Sunday, March 6, 2011

NOT your Grandmother's Bed and Breakfast!

Su Casa B&B, located on five acres at the edge of Kansas City, is a large ranch-style home with only three guest rooms. Although not a large mansion furnished with antiques, or a historic house of a particular architectural vintage, it would be a mistake to conclude that our small size means that we are, in any way, an "old school" bed and breakfast. In fact, quite the opposite is true. We very much appreciate the conveniences of today's life, as do our guests, and we furnish many of the amenities that guests enjoy both at home and away from home. This includes free WiFi, a guest computer center and printer in the common area, lapdesks in the rooms so guests can conveniently use their own laptops or netbooks, and power strips in each room for guests' many rechargeable devices. There are flat screen televisions with cable reception in each room, as well as a 60" television in the in-home movie theater with additional cable channels, and a massive video library. You are welcome to enjoy a movie in the theater, or in the privacy of your room. The movie theater area includes a half kitchen for guests, with a refrigerator (for stashing your own snacks or drinks), a microwave oven, snacks, popcorn, and soft drinks, all furnished free of charge.

Summertime brings additional amenities, including a beautiful olympic-size outdoor swimming pool with water basketball and plenty of seating areas around the pool. Beach towels and floats are also furnished. The two rooms facing the pool have outdoor decks, a table and chairs, and guests are welcome to enjoy breakfast outdoors when weather permits. The pool and outdoor decks also have a view of the always entertaining Su Casa animals - the ponies (Pancho and Cisco), donkeys (Butch and Sundance), a llama (Jackson), goat (Fawn), and a big fat grey goose named John Lennon.

You are welcome to plan a visit to Kansas City, stay at Su Casa B&B, and enjoy all that we have to offer. If you like, please feel free to read what guests have to say.

Lois Hoover, Innkeeper, Su Casa B&B

Monday, February 7, 2011

Did Somebody Say Chocolate?



February is the month of Valentine's Day, love and romance and yes, CHOCOLATE. The heart-shaped box of chocolate candy has long represented love between lovers of all ages. Chocolate is said to possess magical qualities related to sex, love and romance but actually creates this feelgood factor by boosting serotonin and endorphin levels in the brain. The history of chocolate has been traced back to Mexico and Central and South America. The Mayan culture is said to have used chocolate in its religious ceremonies. A drink made of chocolate was favored by Mayan royalty, and the Aztecs used cacao seeds as a form of money.

My name is Lois and I am a lifelong Chocoholic. I am also the owner and innkeeper of Su Casa B&B, a three-room bed and breakfast located on five acres at the very edge of Kansas City, Mo. Su Casa B&B fully embraces the universal love of chocolate. Chocolate-covered Strawberries, Rich Fudgy Brownies, Homemade Chocolates and Truffles, Homemade Chocolate-dipped Caramel Pretzels, a multitude of Chocolate Cakes and Cookies, Chocolate Bread Pudding, Chocolate Chip Pancakes, Chocolate Fudge, Banana Strawberry White Chocolate Bread, Cherry White Chocolate Scones, and on and on ad infinitum. During the past twelve years that Su Casa B&B has been open for business, only a very few guests have ever admitted to not eating chocolate. Of course there are always those who are on a diet or trying to eat healthy or who have allergies. But for some reason, chocolate is rarely included on the list of foods that people do not eat. The key is moderation, of course, as with any other food. If you visit Su Casa B&B for a week or for a weekend, I promise you that you will be offered chocolate in some form, at least once during your visit. And yes, you may even have chocolate for breakfast - especially during February. If you have a favorite chocolate dish and you tell me about it, I just might make it for you during your stay!

Lois Hoover, InnkeeperSu Casa B&B

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Winter Wildlife at Su Casa B&B


The ponies, donkeys, llamas, goats and geese at Su Casa B&B in Kansas City are known and loved by b&b guests, friends, family and Facebook friends and fans. Guests frequently take pictures and videos of the animals and post them online. I always say they are the “true owners” of Su Casa. Over the years, Su Casa has been the home to horses, ponies, miniature donkeys, llamas, goats, ducks and geese. Through natural attrition, the count currently includes two ponies, two donkeys, one llama, one goat and one goose. In the summer, guests watch these characters grazing on grass and hay, and jumping or almost standing up to eat leaves. All year long, guests feed them carrots and apples while taking their pictures.

The Su Casa animals are present in the winter and continue to enjoy their indulgent lifestyle. But there are other animals as well, well hidden and camouflaged in the spring and summer, that are not fed and cared for by Su Casa, but are ever present. In the stark days of winter, they become much more visible. While cooking breakfast for guests this past New Year’s weekend, I looked out the window and saw a beautiful, large, red fox tiptoeing across the icy pond. I walked outside and continued to watch him, transfixed by his natural beauty. Since my digital camera is in the shop for repairs, I had no way of recording this rare moment. The fox is a stealthy, smart and very quick animal, totally adept at avoiding any attempts at traps or photographs. Many are the times that I have made a mad dash for my camera, returned immediately and the fox or fox family has disappeared. During the past 15 years, red foxes have killed several of my ducks and geese. While this is very disturbing, I also realize he is a wild animal and he needs to eat. Eventually, I came to the realization that I could not continue to have baby ducks and geese on the property because they inevitably met the fate of the furry fox. My two large domestic geese, John Lennon and Yoko Ono, fought him off on several occasions. Truth be told, the fox prefers the tender meat of the little babies. As a result, no more goslings or ducklings will be brought to this property.

On the same morning that the large red fox appeared on the iced-over pond, guests at breakfast looked out the window and observed a gorgeous buck sauntering through the neighborhood. He was a large, stately animal with huge antlers, no doubt on the lookout for the rest of his family. Thankfully, he was in a neighborhood with nobody taking pot shots at him. That horrid thought crossed my mind while staring, along with guests, at the beautiful beast.

Are these same animals present all year long at Su Casa B&B? Absolutely! All those and more. Don’t get me started on the Wild Turkeys, the Cardinals, Bluejays, Woodpeckers that you can hear pecking (sometimes on my house) in the early mornings, beautiful Barnswallows darting in and out and through the barn, as well as many other birds and, well, less desirable animals such as skunks and raccoons. They are always there – but are eminently more visible in the winter. So no, the pool is not open, you may not swim and probably cannot enjoy your private decks, but oh my goodness, what a wildlife show!

Lois Hoover, InnkeeperSu Casa B&B

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

Summertime in Kansas City



Jenee Osterheldt is one of my favorite local columnists, a transplant from the South, who loves Kansas City. This is Jenee's column from today's "Kansas City Star", entitled "Your KC Summer Bucket List", which describes a few of the many interesting summer activities in Kansas City.

"Kansas City may not have any ocean beaches, but summer is something our city does well.

Think about it. We’ve got frosty treats (Hello, Murray’s), Shakespeare in the Park and water parks (try Schlitterbahn). Seriously, we have enough aquatic playgrounds to almost make up for the fact that we’re landlocked.

And some things we do, like First Fridays, are simply better in the warmer weather. But don’t count on sunny days to last forever.

Fourth of July is upon us, and if we don’t enjoy the season now, autumn will fall on our heads before we know it.

I don’t consider us a cowtown, but we have to milk this summer for all it’s worth. Here are a few things to add to your summer bucket list:

•Ice cream — There’s been talk of Popsicles being the new cupcake. But I say nothing can replace my favorite baked treat, especially if you’ve ever been to Babycakes. Still, with all the ice cream boutiques popping up in the metro area, I’d say ice cream is on a mission.

Christopher Elbow’s gourmet ice cream shop GlacĂ©, 4960 Main St., wants to take taste buds on an adventure — French lavender, salted pretzel and caramelized banana are just a few of the flavors. Go to www.glaceicecream .com to figure out which sweet escapade is for you.

•Outdoor movies — Of course “The Twilight Saga: Eclipse” is mandatory for some of us. But Ink’s dating diva, Pamela Spencer, says a new summer romance could be off to a bright beginning with an outdoor movie. It’s free, fun and as simple as a couple of lawn chairs and your crush. Our city offers a variety of venues, from Crown Center to the City Market to the Central Library. Our pick? “Pretty in Pink,” this Friday at Crown Center (www.crowncenter .com). Showtime at 9 p.m.

•Theatre in the Park — Whether you’re more of an Annie or a Cinderella, Theatre in the Park has it all. Michael Wimbs, a Kansas City Realtor, knows all about what the metro has to offer in the way of entertainment. He says this is a summer must.

“It’s one of those laid back, fun, simple times,” he says. “You can enjoy the best of summer — picnics, great performances under the stars, family and friends.” Visit www.theatrein thepark.org for a performance schedule.

•Eat local — This should be a year-round goal. But summer is the season of farmers markets. And some things, like peaches and watermelon, are meant for these hot days. I like to get Shatto milk and fresh gerbera daisies at the City Market. But there are dozens of farmers markets in the metro, like the recently opened Gladstone farmers market, 525 N.E. 70th St., open 7 a.m. to noon on Saturdays and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. on Wednesdays. For a list of more farmers markets, visit www.kansascity.com/living/food."

Great column, Jenee. You have confirmed what I have been saying all along - Kansas City is both a fun and interesting place to live - and to visit. So, what lodging accommodations can best allow you to enjoy all that Kansas City has to offer as well as comfortable rooms with lots of amenities, fresh baked goods every afternoon, a luscious breakfast, spacious parking area, a swimming pool, a movie theater and a beautiful county lake right around the corner? That would be Su Casa B&B, of course.

Lois Hoover, Innkeeper
Su Casa Bed and Breakfast
Kansas City, Mo.
816-965-5647

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Guest Computer Center Available at Su Casa Bed and Breakfast


Su Casa B&B has recently added a guest computer center as an amenity. We are amazed at the popularity of this guest convenience. The inn already offers free WiFi throughout the inn, and the majority of guests bring a laptop or a cell phone with internet capabilities. Yet almost every guest since the computer center was installed in February, has been unable to resist the urge to sit down at the desktop computer for one reason or another. Even guests who are loyal to their laptops may need to print something out. Documents that may need to be printed incude airline boarding passes, directions to one of Kansas City's many wonderful attractions, or even listings for houses if guests are considering moving to the Kansas City area. So while guests may seek us out because our setting is one which gives the feeling of being in the country, but is just minutes from the many great attractions and events, none of that seems to negate the need for electronic conveniences.

Lois Hoover, Innkeeper
Su Casa B&B
Kansas City, Mo.

Monday, May 3, 2010

Breakfast at Su Casa B&B

Breakfast at a bed and breakfast seems to be largely misunderstood. Many first-time inngoers are under the impression that they will have no input, they will be forced to eat food that provokes their allergies, they will be required to eat with strangers with nothing to say to each other, resulting in uncomfortable silence, and that another stranger - the innkeeper - will come to the table and put a very small portion of some strange food in front of them and then leave. Thankfully, none of the above ideas are true now, if in fact they ever were.

At Su Casa B&B, we make a concerted effort to cook and serve a breakfast that all guests will enjoy. Each guest is asked at the time the reservation is confirmed, to inform the innkeeper of any food allergies, dislikes and preferences, and again when they arrive. Many guests do this gladly. There are some who are reluctant to say, for one reason or the other. They may think they are being too much trouble if they say they do not care for pancakes or for eggs. The outcome is that the innkeeper arises at 6 a.m. and begins cooking what she believes will be a breakfast that will make her guests happy. Most dishes are prepared from scratch. She may take the time, for example, to make home-made cinnamon rolls only to be told at breakfast that the guests do not eat cinnamon rolls. Another example is asking guests if they like fresh fruit. And going a step farther, asking if there is any fruit they do NOT like to eat. Everyone responds that they love all kinds of fresh fruit. The next morning, a creative and beautiful fresh fruit dish is served and guests do not eat it. Please keep in mind that when the innkeeper asks what you like to eat or do not like to eat, she is doing this for herself (and her budget) as much as for the guest. There are so many hundreds of breakfast dishes that may be created and served that it is quite easy at a small inn like Su Casa B&B to ask all the guests what they do or do not like to eat, then to decide what best to serve to accommodate everyone. The one exception may be if there is one or two persons out of six guests or so who wants a small, healthy breakfast like cereal or oatmeal and nothing else. The innkeeper is very happy to accommodate such a simple request.

As to eating breakfast with strangers, people quickly find a non-controversial topic that everyone is interested in whether it be sports or raising children or dogs or travel. In the nearly eleven years that Su Casa B&B has been open, only a handful of people, usually newlyweds, have asked to have breakfast in their room. The rooms are not outfitted with tables and chairs for dining, but guests are welcome to take their breakfast to their room and eat on wooden tray tables if they wish. In the summer, two of the three rooms have a private deck overlooking the pool, with tables and chairs. Also, poolside breakfasts are quite popular in the summer. Out of necessity, a breakfast at any location other than the large dining table will usually be be a one-plate breakfast rather than the elaborate family-style breakfast that is offered in the dining room.

All allergies and food preferences are taken into account when the innkeeper is advised in advance of the stay. Because the grocery shopping is already completed by the time the guest arrives, check-in is not the time to let the innkeeper know of something you must have.

Finally, guests are not required to partake of Su Casa's breakfast at all if they do not wish to. But they are required to show up at the table at the agreed upon time. If guests come in late, after a concert or a night on the town, and know they will not be able to or not want to get up early enough for breakfast, all that is required is a simple note left for the innkeeper, "no breakfast for us". The innkeeper will understand and respect that request, will adjust her portions accordingly, and everyone will be happy. Please visit the Su Casa B&B Facebook page for pictures and a photo album of a few of our breakfast dishes.


Lois Hoover
Innkeeper, Su Casa B&B

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Glamorous Life of the Innkeeper at Su Casa Bed and Breakfast



Ask any innkeeper what question is most frequently asked by guests and you will get the same answer. "What made you decide to open a bed and breakfast?" We can pretty much guarantee when a guest steps across our threshold that some time before the end of their stay, they will ask this burning question. The answers provided by innkeepers across the world, may vary greatly depending on the individual, the location, and the size of the inn. My own answer actually varies depending on the events of that particular day. :)

Another innkeeper once told me that she was sitting at the computer in her office, part of the house that was private and not designated for guests. She was busily working away when she heard a voice, "What are YOU doing at the computer?" Now granted this was a few years ago, but by that time computers were already being used for pretty much everything. Apparently the guest, who had wandered into the private area and found the innkeeper's office, was amazed that the innkeeper would be doing anything other than cooking or cleaning.

So what exactly do innkeepers do? And why are guests so fascinated with our profession? As I mentioned above, the answer to the first question definitely depends on the size of the inn. My inn is a small one with only three guest rooms. But because it sits on five acres with farm animals and includes an outdoor swimming pool, an in-home movie theater, a guest kitchen and game room, a deck that extends nearly the entire length of the house in back, and a private hot tub room for one of the guest rooms, my responsibilities as innkeeper extend far beyond cooking and cleaning. In addition, I do most of the work myself. When there is something that I cannot or do not have time to do, I hire a contractor.

Here are just a few of my many hats at Su Casa B&B. (note: all titles are strictly self-designated and for your amusement) Welcoming Committee Chair, Executive Chef, Pastry Chef, Chief Housekeeper, Head Purchasing Agent, Contract Officer, Master Gardener, Interior Decorator, Number One Electronics Expert, Social Planner, Pool Supervisor, Fire Marshall, Theater Manager, Computer Operator, Marketing Director, Website Coordinator, Reservations Specialist, Chairperson in Charge of Recycling, Traffic Director, Head Photographer, Tourism & Hospitality Officer, Guest Relations Officer, Food Allergy and We-don't-eat-that Compliance Officer, and most recently Head Blogger and Social Media Marketing Director.

Would I do it all over again? You bet I would. Eleven years and still going strong (some days stronger than others). What is the best part about it? I am the Captain of my ship! Nothing beats that.


Lois Hoover
Innkeeper
Su Casa B&B