Thursday, February 16, 2017

Dining out; food reviews

Yesterday I mentioned that I had a breakfast meeting and went out for lunch. It turns out that we also went out for dinner.
So this morning I thought I'd give a quick review of my food experiences from yesterday.

The breakfast meet was at a little cafe in the downtown Branson area. Clocker's Cafe is a pretty typical breakfast cafe. Their main thing is breakfast, but they remain open for lunch and then close mid afternoon. For every other meeting that we've had here, I've ordered oatmeal and a side of patty sausage. Yesterday I broke with the normal order and went a little off menu for my breakfast.
I ordered a BLT with a fried egg, over hard.

This little breakfast gem is something I discovered while on vacation in the Dominican Republic. Each morning, I would make my way through the breakfast buffet by slicing a couple of pieces of whatever bread caught my eye at the bread station, getting lettuce, tomato and mayo from the salad bar, and heaping bacon and a fried egg (sometimes two) from the grill.
I know, it's a little out of the breakfast box, but you're probably thinking -- "That sounds really good!"

And Clocker's did a fine job, too!
The first thing I noticed was the bright green leaf lettuce and the contrasting orange tomato. Paula Dean says you eat with your eyes first! As the waitress set my plate in front of me, the guy next to me commented, "That looks good!"
It was!
On the down side, they set a couple of little packs of Kraft Mayo on the table rather than putting the mayo on the sandwich. It's a little pet peeve of mine. If I wanted to fix my own sandwich, I'd have stayed at home.

Also, the coffee at Clocker's is mediocre, at best.
It's not bad, but it's also not good.
In my mind, if you're going to have a breakfast place you should have exceptionally good coffee!

My lunch sandwich was at Old Chicago in Springfield.
I had the 50/50 Burger -- a burger patty that was half ground sirloin and half ground hickory smoked bacon.
It was a good burger. The flavor was unique, but (as you can probably guess) it was a little greasier than a normal burger -- not excessively so, but a little heavy on the stomach. Also, in contrast to the morning breakfast sandwich, this had a couple of pale green pieces of iceberg lettuce.
Ugh! I suppose that I may be in the minority when it comes to such things, but iceberg lettuce does not belong on a restaurant sandwich! It doesn't look good and it adds no flavor!
Please! Save it for the salad bar if you must, but DO NOT put it on your sandwiches -- EVER!

Dinner was at an old familiar place -- Olive Garden.
The pre-dinner conversation went something like this:
Me: Are you cooking dinner tonight?
Chris: We have that card.
Me: What card?
Chris: That get-out-of-jail-free-I-don't-feel-like-cooking gift card.

Sure enough, we had a $25 gift card to Darden restaurants. The selection of Darden restaurants in Springfield include Longhorn Steakhouse, Red Lobster and Olive Garden. We ended up at Olive Garden.

It had been some time since we've been there and the decor and menu had changed a little.
They now have these little electronic gadgets on the table so that you can order appetizers and desserts, play games (for a fee) and pay your bill. I guess it's perfect if you don't want to talk to your server or the person that you came with and prefer to pay to play games instead of playing the games already on your phone!
Personally, I thought about switching the devices with another table and then ordering food for their table and watching their faces when the server started bringing several appetizers they hadn't ordered!

Overall, the Olive Garden experience was what you would expect. Prices have gone up considerably since our last visit. You still get salad and bread sticks. And they had added a few new items to their menu. We split an entree, ordered the extra salad, had dessert and ended up paying about what we normally spend on dinner out, even after using the gift card.

Tonight it's pork fried rice at the Ozark Hill's and we're having friends over.
I hope they enjoy this meal as much as we do.

Bon Appetit!

John <><

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