Wednesday, November 19, 2008

southern sojourn 3: all the way to memphis

Camp Modern Cottages (2)
We all agree that Bowling Green, Kentucky was one of the low points of the trip. Perhaps we should have taken a derelict motor court on the outskirts of the city as a sign. The Everly Brothers may have thought Bowling Green had the prettiest girls they ever saw, but nothing went right for us inside the city limits. We were looking for a place to grab a quick lunch, but every road I took led into residential neighbourhoods or out to the middle of nowhere. Downtown was a dusty construction zone, the university a haven for monster speed bumps. Nary a pretty girl wandered by.

On our way back to the freeway, we came upon a Waffle House. Never having been to one before (the closest locations to Detroit are in Toledo), we figured it was worth a shot. We stepped in the doorway and Mom's jaw dropped to the floor. Imagine the messiest diner you have ever been in and multiply the dirty dish factor by five. The Toronto Board of Health would have had a field day with the state of the kitchen and tables. One look at Mom's horrified expression and I knew we'd be running with our lives back to the car. For the rest of the trip, we couldn't resist making wisecracks anytime we passed a Waffle House...which happened approximately every five minutes.

Portal Grouping (1)
Art ("Portal Grouping" by Philip Van Der Weg) on display at the Tennessee welcome centre on I-65. The drive towards Memphis was smooth and uneventful, apart from taking a sneak-peek drive through Nashville. As we neared Memphis, the smooth, sculpture-like shapes of the kudzu along I-40 caught our attention. Stunning yet creepy, but more on that in a future entry.

We stayed at a Drury Inn on the east side of the city. Mom had stayed at one in Michigan and gave it a thumbs-up, while I was attracted by reasonable prices and perks like free booze in the lobby during happy hour. When we arrived, we noticed signs on the front door and in the room warning of a rash of recent car robberies. We left a tin of mints in the back seat to give any potential break-and-enter perpetrator something for their trouble.

Central BBQ (2)

Central BBQ (3)
Since we couldn't eat in Memphis without sampling some barbecue, we checked out a branch of Central BBQ not far from the hotel. It was a sight straight out of the Not Fooling Anybody website, as few alterations were made to its former incarnation as a Red Lobster. I half expected a waiter in Hawaiian gear to toss us a basket of garlic cheese biscuits. Alas, no sign of them on the menu.

Central BBQ (5) - Half Chicken
Amy went with the half chicken, accompanied by beans and mac n' cheese. The required cheap white bread (in the form of buns) came with each meal.

Central BBQ (6) - Rack of Ribs
Mom ordered a full rack of ribs to share, sided with beans and coleslaw. We tried it half "wet" (with sauce), half "dry" (with rub). Mom preferred the former, I liked the latter. Both were tasty and meaty.

Central BBQ (7) - Pulled Pork
I had the pork plate, served with beans and greens. My stomach was very happy with the mound of smokey goodness, washed down with several cups of ice tea.

Next: Elvis and Otis

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