1. famished.

In November, I gave National Blog Posting Month a try just to see if I could do it.

In March, I was intrigued by the theme — lists — and I jumped in again.

I was hoping that I’d get a similarly interesting theme this month, because a NaBloPoMo would be a good way for me to shake off my annual Summer Slump.

Hey, look at that — the July theme is Food.

OK.

I’m pretty familiar with food; for example, I try to eat food at least a few times every day. I’m also enthusiastic about food; I have a whole category of Uncle Crappy posts related to food.

So this should be pretty easy, right?

If I was content to write what I ate every day for a month, it would be. (It would also be a bit embarrassing, because I still eat way too much crap.) But that wouldn’t be very satisfying, for you or for me … so I’ll try to make this as interesting — and probably as difficult — as possible. More fun for everybody!

I’m probably going to enlist your help on several occasions, starting today. This is prompted by a discussion that comes up on Twitter once in a while, and I thought it would be a good place to start — what’s your favorite food that you can’t get on a regular basis now?

To no one’s surprise, my answer is a steaming plate of White Castle hamburgers. There was a location at Arcadia and High streets in the Clintonville neighborhood of Columbus, fairly close to where my father went to high school. That was the site of my first taste of the oniony burgers; my dad took me there for dinner before we watched a football game between Upper Arlington, which would be my high school years later, and Bishop Watterson, the Catholic high school serving north Columbus. The game was great, but the hamburgers were even better.

The news was even better by the time I reached junior high school — White Castle opened a new restaurant a short moped ride away from my house. Hoo boy — White Castles at least once a week from that point on.

I had to wean myself during college, although I still made a point of stopping whenever I was home. It got worse when I moved to Pittsburgh — although I think Pittsburgh would be an ideal market for White Castle, the chain seems content to limit its territory. So I’ve had to make do with stops on the way between here in Columbus, or take advantage of other opportunities. That’s been interesting:

  • West Orange, N.J. — On the way to spend a weekend with Juan when he lived in Brooklyn. Judging from the stares, I was the first white person to set foot in the restaurant since it opened.
  • Downtown Cincinnati — after a Georgia Satellites/REO Speedwagon concert at Cincinnati Gardens. We got free tix to the show, and were mostly interested in Georgia Satellites; in fact, we left about four songs into the headliner’s set so we could go eat.
  • Radcliff, Ky. — Just outside the gates of Fort Knox, and I didn’t know it was there until the family weekend during basic training, the one time we were allowed off post. I ate only two, but they were the best two hamburgers I had ever put in my mouth.
  • Carmel, Ind. — Handy for trips from The Wife’s house in Kokomo to Indianapolis during her brief stay there.
  • Noblesville, Ind. — Coming out of Dead shows at Deer Creek and finding a White Castle is like having a prayer answered.
  • Lakewood, Ohio — 1) We go watch Skinny Moo play at the Greenville Inn. 2) We stop at White Castle on the way back to the HP/DD home. 3) Repeat as necessary.
  • Akron — This was the regular Columbus trip stop, until the restaurant closed two years ago. What made this one unique was the Church’s Fried Chicken across the street. We’d skip the White Castle fried and get a box of fried okra at Church’s instead.
  • Canton — Currently the closest White Castle to Pittsburgh. Given the interest among my Pittsburgh friends, I’m thinking a road trip here may be necessary at some point soon.

So — your question, once again: what’s your favorite food that you can’t get on a regular basis now?

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19 thoughts on “1. famished.”

  1. Habbersetts Scrapple. I prefer it cut a little thick (about 1/2 inch), coated lightly in flour, and and fried on a non-stick skillet with maybe a little butter. Served with eggs over easy and a couple of pieces of buttered toast.

    You may add orange juice and coffee as well. I won’t complain if there’s a mimosa or Bloody Mary in front of me either.

    Scrapple is a beloved food for me. It’s also a classic Pennsylvania Dutch dish. I have a Julia Child recipe for it that I must try, but I fear I’ll never duplicate the Habbersetts spice combination.

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  2. I never had either White Castle or Waffle House on a regular basis, but my kingdom if I could. WH for breakfast and WC for dinner.

    Then Mrs. Woy would disown me.

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  3. Oh, to answer the question seriously: An Aggie’s Italian hoagie from Fairview, PA.

    Unfortunately, Aggie’s closed long ago.

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  4. I’ve yet to try White Castle. I’m thinking I’d better not.

    Every once in a while, I get a craving for smores. Good smores, from a real fire. That, and my mother’s pasta salad.

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  5. Donato’s Pizza!!! Just writing it makes my mouth water. We can drive (and have done so) 75 minutes to Orlando to enjoy it though. Nothing compares..we get Dominos thin crust now and then which is such a disapointment because it looks like Donato’s but tastes like…..well, not Donatos.

    Also, FYI, and much to my dislike and disgust, your nephews had White Castle’s (frozen) at a friends house last week and liked them. Your eldest nephew, the world’s most picky eater, liked them the most so now I have a box of those stinky things in my freezer. EEEwww!!!

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  6. Cindy: I’ve had scrapple just once, at a diner in Philly a couple of years ago. I loved it, despite The Wife’s insistence on explaining how it’s made while I was eating.

    Woy: And then you could stop at Sonic for lunch…

    Rachel: I haven’t had s’mores for probably 20 years. And to my knowledge I’ve never had your mother’s pasta salad — but I’m sure it’s worth craving.

    E: Donato’s was a very close second for me; I’ll discuss that in an upcoming post when I explain what’s wrong with Pittsburgh pizza.

    And — when you guys are up north later this month, I am so taking those boys to White Castle for lunch.

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  7. Brooks’ says, “yea!” On a sidenote, hold the onions..I had to scrape them off so he wouldn’t know that they come with them.

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  8. I personally hate White Castle (try being a vegetarian and eating there), but I would kill to get one in Pittsburgh. That way, I wouldn’t have to eat there every.single.day when we go to Indianapolis. Mr. Husband claims he has to get his fix, but I swear that’s the only place that can make me hate French fries. It’s an overdose sort of thing and would be easily remedied if he could just get there on his own once a month or so.

    My list: White Castle, Fazoli’s, Carl Jr’s, Donato’s, Tim Horton’s, and Culver’s. (Totally copied and pasted from my recent twit.) I’d also like to throw in Jamba Juice because the one and only location they have in Pittsburgh isn’t working for me. Baskin Robbins falls into that category as well–here, but not accessible for me.

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  9. E: No onions. Check.

    BBM: Yeah — White Castle might be tough for a vegetarian. Maybe you could eat onion buns?

    Not helpful? OK.

    I don’t know where you live, but there’s still a Baskin Robbins on Route 8 in Richland Township, no more than three minutes from the turnpike exit there. And there’s Bruster’s freaking everywhere; I’ve always liked their ice cream more.

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  10. BBM: Also — White Castle used to have the best fries on the planet. They screwed them up 10 or 15 years ago.

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  11. I love the topic this month, and I think I’m going to join you on this mini-quest to blog about food for a month! It’s such a fun topic!

    To answer your question: It used to be IHOP, but since the IHOP opened back in March out in Robinson, I’ve been having my regular doses and I’m a happy girl. While I still get cravings for WC, there are two things in particular that I crave constantly that I can’t have:

    SteakOut: A chain of delivery steak places where the steak wasn’t the absolute best you’d find at Ruth’s Chris, but it was always perfectly cooked, and always came with honey rolls, a salad, a baked potato, and delicious sweet onion sauce. What I wouldn’t give to be able to dial that number (which I still have memorized, mind you) and have my dinner show up at my door.

    Dreamland BBQ: Quite possibly the best BBQ I’ve ever had. The restaurant is a one room bar with license plates from every state covering (like wallpaper) the walls, chiristmas lights year round, and only two things on the menu: Ribs and white bread. I just found out that not only have they exploded into a franchise, but now they went and ruined everything by adding sides… and chicken…

    But hey, at least I can order them now and have them shipped to my house!!

    Mmmmm…. BBQ….

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  12. Dawn: So, what I’m hearing is — Pittsburgh needs restaurants that will deliver grilled meats right to your house.

    Yeah. I’d be for that.

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  13. Yeah. Brusters. They ALL closed around here. Every.single.one. And, the nearest Baskins is about 30 minutes away. Sometimes this side of town isn’t all that fabulous. At least I have Waffle House, though.

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  14. Oh, let’s see. Where to even start?

    * I actually drive 8 hours at least once every year to have lunch at Sal’s Ristorante in Williamsburg, VA. Homemade lasagna, ravioli, spaghetti with meatsauce, and pizza to die for. We tell the family we’re going there on our annual vacation, but really we’re just going to eat …

    * My grandmother’s meatloaf. She actually makes it for every holiday. All of my aunts, uncles, cousins, sibling, parents, etc., fight for leftovers.

    * Hank’s frozen custard. Yes, I know there’s one in New Brighton. But if you’ve never been to the original in Conneaut Lake, you’re missing out on a little slice of heaven.

    * Dad’s homemade stromboli. Enough said.

    Sheesh. Now I’m hungry …

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  15. It’s not one that I can’t get, it’s one that I don’t get for the chronic health related issues (you know, since we’re in our 4th decade of life) –

    Jonsonville Original Brats – grilled to a burnt mosaic on the grill – nothing better – either hot off the grill or cold leftovers.

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  16. I often tell people I moved back to Pittsburgh to be closer to my family, but the real reason was I wanted to be closer to Mineo’s pizza. Best. Pizza. Ever. Cleveland has no good pizza. And at the risk of being ostracized from this post, I’ve had Donatos pizza: it tastes OK in a pinch – you know, if you live in a town with no real pizzeria – but it is not good pizza.

    As for food I can’t eat any more, maybe I’d go for loaded mac and cheese from The Diner at Penn State? Haven’t been there in years. Not sure I could get drunk enough now to enjoy that dish like I did back in my college days.

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  17. Danielle: Welcome! And you’re totally wrong about Donato’s!

    I’ll admit I haven’t tried Mineo’s — and I have found some really good pizza since I’ve lived here. But as I mentioned in the post, I have some difficulties with Pittsburgh pizza in general … and a whole post on that subject will be coming soon.

    As for Cleveland pizza … I’ve never lived there, but I know of at least one place I was very happy with: Mama Santa’s in Little Italy. Aaaannnd … Cleveland has Donato’s as well. Mmmmm.

    I’ve actually seen Food TV segments on The Diner, including one that featured the mac and cheese. I can say without hesitation that I could get drunk enough to enjoy something that looked that good.

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