Monday, September 08, 2008

Weekend wrap-up.

As I told you in last Fridays post, Denise and I had plans that day to take mom out to eat and the new Olive Garden they just opened in Temple. It's just across the highway from BJ's, which you may remember hearing about if you come by here often enough.

This is actually the second coming of an Olive Garden to Temple. There was a nice one down the road from this one years ago. We'd go now and then, but it was always a pain in the ass because the place was always crowded. You'd have to wait forever for a table.

To everyone's amazement, Oh, about 5 years ago, the Olive Garden folks started to build a new restaurant in Killeen. There was much rejoicing, everyone here thinking how cool it would be not to have to drive all the way to Temple to eat. Plus, the Temple folks were thinkin' that their place would be less crowded now that the folks in Killeen had their own "OG" to go to.

Then, right after the new place in Killeen opened up, crowded as can be, the Temple place closed up! Before you knew it it'd turned into a Chinese Food place (and now a very good one at that). Everyone around here was thinkin', "What the hell are they thinkin?" It didn't seem to make any sense at all.

So now that they've decided to build a brand spankin' new place there in Temple, we're all back hopin' that the crowds will thin and we won't have to wait so long for a booth at ether place. As you can see though, from the above shot, that day has yet to come. It turned out to be about a 40 minute wait...

And I don't do this waitin' shit too well.

The answer? When you finally get in and get to sit down... Get fucked up!

Naaa, not really. That is, not really any more than usual. Mom ordered this nice big margarita, with a shot of Amaretto to go with it...

And I chose a tall Coors Light from the PALTRY selection of beers on hand. Denise had a glass of White Zinfandel, and several sips of mom's margarita.

We all started out with a big salad, which is one of the best things they have at the "OG". You can see mom's Eggplant Parmigiana there at the top of the picture.

We also ordered the Smoked Mozzarella Fonduta as an appetizer... Oven-baked smoked mozzarella, provolone, parmesan and romano cheese, served with sliced Tuscan bread.

I chose the Chicken & Shrimp Carbonara... Chicken and shrimp with bucatini pasta in a pancetta bacon and parmesan cream sauce, baked and topped with seasoned breadcrumbs. Thing is, when our food arrived I found out the waiter had mistakenly ordered me Chicken Scampi (above)... Chicken breast tenderloins sautéed with bell peppers, roasted garlic and onions in a garlic cream sauce over angel hair pasta.

I took a look at it while he apologized profusely and tried to take it away, but all those bell peppers had me mesmerized. In the end I decided to give it a try. I'd never had ether dish before, so what the hell? It turned out to be pretty good, and he gave me a free dissert for my trouble.

Denise ordered the Chicken Marsala... Sautéed chicken breasts in a savory sauce of mushrooms, garlic and marsala wine. Served with Tuscan potatoes and bell peppers. As I mentioned before, mom ordered the Eggplant Parmigiana... Lightly breaded eggplant, fried and topped with marinara sauce, mozzarella and parmesan cheese.

After dinner Denise and I took mom home and the two of us headed off to the little community of Little River - Academy, southeast of Temple, to watch a high school football game.

Because of all the time we spent waiting for a table at the "OG", we ended up getting to Academy at about half time. Academy was already wollopin' Granger ( a little town south of Temple on highway 36, on the way to Taylor). The half time score was something like 27 to 7.

Little Granger's band, all 18 or so of them, came out to play abnd did a wonderful job. Then Academy's band, about a hundred of them, came out and put on their own big show. They marched around in all sorts of formations while playin', doin' what I have to be kind to say was an elevator music version of The Eagles.

Meanwhile, I always get focused on the little kids that seem to flock to the front of the bleachers. I used to bring dad to these games, and because he couldn't make the trip up furtherin the bleachers, we'd always have to sit down by the railing where the kids run around. This time we had to sit there because we were so late. It didn't matter. I've grown to like the kids.

This little wiggler was our constant companion. His family sat behind us, and his older brother was in the band. He was constantly going from sitting with the folks behind us to climbing on the railings in front of the bleachers, always asking Denise to take his hand as he climbed.

Nether of us got his name, but his family was always calling him "D". What that stood for, we have no idea, but he was a cute little dude.

There was a horde of them, all climbing up on those railings, givin' Denise fits. She kept expecting one of them to fall.

When the game began again, little "D" had us all rollin'. The Granger "Lions" had inflated a tunnel on their side of the field so their kids could come running through it and get the half goin' right. We overheard little "D" tellin' his dad's friend that there was a lion in that cave, and that he was gonna come runnin' out of there. When asked when the lion would come out, "D" said somethin' like "Well, he's got to grow his hair long before he comes out". The man asked him "How long will that take?", to which he replied "It'll only take a few minutes, but it's a rule. He's gotta do it." We were just rollin'.

At one point, "D" started hangin' out down the way, with little Courtney. His dad had given him some candy and a Dr. Pepper and he was sharin' his goodies with his friend. His dad got a little nervous though, tellin' us "That's my ex-wife's kid there. If my wife were here she'd be havin' a cow, seein' the two of them together." When "D" gave Courtney some sweets she smiled and gently put her hand on his cheek.

At one point "D" started to open his Dr. Pepper to offer Courtney a sip. But his dad intervened. "Don't give her any of that!" The look on these kids faces showed how confused they were. "D" stared up at his dad, his Dr. Pepper held out for Courtney to sip, makin' his dad say it a few times more before he'd withdraw the offer. The two of them just walked back down the way a bit and continued their fun.

By the end of the game the Academy "Bees" had trounced the Granger "Lions" 54 to 23. You wanna see more shots of the action? Go here.

After that, Denise and I drove back up to Temple and had a few drinks out on the patio at Las Cassas.

That's a big strawberry Margarita on the left and an 18 oz. draft beer for me (my second). That's an Acid Kuba Delux cigar there in the ash tray. We closed the place down. It was a great end to a fun night.

Saturday afternoon we met some friends at a local Golden Corral for dinner, and then we went over to check out the new Dick's Sporting Goods that just opened in Harker Hights. I was jokin' at dinner, sayin' stuff like "Denise LOVES Dick's", and "I wanna get her an 'I Love Dick's' t-shirt!". It turned out to be a pretty cool place. Lots of cool stuff to look at, but they don't sell that t-shirt. They should. They'd sell a million of 'em.

Sunday we piddled around a bit and then headed over to Temple and joined mom again. This time she'd made spaghetti. We brought a big loaf of bread and the fixin's for strawberry daiquiris, and we all had a wonderful time.

Anyway, that was the weekend. I'm still workin' on the shot's from Graceland. Lots of dark shots (no flash allowed), so it'll take a while. Then we'll get back to the road trip.


Mushy said...

I know your mom is doing well when I see her drinking! Good for her.

Can't say I've ever liked the Olive Garden...their food looks good on TV commercials, but I never order anything there that is really that good or looks that great.

I'd much prefer the Las Cassas over that any day.

Great football photos...reminds me of my newspaper days!

Hammer said...

OG started off really the late 80's then turned to shit then they reinvented themselves somewhat.

I like the smoked gouda mushroom ravioli myself.

Yuo are right, they are always packed, so I go in the off hours if possible.

Chuck said...

Personally I don't have a problem with the OG. I love the salad and breadsticks and I kinda dig the lasagna too. We got one here in my town about 6 months ago. It's always crowed, even for lunch. It was a little disturbing once when I went into the bathroom and noticed a guy blowing another guy in one of the stalls. At least I heard it happening. Then saw the two walked out a few minutes later. They were the only other men in the bathroom. You know, that's not what you usually come across at the OG.

Grandpa-Old Soldier said...

I don't care for the OG much anymore, like you say it takes forever to get a table. I like to have a few drinks while waiting and by the time we get seated I don't really care about eating anymore. Anyhow the pics did make me hungry, which isn't unusual when I stop by your site.

pat houseworth said...

Usually when restaurants try to reinvent themselves it is a disaster....Arthur T's Fish and Chips in the mid 1970s is a good example, RAX in the 80s, etc.

And I hate waiting...usually won't, unless you're at a steak house that will bring beer and drinks out to a patio while you wait.

Wonderful World of Weiners said...

If you like Chuck, then I like you!!

You're OG pics has me salivating. We are on ATKINS so no pasta and no bread. :(

Hallie :)

kerrcarto said...

Those look like some damn good vittles there! Makes me pine for my wife's grandmothers cooking. She is full blood Italian and it takes her ALL day to cook supper. Make you want to reach back and slap your momma.

~Fathairybastard~ said...

Mushy - Yea, I know. We get her out and try to have a good time at least once a week. When she does get out she's a lot of fun. Wouldn't know she's 80!

And Dude, no you wouldn't like Las cassas. The beer selection is the pits and the food is substandard. It's just handy, and has this cool porch. It' needs a menu overhaul BIG TIME.

Hammer - I hear ya dude. But just about everything here is packed all the time. Not enough good places for size of the the population.

Chuck - I like it too. I love the salad and bread sticks, and the Seafood Alfredo, but I particularly love the way some dude always wants to blow me in the... nevermind.

Old Soldier - Yea, even the bar was packed. But every place around here id like that on a weekend. We're used to it.

Pat - Like I said, we're used to it. It would be cool if they had folks bringing complementary drinks to you while you sit in the sun. get loaded before you order!

Weiner Lady - I am that, a fan of Chuck, and I liked what I saw at your place too. Thanks for comin' by.

Kerrcarto - Ooooo, that sounds good. my mama's a Texan, but she does Italian food really well. So does my British squeeze. Her lasagna is killer!