Kansas Travel Blog

Chronicling changes to KansasTravel.org and Keith Stokes' adventures while exploring and photographing Kansas restaurants, attractions, museums, festivals and art. Contact Keith at sfreader@sff.net.

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Julian Restaurant - Kansas City, Missouri
Tuesday - November 30, 2010: The final meal of the Michigan trip was at Grill of India in Flint. It has a nice decor, but the food on the lunch buffet is pretty average.
Monday - November 29, 2010: We returned to the Levering Cafe for lunch. The small restaurant was packed, with only two empty tables, but the server was constantly moving to take care of everyone. Dad had enjoyed the Old Fashioned Breakfast so much on Saturday that he had it again. I decided to try the broasted chicken which they promote so heavily. It has been over 30 years since I had broasted chicken. 

Either they were having an off day, or I no longer like broasted chicken. I thought the chicken was dry and had little flavor. I was also disappointed with the gravy brown gravy which came with the real mashed potatoes. The salad was large and good and the meal was very generous for $8.95.

During the afternoon I spent some time along the Straits of Mackinac shoreline, photographing the US Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw removing buoys from the Straits and the McGulpin Point Rock which has been a landmark for mariners since 1615.

Supper was at the Chippewa Room at Audies Restaurant in Mackinaw City. The upscale dining room is only open in the evening and has a separate menu from the main restaurant. Only one other party was in the restaurant.

The meal was good (as always). My sautéed perch was perfectly cooked and dad liked the strip steak. The complimentary beer cheese was also quite good.

 


 
 

Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw removing buoys Coast Guard Cutter Mackinaw

McGulpin Point Rock - Mackinaw City, Michigan Me next to McGulpin Point Rock

Sunday - November 28, 2010: Dad and I had lunch at the Key Hole Bar in Mackinaw City. Dining there is much more of a pleasure since Michigan has gone nonsmoking. Dad's hamburger was cooked perfectly and I was very happy with the generous serving of well fried perch. The service was very good

Dad shared some stories about the bar in the 1930s. When it shifted from being a pool hall to a bar, it was illegal to have a pool table in the bar, so they partitioned off the back of the bar into a separate small pool room with one table. As a teenager, he managed the table.

He also talked to our server about the trapdoor in the floor in back. Poker used to be played in the secret room.

We followed lunch with a drive through the country, passing through Cross Village, along M-119 (the tunnel of trees) and through Harbor Springs and Petoskey. 

On the way back, we stopped at the Oden State Fish Hatchery. The 90 year old hatchery was totally redone in 2002. The buildings are closed to the public in the winter, but the grounds are stil open. The neatest thing we found is a place where a viewing station has been built into the side of the restored creek. Glass walls permit a view of the creek bed and fish in the water.

 

Key Hole Bar - Mackinaw City, Michigan Key Hole Bar
 
 
 
 
 

Oden State Fish Hatchery - Oden, Michigan Oden State Fish Hatchery

Saturday - November 27, 2010: No trip to the Straits of Mackinac is going to be made without at least a little exploring. One of our stops was at the Big Stone Fishery off US-23 east of Mackinaw City. We got Cajun whitefish sausage, smoked whitefish and smoked whitefish spread for snacking. The smoked whitefish and spread were both very good, but the sausage didn't do much for me.

Lunch was at the Levering Cafe in tiny Levering, Michigan. The small family restaurant heavily promotes its broasted chicken and breakfasts.

My father had the "old fashioned breakfast," two eggs with toast, American fries and choice of meat for $6.95. He went with link sausage and over easy eggs - thoroughly enjoying the meal.

I started with chili with onions, which was very good. My meal was the perch special, a half pound of deep fried perch with coleslaw and French fries for $8.99. The perch was fairly good and a much more generous serving than I had the night before. The fries were pretty ordinary. It was a lot of food for the money and the meal came out fast.

I did a little photography on along the Straits shore, taking advantage of the gray winter clouds.

Supper was at the Village Inn in St. Ignace. The service was very good and the steak was done just right. The fried whitefish was a bit disappointing - it was probably frozen - I had forgotten that whitefish is out of season until the first of December.

 


 
 
 

Levering Cafe - Levering, Michigan Levering Cafe
 
 
 

Mackinac Bridge - Mackinaw City, Michigan Mackinac Bridge

Friday - November 26, 2010: A family emergency resulted in a last minute trip to northern Michigan. My flights today went smoothly, though my misunderstanding an instruction from airport security resulted in my having a pat down.

I took advantage of changing planes in Detroit to revisit National Coney Island in the McNamara Terminal at DTW. The chili and Coney Island were both very good. I went with onion rings instead of chili fries (one of my favorites) to keep down the carbohydrates, but they were pretty ordinary.

After picking up a rental car in Flint, I head north up I-75. The roads were good until about Grayling when snow started coming down. It was enough to slow traffic within a few miles. I had supper at the Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse in Gaylord. It has always looked a little too touristy to me and it was my first time at the large restaurant shaped like a lodge.

Most of my northern Michigan meals are fresh water fish and this meal was no exception. I ordered the hand dusted and sautéed lake perch in a lemon caper white wine sauce. It is served with summer redskin smashed potatoes and vegetables for $17.99. I had substituted onion rings for the potatoes, but the kitchen messed up and served the meal with the potatoes, the onion rings came out on a separate plate.

The perch was very good and I couldn't help eating some of the garlic mashed potatoes they were served on. I would have liked a little bit larger serving of the perch.

I will definitely return to the Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse.

The rest of the drive to Mackinaw City was slowed by continuing blowing snow.

 


 
 
 
 
 

Big Buck Brewery - Gaylord, Michigan Big Buck Brewery and Steakhouse

Wednesday - November 24, 2010: With Thanksgiving rapidly approaching, I have been contacting folks who had Christmas displays in 2009, to see what they plan to do for 2010. The Christmas Display tours on this web site are the definitive resource for people wanting to see Christmas Lights in Kansas City, Lawrence & Topeka and I wanted to start updating as soon as possible.

 

Friday - November 19, 2010: We lunch at the new Mr. Gyro's Greek Food & Pastry location in Olathe, Kansas. The original Mr. Gyro's has been on Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park for 25 years. For several years, there has been a second location on 135th Street in Overland Park.

Mr. Gyro's is fairly good for Greek fast food and quite reasonable. I had a gyro chicken salad for $7.25. Linda had a more traditional Greek sandwich with pita bread, gyro meat, tomatoes, onions and home made Tzatziki sauce.

The lunch special was a sandwich and small Greek salad for under $8.

 

Saturday - November 13, 2010: We had lunch at one of the best BBQ restaurants in Kansas City, Missouri  -  LC's Bar-B-Q. I had heard that LC's recently slipped, but it was still good, though expensive.

A slab of ribs was $20. But they were meaty and very good. The slaw and onion rings were good, the fresh cut fries were better and the ribs were the best, with a lot of flavor from the smoking. The sauce is thinner and sweeter than I would normally pick, but it works well with LC's product. I ate too much and every bit was better than the one before.

Cobbler has been removed from the menu.

 

LC's Bar-B-Q - Kansas, City Missouri LC's Bar-B-Q
Friday - November 12, 2010: Attended the season opener of the University of Kansas men's basketball team at Allen Fieldhouse in Lawrence, Kansas. They beat Longwood University 113-75 and extended their record string of consecutive home victories to 60.

We didn't have time to stop for supper before the game  and I worried about food choices that had too many carbs,. It turned out that Biggs BBQ from Lawrence had a booth right next to our section and they had a big bowl of decent burnt ends for $8. 

 

Wednesday - November 10, 2010: Added a new sets of photos to my sister web site Midamercon.org devoted to yesterday's Charles Beaumont Film Event.

 

Tuesday - November 9, 2010: Attended the Charles Beaumont Film Event sponsored by the Center for the Study of Science Fiction at the University of Kansas in Lawrence. It began with a showing of the movie the "The Intruder." Following a question and answer session with science fiction and fantasy writer William F. Nolan there was the midwest premier of the documentary "Charles Beaumont: The Twilight Zone's Magic Man."

 

Monday - November 8, 2010: The rest of our trip report is posted, starting with attending the Bon Bini Festival at Fort Zoutman. Other highlights included SNUBA on the wreck of the Antilla and the Submarine Atlantis Tour.

 

Saturday - November 6, 2010: Three friends joined me in trying out Julian in the Brookside neighborhood of Kansas City, Missouri. Julian was opened a year ago by James Beard Award winning chef Celina Tio. I had had Celina's food before. The first time was years ago at the American Restaurant and again last spring at a Beard Diner at the Broadmoor Bistro. I have been enjoying watching Celina compete on The Next Iron Chef this fall on the Food Network. She is one of the four chefs remaining with two episodes to go. 

Julian is a small restaurant. They have a lot of outdoor seating in the summer, but this time of year there are only about 20 tables. The tables are small and the two dining rooms are crowded and noisy.

Although we had a reservation, the party before us was slow leaving and we had to wait nearly 15 minutes for a table. While we waited, we watched Celina managing the flow and personally deliver much of the food to the tables. She was also playing with a little girl who looks as if she is Celina's daughter.

Starters were $5-10. Between the 4 of us, we had house smoked salmon, Caesar salad, sweet potato & goat cheese terrine and mussels. The salmon was a particularly big hit. My mussels were the best I have had in the past few years. I was tempted to eat too much bread, using is to soak up the broth.

Two of us had braised short ribs, herb mashed potatoes, honeyed carrots ($19). Both of them loved it. They even said that while they don't care for cooked carrots, these were the best cooked carrots they had every had.

Linda and I each had crispy pork shoulder, sweet potato puree, tamarind pork sauce ($17). The meat was so tender that it hardly held together. The sauce made this dish. It worked well with the pork and was incredible when combined with the sweet potato. 

Most deserts were $4 and the ladies each had one: chocolate puddin' with a ginger doughnut; “banana cotta” with strawberries & chocolate; and walnut financier with maple bacon cream anglaise. I went with a two cheese board for $6. I enjoyed the strong blue cheese, but didn't care for the other one, the name of which I do not remember. 

 


 

Julian Restaurant - Kansas City, Missouri Julian

Tuesday - November 2, 2010: I had lunch today at McGuire's Smokehouse in Olathe, Kansas. After about 8 months, McGuire's continues to be a mixed bag. I loved their smoked corn, but the barbecue pork ribs can be very good or not so good. I do like McGuire's sweet glaze! At lunch time, soft drinks are free with a meal purchase.

 

McGuire's Smokehouse - Olathe McGuire's Smokehouse
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