Thursday, July 28, 2011

Cross-Country Road Trip, Part II- Nashville, KY: Southern Bred, Kansas City, MO: Oklahoma Joe's and Denver, CO: Biker Jim's

Read Part I here

It's been awhile, so to recap: My parents and I loaded up a U-Haul in Boston and drove my stuff cross-country to Portland. We drove down through D.C. to Charleston, SC and that's where we left off...

Day 4: Columbia, SC to Paduca, KY 
Stopped in Nashville for a "meat & three" dinner.

What: Southern Bred
Where: 1048 East Trinity Lane, Nashville, KY
Honeys Heart: Bread platter

When I was doing research about restaurants in Nashville, I kept coming across the descriptor "meat and three." I had never heard that before but "meat and three" refers to a plate where you get to pick one meat and three sides. Makes sense.

The meat and three we tried was a restaurant a little off the beaten path called Southern Bred. Our meal kicked off with Southern Bred's signature complimentary bread platter featuring cornbread, biscuits and rolls. Really, I could have just had that platter (or maybe two of them) for my dinner and been perfectly happy. Loved the cornbread, loved the biscuits, loved the rolls. Sorry Mom and Dad for eating way more than my share of those...

And now we'll get the not-so-good out of the way before we head back to the delicious. I had chicken and dumplings earlier on the trip when we stopped at a Cracker Barrel and was surprised that I actually liked it (you know, it being from a chain restaurant and all) so I wanted to try the dish again at a better place. Bad choice.

Southern Bred's version of Chicken n' Dumplings ($9) was a few small pieces of chicken and those biscuits I loved so much from the bread platter drenched completely in the thickest, stickiest white sauce you can imagine. My strategy was to dig a piece of chicken or biscuit out and attempt to shake/wipe off some of the sauce but damn, that stuff was like glue. I overheard some other customers saying how much they love Southern Bred's chicken and dumplings but I really could not stomach more than a few bites. Bet Paula Deen would have loved it though, it was that fatty.

But on to better things. My mom opted for a "meat and two" instead of a meat and three and ordered Fried Chicken with Green Beans and Honey Mashed Sweet Potatoes ($8).

The fried chicken was nice and moist on the inside and crispy on the outside and we all loved the sweet potatoes. The green beans were a little overcooked for my taste but I think that's just how they do 'em down South.

My dad ordered the Fried Catfish with Steamed Broccoli with Almonds and Mashed Potatoes & Gravy ($8).

The catfish was very tasty and my dad and I are always fans of a good mashed potato. Nothing too special but definitely satisfying.

Southern Bred was certainly not my favorite food stop of our trip, but it was a great introduction to a tradtional "meat and three." Also, I need that bread platter in my life. Always.

Day 5: Paduca, KY to Colby, KS 
Kansas City BBQ for lunch

What: Oklahoma Joe's
Where: 3002 W 47th Ave, Kansas City, KS
Honeys Heart: Baked beans

Kansas City barbecue was what I was most excited for on our road trip and Oklahoma Joe's did not disappoint.

Oklahoma Joe's has won so many barbecue awards over the years that it's kind of ridiculous but I think my parents were a little wary of my choice at first because the restaurant is actually housed in a gas station.

These signs might have helped them feel a little better about my choice:

Yeah, they deal with super long lines on a daily basis. Luckily, we got to the restaurant around 3pm so we didn't have to wait at all. Sweet!

My mom and I both ordered the house specialty, Pulled Pork Sandwiches ($4.99). This was some of the best pulled pork I've ever had. Nice smokey flavor, so tender and complimented perfectly by Joe's sweet Cowtown Barbecue Sauce.

We also shared a side of BBQ Beans ($2.19). Best decision ever.

They might not look like much but let's just say my mom was seriously considering licking the bowl... and I didn't blame her. These beans were the perfect combo of smokey and sweet. So, so good.

I had read that Joe's serves great Fries ($2.55) too so of course we had to try some.

Delicious as well. The seasoning added a nice little kick and they were perfectly cooked.

Next to Husk, Oklahoma Joe's was my favorite stop of the trip.

Oh, yeah. And we passed by the St. Louis Arch on our way through Missouri to Kansas. Pretty cool.

Day 6: Colby, KS to Evanston, WY
Lunch in Denver 

What: Biker Jim's
Where: 2148 Larimer St
Honeys Heart: Caramelized onions and cream cheese on a "Wild Boar" hot dog

Located right down the street from Coors Field, Biker Jim's started out as a hot dog cart. The cart gained such a huge following (it held the prestige of being the highest ranked restaurant in Denver on Yelp even as a food cart) that Biker Jim decided it was time to open a restaurant- and I'm glad he did.

At Biker Jim's, first you choose your hot dog. My dad picked Elk Jalapeno Cheddar, I tried Wild Boar with Apricots and Cranberries and my mom played it safe with a traditional All-Beef.

Then you choose a topping. My dad and I both went with Biker Jim's classic topping: caramelized onions and cream cheese.

I had never heard of the combo of caramelized onions and cream cheese on a hot dog so when I tried it on my super delicious "wild boar" I was immediately convinced that Biker Jim was a culinary genius. I was informed later that Seattle's been topping their hot dogs the same way for years and years and so Jim is not quite the visionary I thought. But who cares... it was still crazy good.

We also got some sides: Fries, Fried Green Tomatoes, and Chips.

The chips were my favorite and I could have done without the fried green tomatoes. The fries were good too.

Here's a shot of our view driving into Evanston, WY. Pretty!

Day 7: Evanston, WY to Salt Lake City

 Salt Lake City was my last stop on the trip... had to hit up Leslie and Ian's wedding, but my parents were awesome enough to continue all the way to Portland with my stuff and put it into storage. I know, they're pretty much the best ever and I'm so glad we got to take a trip across the country together.

And just in case you were wondering, my parents celebrated the end of their 8-day trip with some drinks at Hubers in Portland. Cheers, Mom and Dad! Those margaritas were very much deserved!.