What in the world you say? This was the beginning of our brief weekend getaway to Murray, Arkansas and what would be a brief stay in paradise.
A little back story is due, as it is needed to set up this entry. A few months ago, some friends of ours suggested we take a vacation together. They always go up to Northwest Arkansas to go canoeing on the Buffalo River and wanted us to join them. We had missed their previous invite because Lily was too young to leave with anyone for an extended period of time. So, being the outdoors type of people we are not, we agreed to three days of “roughing” it in Arkansas.
At that time we got online and found a cabin for our stay as well as the canoe rental arrangements. The Turtle Rock Retreat was slated as a nice little place in Murray Valley, Arkansas. We had no idea where it was and only a few pictures online but decided it was the place for us while on vacation.
So with all the child care arrangements made, suitcases packed and final preparations made we loaded up on Friday and headed north. After a brief stop in Camden, Arkansas at my sister in laws to drop of Lily, we were on our way. Eight hours in a truck into what we referred to as “deliverance country”, insert your own version of dueling banjos here.
The stop in Camden put us a little behind schedule on lunch and we tried to make it up by stopping at the first Mexican restaurant we saw in Benton, Arkansas. Why Mexican you ask? We had a pregnant woman on board and nothing else would do. She was bent on having Mexican and they knew of the restaurant from previous trips through the area.
Our “Mexican” restaurant was the La Hacienda in the big town of Benton. Wow, um, interesting. I should have known right away it would be bad when all they had was instant tea, but things got worse as the salsa was not hot but sweet. That is just altogether wrong! Strike one!
We reviewed the lunch menu and selected something safe, enchiladas and tostados. Pretty basic, meat, cheese, lettuce, onions, tomatoes and sauce, boy was I wrong. Our plates arrived, piled high with lettuce, tomatoes and onions, none of which I am just thrilled about, but that was the least of my worries. Once I unearthed the food from the fluff, there sat one sad little enchilada with some brownish-red sauce. Ok, I thought chili sauce, not so bad, let me try it out. Instantly as the food hit my tongue, my nose and taste buds screamed STOP! What I thought was chili sauce tasted strangely like a sweet honey BBQ sauce. Not that there is anything wrong with BBQ sauce, just not on my Mexican food. Unfortunately, my wife suffered the same fate as she ordered them too.
The pregnant woman though we were just being difficult because she picked the restaurant but we let her try the food and with one bite she was on board with us. She knew it was wrong too. Thankfully her and her husband had ordered other foods and was ok but we were left to pick through our food and eat what we could. Ok so with two strikes! I paid my bill and hoped for a better dinner, La Hacienda would not be a future choice for any of my Mexican needs. On our way out of the place, the establishment suffered its third strike and was immediately thrown out!
As we walked out, with the taste of BBQ sauce in my mouth, I grabbed a “mint” from the basket. In most restaurants they provide after dinner mints, peppermints or something similar to mask the breath you obtained while dinning in their establishment. Well this place was not different; they had a basket of red mints and a basket of green mints. I opted for green thinking, wintergreen or spearmint. This is where I suffered my second assault on my taste buds in thirty minutes as the wintergreen mint was LIME! Immediately upon this discovery, I made a funny face, or so they say, and spat the revolting candy from my mouth. WHY, WHY, WHY would anyone want a lime mint after eating! Gross, La Hacienda you fail on so many levels.
TO BE CONTINUED…