Sunday, March 02, 2008

Overheard at my desk...

Me: "You know, there's not a single Waffle House in New York City. Culinary capital of the world, my butt."

(Long pause. Keyboard clatter and mouse clicky.)

Me: "Huh. There're six Waffle Houses in the Indy area. Of course they're all pretty far out on the south and east sides of town..."

RobertaX: "We also have Waffle & Steak, which is better..."

Me: "Wait, what? You can't have a better Waffle House than Waffle House; it's the Platonic Ideal! Every other greasy waffle joint is just a shadow thrown on the cave wall by the concrete reality of Waffle House!"

RobertaX: "It's a better place to eat than Waffle House."

Me: "Lots of places are better places to eat than Waffle House, but they aren't better Waffle Houses."



Turns out we were passionately arguing for the same thing.

40 comments:

Anonymous said...

In Mattoon, Illinois, is a Burger King which pre-dates the national chain and which successfully sued to retain its name and to prevent the chain from locating any restaurants within 50 miles of the original. It has wonderful burgers, fries and shakes straight out of the 1950s. That original Indiana Waffle House might be worth checking out, if it still exists.

Roberta X said...

Sadly, it is not.

Anonymous said...

Of all the chains I like IHOP the best.
Cracker Barrel is second
and I'd rather do Huddle House than Waffel House.

Geoff
Who likes Wendy's as well.

phlegmfatale said...

...but that Matton IL Burger King sounds worth the drive to check out, anonymous.

What black comedian said they were going to have to change the name of "Cracker Barrel" because it was racist?

Ah, can any national chain/brand have achieved the level of homogenaity of the Waffle house with its endearingly familiar yellow awnings, too-greasy-taters and surly staff? Even when take down their shingle and someone sets up another business in the building (like one painted dookie-brown in Dallas), when I drive by I always think "that's a Waffle House."

I don't think I've ever had a waffle at one, though.

mustanger98 on thr said...

I like Wendy's too, but in my town, Waffle House beats Huddle House all-around.

There's only two Taco Bell places I'll eat at. We got a real Mexican restaurant here that beats 'em by a long way.

I stear clear of McBurgerKing, but if I were ever through Mattoon, IL, I'd have to try that original because I consider myself a connoisseur of real cheeseburgers.

I like good Southern food too. Met some Yankees that can't find anything to eat down here. We don't care how they cook up North.

staghounds said...

Some say Krystal, some say White Castle.

El Capitan said...

Does Waffle house still do the All-You-Can-Eat? If so, I must stay far away lest I tempt myself to repeat past performances...

In college, 3 friends and I, all frequently destitute would save our shekels and meet for a waffle-gorge to fill up on the weekend when the University cafeteria was closed.

Most times, that 4-top table would average 24-32 plates of food delivered before we'd give up. Oddly enough, the champion eater wasn't the big bulky guys, but a stringbean of an Anthro. grad student you could almost see through.

Scattered, smothered, covered, chunked, peppered, topped, diced, and there's a couple I'm forgetting...

Turk Turon said...

Quote:
"Every other greasy waffle joint is just a shadow thrown on the cave wall by the concrete reality of Waffle House!"
That made me laugh out loud at work.

og said...

I have never been able to stomach the Awful Waffle. It just skeeves me out.

It isn't that I prefer a much higher class joint, either- my favorite restaurant, we play a game called "guess the previous meal" based on the clumps of crap on the silverware.

Tam said...

Turk,

The actual version had agitated hand gestures that made it even funnier. :)

Roberta X said...

But, Og, which one? W&S (IN), WH (other 49) or WH (IN?).

I'm confused. We need greater Balkanization.

Oldsmoblogger said...

We are partial to Bob Evans around our shop, when we want someone else to cook breakfast. My favorite chain, though...has to be Chipotle. I think they put crack or nicotine or something in the burritos.

Billy Beck said...

For years (Bolshoi Ballet -- '89, a couple of rap acts, bits of Hank Jr., etc.), I ran with a rollicking Southern-boy crew-chief who, on west-coast tour legs, would always pull his crew bus over at the first possible Waffle House eastbound, day or night no matter what, if he could fit an hour into the schedule.

Pete "Wookie" Magdarz -- Waffle House Monster.

TBeck said...

I try to make a Cheesy All-Star breakfast one of my weekly rituals. There is a Waffle House strategically located on Hollywood Ave between where I drop the chilluns off at school and where I report for duty each morning.

As far as politically incorrect restaurants, does anyone remember Sambo's?

OA said...

"Culinary capital of the world, my butt."

Yeah, that guy's a locally jingoistic loon. Top 20 worldwide, perhaps (still a stretch), but even New Orleans three weeks after Katrina could've handed New York City its always het up ass, much less most every French bistro or Italian trattoria. Hell, Prague can bury New York's culinary ass. But then, if one is stupid enough to spend sixteen dollars on a mediocre chicken salad sandwich they can't be expected to know their ass from their ox-gored elbow.

As for the Waffle House, there's really no place better at two in the morning with a moderate beer buzz.

srone said...

I'll never forget the response of a waitress near Muncie, when I asked her for an order of grits. "What's a GRIT?" I thought my whole table would blow coffee out of their noses, because I sure did.

og said...

Roberta: D: All of the above. I've been in waffle houses in a dozen states. The coffee is like paint thinner, the eggs are runny at one end and overcooked at the other, the meats tend to be from animals not of this planet or at least the correct species, and the waitresses are surly and annoying. At the good places.

mustanger98 on thr said...

"The coffee is like paint thinner,"

I drink WH coffee black and with sugar and sometimes cream and like it. You must not be a big coffee drinker.

"the eggs are runny at one end and overcooked at the other,"

Over easies and over mediums are supposed to be runny. Also, scrambled eggs can be cooked not so hard. If I'm eatin' fried eggs, they're over mediums. Unless it's a cheese omlet.

"the meats tend to be from animals not of this planet or at least the correct species,"

The chop steak... I usually get it on the Texas melt... is most certainly beef. The chicken has always tasted like chicken. Back when I ate pork, the sausage tasted like sausage is supposed to taste.

"and the waitresses are surly and annoying."

Where are these surly waitresses? I don't recall running into them. Most I'm aquainted with in my area... they're quite nice. One's pretty sexy too.

og, It's obvious you've not been in a Waffle House in my part of the world.

mustanger98 on thr said...

BTW, WH's have sweet tea too. I like it quite well. And you know us Southerners know sweet tea.

og said...

"You must not be a big coffee drinker."
Only four pots a day. not so much.

"Over easies and over mediums are supposed to be runny"

Um, no. I'm talking RAW, UNCOOKED at one end, and HARD BOILED at the other. Incidentally, they make them this way at every waffle house I've been to, and it's in the dozens, at least.

"is most certainly beef."

I think you mean "amost certainly".

I've been in waffle houses in:

Bonner Springs Kansas
Griffin, Georgia
Midlothian, Virginia
Batesville, Mississippi
Sherwood, Arkansas
Little Rock, Arkansas
Granite City, Illinois
St Louis, Missouri
Louisville, Kentucky
Jeffersontown, Kentucky
Ponchatoula, Louisiana
Cornelia, Georgia

These are just off the top of my head, and just in the last couple years, so no, I hardly ever get to waffle house at all. I only go, in my travels, when there is nowhere else to get a bite to eat that isn't mcdonalds.

Jayson said...

OG, you are a yankee. You know not of such things. In fact, if you had said you preferred Huddle House, i would declare you a commie! Their main color is red, and that is not a coincidence. IHOP? UN Blue, so there's your suckage quotient right there. I live close to the Griffin, GA WH, so your surly waitress there is a lie.

mustanger98 on thr said...

I haven't been to those Waffle House locations, but it seems from your description those are probably part of the communist plot to kill the Waffle House chain by spreading a false reputation in the process of undermining our eating.

"I think you mean "amost certainly"."

No, I mean I'm sure it's beef. At the Waffle House locations I know, I get the Texas chop steak melt quite often and I've not had a bad one. I know beef when I eat it.

Now, regarding coffee, I've leaned towards boiling it till it'll float a horse shoe. You must like your 4 pots a day pretty weak or something. I just can't abide limp-wristed coffee.

"if you had said you preferred Huddle House, i would declare you a commie! Their main color is red, and that is not a coincidence. IHOP? UN Blue, so there's your suckage quotient right there."

So that's why the Huddle House here switched to that aweful tasting NasTea. I knew there was some reason I haven't been to IHOP too.

"I live close to the Griffin, GA WH, so your surly waitress there is a lie."

You know, I think og's just catchin' some of 'em on a bad day. Either that or His Yankeeness is going in there makin' 'em mad tellin' 'em how they do it up North.

Burnt Toast said...

One may laugh at the venerable Waffle House, but it was Waffle House's all cash business model that provided the capital to build numerous Ritz-Carlton Hotels in the United States.

Put THAT on your scattered, covered and smothered and eat it.

Rob K said...

That always did kinda' confuse me. But most of the Awful Waffles here in Indiana have switched to "Sunshine Cafe", if they're still in business. They were quite similar to the national chain in a lot of ways.

og said...

"OG, you are a yankee."

You had better be smiling when you say that.

Roberta X said...

I'm smilin', Og.

Perhaps we've not gone to the same ones; perhaps our standards are way different.

'Sokay by me either way.

Don Gwinn said...

The place in Mattoon is like copyright central. Not only are they called "Burger King," but the owner's nickname is "Hooter," so their burgers are called "Hooters."

HTRN said...

If you're using the Waffle House as a standard for fine dining, you've already lost this arguement.

People here only go to those places like that(Perkins and IHOP are both fairly common locally) because they're open at 3AM.

And I think one trip to The Palm, the Spotted Pig(Gastropubs, Yay!), or perhaps Smith and Wollenski will have you recanting your claim.

Hell, when the local bar(http://www.killmeyers.com/) has a 2 page beer list, and serves a FANTASTIC Beef Brisket for under $20..

Jenny said...

I think you've just encapsulated my entire experience of the American South in a single sentence Tams. Where else can you find beloved podunk traditions described with classical Greek philosophical allusions?

That just made my weekend. Except for the part about missing country ham and grits.

Darnya. :)

Draven said...

Closest Waffle House to me is six ours away. woe is me.

Tam said...

htrn,

"If you're using the Waffle House as a standard for fine dining, you've already lost this arguement."

You poor, poor dear... We like you anyway, though. :)

red said...

Check out the Keystone Deli (Keystone & 53rd), the Donut (Keystone & 55th Pl) and there used to be a couple great hole in the wall diners in Fountain Square.

The Keystone Deli has great breakfast for a very reasonable price.

og said...

hey, I'm not saying they're bad, just that they're not right for me. And again- a lot of the places I LIKE are worse in a lot of ways- but I want my food cooked right, and I've not had that at any waffle house so far. Shit, some people like heathen, vile, haemmorroid inducing Krystal burgers, and dislike tasty, Godly, World-Peace causing White Castle burgers. I don't know why. (duck & run)

Billy Beck said...

Red: "Check out the Keystone Deli (Keystone & 53rd), the Donut (Keystone & 55th Pl) and there used to be a couple great hole in the wall diners in Fountain Square."

There's a great place on the south side of 86th Street between Third and Lex. I can't remember the name of it, because I never look: I just swing two blocks down from a former love's place on 88th. It's my favorite cheeseburger in The City, and the chocolate milkshake is pretty damned good, too.

Roberta X said...

Billy, Red's fam'bly (in that shared Hoosier way of organizing a society around oppositional-defiant disorder); I know whereof he speaks. :)

Besides, appearances are that The Donut is big with the po-lice and around here, The Man don't eat where the food's bad.

Billy Beck said...

{hah!} Wotta chauvinist.

I thought he was talking about New York. (Although I must say that the "Keystone" thing was throwing me.)

red said...

"Billy, Red's fam'bly (in that shared Hoosier way of organizing a society around oppositional-defiant disorder); I know whereof he speaks. :)"

The mystery is killing me! What's the name of the cafe in question? I went there a few times back when most of my diet consisted of Jameson Whiskey. So my memory is a bit, uh clouded.

og said...

Oh, and

"I live close to the Griffin, GA WH, so your surly waitress there is a lie."

Your teeth are pleased you didn't call me a liar to my face. In case it's not within your capability to comprehend, a waitress can be surly to one customer and nice to another. it's also possible that you and I have not been at that specific waffle house at the same time, imagine that, and we may have met different waitresses. But being a Yankee, thinking of this is probably something I can do, and you cannot.

I'm also unfailingly polite to waitresses, and i never tip below 20%. Even to surly waitresses. So their surliness toward me is always unmerited.

I'm not insulted by the claims of others about my favorite institutions. I do what works for me, and expect others to do the same. I'm sorry you chose to take this personally, but be mighty careful whose toes you step on. You may find in real life that they have particularly large feet.

OA said...

Oh good effin' god. Now all we need is chick threatening not to have sex with somebody.

amcz said...

Well, the Sizzler and Black Angus are still good... I think. It's been a while since I've eaten at them, so I can't be sure.

(Note: I only recently found out that the Olive Garden sucks. I liked them when I was younger, but now... they taste like styrofoam.)