TRAVEL HERE: WATTER’S CREEK AND THE ALLEN OUTLET MALL
Having safely escaped the Lavender Festival, Deb and I pursued a couple of our favorite pastimes, holiday or no holiday – dining and shopping. Come along with us.
It Shouldn’t Have Been a Secret
I’d been keeping a secret from my bestie and didn’t even realize it. Watter’s Creek is a favorite haunt of my husband’s. The whole multi-purpose development is built around a charming open space. A grassy hill slopes down to a creek. Water fowl wander among gleeful children. A sampling of beautiful people hang out on the patios of a handful of restaurants surrounding the park. It’s a relaxing oasis from the hustle and bustle, with just enough hustle and bustle of its own to be entertaining. Many a Sunday afternoon Bill and I make our way to Watter’s Creek for an early supper. A quick perusal the pictures in my Facebook feed could verify that I’ve made several attempts to notify the world of this pleasant place to hang out.
There’s another reason I didn’t realize Deb was unaware of the charm of Watter’s Creek. Countless times we’ve shopped the Allen Outlet Mall and then gone to Watter’s Creek and had lunch at Brio, usually on the patio. I can’t begin to count the number of times Deb and I have lingered on that patio solving the world’s problems and venting over some of our more irritating challenges. I could have sworn that at least one of those meals ended at DSW, checking out the clearance racks, but I guess not.
As we discussed where to have lunch, we tipped our hat to Brio, but Deb was in the mood for adventure. When I told her there were other great restaurants in the same complex she gave me an accusing look. I’d been holding out on her! She thought the whole thing was an apartment complex with Brio and a Cheesecake Factory stuck next to the highway. She navigated her car to Watter’s Creek and I directed her around the side of our usual hangout and into the main shopping area. She immediately loved it. We parked in one of the garages and headed to a restaurant I had mentioned.
As we strolled, I realized the restaurant ratio at Watter’s Creek was rising. Bill and I had peeked in the window of the Village Burger Bar, but had never even seen Firewater Kitchen and Bar at the end of the row. Deb and I turned a corner headed to what I thought was Savor, a tasting restaurant Bill and I had enjoyed on one of our visits – but Savor had become The Cellar. It looked more barish than foodish, so I recommended we head around the corner to Bonnie Ruth’s Cafe.
At Bonnie Ruth we opted for the patio and almost immediately declared it our new favorite. One of the reasons Deb and I are such fast friends is that we love the same things and one of the things we really love is al fresco dining. If food is good inside a restaurant, it’s our opinion that it’s even better on the patio. Hubby will join me al fresco – if the weather is perfect, the sun is at the right angle and he’s in the mood. For Deb and I, there either has to be a snowstorm or pounding rain to deter us from choosing the patio. Otherwise we’ll at least try to convince the hostess to let us sit out there.
I’m glad to finally have someone who loves Bonnie Ruth the way I do. I’ve tried to indoctrinate Bill, but he’s resisted me. We’d visited the Frisco location several times and it just didn’t click with him. I’ve suggested it several times at Watter’s Creek, but he’s always more interested in the restaurants that border on the park, so he can watch the beautiful people and the ducks. So I sigh and follow him to another choice.
I even tried to get Mom to enjoy Bonnie Ruth’s back when we spent our Thursdays together. As most of you know, she now spends all her days on a higher plane, but I still keep a catalog of restaurants to try out on her. See, Mom loved to eat out, but had you been her chauffeur, as I was for many years, you wouldn’t think so.
Finding Restaurants for Ruth
Mom was perpetually on the look out for the perfect cafe. It needed to have sandwiches, soups and salads – and there were extra points for quiche. She didn’t want to stand in line to order. They should have tablecloths and eschew serving food in paper or plastic. Servers should be attentive and the price had to be right. That’s a pretty tall order.
Most sandwich and soup places, like La Madeline, Panera and Corner Bakery, start with a line, have bare table tops and the service never adds up. Then for some reason none of my other favorites, like Bonnie Ruth’s or Lavendou’s, passed her test. Lunch time would roll around and I would start listing every spot I could think of, but she’d keep that I-don’t-think-so look on her face until I thought I’d expire from exasperation. Then she’d happily settle for Cantina Laredo, Chili’s or some other place that didn’t match any of the criteria she’d spelled out for the perfect cafe. She didn’t do al fresco at all. I loved her, but not for the same reasons I love Deb!
Back to Bonnie Ruth’s Patio
So there I sat on a lovely patio drinking a glass of wine with my bestie. Heaven – short and simple. The food was good. I had a sandwich with poached pear and cheese on delicious bread. Deb thought she was ordering a Chicken Pecan Salad sandwich, but she ended up with just the salad. Both were delicious, but the poached pear number won the day. I’d tell you the name of it, but it’s not on the menu on their website. We topped it off with some insane chocolate cake drenched in praline sauce. No calories there, right?
After dessert we hit a few stores. One was DSW where I got four delightful pairs of shoes for about $60. In case math is not your strong point, that’s an average of $15 each. Bestie paid more than my total for one pair of shoes to work out in. No wonder I don’t like to exercise. Who wouldn’t rather have four pairs of shoes over one pair of sneakers!
Then we went on to our shopping mecca – Allen Outlet Mall. Warning, there is all kinds of construction going on there, so your visit will be painful, but your pocketbook will be happy. My two favorite stores are Cabi and White House/Black Market – and they didn’t disappoint this time either! WH/BM offered up a pair of leather and suede jeans -originally $450 – that I got for $19.99. There were a couple of pairs of leggings (suede fronts, stretch backs) that were originally $350 each – yep I got them for $19.99. A pair of black capri’s and a black divided skirt wanted to come home with me for similar prices. Cabi was having a 50% off sale that included clearance, so I dropped a few dimes there, too. How can I resist buying size six trousers?
So, I went a little long today, but it was a fun day. See you next week!