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 Casa Blanca, New Mexico.
Greetings from Casa Blanca, New Mexico
N 35Â° 01.981â€™ W 107Â° 28.577â€™ Elev. 5,951 ft.
Iâ€™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 Iâ€™d been craving them.
So there we were, cruising Route 66 (I-40 in New Mexico), â€œThe Mother Roadâ€ of song, fame and fable. Thatâ€™s when we received the omen, the harbinger of good things that may well come our way.
Okay, so it wasnâ€™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 â€™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 wouldâ€™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 thatâ€™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 heâ€™s wont to do. The driver had the radio set to the Native American-owned radio station out of Window Rock, Arizona. Itâ€™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 itâ€™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. Thatâ€™s when Skippy turns to me and starts mouthing â€œHI-how-are-ya, HI-how-are-ya.â€ 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 Iâ€™ve found that the Native Americans have a slightly different take on the program. It seems their motto is â€œWe donâ€™t care. We donâ€™t have to.â€ As a result the service usually sucks, the food is sub-crappy. Itâ€™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 thatâ€™s okay. I was so hungry that I didnâ€™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 Iâ€™ve ever met. But it was really great. I cut it in half, slathered it with RealÂ® butter and drizzled honey on it. Had I not been on a tight schedule I wouldâ€™ve asked for another one. And maybe some hash browns.
I thought this was really weird: On the single-serving package of Â©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 couldnâ€™t tell by the artistâ€™s conception on the many billboards.
I suppose I should try one next time Iâ€™m through and report back. And I will, unless itâ€™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