Iâ€™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 Davis, Oklahoma.
Greetings from Davis, Oklahoma
N 34Â° 26.851â€™ W 097Â° 08.123â€™ Elev. 815 ft.
There is a great, great band called The String Cheese Incident. I want to recommend that you experience them instead of experiencing what Iâ€™m calling: The Fried Pie Disaster.
I was on my way to a pathetic, fetid little burg in Texas called Houston, a truly odious swamp of a place with no redeeming qualities. Indeed, it is one of those places that is in much need of â€” deserves! â€” a massive petrochemical explosion that would, if all went well, leave no trace that it ever existed. But thatâ€™s just my humble, yet well-reasoned, opinion.
Although thereâ€™s a Flying Fishhook (Flying J truck stop) there that sells tasty meat Fried Pies (2/$3), that alone should in no way be construed as a redeeming quality nor a reason to prevent or diminish the aforementioned explosion. Jeezus, itâ€™s freakinâ€™ Houston for crisâ€™sake.
Having had the fried pies at the Flying Fishhook, I was wanting to try some from a real fried pie place.
On the way to There-Is-No-There-There I stopped for coffee in Fairfield, Texas. Across the street was a place called Cooper Farms (Exit 198, I-45 & Hwy. 27) that advertised Fried Pies. I walked over hoping to get a meat fried pie, but they didnâ€™t make them. I did, however, buy a Coconut Fried Pie ($3.50); I love coconut cream pie and figured it would be similar. How could I go wrong? Well, by leaving it on the passenger seat until it molded before I could eat it for starters. Talk about harbingers.
On the way back from the Execrable Armpit of Texas I stopped at Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies in Davis, Oklahoma. They claim to be The Original Fried Pie, a curious boast as Bakerâ€™s Ribs in Caddo Mills, Texas makes the same claim. Iâ€™m sure there are more than a few others.
Walking up to the place I was delighted to see an obviously narcissitic rooster admiring at his reflection in the glass of one of the front doors. Thatâ€™s a good sign, I thought. The not particularly friendly fried-pie lady explained that the cock lived nearby and liked to strut over and visit occasionally. Quaint.
I perused the menu and ordered three expensive ($3.99 each) Fried Pies: a Spinach, Mushroom and Potato; a Beef and Vegetable; and a Polish Sausage and Potato, which they billed as the â€œComfort Food.â€
The half moon-shaped pies were fairly large, about 7 inches in length at the base, with great crust but sort of thin. I was pretty excited, especially about the spinach. Then I took a bite.
It was so salty it shouldâ€™ve come with a Surgeon Generalâ€™s Warning so that people with heart conditions taking statins didnâ€™t bleed to death from their follicles, if not every pore on their body, after a single bite. In a word: YUK!
I wouldâ€™ve thrown it out the window but Iâ€™m sure that that much salt wouldâ€™ve attracted a herd of deer or cows or horses within minutes, effectively shutting down I-35 in both directions. No doubt, the pie wouldâ€™ve then been traced back to me through an anonymous tipster and Iâ€™d get a ticket for … lord knows what.
Then I tried the â€œComfort Foodâ€ pie. It was full of pureed potatoes that tasted faintly of chicken broth. Not bad. However, it contained only (approximately) 1.376 grams of Polish sausage; two measly pieces to be exact. While the pie wasnâ€™t offensive it offered absolutely no â€œcomfort.â€
The Beef and Vegetable was the best of the three, although a visual examination didnâ€™t reveal any beef or vegetables. I never figured out what it tasted like, really. It was something familiar yet undefinable, sort of like a Swansonâ€™sÂ® Salisbury Steak nukerowavable delight … or something. Mostly something.
Was I disappointed? Yes. Pissed? Not completely because I liked seeing the local Cock oâ€™ the Walk. But overall I hated, HATED the pies. What a rip-off! Would I recommend avoiding the place? Yes, at all cost. Unless, of course, youâ€™re a big, big fan of handheld salt licks and random barnyard fowl.
In all, the whole adventure ended up being pure kismet: The pies sucked; I ended up losing their menu as well as everything else with Arbuckle Mountain Fried Piesâ€™ address on it; and all but one of the close-up photos of the pies were so blurry they were unusable, much like the pies themselves. Pretty poetic, Iâ€™d say.
Since Iâ€™m talking about avoiding places, hereâ€™s another one: Bettyâ€™s Truck Stop on I-44 at Highway YY (Exit 74) in Missouri. Hereâ€™s why: I was dead tired, starving, wanting just to eat and then sleep. I went into Bettyâ€™s â€” Iâ€™d been wanting to try it even though it never seemed busy even though it has acres of parking â€” and was greeted by a waitress that could only be described as, to be kind, icey.
I was looking at the menu and was thrilled to see they had tomato soup, as well as â€œhomemadeâ€ vegetable beef and chicken noodle soups, as permanent menu items. I love tomato soup. Moreover itâ€™s rare for a restaurant to have any â€œnamedâ€ soup as a regular menu item unless itâ€™s good and it sells.
As I always do, I asked if they had any specials. â€œSloppy Joe and fries,â€ she said. Hmm, a Sloppy Joe sounds good. What can I substitute for fries, I asked? I was thinking a cup of tomato soup would be great. â€œYou canâ€™t,â€ said Icee. Huh? â€œYou canâ€™t substitute on the special. Itâ€™s the rules.â€ But what if someone canâ€™t eat potatoes, what then? â€œIt doesnâ€™t matter. No substitutions on the special,â€ she said haughtily, robotically. Screw you, I thought. And Betty, too.
A basic rule of commerce: If a business wonâ€™t take care of its customers, its customers shouldnâ€™t take care of them. I observed the rule. (Note: Never ever take shit from anyone whoâ€™s trying to sell you something. Your money talks. They need you, not vice versa.)
So I walked back to the yacht, fuming. Never had I run into such blind obstinacy in a restaurant, especially one that supposedly caters to drivers. I then enjoyed a delicious chicken salad (from Braumâ€™s) sandwich on wheat with green leaf lettuce, followed by a sound sleep.
And so we roll.
Flying J Travel Centers, nationwide
Cooper Farms, Exit 198, I-45 & Hwy. 27, Fairfield, Texas
Arbuckle Mountain Fried Pies, I-35 at Exit 51, Davis, Oklahoma
Bettyâ€™s Truck Stop, Exit 74, I-44 & Hwy. YY, Sweet Springs, 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.