Solidified by a couple experiences here in Australia, I now have a firm philosophy that when you go to a restaurant with the name of a food in it, you should get that kind of food. If you’re going to take your life into your own hands and visit the Bubba Gump Shrimp Company in the Mall of America for example, get the shrimp… unless you want a limp salad or an overcooked burger. I remember a time when I was a kid and we went to an Arthur Treacher’s Fish and Chips where you should get what? I did not get the fish and chips and for a long time after that wasn’t able to stomach the smell of Arthur Treacher’s. (They’re still around you know, thankfully we have much more authentic fish and chips here in Sydney. Thanks to British colonial history, we can still get greasy fish and a cone full of fries served rolled up in brown butcher paper. It tastes better than it sounds.)
The other place we went on special occasions when I was growing up was a place called York Steak House. Anyone remember this place? Sadly there is only one York Steak House left in the United States (It’s in Columbus, Ohio – I’d be up for a road trip if I thought this place would hold up, anyone been there in the last five years?) York Steak House was this fantastic mall based steak restaurant concept that served everything cafeteria style. Imagine the entire family entering a maze of cafeteria switch-backs by first passing a walk-up drive through window where a cashier took your steak order and then barked it into a microphone in Cajun (presumably to the kitchen, but who knows). For my juvenile siblings and me who were raised on spoonfuls of wheat germ, army surplus shredded cheese and Mexican Spinach casserole, the next step in the York Steak house process always blew my mind. You could pick from any of the cellophane-covered extras you wanted! There were monkey dishes filled with red or orange jell-o; or a kid could go crazy and pick up the tapioca, or even crazier the pistachio pudding…perhaps a baked potato or fries…some oranges sections suspended in green jell-o. Ahhhh yes, the memories are as fresh as that cute little side-salad covered in saran wrap. But the point is, at York Steak House, you get the steak… not the fish (on reflection, the quality of the meat in a mall based restaurant was probably dubious, but I do sincerely thank my mom and dad for making me appreciate my wonderful adolescent adventures including the York Steak House.)
Flashback over and now back to our adventure in real time.
Along with sea-glass banking, the boys and I have for years been developing a restaurant concept called Mrs. Pancake (you’re going to absolutely love it… the pancake recipes are unique and delicious, you can get them any time of the day in a dizzying set of flavour combinations and Mrs. Pancake is married to Mr. Burger who takes over the kitchen at night), and don’t try to steal the concept because it’s patent pending, trademarked, copy-written and all that stuff. So the other day we’re doing some international research here in Sydney and we went to a place called Pancakes on the Rocks. It’s not quite what the name implies in that The Rocks is a place in Sydney, so the pancakes aren’t really cooked or served on rocks. Anyway, the boys are smart, they ordered the pancakes (is ice–cream really an appropriate pancake topping? Yes!). I ordered something else… like a quesadilla or something, it was after all dinner time. I was disappointed with my choice and I missed out on the chance to order vegemite pancakes. Lesson re-learned.
So with new support for our food named restaurant philosophy we headed to a place called Ribs and Rumps. I hope many of you come visit so we’ll have a chance to go back. It’s this fabulous place that overlooks Manly beach. We went at just about sundown and were able to watch the surfers ride their last waves in for the night, a very nice night indeed. When it came time to order, the boys went a little off the path. Max and Alex ordered burgers, I guess that’s close enough to the speciality of the house. Jake ordered chicken schnitzel, which is not only Jake’s newest favorite food, it’s just plain fun to say, and by the way it is one of the all time best hang-man words. I’m happy to report that all the boys offered two thumbs up on their food from Ribs and Rumps. Wendy ordered the ribs, smart. Me, I ordered both the ribs and a rump, super smart. All is right with the world.
Now I just need to figure out what to order the next time I go to Applebee’s, did you know they have neither apples nor bees on their menu – go figure.
Until next time – Bob’s you’re uncle… Oh, actually he is... forget it, it’s an Australian expression I’ll try to explain another time.