Thursday, September 23, 2010

Fast Friends and Fast Food

We did a quick trip to Southern Utah to visit family in early September -- 15 hours door-to-door if you count the security lines and waiting at the airport, and the lunch break in Las Vegas before taking the 2.5 hour drive north -- but it was worth it to visit family and friends, and to reminisce about favorite fast-food places.

Kate and Dash spent an afternoon hanging out with cousins -- they had all congregated at one of my relatives homes.  The house sits at the top of a little hill, at the dead end of a circle, and the driveway is on a nice 45 degree angle. When my husband and I turned onto the street, all we could see where little bodies shooting out from the driveway on every wheeled vehicle the kids could find. They were on training bikes, big wheels, and even wheelchairs and they were racing them down the sloping driveway out into the circle, and they'd been doing it for hours. The favorite ride?  A manual wheelchair -- they preferred it to the motorized one because you couldn't control the speed and it could go fast!  We were amazed that even though our children see their cousins every year or two, a fast ride down a sloping driveway made them instant friends AND family.  I loved their innocence and their sense of fun -- it was great to see how much fun they were having.

Not to be undone, Glen and I decided to take our kids on a "Fast Food Progressive Dinner." Glen grew up in Southern Utah, and we both went to college there, so we had some favorite places we wanted to go.  We started at KFC -- the original recipe is still "finger lickin' good! -- and since is was combined with A&W we let the kids order a Frosty Mug of root beer.  No one could figure out exactly what flavor a Frosty Mug Taste really is, and they were sad we nixed buying the mugs and trying to pack them into our suitcases, but they declared the root beer to be outstanding.  We drove through Taco Bell for a soft taco -- the consensus was that it was cheap, but we like our Sunday afternoon taco salad ritual better.  I insisted we stop at a local favorite, Hermes, for fried mushrooms with tarter sauce.  They came with ranch dressing instead, and were so heavily battered I couldn't find the mushroom.  Not what I remembered from 20+ years ago, so we moved on.  We wanted the kids to have the ultimate taste-test -- Fry Sauce -- and we drove around trying to find Arctic Circle, since Glen had worked at the local one in high school, and I worked at one in Salt Lake when I was a teenager. We couldn't find it, so we stopped at Brad's Food Hut for hot fries and yes, Fry Sauce!  OK, I could feel my arteries hardening after the first bite, but the fries were hot, crispy and salty, and the dipping sauce was exactly as I remembered. (OK, Fry Sauce is simply a combination of catsup and mayonnaise and easy to make, but you can actually buy it ready-made in stores in Utah. Somehow it's easier to justify eating it if you don't have to see the mayo going into it -- and it's yummy!)  We also ordered a Fresh Lime Freeze -- milkshake with limes.  It sounded really good, but by then we were full and tired and none of us wanted to do more than taste it. 

We repented the next day and went to the Garden House in Cedar City, a lovely restaurant in town with fresh food, good salads, and a lovely ambiance.


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