Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Road Trip!

After Lil graduated, she moved to Missouri and we went with her to help with the move and to take a mini vacation. We never got to go on our mini vacation because the in-laws wanted us to come divide things they want to hand down. Here are the picks and pans from our trip.

1. Gordman's Department Store in St. Charles, Missouri. This store was across from Bass Pro Shop so I went there while Hubby cruised the aisles of Bass Pro Shop. Later, I brought Lil back to it. It is a lot like Ross Stores which are common in Texas. The prices are a bit higher, but it is arranged more like a department store so the merchandise doesn't get as beat up from shoppers and there seemed to be more of a selection. I haven't been able to wear flip flops in years because they hurt my feet, but I found a pair with a soft spongy sole that actually felt comfortable, and they were only $2.99! Aren't they cute!


2. Rosati's Authentic Chicago Style Pizza in Waco, Texas. Not knowing what Chicago style pizza was, we didn't object when the other members of our group wanted to order it. We were told that this pizza takes about 30 minutes to cook but we were in no hurry. We were served our drinks quickly. However, after an hour we began wondering where the pizza was and finally flagged down our waitress who seemed to be avoiding us, and she told us that this pizza is supposed to cook at 500 degrees but all the regular style pizzas going in and out of the oven were slowing down the cook time and it would take a little longer. About 15 minutes later she brought out plates so we thought pizza would be coming right afterward. She was short two plates but had taken our drinks for a refill, so we thought she would be coming right back with the other plates. She never did bring the plates, and instead of giving me a refill of my Sprite, she gave me water. Everyone else got a refill of the drink they had originally ordered. Also, the straw in the water had a hunk of black mold or something in it, which I only noticed AFTER taking a drink.

All of the people in our group were beginning to grumble about the time it was taking to cook three pizzas, and we once again asked the waitress how long it would be. She brought the manager who repeated the same thing about our pizzas needed 500 degrees and the other pizzas coming in and out were lowering the temperature so it was taking longer. Finally, TWO HOURS after we ordered, we finally got our pizzas.

In case you have never had Chicago style pizza, it has a paper thin crust with a thin layer of cheese on the bottom and meat in a thick chunky tomato sauce on top. Hubby and Lil don't care for tomatoes, and the sauce was more tomato than sauce. The cheese layer was so thin it had very little taste, and the crust was similar to hard tack and burned on the bottom. It was absolutely the worst pizza I have ever eaten. When all had eaten, we had to chase the waitress down for our bill and because we were ready to get out of there, we took it to the cash register ourselves instead of waiting on her to do it.

Because of the extremely long wait, we all felt the pizza should have been comped, or at the very least, we should have been given some appetizers while we waited. I'm not sure if their crust is normally that hard or that burned or if that was a result of being in the oven so long. Still, it wasn't good pizza, terrible service, and I don't recommend it.

3. Marriott Southern Hills Hotel in Tulsa, Oklahoma. We stayed here because our first two choices had no rooms available. This is a nice hotel, clean, and comes with wireless high speed internet. It does not have queen sized beds, you either get full or king. That wouldn't be a problem except we were traveling with Lil so we needed two beds and Hubby is 6'4", which is about 4" longer than a normal full-sized bed. He thought these were extra long full-sized beds, all I know is they weren't wide enough for the two of us. The rooms had a climate-controlled thermostat instead of the usual under-the-window unit, but it was difficult to regulate. There is no complementary breakfast but there is a coffee pot in the room. It probably would have been quiet, but it seems it was prom night and there were a lot of teenagers running up and down the hall and slamming doors until about 2 a.m.

4. Los Cabos Mexican Grill in Jenks, Oklahoma. The food here should be classified Tex Mex instead of true Mexican if not for any reason than their fajitas, which happen to be wonderful. I got the Veggie Fajitas although have I never seen Veggie Fajitas on a menu before. They were grilled but not burned, with a smokey flavor that enhanced the flavor of the zucchini and squash, as well as the usual red and green bell peppers and onions. Yum! Our waitress was great and brought refills without even asking. Along with the great food was a quartet playing guitars and trumpets and singing. The waitresses were all wearing short shorts and t-shirt which Hubby probably enjoyed, but I didn't see any male waitstaff to see what they were wearing; I hope it wasn't short shorts.

5. Comfort Suites in St. Charles, Missouri. Again, there were no queen sized beds but the room was clean, quiet, and comfortable, it has wireless internet, and complimentary breakfast. Definitely worth looking for if all are like this one. The best part for Hubby was that it was across the street from Bass Pro Shop so we went there not once, but three times. Hubby was excited to find 9mm ammo being stocked while we were there so all of us bought the limit of two boxes each for Brother Bear's gun range.

6. King Edwards Fried Chicken in St. Charles, Missouri. They also have fried fish and shrimp, but we got their fried chicken, mashed potatoes and gravy. The chicken and mashed potatoes were good, but the gravy was thin and watery and was the color of chicken fat.

7. Crooked Tree Coffee House in St. Charles, Missouri. Hubby has to have his morning coffee and found this place early one morning. I went with him the next morning although the hot water must have been run through a coffee pot because my green tea had a coffee after taste (and I don't like coffee). But the owner was friendly and knew Hubby by the second day. It's one of those coffee places that has a regular bunch of people who seem to know each other, which is a nice break from the impersonal atmosphere of Starbucks. Plus Hubby really liked one of their house blends.

8. Main Street Shops in St. Charles, Missouri. There are just too many shops and restaurants to name here. What's nice about it is that there are shops and restaurants mixed together so you can shop and then eat as you walk along the street. Most of the restaurants have outdoor dining, but we ate indoors at one restaurant. The Hubster thinks the street is set up for women, and he's probably right; there was no Bass Pro Shop there.

9. O'Charley's Restaurant in St. Peters, Missouri. Even though this is a chain, it feels like a locally owned restaurant. The manager's name was painted over the door and he came to every table to make sure everything was good. The first day (yes, we had to go back the next day), our waiter was a young man and he was very attentive to Lil, but also to us. Lil ordered a cherry limeade even though Sonic is hard to beat. She said it wasn't very cherry and the way her eyes scrunched together when she drank it, I assumed it was a little bitter too. So I had to taste it. Yup, not much cherry, and not much sugar. So then Hubby had to taste it. He agreed. When the waiter came back, Lil asked if she could order another drink and he laughed and said not many people like the cherry limeade and he suggested a strawberry lemonade. When she got that, we all had to taste it too. It was wonderful! I don't really remember what I ordered to eat, but it was good. Their rolls are soft and a little sweet too. Lil had ordered a meal for two so she could have leftovers later, and Hubby didn't eat all of his meal, so he put it in her take-home box. There was only one roll left and the waiter brought her four more. He brought us drink refills before we had a chance to run low and even brought Lil a strawberry lemonade in a cup to take home.

The next day we had a different waiter, but he was just as attentive as the first one. He didn't bring Lil extra rolls to take home, but he did bring our last drink refill in to go cups. Those were strawberry lemonades for all of us, of course. My new favorite drink and my new favorite restaurant!

10. Tulsa Select Hotel and Conference Center, Tulsa, Oklahoma. This used to be a nice hotel when owned by Holiday Inn. It is now independently owned and the maintenance and quality have definitely gone downhill. It wasn't very clean and the broadband internet was slower than dialup with ten windows open at the same time.

11. Chevy's Fresh Mex, St. Charles, Missouri. Lil and I split the Mixed Grill Fajitas and even though we asked for no sour cream or red sauce, we still got it. Lil loved the shrimp and we both liked the chicken, but the carnitas tasted a bit off. The service was fine but we did have to flag down the waitress to get refills.

12. Red Robin Gourmet Burgers in Tulsa, Oklahoma. The non-smoking section was in the bar area, which was ok as it wasn't crowded the night we were there, but the air conditioning was set a bit low for Brownie and me. At the waitress' suggestion, Brownie and I split the Red Robin Gourmet Cheeseburger. She said it was really big but when we got it, it was the same size as a burger from Sonic or any fast food place, just twice the price.

13. Ultimate Electronics in St. Peters, Missouri. I think Hubby found his new favorite store here. He went in with Lil while she looked for a new tv, and they both walked out with one. His salesman was friendly and observant which is probably why both bought a tv.

14. Sage Inn in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Near downtown shopping, museums and restaurants, and has a free shuttle for those who don't want to walk a few blocks. The rooms are small but clean and the staff quick to respond. The continental breakfast is good too. Great place to stay for those on a budget.

Until next time, may you have blessings and a pleasant journey,
Marti

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