Friday, May 27, 2011

Who Rocks? Lou Rocs! Part 2 of the Worcester Diner Series

I ventured outside of my normal Shrewsbury Street area diner choices to check out the next installment of the Worcester Diner Series. Lou Rocs is on the out-skirts of Worcester (so much so that it is practically West Boylston, but Google confirms that it is actually in Worcester).  My cousin, Jen and her family LOVE this place.  She had been raving about it for months, so we picked a Sunday morning to battle the crowds and check it out.

This place is unbelievably popular.  From the exterior, it is a little deceptive.  A more recent addition masques the classic diner look that surprises you once you enter the building.  The newer section provides much need extra seating, but it bums the preservationist in me out to lose that classic store front.

There were 5 of us in our party, so we expected a bit of a wait.  My husband, Jackson took to antagonizing my cousin's 6-year-old son, Brayden, while I got the inside scoop on the menu from Jen and her husband Chris.  While there wasn't really a comfortable waiting area, it didn't feel awkward and to our surprise, they were able to seat use fairly quickly.

To my delight, we were placed in the older section of the diner, across from the classic twist top stools, where regulars have their coffee and chat with the cooks while they fry up their bacon, eggs and home-fries.  It's a snug area, but it's part of the diner charm.

I'm told that the omelets are to die for, but my choice was made for me when I saw cranberry walnut pancakes on the table. They were delicious.  The service was quick, friendly and attentive. Brayden had a blast, so they carry the kid friendly seal of approval.  Jackson's coffee cup was never empty, so it also receives the bottomless-mug seal of approval. Many diners have fallen short of the bar he sets when it comes to free coffee refills.

Warning: If you are a big fan of personal space, I'd look for a different place to dine. Lou Roc's is a cozy place that sometimes requires you to become well acquainted with your neighbor.  It's totally worth it though.

The portions are more than generous. The waitress was even kind enough to warn me that I really only wanted to order 1 or 2 pancakes, because the full stack would have been obscene.  Normally, this might bother me. I really do love food and probably could have, on a good day, finished the larger portion.  However, it was to the benefit of my thighs, waist, hips, tummy and bottom that I took her advice.  Even with the smaller portion, everyone left stuffed to the gills and smiling.

So my overall rating of Lou Roc's:  A great diner and lively atmosphere, but it isn't stealing the Boulevard's spot as reigning Worcester Diner.

Until next time!!!

<3 K

Friday, May 13, 2011

A gift certificate for a door and a suitini.

Two weeks ago (I know, I'm a blogging slacker), my bride-to-be, cousin, Jill and I embarked on a journey. This adventure had the two of us dodging traffic, traversing seas of ottomans, following mysterious yellow arrows, and riding freight elevators - luckily there was a free cocktail involved!  Jill was my date to the Worcester chapter of Dress for Success's annual Girls Night Out fundraiser at Rotman's furniture. 

Being the health conscious, active women we are, and by that I mean, because we were in a post-Panera guilt trip and the possibility of a cocktail or 3 left neither of us wanting to play designated driver, the two of us walked to Rotman's from my apartment.  The weather was nice, the company was pleasant, and a few of Worcester's finest lechers were honking and hollering at us unassuming girls walking down the street.  Oh, how I've missed honking season in Worcester.  If you haven't experienced this annual event, it's really eye-opening.  As soon as the weather gets nice, men of all ages and lacking any civility, give themselves a free pass to whistle, cat-call, and honk at any and all women out for a walk. Stay classy, Worcester. Another one of my epic tangents, but let's continue shall we?

We arrive at Rotman's about an hour after the start of the event.  It's pretty quiet in the front lobby. After a cursory glance, I walk over to the customer service desk to ask about the event, where the rep points at a sign right behind me... with balloons attached.... I didn't feel stupid, at all. We follow the balloons, winding our way through the store. Now, for those of you who have never shopped at Rotman's, the place is a maze.  It several floors of sprawling showroom. It's a child's wonderland with DO NOT TOUCH plastered all over the place.  There is no logic to it's layout, but don't worry there is a sales rep every 10 feet waiting to ask you if you need any help and point you in the right direction and walk you to the next rep and follow along a few feet after that. The customer service overkill was only further exacerbated by fact that these individuals were standing next to the signs for the event, also adorned with balloons marking the path and the HUGE YELLOW (I think... it has been two weeks) ARROWS lining the floor.  Oh the redundancy...

We finally arrive at the event location (having left our trailing entourage at the elevator doors) and paid our admission fee. It was a $30 per person donation to Dress for Success, a non-profit organization that provides interview suits, confidence boosts, and career development to low-income women.  I dig this cause and really admire it's mission, so I was happy to pay. With admission, you get access to several jewelry, clothing, and accessory vendors set up throughout the floor, your name entered into the raffle for a plentiful array of door prizes, and a Suitini, the designated cocktail of the evening. 

Jill and I decide to forgo browsing until we had a cocktail in hand.  We made our way to the bar (supplied and manned by KJ Baaron's - see earlier post) and asked for our Suitinis.  I assumed this was a themed cocktail for the event and pronounced this beverage as a "Suit-ini" -get it, suit as in business suit, as in Dress for Success- however, I stand corrected.  It is a Suite-ini -  I honestly thought they were stretching it a bit with that name UNTIL I tasted the drink and my lips puckered and eyes squeezed shut of their own accord due to the sickly-sweet flavor.  Needless to say, not my favorite drink.  So, we sipped gingerly, to say the least.

We browsed the vendors for a while. There were a lot of cute options: flip-flops with fascinators, some beijo bags, fine jewelry, funky clothes, tiffany-esque lamps, etc.  We weren't really looking for anything in particular, but I found at least a few things I wouldn't mind owning. After about 20 minutes we made our way back to the front because they were starting the raffle.  There were probably 25 items donated.  We listened and pouted as they called off each prize. 

We were chatting quietly when I heard the hostess call out, "A gift certificate for a door!" Jill had obviously heard it to because she was wearing the same baffled expression I was sure was plastered on my face. And then again we hear, "A gift certificate for a door!" Luckily, we didn't win that one, but we remained puzzled. They took a raffle break and we decided to wander to the few of the vendors we had missed on our first lap. I was soon drawn in by a cute dress hanging on one of the racks.  While I admired the outfit, I overheard the owner chatting with another customer. She said her shop was fairly new and located on Pleasant Street.  This seemed familiar to me.  My mother loves the new boutique on Pleasant Street called Adore'....oh man. Adore' = a door.  I laughed and told Jill of my revelation. She was also amused.  I introduced myself to the woman (whose name escapes me) and explained that my mother loves her shop.  She looked at me and said, "Oh my goodness, you are Mary Ellen's daughter! Congratulations! Your wedding pictures are beautiful!" ... yup. Thanks, Mom another random stranger has seen my wedding photos -awesome.

After a lovely chat with the owner of Adore', whose seen my wedding pictures and loves my mom, the raffles started up again.  Much to our surprise, Jill won! She is now the proud owner of a gift certificate for a manicure and facial at a local salon.  I am not a winner, but Jill's win was good enough for the both of us.  On the way out, Jill and I managed to some how decide to host a Stella and Dot Truck show fundraiser - the things I will agree to for a great necklace....  a fitting ending to a lovely evening.

It seemed like the fundraiser was a great success and all of the ladies had a blast. Well done, Worcester, but a word of advice - file the Suitini next to the Cosmo on the shelf of bad cocktail trends ;-)

Until next time....
<3 K