Homeward Bound—Family and food a wonderful combination!

Dinner at Carrabba’s with daughter Kara and granddaughters Fiona (back-right) and Lauren sitting next to Randy.

Today was a perfect day!  It did not start out that way but as soon as we left the terrible hotel we spent the night in and moved to another the sun shone a little brighter, the birds sang a little louder and choirs of angels began to sing hallelujah. 

Last night we were looking for a hotel listed in one of those hotel coupon books you pick up at visitor’s centers.  We drove up and down the boulevard looking but to no avail.  We were tired and hungry so decided to go to the other hotel listed.  As soon as we entered the room we both felt it was a mistake to stay but we were just too tired to move especially after carrying all our luggage up to the second floor.

We decided to spend the night and move the next morning.  We went down to breakfast this morning and were blown away at the lack of food and the haphazard way it was placed around the breakfast room.  We knew there were several other hotels nearby so Randy called the La Quinta down the road.  They were wonderful saying that if we got there within a half hour we would still be able to get some breakfast and they had a room that was available so we could get settled right away. 

The moment I walked in the entrance I heard this lovely voice call out, “Good morning”.  Have you ever had a day when just the littlest thing just makes your heart sing?  Well, this beautiful woman welcomed us to the hotel, walked me over to the breakfast area and pointed out that the breakfast foods were still available and invited me to have some coffee.  Phoebe was a beautiful and gracious representative of the La Quinta hotel in Madison, Alabama.  I was so comfortable talking with her that we spent quite a bit of time just chatting about our ride up the Natchez Trace and motorcycles.  She told Randy and i that she rode a motorcycle when she was young.  She assured us that we would enjoy our stay at the hotel.  After meeting Phoebe I had no doublt about that.

From that point on the day got better and better.  We called our daughter Kara to set up a time for her to come pick us so we could spend the day together.  She had moved in the past year and we were anxious to see her new home.  Plus, and this is a big plus we would be seeing our beautiful granddaughters Fiona and Lauren.  We had not seen them since last summer and were looking forward to catching up.

But first off to lunch.  Kara decided to take us to a Mexican restaurant that she enjoys.  The restaurant was called La Placita Mexican Restaurant.  The La Placita was a small, clean restaurant located in a strip mall.  It was clean and the staff was very friendly.  The food was plentiful and very good.  I love chalupas but wanted to try something different finally settling on a chicken quesadilla with cheese queso and Pico de gallo.  The wonderfully flaky flour tortilla was filled with tender chicken, tomatoes, cheese and jalapeños.  The shell was flaky, the chicken tender and the queso and pico de gallo wonderful additions to an already great dish.  The Pico de gallo was fresh, fresh, fresh. 


We went back to Kara’s for a visit until it was time to pick up the girls for dinner.  While there Kara took us on a tour of her new home.  Her new apartment was located in a beautiful setting with many wonderful mature trees throughout the complex.  She then showed off some of the paintings and other art work the girls had created.  She and the girls are very creative and talented. 

These are paper dresses designed and assembled by Fiona.

We settled down and spent time catching up and just enjoying each other’s company.  Before long it was time to pick up the girls and go to dinner.  We let the girls decide where to go.  Fiona and Lauren decided they wanted to go to Carrabba’s Italian Grill. I love Carrabba’s!  I have never had a bad meal at Carrabba’s.  Our first experience at a Carrabba’s was in Ocala, Florida the year we moved to our new home in Summerfield.  It was our anniversary and we thought Italian would be perfect.  The night we visited the restaurant one of the owners, Damian Mandola came over to our table and asked how we were enjoying our meal.  Randy did not even hesitate and said very enthusiastically, “Wonderful.  The best meal I have had in a long time”.  I agreed wholeheartedly.  We have since celebrated many special occasions at Carrabba’s. 

Sunflowers by Lauren

After having a big lunch we decided to keep it small for dinner.  Randy enjoyed the Mama Mandola’s Sicilian chicken soup.  The girls started off with calamari with Lauren also ordering the chicken soup and Fiona ordering penne pasta with marinara sauce.  Kara and I ordered the manicotti.  We all agreed that everything we ordered was wonderful.  One thing I have always admired about Kara and Roger’s rearing of the girls is introducing and encouraging them to try a wide variety of foods.  Consequently they eat foods that most children their age would not even consider. 

Kara dropped us off back at our hotel.  We made plans to meet again tomorrow for tea and a trip out to her farm.  Randy and I then took a quick dip in the pool and prepared for a good’s night sleep. 

Tomorrow Kara and I will visit a local tea house.



This entry was posted in Appetizer, calamari, cheese dip, chicken, Italian Food, Mexican food, pasta, restaurants, soup and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

8 Responses to Homeward Bound—Family and food a wonderful combination!

  1. Steve says:

    So glad to hear that you got to visit Kara and the girls. I’m glad to catch up with her life a bit through your blog!

    • Steve, We will be visiting with Kara again today. She seems to have settled in quite nicely in her new apartment but does not see herself remaining there for too long. The most heartening thing I noticed when we saw her yesterday is that she is getting involved in her art again. She has discovered that she really likes working with oils. From her very young childhood she has needed an artistic outlet. Perhaps this will help put a little balance back in her life. The girls looked wonderful and we had a grand time all vying for attention and getting a word in. Lauren is very happy because she will be getting a cat soon. I am not sure how the cat will adjust to living in to places but I hope it works out. I can’t believe how quickly time passes the girls are getting so big. Oh, well. Glad you are enjoying the blog. Aunt Mary

  2. Sal says:

    Hi Mary,
    We enjoyed reading all about your trip as we are sitting here in our timeshare cabin in Blowing Rock, NC. We have been putting up with 70 degree weather all week. Today, is our owners’ picnic which is a potluck; then it is off to the golf course.

    • Hi, Sal–Thanks for reading along I enjoy the company. We are homeward bound but still have about three days on road and hopefully three more interesting restaurants to try. We have a time share in Bonita Springs and love it. We are heading down there in August. Glad you are having a wonderful time. Mary

  3. Richard says:

    Glade your having fun and hope the sun shines on you the rest of the way home.

    • Hello Richard, Thanks for stopping by and leaving some words. We watch the weather channel every night and try to determine our route the next day. Actually that is exactly what Randy is doing now. We will be leaving tomorrow. We hope to be home by Friady. Hope this finds you well and happy. Mary

  4. r says:

    You’re missing the delicious Tuesday evening Kitchen Club event………..ah yes, mashed potatoes and gravy.

    • Hi, Dick, you are too funny!!!!! Although I really do love mashed potatoes and gravy. Randy and I used to attend the Kitchen club dinners but haven’t in a long time. Thanks for stopping by and leaving some words. Mary

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