I swear, I meant to eat the salad. Really, I did. It's just an old-fashioned house salad with iceberg lettuce (romaine or even spinach would be yummier), shredded carrots (mmmm, great way to get extra Vitamin A), radishes (can anyone tell me what the purpose of a radish is?), cucumbers (you know I'm not gonna eat those, either), and THE WORLD'S BEST WINE AND CHEESE DRESSING EVER! After a morning spent Christmas shopping in the shopping equivalent of Podunk, USA, I decided I deserved a Christmas shopping lunch. Now, generally, if you make the hour drive to Fairview Heights to shop in a variety of stores, you also get to eat at Olive Garden or Red Lobster if there are no kids with you (with kids, you can bet Chuck E. Cheese or Red Robin will be requested). Are you getting the idea about shopping trips? If you have to shop, it sure is fun to make the trip out of town. Unfortunately, our small town is never going to get bigger or better stores if we all keep spending our money out of town.
Hmmph. Christmas is about the only time I ever go shopping in a true sense of the word, and by golly, I want to have fun going to real department stores, slipping into the bookstore for a minute, heading by Krispy Kreme for donuts and coffee, and deciding which of the many different stores I want to grace with my presence and pocketbook.
So, it was not without a tad bit of regret that I chose to stay close to home this morning and do my Christmas shopping in town. Wal-Mart is our biggest store, no getting around that. Toys, shoes, popcorn tins, and kids clothes purchased there will at least mean locals keep their cashier jobs. Goodman-Meares Welding Supply was a big hit! Found my little brother's presents, no problem! Another locally owned establishment shall remain un-named, however, since they don't take credit cards. . .that's all I brought, and I didn't see the sign until I'd spent half an hour browsing and choosing some cool gifts. Drat. Kirlin's Hallmark worked out fine, though. They get a big pat on the back from me today!
This is where the coconut cheesecake comes into the story. Ahhhhhh. Mmmmmmmmm. Got my shopping day treat, after all. Centralia may not have many stores, but it sure does have Jerry's (formerly known as Jerry's Bigger Jigger, in which the decor was as gaudy as the name, LOL, but that's another story)! Jerry's is the home of the finest homemade cheesecake in the world! The coconut cheesecake, slathered with whipped cream and built upon an incredible cookie/graham/sugar crust, is the silkiest, most sensuous dessert your tongue will ever know. I "forced" myself to eat some of the cheeseburger first (by the way, that wine and cheese dressing that was intended for the salad made a very tasty addition to the cheeseburger on the toasted bun).