Category Archives: Food

Smokers and broken air conditioners. UGH!

The Chiefs choked it away last night. The Chargers scored 15 points in the final five minutes to stun Kansas City (aka Mahomesland) 29-28, scoring a touchdown and the game-winning 2-point conversion with four seconds remaining. I think Chargers coach Anthony Lynn was reckless by going for 2, but hey, it worked, so he’s a hero.

Last night started very well but then took a deep dive.

I went to Buffalo Wild Wings to deliver Tori her Christmas card, then stayed to play trivia. At 1900, 20 minutes prior to kickoff at Arrowhead, I went outside despite a temperature of 3 Celsius (37 F) to avoid the crowd and concentrate better on trivia. I brought two layers to wear between my base shirt and parka, so I was fine there. Head covered. Fingers a little cold, but once I started using my stylus, I could keep my gloves on.

The bad thing is Missouri’s smoking laws are far less stringent than Kansas’, so people can go out to the patio and smoke. For the first hour I was outside, the smokers were courteous enough to stay far away from me and not blow the smoke towards me.

How bad is Missouri? Many municipalities, including Cape Girardeau and several suburbs in the St. Louis area, have smoking sections in restaurants and bars. The city of St. Louis has a smoking ban, but many cities in St. Louis County don’t. St. Charles County, home to St. Charles and St. Peters, didn’t have one either until very recently, and articles in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch highlighted angry smokers pissed about it.


In case you don’t know, I DESPISE SMOKING. There are not enough adjectives in the dictionary to describe how much I hate it. I would rather a person do heroin than smoke cigarettes.I will never smoke marijuana, but it is far less addictive than nicotine, so why are cigarettes legal and marijuana isn’t in most states? Even cocaine is less addictive than nicotine. And the worst thing about tobacco smoke is it makes me choke and of course ruins one’s lungs.

I have plenty of anger towards my mother because she smoked while she was pregnant with me, and I firmly believe it caused my Autistic Spectrum Disorder. My father smoked much more than my mother until he finally quit cold turkey three days after Labor Day 1985. He has stayed off of it for 33 years. I’m convinced if he continued to smoke, he would not have made it to Y2K.

Just after 2000 (8 p.m., not the year) an employee decided to smoke right across from me. I asked the asshole to move, but he claimed since he was an employee, he could go anywhere to smoke, even if it was as annoying as hell to a patron.

If I were that person’s supervisor and a customer complained to me about this employee being discourteous by smoking right in front of the patron, I would have fired him on the spot. Yet this piece of fecal matter still is employed by Buffalo Wild Wings.

It got worse when patrons stood right next to the door or close enough to where I was sitting and blew the smoke right towards me.  I had to walk around the patio holding the tablet to play trivia to avoid them.

I got fed up and went inside despite the mass of humanity. Now I know to sit at the end of the patio closest to Interstate 29 (north end) to avoid the smoke as best as possible.

It got worse when I got back to the hotel.

The air conditioning in my room at the KCI Hilton is not working as of now. SHIT.

At least it’s December 13. If it were March 13 through October 13, I’d be pissed beyond belief. It was still too warm; I barely got any sleep, and the sleep I got was on top of the covers. I was ready to check out this morning and find a new hotel, but I will give these people a chance to fix it. If it isn’t fixed, I will demand compensation and probably never stay here again.

Oh boy. Let me get out of this hotel room Epton!

Very late to the coffee game

was upset to learn last month The Cheesecake Factory discontinued my favorite flavor, Kahlua.

I have not generally been a consistent coffee drinker, but I have this weakness for coffee-flavored desserts and candy. I have been known to consume Werther’s Originals coffee flavored hard candies by the bag in a single day. I used to eat coffee ice cream for a week or two at a time without eating anything else.

I first sampled Kahlua cheesecake a decade ago when I stopped at The Cheesecake Factory on the Country Club Plaza in Kansas City, and I was hooked. I often went to the location in Overland Park (119th and Metcalf) when I stayed on the south side of town, and even sometimes when I was north of the river, too. I sometimes brought LIz and Lisa red velvet cheesecake while I got Kahlua for myself.

With Kahlua gone, tiramisu is my next choice. I absolutely loved the tiramisu whenever I was able to eat it at Pocorello’s in Baton Rouge.

There was a period a little over three years ago when I regularly went to a large liquor store in Overland Park, mostly to buy Abita beer for my friends (you’re welcome, Lisa) so they could have a taste of Louisiana. I broke down one day and bought a couple of bottles of Kahlua and a bottle of Absolut vanilla, thinking I might try to make White and  Black Russians. I also bought a blender in May 2015, thinking I might start to mix drinks.

To make a long story short, the Kahlua has sat unopened in my refrigerator for over three years, and the blender now resides with Caitlyn on the other side of the state.

Back to my coffee history. My parents devoured the stuff when I was growing up in New Orleans, but I never touched it. I went through my 20s and 30s without drinking hot coffee, but there were times I would get a frappuccino or iced latte at Starbucks.

There was a Dunkin’ Donuts about two miles from my house when I was young, but it closed when I was 10. There was no Dunkin’ in Louisiana for well over a decade, until one opened in a shopping center adjacent to the Superdome.

It wasn’t until I moved to Kansas and started going to Kansas City when I discovered Dunkin’s iced coffee. There are periods when I want to go almost every day, which happened a couple of weeks ago when I was last there.

On Christmas Eve 2016, I drank black coffee straight up driving from Topeka to Russell, something I had never done. My dad always drinks his coffee black, straight up, and it caused him much ridicule in New Orleans, where coffee and chicory with milk (Cafe Au Lait) is the standard. My mother understood, because she never puts anything except Sweet and Low in her coffee and chicory, which makes her an oddball among the natives of the Big Easy.

When I got back to Russell last Tuesday, I still had a jones for iced coffee. I seriously explored buying a coffee maker which could handle iced coffee.

I found it in a Keurig model which came out early this year. I almost pulled the trigger and bought from a couple of online vendors, but last Saturday, I got it at Target in Salina after getting my hair cut.

I didn’t use it for the first time until Tuesday. Folgers Black Silk. A little strong, but a couple of packets of Sweet and Low (saccharin is much better than aspartame, trust me) made it quite smooth without taking away any of its boldness.

Both the iced and hot versions were excellent.

I also noticed Keurig made pods of Kahlua brand coffee. Lucky for me, I didn’t have to order them direct; there were three boxes of 18 each at Walmart in Hays when I went yesterday. I bought them all, then drank one cup hot and one cup iced. I think I have my coffee rotation.

Later last night, I figured out why not try the Kahlua? It’s been sitting there and my parents certainly weren’t going to drink it. They also found no takers at the American Legion club, so it was sitting there on the bottom shelf of the door in the garage refrigerator while thousands of liters of pop went in and out, as did dozens of eggs, several pounds of cheese and a few varieties of cold cuts.

I poured half a shot glass–28 grams–of pumpkin spice Kahlua into 355 grams of hot coffee, added two Sweet and Low packets, and off I went.

Where were you all my life?

Let the record show it took 41 years, 9 months and 5 days for me to drink a distilled spirit. Kahlua, however, doesn’t have nearly the alcohol content that vodka or whiskey has, and of course, it was diluted by the coffee. But I think I’ve got a winner.

I also learned yesterday cooking a steak in a cast iron skillet on a stove is pretty damn good, too. About five or six minutes per side and it comes out perfectly rare, just the way I like it.

 

Friday foodie 

I got to Buffalo Wild Wings before noon for the first time before noon today. I finally got my butt up, showered almost right away, then drove to Clay County to shop at Price Chopper. I took the long way back to Barry Road, going I-35 south to I-29 north. I stopped for gas at the 7-11 on NE Antioch, and did my good deed for the day by helping a gentleman figure out how to get the gas pump in his tank, which did not have a gas cap. It was one of those “easy fuel” tanks where you just insert the pump. 

I have decided I will not eat wings during Lent. I do not like “boneless” wings (an oxymoron); the only time I eat them is when they are half-price at Buffalo Wild Wings. No more. Why the hell did I fool with boneless so long? They’re nothing more than glorified chicken nuggets in sauce. If I want them that bad, I can go to McDonald’s and then use a bottle of B-Dubs sauce. 

Besides, I’ve got other options for fried chicken in Kansas City. Popeye’s is across Barry Road from B-Dubs (albeit it’s always crowded), and now Zaxby’s is open in Liberty in front of Price Chopper. 

I’ve tired of the traditional wings too. You can only cycle through the sauces so many times. Also, there are some I refuse to eat: Sweet BBQ, Teryaki, Honey Mustard,  Honey BBQ, Wild, Mango Habanero and Blazin are all out for me. 

Last week in Salina I got a combination I had never ordered before: Mild and Hot BBQ. I’ll only order BBQ flavored sauces when I’m not in Kansas City, and only hot BBQ is decent. 

I have never understood why so many people order honey BBQ in Kansas City. If I wanted BBQ, I am not going to Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City. Not with Arthur Bryant’s, Gates, Jack Stack and Joe’s all there. 

Sweet BBQ sounds like a kiddie sauce. Teryaki? Only if I’m eating sushi or ahi tuna. Honey Mustard? Great on fried chicken, not on wings. Wild and Blazin are way, way, way too hot. Hot is the farthest I’ll go on the traditional buffalo-flavored sauces. 

Mango Habanero sounds disgusting, and it really is. I tried it once four years ago and I said never, ever again. NEVER. 

My sauce rankings (at least among those I eat): 

1. Medium; 2. Spicy Garlic; 3. Thai Curry; 4. Hot; 5. Mild; 6. Parmesan Garlic; 7. Asian Zing; 8. Hot BBQ

All of those sauces pale in comparison to the wings I ate at Ivar’s in Baton Rouge. Ivar’s sauce was perfect: not too hot, not too mild. It was somewhere between medium and hot at Buffalo Wild Wings. PERFECT. Lovely orange color. I could eat 50 of those in one sitting if I were really hungry. 

The other thing I miss at Ivar’s is the oyster po-boy (The Pearl). What I wouldn’t give for one right now. 

Today was easy to avoid wings due to it being a Friday; I ordered popcorn shrimp. Yesterday I had the southwest Philly (pico and queso with chopped steak). 

Buffalo Wild Wings has what they call a “Bayou Po-Boy” with shrimp. Three major problems: (1) it’s popcorn shrimp, and the po-boys in New Orleans are made with larger shrimp; (2) the bread isn’t authentic French bread, but instead a hoagie roll; and (3) it has coleslaw. I don’t like coleslaw, and NOBODY in New Orleans puts coleslaw on a po-boy, at least sane people. Last I checked, a dressed po-boy in New Orleans is lettuce, tomato, pickles, mustard and mayo. No coleslaw! 

Minsky’s got really interesting by the end of my evening last night. A husband of one of the employees showed up with another couple, and the two men were going back and forth, using the F word or some form of it every fourth word it seemed like. I glanced back at them once, but mostly I was turned away from them, looking at the screen while playing trivia. 

If I go tonight, no Italian sausage on my pizza or calzone, but that’s no big deal. There are more than enough good veggies to be enjoyed. And they have shrimp alfredo pizza and calzone too. I’m probably going there after Robb and Dawn leave B-Dubs today.  

Laptop held up last night and this morning. Knock on wood and fingers crossed. 

Norton’s boys play in Russell tonight. I feel bad if anyone from the Cox family shows up and I’m not there, but Peggy told me it’s fine. Maybe I’ll go to Hutchinson next week if the Bluejays qualify for the Class 3A state tournament. In the past I covered the basketball sub-state tournaments, but no more. I don’t miss it. Less trouble. 

I’m now the lone customer at the bar. Been there before 😂

Too much chicken

My name is David, and I am addicted to chicken fingers. There, I said it.

I fulfilled that addiction yesterday by going to TWO chicken finger establishments less than 12 hours apart.

The first stop was Iowa Street in Lawrence, 11 blocks south of the University of Kansas campus.

Yesterday marked the grand opening of the first Raising Cane’s in Kansas. Fittingly, it was in the home city of the state’s largest college, since Raising Cane’s has opened in many college cities during its 20 years. Of course, it was conceived in Baton Rouge, home to LSU, and has since expanded to Norman (Oklahoma), Lincoln (Nebraska), Fayetteville (Arkansas), Fort Collins (Colorado State), Columbus (THE Ohio State), among other places.

I arrived at Raising Cane’s just before 9 a.m., one hour before opening. There were already 30 people in line. The first 20 received free Cane’s for one year. I had to settle for a t-shirt and a free meal on a future visit. As nice as the free year of food would have been, it would have been impractical, considering I live 200 miles away. Still, it’s nice to have a Cane’s closer than Grand Island.

The next Raising Cane’s in the region opens May 24 at Blue Springs, 12 miles east of the Truman Sports Complex. Maybe I wait there for the free year of food.

I was surprised at how fast I got out of Cane’s after it opened. By 10:25, I was on the Kansas Turnpike, headed to Kansas City for a long day of trivia at Buffalo Wild Wings.

Robb and Dawn showed up just before 4:30 and stayed until 6:30. I was glad I came to see them. They’re always amazed by the useless information I provide them with.

Dana Stephenson was bartending for the first time, taking the shift which had been formerly occupied by Stephanie Suggs, whose last day was last Friday. I ate 12 wings there.

When I was at Buffalo Wild Wings, I got some distressing messages from someone. Someone I didn’t expect to receive such messages from.

When I left Buffalo Wild Wings and checked into the Courtyard on Tiffany Springs Parkway, I decided I needed Zaxby’s. I didn’t need it, I just wanted it. So I ordered online, drove the long way to Parallel Parkway in KCK, and got my food.

I paid the price just before 10 a.m. Eyes bigger than the stomach. yet again.

I’m done with Zaxby’s, at least for this time around. I am not fighting the crowds which will be invading the Legends for the NASCAR race at Kansas Speedway Saturday night. I’m going to leave tomorrow evening and drive back to Russell. Maybe Cane’s is feasible.

Okay, I need to get ready. Sitting around this long without cleaning up is not productive.

Purple Friday

One thing was certain for tonight’s baseball game in Columbia: the TIgers were going to win.

Duh. 

The visiting Tigers, the Tigers I like to refer to as the Bayou Bengals, prevailed 7-5. LSU trailed until it scored five runs in the fifth, highlighted by a three-run homer from Bryce Jordan.

Mizzou got to within 6-5 on a leadoff homer in the seventh, but Hunter Newman came in and allowed only one baserunner, retiring the final seven batters he faced to earn the save in relief of Jared Poche. 

Game two is in a little more than 15 hours. When I was traveling with the team, coach Bertman usually allowed the players two hours after the bus got back to the hotel to get something to eat before curfew. I don’t know what coach Maineri’s policy is, but I’m sure the players  be in their rooms no later midnight. 

The players needed time to find something to eat, because many are on foot, and it is very hard to find a restaurant open late in Starkville, Oxford, Tuscaloosa or Athens, even on a Friday night. Heck, Zaxby’s in Columbia closes at 10. 

My only pitfall tonight was getting lost on the way back to the hotel. I thought I had to turn right and go south on US 63, but as it turned out, the road I was taking from campus would have taken me straight to the Courtyard had I just passed over US 63. Once I saw the mileage to Jefferson City getting smaller and smaller, I knew it was time to turn around. 

I made it to Zaxby’s just in time. They were getting ready to close up, but there was still a couple ahead of me waiting for their food, so I didn’t feel too bad about ordering so close to closing. I would have hated to have them work hard for only me. 

Pretty good, as far as chicken fingers go. The sauce is excellent. And I love Texas toast. Maybe I’ll save the oysters for tomorrow; then again, I didn’t eat anything after Chick-Fil-A until Zaxby’s. 

I’m back in the room right now. It was a very good Friday. Hopefully Saturday will be more of the same. 

Oysters and baseball

It’s almost time to play baseball at Mizzou. The announcement of the starting lineups are taking place as I type, and at 6 pm, or shortly thereafter, it will be time for LSU and Missouri to do battle. 

Bill Franques asked me to meet him for lunch at Chick-Fil-A on Stadium Blvd. at 1 pm. However, he texted me at 12:15 and had to push it back to 12:30, because the coaches were out with the rental car. 

With a lot of time to kill, I decided to go into Jazz a Louisiana Kitche, a Cajun restaurant which began in downtown Kansas City, Kansas near the University of Kansas Medical School, but has expanded to another location near the Kansas Speedway, Lawrence, Omaha, Lubbock and Columbia. 

I wanted the Oysters Rockefeller, but oyster on the half shell weren’t available. But fried oysters were available, and I ate them up. God, they were delicious. It’s one food I could eat every day, or nearly every day, and never get tired of it. 

It was the first time I had eaten fried oysters in SIX YEARS. The last time I ate them? At Ivar’s in June 2010, when I ate an oyster po-boy. I ate four oyster po-boys during my trip to Baton Rouge that summer. I wish I knew how to deep fry, or I would order a gallon and fry them up. 

The oysters were so good at Jazz I got another order to go. They’re going straight to my stomach when I get back to the hotel. 

Bill and I met at Chick Fil-A. I saw him standing there trying to text me, because he thought I was late, but I told him, “Um, I’m right here”. We visited for 50 minutes. Very good. 

The first pitch is about to go out. Time to play.

Feeding frenzy

I haven’t done a darn thing the past three days. Then again, given what I went through last weekend and the first couple of days of the work week, it’s far from the worst thing to be doing nothing other than sitting in my basement in Russell, watching reruns of The O.C. and Shark Tank. I have not watched a single inning of baseball since getting back from Kansas City, and I have hardly watched SportsCenter. Maybe watching sports will remind me of all the problems I had that infamous night, but sooner or later, I’ll have to get back on the horse and get back into my normal sports patterns. Then again, there was a time where all I watched was sports, so expanding my  horizons is not a bad thing.

I ate with my parents for the first time in over a week. My mother cooked shrimp scampi. It was outstanding as always. She was going to cook it last Sunday, but I was teetering on the edge, and besides, my mother’s right arm was killing her, so it was best she didn’t cook.

I have a column to write this week for my newspapers, something I usually do for Monday mornings, but I didn’t last week because I felt like I had nothing but venom to spew.

This column won’t be too hard, because I’m going to focus some of it on the theater shooting in Lafayette, considering I spent much time in the Louisiana city and that’s my native state. I guess I’ll also have to touch on the trade this afternoon which sent Cincinnati Reds ace Johnny Cueto to the Royals. The Royals are so often sellers at the trade deadline, which is Friday, but they were in dire need of a starting pitcher, since their rotation has been mediocre to pathetic this season. Not re-signing James Shields was a huge mistake. I wonder now if Big Game James would rather be pitching for the best team in the American League, or making more money for a bad team, like he is right now in San Diego.

My guardian angel in San Diego said she had made lists with her husband Friday night, and she would like to know some of my favorites. I’m going to oblige her, not only because it’s a good exercise, but I feel comfortable opening up to her and letting her glimpse into my life.

Like her, I am into food. Big time. You could guess that from looking at my less than impressive physique. I love to eat, like many from New Orleans. My biggest problem is I can’t find most of those dishes I ate in Louisiana now that I’m in rural Kansas, where it’s all about beef, beef and more beef.

I am a seafood junkie. I could eat seafood every day of my life if need be. Although I’m not so despearate for seafood that I rush off to the McDonald’s in Russell and order a Filet-o-Fish. I haven’t been to McDonald’s in over two months, and I don’t think that will change anytime soon. I was very tempted during my deep depression to go just to make myself feel better, but I said no.

I would give anything for oysters. Oysters are my favorite food, period. I loved them fried and charbroiled when I lived in Louisiana. I never ate them raw, but right now, I would probably devour a dozen on the half shell. My mother makes the best oyster dressing at Thanksgiving, but I would much rather her use the oysters for something else.

The oyster po-boy is my favorite sandwich. The last time I had one was in June 2010, the most recent time I visited Louisiana. I ordered it FOUR times when I visited Ivar’s, my favorite hangout in Baton Rouge. If by some miracle I can get down to Louisiana, I am tempted to smuggle as much oysters as can fit in a cooler back to Kansas.

I can eat shrimp all day, too. My mother’s shrimp scampi is first rate, and I will never pass up the coconut shrimp at Outback Steakhouse. In fact, I have to get two orders most of the time to satisfy my need. I also could go for shrimp cocktail right about now.

One of my favorite orders at Outback is lobster. In fact, there was a point where I would order it all the time from Outback, skipping the steak. Every time I go to a fancy steakhouse, like Ruth’s Chris, I have to get a lobster tail with my steak. I know it costs a pretty penny, but I can’t pass it up.

I am also dying for soft shell crabs. Dying. Haven’t had those in over a decade. As for fish, I prefer tuna, salmon and swordfish over catfish. Catfish is too cliche for the Deep South. You can do much better in south Louisiana than fried catfish. Leave that to the piney woods of Mississippi, where they wouldn’t know how to cook without lard and cornmeal.

I love steak, too. If I had a choice of cuts, I would choose the T-Bone. The strip is also a favorite. And do not overcook it. I want to see blood coming out of the meat. I want my steak RARE, as close to raw as humanly possible. There are times where I think medium rare is overdone for me. If it’s more than medium rare, I am a very unhappy camper. It happened in March when I went to Outback in Overland Park. I complained about the steak being medium, so I wrote about my displeasure on Outback’s website. The next day, someone from the Outback in Overland Park called and said they would send me a $20 off coupon for a future visit. Still haven’t used it. Now, when I order from Outback, I will remind them to not overcook. I like rare. And no, I do not want blue cheese, Bearnaise sauce or anything else on top of my steak. Blue cheese is for salads and buffalo wings.

I can eat buffalo wings, but the best buffalo wings are not from Buffalo Wild Wings. I was going to Buffalo Wild Wings in Kansas City much more for the people and the other attractions than the food. Some of the sauces are totally inedible to me, especially the mango habanero and the blazing. Way, way, way too hot. If I

The best wings I’ve eaten are still at the first place I ate buffalo wings, Ivar’s. It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the sports bar on Perkins Road in south Baton Rouge was my favorite hangout in Red Stick. I would go there four, sometimes five, times per week, often arriving at opening at 11 a.m. and staying well past 2 p.m. Other times, I was there from 4 p.m. until 9 or 10. The buffalo wings were the best, and on many days, I’d eat the double order of 20. The sauce on the wings was just perfect–not too hot, but not too mild, either, the perfect orange color you want in a buffalo wing sauce. And on most days, the wings were huge. As I mentioned earlier, the oyster po-boy was awesome, and so was the cheeseburger and chicken cordon bleu sandwich.

Sushi is something I’ve become a big fan of recently. The Hy-Vee on Barry Road in Kansas City, which I frequent often on my visits there, has a really great selection. The other Hy-Vee locations in the Kansas City area also have fine selections, but it too often has the sauce on it I don’t care for. For me, dipping the sushi in some soy sauce is plenty. The Dillon’s stories in Salina and Wichita also have great selections. However, I cannot stand cream cheese. No way. Cream cheese is for bagels. Got it?

I am tempted to go to Denver to go to Benihana. I could go for a lot of sushi right now.

I’ve become hooked on the Kettle potato chips, which are gluten-free. My favorite flavors are the buffalo bleu (big surprise) and the pepperocini. The pepperocini are the peppers Papa John’s puts in its pizza boxes. Most people will break open the pepper and spread the juice over the pizza, but I  have eaten them whole, too. I wish there were a Papa John’s in Hays. The closest for me is in Great Bend, which requires a 40-mile drive down the two-lane US 281.

Two fast food chains from Louisiana I really miss in Kansas are Raising Cane’s and Whataburger.

Cane’s is a chicken finger restaurant which began in Baton Rouge in 1996. It’s not so much the chicken fingers, but it’s the awesome toast and sauce which I love. In fact, I bought two quarts of sauce earlier this month when I went through Omaha and Lincoln.

Whataburger has a much better selection of burgers than the Big Three, and the pies are more than worth the trip. Too bad the closest one to me is in Tulsa.

I also wish there were a Cheesecake Factory closer than Overland Park. My favorite is the Kahlua, although I’m also craving the tiramisu and Godiva chocolate right about now.

I’d better stop for now. I’m going to make myself really hungry.