Goodbye Hello

Saturday morning dawned bright and early for us. I woke up with a start after dreaming that I’d missed my breakfast appointment with a friend, but it was only 6:28 and I had plenty of time to get ready.

In the meantime, I would have to watch my father drive away in the big Buick and know that he no longer had any real reason to drive down to Dallas, apart from a visit. Friday at 3:00 he finished, what should be, his very last in-classroom requirements for graduate school. The process has been long and drawn out (the papers are not all turned in yet, nor has he received official news of his completion of course requirements, so I suppose I should not speak too quickly, for fear of the Institutional Gods that Wage War against Students and All Other Helpless Creatures), but as it currently stands he will not need to enroll in any other graduate classes. We celebrated this GIANT milestone, in the best way we know how……

With Loads of Meat.

Jud is just talking in this picture, but it looks like he’s all “Whoa! That’s a lot of beef!”

Here’s how Fogo de Chao works. You make a reservation and then show up about an hour early for the reservation because you have not eaten on this day, in order to leave room for all the delicious meats, and you are hoping they can squeeze you in early [none of the aforementioned is required, but that’s just how we roll]. They can squeeze you in early! Hooray!

You are seated at a nicely set table and a lovely Brazilian (at least he smelled Brazilian…sweet and clean) gives you the low down, which is this:

There’s a salad bar in the middle and it is not like any other salad bar you can imagine. It is pretty magnificent. However, do not listen to the salad bar’s Siren Song. It will keep you from the real reason you’ve come.

The Meat.

I don’t remember which kind of meat this is. Good meat. That part I know.

Men wearing Gaucho pants (not the Express female version that make you want to scream, but the manly version…with BOOTS!…that make you think “Isn’t that authentic!”) bring around different kinds of meat on large skewers and then cut off pieces for you to enjoy. To let them know you want some meat, just use your handy meat Pokeman card. Green means — bring the meats!! Red means — enough already!! Also on your table will be mashed potatoes (good), fried bananas (delicious!), polenta (tastes too much like grease) and fabulous little pop-over, cheese-filled- bread-thingies (technical term).

(See that red card inbetween us on the table? That is the Meat Pokeman card. Later, after they took mine while clearing the plate I made sure Dad and Jud slipped theirs in their pockets)

Kim’s Consumed Meat
The House Specialty (a beefy thing) – good
Bacon Wrapped Filet (I ate two of them) – very good
Garlic Beef (also two and the second one was so tender it melted in my mouth) – excellent
Parmesan Pork (just like it sounds except more delicious than you can imagine) – excellent
Lamb Chop (with the mint jelly and I could move to the Middle East to eat like this) – excellent
Leg of Lamb (also with the jelly and the moving) – very good

I think that is all, but I could be missing something. It was all just amazing. I’m not even a gigantic meat consumer, but this place would have my neighbors eating cows.

After consuming the weight of two (possibly three) people in meat, we sat and enjoyed the amazing service some more. There was nothing for which to want. The servers were fabulous. The food was superb. It is my favorite restaurant in Dallas.

This is a big deal because I do not really care for any other all-you-can-eat restaurants, nor do I ever typically eat anything off of graze-at-will salad bars. But Fogo de Chao is no ordinary eat-til-you-drop meal. It comes with a hefty price tag that truly is worth every penny.

Now, of course, we’d gone there to celebrate the end of Dad’s schooling, but he wouldn’t let us help with all of those pennies (I’ve flown to Baltimore for the same amount), but there is no use fighting the man because he loves to do things for the people he loves (both my parents show their love through gifts and also time – though dad is more likely to hug, mom won’t ever pass one up, either…ah, the love languages of my parents. I bet you were wondering. 🙂

Filled with the meat and the happy and in keeping with the evening’s theme –excess– we drove to the biggest church in Dallas, so that we could all marvel.

It looks like a mall! But it’s a church! Marvel! Marvel!

Saying goodbye is always the worst part of the visit and the tears came hot and big, but we all sucked it up and away he drove.

Showers for the two of us and off we drove to Fort Worth!

We met Cheryl and her boys (plus one!) at the Cracker Barrel for breakfast (after she braved a few sheets of rain). It was so good to see her and hug her and those kiddos! And, amazingly enough, we were both hungry and ready for some breakfast.

When they got back on the road and we hopped back in our car too, we started scheming ways to get up to see them soon. How could we not go to visit these adorable faces?!

And then I slept and slept.

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    • Rebecca
    • June 26th, 2006

    We ate at a restaurant just like that in Brazil!! Ok, not just like that. Meat on swords – yes, Brazilian waiters (minus the Gaucho pants) – yes, meat so amazing that it actually melts in your mouth and your willing to pay plane tickets for it – almost. If you had added Guarana to your description of your restaurant then it would be perfect, and I think Rick would agree.

    • the Burgess family
    • June 27th, 2006

    Hi Kim. Just catching up on your blog, I haven’t read it in a while. Some very entertaining things on here, I like! That really is a lot of meat, how cool! nowhere good to eat like that here in little Lake city. Actually we went out for a pizza last nite and they forgot to put sauce on it somehow! And we totally agree about the My Space thing! Well, just wanted to say keep up the good blogging! we don’t get to update ours or read others as much as we’d like because the internet here is really slow and dorky. Talk to you later.

    • Kim
    • June 27th, 2006

    Rebecca – I forgot that part! We did have Guarana to drink and it was delicious. Also, they bought it to us in the can with a glass filled with ice and the waiters kept topping off our glasses with our own cans. It was all speedy and wonderful. Dad said that the same place in Brazil is like under $5 but not as fancy. I could live with out fancy if I could eat like that for under five bucks!

    Luke & Kit – Thanks for posting! I remember from my visit to Lake City, many moons ago, that although the place was filled with Texas license plates, there was not typical Texas opulence (which is a good thing to me). I think it was in Lake City where I ate at a Mexican place and the server was a really young Russian girl, who I got the sneaking suspicion may have been a mail order bride.

    • jenn
    • June 27th, 2006

    I was just realizing that I’ve not communicated with you in A WEEK!!! What in the world? But, much to my excitement, I find that you have finally taken our word for it and ventured into the land of Fogo de Chao. Though many doubt that food is good enough to warrant such a cost, I strongly stick to my guns! Fogo is AMAZING!!! Now, we can all save for many months and go for a celebration. I’m already pumped! Well, have a happy day. Let’s get together soon!

    • Rebecca
    • June 28th, 2006

    They had Guarana?!?!?!?? When I come visit you next spring break, we are totally going there to eat!! I’ll start saving up my money right away!

    • Jud
    • June 28th, 2006

    Rebecca:

    How about this. I’ll find a Brazilian food store down here, buy a ton of Guarana, and grill some meats…all for free?! That way you can come visit us sooner because you won’t have to store up money for ages. By the way, thank you for the pictures, we really had a great time getting to see you at the wedding.

    • Kim
    • June 28th, 2006

    Jen – I agree we should get together soon! I’m trying to work a deal right now to get out of town for the weekend and up to see our friends in Amarillo, so we might be gone for a bit. If my boss tells me n-o then we’ll have to find a fireworks show this weekend to enjoy some explosions (we’re used to buying some ourselves and going nuts, but those burn bans sure put a damper in attempting to blow up your hands)!

    Becca – I agree with Jud. Don’t worry about saving money for the restaurant and just COME SEE US!! Like, for Fall Break…ROAD TRIP!! Or, maybe SPRING BREAK or maybe BOTH!! We Miss You! Did I tell you that I got to see your graduation slide show because it was on the church laptop that my dad brought with him for classes? I LOVED IT! Totally crying and the whole bit.

    • Rebecca
    • June 29th, 2006

    Ok, ok, as long as there’s Guarana there then I’m good. I’m so glad you liked the slide show!! I’d send you the whole dvd if I didn’t think you’d be too bored. Fall break – I’ve marked my calendar.

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