For this weekend’s Greasy Spoon Lunch Date, I picked a place called BRENDA’S FAMILY RESTAURANT in Mills Run, whatever the fuck that means. (If Henry were the author of this Internet Diary, he would tell you exactly what that meant, with coordinates and a hand-drawn map.)
Brenda’s was a cool hour and 12 minutes away but I always enjoy going whatever direction out of the city that is — south? I can’t remember. It’s by Uniontown and I always have a tough time finding that place on a map. We listened to Kpop (mostly NCT, natch) and ranted about Russia and dumb white trash Repubs in Congress like WHOREN HOEBART and M.T. GANGRENE.
I am a good feminist.
I was getting really upset though to the point where I was ready to be trained to blow darts into Bad Russian necks.
“Can’t someone just like, poison Putin’s borscht??” I cried and Henry was like I AM PRETTY SURE HE HAS PEOPLE TASTING HIS FOOD FOR HIM.
So…back to the blow dart mission. OK.
We made it to Brenda’s right when I was really starting to lean into my hunger. I made Henry go inside first because I was scared. I wasn’t really “scared” like I thought Leatherface was waiting on the other side but you know how sometimes you walk into a small town restaurant and everyone turns and looks? When I walk in first that always happens, usually because I’m dressed in something that’s not a sports sweatshirt, Looney Tunes hoodie, or flannel. On this particular occasion I was wearing a cropped gold lamé-ish young girl’s dance costume jacket over my NCT 7th Sense shirt and Cherry Bomb purse. So basically like a 14-year-old going to a Kpop concert. I didn’t think I looked all that flashy but Henry just frowned and went inside first, using his boring blue-greenish Henley as a shield.
Hey! See those stools in the background? That is the reason I chose this place! There was a picture on Yelp that showed those stools and I was like, “OK Brenda, I’m listening.” Then I scrolled to the next picture and saw the booths with their strange 1970s watery-shit color and I was like, “Henry. I found it. This is the one.”
Seasoned with Old Bay!!
I asked Henry if this was like a big deal or something and he started to explain to me what Old Bay seasoning is like I’m a Dumbo and I snippily cut him off and said, “OK because they used two exclamation marks so I was just wondering if it warranted the extra mark but OK cool story.”
Also, the shrimp is either so big that it’s whatever comes after JUMBO in the size adjective spectrum, or they’re VEGAN? Probably definitely most certainly the former, lol.
OK OK OK I choose these places for the childhood comfort levels, not because I’m expecting some Michelin caliber plates, you know? It’s just fun to get out of the house and eat something non-fussy and casual, and everyone knows that grilled cheeses are my ult bias in the lunch genre. I have always been and will always be a grilled cheese head. And when we go to these little places, I’m not expecting some cheesy Big Boi like you’d get at Melt or some other trendy sandwich joint. But I also don’t want a soggy balled up thing that’s missing cheese on one half (sorry, I still am not over that plate of scraps I was served last summer at Hyde’s in Cinci).
You shouldn’t be “surprised” or “shocked” when you get a decent lunch at a small town restaurant, but in my experience, those of us who order grilled cheese are usually disappointed because this is traditionally the “kids choice” on a menu so it’s like the cook doesn’t even try.
But this one?! IT WAS SO GOOD. I opted for rye bread because I always forget about how much I love rye bread until I see it as an option on a menu and then shout, “I AM GOING TO CHOOSE RYE” and everyone at my table is like “ok” without looking up from the menu except with the one time I was at Pamela’s for breakfast with Wendy and Jeannie and Jeannie totally took my bread bait by agreeing that rye is underrated and then we had like a 20 second conversation about rye and I don’t even think Wendy noticed, probably.
“This bread is SO BOUNCY!” I gushed to Henry, who squinted and repeated, “Bouncy?” because he can never find good terms to describe his food so he always likes to try and diminish the quality of my superlative descriptors. It was so good that I didn’t even bother to take a picture of Henry eating his coleslaw.
Of course I saved room for dessert! This is why I skip the fries and just pluck some off Henry’s plate. I knew from their website that their desserts are HOMEMADE so I made sure to save room to satiate my coconut cream curiosity. I knew as soon as the waitress pulled it from the cooler that it was going to be of MERINGUE variety which we all know is not my fave, but I was determined to keep an open mind.
And you know what? That meringue was actually delicious. I am super picky with that strange cloud-like pie helmet, but I do find it satisfying when done a certain way.
(I was going to say “done right” but I truthfully don’t know what “done right” is in this sense. Please tell me if you know).
This one was very, very light. Like it basically dissolved as soon as it touched my tongue, which I appreciated. I hate when you have to chew the meringue. I don’t want to chew it because I don’t really understand what meringue even is.
And the coconut cream part was satiny and delectable! The crust was nice too (I spelled it “noice” as a typo and considered keeping it and then immediately felt like an asshole, and not a cool kind of asshole but like a sleazy douchebag asshole and I squirmed a little bit)
Of course I had to check out the bathroom we left. Lots of inspirational Hobby Lobby art, as expected.
Appreciated the wild basil and lime soap though! Good flavor choice!
There was a guest book so I signed it on the way out! “Really, you had to put down our full address?” Henry groaned. My comment was AWESOME GRILLED CHEESE!!! <3
[I know we have to continue living our lives but it is not lost on me that we had the freedom to drive an hour to eat lunch while millions of people have been forced to leave their home country behind. This fucking sucks.]