Since we hadn’t been out to breakfast for awhile, we were looking forward to going to Lap’s Grocery & Grill (2016 update: this has been permanently closed). Located just a few miles down the road on Battleship Parkway, Lap’s claims to be the ultimate in one stop shopping! It is rather unusual as it is a bar, a grill, a seafood market, a bait shop and grocery market all housed under the same roof. After our experience there, I wonder if they are trying to do too many things – you know the saying “jack of all trades, master of none”. Read on you’ll see what I mean.
Arriving there about 10 am, we were seated right away – I think there was only one other table occupied when we arrived. Nice place with a great view! When our waitress came over with a trainee in tow, we both ordered their Rise ‘N Shine breakfast which was two eggs (over medium), bacon or sausage (we both had bacon), hashbrowns, and toast for $7.99. When our breakfasts arrived after what seemed like a rather long time, my eggs were totally overcooked, I mean really, really overcooked, like bounce on the floor overcooked. I don’t usually mind if the eggs are slightly overcooked but these were well beyond “slightly”. Rob’s on the other hand were perfect. Huh, what’s with that? How can a place that serves breakfast not know how to cook an egg properly? Perhaps they were overwhelmed by having to cook 4 eggs all at once?
Maybe it was because I had been looking forward to a decent breakfast so I was doubly disappointed or maybe it was the fact that we were paying $8 for the breakfast and you’d think at that price my eggs should be cooked the way I wanted them or maybe I was just grumpy, or all of the above. Whatever it was I decided to send my breakfast back. Boy, was that a mistake! I thought maybe the waitress would leave my plate and just have them cook two more eggs and bring them over separately, but instead she took my entire plate away.
So I waited and waited and waited some more, watching Rob eat his breakfast while both of us were getting more and more annoyed. Jeesh, how long does it take to cook an egg? Were they waiting for the hens to lay more eggs or something or did they have to go to the store to buy some? Finally she brings my plate over, puts it down and says “I owe you another piece of toast because I dropped a piece on the floor”. Well, isn’t that just hunky dory! Although, I guess it’s good that she was honest and didn’t just put it back on the plate!
Just to interject here, one of Rob’s pet peeves when we go out to breakfast is that the toast arrives unbuttered so you have to struggle to spread a hard, cold blob of butter on the usually cold toast while your eggs are getting cold. Yes, I understand that some health conscience people may not like their toast buttered but they are probably in the minority. Besides, why can’t those people can just ask for it “dry” as is standard procedure back in our old stomping ground. Doesn’t seem like that is such a difficult concept.
I started to eat (yes, my eggs were much better this time) but I had soon finished my one piece of toast and she had not as yet delivered my second piece. When we called the waitress over again, she said it would be out in a minute. Yeah, right, 5 minutes had already gone by, am I really supposed to believe it will only be a minute? Why on earth was it taking so much time?
So when my one piece of toast finally arrived it was unbuttered and since the spare pats of butter had been whisked away with my original plate, I had to flag her down again and ask for butter. Wow, I was pleasantly surprised when it arrived promptly. Guess it was ready made and they didn’t have to churn it or get some from the store! By this time, as you can imagine, Rob had long ago finished his breakfast.
Since my usually cool, calm and collected hubby doesn’t often complain about things, I was surprised when he called the waitress over and asked to talk to the manager. No surprise that we had to wait for her to appear! When she finally did, we explained everything that had happened, making the comment that we had thought of coming back for dinner but based on our breakfast experience there was no way that was going to happen. We didn’t want to make a big deal out of it but we just wanted her to know why we were unhappy.
She was very nice, apologizing profusely and said that she would take care of the breakfast and did we want a couple of pieces of bread pudding to take home for later? Being a sucker for bread pudding, there was no way I was going to pass that up.
As we waited for the bread pudding, finishing our coffee, another gentleman came over and asked us how our breakfast was. When I replied that he probably didn’t want to hear the answer, he explained that he was the assistant manager and said they needed to know of any problems so they could fix them. After repeating the entire story to him, he apologized and said he wanted us to give them another chance so if we were willing he wanted us to come back for dinner on him, giving us a card for two free dinners with his name (Emerson) on it.
When we asked our waitress for the check, she said the manager had taken care of both our breakfasts so there was no charge. We only expected them to take the cost of my breakfast off our bill but they took care of everything. Despite the bad experience, we were very impressed with how they handled the situation. I guess they have to be as they are surrounded by at least five other restaurants nearby.
Before we left, we wandered around to take a look at the seafood market and general store to see what they had to offer. They did have a pretty nice aquarium with quite a few interesting fish like the variety of Sea Robin (photo left) that has legs and can walk around on the sea floor.
After breakfast we headed back to the coach to take care of a few things, stopping on the way to find a geocache that was hidden in the park. We found it right away, but it took a bit to figure out how to open the decoy container which was a modified wooden birdhouse – woohoo! After we got back to the coach and since it was such a nice day, we decided to take a walk on the delta nature trail located within the campground.
When I saw the sign at the beginning of the trail “Gateway to the Delta” I was curious as to what that meant. After doing a little research I discovered that Spanish Fort overlooks the Mobile-Tensaw Delta and when taking the I-10 bayway or driving along the causeway (I-90 or Battleship Parkway) you pass through the “Gateway to the Delta”. This is where the Mobile, Spanish, Tensaw, Apalachee and Blakeley Rivers converge into Mobile Bay.
The Mobile-Tensaw Delta is the second largest delta system in the United States, second only to the Mississippi River Delta, and is 30 miles long and 12 miles wide with more than 200,000 acres of swamps, river bottomlands and marshes, supporting hundreds of species of fish, mammals, amphibians, reptiles, birds and plants.
Anyway, the walk which eventually led to a boardwalk, was very picturesque with the skyline of Mobile off in the distance and the I-10 bayway directly in front of us. We even saw more alligators! After hanging around on the boardwalk for a bit, we headed back, stopping to find another geocache (this one was real easy).
After our walk, we decided to head over to Battleship Park where we wanted to tour the USS Alabama Battleship. During previous stays in the Foley, AL area or Gulf Shores we’ve often talked about going there but never found the time. Today was finally the day! It’s funny though, we have Battleship Cove in Fall River which is home to the Battleship USS Massachusetts (same class as the Alabama), Destroyer USS Joseph P. Kennedy, Jr., Submarine USS Lionfish, and PT Boats 617 and 796. Even though Battleship Cove was only about 30 minutes away, we’ve never been there! Why do we travel everywhere to see the sights in other states when we haven’t explored those in our own home state?
Anyway, I’ll cover our visit to the battleship in a separate post so I can continue on with our comedy of errors! After we spent hours wandering all over the Alabama, with sore feet we finally trudged across the parking lot to the van. As we approached, with a panicked look on his face Rob says “I can’t find the keys”, while checking and rechecking all of his pockets.
He finally decided that the keys which were in his sweatshirt pocket must have fallen out somewhere when he took it off. Oh, oh! What made it even worse – I didn’t have my pocketbook so I didn’t have any keys and lately he’s moved the key to the beast from it’s own key chain to his car key chain so not only did we not have the keys to the car, we didn’t have the keys to the motor home either. Yes, the MH has a key code system on the handle but he had disabled that until he could disarm the security system. He had heard how sensitive the alarm system was and he was afraid that one of the kitties would set it off when we weren’t on board.
Now we had the daunting task ahead of us to go back on board the battleship and start searching for the keys. That is a huge amount of territory to cover! We went back into the building where we had bought our tickets. Rob started to explain the situation when the woman at the desk turned around to the counter behind her and pulled out his keys! Halleluiah! I think we both could have hugged her! A HUGE thank you to the person who turned them in!
Okay so that crisis was averted. Trust me we learned our lesson – since then we have had more extra keys to the MH made and have come up with a strategy to keep that from ever happening again.
Next we headed back to the hacienda so we could take a breather before heading back to Lap’s Market and Grill for supper. Emerson, the assistant manager, had told us that it tends to get crowded so best to arrive there before 6:30 pm.
Arriving there about 6 pm, we were seated out on their deck where we had a lovely view of the water. After perusing the menu, we decided to get their oyster specialty as an appetizer, Oysters A’ La Rouse which was described on the menu as “a Lapeyrouse take on the traditional Oyster a’la Russe. Topped with a hearty dice of vodka-infused tomatoes, horseradish & cracked peppercorn.” Since they were listed along with other oyster choices that were grilled we assumed they would be grilled as well. WRONG! When they arrived and we saw that they were raw we both just looked at each other since we had vowed never to eat raw oysters again. Oh well, since there were only 6 of them, we decided to chance it. Difficult to eat since they were piled high with the little bits of tomatoes. They were okay.
Before placing our order for our entrees we had asked our waiter what he recommended – he suggested the crab stuffed flounder which came with two sides saying that it was the restaurant’s specialty and was his favorite. Okay we decided to try that, ordering salads and their shrimp cole slaw which he also recommended. When he didn’t immediately bring our salads, we asked him about it, figuring he either forgot them or was planning on bringing them with our meal. Finally we had our salads and before we finished those our main entree arrived.
It did say “stuffed whole fish” on the menu but it wasn’t quite what I expected. Actually I don’t know what I expected. It was good but we had to pick at it gingerly because there were lots of bones. It was about this time that our waiter came over to check on us and he told us that this was his first day. Huh? How could the stuffed flounder be his favorite dish then if it was only his first day? Guess he was just repeating what he was told!
We didn’t have any dessert because we had the bread pudding back at the ranch (which was excellent!) so after our meal we left. Even though it was a “free” meal, between our drinks and the oysters, our bill was $38.
So a careless cook and a few cents worth of eggs resulted in $68 of lost revenue for Lap’s ($20 for the cost of our two breakfasts, $10 for the two bread puddings, and $38 for our main course). Then again we did spend $38 for drinks and Oysters so they probably still came out ahead, or at the very least broke even. I suppose they figure you can’t put a price on making a customer happy and that’s a great attitude to have and one we respect. The location was great and the ambiance and decor was quite nice, but on the other hand the service wasn’t great and the food was just okay, in our opinion not worth the prices charged. Although we were very happy with the way they handled our complaint, we probably would never eat there again and would not recommend it to anyone else.
Whew, enough, it was well past sunset and time to go back to the bus and relax! But it was not to be! When we had checked in to the campground, the ranger had told us all of the rules of the park and then mentioned in the “hot” weather they had a problem with sugar ants. He went on to say it was still cool and with a stay of just two nights we should be fine.
That day it had barely made it to the high 60’s but I guess the ants didn’t know that the weather was too cool for them or maybe they did and they were seeking some place warm! We found a substantial sized army of the tiny critters marching in formation in the kitchen, in the bedroom, crawling up the walls, where ever you looked they were there (except near the front of the coach). Thank goodness we weren’t gone longer!
After a minute of “what do we do”, I got out the vacuum while Rob searched for a nearby hardware store. Luckily there was a Home Depot close by so off he went. While he was gone, I kept vacuuming and vacuuming and vacuuming some more – I finally would have one area devoid of ants, then turn my back for a minute, and when I turned around again, there were more of them!
After Rob returned with a couple of cans of ant killer, one for outside and another one that was safe for humans and pets for inside, armed with a flashlight outside he went to spray. He discovered that they were crawling up the water hose, into the wet bay then probably crawling up through openings on the slides or around the plumbing. After he was done spraying outside, he came inside and sprayed in a few places where we had seen them crawling in.
I guess the good news was that they were sugar ants, not the fire ants which leave a nasty bite. It was around 11 pm when we finally stopped chasing the ants and crawled into bed hoping that nothing else would go wrong and that we wouldn’t suddenly wake up in the middle of the night with ants marching all over us….eeeuuuuwwww!
Stay tuned for our next post to see if we ended up covered in ants!