Safe to say - the Sunflower State; indeed the USA as a whole, have not been known over the years for their haute cuisine or fine dining - traditionally the preserve of stuffy European nations. If you think of it though - since most of America's non-native population hailed from there, all that passion for and knowledge of food also must have made the journey west. Today, enjoying 3 square meals a day, and being surprised and delighted by them, is an integral part of any holiday in the United States - and no more so than in Kansas. Ingredients are key; the approach is unfussy and reassuring, and the results can be stunning.
Start your day in rural Cottonwood Falls, and you'll find many a local starting hers and his at the Emma Chase Cafe, where Miss Emma still works the tables - often serving up her legendary apple butter to enhance the real downhome American breakfast. (Friday nights, you'll enjoy great live music there, too!). Quirky food and great chat!
Lunch time in Wichita brings the day's rush to the Old Mill Tasty Shop, where the same family has been fortifying the city's working population with serious soups, gargantuan snadwiches and wholesome, tasty blue plate specials (yes, even the iconic meatloaf and mashed potatoes!) for several generations. Genuine American cooking - the real deal!
Dinner time is when most travellers turn their attentions - and their appetites - to seeking out the local specialities; maybe even experimenting with new delicacies. It's absolutley not the time, in the view of most, to consider 'fast food' as an option. And that's the delight of Abilene's Brookville Hotel Restaurant - a recent re-build of the original wooden clad proprerty, today's Brookville is nonetheless totally authentic. And the menu focuses on fried chicken. Go anywhere in Kansas, and you'll find a local eating place claiming to have the best, most delicious 'breading' ... the Brookville is a serious contender!
All in all the USA, and Kansas in particular, may not meet the rather stifling standards of the European 'epicures' - but the Sunflower State undoubtedly offers 'fine dining' by any measure.