potatoes and illusionary fruit

Every city has has something about it that makes it special, some certain place you want to visit again and again. If you look hard enough, you can always find it. Maybe it’s a bluff with a perfect view for the sunrise, or an abandoned barn, alone in a golden field. A coffee shop where baristas design a perfect heart on the top of every latte.

Houston, like every town, has this special place, a place of desire and nostalgia and pleasure. I’m talking, of course, about Sonic Drive-In. Sonic has something that no other place has. Vanilla cherry limeades. Of course, Houston doesn’t have an exclusive claim on Sonic, but Seattle is Sonic-free, so I have to find my vanilla cherry limeades when I can.

When you order them in Houston, they correct you: a cherry limeade with vanilla? Um, sure. It’s like when you go to Starbucks and for a non-fat latte and they ask if you mean skim. They can call it what they want, just give me the vanilla-y, lime-y, cherry goodness.

When I was in high school, Sonic was the turn around point on the cruise route. It had the cool side and the not-cool side, and if you wanted to stop and hang out or get something to eat, but the cool side was full, you kept crusing until a spot opened up.

Of course, we weren’t always drinking vanilla cherry limeades. Sometimes we had big gulps full of 7-Up, spiked with Seagram’s 7. Or big gulp cups full of ice, with beer cans hidden inside (with handy straw access). The big gulp often came in handy during cruising.

But back to the vanilla cherry limeades. I realize they’re just Sprite with lots of sugary syrup and artificial sweeteners. But Sonic does thoughtfully add a lime slice to the top to perpetuate the illusion of fruity goodness. And Sonic has the added attraction of offering tator tots with chili and cheese. Potatoes and illusionary fruit. It really doesn’t get much better than that.

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