A Year of Amazing Eats

When you can’t get into one door, try a local one.

We are very lucky to live in an area that has a lot of choices if eating out is your thing. For a while, however, my family and I found ourselves in a rut of sorts. When given a choice of restaurants, it was always the same few that we wound up at.  We don’t go out all that much, but when we did it was one of the same five chains. So when a new restaurant opens up nearby, it’s exciting! The problem is, everyone else has the same idea.

A chain restaurant called Texas Roadhouse opened up not too far from our house, and we were excited to try it out. I’m a sucker for a savory dinner roll and my students raved about them. I wish I could tell you that they were delightful…but we still haven’t been there. We tried on three different occasions to eat there and couldn’t even find a parking spot; not even during a period of time that would be considered “off hours.”

The third time I wasn’t even with the boys. It was in the fall of 2017. After cruising around the restaurant looking for a single parking spot,  Rob and the bears decided they had had enough and headed off to a local restaurant down the street that was known for its burgers and fries. The men were over trying to get into the roadhouse. They came to a decision that this new year (2018) was going to be the year of the No Chain Rule. If we ate out, it needed to be a local establishment.

You can say serendipity led to the best eating I’ve ever enjoyed. We have tried so many new places in the last year that I’ve lost count. Everyone gets a say in choosing the new place.  I think the most fun is that we’ve realized that if we each get a dozen chicken wings split into 6/6 then we can legit try 8 new wing flavors in one night.

I know – it’s not an earth shaking, life-changing realization but it changed us. We started enjoying the adventure of going out more. Dining became less of consuming food and more of consuming each other’s experiences. On a road trip to see a concert we realized that we needed pie and instead of finding a Perkins or a Denny’s we found this enormous Greek diner that served pie that was the size of my purse. It was mythical. I joked that the diner probably didn’t even really exist – that it was like a Brigadoon of diners that only showed up every 100 years when you needed pie. It was Harry Potter’s Room of Requirement, but with pie and the greatest root beer float that Logan has ever had.

Our list of restaurants we want to try is growing so I can see the year of the No Chain Rule expanding into 2019. There are circumstances when the rule will be broken, but those will be the exception and not the norm. It’s been one of the best accidental decisions we’ve ever made. Here’s to more of them.

Karen Padden

Karen, Queen of the Paddens and first of her name. Teacher, Baker, Petter of Cats, Multiple Sneezer and Crocheter of Wubbies. Believes in kindness, always.

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