Sunday, April 17, 2005

Of Pickles and Waffles

I took a nice, quick trip to Houston today to take my mom to lunch for her birthday. My mom wanted to dine at Cafe Express, a locally-based chain that serves simple, decent-tasting and relatively healthy meals for under $10. Zagat calls them "the Mercedes Benz of fast food eateries." The menu is made up of things like roasted chicken, grilled fish, pasta, burgers, soups, salads and the like. Another cool thing about Cafe Express is their "Oasis Table" condiment bar with breadsticks, olives, peppers and pickles (wow, two pickle posts in as many days!). They have Cafe Express in Dallas, but they've never made it to Austin for some reason. I think they would do pretty well here in the right location.

One chain restaurant that did finally make it to Austin last year was Waffle House. My drive back into town on U.S. Hwy. 290 revealed yet another Waffle House going up just east of 183. I hardly ever eat breakfast out anymore, so I haven't been to our existing local Waffle House on Ben White yet. I also have the Waffle House Jukebox Favorites CD, which means I don't need to go to a Waffle House to hear hits like "Waffle Do Wop" and "There Are Raisins In My Toast."

Aside from the jukebox, the main thing I like about Waffle House is sitting at the counter and watching them prepare my food. I always think of Chuck Berry singing about hamburgers sizzling on an open grill night and day when I'm there. The art of public short-order cookery really impresses me because you have to juggle all these different orders at once while diners watch you. It's one thing to overcook eggs in the kitchen, but quite another to do it in full view of a customer. I wouldn't make it through a single lunch rush before a manager ripped the WH-emblazoned paper cap from my pate and told me to get the hell out.


Anonymous said...

Do you think you can burn that Waffle House cd for me?

Terri R.

Greg said...

Absolutely. No waffling here!