Saturday February 9 cont.
First of all, a big tip of the cap to Roadfooder Sfreader
. His excellent website on Kansas restaurants was invaluable in helping me plan my trip. http://www.kansastravel.org/kansasrestaurants.htm
Keith, I really wish our schedules would have worked out better so we could have shared a meal and I could have thanked you in person. Next time I am in the area, for sure!
My first stop in Kansas was in the tiny little town of Hartford to visit the European Bakeshop
Truthfully, I was very suspicious of this place. I mean, a European bakery in a small town in the middle of nowhere? But as soon as I walked in, I felt much better about the place. There is a blackboard with a list of all the lunch items available.
And their one table was occupied by a woman and her soup & sandwich sure looked good. But, I was there to check out some of their bakery items.
There isn't a huge selection, but everything looks like it is made fresh.
They have pies, breads, cookies, but since I knew I was limited by what I could carry home, I ordered lightly. The one item I ate immediately, a dark chocolate truffle was intensely chocolatey and satisfying!
The rest I ate later and will show them then.
I asked the friendly owners, John & Evelyne O'Connor how such a small town could support a sophisticated bakery like this and they told me that it couldn't, but people come regularly from nearby Emporia and further to their place. By the way, Evelyne, who is French, still has a very strong, lovely accent. http://www.roadfood.com/Reviews/Writeup.aspx?ReviewID=3274&RefID=3336 http://www.europeanbakeshop.com/
I drove away wishing I had bought more than I did, but knowing I still had lots of food coming that day.
My next target was the Chicken House
in another tiny town, Olpe. My GPS decided that the best route from Hartford to Olpe included this alledged road.
Oh well, at least I was only driving a rental!
Pulling up at the Chicken House
about 15 minutes after they opened, I was only their third customer of the day. But that didn't last long and they were soon swamped for lunch. People in Kansas will obviously drive a long way for a good meal, which is a quality I admire!
Of course, I had to order the chicken and got the three piece dinner.
A salad comes with the meal and one of the dressing choices was called Dorothy Lynch. Having never heard of it before, I asked the waitress. She said it was along the lines of a French dressing. So, I went with that.
I asked if Dorothy Lynch dressing was a specialty of theirs and she said no, it is available in the local grocery stores, too. The dressing was good (I like French dressing, so that helps) and the greens were very finely chopped. Good salad!
The menu and the Roadfood review mention that the onion rings here are a specialty. But French fries come with the meal and I would have had to order the onion rings as a side. After seeing how big an order was on another table (I saw a couple of grandparents come in with their grandson and immediately place two orders of onion rings!), I declined myself.
But the waitress still brought me a couple, just to try. Wasn't that nice of her?
Crunchy, greasy and sweet tasting, these are very good onion rings.
Finally, after a long wait ( I don't mind, since fried chicken to order should take a long time!), my main course came out.
First of all, this chicken had the most brittle crust I have ever seen. Just looking at it, made the crust fall away. And it was delicious, too. The meat itself was tender and juicy and I had no problem putting away all three pieces. Good french fries, too. Oh, I shouldn't call them that, since here they are called freedom fries.
By this point, I was quite full and I had planned on going straight to another restaurant from here, so I passed on the pies. Sorry to let you down CajunKing
! But they looked homemade and good.
When I was driving to the Chicken House
, I was thinking that this place didn't stand a chance with me. After having fried chicken the night before at Stroud's
, how could anyplace compare. And although Stroud's
was clearly superior, this place held its own. Anybody driving through the Emporia area would do well to stop in for a fine chicken dinner!
One more thing I should mention. In the review for Chicken House
in Eat Your Way Across the USA, Jane & Michael mention the homemade honey wheat-nut bread. Unfortunately, they no longer serve it, since the owner Leonard who used to make it, passed away a few years ago.
Much more to come.....