Posts tagged comfort food

Tio Wally Eats America: Rustlers Roost 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 Hayden, Idaho.

Greetings from Hayden, Idaho
N 47.7601609 W 116.79176 Elev. 2294 ft.

I hadn’t been to Rustlers Roost for quite awhile. But I was keenly aware of how great its food is: I’ve been eating there off and on for nearly 30 years and, now, at its fourth (and final?) location. Thankfully, it hasn’t changed a bit, even after all these years.

The first thing that hits you when you enter Rustlers Roost is the sweet, pungent aroma of Marketspice cinnamon-orange tea. So distinctive (and comforting) is the smell that I could be led into Rustlers Roost blindfolded and I’d immediately know exactly where I was. I’d also know exactly what I was likely to order. But in all the years I’ve eaten at the Roost I’ve never seen anyone actually order that tea. I guess perhaps just the smell is enough.

I’ve long had a love affair with the Roost’s breakfasts ever since it was in its original location, a 35-seat hole-in-the-wall in downtown Coeur d’Alene. Over the years I’ve easily had well over a dozen different things off the breakfast menu. But I’ve established a real preference for just a few things, mostly because they’ve become go-to comfort foods for me.

In no particular order, they are Rustler Special: Three eggs, Chicken Fried Steak, Home Fries, and Biscuit & Gravy ($9.75); Boots and Saddle: Three eggs, Two Pork Chops, Home Fries, and Biscuit & Gravy ($10.75); and Lightweight: Two eggs, Two Sausage Links or Bacon, and Biscuit & Gravy ($8.00).

On this visit I had the Rustler Special. As always the eggs were perfectly cooked, the hash browns (my substitution) crispy, and the lightly-breaded Chicken Fried Steak fork-tender. But it’s the gravy that’s killer. I don’t know if they make it from scratch or it’s from a mix, but it has such a distinctive, somewhat chicken-y flavor. Add one of their signature biscuits and, voilà, you’ve got The Taste of the Roost.

Many people have commented on the size of the Roost’s pancakes. They say they’re large. The menu bills one as a 10” Solo Cake. (Both claims are moot, I think. I’m convinced that the size of the pancake is solely based on the size of the plate. Anyone can plainly see (see photo) that if the hotcake were any larger the server wouldn’t be able to grab the plate without squishing the flapjack. Duh!!! Nobody wants their flapjack squished. It’s just common sense.) They are large, though, about 10 inches across. I didn’t remember them doing it before but they served both “regular” and Smucker’s Blueberry Syrup with the pancake. Nice treat.

But all comfort food aside, easily the biggest treat of all was seeing owner Woody McEvers again. I’ve known Woody for nearly 30 years, which makes him old; coincidentally, Rustlers Roost is celebrating its 30th year in business this month. I hadn’t seen him for well-over five or 6 years. I suspect that, to him, I’m akin to a sea serpent of sorts; you never know when I’m going to pop up. Still, it’s always a thrill to see people you’ve known forever in great health and spirits, even (especially?) when they’re Woody’s advanced age.

There really is nothing unusual about the greaseless greasy spoon that is Rustlers Roost. Unless, of course, you want a great meal at a great price and don’t mind being treated like family in the process.

And so we roll.

Rustlers Roost, 9757 N. Rustlers Trail, Hayden, Idaho

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.


Jimmy’s Diner’s Tater Heaven

Last week we were still stuck without a train. So Sam and I went to get brunch at Jimmy’s Diner. Can’t really complain how good we have it. Sam ordered the Chicken and Waffles with White Southern Gravy that I love and a side of Creamed Spinach. I tried the Tater Heaven breakfast bowl (homemade tarter tots topped with scrambled eggs, sauteed onions, jack cheese and guacamole) and a side of homemade pork sausage. Pretty good stuff. The tater tots were heavy duty –more like a hush puppy. Very dense, but made out of potato. Now that I think about it, that would have been really good with some White Southern Gravy on top.

Jimmy’s Diner – 577 Union Ave (btwn N 10th & N 11th St) Brooklyn 11211

We walked over to McCarren Park afterward to see the fallen tree. There were banana peels in the hole. I wonder how they got there. Food blog.

Eats (Atlanta, Georgia)

I’ve posted snippets from the road, but now I’m ready to share our full-on adventures and photos from our Shonali Bhowmik 100 Oak’s Revival tour down South…

Day 6: We made it to Atlanta and unloaded our crap into the Highland Inn hotel. I asked the cute girl at the front desk where’s a good place to eat that’s a dump. She told me about her favorite place called Eats that she’s gone to since she was 9. Jerk Chicken, Turkey Meatloaf, southern sides and beer. Sold.

I got the Turkey Meatloaf with Mashed Potatoes, Black Eyed Peas and Broccoli Casserole. That cheesy Broccoli Casserole was fucking good. We got stuffed.

Eats – 600 Ponce de Leon. Atlanta, GA 30307

I think my phone took a photo of a ghost in the hotel. Or maybe it’s some weird reflection of me in the mirrors? I sorta look like that in the morning.

Dish Southern Comfort Food (Charlotte, North Carolina)

I’ve posted snippets from the road, but now I’m ready to share our full-on adventures and photos from our Shonali Bhowmik 100 Oak’s Revival tour down South…

Day 2: We came into Charlotte and dropped our stuff off at Scott’s. He had some cute gogo dancers over for him to do their makeup for the Shiprock party at Snug Harbor. Meanwhile, the band and I went over to Dish for some good southern food. I don’t think anything was fried on the menu. I got the grilled liver platter. It was solid. We also had pimento cheese. I think that was the first time I had that. Mayonnaise and Cheese. Yep.

Dish – 1220 Thomas Avenue. Charlotte, NC 28205

Soul Fixins

Was in some need of good soul/comfort food and went over to Soul Fixins next to FIT. I asked what the best thing was and the guy named all the different chicken (fried, baked, jerk, smothered). I’ve never had smothered before. It’s not a bad idea …pouring gravy over things. This platter with two sides is $10. 2 Bros Plus does some comfort food at ridiculously lower prices, but I think Soul Fixins is better quality and tasting …maybe by not that much.

Soul Fixins – 225 W 28th St (btwn 7th & 8th Ave) New York 10001

Pi Day @ Pies-N-Thighs

Celebrated Pi Day (3/14) with members and friends of ScienceBlogs & Serious Eats at the new Pies-N-Thighs. We were supposed to meet up at 4pm, but found out last minute that they close from 4-5pm everyday. So 5pm it is. Luckily it was Daylight Savings (Spring forward), so we sorta did meet at 4pm after-all.

The new Pies-N-Thighs is a much nicer and cleaner version of the old place. Looks small, but there’s extra seating in the back. Everything I tasted was pretty good. The collards are cooked more than I’ve ever had, but still good. I liked the mac n cheese that had hot sauce on it. We ordered a slice of each pie they had. Banana Cream was a crowd favorite. I liked the Boozy Raisin. The Coconut Cream tasted like my lotion, but in a good way. We almost had to start dinner all over, because I forgot to take a photo of my own food (Carolina Pulled Pork Sandwich Box).

Check out ScienceBlogs for the latest on the 2010 Pi Day Bake-off. Plenty of entry photos up!

Pies-N-Thighs – 166 S. 4th Street (@ Driggs) Brooklyn, NY 11211

Brooklyn Bowl – Blue Ribbon Food

A Ramen and Friends bowling party at Williamsburg’s new bowling alley, Brooklyn Bowl …just right around the corner from the burg’s old new bowling alley, the Gutter. This place is huge with a big stage for concerts. The pins have string on the end of them. So when you knock them down, the system just pulls the pins back up and in place. I’ve never seen that before.

The food is by Blue Ribbon. Fancy pants for a bowling alley. I split a burger and brisket platter (meant to order the sandwich, but I think I forgot to say sandwich. I didn’t even know they had a platter) and tried everyone else’s food including the pork rinds, french bread pizza, mac & cheese and veggie sandwich. The burger was average. The pizza was good. The real star was that brisket. I first thought I ate a succulent fatty piece because it melted in my mouth. Turns out it was just super tender meat. I always thought brisket was tougher like a cut of steak. At least that’s what I’ve always been served before and at pretty good BBQ joints. I’ve been corrected.

Brooklyn Bowl – 61 Wythe Ave (btw N 11th & N 12th St) Brooklyn 11211

How’s Your News? Dinner & Screening party

The food by Mama’s and the party at Heather’s in the East Village. This was awesome. It was catered buffet style and I can never decide what to get and can never finish the huge portions Mama’s gives me. Somehow I did eat five plates. No ball busting, but I did make even more friends like Brendan and Lucas this time around.

The show looks great. The cast and crew is so appreciative. Make sure you check it out on MTV Sundays at 10:30pm. And Netflix the documentary film that started it all.

How’s Your News? website
Mama’s Food Shop – 200 E 3rd St (Btw Ave A & Ave B) New York 10009