Tip me so I can feed my children.

Tio Wally Eats America: Exit 62 Restaurant & Truck Plaza

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Glencoe, Kentucky.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: Exit 62 Restaurant & Truck Plaza

Greeting from Glencoe, Kentucky
N 38° 44.398′ W 084° 49.842’ Elev. 621 ft.

I got stuck for a day hereabouts and decided I would finally eat at the Exit 62 Restaurant & Truck Plaza. I’d slept here before because once you hit the I-71-75 split up the road a piece you won’t find anywhere to park after about 5 p.m. But for some reason I never ate here … and they’ve got grits and hash browns!

As soon as I sat down a guy came over and said “What can I get you to drink, boss?” I told him and then asked if those were that day’s specials on the chalkboard. I thought there would be breakfast specials on it. I get confused sometimes because I operate on Pacific Time and, unless I have to be somewhere, I don’t mess with inconsequential things like converting time zones. Needless to say it turned out to be three hours later later in Kentucky than it was in Zzyzx and those were indeed the day’s specials.

“We have a new item today,” he said. “It’s a meatball hoagie that’s really good. We also have pot roast that’s really, really good, with big chunks of meat in it.” Okay, I said, I’ll have that. “I’m not your waitress,” he replied, “she’ll be right here.”

The Exit 62 is a fairly old, funky place, with a host of friendly people working there. It’s got a broad porch in front with benches and rocking chairs, the perfect place for a doing a little jawing while you whittle. It’s kind of confusing though: Is the place called the Exit 62 Restaurant or the Yum-Yum Shop? According to the receipt it’s called the Exit 62 Restaurant. I have no explanation for the Yum-Yum.

After I ordered I was kind of sorry I hadn’t read the menu a little closer. It turned out they’ve got a breakfast sausage called Goetta. I asked the guy: What the heck is Go-etta? He said “It’s pronounced ‘Get-uh’.” He thought it was “a German sausage made with beef and pork and some other stuff” but wasn’t really sure. He assured me nevertheless that “It’s really good.”

“That’s a matter of opinion,” said a lady sitting behind me, without missing a beat. So I asked her what it Goetta was. “Well,” she said, “I’m not really sure. It’s beef and pork and some sort of filler, and it’s really dry. I’ve tried for years to like it but I just can’t. But a lot of people do. They even have a Goetta Festival up in Covington every year. But I … I … I just ….” Hate it? “Yeah!”

According to the Wiki, the filler in Goetta is pin oats, it isn’t German, and is peculiar to the Cincinnati area, like Five Way Chili. And evidently some people positively loathe the stuff. So much so that now I’m afraid to even try it.

13 Exit 62 plate Tio Wally Eats America: Exit 62 Restaurant & Truck Plaza

My pot roast ($8.59) arrived, with two sides and corn bread, which was actually a griddle cake. Like the man said, the pot roast had “big chunks of meat in it” which were pretty tender. The meat, chunks of potato, baby carrots, and onion were bathed in a brown gravy that didn’t really work for me. I prefer pot roast in its natural juices “like Mom makes.” Still, it wasn’t bad by any means.

For sides I got mashed potatoes and gravy and green beans. I don’t know what I was thinking. I should’ve gotten hash browns and beets. In toto the meal was pretty good but, still, it just wasn’t what I was really wanting.

Next to the cash register they had a really great looking homemade 4-layer coconut cake so I bought a slice ($2.99) to take with me. It turned out to be quite good. The frosting had a copious amount of coconut and tasted vaguely of marshmallow. I told my sister, a world-class baker in her own right, about it and she explained that it was Seven Minute Frosting.

As I was leaving I kept thinking I probably should’ve substituted the pot roast for two eggs and fried bologna — you can’t get fried bologna just anywhere, you know — and, what the hell, maybe a couple of slices of white bread and a side of grits. Oh wait, that’s the Fried Bologna breakfast ($5.49). Maybe next time.

And so we roll.

Exit 62 Restaurant & Truck Plaza, I-71 Exit 62, 3345 Highway 127 N, Glencoe, Kentucky

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.

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Martorano’s (Atlantic City)

Our first food stop on this Atlantic City press tour, we went to Martorano’s at Harrah’s casino. To be honest, I was a little intimidated when I saw a picture of the owner, Martorano. I do not want to cross this guy.

SteveMartorano Martorano’s (Atlantic City)

But this place is awesome. It’s fancy with a bunch of TV screens showing mobster movies. There are no prices on the menu, which meant it’s good and expensive …which from what I understand was a selling point. The wine menu did have prices …to which the waiter kept pointing me to the $700-800 bottles of wine. I quickly scanned the menu, because I didn’t want to be the asshole who ordered the $700 bottle. I chose the cheapest one I could find –$175.

Yo Cuz is Martorano’s catchphrase. It’s a tattoo on his arm and the name of this awesome martini. Get it with the Black Truffle Cheese Olives. Todd is so hooked on these, he won’t stop talking about them. He’s going to try make his own, but I keep telling him I think there is vermouth in it because it’s a martini. He won’t believe me.

02 Yo Cuz Martini Martoranos Martorano’s (Atlantic City)

Then they kept bringing out the food. I think these are the best Meatballs I’ve ever had. They are so much better than the places in my Brooklyn Italian neighborhood that I thought were awesome.

I was so stuffed by the time the big tray of Fried Calamari came out, which tasted almost like General Tso’s. Then it turned they haven’t even brought out the entrees. Wok the heck!?

Ah, it was so good, so stuffed. The best Italian experience I’ve ever had. The restaurant even turned into a dance club at some point during our long meal. It reminded me of those Brighton Beach Russian restaurants that are half disco, half restaurant.

There was a real pretty girl across the room that I felt kept looking over in my direction. So I got up when everyone was starting to dance. Looked over in her direction, trying to look cool by taking a sip of my Yo Cuz martini …then missed my mouth and spilled it all over my shirt. It was smooth …the drink that is.

When we were leaving, I totally forgot we were in a casino this whole time.

Martorano’s – 777 Harrah’s Blvd (in Harrah’s Casino) Atlantic City, NJ 08041

Atlantic City Weekend Warrior

Ballys Atlantic City Winning Atlantic City Weekend Warrior

This past weekend I was invited to go on an Asian American Press Tour of Bally’s/Harrah’s/Caesars in Atlantic City & Philadelphia. I didn’t know such things existed. Apparently, a lot of Asians gamble. I know that is fact, because the most Asians I’ve ever seen was at Resorts World Casino in Queens.

Anyway, it was fun as heck. I was hungover 70% of the time. Dinners, limo’s, drinks, bikini beach bars and cupcakes. You will see these posts in the coming days.

I gotta say, I started out envying our tour host, Jerry, who takes VIPs and Press out to show them a good time. That’s his job! He’s paid to party. By the end of the weekend, I did not envy him. Because if I was him, I’d be throwing up everyday and cry “uncle” after a month. But Jerry rules and is the perfect guy for the job. He knows his shit. I was already missing him on my bus ride back home. …I still miss him.

Here’s a photo of me in front of the Stanley Cup in the lobby of Caesars hotel and casino. The security guard photobombed me.

Security Guard Photobomb in front of the Stanley Cup Atlantic City Weekend Warrior

The Dubliner

I met up with Shonali on Stone Street in the Financial District. Holy moly! I didn’t realize this street existed –cobblestone street full of outdoor restaurant seating. It looks like a European town that you see in the movies!

There are several restaurants. We chose the Dubliner, an Irish pub… because I thought the Fish and Chips looked really good on someone’s plate. Although, I ended up getting the Guinness and Beef Stew $16. Shonali saved the day and got the Fish and Chips, so we could split both. They were both good.

Stone Street is really cool!

The Dubliner – 45 Stone St (btwn Coenties Aly & Mill Ln) New York, NY 10004

Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

I’ve been thinking of making some at-home Bloody Marys. I drink much every weekend at brunch. Figure it’s time to make them at home. Save a little dough on my alcoholism.

Was sent this large bottle of Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix. It really is spicy. Good with vodka and great on it’s own. I just drank a glass sans vodka tonight with my salad. I feel a little buzzed for some reason.

http://www.tabanero.com/

01 Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix Tabanero Spicy Bloody Mary Mix

Illuminati Cheesecake

01 Juniors Cheesecake Brooklyn Illuminati Cheesecake

This is the Illuminati Cheesecake slice. Well, actually I only say that because it is a triangle. And I really don’t know if it’s the sign of the Illuminati. I think I saw some BuzzFeed article where Beyoncé was making a triangle sign and they said that was Illuminati.

And actually that slice there is from Junior’s in Brooklyn. I ended up there one day because the trains were all fucked up. I think I was trying to get to Soho Manhattan, but ended up in Downtown Brooklyn.

Northeast Kingdom’s Burger

Northeast Kingdom’s Burger is good. Mushroom Duxelles (what is that?), Tobacco Onion (I don’t know), Vermont Cheddar (this is cheese) $15. Good burger!

Northeast Kingdom – 18 Wyckoff Ave (btwn Jefferson & Troutman St) Brooklyn, NY 11237

Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

I’m happy to have Tio Wally (long-time Me So Hungry reader) aboard to send in his eating adventures from across America. Here he is in Noel, Missouri.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

Greetings from Noel, Missouri
N 36° 32.7378′, W 094° 29.113′  Elev. 817 ft.

The road into Noel is a narrow, winding, hilly two-lane highway. As I sailed in I kept saying, “I’d sure hate to drive a big-ass truck on this road.” It turned out I should’ve been saying, “I sure hope I can find a decent breakfast.”

Noel (pronounced knoll, with the emphasis on NO) is tucked in the far southwest corner of the southwesternmost corner of Missouri. It’s a remarkably beautiful place.

It claims to be the “Canoe Capitol of the Ozarks.” If the sheer number of canoes I saw being hauled around by the canoe rental folks is any indication, it’s true. Hell, I’d venture to guess that if you set every canoe in Noel end-to-end they would reach the Gateway Arch some 321 miles away, if not well into Illinois.

But I didn’t want to canoe. I wanted breakfast. Specifically, I wanted eggs and hash browns or grits … or both. But where?

I came to Noel to pick up disassembled poultry from that chicken-plucking behemoth named after a World Heavyweight Boxing Champion. Why they named the company after an ear-biter like Mike is somewhat baffling to me. After all, he raises pigeons not chickens. Nevertheless, the corporate giant of processed meat let me drop the box … and off I went.

I first backtracked to the intersection of MO-EE and US 59 in Lanagan, to a place I thought looked really interesting, The Cave Bar and Grill, a bar (and grill) located in one of Missouri’s 6037 caves. (I did not make this number up. Six thousand thirty-seven is the actual number of recorded caves in the state.) I was quite giddy about eating breakfast in a cave. I imagined they might offer The Spelunker’s Spam Special or something. They don’t. They don’t even serve breakfast.

05 Noel inside 2 Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

I toured the place nevertheless and it was pretty cool (56°). As I left I had to wonder: On their readerboard advertising “Bike Night”, etc., was a curious addition: GOAT. Outside the Cave’s cave is a rocky-ledge pen with a bunch of goats in it. There are gumball machines fully stocked to dispense goat feed (25¢) at the turn of a handle. This raised a question: Should the goats dread Wednesdays?

So off I went to downtown Noel. You can imagine my delight when I saw Kathy’s Kountry Kitchen, which is “Open 7 Days a Week.” It was just after noon when I reached for the doorknob. I was ready for eggs, hash browns and/or grits. I knew I could get ‘em here.

The door was locked. I saw someone inside, so I called. When are y’all open, I asked? “Six to two, but we’re going to start opening at night.” But it’s just after noon and the door’s locked. “Yeah, my wife had a doctor’s appointment so we’re closed right now.” This really sucked. I knew he had hash browns and grits in there.

C’est la vie.

Across the street side-by-side were two other restaurants, the 219 and the Hog Shop. Did you know neither of them serve breakfast? Now you do.

In my travels I’d passed a couple of Mexican restaurants, one with cars and one without. My gut instinct said to visit the least traveled but my head said perhaps I should ask. So I did, of a couple of local poultry drivers. They directed me to the Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant.

The Rio Grande is a puny place, maybe 10 tables total. It’s clean and homey but they don’t have hash browns (shock!) and they don’t have grits (shock x10!). But they have eggs.

22 Noel plate Tio Wally Eats America: Noel, Missouri, Rio Grande Mexican Restaurant

I ordered the only egg dish they offered, Huevos ala Mexicana ($4.99), “Three scrambled eggs with sauteed onion, tomatoes and jalapeño peppers. Served with your choice of tortillas.” I got corn.

While the service was impeccable and the food was fulfilling, everything you’d expect eggs scrambled with onion, tomato and jalapeño would be, I was still somewhat disappointed. You see, I know that all Mexican restaurants have hominy hiding somewhere in the pantry. If figured if they ground the hominy and dried it out, they would have the makings for grits. It ain’t that hard.

I probably should’ve asked them to do it but I didn’t. You never know, they may’ve gone the extra mile.

And so we roll.

Rio Grande Mexican Food, 445 Cliffside Dr., Noel, Missouri

Tio Wally pilots the 75-foot, 40-ton(max) land yacht SS Me So Hungry. He reports on road food from around the country whenever parking and InterTube connections permit.