Christine’s: Bigger and Better

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Our last stop on Friday, August 18 was Christine’s. And it’s the reason we had a beer trail ride on a Friday. Those egg rolls! We’d tasted them on November 15, 2014 when we stopped at the original location of Christine’s on Oregon Street. Now jump ahead to April 17, 2017 – the day after Easter – when Marv and I stopped at Tamara’s, The Cake Guru to buy some cupcakes. To our dismay Tamara’s was closed and so was Christine’s which was just across the street. Tamara’s would be open the next day, but not Christine’s. The building was up for sale.

However, a few weeks after that we learned Christine’s was relocating to 686 N. Main Street in the former home of Daisy’s Western Saloon. Ah, the egg roles. Also, we learned that Christine’s served suppers. Make a reservation the group urged me. I called and learned that Friday was the best date and no earlier than 7:00 PM. And that’s why we were riding the beer trail on a Friday. We weren’t going to go another day without those egg rolls.

Gary, our designated driver, drove us from Molly McGuire’s on Campus Drive to Main Street and snagged a parking space in front of Christine’s. We entered the front door and found a very different décor from the previous Western stuff. The floor plan was the same. Just inside the front door is a long bar. That one was closed. To find the second bar, we walked through an area with lots of game machine, three pool tables and a dance floor. This bar is square with seating on three sides. We were the only ones there. Since this was our supper stop, we ordered our beer at the bar and carried it to a table. Marv, Elaine and I drank Blue Moon; Judy had a Spotted Cow and Don Dos Equis.

Our table was one of several in the dining area around the bar. A large American flag decorated one wall. We think that was leftover from Daisy’s days. We also saw some of the artwork that had hung in the former Christine’s. Marilyn for one.

Stacia, our server, brought us the egg rolls. Yes! Just as we remembered them! We had these as our starters; although we could have had deep-fried chicken feet or chicken gizzards. When it came to ordering supper, Marv and I stayed with Midwest food and had chicken tenders and fries. But Gary and Elaine and Don and Judy chose Pho. According to Stacie, Pho takes a long time to make, like twenty-four hours. It’s a soup that’s a delicious blend of beef consommé, hoisin sauce, soy sauce, srircha sauce, fish sauce, fennel and coriander, in addition to noodles, bean sprouts, basil and lime.

Elaine and Gary impressed us by using the chop sticks to fish out the noodles, meat and veggie pieces from the broth. It was a skill they learned while travelling in China. Judy and Don used soupspoons, but we snapped a picture of Don drinking the last of the broth.

While eating we talked about books. We are all avid readers. Marv and I had read The North Water and liked it, calling it a very well written novel of British whalers getting stranded in the ice of the Artic Circle. It’s one of those books in which only two survivors make it back to England. One survivor is the epitome of evil and the other not. The blurb for the book said anyone who read Melville’s Moby-Dick and Conrad’s Heart of Darkness should read The North Water. Well, that included Marv and me. Don had also read it, but was not as impressed as we were. Elaine and Gary read Paddle to the Sea, a Caldecott Honor Book, and also saw the movie. They encouraged us to read and watch it also.

Meanwhile Stacie brought us a treat—lemon drop shots. She set a plate of lemon wedges dusted with sugar on the table and a shot of Limoncello (I think) in front of each of us. “Down the shot and then suck on the lemon slice. Gary watched, but did not partake. Each of us did as we were told except for Judy who sipped her drink. Then Stacia brought us a second tray of shots. She called them Nova, I think. They were foamy and pale green. I much preferred the lemon.

After our dinner we took a closer look at the game room and played a little with Big Daddy Blackjack. Judy looked for a quarter machine, but, alas, none was there. We saw a game machine we hadn’t seen in any other bar—a Boxer Machine. We didn’t try that.

By this time it was after 9:00 PM and a few other patrons were at the bar. We wondered if a band would be playing soon, but didn’t hang around to see if that would happen.

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About Author

Frankie Mengeling

Frankie Mengeling taught English at Oshkosh North High School and Lourdes High School and was co-director of the Fox Valley Writing Project at UWO. She lives on the Oshkosh’s only hill, with her husband Marvin, son Tom and cat Katrina. The blog www.ridingthebeertrail.wordpress.com began in the summer of 2009 after the three couple beer trail began.

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