Monday, August 18, 2008

Empire of Junk

I've met many people, who, without ever having been to the States, are sure, that the food there is bad. So for years ever since I was first there I've had to have these arguments, where I claim, that you can actually get best food there, because of the simple fact that you can get everything and there is a lot of competition.

But, undeniably, it is also the Motherland of Junk. But such good junk.

Here's a small assortment of the comfort food we fed on over the two weeks. 'A quarter-pounder is a cornerstone of any nutritious breakfast,' as my friend Oliver kept saying over and over again.

The best burgers we had were in a diner in a small town called Lompoc. That town left a deep impression in many other ways as well. We were never planning to stop there, but we had a flat tire and managed just crawl into the parking-lot behind the local Home Depot. There we were, standing around our rented Dodge like a bunch of morons as the spare tire was nowhere to be found. And we did that for about a half an hour. Until a guy came out of the Home Depot and did about 7 of the most unlikely things a stranger would do in Estonia. He:
1) stopped
2) asked if we needed help
3) suggested that the spare might be under the car (a surprise for us)
4) lay down on the ground to inspect said hypothesis
5) was surprised not to find it in the back, but instead of leaving lay down again and located the tire in the back
6) helped us to find a way to undo it
7) suggested a place where they'd fix it for us for free

We were almost teary eyed. Unfortunately the tire was sliced on the side, so it couldn't be fixed and the first place didn't have a tire that suited us, so we went to the next place where we were also treated with kindness and where our Dodge became the laughing stock of everyone there. About 4 or 3 men, some who worked there, others who were customers, gathered around the car, saying things like: 'God damn Doge,' or 'Another reason never to buy a Dodge'. While they were doing that, we were sent to the diner, the name of which I've forgotten, but there's a big sign outside, hat says 'Hi, let's eat'.

There they served us a mouth watering SoCal burger,a delicious Angus burger a wonderful veggie burger and some very decent potato salad.

Afterwards we went to a local market (apparently happens every week) and discovered that Lompoc actually made more than one appearance in 'Sideways', a movie we all like.

So cheers to Lompoc and all the friendly people there.

Speaking of Burgers, we had some other good ones, but we also had a completely miserable one. In a posh-ish Tapas place in Santa Monica, I was served and Angus burger with nothing but the burger, the bun and some cheese. And it was just bad. Dry, boring, bad.

But back to the good. One of the few culinary 'A-ha!' moments for me was a corn-dog. I'd never had one. Obviously I had heard of them in movies, but I always though that it'd be some kind of horrible, bland, hillbilly food. I was mistaken - not about the hillbilly part, but about the rest. I bought a chilly-cheese corn-dog in a Miner's Mart before Yosemite (and there were stuffed heads of dead animals hanging on that wall).

I also managed to make a complete idiot out of myself, by asking the lady behind the counter, what was in a corn-dog. To which she asked me whether I knew what a hot-dog was. I was almost expecting the next question to be, whether I've ever seen a TV. But it was my own fault. And the corn-dog was SO much better than a regular hot-dog. Yum. Maybe this is my business idea. Maybe I should start a corn-dog business here.


Always Eating said...

So funny about the corn dog. It's classic kids food here in the States. Though after years of eating the bland, gluteny ones served in school cafeterias, I lost my taste for them. If you ever get to Disneyland, you can try the one corn dog I will still eat -- and actually go in search of. When you enter the park, proceed down Main Street until you get to the "Hub," the roundabout where the park branches off toward the different "lands." Stop when you reach the roundabout and look to your right. There is an antique delivery truck that's been converted into a food stand. They serve the most luscious, hand-dipped corn dogs. They're crispy outside, and the corn meal is fluffy and warm inside. Best, they use high-quality hot dogs. Dip them in mustard for the quintessential experience.

Kat said...

thanks for the tip :)
That particular one was really good as well. Although I'm struggling to see who, in their right mind, would make it something you serve at the school cafeteria. Not exactly the healthiest lunch choice now, is it :)