Sunday, July 24, 2011

Food Revolution Road Trip Day 11: Restaurant Hell

Where we are: Moab Utah and Nampa, Idaho

Plan for the day: Drive from here to there

Food Revolution Challenge: We find restaurant hell

We are always sad to leave Moab. The drive from the hot desert and a town that we love so much that we would love to move to and call our own is always one of the hardest parts of our trip, although it's always necessary. Last year when we drove to Nampa, we were shocked at it's lack of culinary choices and I resorted to asking a random Walmart shopper where the local restaurants were. This time, we reasoned, the mall that was being built across the street MUST have some restaurants, right?

Nope. Only fast food. What is it about Idaho, or at least the Nampa and Meridian places in general, that there is every fast food place known to human kind, but few good restaurants? I don't understand. At least this time, we know where the Red Robin is and pull up, not really sure at this point what we will order. To be honest, after the Peace Tree it's going to be hard, but we're game.

And besides, it's the only other option is McDonalds, and we're NOT stopping there. This would be okay, right? It's fast food-ish, but not really fast food. I think.

I should have known the second we stepped in the restaurant.

Perhaps the noise level could have tipped me off, or the fact that the waitress seated us next to a table of four young kids who were screaming at ear splitting decibel levels. I really should've asked to sit somewhere away from the party, but I didn't think of it at the time and by the time I did, it was too late. We were hungry and tired, and seated in the middle of tables full of families with kids busting a move in their chairs, screaming, under tables, and throwing food.

You know that restaurant that banned kids under six? They would've had a field day here. Although to be fair, we were in a kid friendly restaurant-with what felt like every single kid in Idaho.

(note: I don't have a problem with kids in restaurants. We took Kevin out with us all the time-however, we also insisted that he behave. Not all the kids around us were misbehaving, they were just being children. That being said, we were tired and hungry, and our patience was low)

The menu is typical Red Robin and we order as best we can. I chose a turkey burger, because I had one last year in Kamloops and it was a perfect, smallish size without being overwhelming.

The table next to us erupts in song with the wait staff clapping and loudly singing, when the waiter brings our food and sets it in front of us.

Wait. This can't be mine. There's some mistake.

"Happy Happy Birthday!"

This thing is HUGE. There's no way I can eat this.

Clap, clap, clap. The child behind Hubs pumps a fist in the air, narrowly missing clocking him right in the head. The rest of the kids at the table are screaming loudly. Kevin rolls his eyes. Another at the table next to us is at his parent's feet in a fetal position, nibbling on a French fry, wide eyes surveying the scene. Yet another is screaming at a table just across the way.


This burger is easily three times the size of it's Canadian counterpart. There is what feels like a cup of shredded lettuce on it, awash in drippy mayo. It's messy and hard to eat, and despite my cringing at it's size, the burger is seasoned well and tastes delicious. I can only eat about half before I dump the rest in the basket and push it aside, diving into the salad that is mostly iceberg lettuce. Hub's salad is also large enough to feed a small village, and he picks at it for awhile before opting to leave the rest. My stomach feels like I just gave it something inedible, and it's starting to protest already.

The singing starts up again, this time at a different table.

"Oh GOD, NOT AGAIN." Kevin mutters, a little too loudly, and the mother overhears. She gives him a dirty look, while I begin to giggle.

"Would you like more fries?" The waiter chirps, and Kevin shakes his head, no. "An appetizer? Dessert? More coffee? Shall I box that up?" He motions towards the salad. John shakes his head. "Seriously? You could eat it later!"

More? More? More? Are they kidding? Gynormous portions, bottomless fries and pop, and still they want to sell us appies, dessert, and get us to eat the leftovers? Is this food culture of these kinds of restaurants what encourages people to eat until they burst? As we are getting into the car, John and I stop and lock eyes over the roof of the vehicle.

"Promise me we will never do that again," I plead. "I can't handle that again. I feel sick now. Besides, I have a headache."

My head is spinning, and my stomach heavy, as if I just went on a carnival ride at the fair. It all just seems like too much, from the portion sizes to the bright colors, to the bottomless fries and pop, and loud children. I can't do that. Not again.

Or have I just turned into a food snob?

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