We humans are creatures of habit. We tend to the same things at the same time, every day. We travel the same roads, eat the same foods and for the most part think about the same things every day. Have you ever considered breaking routine? Doing something different? I’m not talking about the forsaking of your Bible reading, your prayer time, teeth brushing or deodorant.
Today I was traveling from my small town of Brewton Alabama to the much larger town of Mobile Alabama to make a pastoral hospital call. I knew where I was going but decided on an experiment. I wondered if the navigator application on my iphone would send me down the same roads I was accustomed to. So I typed the Children’s and Women’s hospital into my iphone and hit the road. The largest part of my trip was of course I65 South but still I wondered what the lady locked up inside of my phone would ask me to do as I drew closer to my destination. I was not disappointed. The navigator had me exiting I65 much sooner than I would have and I gladly followed her instructions.
For the next few minutes I traveled streets that I had never seen before and arrived at the hospital from a different direction than usual. I decided that my going off of the beaten path was a good idea and that my experiment would continue. Though it wasn’t quite lunch time I made my decision that I would not do the usual for lunch. No Ruby Tuesday or Applebees today. No other chain restaurants that I frequent would feed me today. My decision was made. I would search the downtown city streets of Mobile for something different and unique for lunch.
As I left the hospital it was getting very close to lunch time so I pointed my Chevy Silverado toward downtown. I made it my purpose to not drive down the main thoroughfares. I found just the street I was looking for. I had been down this street before as an explorer but not to eat a meal. It’s Mardi Gras time and I found this French style street covered in decorations and scores of normal people strolling the streets. I was in the right area of town. I followed this street and saw many little eateries and wondered which one I might choose since I was off of the beaten path.
After I circled a several block section of town a couple of times I decided upon a place that I was somewhat familiar with. I first became acquainted with Panini Pete’s through television. The Food channel show Dinners, Drive In’s and Dives did a segment at the original Panini Pete’s in Fairhope Alabama. Sometime later my son Adam and I decided to give it a try. The only problem with the Fairhope location is that about ninety percent of the seating is outside. It was a hot July day and I thought we would melt before we could eat our sandwiches. This time the Panini Pete’s location is all inside.
Arriving about forty-five minutes before the lunch crowd I found a parking spot on the street at the front door of this establishment. I dropped a few coins into the parking meter and entered the restaurant. I was instructed to seat myself and found a table next to a room divider. The room was rustic in its feel. The front wall was mostly glass that looked onto the street. One high top table was positioned in what looked to be a display widow of years gone by. The other walls were old brick, painted sheet rock and
were covered by a few pieces of art. There were also some Mardi Gras beads and other decorations laying about. The waitress was quick to my table. I ordered an un-sweetened iced tea and the special of the day. The sandwich was made with rare roast beef, turkey, fresh spinach leafs, ripe tomatoes, cheddar cheese and some kind of garlic sauce that was decadent. I also ordered the homemade French fries which were of the shoe string variety. Before eating my food I snapped a picture of it which I usually do when eating off the beaten path. I would classify my lunch as a gourmet sandwich that was delicious. I paid my bill and proceeded to leave. Before exiting the front door I turned around like a good tourist and snapped a photo. Back on the street I crossed the nearby intersection and snapped a picture of the outside.
My point in all of this is not really about the restaurant or the food. It’s about breaking the boring routine of life. Take a different route to work. Eat in a different restaurant. Watch a different television program and read different kinds of books. Get off the beaten path.