Monday, October 10, 2011

Hello Larry (and Good-bye)

We have a new pizza place in town: Larry's Pizza. It appears to be an Arkansas-based chain of about a dozen locations. With my "addiction" to pizza, I thought I would give them a try.

In a word: disappointing. When I arrived, there were maybe 2 slices of pizza on the hot table. Looked like chocolate cream pie pizza. But there were cheese sticks, so I grabbed a couple of them and waited for more pizza to come out... and eventually, it did.

Larry's doesn't put pizzas on the hot table, but sends a server around with whatever variety the cook decided to make: Pepperoni, Apple Pie Pizza, BBQ Chicken Pizza, Canadian Bacon, Bacon, and Cheddar, Baked Potato Pizza, etc. Once they make the rounds, whatever is left is put on the hot table. There was also a Pepperoni and a "Meat Madness" that made the rounds. Everything is thin crust and limp. I always thought thin crust was supposed to be crisp, Larry's Pizza, isn't.

I tried the BBQ Chicken Pizza, but all I could taste was cheap BBQ sauce, but the Canadian Bacon-Bacon-Cheddar wasn't bad. There was one that I think was supposed to be Buffalo Chicken, but all I could taste was hot sauce. I finished my slice, but I didn't care much for it. As far as old stand-by's like Pepperoni & Sausage or plain Sausage, there weren't any. Almost everything they brought out was a "Specialty Pizza": Margarita, Bavarian Cream, Chicken Fajita,etc.

Seems like I had to wait a long time for the next pizza to make the rounds. Either the cook was really slow or this is their way of controlling food costs by hoping it all disappears before putting any more food out. Couldn't they make four pizzas and have four servers circling the dining room?

Something else I found odd: I paid when I walked in the door, but they prepared my beverage, as opposed to most "Pay in Advance" places where they give you a glass and you get your own drink. If I wanted a refill, I had to walk up to the front counter to get it: the servers only bring pizza or clear tables. Or maybe it was because I didn't tip when I paid for my meal, but I firmly believe in tipping AFTER (you want a tip? Earn it, don't "blackmail" me into tipping upfront).

So, overall, I was rather disappointed. Will I go back? Not anytime soon, and quite possibly never.

Tuesday, October 04, 2011

Cold Chicken

I like fried chicken, but I've never liked cold fried chicken. Yet, it was one of my dad's favorite lunches while traveling. I remember one Summer traveling from Arkansas to Chicago in my dad's SAAB. I don't remember why it was just the two of us (or was it 3? Was my sister along for the trip too? I don't remember. No, I'm fairly sure it was just two of us).
We were traveling on a Sunday, I believe, basically along what was then US 66 in Missouri and Illinois. We stopped for lunch at what I remember being an A&W that was closed on Sunday. I still sort of see it in my mind's eye, yet it's vague.
Dad hated stopping overnight at a motel, so he often would drive non-stop for 12+ hours or however long it took, stopping for a picnic lunch and to fuel up. I loved to travel, loved to look at everything as we went whizzing by and always wondered "where does that road go?"
I guess it was all the family trips between Arkansas and Chicago that helped form my interest in roads. I was always fascinated by the backwards facing signs:
STOP
Divided Highway
Turn Back
You are Going
The Wrong Way
Of course, at the time, I never understood why they faced the wrong way. But I've always loved signs, always been fascinated by them.

But I never liked cold fried chicken: I always wanted a hot dog or a grilled cheese sandwich... and a chocolate milk shake.

When visiting my aunt in Chicago, we'd often eat at a little out of the way BBQ rib place. I swore that I didn't like BBQ ribs and always insisted on having fried shrimp. Well, my dad would hear nothing of it: he ordered me a plate of BBQ ribs and insisted I try them. OMG, I LOVED them!!

Well, Dad is gone now. He passed away August 27th. We never got along very well, yet I miss him. I keep expecting him to come back home or to call me to come fix his computer... it's just hard to accept he's gone.

Yet, he lives on in my memories and my love of food. But keep the cold chicken and give me some BBQ ribs instead... and a glass of tea. I'll save the shake for my grilled cheese sandwich ;)