Tag Archives: kansas city

Western Kansas: wright, dodge city,

To be honest, we didn’t do much in western Kansas beyond the confines of D’s 1960s ranch house in the tiny town of Wright, outside Dodge City. We were there to pack up and haul out all the stuff that a family of 8 children accumulated during the past 55 years. And we found things that were much older, some back to the late 1800s, we think.

A melancholy task, but good to be with other family who came from New Mexico and elsewhere in Kansas. Lots of laughter, occasional tears, family tales shared. We did emerge for lunch yesterday at Tacos Jalisco, our favorite Mexican place on Wyatt Earp blvd. in Dodge. A late dinner was at a surprisingly packed Applebee’s near Boot Hill, maybe some others were there because there weren’t many other options on a Sunday at 10 pm. I did have a very good limeade.

Today, we stopped to see family in Wichita and then picked up ribs “to travel” at Gates BBQ in Kansas City. Now three hours til home.

P.s. Comfort Inn in Lenexa turned out to be a mixed bag. Our room was clean but the thin walls meant nonstop noise from someone who appeared to fall asleep with the tv on. Argh

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Smithville, Mo. Justis drugstore restaurant!

I have wanted to go to the Justus Drugstore, a farm to table t
Restaurant in an old drugstore in the pretty small town of Smithville, just north of Kansas City for some time and we finally did! One of the better meals I’ve had in awhile and we didn’t even eat in the main dining room (the old pharmacy) but instead on the east side patio. We shared a delicious sweet corn salad (corn, heirloom cherry tomatoes, herbs, butter, cheese from a local dairy and butter. It was light and sweet and mysterious. I would love to know how to make it at home.

This is the kind of place that makes its own ketchup, which resembled tomato paste but tastier. It arrived with the crispy hand cut fries that came with the burnt end sandwich, whIch was like nothing I’ve tasted before. there is a lot to be said for good ingredients and when every ingredient is good, the net effect knocks your socks off. The roll was delicious on its own, then there was the BBQ pork, various other ingredients I couldn’t quite make out (arugula, capers) added up to a sweet but spicy flavor. The fried chicken was surprisingly light and the chicken tender but not undercooked, served atop a delicious risotto and fresh greens.

The desserts were crazy. We shared carrot cake beignets which came in an oblong narrow tray with a beignet on either end and in the middle this light goat cheese foam with carrot caviar (yes,,carrot caviar, little bright orange beads, who makes carrot caviar?) The beignets were warm and moist and fabulous, even better when dined in the foam. We also tried the homemade ice cream, chocolate Brownie and sage butterscotch.
The main dining room is small, charming, with lovely landscapes and abstract paintings, all by the chef. Talented guy. The old soda found is lined with jars of homemade, hand labeled bitters, for making cocktails.
Smithville itself turned out to be a pretty little place with a row of old well tended red brick buildings, a brick patio and bandstand.
now we are at a comfort inn in Lenexa, Kansas. Not bad.

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Blizzard and empanada madness: Kansas City

We took a welcome break from white out conditions along Interstate 35 from Des Moines to Kansas City for some grub at Empanada Madness, a little hole on the wall on southwest boulevard, just off the interstate in KCMO. Found was fresh, delicious and cheap. We ate crispy empanadas, arepas and plantains, plus rice and beans in a small nondescript dining room, then braced ourselves for more snow ahead. We seem to be traveling with the snowstorm, unfortunately, but for now it does look relatively clear south of overland PArk/ Olathe Kansas. We are passing the new ikea here, as I type, in Shawnee or mission or some such (Johnson county).




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Kansas City – Cafe Trio

I’m always trying to remember the restaurants we eat at, particularly in a place like Kansas City (beyond the ones I’ll always remember like Gates, Stroud’s, Joes — formerly Oklahoma Joe’s, and Bryants.) So for the record we had a good meal with wonderful Uncle Kenneth at Trio, near the Plaza. I wasn’t that hungry, having had a big bowl of Bun at Saigon Cafe in Wichita a few hours earlier, so I just had a small plate – mainly grilled Brussels sprouts (a new favorite veg) well-seasoned with big pieces of lardon (bacon), little bits of pear and a small dab of orange-colored sweet potato (I think) puree. D had good crab cakes. N had salmon. K had chicken. The place was all decked out for the holiday, as of course was the Plaza, with its Spanish-style buildings lined with Christmas lights.

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In honor of the KC Royals– recalling when I met George Brett 25 years ago

Since the Royals are in the World Series for the first time since 1985, it’s time to share again my chance encounter in about 1989 with Royals Hall of Famer George Brett at the old now demolished Stroud’s road house in KC, MO.

To be honest, I didn’t know who George was but my husband filled me in after spotting him waiting in a crowd alongside us mere mortals for a table at Stroud’s (where the fried chicken was so good people were willing to wait for hours to eat it since the old place didn’t take reservations. Nor does the newer Stroud’s.)

Brett, for the uninitiated, was Kansas City’s best ever player (my husband reminds me of this today) and a key factor in the Royals last World Series win (in 1985.) So we were sitting next to a little boy, about age 8, who was staring at George in amazement. Awestruck. His mom was encouraging him to ask George for his autograph but the kid couldn’t do it. (In this day and age, he’d be asking George to take a selfie with him.) So I said I’d ask George and sidled over to where George was talking to several attractive blond women. He seemed uninspired when I mentioned the little awestruck boy and didn’t provide an autograph. “Jerk,” I thought as I returned to the kid empty handed.

But a short time later, as the little boy and mom were being led to their table, the boy left his jacket behind on his seat by mistake. “Son. hey son,” George called out to him. “Here’s your jacket.” And he handed it to him. The boy looked like he’d won the lottery. “Not a jerk,” I thought, revising my opinion of George Brett.

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Much better burnt ends: Oklahoma Joes in Kansas City

We thought at 2 pm on. Monday there might NOT be a line at this super popular (for good reason) BBQ joint in one half of a gas station in an out of the way corner of Metro Kansas City . Think again. But at least the line wasn’t as long as last Friday’s 1 1/2 hour wait. After a half hour of standing in line, ogling other diners’ plates, we had our very own slab of ribs (meaty, juicy AND crispy) and burnt ends (succulent chunks of BBQ beef – still not the chewy shards I remember fondly, but from where? Bryant’s?)  Also good spicy slaw, fries sprinkled with some magic spices, rich tangy beans. Worth the wait!





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The eternal question: Gates vs. Bryant’s?

Just stopped for lunch in Kansas City at Arthur Bryant’s for Barbecue, en route to wichita. We usually go to Gates because we prefer their sauce. But we wanted our Israeli visitor to experience the BBQ joint character of Bryant’s, which is in a distinctive building in an old neighborhood, with photos pf presidents and other visiting celebs on its worn walls, endearingly scruffy tables and floors, a line that snakes past the windowed meat counter. But I still have to say that I prefer Gates…mainly because of its sauce – which is sweeter and more ketchupy than Bryant’s – and it’s burnt ends which are dry and crispy rather than slathered in BBQ sauce like Bryant’s and its riba which seem meatier. Bryant’s does win the fries competition, with crispier more flavorful fries.And it does have another sauce beyond its original called “rich” that is closer to Gates. if only Gates didn’t feel like a fast food chain inside.

This is a photo of lily and Michal, who is from Rehovot, Israel, at a rest area near Ottawa, Kansas where it is oddly cool and rainy for a Kansas summer day.


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Kansas City and Lawrence dining

We splurged on dinner Friday night in downtown Kansas City at a cool new restaurant that harkens back to the 1920’s mob era and allegedly produced whiskey during prohibition. I have it on good authority that the Rieger Hotel Grill does indeed has in the men’s bathroom reading “Al Capone pissed here.” The food was very good – soft shell crab with lemon aioli and greens; pork cheek with “local polenta” ( according to the menu) and ” some kind of pea and carrot thing” (according to D.). it has a nice vibe, an old fashioned narrow high ceilinged storefront with nice impressionistic paintings of what appeared to be a symphony orchestra (bravo!). Good to see these kinds of places popping up in reclaimed once dying parts of downtown. must check out another newcomer nearby, Anton’s Tap Room.

In Lawrence, after staying at a tolerable (and cheap) Quality Inn, we breezed through the farmers market which had several guitar playing folk singers and lots of green onions. We ate breakfast at the brand new location of Milton’s, which moved to a bigger place around the block from its previous spot on Massachusetts Ave. (fun fact: Lawrence is was named after Lawrence, Mass. Outside Boston, which must have been a bigger deal in the 1850s when Lawrence Ks was founded as a Free State bastion…where John Brown hung out.) Good French toast at Milton’s although we were tempted to eat across the street at The Bourgeois Pig, for the name alone! Picked up a bread at Wheatfields Bakery, a couple of Jayhawks Basketball t-shirts ( because the males in this family cannot get enough of them) and hit the road again, heading West.





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Leaving wichita

It is really more accurate to say that we are leaving the best western hotel in park city, Kansas, just north of Wichita. We arrived there yesterday at 3pm and didn’t leave until midday today. There was no reason to leave since we came for a family reunion and it was 104 degrees outside. We did make it to Saigon  restaurant on. Broadway  hearty view Vietnamese lunch. (I had the bun as usual, a cold salad of greens, noodles, char broiled pork and egg roll, aka no. 45 on the menu.)

Now we are back in the car driving on interstate 35, another six hours drive north to Wichita. The corn is prematurely brown due to drought..burnt up is the technical term, my husband tells me. Lawns and brown, not their usual green. My brother-in-law, a cowboy in western Kansas report he is running out of pasture for his cattle to graze, it is now 106 on our car thermometer.

Restaurants recommended my various relatives during the reunion:in Kansas city, Lulu’s for Thai.. Chez Elle, crepes;  Amano in New Orleans.

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Tried a new restaurant in Kansas City – Po’s Dumpling Bar.

We didn’t have time in Wichita last weekend to eat at our favorite Vietnamese restaurant Saigon Market so we tried Po’s Dumpling Bar on lively 39th Street  in Kansas City – not bad. The dumplings were unusually oblong-shaped and fresh tasting. The spicy (but not too) Kung Pao chicken and two vegetarian noodle dishes (one with thick and wide homemade noodles that reminded me of the egg noodles found in Midwestern’ chicken-and-noodles) also were also fresh tasting, with good quality meat and crisp vegetables.

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