Wednesday, June 30, 2010

No…this was not on the menu when we dined in Elkins…

Bill Crider gets a doff of the TDOY chapeau for pointing me towards this article and the pictures that accompany it—a list of “The 50 Fattiest Foods in the States.” That photo to your left is a ten-pound burger courtesy of Hillbilly Hotdogs, an eatery located in my former college stomping grounds of Huntington, WV. Huntington and Hillbilly were both selected by Jamie Oliver to be featured on his tiresome ABC-TV series Jamie Oliver’s Food Revolution ostensibly because the Mountain State ranks #3 on a list of the fattest states in the good ol' U.S. of A. (In other late-breaking news…water is wet.)

Now, those individuals who read this blog on a fairly regular basis know that I am certainly not the poster child for good eating habits (as my online physician, the eminent and highly-respected Dr. Flickhead, never misses the opportunity to remind me)…but I can safely say that the Ten Pound Artery Clogger (which contains 10 pounds of beef, bread, two heads of lettuce, two pounds of pickles, three tomatoes, three onions and 25 slices of cheese) would not be a menu item I’d be ordering up anytime soon. (And even if I did, I’d leave off the tomatoes and pickles. Kidding…I’m only kidding.) According to the article, this Burger of the Red Death clocks in “at around 800 grams of fat. That’s an entire day’s worth of fat for more than 12 women, without even counting the cheese.” Honest to my grandma—there’s a world of difference between a satisfyingly tasty burger…and a testament to wretched excess.

Here in the Peach State, where I now reside, the “Luther Burger” is for those individuals who just aren’t up to taking in the fat content for a dozen females—but that still doesn’t mean this bad boy won’t jeopardize your physical well-being:

The story behind the Luther Burger is murky. But the general consensus is that this monstrosity was invented at a suburban bar in Decatur, Ga., and named after R&B legend (and diabetic) Luther Vandross. In 2008 Paula Deen of the Food Network took it one step further by topping it off with a fried egg.

Ingredients: Ground-beef patty, topped with cheese and bacon between two donuts instead of a bun

Fat content: The two Krispy Kreme glazed donuts are worth 24 grams of fat and the patty is another 16.

So compared to the Hillbilly sandwich, it’s almost like a diet burger. Again, though there was a time when Krispy Kreme’s product and I were carrying on a torrid love affair (we broke up just about the time they wheeled me into the hospital) I would never entertain thoughts about using sinkers in lieu of hamburger buns. That’s just crazy talk.

(By the way, none of the menu items at the aforementioned Hillbilly Hotdogs made this list at Yahoo! Travel—something to which I can only attribute is rank prejudice against my home state. A pox on all your houses, and may the combined weight of chili, onions and cole slaw wreak havoc on your hot dog bun of choice. Seriously...when Atlanta/Athens' Varsity doesn't even make this list you know something's not quite kosher.)

But while I’m in the confessional booth, I need to point out that it was not all trail mix and bottled water for your humble narrator during the trek the ‘rents and I made to WV for our family reunion this past weekend. Arriving in Elkins Thursday night, Mom, Dad and I went to a Mexican food jernt called Humberto’s and the food there was delicious. We actually went twice; we returned the next night with my Dad’s sister (my aunt) and her husband in tow. I had chicken chimichangas the first time around, and then the following evening devoured a Mexican dish that consisted of a grilled chicken breast (and this breast was gi-normous) covered in cheese and topped with chorizo. Humberto’s serves up a 24oz. mug of draft beer (and they had, much to our delight, Yuengling on tap) for $2.50 a pop and after partaking of that chorizo I pretty much had the entire mug drained and was ready for seconds. It’s located on “the Beverly Pike,” so if you’re ever up that way you should stop in for a nosh.

We also got our Long John Silver’s fix while we were up there—and I know this probably won’t mean much, but because we live in a town where it’s “Captain D’s and that’s all, brother” it’s a pretty big deal for us…though my father the comedian muttered that “driving 600 miles to eat at Long John Silver’s is a hell of a thing.” We had also planned to stop at one on our return home—there used to be one in Gaffney, SC that had an A&W Root Beer stand attached. I emphasize “used to” because we pull into the exit, tool down the road…and find the place completely uncontaminated with customers, because there’s a nice fat “For Sale” sign out front. I remarked to my South Carolina chum Frontal Lobe (at Frontal Lobe Jello) that had I seen his post on the relocation of the Carolina Café (it has moved to Gaffney) before we left on our return journey I would have suggested we eat there—but instead we capitulated to my father’s wishes and lunched at a nearby Cracker Barrel. (Not one of my favorite restaurants, the Barrel—the only decent thing on the menu is breakfast, and I had that earlier when we made our yearly pilgrimage to the Tudor’s Biscuit World in Fayetteville, WV. Tudor’s, for the uninformed, is a Nitro, WV-based restaurant chain that also has outlets in southeastern Ohio and eastern Kentucky.)

Other than the repast of hot dogs and hamburgers at the reunion, the only other place of note in which Mom, Dad and I broke bread together was a restaurant called The Kangaroo Café, located in the Days Inn and Suites where we were holed up for the three nights of our trip. The Kangaroo has a top-notch breakfast—better than Tudor’s, to be honest—and I highly recommend the French toast, which came with some first-rate home fries (and I ordered a side of fried apples a la carte—which is French for “the cart”). (They also had fresh-made donuts—a siren song hard to resist…but I remained firm in my resolve. Though my mother hissed at a little boy who gazed at the displayed crullers: “Get away from our donuts!”) Saturday evening, the ‘rents and I went our separate ways—they ordered in some room service from the other restaurant on the Days Inn’s premises (a little jernt called Duke’s Steakhouse) and I joined my best bud The Duchess and her better half for a night of “wanton marauding” (her words, not mine) at a place I mentioned previously on the blog, C.J. Maggie’s. Her Highness and I had the French onion soup, which was good (but not quite as good as the stuff Steak and Ale dishes up) and her husband and I split some BBQ wings—then he and I ordered jambalaya (so good I couldn’t finish it all and I told him to take it with him because I wasn’t going to have room, what with the Mister Bees and pepperoni rolls I was lugging back) and she had some chicken-and-pasta entrée. Maggie’s has a 22 oz. beer (and they also have Yuengling)…and one of their mugs just happened to find its way in my suitcase for the return trip home. (While I will cop to receiving stolen goods, I did not personally rook this mug.)

I had a positively swell time at ShreveFest 2010—particularly since I missed last year’s reunion—and got reacquainted with two of my cousins, Kathy and Betty (though Kathy and I have been meeting and greeting via Facebook for some time now). I guesstimated that it had been nearly thirty years since I’d seen Kathy (at my grandparents’ golden wedding anniversary party) and as for Betty…well, I can’t remember that far back. Their father—my Dad’s older brother Don—was also in attendance, and looked positively tanned, rested and ready (he had an unfortunate stint in the hospital last year and my folks hadn’t seen him since early January). However, one of my cousins—my Uncle Marvin’s oldest, Steve*—opted out of the reunion to compete in an Iron Man event in Kenosha, WI that same weekend…and his mom, my Aunt Jane, asked me to do whatever I could to properly shame him. “Shame my boy,” she pleaded…and I replied, “It shall be done.” Shame on you, Steve. Shaaaaaame on you!

*I’m four days older than Steve, and I never let him forget this. At the time of our births, the first male grandchild had yet to be born in my father’s family and so my sainted grandmother told my mother and Aunt Jane that the first male baby would receive a quilt she was working on at the time. Well, it’s been through the wringer all these years but I still have it—in fact, it’s draped across my bed right now as of this post. Anyway, I only shamed him on the blog because he was the one who originally circulated a message via Facebook asking who was going to the reunion and who wasn’t…and then he ends up weaseling out at the last minute.

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Tom said...

Did you pass any "Roy Rogers" restaurants? Never been to one myself sincere they're not in my neck of the woods, and always wondered what the food was like.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Did you pass any "Roy Rogers" restaurants?

At one time on the WV Turnpike, you could throw a piano and hit a Roy Rogers--that's how prolific they were in the Mountain State. We don't travel the full 'pike anymore (we take 119 to Summerville and points north) so I don't know if they're still around or not. The last time I ate at a Rogers was back in the 1990s, when I had some fried chicken at a DC bus depot, traveling by Hound to go home to Savannah for the holidays.

I probably should have mentioned that one of the highlights of traveling to the reunion each year is hearing my father bitch about the turnpike tolls. "They started this back in '59 with the purpose of using the money to fix the roads--and they're still not paid for!"

Linda said...

LOL. We traveled through West Virginia twice (1975 and 1978) going cross country and WV highways were under construction both times. In 1979 some friends of mine drove from GA through West Virginia and...still under construction. We wrote a filksong sung to the tune of John Denver's "Almost Heaven..." which began "Almost hell is West Virginia, with construction over ev'ry river..."

Pam said...

Sounds like a good time was had by all. I'm assuming the event is still dry. Which would explain the half gallon beer.

Ivan G. Shreve, Jr. said...

Which would explain the half gallon beer.

If I may quote TDOY director god Budd Boetticher: "There are some things a man can't ride around."

panavia999 said...

The sheer volume of those burgers makes me queasy, but a PIECE of one would be nice!