I took a break from my grueling summer staycation for a business trip
to exotic Amarillo,
Texas. (Try to contain your jealousy.) I had never visited Amarilloother
than passing through in the middle of the night on my way to Colorado
ski resorts during my Clearasil-laden teen yearsso I was fairly
excited by the prospect, mainly of what I might find to eat there.
Before I went, I did a little research on the city and its history,
and I discovered that the city's name comes from a Spanish word meaning
"No, it has nothing to do with armadillos." I was also excited to
learn that Amarillo was historically a cattle-marketing center, which
meant that I would probably not go hungry.
And speaking of hungry, our flight landed at around 10:30 PM, and
other than a fun-size bag of subatomic airline pretzels, I hadn't
eaten any supper. It didn't help that our Uber driver's floorboard
doubled as a fast-food packaging landfill, so once we reached our
downtown hotel, even an armadillo sounded appetizingif I had
some ranch dressing for dipping. When I travel to a new city, I always
try to sample some quintessentially local cuisine, so, naturally,
I ordered a pizza from Domino's, with extra ranch dressing.
The next evening, after a full day of business tripping, my colleagues
and I attended a minor league baseball game at the impressive Hodgetown
ballpark, the home of the Sod Poodles. Before this trip, I wasn't
sure what a sod poodle was, but I was pretty sure it was an armadillo.
I was soon corrected by the team's website, which claims that "sod
poodle" is another name for a prairie dog. (I'm still pretty sure
it's an armadillo.)
I love the festive ambience of a live baseball game where I can eat
my way through all nine inningsand occasionally notice what's
happening on the gridiron, or diamond, or whatever.
The Right Field Picnic Patio gave us access to an all-you-can-eat
buffet of hamburgers, hot dogs, baked beans, potato salad, cookies
and soft drinks. By the time the buffet closed, I was absolutely stuffed,
so I could only manage a jumbo bag of roasted peanuts and a cranium-sized
scoop of butter pecan ice cream to get me through the rest of the
game. And to top it off, the Sod Poodles wonI think.
In all seriousness, I found downtown Amarillo delightful. The late
June weather was warm and dry with a cooling breeze, which was a welcome
change from summer in East
Texas, where you inhale a six pack of humidity if you dare go
Before heading to the airport on our last day, we grabbed lunch at
the excellent Blue Sky Texas. I had a plus-sized chicken sandwich
and a large pile of sweet potato friesfor health reasons. It
was a delicious end to a great trip.
I hope to return to the Amarillo area soon since I only caught a glimpse
this time around. Until then, I'll have fun memories anytime I order
Domino's pizza and put on my official Sod Poodles ball cap. (I still
say it's an armadillo.)