Thursday, December 04, 2003

Awful House

That's what we used to call Waffle House in high school, or maybe it was Offal House. No one ever spelled it, to my knowledge. The magic of homophones.

But this was a friendly insult. We actually loved the place. Driving back from Birmingham this morning I stopped at one, and it was about as I remembered. Scratch about: exactly as I remembered. And I wouldn't have it any other way. The chain seems not to have changed many design elements since the Ford administration. Let's just say that brown is the watchword. And orange.

I had eggs, toast, grits, bacon, and hashbrowns. Grits and hashbrowns was a little excessive, but hey, I'm on vacation. I mostly had grits just to confirm the fact that I don't really like them.

As for the spuds, you may know that a Waffle House trademark is to serve hashbrowns in many different varieties, all of which are listed on the menu as past participles: scattered (the classic), smothered (with onions), covered (with cheese), chunked (with tomatoes)--and the newest variation, capped (with mushrooms). So I ordered mine scattered and smothered, and the waitress said, "Huh?" I repeated my order, and she laughed and said, in a thick Alabama accent, "I thought you said 'spotted'!" But no: so far, no spotted hashbrowns at Waffle House, although you never know what will happen. They can put a man on the moon, you know.

If you're curious, I like waffles OK, but I'm not excited enough about them to order them at what may be my only visit this year to their namesake restaurant chain. Unless I stop at a Waffle House tomorrow. Then I promise I'll have a waffle.

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