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6/28/2013

PALACE PEOPLE CAN ADJUST BETTER THAN MOST…

Yesterday a group of inmates from the Palace planned to go to Pretty Boy Floyd’s in Ellsworth for dinner.  Departure time was 4:15.  We were all very excited about the prospect of a wonderful dinner and sufficient libation to make it a memorable evening.

What was not expected was a blinding wind and rain storm.  Trees snapped in half, big limbs blocked streets, howling wind and blinding rain prevailed.   The bus carrying most of our group was buffeted along the highway, but Karen Larsen did an excellent job keeping it on the road and her passengers out of danger.  It was a harrowing experience for some of the group  who are not accustomed to experiencing such raw and exciting prairie weather.

At the appointed time of joining up with the bus people, and another car full of passengers, Ally, Todd, Karen and I stood just inside the door to Pretty Boy’s to harbor ourselves from the driving rain.  The power had just failed and the town was plunged into darkness, including  the underground cavernous rooms of Pretty Boy’s.  It was literally as dark as the proverbial  dungeon.  What to do?  I couldn’t lead 20 people down those stairs into total darkness and hope the lights came back on.  I lived there and remember what it’s like to get power restored and how long it sometimes takes.

Someone got on a cell phone and called the DQ to see if they had lights.  Yes, they did, and so did the Ellsworth Steak house, so off we went to the Steak House to see if they might save the day and save the day they did.  Tina and Rick Davis, one waitress and the bartender…plus the chef jumped into action and seated all 20 of us around a big table.

Then they brought some “snacks” to tide us over….glorious large platters of delicious sliced cantaloupe, watermelon, whole wonderful strawberries plus overflowing bowls of chips and salsa.  And, our need for libations were met.  It was “happy hour” and that pleased everyone.

The lights went out, so once again we were at the mercy of whatever they could prepare with one hand tied behind their backs.   They could not have done better.  Tina explained what they could serve with their limited resources and everyone got something that was exceptionally good….salads of every type and a wide variety of Mexican food.  There was more that enough to fill the ravenous appetites.

Then on top of that, she had a wide assortment of homemade pies.  A piece de resistance.  They are wonderful.  I think Leslie Brooks makes them for the Steak House. You’ll never find a more delicious piece of pie than one of hers.  Everyone is still raving about the pie.

The day was filled with excitement, more than 90 year olds are used to, but they shouldered it very well and want to return.  A couple said they would check the weather first.

I can’t speak for the Manor, but I do know that Kim Fair, the marketing director, was well aware of the storm as she lives north of Brookville and was caught in the height of it.  She tried repeatedly to reach the drivers to warn them of the severity of the storm and tell them not to leave Salina….or turn back if they had departed.  She couldn’t reach any of them.

The trip turned out all right.  Everyone was safe although some were a little shaken from the harrowing experience.  It’s probably the most exciting thing to happen to some of us in months.  Mostly we experience someone playing a saw or a harp and call it a day.  I loved the storm…love to be out in it.  One just can’t overlook the  forces of nature, respect and enjoy them.  We all slept like rocks last night and required naps today.

I can’t say enough about how accommodating Rick and Tina Davis were.  They were simply amazing in what they did for us.  Everyone wants to go back again…on purpose this time, so I hope we can.

Thanks for tuning in…

2/7/2013

THE TOILET PAPER PROJECT…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Ellsworth Steak House — Peg Britton @ 4:10 pm

Many of our small towns are struggling to stay viable but with today’s economy we all want to spend as little as possible. Many of us go to the bigger towns to buy our everyday supplies because the bigger stores usually can buy in bulk and give us lower prices. But there is one thing that we all use daily that we could buy in town that would raise an amazing amount of money for our towns and that is toilet paper. If every family in the Ellsworth-Kanopolis Area bought their toilet paper in here instead of going to Great Bend or Salina or any other town imagine how much money would remain in the Ellsworth-Kanopolis area. Let’s keep our small towns growing by buying at least one small essential item from our small towns.

3/18/2011

CORNED BEEF AND CABBAGE, BRUSSELS SPROUTS AND BUZZARDS…

Filed under: prairie musings, family, Ellsworth Steak House — Peg Britton @ 10:13 am

K-State knocked Utah State out of the tournament with a 73-68 win last night in Tucson.  Because of the hour, it seemed like a very long game.  I lasted for all of it in the comfort of my bed, but only because of it.

The game tonight between KU and Boston U. is scheduled at the “corned beef and cabbage hour” at our house.  Three large flats of spicy, brined beef are in the roaster slowly simmering away. It’s an all-day process; one I know well from doing the same thing every year for 60 years. It’s a family favorite.

We are few and in dwindling numbers, so we delayed having our annual St. Pat’s dinner until tonight when there would be at least four of us. Everyone else has other obligations:  Drew is still at the top of the leader board at his bank in Boulder, Mackenzie is engineering military aircraft so they stay in the sky, and Tyler is averaging about two runs a week from Afghanistan to Germany transporting critically wounded soldiers (exhausting work).

Anyway. When the beef has shrunk to about half it’s original size and is fork tender, I’ll remove it from the roaster, strain the broth and dispose of all the seasonings. Then I’ll add wedges of cabbage, whole onions, carrots and potatoes to the broth, top it with the meat, and cook slowly  until the veggies are done. The doors and windows are open on this nice spring day. A little cross-ventilation will help carry the odor from the kitchen out onto the prairie and strengthen the fence posts.

That’s the piece de resistance for dinner.

My take on whether I really like a particular restaurant is based on the amount and kind of fruit and vegetables they serve.  If it’s always corn, peas and green beans, I’m not very enamored with their food.  But when they are prone to serving slightly steamed cruciferous veggies, which my mom always insisted be the mainstay of a meal, they’ve won me over.  Fresh fruit enhances any plate of food.

Last night, the Ellsworth Steak House hit the jackpot with me.  I’m not sure everyone felt as I did, but Voila!, the veggies were excellent.

They offered  a couple of specials:  corned beef served with cabbage, sauerkraut and a casserole of creamy Brussels sprouts.  Another special was leg of lamb.  So, I ordered my usual liver and onions then asked what options there were for sides. One was steamed Brussels sprouts, she said, seasoned with baby onions and bacon.  So, not to be disappointed, I asked if I could have Brussels sprouts as my two sides…the steamed and the casserole.  Her eyes widened as she said I could.  Todd and Karen ordered the steaks they like with the usual sides…but not Brussels sprouts.

When a waitress returned with our meals, she asked, with one plate extended at arm’s length…”And, who ordered liver and onions with all these Brussels sprouts?” I couldn’t help but laugh.

Then, I got thinking again about cruciferous vegetables which are members of the mustard family and not favorites for many. They include such things as cabbage, radishes, broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, arugula, bok choy, collards, kale, mustard greens, rutabaga, turnip greens, watercress, horseradish, wasabi, mustard seed, etc.  They are very good for the body!  As much as I like them, I’ve never seen them served in such abundance as they were last night…cabbage, sauerkraut, and Brussels sprouts fixed two different ways.  It is one more reason it’s my favorite place to eat. Dinner for all of us was delicious.

I know it’s spring….the buzzards have returned.  They know best about such things. Spring has arrived. Really.

Thanks for tuning in…

2/7/2011

ON THE SIDE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Eat, Ellsworth Steak House — Peg Britton @ 10:12 am

One more thing to mention that may seem strange to you city folk…. at our Ellsworth Steak House we get a printed ticket with the prices …and total…of the meal at the table to review before paying.  Voila! I mean, this is a big thing around here.

It’s a simple ticket that can anyone can understand and easily  check….like you receive at almost every restaurant  in the civilized world.  Generally,  ESH meal items are priced with a variety of options so there aren’t “extras” except for beverages.

This may seem like a simple thing, but for many of us, it has been a constant source of aggravation not to be presented a ticket at all, or one with hen scratches the waitress made for the order with no prices on it.  At KCs, we never know what our breakfast meal, in particular, is going to cost until they total it at the cash register off the ticket with the scratches.   Paden’s is the same although not quite so bad.  Orozco’s is the worst of all, in my opinion.  You have no idea what they are charging you and are at the mercy of whomever is running the cash register as to whether or not it is accurate.  It is not a question of honesty as we know they are honest folk, but it’s a burr in my side not to have a ticket that has the items purchased and the price beside it.  Suggestions for change have fallen on deaf ears.  I don’t think it’s unreasonable to know for what I’m paying.

Maybe other restaurants will step up and get computerized machines that will compile information for customers or they will write legible checks with prices that  customers can review for accuracy before paying.

ESH has a website with a video of their steaks that will make your mouth water.  Scroll down and you’ll find the various breakfast, lunch, dinner menu options.  Prices aren’t included but they are very reasonable.  It’s a great menu with plenty of options that begs you to return.  In the past, if we’ve wanted a meal for a special occasion, we’ve gone out of town.  Now, it’s time for people from Salina and elsewhere come to Ellsworth to experience our fine food.

And this goes for other restaurants in the county as they each have their specialties to offer.  Made From Scratch in Wilson has wonderful cheeseburgers served with homemade potato chips or homemade curly fries and an assortment of homemade pies made daily that are as good as they come.  It’s hard to beat KCs chicken fried steak and smoked meats.  Paden’s are famous for their homemade pies and the best tomato beer around.  Orozco’s Mexican food is famous all over the state.  Gambino’s make wonderful pizzas and have very good sandwiches.  There is also the Pizza Hut, Dairy Queen, Am-Pride, etc.

Several reports came back to me that all the restaurants that were open Sunday were very busy…including the Midland and Made From Scratch.  Paden’s isn’t open on Sunday but KCs was very busy with their noon buffet followers.

This speaks well for all our restaurants.

Thanks for tuning in…

2/5/2011

GRAND OPENING AT THE ELLSWORTH STEAK HOUSE…

Filed under: prairie musings, Ellsworth, Eat, Ellsworth Steak House — Peg Britton @ 10:35 am

steak-house-sign.jpg

The new Ellsworth Steak House had the first day of its grand opening yesterday, the other is today.  Six of us made reservations for a table at 6:00 and were seated promptly.  The place was full and the wait time was from 30 to 45 minutes without reservations.  Can you believe food being so good in Ellsworth you’d wait 45 minutes for a table?

We had a great time experiencing their evening menu.  We started off our dinners with an assortment of appetizers sharing lettuce wraps, fried onion rings and bruschetta. They were all very good. They also offered shrimp cocktail and three kinds of  soup.

Friday is prime rib night so that was a popular item, and very good, according to Todd and Ally.  It was also served at the right temperature, one rare, one medium.  They had run out of rib eye steaks (a small glitch that can be remedied) so steak lovers opted for other cuts which were also good.  Karen said her sirloin steak was prepared to perfection.  Their claim to being a “steak house” was successfully launched last night.

I spied liver and sauteed onions on the menu so that was my choice.  All the meals were served with fresh  romaine  lettuce combination salads plus two “sides”.  Sides included steamed veggie melange, mashed potatoes, twice baked or baked potatoes, French fries, baked beans, cooked apple slices, etc.  And we had baskets of thick slices of warm crusty bread and real butter.

There were beautiful pies in the display case along with assorted Danish pastries and muffins.  Ally chose pecan pie which she said was very good.  There were also slices of thick fruit pies that were flying out of the case to waiting patrons.  I opted for my favorite creme brulee that was topped with wonderful caramelized sugar and a strawberry.

There were a few glitches that come to be expected with new restaurants and wait staff that I’m sure will be corrected in time with more training. There certainly wasn’t anything to complain about the food as it was all very good at our table.

We finished our meal and 8:30 and I don’t think, right now, it could go any faster.  But, in time they should be able to turn the tables in an hour.  They had a very good test last night with a huge turnout for their grand opening.  Our congratulations to Rick and Tina for a project well done.  They have done a lot for the city of Ellsworth.   Keep up the good work and your following will be there.

Thanks for tuning in…


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