After a quiet night at our airbnb in Rogers, we dropped in at the hip happening coffee shop in downtown Bentonville, Onyx, which was buzzing, on a Sunday morning no less. After a few jolts of caffeine, we drove north through Missouri, passing what seemed like many road signs advertising Jesus, guns, churches and anti-abortion.
Stopped for gas in Lamar and toured a local outlet of the “Beef Jerky Warehouse,” which had more varieties of jerky than imaginable and some interesting T-shirts. We were taken aback, while reading a little wall sign about Lamar’s history, to see a casual mention of the KKK meetings (once) held in town.
In Kansas City, where the fall colors were most spectacular, we had lunch with a favorite relative, Uncle Kenneth, on the Plaza at the Parkway Social Kitchen. Not bad. Particularly appreciated the servers, who were gentle and kind to our elderly relative, which was much appreciated. The drive home to Iowa – where the trees also have turned fiery reds, yellows and oranges during our one week away – was also uneventful.
We are on hour four of our first drive to Kansas with our eight year old vizsla on board. Five more hours to go. So far so good. Helps that our son is in the back seat with her. Driving long haul on interstates is different with a dog. Now we are keenly aware of rest areas and even better rest areas with designated pet areas like the fabulous one on interstate 35 in northern Missouri near eagleville. Ernie had a nice open field with large steel cutouts of buffalo to roam in, set back from the interstate. Perfect. Less perfect but serviceable was the island in the middle of interstate 70 east of Lawrence Kansas where we walked Ernie in a narrow strip of grass next to the McDonald’s.
Oak Ridge Manor: Deluxe Fried Chicken
When we flew back from New Orleans to Kansas City Airport last month we arrived early afternoon – and were hungry, having skipped lunch. We were too early to have dinner at the Justus Drugstore in Smithville, Mo. – a destination-dining spot in an old 1960’s-style pharmacy which I’ve always wanted to try – north of the airport. But we had perfect timing for Stroud’s in North Kansas City, just off I-35. On a Sunday at 4 p.m. it was relatively easy to get a table before the dinner onslaught and we had a lovely table in the back room in front of big picture windows overlooking a classic autumn scene – swans gliding on a small lake surrounded by trees with yellow and orange leaves. The food was great too – a chicken dinner for two was really two nights of dinners and a breakfast. We had a second helping of fried chicken and mashed potatoes the next night and ate the cinnamon rolls the next morning for breakfast. The chicken was delicious – crisp, flavorful, not greasy and hot; the mashed potatoes and thick gravy good; excellent service- even at the end of the meal our server brought more gravy so we could take it home with our other leftovers. We hadn’t been to this particular Stroud’s – in a pretty 1800’s white farmhouse and log cabin called “Oak Ridge Manor” – for years, preferring instead the old roadhouse Stroud’s further south in Kansas City but that one was closed, sadly, to make way for an expanded highway, so this new one is fine. There’s also a new one in the the K.C. suburb of Fairway and in Wichita. Good to know!
Filed under Dining, Missouri
From top left: Forest Park Jewel Box, MetroLink (St. Louis) at Lambert – St. Louis International Airport, Apotheosis of St. Louis at the St. Louis Art Museum, Gateway Arch and the St. Louis skyline, Busch Stadium, and the St. Louis Zoo
My cousin S is on the road, driving from NYC to LA. He just called looking for suggestions of what to do in St. Louis, where he’d just arrived. Hmmm, let me look up St. Louis on my blog, I said. Couldn’t find it. Let’s look under Missouri. And up popped a post from my stepdaughter E on what to do in St. Louis. Voila!l
My stepdaughter E had a great time recently in St. Louis. Here are her recommendations/impressions!
- – a stay at the Renaissance, formerly the Statler, which is the oldest hotel in downtown St. Louis.
- – Downtown St. Louis is beautiful with 200 year old buildings that looked like they haven’t been touched. We walked into the train station, an Art Nouveau masterpiece, and I was astounded at how well it had been preserved.
- – Drive around the Soulard, the old French district. It is extremely similar to New Orleans and in fact, we just missed the big Mardi Gras celebration going on this weekend. Soulard has lots of cute blues and jazz bars.
- – We went to a great Thai restaurant, The King and I in the Tower Grove neighborhood. Grand in Tower Grove seems to have a long strip of ethnic restaurants, Ethopian, Middle Eastern, Korean, etc, all in a row. After dinner we went to the Gelateria del Leone where they had homemade gelato and coffee. It was outstanding.
- -On Monday, we tried to go to a cafe in Lafayette Square, but unfortunately it was closed. Lafeyette Square has big beautiful houses that are probably from around the late 19th century.
- – lunch at Pappy’s Smokehouse, in Midtown, near SLU, known for the brisket. It was some solid BBQ, but the best thing was probably the fried corn on the cob. It tasted like popcorn.
- – We drove around the Central West End, near Forest Park, where private gated drives were filled with century old mansions. We stopped in a mystery book store called the Big Sleep.
- – We finished the day in a new trendy area called Cherokee. We had some serious mochas ( a hot chocolate drink) at the Mudd Cafe on Cherokee street (the food looked really good too). The street was lined with vintage shops and serious taco stands that I definitely want to hit up when I go back.
A few St. Louis ideas, by request:
– The last two times I went, we spent most of our time around Wash U. and went to a Cardinals game.
– I went to the old garden district one very hot sweltering day for lunch.
– then there’s the arch of course. and a new-ish downtown sculpture garden near by.
– The beer garden (Busch beer) we went to was at Grant’s Farm but doesn’t appear to be open until april: http://www.grantsfarm.com/TheBauernhof.htm
– fun fact re The Hill neighborhood (italian) in St. Louis (which I haven’t been to):
“It’s so crowded nobody goes there anymore.” This was said by Yogi Berra about Ruggeri’s (a Hill neighborhood restaurant) where he and Joe Garagiola had worked as waiters, which had become so popular that his old friends couldn’t get in anymore.
Friends are trying out Big Cedar Lodge, a historic resort in southern Missouri on Table Rock Lake, this summer. Looks like a great place – so I’ve listed here so I can remember it when next we are in that area….it’s located at 612 Devil’s Pool Rd. – Ridgedale, MO 65739. The other place I want to go – when it opens – is Crystal Bridges, the contemporary art museum two hours southwest of Table Rock Lake that is the brainchild of a Wal-Mart heiress in Bentonville, Arkansas. Museum admission will be free to all, thanks to Wal-Mart, it was just announced. Might just have to tack on a trip to nearby Eureka Springs, an old favorite I haven’t visited in years.