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The next day of the trip was devoted to Kansas. This was the closest to the geographic center of the country I’d ever been. I had a bit of a rush when I saw the “Welcome to Kansas” sign.
Our first stop was Topeka to check out the state capitol and hit another college book store to buy a mug for my brother-in-law. We started this thing with seeing the state capitols a few years ago. I don’t mind because between that the mugs, my wife has a reason to want to take more trips that involve seeing more of the country, which enables me to try more regional roadfood. Of all the capitols we’ve seen, I’d say the one in Topeka was the most attractive, both the building itself and the grounds.
After checking out the capitol building and buying the mug, we drove close to 20 miles southwest to our first meal of the day, at the Sommerset Caf� in Dover, KS. We drove through some beautiful and very rural country to get to there. The caf� had a Mexican lunch buffet in the center of the room and was also at least partially a general store with some shelves full of goods for sale. The reason I decided on going to the Sommerset Hall Caf� was that their coconut-cream pie was singled out at some point on Good Morning America as being the best pie in the country. I didn’t take that claim literally, but I figured if it was singled out in that way, it is probably good enough to drive a little out of the way for. I would compare this place in some ways to Henry’s in Ohio. The food, other than the pie, is somewhat of an afterthought. My grilled cheese was pretty good and my wife liked her turkey sandwich, but it was just an ordinary turkey sandwich. Our onion rings were terrible; clearly frozen and not fried long enough. As far as pie goes, we had to order a slice of that coconut-cream pie and the blueberry-custard pie also sounded up our alley, so we also had a slice of that. I would say my biggest food regret of the trip was ordering the grilled cheese and onion rings instead of trying a third flavor of pie.
The coconut-cream pie lived up to its billing. Until I ate that slice, I would have said without hesitation that the best coconut-cream pie I’d ever eaten was at Henry’s. It’s been too long since I’ve had that to make a direct comparison, so I’ll just say that the Sommerset Hall Caf� and Henry’s make the two best coconut-cream pies I’ve ever tasted, by a wide margin. The quality of the custard in the slice I had last week was phenomenal. That is what sets it and the slice I had at Henry’s apart. It was high quality, fresh-baked custard rather than the more pudding-like quality of the coconut-cream pies I’ve tried elsewhere. We also both loved the blue-berry custard pie, although it wasn’t what I expected. I thought it would be like a fruit tart in a pie crust. Instead, they fold the regular blueberry topping, which was quite good, into the custard and poor it, mixed, into the pie crust before baking. It’s topped with a crumb topping. I can’t comment on the quality of their fruit-pie crust as we didn’t have any standard fruit pie.
I feel obligated to mention that when I searched on this site to see if anyone else has written about the Sommerset Hall Caf�, the only comments I found were from Buffetbuster. While he enjoyed the atmosphere of the place, he did not like the pie. I have an enormous amount of respect for his judgement,29,865231.001001001001001001001001001001001001002001001001001001001001001001,22,33289,188.8.131.52
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