Nov 26, 2013

A commoner reviews Stroud’s, Fairway, Kansas

If you’re like me and love food, and the Food Network, you’re probably very familiar with the show “The Best Thing I Ever Ate.”  The show’s premise revolves around a theme for each show, and then famous chefs and food critic describe their favorite dishes in that category and where to get it.  I've eaten a lot of great food at a lot of restaurants from hole-in-the-walls to legendary meccas for certain foods, so I don’t use the words “best ever” lightly. 

That said, and with apologies to my grandmother who made some awesome pan-fried chicken almost every Sunday when I was growing up, the fried chicken at Stroud's Restaurant is the best I ever ate.  Certainly the best I ever ate at any restaurant.

I had discovered Stroud’s while researching a trip with the Young Curmudgeon to Kansas City several years ago.  Unfortunately, we never made it there, so I put it on my short list of places to go in KC as part of this summer’s road trip to Colorado with my friend, Ken, and the fake wife, Christine.  On our way back from Colorado, we finally made it, stopping at the newer location in suburban Fairway, Kan.      
The entrance to the Stroud's south location.

Nov 21, 2013

Things discussed at the Brewhaus: 18th edition

Just when you thought that – like the Brewhaus itself sometimes – ideas for topics of conversation at the bar were in short supply, your friends surprise you.  No, I don’t have a list of 18 things for the 18th edition, but I still found enough over the past couple of months to hopefully whet your appetite for further discussion:

Nov 17, 2013

Cokes and smiles in Vicksburg, Miss.

When the Young Curmudgeon and I decided to spend a day exploring Vicksburg, Miss., last summer, he was particularly excited to see the military park and battlefield.  But honestly, what I think sealed the deal for him was when he learned about the Coca-Cola Museum in town.

The Biedenharn Coca-Cola Museum is located in Vicksburg’s historic, restored downtown area.  More specifically, it’s on Washington Street, which has been transformed back to its brick surface and most of the boutique shops and galleries are located.  The streets are hilly and narrow (parking streetside can be a slight challenge), but the area is quite scenic, as the river meanders past only a few blocks west.  And driving down Washington Street in particular is a little like stepping back in time.    

Because of the restoration, you won’t find any flashy signs advertising the museum.  But you’ll know you’re there when you see the restored storefront for the Biendenharn Candy Co. 

Nov 11, 2013

Scenes from Vicksburg National Military Park

Somehow, I thought it was appropriate to save this post for Veterans Day.  Last summer, the Young Curmudgeon and I chose to extend our vacation a day to stop in Vicksburg, Miss., specifically to tour the Vicksburg National Military Park.  I thought the idea of touring the park was especially fitting with this year marking the 150th anniversary of the battle which, coinciding with the Battle of Gettysburg, turned the tide of the Civil War for the United States. 

The idea of visiting Vicksburg also brought me back to my youth when I had the opportunity to visit Gettysburg on a school-sponsored spring break trip. Even as a kid in junior high school, the memories of seeing the battlefield in a glorious and ominous morning mist are some I will never forget.  And, when the Young Curmudgeon and I toured Vicksburg on a steamy July afternoon, I felt some of the same senses of reverence, awe, and appreciation for the history that took place on the site. 

Nov 7, 2013

Stealing history in Dodge City

Before Ken, Christine and I departed Dodge City on the last leg of our road trip, we decided to take a few minute to explore the Boot Hill Museum and Historic Front Street near downtown.  A few minutes turned into a few hours, as we were quite literally drawn into the multitude of fascinating exhibits and the journey you go on back in time to a recreated Front Street as it existed in 1876. 

The journey actually began quite innocently at the Museum Store, a gift shop marking the entrance to Boot Hill.  Its exterior has looks like the reconstructed Great Western Hotel, which appropriate also serves as a gateway to the Front Street portion of the museum. 

A commoner dines at Baumgartner’s Cheese Store and Tavern, Monroe, Wis.

I wasn’t sure a place existed that could be the perfect representation of Wisconsin life, but then I traveled through Monroe, Wis., one week...