Friday, December 23, 2016
Being original Dottes (Wyandotte County residents), we spend a lot of time in and around the Village West area. The large number of shops, restaurants, and entertainment opportunities keep us returning. This area seems to always be teeming with activity, but there are times we just want to grab a bite to eat without being surrounded by tourists. It's always nice to know that there are spots you can go, where the majority of the patrons will be local residents. One of these places is Danny's Bar & Grill.
The set-up is similar to many other places like this, and there are plenty of TV's to catch up on the latest sporting events. The bar is long and well stocked for those looking for liquid libations.
The dining area is large enough to handle plenty of customers, and the seating is comfortable, although fairly utilitarian. Servers scurry around attending to their tables, and while we have seen reviews that complained about the service, we did not experience any issues during our visit.
We dropped by on a Monday evening, which since we were before the football game the place was only partially filled. Of course as the evening passed the crowd began to assemble. Crystal chose the Fish & Chips dinner, which included cole slaw, fries, and a dinner roll. The fish had a good breading, and was light and flaky. The cole slaw is more on the tangy side than the sweet, and the flavor keeps you coming back for more. Her overall rating for the meal was a thumbs up. She also commented that the tarter sauce was unique in the higher level of relish in the mix, and she found it rather tasty.
I went old-school and ordered the Country Fried Steak dinner, which includes gravy, mashed potatoes, vegetable, and a dinner roll. The over-sized cube steak comes with a good breading, but it was a little on the oily side. The amount of food is immense, and left me plenty to take home leftovers for lunch the next day. The mashed potatoes had a creamy texture, and the gravy was a flavorful accompaniment. The green beans were a good choice, and are cooked with onion and a little bacon to kick up the flavor.
Our visit was relaxing, and rather enjoyable on a cold winter evening. It was good to step away from the hustle and bustle, and just unwind over a dinner of comfort foods. Of course the Christmas shopping was not complete, so too soon we had to wander back out into the chilly evening. Perhaps soon we will get the chance to once again slow the pace with a quiet evening at Danny's bar & Grill. To learn more about them or to see their daily specials check them out at http://dannysbarandgrill.com/.
Sunday, December 11, 2016
On a cold winter's night we headed out the door to a holiday wine party. Since we were headed to the Crossroads area, we decided to stop for dinner on the way. It only seemed appropriate that we find a spot on the Boulevard, and we chose Ponak's Mexican Kitchen. This KC original has been in business for over 40 years, yet we were making our first visit, so expectations were running high.
Being a Friday evening, there was obviously a wait, but it was not long. Besides we were dressed for the party (picture is a little farther into this post), so we became somewhat of a conversation starter. People around us were more than happy to discuss their favorite menu items, as well as talking about a wide range of other topics. This place has a very friendly vibe, so the wait passed quickly.
Upon being seated we were served the standard chips and salsa, and the salsa was found to have a good kick. We decided to add some White Con Queso dip to the mix, as well as one of their signature margaritas. The queso was quite good, being creamy and flavorful, with a little spinach included. Their margaritas are strong, so be prepared for that. I'm not sure just how well someone would function, if they partook in a pitcher during their Happy Hour specials from 3 to 6 pm on Monday through Thursday.
Our server was swamped with tables, but was prompt and attentive to our needs. Our orders were taken, and we worked on the chips and dips while we waited. It wasn't long before our plates arrived. Crystal ordered the Chicken Flautas meal(#18), which comes with the standard rice and bean sides. One of the reasons that I will refrain from ordering that particular item is that I usually find the flautas to be a little dry, as was the case with these as well. Her solution was to add a little queso to them, and she seemed quite pleased with her results. She is a rice lover, and found the side to be very run-of-the-mill, but still good.
I chose to take the advice of a 25 year Ponak's veteran's advice, and try out the Pork Burrito meal (#2). It comes with a taco, tostado, and the standard rice and bean sides. The taco and tostado were standard, but had a good crunch to the shells. This is a big thing to me, since I hate it when they fall apart on the first bite. The homerun came when I tasted the pork burrito. Smothered in cheese, and wrapped in a flour tortilla, I did not expect a lot from the filling, but I was pleasantly surprised. The pork is cooked with a delicious marinade that brings out the full flavor of the meat. The beans are my go-to side, and they were creamy, as they should be, and had a good amount of melted cheese.
Our first visit to Ponak's Mexican Kitchen will certainly not be our last, as there were a ton of other dishes I saw on the menu (as well as other tables) that piqued my interest. Of course, there is still a long list of place we haven't tried, and it is always exciting when we see and hear the excitement from the regulars at a location. In the meantime, if you want to learn more about Ponak's or have a gander at their menu, check them out at http://www.ponaksmexicankitchen.com/. If you want to see a little more of our costumes, well you will just have to wait for our next post.
Monday, November 28, 2016
While we enjoy going out as much as the next couple, we also savor the idea of a good deal. What is even better is when we happen upon it without being aware in advance. This is exactly what happened the other day, while we were out partaking in some retail therapy. After a long morning of shopping, we had built up quite an appetite. We were in Overland Park, near 135th & Metcalf, so we did a quick search. I found a handful of options, and Crystal decided on Mexican, which led us to Ted's Cafe Escondido.
We entered, and were seated immediately. Lauren, our server, came by and took or drink order, while delivering our first round of freebies. Besides the standard chips and salsa, this place includes cheese dip and warm tortillas. Lauren warned us that the tortillas were awesome, and she was correct. We had a visit from Jordan, the manager, who told us some background on the restaurant. He is originally from Oklahoma, where the chain began, and moved here when they opened up in the Kansas City area. They now have three locations in the metro, with two on the Missouri side.
The menu is full of great sounding dishes, and we both settled on the Two for $8.99 deal. Crystal chose a Beef Taco, Chicken Enchilada with Crema sauce on the side, and rice. She really enjoyed her selection, and was especially impressed with the Crema sauce, which she used on almost everything. She commented that the rice was standard fare, but good.
I ordered the same taco, but added the Ground Beef Enchilada with Chili con Carne sauce, and a side of refried beans. We both noted the over-sized tacos, which had a good crunch to the shell. The Chili con Carne sauce had a slight sweetness to it, but was still flavorful. The beans are my go to staple, and did not disappoint.
The staff was extremely attentive, and we had a second visit from the manager. He checked on how we enjoyed our meal, and told us that we were in for another treat when the complimentary sopapillas were served. Not long after our dinner plates were cleared, another server delivered our sweet treats. The airy pillows were coated with cinnamon sugar, and we chose to drizzle ours with honey. They really topped off a great meal, and all of this for a very affordable price. This place was immediately added to our "return visit" status, so we could sample more of the menu options. To learn more about Ted's Cafe Escondido visit them at http://www.tedscafe.com/.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Last weekend we were headed to North Kansas City to listen to the Ronni Ward Band (http://ronniwardmusic.com/) play at Christine's Firehouse. (I will have to remember to write a post about that place.) We were coming from another event, so we hoped to pop in and have some dinner while enjoying the tunes. When we got there we found standing room only, so it was time for an alternate plan. After a short search we found a spot just a couple of blocks away, and made a quick dash over. Located at 323 Armour Road, Chappell's Restaurant & Sports Museum sounded like an interesting place to visit.
One of our favorite things about seeking out new settings is finding an iconic location you never knew existed. Now this doesn't happen everyday, so when it does happen it is special occasion. The outside reminded us more of an old hotel entrance, but once we entered we realized this place had history. Now when I hear museum associated with a restaurant, I expect that there will be a few showcases scattered about, which highlight the specific interest of the owner. That was probably the case about 20 years ago at Chappell's.
Jim Chappell, the owner, has amassed an overwhelming collection of sports memorabilia, and put it on display for all to see. There are over 10,000 pieces of sports history adorning every nook and cranny of the restaurant and bar areas, and the collection spills over to the washrooms. The ceiling in the dining room is covered with football helmets from just about every professional and college team in America.
The collection is not limited to football, where we were seated a pair of boxing gloves, signed by Mohammed Ali, hung enshrined in a display case. In another area the 1974 Oakland A's World Series trophy holds a place of honor. This place has so much history within its walls that Northwest Missouri University holds a memorabilia class at the bar. It is easy to get so caught up in the atmosphere that you forget the original purpose for the visit. But soon our hunger brought reality crashing back down, so we ordered our meals.
Crystal chose the Chicken Strips dinner, which comes with Honey Mustard dipping sauce, and curly fries. The chicken was crispy, and the honey mustard was creamy and tasted homemade. The curly fries were standard fare, but good. The overall presentation was lackluster, but the portion was generous.
The menu lists a few of Jim's Picks, so I opted to try the London Broil, which comes with a vegetable and choice of potato side. The steak was cooked perfectly and included some of the au jus sauce for added flavor. Flank steak can be a challenge to serve tender and flavorful, but this place does it right. An added surprise was the sweet potato fries. Fried up crispy, they are served with a sweet and spicy chili dipping sauce that keeps you coming back for more. Needless to say we left without doggie bags, and headed off back to the live music event. By the way, we were able to finally snag a couple of seats when we returned, and the band was awesome. for more info, and to review the menu visit http://www.chappellsrestaurant.com/.
Monday, November 14, 2016
|The stage at the Westport Saloon.|
|The crowd appears to be enjoying Happy Hour.|
|Long Islands hit the spot.|
We decided to give it a shot, and headed out for the evening. The Westport Saloon is located in a old brick building along Pennsylvania Avenue. The front entrance leads into a standard bar area with a few high tops, as well as the row of stools lining the bar. Since we planned to stay for the music, we chose to sit in the backroom where the stage is found.
|The Happy Hour menu includes drink specials.|
|Hummus and Pita Chips.|
|Little Class Records Burger.|
|Fries with a ketchup based dipping sauce.|
|Shrimp Po' Boy.|
|Fried Catfish Po' Boy.|
|Twang Daddies providing some ambiance.|
Wednesday, November 9, 2016
A while back we visited a fast food restaurant in Blue Springs that focused on chicken strip dinners. We were both a little surprised at the concept, but evidently it is catching on. Recently we made our first stop at Zaxby's Chicken in the Village West are of KCK. Here we found another restaurant chain focusing on this narrow field of protein options. Since we were already there, we decided to try them out.
The menu is fairly straightforward, but has a surprising number of combinations to choose from. We took a moment to finally decide on our meals, and then placed our order. Like most fast food places, the focus is on quick turn time. Since we were in a hurry, we weren't too worried about the gourmet experience we were missing. We were both taken back a bit by the sheer number of calories allotted to their meals. It was a hefty price to pay for speedy service.
The dining area follows the lead of most any other fast food restaurant with a combination of table tops and booths. The service is set up so that a staff member will bring your meals to your table, which helps prevent congestion at the order counter.
We each ordered the four strip meal, which includes cole slaw, fries, and a piece of garlic toast. The chicken was a little bland, but had a good crust. The dipping sauce did add a smoky, peppery kick to the entree, and was a welcome addition. The fries are standard fast food fare, and the toast was saturated with butter, but lacking much garlic flavor. To me the winning part of the meal was the cole slaw. Crisp vegetables with a slightly sweet base is the style I grew up with. Overall Zaxby's Chicken is exactly what you would expect for fast food, and the prices are fairly standard for the amount of food they dish out. If you would like more information you can find out a ton of stuff at https://www.zaxbys.com/.
Monday, November 7, 2016
|The entrance to the restaurant is well marked.|
|Lots of seating options available.|
|The highlight of the bar is the large on-tap selection.|
|The menu is easy to read and staff was quick to help with additional information.|
|Chicken and Avocado Sandwich with Fries.|
|Pulled Pork Cuban with Onion Rings.|
|The happy couple heading out for the evening.|
Our overall impression was positive, and plans will be made to visit again. The fish and chips sound appealing, and we are interested in trying the homemade beer batter. The prices were reasonable, and the portions are certainly filling. Service was prompt, although we were there before it got too busy, but there were plenty of extra servers just waiting for the crowd to arrive. Everyone seemed friendly and helpful, and we had interaction with others beside our server. The ambiance inside the restaurant was a mix between bar and restaurant, and certainly made to be comfortable. If you are interested in learning more about the location or menu visit http://www.leinenkugelskc.com/.
|A werewolf on a mechanical bull is not a sight we see every day.|
Monday, October 31, 2016
|Fast serve pizza is starting to become more common place.|
|The menu is simple to read, but full of options.|
|Watch staff make your pie in front of your eyes.|
|Chicken Alfredo is a favorite of many customers including my wife.|
Once you have settled the bill, you get your drinks and find your seating. The dining area is well lit, with comfortable seats. There are table top and booth options, with the latter working well for us. The restaurant is large enough to handle a good number of customers, and I would imagine that being located on the outer portion of the mall allows for more to-go orders. In just a few short minutes our pies were pulled from the oven. A sprinkling of Italian herbs, and a brushing of garlic olive oil on the crust completes the pizza. Once cut and plated they are ready to be sampled.
|The Beast has plenty of meat choices and is very filling.|
This chain restaurant stands upon the premise of using the highest quality ingredients, in chef-driven recipes, to deliver an exceptional product. These are lofty goals, which can easily be lost in the hustle and bustle of building a chain. The true test of these standards are the flavors of the food that they serve. I was hesitant to expect anything more than a standard run-of-the-mill pizza joint offering, and I was pleasantly surprised. The crust I chose, which was the rosemary herb variety, imparted a slight herbal tone to the meal. The cheese, which is grated fresh daily, has a warm and buttery texture. The meats were bold and plentiful in every bite. We both enjoyed our choices, although my wife decided that next time she will opt for spinach to be added to her Chicken Alfredo pie. Pleasantly satisfied, as well as stuffed, we headed back to our retail therapy with the knowledge that we have located a great option for a quick, and quality lunch. If you want to learn more about Pizza Studio check them out at http://www.pizzastudio.com/.
Friday, October 21, 2016
|The shop is right next to target in Olathe.|
|The interior has a few seats, but mostly is standing room for customers.|
|The menu can fluctuate slightly, but there are a lot of constants.|
|I haven't tried these cones, but they do look tempting.|
|One scoop each of Pistachio and Sweat Cream in a waffle cone bowl.|