Well, let’s see, My trip to Columbia, South Carolina began a week ago Tuesday.
Travelling down Interstate 77 I stopped for a quick lunch in the Kanawha City section of Charleston, West Virginia. I hadn’t been to the Southern Kitchen in years, but it hadn’t changed much. They still had the roast pork, dressing, mashed potatoes, gravy and green beans cooked with bacon on the menu, and it is still wonderful. Normally I’d have had sweet tea, but I had a long way to go so I had coffee instead.
My next stop was for a quick cup of coffee at the Waffle House in Wytheville, Virginia. The coffee was OK, but the service and cleanliness were sadly lacking.
It was around 5 p.m. when I got to my motel in Columbia and I was pretty tired, so I didn’t want to make any trips for dinner. Directly across the highway there was a Shoney’s. I hadn’t been to a Shoney’s in years. They closed all the ones in the Columbus area some time ago. Still, When I lived in Charleston Shoney’s was a pretty good place, so I thought I’d give it a shot. It was not one of my greatest ideas.
I checked out the menu and decided on the country fried steak with mashed potatoes, gravy and I forget which vegetable. When I gave my order to the waitress I was told that for the mashed potatoes, gravy and vegetable I’d have to go to the buffet. I do not do buffets. So, I instead ordered a cheeseburger. A plain cheeseburger — no lettuce, no tomato, no onion, no pickle and no special sauce — with some mayonnaise on the side, and some fries. Oh, and some sweet tea.
After a while the waitress brought me my plain cheeseburger. It was a triple-patty creation with lettuce, tomato, onion, pickles and some sort of sauce. The potatoes were a rather dark brown. In other words, burnt.
I asked for the check and went up the road about 100 yards to a Waffle House. A double patty-melt and a bowl of chili. Excellent.
The next morning I was in sort of a hurry so I stopped in the same Waffle House for coffee, a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich on wheat toast, along an order of hash browns, scattered, smothered and peppered. Terrific.
I’d been told on Roadfood about a few places in Columbia, so for lunch I stopped at one of them, a local chain called Zesto’s. That recommendation was right on target. A terrific burger, quick service, fries that were done just right, and, hey, I was in the South — sweet tea.
For dinner that evening I hit another Roadfooder-recommended spot called Lizard’s Thicket. I had the meatloaf, mashed potatoes, corn and green beans, along with, of course, sweet tea. It was really good, and the service was friendly and quick.
The next few meals were nothing to talk about. Lunch and dinner were on the post at Fort Jackson, with lunch being the grandson’s first out-of-the-mess hall food, so it was Burger King at the Main PX. Dinner was a buffet (which I didn’t eat, despite paying $7 in advance) at a building on the post. When I got back from the post that evening I pulled into another recommended place called Rush’s. Good cheeseburger, good coffee. Good idea.
The following morning was the kid’s graduation ceremony, so I never got any breakfast, and lunch was at, God help me, Chili’s. That’s where a couple of his Basic Training buddies were going to be. The Private, his mother, sister, father and stepfather all had really dumb things — I mean stuff like nachos and other garbage all served in a setting that included large television sets and idiot drunks. I managed to hold off and confined jysef to some summer sausage, cheese and crackers back in my room.
The next morning I drove the kid to his next post, Fort Lee, in Virginia. On the way we stopped at — you guessed it — a Waffle House for breakfast. It was worth the price of admission just to watch him eat. Two waffles, a sausage, egg and cheese sandwich, triple hash browns scattered, smothered, peppered and chunked (the latter is ham), plus, three eggs over easy with grits.
A couple ,20,239072,0,67,220.127.116.11
239071,239071,0,2006-09-28 14:11:54,NC BBQ Transplant to Pensacola