In recent years, my range of tastes has changed and expanded, which to me is for the better. There's things I wouldn't touch as a teen or young adult that now I'm quite happy to find on my dinner plate. Common foods like lettuce or baked potatoes weren't a part of my diet then but now I eat them regularly. One of those such foods that in the past year I've decided that I do like after all is vinaigrette dressing. While I'm still not a huge fan nor have I sampled enough to deem myself a connoisseur of the vinaigrette, I tasted one recently that really got my attention. After hearing about Nearly Famous Deli & Pasta House in Springfield, Missouri, from a couple of very trusted foodie friends for at least a year, I finally got to visit the restaurant myself. They're ravings didn't go unwarranted. From the quiche to that amazing dressing, I was quite impressed with the quality of food served as well as the right sized portions. Nearly Famous isn't the "24 ounce cheap cut steak for $8.95" type place, but a bustling busy deli, noisy and active with reasonable portions and quality ingredients even an amateur foodie will appreciate. Between the delicious lunch and a good hotel, I was so pleased that I'm still trying to think of an excuse to go back to Springfield.
Speaking of the hotel, it was the first time in years I've had a chance to stay at a Residence Inn. Just pulling into the hotel lot in Springfield I was impressed with the exterior of the place; rarely do chain hotels have texture and style beyond stucco in one of about nine shades of bland. If they're feeling funky, the architect might leave a provision for a second shade of blah to add a little contrast. The hotel room was spacious with a comfortable living area and kitchen space, a usable size desk (sans one of those annoying glass tops) and a completely separate bedroom and bath space. The open space of the room was refreshing, and with a rainy night it made for a relaxing stay. The included free breakfast had plenty of options, better than I have come to expect from most hotels "free continental breakfast." The icing on the cake was the price, as I know I've often spent more for a whole lot less in both square footage or overall quality. (I did not take the photo at right; the hotel gave an accurate portrayal for once on their website, so I thought it worth posting here.)
We made one other noteworthy meal stop, that was dinner at Flame. The contemporary decor definitely sets the mood for a relaxing and intimate conversation over a good meal. The food was good but I found the steak to be overly salty. The quality of ingredients used was very good and the signature desert featuring a concoction of various fruits and pastry was immense but too delicious to not attempt to consume it all. It's not a regrettable choice for dinner, but I'm looking forward to trying other restaurants in the area too.
Now my friends are talking about yet another restaurant and giving it rave reviews. Oh well, I guess I just found another excuse to go back to Springfield. As if I need an excuse to travel and eat well...