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Friday, June 22, 2007

Dinner Report: Steak 'n Shake, and a few others

Sunday morning after breakfast with my daughter, we made the trip back to San Antonio from Wichita Falls. I had planned all along to take IH-35 back to SA so we could see how the traffic flows now that a lot of the construction has been completed. Let me just say that traffic wise, the trip up 281 was a lot more efficient and far more visually stimulating.

We hit a lot of rain on and off, especially leading into Ft Worth. It did not surprise me one bit to learn of the devastating flooding up in Gainesville. Aside the from the weather, we got to enjoy quite a bit of bumper to bumper assholishness which proved both entertaining and frustrating, depending upon where I was in relation to the perpetrators. Call me immature, but I enjoy seeing a good case of road-rage between two other drivers when I can observe from a safe distance. It’s a little different when I’m the guy stuck behind an old man in a hat, driving 2 miles under the speed limit and refusing to get the hell out of the passing only lane. But don’t get me started.

We made three stops worth reporting on the way back, in West, Waco and Austin. We first learned about the Czech Stop in West, probably 10 or more years ago on a trip to north Georgia. Our kids were, well about 10 years younger, and we left SA extremely early in the AM. By the time we hit West, I was ready for some coffee and the kids were ready for some vittles. We had never experienced Kolaches before, and raved about them the entire way to Georgia.

Anyway, south bound on IH-35 we had just passed some rain and construction and when we saw the sign for West, I tapped a few clicks into the Garmin and got directions to the front door of Czech Stop. You can smell the fresh baked goods in the parking lot, if you can find a place to park. Even in the afternoon, the place is still crowded with travelers all having the same idea.

We didn’t even eat any of the $16.00 worth of heaven that we bought, still full from IHOP, but I can assure you that lunch for the next three days was pretty good!

Not a lot further down the road, we decided that we needed to make a quick stop into the Dr. Pepper museum in Waco. We’ve seen it and I’m sure it would make a good refresher tour, but my wife just wanted to slip into the gift shop to purchase a few shirts and a shot glass. The gal behind the counter was trying to be friendly, but she was an idiot. Something about a pen that my wife wanted to buy but preferring to let my wife use it to sign the credit card receipt, but not putting the pen in our bag when we were done. It got resolved and we moved on.

If you haven’t ever visited the DP Museum, don’t think that it is a waste of time just because you don’t drink Dr. Pepper. They have on display a really rich history of items about, well, DP but also about the people who made it. I wouldn’t make a trip to Waco just to see it, but if you are going up to join in the Branch Davidians, you wouldn’t be wasting your time by stopping by.

Have you noticed how crowded and crappy Austin is? Actually, now that they seem to have a handle on the road construction, we only had to come to a complete stop once. And the drive from south of Austin to San Antonio is a breeze.

We are huge fans of Steak n’ Shake so I knew from the word Go that we would be doing lunch/dinner there. I can’t wait for SA to get a Steak n’ Shake so we can have yet another place to make ourselves even more obese.

At any rate, my wife and I both ordered the steakburger and fries and a tea. Other than the lady didn’t give us any napkins or forks or anything, it wasn’t a big deal. The burgers are so good and the texture of the bread is so fresh and yummy. Geeze I’m hungry.

Anyway, on our way out, we ordered up some shakes to go. I paid at the counter and was waiting for the order when another customer came up and asked to speak to the Chef. The manager corrected him by suggesting that perhaps he’d like to speak to the “grillman”. Very nice.

So the guy at the grill looks up and I could tell that he was sort of nervous, perhaps a customer was not happy with a booger on his bun or some other minor infraction. Instead, the man told the “grillman” that he had driven all the way from Houston just to eat at Steak n’ Shake, and that his burger made the trip worth it. He then handed the guy a tip of at least several dollars.

You should have seen the look on the young Grillman’s face. He was happy about the tip but easily more pleased that someone took the time to pay him a compliment. And that’s the kind of thing that makes everybody happy to be at a restaurant. Good food and happy customers.

I would have stood up and reported that we were from San Antonio, but it seemed a bit done by then. Regardless, we hit 1604 just in time to see cars backing up in both directions for some big concert out at the Verizon Wireless Amphitheater. We were pretty pleased to be home and our dogs were pretty happy to see us.

*PETA: Of course we had someone take care of the dogs while we were gone.


Dave said...

My neighbor Ruby informs me that they are building a Steak n' Shake at the Rim. Yippie!!

Guy D. said...

I was raised on SNS even worked at one when they still had carhops in ST. Louis. The burgers are smaller now but if you want a real treat you can't go wrong with a Friso Melt,chile on the side and fries. The real brave finish with A special chocolate rootbeer float.

Dave said...

I feel fatter having read your description of lunch! I'll have to limit myself once the one here in SA opens.

yellowdog granny said...

great little post about the czech stop bakery...and austin was fun back in the 70's..but then the yuppies discovered it...life there will never be the same.

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San Antonio, TX, United States
I love to observe the odd things happening around me as I go about my day. I especially like it when I can get a picture of people being themselves. Here, I attempt to report the various people and events I have encountered in my neighborhood, and my city. I'd also love to hear from you. Feel free to e-mail your experiences and photos of life in San Antonio.

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