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Column: All I need is a quick glance at the menu

June went by too fast for me.

While I was lucky enough to have some family come and visit, I didn't get out of the house nearly as much as I told myself I was going to. I must really change that in July and August. Even if it's just a day trip or a short overnight one somewhere, I need to get out of the house and explore.

Once I get through the stress of planning a trip and finding affordable options, I get very nervous before going anywhere. It's a strange feeling to get so much anxiety for something that I chose to do. Once I finally get on the road, I'm usually okay unless I'm driving through traffic, and then I can't make any promises about my behavior or the words that come flying out of my mouth.

I've always been the type of person who would rather drive than fly, so if it's within a 15-hour radius, I'm probably not getting on an airplane. Because of this, I will have some very long drives. While I always plan precisely where I will eat at my destination, I always try to find little restaurants and cafes when I'm on the road.

Some of the best meals I've eaten have come from little hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and it's always gratifying to find a hidden gem while supporting a small business.

When traveling with Melissa, she's always more than happy to stop at a little café, but she is far more adventurous than me regarding the menu. I always order the same two things on a road trip. It never changes and has probably been this way for nearly three decades.

When we stop for breakfast, I glance at the menu long enough to confirm they have ham and cheese omelets. As soon as I see that, I know exactly what I'm having. It's even better when I see that it comes with hash browns or home fries, and I have the option of sourdough toast.

When the food arrives, I often see Melissa smiling because she has ordered some amazing-looking steak and eggs dish or some creative breakfast special. I'm happy, too, because I'm in my comfort zone. I may need that when I'm traveling.

I've also got to stick to my routine when it comes to lunchtime, and it's always a club sandwich. I was going to a concert with a friend who was a short-order cook once, and he laughed and said the club was his least favorite thing to make. I just smiled and said, well, it's a good thing you are not cooking. We don't eat many clubs at our house, maybe once a year, but the moment I'm in the car, I start craving one like I last ate three days ago. When I was in my 20s, I could finish the entire sandwich without a problem; the other day, I tried to eat a full one and felt like a glutton after I had eaten ¾ of it and could barely move.

On the rare occasions that there isn't a club on the menu, I can navigate and get a cheeseburger, but only if the lettuce and tomato are not within a 15-hour radius of my plate. Something about cold vegetables on a warm burger makes me nervous.

Of all the times I've stopped and ordered one of those two things on a road trip, I can't remember ever having a bad meal.

Sometimes, I'm probably missing out on some incredible dishes, but I shouldn't try to fix it if it's not broken.

I often went to lunch with one of my favorite coworkers, and we would frequently talk about the beauty of a club sandwich. She then proceeded to tell me that it is always her husband's go-to order for lunch when they are on a road trip. I jokingly asked her if it was a ham and cheese omelet for breakfast, and she smiled and said yes. I wasn't sure if she was messing with me, but it made me feel like less of a weirdo on a road trip.

A few years later, I worked in Washington, and my former coworker and her husband contacted me. They said they were in the area on the way to see their son and suggested we meet for breakfast.

Her husband needed only a quick glance at the menu. There was so much joy in my eyes as he ordered the ham and cheese omelet. I guess she wasn't messing with me.

 
 
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