Monday, July 21, 2008

Summer vacation

We just got back from a little jaunt to Missouri and hit some local joints along the way.

Our lodging of choice was Dogwood Acres Resort in Sunrise Beach, MO. We had a little one bedroom cabin with a balcony overlooking the lake, and spent some nice time sitting there visiting and watching the boats.
A short walk around the property took us to their boat launch, where we let our dog play in the water. She had a blast.

Our first night, we hit Ozark BBQ in Sunrise Beach for dinner. I had a margarita, which I think might have been a little heavy on the sweet and sour, but had a nice neon fish in it for fun garnish.
We decided to sit inside in the back dining room, where the atmosphere was OK, but it was terribly humid and hot outside and we were looking forward to some A/C.
I ordered the BBQ chicken, which was a half chicken, smoked and topped with a hearty helping of their dark BBQ sauce. I also ordered some green beans and baked beans for my two sides.
StfRon chose a full rack of ribs, half wet, half dry. He envisioned getting two half racks so he could judge the merits of each, but instead the meal came out with one full rack, half being doused in sauce.
The meats had a nice smoked flavor and everything was good, and the employees we ran across were very nice and friendly.

On our way back to Dogwood, we stopped at a bar called Neighbor's Landing in Sunrise Beach for a drink. The interior was clean with walls lined with diagonal tongue in groove wood and Keno was being broadcast on the bar TV. The four patrons at the bar were having a bit of a heated discussion about a neighborhood snafu in which the police had been called on one of the customers, who now was apparently on the outs with his neighbor, who he used to be friendly with.
So that night, at least, Neighbor's was the place to grouse about your neighbor. We quickly finished our drink and headed back to our cabin.

The next day we set off in search of Dog Days Inn in Kaiser, MO to drop off our pooch for the day.
After winding down some country roads, we found the place, and were greeted by a nice lady who was holding down the fort for the owner.
We found a large room filled with dogs happily ensconced in cubicles. We leaned over one and played with Ladybug, a happy yellow lab mix.
We decided to leave our dog at Dog Days until the end of the day, which was a bargain, plus kept her out of the heat for the day. We waved at her out the front window as we headed to the car.

We then were off to look for On the Rise Bakery, which StfRon had seen in a travel guide in our cabin.
We drove by it a few times but finally noticed the bakery in Osage Beach.
Looking at the menu in the bistro, there were so many things I wanted to try, but I settled on a breakfast flatbread, topped with eggs, Parmesan cheese and sausage, served with a small cup of fruit. It was delicious.
StfRon ordered biscuits and gravy and upon sampling a bite, I found the biscuits to be fluffy and wonderful, and the gravy quite good.
I really wanted to come back for another breakfast or at least some dessert, but it was not meant to be for this trip.

Our next stop: the Bagnell Dam area and the strip in Lake Ozark. We walked through the arcade and tried our hand at the mystery maze, then toured Crazy Cousin's Cabin.
We drove over the dam, and then headed back to Osage Beach for a while.

We went to pick up our GPS at the cabin, then stopped at Bambooze in Sunrise Beach to check out their menu for dinner possibilities. It looked like a winner, but the music was a bit loud for us in the bar, especially for early afternoon. We figured the outside "Tiki" bar would be an option.
Strangely enough, our bartender at Bambooze knew Peoria well and used to play for the Peoria Chiefs about three years ago.

The oppressive heat during much of the trip kept our hunger at bay, but we decided to stop by the Topsider and hit the Poopdeck in Osage Beach. We had some fruity drinks and appetizers, then changed into our suits and headed up to their deck pool to cool off. Shortly we were the only ones in the pool, which was nice and relaxing.

Next we headed off to pick up our dog a bit early. On the way back to our cabin, we stopped by Paradise Tropical Restaurant and Bar in Sunrise Beach, again to check dinner menus. This place seemed pretty laid back and more our speed, so we decided it would be the place.
When we got back later, the dining room had filled up, but we still got a table near the expansive windows where we could enjoy the view and the breeze.
We both went for the buffalo chicken tender sandwich, which was good enough, and I had the black bean salad, which was just black beans, corn and peppers.
We had some trouble getting our bill when we were ready to go, due to our waitress being pretty busy, but all worked out well in the end.

The next morning, we set out for Camdenton and breakfast at the Wee Chef. The exterior of the place has seen better days, but inside is tidy, if a hair dated.
The breakfast was good, scrambled egg for me with hash browns, bacon and a biscuit with a side of gravy. Normally I don't eat biscuits and gravy, but someone had complimented them on the web, so I wanted to check them out. StfRon had eggs over medium with biscuits and gravy, sausage and toast.
The bacon was pretty ordinary, but everything else was very good. I had covered my scrambled egg in pepper, used to the lame pepper most restaurants offer, only to find that the pepper used there had some kick to it, which was a nice surprise.
The meal was also a great bargain and the service was good.

Next stop, Ha Ha Tonka State Park in Camdenton. We did some hiking and checked out the ruins of a castle built in the early 1900s.

After that, we headed back to Lake Ozark in search of a banana split, which we vowed we were going to share on this trip.
We found one at the shop next to Peace Frogs. The chocolate ice cream tasted good to me, but the rest fell flat. I really think that the heat messed with my appetite and taste buds on this trip.

For dinner, we decided to try JB Hook's in Lake Ozark. The menu looked interesting, and they also allowed cigar smoking in their lounge.
We were told there would be a 30 minute wait for a table, which sounded great. After about 15, we were called to be seated.
Upon walking past the hostess station, I was stunned by the expanse of windows surrounding the dining room, giving a great view of the lake.
We were seated and made our selections; prime rib for StfRon and pork tenderloin for me, with portobella mushrooms in a Cabernet reduction.
For sides, I chose green beans and salmon bisque and StfRon had the twice baked potato.
The bisque was slightly sweet and tasty, but I didn't finish it all. I was initially torn between that and the French onion, and was wondering if the French onion would have been better.
The pork was tender and juicy, but I think my taste buds were still off and the reduction just seemed so so. I never really worked up any appetite on this whole trip.
Our service was not the greatest in the dining room, as our server kept disappearing for long stretches of time or taking quite a while to bring by some horseradish that had been ordered with our meal.
The bartender in the lounge, though, was courteous and prompt, and we enjoyed a glass of wine there before heading back to our cabin for the night.

On our way home the next day, we tried to stop at Super Smokers in Eureka, MO. They were closed, but right down the road a bit we saw Phil's Bar B Que. We stepped in and ordered some carryout: a spicy brisket sandwich and a pulled pork sandwich topped with cole slaw and a side of baked beans to go. We chatted with owner Phil while we waited, and found him to be a friendly chap.
The food was good and soon we were back on the road headed for home sweet home.

I think it was a little difficult for us to slow down the pace a bit on our trip. We toyed with leaving a night early because we didn't feel like there was enough to do. We normally go go go on trips. But taking it easy on the balcony and enjoying the pool at the resort and the Poopdeck made for a nice addition to the rest of the things we got to do.

1 comment:

Hotz' said...

Silly silly! The Lake is all about taking it easy! And how crazy is it that you went to Camdenton - my cuz lived there for a few years - not much in that little town but they have a rocking fire department. *winks*