Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Where's the meat?

Another whirlwind weekend with the twins has come and gone. My DH and I headed out to PA early Friday morning. We left at 12:30am....it makes for a long drive when you're so tired that you should be going to bed. Rather, we head out for a 10 hour drive! I slept a good portion of the way; heck, who was I kidding....I slept the whole way until DH could drive no more. We pulled into a rest area and slept for 4 more hours. I woke up rested and refreshed and drove the remainder of the trip while DH continued to sleep on and off. Of course, by this time I was starving so I began to look for a nice place to eat breakfast. When you've traveled that far northeast and you're not on the tollroad any longer, the pickins get pretty slim. I spotted a Cracker Barrel and headed on over. Now, I used to dislike Cracker Barrel as I feel their food and service became very sub-standard but they redeemed themselves due to our last "emergency" visit (no other choices). The breakfast I had last time was so outstanding, I can still smell the bacon! Needless to say, Friday morning I hoped to duplicate my wonderful breakfast, so I ordered the same meal. It arrived in fairly short order but you probably could have watched my face drop. The scrambled eggs looked fake and rubbery, the bacon looked as if it had been sitting 4 or more hours and the toast was burnt along the crust. Surprisingly, the waitress wandered over to our table to ask how everything was. Why do they do that? If I had served the meal, I would hightail it out of the area and not show up until the plates looked cleared! I was pretty speechless and DH had to tell the waitress that I was disappointed in the meal. I finally found my voice and said the meal looked awful. She offered to bring me a new meal but no, I have heard horror stories about that. I suffered in silence. She did bring me new bacon which looked slightly less old; maybe had only been sitting 3 hours. I still have to go visit crackerbarrel.com and let them know what I thought of their restaurant.

Meals with the twins are usually on the go and I'm lucky to get a decent meal all weekend. There was a rainbow in this stormy, overcast, bad meal weekend as we stopped at a place in Erie called Backyard Burgers. Great "fast" food. If you have to eat junk, this is a good place to eat. Burgers were yummy, the waffle fries great. Even my Cajun Chicken salad was good. It would have rated "awesome" if it contained leafy greens other than iceburg lettuce.

Monday morning we packed up to head back home. We had a quick lunch of hot dogs and mac & cheese. We dropped off the twins and then started our long drive home. I was just biding my time until the toll road where I could get a Starbuck's and perhaps a semi-decent dinner. Again, slim pickins, but we lucked out at one Plaza which contained a Starbuck's and a Panera. I was too happy! I don't much care for the bread (s) at Panera but do like their salads. Well, they were promoting their new soup/salad combo, a bowl of Tomato soup and the Napa Almond Chicken Salad sandwich.
Yum, yum. Against my better judgement, I ordered the combo. I normally pass on all the sandwiches because I just can't handle all the bread but this one looked too good to refuse. Take a look at the advertisement....your mouth is watering, huh?

Now at the table, I thoroughly enjoyed the tomato soup. A big thumbs up for that one. However, I opened up the sandwich and to my dismay, I saw about a tablespoon of chicken salad atop two tomatoes, atop a monstrous piece of lettuce, sandwiched between two thick slices of bread. I don't know about you, but to pay $7.69 for a lousy 4 chunks of chicken breast, chopped celery and about a half a grape makes me a little upset. Sorry for the lousy pic; I had to use my phone!

Shame on me for not taking the sandwich back to the counter. It was crowded and this particular Panera was having some "grumblings" behind the counter with the staff. Maybe the cook was having a bad day or he was in a rush. Either way, it was a terrible waste of money for two slices of bread, two slices of tomato and a huge lettuce leaf. Next time I'll know better and won't even bother trying to do the "fast food" thing. Are there any good, somewhat healthy food places out there? Maybe I'm just missing them...every restaurant seems bent on serving huge bread sandwiches with a little bit of meat. Bread is not my idea of a meal. Maybe I'll just save a few $$ and pack my own lunch!

Thanks for reading!


  1. It is always awful to be out on the road, ready to spend money on a nice meal, and find nothing but mediocrity!!!!

    It is just like going to a Michael's or JoAnn Fabric's to look at cross-stitch stuff. It is enough to make you sick!

    I have to say one thing about Cracker Barrel though, that is my favorite breakfast. I have never had a bad one. I order the same thing every time; Eggs in a Basket. Heavenly. The best thing about it is the Hash Brown Casserole. If you ever end up there again; please try it!

    I am looking forward to hightailing it over to Inspired Needle tomorrow night so I can claim my new chart!!!!!!!! Yipeeeeeee! See you soon!

  2. Just found your blog from Rebecca's Teahouse. I live near Erie, and there are some good restaurants if you stay away from the chains. But of course, when you're from out of town, you don't know where they are! Hopefully your next trip out this way will be better as far as the food is concerned.

    Now I'm off to check out your shop!