Next to being in your own home with family, the next best place is someplace where the people make you feel at home.
Besides the homes of relatives & good friends, I’m also referring to your favorite restaurant.
Those can be the best places, too!
They make you feel special & somehow, the food even tastes better!
When we first moved to San Antonio on Halloween ‘93…how prophetic, some would say…we stayed at the beautiful Hyatt Regency Hill Country Resort not too far away as we waited for the moving van to arrive.
In fact, when we came down to SA a month or so earlier to house-hunt & get to know the area better, we also planted ourselves at this same gorgeous resort for 3 days…
…even though we bought the 2nd house we looked at!
Look, it was, like, 168° in the shade, we were sweating our, er, my nuts off & coming from NY, we weren’t exactly used to this oven weather in late September!
I wanted a 15-20 minute (max) drive to work so when we found this exquisite David Weekly home within that desired radius, that was it!
OK, back to the Hyatt Hill Country Resort & Spa…
We fell in love with this gorgeous place & would go back EVERY SINGLE WEEKEND for either the Friday (home cooking) or Saturday (seafood) evening buffets at their Springhouse Cafe. They were unbelievable feasts!
This became standard practice for months & months on end!
Once, about a year in, we skipped one weekend entirely (for whatever reason). I believe we have have flown back to NY…for a haircut actually, but I’ll say to visit family & friends! 😉
When we returned the following Friday evening, we were greeted by the very sweet hostess, Lauren, with “Oh, Mr. & Mrs. LoRusso, we missed you last week! It’s so good to see you again!” In addition, many of the wait staff stopped by our table to say hello & ask if everything was all right.
Geeeez, they made us feel like dignitaries…as well as members of their family!
They were really so sweet.
We continued the tradition for at least a few years, only missing an occasional weekend every now & then.
And that doesn’t count the many times that we actually stayed at the resort! (Note: We lived only 10 mins away.)
And whenever we had an upcoming trip back to NY booked for the near future, we were sure to let them know in advance so they wouldn’t worry about us!
Being more than halfway across the country, having no other family nearby & needing to make new friends everywhere, including work, it was always so comforting to go have a wonderful meal, surrounded by such nice & friendly people.
I wasn’t gonna include this next piece for fear that someone at the hotel may get into trouble, but then I remembered, “You’re talking about stuff that happened like 25 years ago, dummy!”.
OK, so we’re having the buffet one evening (might’ve been early ’95 so we’re definitely bonafide regulars by now…they even gave us fancy gold name tags like the employees wear!) when it was…
*BTW, that last part was NOT true!*
…time for us to get the check.
2 adult/1 child buffets, 4 foo-foo drinks (probably frozen strawberry Margaritas), dessert, soda…our bill, with tax, was probably ~$100-$110.
Our (semi-)regular waitress, Kelly, hands me the check for something like $16…a child buffet & a soda.
Upon taking a peek (ironic since most of the time I’d just hand her my card), I immediately hand it back to her.
“Kelly, I think you gave us someone else’s bill.”
Not missing a beat, she instantly replies, “No, Mr. LoRusso, that is definitely yours!”.
Though I may be slow at times & I didn’t see her give me “the ol’ nod & wink”, I realized exactly what she was doing!
I’m fairly good at math so I figured out exactly how much 💰 she was saving me so I split the difference with her.
She got a $50 tip.
Same thing the following weekend. (BTW, we would usually go either Friday or Saturday night, but a few times, we did the weekend doubleheader.)
The “clincher” came about a month or so later when we arrived & I asked Lauren (the hostess) if Kelly was available.
“Oh, I’m so sorry, Mr. LoRusso, but she’s off this weekend. Is there someone else you’d prefer?”
“No, it doesn’t matter. It’s just that she’s been our favorite for so long now!”
I tried not to weep, at least, not noticeably.
“I’m sure that Karen here will be most happy to serve you. This way, please.”
Food was superb (their stuff was always off-the-hook with such a wide selection to satisfy absolutely any palate).
As were the drinks…and the company, naturally!
As was the bill!
“Winner, winner, chicken dinner!!!” 🏆 🥇
(The statute of limitations ran out a long time ago. Besides, I was coerced into this scheme.
Probably was a set-up.
No wonder I never made SVP…)
As always, thank you so very much for listening!