Monday, October 28, 2013

Gordon's Stop Light Drive In

 500 Bailey Rd  
Crystal City, MO
 We've been to Gordon's before, but by 'we' I mean Adam and I. We usually go there when Angel is out of town. We're not sure why, it's just that the first time we went she was out of town so we repeated that behavior.
Angel had never been, ever. So this week, Adam's turn to choose, he asked me what I was in the mood for, I answered "a hamburger."
That may seem like an odd choice, but there's something about me that you may not be aware of. I don't eat hamburgers very often. The last time I had a real hamburger, by that I mean bun, ketchup, mustard, hamburger patty,etc., was in August. The last one before that was in May. So I was kind of craving a good burger. He chose the place, based on his mother's contribution to the conversation: "It has to be a good one." So Adam, almost immediately said: "Got it." and then announced his choice.
Gordon's has been making the same diner fare, burgers and breakfasts, since 1948. It's still an old style diner, not just some place trying to look like one. It's at a busy intersection, thus the 'Stop Light' in the name.
 We had to stop and get cash first, they don't process debit/charge cars. They have a third-party automatic ATM machine, (see what I did there?) and they might take a check, if there's anyone around still writing checks. I'll bet my loyal fan Suzy still writes checks, she seems the type. BTW Suzy got in touch with me last week after I mentioned that I thought she liked Nordic food.
She replied: " While I do enjoy the occasional Swedish meatball, and have even looked for a recipe recently, I do not enjoy anything else typically Nordic.  I hate the cold, the snow and most especially the trak……as in NordicTrak………evil on a pulley.  I cannot fathom smoked and/or pickled fish.  I watched The Vikings series last winter, so I’m up on their cuisine…..looked miserable!!!!"
Well, Suzy's usually a nice person and she may be speaking honestly here, but is it just me, or do we all think she 'doth protest too much'? It's quite okay to be Nordic, or a Nordic-things lover, we don't judge here. As for the 'Vikings' show she mentioned, I loved that show. Yes the food (roots, tree bark, fish, and the occasional captured priest) was kind of gross, as was the climate, the social rules and certainly the general hygiene, but the show itself was awesome. Good enough that I'm currently on the prowl for a fine personal shield maiden. Angel doesn't want the role because she might have to get on a boat.
But I'm pretty sure Suzy still carries a checkbook.
The Food:
Triple
We went for burgers, we got burgers. I opted for the Triple cheeseburger with onions, tomatoes and lettuce, along with fries. For Angel, the double cheeseburger with chili fries and Adam picked the Double Jumbo, with cheese and cheese fries. The Jumbo is topped with slaw and barbecue sauce and is usually served with onions, but Adam instructed them to leave those off.
If you are going to Gordon's for a burger, and you certainly should, remember that a 'burger' doesn't come with anything. If you want cheese, tomatoes, lettuce, etc. you need to tell them that or else you get meat and a bun.
Double, with chili cheese fries.
One of the two young ladies, the one with the dark hair, not the redhead, took our orders and brought us our drinks. Tea, Diet Pepsi and Pepsi.
The tea was fresh-ish, but very weak. (-1 on the PJTea scale) That's okay though, the burgers and fries more than made up for it.
The burger patties are not large or thick, they start out as balls of fresh ground beef that the cook smashes into flatness right on the grill. They are thin around the edges and that chars up nicely. Unlike a fast food burger, which always seem a bit manufactured, these burgers actually tasted fresh and toasty. The lettuce, tomatoes, etc. were all fresh as well. The fries were crunchy and tasted a little sweet, like a freshly cut potato. Angel had chili on hers, an in-house blend. I like chili, I like cheese, but I do not like them on fries. I like my taters crisp, the cheese and chili makes them soggy. Adam and Angel enjoyed theirs though, quite a bit.
Double Jumbo, cheese fries.
My 'Triple' was almost too much. This is the first time I'd gone with three patties, I  thought I was hungrier than usual. I would have been fine with a double. I was really glad I didn't try the Quadzilla, a four patty mega-burger advertised in the big sign on the wall.
Once we were all finished, I polled the family. All I got was "very good" and "good as always" so I dug deeper.
"Better than . . ." I asked. The result was that we all agreed, Gordon's burgers are better than any fast food burger.
Summary:
Maybe it's the simplicity, the lack of anything but meat in the burgers, no flavorings or additives, other than maybe a little salt and pepper. A real, true burger, like our parents used to get before America's burger joints were all but swept away by the fast food franchises.
The price was right, twenty seven dollars, cash, for three large and fantastic burger meals.
We highly recommend this little place, so if you happen to be in the area, make this a destination. If you're not real hungry, get a single, they are not large at all. If you are famished or have a death wish, order the Quadzilla. Just don't forget to bring cash.


Epilogue:
After we ate, Angel was driving and turned the wrong direction onto the street. Or so I thought. Actually there was an evil plan afoot, a conspiracy, no less. I assumed she was going to turn around, but no. She turned into the parking lot of (cue creepy 'Psycho' shower-stabby music) a shoe store!!! 
I don't mind shoe stores, if I am  looking for shoes. I wasn't, they were, both of them. There's nothing duller for an average guy than waiting while someone else shops for shoes. I walked to two other stores in the vicinity, Peebles, where I could at least see if they had a sale on shirts, they didn't, that ate up about five minutes, and Dollar General because it was nearby and they've at least got a wide variety of useless cheap crap I don't really need. They still weren't done looking at shoes. Dante sort of predicted waiting for someone to shop for shoes in his "Divine Comedy", somewhere between the first and second realm.
I have shoes. My work shoes, which I got mail-order, (my feet/shoe size have been the same since high school) my sneakers, $12  at Walmart, and a pair of twenty+ year old, steel-toed Doc Martins (six eyelet)  that I bought at a surplus/overstock store. I wear the Doc Martins when I'm doing manly stuff outside. They have a hard, heavy treaded sole, are hefty, yet comfy. That they've lasted over twenty years probably speaks to how well they were made, or maybe how seldom I actually do manly stuff outside. I also have a pair of simple black dress shoes, for interviews, funerals, etc. They are cheap, but shiny, I only wear them every other year or so.
Finally Angel and Adam finished and met me in DG. I had selected a two-pack of bubble wrap-lined shipping envelopes ($1.50)  and was eyeing a small nutcracker. 'Tis the season, right?  I got the nutcracker, paid full price ($4) which I hardly ever do. Unique ones are getting harder and harder to find at post-season sales though. I'll set up the entire collection after Thanksgiving and post a 'find the new one' photo, which has become a minor tradition.
That shoe store thing though, please, please ladies, don't behave like my wife!  If you need shoes, go get shoes, take all the time you want, just leave me out of it!





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