“Yes ma’am. That restaurant serves regular food other than BBQ- they even got Brisket on the menu.”
-Actual quote from Robin, the campground manager, Texarkana, Texas
Robin’s comic relief happened at mile marker 1131 of our 2400 mile road trip- point “E” on the RVParky photo below.
However, our first food-adventure began at point “A”, and we had only traveled THREE miles!
April 14, 2018. Mile marker 3. Tucson, Arizona.
It was NOT our choice to eat at Omar’s Hi-Way Chef Restaurant.
(To find out WHY we ended up at Omar’s read my next blog.)
We were greeted by a tired-eyed waitress- sporting a fake hair braid, presented with stained menus, ushered to red vinyl-repaired-with-red-duct-tape swivel stools, and forced to inhale oily aroma’s wafting from the deep fryers.
John ordered a slice of coconut cream pie and our table conversation revolved around naming all the artificial ingredients found in his slice.
Not brave enough to order from the menu, I chose instead to sip slightly-warm-burnt-tasting coffee. And then, as we exited – our footsteps stuck to the linoleum.
Was this Omar’s experience an ill omen to our 2400 mile food adventure?
April 15, 2018. Mile marker 267 – Las Cruces, New Mexico
Lucky for our taste buds, the state of New Mexico replaced our Omar Omen with a savory surprise. Dinner this night found us at Salud! de Mesilla which translates “To Your Health”.
I was so delighted with the flavors that I forgot to take pictures. The Tapas selections were delicious, but I never did figure out why there was a heavy St. Louis influence on the menu.
For example, I couldn’t help but notice the Toasted Ravioli, Provel Cheese, St. Louis style ribs, and Goey Butter Cake that were available. (Having grown up in St. Louis I was familiar with these items.) There was no explanation for the Midwest influence on this Las Cruce’s dining establishment. It felt as mismatched as the rainbow-colored bagel bread they served us!
April 16th, 2018. Mileage = 598. Odessa, Texas.
I attempted to find a nice place to eat around Odessa, but restaurants named Dumplins, Mamacita, and The Egg and I, kind of turned me off.
Besides. I had leftovers I had to do something with.
I created this “quiche” using a slice of leftover lasagna, half a bag of fresh spinach, some cherry tomatoes, six eggs, a pinch of nutmeg, and 2 cups of Mexican cheese. (John ate two slices!)
Red Ottoman Lunches
We’re usually driving over lunchtime so I thought I’d show you a sample of what our lunches on the road look like.
I love walking back to our refrigerator and plating fresh items.
We have this little red ottoman that I scoot between us and place lunch on. While noshing we listen to our favorite podcast, The Hidden Brain, hosted by Shankar Vedantam.
Yeah, we get satiated and smart. April 17th, 2018. Mileage = 908. Aledo, Texas
We love checking out local coffee shops.
This one was called East Parker Coffee Company in Aledo, Texas, just west of Fort Worth. Noteworthy; it was super busy at 7:30 a.m. when we arrived. Several comfy couches and seating areas were crammed with local high school girls.
The only thing sweeter than their high pitched giggling was found in the fructose-laden-double-whipped-iced-coffees they slurped.
By 8:30 a.m. the girls were gone and we were left to enjoy our Americano’s and the coffee shop’s Pandora playlist. Ahhhh…
April 18th, 2018. Mileage still 908. Fort Worth, Texas.
If you watch Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives you are familiar with the gregarious eateries that Guy Fieri visits. We were happy to eat at one in Fort Worth, Texas, called Fred’s Texas Cafe. The waiter, Steve, was as entertaining as the country music was twangy. I wouldn’t say their burger was the best I ever had, but I did enjoy substituting my usual cheddar cheese for Oaxaca (pronounced wa-ha-ka) cheese. It was stringy, chewy, and more flavorful than mozarella. Oh, can’t forget the sweet tea. The massive glass I was served (and finished) challenged the holding capacity of my bladder for the rest of the afternoon- but it was worth it.
April 19th, 2018. Mileage = 1131. Texarkana, Texas.
When we went to Naaman’s restaurant (remember Robin’s quote at the beginning of my blog?) I had to laugh because EVERYTHING on the menu resembled BBQ. Don’t get me wrong. I LOVE BBQ. But look at my plate. Ho-hum. The brisket was tender but dry. Whoo-hoo. Two slices of white bread! The sauce? Just OK. Not a fresh vegetable or fruit in site- but free refills on that swaaaeeeet taaee. Time to leave.
April 20th, 2018. Mileage = 1438. Memphis, Tennessee.
Last time I went to The Rendezvous was around 1990. It has been a classic BBQ joint since 1948 when Charlie Vergos turned a basement coal chute into a BBQ smoker. I was super excited to share this phenom with John and it did not disappoint. We arrived at 4 p.m. thinking the place would be empty but found most tables filled. Just as I remembered, red checkered tablecloths and white linen napkins graced each table. I love that.
The aroma from that huge smoker in the basement entices you to walk towards it. When you hear the term Memphis BBQ, folks are describing the char on the Rendezvous ribs and the award-winning dry rub.
You gotta visit!
The next day we headed to another award-winning joint in Memphis called Central BBQ. Frankly, I didn’t think it could surpass The Rendezvous, but it did! Our ribs were meaty, falling-off-the-bone tender, smoky, and rivaling the dry rub of The Rendezvous.
I couldn’t stop devouring them- almost finishing an entire slab.
April 22nd, 2018. Mileage = 1630. Nashville, Tennessee.
Lucky for us we only had 192 miles to drive to Nashville. It was raining almost the entire trip, but it didn’t dampen our spirits or our visit with my nephew, Will Schmidt, who took us out to enjoy some famous Nashville Hot Chicken. Yes, it seems I needed another culinary educational meal and was about to have my mouth burning from the “medium” seasoning on The Party Fowl chicken tenders. It was a huge portion, had my arteries screaming for relief from the crispy fried coating, but I persevered and finished all but two of the tenders. Who knew there was a thing called Nashville “hot chicken”? I was getting so dang smart…
April 23rd, 2018. Mileage = 1830. Kodak, Tennessee.
It was still overcast and raining, but again we only had 200 miles to drive to our next campsite. When we arrived it was recommended to drive a bit to eat in Pidgeon Forge, Virginia. This was The Old Mill Restaurant where we ate.
It was historic, beautiful, and full of southern charm, but the food was only adequate. Actually, perhaps I have not acquired a taste for the gravy-laden, butter infused dishes that adorn these tables. All in all, we enjoyed the beauty and history of this area of the country.
April 25th, 2018. Mileage = 2400. Lancaster, Pennsylvania.
We made it! Our eating introduction to Millerville where our campground is located happened about two hours after our arrival. We went to a small local Italian restaurant called Nino’s. We were so tired we barely remember what we ate that evening. I do remember the large guy in the back tossing the pizza dough like a large frisbee as he made the other co-workers laugh hysterically. They were speaking Italian, so I knew we landed in an authentic place. Wow.
Here in the heart of Amish country? Really? Gotta love it. (What I didn’t know was Nino’s was simply a warm-up for the feasting we were about to undertake out here in Lancaster County. (Can you say Smorgasboards?!).
Then, it was time to go “home” to our new three week site to digest the past 2400 miles. Burp. (Excuse me.)
Tell me your favorite food or funniest memory from a road trip. Maybe it was in a VW Bug or maybe you were in an RV. I know you’ve got a silly story or a delicious tale to share!
Happy Trails from your Unlikely RVer,
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