16 March 2006

Lunch with a Rogue Roodfooder

My name is not Al Gore, and I did not invent the Internet. I have, however, had web and email access for as long as I can remember, and have participated in many of the advancements to our society brought forth by such technology. I used email when it was *gasp* text-only! For that matter, I used espn.com when it was text-only. I have bought and sold stuff on eBay. I have instant messenger accounts with four major food groups. And, of course, I have used online dating services (mostly with less-than-pleasant results). But, except for a few people that I met from online dating, I haven't really "met" too many of the people I know from online life in person.

Tuesday, I had the fortunate opportunity to dine with someone I had only known previously from interactions in an online chat forum at roadfood.com. "Bushie" met me for lunch and a short tour around his home town area in northern Round Rock and Georgetown, Texas. Bushie suggested the Monument Cafe in Georgetown, which has been recommended by the Sterns.

I don't know if my picture taking is getting any better, but I do like the looks of the sky above the Monument!

If you want to see the food, continue below...
Service in this diner-esque place is quick and attentive. We were seated almost immediately, even though the place was doing a brisque lunch business at around 11:30 am. I got the impression that the place is probably frequented by many local regulars, but you are immediately given the impression that there are no strangers here for long.

Monument serves their full dinner menu after 11 am and has lunch specials daily. Bushie ordered the smothered steak, which was accompanied by Yukon Gold mashed potatoes and asparagus. I was more in the mood for a burger, and found a 6 oz. Kobe beef bacon cheeseburger. One of the options for burger sides was "half and half" -- half an order of fries and half an order of onion rings. As I had previously been advised that the onion rings were notable, I opted for the combo sides.

You will also see a fresh glass of iced tea on the table. One of my favorite things about the Monument is that the server is ever-present with tea refills -- long before your glass reaches empty. They don't just walk around with a pitcher and top-off, they offer a fresh glass, with garnish, without asking, from the time we ordered until well after the bill was paid.

Both of us agreed that the meals were good -- not overwhelmingly spectular, but surely passable. Looming over our heads was the dessert menu, however, and here is where the Monument excelled.

In the foreground is the Monument Cafe's famous chocolate pie. Hey, if Michael Stern says so, then who am I to argue? I am, however, jealous that he takes a much better picture than I do! On the back/right is a slice of hummingbird cake. I admit to never having heard of this specialty, but was told that it included pineapple, cinammon, mashed bananas, and pecans in a cake covered with a cream cheese frosting. I don't know if it is clear from the pictures, but the chocolate pie also includes a thick pecan crust, which makes for a fabulous flavor combination.

After the meal, Bushie showed me around some of the residential areas of Georgetown. I am a closet fan of older architecture -- especially churches and the like. We passed by Southwestern University, which also offers some splendid architectural views.

All in all, an excellent meal with great company. Bushie is only the second person I have ever met from roadfood.com, but both experiences were surely ones that would make me want to meet more folks who share the same love for food not offered by corporate purveyors. I look forward to my next such encounter.

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