Tuesday, October 14, 2008

The Big Texan

Ok...everyone warned us about going on a road trip for our honeymoon. But it was great. First off, we have a very quirky sense of what is cool. What is cooler than Dead Elvis? Right now you are probably thinking"Uhmm, anything" or "Uhmm, everything" or "Uhmm, live Elvis?". Nope, wrong. Dead Elvis....I mean, what? Anybody can have a following when they are alive? Are there Billy Corgan impersonator? Or Kanye West? Is there a David Hasslehoff Blvd? Or a memories of Micael Bolton Hotel? Can you get comforters of the movies of Kris Kristofferson? No....Is there a Roy Clark Family Cookbook?
These are the signposts of cool.

I am tired tonight so don't expect much. I am really good sometimes at the foreplay of blogging, and then, well my point goes flaccid, which has always been my problem. But people have seemed to be taken with my musings about Outback. I guess that it is unique that someone of my upbringing goes to Outback. Hey, I was middleclass white trash living in the early 60's in suburbia. My mother had a bible and a campbell soup recipe book. My father worked three jobs. We never went to Outback. Once every nine months or so we went to Sizzler. Sizzler had little plastic toothpick cows stuck in the meat to symbolize rare or medium rare............these are the memories. I remember going to Yet Wah in San Francisco for Anthony Fuscos birthday, and being shocked that the chow mein had soft noodles. Our ethnic treat was chow mein at Chinese Kitchen that came with those crunchy noodles.

Outback would've been like dining at the DownUnder Ritz.

But it wasn't until I started dating someone from Kansas City that I realized that steak could be elegant too. On my mother in laws birthday we went to a place on the plaza where they brought a meat cart around and you chose your own cut. Like tanked lobsters. But what the hell does someone who thought Malibu Chicken was a luxury know about cuts of meat.

Steakhouses are meant to be huge. That's why filet mignon always felt like a rip off to me. I mean, it is supposed to be about size. On our way back from our pilgrimage to Dead Elvis we ran into the epitome of steakhouse.

And so, I present to you, the steakhouse of all steakhouses....Amarillos Big Texan!!!!!!!

We were drwn by the road signs. We didn't have a true plan for our stay in Amarillo. I just saw it as a relatively short drive from Oklahoma City. Road signs are,of course, the essence of road travel. We had been pulled in on the way to Dead by the road signs for Wall Drugs. Free Ice Water...Wall Drug...."See the Jackalope,Wall Drug" "Cure Your Cancer...Wall Drug"...but the one that drew us was Free Coffee and donuts for honeymooners". Now my wife loves a bargain. sounds like a deal. 1000 miles of driving for free fried dough? It is the Manhatten of deals.

Out of Oklahoma City we started seeing signs with a big cowboy or a big cow or both. Now Texas is all about being big. The Big Texan. Is Rhode Island about being small. Are their tiny signs in New England for The Little Rhode Islander? The Big Texan lured us in slowly. "The Big Texan....Steakhouse and hotel". "The big Texan...Texas Shaped Pool". The Big Texan, free 72 oz steak..... " Wait,what? What? Well,yes. If you,while visiting the Big Texan can eat a 72 oz steak in one hour...you get it for free. If not, 40 bucks.....

ok,I love a gimmick as much as the next guy, but yuck. I mean,that is a roast. Not even my dad,rib man extraordinaire could do that...well at least not in an hour. And we weren't going to do that....and we didn't do that. But the call was there. We had to stay at The Big Texan....We had to eat at the big texan....if only to swim in the pool...

So ya gotta love a motel that has swinging bar doors to the bathroom. Cowboys don't need privacy I guess. Ya gotta also appreciate a wall painted with a sunset backdrop,as though you are looking through barbed wire. Oh and a pool shaped like Texas. In the gift shops you can get texas shaped everything...hot pads, ice cubes...a veritable gamut of temperatures. As long as the temperatures are big...big cold,big heat...
And in the rooms...they have menus for the restaurant.....it called us from every corner of our Pecos paradise. And it was time....time to eat.

I am telling you,walking in you knew. Just from the gift shop. Ashtrays,maps,steak earrings...yup. Taxidermied animals too. Snakes,Spiders...and as you get to the hostess station you see the cart....acornucopia of iced meat,waiting. and there is the middle,the holy grail of carnivores........the 72 oz,big texan steak. I swear small children were ice skating on it.

As you sit down you are directed to a list of people who have eaten the steak. That day, at noon, two brothers, one age 13,one age 11, had done it. Eaten the steak,roll,salad and shrimp cocktail. You imagine? You can't share it. Each one ate that. at lunch.
And for all my going on about Chain restaurants, we actually never eat at them. When we travel it is about the indiginous food of the region. You don't go to a new mexico Denny's or order barbecue at the Memphis Tony Roma's. You gotta get down and dirty with Charlie Vergos rendezvous. So, when at the Big Texan we just grin and pile when the salad bar has more cheese than vegetables( One time at Pigeon Forge tennessee we asked what the vegetables were and our waiter, Dale, said Potato Puffs.....{translation...tater tots})... This is regional cooking. Embrace it...except for those bull testicles.... Oh call em rocky mountain oysters if you want to, dress em up in a little batter...but I just can't get there. That's an appetizer at The Big Texan....(THE MENU SAYS "iF YOU THINK IT IS SEAFOOD,STICK WITH THE SHRIMP).
and so what did we eat?????????
Three orders of sheep ankles....stop. We ate a 16 oz steak, split. 8 oz of meat each.
and we were stuffed......stuffed........
So if you are at all enticed by the strange and unusual, and are traveling on highway 40(Old route 66) well,check it out.
I really want to thank those of you who have enjoyed my musings so far. If you think they are funny, pass them on to people...maybe not my dad...but otherwise, hey.

and if you run into a place that has a rhode island shaped pool...let me know

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