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 Coeur dâ€™Alene, Idaho.
Greetings from Coeur dâ€™Alene, Idaho
N 47.673492 W 116.762511 Elev. 2161 ft.
I went for Sunday brunch-ish at a restaurant here called Jimmyâ€™s Down The Street. When you get here donâ€™t ask for Jimmy. He wonâ€™t be here. There is no Jimmy. There is, however, a Mike. Heâ€™s the co-owner with his wife, Gretchen.
It turned out Down The Street was featured on the Food Networkâ€™s â€œDinerâ€™s, Drive-Ins & Dives.â€ According to the menu the showâ€™s crew milked the shoot for three days â€” Three days! â€” in August 2011, with that chubby bleach-blond terminally hip host-guy, Guy Fieri, subsequently â€œhighlighting the Chicken n Dumplings ($7.49), Pecan Rolls ($5.25) and Chicken Fried Steak Skillet ($9.95)>.â€ Nice work if you can get it.
The menu also says the place has been here in some incarnation or another for 50-plus years, though I donâ€™t really remember it. I guess I was always headed in the other direction, towards Rustlers Roost when it was still located downtown.
The day I visited Down The Street it had a Stuffed Meatballs special for $7.95. Who could pass that up?
Mike had told me that the cook was making the meatloaf that morning and was wondering what else he might do with the meat. The answer? Stuffed meatballs.
I thought the special came with a choice of onion rings or french fries or baked beans, so, after asking if they battered them there â€” and she said they did â€” I chose the onion rings. It turned out that there really was no choice: You got the whole shebang, along with garlic toast and a Thousand Island-ish dipping sauce.
The four golf-ball-sized meatballs were stuffed with American cheese, breaded and deep-fried. They were pretty good, the crispy outside and tender inside making for a great juxtaposition of textures. But they really needed something. Afterward I decided what they really needed was spicier meat and, what the hell, a spinach-and-provolone cheese filling. Still they were pretty good.
The onion rings were good but they werenâ€™t quite what I was expecting. I donâ€™t know why but whenever anyone says they batter the onion rings in-house I expect tempura batter. Wishful thinking, I guess.
The french fries, however, were great. The hand-cut, homemade french fries are so far superior to the crappy faux-fries youâ€™ll most likely get virtually everywhere else. Gadzooks: They actually taste like … potatoes! There simply is no comparison. After all, spuds werenâ€™t meant to be froze.
The garlic bread was delightfully garlic-y and the baked beans were really, really great. The beans had big chunks of pork in them and were not too sweet. Perfect, really.
But the next day I started craving link breakfast sausage. It took me awhile to figure out why but it was because my friend had ordered what he called a â€œtraditional breakfastâ€: two eggs, breakfast potatoes, link sausage ($7.95). The sausages Down The Street serves are big fat things, akin to homemade sausage rather than the common sissy-sized pre-fab links. I wish Iâ€™d have taken a picture of them or, at least, asked him how they were. But no: FAIL.
All in all Jimmyâ€™s Down The Street is pretty good and pretty reasonably priced. But if you go before about 1 p.m. â€” they close at 2:30 â€” there will likely be a line out the door. Thatâ€™s one way to help you find it, I guess. Still, itâ€™s pretty easy to find: Itâ€™s down the street (Sherman Ave.) on the left as youâ€™re leaving downtown Coeur dâ€™Alene towards that place, whatchamacallit … oh, yeah, Montana.
And so we roll.
Jimmyâ€™s Down The Street, 1613 E. Sherman Ave., Coeur dâ€™Alene, 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.