Oh…my…gosh…BEST DAY EVVEERRRRRRRRRRRRRR. Seriously. Best day ever.
If you didn’t read my last post, let me catch you up real quick. This past weekend (on Saturday), Seth and I traveled down to little ol’ Pawhuska Oklahoma to visit Ree Drummond’s – aka The Pioneer woman’s (aka my favorite human’s) – new store, The Mercantile. She calls it “The Merc,” but I don’t feel cool enough to say that yet. It feels like shortening a friend’s name who I don’t deserve to shorten yet because we just met. “Hey Meg!” Nope – too soon. So it stays The Mercantile for now.
I’m just going to go through the entire magical day with you from start to finish, including me drooling on my car’s headrest on the way home because I was the most tired of all time. To start us off: Saturday morning. I woke up at 7:30 (because my body clock likes to punish me on weekends) and just sat and waited for my husband to wake up while perusing Pinterest, obviously. What else?
He woke up at about 8:30-9:00, and we hit the road at about 9:30. In my excitement, I didn’t fully think through my wardrobe choice…more on that later.
So we begin our 3 and 1/2 hour trip to Pawhuska. It was a fun road trip! I love road trips. The hubbs and I always have deep talks. Or talks about meaningless, random subjects – but that still makes for interesting convo! When we were about thirty minutes away, my day of freaking out begins. “Is her ranch near by?” “WHAT IF WE PASS IT?!” “Is it super stalkerish to drive up the driveway if we see it?” “Oh man, I bet she drives on these roads all the time to go to the grocery store and stuff.” Yes – I sound like a groupie. But, let’s be honest…that’s a totally accurate description.
There was even a time when I thought I saw her family’s ranch sign, and I jumped and screamed a little bit like someone shot me with a bullet, scared the life out of poor Seth, and then realized it was just a random other family’s ranch…I was on edge…in a good way.
When we got to the store, there was a MASSIVE line that, for some reason, I wasn’t really expecting. I wasn’t bummed out about it, I just hadn’t though of there being a line (stupid). Which is where my poor wardrobe comes into play. I was wearing flats with no socks, so the next few hours were about to be FRIGID.
The line wasn’t soooo bad, though. We met some really cool people (shout-out to Lisa and Paul!) and just chatted and stood as close as humanly possible to the heat lamps. The employees did some fun stuff to keep the line relatively interesting, too – they had games of charades going, and they were passing out the most delicious hot apple cider I have ever tasted in my life. Despite the fact that I was resisting the urge to pour it over my freezing feet, it was very, VERY yummy.
About the charades…if you guess what someone is acting out, you win a Pioneer Woman product!! But, along with winning an item, you also have to act out the next thing. So I guessed one right, won something (yay!), and had to act out…wait for it…ELVES BUILDING TOYS. If you think that sounds easy, you’re wrong. I was up there making hammering and sawing motions for like ten minutes before someone got it. But I won a baking dish, so it’s all good, yo. And our line friends won something and gave it to me! So I walked out with a baking dish and a super cute canister thing.
The BEST part about the line, though? Guess who was out there entertaining and keeping everyone company?
Do you recognize him?? If you watch the show with any kind of regularity, you probably know him as Pa Pa. It was very challenging for me to call him Chuck instead of Pa Pa, but I figured, hey – might be kind of weird if a random girl basically calls him grandpa, so I refrained.
He was SO NICE and so cute. On the show, he seems slightly gruff and just kind of quiet, but that is not how he is at all in person. He is so chatty and fun – he absolutely loves hanging out at the store, you can tell. He was walking up and down the line asking the same question over and over again: “What do you call a cowboy’s overcoat?” After many reiterations of the question, he finally graced us with the answer, which was “Sun.” Ha! He was a blast.
I wanted to take my picture with him, but I kept getting nervous and chickening out. The nice people we met in the line finally convinced me, so I super awkwardly asked him for a picture. Apparently he loves taking pictures with the guests.
I call this my “I could cool a pot of boiling water with my ice-cube feet, I have never been hungrier, I’ve been waiting in line for two hours, but I am so freaking happy right now” face.
In case you didn’t catch that, we were waiting in line to get inside for two hours…yikes! Totes worth it.
So – we are now finally inside! Which means food. They had been passing around a menu, so we had been dreaming about the food for hours at this point. We sat at a community table with four of our line friends, we got queso as an appetizer (bae…BAE), tomato soup and grilled cheese dippers to share (SO GOOD), and then our individual entrees. I got something called a “Marlboro Man Sandwich” simply because I have seen her make this on her show and I thought it would be cool to try it, and Seth got “Chicken Fried Steak,” because…it’s Seth.
Both entrees were SO yummy, but Seth’s chicken fried steak miiiiiiight be the best thing I’ve ever eaten. That’s a pretty wide statement, but OH MY GOSH it was so good there are no words. No…words. I was super jelly. I probably stole as many bites of his as I ate of my own dish. It was heaven.
Sorry for the awful phone pictures, but you get the point.
So the entire time we were waiting in line, we were hearing that Ree (apparently we’re on a first name basis now…) was upstairs signing books, and I was SO PARANOID that the line and eating would take too long and we would miss her. So right after we paid for our lunch, we stood in line to go upstairs where the bakery and coffee shop are and where she does her book signings.
That line actually didn’t take very long, we got up there, but she was gone ????. What to do in that moment? I shall tell you. Get a box of homemade truffles, a cup of coffee, find a few comfy chairs, and wait to see if she comes back out. At this point, it was about 5 o’clock, and the store closed at 7…so we were waitin’ it out, baby!
The truffles were like little spheres of pure heaven, B-T-Dubs…
Also to pass the time, I went down and shopped in the store, which is filled with approximately a billion things that I want…false…NEED to own. I ended up just buying a t-shirt, book, and coffee mug, though.
So the minutes pass, the hours pass, and there was zero sign of Ree. I was getting so sad by the end of the night because I 100% thought there was no way we were going to be able to meet her, which was my ultimate goal of the day. The store closes, and Seth says we should just wait for them to kick us out before we leave, and there were still like 15 people up there waiting, too…which made me feel a little less obsessed and lame.
Well at like 7:15, guess who walks out??!?! That’s right people. Ree Drummond walks out with her security dude and is ready to sign a few more books. Literally…life made. A little girl who was also waiting ran up to her and said “I’ve been waiting my whole life to meet you!” Which, let’s be honest, is the cutest thing that anyone has ever said to any human ever.
I waited in a super short line to get my book signed by her, and then, just as I predicted, I word vomited my obsession to her with zero control over what I was saying…Like, I’m pretty sure she thinks I’m cray. I told her how much I love her, that she inspired me to start my food blog, that she was my favorite person ever, and theeennnnn, to top it all off with an extra whipped cream topping of awkwardness, I told her that I stalk her on social media. GOOD JOB, ANNIE…COOL.
Photographed above, for your viewing pleasure, is me in action, ranting on for way too long about how she is my hero, basically.
She was super nice, though. She didn’t seem to judge me too hard, and she told me to, “Keep blogging” as we were walking away, which was pretty cool. And then we went home! We didn’t get in until about 11:30, and I tried to stay awake to keep Seth company but ended up crashing HARD in the car at about 10:30. I woke up to eat some leftover tomato soup and grilled cheese dippers (they were calling my name and roused me out of sleep) at about 11 and then crashed again and slept until we pulled into our garage.
This is my favorite picture from the day/night!
Whew, if you read that whole thing – congratulations…because that was a novel. Have a fantastic Wednesday!
Akhi Reza says
OMG what a beautiful picture !! You look so beautiful. And the food is awesome. Looks like a very tasty meal. Thanks for sharing.
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I live in Indiana, but I would drive all the way out to the Mercantile in Oklahoma just to try some of that chicken fried steak. It looks amazing.
Lisa Riffel says
I read the whole thing and I love it! I am so happy it went down that way. It seems like you may have been able to spend a little more time with her than you would have if there was a big line earlier in the day! Love the pictures…all of them!!!
Annie Chesson says
Thanks, Lisa! It was definitely very exciting :).
That is way cool. I watch her every weekend! The best things I’ve made from her are the Homemade Enchilada Sauce and her Thai Coconut Shrimp. She’s great. Happy for you that your dream came true! I would love to see her place.
Annie Chesson says
I will have to try both of those!! Especially the homemade enchilada sauce :). Thanks, Debbie!