I chose my current residence with the goal of saving money to further pursue my endeavors. Though perseverance in a whole week of miserly doesn’t exactly nurture a calm that facilitates a productive workweek, or weekends that leave you dreading and anticipating the upcoming Monday.
Iced Starbucks with coasters made by local artist and sold at the Texas Folklife Festival, 2015.
Downtown’s potentially expensive. I realize the Starbucks a minute from work charges a little more, and “little” adds up to a good twenty bucks, if mainstream macchiatos are your thing. I also realize that amidst the quiet dives hiding behind salt rocks and contemporary abstract hotel sculptures, good deals can greet in the open. And if you’re working Downtown, a fulfilling though affordable Friday lunch can feed your weekend excitement A thing to look forward to on Mondays as you conquer your workweek.
I’m raving about the five dollar catfish buffet at Lone Star Cafe, off Losoya Street, by McDonald’s and Fuddruckers.
For some, Lone Star is a bit hard to find, but my first week of training, it was all coworkers and supervisors could recommend. On Fridays. No one ever asked if those in my cohort or myself were “fish people,” though I’m aware catfish has a tendency to polarize, depending on how it’s prepared. Breaded, blackened, seasoned, plain.
I typically say “meh” when it’s fried. Not at Lone Star.
I was informed it was a “catfish buffet,” so I thought I’d walk into a room filled with fine wood tables boasting heaps of golden batter on silver trays, livened with the glow of a modest flame and made approachable by five or six pairs of scattered tongs. This is what I’m used to when dining buffet style.
But as you walk down the street, there’s a host that greets you by an elevator painted white. You’re offered the choice of dining indoors, or out. I live near the unpopulated side of the Riverwalk, and already accustomed to what I call confetti-ized (or confetti-sized) tourism (the authentic calling your name in crowds of the gimmicky, and vice versa), I thought it refreshing to sit from above, look at the trees, and note all the colors down below.
Fortunately, my first trip was nothing like this past weekend, bogged down with flash flood warnings. I visited in early March.
I was told by the waiter that simply, I finish my plate, and he brings another. While I readied myself for a greasy feast all too iconic of Long John Silver’s, my fish arrived easily managed. You’re left to enjoy several pieces of modestly sized fish with a whiteness and flakiness that left me thinking, “This isn’t American catfish.” But it is.
Maybe, in limited experience, I’ve just had crappy catfish. I realized I arrived a bit judgmental. The admittance was repeated as I bit into a sweet roll. They’re not frozen.
In training, we were given fifteen minutes extra when walking out for lunch. So I used it the best I could, warming up, studying branches, craning my neck to hear what people were laughing about at the outdoor bar several steps down.
I didn’t have to ask, and my plate was replaced. And replaced. And replaced.
Actually, I sat through three plates of catfish, several inhalations of dough rightly baked, and playful dips in tartar sauce.
I can be iffy on tartar sauce. And restaurants. Tourism. Work.
I fished out my tip, feeling that my bill, in total, ought to have been around $14.99. It was a little over six after tax. And of course, add the tip that I prefer giving in dollar bills, quarters, and dimes.
Truly, there are places to foster my frugal hesitance. Some I’ve passed, everyday, unaware without the prodding of those who like me, dance for Friday, and sulk on Monday mornings.