Monday, April 28, 2008

*Mangiare al fresco con carrozza a cavalli

I don’t blog about carriage driving to writer a primer for those of you thinking about taking the plunge. In fact, if you’re considering a career as a carriage drive, don’t. If you live here in Salt Lake that would mean most likely I would be your trainer, and I’d just tire of you quickly and run you off. Instead I suggest that you volunteer at your local animal shelter. The pay is about the same and you’ll go home smelling much better.

Today I’m going to discuss food. This makes sense to me because I’ve worked in the food service industry on and off for a while now, and eating has become one of those things that’s important. So is sleep, but I didn’t getting much of that this weekend. I warned The Husband; Go away and find something to do off site or be prepared to suffer.

Fine dining while holding a one-ton animal on a string is kind of an art. When there was a mall across the street from us at South Gate we would have another driver hold the horse while you ran in and got something from the food court. Occasionally the Taco Cart People would park by the mall doors and their little boy would cross the street and take orders. He would deliver and we all tipped him. At 12 he was doing a brisk business. For a while now there has been nothing across the street but a very large hole. Mall to come in 2011, but that doesn’t do much good for us right now, so our options have been limited to the following:

Don’t eat
: Not the best diet plan, and for me on a day like last Friday where I went out at 1pm for a wedding and didn’t return to the barn until midnight or so. Not an option, especially if it’s cold. I need calories to burn to stay warm, and as much as I’d like them to come directly from my lurve handles, it never seems to work out that way. Bah!

Carl’s Jr: It is not unusual for a driver to take their carriage through the drive thru. I just don’t like anything Carl’s Jr. has. Now, if there was an Arby’s or Sonic within three blocks I would be all over that. The next closest fast food restaurants with drive ups are Wendys and Micky D’s, but they’re both about 6 blocks south and going more than 4 blocks for crappy food is my limit.

The most amusing part of using the drive thru is watching 6 or 7 employees cram themselves out that little window trying to pet the horse. Of course the looks on the faces of people in cars is pretty precious too.

J.B.’s: Right at the corner of West Temple and South Temple, it’s like Denny’s, but without the drunks dancing on the tables. The service is s l o w and by the time you get your food and run the ½ block back to South Gate it’s cold. $7.00 for a (cold) Hot Ham and Swiss? No thanks, I’m no gourmet but I don’t dumpster dive for a meal, either.

Dumpster Diving
: I suppose that’s an option. Sometimes we see what another driver has brought and make little trades, like you did in the cafeteria in school. It’s kind of the same thing.

Applebee’s Curbside To Go; They have one down at the Gateway, and the carriage fits quite nicely in the spot. A fabulous idea, and one I use a lot, but not when I’m driving carriage. Mostly you should use 2 hands to steer, and trying to slice up a steak, with plastic utensils while driving is a little rough, not that I’ve ever tried it.

Home Lunch; That’s the option I use most of the time, since, clearly, I’m pretty much out of options. During the winter refrigeration is not a problem. However, keeping your food from freezing is. Thursday night it turned quite chilly, and the Rice Krispy Treat I had was a little tough to knaw. Although in the winter we use our foot heaters, which run on charcoal. We have often times discussed bringing hot dogs or marshmallows, but no one has done so. Yet.

Delivery; Okay, so I’ve already blogged about “How to order a pizza” and have it delivered to South Gate, but I haven’t told you about our “Special Deliveries.”

During the Christmas Carriage Season, which begins the day after Thanksgiving and ends around New Year, we sit on the box (drivers seat) from 6pm until around 10, many times we are so busy that we never get a chance to climb down and eat, or stretch, or use the john. Fortunately, we have friends. Sometimes a driver who’s not working will hunt you down and give you a hot meal. Cheeseburgers from the dollar menu, burritos, something easy to eat. Does it taste good? Let me tell you, at that point, when you are near frozen, bored out of your mind from making the same circle for hours, tired and hungry, it’s the most delicious meal you have ever eaten. On occasion Gary and Raine will make Cowboy Stew (I don’t know if they use real cowboys or not and I’m never going to ask) Or Scooter brings a huge pot of chili, and once Lori and Glenn made Shepherds Pie, which was the best thing I have ever had. They hand it to you as you roll by. It’s delivered in a cup, with a spoon, and sometimes crackers or bread, often so hot you have to let it cool for a few minutes. And all of it tastes like a little bit of heaven.

Bill will come out once in a while and give me and ~A~ a pee break, but that’s another story.

So, as you can see, * Dining outside with a carriage and horse is quite a challenge. These days we just eat before we go out and then have “Breakfast” at 1am at the Dee’s at 2100 south and Redwood Road. It’s warm, dry, the food is hot, brown and there’s lots of it.

And if we want we can dance on the tables.

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