Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Hayes Hamburgers

We ventured out to Vivon Road to eat at Hayes. They are known for their 24 hr greasy breakfasts but we went for the burgers instead. I was told they cook their burgers the way White Castle used to make them. So I said " what could go wrong there!?" Hayes' website states " You can smell the onions from a mile away" ...Uh oh....
It's a classic quaint place with chrome stools, sweaty fry cook and classic grumpy old lady waitress that's been here since the invention of ketchup. We sat at the back corner table smiling and enjoying the kitsch when I noticed we were all crying. A very Twilight Zone moment. Looking around the diner I noticed no one else had any of our symptoms. They could have cared less. They must have gotten the onion vaccine in 50's that was mandatory by all high schools. Anyways, while trying to finish our meal through our tears, we decided the burgers were only average. Plus, sad to say, the shake machine was broke. So, no malt for me. The pie was good, nothing great. So I give respect to keeping it real , but if you have to wear an astronaut suit to eat there, I say "Houston we have a problem."

Hayes Hamburger & Chili on Urbanspoon

Friday, June 18, 2010

In a Tub

Today, we visited that Northland tradition, In a Tub. A magical place where everything is fried, and comes, not surprisingly, in a tub. They are famous (some say infamous) for their deep fried tacos. I ordered 2 of the beef, bean and cheese. Now, when I say cheese, I don't mean anything that probably came out of cow, or is the color of anything found in nature. This is the same stuff you shake out on popcorn, or comes with your cheapo Kraft mac and cheese.

I also got the cheese burrito. They must get their frozen burritos from the same place the Independence School District does, because they were exactly like the ones my high school served. That's not necessarily a bad thing. Both tacos and burritos tasted exactly like I knew they would. Deep fried goodness. There are some haters out there (usually poor outsiders drug up there by some Northlander), who have left less than favorable reviews about In a Tub. (Insert nasally voice) "Ohhh, they're so greasy. Ewww my tummy hurt after eating there." No. Really? A place that deep fries everything made you feel yucky and tired. I'm making a sad unhappy face for you right now.

On the way out I noticed they had a sign that said "Ice Cream is Back!". Well, you know that means I had to get a shake. Oh, and some chili pie to wash it down. The shake was OK. Nothing to make a big proclamation about. The chili pie could have been great if the Fritos weren't stale. Sonic still wins out there.
"So, take off to the great, white north, it's a beauty way to go."

Food: 3. 5 spoons. I see this place as a great hangover cure.
Price: 4 spoons. $6.50 for 2 tacos, a burrito, and a meduim drink. You won't get that at Taco Bell
Kitch: 1. No decor. I mean none.
In-a-Tub on Urbanspoon

Tuesday, June 8, 2010

Greasy Spooners Odyssey: Chattanooga, TN and Dalton GA

How, you ask, did I end up in Dalton, GA, the carpet capital of US? Well, my wife had training for a new job this week in lovely Dalton and I got dragged along. The owners of her company are good ol' Southerners and they like to meet the families of all their new hires. They paid for everything, and when I met them they turned out to be some the coolest people I know. The only downside was I had to try to find something to do for 4 days. The Greasy Spooner in me accepted the challenge.
Dalton is only 20 minutes south of Chattanooga, TN, so I decided I needed some Memphis style BBQ. Readers of this blog, will know I'm a BBQ snob. I know Memphis style is different from KC's, but good meat is good meat, right? I did my research on Chattanooga, and "Sticky Fingers" seemed to be the accepted winner by the locals for ribs, despite the fact it's a chain. I was surprised that I had to explain the different BBQ disciplines to the waitress who was from Texas, for Chrissakes! I ordered the dry rub, as the any other seemed too much like something I would get from KC.
Ugh! First, the ribs were "fall off the bone". Now, that may sound great to the uninformed, but any true BBQ snob will tell you ribs should tear off the bone (he says in a snooty English accent while sipping a martini). Fall of the bone means they've been boiled ahead of time which is heresy, and the place should be burned down just for that. The ribs themselves were dry and bland even though they were covered in what I would describe as the same stuff Red Robin puts on their fries. The sides sucked, too. The bright side, really great cornbread. They were more like cupcake texture than what I'm used too.
Sticky Fingers, Chattanooga, TN: 1 spoon ( you got that for the cornbread and halfway decent service).

Besides being a conniseur of all things greasy, I'm also a Civil War buff, so before the trip to Chickamauga battlefield, I stopped in at what was billed by reviews as the best Biscuits and Gravy in Chattanooga, the New York Diner. Really, your gonna name your place the the New York Diner in the deep South. Have you seen that El Paso salsa commercial about "gettin' rope"?
I ordered 2 eggs, bacon, and a full order of B&G. Gotta say, not bad. But not as good as I would expect for Tennesee. The home fires, however, were probably the best I've had, period.
New York Diner, Chattanooga, TN: 3.5 spoons. 

Also in Chattanooga is a little dive bar called "the Pickle Barrel. This was my kinda place. Looked like Fred Sanford and some place from Harry Potter had a baby. I don't think a single stool matched, and I'm pretty sure most were dated about Civil War era. There's a ricketty spiral staircase (that I can't imagine navigating drunk) that goes up to a tree lined deck. The railing looked completely unstable and the flooring crooked. I'm in love. On the menu was the usual fair, including fried pickles. I ordered a Yeungling beer, cause you can't get 'em west of the Mississippi.  

Pickle Barrel, Chattanooga, TN: 5 spoons (kitch off the scale)

Now, actually in Dalton, GA we ate at a fantastic Mexican Place (not Tex-Mex, Mexican), called Los Reyes. The place looked like an old hacienda, and the food was off the el chickety chain. I had a burrito and chile relino platter, piping hot (both temperature and spice) with beans and rice. Worth the stop if visitng or passing through.

Los Reyes, Dalton, GA: 4.5 spoons

One other place worth mentioning in Dalton is the Filling Station in their historic downtown. Now, when you drive up, you notice a lot of old people. This, fellow Spooners, is blessing and a curse. Old people means cheap prices, but it also means bland food. You put a $10 bill in the pickle jar and get all-you-can-eat Southern food. Mashed potatoes, fried okra, fried chicken, collard greens, etc. As suspected, all surprisingly bland. And no gravy for the taters? What planet are you from?
But the pies, oh the pies, they made up for everything. Best peacn pie "I ever et, y'all". 
Was it great? No. Did I eat till I was physically ill? Yes
The Filling Station, Dalton, GA: 4 spoons (the pies saved you)

Tuesday, June 1, 2010

Cree-Mee, Gravois Mills, MO

Did some travellin' this weekend down to the Lake of the Ozarks for my wife's 25 year HS reunion (insert hillybilly jokes, here). Outside our lovely motel stood the Cree-Mee. I had to eat there just for the name. They boasted "the best tenderloins in town", not hard for a town of 209.
First, although they have a walk up window, you have to go inside. It looks like my kids built it. Somebody actually built this place, stood back and said, "yeah, this looks great".
Anyway, the tenderloin was good, hand battered, and probably the best in town. The fries were crunchy and chili fries even better. The burger was a nice, non fast food chain burger. Shakes top-notch. Will definitely stop by next time we're passing thru. If for no other reason, to make me feel better about mmy own home improvement abilities.
this last one is just for ambiance. Yes, that sign really says "jacuzzi"

Cree-Mee Freeze on Urbanspoon