I’m standing outside of Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse, at about 16:50.

I read the sign that says proper attire is required. I start to worry because I’m wearing my Chacos sandals. I hope this isn’t an anti-open-toe shoe type of thing. I’ve wanted to eat at Ruth’s Chris for years… literally. This is number 82 on my bucket list.

I am in Tampa, Florida, tonight. When I got to the hotel, I managed to get a quick workout in, a brief nap, and then decided to look for food with my phone. I first opened the Waffle House app (every smartphone user should have this app) to see if any locations are nearby. I see one but realize quickly that it’s one that I’ve already been to. I then open the “Around Me” app to see what restaurants are nearby (another handy app if you travel at all). I spy a nearby Ruth’s Chris Steakhouse!

They are finally open for dinner at 17:00. I decide to play it cool, pretending that I’ve eaten here at least 40 times. I walk in and smile at the greeter. I request a table for one. She grabs a menu and leads me to a small booth in the dining area. I have concluded that my Chacos have passed the dress code test… either that or she paid no attention.

I peruse the menu when my waiter, Chris, comes to bring me some water with lemon and some bread. I ask him what he suggests, and he points out “Ruth’s Classics,” which would let me pick out a soup or salad to start out, a main course and side, and then it comes with a bit of dessert. I tell him that sounds great. I choose the chicken and tortellini soup as my first course, then a 6 oz filet and lobster tail as the main course, and a side of green beans with roasted garlic. All for the not-so-modest price of just under $60. I agree that this is a considerable amount to pay for food, but I am chasing dreams on a bucket list, after all (plus I just got paid on Friday).

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I have to talk about this 6oz filet. When I first saw it on the menu, I was worried that I wouldn’t be getting enough to get full. Six ounces is like an oversized McNugget, after all. Turns out- this was, by far, the best piece of red meat I have ever eaten… and I love red meat! Not sure what it was seasoned with, but it was cooked perfectly (medium) and went well with the lobster tail.

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Now that I have undone everything I tried to do on the elliptical machine earlier today, I’m fat and happy, to say the least. I feel incredibly blessed to be checking #82 off of my bucket list!

Today was two easy legs and now I’m on a beach in San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Well, technically, I’m not on a beach right now. I’m in my hotel room on the 8th floor, but this hotel sits on the beach. When I stepped out of the air-conditioned comfort of the Luis Munoz Marin International Airport, I was almost knocked down by the absolute heaviest and hottest humidity I have ever felt in my entire existence! This is saying a lot since I spent most of my growing-up summers in South Carolina.

Once at the hotel, I peeled my work uniform off and set out to eat at the exact same restaurant that I had eaten at the first time I was on the island. I could have ventured out, but I really enjoyed my meal so much, and since it is supposedly authentic Puerto Rican food, I wanted to try some more. Tonight’s dish was Pechuga de pollo rellena de maduros envuelta con tocineta con arroz guisado (Bacon wrapped chicken breast, stuffed with sweet plantain with seasoned rice). Amazing!

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I walked back to the hotel and through the lobby, past the jacuzzi, swimming pool, and bar, and found most of my crew sunning themselves on the beach. It was such a picture-perfect scene! The water here was the right temperature! I didn’t wade in much past my knees, but it still felt great!

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Finding Flint

Today I am one step closer to crossing an item off of my overly ambitious bucket list. Number 74 on the list is to stay at every single overnight that my work offers. Flint, Michigan, can now be checked off of that list! This is one of the many locations that Southwest Airlines decided to keep after inheriting it from the AirTran Airways acquisition.

After checking into the hotel and changing clothes, I thought it would be a great idea to venture out and find something suitable for dinner, this being my first Flint experience. I asked one of the girls at the front desk if they knew of a good, non-chain restaurant better than fast food but not too expensive. She said she knew just the place and suggested that I go eat at Sandals Grill & Chill. I wrote down her walking directions, and it wasn’t too long of a walk. I found an empty parking log and a ‘For Sale’ sign out front when I arrived. I guess it wasn’t meant to be.

As I walked back toward the hotel, I saw a sign for Redwood Steakhouse. I went inside and immediately noticed a sign that read: Proper Attire Required. I worried that my running shorts, t-shirt, and Chaco sandals weren’t going to cut it. Thank goodness they didn’t mind. I guess they just wanted to make sure all my private parts were covered.

Chicken Valpolicella: Breast of chicken, dredged in seasoned flour, sautéed with olive oil, garlic, tomatoes, pesto, butter, parmesan cheese, and finished with Valpolicella wine. Served on a bed of pesto-flavored linguine. I agree that the picture sort of makes it look like vomit-on-chicken with green stuff, but it was actually very delicious!

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