Once again we were being chased by a rainstorm across Texas. We had dropped south from Quanah, Texas to Interstate 40W when we connected with the storm. Unlike last time, we were driving a rental car - a Lincoln Town Car circa 1993. The comfort and luxury of this car cannot be praised enough. It was like driving your own Pullman car with room and comfort for all. I don't recall a bit of squabbling coming from the backseat the entire trip.
As nightfall approached, we decided to stop before we entirely lost the sunlight, memories of East Texas stranding still sharply in our minds. We took a turn-off to somewhere and dropped onto a distant connecting road that matched the interstate from one exit to the next, a beacon for travellers, truckers, and local ranchers. We pulled into a strip of businesses bookended by a cafe and a mom and pop motel on one end with gas stations on the other. If you are picturing bright neon and Holiday Inn Express/Howard Johnson motels or fast food restaurants, you would be so wrong. Picture instead a single story, rambling and box-like motel hosted by a 4th generation Texan. She nodded us to the cafe across the road and assured us that the biscuits were the best we would ever hope to find anywhere.
The rain came down in a steady pour, the sound soothing after hours on the road. We had two rooms, a TV in each. The kids claimed a room and a TV and settled in for the night in their own beds. There was nothing at all fancy about these rooms, falling more into the category of inside camping. But the rooms were clean and fresh smelling and the sheets felt like heaven.
By morning the rain had passed by to the west and was now ahead of us. We would have clear skies for a while. We crossed over to the cafe with the best biscuits ever. Once again we found ourselves in a local hangout. Tables were scattered without any particular pattern throughout an large and rambling room. A wide opening gave a clear view of the kitchen and the wall ovens from which issued forth these fabulous but still untasted biscuits.
The first wave of locals had already come and gone, fortified by strong coffee, a huge breakfast and those BISCUITS. The waitress arrived with coffee and orange juice - both unasked for but presumed. She presumed right. Orders were taken and we were assured that the next round of biscuits was already in the oven. As we waited for our plates to arrive, I watched the baker moving smoothly back and forth between table and oven, movements economical and practiced as raised dough was punched, rolled, and set out onto heavy sheet pans, an assembly line for baking.
In due time, breakfast arrived AND the biscuits. It goes without say that anyone who can produce the “best biscuits ever” will also produce a great breakfast and oh they DID. But those biscuits!!! Imagine large, full, light and buttery, melting, smooth, steaming hot, crisp on the outside, soft on the inside, and covered in homemade jam – or not – and you will be able to redefine the meaning of the word “sublime”. Breakfast came to an end too soon and the road beckoned, but not before the waitress returned and presented us with a bag of those “best biscuits ever”, for the road of course. Hours later they were cooled about still remained utterly sublime and UNFORGETTABLE.