Dahlia Cafe in Liberty Hill
Lunch Stop at Dahlia
In early February Don and I wound up eating lunch in Liberty Hill, Texas.
It wasn't our original plan, but we lucked into a good meal at Dahlia Cafe.
Oatmeal for Lunch?
We had intended on having lunch in Oatmeal, Texas. It was my silly idea. I've always wanted to visit the town with the funny name. Surely they would have a diner with oatmeal on the menu!
All we found in Oatmeal was a windmill and a giant "can of oats". Actually there were picnic tables, near one white building. We could have brought an oatmeal picnic lunch.
I did a search on my phone and read about Dahlia's. The reviews raved about great comfort food at the family owned business. I read that "Debi and John" opened the cafe about 15 years ago with about a dozen family members pitching in. We drove 15 minutes to Liberty Hill.
We pulled up and found a parking lot with 7 spaces for curbside carryouts. Odd. The building behind the fence was also a little odd. It was hard to see it well, but evidently there was a 1930's era farmhouse, within that sprawling cafe.
We drove around back and realized this was no tiny cafe. Numerous "ice house" garage doors, looked out towards a wooden deck and towering trees.
We parked in a huge lot and walked through the yard space, noticing lots of fallen limbs. There was caution tape, near some scattered cut up "logs".
The large outdoor area looked inviting, but the tables weren't in use.
The Watering Hole looked like it was the place to get beer during warmer weather. The old table clearly hadn't been used in a while.
For the Kiddos
The kids' play area looked tidier than the rest of the yard. There were so many cars in the lot, but there were no kids climbing on the structure or going down the slide.
There was something a little nostalgic about the old tractor tires and the metal monkey bars. How I used to adore showing off on those bars!
Tree and Caution Tape
As we got closer to the building, we could see that many areas were closed off with caution tape.
Evidently those big trees that offer heavenly shade in the summer, had recently caused some problems during a big ice storm. On the day of our visit, the Texas governor had issued a disaster declaration for 7 Texas counties. Liberty Hill's county was one of them.
The main entrance was on the side of the building. It led us into a long dining room, that had clearly been added to the farmhouse.
The "garage doors" were closed, keeping the space warm. It was surprising that the place was open at all, after the recent weather. But the place was hopping and the staff greeted with enthusiasm. "We'll get you seated in a few minutes!"
Eating in the Front Room
In about 5 minutes we were given a table in an older room, towards the front of the house. The room was smaller and quieter, with fewer big groups. Or maybe it was the paper egg cartons attached to the ceiling, that absorbed the sound.
Don ordered Mother in Law's Meatloaf, made with Debi's MIL's recipe. Don chose rice and mashed potatoes with brown gravy. The meatloaf was huge and flavorful. I had my eye on his biscuit.
Toritilla Soup and BLT
No complaints about my soup and sandwich. Although I should have at least looked to see if oatmeal was on the menu!
The soup was tasty with big chunks of chicken and avocado and tortilla strips. BLTs are always comfort food to me. The amount was just right, for someone who had plans on stealing half a biscuit and most of Don's potatoes!
Wash Up Time
Before we hit the road, I dashed to the restroom. There was one inside, but I could have opted for the funny little restroom that I saw outside the window.
The hand washing trough gave me a chuckle. I can picture kids in the summertime, running over from the playground to wash hands before dinner.
And as we drove on our way, Don and I grinned with our secret. We had recently learned that certain family members... with a certain little one... will be moving to Austin... not terribly far from Liberty Hill.
I have a feeling we will be back to Dahlia's!
Boons Treasury in Salem
Snow in Salem
Don and I pulled up to Boon's Treasury at 11:15, on February 23, 2023.
We hardly expected to find the tavern open and serving, on that snowy morning.
Second Biggest Snowfall
We had left Portland 2 hours earlier. We'd shoveled the rental car off the night before, but there was still lots of snow to remove in the morning. Portland was pretty much shut down, due to the second biggest snowfall in history. But we hit the road.
We were determined to make it to our B&B reservation on the coast. We packed "just in case" blankets and water and supplies. We hadn't expected to attempt a lunch stop, but Salem had not been hit so hard. We drove into town.
No other cars were in the lot at Boon's Treasury, but the OPEN sign was glowing.
The staff of two was inside, but hadn't unlocked the door yet. A young woman, bundled in warm clothes rushed to let me in.
Cozy and Empty
She and the man behind the counter apologized for the locked door.
"We didn't expect anyone to come, with this weather." Salem doesn't usually get much snow I guess.
We were invited to take a seat anywhere. The place was small, but there were plenty of tables waiting for customers.
We took a quick look around and caught onto the theme. (The brewpub restaurant, was located on Liberty Street!) We could have taken the table next to the flag waving woman, who wanted us to enlist.
We decided to sit in a cozy booth with another patriotic woman. I ordered coffee right away and let my warm drink, plus Lady Liberty's torch and the glowing lamp, warm me up.
Our server's name was Heidi and she was delightful. When she wasn't checking on us or chatting with us, she was happily gabbing with the guy setting up behind the counter/bar.
Sometimes it's a little awkward to be the only diners. Especially if the staff was hoping no-one would come in. But these 2 were a happy team and the tavern felt cozy and warm and welcoming on that snowy day.
Don and I have eaten at quite a few restaurants in Oregon. owned by the McMenamins. We don't usually care for chains, because they're predictable.
But there are always surprises at the McMenamin restaurants and hotels. Almost all of the properties are in historic buildings. The history is never hidden, even though the creative and often whimsical art can distract. I headed back past the bar, where I spotted some old photos.
Boon Treasury Building
Heidi said the Treasury building was the second oldest in Salem. This photo shows the building on the far left, around 1940.
The building on the right is Wade's Green Store. I believe Lincoln Wade moved his store into the Treasury Building, in the late 1800's.
This photo shows the building a little more clearly in 1953, when it was Karr's Tavern. At that time the Italianate-style brick building was already nearly a century old.
John D. Boon built the structure in 1860 to house a general store. He happened to be the first Oregon State Treasurer, so the building also served as Oregon's Treasury for a while.
Herbert Hoover and Murray Wade?
I spotted this framed telegram near the photos. It was a birthday greeting from President Herbert Hoover to his boyhood friend Murray Wade. That got me curious.
I Googled for more info and learned that Hoover spent some of his teen years in Salem. He became friends with Murray, whose father's store had moved into the Treasury Building. They used to play on the roof and some say Hoover carved his initials into the side of the building. I should have looked!
Before our food arrived, I made a visit to the Wash Room. I guess it's possible that there was a bathroom when Boon's Treasury was built. But I'm guessing not. Thomas Crapper designed the first flush toilet in the 1860's. I kind of liked the old-time-y stall doors!
I liked the framed announcement, in the Ladies Room. The Countrypolitans Return to Rose City! Hmm? This cowgirl with her raised arm looked much friendlier than Lady Liberty, back at our booth.
I happily sipped my coffee until our food arrived. We'd gotten on the road before I'd had a chance to partake of caffeine. Don ordered his favorite, Grilled Tuna Sandwich with Tots. He was happy.
I was thrilled with my soup and salad combo. My House Salad seemed extra huge. It was packed with fresh veggies and the blue cheese was tasty.
My soup was a hit. Tomato and Artichoke Soup! It reminded me of an Italian Minestrone soup, that I've been longing for. It was a perfect mini feast before we hit the road.
The restaurant wasn't nearly as quiet by the time we finished up our meal. A few diners had arrived. But it wasn't loud enough to miss the soft, but rapid thumping that I heard above my head. "Do we have any child ghosts in this building?" I asked Heidi.
Heidi paused to listen, then laughed. She told me the space above had just recently opened as an Airbnb rental. I pictured a toddler having a very fun time. I also pictured the toddler having a hard time sleeping at bedtime, if Boon's was noisy.
Off We Go
We thanked Heidi for a giving us a great and yummy break on our trip. We headed off and enjoyed the rest of our snowy drive to the coast.
We arrived at Heceta Lighthouse Bed & Breakfast by 3:30. You can barely see the white Keepers House on the hill. The lighthouse is out of sight.
I would recommend the combo of Boon's and Heceta to anyone, rain, shine or snow! A Dining Adventure plus a Notable Night!
Cocktails on Nob Hil
I watched Hitchcock's Vertigo last night!
It made me crave a trip back to San Francisco! Especially Nob Hill!
As we watched, I recognized the Fairmont Hotel behind Jimmy Stewart. Don and I last visited San Francisco in 2019 and spent a night.
It was October 20, which was 40 years after the day we were married. We were in giddy spirits that day... which was just a couple months before the beginning of the Covid pandemic. Sure glad we didn't know that was coming.
So today, I'll remember that carefree evening on Nob Hill! We started by pulling our tiki attire from our suitcases and heading for the hotel's Tonga Room!
The iconic basement lounge opened at 5. We arrived at 5:05 and got an abrupt greeting from a guard. "Private Event."
I pointed to our clothes (as if that was the ticket to get us in) and sputtered, "Look at how we're dressed we came all the way from Houston and we're here one night it's our 40th anniversary and when I made reservations weeks ago they said it would be open..." The guard was not amused.
If it had been a party we could have crashed it. But some big name company had booked many of the event spaces and they were using the fabulous tropical lounge, like an office. Workers quietly gazed into their glowing laptops, mostly ignoring the festive decor or buffet of food. Good grief. "Well, you'll at least have to take our photo." I insisted. The guard agreed.
Luckily there are lots of options if you're staying at the Fairmont. We headed upstairs to the lovely lobby bar, which did not turn us away.
Don insisted on changing out of his shirt with the ukuleles. I was determined to make use of my flamingo dress.
We sat on a comfy rounded couch, with a sort of Tuscan scene behind us. We toasted to our happy 40 years, with French 75s. I wish we'd also had a toast with the water glasses. They matched my dress!
Sir Francis Drake Hotel (Now Beacon Grand)
From the Fairmont, we took a walk of less than 10 minutes, to another iconic hotel. The rounded sign above the marquee, lured us to the rooftop's Starlight Room. The happening lounge on the 21st floor opened a few years after the hotel opened in 1928.
Don and I actually stayed at the Sir Francis Drake nearly 20 years ago. But we were with our kids and didn't visit the swanky lounge. The lounge had recently reopened with a new name and we were eager to go.
In fact the hotel itself, has a new name as of 2021. The British explorer Sir Francis Drake, evidently is not someone we want to spotlight anymore. He played a big part with British slave trade...
The entrance to the hotel looked just as grand as I remembered. I recall our kids posing for a photo with the doorman, dressed his elaborate Beefeater's attire. Our gracious doorman also offered to pose. I read that those uniforms cost $3,000 and weigh 40 pounds!
I couldn't find the old photo, but I found this one of Don and kids heading up the grand staircase to the lobby. The sign on the left shows an arrow to the Harry Denton's Starlight Room! Harry Denton was the club owner at that time. His Sunday Drag Shows were a big hit.
Before heading to the elevator, we took in the palatial lobby bar! The gold leaf and marble and vaulted ceilings and glamorous chandeliers were quite impressive! The tourists hanging out near the bar, were less so.
It was tempting to sit on one of those comfy barstools, just to take it all in.
Maybe the bartender could have told us more about that glossy Beefeater, displayed in the center. It looked like it had just popped out of a jello mold. But I snapped a photo and we moved towards the elevator. The Starlight Room closed early on that Sunday evening.
The Old Starlight
As the elevator took us to the 21st floor, I wondered what the lounge would be like. We knew it had just reopened with a new look. I guessed we would not see men in dark suits and ladies in gloves.
I also guessed we wouldn't see red velvet and high back booths. Not that long ago, there had been a dress code for the lounge.
Suddenly we had arrived at Lizzie's Lounge. Supposedly the new name was for Queen Elizabeth who supposedly had an affair with Sir Francis Drake. Hmm. .
The light, modern vibe was a pleasant change from the lobby. It was definitely a younger crowd.. although not a bit crowded. We stood for moment and the bartender greeted with a reminder. "Last call is at 8:00." For a moment I wondered if that reminder was issued to old geezers like us.
But clearly things were winding down in the pretty pastel lounge. The DJ was tucked into his own little corner, between white wispy curtains and walls of glass. The only dancers on the floor were purple lights.
There were no throbbing dance beats filling the lounge. I kept hoping some of the interesting guests would get up and make use of that glowing dance floor.
I was especially curious about the woman (far left) with rabbit ears, poking out of her shiny wig. Her mini skirt and fishnets looked like they were meant for an audience. But she was too busy with her drink. I liked the way she held her wig hair back, with both hands, as she leaned over her glass and sipped through the straw.
No Straw For Me
I enjoyed my wine, even though I had no straw.
I didn't worry that I was the oldest woman in the lounge, Or that my skirt was below my knees. I was wearing my flamingo dress and proud of it.
We enjoyed our drinks, while looking out over the glowing city.
We tried not to rush, but the lights in the lounge got a little brighter and our bill was delivered.
Before we finished our drinks, the lights seemed to get brighter and then our bill arrived.
We were told "No rush." but we definitely felt the nudge to leave. Don signed away, with a lovely quill pen.
Nursing my Drink
I'm very good at nursing drinks, but Lizzie's did not invite me to linger. I posed with my glass and left it behind. In the elevator, we lucked out and got to ride down, with the woman wearing bunny ears. I told the woman that I really liked her ears. She complimented my flamingo dress.
After feeling a little rushed to leave the lounge, we arrived in the lobby to realize Don had left his jacket behind. The elevator wouldn't allow us to go back up. The lounge wouldn't answer the phone. We alerted the lobby bartender and finally the DJ came down the elevator with Don's jacket. Oh what a silly time.
Food at Sears!
This post is about drinks in 3 hotels. But I need to make it clear that we did eat. Yep, it was our 40th anniversary and we could have done better. But we were just winging it.
After Lizzie's, we headed across the street and had a fun and fattening meal at the 81-year-old Sear's Fine Food! Not exactly classy, but just right for us!
Mark Hopkins Hotel
After our Sears feast, we were ready for our last stop at the lavish Mark Hopkins Hotel.
Long before the hotel was built in 1926, the Mark Hopkins mansion, stood on this spot. It was destroyed by fire after the 1906 Earthquake. (Love these facts!)
Top of the Mark
In my daytime photo, you can see the Top of the Mark bar, on the 19th floor near the flag. Originally that top floor was an 11-room penthouse apartment.
Don and I were excited to return fr our second visit to Top of the Mark. We often laugh at memories of ourselves in 1982, ordering beers at Top of the Mark and gasping at the price.
Dark and Cozy
We headed up the elevator feeling much less intimidated in 2019. We planned to NOT order beers.
We probably should have ordered martinis. There serve 100 varieties! But it was so cozy and quiet on a Sunday at 10. We got Irish coffees and once again enjoyed a view of the illuminated city. It seemed just right.
My photo is blurred, but at least I have one. Back in the 80's we have so few photos of our travels. I'm pretty sure I wasn't wearing a flamingo dress that evening, years ago.
In the 50s?
I do know what Top of the Mark was like, 40 years ago. But how about the 50's when women wore hats and smoking was allowed. Or in 1958 when Vertigo was filmed. I'm sure Hitchcock and his stars, Jimmy Stewart and Kim Novak probably enjoyed a drink or two.
I was glad to find some old photos. Evidently it was in 1939, that the penthouse was converted to a glass-walled cocktail lounge. I looked around, trying to figure out what changes had been made over time.
I wandered just a bit from our table and found a raised dance floor and a rounded bar, which gave me hints of the past.
After we finished up, we headed towards the elevator and noticed a case holding old bottles. What were those notes wrapped around them?
During WWII, San Francisco was a major transit point for troops. Servicemen often had farewell drinks before shipping out. The NW corner of the lounge was knows as Weeper's Corner. Wives were known to gather for their final look at the departing ships. Sad.
I read that it was during the Korean War that "Squadron Bottles" were kept at the bar. Members signed and dated the label after claiming a free drink.
The man who drank the last sip from a bottle would keep the signed one and purchase a new bottle. By the end of the war, there were 32 squadron bottles in use.
After visiting The Mark, we had a 1 minute walk to the Fairmont. What a fun night, visiting 3 hotel lounges! And thanks Mr. Hitchcock, for reminding me of this wonderful city and area. I had fun thinking back to that memorable night on Nob Hill
I'm ready for another visit. Not sure we can ever afford the Mark Hopkins, but I heard there is a "Hotel Vertigo" in the area. It was one of the buildings used in the film.
Jake's Famous Crawfish in Oregon
Jake's is the second oldest continuously operating restaurant, in Portland. Since 1892!
I've had my eye on it, since I first spotted the cool sign in 2018.
Across From Crystal Hotel
Jake's was right across the street from our hotel, in 2018. We were visiting Portland, helping our daughter and son-in-law move into their new home.
We didn't have time for a Dining Adventure at Jake's, but my eyes were drawn to the building with the green awning and flags.
Whitney & Gray Building
The 4-story building on the the corner of Stark and 12th, was built in 1910. A year later, the iconic eatery moved in. I'm guessing at the time, it was a little more of a saloon with crawfish, kind of place. Today, I think it's more about cocktails & seafood!
In 1911, the biz (under another name) had already been operating for 19 years, at another location. It became known as Jake's, when Jacob (Jake) Lewis Freiman became an owner, in 1920. Evidently Jake was quite a colorful character. After his death in 1933, the name never changed. It's actually part of the Landry's chain today, but that's not exactly spotlighted.
Jake's is in the Book!
Back in 1959, Ford Motor Company published this cookbook and shared a recipe from Jake's.
We were traveling with our cookbook... because the vintage book guides us to interesting adventures! I knew we'd have to pay the restaurant a quick visit, even if we didn't have time to dine.
Posing with the Book
We stopped in at Jake's around 10 pm, after we returned to the hotel. I had the book in my bag. We got a table in the busy bar and hoped we could impress someone with a peek at page 230.
As it turned out, the bartender had a spare moment. He seemed a bit amused when I showed him the recipe for "Crabmeat Cakes". Or maybe he was just being polite. But he was a good sport and posed with the book!
The kind bartender looked just a tiny bit like the waiter in the cookbook's fine illustration. I didn't dare tell him that.
The little write up mentioned the Gay Nineties deco... "with oil paintings and chandeliers rescued from famous old homes..." Walter Holman was the owner at that time. The business changed hands many times, before William (Bill) McCormick bought, in 1971. Yes, that would be the name associated with the well known chain, McCormick and Schmicks. Bill hired Doug Schmick as a manager!
A Quick Cookbook Adventure
Don and I only had a little wine. It was hardly a Dining Adventure. But we were still able to soak in the atmosphere.
Besides lots of framed paintings, there were walls covered in framed photos. In over a century there have been numerous famous guests... from Humphrey Bogart to Madonna.
Floors and Walls
We didn't explore the many dining rooms, but we absorbed lots of character in the lounge, from the original tile beneath the stools...
...to the artwork above the bar. I don't believe the spotlighted nude painting, was shown in the cookbook illustration.
Charlie Visits in 2022
So for years, Don and I promised ourselves we'd return for a real dining experience, when visiting our daughter and son-in-law. But the pandemic and the birth of our grand baby, (Charlie) changed the focus of our visits.
Last fall, I was pretty jealous of our little granddaughter, when she had a dining adventure before me! My daughter texted me this photo of Charlie dining at Jake's and paying the bill! Actually her visiting Uncle Chris and Aunt Karen treated. It made me crave Jake's once again.
From the Museum to Jake's
So in February 2023, we headed to Portland for Charlie's second birthday. We planned a special outing that included a visit to the Portland Art Museum, (with dear friend Milissa) and a Dining Adventure at Jake's!
Charlie had her first art museum experience and then we were off to dinner!
The Classic Bar
It was a chilly winter evening. We entered the first door, which took us into the bar. It looked like I remembered. Charlie marched up to an empty chair and slammed her beer mug... I mean sippy cup, on the table.
She then noticed her family had moved on. But she was in no hurry. She sort of strutted through like a "regular" and gave the men at the bar a good glance. I half expected her to stop and study them... like art.
Charlie stopped suddenly near the host's desk and pointed. I thought she was pointing out the artwork above the steps. She'd just come from the museum after all.
But she was mesmerized by the ceiling fan. No budging until she was ready.
So Many Tables
We'd smartly made reservations for 5:30. I had wondered what kind of table we would have. White tablecloths are sort of scary, with a 2.0 year old.
The cozy booth looked fun, with its own little lamp and table-sized oil painting. We heard later that much of the displayed artwork was found in the basement, when the restaurant last changed hands. Worth more than the building! We were told.
I kind of hoped to have a table near the old photos, so I could examine them without rudely leaning across dining strangers.
I sort of hoped for a table that was tucked away, where a 2-year old could be a 2-year old, a little more discretely.
In the Middle
But we were given a big round table in the center of the first room.
It had a plaque on it that read, "St. Patrick's Day Luncheon Table" Hmmm? I would need to look that up. I did later and I found nothing. (Next time ask!)
Well, the table was perfect. I love round tables where we can all see one another. And no tablecloth to yank or stain!
And Charlie was in heaven, because she could see all the bustling activity. She didn't want to miss a thing.
Don, the waiter was exceptional. He'd been there 17 years and he was a real pro, He did not look a bit like the waiter in the cookbook.
We ordered drinks first. Old Fashioneds for most. Martini for me. Water for the little one.
Don served our drinks and graciously took our toasting photo. When I look at the photo, I'm reminded about how much has happened between our 2 visits to Jake's.
Cheers to getting through the pandemic and cheers to a new member of the family. And cheers to our friend Milissa, moving back to Portland so we could celebrate together!
Unfortunately, I did not have the cookbook with us, this time. But we did order the Crab Cakes, which were called Crabmeat Cakes, in the recipe.
I'm sure the recipes don't match a bit. The title on the menu said, "Dungeness Crab and Bay Shrimp Cakes".
I tried to get a photo quickly, before they were gone!
This little girl happens to adore crab cakes. So she got to them first!
Don allowed me to snap a photo of his Prawn Cocktail before it disappeared.Delish!
My House Salad with glazed walnuts and blue cheese was a good, refreshing feast in itself.
Parmesan Crusted Petrale Sole
I only managed to get a photo of my own entree. It was a heavenly serving of sole, with pan seared lemons and capers and warm Beurre Blanc sauce.
The beans and potatoes were excellent as well. I was happily stuffed!
Speaking of happy... this photo of me with Don, shows me looking a little too happy!? That martini was very strong!
But Charlie drank only water and she looks equally tipsy. I think our evening was a happy hit.
By the time we headed off it wasn't even 8:00 yet. The Happy Hour Crowd had left open seats.
Once again, we headed out the door, with no time to pause and study old photos. I didn't stop to ask any questions about Jake's 131 year old history. Next time...
Off We Go
We'll learn more stories next time. Our Dining Adventure was more about celebrating with special people.
The food and atmosphere was wonderful, but the people seated at the round table made it twice as memorable!
Good Bye Jake's
It's been over a month since our Jake's dinner. I'm feeling extra grateful that we squeezed that in!
Charlie and her parents have decided to move back to Texas! We couldn't be happier... but it looks like Jake's won't be an annual thing. Poor Charlie. I think she was getting hooked!
Cashew Chicken in Springfield, MO
Memories of Leong's
My first memories of Chinese restaurants, go back to Springfield, Missouri in the 1960's.
Growing up, my family spent a lot of time in Springfield, visiting relatives. I have vague but fun memories, of Leong's Tea House.
Leong's Asian Diner
In 2016, Don and I visited my Dad in Springfield and tracked down the new version, still owned by the same family.
The Leong's of my childhood looked nothing like this. This is how it looked in 2016, when Don and I had lunch with my dad. It looked more like a Barbecue Barn than an Asian Tea House.
I didn't get a photo of the interior on our 2016 visit, but it actually was very nice. However it looked nothing like the old "tea house", with tidy white tablecloths.
We didn't see Mr. Leong when we visited in 2016, but he was still a part of the family ownership. I remember reading the menu and being impressed with the story of David Leong, who created the well-loved Springfield Cashew Chicken dish. Mr. Leong emigrated from China in 1940 and served his adopted country in WWII. He opened the Teahouse in 1963.
Springfield Cashew Chicken!
On our visit we ordered a few different things, but the Cashew Chicken was the most memorable.
If you Google "Cashew Chicken" you'll see the story of Springfield's special version. Mr. Leong came up with the idea of frying chicken pieces rather than stir frying, because he cleverly noted that locals loved their fried chicken. The sauce had a bit more of a gravy flavor as well.
We left that day feeling satisfied that we had at least had the famous Springfield dish, in a restaurant owned by the Leong family.
I wish we could have taken Dad to the original Teahouse, but it closed in 1997. Mr. Leong's son, Chef Wing Yee opened Leong's Asian Diner in 2010. Sadly Mr. Leong died at the age of 99 in 2020.
The Rickshaw Chinese Restaurant
For a little comparison, Don and I had an outing to another Springfield restaurant, when we made our next Springfield visit.
We had noticed the corner building with its artwork, on the edge of downtown. The sign above the window let us know we could SIT IN OR CARRY OUT.
We parked across the street and headed over with fingers crossed. The place looked a little worn. We could get food to go, if we decided not to SIT IN.
The neon letters spelling OPEN, were lit. The yellow sign by the door encouraged us too, "Try our hot and Spicy Daily Lunch Special... $5.99." How could we not?
I'm a sucker for tradition. I loved the the red lanterns and Asian art on the wall.
We stepped up to the counter to place our order. A very sweet looking man asked, "You have cash?" We did.
The older couple (meaning my age) behind the counter, welcomed us warmly, but hardly had time for chitchat. They seemed to be doing all the work that day.
The man chuckled a little when I asked how long the restaurant had ben there. He said they'd been working 26 years and he had less hair now!
I was curious about the displays.
Every space was decorated, even this one above the trash can.
In the glass case below the counter, there were shelves covered with treasures.
All of the figures and decorations looked like they were from faraway places...
... but not the same places. Were those Hummel Figurines I saw? From Germany? I'm sure there were stories behind all the statues and decorative pieces.
While a little country music played in the background, Don worked on his plate of Garlic Chicken. The plate with its rope design, matched the music.
Don paid an extra 50 cents for all white meat. Interesting to have a choice.
I got the lunch special for $5.99, with Springfield Cashew Chicken! It came with an egg roll and 2 puffs. My divided plate reminded me of grade school lunch plates. There was something so sweet and old school about our meal.
A lot of customers ordered carryouts. Most of the people seemed to be regulars, ordering without pondering the menu.
I wish I could have asked them some questions about the sweet couple who worked so diligently to prepare the meals. I wanted to know who painted the Rickshaw art on the window...
As I look back and remember my 2 Cashew Chicken feasts on 2 different Springfield visits, I finally got around to Googling Rickshaw's. It looks like Savan Yim and his wife Kim, retired and turned the business over to family in 2020. They had operated the biz for 27 years, after buying the business from a friend, in the 1990's.
But even more touching, was to know that the Yims have repeatedly thanked Springfield for their support. They escaped to Missouri as refugees in the early 1980's, after being captured and abused in Cambodia. I had wondered about the stories behind their "treasures", but now I know there must be many more important and sad stories to tell.
It makes me happy to know that both the Leong and Yim families were able to pass down their businesses (and recipes) to family. I'm ready to go back for a visit and enjoy some more Springfield Cashew Chicken!
The Dining Blog
This is a blog about Dining Adventures. Sometimes, I talk about food. Below, you can read how this started.
On July 4th 2011, I set a goal to try 50 culturally diverse restaurants in one year! (I knew that was possible, living in the Houston area) I spent the year pulling in friends and family to join me, on some unusual dining adventures. I met some curious people, tried some scary foods and explored places and cultures I never would have otherwise. Even though I met my goal, I learned too much to end my adventures in dining. I have continued blogging about memorable dining adventures of all kinds, near and far... and all the discoveries and funny things I've learned along the way!
Locations and types of dining adventures, are listed further down.