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Panclog #36: Village Inn

Villages may vary in visceral reactions
1/26/18 7:00 AM
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Happy 2018, Panclog Pals. I bet you were wondering when you would receive a new edition of your favorite breakfast-themed blog.  My excuse for the absence happens to be the best one you can have. In fact, I have 2. TWINS!!37-Sova-47

My babies are nothing short of enablers of my breakfast addiction.  Almost every day we bind over breakfast. A bottle, a bowl of cereal, and a comfy chair are the ingredients for a lovely breakfast.

Village Inn is a nearly nationwide upscale-diner chain  that has over 200 locations.  The Panclogsters went to the Village Inn in Mission, KS at Johnson Drive and Metcalf.  They are open from 6 AM to 10 PM everyday. Check out their website to find a local locale.

Location/Environment: This Village Inn is located in a growing area or perhaps a better word would be refurbishing area. There are construction sites all around this clearly aging building.  Some would say that this building will “slowly disappear” if not updated in the coming years.  The first thing you see when walking in is the always tempting display case of fresh pies.

Service: The service was standard. Coffee was filled when needed. No recommendations of meals was made. But no recommendations were needed.  A manager checked the Panclogsters out and made sure our trip was a successful one.

Wait time for food: 7 minutes

Menu/Selection: The menu is very similar to a past panclog establishment, Perkin’s.  It has breakfast, lunch, and dinner. They both also feature their house-made pies.  Check out their menu if you don’t believe us. They do have a nice feature called Inn-credible V.I.B.  Thisis a feature similar to a u-pick 2.  But it is actually pick 4!  So that is a nice wrinkle in the morning.  Create your own combo. Let’s dive into our selections:

Belgian Waffle Combo (Brent)

6 am comes early. But, if you want to successfully experience Breakfast Buddies that is often the time you need to get up; the event starts promptly at 7 am. There is no need to worry if you are late though, we will still hug you, we will still share our coffee, we will still share our excess carbs, but, you just might miss solving the crossword with us. Let’s face it folks, your faithful Pancloggers have become senior adults. Someone fire up dinner and have it ready by 4:30 pm, papa is headed for bed about 8.

Our premature aging was evidenced quite clearly at our chosen establishment this fine morning. As it seems our restaurant of choice today was well populated with an older generation. I have always felt that I would make an excellent senior adult, especially considering how quickly I am approaching it. It is a given that my wife and children would suggest that I have already achieved senior adult status.

On this fine morning we found ourselves at the Village Inn, a restaurant that my wife and I used to live right next too. However, I believe this is the first time I have frequented the establishment. The Village Inn is pretty simple to describe: it is a restaurant in the same vein as Perkins. The Village Inn offers breakfast, lunch, and dinner, they have a lovely display case of pies and other baked items, and they offer a diner like atmosphere.

Speaking of the restaurant’s atmosphere the Village Inn location we visited is clearly showing its age. This is not a problem per se, but unfortunately, the surrounding area is undergoing a bit of a renewal. There are many brand new shops and restaurants being added, and several older ones are getting a brand new facade. My concern is that if the  Village Inn does not have a plan to refurbish its look, it will slowly disappear. For those unaware, many are beginning to believe that there is a Panclog curse. It seems that your fair and easy on the eyes Pancloggers have caused the unfortunate closing of several restaurants. Will the Village Inn be next? I do not know, but I suggest you get out there as soon as possible, in case it does close.

Did you notice that I said they have a lovely display case of pies? I am still dreaming of the White Chocolate Cherry Dream pie, the Key Lime pie, Lemon Meringue, French Silk, and Country Apple. I am overloaded with a desire to experience a full on sugar coma driven by an overconsumption of various pies. Looking at the website you will see an amazing offer, one free piece of pie with any other purchase on Wednesdays. The website even has a handy dandy countdown clock for the momentous event. Sadly, we did not get to participate in this promotion because we showed up on a Friday. With a little bit of research we could have left extra happy, but now I am just overly disappointed. I feel that Jared owes me a return trip for a Wednesday lunch.

Now we must turn ourselves to breakfast. I ordered my current go to breakfast of a Belgian waffle, sausage links, and scrambled eggs.

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The waffle was slightly overdone but came with a more than sufficient amount of margarine. While I prefer butter over margarine, with enough of either, it can ease the crispiness of an overdone waffle. The waffle lacked a touch of sweetness, like powdered sugar or a fruit compote. Some would point me to syrup, but I am currently working on learning to like it, thus I think syrup spoils a tasty treat. Village Inn’s waffle also had a strong malt flavor. I am not a fan of a lot of malt flavoring as it makes a food item taste dusty. I get that may sound odd, but too much malt causes a dust storm in my mouth. It is this reason that I prefer a straight up milkshake over a frozen malt.

The sausage was, fine. Nothing special. Nothing spectacular. Nothing earth shattering. The sausage was just fine. One hopes when biting into any type of sausage, be it a bratwurst, hot dog, or any other type of sausage is a nice clean snap on the casing. Followed quickly by an explosion of juice that fills the palate with flavor. This sausage, while it tasted fine, did not meet any of these qualities.

The menu said the dish came with one egg cooked however you like it. It seems that they did not say what type of egg was being offered. My guess is that they had a case of Quail eggs or Robin eggs, because this was certainly not a grade A, large egg. I can sum up my feelings about Village Inn’s eggs with one word: pitiful.

Like my assessment of the sausage, the breakfast offered by Village Inn was fine. I would not add them to the regular breakfast location rotation. In fact, I would be fine with never going back again. Village Inn is not bad, but it is not good either. If someone offered to take me there I would be fine with it, but I would not suggest it as a location to experience again. So it is up to Jared to take me to lunch on a Wednesday so that I can get a free piece of pie.

  Strawberry Blintzes and Coffee (jared)

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Let’s start this like any research paper that a sub-par student.  A definition and a bunch of blabbering that will help out with the word count requirement.  Oh, no one else did that? Just me? Alrighty Then!
What is a “Blintz?” The Free Dictionary website defines it as: A thin pancake, usually wrapped around a cheese filling, sauteed or baked, and topped with sour cream, fruit, or powdered sugar.

I discovered blintzes while working at the DoubleTree Hotel.  The chef made it for special events such as holiday brunches or fancy employee functions.  Therefore I equate this treat as a delicacy.  This is the first time I have seen this special pancake dish on a chain restaurant’s menu.  Village Inn was offering it with either a strawberry or blueberry topping.  I chose the former.

Village Inn has had a soft spot in my mind for about 18 years. My childhood best friend, Cameron, invited me on a little road trip where his mother had some business to do.  We were in a town that I had no idea existed.  At 10, my life circle was very small.  Cameron and I in the backseat talking about nothing but everything to a child’s brain.  When Cameron’s mom asked if we were hungry, our preteen stomachs screamed, “Absolutely!”

We stopped at a place that Cameron’s mom experienced when she was a child.  That place was Village Inn.  What made this trip even more special than just being on a road trip, was the fact that we were allowed to order off the “big” menu.  No kid’s menu for me.  I was a grown-up if only for a meal.  It was a freeing experience.  I got pancakes.  They were fine but special none the less.

I had not been back to a Village Inn until this meeting of the Breakfast Buddies.

My Blintzes were delicious. A beautiful pairing of Ricotta and cream cheese.  The texture was light and fluffy. The sour cream on top melted into a good counterbalance to the sweetness of the strawberry topping. I was disappointed in the strawberry topping.  It was simply a strawberry compote.  Has a compote ever tasted “fresh” at a diner?  I don’t believe so.  But I’d love to find one.  I was also underwhelmed with the price of the blintzes.  $8.99 felt too much for 3 blintzes and no sides.

Coffee is also known as delicious dirty water.  This makes me feel like it should not be over $2.  At Village Inn, coffee is $2.19.  Yes, I am happy that it is a bottomless cup, but the price point reminds me of when my amazing mother took me and my siblings to a all-you-can-eat buffet, she would state to all of us “eat your worth.”  While that made those trips more worthwhile.  It does not make for a happy stomach when it comes to coffee.

I’d like to recommend not one but 2 songs that have been on repeat in my head. First is Kendrick Lamar’s LOVE. Ft. Zacari.  The second is The Avett Brothers with Murder in The City. If you don’t enjoy either of those, you have bad taste. Don’t @ me.

Overall: Village Inn is a chain diner that is hit-or-miss.  It isn’t outstanding for breakfast nor is it terrible.  It won’t be added to our regular rotation for breakfast.  But it should not be shunned all together.  Middle of the road.

Grade: Brent: C-
Jared: C+

Send recommendations and feedback to the Panclog’s Twitter.

You can also follow Jared and Brent.

Panclog #28: Pegah’s Family Restaurant

Punks picnic at Pegah’s
July 28th, 2016
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Pegah’s Family Restaurant is a Kansas City based diner with 3 locations.  We visited the Shawnee location at Johnson Drive and Nieman.  You can peruse their website right here. Pegah’s is open 6:30 AM – 8:00 PM everyday.

Location/Environment: The Shawnee location of Pegah’s is right down the street from my house.  This tends to be my pick whenever I am choosing the venue of the week’s Breakfast Buddies convention.  It allows me to wake up about 8 minutes before our rendezvous time.  The environment is a standard American diner.  I would not place it in the “greasy” category nor in the “fancy” category either.  Pegah’s features traditional booth seating.

Service: Service was just lovely.  We were seated right when we arrived.  Then the coffee was brought immediately after.  Our server was quite attentive. She took our order and kept the coffee pouring.  I can not tell you how much I love when a server legitimately gives out recommendations.  It means they are taking some interest in their job.  So all servers, do that!

Wait time for food: 13 minutes

Menu/Selection: Because Pegah’s is open all day, they have everything from waffles to grilled beef liver.  So they have it all.  Pegah’s is not a restaurant that will blow you away with all their different types of omelettes and pancakes.  They strive to have a little bit of everything and be good at it.

Food: 

Combo Breakfast (Brentley)

 

Overcoming several scheduling conflicts, we were finally able to make it out to Pegah’s Family Restaurant to Panclog. Ordinarily scheduling isn’t an issue, however, this time we invited the King of Shawnee, KS to join us. He was kind enough to step down to our level and join us for breakfast. I truly felt blessed that the king opted to breakfast with the plebeians. At Pegah’s we were able to experience all that is great about the Panclog, from friendly conversation to good food.

Pegah’s is a simple diner that can be found in the downtown Shawnee area. The restaurant, while showing some age, is clean and inviting. The wait staff is friendly and usually quick to serve. Although this time we had an odd experience. Not long after finishing our meal, coffee service seemed to end. We, Jared and I, hung around for another 45 minutes or so talking, and it wasn’t until the end of that conversation did the coffee service start up again. I’m not sure if this is a problem, perhaps the staff assumed that since one of our group had left, that we would soon follow, causing a little confusion. I am glad the situation got rectified.

This leads me to a public service announcement: We Breakfast Buddies always overstay our welcome, in a good way. So please keep the coffee coming.

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I had the combo breakfast which included biscuits and gravy, eggs (scrambled), and a sausage patty. There was nothing earth shattering here. The biscuits and gravy was good. The gravy could have been a touch creamier and could have included more sausage. I was also hoping for a little more kick to it. That being said, the B&G was fine.

The eggs were cooked well although they needed additional seasoning at the table. Speaking of scrambled eggs in general, I wish that restaurants would put a little more effort into them. I prefer eggs to lighter and fluffier which I think can be accomplished by whisking them more vigorously. To me, seeing pockets of egg whites shows an egg that will not be able to live up to its very best.

Much to my daughter’s chagrin, I opted to have sausage instead of bacon. I can feel the disappointment brewing on her face. Pegah’s sausage was good but not great. It is indicative of the restaurant on the whole. I do enjoy Pegah’s a great deal and I am always happy to show up. It is a restaurant built around comfort. Just don’t expect to be totally blown away.

Yes, I do plan on going back. Pegah’s should find its way into anyone’s regular breakfast rotation.

Combo Breakfast: $8.95

Coffee: $2.49

Malted Waffle and Eggs  (Jared)

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If you read Brent’s fantastic review above, you may have read an interesting piece of information that we planned a special guest for this edition of the Panclog! We dined with the “King of Shawnee.”  I will keep his true identity a secret for now.  I am deeply saddened that he was unable to grace my inbox with some deep royal wisdom about Pegah’s.

Pegah’s is a lovely diner with an even lovelier staff.  If you aren’t entirely pleased by the food, I think you will still come back for the kind service.  Now let’s talk about some food.

I enjoyed my first malted waffle at this here diner.  I was so confused by the name. Did it have malt liquor in it?  I did some quick research at my local library and discovered malted waffles have malted milk powder in it.  That is the fancy ingredient that changes its name.  I would have to say that it keeps the guts of the more moist with a more creamy mouthfeel.  I truly enjoyed this waffle.  I would have asked for another one if I was a bigger man.  Is that a pun?  Don’t tell FlapJack but i enjoy a nice break from the floppiness of pancakes sometimes.  Waffles have such nice structure and the pockets keep butter and syrup so nicely blended.  Also watch Blended.  it is a fine film.  It even features my favorite actor.

Waffles can also have a bad side.  A side that is just slightly overdone that it will become crisp and dangerous to cut.  Overdone waffle flakes can become a shiv in no time.  On the other hand, underdone waffles are just pancakes with some lines in it.  The waffle at Pegah’s was just right.  It just crisp enough.

Eggs are such an exciting food that can be cooked in so many different ways.  In the last couple of years, I have been switching my egg preference every time I order them.  This visit I landed on overhard.  It turns out when the yolk is so cooked I need something to season the eggs.  Usually the yolk can be enough for me.  Eggs are good.  Try them.  Did you know soft-boiled is a thing? Weird.

Malted Waffle: $5.95
2 Eggs: $3.98
Coffee: $2.49

Overall: Pegah’s Family Restaurant is just that. A restaurant that will make you feel like family.  It will not blow you away with the quality of cuisine.

Grade: 

Jared: 56.5 out of 73 made-up points.  Or a C+

Brent: 3 out of 5 stars – a solid C

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

You can follow Jared and Brent on Twitter.

Panclog #25: Ginger Sue’s

Surely Sweet with the Sue
May 11th, 2016
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Ginger Sue’s is a bruncheonette that has 3 locations in Kansas City; the original in Liberty, the second in Lee’s Summit, and the one we frequent in Olathe, KS. Ginger Sue’s is open daily, 6:30 AM – 2:30 PM. Throw them a like if you care to.

I would like to note that this location is sadly located in the same storefront of the 3rd ever Panclog spot, 119th Street Diner. Please check out that wonderful review and enjoy the baby photo of Stephen and I.

Location/Environment: The Olathe location of Ginger Sue’s is less than a minute away from Brent Morgan’s home.  This makes Ginger an obvious choice to host many a #BreakfastBuddies meetings.  The environment is clean and simple. There are more tables than built-in booths.I believe that this gives a restaurant a more sleek and crisp feel.  The music was fantasticly fitting to the rainy morning that it was.  Ginger Sue’s makes a great first impression and is cut from similar cloth to First Watch. The restaurant is bright, open, and inviting.

Service: Service at Ginger Sue’s is excellent. It has been noticed on many occasions that they like to staff pretty heavily in the mornings. Servers tent to be quick and attentive no matter how busy they are. The church rush and families eating Saturday brunches do not slow the servers down.

Wait time for food: 13 minutes

Menu/Selection: Ginger Sue’s serves breakfast and lunch very well.  We all know which menu is the more important of the two. Breakfast > Lunch. Sometimes you have to include a lunch menu for people who don’t have the guts to eat breakfast food at every meal.

Ginger Sue’s has daily specials.  These specials aren’t really publicized any where in the restaurant.  These specials are recited to you by the server.  You may see a review of a special later on in this very Panclog.

Food: 

Belgian Waffle with Bacon (Brentley)

“You need to be very careful. You are already on thin ice.”

I heard these chilling words as I kissed my blushing bride as I prepared to leave for Ginger Sue’s. It seems that I did not properly reset the alarm in the morning and it went off a few additional times whilst I took care of my morning ablutions. In our home, we do not wake my beloved before she is ready. Her eyes must open naturally or there will be ugly times ahead.

It is at times like these that I begin uttering selfish prayers. “Please Lord, cause my children or some innocent bystander to do something that will draw my wife’s ire. Otherwise I fear that my world will crash around me.”

With fear and trepidation, I wandered over to Ginger Sue’s for the Panclog. A place that was certain to provide some calm before the storm.

Ginger Sue’s Olathe location is very close to my home, which makes it a place that I like to frequent fairly often. Ginger Sue’s has even made it into the regular rotation for the Cloggers. We Cloggers go to breakfast about once a week – consider this an open invitation to join us.

The food at Ginger Sue’s is fresh and well prepared. This restaurant is definitely not a greasy spoon. For this Panclog I ordered the Belgian Waffle with an a la carte side of bacon.
Vaffle

The waffle was light and airy. I am not entirely sure why, but I gravitate to the waffle served at Ginger Sue’s pretty regularly. Perhaps it is the berry compote that is served with the waffle of which I am a huge fan.

Ginger serves a peppered bacon that is pretty good too. Although it may not be to everyone’s taste.

The coffee at Ginger Sue’s is usually quite good. However, on this fateful morning it seemed off. Also, Ginger Sue’s does not provide a carafe for the table, which is something I am beginning to prefer.

Speaking of music, give the band, BABYMETAL, a listen. The group is fronted by three Japanese, teenaged girls who sing well. What makes this group interesting is the band behind the singers plays a speed metal sound while the singers come over top with J-Pop vocals. The juxtaposition of these two styles mixes well and it is just weird. I would recommend starting with their songs, “Karate”, and “Gimme Chocolate”.

For those still wondering, I did survive the day when I inadvertently woke my spouse. I just happen to be an inch shorter now.

Waffle: $5.25
Bacon: $3.00
Coffee: $2.25

Aloha Awakea Omelette and Pancake of the Day  (Jared)

 

Ginger Sue’s is a gem in the breakfast world.  At first, I wanted to not like this place as much as I enjoyed 119th Street Diner.  The sour cream pancakes are still a focal point of my mouth’s dreams. I can not forget the good times I had beginning this fine blog.  So when I come across a breakfast spot that now inhabits something I used to enjoy, I start to worry that something nice has become desecrated.  After the first breakfast burrito, then peanut butter and banana pancakes and then the aforementioned aloha awakea omelette, I knew that Ginger didn’t ruin anything of my past. She made it better.

Omelettes are eggs with stuff in it. Sounds simple. I have personally ruined at least eleventy egg dishes.  I have not learned the art of balance of flavors when it comes to sharing egg flavor.  I always think more is a good thing. I find myself thinking, “Brisket is good. A pound of brisket should be enough for a 4 egg omelette.” Turns out I am wrong.  That is the near mythical amount of too much brisket.

The Aloha Awakea Omelette is a tasty concoction of egg, ham, pineapple, cheddar-jack cheese, and toasted coconut on top. I can not state how beautiful it is when salty and sweet come together. Be it salted caramel lattes from Starbucks, potato chips covered in chocolate, or ham and pineapple together. 5 out of 7 tongues agree that salty and sweet is meant to be. Please try this and tell Brent how much you loved it.  Mr. Morgan can not  have pineapple unless he wants to take an expensive trip to the emergency room.

The omelette came with some breakfast potatoes. These were some of the most delicious breakfast potatoes that I have ever experienced.  They were seasoned wonderfully and then cooked to the crispiness that you have always heard about but have never experienced.  I want more.

Now to the reveal of the Pancake of the Day. Firstly we have the buttermilk pancake base.  A classic beginning to many pancakes masterpieces.
Secondly, we add apple cinnamon. A normal addition. Dr. Jared Söva of BSI Breakfast Studies Inc. explains “Carbohydrates love to be connected to the natural sugars that fruit possesses.”  I can not deny that I truly agree with that doctor. The most common addition to pancakes is a fruit flavor. The cinnamon is there to refresh the mouth with some spice.
Next we add bacon.  Because bacon. Do we need any other reason.
Lastly we add goat cheese. WAIT WHAT? Goat cheese!?! In a pancake?  CHEESE?? Oh cheese? That tasty stuff that you peel from a stick during lunch? But from a cute little goat. perhaps from a goat like this. The goat cheese gives the pancakes some tartness that will bring the magic of this pancake of the day together.

Altogether I would gladly get this pancake again.  Savory pancakes are a necessity in a life like mine.  I am surrounded by sweet things so much that I need a break.

The prices are very standard to the brunch industry.  I will be coming back. And I hope to one day meet Ginger. The pancakes are quite something special.  They are large and in charge.  If you don’t like pancakes.  Try the omelettes.  They are infinitely better than any egg dish that I can make you.

Aloha Awakea Omelette: $7.75
Pancake of the Day: $3.00
Coffee: $2.25

Overall: I would highly recommend paying Ginger a visit. Enjoy her breakfast and her nice mix of music.

Grade: 

Jared: A

Brent: 4.5/ 5 stars or B-

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

You can follow Jared and Brent on Twitter.

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