|Saturday - November 29, 2008: I started
the day with a visit to the new Kolache Factory in Overland Park, Kansas.
So new that their website says they will open soon. The rapidly growing
chain currently is open in 7 markets and this is their only location in
Kansas or Missouri.
A kolache is an Eastern European fresh baked pastry, traditionally
filled with sausage, cheese, or fruit. They warm them by request.
I tried pineapple, cream cheese and sausage & cheese
kolaches. While the pineapple one did little for me, I enjoyed the other
two. There wasn't much cheese in the sausage & cheese kolache, and
the next time I will probably order just sausage.
Lunch was at Skillet Licker Cafe in Kansas City, Kansas.
Skillet Licker is at 501 North Sixth Street in a lovely old building in
the Strawberry Hill neighborhood.
The small family run cafe opened in May of this year and
has already built up a reputation for tiny donuts which are sold 6 for
$2 or 12 for $3. Unfortunately for me, the donut fryer was shut down for
cleaning this day. I did have a very good, large hand breaded pork tenderloin.
The bun was rather tasteless, but the tenderloin was one of the best I
have had this year.
Joined friends for supper at Garozzo's Restaurante in
Overland Park, Kansas. I had a dish I had never tried before, Vitello Spiedini
alla Sophia Maria (lightly breaded and rolled veal, filled with Genoa salami,
provel cheese, diced tomatoes, red onions, and pine nuts, char broiled
and served in Marsala wine sauce with sautéed mushrooms).
It is my new favorite!
Added a new page devoted to Ari's
Greek Restaurant in Olathe, Kansas.
Skillet Licker Cafe
|Friday - November 28, 2008: Had lunch at
54th Street Grill and Bar in Olathe, Kansas. The small regional chain is
based in Kansas City, Missouri and has only one location in Kansas at this
time. I had not been to a 54th Street Grill since a terrible service experience
at a now closed location in Overland Park, years ago.
I was pleased with my meal. Although the French fries
were only average, the burger was large and cooked to order. Most restaurants
in Olathe only cook their hamburgers well done.
I need to return to 54th Street and try more of the items
on their rather large menu.
In the evening, I checked on some of the Kansas City area
Christmas displays. The unusual geometric light displays on 63rd Street
west of State Line Road are not here this year. But the fabulous Christmas
display on Falmouth Street in Prairie Village, Kansas is still there
and still improving. New this year, there is a window decorated as a pond
with animated turtles and frogs.
I will be returning for new photographs in the next couple
|Wednesday - November 26, 2008: Revisited
and photographed Imo's Pizza on 135th Street in Overland Park. The weekday
lunch buffet is only $5.99 and includes pizza and a better salad bar than
I expect from a pizza parlor. Although I arrived well before noon, Imo's
was packed and only a couple of tables were available.
Imo's doesn't do the best job of keeping an attractive
selection of pizzas on the buffet. But those pizzas that are on the buffet
are quite good.
|Tuesday - November 25, 2008: I tried to
have lunch at India Palace in Overland Park, Kansas, but found a sign on
the door saying they are closed every Tuesday. Other people were arriving
there making the discovery at the same time.
Since I was in the mood for Indian Food, I decided to
continue to 9036 Metcalf Avenue Overland Park and try the India Cafe, which
has a lunch buffet and Indian fast food other times. Indian Cafe is at
location that has had 3 or 4 other Indian restaurants since the first Johnson
County Indian Restaurant opened at this location in the 1980s..
The staff was friendly and I really wanted to like their
restaurant but was pretty disappointed. The only items on the buffet that
I found average or better were the lentil wafers and masala dosa (Potato
filled crape appetizer). The chai tea was also good, but they brought only
a half cup and never refilled it. They did refill my water, but never asked
if I wanted anything else to drink.
I was happier with supper at Wallaby's Grill & Pub
in Lenexa, Kansas. I used to be a regular at this pub, but it is just a
little too far from me for a regular haunt.
The menu and interior appeared unchanged from my last
visit 3 or 4 years ago, though I didn't recognize any of the staff. The
Cheesy Chicken Soup was very good. A cheeseburger and fries were a little
Added new pages today devoted to Big
Bubbas' Bar-B-Q and Gringo's
Restaurant, both in Olathe, Kansas.
Wallaby's Grill and Pub
|Sunday - November 23, 2008: Dined at Bo
Ling's Chinese Restaurant on Metcalf in Overland Park, Kansas. The Sunday
Dim Sum was good, as always. My favorite item was the steamed pork rolls.
When we first set down, there was a server with a cart
or tray of items stopping at the table every minute or so. Too quick for
us to be ready for even more items. By the time we had finished a few small
dishes, they were pretty much ignoring us and staying in other parts of
the restaurant. I had to ask for the pork buns three times before we had
any, and the cart that would have had those and other similar items never
appeared at our table.
I think we tried 6 different items. Our total bill before
tip was $30.
Posted a longer review and photos of Johnny's
BBQ in Olathe, which was updated again on Monday after a second visit.
|Saturday - November 22, 2008: Traveled to
Lawrence, Kansas to Christmas shop on Massachusetts Street, which is the
heart of Lawrence's neat downtown. This main street still has the kind
of businesses that could be found in downtown's 40 years ago. If you decide
to visit Lawrence, be sure to take some coins with you. The town is one
of the very few in the whole state of Kansas to have parking meters. And
they are strictly enforced.
I took advantage of the trip to try Lawrence's new seafood
restaurant, Angler's Seafood House. My meal was good and interesting. The
calamari fritto misto appetizer of Yellin calamari and artichoke hearts
was a first for me. The lemon garlic aioli for dipping was less successful.
The crab cake sandwich was equally good, though the waffle
fries that accompanied it was average.
I made two other stops on my way back to Johnson County.
The first stop was as Davenport Orchards and Winery located
in Eudora, Kansas, where I picked up some apple and watermelon wines for
holiday meals and parties.
The second stop in western Johnson County, my first
visit to Steve's Meat Market in De Soto, Kansas. Steve's isn't just a full
service meat market, but prepares many specialty meats, including bratwurst,
sausage, slim jims, pickled pig's feet, and pickled polish sausage. The
pickled sausage is a real bargain at only $5.75 for a 2.5 pound jar.
Angler's Seafood House
Steve's Meat Market
|Friday - November 21, 2008: Joined friends
for lunch at Jalapenos Mexican Restaurant in Lenexa, Kansas. Jalapenos
has been in business since 1991 and also has location in Overland Park
and Kansas City, Missouri. I found the food and service to be average.
Jalapenos has several lunch specials that are served Monday - Saturday.
Most come with rice and they are priced from $6.50 - $7.15
For supper, I revisited and photographed Ari's Greek Restaurant
in Olathe, Kansas. The Friday night seafood buffet was even better than
I remembered from my first visit. My favorite items were the spicy calamari
and Mediterranean style gumbo The only item tried that disappointed was
the roast beef, which was tough and not that flavorful.
|Thursday - November 20, 2008: Had lunch
and supper at Big Bubba's Bar-BQ in Olathe, Kansas. These were my first
meals at Big Bubba's in several years.
The food was fairly good. The BBQ sauce is unlike any
that I know in the Kansas City area - sweet and very similar to a seafood
sauce. Low carb versions of the sauce are also available but I didn't try
My favorite items tried were the brisket and pulled pork.
The pork ribs, smoked (baked) potato and French fries were also good.
The menu is large and complex, but is not on the wall
at the counter. Instead, you walk up to the counter and have to consult
a multi paged binder. When I stepped up to the counter, the person at the
register pointed out a couple of specials, than waited expectantly, not
giving me time to make a decision.
Big Bubba's Bar-BQ
|Wednesday - November 19, 2008:
Revisited Gringos' Restaurant in Olathe, Kansas. The popular little Mexican
restaurant isn't very authentic, but I like their chili, tacos and chips
& salsa. At lunch on Wednesday and Friday Gringo's has a Mexican buffet
for only $6.49.
|Tuesday - November 18, 2008: A friend and
I revisited the new Parkway Cafe in Lenexa, Kansas to see what it is like
now that it is opened to the public. She had a bacon cheeseburger and I
had a chicken sandwich. Both were very good (and good values).
The manager scored big points when my friend requested
lemon for her ice tea. Rather than say they didn't have lemon, the manager
went to the kitchen and poured some lemon juice into a small cup.
I also tried the chili. It was good, and an unusually
large serving, a large bowl for $2.09.
For supper, a friend joined me at Kyoto Japanese Restaurant
in Overland Park, Kansas. We did the teppanyaki style dinning where the
chef chops and stir fries the meal in front of the diners. I also tried
a tempura shrimp sushi roll.
The chef did a nice job, even making a heart with an arrow
out of the fried rice, that I hadn't seen done before. The atmosphere was
nice and the service was superior. But the food was only average.
Added Advanced Laser Tag, Cosmic Mini Golf, Hidden Glen
Arts Festival, Sadler's Indoor Racing and Summer Concert Series to the
Restaurant and Attraction Guide.
|Monday - November 17, 2008: Had lunch and
took photos at Smokin' Joe's Bar-B-Q in Olathe Kansas. Joe's lunch specials
for only $8 including beverage and tax are real bargain. Added a new page
devoted to Smokin' Joe's.
|Saturday - November 15, 2008: Had lunch
at Cafe Colao near downtown Kansas City, Kansas. Cafe Colao is the new
name for Cafe Venezuela, which I first visited in September. They
are in the process of remodeling the restaurant, but the process is being
I loved the appetizer and dessert, but was less impressed
with my sandwich.
The page that had been devoted to Cafe
Venezuela has now been updated with photos of the food I sampled today.
The drove to Lenexa to the Lithuanian Holiday Marketplace
at the Lenexa Community Center. The free annual event was only one day
this year. I enjoyed the costumed dancers and picked up a loaf of wonderful
povitica bread from the the Old Country Bakery who had one of the booths
at the festival. The holiday bread was a big hit at the pot luck I attended
I might have tried some of the hot Lithuanian food offered
for sale, but the line was fairly long and didn't appear to be moving.
Also added a new review of Ty's
Diner in Wichita, which was visited last week.
Pork & chicken
|Friday - November 14, 2008: Revisited Johnny's
BBQ in Olathe, Kansas. I dined at Johnny's several times when it first
opened in town 5 or so years ago. But I never was very impressed with it.
Didn't dislike Johnny's, but in a metro area with so many great BBQ options,
nothing stood out.
I had the Friday lunch special: BBQ Ribs with fries, bread,
pickle, and a regular drink for $7.49. There were 6 ribs, which was a generous
serving of meat for the price. And they were quite good. Good flavor and
striking a good balance between being tender without being over cooked.
I will be returning to Johnny's soon.
|Thursday - November 13, 2008: Photographed
the few remaining decorated 6 foot cowboy boots from Welcome Back! Cowboy
Boots!, an Olathe, Kansas outdoor art display from 2007. I also visited
Best Regards bakery to sample great gourmet soft cookies. The small retail
showroom is in the front of the wholesale bakery in a small industrial
park in Olathe, Kansas.
Added three new pages devoted to Olathe: Cowboy
Boots, Best Regards, and Mom's
|Tuesday - November 11, 2008: Had lunch during
the shakedown run of the Parkway Cafe which will open at 8550 Quivira in
Lenexa, Kansas tomorrow (November 12). The location was originally a KFC.
More recently it was a Mexican Restaurant.
The Parkway Cafe is owned by Charles and DeAnna Barnett.
You may remember Chuck as the manager of the Eldridge Hotel in Lawrence
in the early 1990s. The Parkway Cafe has counter and drive up service and
will be open for breakfast and lunch.
I had a cheeseburger, French fries and 24 ounce soda.
That combination is a bargain at only $5.59. The 5 ounce handmade patty
was served on a good, toasted bun. The fries (which had been hand cut an
hour earlier) were the stars of the show. A friend raved about the chicken
sandwich he tried.
In the evening, I revisited Fred
P. Ott's Bar & Grill in Olathe, to sample the Tuesday evening special:
8 ounce fillet, potato, toast & salad for $11. For an extra $2, they
added 4 shrimp. THe salad came in a plastic bowl and with plastic fork.
It was probably made up well in advance. It was OK.
The server did bring metal utensils with the filet. The
steak was very tender and had a fairly good flavor. These are the same
steaks served by the Plaza 3 in Kansas City, Missouri.
Also added a new page devoted to Five
Guys Burgers and Fries in Olathe, Kansas using photos that were taken
|Monday - November 10, 2008: Revisited Austin's
Bar & Grill in Olathe, Kansas and added a new
page devoted to Austin's restaurant to the recently started Olathe
|Sunday - November 9, 2008: Revisited Garozzo's
Ristorante in Olathe, Kansas. I hadn't tried their Sunday Brunch since
shortly after it was introduced a year ago.
The brunch has expanded since then and I was much more
pleased with it on this visit. All of the food was good and the visit was
only marred by poor service by the person cooking at the omelet bar.
|Saturday - November 8, 2008: The day began
with our enjoying the early morning views of Wichita while having almond
croissants from the European BakeShop.
The first stop of the day was a visit to the Mid-America
All-Indian Center, which has a very nice, small gallery, plus a lovely
space for powwows. We didn't stay for the special Veteran's Day dance they
were having in the afternoon and evening, but did check out some of the
vendors setting up booths around the edge of the dance area.
Lunch was at Ty's Diner, which isn't a diner, but a 55
year old hamburger joint. It was good, has plenty of atmosphere and will
make my state wide list of unique restaurants. Though actually there was
too much atmosphere. I could smell the place in our clothes and hair for
most of the day.
Following lunch, we drove east a half mile to Old Town
and visited Cero's Candies, which has been in business in Wichita since
1885, and was still operated by the original family until just 9 years
ago. We were waited on my a nice lady and charming young girl, whom I assumed
the owners, but I have since learned that Cero's is owned by Mental
Health Association of South Central Kansas. We left with a half pound of
small, delicious chocolates.
Back in the Museum district along the river, the next
stop was Cowtown. While the staff were friendly and helpful, I'm afraid
I was a bit disappointed with Cowtown. When we entered, the cashiers told
us about interesting activities that would be taking place. But they didn't.
There are about 40 old buildings that have been moved
to this location. One of the most interesting was a recreation of the old
Wichita Eagle newspaper office with a man in period clothes who told us
some of its history. The blacksmith shop had a man at work, and the grain
elevator was interesting, though it didn't take long to see.
But the rest of the buildings were so much like the other
collections of buildings that are scattered around Kansas. I suspect Cowtown
is more interesting in summer when more is going on.
Driving back through the river side museum area, we passed
a sign that said, "Valentine Diners for sale." The yard contained at least
3 old Valentine Diners, and other old buildings. The diners were clearly
in poor repair, but I didn't get a real good look, due to a locked gate
and barking dog. This location turned out to be just a couple of blocks
from Ty's Diner.
Continuing back down the street, we stopped at Exploration
Place. Most of this river front museum is devoted to traveling exhibits.
At this time, those include Discovering Chimpanzees, Our Body, and The
Scoop on Poop. But I more enjoyed the permanent displays such as Exploring
Flight & Design, and Exploring Our Only Home.
Enough time remained, that we made an unplanned visit
to the Kansas Sport's Hall of Fame in Old Town. TOuring the facility begins
with 9 minute video on Kansas Sports which my companion thoroughly enjoyed.
As we toured the rest of the facility, she kept pointing out exhibits devoted
to Kansans like Lynette Woodard ( the first woman to play with the
Globetrotters), Gale Sayers and Wilt Chamberlain. Although I am not
a golfer, I was surprised that there wasn't a display devoted to Tom Watson.
Before leaving Wichita, we were joined by a friend for
supper at Larkspur Restaurant and Grill, which was only a few blocks away
in Old Town. The meal was fine, but none of the dishes stood out.
View from the Wichita
Painting at the
Hall of Fame
|Friday - November 7, 2008: Left work at
mid afternoon to head down I-35 toward Wichita. Made only one stop, at
the European BakeShop in Hartford,
Kansas where we picked up some almond croissants, coffee flavored cheesecake,
and chocolate chip cookies. Wonderful - as always.
We checking into the Hyatt Regency in downtown Wichita,
which I had booked at what I thought was a reasonable price on Priceline.
After paying $22 more for internet and parking, it didn't seem as reasonable.
The hotel is in nice condition and the north facing rooms have a beautiful
view of the Arkansas River and downtown Wichita.
We joined friends for dinner at the Scotch and Sirloin
Restaurant. The group split a very good deep fried vegetable appetizer
and variously tried prime rib, rib eye, sirloin and Kansas City Strip.
Although the prime rib was more rare than I would have chosen, it looked
like the best steak in the group. My ribeye was only so-so, and a friend's
butterflied filet was significantly overcooked.
My pot roast soup was quite good, but the salads everyone
else had looked better.
Although my friends from Wichita thought it was pretty
pricey, the meals were typically in the upper teens to mid 20s including
potato, vegetable and the choice of soup or salad. Reasonable for a upscale
restaurant. Later in the weekend, someone else said that the Scotch and
Sirloin was mostly known for the waitresses outfits - short skirts and
low cut tops. Frankly, other than one server have a short dress, we hadn't
Scotch and Sirloin
|Thursday - November 6, 2008: It had been
a couple of years since I last visited the Old 56 Family Restaurant in
Olathe, Kansas and I was pleased to find the restaurant better than I remembered.
My meal included some of the best chicken soup I have had in a long time.
Added new pages devoted to the Old
56 Family Restaurant and Celebrity's
Sidewalk Cafe to the Olathe Restaurant
& Attraction Guide.
Old 56 Family Restaurant
|Wednesday - November 5, 2008: Revisited
the Ernie Miller Nature Center in Olathe, Kansas. The 113 acre Nature Center
and park offers 3 miles of free trails that are open from dawn to dusk,
and a nature center open limited hours with a stream aquarium and other
live animal exhibits.
Added a full listing and photos of the Ernie Miller Nature
Center and a brief listing for the Olathe Community Theatre Association
& the Buddy Rogers Playhouse to the Olathe
Restaurant & Attraction Guide.
Revisited Mom's Kitchen and Celebrity's Sidewalk Cafe
in Olathe, Kansas. Mom's Kitchen is much more pleasant now that Olathe
has banned smoking. The 10 ounce swiss mushroom burger was good. Celebrity's
provides a menu of sandwiches, salads and soup. The steak sandwiches are
the stars of the show.
|Monday - November 3, 2008: Today a friend
joined me for lunch at the newest restaurant in Overland Park, Kansas.
Taste is in old town Overland Park, in the same space where the restaurant
Tonic was located. With only a few changes, the trendy upscale restaurant
still looks much the same.
Taste's lunch menu offers seven sandwiches and six salads,
but the best part is the tasting menu. For $11 you get to choose 3 items
from 17 appetizers and small sandwiches. I had a mini bleu cheese burger
with caramelized onions, Thai chili scented chicken wings, and tempura
sweet potatoes & portabella mushrooms with a sweet chili soy sauce.
My friend had the mini fired crab cake burger, classic mini cheese burger,
and waffle cut French fries.
Although meal took too long for lunch, nearly an hour
and a half, the food was all very good, including the Warm Apple Crumb
Tart that we split for dessert.
Added a new page to the Overland
Park Restaurant Guide devoted to Taste
|Sunday - November 2, 2008: This evening
I drove up to Kansas City, Kansas to try a chicken wing place that has
only been open about a year. It came to my attention because they have
places Google ads on this website.
Wing Busters USA is a tiny storefront take-out restaurant
in the Wyandotte Shopping Plaza on State Avenue. So tiny there are only
two tables and customers are discouraged from eating in. Wing Busters
offers 21 flavors of wings and I really wanted to like them, but based
on this one experience, the product is pretty average. It may be better
if it could be eaten as soon as it is prepared, but unless you live a few
blocks away, the quality is going to drop off.
If you try Wing Busters, be sure to buy your wings 3 at
a time. The price per wing goes up 30-120% on larger quantities.
Wing Busters USA
|Saturday - November 1, 2008: I spent the
weekend at a convention in Independence, Missouri and took advantage of
being on the east side of the metro area to visit two Kansas City, Missouri
restaurants that would have a place on a Unique Missouri Restaurants list
The first was LC's Bar-BQ which has been rated as the
best BBQ in Kansas City, by folks whose opinions I value, on several online
forums. LC's had opened a second location in Lenexa, Kansas several
years ago. But I was unimpressed with it and wasn't surprised when it closed
after about a year.
But I quickly discovered that the Kansas City LC's has
little in common with the failed Lenexa location. It is a interesting,
little dive with a great product. I has a combination beef and pork sandwich,
with French fries. My friend had a long end ribs and onion rings.
The rings were average. The fries were very good or just
so-so, depending on the individual fry. They were cut different sizes and
while I really liked the smaller ones, the larger ones were not cooked
enough. But the pork and brisket on my sandwich were both very good.
It is harder to judge the ribs. They were soaked in so
much BBQ sauce that we aren't positive how they would taste on their own.
But the texture was very good and the sauce was good enough that it was
still quite enjoyable.
I will be back, but next time, I will be sue to order
the meat served dry.
The second unique Kansas City, Missouri restaurant visited
this day was the Peach Tree Buffet. I've dined at the Peach Tree many times
before and I'm glad it is on the far side of Kansas City from me, I can't
help overeating at the Peach Tree Buffet.
This time there were 13 of us, with about half eating
at the Peach Tree for the first time. Everyone enjoyed the southern style
soul food buffet. My favorite items this day (the menu changes daily) were
the baked chicken, fried catfish, jams, corn bread and peach/apple cobbler.
I'm not usually a fan of flavored teas, but the peach iced tea at the Peach
Tree is great.
The Peach Tree Buffet isn't at all fancy, it is starkly
plain, but it is clean and friendly.
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