So, on my first trip to Lakeland, FL, I left after 2 weeks. My mom had had a stroke, and she was had been in the ICU, but she had been moved to the regular stroke ward. In Tampa, there was a cute artists' contest from participating organizations involving playhouses. Here are some that I liked:
The sick thing about the exhibit was that each playhouse had signs posted about how we were not to touch or go into the playhouses! What kind of sick mind games were they playing? It's like having an ice cream shop where you are only allowed to look at the flavors, but you can't buy them or eat them.
I flew through Houston. I figured, since there was no telling how long gulf oysters would be available, that I should have some at Pappadeux in the airport.
So, these oysters were pretty good. But why did they feel the need to "garnish" them with chopped parsley? That kind of pissed me off. They are oysters! They don't need "garnish"! except for cocktail sauce and horseradish! The french fries were nice and crispy. The oysters were plump and sweet and meaty.
So, I went home. I went back to work the next day. It was strange not being in the hospital, calling and not getting clear answers as to my mom's condition. So, on the weekend, the Food Pimp decided we should go to Palm Springs to relax for a bit. The room rates were still cheap enough that we could justify going. So, we went. We ate at some italian restaurant for dinner. There was only one man in the place, but the server was quite a lady. She was an older lady - a real talker. She was intrigued to know how we found her restaurant. We really just drove down the street until we found someplace that wasn't a diner or a chain or mexican food. She said how her place was much better than so many other places - a hidden gem, really. The man that was eating was a regular, and he swore by it. We got a caeser salad. She tried to talk us into sharing the small portion. I think we got the large anyway - we were hungry. The salad was actually really good - just enough salt and lemon and anchovy flavor and cheese.
I was trying to decide between the lasagna and something else - I picked the lasagna because the other diner was eating it and the Food Pimp pointed out how it looked good. I don' remember what the FP got, because the lady was always there, and I didn't feel like fielding questions about why I was taking pictures of the food - and I didn't trust that man to not say anything either. Anyway, it was...okay. Not bad, not great either though - satisfying, anyway.
So, I looked through all the publications in the hotel to find somewhere good to eat lunch at the next day. I realize that these are advertising media, but some good restaurants advertise in these things. You just have to kind of read between the lines and stuff. Anyway, I figured it was Palm Springs, and there were a lot of jewish residents there. There must have been a good deli or two, right? We didn't have much money, so we had dreams of pickles and a good sandwich. I looked in the phone book, we drove around. The only place I found was Sherman's which had lots of full page or at least quarter page ads in all the magazines. But, it was supposed to be a real kosher deli, opened in 1953, family run. It sounded like a potential winner. So we went. It was busy. All - I mean all the other patrons were jewish. I really believe we were the only non jews in the place. Which was a good sign. A great sign! So, the pickles. They were great. We didn't get refills though.
Obviously, this place was not strict kosher - they had beef cabbage and bread and butter on the same plate. I can't tell you why, but it all went together really well. The buttered rye, with some of the stuffed cabbage on it, was really delicious. And it had raisins in the tomato sauce. I hate raisins in savory dishes, but this was an exception. I guess it was braised for so long that there was none of the sweetness left in the raisins themselves, it had diffused into the sauce, but the sauce was balanced, not overly sweet. And the flesh and pulp were cooked out of the raisins so they didn't have that sick pop when you bit into them.
TFP got some type of reuben. The pastrami was delish, and so thin! I believe the coleslaw was... coleslaw. Nothing exciting there.
Baked beans... canned?
Okay, I decided to get one of the most ridiculous things on the menu. I mean, I never knew if I was going to go back here again. So I got..
Corned beef and latkes. Latkes instead of bread. With applesauce and sour cream. Paper thin corned beef. Thick, dense, starchy latkes. Really, a nice idea, not the greatest execution. I think the latkes had to be very thick and very tightly bound to hold together in sandwich form. I think I ate half of it. But I liked the idea. And I liked the flavor combo - corned beef, fried potato cake, applesauce, sour cream. Yum.
So, we headed back to the hotel pool I left my phone in the room, charging for a couple hours. When I checked my phone there were 3 missed calls. My 2 sisters and Martha. My mom was going downhill and the doctor had recommend that we all go back to the hospital. So the Food Pimp and I packed the Element and drove back to San Diego to book me a flight.