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Posts tagged pork chops

Tio Wally Eats America: Extra-Special Pork Chops

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 West Richland, Washington.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck2 Tio Wally Eats America: Extra Special Pork Chops

Greetings from West Richland, Washington
N 46° 15.4898’ W 119° 20.5197’ Elev. 600 ft.

Shore leave is ending here in sunny south-central Washington and, as I’ve done before, before setting sail I’ve made food I’m not going to find out on the cement seas.

For this voyage I’ve made Pork Chops with Mushroom Sauce over rice. Not only does it help me inch toward my dream-goal of an all-pork diet, it also re-heats really well.

I got some really great looking pork chops from a truly great grocery store, WinCo Foods, a Boise, Idaho-based (employee-owned!) supermarket chain with locations throughout the western states.

After rinsing the pork chops thoroughly — this is an important step as the chops are cut with a bandsaw and there are often little residual chips of bone on them — season them with salt and pepper. I like to use a lot of pepper because, well, I really like fresh ground pepper.

Next, brown the pork chops. You don’t have to cook them all the way through as they will get thoroughly cooked at a later stage.

After browning the chops put them in a baking dish and smother them with a handful (8) of fresh sliced mushrooms and a can of Cream of Mushroom soup, diluted with milk as it makes it creamier.

After the concoction is amassed and assembled cover it with foil and bake it at an absurdly low temperature (180-200°) for a few hours. Cooking it for so long at such a low temperature will render the pork chops extraordinarily tender.

Once the mass for mess is in the oven, go do something else. There is no need to watch it as it would take a short forever for it to burn.

(Indeed, we grabbed Chinese food to-go from Mandarin House — where the lady overcharged me about $5 … but the food was quite good — and took it to Howard Amon Park on the banks of the mighty Columbia River. Although this particular superhighway is a bit more fluid than I’m used to, I figure if it’s moving at about 190,000 cubic feet per second, that’s good traffic flow.)

After the chops are cooked, debone them and cut the meat into bite-sized pieces. Then put the whole mess back in the baking dish and stir it up until all the pieces are coated with all that mushroomy goodness. After it’s mixed, put it back in the oven uncovered until the sauce reaches whatever thickness you want; the longer it’s in, the thicker it’ll get.

Once the sauce reaches your desired consistency, stir it again and then pour it over rice; I make the rice with chicken stock.

This stuff is a real treat when you’re in the middle of nowhere and there’s either nothing open or there’s only various levels of pure odiousness to choose from. Trust me.

And so we roll.

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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Tio Wally Eats America: Dancing Eagle Restaurant & Casino

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 Casa Blanca, New Mexico.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck Tio Wally Eats America: Dancing Eagle Restaurant & Casino

Greetings from Casa Blanca, New Mexico
N 35° 01.981’ W 107° 28.577’ Elev. 5,951 ft.

I’d been working on a different Me So Hungry post wherein I mentioned Pork Chops and Eggs. Ever since I wrote the words pork chops and eggs I’d been craving them.

So there we were, cruising Route 66 (I-40 in New Mexico), “The Mother Road” of song, fame and fable. That’s when we received the omen, the harbinger of good things that may well come our way.

Okay, so it wasn’t actually anything remotely supernatural or even mildly unusual. It was a billboard flogging a Pork Chops and Eggs special at one of the myriad casinos owned and operated by Native Americans in New Mexico.

But it said $6.99 and showed two pork chops on the plate. And it was served ’til 2 p.m. We were in time, there was plenty of parking, and the Laguna Pueblo tribe needed our money.

My evil twin Skippy and I had stopped at the Dancing Eagle Casino before. Then we found out the special was only available across the street at the casino, not the truck stop side. But it was so hot it would’ve been an oppressive walk across the street and an even more torturous trek back to the yacht afterward. We passed.

This time the weather was glorious. As we set out walking we discovered a shuttle that’ll deliver street sailors to the casino and back. Yea! What service.

As we got in the shuttle I thought Skippy was going to pull a real faux pas, as he’s wont to do. The driver had the radio set to the Native American-owned radio station out of Window Rock, Arizona. It’s a bizarre station.

For many years it was the only radio signal that could be picked up reliably in western New Mexico and eastern Arizona. The station plays the occasional schlock pop and then a lot of Native American music which, to me, sounds a lot like chanting to interminably monotonous drumming. I suspect that it sounds that way to me because that is exactly what it is. I always thought it’d probably sound pretty hip … if I were held prisoner in a hogan hopelessly zoned on peyote.

So we get in the van and the radio is playing the most caricatured rhythm in Native American music. That’s when Skippy turns to me and starts mouthing “HI-how-are-ya, HI-how-are-ya.” Oy veh. Thankfully, we made it to the casino without incident and quickly found the restaurant.

Every casino on the planet really needs your money, so deals on food are de rigueur. But I’ve found that the Native Americans have a slightly different take on the program. It seems their motto is “We don’t care. We don’t have to.” As a result the service usually sucks, the food is sub-crappy. It’s generally an experience best avoided.

The Dancing Eagle Restaurant however quickly exceeded my expectations. We were seated toot sweet by a friendly hostess, who treated us with genuine warmth and respect. Likewise, our waitress, Roxanne, was genial and cheerful.

The Pork Chops and Eggs came as advertised, almost. The difference was that on the billboard it showed hash browns (I think). My plate came with sliced, fried potatoes with little bits of onion and bell pepper. I really wanted hash browns; I love hash browns. But that’s okay. I was so hungry that I didn’t want to complain or send it back.

The pork chops were two boneless breakfast chops, which were great. While I thought the eggs were on the puny side, they were cooked adequately. The deal came with a choice of toast or a biscuit, which I opted for.

The biscuit was a whole wheat thing, I think, and possibly the densest biscuit I’ve ever met. But it was really great. I cut it in half, slathered it with Real® butter and drizzled honey on it. Had I not been on a tight schedule I would’ve asked for another one. And maybe some hash browns.

I thought this was really weird: On the single-serving package of ©Kraft Foods Pure Honey was a warning: DO NOT FEED HONEY TO INFANTS UNDER ONE YEAR OF AGE. Whaaa?

In all, the Pork Chops and Eggs special was a pretty decent deal. But the real deal may be across the street on the truck stop side. They advertise a Laguna Burger, a half-pound hamburger with lord knows on it for $3.99; I couldn’t tell by the artist’s conception on the many billboards.

I suppose I should try one next time I’m through and report back. And I will, unless it’s Tuesday and I get two chili cheese dogs for $2.

And so we roll.

Dancing Eagle Restaurant, I-40 Exit 108, Casa Blanca, New Mexico

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.

Tio Wally Eats America: Powhatan 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 Pocahontas, Illinois.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck Tio Wally Eats America: Powhatan Restaurant

Greetings from Pocahontas, Illinois
N 38° 49.723’  W 089° 32.846’  Elev. 545 ft.

I’ve slept in Pocahontas many times over the years. And I may have eaten at the Powhatan, Pocahontas’ premier — only — restaurant before, but if I did it was well over ten years ago and I really don’t remember it.

I do remember, however, that the last time I was here it was nighttime and I took pictures of the “RESTAURANT” sign on the back of the building. I was really tired and I felt the sign, partially ablaze in bright red, was encouraging me to vent. With six of the 10 letters burnt out, the sign read only “RANT”. I was too lazy to get out of the yacht to take the photos and thus ended up with two or three beautiful shots of flash glare off the windshield.

And so it goes.

This time I stopped because, heading west, I didn’t want to deal with the morning rush hour cluster that is St. Louis at that time of day. Plus, I was hungry.

I stopped in the Powhatan and ordered a Country Breakfast Platter called “Gretchen’s Favorite” ($8.95). I don’t know but the Gretchen in “Gretchen’s Favorite” may be in honor of a local celebrity, country singer Gretchen “Redneck Woman” Wilson, who was born in Pocahontas.

The breakfast platter consisted of three eggs, two pork chops, fried apples, hash brown casserole, and biscuits with milk gravy. Although I knew what I’d ordered, I was still surprised when the plate came out. My reaction was: “That’s a lot of food!”

The eggs, which I’d ordered over easy, were a little overcooked; I like ‘em runny, honey. The pork chops were average-sized breakfast chops. Although they were thin, they were incredibly tender and tasty. The fried apples were a great compliment to the chops. Very cinnamon-y, they were more like a strudel filling or something.

The hash brown casserole was good but got tiresome after a while. It’s made with hash browns that tasted homemade, onion, bell pepper, and topped with a generous amount of melted cheddar cheese. When I go again I’ll probably just get regular hash browns because they’re so good.

The biscuits and gravy were absolutely awesome. Although the biscuits were on the small side, they were great and the milk gravy was some of the best I’ve ever had. It had great flavor and was not overly thickened, the perfect consistency in fact. I can easily see myself going back just for biscuits and gravy.

The Powhatan restaurant— Powhatan was Pocahontas’ father — is really homey inside, with wood floors and booths. And the service is excellent.

While I was there they played nothing but Louis Armstrong and Frank Sinatra music. I mention this only because I was blessed that they played only early Sinatra recordings, the ones made during that brief time when The Chairman of the Bored still managed to sing either in tune or in close proximity thereof. (My humble opinion and succinct critique of the grossly overrated Sinatra: Frank stank.)

When I went up to pay the bill I was thinking I was going to get a discount based on some genealogical information recently revealed to me by my sister. So I asked the cashier: Do I get a discount for being related to Pocahontas? “No,” she said. “This is a different Pocahontas than you’re thinking of.”

What? How many Pocahontases could there possibly be? She then when on to claim Pocahontas, Illinois was named after the Pocahontas Coal Mine, whose shafts honeycomb the ground below the entire town. Wikipedia, however, says it was indeed named after my distant relative, Pocahontas, the fabled Native American heroine of lore, which makes a lot more sense being as the town was founded nearly 60 years before the mine was established.

Regardless, it was a great meal at a great price even without a discount … which I was surely entitled to: After all, if I’m related to Pocahontas I’m related to Powhatan, too.

And so we roll.

Powhatan Restaurant, I-70 Exit 36, Pocahontas, Illinois

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.

Tio Wally Eats America: Lambert’s Cafe

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 Ozark, Missouri.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck Tio Wally Eats America: Lamberts Cafe

Greetings from Ozark, Missouri
N 37° 04.164′  W 093° 13.409′  Elev. 1271 ft.

Be forewarned: If you’re sitting in Lambert’s Cafe no one will yell “Incoming!” or “Heads Up!” You simply have to pay attention because some people just can’t catch very well and you may well end up having a piping hot, oven fresh dinner roll carom off the side of your head. You can expect that sort of thing here. After all, Lambert’s is the “Home of the Throwed Rolls.”

The first Lambert’s Cafe was established in 1942 by Earl and Agnes Lambert in Sikeston, Missouri. According to their hand-out, they began throwing rolls to folks on May 26, 1976 when, during an extremely busy lunch hour, a roll-jonesing customer yelled “Just throw the damn thing!” They did. And to the delight of children and adults alike a tradition was born. And they’re great rolls.

A guy rolls a cart through the restaurant laden with trays of fresh made rolls and throws them, often across the room, hopefully into the waiting hands of customers. There are many misses, but he’s got more rolls. (He has the best job in the restaurant if you ask me.) Following close behind the roll-pitching Muffin Man is another person with sorghum, which they’ll happily drizzle on your hot roll.

12 Lamberts roll thrower Tio Wally Eats America: Lamberts Cafe

Lambert’s is truly a quirky, somewhat wacky place with large open dining rooms of wooden booths and some of the busiest interior decorating known to man. And the service is unique as well. After your server takes your order people wander around with “Norm’s Pass Arounds,” the aforementioned hot rolls and sorghum, sides of fried okra, fried potatoes and onion, black-eyed peas, and really great macaroni and tomatoes.

Moreover, you can get as much as you want of anything: entrees, pass arounds, rolls, etc. But if you get seconds on your entree you can’t get a to-go box. There’s actually a sign to that effect reading “Please, No Doggie Bags, Extra Plates or Sharing Plates!” in the entryway. But how anyone could order seconds is beyond me as the portions are so generous to begin with.

For entrees my Gang of Four ordered Shrimp ($15.99), huge shrimp deep-fried golden brown; Pork Chops ($13.99), which you can get grilled, smoked or deep-fried; and Golden Fried Chicken ($12.49). Because he ordered all white meat ($1 extra) the plate came with two giant breasts, of which he could only finish one. I ordered the XXL – Center Cut Ham ($14.99). The sugar-cured ham was definitely XXL, nearly covering the giant skillet it was served in. All the food was great.

Every entree comes with two sides, of which they have 18 choices. One of them, however, a Pineapple Walnut Salad, costs $1.99 extra. It sure is good though, and it’s a big bowl worth the extra couple of bucks.

At first glance at the menu, Lambert’s may seem sort of pricey but it’s more than made up for in gargantuan portions, and the rolling Roll Show. And, like I said, you can get a to-go box if you don’t order seconds. In fact, plan on having at least two meals from whatever you order.

There is also some true weirdness to be found on the menu as well, like “Somethin’ Southern.  All the white beans a body can eat with your choice of ham or fried bologna and 2 vegetables served with a King Edwards cigar or Big Red chewing gum.” It’s only $8.99. Those same white beans minus the meat are also one of the vegetable choices by the way. But why a mess of white beans comes with a cigar or chewing gum is anyone’s guess.

If you visit Lambert’s you can plan on waiting to get in, sometimes up to a good hour or more. We showed up about 10 a.m. for the 10:30 opening and there was already a line. Thankfully, it’s a fairly big place and we were seated immediately as soon as it opened. When we left, however, it was another story altogether, with a line out the door. A lot of this is a combination of its proximity to Branson  — it’s located right off US65, the road to (as Bart Simpson accurately described it) “Las Vegas as envisioned by Ned Flanders” — thus a must-stop for passing tour buses, and because the locals eat here as well.

Another weird quirk about Lambert’s is that they don’t take credit cards, which baffles me to no end. They only take cash or personal checks. As luck would have it, though, there is an ATM inconveniently located in the entryway (which they own, no doubt). Why it isn’t next to the cashier just adds to the bafflement. The rhyme and reason of some things seems to be on permanent holiday at Lambert’s.

Lambert’s Cafe is an extremely fun dining experience that more than lives up to its motto: “Come hungry, leave full, and hopefully have a laugh or two.”

And so we … roll.

Lambert’s Cafe, restaurants in Sikeston and Ozark, Missouri and Foley, Alabama

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.

Tio Wally Eats America: Casey’s General Store

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 Williamsburg, Iowa.

Tio%20Wally%20Eats%20America%20truck Tio Wally Eats America: Casey’s General Store

Greetings from Williamsburg, Iowa
N 41° 41.433’ W 092° 00.707’ Elev. 815 ft.

Here was an wholly unexpected score. I was driving on Interstate 80 through Iowa one night looking for a place to park for the night and, hopefully, get a decent cup of coffee in the morning. I ended up stopping at a Casey’s General Store in Williamsburg (130 W. Evans St., Hwy. 149 and I-80, Exit 220).

Casey’s General Stores are mainly little convenience stores/gas stations of various sizes, with various amenities. A few of them have diesel and a bit of parking. This particular one had a restaurant attached to it, which is unusual for a Casey’s.

Unbeknownst to me, some Casey’s also have little deli’s inside that feature pizzas as well as sandwiches; $5 for their “Classic” foot-long subs.

I’ve made no secret of my fondness for Tuna Salad. Most places charge extra for tuna, if they even have it. But lo and behold, not only does Casey’s have it, it’s considered part of its “Classic” menu.

I ordered one because it looked so good and was not disappointed. It was great. Moreover, the lady that made the sandwich put five giant scoops of it on the sandwich. I have no idea how many ounces of meat was there, but I’m thinking it was well over a pound; it was definitely more than one of those containers from Braum’s contains. It was huge! Enough for four meals for me.

There was also another special of sorts going on in the parking lot that morning that was strictly for the birds. A truck had spilled some feed corn and the local avian community was going crazy. At times the pile was nearly covered with three or four different species. Unfortunately, I was never able get a shot of the “big gang.” They were very skittish and, much like the Amish, refused to pose.

I also made another major score on that cruise. I was in Norfolk, Nebraska and hit the Hy-Vee for dinner. One of the specials that day was a monster stuffed pork chop with two sides and a roll for $5. For the sides I got scalloped potatoes and baked beans. Needless to say, it was great and made for multiple meals.

And so we roll.

Casey’s General Store, throughout the Midwest, primarily in Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Missouri, South Dakota, Minnesota, Kansas and Nebraska.
Hy-Vee, throughout the Midwest

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.

The Brooklyn Star – Brunch

Danny and I had brunch at the Brooklyn Star. I’ve always wanted to try this place, but the original location burnt down. Then I forgot the newer place was even closer to me, when it took over the Lazy Catfish spot.

First started off with a Bloody Bull (a bloody mary with beef broth). I like the idea, but to me, it tasted like a regular bloody mary. I couldn’t really taste the beef broth. And we just had a couple of bloody marys at Harefield Road right before.

I ordered the Apple Johnny Cakes ($12) with bacon and jalapeno cooked inside for only an extra 50cents. That’s a good reasonably priced upgrade.

Danny got the Fried Pork Chop ($11) which came with grits, chow chow (a Southern relish) and a fried egg. He asked if they could cook the egg well done, but the waitress said the chef wouldn’t do that. I was pretty stunned. I understand there are stubborn chefs who only do things their way (No Changes, No Substitutions), but I never imagined having an egg on the griddle for an extra 30 seconds would be a big deal. I was about to say fuck this place, but Danny went ahead and ordered it sans egg. And dammit, the Fried Pork Chop was the best fucking thing. Huge. I didn’t know a pork chop could be so big. It looked like a big fried fish filet …even had a tail. It probably would’ve tasted amazing with some runny yolk on it.

The Brooklyn Star - 593 Lorimer St (between Metropolitan & Conselyea) Brooklyn, NY 11211

Rusty Stuffed Pork Chops

Thanks to Charles’ idea for stuffing pork chops with apples and thanks to Sam Murakami for The Expendables on Blu Ray, it was a good Crusty night dinner. Seared the pork chops and then slit them open to stuff them with jalapeño peppers, garlic and peppers and threw them in the oven to bake. Not bad. The apples gave it a bit of tartness, but it wasn’t overpowering.