Tuesday, February 15, 2011


Place: Hardee's
Lunch: Big Roast Beef, 3-piece hand-breaded chicken tenders (with Kickin' Asian sauce), Dr. Pepper

It's rare to find a Hardee's that still offers the Big Roast Beef.  It's even rarer to find one that makes it as good as this Hardee's does.

The "Kickin' Asian" sauce being offered with the chicken tenders is pretty good.  Reminds me of the Sweet Chili sauce McDonald's was offering with their McNuggets during the last Olympics.  Should've become a permanent dipping option.  I haven't bought a single McNugget since it went away.

I saw Late Late Show host Craig Ferguson perform his live stand-up act over the weekend in the major metropolis known as Thackerville, Oklahoma.  If you've ever driven I-35 at the Oklahoma-Texas border, you've no doubt seen the WinStar World Casino along the east side of the highway.  (If you didn't, I hope you weren't driving.)  This wasn't Ferguson's first show here, and he often brings it up on the following broadcast.  He has a running joke about how he marvels about the structure like it's all real to the guy driving him and his annoyed driver explaining "it's a facaaaade".

It used to be the complex was essentially a big plastic tent.  Really.  Like they'd taken some white trash bags and stretched them over a frame.  At night, you could see the interior lights glowing on the skin.  Which looked kind of cool, actually.

Then they put up walls and apparently a real roof.  The facade takes up the west wall (which faces the interstate...the other walls are plain) and has eleven different sections that include replicas of Big Ben, the Palace of Westminster, the Roman Colosseum, castles, some Asian thingie, and more.  It's an impressive structure.

Inside is a ridiculously huge casino that is split into sections themed as cities.  There's New York, Egypt, Vienna, Cairo, Paris, Beijing, Rome, Madrid, and London.  It takes...oh...10-20 minutes to walk end-to-end, I think.  Maybe I was dawdling.

There's a number of restaurants, including a 'Toby Keith's I Love this Bar and Grill' outlet.  There's a hotel, of course, and a golf course.  There's also a nearby pawn shop, but that's not run by WinStar.

Then there's the event hall.  It's basically a ballroom with an arena-size stage.  They fill it with chairs for concerts and comedy acts, including a portable riser section in the back.  I'm thinking they can fit 4,000-5,000 seats in here, but I'm just guessing.  (Ferguson's opening act implied 4,300 were in attendance, which likely makes this one of the bigger facilities he performs in.) 

It gets used, too.  Aside from attracting Ferguson, Stone Temple Pilots and Julio Iglesias are performing there this month, and Jay Leno, Duran Duran, and Harry Connick Jr are just a few of the acts booked in March.  Shows are booked almost exclusively on Friday and Saturday nights.

Why are these acts playing out in the middle of nowhere?  Well, it's not EXACTLY the middle of nowhere...it's just an hour or so from the north edge of the Dallas/Fort Worth metro.  So it helps WinStar draw Texans in for gambling.

It's a great room, tickets are reasonable, parking is free, and you can hang out and party all night after the show if you want.  The casino is open 24 hours and the buffet (which appears to be woefully small) is open until 3. 

What's not to love?

The snow is melting.  Temps are inching up.

What's not to love about that either.