We celebrated Father's Day early this year, in an effort to provide a day that worked well for everyone. You can read about that failure here. Two of The Mister's daughters and their spouses were unable to attend at the appointed time.
Anyway, we got up early to prepare for our adventure. The Mister's assignment? Skip breakfast, and be prepared to depart in his Mystery Machine for a destination I neglected to share with him. As soon as Tammy, Frank, Seth, Desiree, Nate and Eli arrived, we got on the road.
In the Mystery Machine, we had The Mister, myself, The Boy and Eli. Me with three hungry males and a long drive ahead of us - that can't be a good thing, can it? Conversation did not come easily, there were some short responses and some raised voices. A complaint or two about gnawing hunger punctuated by my semi-regular reports about how much farther we had to go before food would be in ample supply (for the record, our trip to The Land of Gastronomical Excess was 113 miles each way).
I also spent about 50% of the drive time with my eyes closed, as a tape of my life (and impending death) played in my head - I am not a fan of The Mister's 'take no prisoners' style of driving. I'm more of a 'Driving Miss Daisy' kinda gal. Meandering can be such fun!
We arrived at our destination, Lambert's Cafe, at 10:50. Already, we could see a line formed outside the large building. The temperature was already in the high 80s, I was sure that a wait of any considerable length of time for food would quickly result in bodily harm.
As we were getting the children out of the vehicles, Frank got our name put on a list. Nine must have been a very lucky number (the number of people in our party), as we were seated pretty quickly. Then the real fun began.
Here's The Mister (in a very unflattering photo), ready to chow down:
First, there are the yeast rolls. Hot, fluffy, soft as silk yeast rolls. Of course, when they hit you in the head, they really don't feel that soft (I think The Boy got beaned once).
Lambert's Cafe is home of 'Throwed Rolls' - an employee will announce that a rolling cart filled with hot, steaming rolls is ready for consumption. Even Seth was saying "Hot rolls!" after a few minutes. The employee's announcement is the cue to raise your hand if you want one of the rolls. Eye-hand coordination is key - said employee will throw your roll from across the restaurant - it's your job to catch it. Smooshed rolls sometimes litter the floor of the cafe - they are soon swept up by the very responsive staff. It is important to NOT squeeze the roll as you catch it, as you will end up with a doughy lump.
Here's a pretty crappy picture of our roll tosser. I caught all of the rolls that I raised my hand for, and most from a distance further than shown in the picture. If I were prone to hyperbole (and I AM), I'd say most tosses were at least 30 (ahem) yards away...ok, maybe 20 feet. Boy, those suckers were HOT and still oily from the pan!
A second employee watches who catches rolls - within a minute, he appears at your side and asks if you want either sorghum molasses or apple butter on your roll. I was not a big fan of the sorghum - it's a cross between honey and syrup in taste and texture. I didn't try the apple butter.
Here's Desiree enjoying her GINORMOUS Lambert Burger and sides. Beside her, Frank is contemplating his bigass skillet filled with 16 oz. of chicken friend round steak.
Another feature of the restaurant is something they call "pass arounds" - employees carry large metal bowls filled with extra food, free for the taking. Food appears even before you've ordered a meal. No plate? No worries - just grab some paper towels off the stand on the table. Eat a heapin' mess o' fried okra, or black-eyed peas, or maybe some macaroni cooked with sweetened stewed tomatoes (I didn't like that dish AT ALL). And for the ultimate 'pass around', you just have to try the fried potatoes and onions when they come 'round.
Portions are HUGE at Lambert's. When I eat out, I typically get something I don't cook at home - so I thought I'd try the fried chicken. Tammy and I both had FOUR pieces of perfectly cooked chicken, and choice of two sides. Way too much food. We had enough for The Mister, The Boy and I to fill up three to-go boxes for other meals. Not that we needed another meal, mind you. We ended up getting four more meals from the excess.
Oh, and if you're thirsty? Drinks that are larger than a child's head. Nate allowed me to take his picture to prove it!
The Boy was acting a bit strangely when the food arrived. He was sitting at the opposite end of the table from me, and he did not look at all happy. He got up several times to visit the restroom - he finally admitted that he was afraid that we expected him to finish all of his food at the table! He ordered meatloaf - one serving at Lambert's was certainly enough to feed all three of us for dinner.
Once he was assured that we expected him NOT to finish his meal, he settled in to chow down. He even tried fried okra - but dragged the pieces through a pile of ketchup and honey he put on his paper towels. Yikes.
I'm happy to report that tummies were full and moods were much better on the ride back...but the driving style still left something to be desired, IMHO.
If you want to read more about Lambert's Cafe, go here. And to see the RIDICULOUS serving sizes, be sure to check out the short video on their home page.