Utter disappointment even to a guy with low standards. The mashed potatoes were cold, despite being held in a bain marie. The macaroni and cheese was bland, despite being 90% butter and cheese. The fried chicken wasn't crispy, despite being breaded and deep fried to kingdom come. The apple pie was soupy and the rice-crispy treat was stale, despite being mircowaved right out of the box. You get the idea: I would have had a better meal straight out of a 7-11 convenience store.
I remember enjoying visits to the Corral when I first moved to the area, but that was back when I ate more for cost effective quantity, not quality, lovingly referring to myself as a "human garbage disposal," which certainly was not a far cry from the truth. Not that much has changed in the 9 months following, only having read a few memoirs of actual chefs and spent a whole, entire week at culinary school. I suppose the down trodden, sub-middle-class, vanquished-spirit mothers of screaming children had something to do with my mood. Or maybe it was that my parents were on their way back to CA after their week long stay and I spent, at best, a few hours with them. I remember feeling hungry as I went in, and full as I left, but everything consumed in between I'm trying to forget.
The only saving grace for the meal (of course) was my beautiful wife and I laughing at the disfunctionality of the mother-daughter combo sitting to the side of us, and (also of course) my unrelentingly adorable niece and nephew. Conner, the latter, would suddenly lock eyes with me and belt out "you're a train!", the sheer comedic genius throwing him into a sharp fit of forced laughter. You just can't help but feel your spirit lifted in their presence.
My credo goes something along the lines of: good food, good drink, and good company. One out of three tonight... (I had water)