Day 3: April 28, 2015
Eating My Way to OK

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I found myself wondering, as I pulled up to Gailey's Breakfast Cafe, if this could really be the place earning all of the online praise I had read. The former drug store certainly looked interesting but it did not make me think of gourmet meals. The entrance, I soon discovered, was through a door under the "lofts" sign rather than beneath "prescriptions" and stepping inside was reassuring. For one thing, the place was rather full. I grabbed the crappy interior shot immediately after the table beside me went empty. I grabbed the crappy shot of the counter and kitchen on the way out. Had I realized that those stools were "active", and not just for show, that's almost certainly where I would have sat. But service was excellent at the table where I did sit and so was the food. Yep, this is definitely the place that earned the praise from others and now from me.

Springfield Brewing is just a few blocks from Gailey's and I got there a few minutes ahead of the 11:00 opening time. I used those minutes to walk to the corner for a picture that includes a couple whose timing was perfect. They walked right in and, a moment later, so did I. For my one beer, I chose the great looking and great tasting (Yes, my tastes have changed.) McDaniel's Draught nitro stout. I looked over the menu while I drank and promised myself that my next visit would be better timed for eating.

I knew that Gay Parita's gate would be closed but I knew I would stop anyway. Gary Turner, its creator who National Geographic's Andrew Evans, described as "the opposite of intimidating", died in January. I only met Gary a few times but he was also the opposite of forgettable. I'm pretty sure I won't forget the minutes I spent standing at the gate today, either. Gary's son, Steve, cannot keep the station open full time but does try to accommodate tour groups.

A miniscule building selling "old fashioned hamburgers" in downtown Joplin. How could I not stop? The original Whisler's is in Carthage, Missouri. It has a sign that proclaims "since 1953". If this Whisler's had such a sign, it would say "since a week ago Thursday". Its grand opening was April 16 and was a rousing success. There's enough room inside for maybe a half-dozen customers to stand while their carry out orders are prepared. There are some wooden picnic tables in a space beside the building and I sat at one to enjoy my "sow 'n' cow".

The original Whisler's is close to but not on Route 66 which is my excuse explanation for missing it. A third Whisler's is scheduled to open May 1 in the Redings Mill train depot. There is currently a restaurant using the name Whisler's in Springfield but there are legal issues.

Of course, there is absolutely no excuse for missing Cars on the Route in Galena, Kansas. I had a nice chat with Melba and, as is often the case, learned something new. Why I didn't already know about Melba's big time involvement in Renaissance Fairs is beyond me. She makes and sells bunches of trolls and fairies at several fairs in the region.

This is another repeat from 2010 but, unlike the Wayside, they gave me a different room. It's still nice and it's still a bargain.

It wasn't until this morning that I decided I would probably be spending the night in Baxter Springs and did some checking on restaurants. Baxter Springs Smokehouse was one of the highest rated with great reviews but I did not plan to eat there. The reason was that I had almost overdosed on BBQ last night. I had walked to the corner was a specific restaurant in mind then decided I liked the looks of a local BBQ chain better. I ordered a sort of sampler with ham, pulled pork, and brisket. I don't believe I'd taken my first bite when the waitress came back with an additional plate. The kitchen had given me burnt ends instead of brisket and she wanted to make sure I didn't miss out. Of course, she did not remove the burnt ends so I now had four different meats in front of me. Here's three of them with the brisket yet to come. It was really good though not quite great. The plate wasn't empty when I gave up but it was missing a lot.

So I decided it would not be BBQ tonight. Then I discovered that the Smokehouse was just a short distance away on the other side of the street. And those reviews really were great. I walked over and, as soon as I opened the door, my nose told me I'd made the right move. The pulled pork was very very good but that half slab of baby back ribs were some of the best I've ever had. If the states of Missouri and Kansas weigh a little less than they did a couple of days ago, yeah, that's my fault.

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