Month: January 2006

Talk of the Town Grill and Bar

lol Another note: I have never seen a restaurant refer to itself as a “grill and bar”, it has always been “bar and grill”. It baffles me why in Kansas every restaurant switches them around, it just doesn't sound right! In all the places I have been, I have never seen it “grill and bar”. Weird…

We ended up eating at the Talk of the Town because Hoyt's brother and sister-in-law graciously gave us gift certificates for watching their dog, Porter. Just a regular weekday night, a Wednesday if I recall correctly, so it wasn't too busy. I ordered Fish and Chips that turned out to be really tasty and a lot more than I could eat. At first I thought it wasn't much because it only had two breaded fish pieces on the plate, but they were filling! I barely made it through one, and the fish was excellent. I had a root beer float with it, in a vintage root beer float glass. While a glass of soda was two dollars, refills were free so I forgave Hoyt for going over what the certificates covered. :-p Overall, it has a nice atmosphere, definitely a bar and grill, or grill and bar as Kansans seem to like it, and friendly waitresses. I would recommend this place, at least on a weekday as I couldn't imagine how it is very busy. Decent priced tasty food and not far from where I live. Great combination. 🙂

Haywards restaurant

A mental observation on the traffic around here. First, it is oddly pleasant that the speed limits here are primarily 40-45mph. I'm used to 30-35mph with a lot of really angry drivers. This also poses a lot of problems for those of us without cars. This place SUCKS for anyone using alternative transportation. In order to use the bus system, I have to walk two miles to the stop at 6 in the morning and walk another three or four blocks at the other end… I miss Madison. Built in bicycle paths on roads and a REAL bus system… oh, and mopeds (making 35mph a reasonable speed, normal mopeds wouldn't work here unless one really wants to upset traffic…). City beautification my butt, add some utilitarian functionality here. For heaven's sake.

Haywards was the first barbeque restaurant we went to here. Hoyt had remembered its uniqueness and class from when he was a child (twenty years ago). It has definitely fallen since then. Not only was service horrible, the furniture was substandard and food was very dry. We stood at the entrance for over five minutes waiting to be seated before we peeked in the kitchen for assistance. The lady looked at us as if she had never seen hungry customers before… but we eventually were seated and our waitress found us. The wait wasn't long, but that could be from only three tables being used. We were also there on a weekday (Tuesday or Thursday, cannot remember), so we were hoping that it was this reason they were understaffed and serving old meat. Ick. Definitely paid too much for what we got… we both ordered ribs. That's about what it was too. Ribs, and fat. Hard to find actual meat on it, but the sauce was pretty good. Overall, highly NOT recommended. Hoyt was really sad about this, it was a fond memory that will unfortunately stay in the past.

Mark Wood performance at the Shawnee Mission North High School

Note: I decided to expand my reviews further to envelope the spectrum of experiences I have in this new city. I will be including not only books, but also restaurants, performances, and exhibits. Carry on.

On our way to Union Station, we heard over the radio that Mark Wood, the violinist from Trans-Siberian Orchestra, would be performing at a local high school. The auditorium at the Shawnee Mission North is decent, and for it being a high school, I was impressed by the sound and lights they were able to program and use. Mark Wood displayed the power of his created instruments using primarily the Viper, a 7-string violin/guitar hybrid. He worked with the Kansas City Strolling Strings, a group of dedicated high school orchestra students from what I could tell, to give a very creative second half performance. I must say that I am amazed and moved by the efforts both by the school and Mark Wood in order to interact with high school students, hopefully making more active music learners out of the newer generations. I was impressed by the students' skill in accompanying Mr. Wood, and found the concert well worth the ticket price (I hope it goes towards the music program). He also gave us an opportunity to watch a premiere performance of the latest Pepsi commercial he stars in that will be used during the Superbowl. Wicked. 😉

Union Cafe at Union Station

We stopped to eat a lunch/dinner meal at the Union Cafe at Union Station. Located in the magnificent grand foyer, the cafe is in a small reconstruction of the original ticket booth prior to the 1950s' “modernization”. The staff was extremely friendly and very aware of our needs, although this may be due to the fact we were the only customers at the time. I ordered a shrimp pesto pasta dish that turned out to be fairly good, worth the amount I paid for it. Hoyt ordered the BLTCA, a sandwich recently added last month, with a side order of fresh fruit. He seemed to enjoy it well enough, and the rest of mine (as I could never eat an entire plate of pasta). Dessert was aesthetically pleasant and tasty, a key lime tort that was quite delicious. Overall I wouldn't mind eating there again, we had absolutely no problems and the atmosphere is quite nice being inside the Station. For all the food and some iced tea, total came to 25 dollars for two people. I would say this is an in-between, not formal and uber expensive, yet nice enough to not be just a snack-and-go. One comment Hoyt made repeatedly is how large the tables are (across the booth-wise), probably to make sure no one had a column in the way of their view of the Union. I would have to agree.