Monday, August 22, 2011

Road Trip: Rollin' and Throwed Rolls!

Yesterday we spent a full day driving with very few pit stops!  Then when we got to the hotel last night the high speed internet was not working and I didn’t bring my cable along to work from a hardwire!  So this will be a short post about day four!  First pit stop was a short detour to Shawnee, Oklahoma.  It’s no secret that I am a Brad Pitt fan so since we were so close we had to go to his hometown and see where he grew up.  
 We found the old downtown and it looked old!  We had entered the ‘bible belt’ and found hardly anything open yesterday, since it was Sunday, so it was a great day to catch up on our driving!  On our way to our next destination, we stopped at a rest area just outside of Shawnee to use the facilities and like lots of other rest areas, it had a designated spot for animal use.  But this rest stop took it to the next level by segregating the areas depending on if you had a city dog or a country dog.
The city dogs were to use this . . .
And the country dogs were to use this! 
 I thought it was hilarious – especially to think some state worker actually spent time making the signs!
 Back on the road we saw field after field of soybeans.
And then we made one more quick stop –
 We HAD to see Carrie Underwood's hometown!  It was right off the highway so we just rolled through and snapped this picture!  The rolling hills Oklahoma were beautiful and the highways were moving nicely – despite going down to one lane at times, traffic moved at speed limit so we made good progress, entering Missouri, since we needed to catch up.
 About 4:30 we finally got hungry so I did a quick search on the internet to find a spot to eat.  The first restaurant that came up on my Google search for “Springfield, Missouri” was a place called ‘Lambert's Cafe’.   
 I read some of the reviews and the people said it was where they went anytime they went to Branson or anytime they were in Springfield so we decided to give it a try, even though the reviews said sometimes there was an hour long wait to get in.  After giving the hostess our name, she said the wait would be twenty minutes – already better than we thought!  We were seated in fifteen – even better!
 The décor was casual country with flags from all fifty states hung like banners from the ceiling.  There were old license plates from every state hung on the walls over vintage posters from all parts of America.  Guns and other old western memorabilia also hung wherever there was room.  The walls were literally wallpapered with ephemera!!  
 Lots of fun things to look at as you were walking to your table!
The waitress showed up pronto and we had our drinks and the next thing we knew, there was a server at our table dishing out fried okra for an appetizer!  Mike ordered the fried chicken, and chose his sides: turnip greens and baked beans.  I ordered the Chicken Caeser Salad which had artichoke hearts and sundried tomatoes in it! 
  A few minutes later, a waiter rolling a cart of hot rolls strolled down the aisle by our table calling out, “Hot Rolls!  Hot Rolls!”  Customers everywhere held up their hands and the waiter proceeded to throw the rolls their way!  
 Evidently, Lamberts is famous for their “Throwed Rolls!”  
 Mike held up his hands and the next thing he knew a roll was flying his direction! 
The rolls were hot out of the oven and a perfect texture – not so dense they would hurt someone if it hit them in the head, but not too flaky that pieces would fall off as the rolls were flying in the air!  
 You can check out a video of Lambert's ‘flying rolls’ on You Tube if you click here!   
I asked the ‘roll guy’ how many rolls they go through in a day and he said about 600 dozen!  I did the math real quick – that’s 7,200 rolls a day – all baked fresh from scratch on site!
My salad was crisp and fresh and the dressing not too salty, like some.  Mike’s side of turnip greens had pieces of baked ham in them and the perfect blend of bitter and sweet.  His baked beans also had great flavor and the beans were cooked al dente – not too mushy – just right!  They served our sodas in huge 40 oz mugs and they were ‘bottomless’! I couldn’t drink all of mine, but I guess it saves the servers from having to give refills all the time!  In addition to your entrée, they have what they call “Pass arounds”.  Pass arounds are dishes that servers walk around and serve up to your plate – as many times as you would like.  The ‘pass arounds’ they served while we were there were the hot rolls, fried potatoes and onions, fried okra, black-eyed peas, macaroni and tomatoes and sorghum molasses!  No one leaves hungry from that place and I couldn’t help but think how football players would love to eat there!

As we were leaving the place was filling up!  We were glad we decided to stop in early and must have hit the lull perfectly.  After our visit, we both said no wonder this place is so popular!  It was a lot of fun and the food, everything we had anyway, was delicious and cooked perfectly!!  Next time we are in the area, we will visit again and try some of their other entrees – maybe their ribs or their pulled pork sandwich!
We still had about 150 miles to go to get to St. Louis – our goal for the day!  However, we were sleepy from our delicious dinner so we were longing to find a Starbucks – we had only seen one when we passed through Oklahoma City on our whole trip!  It was if someone upstairs was looking out for us because no sooner than we wished we could find one, there was Price Cutter Grocery store billboard with a Starbucks logo on it saying “Starbucks inside!”  We couldn’t believe our good fortune!
Mike was thrilled as he is our sole driver and he needed a pick me up – He said it was the first A+ cup of coffee he had had in four days!  It was just enough to keep us awake – we made it to Pacific – just 30 miles west of St. Louis – it was good enough!  We had driven 650 miles yesterday with no shopping stops to make up time!  Today we picked up our harvester tracks so I'll have a post about that tomorrow morning!

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