Tuesday, March 28, 2006

Blogging from a small town - Quick and Delicious

When we moved out to Wellington (or 'the Hinterlands' as my East Side friends call it) I knew that we would be giving up a few creature comforts in exchange for the peace and privacy of Bag End. Wellington has 2 traffic lights. It has all the basics one needs. But you get tired of eating at the same ol place. So when we're in the mood for a change we head to the 'big city'. Oberlin. Just a few miles up the road it's got lots to offer including the discount movie house and several good restaurants.

Yesterday we were peckish and decided to stop by The Quick and Delicious restaurant. Its just South of the town square near the supermarket. By now we've become regulars and know the names of most of the waitresses. There's an elderly, but energetic black man named Mr. Fred who is always at the center table. I don't know if he owns the restaurant or not, but he holds a place of authority. Everyone who comes in says hello to Mr. Fred and he says hello to them. Always cheerful, always smiling. When we stopped in we ordered the Potato and bacon soup and I, being in a carnivorous mood I ordered a double mushroom burger. What arrived was a sizable chunk of bovine done just the way I like it.

While we were eating the two waitresses and Mr. Fred stood up and made an announcement. There was a group of senior types who had come together from several remote locations. To celebrate they were going to sing. I inwardly cringed. We've all been subjected to that forced birthday assault while trying to eat in peace at our local chain restaurant. And I can't bring myself to hate the waiters and waitresses for doing it because they are only following the orders of their corporate masters. But this was different. They sang, not shouted. And their three part harmony was pitch perfect. Mr Fred looked for all the world like Cab Calloway. It was a short ditty thanking them for eating there and it actually made me smile.

After the song our waitress gave me the bad news, they were supposed to use smaller meat patties on the double burger. I said I didn't mind paying extra. Mr. Fred, who had been eyeballing me stuffing this half-a cow into my mouth laughed and said:

"Son, you can't just walk away from a burger like that, you need some pie!"

As God is my witness, I went in thinking I would have a light lunch. Now my gut was groaning under the weight of this awesome meal.

I told my sweetie we needed to walk off a little of this meal so we did a trip around the block and went into the supermarket for a few groceries. As I'm wandering the aisles aimlessly, our waitress walks up and hands me my phone. "You forgot this."

I travel a lot. And I eat out a lot. I try to frequent locally owned places, but the fact is they have a hard time competing with the chain places. They don't have the money for stained glass and wood paneling or a 'theme'. And sadly, the food is sometimes only so-so. But you can't go too wrong over at the Quick and Delicious. The food is good, the service is great, the prices are reasonable and you might just get a serenade, some pie and a cellphone to boot.

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