HOT ROLLS: Ozark, MO!

Something I have been meaning to share, but haven’t quite found the time was the rest of our cross-country road trip out here to California. We began in Indiana and trekked over 3,000 miles to our new home. It took us a little over a week and in that week memories were created that neither of us will ever forget.

We packed up the giant Uhaul that our parents graciously drove cross-country for us and took off toward a new adventure, new unknowns, and a new life. When planning our trip out West I had one stipulation. DJ found this request comical, considering we basically could stop anywhere along the way. BUT- once you go, once you try this place, you will understand!

What is this life-changing place? I’m glad you asked. LAMBERT’S CAFE. Last year we went here on our way to a wedding in Tulsa. It is located right off the highway in Ozark, MO. I could not wait to go back and what better time than this road trip? Let me tell ya, it did not take much to convince the hubs!

If I could require everyone to go to one restaurant in their lives, it would be to here. This is your deep, southern fried, nothing-beats-it, grandma’s cooking. To people from the East, I would describe it as “Cracker Barrel on steroids”. Anytime you go, be prepared to wait at least an hour. This place is as good as they claim, and everyone from across the country knows it. They have a map outside their restaurant and they have pins to mark where you are from. There are people from every state across the US. I am telling you- people travel from Alaska for this! THAT GOOD.

IMG_8042

Anywho- what makes this place so special you ask? Here is a pretty typical trip to Lambert’s:

  1. The car ride over looks something like this. gif excited.gif
  2. Once you arrive, you battle all the other cars for a parking spot. 200 (3).gif
  3.  Then, you walk to the outdoor window hostess to put your name in, walking quicker than the six-person family a few steps ahead of you, because, hey, gotta beat them for that table.

giphy.gif

3. You wait for an hour, but it feels more like days. You find yourself salivating as you dream of “HOT ROLLS!”

200.gif

4. You check the time incessantly. Maybe you go to the gift store, maybe check out the map of the US to see where the other roll-addicts are from, but really, you just get to do some hardcore people watching.

giphy (1).gif

5. They call your name over the loud speaker outside. You are in a state of disbelief, that yes, it’s you. You tell yourself to move; you pinch yourself, afraid you are dreaming. When you see your friends’ faces light up with a goofy distorted excitement you know it’s real. It’s time.

giphy (2).gif

6. You make your way to your table and soak in the views of the heavenly food on everyone’s plates. Decisions. Horribly difficult, amazing decisions.

giphy (3).gif

7. Once seated, the waiter explains how “it works”. But you already know how it works, oh, you know! They bring you out the most gargantuan soda of your whole life. The waiters with the charmingly, nerdy uniforms ask you if you would like some fried okra. You wonder why they even ask; you wonder if it would be weird to hug them.

200 (1).gif

7. You down that delicious okra. Oh wait… what is that smell? Could it be…? “HOT ROLLS!” You wave your hand, you jump up and down, you do whatever you can so that they just might throw one of carby buns in your direction.

200 (2).gif

8. FINALLY. That hot, doughy piece of bread touches your fingertips. The waiter with the sorghum (aka your new best friend) loads it on that fluffy piece of heaven. You finally understand, it is all so clear, your sole purpose in life is to eat these rolls.

giphy (4)

9. The waiter brings out your food, and now you can try the rest of the pass-arounds: The macaroni and tomatoes, the fried potatoes and onions, the black eyed peas. You sample your sides. WHY IS COLD CHUNKY APPLESAUCE SO GOOD?! Your emotions overtake you.

giphy (5).gif

10. You finish your meal and walk away from the table. You just remind yourself, “Don’t cry because it’s over, smile because it happened.” 

giphy (6)

Wishing you many throwed rolls,

xo <3

Mack

Marco Island, FL!

After being home for one restful evening, we took an early flight to Florida! We stayed at our parents’ beach house right on the water. The first night we were there we went grocery shopping for the week. I looooOOOOoove grocery stores. So the opportunity to try a new one just tickled my fancy (yes I am 22, and I use that phrase). We hit up the local Winn Dixie and stocked up on fresh watermelon, veggie burgers, the big “SS” (salad supplies), the other big “SS” (snacky-snacks), red wine for myself, chocolate milk for DJ, and of course our favorite: ice cream. I actually tried a frozen yogurt that I had never seen before and it was ah-may-zing. I wish I had written down the name because they probably have it here in a Cupertino grocery store (cause everything food-wise exists around these parts!). The grocery trip was a bit more expensive than our local Aldi in Marion, IN, trip but at least cheaper than eating out for each meal. We didn’t want to spend a lot eating out in Marco, since we did in both Baltimore and New York, so stocking the fridge with the goods was a good way to make sure that happened.

Early on in dating, we had one of the most serious conversations a couple can have:  One’s favorite type of pizza. It says a lot about a person. For example, the cheese-only lover is either picky or easy-going and most likely prefers vanilla ice cream. Then you have the goat cheese/ sundried tomato/ artichoke heart with a basil crust lover that was probably raised on organic brand gerber baby food and soy milk, but is also adventurous and generally open-minded. But the real pizza connoisseur is the lover of pineapple pizza. They know what’s up when it comes to pizza and are also the life of the party. Obviously these descriptions are slightly absurd, and I am slightly bias, but I think we can all agree that pizza is a big deal. Anyways, back to our big conversation: DJ told me pineapple pizza was his favorite after I went on about how much I loved it. That was it for me. I knew he would be the man I would marry. However, a few months into marriage, he would always request margharita pizzas from the store. I knew he liked them but I kind of thought, “hmm this boy never asks for pineapple”. With all my audacity I asked him if he lied to me on that one pivotal day so long ago. With hestiation (just kidding there was no hesitation) he said “yes”; he explained may have exaggerated a bit in the puppy love stage, but margharita pizzas are truly his favorite. 😐 At this moment I realized our whole marriage, our entire relationship, was built on a lie. A lie, I tell you. I let it slide though because he does still like pineapple, and if that’s the worst lie he has ever told me I guess we are in good shape.

Anyways, our first night in Marco we decided pineapple pizzas just fit the scene. Since I like eating most things in a slightly healthier fashion, I made mine on a flatout flatbread, use reduced sodium marinara, vegan daiya cheese and loaded up that pineapple. The night ended with watching the movie Good Will Hunting for the first time. I cannot believe it took us this long to watch such a fantastic classic.

IMG_6384

The next day was a full-on beach day! Nothing beats just laying in the sun. DJ listened to the Orioles on the radio and I raced through my James Patterson book called Invisible while soaking up the ‘rays. The book was impossible to put down. If you are a reader who likes thrill, mystery, and  don’t mind FBI laden books, this is a great, easy beach book with sharp turns at every corner.

For dinner, we had a second round of pineapple pizzas. I honestly think I could live on the stuff. That night we slept with the kind of deep slumber that only vacation brings with it.

IMG_6498.JPG
IMG_6383.JPG

IMG_6382
We are working on the “keeping eyes open during pictures” thing.

The next morning I ran on the main strip a couple of miles away to meet DJ at the sweetest little diner called Doreen’s cup of Joe at 8 am. I have a hard time sleeping in on vacation (I know, I know- that is what they are for), but I love seizing the day. I also love getting runs in before slamming a huge breakfast. It always tastes so good and satisfying after working up that morning appetite, and it was nice to beat the heat. At this diner they have the most unique and delicious breakfast menu; the minute you step inside it feels like you walked into a pinterest board. We ordered the most darling little cinnamon and powdered sugar donuts. I had swiss chilled oatmeal (which was absolutely to die for) and DJ had their pancakes. I ran back after and we did the exact same thing we did the day before: relaxed.

IMG_6386

IMG_6391

The rest of our days there were about the same. However, there was a scare of a snake trying to hang out in the pool with us. We also walked to the touristy side of the beaches with all the hotels. It was about a 3-mile walk, and we both left with blisters and dehydration. It was still fun wading through the sandbars and cooling off in the ocean. We always have the best conversations on walks too, which was my favorite part of the mini hike.

One night we discovered the exquisite steakhouse Marco Prime for our nice night out we had been planning. It was one of those places that anything you ordered on the menu was guaranteed to be amazing. We started with the grilled spanish octopus and a juicy shrimp cocktail. The octopus was one of the most delectable foods I have ever tried.

IMG_6452IMG_6451

We then ordered sea scallops and DJ had the sea bass. It all surpassed our expectations.

IMG_6453

IMG_6494IMG_6487One of the nights we watched the CAVS dominate in game five with our ice cream and frozen yogurt in hand. The morning of our last full day we arose at the crack of dawn to witness the sunrise from kayaks. We may have been attacked by mosquitoes and forgot the bug spray, but regardless it was an awe-inspiring experience. Nothing can top sitting on such still water in the coolness of the beachy morning, feeling that you are awake before the rest of the world, and sharing it with your favorite person. It is a mix between feeling like you are trespassing in nature, but also as though this moment was beckoning for you the whole time.

IMG_7484IMG_7482IMG_7500

After being beach bums for several days we printed out our boarding passes and headed back for one last stop in Ohio before driving back to Indiana. Then our grand adventure began across the country!

Wishing you lots of perrrrtty sunsets,

xo <3

Mack