Maybe you* can relate, but I have been caught in this frustrating cycle where I am home almost constantly and desperate for social interaction, but then when I think about scheduling any type of plans with anyone, I immediately feel exhausted and just resort to my shut-in tendencies. And then an hour I will complain about being bored and having no friends.
*(You know. You.)
I can’t tell if this the new COVID new, depression, winter, laziness, or all of the above, but last week I was determined to make plans and keep them. So I Kakao’d Janna and said, “let’s go to lunch this weekend” and she was like, “yes” and then I was like, “shit now we have to choose a place” and somehow, my random Yelp map travels lured me to the town of NEW EAGLE where a family restaurant by the name of HILLS RESTAURANT resides.
We’re not on this side all that often, but we do go out that way during haunted house season, and Chooch and I were just in that area last spring for GEOCACHING ugh. All I’m trying to say is that I have somehow never noticed this place in all the times I’ve driven on this road but of course HENRY knew what it was immediately and has even eaten there like 50 years ago which sounds like I’m exaggerating until you remember that Henry is, you know, many years my senior.
I don’t even know what made me click on it when I saw it on the Yelp map, but as soon as I saw pictures of the interior, I imprinted on this bitch immediately. So I sent it to Janna with prayer hands and she was like “yes let’s go here” and that is how normal people make plans, or so I hear.
The only downside was that it’s like 40 minutes away which is kind of weird to drive that far for just a basic lunch but sometimes you gotta just make a meal into an adventure, amirite?
We met there at 12:30 and I was lowkey acting like I was about to meet a blind date inside, that’s how anxious and giddy I was. “You go first,” I said to Janna who was probably just like *EYE ROLL* but I couldn’t see because I was behind her since I made her go first, remember.
Look at that cool tile!! I felt like I was in a subway station and I loved it. Also, we were the youngest diners, so that felt good, too.
LOOK AT HOW CHEERFUL THIS IS! I blurted out the same to the waitress as she was filling the cups. “I try to make sure they never match,” she said with a smile, and my heart was bursting.
Of course, I had to send photographical evidence of my coleslaw to Henry, who was back at home slagging away at projects lol. #PoorHenry says the studio audience in unison.
Grilled Cheese check: look, I knew I wasn’t going to get a gourmet TOASTIE (that’s what they’re called in ENGLAND, isn’t it??) and am more often than not haunted by lousy diner grilled cheeses (um, the last time I went to Hyde’s in Cincinnati, it was literally two slices of baby-sized bread FOLDED OVER and the one half only had like a corner of a cheese slice on it – you can kindly CLICK HERE to see a true life photo of that monstrosity. But I have been to Hyde’s enough at this point in my life to know that you don’t go to Hyde’s for a grilled cheese, you go for the MOTHERFUCKING PIE, PEOPLE).
But the grilled cheese I received on my plate today straight from the HILLS KITCHEN was exactly the kind of grilled cheese I expect to get at an establishment like this. I know it’s going to be basic, but basic doesn’t mean skimpy, you know? And this grilled cheese was just right! The menu said it came on Texas toast and IT DID! I have ordered many falsely advertised grilled cheeses! And it had more than one slice of cheese, which was evenly melted under the bread. (The points sticking out from the bread weren’t melted, but I didn’t mind.) And the tomato I requested as an add-on was a beefy boy! Yeah, I was please with this.
(Only downside was that the waitress didn’t bring us ketchup since neither of us ordered fries and I typically require a giant pool of the stuff on my plate so that I can dunk my grilled cheese into it before each bite, but I didn’t feel like calling the waitress over to ask for it. If my Pappap were still alive, he’d have dinged a knife against his water glass repeatedly to get her attention, just kidding, he only did that shit at Blue Flame because he was pals with all the waitresses and loved to eff with them lol.)
While we were still eating, the waitress came over and asked if we’d be having anything else, so I blurted out, “do you have coconut cream pie???” because the menu and website SAID THAT THEY DO and Janna and I both love CCP. (I have never called it that before but didn’t feel like spelling it out so instead I used an acronym and then spent all these letters forming words explaining the obvious. I am a Writer.)
“We have one slice left,” she said, not realizing that she was basically uttering the words that could end Janna’s and my friendship.
Janna and I looked at each across the table. “I’ll fight you for it,” I said, while Janna The Mature asked, “What else do you have?”
The waitress ran down the list and some of the other ones sounded good too so I brilliantly suggested that we order the coconut and another one, and then split each. 12 YEARS WORKING IN THE CONFLICTS DEPARTMENT, LADIES AND GENTS AND OTHERS.
“I’ll let you two decide and come back in a few,” the waitress said, realizing that she didn’t have time to stand there for this heavy discussion.
“OK, but save the coconut for us please!” I called after her, wondering if she could detect the coating of panic & desperation hanging on my voice.
A few minutes later, the waitress came back and asked if we decided. I asked Janna if she knew which other pie she wanted to get and Janna was like, “Should we just get the coconut and that’s it?” and I was like, “Oh. Ok. Sure,” but deep down I was like, “NO I AM A PIE PIG AND REQUIRE TWO SLICES IF WE ARE SHARING.” So we let the waitress walk away and then Janna IMMEDIATELY said, “Dammit, that raspberry cream one sounded good—-” and I was already crying out, “EXCUSE ME!” to the waitress so we could tack on the raspberry slice too. Crisis averted!!
Good thing too because the raspberry cream ended up being better than the coconut! Look, the coconut was fine, but it was not my favorite kind of coconut cream pie. I prefer the inside to be more of a whipped coconut filling and less pudding-y, and I definitely prefer my slice to be topped with a whipped wig, not a meringue mountain. To this day, I don’t think I have had a better coconut (literally have type cococunt every single time) cream pie than the ones served up at Grant’s in Millvale. That pie deserves its own TV show.
BUT CAN WE TALK ABOUT THE BATHROOM AND ITS GOLD GLITTER SINK??
Hills was decently busy when we arrived, but we stayed all the way up until they closed at 2 (two other old ladies did too!) like total rude asses. I blame Janna, who had to go to the bathroom. I had actually paid a few minutes prior to 2 but then had to STAND THERE AND WAIT FOR HER while the waitresses were like, “Cool thanks for finally leaving the table so we can clean up your mess now” but don’t worry I left a nice tip because what a great place with even better service.
We’re almost counter-sitting age! I bet a lot of old men have bitched to each other about their nagging wives while sitting on those stools and slurping down cups of black coffee.
Chooch would have been so stoked about the WIFI sign because that’s always the first thing he checks when we go to a restaurant.
Well, I think was a great lunch spot! I haven’t been to a restaurant since December (I’m still leery!) so I’m glad I broke my “eating out” strike for this place. Then, as I was about to get in my car to leave, Janna asked me some innocent question about NCT127 and it was like getting a POWER UP in Super Mario Bros. My brain, now flipping over to its Korean side, completely disregarded the original plan of “Lunch is over / get in car / drive home” and told my legs to walk back over to the sidewalk where Janna was standing.
“OK LET ME EXPLAIN HOW NCT WORKS” I said all breathily because talking about Kpop makes me get into HEAVY PANT MODE. So we were still having NCT class while all of the waitresses started to come out and leave. Then we were the only ones left in the parking lot and I’m sure Janna was like, “I WISH I HADN’T ASKED.” Lol.
OH FOR CHRIST’S SAKE, I just realized that I failed to check at the register for Hills merch!!!
P.S. You know what else is good on grilled cheese? HOT SAUCE.