There are places you go to eat late at night, when you are drunk, that at the time seem quite good. White Castle comes to mind. Who hasn't scarfed down half a dozen sliders at four in the morning? When Mark and I visited Saint Louis we stumbled across a place called Eat Rite, where at three in the morning it was filled with drunks guzzling down something called The Slinger. The Slinger was something piled high on a plate consisting of two sausage patties, two eggs, grilled potatoes, cheese and a bunch of other crap, drowned in chili.
Wednesday night Mark went out, as usual, and ran into somebody at his favorite bar who was singing the praises of a place in Fort Lauderdale called Pizza and Pasta. He gave Mark a card from the place so he would remember to go there. Fast forward to Thursday evening. Mark and I are sitting in a bar, well lubricated with vodka, and Mark suggests we go to Pizza and Pasta. Assured that it was the best place in all of South Florida for said pizza and pasta, I agreed. Here is what I remember. Walking in the door I was overwhelmed with the smell of burnt pizza dough. Not the worst thing. I've smelled that before and had a fine meal. However, one of the worst things you can see when you enter a restaurant, is the owner in shorts and a dirty tee-shirt, sitting at the front booth hanging out with his buddies. This restaurant featured just that scenario. We sat down in a booth that appeared to have never been cleaned or refinished in the last forty years and were greeted by Louise Lasser, televisions Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. It might not have been her, but it sure looked just like her. Louise plopped down a bowl of "garlic rolls" which were nothing more than Parker House rolls with a bit of chopped garlic dumped on top.
"What can I get you to drink?" Louise asked.
"Ummm.... " Looking at what was available, I chose water.
"Okay, I'll be right back." Louise said as she walked away with a bottle of Windex and a dirty rag in her hand.
When Louise got back we put in our orders. Chicken Piccata for Mark, and calamari with spaghetti for me. Here is what we got. A piece of rubbery chicken with some kind of lemony goo on top of it for Mark, and a huge, and I mean huge, plate of fried calamari for me. What stood out most about the calamari was that it was gray. In all my life I have never seen any deep fried food come out looking gray. I took a taste. It tasted gray. So for about ten minutes Mark and I sat there in that dirty, old, smelly restaurant looking at our food. I even picked at the calamari a bit before I got nauseous. After watching Louise Lasser clean a couple of tables with the dirty rag and the bottle of Windex, we asked for our check. So how bad was the food? I offered the leftovers that we brought home in the big Styrofoam box to Chandler and Bette. They turned it down flat. Dogs who usually will have restaurant food halfway down their gullet before they even realize what it is, turned it down. I sure miss White Castle.