Thursday, September 29, 2016

Who really wins?


   These days it is just about impossible to go a couple hours without hearing or seeing some news about the upcoming elections. We all know, and hopefully understand, the importance of being educated about our options. It seems that becomes more evident each and every day. What is most concerning these days is how far apart the sides have moved from the middle. The American populace has contended with the two party system for ages, but it always seemed in the past that there was some effort put forth to give consideration to the other side, by each group.

  While true bipartisan politics has always been a bit of a stretch, it appears that we have entered a new state of reality where only one side can win. Since the polls show that the current voter base is fairly well split in half, then it is obvious that 50% of Americans will lose this election. From what we see, it seems more like a war instead of a political race. At the end of a war the spoils go to the victors, so those that are defeated take the brunt of the pain. That is not how it should work.

  I recently saw the results of a poll that shows at least 7% of Americans will sever a friendship due to conflicting political views. So what that means is that those people are choosing to isolate themselves from others, because they don't see eye-to-eye. Now there may be some instances that one or the other is going over the top with their political tirades, and pushing the need to cut ties, but what are the chances that they will refresh their friendship after the dust of the election settles. By removing opposing views from our view we only fuel the lopsidedness of our own personal stances. This pushes us more toward supporting those people running for office who mirror our ever more unbalanced views. 

   Those running for office see this trend and some obviously have decided to run with it. Whatever happened to the days when elected officials felt the call to represent all of the people in their charge? It shouldn't matter whether the public voted for or against you or whether they voted at all. If it takes all of us to succeed shouldn't that be proof enough for us to see the need for cooperation and concession? We know that you cannot put together a plan that would allow for the complete encapsulation of every person's desires, but shouldn't the plan be to aid the largest amount of people possible, while limiting the grief imposed on the rest? By only considering the cares and feelings of the winning side we will only see the rift between parties grow wider.

   In these days, it is imperative that we attempt to understand issues from all sides, so that our final decisions are the best fit. By considering the impact the plans will have on others we are able to make solid movement forward. When we hear that the plan of either side would be detrimental to the other, then it's time for us to rethink the political direction this country is heading. Richard Armour once said "Politics, it seems to me, for years has been too concerned with right or left instead of right or wrong." Now more than ever we need to be aware of the needs of others when making our plans. We cannot afford to only have half of our country win, since we are all in this together.

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

Pryde's Old Westport

The newer awnings add a pop of color to the outside.

  We always enjoy shopping in the Westport area on town. It holds some one-of-a-kind shops and boutiques. Located in a nearly 100 year old building, Pryde's Old Westport is chocked full of items to hold your interest, and spark your creativity. On about any day, except Sundays, this place is packed with shoppers looking for a unique addition to a collection or an interesting gift idea. Now Pryde's hasn't always been the tenant in this building, but they have been since the late 1960's.

Many color options of Fiesta ware available.

  A rainy day is a great time to spend hours wandering the store perusing the inventory. If you are in search of cookware or dishes you will find an almost unending supply. Fiesta ware has seen a recent resurgence, and Pryde's carries more variety than about any place we can think of in the metro. If you are looking for bakeware they have just about any and every style of pan imaginable. They also carry a wide range of cutlery and utensils, some of which are hard to even imagine a use for, but clearly other more capable cooks are in the know.

More inventory options over here.

  While all of those items would fill most any kitchen supply store, Pryde's inventory doesn't stop there. As you wander the store you will also find aprons, pot holders, and linens. Coffee items, including presses, grinders, and makers are plentiful. You may also be in the mood for jams, jellies, spreads, and other food treats, and there are many types to be found. Some of these are local brands, which is great to see.

I'm always in the mood for a sweet treat.

  With all of this wandering it is easy to work up an appetite, but don't worry they have you covered. In the back of the shop you will find Ashleigh's Bake Shop. This little bakery serves up sweet treats to customers on Thursday, Friday, and Saturdays. Their pies are baked fresh daily, and their choice of quality ingredients are evident in the flavor.

The garden section has lots of items to add a special touch.

  While wandering the store you will certainly run across the semi-outdoor garden section. Here you will find a good assortment of baskets, vases, planters, and other outdoor accessories. As you can tell, Pryde's Old Westport attempts to satisfy all of your needs to plan a great party indoors or out. Make plans to stop by and be wowed by the amazing assortment of inventory. You can get a feel for it by visiting http://prydeskitchen.com/.

Monday, September 26, 2016

Daily Special: Bar Louie


   A lot of people have a thing for Taco Tuesdays, but after a while we do want a change. Give us options, but let's keep the prices affordable. Well that is just what you will find at Bar Louie in the Power & Light District. Every Tuesday they offer $1.00 Burger Night from 5:00 pm until close. Wow! Now that sounds like a great deal, but it's best to be prepared before you go.


   Their advertisement hints towards hot, juicy burgers piled high with toppings, and all for only one measly dollar. The reality is that for $1.00 you will get a burger on a bun with lettuce. If you want cheese it will cost an extra fifty cents. If you want additional veggies, guacamole, or bacon it will cost an extra fifty cents per ingredient. If you want a sauce on top, like barbecue or ranch, it will cost an extra twenty-five cents. So let's build the burger in the picture.

Burger with lettuce & bun - $1.00
                               Cheese - $0.50
                               Tomato - $0.50
                                 Pickle - $0.50
                                 Onion - $0.50
                                                                                         Total - $3.00

    What we find is that you will actually pay three bucks for that burger, but come on, that is still a great price. Now you should also be aware that they require a drink purchase to get this deal, but you will need something to wash it down. Since you have already made it to Tuesday evening, you might as well celebrate, and this is an opportunity to do it while keeping the total cost down a bit. As a matter of fact, we all made it through Tuesday, so I guess we will have to head there, as well. Perhaps we will see you there.

Friday, September 23, 2016

Restaurant Review: Tin Kitchen (Weston, Mo.)


   Just a short drive from Kansas City you will find Weston, Missouri. This nearby day trip location is a quaint little river town filled with small town shops. The downtown area is a popular place for couples, families, and small parties to gather for a day of leisurely activities. Between shopping, winery visits, and other interesting stops, you can work up quite an appetite. There are a handful of dining choices, but on our recent visit we picked the Tin Kitchen.


    Locate on Main Street, in downtown Weston, this eatery is housed in an old hardware store. The whole downtown is on the historic register, and the buildings exude the charm of a bygone era. Upon entering you are welcomed by the colorful walls and the pressed-tin high ceilings. Booths line both walls, and a long table runs down the center, all of which offer plentiful seating.


    To get started they only have a couple of appetizers, but lots of drink options. Besides draft beers, wines, and canned items, they also offer a full bar. There are a handful of Craft cocktail offerings, and we chose to test out their Huck Finn. This lemonade based drink has 360 Huckleberry Vodka added to provide a little kick. We were both quite taken by this delicious, and refreshing drink, and shocked that it only costs $5.00. Now is a good time to note that all of their Craft cocktails are made with McCormick products. This makes perfect sense, since there is a distillery in Weston.


  Since we were in between lunch and dinner time, we decided to split a meal. We chose the single patty cheeseburger with fries plate. Of course there were plenty of other choices, with many of them being BBQ items. They seem to lean toward the handheld variety of offerings, but we noticed someone's salad looked very appetizing, as well.


  When our plate arrived, we realized that we had made a wise choice when we decided to split it. The fries were heaped on the plate, and the burger was piled high with toppings. After dividing our meal, we set upon enjoying it. The burger was good and juicy, and certainly hit the spot. The fries actually stole the show. They were thinner than standard cut, which gave them a little of an onion straw texture. The crispiness kept us coming back for more. There is a good selection of desserts on the menu, but we had already made note of the soda shoppe down the block, and were contemplating the flavors of ice cream they had available. The meal was very affordable, which was a bonus. If your plans include a visit to Weston, Missouri, then we would recommend a visit to the Tin Kitchen. You can find out more at http://www.tin-kitchen.com/.

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sweet Treats: Nothing Bundt Cakes


One of the store fronts.

    A lot of our posts are focused on the fine eats that can be found around our region, but like most we also appreciate a good dessert now and then. In the past few years we have seen a resurgence in the popularity of cakes. A lot of this has been due to the pop-up bakeries focusing on specialty cupcakes. Recently a new twist has been added to the mix, bundt cakes. When we hear the term we immediately think about the delicious treat that our moms would create using that weird looking round pan.

Each shop is designed to be customer friendly.

   Nothing Bundt Cakes has decided to capitalize on this trend, and has spread throughout the nation, including three locations in the Kansas City metro. This sweet treat producer was started by two women in 1997 to produce cakes for their friends and family. As the popularity grew they realized that this hobby could become a successful business.

The display case is almost a work of art.
  The decision to use fresh eggs, as well as real butter and cream cheese has allowed them to offer a product with consistent taste. By choosing not to compromise on ingredients, they had found a recipe worth repeating. They offer bundt cakes in 8" or 10" sizes, and even have tiered cakes for serving larger numbers. They can be decorated in a wide range of themes, which should fit almost any occasion.

An assortment of sweet treats.
  Of course, some people may only want a small portion of cake, and Nothing Bundt Cakes has that taken care of, as well. They sell bundtlets, which are a cupcake size version of their cakes. They also have bundtinis, which are bite size portions, but with all of the flavor of the regular cakes. All of their cake sizes come in nine different flavors, so everyone can pick the one that they want. They also offer special designs during the holidays, so keep that in mind with Christmas looming in the near future. For more information, or just to drool over their offerings, visit nothingbundtcakes.com.

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Restaurant Review: Woodyard BBQ

Quirky signage marks the spot.
   Kansas City BBQ can be found almost everywhere in the metro. We've seen the small dive restaurants, the gas station stops, and now we will look at a house converted into a BBQ mecca. Located on the fringe between Johnson and Wyandotte counties you will find Woodyard BBQ. Heading east from Nigro's Western Store on Merriam Lane, you are surrounded by commercial businesses when suddenly a couple of residences appear. On closer inspection you realize that the house on the south side of the street is actually a BBQ joint.

More signage.
   As you make your way through the property you find yourself reading the large assortment of hand made signs. There are signs about the hours of business, and signs giving directions, as well as signs about some of the celebrity guests that have visited the restaurant. It seems that Kansas City is as famous for BBQ outside of the region, as it is around the Midwest.

Fewer choices make for quicker decisions.
  The menu at Woodyard's is fairly straightforward. They offer up the usual BBQ items, as well as wings, and a killer burnt end chili. You can also purchase some of the items by the pound, if you want to have lunch for the week. Besides the standard sandwiches, they also have a few specialty handhelds worth noting. The Triple "P" will set you up with ham, pulled pork, bacon, and provolone cheese. The Carolina gives a nod to the East coast style BBQ served with pulled pork and topped with cole slaw.

Burnt ends plate with fries.
   Many patrons will gravitate towards the burnt ends, and Woodyard will give them a reason to keep coming back. Packed with smoked flavor, these delicious bites of meat are soaked with sauciness. The fries are thinner than the usual steak-cut you find at most BBQ joints, but the crispiness helps overcome that shortfall.

Ribs with cheesy corn and baked beans.
  As I've said on many occasions, we judge BBQ restaurants by their ribs. Woodyard has a decent smoke ring, and good flavor. The meat is not as tender as some places, but the ribs are meatier than a lot of the competition. The baked beans and cheesy corn are really good, so be sure to grab some. There is an assortment of seating options, indoors and out, and if you prefer you can watch the pit master at work while you eat. The smoke is thick in the yard, and adds to the down-home BBQ ambiance. This is certainly one of the top BBQ joints in the metro. Check them out at http://woodyardbbq.com/.

Tuesday, September 20, 2016

Restaurant Review: El Potro Mexican Cafe


  The other day I had just finished a round of golf at Sunflower Hills. I was talking with some of  the guys in the clubhouse, when the topic of good Mexican food restaurants came up. Without hesitation they both directed me to El Potro Mexican Cafe and Cantina. As I had never heard of it, their quick and certain response told me that I needed to add it to our wish list. Once on the wish list, we attempt to make an excuse to visit locations for a chance to see first hand what the buzz is about. I try to keep a wish list for restaurants, shops, festivals, and a general entertainment/fun stuff category.


  This Bonner Springs, Kansas eatery is a little out of the way, but that has not kept the public from finding them. Our visit was on a Sunday morning in between breakfast and lunch times. Yes, I said breakfast. On Saturdays and Sundays they serve breakfast options from 7:00 am until 2:00 pm. Of course, on our visit we were looking for lunch, but we did make note of this early meal option. My wife commented about the possibility of trying their breakfast burritos. With their close proximity to the golf course, I can probably talk her into joining me, if I tempt her with a promise of stopping by this restaurant afterwards.


  When we arrived we were the first to be seated in the front dining room. It looks like most of the breakfast crowd were seated in the area closer to the bar. It wasn't long before we were joined by more groups, and by the time we left the parking lot was getting active. The seating area is decent sized, and they have the tables spaced far enough apart to give patrons room to move without bumping chairs, This is a little thing, but one we truly appreciate. Staff was quick to attend to us, and actually very attentive. At one point I noticed our table wobbled a little, so I headed to the bar area to ask for a coaster. By the time I returned our server had already remedied the situation, and done so with a smile.


  One of the things my wife was wanting on this particular visit was some queso dip. Much to our surprise this is served along with the chips and salsa, which at most restaurants is an extra charge. The queso was warm and delicious, and was served with light and crispy chips. The chips were probably made in house, as they were too  thin to be easily transported. This style of chip is an added bonus, as it doesn't outweigh the dips. We were a little disappointed in the salsa, which was not at all spicy, and had an almost tomato paste taste. Still we give the pre-dinner offerings a thumbs up.


  For meal choices my wife selected the Chicken Ranchero Chimichanga. This chicken stuffed, deep fried rolled tortilla is served with a ranchero sauce. They offer beans and rice for sides, but she always forgoes the beans in favor of extra rice. She enjoyed the flavor of the main course, and found the ranchero sauce added extra flavor to the meal. I rely on her for an opinion of the rice, as it is not my favorite side. She found it very good, and gives it a positive review.


  I struggled picking just one meal, as the offerings can almost be overwhelming. There were so many good sounding dishes, but I finally settled upon the Faluta De Pollo Ranchero. The main dish is a flavored pork rolled inside corn tortillas, and served with sour cream and guacamole. For sides I went with the rice and refried beans. There are three different styles of beans to select from, so this place is all about giving options. The flautas were crunchy and delicious. The toppings were plentiful enough for all three of my rolls, and still allowed some to share. The beans were average, but do come with some melted cheese on top.

  Overall we were very pleased with our first, and certainly not the last visit. Of special note is that this place also has drive-thru option, which we found very interesting for a sit down restaurant. The prices are very appealing, and we were able to enjoy our lunch for less than $16.00 before tip. To find out more, and see their vast menu offerings check out http://www.elpotrokc.com/.