Panclog

Flapjacks on the 1s and 2s!

Whom I Had a Beer With – Hayden

By The Honorary Brent Morgan

When my children were younger and curious about alcohol my wife and I responded to their questions honestly. We always tried to answer their questions in an open, honest, age appropriate way. Reaching their teen years of course their curiosity started to peak, and we talked about it more. I requested that each of them show some self-discipline and wait till they were 21 so that I could enjoy their first drink with them. Now, I harbor no illusion that they have not imbibed prior to 21, but I do not mind kidding myself on some things. 

My eldest recently reached the 21-year-old milestone and I invited him to go out the Saturday after his birthday. I would like to say his response was effusive, but he simply said, “sure.” Granted that is effusive for him.

Most first time “Legals” go out with only one thing in mind, “I am going to get hammered as quickly as possible. I want a night I will not remember, so I cannot regret.” But I figured we need to do his birthday right. Make it an evening that is fun and memorable. Thus, here is a cocktail recipe for doing it right.

21st: Doing it Right

Ingredients List:

Find a Friend: I figured the best thing to do was invite my buddy Jared to the event. It is safe to say that Jared, and his family, are really members of our family. Plus, he happens to be one of the most affable and kind people I know. Jared cared as much as I did about ensuring Hayden’s night would turn out as a delightful experience.

Set a Dress Code: Most folks, at least in my circle of influence, celebrated their 21st while away at college. With the limiting factors of college life, like a lack money, an unwashed wardrobe, Cheetos dust covering your hands and face, and a group of friends deeply desiring to tie one on, would prevent the decision to dress sharply. We went the opposite direction and set a dress code of button-down shirts, jackets, and looking decidedly well groomed. Besides it is impossible to overdress for any occasion.

Pick a Variety of Establishments: I was concerned about our ability to be able to visit at least 3 places before the reduced Covid-19 hours hurt us, but we were able to achieve that goal. My goal was to hit 3 different places with a distinctly different feel in each one. Granted the specter of infection did establish a common thread amongst each site, but I was cool with it. To misquote Seth Meyers, “stay safe, where your mask, social distance, we love you.” In every other aspect, each bar we landed at had a vastly different atmosphere.

Get Home Safe: Not sure this ingredient requires any other details. 

Directions:

Step 1: Leave your son’s girlfriend’s birthday party she planned for him and find Jared already in your home, digging through your refrigerator. Quickly change clothes, check your hair (well I didn’t need to), and take a few pictures as if you were headed to prom.

Step 2: Make your way over to location 1 with haste.

J. Rieger & Co distillery was our first stop. J. Rieger is located in an industrial area on the northern side of Kansas City with Evergy right next door in case you want to pay a utility bill. The J. Rieger building sticks out like a small oasis amidst a desert of industry and serves as a welcome respite.

As a brief aside, our journey north on I-35 provided us many views of Kansas City’s skyline, perhaps the best in the United States.

Having not made a reservation, we were asked to wait for a bit before a table would open. To me this was perfectly fine as they have a museum of sorts describing the history of J. Rieger and the long history of distilling and brewing in the Kansas City community. The museum section has a lot of novelties that are interesting to look at. If my spouse were there, we would have hung around and read every word on every card.

Stepping over to the gift shop we began to eyeball the special Monogram Whiskey 2020 Edition Oloroso Bota. We were immediately pounced on by a staff member who had a well-practiced pitch. The Monogram whiskeys are the special varieties that are output by the distillery. Try as we might we could not find a price tag. As the old saying goes, “if you have to ask, you can’t afford it.” Luckily, we did not have to crush the salesperson’s dreams as another customer strolled up and bought a bottle. Peeking at the sales slip (I know this is rude) showed me that yes, this is a lot more than I want to spend.

While the other customer’s sale was completed, we were called up to our table. We meandered up the stairs to the second floor and lamented that the slide down was currently closed due to the Covids. The host enthusiastically greeted us with, “you guys look great!” A truer statement has never been spoken, granted he did look much better than we did. We were guided to a comfortable area that had a small divan and a couple wing back chairs. After a few pleasantries with the host we awaited our server perusing the online menu on our phones (online menus in restaurants is yet another intriguing twist Coronavirus caused).

A quick check of Hayden’s ID let our server know that it was his birthday. I was not carded of course, because servers and bartenders feel sorry for bald men. Why add another indignity to this poor, follicly challenged soul. While we offered advice to Hayden on his first drink ever, our server went to grab some water. After many offered ideas Hayden settled on a Monogram Mule, which is a Moscow Mule but made with the special whiskey. Jared opted for their Monochromatic and I selected for a Rieger Whiskey on a rock, singular.

Over my right shoulder I spied our server headed back to our table and noticed he had four drinks on his tray. I thought, “huh,he must be delivering an item to another table.” Which of course he wasn’t. I had forgotten the tradition that bars will give the 21-year-old birthday boy a free cocktail. So, Hayden added a No Laws cocktail to his drink list. Which of course Jared and I added another, a Heim Beer and another whiskey, respectively. 

With that, we sat back, drank slow, and conversed. We did not talk about great philosophy, science, or religion. No heady topics were dissected. Just a conversation amongst three men happy to be in each other’s company. A small competition did erupt of course, they always do. Hayden showed us a long set of heart emojis exchanged between him and his girlfriend which prompted Jared to suggest who would receive the quickest response from their significant other if we sent them a heart emoji. I think my spouse barely beat Hayden’s, but she certainly beat Jared’s remarkable bride. When Jared sent me a heart emoji, I responded significantly faster than all the women in our lives #SubSecond. That’s just how we roll.

With our drinks finished, our conversations pleasantly continuing, and the bill paid, we headed off to step 3. I was still pissed the slide was closed.

Step 3: As we stepped toward Jared’s minivan, he asked what the next stop should be. Knowing that he had other options in his mind, I suggested we try out the Green Lady. Hayden had mentioned to me that several of his buddies liked going thereand I figured, “why not?”

A quick jaunt to a spot a block or so away from the Power & Light district we parked and strolled over to the Green Lady. A bouncer sat outside checking ids before he would let anyone in. As he checked ours, I could feel his heart saying, “man those guys look amazing.” Ever the professional he held it in.

Walking into the Green Lady was like stepping into a Red Velvet cake. An overwhelmingly sweet patina of your grandmother’s burgundy upholstered furniture exploded on every surface and light fixture. It caused immediate confusion as to why this place was called the Green Lady. Is she color blind? Am I?

We perused the available spaces on the main floor and felt there wasn’t enough space to social distance, so we opted for the basement. Headed down the backstairs we passed the lower bar and scoped out a table that would work. 

As every restaurant, bar, pub, seems to have a different procedure for ordering. In this case we headed back to the basement bar and opened a conversation with the mixologist. Once he discovered that Hayden was a neophyte, and yes, I am sticking with that idea, he quickly dispatched Jared and I with our orders. Jared was offered a Sazerac and I, a Pendergast. 

Hayden though, received a series of diagnostic questions as if the bartender was planning a surgical procedure. What do you like? What have you had? What have you already had this evening? What don’t you like? Etc. Hayden’s responses can be summed up as follows, “I don’t know” and “Sure”. The apothecary got to sample what it is like to be a parent. Amazingly enough, after this 21st-Teen-Beat Magazine Quiz, the chemist offered the perfect concoction to Hayden: A Paper Plane.

With our drinks stylistically made, we headed back to our table. We sat back, talked, smiled, laughed and genuinely enjoyed sharing our cocktails. Spoiler alert, the Paper Plane was the best cocktail of the evening. I highly recommend looking up the recipe, making it for yourself, or finding your favorite 21 and over establishment and asking the bartender for one.

Ordinarily the Green Lady would have live music, but due to the plague, it was not available on our excursion. Live music must be an integral part of the experience at this club because otherwise it is a bar like any other. Nursing our drinks for a bit we opted to move on to one of Jared’s new discoveries.

Step 4: Walking up the front stairs we exited the Green Lady and found our way back to the chariot. With Jared behind the wheel he drove us to a wonderful find of his – Drastic Measures, found in Shawnee, KS not far from Shawnee’s City Hall.

I highly recommend stopping by Drastic Measures as it is a fun but laid-back environment. But if you wish to visit, you must agree to their house rules: 1. Use your manners 2. Inside voices 3. No hate speech or hate wear 4. You will not be served if you are visibly intoxicated.

The lounge is small and only has a few tables. However, there are several comfy chairs and sofas, which gives the place a friendly and relaxing atmosphere. They also provide games and cards for your enjoyment. 

We quickly settled on a high-top table and perused the menu. They offer several cocktails with a surprising variety. I am sure they can make whatever you want, but I like the fact that they offer a smaller drink menu as it gives one confidence that they make those drinks well.

For me, I followed what many would say is the boring route. I requested a simple vodka poured over ice. Drastic Measures serves Rider Vodka from a local favorite, Union Horse Distillery. I am a huge fan of their whiskeys, but this was the first time I tried their vodka. Served in a tumbler with a giant ice cube, the vodka was strikingly smooth and a pleasure to sip.

Jared selected the Deadeye Diaz whose flavor notes are described as smoke, spice, and tropical fruit. It is made with mezcal, passion fruit, ancho reyes, lime, and infused olive oils. The drink is beautiful with the oils pooling in droplets on the surface. Aside from its appearance its flavor is very nice, although I expected a bigger punch based upon its ingredients. 

Hayden opted for the Rapper’s Delight. Its flavor notes are described as a bright daiquiri variation with lingering flavors. The Rapper’s Delight ingredients include white rum, citra hop infused falernum, pineapple syrup, and lime. Unfortunately, I cannot comment on the taste of this concoction as it contains pineapple, which, if I were to consume some, would make for interesting event. I offered to give it a try and cause the event, but my compatriots were not interested in a trip to the hospital.

Speaking of which, given Hayden’s poor beverage choice, I have decided to sell him. No reasonable offer refused.

The atmosphere of Drastic Measures lulled us back in our seats and into an easy conversation that slowly covered an hour or so. They are doing something right at that location. Do yourselves a favor and give them a visit. I know I will visit again.

Step 5: Bringing our conversation and drinks to a conclusion we meandered back to our vehicle. No one worse for the wear. The pacing of the evening, the easy conversation, and the slow consumption made for a relaxing, pleasant evening.

Very quickly we found ourselves home, safe and secure, fulfilling our primary ingredient, “Get Home Safe.” I can say several things about our evening that are important, but here are just a couple. 

First, there was absolutely no pressure on our young initiate to drink until drunk, let alone, till he blacked out. What we were able to demonstrate was a fun night where intoxication was not the primary goal, but rather friendship, bonding, conversation, and enjoyment came first. 

Second, it was yet another opportunity for me, the father, to take another transition in my relationship with my son. As my children have grown, I have looked for moments where my relationship with my child can grow and change into something larger, more open, and better. This was one of those moments. When Hayden turned 18, he kind of wanted to know if the rules were the same, or did they change. To me they changed quite a bit. He was an adult now and he should behave as such. What that means is, while he is in my house, he will behave as an adult. Which means, he will communicate when he will be in and out (no permission required, unless it involves my car), and he will take care of the home, like any other reasonable person. Otherwise, I trust him to make the right choices. 

Having spoken with another friend about our evening, he wished his father had done something similar for him. I feel that every child looks to their father for guidance, leadership and transition. Preparing an evening like this is such a simple and fun task to make that happen.

As he turned 21, I expected our relationship to grow into more of a friendship. I have spent a significant portion of my life trying to pour mine into his. Now it is up to him to ask for and consume that “wisdom”, what little I may have. He may not realize it, but that was one of my primary goals of the evening. To transition our relationship further into adulthood. He may always look at me as a father, but I will, from now on, look at him as his own man.

That being said, Jared brought out a treat for us to close out the evening, 99 Bananas. Before I describe what 99 Bananas is, let me repeat, we were in the safety of our home. 

So, 99 Bananas is a beverage that Jared described to me when I visited him prior to our event with Hayden. It is a 99-proof schnapps style banana flavored liquor. From inside his jacket, Jared pulled out to airplane sized liquor bottles containing the beverage. After some descriptions to the surrounding parties, I found a couple of shot glasses to load up with the liquid. I gave it a quick, small taste, and almost gagged. It was shockingly gross, as if the worst banana flavored candy exploded in your mouth. Jared knew what he was going to experience on his small taste. My spouse concurred after taking a small sip herself. The daughter thought this was quite funny, and I explained to her that it would probably catch fire, which, of course, it did.

Poor Hayden watched all this activity prior to his sampling his own shot glass, which he finished. His face looked like he had never tasted something so revolting in his life. His one comment after drinking all of it, “Oh, I feel it now.” He was certainly right.

Whom I Would Have A Beer (drink) With – Doctors

Whom I Would Have a Beer With – Dr. Anthony Fauci and Dr. Deborah Birx

We sit at home in trying times. Some of us are using this opportunity to learn a new skill, others have moved their offices into a spare bedroom or on the kitchen table, others are leading the effort to check on their extroverts. There is an extrovert in my life, and I worry about him often (stay strong Jared).

Me, I am one of those fortunate few able to continue working their normal job while quarantining at home. I am truly thankful that I can continue working through this period. If possible, I would share a beer with all those folks who are not as fortunate as me. Not sure I could afford it though given that we have pushed passed 10% of American workers filing jobless claims. My eldest son being one of them. If only Hayden was 21, I could give him the opportunity to lie to me and state that it was the first alcoholic beverage he has ever had. Father son moments are so precious.

Ridiculously enough, my employer ensured that I was labeled an essential employee, just in case one of the servers that hosts software for one of our customers needs a swift kick in the pants. I assume being labeled essential means I can go wherever I want and driving as fast as I want with impunity. At least that is my plan to tell the police offer when she or he pulls me over:

“Yes officer. I was driving recklessly and significantly over the speed limit. I also realize this is a school zone with a church next door, but I don’t think that counts given that all the buildings are closed, and no students or parishioners are present. Look, I have a note, it says I am essential. So, I will just be on my way. Good day.”

I do have a friend who is also an essential worker. She is a nurse at one of our local hospitals and has a clear view of the frontlines in our area. She also happens to be the mother of two great kids and the spouse of one of my favorite breakfast buddies. I would be honored to share a beer with her when all this blows over. Although I am not sure she is a fan. We could instead grab a glass of wine, a cup of froufrou coffee, or some flavorful cocktail, where she can tell me all the ways I am not properly managing my health. She is very good at that. Heck, we could even go for a glass of tea. Although she would have to allow her husband to come out and play with me so that he and I could enjoy something much tastier than tea. She, like every other essential worker, is doing the Lord’s work.

However, the essential theme of this Panclog feature is to open an invitation to someone whom you do not know. To date we have focused mainly on celebrities, authors, musicians, and baseball players. Given our current crisis, I figured it was time to open an invitation to America’s doctors: Dr. Deborah Birx and Dr. Anthony Fauci.

Dr. Birx has served our nation for many years. Beginning her career as a physician in the US Army, she moved on to researching vaccines and immunology specifically related to HIV/AIDS. She still serves as the Global AIDS coordinator since 2014 when she was appointed to the post by President Obama. On top of this work she was also appointed as a member of the US’s coronavirus task force.

Dr. Birx has worked in the field for more than 30 years relying on data and science to guide actions and decision making. She, along with her counterpart, Dr. Fauci provide the most important voices in the American people’s response to Covid-19.

Speaking of Dr. Fauci I would like to invite him to come on over as well. He too has spent his entire career serving the public, over what would have certainly been a more lucrative career in the private sector. It is an honorable choice to put public service above personal gain. The decisions and guidance in both doctors’ public service careers have saved a multitude of lives. They have helped advance medicine and made our nation/world a better place to be.

I would recommend a beer to share with America’s doctors, however, I feel they might like something stronger. I imagine that it is extremely difficult seeing the numbers tick up every day, knowing that each singular increment represents a person. For these two folks, I would like to share the Reserve Straight Bourbon Whiskey from Union Horse Distilling Company. This is a 92-proof whiskey so add a little water to your tumbler to soften the bite. This whiskey is quite flavorful and a pleasure to drink. It is a terrific pair to sitting in the cool afternoon sun this time of year while you consume your favorite book.

Panclog #46: Flapjacks ‘N More

Flipping Flaps with Jacks
10/24/2019
Overland Park, KS

 

 

Great day to all you breakfast buddies, French toast fiends, and pancake pals. We, here at panclog, are all students at heart. Students are due a summer vacation. Now the summer is over and panclog is back!

This edition of panclog art revolves around the newest bruncherie in Kansas City, Flapjacks ‘N More.  It may seem a bit familiar to you, because this location was just months ago, Jerry’s Original Café. You must be asking yourself why that all sounds familiar. It is probably due to your reading of the award-winning review we left of Original Café. Is our review the reason that Original Café closed? I don’t know. But sadly I haved heard rumblings of a supposed “Panclog Curse.” This dreaded rumor definitely deserves its own post to commemorate the fallen breakfast spots.

Flapjacks ‘N More is located at 119th Street and Metcalf Avenue in Overland Park, KS.  They are open from 7 AM to 2:30 PM daily.

 

Location/Environment: Flapjacks ‘N More is located inside the old Original Café. You can still recognize that Freebirds was once a tenant in the same space.  From the front door’s motorcycle handle to the long buffet countertop, the ghost of that delicious burrito spot still haunts. What used to be a soda and sauce bar has been turned into a high top table.  The table set up is neither a flaw nor feature of the space.

Service: Our server was terrific. He brought a funny, affable attitude that made us feel at home quickly. We do like a server that is willing to chat a bit but does not overwhelm you. There is a delicate balance and he accomplished it well.

Menu/Selection: The menu is fairly simple when it comes to the carb-dedicated breakfast spots.  It was surprisingly short of extreme types of pancakes, waffles, French toast.  The basics are covered. It must be pointed out that they have bagel’s with Lox.  So that’s pretty cool.  More restaurants in KC should have lox.  It’s too tasty to ignore. Let’s chat about what we ate.

2 Eggs with Sausage Links + Pancakes (Brently)

If you have read our prior Panclog about the “Original Café” then you know that this location used to be a Freebirds burrito shop. While Flapjacks got rid of most of the Freebirds décor, it still has that ridiculous door handle, it retains the same basic layout of both prior restaurants. The dining area is a large open rectangle with tables arranged moderately tight throughout the floor. The arrangement while not uncomfortable; in a packed house, I am sure you will hear your neighbor’s conversation.

There is still a long glass shielded countertop that separates the dining area from the back kitchen. I assume this design element is too hard to get rid of or change at the moment, but it does kind of distract from the experience. It gives the feel that Flapjacks does not quite belong in the space. I hope in the future they can turn it into more of a diner countertop or a place to serve a brunch or buffet. Fewer words are more exciting than “breakfast buffet” now that I think about it.

The menu is refreshingly short. I am glad to finally land on a place that does not overwhelm you with options, especially considering, most breakfast places offer different menu items that are just variations on a theme. In my case I opted for the 2 eggs with meat: bacon, ham off the bone, sausage links, sausage patties, or chorizo. The meal also comes with 2 pancakes, and a choice of hash browns, fresh fruit, or cottage cheese. I really branched out this time and had scrambled eggs, sausage links, and, after a quick safety check for pineapple, fresh fruit. And of course, a steaming cup of joe.

The coffee was satisfying but not overly special. Meaning it hit the spot in the same way Folgers does. The coffee does not delight, nor does it disappoint. The eggs were essentially unseasoned, not a bad thing, but you will want to add some salt and pepper at a minimum before consumption. The fruit was okay, given the melons offered I preferred them in this order watermelon, cantaloupe, then honeydew. Speaking of which, that order of melons applies to life in general (insert your own NSFW joke hear you heathens).

The sausage links, when they were delivered gave me a moment of pause. The casings were kind of rumpled and torn. Most sausage links come in the artificial casing now and the condition these were in made me suspect they were real casings. I cannot say for sure if they were or were not intestines, but if you have a hang up about that you might want to go with the patties instead. Thinking about it makes me nostalgic for when I was a young boy washing and stuffing cases whilst I worked at the butcher shop. Is there the potential for another NSFW joke there?

When a restaurant is named Flapjacks what you really care about is the state of their pancakes and not anything else. Sadly, I went in with super high expectations of light, thick, fluffy, sturdy, astounding, amazing, remarkable pancakes that are mind-bendingly unique but, they were just pancakes. Good yes. Worthy of note, no. A little more butter should have been offered and a little more leavening would have gone a long way in helping these critters. I did smear on some multi-berry jelly to help the cause of course. Did I enjoy the cakes, sure, but I was hoping for so much more

Peanut Butter Flapjacks with Bacon (Jared)

 

Flapjacks may very well be the best iteration of the word pancake.  My power rankings of synonyms would have to be:

  1. Flapjacks
  2. Griddlecakes
  3. Pancakes
  4. Hotcakes
  5. flat waffles

This list must show you how excited I was when I heard of a new spot called Flapjacks ‘N More. I was ecstatic.  I was grinding my teeth in anticipation.  Thankfully I was able to check on the status of this place fairly often due to how close it is to my work.

Let’s chat about these cakes I got.  The peanut butter pancakes were tasty.  Not quite plate sized pancakes. But I loved the application of the peanut butter sauce.  Some places just slather on a glop of peanut butter on the top.  This was better than that.  Wanna know the best way to do it?  Peanut Butter chips in the batter! Then you have the melty texture from the cooking process.  Try it, you’ll like it.  The cakes were too thick that they got chewy.  The only downfall was their non-ginormous size.

The bacon was nice and crispy.  It was beautiful in all of its bacon glory.  I think it could have been seasoned a little heavier. But I would never turn my nose up at these thick slices.

Peanut butter flapjacks: $7.25
Side of Bacon: $3.95
Coffee: $2.35

I think Flapjacks ‘N More is a solid spot that has some high upside.  It is fairly priced and will absolutely be visited again but will most likely not be added to the heavy rotation

My recommendation of the ‘clog is the incredible song All We Ever Knew by The Head and The Heart.  This song is one of the only things that made my twins fall asleep in the first year of their lives.

Overall: Overall, Flapjacks and More is worthy of a visit. If someone offered to go there, I would join without a second thought. Unfortunately, they do not rise to the regular rotation status.

Grade:
Brent:  B+
Jared: B-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #45: NYC’s Caffe Reggio

April 22nd, 2019
Manhattan, NY
Capturing Cappuccinos

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Caffe Reggio is in the Greenwich Village which makes us diners the Village People.

Caffe Reggio stakes the claim to bringing the first cappuccino to the United States. The Panclog Pals decided we must try this historic cafe that opened its doors in 1927.

Location/Environment: Caffe Reggio is located in Greenwich Village steps away from where the folk supercenter, Gaslight Cafe, once sat.  It is down the block from the famous Comedy Cellar.  What a lovely night that would be, comedy and cappuccinos.

The environment is akin to your favorite museums’ room of renaissance paintings. Dark and intimate and filled with gorgeous artwork. And speaking of artwork, the original cappuccino machine is in the corner of the cafe. Here is that beautifully delicious piece of art:

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Service: I think good old Robb said it best when it comes to the service.  It isn’t the fastest service or best, but nor should it be. The Caffe Reggio takes us back to a time when we didn’t have to run from errand to errand but could spend time savoring and taking in art at the same time. Our cappuccinos were out quickly enough for us to enjoy a beverage while waiting for our food. Here is a nice picture of all of our cappuccinos conversing with each other:
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Menu/Selection: Caffe Reggio has a non traditional breakfast menu. From a simple fruit cup to eggs over the unusual breakfast vegetable, asparagus, Caffe Reggio has menu items that not many other restaurants carry.  It seems to be a testament to how Caffe Reggio views themselves.  They know who they are and won’t be adding menu items to simply cater to the masses.

What do the dudes think? Let’s see:

Jared! Canarino Voltaire with a Hazelnut Cappuccino

When Robb told me about a super old cafe that serves good food but also brought the cappuccino to the United States.  I thought back on all of the times my little sister, Mikayla, and I went cafe hopping in the afternoon.  (I think our personal best was 3 coffee shops in a couple hours.)  I stared into Robb’s beautiful brown eyes and said, “I’m in!”

Caffe Reggio offers their classic cappuccino in three varieties, original, hazelnut, and almond. When it was time to order, I witnessed Robb and Stephen order the original. Knowing that those dudes are sweeties and they will let me try their beverages, I ordered a hazelnut cappuccino.  The flavoring wasn’t a faint whisper of hazelnut.  It presented nicely enough, yet still allowed the espresso and steamed milk do their magic.

I have one piece of advice when it comes to the cappy. Be patient. As a man with a large mouth. I tend to drink too quickly.  This is a mistake when dealing with the beverages that take time and caution making.  So when it comes to cappuccinos, sip and savor.

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Caffe Reggio offered me with the chance to take a risk in the breakfast world.  I ordered the Canarino Voltaire which was described as “Poached eggs on a bed of yellow rice with a blend of three European cheeses.” My first thought was a pure judgement of rice for breakfast.  But fear not, this yellow rice was a delicious vessel for the eggs and cheese.  After this dish, I must say that rice is an underutilized grain in the modern american breakfast.

The poached eggs were just right. Some firmness to them, but still as runny as you need them to add that yolky goodness to the rice below.  The cheese on the dish is subtle.  The cheese acts as the most talented background singers. Making everything better.

The server brought some Louisiana hot sauce to finish the dish.  I would say the dish did not need the hot sauce. Although I am a fan of the heat, in my food and on the basketball court. So I sprinkled some of the fiery goodness and enjoyed the explosion.

The prices were New York fancy standard.  The Cappuccino was $5.50 and the Canarino Voltaire was a solid $10.00.  I believe it was a worthwhile experience. Especially one where I enjoyed it with 2 of my favorite people in the world.


Stephen! French Toast with a Cappuccino

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I’m typically a black coffee or Americano kind of person, but when you go to Caffè Reggio for the first time how can you not get a classic Cappuccino? It was an incredibly balanced beverage – beautiful, strong espresso notes that were made rich yet not diluted by the milk. In addition to this, I had an order of traditional French toast which was topped with fresh fruit. It was a good-to-great execution, but certainly the highlight of the meal was the cappuccino, and the experience of visiting Caffè Reggio itself.

 

Robb!

In today’s ever-evolving and modern NYC sleek restaurants with hipster light fixtures, reclaimed wood tables and front of houses that look like upscale condo lounges are more of the norm. It’s harder and harder to step foot into any establishment in the ever-changing city and step back in time to another era. One in which Instagram-ing your food didn’t exist and where the lack of the shrinking world meant it was harder to find experiences outside of your own heritage. To step into Café Reggio is to step into an NYC long since passed, it is a beacon of what once was OHH and the cappuccino is unlike anything you’ll ever taste.

When you step into Café Reggio you can’t but help notice how it hasn’t changed since its opening in 1927. The tables, chairs, art windows and even the 19th-century espresso machine all sit there untouched by the ever-changing world around it. The history goes that Café Reggio was the first place in America to bring the now popular cappuccino to America, well before soldiers from both great wars brought back the “fancy drink” with them. To taste the Café Reggio cappuccino is to experience first hand with your taste buds a different NYC too, one before hipsters from Indiana claimed to make the best Mexican food in the world, but one in where immigrants stepped off of Ellis Island and into lower Manhattan to share with this melting pot their traditions through food and drink.

The cappuccino is unlike any coffee you can have in NYC or anywhere in the country (IMO). The foam is like a cloud and as you sip through it your tongue tastes an equal mix of well-balanced espresso, chocolate, cinnamon, and almost caramel. Sprinkled on top with Nutmeg this huge cup (for only $3) will make you never want to leave this sunnier and calmer slice of old NYC you never knew you missed.

While the food is exquisite too, the coffee is what is to die for here (though the food isn’t messing around either). Of course, not all progress in restaurant culture is bad though, while the drink, eats and atmosphere conjure of a time gone by so does the slow service, we’re talking roasting the beans by hand in the back slow. While that is quite an annoyance of this place, the challenge for a normal rushed New Yorker/American who can’t handle sitting down and relaxing for a bit at a café is quite the opportunity to challenge oneself. If you ever get the chance to head to MacDougal street in the west village on a beautiful and sunny day, make sure to take a few moments and step back into an NYC that has long been gone and sip on some espresso while you sit and think about all that is changing and moving around you.

Overall: Caffe Reggio is a place of New York City past but done well in the present.  We recommend the cappuccino.  It is as good as the day they brought it over to America.  Be patient and enjoy your time.

Grade:
Jared: B++

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared, Robb and Stephen

Panclog #44: NYC’s Bagel Pub

April 21st, 2019
Brooklyn, NY
Begging 4 Bagels in Brooklyn

The three best friends that anybody could have took New York City by storm.

Robb, Stephen and I are taking over the Panclog feed for the next three weeks. We will be discussing the three breakfast spots that we were lucky enough to try.  The trip started out as a boy’s baseball trip that I easily turned into a Panclog pal’s trip.  Although baseball is the communal sport that can bring the country together after wars, it is also very well known that breakfast is the most important meal of the day. Therefore, breakfast and baseball go very well together. Let’s make a team have a brunch game. I’m the most into this idea.

Location/Environment: Bagel Pub has 2 locations, Park Slope and Crown Heights.  The Crown Heights location was beautifully close to where we were staying.  The décor was in an old wooden fashion. There are tables but the star of the pub is a long bar with windows that show off different types of cream cheese.  On the wall behind the cream cheese there are many different types of bagels,  Baked to perfection, begging to be selected.

Service: We first went to Bagel Pub on Easter morning.  This led to a larger crowd than usual.  This was not a negative, in fact it showed how a place like this can handle large crowds with ease and precision.  When walking in, you walk straight to the back of the restaurant. You find yourself in the line, wondering which bagel/cream cheese combination will cause the emptiness in your stomach to subside for awhile.  You place your bagel order and walk to the register where you can add a drink to the order. You pay and wait for one of your many aliases to be called.

Menu/Selection: The menu at Bagel Pub was much more extensive than I expected.  They had breakfast sandwiches, dessert cream cheese, and a large array of juice and smoothies. But we didn’t really come for fancy juices. We came for NYC’s breakfast staple, Bagel with cream cheese.  Bagel Pub has an extensive selection of different bagels and cream cheeses. If you don’t find something that strikes your fancy, then you are doing it wrong.

What do the dudes think? Let’s see:

Jared!

The bagel above is mine.  It is a garlic bagel with zaatar cream cheese.  The night before I ordered this majesty I tried zaatar for the first time.  It was in some hummus.  Here is a very accurate Wikipedia article about what Zaatar actually is. If I am remembering correctly, zaatar is a popular blend of herbs and spices in the middle east.  It is yummy, savory, and very hard to find in Kansas City.  In fact, I haven’t found it yet.

I got a garlic bagel because the Easter crowd depleted bagel pub of regular everything bagels.  They did have whole wheat everything and egg everything but I wanted my breath to be stinky.  That’s why garlic was my choice.  This bagel was just lovely. Crispy on the outside and chewy on the inside. My favorite part of NYC bagels is the fact that they really slather on the cream cheese.  I also enjoy the sliced in half nature that they do post cream cheesing.  I want to go back now and try more bagels and even taste the Oreo cream cheese.  Who is with me?


Stephen!

Let’s just put this out on front street: I love carbs. My nickname in high school was carburetor, not because of my love of American muscle cars, but because I could inhale some pasta if you know what I’m talking about. As such, one of the things I was most looking forward to in NYC was a classic New York bagel. They say it’s ALL IN THE WATER OHHHHHHHH (Andrew Dice Clay hands). As a non-New Yorker, I would say Bagel Pub executes an excellent, classic NYC bagel experience. The sheer (or schmear?) variety in bagel and schmear options is stellar. I ordered a poppy seed bagel (as they were out of my first option of everything) with a plain schmear. The bagel was cut in half horizontally as well as vertically, with a healthy helping of cream cheese in between. Soft and chewy, the bagel delivered on everything I could want from a good quality bakery bagel. Paired with a black coffee, it was a delicious combo which certainly gave me horrible breath for the rest of the morning.

Robb!

The Italians and their pasta, the Japanese and their Raman, the French and their wine some places just do it different and better than anywhere else in the world. These places bring hundreds of years of politics and culture with them into their kitchens and out comes a dish(s) that can’t be recreated anywhere else. The big apple, itself has many of these dishes to speak for it but NONE of them stack up to the 500-year-old polish circular bread with a hole in the middle commonly known as “The Bagel”.

Is it the NYC water (as the myth goes), the cooking traditions passed down from generation to generation or simply a good set of fresh ingredients that makes the NYC bagel? We may never know but what we do know is that no place on earth can recreate this soft on the inside, think flaky crust on the outside, perfectly seasoned piece of bread like NYC. Going into Bagel Pub (a newer entry into the Brooklyn Bagel scene) you are greeted with everything of old NYC. The lines of cream cheeses, from your classic to garlic dill, lox spread, bacon and cheddar, zaatar or you name it. Then you walk past the cold cuts and old Jewish deli traditions like black and whites, white fish and herring, chicken salad and the bagels cousin the bialy. All up at the counter where when you get that bagel and bit into your VERY affordable slice of heaven (this bagel is twice the size of those in the Midwest, like two dollars cheaper and much better) you feel like your experiencing a food you’ve known for quite some time but never like this.

Overall: Bagel Pub showed how even when busy, bagels are only a few moments away. Affordable, Cream Cheesy, and Delicious.  GO TREAT YOURSELF

Grade:
Panclog: A+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared, Robb and Stephen

Panclog #43: The Shack

“And that’s how I beat The Shack” – Aaron Carter


SHacj=ky

Happy 2019 breakfast buddies, panclog pals, british biscuits. Panclog is back to review Kansas City’s finest breakfast spots. Today we will be discussing the hottest new bruncherie in town, The Shack.

The Shack began as a St. Louis based company. They had 5 St. Louis metro locations before taking the jump into Kansas in 2018. The Shack’s 2 Overland Park locations are at 135th and 69 highway and College Blvd and Metcalf Ave. The Shack is open from 6:30 – 2 PM everyday.    Your trustworthy pancloggers have visited both, but will be reviewing the College and Metcalf locale.

Location/Environment: The College and Metcalf location is a prime location for Brentles. His office is right across the street. But it’s not only prime for the panclog crew. It is located at a busy intersection that will keep new customers aplenty.

The environment is welcoming. The walls are a dark shiplap design. These walls are adorned with customer’s kind messages and signatures all done in sharpie. It creates an ease that customers are welcome here.

Service: The service at The Shack was good. Quick prompt seating. Coffee stayed full. They truly push the giving back to the community aspect of the business.  I think this is not only smart ethically, but financially.  Customers like to do good things without doing much. If they are able to order a delicious meal with some portion of the bill going to a charity, then it is a delicious win-win. Here is The Shack’s community donations. More on the fancy charity menu items in the next section.

Menu/Selection: The Shack is a fairly typical upscale bruncherie but with an expansive breakfast entree menu. It is rare to see many plates that are unique for a brunch spot. They also have a lovely lunch menu, though we haven’t tried it, whenever I see a boozy shake on a menu I get a nice mischievous  grin on my face. Check these menus out: Breakfast & Lunch.

Why the French hate us (Brently)

A dark secret lurks in the auspicious history of the Panclog. A secret that concerns us greatly. A secret that we discuss carefully when in mixed company. It seems the Breakfast Buddies have a knack for closing breakfast places down. It pains us to say but we have closed several restaurants in our area, although I am sure it is purely coincidental. Perhaps the restauranteurs feel so blessed by our patronage that they feel they have reached the pinnacle of their careers and thus quietly close-up shop. At least that is the version I will stick with because I can no longer take the sleepless nights considering what we have caused in our fair city.

One such establishment happens to be right next door to my, Brent’s, office building. Le Peep, a fine, if not slightly over priced, breakfast and lunch place, became a heaping pile of smoking ash about a year ago. Disappointment does not cover how I felt about Le Peep closing this location. While the Breakfast Buddies did not frequent Le Peep often, there was a level of comfort for me knowing that breakfast was only a few steps away. I was not too broken up as there is a Panera on the other side of the strip mall that serves up a fine Ham and Swiss quiche.

Thankfully from those ashes arose a new restaurant, one that promises great breakfast food, a tongue in cheek attitude, and a barn like atmosphere. I am speaking of course of “The Shack”. I have the twice daily pleasure of walking past The Shack which allows me to check its vitals to ensure its health and wellbeing. I would hate to see it prematurely exit the neighborhood.

For the past several months this daily walk included stalking the restaurant while the space was gutted, repaired, and finished becoming a part of the larger Shack family. I am sure the construction workers grew tired of seeing this strange man peek in the windows all the time. I am also sure that all three people that I interact with on Snapchat “loved” the weekly updates as well.

The inside of the Shack is made to look like a renovated barn with shiplap walls throughout the design. It’s like Chip and Joanna Gaines’ décor dream turned nightmare. Looking at the walls you’ll notice very quickly that patrons can draw on them wherever they can reach. Keep an eye out for, “I heart panclog.com”. Most folks sign their name and date, or write something like “Joanie Loves Chachi”, but if you look for them, you will find a good joke or two. I must say I am a fan of this, especially when a clever play on words is thrown up on the wall.

The menu is large with a myriad of options, with most items having a clever name. A couple sample menu items include, “Love Me Know, Hate Me Later”, “Make a Grown Man Cry”, and “Ma…the Meatloaf.” Not every item gets a fun name though, “Country Fried Steak” for instance, which can only mean it is not very good.

On “Panclog Day” (soon to be made into a federal holiday) I opted for the “Why the French Hate Us”. The name of this dish feeds that self-loathing monster that resides in the back of my conscience. It is an item I have had a couple times now that is akin to the “Country Benedict” at the Big Biscuit, or the “Big D” at Jerry’s Original Café.

“Why the French Hate Us” begins with a toasted croissant split like a bun then loaded with two sausage links. Scrambled eggs are gently placed on top and subsequently covered in sausage gravy and cheese. Hash browns come on the side.

french

The main components of the meal are quite good and pleasing to eat. The croissant is buttery, flakey and has a lovely texture. The sausage links are flavorful and robust. The scrambled eggs are light and airy and are well cooked complimenting the other elements. The gravy and cheese, while flavorful, did leave a powdery texture in my mouth though. Kind of like a gravy packet that was not completely mixed. The gravy issue did dampen the overall food experience, but not so much that I would not order it again. The hash browns are well cooked and crispy on the outside. This plate has a lot of food on it, so I recommend going in hungry if you want to make a serious dent in it.

The coffee offered by the Shack is better than most, but it is also $3 a cup as I recall. To me personally, this awfully expensive for a cup of coffee, even one with free refills. Most restaurants in the area seem to be moving toward this price point, so perhaps this is the price point that the market will bear. What it means to me is that I feel that I need to drink enough coffee till it becomes a mistake, then drink two more cups. Do not worry, Jared and I are working on a new coffee pricing scheme that will revolutionize the breakfast food industry where everyone wins.

I would give The Shack a solid B+. The food is decent, the coffee good, the experience fun. All things that add up to a positive visit.

Griddle Fling – Gingerbread Pancakes with Sausage (Jared)

gignerbred

Breakfast is the finest meal of the day. My boss states, “if you say no to champagne, you say no to life.” I completely agree that the same goes for breakfast.

The Shack was a long awaited journey. Brent and I basically watched it get built day by day.  I can not describe the anticipation that builds during this construction.

The Shack did not disappoint.

The atmosphere is something to be seen.  It has a different type of flair to it.  I love any place that I can vandalize their walls without punishment.

The Shack has 2 rotating menu items. These seem to change monthly. There is The Wolf Pack and Griddle Fling. The Wold Pack seems to be a different entree item and the Griddle Fling is a specialty breakfast bread. I decided on the Griddle Fling this fine morning.  It turned out to be gingerbread pancakes.

The gingerbread pancakes had a lovely topping of not only whipped cream but also broken up gingerbread cookies. These cakes were delicious.  The cookies added a nice level of texture to the cakes.  The ramekin of syrup was the perfect amount for this short stack.

I also had a side of sausage to give this morning a bit of protein. The sausage was easily the downfall of the meal.  It was a side of two sausage patties.  It tasted like it was steamed.  This made the sausage very chewy.

Besides the chewy sausage, the whole meal was quite pleasant.  Although it needs to be said that coffee should never ever be $3.00. A wise man once told me that coffee is simply dirty water. This dirty water has turned out to be quite a necessity since my wonderful babies have been born. But please don’t make this fine dirty water beverage more than $2.50.

My recommendation of the ‘clog is The Ringer. The Ringer dot com. Great Website. It is a news/pop culture company that also is an incredible podcast empire. Sheck it out, my dudes.

Overall: The Shack is now a regular in the rotation for the breakfast buddies.  If you ever would like to join us for breakfast. Hit us up at the links below.

Grade:
Brent:  B+
Jared: A-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #42: Savannah’s Goose Feathers

Getting Goosed @ Goose Feathers


goos

Did I hear you right? You wanted ANOTHER Savannah review? Well have no fear, for panclog is here! Did you forget about the last Savannah clog? Check it on out! Brent and his lovely bride, Vesta, reviewed the breakfast of the bed and breakfast where they stayed.

The Panclog Co-Creators, Stephen and Jared, decided to drag our families down to the beautifully historic, Spanish moss covered Savannah, GA.  All this to eat breakfast together.  Well also to see the ocean and relax.  But mainly the breakfast thing.

Goose Feathers Cafe opened in 1986. It popped into the panclog pals’ eyeline after a quick Bing of “Best Breakfast in Savannah.” Were we disappointed? Keep on reading and you will find out!

Location/Environment: Goose Feathers Cafe is located in the historic district of Savannah in one of the many quaint little squares that branch out away from the Savannah River. I’d have to say that Chippewa Square is the best. The environment is one that could seem a bit corporate but comes off much more as simply efficient.  Goose Feathers Cafe feels like a local staple for a quick breakfast or easy lunch.

Service: Goose Feathers Cafe’s service centers around the front counter. This is where you read the menu, order, grab necessary silverware, and pay.  Most of the staff interaction happened here with just the right amount of recommendations. A nice staff member helped us take our picture in 2 different spots.  That is dedication!

Menu/Selection: Goose Feathers Café is the place to go for simple café food. I would compare it most to a very high end Panera.  It has baked goods, tasty coffee, and meals made of oats.  The menu is here! One big plus of this café setting is the availability of a specialty brew of coffee each day.  The day we went the special was Chocolate Almond. Another plus is that this special coffee of the day is the same price of regular.

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Belgian Waffle with Bacon (Stephen)

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I’m always a fan of a counter-service breakfast joint – it delivers a nice hybrid between a standard sit-down restaurant and a more QSR-style eatery. Upon walking in, Goose Feathers instantly gives off a vibe of a local favorite. It has southern charm, both in feel and service. Employees are eager to help or offer suggestions as to what to order. And there are plenty of options for all mood.

I’ll never pass up breakfast, and this day was no exception. I ordered the standard Belgian waffle with a side of bacon and the coffee of the day: a chocolate almond flavored brew.

waf.jpg

 

We took our order number and found a roomy table that accommodated our party. I sipped from my coffee, enjoying playful banter and great company, as we waited for our food to arrive. The chocolate almond coffee was underwhelming. There was an odd dichotomy happening – the flavor was very intense but the brew was fairly weak. It came off as a standard diner coffee with a bit too much of an artificial flavor.

Food was quick to arrive. Syrup came in a single ramekin, which if you’re a syrup fiend like myself immediately sets off deep-seated anxiety. Am I going to have enough? What if I need more? What happens if I spill it? Do I have to talk to someone? Don’t fear, dear reader: it was plenty. The waffle itself delivered on exactly what you want from a Belgian waffle. Satisfyingly soft, well-balanced in flavor. Not too sweet, enough substance and a great bed for syrup and butter. The bacon was crispy, if not a tad stale, but cooked evenly.

If you go out for breakfast with a healthy appetite but don’t want to stuff yourself, I find a Belgian waffle and a protein side (bacon or sausage) is the perfectly sized meal. This was no different, delivering on the promise.

J.B. Deluxe (Jared)

jar

Savannah is for lovers. Not just regular lovers, Historic lovers.

Savannah is absolutely beautiful.  I literally giggled whilst in the Uber on the way to our house when I saw the Spanish moss.  I want it in my back yard. Please get me Spanish moss for Christmas.

Whenever I go on a trip, I treat a breakfast out as a MUST.  Not every day, just as much as my wallet allows. Savannah was no different.

I chose the J.B. Deluxe to enjoy this morning.  It is described as a jalapeno & cheddar waffle with gravy, scrambled eggs, bacon, scallions, and more cheddar cheese.  This concoction is all topped with a Tabasco syrup. I was slightly nervous that this might be too spicy.  Don’t get me wrong, I love me some heat.  But sometimes my mouth simply turns into a scare-dy cat. There was no need for my anxiety.  This waffle was full of flavor and the heat, though present, wasn’t debilitating.  You may also try the jalapeno & cheddar waffle on its own if you’d prefer to not have all of the fixings.

I am sadly going to agree with Stephen in terms of the flavor of the day coffee.  The chocolate almond flavor was on the first sip but not in the fuller body of the coffee.  It was disappointing.  Although, I feel that the price point being the exact same as the standard brew, the flavor of the day is worth a shot if it sounds delicious.

I would absolutely try Goose Feathers Cafe again.  I appreciate that the prices haven’t inflated after being named one of the best breakfasts in Savannah.  It is priced more as a cafe and not as a high end bruncherie.

J.B. Deluxe: $10.95
Coffee of the day: $1.73

To sum up some other parts of our trip, We 100% Absolutely recommend Lulu’s Chocolate Bar.

I took this amazing picture (Look Down slightly) Yeah I took that picture. Chocolate martinis are a delight. Lulu’s sadly doesn’t have an all-you-can-drink option. I asked. Also lighthouses are cooler than you expect.  This lighthouse in the picture below was plaid.  That’s cool if I may say so. If you have the chance to stay in Savannah, take it.  If you have to go to Hilton Head to be able to do it, then take the sacrifice.  Not that Hilton Head is bad, it just has a very different feel. A more corporate-golf centered feel.

 

To conclude my review, please listen to this, my favorite song about orange juice.

Overall: Goose Feathers Cafe may not be the best breakfast in Savannah, but it is surely worth a try. Have a nice breakfast. Grab some pastries. Then head to the beack on Tybee Island and watch a random child catch a bird with her hands.

Grade:
Stephen:  C+
Jared: B

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Stephen.

Panclog #41: Cracker Barrel

Cracking wise about the Barrel


CB

G’Day mateys! Panclog is back and better than ever. We took a bit of a break.  But have no fear, for I am here to declare there will be THREE new panclogs before the year is up.  I am very excited you to enjoy them all. Today’s clog is brought to you by the roadtrip wonder, Cracker Barrel.

Location/Environment: There are 5 Cracker Barrels in the Kansas City area. The Panclog Pals went to the closest one to both of us.  This happened to be the Strang Line location in Olathe.  It is located near a large movie theatre and in the same parking lot of Heartland Church.  The first impression you receive is of a butt-load of rocking chairs on the front porch.  The second impression is of a general store that you walk into from the front door.  There are old timey items and as-seen-on-TV items.  Pretty eclectic. The dining room is very wooden cabin chic.


Service:
Service at Cracker Barrel was a breeze.  Granted the panclog pals arrived shortly after 7 AM.  The place was in old timey fashion, a ghost town.  Coffees stayed filled and plates were cleared when the mission was accomplished.

Menu/Selection: Cracker Barrel has a juggernaut of a menu.  Just check out how many different sections they have on their online menu. They have everything that you expect from a down home restaurant.  It plays out like more of a southern family restaurant than a greasy diner.  The breakfast menu is loaded with various options and choices. Like a lot of breakfast places though it seems to reconfigure the same set of 5 options in different ways to come up with differing menu items. Using the same 5 individual items, choosing 2 or 3 per plate, and you end up with two pages of breakfast choices. In my opinion, this is exactly what Cracker Barrel did with a just couple of “specials” here and there. I cannot say that there is anything wrong with this, but it does lack creativity. Something that needs to be pointed out is Cracker Barrel’s incessant need to brand their menu items. i.e. Momma’s French Toast, Grandpa’s Country Fried Breakfast, and Uncle Hershel’s Favorite. The menu does feature a beautiful phrase.  Check it out!
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Momma’s Pancake Breakfast (Brent)

The Breakfast Buddies finally made it over to a restaurant seen all across America’s highways, the Cracker Barrel. I was actually not aware that Cracker Barrel served breakfast until a few years ago when your Pancloggers decided to add the restaurant to the list of sites to clog. Up till that time I assumed that the Barrel was a lunch and dinner place only. Makes sense that the Barrel would serve breakfast given that it markets itself as classic downhome cooking.

It is the rare circumstance where I frequent the Cracker Barrel outside of a road trip. I cannot say for sure why, but the restaurant always seems to taste better after 5 or 6 hours of driving. On the rare occasion that I or my family have gone to Cracker Barrel after church for instance, I seem to have walked away slightly disappointed. The restaurant is an oasis at the midpoint of a long drive and that fact cannot be undersold.

Walking into a Cracker Barrel is a somewhat unique experience. The first thing you are confronted with is a “front porch” loaded with rocking chairs available for sale. We sat in a few of them while there and all I can say is that they are fine. Given their price I would hope that they were more comfortable. But, who buys a rocking chair on a road trip?

Immediately passing through the entry doors you are confronted with an old-timey “general store”. At least that is the goal of their marketing department: to give the patron the perception of a general store. You will find the shop loaded with various kitschy items that will make you laugh, feel warmth and comfort, and seem perfectly reasonable while you are in there. My only advice is this, don’t buy anything. You do not actually want any of this stuff. Unless of course it is a pile of candy, snacks, and puzzle books for the remainder of your road trip.

Cracker Barrel seated us immediately once we arrived at the hostess station. Upon looking at the menu I was struck with a couple thoughts, first it is big. Second, it is rustic looking, implanting the idea that this is a downhome establishment. The downside to this is the contrast between the content of the menu versus the background is not great. So I wonder if a color blind individual can easily read the menu.

I elected “Momma’s pancake breakfast” which included the combination of pancakes, choice of meat (bacon in my case), and eggs.

Bmer

Jared reminded me that I made the promise to try eggs cooked different than scrambled. So I elected for over hard. My impression is that eggs cooked over hard taste eggier than scrambled eggs. Not a bad thing of course, just something that surprised me a bit.

The bacon was quite tasty and cooked exactly like I like it. I am a fan of bacon that is crispy but still retains a little bit of give in the bite rather than the crumbly snap of overcooked bacon. Granted I will take the crumbly snap over bacon that is undercooked and floppy. Cracker Barrel did quite nicely in the bacon’s preparation.

The main item of “Momma’s Pancake Breakfast” is of course the pancakes themselves. My plate came with three cakes and one small, pat of butter that was just enough for one individual cake. I am not sure why restaurants are stingy with butter, but they I would rather they place a large amount on the side. Seeing one small, barely melting pat, sitting in the center of the top pancake bums me out a little.

By default the cakes were served with maple syrup on the side. In a nice twist, Cracker Barrel serves their maple syrup in small, airline sized, sealed bottles. This allowed me to avoid soiling my pancakes with maple syrup. I did have to ask for various jellies on the side. Speaking of jellies, Cracker Barrel only offered two options, Concord grape, and Strawberry. As everyone knows Concord grape jelly is a vile substance. I opted for the Strawberry jelly to spread on my cakes.

Cracker Barrel’s pancakes have a nice crunch on the edges which I am a fan. This crispness on the edge added a nice twist to most other breakfast places that I enjoyed a lot.

Momma’s French Toast Breakfast (Jared)

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First things first. YES I do have 2 of those mini syrups in my glove box.

Did you know that Golden Corral and Cracker Barrel are NOT the same restaurant?  I don’t know why but my mind always puts them in the same box.

I’m not saying anything negative about either, just saying my mind is a sick place that equates chocolate fountains to rocking chair city.

The past few months of breakfast buddy life has been extra full of morning joy.  I have been able to pick up my boy, Brent, dine with him, and take him to work after.  These extra moments have given me not only reason to keep my car tidy, but also a few more conversations about fantasy sports and music trivia.  I can not recommend enough the joys of driving around with friends.

Cracker Barrel is known for being the roadtrip restaurant.  They have 658 locations in 45 states.  This leads me to sharing my favorite Cracker Barrel fact.  They are known for their extensive audiobook selection.  The cool part of this audiobook selection is that you can rent these books by the week for $3.49 and return them to any Cracker Barrel.  How freaking cool is that. Another fun Cracker Barrel fact is that they have put out some albums exclusively. They are not just in food game.

Shall we chat about my dining experience? We shall.  I had Momma’s French Toast Breakfast.  It came with 2 eggs and 2 pieces of meat.  I chose sausage patties.  I used to be a sausage link guy,  but i switched teams for a few reasons I have received undercooked links at breakfast before and they are gross! I also believe that you can get seasoning throughout in patty-form. Yes patties are much more likely to be dry, but a patty done well is worth that chance. The sausage on this visit had a slight funk to them.  Not a gross taste.  I believe it was a spice mixture issue.  I should probably go back and give them another shot.

I need to point out something.

syrup

This syrup is 100% syrup.  But sadly is not 100% Maple syrup.  Once you have had the amazing complexities of pure maple syrup, you shake your head gently at anything beneath it.

My French Toast was standard.  Not too egg-y. Not too bread-y. It was right down the middle.  I will say it was on the griddle for the perfect amount of time.  It wasn’t crispy nor overly moist.  Cracker Barrel seems to have a few signature latte drinks on their menu.  My mother has been craving them since she heard about them.  I now know where she and I will be having a meal next time we hang out.

Cracker Barrel serves breakfast all day. Please call your senator, representative and local government officials and ask them all to make it law that breakfast be an all day affair.

I am thankful for everyone who took time to read this.  This is your gift.

Overall: Cracker Barrel is a beautiful roadtrip oasis.  Outside of travel, the restaurant struggles to hold the same appeal.

Grade:
Brent: Don’t take the negatives too seriously though, Cracker Barrel’s breakfast is fine. I wouldn’t put the Barrel in the regular rotation but I would not refuse someone who suggests it. Cracker Barrel earns a C-.
Jared: C- is the perfect rating for CB.

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #40: Original Cafe

Orating about Original Cafe
June 21st, 2018

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Lovely Lads and Lasses of the interwebz, Panclog is back with a special guest writer,Colby Leseberg! Original Café is owned by the founder of former panclog topic Jerry’s Café. Original Café rose like a phoenix from the ashes of FreeBirds Burritos.  Is it everything that a phoenix should be? Find out now on this episode of Buddies in Bruncheries getting Breakfast!

Location/Environment: Original Café is located in a strip mall at 119th street and Metcalf in Overland Park, KS.  It is next to a Budget Car Rental and a small tailor.  These 2 businesses take up a good amount of parking in front of Original Café.  There is a large parking lot to the north of the strip mall.  So don’t worry.  The décor of Original Café is what you’d call Freebirds chic. It looks like Original Café wanted to open as soon as possible.  We will see what they do with the space in upcoming visits. But panclog focuses on more than just décor.  Like..


Service:
Original Café runs with small service crew.  This can help by creating a connection between regular guests and the usual employees.  It can also be a hindrance if there is a rush or a complicated table.  (No, the Breakfast Buddies table is never needy.  We eat what we get and drink all the coffee.) The service was extremely lovely during this visit because the Sova Babies were in attendance. Did you know that servers tend to love talking to cute little babies?

Menu/Selection: The menu for Original Café is almost the exact menu of Jerry’s Café.  Here is the menu.  A nice feature is that you can order your food online and then pick it up when it is ready.  They have some nice variety in breakfast plates.  They also have catfish fry nights and frog leg days.  So that is cool if that is your thing.

Chicken Fried Steak & Eggs (Jared)

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Chicken Fried Steak! It. is. not. chicken!

Original Café is housed in the corpse of Freebirds.  I use the word corpse because Freebirds is absolutely still apart of this building.  I was a fan of freebirds.  When they first started arriving in Kansas City, I camped out at the Lee’s Summit location for their grand opening. I was one of the first 25 in the door and I received free burritos for a year.  Easy to say that I became a frequent visitor of Freebirds.  Although all of the Kansas City locations are now closed, I still have 10 free burritos that are not in my stomach.

This visit to Original Café featured the first Breakfast Buddies that included my twins.  Brent was ecstatic to hold a 7-month old while trying to eat some delicious food.  They were amazing.  I want you all to know that if you want special attention from your server, have a cute baby at your table. Better yet, have two.

Back to the meal, I took the dive and had the least breakfast food that is on the breakfast menu.  The only breakfast thing about this dish is the eggs. and the gravy. and the hash browns. and the fact that I had it for breakfast.  I’m sorry.  I shouldn’t be breakfast shaming.  Breakfast is for all foods.  Breakfast is welcoming.  Breakfast is for everyone.

Chicken Fried Steak is a move. It is something that should not be messed around with by amateurs.  The steak must be tenderized to perfection. Then breaded and fried to perfection.  if perfection is not achieved, you get mush or worse, cardboard.  I may be exaggerating a small amount.  This chicken fried steak was grand.  It was seasoned with a heavy hand.  I enjoy a tasty piece of meat.  The downfall of the plate was the hash browns.  It may be my least favorite preparation of potato.  Over easy eggs provide some yolk-y goodness to help break down the crispiness of the hash browns. The meal also came with your choice of bread.  I chose biscuit, but it was pretty unnecessary due to the large size of the plate.

It is a joy to see how loyal people are to Jerry Naster. He opened Jerry’s Café. Sold it. Retired. Unretired to keep making breakfast for the hungry humans.

Coffee: $2.29
Chicken Fried Steak: $9.99

While deciding if you want to come have breakfast with me. Check out “Short Court Style” by Natalie Prass. It is a total banger.

Stuffed French Toast (Brenter)

There are few things in this world better than breakfast buddies. Eating the most important meal of the day with your intrepid cloggers is a truly transcendent experience. You will find it uplifting, encouraging and enabling of all your best qualities. It is in your own personal best interest to join us on these days.

On this occasion we were accompanied by a couple of additional friends. The first is a super accountant, real estate agent, and man who recommends buying Century Link stock because of the relatively high dividend payout they make. I recommended to him to buy Microsoft when it was around $50 a share. Microsoft is currently trading double that so it is pretty clear that I am better at picking stocks.

Our other breakfast buddy can make anything and everything out of wood. Not satisfied with that ability he has gone back to school to for finance. Should the economy ever get destroyed, the extended breakfast buddies community is more than prepared to handle it.

But what made the event that much sweeter is that we were joined by a couple of 7 month old, fraternal twins. Nothing makes an event better than playing with little ones. I had the joyous opportunity to hold and make faces at both of these happy children.

Conversation on this morning focused on new jobs, uncertain but exciting futures, and the potential for great, new experiences. I admire young people who are willing to make risky modifications to their lives for the potential of a greater future, and I admire every young man who sat at this table, because each one of them is doing it.

I actually got so lost in all the company that I forgot that I was supposed to panclog the establishment. And while I would prefer to regale you with tales of our friendship and conversation, we are here for the purposes of the clog. Specifically the Original Café in Overland Park, KS.

The Original Café took over a defunct Freebirds Burrito location a few months ago.  I must admit that this makes me happy, I am not a fan of Freebirds. I am more of a Chipotle man, even though I grow more bored of Chipotle week after week. You can tell that Freebirds was once in this location because the Original Café hasn’t taken down all of their decorations yet. This surprises me for some reason. I would assume any restaurant would want full control of their brand, but it seems that the Original Café is cool with it.

This is our third attempt at eating the Original Café and our second successful excursion to this establishment. It seems that the Original Café is closed on Mondays, which is an easy thing to forget (which foiled us on our second visit).

For the intrepid souls out there the restaurant does offer Frog Legs on certain days of the week. I have had frog legs once and I cannot say that I am a huge fan of the delicacy. That being said, I know of only one other eatery that offers leg of the frog on their menu and that is the elder sister restaurant of the Original Café.

The Original Café seems like your standard run of the mill kind of diner, and, quite frankly it is. The menu covers your standard breakfast and lunch type items with a home cooked flourish here or there. My guess is that the “Liver & Onions” menu item is just there for show. I am curious to know how many folks actually order it. I will give anyone $100 who can convince my spouse, the most wonderful woman in the world, to eat an entire plate of liver and onions.

As noted in the prior paragraph the breakfast menu covers your standard fare and so I elected sausage, eggs, hash browns, and toast. I like how restaurants try to make you feel good about your order by naming it something like “The Classic” in the menu. Yes, I do read Chaucer, Dante, and Shakespeare and I like to eat the plainest breakfast possible.

Before I get to my actual breakfast I do have to mention one of our truest of friends ordered a giant cinnamon roll for the table. The kindness of friends warms my heart, especially those that share sweet breakfast treats with me. The cinnamon roll is big – it is slightly smaller than a dinner plate. Its flavor is quite good, but not earth shattering. You can taste a little bit of doughy-ness in the cooked roll. However, the butter cinnamon mixture in the roll is well balanced, and the icing is made just right. I do not expect I would ever order one for myself, unless I was on some major downward spiral, but it is definitely worthy of splitting with a group of friends.

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Back to my breakfast. The Classic comes with two jumbo eggs cooked to order. I, big surprise, chose scrambled. The two eggs provided a large amount eggs on the plate. The eggs are light, fluffy, but not well seasoned. You will need to grab some salt and pepper to fully dress them out. The eggs are good, but not worthy of note. My favorite scrambled eggs still belong to Eggtc.

Speaking of eggs, I need to start branching out in how my eggs are cooked. I think the next step should be over hard. At the next breakfast buddies event, I hope my cohort remind me to try them cooked differently.

My particular order also included a couple of sausage patties. These particular patties came out as a couple of hockey pucks if you will. That may seem harsh, but I don’t think of it as a negative per se, it is just that the sausage was good and flavorful, but could have been much more flavorful.

A classic breakfast wouldn’t be complete without some carbs of course. At the Original Café, this includes a potato option and some toast. I love toast, with a small amount of real butter. While a jam or jelly option is nice, it is certainly not necessary.

I elected for hash browns in regard to the potato option. The Original Café does a terrific job getting both sides of a set of hash browns crispy, but the internal was not consistently soft throughout. This gave the impression of some potato bits not being completely cooked. When it comes to the preparation of hash browns it seems that most folks lean towards the idea of creating a potato pancake of sorts. Basically leaving a set of grated potatoes sitting on a griddle until one side browns then flipping the mess over to brown on the other side. I am more of a fan of consistently stirring the shredded potatoes throughout the cooking process so that each small piece gets evenly cooked with the rest and also includes some crispy browning. The Original Café goes for the potato pancake method, when they could reach for the stars with consistent movement and browning.

I like The Original Café. Their staff is super fun and friendly and I hope it lands in the regular breakfast rotation. Plus, on a random Tuesday, I would like to go toe to toe with someone over a cinnamon roll.

Special Guest Writer Colby!
French Toast, Bacon, Giant Cinnamon Roll (Split)

”Am I really just a narcissist/’Cause I wake up to a bowl of lobster bisque?” – Rick Ross

I feel it fitting to begin a review of a breakfast establishment with a rap lyric regarding breakfast.  Here we see Mr. Ross displaying a view of the most important meal of the day which diverges completely from my understanding of the same.  While a fan of lobster bisque, I find it best served at lunch or dinner and as an accompaniment to another form of protein, such as filet mignon.  I promise that will be the only such digression of this Panclog.

When I met the ‘Clog Crew (some of the most wholesome folks I have the privilege of knowing) at Jerry’s Original Café for breakfast it marked my first experience at the restaurant.  The ambience and décor call to mind the word “simple”, presenting Jerry’s immediately as a relaxed diner-style atmosphere.  You determine pretty quickly that this isn’t the place for your lobster eggs benedict.  It is, however, a place for a sensible morning meal.

From the outset our server was welcoming and diligent.  Our coffees stayed full and we were regularly checked upon.  The meal started with Jerry’s Giant Cinnamon Roll shared between the four ‘Cloggers.  It was giant indeed, enough that each of us could enjoy a good-sized chunk; eating the full cinnamon roll seemed to require a hero’s effort, and a hungry hero at that.  The amount of cinnamon flavor was just right for me and the icing did not overwhelm with sugar, cream cheese, or any of the other distractions that can make a cinnamon roll’s icing go astray.

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As for the main course, our food was served in a timely fashion.  I ordered the French Toast with a side of bacon.  The French Toast was truly unique in that it was made from challah bread, a favorite treat of mine.  The challah bread lends itself well to French Toast due to its perfect texture and the end product did not disappoint.  The bacon was cooked appropriately and very flavorful without an overwhelmingly salty cure.  I certainly felt full after the meal which is a must when ordering a griddled item with a side of breakfast meat.

 

The food was reasonably priced (about $10 for the French Toast and bacon, plus a couple bucks  for the coffee and $4 for the cinnamon roll – not bad for a tasty meal in southern Johnson County) and did not leave me feeling as though I’d been cheated.  As for ways to improve, it’s my opinion that Jerry’s serves standard diner coffee (not swill, but not particularly flavorful) as well as maple syrup that was likely ordered in bulk.  I also felt like the sun was annihilating me in the face and there were few lights on in the restaurant to boot – throw a few shades up, flip the switches, and you’re in business.

Overall: Original Café is worth a trip. If they change the décor, they could become a brunch destination in south Overland park.

Grade:
Brent: A-
Jared: B
Colby: B+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #39: Ronnie’s Restaurant

 Writing with Rhythm about Ronnie’s
5/8/18 7:00 AM
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Panclog Pals! Have you missed us?  Well, miss us no longer.  If you read the title above you will see that this we review Ronnie’s Restaurant.  I hope you are all thinking, “Oh wow! I’ve been waiting for this Panclog since Ronnie’s opened!”  Ronnie’s and it’s sister (literal) restaurant Kate’s Kitchen are both ran by the parents of the Ronnie and Kate.  Ronnie’s Restaurant is located in Lenexa at 12812 W. 87th Street Pkwy, Lenexa, KS 66215.  Ronnie’s opened in November of 2016. Check out their website to learn more of their story.

Location/Environment: Ronnie’s Restaurant is located within 3 minutes of I-35. This helps you get to a local bruncherie quicker, therefore the food will be in your mouth quicker! The environment is baseball themed.  There are many Norman Rockwell prints on the wall. Here is one of the more prominent pieces:Norm

You will also find a giant picture of the victory parade that celebrated the World Series Champion Kansas City Royals, the greatest baseball team that has ever existed. Actually, Brent says they are tied with the Cincinnati Reds as the greatest baseball team ever.

The downside to the atmosphere that Ronnie’s is trying to present is that all these wonderful pictures get washed out by a bland set of wall paint. Many of the pictures lack a frame to provide contrast with the off white walls. If Ronnie’s could somehow up the contrast, the art and pictures on the walls would really pop and add texture to the environment. The atmosphere is pleasant, but not striking.


Service:
The staff at Ronnie’s is amazing. They do a wonderful job at making you feel a part of the family. Family comes across as one of the more important aspects of Ronnie’s Diner. COFFEE ON THE TABLE FOR THE WIN!

Wait for food: 8 minutes.

Menu/Selection: Simply reading through the menu drives that feeling home. Ronnie’s menu has several selections named for various family members, and, if you look at the back page, you will find a bit of history about Ronnie and his sister Kate. Actually Kate has her own place in Gladstone named Kate’s Kitchen. The menu is full of classic brunch items. They have varieties of all your favorite staples, be that benedicts, omelettes, or pancakes. Let’s dive into what we ordered:

The King waffle with a side of sausage (Jared)

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Baseball, Breakfast, and Buddies.

Ronnie’s has it all. Well once the buddies show up they do.  No nix that.  The servers at Ronnie’s treat you like a certified buddy.  How do you become certified in buddy-hood?  That is the question that many people have asked and only a few have answered.  The first few steps starts in early childhood.  Young buddies need to be mentored by a nice adult who own very fancy hats.  Then you have to take 15 weird magazine quizzes like this one. After that, just try being cool and maybe your buddy certificate will come in the mail.

Let’s get back to business. I decided to get The King waffle.  This consisted of a beautifully crafted waffle topped with bananas, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and butter.  The King is the perfect amount of overkill to either start your day or to keep your day going.  The peanut butter is more in sauce form than the sticky mess that you will get when you try to create this art at home. Syrup is unnecessary for The King.  Usually syrup is key to begin the breakdown of the stability of the waffle.  But I believe the peanut butter sauce was just enough to tame the waffle monster and make it easy to cut with only a fork.

I asked for sausage as a side to give me a savory/sweet balance during this meal.  The Snausage links were a good pairing.  They were thicker than your average sausage link. If I’ve said it once, I’ll say it a thousand times.  Coffee on the table is the X-factor to any great bruncherie.  I am a big fan of the coffee mugs that they use. They are unique to Ronnie’s.

Coffee: $2.15
The King: $6.35
Side of Sausage: $3.15

On to my unnecessary recommendation of what to listen to when thinking of breakfast.  I recently went through a deep dive of HelloGoodbye’s discography.  I want you to listen to (Everything is) Debatable.

Stuffed French Toast (Brenter)

The restaurant offers up a Norman Rockwell’esque type of atmosphere. They actually have several Rockwell prints on the walls.

Just as a brief aside, Norman Rockwell happens to be one of my favorite artists. Much of his work highlights an idealized version of Americana from various paintings featuring baseball, to classic schoolrooms, to children heading off to the fishing-hole. One of my favorites actually adorns the walls of Ronnie’s Restaurant:

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Rockwell also has the ability to convey a powerful image that subverts much of the culture that he lived in:

Normy

On this fair occasion I ordered the Stuffed French Toast. I was hoping for a fun family name for the dish but it was simply named “Stuffed French Toast”. Thinking about this unfortunate naming situation has provided me with a new life goal – to get Ronnie’s and Kate’s restaurants to name the menu item “Strange, short, fat, bald guy, who is overstuffed French Toast”.

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More often than not a stuffed French toast is loaded with sweet ingredients rather and savory. While I am a fan of sweet stuffing, especially a fresh, warm, cinnamon, apple compote, this one comes with a set of savory ingredients. Imagine a pleasant sausage and cheese omelet shoved between two slices of French toast, and you will know exactly what this dish is all about.

Just some quick comments about the stuffed French toast:

1. The sausage could have been a bit more flavorful and abundant. The sausage flavor didn’t detract from the dish, but it had an opportunity to transcend the shell it was encased in.

2. Eggs are eggs. While Eggtc. makes the best scrambled eggs in the KC area, everyone else delivers a consistent level of flavor here. As does Ronnie’s.

3. On this particular visit the cheese seemed to be weighted on one half of the dish. I suspect that this was just an oversight and that a more even distribution is the norm.

4. The stuffed French toast was served with a side of syrup, which I do not quite understand. If a restaurant is making a savory dish, they should up the savory side of the thing rather than offering a weak sweet sauce, like maple syrup.

Overall the stuffed French toast is eminently enjoyable. If you ever go to Ronnie’s establishment ordering this item would not be a mistake. If you order the stuffed French toast as the “Strange, short, fat, bald guy, who is overstuffed French toast” will instantly make you a champion. Costing you only $6.50 plus tax and tip.

So get out there and do it. I am a fan of Ronnie’s and I look forward to eventually making it to Kate’s, the sister restaurant.

Overall: Ronnie’s is a highlight in Kansas City’s bright brunch scene.  Check them out!

Grade:
Brent: 6.7 out of 7.4 forks
Jared: A

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

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