Diners - America's orginal 'comfort' food
What is it about Diners that makes the experience so, well, magical? I love Diners. They have that awesome true Americana feel to them. You can always count on friendly but no-BS staff, basic but gooooood food, and charm out the wazoo. We found a new diner for us today in a nearby town that was the epitome of what a diner should be. Southern accented staff who can't do enough for you (or each other as demonstrated by the manager busing tables and bringing out food for her waitresses), good basic comfort food staples (i.e. fried chicken, chili cheese fries and chicken fried steak), metallic vinyl seated chair, bar style seating and cheap prices.
Diners are an experience and one must truly understand the experience to appreciate it. Don't expect 5 star anything at a diner. It ain't gonna happen. But, if you can get beyond that, dining at a diner brings a feeling of nostalgia unique to these establishments that only adds to the overall experience.
You instantly feel at home in a good diner. There's no worry about being too loud or having to mind your "p's and q's". Now, that's not to say that one should be without manners at a diner. Just, you can speak at a normal volume and not feel like you are intruding on your neighbor's dining experience. You can put your elbows on the table and eat with your fingers (finger foods of course) without feeling 'gauche'. You can literally laugh out loud at your child or spouse's commentary without worrying about calling attention to yourself. Nobody cares. They're all too busy enjoying their own company and food and laughing as well.
Food at a diner is basic but good. Burgers are greasy and messy and amazing. Fries are hot and fresh and have that deep fried taste that makes them too good to leave any on your plate. You will find foods that you can't find at restaurants . . . chicken fried steak smothered in gravy is a staple as well as old fashioned meatloaf sandwiches and fruit cobblers.
So, tonight we went to a diner. It had all the neon light signs and decor that you think of when you think of the 50's and diners. The menu was thorough but basic. DH had the chicken fried steak with white gravy, side salad and black eyed peas. DS had a bacon cheeseburger with chili cheese fries and I had the chicken fried chicken with mashed taters, brown gravy and side salad. For dessert, DS had the best chocolate-peanut butter shake that I have tasted in a long long time (they use chunky peanut butter and you get little pieces of peanuts when you are drinking it). My only disappointment was that they didn't have any cherry syrup to put in my coke to make a cherry coke. Sigh. I guess nothing can be perfect right?
Miss Tina was our waitress and she was attentive, funny and efficient. We never were low on drinks and she came by just enough without being annoying. Families were sitting all around us, couples on dates, buddies out for a quick bite after work, etc. The walls were covered in pictures that looked like they came from the local HS yearbook for the last several decades and the music was classic rock 'n roll from the 50's.
It was great. Real Americana nostalgia in a single meal. All for $6.50 - $8 for our entrees. Now, where else but a diner can you get all that?
BTW, if you are interested. I have YET to finish "dragon tattoo". I did finally get 'into' the story but ran out of time to finish it for book club and although I am now truly interested in seeing it through to the end, I am not madly crazy about the story enough to not be able to put it down.
Next up for book club is "Loving Frank". Anybody got any feelings on that book?