Angel, Adam and Deedee (one of the dogs) were off to Springfield. Angel’s grandmother’s 96th birthday and an impromptu baby shower for her rude and insufferable daughter Stephanie. I got to stay home and tend to the six dogs she left behind. Not a huge problem, four of them are ours, well trained and rather laid back, plus Pointy (a min-pin mix) and Eva (looks like Deedee, but with an un-cropped tail) who were in for foster care and basic training. I kept them fed and made sure everyone got to go out to play at least every couple of hours. The weather cooperated and the whole chore was amusing, but uneventful. Blue pined for his mother’s return, George was both oblivious and grouchy, and poor, elderly Bailey who’s recently lost most, if not all of her hearing, moped around quite pleased with the quiet. Pip, my own dog, sat with me in my recliner and followed me around when she wasn’t out playing with the foster girls.
Around dinnertime I debated whether to eat out or not. I was only mildly hungry, but finally my obligation to my growing circle of fans overcame my own personal preference.
I could have just grabbed a quick burger, but my doctor says my ‘numbers’ are a bit too high to be casually gorging myself on fatty meats and deep fried this or that. I’d decided to at least moderate, if not back off the stuff entirely.
Kim’s is a personal favorite. Pretty much small-town diner style in décor and offerings. A small place in a strip mall on Main Street in Desoto, across from the tracks. I walked in to see three ladies tending the front, two young and underfed, one as old or older than me. Kim was nowhere in sight, but I could hear her voice in the back, barking orders and instructions, running the place as calmly and capably as a seasoned battlefield commander.
A few tables were occupied, one by an older guy, one of those older guys, chatty, flirtatious (with the staff, not me) and a small family or two. I picked a booth closer to the family in order to avoid striking up a banal conversation with the old dude. The child in the family’s possession had an entire Thomas the Train set, locomotive three or for cars and a caboose, in front of him. You’d think this would have shut him up, but it didn’t. He was just as whiney and demanding as all kids that age are. His parents were dutiful and attentive though and spurts and outbursts were kept to a minimum. I personally believe there should be a ‘No Kids’ section requirement in eating establishments, about three or four blocks away from the slimy, sticky, shrill beasts. But that’s just me.
At some point Kim peeked out form the back, smiled and waved at me. I scanned the menu, not having pre-decided on anything.
Well, okay I had decided to try the chili again. I’d had a slinger/slammer there a few months back but I couldn’t recall the chili exactly. I didn’t want just chili though since I’d had some of my own home-brew for breakfast/lunch. Fortunately Kim offered a ‘cup’ for a buck ninety-nine, that would do. Now, what to have with it. The ‘Special’ sounded good, a NY strip with shrimp scampi, baked potato and a salad, but whoa.. that’s a whole lot of food. They also headlined ribs and pork steak… also too heavy. I eventually decided on a light sandwich instead. A BLT. I know, I know, bacon…. But sheesh, I could atone for this little sin later, during the work week.
I ordered, the BLT would come with potato chips and the chili with crackers… but compared to other outings and possibilities, a fairly light meal.
While I waited the café remained abuzz. Kim offers delivery and pick-ups and a lot of the busyness was tending to just that.
My coffee arrived almost immediately. I only ordered that because Kim gets upset with me for always referring to her tea as ‘unremarkable’. Having coffee instead would be a sure way for her not to get dinged for that yet again. The coffee was dark, deep and quite good, but not excellent.
In less than five minutes after I ordered my meal, it was on my table. A simple BLT, standard toasted white bread, a single fresh leaf of lettuce and three or four wide and perfectly cooked strips of bacon over a fresh slice of tomato. The chips were standard potato chips, which was fine since I really didn’t need them anyhow. The small bowl of chili was thick and steaming, beans floating to the top like coffins after a flood. Alongside my plate was placed a basket full of saltines, two per cellophane packet. I don’t mind this as unwrapping these packets can be counted as ‘exercise’ and helps burn off calories and build muscle tone.
I tried the chili first. Savory style, and not bad at all. At home our chili tends to be sweeter, more tomato-y, but I don’t mind the earthy style if it is done well and this version was. I intended only to get a taste, instead I ate more than half of it. The BLT was simple and perfect, not even a half-note out of tune. I only had to apply the packet of ‘Real Mayonnaise’ and it was just as good as I’d ever had. The pickle spear was crisp and substantial and went better with the sandwich than the chili.
A very good meal experience. The food was delicious and satisfying, the service was spot-on. The atmosphere was that of a small town diner, the real kind, not the fake kind that Country Kitchen, Denny’s and Bob Evan’s try to pass off.
The price was another pleaser. My whole meal came in at eight bucks and change. As I settled up I whipped out my tired and abused ATM card and handed it over.
“We’re supposed to ask if you’d like to add a tip to the card.” the young lady with the bright blue streak in her otherwise black hair shyly said.
“But of course fair maiden, of course!” I replied “What sort of ignorant, boorish heathen would leave this fine establishment without dropping a few shillings for the lovely winches!”
“She looked at me a little funny, so I repeated myself. “Yeah, I’d like to add a tip.”
She prepared to tap in a number. “How much?” She asked.
“What was the total on the bill?” I asked.
“Eight dollars and seventy nine cents.”
“Make it ten then.” I responded.
“Make the total out to ten dollars?”
“No, add a ten dollar tip to the bill.” I smiled.
“Are you sure?”
“Certainly, just make sure to let Kim know.”
“Oh, I will.” She smiled as she pulled the receipt out of the little printer.
I didn’t mention that we accidentally short-tipped Kim the last time we were there. So what if the girl remembers me as ‘Mr. Spendy’, it can’t hurt.