Thursday, May 1, 2014

A Tale of Two Restaurants

It's been a day of local restaurants, as varied in cuisine as experience and located just blocks apart. 

A non-typical Wednesday, I had taken on 2 clients.  The first job was in the town of Show Low from 7:30am to 8:30am and would allow Truman and I to be on time to play group at 10:00am.  We are rarely on time...(insert "anywhere" here). We had about an hour to kill between dropping off the kids at school and heading over to the McDonald's play land where play group is hosted by an organization called Healthy Steps. I decided to give operation "getting Truman's Passport Photo" another try.  We had tried unsuccessfully the day before.  It took the better part of an hour to capture an acceptable photo.  Then is was off to the post office to pick up a passport application.  Feeling accomplished (with both the application and photos in hand), we headed over to play group. 
Operation:  Truman's Passport

My experience with this type of socialization for Truman (and myself) has been a good choice.  I have made connections with some lovely moms raising some great kids.  It's becoming a bit of a standing "thing" to go to lunch at a local restaurant following play group instead of staying and eating McDonald's.  Today we decided on a place called Sweetheart's Cafe...because the menu has fries for the kids.  And yes, I know how funny that sounds.  
Photos snapped outside Sweetheart's Cafe
Sweetheart's Cafe is located on the main street of Show Low.  I was advised by the local moms that parking is in the rear.  I had idea such a cute little place existed behind these storefronts, which have their own sense of charm.  It made me pull out my camera and snap a few photos.  This back patio was actually the best part of the dining experience.  The menu looked decent. Today we had a party of 4 adults and 5 children.  The waitress advised us to seat ourselves.  Just like outside the inside had charm.  Tables lined with mismatched chairs and brightly painted wooden benches fills the small space.  We found a large booth in the corner that would accommodate our group.  When the waitress finally  approached the table she advised us they were out of kids menus.  Absent menus aside, we all decided fairly quickly...quite an accomplishment for our large party, and placed our orders.  I ordered the special, a spinach, feta, tomato omelet for myself and for Truman chicken fingers with fries (of course).  I then advised the other mom's I would be taking my over active toddler out to the patio until our orders arrived.  I ended up taking another little boy with me as well.  The more, the merrier.  The boys played and I snapped more photos.  Once a reasonable amount of time had passed we went in to check to see if our food had arrived.  Not yet.  And it was back to the patio to run off some more steam.  A little more time had passed.  We check inside again.  Still no food.  This pattern continued 3 times.  Close to an hour had passed at this point.  Trying for even the best behaved kids.  When the food finally arrived they were missing mine, Truman's and another child's meal.  The meal wasn't just delayed.  It had never been made.  It took an additional 30 minutes for our food to arrive.  By this time, Truman was beyond hungry and had moved to tired.  Nap Time imminent.  We were at the restaurant a total of 2 hours.  The food was mediocre and nothing was offered to compensate for the delay of the 3 meals.  They had forgotten to add our drinks to the receipt and I kindly, but forcefully mentioned that it would be best they simply waive the cost of the drinks for the inconvenience.  When one of the moms mentioned something while paying her bill at the register she was advised the new cook was at fault.  Irregardless the reason, that will probably be our first and last trip to Sweetheart's Cafe.
More photos from Sweetheart's patio

The day picked up momentum when I picked up my second client of the day at his elementary school in Snowflake.  Then it is back to Show Low to pick up the morning clients, now done with school.  An hour and a half of pure after school kid energy later and it's back in the car to Snowflake to drop of the last child with his brother.  These days are long.  I leave the house at 7:15am and usually don't make it home until 7:00pm.  Truman is always by my side and he is a super trooper toddler.  On long days it's hard to coordinate dinner and so it's nice to grab something take out.  A mom friend recommended Jalapeno's Cafe and I am so glad I stopped.  It is just blocks up the same road from Sweetheart's Cafe, but my experience could not have been more different.  
Think Chipotle, but privately owned with amazingly fresh options.  The owners serve on the line.  You can tell they are very proud of their business and their product.  The choices were abundant as were the portion sizes.  I will be getting at least 3 meals out of one of their burritos.  I had ordered one burrito for Brian and one for myself...we could have split one.   I also ordered beans for Truman and a side of chips and salsa for us all to share.  The total bill, just $20.65...and Truman ate his beans with cheese on the drive home with is hands.  Two thumbs up all around.
But it wasn't just the food.  It was the conversation with these proud business owners as they created the masterpieces that would be our dinner.  I am fascinated with people's "back stories".  And their's was no disappointment.  They love their business and have a vision for it's future.  They shared their dream.  A dream that includes selling their free standing restaurant and purchasing a food truck.  They hope to park that food truck at the docks up in coastal feed hungry fisherman coming off the ships after days at sea. I hope the Crabdree's reach that goal...and until then I hope that they continue to make delicious, affordable food right here in Show Low, AZ. 

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