Wednesday, April 04, 2007

Restaurant Recommendations

It’s obvious that I am not one of those bloggers attempting to update their blogs daily during April. My life lately has kept me from adding a more recent posting. I have been swamped with grading, which is one of the drawbacks to teaching writing. I got through two sets last week, finishing the remaining six essays late Saturday night, after my wife and son took me out for dinner and a movie to celebrate my birthday. My birthday wasn’t officially until Monday, so returning to my grading late that night didn’t ruin my plans and didn’t interrupt my life, other than preventing me from sleeping until after 4:00 a.m. I also don’t drink and didn’t experience an interruption in my mental functioning, something which would have kept me from finishing my work. My students were expecting their essays. I guess we teachers are a dedicated bunch despite our complaints about the amount of work and the quality of our students.

For those of you looking for a good restaurant, I recommend Ted’s Montana Grill. Whenever I eat there for special occasions, say, two or three times a year, I make a point of ordering the kitchen sink buffalo burger; it’s layered with mushrooms, onions, bacon, ham, cheese, and an egg. I tend not to eat the top part of the bun, so I use a knife and fork to eat it, just as I do when eating a sloppy joe or a Manwich. This burger when combined with a house salad is an appetizing and satisfying meal, one of the few meals that I actually enjoy eating away from the house. Ted’s Montana Grill in Kansas City, Kansas is located at the Legend’s, a retail area that has been developed next to the Kansas Speedway. This area contains a number of restaurants designed to satisfy the appetites of the Nascar followers. Restaurants like Cheeseburger in Paradise and T-Rex don’t compare to the quality of Ted’s Montana Grill, however. I even had the good fortune on Saturday of having a friendly waitress instead of the sullen teenagers who so often seem unable to talk to a 50-something man. My wife tells me I intimidate young people because I don’t smile and I’m not outwardly friendly. Perhaps the difference when eating at Ted’s is that I actually enjoy the experience instead of dreading having to eat something that usually isn’t as good as what I could cook at home.

Other than Ted’s, my preferences include Panera Bread and Einstein Bagels. Both restaurants offer the opportunity to eat relatively quickly, without a long wait for one’s food, and don’t require a lot of money. Einstein Bagels, particularly the one on Barry Road near Barrywoods 24, a multiplex theater, comes close to the restaurants that used to be located in Noe Valley and North Beach back in 1977 and that made eating out a relaxing and pleasant experience. I used to like eating at Eden Alley, a vegetarian restaurant off of 47th Street in Kansas City; it used to be my first choice for special occasions. Almost an hour-long commute one-way proved to a deterrent. It also seemed as though Eden Alley stopped offering much variety, like its Suzi platter, and resorted to serving only bruschetta.

On the subject of restaurants, I can also recommend the Mongolian barbecue in Lawrence on 23rd Street. It offers plenty of variety, not only the vegetables and meats that can be cooked on the grill but also additional options available at the buffet. It also has the freshest egg rolls and desserts. There’s a Mongolian barbecue off of Barry Road that’s good, too, but it offers few options besides those foods meant to be cooked on the grill and has a limited selection of desserts, most of which are served frozen.

Notice the buffalo grazing next to the federal prison in Leavenworth in the picture I’m adding to this posting. Although the prisoners at the state prison in Lansing raise their own cows, the prisoners at USP Leavenworth don’t dine on buffalo; the buffalo are there for aesthetic reasons, I guess. Someone visiting us once thought the buffalo were there for Leonard Peltier, who has since been transferred to another federal prison somewhere in the East, and other imprisoned Native Americans. A few years ago, when my wife and I had picked Sherman Alexis up at the airport and brought him back to Leavenworth where he spent the night, we told him about Leonard Peltier and drove by the prison once we got into town. The next morning, when we picked up Sherman Alexis at his hotel for the trip to Kansas City, he mentioned having written a poem the night before addressed to Leonard Peltier. If anyone has seen this poem, you need to let me know.