The place has only gotten better because the lines are down from about 2 hours when it opened to only about 15 minutes today (zero at the bar). We walked there, despite the fact that our Olive Garden is in Manhattan's horrendous new "downtown redevelopment" area — which, when I moved here, I stupidly thought meant a combination of shops, restaurants and condos that at least suggested a downtown (within certain corporate constraints) but in fact meant a bunch of suburban-style big boxes including Petco. I wonder what percantage of Olive Garden patrons walk to their meal?
Now a few words from Jeanine: Anyway, today's culinary exerience was quite different than the one our wonderful friends Aaron and Tara treated us to last night. They took us to the RowHouse in Topeka, KS. I'm quite sure the row of adorable houses that included the restaurant are the only ones of their kind left in Topeka. We estimated that ~5 people live in the houses, which is roughly 0.0004% of the 125,000 inhabitants of the capitol city. However, the restaurant was fantastic, serving local ingredients and allowing you to sample each of the 3 entrees on the menu as part of a prix fixe. To top it off, they pour a very generous port. When in Topeka, you know where to go. Hopefully the economy will have recovered and the lawyer who served us will be making enough lawyering not to moonlight.
Other highlights during the week included Canadian Thanksgiving at Bonnie and Jim's (do they even celebrate this holiday on Corner Gas?), fantastic home-smoked ribs and bone marrow brushetta at Sam's, visting Bonnie and Jim's horses (well ok Bonnie's; Jim was out of town and she couldn't convince his horse to come back to the stables with her), and a great trail run at the Konza Prairie.
Last weekend I set a 5K PR. By more than 3 minutes. Of course, that second part might tell you that something was amiss (as would my time of 15:32). My watch measured the course at 2.58 miles, or more than a full half mile short. If I wrote awhile ago that I like small-town racing because I can actually win sometimes, I don't like the fact that some races can't even manage to measure a proper course with a Garmin. I mean c'mon, even Google Maps would come a lot closer than that. But the good news is that I was on track for a real PR, and indeed I had more in the tank — I didn't even get to sprint to the finish because it sort of sprang up on me. I managed a 3rd-place plaque ... which, I think it's safe to say, would have been higher if a bona fide Olympian had not decided to run the race (really, this guy, a KSU grad, ran the 800 meters for the USA at the 2008 games; we're not talking Olympic trials here).
Off to the Little Apple's Oktoberfest.