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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 #27: Lost in Louisville

Time with Tots
July 1-5th, 2016

I have a group of friends, yeah buddy I got friends. And not all of them are in low places. We call ourselves The Tots. We have been together for about 10 years.  We try to get together at least once a year to smile at each other and talk about whale watching and pork buns. Please be jealous of us.  We chose this trips destination to be close to Nashville.  One of the Tots was performing in the International Barbershop Competition. Please check out his fantastic work with Central Standard.

This sweet double edition of Panclog will include reviews of Wild Eggs and Gralehaus.
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Location/Environment: Gralehaus is located in The Highlands at 1001 Baxter Ave. Louisville, KY 40204.  The Highlands was voted as the Tots favorite neighborhood.  We had some amazing Asian fusion and BBQ in The Highlands.   The environment in Gralehaus was just splendid. They had coffee sacks as drapes. They had beautiful wooden floors. They were playing TV show theme songs through our time there.  It was enjoyable.

Wild Eggs is a chain restaurant that you can find in 5 states.  We went to the Downtown Louisville location at 121 South Floyd Street. We were able to walk to Wild Eggs from our hotel.  It was a beautiful morning so we all enjoyed the fresh air.  The environment felt very clean in a way that you tend to see in nice chain restaurants.

 

Menu/Selection: The menus at these two restaurants could not be more contrasting. Wild Eggs had the standard brunch that you can find in any chain breakfast joint.  Gralehaus had some of the breakfast staples but mostly with a southern twist on them. Some examples include: Lamb & Grits, Crispy Pork Hash, and Biscuit and Duck Gravy.  Please feel free to peruse the menus yourself. Wild Eggs and Gralehaus.

Food: Special Guest Megan Friedlander on Louisville cuisine

Wild Eggs: This place has no iced coffee. When told they could just pour coffee over ice, they brought out what appeared to be milk over ice. It was sent back. They got it right the second time. The food was “fine.” That is, until I tried to bite into a bit of avocado that was so hard I took it off. I tried to squish it with my fingers and it didn’t even squish. It was bizarre. The inside looked like a sterilized “First Watch” but even less exciting.

Overall: C-

Gralehaus: I love hipster yuppie stuff. But man, no need for cashiers to be so incredibly mean. Not only did they mess up the order (I didn’t get avocado or bacon) but when they poured my beer, I got three fingers worth of foam. When I said something snotty about it, they just shot me a look. It was never fixed. Food: B+, Service: D-

Loser in Louisville (Ja-Red)

Firstly, I would love to congratulate Megan Friedlander for becoming a Panclog contributor.  Your check is in the mail, Friedley. Here is a very recent picture  of Megan and I.
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While in Louisville with your best friends is a wonderful experience,  it is even more fun when you are able to try some delicious bourbon and other liquors with each other.  I would love to recommend Four Roses bourbon and Copper & Kings brandy. While in Bourbon county, you will see establishments using this famous liquor to entice more sales.  I fell for this approach when at Wild Eggs. I ordered the Sweet Home Apple Bourbon Crepes.
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These crepes were sadly the most disappointing thing I had in Louisville.  They were stuffed with simple cream cheese.  I could not taste any bourbon in these crepes.  The apples were in a compote form in the center of the dish.  I was unimpressed with the size of this dish.  I can get more satisfaction from a Quik Trip taquito.  The bacon on the side was a very traditional unseasoned few strips.

Sweet Home Apple Bourbon Crepes: $9.99
Side of bacon: $3.49

Gralehaus: Biscuit & Duck Gravy and a side of Grits

Gralehaus is the epitome of what you desire from a hip bruncherie.  Gralehaus was converted from an old house in The Highlands to a trendy bed and breakfast.  The seating was truly difficult to maneuver with 8 guests.  We had to stand around awkwardly for 8 or so minutes until we made a guest who was sitting alone at a table for 4 so embarrassed that he moved to the bar.  Gralehaus does have a nice patio area in the backyard of this house.  It was raining this morning so we were unable to enjoy this spacious patio area.  I truly enjoyed the atmosphere of Gralehaus so much.  Ordering is a lot like how it’s done in Nashville, order first than find a place to sit.

The drink menu was pretty expansive. From coffee drinks to fresh juices to beers on tap.  It was past 11 and  I was on vacation so I enjoyed an adult beverage.  I was able to delight on a Festina Peche from Dogfish Head brewing. I apologize to everyone in Kansas City who has not been able to partake in one of the more revolutionary breweries in America.  Get some Dogfish Head whenever you are able.  My darling bride got a Chai Tea to keep her warm from the cool summer rain outside.  The Chai was wonderfully flavored with a dusting of nutmeg and cinnamon on top.

Let’s get down to brass tacks. What was for breakfast.  It was Biscuit and Duck Gravy at $12 and a large side of Grits for $4.
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IMG_1376The biscuit and duck gravy was sensational. The biscuit was just soft enough to soak in some of the gravy but sturdy enough to flake perfectly when cutting into it.  There were bits of duck crackling all around the plate.  This gave a nice saltiness to the dish. This was all topped with a sunny side up egg.

Grits.  Have you ever enjoyed some perfect grits?  I hadn’t. Not until I saw grits predominately featured on the Gralehaus menu and decided, “in the south? Try grits!”  I was not let down by this decision.  It was a little thicker than oatmeal.  I do not know how to truly describe this fantastic side.  Buttery goodness?  That is probably as close I will get.  TRY IT!

Panclog Co-Creator, Stephen Shaffer, on Gralehaus

Location/Environment: Gralehaus is a hipster’s paradise aesthetically, but I don’t mean that as a negative. Nothing about it read as inauthentic to me. But you will find eclectic art on the wall, cold brew coffee, and baristas with 8 o’clock shadow and skinny jeans.

Our visit featured a soundtrack of TV theme songs, which was much appreciated and quickly set the mood. Jovial and friendly. Despite the hipster factor, I felt little pretension behind it.

Service: It was your standard counter-service affair. Order, find your seat and food is brought to your table. We went during a busy brunch hour yet service was still quick and efficient. There was limited seating inside but employees were very accommodating to help customers find available seating.

Wait time for food: 11 minutes

Menu/selection: Gralehaus does not featured the biggest menu, but let’s face it, they don’t need to. Everyone in our party of eight was quick to find something to their liking. You’ll find classic items but done in a unique, memorable way. The varied drink selection was a welcoming sight as well. Standard breakfast choices, as well as a rotating bar menu. Oh yeah, also there’s ice cream ya dinkuses.

Food: I ordered the speculoos crepes with a side of bacon and an iced cold brew. Let’s start with the coffee. Iced or hot, I like my coffee like I like my death metal: black (and Norwegian?). Gralehaus offered a tight, smooth cold brew. Just enough acidity and super fresh.

Grale
Alright, those crepes. Holy. Hell. The basis of the crepes were a ricotta cheese, and I wasn’t sure how they would work with the speculoos cookie bits. In short, it worked, very well. Smooth, creamy crepes in a fluffy pillow, with crunchy highlights from the cookie bits. It was essentially a dessert for breakfast, and it was what syrup dreams are made of. The bacon was a savory accent to the crepes. Portions were fantastic; with something this sweet, I don’t think you’d want to stuff yourself.

Price: Not cheap, not expensive. For the quality of the meal, it’s certainly worth it.

Overall: I couldn’t give Gralehaus enough praise. If you’re in the Louisville area and looking for a solid, unique breakfast spot, it’s worth the visit. Our party left full and satisfied, a memorable experience.

Grade: A

Overall: I love to explore new cities.  It gets difficult when you are judging a city  by what Yelp and other travel ranking sites tell you what is best.  I would strongly encourage you to find someone who is roughly in the same stage of life and coolness level as as you are and ask them what they like in their city.  This will most likely not guide you to a family vacation spots and not super club-y. Enjoy your friends and be open for new experiences.  Life is better when you share it with others.

As for breakfast spots. Skip Wild Eggs. Definitely hit Gralehaus.

Grade: 

Jared: Gralehaus A+
Wild Eggs  C-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter or thepanclog@gmail.com

You can follow Jared and Megan on Twitter.

Bonus Pics!!!

French Toast at Gralehaus

So thick and so pretty.  I hear it was fantastic too.

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Panclog #22: John’s Space Age Donuts

Dining on Donuts
February 25th, 2016 – 7:03 A.M.
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John’s Space Age Donuts is a locally owned donut shop in downtown Overland Park.  John’s Space Age has been around since 1967.  They are open Tuesday-Sunday 6:00 AM to Noon.  Check them out on Facebook.

Location/Environment: John’s Space Age Donuts is located at 81st and Metcalf.  The parking is semi-confusing.  The parking lot is in the back. But there is a dead end street right to the north of the entrance to the parking lot.  The environment is clean and crisp.  The display case of all of the fresh donuts are right at the front.  When you are in the parking lot, there is a distinct smell of baked dough.  It is the perfect appetizer to get your mouth watering. There is not a lot of seating in the shop, perhaps 20 seats or so.

Service: The service was all you can ask for and more.  The server is truly attentive and will happily make any recommendations if you would like to try something new.  There is a never ending supply of friendly banter between servers and customers.  I witnessed 3 different customers that were offered their “usual” in the 35 minutes that I was there.

Menu/Selection: John’s Space Age has all of the donuts. From the voluptuous jelly filled to the delicate and flaky classic glazed, the controversial donut hole to the kind and loving apple fritter. They have a nice partnership with Nesquik.  They have Nesquik stickers on each of the napkin holder and a nice Nesquik fridge in the back.  The Nesquik is wonderful due to its bunny mascot who sells dairy products like a boss.

Food: The picture of our haul
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Brent’s Hot Take
When I heard we were headed over to John’s Space Age Donuts for this Panclog I was pretty excited. With a name like that I had expected something akin to Voodoo Doughnut out of Portland, OR. For good or ill, John’s turned out to be a regular donut shop.

Overall I would say that John’s Space Age Donuts is friendly little place where the staff is quick to engage and chat with you, which is always a plus in my book. There also seemed to be a steady stream of people strolling through the place, so you can tell they are assembling a good following.

A quick word of caution though, John’s is a cash only establishment. This surprised me a bit as I have grown accustomed to using my debit card wherever I go. Needless to say I didn’t have any cash and had to rely on my good friend, the amazing and talented, Jared Sova to save me from my faux pas. Jared’s armor shined that morning.

Jared purchased a dozen and was kind enough to not only let me share his donuts, but also, to select some of the flavors. I don’t remember all of the choices we put in the box, however, I will comment on the four I had.

Plain Cake – I know what you are thinking, “Plain Cake, how boring.” I added this to the box for a couple reasons. Firstly, a plain cake, if done right, is a really good donut. Secondly, a plain cake is probably the simplest donut to make, at least I think it would be, thus leaving the bakers with no place to hide. Any mistake in the baking and you will know immediately on tasting. I can say with confidence that they did a fine job on the plain cake donut. Although it could have been a touch sweeter.

Glazed – Another simple donut that does not leave much room to hide. All donut shops should be judged on how well they can knock out a glazed donut. John’s Space Age raised, glazed donut was decent. The glaze was well set and the donut was not soggy. I found this donut to be similar to the glazed from Fluffy Fresh, another Kansas City Area Donutisserie.

Raspberry Filled Sugar – The Raspberry Filled Sugar donut itself was good, unfortunately the Raspberry Filling had a distinct artificial flavor. I suspect that the filling is artificial, or at least not made fresh on the premises. Any donut shop that could produce their own, fresh fruit fillings would probably knock it out of the park for me.

Apple Fritter – The Apple Fritter is John’s best, hands down. It is actually one of the better apple fritters I have had in a long while. The balance of cinnamon, sugar, and apple flavorings was well performed. The outer shell was crisp and the inner dough was soft making for a great texture. It also helped that fritters were freshly made and still slightly warm. Kudos to the bakers on this one.

Jared’s Saucy Opinion

Donuts are a basic human right.  Good donuts are a luxury.

I would like to start this op-ed of sorts with a story of friendship.  I met Brent Morgan in church in the year 2006.  He has been a kind and faithful friend and mentor ever since.  He was the officiant at my wedding and has been my greatest ping pong rival. He can also fix a mean light socket, contact him here for help.

In a nod to days of old and days of old people. Brent and I have begun a tradition of weekly breakfasting.  It is a time to catch up and to debate new topics while enjoying breakfast in a different place each week.   We call this act Breakfast Buddies.  If you can join some morning, we would more than pleased to have you.  Search #BreakfastBuddies on twitter if you would like to catch up on news!

Donuts are usually not my thing. Probably because I have plenty of open cavities in my mouth, therefore the sweetness of the glaze makes my teeth hurt.  But I kept hearing good things about John’s Space Age Donuts; I had to inspect.

I prefer the spelling donut to doughnut or the ever ugly spelling: do-nut.  No one should ever spell it with a dumb hyphen. If you are at any donut shop and they share that a certain type is fresh from the oven, GET IT! Warm donuts are always better than their cold counterparts.  This day was dedicated to the Apple Fritters.  They were fresh from the oven. But moreover than that a guest recommended the fritter sharing, “Get tha Fritta! Or FOUR! HeHeheh!” You gotta trust that guy, amirite?

These apple fritters are fantastic.  Please get them whenever you can.  I also had a delicious cinnamon roll covered in white frosting and chopped nuts.

Have you ever witnessed a coworker bring in a box of donuts just for them to Jamie Kennedy Experience you with the donuts all being glazed? You are probably thinking, “You know that they make different kinds, right?” These glazed donuts were different.  They had a nice flaky dough and not overly sweet glaze.

Overall: This donut shop has a truly friendly staff and above average donuts.  If you like donuts, try it.  I would not recommend this place to non-donut believers.  I do not think that the donuts are good enough to change your mind.  Last words: APPLE FRITTER WINS!

Grade: 

Jared: B

Brent: C+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter or thepanclog@gmail.com

You can follow Jared and Brent on Twitter.

Panclog #21: Mom’s Kitchen!

Mom’s Magic Meal
February 9th, 2016 – 7:07 A.M.
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Mom’s Kitchen is a locally owned diner.  It is located in near downtown Olathe at 530 E Santa Fe. They do not have a website. But you can check out their Facebook. They are open from 7 AM-2 PM on Sundays and 6 AM- 2 PM every other day of the week.

Location/Environment: The restaurant itself is a simple whole-in-the-wall type of place pretty close to the Olathe, KS courthouse. If you are one of the lucky few on jury duty, I would recommend walking over to this place for a quick and easy lunch.

Please read that last sentence without a thought of sarcasm, you should be excited about fulfilling your civic duty. While we are on the subject of civic duty, get out and vote!

I would not describe Mom’s as a greasy diner.  I would describe it as a diner that has aged well.

Service: The service was wonderful. Coffees stayed full. You could tell that Mom’s Kitchen was the type of place that servers are happy to learn names and to swap stories of what’s good in their lives.

Wait time for food: 10 minutes

Menu/Selection: Mom’s Kitchen is full of the standard breakfast foods and also the extended diner menu.  If you can find it at a diner, Mom’s will take care of you.

Food: Below you may read some pancake topping blasphemy.  Please take up all disappointed and offended feelings with Brent’s Twitter. You have been forewarned.

Pancakes with Bacon, Eggs, and Hash Browns (Brentley)
Mom’s kitchen is a straight up diner from years past. At least that is the feeling they seem to be going for. It a restaurant I, and my family, like a lot and one we should probably go to more often. It helps that we are friends with one of the staff who is a terrific person.

Mom’s kitchen offers the standard breakfast fare you’d expect from a diner. I was tempted to go for the chicken fried steak and eggs, or the pork chops, but instead I ordered pancakes with bacon, eggs, and hash browns. I was quite pleased with them. My guess is that the full menu of items is available throughout the day as I saw another patron order a cheeseburger. One of these days I am going to have to get over my cultural mores and order a French Dip sandwich for breakfast.
Mom-brent

The pancakes were light and fluffy, the bacon was cooked just right, the hash browns met expectations, and the eggs were decent. Overall, it was a very satisfying breakfast.

The coffee was great too. Some of the other places we’ve visited should do themselves a favor and hop on over to Mom’s to see what they are brewing. Mom’s coffee is full flavored without a burned, or over-roasted, quality. Mom’s Kitchen isn’t trying to find some interesting twist on the burned flavor that the Seattle based organization seems to love.

You may have noticed a lack of syrup on the pancakes in the picture. For good or ill, I am not a fan of maple syrup on pancakes. Actually, with rare exception, I am not a fan of other syrups on pancakes either. Part of the issue is that maple syrup doesn’t taste good in my opinion. The other is a texture thing. Syrup has a tendency to turn pancakes into soup. A pancake is a glorious food item. Pancake soup, not so much.

For those fretting over the fact that these pancakes look incompletely adorned rest assured I added more to them than just butter. Although plain buttered pancakes are quite tasty in their own right. You see, when it comes to pancakes, I am a jelly man. Adding some straight up plain grape jelly on pancakes makes them magnificent. And let’s keep it to plain grape jelly. If you bring Concord grape jelly, well, you can fly that plane straight back to France. Or back to Concord, Massachusetts, as that is where Concord Grapes were originally developed.

To whom do we owe for this amazing culinary secret, Mrs. Martin, my kindergarten teacher. She made pancakes for our class one morning and offered jelly as the spread and I have followed the nobler jelly path from that day forth. Just once I recommend that you set the syrup aside and go the jelly route. I am certain you won’t look back.

2 Eggs, Pancakes, Bacon, & Hash browns – $7.99 on special

Blueberry French Toast  (Jared)

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Mom’s Kitchen is such nice name.  It makes me think of such great breakfasts that my mother has made me in the past such as Dutch Babies, Cinnamon Rolls, and of course pancakes.  So yeah, these are good memories. If you do not know what Dutch Babies are, then you are truly missing out.

Mom’s did not disappoint.  When I walked in I saw a chalkboard sign that informed me of the specials then told me to ask about their Blueberry French Toast.  I try to always abide by things signs tell me to do.  I asked our waitress of their blueberry french toast and she kindly told me that it was french toast made with actual blueberry bread made by them.  I was truly intrigued. It never had a chance against me.  One of my greatest enjoyments of being married to a chef is some incredible banana bread.  And when that banana bread starts to almost become stale, we french toast the crap out of it.  So freaking good.  I am a huge fan of delicious flavored bread being turned into even more delicious breakfast treats.

I was expecting a blueberry quick bread type of flavor. Meaning overly sweet and intensely blueberry-y.    But Mom went against my expectation and created a simple blueberry hint to the french toast.  It was just the perfect hint of blueberry in every bite.  I can not say anything negative about these French toast slices, except that I should have ordered something savory to counteract the sweetness of the syrup and powdered sugar.

The coffee was in the top 3 of coffee I have had during my Panclog career.  Seriously, they do it so well.  Also I enjoy that the coffee mugs were of a thicker variety. This keeps the coffee warm!!! MAGIC!

The 2 slices of Blueberry French Toast were $5.49

Overall: Mom’s Kitchen is a lovely bruncherie that makes you feel at home if you are a regular.  It can be slightly daunting when you see a waitress treat some guests like family and others like one-time guests.  The interior feels dated but it makes the food taste that much better.  Check it out with your friends on New Years Day or any other day. 

Grade: 

Jared: B+

Brent: A-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter or thepanclog@gmail.com

You can follow Jared and Brent on Twitter.

Panclog #20: Corner Bakery Cafe

Coffee at the Corner
January 12th, 2016 – 7:05 A.M.

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Corner Bakery Cafe is a nationwide fast-casual chain. We went to the 11705 Roe Ave. Leawood, KS location.  You can check out their website here.  Also please check out their Twitter.

 

Location/Environment: The Corner Bakery Cafe is clean, spacious, and has an inviting atmosphere. The eatery is much in the same vein as Panera, from how orders are taken to the style of decoration. Both restaurants seem to be using the same formula. Succinctly, The Corner Bakery Cafe is Panera minus the bagels. The absolute best piece of art in Corner Bakery Cafe is this fine statue:
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If you are thinking that you feel the strong urge that you need this, you are not the only one. I need this baker in my home.

Service: The Corner Bakery Cafe is a pay-first style restaurant.  You go up the cashier, who has a large menu on the wall behind them.  This style does not often lend itself to great service.  That being said, our cashier was very sweet and our plates were cleared promptly after our meal.

Wait time for food: 7 minutes

Menu/Selection: Corner Bakery Cafe has breakfast, lunch, and dinner.  They also have some nice baked goods for snacking.  It tends to be of a lighter fare.  They have plenty of sandwiches ranging from breakfast to grilled panini. You can browse the full menu here.

Food:

Buttermilk Pancakes and Eggs (Brent)
Ordering is done at the counter where the menu is displayed high above. There is an array of baked goods and breakfast sandwiches offered. I went ahead and ordered pancakes, which did seem slightly out of place given their other menu items.

Corner

Looks tasty doesn’t it. Two-thirds of it was.

The bacon was quite tasty and well cooked. My preference for bacon is to be crispy and juicy. The Corner Bakery did an excellent job at hitting the bacon sweet spot. The eggs were also very good. They were dense but light on the palate. I was quite happy with how those two items turned out. Unfortunately, it would have been wiser of me to have opted for a bacon and egg breakfast sandwich.

As you have surely guessed, I was displeased with the pancakes. There were a few things going on with these flapjacks that left me disappointed. Firstly, the pancakes were not completely cooked through. Secondly, there was a definite waxiness to the cakes that left a sad aftertaste and texture to the pancakes. Lastly, there was a distinct pickle flavor to the pancakes that implied an accidental spill occurred in the kitchen. Hopefully we caught the kitchen on an off day and that it is not indicative of their normal output. They certainly looked nice on the plate, but those looks were deceiving.

Per usual, I had black coffee with breakfast. The Corner Bakery offered four different roasts that morning, and I went with their darkest roast available. The coffee was good, but not better than what I can make at home.

Considering its price, $2.29, that was a little disappointing for an expensive cup of coffee.

Pancakes, eggs, and bacon – $7.99
Large Coffee – $2.29

 

Commuter Croissant  (Jared)

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I went in a different direction, didn’t I? This Commuter Croissant is exactly what it looks like. Tastiness.  I could have eaten 3 of them.  That is saying more about my ogre-like appetite than about the size of this nice sandwich.  This appetite is why I built one of those “complete breakfasts” you always see at the end of cereal commercials.  I added on some oatmeal and a slice of cinnamon creme cake.

The ordering process was a bit different.  After ordering and paying, I was given a buzzer.  The same type that they give you at Cheddar’s when they are packed and you have to wait for your Monte Cristo. Not that I have a lot of experience with that.  When  I sat down, I assumed I would have to get back up when the buzzer did its thing.  It never buzzed, but I was brought my food.  This wasn’t a negative.  But it did seem unnecessary to use the buzzers.

The sandwich was scrambled eggs, tomatoes, bacon, and cheese all on a buttery soft croissant.  I enjoyed this breakfast sandwich.  The tomatoes added a nice acidity to the heartiness to the sandwich.  I added on some steel-cut oatmeal for $1!  It felt like a steal,  I could not pass on this fine deal.  The oatmeal was topped with the perfect amount of cinnamon.  It was enough to flavor the whole cup without overpowering the creaminess of the oats themselves.  The oatmeal also was not hard like when I make it at home in the microwave. So that was cool.

Cinnamon Creme Cake was a nice table share.  It was dense like most coffee cakes, and very rich.  This richness led to the urge to share it with my tablemates.

Commuter Croissant: $4.99
Oatmeal: $1.00
Cinnamon Creme Cake: $2.79

 

Overall: (Brent) Overall, I would give The Corner Bakery a C-. I am not a fan of giving out such a low grade, but I think you have to if you do not plan on returning. I’m not saying this restaurant should be placed on the banned list, where you would actively refuse going, but it shouldn’t go on the suggestion list.
(Jared) I would have to agree with the sad sad pancakes.  I had a couple of bites and I knew something was wrong with them.  I am surprised he finished them. My sandwich and sides were tasty.  There was nothing to dislike about my meal.

Grade: 

Jared: B

Brent: C-

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter or thepanclog@gmail.com

You can follow Jared and Brent on Twitter.

Panclog #18: Alternative FlapJacks

These hotcakes are NOT heresy!

The House that Panclog Built.
February 28, 2015 9:00 AM

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HELLLOOOO PANCLOGGERS!!!

In support of one of the most sacred holidays in the Söva household, National Pancake Day, I have decided to share with you a very special Panclog.  I would love to tell you about the delicious (spoiler!!!!) pancakes I get at home!

My wife, Megan, recently discovered that she is allergic to a incredible array of different things. (Gluten, Corn, Peanuts, Sweet Potatoes, Salmon.)  With her being the sweet thing that she is, she continues to make breakfast for us when she could easily give up on pancakes and buy some Eggos or some other sad frozen food.

Location/Environment: I really like living in my house.  It is a pretty cool house.  I know where almost everything is except for the hand mixer, duct tape, and the extra stash of toilet paper. I think it feels nice.  It smells like essential oils and food.

Wait to be seated: I LIVE HERE! ALL THE SEATS ARE MINE!

Food:

Gluten Free Caramel Apple Butter Pancakes with Eggs

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Megan has taken her allergy diagnosis in great stride.  It probably helped that she is a chef.  She makes her own gluten-free flour, some fantastic corn syrup-free caramel apple butter, and awesome everything cookies. I am constantly in awe over the skills that my wonderful bride has developed in the kitchen.

Megan made this recipe for Gluten Free Caramel Apple Butter Pancakes with a little help from Pinterest. You can find the recipe to the Caramel Apple Butter HERE!!!!  Pinterest is seemingly an endless supply of fancy recipes, silly jokes, and impossible crafts.  I recommend it if you have a computer or phone and want to waste hours of your life.

These pancakes are some of the most delicious things you will ever have. Because they are gluten-free, these pancakes tend to be pretty dense.  They soak up all of your syrup within a minute.  They also will fill you up quicker than your average flapjack.  I am not complaining about this fact.  I am just noting it for you who are lucky enough to enjoy brunch with us.

Now to the eggs, we usually cook eggs in a wok.  But when we make pancakes we use the griddle, which gives the eggs an incredible fluffy texture.  I should do some research on different ways to cook eggs.  Somebody remind me to do that!

We have begun to use real maple syrup for 2 reasons: 1. Real maple syrup tastes so much better than its artificial counterpart. 2. Fake maple syrup has high fructose corn syrup in it, which Megan cannot have. Try real maple syrup and you will not regret it. Try it! You’ll like it!

Overall: I am incredibly lucky to have married a chef who likes to feed delicious food.  These caramel apple butter pancakes are the best gluten free pancakes I have ever experienced.  I definitely recommend coming over for some breakfast, brunch, or brinner!

Price: Gluten free ingredients are more expensive at first, but are entirely worth it if you or someone you love is gluten-free.

Grade: Can I say anything other than an A+? I wouldn’t even if I could.

Email recommendations and feedback to thepanclog@gmail.com

You can follow Jared and Stephen on Twitter.

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