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This page contains a single entry from the blog posted on February 9, 2005 4:14 AM. The previous post in this blog was Planned slowdown. The next post in this blog is Big day. Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.



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Wednesday, February 9, 2005

No need to ahsk

Here's something I've never done before: blog from the road. It's not that I haven't felt the urge on past trips. As readers know, the blogging bug has bit me pretty hard. But I rarely want to drag a laptop around with me, and I've never found a comfortable place with an available computer and a good high-speed internet connection.

Until this morning.

It's just before dawn at an undisclosed east coast location, where I'm conducting business on behalf of my employer. I woke up in a strange hotel bed after just a few hours of sleep. Aware that it might be hard to go right back to sleep, I threw on some clothes and checked out a coffee shop, with an internet access sign on the front window, that my workmates and I drove by looking for a restaurant last night.

It's great. Well lit, comfortable, good coffee, four decent PCs beckoning, and a T-1 line. Excellent.

So here we go.

For those of you who don't already know where I am, here's the first clue out of the box: When we hit town at midnight, there was only one place open to eat, Waffle House.

Now I had seen these places on previous journeys to this part of the country. Heck, there's a Waffle House sign at every interstate highway exit in the Atlanta area, where we spent a long weekend last fall. They're ubiquitous, so much so that when we passed an exit without a Waffle House sign, my wife shouted, with a southern drawl: "What? No Waffle House?" But the family and I never checked one out.

In contrast, one of the members of my current travelling party was raised in Waffle House Country, and last night he showed us the drill. The menu at Waffle House is a single laminated sheet, two-sided, that invites the patron to feast on some realy scary-looking grub. You know it's bad when the closest thing to healthy is a bacon salad or a chili salad. Did you know there are 3,454,681 ways to enjoy their hashbrowns? Anyway, for 10 bucks a person, we partook.

Only the fellow who's a Waffle House veteran went for the breakfast section of the menu, which gets you a waffle and some grits along with your bacon, eggs, and hasbrowns. One of the guys had never seen grits before, and so this was a personal growth moment for him. Then I told my story about Taylor ham. As I suspected, no one, no one in the group had ever heard of Taylor ham.

Do you want your hashbrowns "topped"? the seasoned but friendly waitress asked me. Thinking about the heart-friendly options that I normally eat, I didn't even ask what that meant. I wasn't brave enough to go beyond a grilled chicken sandwich. I also ordered a half iced tea/half lemonade, whose taste vaguely reminded me of a zoo or a circus (and I don't mean that in a good way). Strangely, it grew on you as you drank it.

My colleagues and I chatted amiably as we downed our food. The place was empty except for two parties of two, one of which included a gentleman who was having a little trouble standing up, obviously after an evening in a bar. Shades of the White Castle and Blue Castle hamburger places after hours in my childhood haunts of Newark, N.J. I know where that guy's been, and I'm glad I'm not there any more.

But the best part of the Waffle House experience, in my view, was the music on the p.a., which was turned up pretty loud. After a few numbers drifted by in the background, there was a lull in the conversation, and we noticed that the version of Sade's "Smooth Operator" playing through the system wasn't the original. Indeed, a male voice was singing the song, and the new version had a bit of a country feel.

Then we noticed, the lyrics had been changed to "He's a grill operay-dahhhh, griiiiiiillll operay-dahhhh, grill operay-dahhhh, at Waffle House."

Ain't that America.

Comments (11)

After a night of drinking, there is no greater meal than something from Waffle House.

Totally off-topic: what was the ship that had part of it on display just riverside from the Portland Oregon Journal? I did copy boy at the Journal in 1954 and remember this thing.

Another alt.Portland question what was the name of the foot-long hot dog place on Burnside?

Mmmm...Taylor Pork Roll

But did they have Scrapple on the menu?

By the way, for those who grew up in tonier parts of the U.S.,(namely, the midwest) a half iced tea/half lemonade is known as an Arnold Palmer.

"After a night of drinking, there is no greater meal than something from Waffle House." - Justin

For those of us who spent their early drinking and music appreciation years in the Rose City, the Original Hotcake and Steak House at 1002 SE Powell Blvd in Portland was hard to beat for a post-bar, pre-dawn breakfast. My friends and I usually went there after the last bands left the stage. Often times the bands did, too.

My early drinking years are over. The clubs I frequented - Satyricon, Pine Street Theatre - disapeared from Portland like cheap rent, excellent public schools, and the Blitz-Weinhard brewery. I haven't been inside it in years, but the Hotcake House is still around. AOL's CityGuide: "...ham, eggs and pancakes or steak, eggs and hash browns. All are helpful in lowering blood-alcohol levels after a night of overindulgence. It's not the greatest food at the best prices, but it's always an entertaining place to eat and gawk until someone stares or scares you out of your seat."

I'm glad some things haven't changed.

The Original Hotcake House sponsored my little league team. We were the Brooklyn Giants. One time the coach took us in there after a game and the staff looked at us like invaders from Mars. I think we ended up getting a small ice cream cone, but no hot cakes.

I have made quite a few drunked stops at the hot cake house.

you had a chicken sandwich at waffle house?!?!?! cmon man...

reminds me of my first trip to the deep south. i ordered a po' boy and the waitress asked me if i wanted it "drussed." like a deer staring into the headlights of an oncoming car i said "what?" upon seeing that i was not a local the kind waitress said in a thick accent, "ya know, ketchup, mayo, pickles." i quickly answered her question then and was quite happy with the results.

Thanks to a mutual acquaintance :), I had my first taste of Taylor ham over the holiday, and I enjoyed it immensely. In fact, I think it might be time to order another one.

Jack- Get a good smartphone w/a keyboard (I use a Treo 650).No financial interest. You can blog from ANYWHERE now. It will change your blogging life. And, since you can, inter alia, run Excel spreadsheets on it, write it off as a tax deduction.
-one of your former students (why else would I say 'inter alia'?)


As a lawyer/blogger, I get
to be a member of:

In Vino Veritas

Lange, Pinot Gris 2015
Kiona, Lemberger 2014
Willamette Valley, Pinot Gris 2015
Aix, Rosé de Provence 2016
Marchigüe, Cabernet 2013
Inazío Irruzola, Getariako Txakolina Rosé 2015
Maso Canali, Pinot Grigio 2015
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Kirkland, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2016
Cantele, Salice Salentino Reserva 2013
Whispering Angel, Côtes de Provence Rosé 2013
Avissi, Prosecco
Cleto Charli, Lambrusco di Sorbara Secco, Vecchia Modena
Pique Poul, Rosé 2016
Edmunds St. John, Bone-Jolly Rosé 2016
Stoller, Pinot Noir Rosé 2016
Chehalem, Inox Chardonnay 2015
The Four Graces, Pinot Gris 2015
Gascón, Colosal Red 2013
Cardwell Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
L'Ecole No. 41, Merlot 2013
Della Terra, Anonymus
Willamette Valley, Dijon Clone Chardonnay 2013
Wraith, Cabernet, Eidolon Estate 2012
Januik, Red 2015
Tomassi, Valpolicella, Rafaél, 2014
Sharecropper's Pinot Noir 2013
Helix, Pomatia Red Blend 2013
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
Campo Viejo, Rioja Reserva 2011
Villa Antinori, Toscana 2013
Locations, Spanish Red Wine
Locations, Argentinian Red Wine
La Antigua Clásico, Rioja 2011
Shatter, Grenache, Maury 2012
Argyle, Vintage Brut 2011
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16 Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2014
Benton Hill, Pinot Gris 2015
Primarius, Pinot Gris 2015
Januik, Merlot 2013
Napa Cellars, Cabernet 2013
J. Bookwalter, Protagonist 2012
LAN, Rioja Edicion Limitada 2011
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Rutherford 2009
Denada Cellars, Cabernet, Maipo Valley 2014
Marchigüe, Cabernet, Colchagua Valley 2013
Oberon, Cabernet 2014
Hedges, Red Mountain 2012
Balboa, Rose of Grenache 2015
Ontañón, Rioja Reserva 2015
Three Horse Ranch, Pinot Gris 2014
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
Nelms Road, Merlot 2013
Chateau Ste. Michelle, Pinot Gris 2014
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2012
Conn Creek, Cabernet, Napa 2013
Villa Maria, Sauvignon Blanc 2015
G3, Cabernet 2013
Chateau Smith, Cabernet, Washington State 2014
Abacela, Vintner's Blend #16
Willamette Valley, Rose of Pinot Noir, Whole Clusters 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Ca' del Baio Barbaresco Valgrande 2012
Goodfellow, Reserve Pinot Gris, Clover 2014
Lugana, San Benedetto 2014
Wente, Cabernet, Charles Wetmore 2011
La Espera, Cabernet 2011
King Estate, Pinot Gris 2015
Adelsheim, Pinot Gris 2015
Trader Joe's, Pinot Gris, Willamette Valley 2015
La Vite Lucente, Toscana Red 2013
St. Francis, Cabernet, Sonoma 2013
Kendall-Jackson, Pinot Noir, California 2013
Beaulieu, Cabernet, Napa Valley 2013
Erath, Pinot Noir, Estate Selection 2012
Abbot's Table, Columbia Valley 2014
Intrinsic, Cabernet 2014
Oyster Bay, Pinot Noir 2010
Occhipinti, SP68 Bianco 2014
Layer Cake, Shiraz 2013
Desert Wind, Ruah 2011
WillaKenzie, Pinot Gris 2014
Abacela, Fiesta Tempranillo 2013
Des Amis, Rose 2014
Dunham, Trautina 2012
RoxyAnn, Claret 2012
Del Ri, Claret 2012
Stoppa, Emilia, Red 2004
Primarius, Pinot Noir 2013
Domaines Bunan, Bandol Rose 2015
Albero, Bobal Rose 2015
Deer Creek, Pinot Gris 2015
Beaulieu, Rutherford Cabernet 2013
Archery Summit, Vireton Pinot Gris 2014
King Estate, Pinot Gris, Backbone 2014
Oberon, Napa Cabernet 2013
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Benziger, Cabernet, Sonoma 2012
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The Occasional Book

Marc Maron - Waiting for the Punch
Phil Stanford - Rose City Vice
Kenneth R. Feinberg - What is Life Worth?
Kent Haruf - Our Souls at Night
Peter Carey - True History of the Kelly Gang
Suzanne Collins - The Hunger Games
Amy Stewart - Girl Waits With Gun
Philip Roth - The Plot Against America
Norm Macdonald - Based on a True Story
Christopher Buckley - Boomsday
Ryan Holiday - The Obstacle is the Way
Ruth Sepetys - Between Shades of Gray
Richard Adams - Watership Down
Claire Vaye Watkins - Gold Fame Citrus
Markus Zusak - I am the Messenger
Anthony Doerr - All the Light We Cannot See
James Joyce - Dubliners
Cheryl Strayed - Torch
William Golding - Lord of the Flies
Saul Bellow - Mister Sammler's Planet
Phil Stanford - White House Call Girl
John Kaplan & Jon R. Waltz - The Trial of Jack Ruby
Kent Haruf - Eventide
David Halberstam - Summer of '49
Norman Mailer - The Naked and the Dead
Maria Dermoȗt - The Ten Thousand Things
William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying
Markus Zusak - The Book Thief
Christopher Buckley - Thank You for Smoking
William Shakespeare - Othello
Joseph Conrad - Heart of Darkness
Bill Bryson - A Short History of Nearly Everything
Cheryl Strayed - Tiny Beautiful Things
Sara Varon - Bake Sale
Stephen King - 11/22/63
Paul Goldstein - Errors and Omissions
Mark Twain - A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur's Court
Steve Martin - Born Standing Up: A Comic's Life
Beverly Cleary - A Girl from Yamhill, a Memoir
Kent Haruf - Plainsong
Hope Larson - A Wrinkle in Time, the Graphic Novel
Rudyard Kipling - Kim
Peter Ames Carlin - Bruce
Fran Cannon Slayton - When the Whistle Blows
Neil Young - Waging Heavy Peace
Mark Bego - Aretha Franklin, the Queen of Soul (2012 ed.)
Jenny Lawson - Let's Pretend This Never Happened
J.D. Salinger - Franny and Zooey
Charles Dickens - A Christmas Carol
Timothy Egan - The Big Burn
Deborah Eisenberg - Transactions in a Foreign Currency
Kurt Vonnegut Jr. - Slaughterhouse Five
Kathryn Lance - Pandora's Genes
Cheryl Strayed - Wild
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Jack London - The House of Pride, and Other Tales of Hawaii
Jack Walker - The Extraordinary Rendition of Vincent Dellamaria
Colum McCann - Let the Great World Spin
Niccolò Machiavelli - The Prince
Harper Lee - To Kill a Mockingbird
Emma McLaughlin & Nicola Kraus - The Nanny Diaries
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Sharon Creech - Walk Two Moons
Keith Richards - Life
F. Sionil Jose - Dusk
Natalie Babbitt - Tuck Everlasting
Justin Halpern - S#*t My Dad Says
Mark Herrmann - The Curmudgeon's Guide to Practicing Law
Barry Glassner - The Gospel of Food
Phil Stanford - The Peyton-Allan Files
Jesse Katz - The Opposite Field
Evelyn Waugh - Brideshead Revisited
J.K. Rowling - Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone
David Sedaris - Holidays on Ice
Donald Miller - A Million Miles in a Thousand Years
Mitch Albom - Have a Little Faith
C.S. Lewis - The Magician's Nephew
F. Scott Fitzgerald - The Great Gatsby
William Shakespeare - A Midsummer Night's Dream
Ivan Doig - Bucking the Sun
Penda Diakité - I Lost My Tooth in Africa
Grace Lin - The Year of the Rat
Oscar Hijuelos - Mr. Ives' Christmas
Madeline L'Engle - A Wrinkle in Time
Steven Hart - The Last Three Miles
David Sedaris - Me Talk Pretty One Day
Karen Armstrong - The Spiral Staircase
Charles Larson - The Portland Murders
Adrian Wojnarowski - The Miracle of St. Anthony
William H. Colby - Long Goodbye
Steven D. Stark - Meet the Beatles
Phil Stanford - Portland Confidential
Rick Moody - Garden State
Jonathan Schwartz - All in Good Time
David Sedaris - Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim
Anthony Holden - Big Deal
Robert J. Spitzer - The Spirit of Leadership
James McManus - Positively Fifth Street
Jeff Noon - Vurt

Road Work

Miles run year to date: 5
At this date last year: 3
Total run in 2017: 113
In 2016: 155
In 2015: 271
In 2014: 401
In 2013: 257
In 2012: 129
In 2011: 113
In 2010: 125
In 2009: 67
In 2008: 28
In 2007: 113
In 2006: 100
In 2005: 149
In 2004: 204
In 2003: 269

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