Wednesday, June 27, 2012

Where Can You Find One of the Best Tenderloin Sandwiches in Kansas City?

Small tenderloin sandwich with onion rings from Pop's Cafe

Pop’s Café Serves Up One Tasty Tenderloin Sandwich

When I heard that Pop’s Café in Independence had one of the best tenderloin sandwiches in Kansas City, I was skeptical.  After all, the place is a tiny, nothing-to-look-at diner next to what looks like a no-tell motel on 40 Hwy in Independence.

Never the less, I decided to give it a try, and boy, am I glad that I did.  The tenderloin sandwich was hand-breaded, delicious, and best of all, not greasy.  I actually had a choice of either a small tenderloin for $5.79 or a large one for $6.79, and both are served with lettuce, pickle, onion, mayo, and horseradish. 

The sandwich normally comes with chips, but there are also several other side-item choices including french fries, steak fries, tater tots or onion rings for a slight upcharge.

What pleased me further was that, although not fancy, this family-owned restaurant was clean, and the service was quick and friendly. 

Even better, I discovered that for a small place, Pop’s has a decent menu selection including several other sandwich choices, burgers, dinners, breakfast, daily specials, and homemade pies. 

On the day I was there, the place was packed, and everyone seemed to be enjoying the food and old-fashioned diner experience.  Plus, everything that came out of the mom-and-pop kitchen looked homemade and smelled wonderful.

So, not only will I be going back for another tenderloin soon, I will be going back to try some of their other menu offerings as well.  

If you're looking for an inexpensive place to find a great tenderloin, Pop's Cafe is the place to go.

Pop’s Café is located at 15014 E US 40 Hwy in Independence, with the following hours:

Mon-Fri: 6:00AM-8:00PM
Sat: 6:00AM-8:00PM
Sun: 7:00AM-4:00PM

Pop's Cafe in Independence

Pop's Café on Urbanspoon

Thursday, June 21, 2012

Defending Jacob by William Landay is the Perfect Summer Read

 A Review of the Legal Thriller Defending Jacob by William Landay

In Defending Jacob, Andy and Lori Barber seem to have it all…an idealistic suburban life, great friends and neighbors, and reputations to be envied.  Then their 14-year-old son, Jacob, is accused of murder and life is never the same again.

Released this past January by author William Landay, this novel combines legal suspense, character depth, shocking plot turns, and an ending that will blow your mind. 

The story begins when Andy Barber, an Assistant D.A. for more than 20 years in Newton, MA, receives a phone call that a teenage boy has been found murdered in a park near the very middle school that his own son, Jacob, attends.  It becomes even more personal for Andy when he discovers that the victim and Jacob were acquainted.

Andy suspects that a sleazy pedophile who lives near the crime scene is responsible for the horrific stabbing, but after interviewing the victim’s classmates and reading on Facebook that Jacob not only owns a knife that matches the murder weapon but is being accused of the crime by his own circle of friends, he is forced to consider otherwise.

As everyone in town turns their backs on the Barber family and their perfect existence begins to crumble, Andy takes a hard look at the evidence, which appears very circumstantial.  But things soon get worse when Andy and his now mentally fragile wife, Lori, learn that more stunning evidence has been discovered. 

Eventually Jacob is charged with first-degree murder and must stand trial.  Throughout the entire ordeal, Andy never loses faith in his son or his innocence.  Even when he discovers that Jacob is not quite the perfect son that he thought he was. 

Andy is also forced to tell his wife a surprising secret he’s been hiding for their entire marriage – a secret that could destroy their idealistic family forever. 

William Landry proves that he is a master storyteller of suspense in Defending Jacob.   The novel has no real weaknesses and can hold its own with any legal thriller compared to it.  And for the mystery buffs out there, this book feels somewhat like a combination between a John Grisham courtroom drama and an attention-grabbing Harlan Coben selection. 

Defending Jacob is actually William Landay’s third novel.  His debut novel, Mission Flats won the Creasey Memorial Dagger Award for Best First Crime Novel, and his second offering, The Strangler, was selected by The Los Angeles Times as the favorite crime book of the year. 

Landay himself is a Yale and Boston College Law School graduate who served for eight years as an Assistant D.A. in Middlesex County, Massachusetts before turning to writing as a career. 

Luckily for all of the suspense enthusiasts out there, Landay is already working on his next anticipated novel, but in the meantime, if you are going to pick one book to read during this steamy Kansas City summer, Defending Jacob is it.

 The layers of tension, smooth writing style, and great twists and turns at the end make this selection worth every minute you spend devouring the pages to discover the answer to the million dollar question – is Jacob truly a vicious killer or an innocent boy falsely accused of a gruesome murder.

Monday, June 18, 2012

Finally There's A Product That Really Does Remove Tough Clothing Stains

L.A.'s Totally Awesome Laundry Pre-Wash  Stain Remover
Remove Laundry Stains Cheaply and Easily

Over the years, with a messy husband and two sons, I have come across some tough clothing stains when doing the laundry.

I tried most of the expensive stain-removing products on soiled items with only moderate success.

Recently, a friend recommended that I try L.A.'s Totally Awesome Laundry Pre-Wash Stain Remover. When I asked where to get it, I was shocked by her answer.  She said Dollar Tree.

I wondered how good can a laundry stain remover be if it only costs a dollar a bottle.  But after thinking about it for a while, I decided to try it.  I knew that she had children too and was very familiar with all kinds of clothing stains.  Besides that, the expensive products I was trying weren't necessarily getting the job done.

Soon after, I went to one of the many Dollar Tree locations in the Kansas City area and purchased a bottle.  

The next time I did laundry I sprayed the pre-wash on my stained clothing.  For most items, I then rubbed the product into the fabric, and in some cases, I let the stained items set overnight.  I then washed the clothing, and to my surprise, most of the stains came out!

I was amazed because for only $1.00 I had just used a product that worked better than any expensive stain-removing spray I had ever tried before.

So, if you are someone who faces the problem of removing tough stains when doing your laundry, give L.A.'s Totally Awesome Laundry Pre-Wash Stain Remover a try.  For only a buck, you have nothing to lose, and you might be pleasantly surprised with the results.

Saturday, June 16, 2012

Mom's Mouth-Watering Chicken Pot Pie Recipe

Nothing Better Than Mom's Homemade Chicken Pot Pie

Growing up in Kansas City was a great experience.  So was eating my mother's cooking when we gathered around the dinner table each night.

One of my favorite dishes has always been her delicious and easy chicken pot pie recipe, which I made sure to get a copy of when I moved out on my own.  

Over the years, it has proven to be a big hit with my own family as well.

Mom's Chicken Pot Pie

1 cup chopped onion                                                                        2 cups chicken broth
1 cup chopped celery                                                                        1 cup half and half
1 cup chopped carrots                                                                       1 t salt
2/3 cup butter or margarine                                                               1/4 t pepper
1/2 cup flour                                                                                       4 cups chopped cooked chicken
1 pie crust (partially thawed)

Saute onion, celery, and carrots in butter for ten minutes.  

Add flour to vegetables and cook for one minute, stirring constantly.

Combine chicken broth and half and half.  Gradually stir the mixture in with the vegetables.

Cook over medium heat until thick and bubbly.

Stir in salt and pepper.

Add chicken and stir well.

Spray a 2-qt round casserole dish with Pam, then pour entire mixture into the dish.

Top with the pie crust.  Cut thin slits into the top of pie crust.

Bake at 400 degrees for 40 minutes or until golden brown.

Note:  This is also an easy recipe to alter.  You may add other vegetables if you wish.  If can be made healthier with substitutions like no-fat half and half or less salt and butter.  You can even top the pot pie with strips of phyllo dough for a different taste.




Friday, June 15, 2012

Twenty years After Puzzling Murder, I-70 Serial Killer Remains Elusive

Artist Drawing of I-70 Killer

Suspect Still A Mystery In Raytown, MO Homicide

Thursday, May 7, 1992, was 37-year-old Sarah Blessing’s last day alive.  She had no idea that before the sun set that evening, she would become the last known victim of a systematic murderer known as the I-70 serial killer.

The morning started out normal for Blessing when she awoke at 7:30 a.m., fed her pets, ate a breakfast of fresh fruit, and drove to ailing friend Karen Winney’s house for a weekly visit.

According to Winney, the two women discussed spirituality, heaven and people who had recently passed away.  Blessing even gave Winney a tape about a woman who survived a terrifying kidnapping ordeal by reading to her abductor from the Bible. 

Between 11:00 and 11:30 a.m., Blessing arrived home, packed herself a lunch and then headed to work at The Shop of Many Colors, a store owned and operated by Blessing and five friends in Raytown, Missouri’s Woodson Village Shopping Center, on the southern edge of Kansas City.

Only open for about a month, Sarah sold herbs, clean water machines, and miniature exercise trampolines at the eclectic store along with other merchandise focused on enhancing physical and spiritual well-being.

At approximately 2:12 p.m., Sarah’s husband, Sonny, called her, and they had a brief discussion.  It was the last conversation he would ever have with his wife.

By 6:15 p.m., Sarah was in the store alone when a man wearing a gray sports coat, slacks, and dress shoes strolled across the large parking lot toward The Shop of Many Colors.

He stood out to witnesses because most people drove to the popular strip mall and parked their vehicles near the stores they frequented instead of strolling across the expansive parking lot on foot. 

Roughly 15 minutes later, video store owner Tim Hickman, whose shop was next to Blessing’s, heard a loud pop that sounded like a gunshot.  When he went to investigate the disturbing noise, he found Blessing in a back room of her store, dead from a gunshot wound to the head.  She had not been sexually assaulted and only a small amount of cash was taken from the register.

Soon after, a grocery store worker gathering carts in the parking lot observed the same stranger as he turned the corner of the strip mall and headed northeast in the direction of a large hill that led to Woodson Road. 

Witnesses also reported seeing the same suspect walking east down 59th Street approximately 10 minutes later.  At that time, the stranger was about three miles south of I-70.

The murder location in Raytown, MO as it appears today, operating as a hair salon.  The hill leading to Woodson Road can be seen in the background.

Law enforcement eventually linked this shocking crime to the I-70 serial killer through shell casings left behind at the scene.  This cold-blooded assassin was also connected to the murders of Robin Fuldauer, 26, at a Payless shoe store in Indianapolis, IN; Patricia Magers, 32, and Patricia Smith, 23, at La Bridal shop in Wichita, KS; Michael McCown, 40, at Sylvia’s Ceramics in Terra Haute, IN., and Nancy Kitzmiller, 24, at Boot Village in St. Charles, MO.   

The crimes all happened between April and May 1992, occurred in small shops with only one or two clerks on duty, and within a short distance of either Interstate I-70 or I-35. 

The motive itself has never really been clear since none of the stores had large amounts of money, and there appeared to be no motive other than possible “thrill killing.” 

The perpetrator left very little physical evidence behind and the hundreds of once promising leads have long since been exhausted.  Twenty years later, all of the crimes remain unsolved.

Recently, law enforcement shared new evidence with the public in hopes of reviving the cases and jogging anyone’s memory of the terrible crimes.  They believe, based on ballistic evidence and witness statements, that the murder weapon could possibly be an Intratec Scorpion or an Erma Werke Model ET 22.  The ammunition used was CCI brand .22-caliber long rifle, copper clad lead bullets.

Police have also now shared that Corundum, an industrial abrasive, and rouge, used as an industrial polish, were found on the shell casings.  These substances are often used on firearms, and it is possible that the killer was living or working at the time somewhere where grinding, buffing, or polishing of weapons occurred, possibly with a buffing or grinding wheel.

In 1992, the suspect was described by witnesses as a white male, in his mid 20s to mid 30s, approximately 5-foot 7-inches tall, and weighing between 140 to 160 pounds.  He had a slender to medium build, with short light brown to auburn (reddish) hair, and beard stubble on his face.

After Blessing’s murder, the serial killer’s crime spree seemed to stop and he vanished into ambiguous infamy.  By now, he would now probably be in his 50s.  Why he has never been linked to any more crimes is unknown.  He could be dead, in jail, or still in hiding after all this time.

Twenty years later, the Raytown homicide and all of the other linked cases remain open, and police are still waiting for any lead or clue that would finally solve these mysterious murders. 

Information can be called in to the TIPS hotline at 816-474-TIPS

Thursday, June 14, 2012

How To Stop Telemarketers From Calling Your Cell Phone

Mobile Phones Are Now Eligible For Missouri’s No-Call List

Missouri Governor Jay Nixon signed House Bill 1549 today, expanding the state No-Call Law to include cell phones.  Add your name to the list and telemarketers can no longer annoy you with irritating sales calls or spam texts. 

This is welcome news for state Attorney General Chris Koster because his office has been receiving approximately 150-200 reports a week from citizens complaining about telemarketing calls to their cell phones.

The new law should also help protect Missourians from identity theft occurring through scam texts with links to outside web pages.  Once the link is clicked, a virus is opened on your cell which allows hackers to obtain personal information from your phone.

Before today’s expansion of the no-call law, approximately 2.3 million people attempted to add their mobile phone numbers to the no-call list.  Koster, whose office maintains the registry, said that his staff has been working hard to ensure that it will be able to handle the large number of folks expected to sign up.

To place your cell number on the no-call list, visit the state attorney general’s website at

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Kansas City Offers Great Dining Choices For Food Lovers

Food Lovers' Guide to Kansas City by Sylvie Hogg Murphy

A Review of Food Lovers’ Guide To Kansas City by Sylvie Hogg Murphy

Already world famous for its juicy, lip-smacking BBQ, Kansas City proves it has much more to offer the culinary palate in Food Lovers' Guide To Kansas City by Sylvie Hogg Murphy.

Just published last September, Food Lovers’ Guide To Kansas City lists a large variety of restaurants from quaint eateries with farm-fresh seasonal offerings, like The Farmhouse or Blue Bird Bistro, to classic steak houses, like Jess and Jim's or The Golden Ox.

It even includes wonderful Asian choices like The Vietnam Cafe or Lulu's Thai Noodle Shop and newer culinary hot spots like Genessee Royale Bistro in the West Bottoms. 

The guide is divided into 11 geographic areas and includes the address, phone number, web site, price range, and hours of each food establishment.  There is also a personal review of each location along with menu favorites and helpful tips about individual restaurants. 

Even better, within each geographic area, the locations are divided up further into four main sections:  area favorites, long-established landmarks, places to go on special occasions, and specialty stores and markets.

The downfall of Food Lovers’ Guide to Kansas City is that it isn’t as quick as using a mobile app to help suggest a new dining experience, but on the plus side, in addition to typical restaurant listings, the guide lists local farmers markets, delis, wine stores, butchers and bakeries, cafes, taverns, wine bars, culinary events, information about local wine and urban farm steading classes, and even a few recipes from some of Kansas City’s top chefs.

Additionally, the guide lists local papers and media with devoted sections to food and drink (i.e. The Kansas City Star, The Pitch, Ink, Tastebud, PBS’s TV show, “Check Please”) and local food blog sites like Kansas City Lunch Spots.

Size-wise, Food Lovers’ Guide To Kansas City is fairly small, making it easy to slip into a backpack, purse, or car storage compartment if you want to have it handy when you are out and about and get the urge to try a new place. 

You are being forewarned that Food Lovers’ Guide to Kansas City doesn’t and can’t cover every great restaurant in Kansas City, and it doesn’t explore some geographic areas as well as it could (suburban areas), but it is a great place to begin your culinary dining exploration of Kansas City.

Tuesday, June 12, 2012

Welcome To Living Kansas City

The Kansas City Convention Center in Downtown Kansas City
Hello, and welcome to Living Kansas City, a new blog which explores everything Kansas City and much more. 

As a life-long resident of Kansas City, freelance writer, mom, avid reader, curiosity freak and all around explorer of life, my goal is to share information about the various wonderful, interesting, and sometimes controversial things happening in my hometown along with reviews, stories, articles, opinions, recipes, products and apps to try, places to visit and more.

I hope you find my posts informational and helpful and will share them with others.  I would also love to hear your comments and thoughts about Kansas City.  You can always contact me at

Now that the introduction is done, let Living Kansas City begin!