking was quite muddy.

 


Harp Barbecue Menu - Raytown, Missouri Harp Barbecue Menu

Harp Barbecue Counter - Raytown, Missouri Harp Barbecue Counter
 
 
 
 

Harp Barbecue meates and sides Jalapeno Cheddar Link, Brisket & Ribs

Tuesday - March 22, 2022: I drove to Q39 in Overland Park to check out their Reuben Sandwich. Q39 has joined the slowly growing number of Kansas City BBQ restaurants to offer Reubens made with smoked corned beef in March. 

Rob Magee was the founder of Q39 and died of colon cancer in December. This year the restaurant is donating $1 to  Rob Magee Memorial Fund for Cancer Research.

At $14 including no sides, the sandwich is pricey at $14. That said, it is a good Reuben. Not over the top good, but something I would probably get again if it was available year around. The rye bread was particularly good, even though I am not normally a big fan of rye. I would have liked a little more dressing.

 

Reuben Sandwich - Q39 Reuben Sandwich
Thursday - March 24, 2022: Buc Tui, the Thai influenced Kansas City BBQ restaurant in Overland Park which opened curb side only last month, has now opened their dinning room and we went there for supper. We ordered a $17 KC-Thai Brisket Sandwich and $14 Cold Smoked Shrimp.

The sandwich came with French fries, which is part of the reason I ordered it. Fries are not available to be ordered as a side, they only cone with a couple of sandwiches and kids meal. The menu spells out that they "will politely refuse any modifications or substitutions on out meals." The brisket was pretty good. It seems like there are a lot more places with good brisket these days.

Linda was happy with the smoked shrimp. There were 8 medium shrimp and three sauces on the side.

 

KC-Thai Brisket Sandwich - Buc Tui Overland Park KC-Thai Brisket Sandwich
Saturday - March 26, 2022: The owners of the Snack Shack on Santa Fe, which we have enjoyed in downtown Overland Park for years. have moved to the former Valentine Dinner, which once was Town Topic in Mission, Kansas. They acquired the property about a year ago and initial reports were that they would open last summer.

They are doing a trial run this weekend, before starting regular hours next week. We will be sorry to have them be much farther away, but the expanded space is a big improvement. My $7.50 Bob Burger (1/4lb topped with American cheese, grilled onions and grilled jalapenos) was good as always.

While in Mission, I picked up sausages to cook later at Werner's Fine Sausages and checked out the newly opened dinning room at Stroud's Express.

 

Snack Shack - Mission, Kansas Snack Shack
Tuesday - March 29, 2022: We had supper at Bangkok Pavilion in Overland Park. I love their lunch buffet and travel there for the buffet every a few weeks, But have only ordered off the menu 3 or 4 times in many years. We had the $6.50 Crab rangoon, $14.95 Crazy Chicken, and $12.95. Gang Dang (red curry with chicken).

The crab Rangoon was five servings that looked like small cream puffs, they did not have the wanton "wings" I am used to seeing. They had a lot of the cream cheese stuffing, but it was less seasoned than I am used to.

The Crazy Chicken was a whole breast which was barbecued in house BBQ sauce and served with a side of stir fried vegetables. Linda ordered it mild. I found it to still be nicely seasoned and slightly sweet.

Although I enjoy Thai food hot, I ordered the curry "medium" and asked for thai peppers in fish sauce to add to it. I love that mixture of flavors and heat.

 

Crazy Chicken - Bangkok Pavilion in Overland Park, Kansas Crazy Chicken
 
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