Food for the Journey

One of the enjoyable aspects of travel is the variety of foods we have the opportunity to sample.  Our experience runs the gamut from dreadful to delightful with all levels in between.  It's a gamble. A recent jaunt cross-country allowed us to dine in both excellent and not-so-excellent establishments.  I've highlighted a few here. If you find yourself in the area of one that sounds good to you, go for it.  On a side note, I apologize for the absence of foodie photos; my camera batteries died.

Chi's Dim Sum & Bistro-Little Rock, AR (Asian) In close proximity to several hotels, this restaurants delivers, which is a huge plus since the area is congested and not conducive to walking.  The food from here is excellent.  Since we did not dine-in I can't comment on the atmosphere or in-house service.  However, the food was delivered within the timeframe stated when we ordered and arrived hot.  An excellent value providing very generous portions for a reasonable price.  Our order included One vegetable entree with bok choy and shitake mushrooms (this came with a pint of rice--we opted for brown), General Gau's chicken, which was lightly coated and fried and served with a mild sweet and spicy sauce.  This too came with a pint of rice.  Our third item (we had no idea of the portion sizes when we ordered; this was definitely more than enough food) was spicy-salted calamari--loved it!   We didn't even finish the first pint of rice much less get to the second and could have easily fed another person.  Providing both quality and quantity, this feast was very reasonably priced.

Acapulco-Amarillo, TX (Mexican)  We really enjoyed the food at this restaurant.  If you stop here be sure and order something with "cheek meat".  You'll be glad you did.  Everything we had was nicely prepared with plenty to go around and very reasonably priced.  The fish tacos were not fried so they were nice and light with shredded cabbage, tomato and avocado.  The only negative here was the volume of the live music.  The gentlemen singing had pleasant voices and the music selections were nice but it was so loud it was difficult to communicate with your server and conversation at the table was not an option.  Loved the food but you might want to consider take out if noise is an issue for you.

Sakura-Flagstaff, AZ (Japanese)  Located in the Radison hotel. This is one of our not-so-excellent experiences.  We love Japanese cuisine, especially sushi but this place is far from authentic.  We had eaten here several years ago and looked forward to a return visit.  I wish we had gone with the Italian place we also liked on the earlier visit instead.  The "house" soup was (I think) their take on clear soup but it had the underlying smell and flavor of packaged instant chicken soup.  The miso soup was okay.  The sushi, with gummy rice, was the biggest disappointment since we specifically avoided ordering anything listing "imitation crab stick" and the items that (according to the menu description) included "crab" came with the dreaded crab stick instead.  Too pricey for mediocre quality.

Brandy's-Flagstaff, AZ (Cafe) Any place that lists hollandaise as a side dish on the menu is okay by me.  We had breakfast here one morning and it was absolutely fantastic.  It was triple what we might normally eat for breakfast so it became lunch too.  Handcrafted bagels, poached eggs and, of course, hollandaise made up "Eggs Brandy" and it was flawless.  There was an extensive variety of options on the menu, so choosing one was a challenge.  Breakfast comes with their signature country potatoes or a side pancake made from scratch.  It too (the pancake) was expertly prepared.  The staff was attentive and friendly and even gave us full cups of coffee to go as a refill.  High quality food, generous quantities and reasonably priced.  We will definitely stop here again if given the chance.  We managed to work in a stop on our return trip and were not disappointed!

The Range Cafe-Albuquerque, NM (American/Mexican)  With a charming fifties-style decor this restaurant serves up traditional fare with a southwest twist. Shrimp tacos and a steak and shrimp caesar salad were nicely done although we were glad to have ordered the salad dressing on the side; the salad and toppings had plenty of flavor without it.

Bangkok Thai-Effingham, IL (Thai) Loved it!  This is a gem hidden in a sea of chain restaurants.  Located about a half-mile north of I-70 on N. Keller Dr. (the middle of three exits for Effingham).  This is a must-stop if you are traveling through this area.  The food is expertly prepared and wonderfully fresh.  We enjoyed incredible steamed dumplings in delicate noodle-like wrappers, soup, fish and panang curry.  Don't be put off by the lack of cars in the parking lot.  This delightful find seems to be a locally undiscovered  treasure. Folks in the area mentioned that local tastes lean toward Mexican over Thai so the restaurant isn't usually busy.  

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